Start up: Dropbox dumps Mailbox, what mobile adblocking?, life after viral fame, and more


Ridge Racer: maybe blame it for all that waiting around for games to load. Photo by Peter π on Flickr.

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A selection of 10 links for you. They really are. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

Dropbox is shutting down its Mailbox and Carousel apps » The Verge

Chris Welch:

Dropbox is doing away with Mailbox, the email app it acquired in March 2013, and Carousel, the company’s attempt at a standalone photo management app. The company says that it’s making this decision now to focus more directly on the primary Dropbox app and the collaborative features it’s known for. “The Carousel and Mailbox teams have built products that are loved by many people and their work will continue to have an impact,” wrote Dropbox’s founder/CEO Drew Houston and CTO Arash Ferdowsi in a blog post. “We’ll be taking key features from Carousel back to the place where your photos live — in the Dropbox app. We’ll also be using what we’ve learned from Mailbox to build new ways to communicate and collaborate on Dropbox.”

The Verge’s usual incisive reporting which simply repeats available facts, and doesn’t try to widen the discussion, or bring in expert views, or put it into context. So I’ll try: Mailbox shutting suggests it’s either a bust (not enough users), or a money-loser – same thing, really, and Dropbox needs to focus on how it is going to stop just being a feature that any OS offers for free (Google Drive, OneDrive, iCloud Drive) because if that’s the case, it hasn’t got a business in the long term.
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The ‘Loading Screen Game Patent’ finally expires » Electronic Frontier Foundation

Elliot Harmon:

The first Sony PlayStation was introduced in 1994. Its graphical capabilities blew predecessors like the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo out of the water, but it had one big disadvantage. It replaced the game cartridges of the previous generation with CD-ROMs. When you booted up a PlayStation game, you had to wait for the console to load game data from the disc into its own memory. And that. Took. For. Ever. Watching a loading screen was boring, especially when you were used to the instant gratification of cartridge games.

Namco’s Ridge Racer addressed the problem by including a second game, the 80s classic Galaxian. It took no time at all for a PlayStation to load Galaxian. Suddenly, the player wasn’t thinking about how boring it was to wait for a game to load; she could have fun playing Galaxian while the console took its time loading Ridge Racer. If she beat Galaxian before Ridge Racer was done loading, she’d be rewarded in Ridge Racer with access to some in-game bonuses.

What’s the big deal? Namco thought of loading screen games first, so they earned the patent, right? Well, let’s look at how U.S. law defines a patentable invention.

According to the law, a person isn’t entitled to a patent if the claimed invention already existed when the application was filed or would have been obvious to someone skilled in the relevant technology area. The idea of playing a small game while the larger one loads has been around for a very long time. In 1987, many years before Namco filed its patent application, Richard Aplin created Invade-a-Load, a utility for developers who wrote games for the Commodore 64 computer.

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X marks the spot that makes online ads so maddening » The New York Times

Sydney Ember:

Annoying ads have become problematic for Anthony Martin, a 32-year-old consultant for a project management firm who sat in Bryant Park on a recent Monday afternoon, iPhone 6 in hand. He had moved to New York not long ago, he said, and was using a smartphone app to determine the best subway routes. But as soon as the app loads, ads take over his screen — first a banner ad on the bottom, then a full-screen ad. No amount of desperate jabbing does the trick.

“Sometimes I miss a stop,” he said. “Especially with fat fingers.”

Industry executives say it is quite likely that publishers and mobile developers are deliberately building ads that are hard to escape or shut down.

“The ones that are incredibly invasive are designed to be that way,” said Brian Gleason, the global chief executive of Xaxis, a media and technology company owned by the advertising giant WPP.

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The mobile adblocking apocalypse hasn’t arrived (at least not yet) » Nieman Journalism Lab

Madeline Welsh, Joseph Lichterman and Shan Wang:

Even sites with unusually high desktop blocking rates — think German sites, or technology sites — aren’t seeing huge numbers on mobile. About a quarter of all Internet users in Germany use an adblocker, but the percentage is even higher for some sites like Golem, a German-language tech site that’s seen an outright majority of its users blocking.

“As far as I can remember, it’s always been an issue for us,” said the site’s editor-in-chief, Benjamin Sterbenz. “As soon as adblock software was available, our readers installed the software and experimented with it. I’m sure that a lot of our readers also contributed to the development of adblocking software.”

But compared to adblocking on desktop, Golem readers using adblocking technology on mobile is in the single digits. Though it saw a little bump in September with the release of iOS 9, it’s otherwise remained constant, which Sterbenz said surprised him.

At Ars Technica, the Condè Nast-owned tech site, about 6% of mobile users block ads, “which is just a bit higher than what it was previously,” Ken Fisher, the site’s founder and editor-in-chief said in an email. On desktop, about 30% of users block ads, he said.

Odd, in light of the preceding.
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Virtual reality studio Baobab raises 6 million to be Pixar of VR – Business Insider

Jillian D’Onfro:

After leaving Zynga, [CEO of startup Baobab, Maureen] Fan spent the next year using her free time to learn as much as possible about virtual reality. She finally left her job in March to cofound Baobab Studios with Eric Darnell, who directed DreamWorks movies “Antz” and the “Madagascar” franchise.  

