Monthly Archives: March 2012
Not content with speeding up web browsing and hosting federal data, Amazon Web Services are now helping in the fight against disease. Bezos’ crew is donating a chunk of free cloud storage to the 1000 Genomes project, which aims to make it easier for scientists to search for genetic variations linked to diseases. These gene-hunters can also use Amazon’s Elastic Cloud Compute service to analyze data and discover patterns, although those functions won’t come gratis. The DNA sequences of 1,700 mostly anonymous Homo sapiens from around the world have already been logged, but the project has to upload another 1,000 samples before it meets statistical requirements. If it ever needs fresh volunteers, perhaps a free USB gene sequencer and a Prime subscription might do the trick?
Who throws a party in Palo Alto?!
Well actually … Today Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Talent House, Super Happy Dev House and the City of Palo Alto itself have joined forces to give nerds a place to play on University Ave for 12 hours. So why should you stop coding and jump on Super Happy Block Party bandwagon? Well a gaggle of VCs have occupied the 3rd floor of the High/Alma South Garage, committing themselves to hearing your ideas until 7pm tonight. Poor things!
Assuming that each of us has a picture of the “real world superhero” we want to become someday, then the optimal way to level up and reach that goal begins with the ability to measure and score our lives. Thankfully, new technologies in mainstream gadgets like iPhones and the Nike+ enable this kind of measurement, and are fueling the so-called Quantified Self movement, starting with the continuous tracking of various aspects of our physical bodies.
Using sensors in our smartphones and other wearable devices, we can chart how many calories we burn, our body fat percentage, how many steps we take in a day, how long we sleep — even how many hours a week we spend commuting or sitting at a desk. Soon we’ll be able to access the same kind of statistics on our digital selves: Social reach and influence; tastes and preferences; achievements; credibility and reputation; habits; expertise.
Not like we haven’t seen this dog-and-pony show before, but Flurry’s latest round of analytics — which measured revenue of 11 million daily active users from mid-January through the end of February 2012 — shows Amazon’s Appstore pulling in a shocking amount of revenue given the short life that it has lived. Apple’s strength in sales has been well documented, but the latest report shows that for every $ 1 generated in the iTunes App Store, $ 0.89 is being spent in the Amazon Appstore. Looking more broadly, the numbers show that just $ 0.23 are generated in the Google Play halls for every $ 1 spent in the App Store, but that’s hardly a new phenomenon; the ease of sideloading (amongst other factors) has raised complaints from Android developers for years now. Flurry’s conclusion is that Google’s core strength simply isn’t in running a store — something it’s about to do once more with Android slates — while both Apple and Amazon excel in doing just that. Curiously, Windows Phone and BlackBerry were left off of this report, but we’re hoping to see those cats thrown in the next ‘go round. After all, RIM sure seems certain that its developers are making out just fine.
judgecorp writes “The decision on the next generation of even-smaller SIM cards for phones and other devices has been delayed by standards body ETSI, and the issue (which should have been settled this week) is nowhere near resolution. Apple wants to trim the existing micro-SIM further, Nokia wants to move to something like a micro-SD card which may involve patents. Meanwhile RIM has complained about Apple’s approach.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The Gillmor Gang — Robert Scoble, John Taschek, Rob La Gesse, Kevin Marks, and Steve Gillmor — rode out of Dodge and straight into an ambush. Well, no, but in service of the OverAggregator Lord here are our talking points: Microsoft trembles at the alter of irrelevance, Google doesn’t get TV but may sneak into the tablet market by giving them away, and HTML5 still can’t get a date.
I snuck in the usual mentions of Mad Men and push notification, the first a reference to the return of the mesmerizing prequel to Seinfeld, and the second the technology that ensures that you don’t have to watch the stream all day to stay up with what’s going on. Combining delayed gratification theatre with premature notification will produce the next big hit of the iPad Age.
We know that many of you visit TechCrunch on the regular for a hearty dose of startup coverage, general tech news and opinionated coverage of the tech zeitgeist. But we also know that the trainwreck posting on our hirings and firings, Aol spats, tech gossip and quibbles between staff is what really gets your fingers clicking and blood boiling.
I mean, it’s like a car accident, you can’t help but stare.
Both Visa and MasterCard Friday are acknowledging a possible data breach of a payment-card processing company network that, once an investigation is completed, could show that sensitive data from cardholders was stolen and payment fraud committed due to the break-in.
Traffic-law violators in Long Beach, California, have gotten to keep a little more money in their wallets, as the municipality has failed to collect US$ 17.6 million in outstanding parking violation fees due to an "antiquated" software system, according to a report released this week by city auditor Laura Doud.
