2013 March

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Facebook’s Android Homescreen Could Expose Apple’s Inflexibility (Original)

Game Of Phones Sigils

The mainstream has had little reason to care that Android gives developers much more customization freedom than iOS. But if Facebook’s fabled Android homescreen is a hit, the stubbornness of Apple’s closed mobile platform could be framed as a drawback after years of its cohesive design and ease being seen as assets.

Cheapness and handset/carrier choice are two of the biggest factors convincing people to pick up Android phones today. There’s its premier integration of Google’s app suite and the “rebel without an iPhone” attitude too. But Android’s flexibility for app developers has been more of a selling point for geeks and early adopters than for the average Joe.

Meanwhile, the straight forward “it just works” aspect of iOS that leans on its rigidity has made it a popular introduction to smartphones for hundreds of millions of people. There just hasn’t been a killer brand name app to grab the mainstream’s attention that depends on Android’s cooperative architecture and that iOS won’t support. No one has forced the issue of open vs closed on the common man.

But six years after the iPhone’s debut, the average mobile consumer has matured. They crave more personalization through homescreen widgets and custom launchers. They want to make their phone truly theirs.…

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WTF, Internet? Facebook thinks it knows me … and it’s so, so wrong (Original)

WTF, Internet? This week's Web indiscretion comes courtesy of Facebook's horrible, terrible, no good targeted ads - most of which seem created to guilt you for your non-adulthood. After nearly 10 years, Facebook ... I thought you'd know me better than this.…

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Google Glass Early Adopters Want To Build Learning, Healthcare, Accessibility & Safety Apps (Original)

Glass winners

Wondering who has won a Google Glass? Stanford PhD student Andrej Karpathy has used Twitter’s API to compile a partial list of the so far close to 4,000 winners of Google’s Glass Explorers first adopter competition who applied to buy the high tech specs via Twitter. Google still hasn’t confirmed that the last Glass winners have been named yet so there may yet be a few more invites to go out. Update: Karpathy’s list has now been updated to 4238 people, so Glass invites are still going out today.

Big G has been busy this past week sending out notifications to winners of its #ifihadglass purchase campaign (and even rescinding a few that failed to live up to its T&Cs). Winners don’t actually win a free pair of Glass. Rather they get a VIP pass to spend $1,500 to be among the first group of folks to own a pair of the Glass Explorer Edition of Google’s high tech specs. So it’s a high stakes, high visibility marketing competition as Google seeks to both evangelise, humanise and normalise a technology that’s new, different and impossible to ignore — being as it sits right on the face.

Successful applicants on the Twitter list (whose Twitter descriptions are shown above in Word Cloud form) include famous names such as former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who pledged “#ifihadglass i would take it on tours of zoos and museums to share the animals and fossils”, and — at the polar opposite end of the celebrity spectrum — electronica singer songwriter Imogen Heap who wants to ”hook them up w/my gloves to help me navigate music making in 3D”.…

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PayTango lets you pay for stuff using your fingerprints (Original)

Potentially eliminating the need to carry around any type of credit or debit card, PayTango uses biometrics to help customers checkout at the register quicker using just their fingerprints.…

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Skype for Windows 8 gains contact blocking and performance improvements (Original)

Skype for Windows 8 gains contact blocking and performances improvements

Those of you using Skype in Windows 8 will be happy to know that Microsoft's just bumped the app to version 1.6. It's been a few months since the last update, and this revision brings more features to the table, including contact blocking and a slew of performance tweaks. You're now able to block users, with an option to remove or report the offending party. Speed and reliability have been improved, especially when loading contacts, and a number of bugs have been fixed, including one where the outgoing video was not always displayed after switching cameras. The update's available in Windows Store, so what are you waiting for?

Filed under: Microsoft

Comments

Source: Skype Blogs

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What we learned at GDC 2013: Consoles and PCs merge, but mobile and free-to-play are king (Original)

The PC wins the console wars, as the Playstation 4 and Xbox next adopt PC-like architectures with their x86 CPUs and integrated Radeon GPUs. But the real wave of the future is in free-to-play mobile and tablet games.…

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Rostelecom reports pay TV increase (Original)

Russian state-backed telecom operator Rostelecom reported a 12% year-on-year increase in pay TV subscribers to 6.6 million, it announced.  Detailing its Q4 and full-year 2012 earnings,… Read more

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Xbox SmartGlass to be updated in time for Game of Thrones premiere (Original)

Smartglass Game of thrones
We’re only days away from returning to the war-ravaged lands of Westeros, and what we need is a good second screen experience. As long as you’re not planning on watching the show live,……

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Big Data Could Cripple Facebook (Original)

kredstreet

So there’s this startup called SmogFarm, which does big-data sentiment analysis, “pulse of the planet” stuff. I spotted them last year, and now they’ve got an actual product with an actual business model up and running in private beta: KredStreet, “The Social Stock Trader Rankings,” which performs sentiment analysis on StockTwits data and a sampling of the Twitter firehose to determine traders’ overall bullish/bearish feeling. They also compare reality against past sentiment to score and rank traders based on their accuracy, which is more interesting.

It’s a first iteration, but it looks pretty nifty, and I like the idea of a ranking system wherein unknowns can leave high-profile loudmouths in their dust by virtue of simply being right more often. Even if I feel slightly uneasy when I imagine such a system being applied to, say, tech bloggers. Actually being held accountable for what I’ve written in the past? Doesn’t that just seem terribly wrong?

And of course it’s early days yet for companies like SmogFarm/KredStreet, and sentiment analysis, and natural language processing (such as that which powered Summly), and Palantir-style data mining. Just imagine what they’ll be able to do in five years. And when they turn all that big-iron, big-data searchlight power on, say, Facebook timelines — what won’t they be able to determine?…

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Foursquare’s API Is A Pillar Of The Mobile App Ecosystem (Original)

api branches

Editor’s note: Jonathan Barouch is the founder and CEO of location-based startup Roamz, developer of social media business product Local Measure. Follow him on Twitter @jbarouch

Foursquare has become entrenched in the fabric of the local web, providing an API that delivers common good for developers. Any destabilization in Foursquare or its developer tools would fundamentally affect the stability of the mobile web.

Now I’m not suggesting that they are so important to the U.S. economy that Ben Bernanke and the Fed should step in to participate in Foursquare’s rumored Series D. However, I do think that Keith Rabois’ comment about Foursquare having a small user base firmly misses the point. Even among all the lovers and haters duking it out on Twitter, no one stopped to consider what the sheer size of Foursquare’s developer base means for the industry.

Dennis Crowley said at the Mobile World Congress that 40,000 developers use Foursquare location data via their API. Let’s examine the effect on Google, Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Foodspotting and many other apps if Foursquare and its API were to no longer exist.

The App Ecosystem

Pick up your smartphone. Search through some of your favorite apps.…

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