With big ambitions, the duo started attracting top talent from the likes of Lucasfilm, Pixar, and Twitch. The team’s combo of hardcore technologists working with top-tier storytellers convinced investors to put $6 million behind the studio’s cause last week. The Series A round came in part from million from HTC and Samsung Ventures, both of which have their own virtual reality devices, the Vive and Gear VR. 

Fan tells Business Insider that the studio plans to release its first short films made specifically for virtual reality early next year.

“We’re inventing a new cinematic language,” she says. For example, she explains, in VR you can’t cut-away from the action — the whole story has to flow together without switching perspectives — and need to find ways to guide the viewer to look where you want them to, since it will be possible to look around at a whole virtual world. 

VR is going to get really interesting in the next couple of years, and the content producers v content platforms issue is going to be highlighted again.
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Tencent blocks Uber on WeChat, so what ‘fair play’ can we expect in China? » South China Morning Post

George Chen:

Global car-hailing app Uber and its local rival in China, Didi Kuaidi, are de facto in a business war, after Tencent, a key investor of Didi, decided to remove Uber from one of the most powerful online marketing platforms in the world’s No 1 internet market.

What’s the key takeaway of the story here for other foreign businesses if they are considering doing or expanding business in China? It’s getting more difficult to make money in China, especially when you have to compete with local monopoly players.

The news that all Uber’s WeChat accounts had been removed by Tencent, the parent and owner of WeChat, China’s most popular real-time messaging app, where many businesses have set up accounts to promote products and services and engage with customers, shocked the technology world over the weekend. Tencent said it blocked Uber on WeChat, affecting Uber’s online services in at least 16 Chinese cities, because of “malicious marketing”, something Uber denied.

The power of the default messaging platform.
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10 viral sensations on life after internet fame » NY Mag

Clint Rainey:

Internet fame comes on like an earthquake, with little warning. In a matter of hours, a video can go viral and be viewed 50 million times. Then it (usually) recedes into a very long, thin afterlife. Here, nine YouTube sensations whose lives were upended briefly in the past decade (plus one from the prehistoric web era, before YouTube made its debut in 2005) speak about this odd, relatively new kind of fame. Most embraced the experience, seeing where it would take them. Some ended up in dark places. A couple have made it their living and found themselves with new careers. Others stepped away, opting out of the flame wars. Pay attention: Someday, the accidental celebrity could be you.

Terrific idea, and choices; the child from “Charlie bit my finger” may be the most predictable yet peculiar of all.
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Microsoft will not fix power management issues with new Surface devices until next year » Thurrott.com

Paul Thurrott is mad as hell and he’s.. well, he has to take it:

As I’ve said on the podcasts several times now, and wrote in the review excerpt below, Surface Book (and apparently Surface Pro 4) just don’t go to sleep properly.

Well, here’s the really bad news. Microsoft won’t fix this problem … until sometime next year.

“The ‘standby’ battery life is an issue we are working on and have been working on,” a Microsoft Surface Engineering Team program manager identified only as “Joe” explains in the company’s support forums. “We can put the processor into a deeper sleep state than it is currently set to. We couldn’t do it at RTM for a variety of reasons, power management is a very hard computer science problem to solve especially with new silicon. Currently it is not in the deepest ‘sleep’ that it can be so there are wake events that would not otherwise wake it. We will have an update for this issue sometime soon in the new year.”

I don’t mean to rip on an individual, as I usually save my ire for faceless corporations, but … “a very hard computer science problem to solve”? Seriously?

My advice to Microsoft is to not ship products for which you have not yet fixed “a very hard computer science problem.”

There is a workaround, though, involving making it always Hibernate rather than Sleep. Not ideal though. (Thanks @Avro105 for the link.)
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New software watches for licence plates, turning you into Little Brother » Ars Technica

Cyrus Farivar on open-source tech for automatic licence plate reading (ALPR) – known in the UK as ANPR (N for numberplate):

For the last six months, the two-man team behind OpenALPR has built this software and given it away for free, largely as a way to draw attention to their other paid services: a cloud-based $50 per camera per month solution that includes “high-speed processing” and “priority tech support.” The company also offers a $1,000 per camera per month “on-premises” version that integrates with an existing (usually government) network that has qualms about outsourcing data storage.

OpenALPR notes its software “will work with any camera that supports MJPEG streams. This includes visible-light and infrared cameras. The camera and optics should be configured such that the license plates are clearly legible in the video stream.”

Matt Hill, OpenALPR’s founder, told Ars that this is a good way to level the playing field and mitigate the need for long-term retention.

“I’m a big privacy advocate as well — now you’ve got LPR just in the hands of the government, which isn’t a good thing. This brings costs down,” he said.

On the government side, there have been incidents where police-owned LPR misread and led to dangerous confrontations. Some cities have mounted such cameras at their city borders, monitoring who comes in and out (case in point: the wealthy city of Piedmont, California, which is totally surrounded by Oakland). And again, the data associated with LPRs (plate, date, time, location) is often retained for months or years.

This feels a little like the total constant surveillance of Dave Eggers’s “The Circle”.
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HP exits low-cost tablet market in product shakeup » PCWorld

Agam Shah:

If you’re looking for a low-priced tablet from HP, you soon will not be able to find one.

HP is exiting the low-end tablet market amid declining prices and slowing demand. Instead, the company will focus on detachables, hybrids and business tablets at the higher end of the market.

“We are going to focus where there is profitability and growth and will not chase the low-end tablet market. We are focusing on business mobility to deliver tablets built for field service, education, retail and healthcare,” said Ron Coughlin, president for personal systems at HP.