Used video games have become a desirable purchase for many industry fans. With prices coming in at substantially lower amounts than new alternatives, it simply makes sense to many people to buy used titles. The more you save, the more products you can buy, right? I’ve long been one of those people that tries to
There are so many fantastic causes worthy of financial support. Many of them are in desperate need of support, too. The giving process, however, can be so exasperating that people often just give up. That’s why Givv.org was created.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]
Google’s position as the dominant search engine doesn’t come without a price. Smaller search sites have already tapped on the EU Commission’s door to register their complaints about how they are ranked, and Microsoft has also let its feelings on the matter be known. Now, we can add the Redmond spin-off, Expedia, to that list of sore losers disgruntled firms. The travel search site claims it has specific details outlining how the search giant has violated European anti-competitive laws. A Google spokesperson issued a statement saying “We haven’t seen the complaint yet, but we’ve been working to explain how our business works, cooperating with the European Commission since this investigation began.” The EU Competition Commissioner says a decision will be made after Easter, at which point Mountain View will either be charged, or the investigation will be dropped. If only that were the end of its EU troubles.
Viruses like Stuxnet and Duqu are the atom bombs of cyberwarfare, experts say, but some worry that this new generation of digital weapons could be co-opted by enemy forces — and used against their creators.
This week we’re hearing quite a bit about a couple of applications for iPad, one of which was created by the folks who were once going to bring you the Microsoft Courier – but what about Android? As it turns out, these two applications for iPad, Tapose and Paper don’t currently have one whole heck
Global Payments, a third-party payment card processor, has been hacked this morning, according to sources who spoke to the WSJ. The security breach puts nearly 50,000 Visa and MasterCard holders at risk. Both major credit card issuing agencies have alerted customers and asserted that their own systems are still secure. MasterCard has hired an independent
As many as 10 million users of VISA and MasterCard may have had their card numbers compromised in what sources in the financial sector are calling a "massive" breach of a U.S.-based credit card processor.
In spite of the consumer love affair with high-tech tablets and other digital devices, people are still enthusiastic about making their mark using low-tech, graphite-lead pencils. That gave pencil manufacturers something to write home about on March 30 — National Pencil Day.
Gillmor Gang – Robert Scoble, John Taschek, Kevin Marks, Rob La Gesse, and Steve Gillmor. Recording has concluded.
In last week’s Get Rich or Die Trying article, I mentioned that “tech is a zero-sum, winner takes all game”. A reader objected, arguing: “I think that may be an inappropriate use of the term ‘zero-sum’ – one company’s increase in profits (or revenue) does not mean a competitor must see declining profits (or revenue)”.
History suggests that Jack Welch’s philosophy that “a company should be #1 or #2 in a particular industry or else leave it completely” is even more applicable to the tech industry, where the top player can build a sustainable and ever-growing business but everyone else is practically better off getting out.
AT&T has begun pre-orders for the Nokia Lumia 900, which is arriving on April 8 for $ 100 with a new two-year contract. The Windows Phone will be available only in matte black and cyan at launch, but a white version is expected to follow on April 22. AT&T has promised that the Lumia 900 will
Twitter Takes Tweetdeck Offline After Apparent Bug Opens Up Access To “Hundreds” Of Accounts [Back Now]
Twitter has taken its Tweetdeck app offline after an apparent bug has possibly given some Tweetdeck users access to others’ accounts.
A Tweetdeck user in Sydney, Australia, Geoff Evanson, says he discovered today he was somehow able to access hundreds of other accounts through Tweetdeck. Twitter quickly responded to the situation by shutting off access to Tweetdeck entirely, claiming the need to “look into an issue.”
Happy Friday, everyone. We’re wrapping up the month just around the corner, and the last business day of March proved to be chock full of news. And it isn’t all good news – Global Payments hacked, 50000 cardholders at risk. On a lighter note, though, the Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone is now available for
First time accepted submitter constpointertoconst writes “If you use Google Maps to calculate directions, you may now notice (if your route is covered by their traffic data) an “in current traffic” travel estimate for current route. Some may recall that Google Maps had a similar estimate in the past, but it was removed last year due to poor accuracy.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Scientists at the UK’s Newcastle University and the National Science Foundation in the United States are working on a new kind of robot. Not the kind that will wake you up and present you with the paper and a cup of coffee in the morning, but one that could literally swim around inside your body
A bizarre creature that washed ashore last week in Folly Beach, S.C., sparked speculation in the area and on the Internet that a dead sea monster might have been discovered.