HP has already stopped listing many low-end Android tablets on its website. The remaining lower-end products — the US$99 HP 7 G2 tablet and $149 HP 8 G2 tablet — have been out of stock for months, and it’s likely they won’t be available again. They are however still available through some online retailers at cut-rate prices.

The least expensive tablet on HP’s site is now the $329.99 HP Envy 8 Note tablet with Windows 10. HP has Windows on most tablets now, with only a handful running Android.

Wonder if this will become a trend. Obviously it will for enterprise sales – but might it also be the way to lure back disaffected Windows PC customers?
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Errata, corrigenda and ai no corrida:

Start up: can machines do fact-checking?, HP’s split, HTC gets evasive, adblocking starts to hurt, and more


“The words are too wordy, and the sentences too sentient.” Review photo by Andrew Mason on Flickr.

You can now sign up to receive each day’s Start Up post by email. You’ll need to click a confirmation link, so no spam.

A selection of 9 links for you. And look, it’s November already. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

In search of fact checking’s ‘Holy Grail’: News outlets might not get there alone » Medium

Craig Silverman:

The authors [of a scientific paper published at Columbia University] write that ClaimBuster represents one piece of what could eventually be a fully automated fact-checking system. They call this the “Holy Grail” of fact-checking, while also acknowledging that an automated system is a complex an far-off goal.

“A fully automated fact-checker calls for fundamental breakthroughs in multiple fronts and, eventually, it represents a form of Artificial Intelligence (AI),” they write in the paper.

Along with being able to automatically identify checkable claims in real-time, the “Holy Grail” system would need to be able to compare the claims to a database of accurate and up-to-date checked facts that is comprehensive enough to check a wide range of claims. In a perfect scenario, the claim and the corresponding checked fact would be compared and the system would render an accurate verdict within a few seconds of the statement being made.

We may never get there. But ClaimBuster on its own could prove useful for verification and debunking.

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Amazon reviews hijacked by causes, conspiracies, rage » The Seattle Times

Jay Greene:

Reviewers have long used Amazon as a platform to vent about products that failed to live up to their expectations. Some have even used it to attack authors whose views differ from their own.

Increasingly, though, people are launching coordinated campaigns to push political and social agendas through negative reviews often only tangentially related to the product for sale. They are able to do so because Amazon welcomes reviews regardless of whether the writer has actually purchased the product.

[The author of a book about Sandy Hook, Scarlett] Lewis isn’t the only target of the Sandy Hook tragedy deniers. “We want to hit this woman as hard as we can,” says a narrator in a YouTube video as he walks viewers through posting 1-star ratings and negative reviews for “Choosing Hope: Moving Forward from Life’s Darkest Hours,” by Sandy Hook Elementary first-grade teacher Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis. The video, posted by “Peekay22,” even guides viewers to click a “Yes” button indicating they found other negative reviews helpful.

Since Peekay22’s video posted on Oct. 16, “Choosing Hope” has received more than 170 1-star reviews out of just over 250 total reviews. That’s tanked the book’s rating down to 2.1 stars out of 5.

“Amazon is giving these people a forum … ,” Lewis said. “Obviously, Amazon should remove (the reviews).”

But Amazon appears to have no intent of doing so. To the company, as long as the reviews are “authentic,” they have a place on its website.

“All authentic reviews, whether the reviewer bought the product on Amazon or not, are valuable to customers, helping them make informed buying decisions every day,” Amazon spokesman Tom Cook wrote in reply to questions about its review policy.

What about “whether they bought the product or not”?
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Too much of a bad thing » Jay Pinho

Pinho asks why the NY Times is going to have people dedicated to doing rapid rewrites of already-viral stories, and then looks more broadly at what’s happening to journalism:

Very few, if any, sites have managed to support a substantial journalistic operation via digital ad revenues alone. This leaves us with two distinct models: large, legacy organizations with complementary revenue sources (subscriptions for newspapers or TV advertising for major news channels) on the one hand, and aggregators relying purely on online ad revenue on the other. (There are also niche sites produced as works of love, business models be damned.)

Both adblocking and the possibility of an eventual contraction of available VC money threaten to severely damage the latter business model. They certainly won’t damage advertisers, at least not significantly: they’re going to find a way to spend their budgets one way or another. But, and this should be clear by this point, they also won’t necessarily damage journalism. At the Times, for example, the CEO and executive editor are clearly focusing on building out subscribers, not simply inflating their page views…

…High-quality content producers, in other words, are reasonably confident that they can continue to extract monetary value from their readers even if and when the advertising landscape shifts dramatically. If, however, you’re a ViralNova, EliteDaily, Upworthy, Huffington Post, or another outfit with similarly vanishing per-article revenues, you’ve got to be worried. And you should be, because much of your content is terrible.

But that doesn’t mean any of us should be overly concerned if some of these businesses begin to go under. If anything, the eventual constriction of ad inventory supply could help return CPMs to financially sustainable levels.

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The devastating effect of adblockers for Guru3D.com » Guru3D.com

Hilbert Hagedoorn:

last year in (October 2014) we had nearly 4.5m hits (read) on our articles. This year (October 2015) we are at 4.4m hits,  while the month has not ended yet. So in terms of traffic things remain the same.

There is however a huge discrepancy in Google analytics / DFP. Where a year ago we served 375~400K pageviews per day, we now register just over 200K pageviews a day. That’s right, nearly 50% of the readers are blocking ads.

After some further investigation, the direct effect of the ongoing trend of adblockers is resulting into halving our revenues / registered pageviews.  Over the past year we have seen our income literally halfed as a direct result of active adblocking. Everybody can understand that long term this is not sustainable anymore, right now adblockers are a true danger for our existence.

There are 28 pages of comments. Some are really not happy with how links were turned into pop-up overlay ads if they don’t adblock. Tragedy of the commons, again. But the donations seem to have rolled in.
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Meg Whitman seeks reinvention for HP as it prepares for split » The New York Times

Quentin Hardy on the split, that by the time you read this will have happened:

Ms. Whitman, who will run HPE, made certain throughout the transition that her company would most assuredly still be able to ship computers.

“We have to ship products, we have to send invoices, we have to collect money,” she said. “HP sells two PCs a second. A server every six seconds. We had to keep selling them.”

The change cannot come fast enough for HP, whose stock is off more than 30 percent since the start of the year. The question is whether Wall Street believes the two companies will benefit from the separation.

“Anytime you make a change, you make a claim,” said Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein. “They say, ‘We’re on the front edge, everyone will have to catch up to us.’ But both new companies aren’t that wildly different. They’re both growth-challenged.”

HP, the printers-and-PCs company, is very definitely “growth-challenged”. Both markets it operates in are struggling.
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HTC to see revenues grow 20-30% sequentially in 4Q15, say sources » Digitimes

Ma Wang and Steve Shen:

HTC is expected to see its revenues grow 20-30% sequentially to NT$25-28bn in the fourth quarter of 2015, buoyed by the launch of new models including the HTC One A9, HTC Butterfly 3 and HTC Desire 729 dual-SIM, according to an estimate of industry sources.

Despite increased sales in the fourth quarter, analysts are still conservative about HTC’s earning prospects and expect its earnings for the quarter to stay flat or increase marginally from the previous quarter. HTC posted a net loss of NT$4.48bn or NT$5.41 per share in the third quarter.

Hilariously, HTC refused to give guidance for this quarter at its earnings call. Equally hilariously, Taiwan-based Digitimes never points out the uncomfortable reality about Taiwan-based HTC: even a 30% sequential rise in quarterly revenues would equate to a fall of more than 40% year-on-year, and likely another hefty loss.
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More Apple Car thoughts: software culture » Monday Note

Jean-Louis Gassée:

what we’ve grown to accept in our personal computers [in the form of software crashes and bugs] can’t be allowed in a vehicle carrying human beings at 60 miles per hour.

Just because the software running inside Apple’s personal computing devices is considered high quality doesn’t mean that the culture that produces it is capable of producing the high-reliability, real-time embedded software needed for an electric car.

I am one of the many who believe culture always wins. Culture eats strategy for breakfast, it causes mergers and acquisitions to fail and, above all, it resists virile executive calls to change. Culture evolves slowly, as if having its own independent will, or not at all.

The bottom line is this: For the hypothetical Apple Car project to succeed, a necessary (but not sufficient) condition is a culture change of a kind rarely, if ever, achieved by large organizations.
Perhaps the new software culture could arise in a new, separate group, well protected against the corporate lymphocytes always prone to attack what they see foreign objects. But that would break Apple in two separate cultures, and be the beginning of a dangerous process for a company that, today, strives on having a united functional organization.

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Self-driving cars have a high crash rate, but it’s all humanity’s fault » Popular Mechanics

Jay Bennett:

New research from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute indicates that self-driving cars are more frequently involved in accidents than conventional vehicles. For every million miles driven, autonomous cars had an average of 9.1 crashes, compared to 4.1 for conventional vehicles according to data for Google, Delphi, and Audi autonomous vehicles between 2012 and 2015 and the total accident rate of conventional human-piloted vehicles in 2013.​

However, this data amounts to 11 total crashes for self-driving cars. All of these involved Google vehicles (which have been undergoing testing for much longer) but most importantly, the self-driving cars were not at fault in any of the accidents.

I expect this to continue to be the case: human drivers are going to be worse in all but the most extreme, remarkable cases.
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33 of the hardest Apple interview questions » Business Insider

Maya Kosoff:

Like Google and other big tech companies, Apple asks both technical questions based on your past work experience and some mind-boggling puzzles.

We combed through recent posts on Glassdoor to find some of the toughest interview questions candidates have been asked.

Some require solving tricky math problems, while others are simple but vague enough to keep you on your toes.

Great way to find out if you’re actually awake this Monday.
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Start up: Surface Book v MacBook Pro, Microsoft’s cloud boost, HP’s cloudburst, BlackBerry’s last stand?, and more


Facebook has noticed that your battery is dying and thinks it might be its fault. Photo by Poster Boy NYC on Flickr.

You can now sign up to receive each day’s Start Up post by email. You’ll need to click a confirmation link, so no spam.

A selection of 8 links for you. Use them wisely. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

Surface Book vs. MacBook Pro: It isn’t twice as fast. It’s three times as fast » PCWorld

Gordon Mah Ung:

Rather than rely on a synthetic game benchmark, I also decided to throw a real game at it. Square Enix’s Tomb Raider is available on Steam on both platforms. It’s a fairly recent game and came out for PC and consoles in 2013. Feral Interactive ported the game to OSX the same year.