Editor’s note: James Altucher is an investor, programmer, author, and entrepreneur. He is Managing Director of Formula Capital and has written 6 books on investing. His latest books are I Was Blind But Now I See and FAQ ME. You can follow him on Twitter @jaltucher. Ken Lang could perform miracles. In 1990 we would head off to a bar near where we were going to graduate school for computer science, and we would bring a Go board. Then we would drink and play Go for five hours. At the end of the five hours, after a grueling battle over the board, I remember this one time when magically Ken would show up with two girls who were actually willing to sit down and hang out with two guys who had a GO BOARD in front of them. How did Ken do that? Fast forward: 1991, CMU asks me to leave graduate school, citing lack of maturity. The professor who threw me out still occasionally calls me up asking me when I’m going to be mature enough. Fast forward: 1994, one of our classmates, Michael Mauldin is working on a database that automatically sorts by category pages his spider retrieves on the Internet. The name of his computer: lycos.cs.cmu.edu. Lycos eventually spins out of CMU, becomes the biggest seach engine, and goes public with a multi-billlion dollar valuation. Fast forward: Ken Lang starts a company called WiseWire. I was incredibly skeptical. I read through what the company is about. “No way,” I think to myself, “that this is going to make any money”. 1998: Ken files a patent that classified how search results and ad results are sorted based on the number of click-thrus an ad gets. He sells the company to Lycos for $ 40 million. Ken Lang becomes CTO of Lycos and they take over his patents.
Nintendo has announced that it will partner with development company Green Hills Software to create and implement a development solution for its coming Wii U game console. The company will provide its MULTI integrated development environment to help third parties more easily and efficiently write code for the impending system. It will hopefully help third-party
Care to take a walk down memory lane by way of the information superhighway? Good, because 21st century digital natives and Luddites alike could stand to benefit from some virtual navel-gazing. In what’s essentially a ‘look at how far we’ve come’ exhibit, My Life Scoop, Intel’s “connected lifestyle” site, has a collection of the more notable experiments that’ve sprung from our surprising interactions with the internet. Starting from the dial-up days of the mid-90′s and working up to the near present, curious users can peep the wacky ways we’ve used the web as a tool, ranging from a remote community gardening project (The Telegarden) to a stock index that auto-adjusts dress hemlines (Stock Market Skirt) to an interactive, Arcade Fire-soundtracked film made to showcase Google Chrome (The Wilderness Downtown). But don’t let us just tell you about these visual delights. Strap on those culture hats and meander through the finer artistic points of our shared online evolution at the source below.
Analysts are divided on the value of a reported plan by Google to sell its Android tablets in an online store, saying such a store wouldn’t help Google cut significantly into the 65% tablet market share that Apple’s iPad holds.
Worried that Facebook’s new Timeline feature is going to offer up too much information? Don’t worry, whatever roller coaster ride your relationship status updates might be, you’ve got nothing on Spotify. The music streamer is offering up 1,000-odd years of music history on its Facebook page, reaching back to 1,000AD, which was apparently a big year for organum lovers.
Japanese RPG fans, rejoice. NIS America, known for its niche role-playing games, has announced a trio of new games heading for the North American market. Two of them are slated to launch in the US later this year, while the third is currently set for the first quarter of 2013. NIS is one of the
This year was supposed to be the year of the Ultrabook. It was supposed to be the year where svelte notebooks became standard. It was supposed to be the year that Intel’s latest ultra-mobile platform gave Windows PC makers something to celebrate.
But that’s not happening. At least not yet. And that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
According to the company, it actually made $ 14.3 million less in revenue during the fourth quarter of 2011 than it previously reported — $ 492.2 million, compared to the previously stated $ 506.5 million. It also spent more in operating expenses than it previously said it did — resulting in its Q4 operating income and net income being $ 30 million and $ 22.6 million less, respectively, than the company initially said it was.
New submitter loosescrews writes “Online file locker Rapidshare is legal in Germany, but has to adjust its policy regarding infringing content, the Higher Regional Court in Hamburg has ruled. Rapidshare plans to appeal. Rapidshare was sued by the German copyright organization Gema which represents 64.000 copyright holders. After reading the verdict, both parties claim they are victorious.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Good news for American Spotify users who do not want to pay for their music — the streaming service will continue to let them listen to anything they want, without restrictions, for a while longer.
More than a billion stars blaze bright in a new photo of our Milky Way galaxy snapped by an international team of astronomers.
Two U.S. agencies seized 270 websites in 2011 for alleged copyright infringement, but just 22 of those sites were targeted for digital piracy, with the rest allegedly selling counterfeit products, according to the annual report from the government's intellectual-property enforcement coordinator.