One caveat here: As a port there’s clearly a lot of things that could be different between the PC version and the Mac version. For my test, I ran it at 1400×900, which was the default resolution on the Mac, and selected the “Normal” quality setting on both. I also poked around the game’s graphics settings to see if there was any variance between them that got lost in translation.

The result is a bone-crushing blow for the MacBook Pro 13: Tomb Raider ran at a pathetic sub-24 fps, while the Surface Book whizzes along at 74 fps.

If Microsoft based its marketing statements on this test alone, it could have safely said “triple the performance of a MacBook Pro.”

To be fair, if you’ve read this far, you know the Surface Book isn’t  twice as fast or three times as fast as the MacBook Pro 13 in all things.

Benchmarks – especially skewed ones like this (is the game optimised for Windows? Bet it is) – really bore me. They capture nothing of the general experience of using a device. But hey, there’s the headline that will be used.
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Facebook app: we recently heard reports of some people… » Ari Grant on Facebook

Grant is a Facebook developer:

We recently heard reports of some people experiencing battery issues with the Facebook iOS app and have been looking into the causes of these problems. We found a few key issues and have identified additional improvements, some of which are in the version of the app that was released today.

The first issue we found was a “CPU spin” in our network code. A CPU spin is like a child in a car asking, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”with the question not resulting in any progress to reaching the destination. This repeated processing causes our app to use more battery than intended. The version released today has some improvements that should start making this better.

The second issue is with how we manage audio sessions. If you leave the Facebook app after watching a video, the audio session sometimes stays open as if the app was playing audio silently. This is similar to when you close a music app and want to keep listening to the music while you do other things, except in this case it was unintentional and nothing kept playing.

Still ain’t going to reinstall. Note that it’s not *all* of the identified improvements in the new app.
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Microsoft quarterly revenue beats as cloud demand rises » Reuters

The company said Office 365, another key cloud-based offering, had about 18.2m consumer subscribers at the end of its first quarter, an increase of about 3m from the end of the preceding quarter.

Microsoft launched Windows 10, its first new operating system in almost three years, in July. The system, seen as critical for the company, won positive reviews for its user-friendly and feature-packed interface.

The company launched a number of new devices earlier this month, including its first ever laptop and a new Surface Pro tablet, all running on Windows 10.

Revenue in the company’s “More Personal Computing” business, which includes the Windows operating system, fell 17% to $9.4bn.

Excluding the impact of the strong dollar, revenue in the business fell 13%.

Sharp observation by Stefan Constantine: there are more people paying for Spotify than for Office 365. That’s likely to be reversed in a couple of quarters, though.

Phone revenue dropped 54%.
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HP shutting down HP Helion public cloud » Business Insider

Matt Weiberger:

Cloud computing is a hot market, letting customers swipe a credit card and get access to essentially unlimited supercomputing power. Developers at startups and large enterpries alike love it because it gives them the ability to get really big, really quickly. 

But while Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have all found great success in the public cloud market, simply buying and maintaining all the servers required to get up to the massive economies of scale necessary to compete in this kind of low-margin business is really hard.

That’s something HP has found out the hard way, with the HP Helion public cloud [which will be shut down from January] constantly coming under fire for being too small and too unfocused on the market to seriously make a dent. 

And so, HP is going to shut down the HP Helion public cloud to stick with what its good at: Helping customers run their own data centers with hardware, software, and services to run at cloud levels of efficiency.

HP’s blogpost announcing this move is a masterful piece of corporate doublespeak: it makes it sound as though everything’s going so well they just have to shut down the public cloud offering.
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Force Touch patent: will pressure input be possible in Samsung’s Galaxy S7? » BusinessKorea

Marie Kim:

Samsung Electro-Mechanics filed a patent application with the Korea Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) for Force Touch, which is virtually the same as 3D Touch used in the iPhone 6S. This technology offers different types of functions based on the strength of a push on the screen.

According to the patent information retrieval system of KIPO on Oct. 20, Samsung Electro-Mechanics filed a patent named “touch input equipment and electronics device with touch input” with KIPO on April 9, 2014. Considering that the Korean company supplies core components for Samsung Electronics’ smartphones, the patent is likely to be used in the Galaxy S7.

Would be surprised if it wasn’t. But Samsung’s problem is that pretty much every third-party developer will ignore it; it will have to wait for Google to implement it in Android. Will Apple trouble to sue, though? (At a guess, not.)
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The dominance of Alphabet » Global Web Index

Felim McGrath:

With Alphabet set to post healthy financial results later today and  hot on the heels of the announcement of YouTube Red, Thursday’s Chart of the Day looks at just how important this company has become.

Among the hundreds of websites tracked by GlobalWebIndex, Alphabet has the two most popular properties among online adults outside of China. Close to 9 in 10 visit Google each month, while 82% visit YouTube. These figures place Alphabet’s sites above Facebook – which three quarters visited last month – and give it a healthy lead over rival search giant Yahoo (half visit this site monthly). 

This vast user base underlines just how central Alphabet remains to internet users’ online activities despite the ongoing shift to mobile.

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Dell may sell assets to pay for EMC deal » Re/code

Arik Hesseldahl from a Q+A with Marius Haas, chief commercial officer of Dell:

Q: It looks like after the close Dell will essentially absorb the EMC federation, but will adapt that structure for its own purposes by making it bigger with pieces like Secureworks, Virtustream and Pivotal. Is that how we should think about it? And if so, how does that complicate or enhance your mission here?

If you dissect what has already been published, you will see there is a strong commitment to de-leveraging or paying down the debt very quickly. There are different angles and different levers we can pull to do that. This is why we have such high confidence in what we’re doing.

Q: That implies that paying down the debt won’t just come by way of cash from operations. Does that mean you might consider selling some assets? Is there anything within Dell that doesn’t stay?

We’re not prepared to talk about that yet, but it’s probably not a bad train of thought.

What’s it going to sell, though? The PC business?
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BlackBerry might have leaked the Priv’s specs and release date (update: confirmed) » Engadget

Daniel Cooper:

we know that the Priv is packing a fair bit of power beneath the hood, but has a listed price of $749. There’s no indication if that figure is for the US or Canada — but the page does reference the (GSM) handset not working on American CDMA networks like Verizon and Sprint. You’ll also spot that the device is marked for release on November 16th, so we won’t have long to find out if all of this is true or not.

Performance-wise, the Priv is packing a 1.8Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 with 3GB RAM, 32GB storage and a microSD card slot that’ll take up to 2TB. Much was made of the Priv’s curved screen, and we know that it’s a 5.4-inch plastic AMOLED with a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution (540 DPI) that can handle styluses and gloves. The physical keyboard measures 37mm high by 77.2mm wide, and there’s a 3,410mAh battery that’s rated for 22.5 hours of use tucked inside.

Price in the UK: £580, against £539 for an iPhone 6S with 16GB and £450 for a Samsung Galaxy S6. At that price, BlackBerry will have positive gross margins on the device (it’s not selling it for less than it costs to make), but so few will sell that you can start the timer now on how soon John Chen announces that the hardware division just isn’t making money because of the costs involved in R+D, distribution, marketing and administration – which feed through to operating profit, or loss. Remember, last financial quarter BB sold 0.8m phones, and made an operating loss on those.
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Start up: flat design problems , ad tech stocks drop, life inside HP, LG’s challenge, and more


Google’s got a new motto. Photo by vizeur_photos on Flickr.

You can sign up to receive each day’s Start Up post by email. You’ll need to click a confirmation link, so no spam.

A selection of 11 links for you. Use them wisely. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

Flat design: its origins, its problems, and why Flat 2.0 is better for users » Nielsen-Norman Group

Kate Meyer:

Google’s Material design language is one example of flat 2.0 with the right priorities: it uses consistent metaphors and principles borrowed from physics to help users make sense of interfaces and interpret visual hierarchies in content.

The Evernote app for Android is a good example of the possible benefits of flat 2.0. Despite having a mostly flat UI, the app provides a few subtle shadows on the navigation bar and the floating plus button (‘add new’). It also makes use of the card metaphor to display content as flat, layer-able planes in a 3D space.

As with any design trend, we advise balance and moderation. Don’t make design decisions that sacrifice usability for trendiness. Don’t forget that—unless you’re designing only for other designers—you are not the user. Your preferences and ability to interpret clickability signifiers aren’t the same as your users’ because you know what each element in your own design is intended to do.

Early pseudo3D GUIs and Steve-Jobs-esque skeuomorphism often produced heavy, clunky interfaces.Scaling back from those excesses is good for usability. But removing visual distinctions to produce fully flat designs with no signifiers can be an equally bad extreme. Flat 2.0 provides an opportunity for compromise—visual simplicity without sacrificing signifiers.

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Ad tech stocks keep falling » WSJ

Jack Marshall notes they’re down by 17%-50%:

Serious questions about the future of ad tech and online advertising are also mounting. Some online publishers say they’re now actively avoiding working with third-party ad tech firms, for example, because they argue the vendors devalue their ad space.

Meanwhile the industry is struggling to come to grips with major challenges such as the growth of ad-blocking technologies, and the ongoing problem of fraudulent or “non-human” Internet traffic.

The latter problem might be the one that really does for ad tech companies.
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Autonomy ex-boss Lynch tells of poisonous life within HP in High Court showdown » The Register

Neil McAllister:

The suit asserts that many parties within HP “viewed Autonomy negatively,” including HP CFO Cathie Lesjak, who had never liked how the merger looked on paper; HP’s then-software boss Bill Veghte, who hadn’t played a role in the acquisition and reportedly felt snubbed; and the bosses of HP’s hardware division, who viewed Apotheker’s software-centric strategy as a threat.

Even where there was no direct animosity at play, other HP divisions were given perverse incentives to undermine Autonomy, Lynch claimed.

“In Autonomy’s case, other HP business units did not receive ‘quota credit’ or commissions for sales of Autonomy products,” the suit reads. “As a result, HP business units were incentivized to market and sell competing third-party products rather than Autonomy software.”

When HP did sell Autonomy to its customers, the suit alleges, it often did so at deep discounts, without Autonomy’s knowledge. In other cases, HP sales teams would jack up Autonomy’s price tag to boost their own bottom line, which had the result of making competing software look like a better bargain.

Similarly, sales of HP hardware to Autonomy didn’t count toward the hardware division’s sales quota. Thus, Lynch’s suit alleges, the hardware group refused to certify Autonomy on its machines. Dealings with the hardware group were so fraught, the suit adds, that even obtaining HP hardware on which to demo Autonomy proved impossible, and the demo machines were ultimately sourced from competitors, such as Oracle.

Read all about it. Seems like quite standard corporate politics, especially in a sales-driven environment like HP.
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Apple’s clever tech makes the iPhone 6s nearly waterproof » WIRED

Brian Barrett:

The phones that have offered this level of water resistance, though, haven’t exactly been chart-toppers. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Active; the Sony Xperia Z3; the HTC Desire Eye; these are phones (or variants) you may have heard of, but their aquaphobia hasn’t demonstrably made them any more desirable. Besides which, the new iPhones aren’t necessarily more water-resistant than others, at least not in any way that’s easily perceivable to consumers; they’re just water-resistant in a more clever way.

Even if it’s largely invisible to its customers, that cleverness could pay off soon for Apple. “Now that you can pay a small monthly fee and get a new iPhone every year, Apple’s going to be getting a lot of iPhones back,” says Suovanen of the company’s new iPhone Upgrade Plan. “In the long run this may help them save money. Because the iPhones are less susceptible to water damage, they’re getting them back in better condition.”

That helps explain, too, Apple opting not to coat the case itself. The same features that make a waterproof case effective make it hell to take apart or repair.

“Nearly waterproof” is a nothing phrase; it’s like “nearly pregnant”. It’s water-resistant to a higher IP rating than previous models. That nothing has been bruited about this seems anomalous.
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Google’s ‘Don’t Be Evil’ becomes Alphabet’s ‘Do the Right Thing’ » WSJ

Alistair Barr:

“Don’t be evil” is so 2004.

Alphabet Inc. posted a new code of conduct for its employees Friday, after Google completed its transformation into a holding company. There were few substantive changes in more than 20 documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission; the Alphabet code of conduct, posted on its website, is among them.

Google’s code of conduct, of course, is best-known for its first line, which was also included in Google’s 2004 filing for its initial public offering: “Don’t be evil.”

Alphabet’s code doesn’t include that phrase. Instead, it says employees of Alphabet and its subsidiaries “should do the right thing – follow the law, act honorably, and treat each other with respect.”

“Don’t be evil” marked Google’s aspiration to be a different company. But the phrase also has been held up by critics who say Google has not always lived up to it.

Google’s code of conduct is much longer than Alphabet’s. It includes idiosyncracies about drinking alcohol at work (OK but not too much) and taking pets to the office (dogs are cool but cats are discouraged).

The Alphabet code sticks to the basics: avoid conflicts of interest, maintain integrity and obey the law.

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Apple patent for iPhone with wraparound screen » Business Insider

Lisa Eadicicco:


The patent, which was published on September 29, is a continuation of various patents Apple has filed in the past. It’s not necessarily a new idea — Apple has been filing similar patent applications since 2013. Regardless, it’s still interesting to speculate that the company may still be experimenting with these types of ideas.

In the document, Apple says that a design like this could change the way we use our iPhones. If the screen of your iPhone were extended, you wouldn’t be limited to interacting with the device’s screen only on the front of the phone.

Apple notes that other aspects of the device found along the side — such as the mute switch, power, and volume buttons — can’t be used with apps since they’re only programmed to perform one task.

Apple’s been doing this since 2013, which implies it thinks it’s a fruitful thing to follow. Notice there’s no home button. (10yo’s opinion: “they haven’t thought this through. People drop their phones and if you have a wraparound one it will break.”)
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FBI: We unmasked and collared child porn creep on Tor with spy tool » The Register

Luis Escobosa, of Staten Island, admitted to Feds he broke federal child pornography laws by viewing depraved photos on a hidden Tor service. Unknown to Escobosa, the Feds were running the hidden server, and were using it to feed him spyware.

The child porn website’s systems were seized in Lenoir, North Carolina, after agents got a court order in February. The Feds continued to keep it in operation for two weeks afterwards to catch perverts using it. The site had nearly 215,000 users.

Because users had to use Tor to access the warped website, the web server’s logs were of little use to investigators – they simply listed the nodes of the anonymizing network. Instead, the FBI deployed a NIT – a “network investigative technique,” or what in the hands of criminals would be termed spyware.

The FBI has been using NITs for over a decade. While the Escobosa indictment doesn’t give details, other court documents have stated that the software was developed by adapting a tool written by white hat hacker HD Moore called the Metasploit Decloaking Engine.

A NIT works like this: a file, typically a Flash file, is hosted by a seized child porn website, and sent to web browsers when perverts visit the hidden service via Tor. This Flash file is run in Adobe’s plugin, and establishes a direct connection to an FBI-controlled server on the public internet without going through Tor.

The Feds can then, in most cases, read off the user’s real public IP address from this connection, unmasking the scumbag.

Hmm – maybe keep Flash just for Tor sites? Wait, this is complicated.
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Apple Pay’s grim reality » PaymentsSource

Daniel Wolfe:

Drilling down to individual financial institutions, there is still little movement among consumers, even at major debit issuers like SunTrust.

“Adoption numbers are pretty small at this point,” said Shannon Johnson, SunTrust’s senior vice president of consumer deposits and payments, in a separate presentation at PayThink. “At SunTrust, about 15% of iPhone 6 owners have provisioned their card and about 25% of those have done [at least one] transaction.”

First Financial Credit Union also presented Apple Pay adoption figures at the event. Of its 65,000 members, 9,000 use mobile banking and 48% of those use an iPhone. Of the iPhone users, just 8% – 345 members – use Apple Pay.

The lack of use stems, in part, from a lack of creativity among Apple partners, Johnson said. For most issuers, Apple Pay abruptly appeared on the scene with little warning but a clear message to get on board.

“Prior to that it was conceptual, the option of mobile wallets; it then became real,” she said. “We’re so early in the stages in terms of understanding the opportunity.”

Low use isn’t surprising, because until last week in the US you could just swipe your card to make a transaction: quicker than Apple Pay. Now, people will have to insert their cards into readers (“dip”) and sign, at least; or dip-and-PIN. This has already led to longer queues, apparently. So Apple Pay might appeal as a quicker way to do things. Being ready to catch markets just as they take off is the key.
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Apple CEO Tim Cook: ‘privacy is a fundamental human right’ » NPR

The full interview is on the page; there are short transcript extracts, including this:

Let me be clear. If you buy something from the App Store, we do know what you bought from the App Store, obviously. We think customers are fine with that. Many customers want us to recommend an app.

But what they don’t want to do, they don’t want your email to be read, and then to pick up on keywords in your email and then to use that information to then market you things on a different application that you’re using. …

If you’re in our News app, and you’re reading something, we don’t think that in the News app that we should know what you did with us on the Music app — not to trade information from app to app to app to app.

That latter part is the real distance between Apple and Google. Question is, which leads to the better customer experience over time?
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Will LG’s V10 flagship be able to shake China’s and India’s smartphone market? » Strategy Analytics

Woody Oh of the analysis company takes an overview of LG’s new phone:

it’s getting clear that LG has put the utmost efforts in creating V10 in the following aspects.

1. Dual Screens : While it is estimated to be an extremely hard task to implement dual screens with one LCD panel, LG did a great job in creating the small, but “always-on” secondary display where you can make your smartphone usage better and more diversified.

2. Dual Cameras (5MP+5MP, Front-facing) : While we have to wait for LG’s updates on the applicable usages by this dual front-facing cameras, the purported function to be able to widen the angle when taking the selfie would be regarded as a differentiator, requiring no need to bring the selfie stick when you are in a hurry.

3. Separate 32bit Hi-Fi Audio DAC (Digital to Analog Convertor) supporting 384kHz and Headphone AMP : Listening to music on smartphones are becoming a common habit for almost all smartphone users, young generation in particular, so users are naturally keen to seek for better audio quality while listening. LG’s new bid for integrating the separate Hi-Fi audio chip and headphone amplifier will be a clear differentiator in this respect as more and more people are inclined to carry only one multi-media focused device these days.

4. Professional Mode of Camera and Video: Needless to say, LG is one of the best smartphone makers who can create the best still image quality with its differentiated software, enabling an even novice to take the best picture with very easy mode setting. With V10, LG is expected to make a step further, making the common users become the best movie maker with its easy, but professional setting mode.

I look at that list, and I think: if Apple put those into a new phone, which would it make a noise about? Which would reviewers and customers make a noise about? I think the audio and “camera pro mode” things are gimmicks: you’ll never, ever, ever hear the difference in sound (young users have never, ever sought “better audio quality”; ironically, that’s for oldsters, whose hearing is already deteriorating). Camera pro modes are recipes for confusion.

The dual screen? Depends how useful it really is. The dual front cameras? Might be popular.

The real question is: what’s the difference between a truly useful feature and a gimmick? I don’t think it’s self-evident. (The whole SA note is worth reading for its points about branding too.)
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Taiwan market: Toshiba no longer selling consumer notebooks » Digitimes

Aaron Lee and Adam Hwang:

Toshiba has shifted its notebook marketing focus from consumer to business-use models in Asia, Latin America and Central Europe, and has stopped selling consumer notebooks in Taiwan, according to the vendor’s Taiwan sales agent Grainew.

However, Toshiba will maintain marketing of consumer and business notebooks in West Europe and North America markets because consumer models are still profitable there, Grainew said.

In the Taiwan market, Grainew sells about 1,000 units of a Toshiba high-end business notebook model a month currently and expects monthly sales to increase 10-20% in 2016, the company indicated. While unit sales has decreased after giving up the consumer segment, overall gross margin has increased significantly, Grainew said.

Tiny numbers; smaller companies like Toshiba will increasingly withdraw completely from the consumer PC market because the margins aren’t there.
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Start up: DMCA v Volkswagen, cruel opt-outs, self-parking cars win, HP’s irrelevance, and more


The tsunami that hit the Fukushima reactor nearly led to a meltdown – but how many people died from radiation release? Photo by NRCgov on Flickr.

You can now sign up to receive each day’s Start Up post by email. You’ll need to click a confirmation link, so no spam.

A selection of 10 links for you. Use them wisely. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

Researchers could have uncovered Volkswagen’s emissions cheat if not hindered by the DMCA » Electronic Frontier Foundation

Kit Walsh:

Automakers argue that it’s unlawful for independent researchers to look at the code that controls vehicles without the manufacturer’s permission. We’ve explained before how this allows manufacturers to prevent competition in the markets for add-on technologies and repair tools. It also makes it harder for watchdogs to find safety or security issues, such as faulty code that can lead to unintended acceleration or vulnerabilities that let an attacker take over your car.

The legal uncertainly created by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act also makes it easier for manufacturers to conceal intentional wrongdoing. We’ve asked the Librarian of Congress to grant an exemption to the DMCA to make it crystal clear that independent research on vehicle software doesn’t violate copyright law. In opposing this request, manufacturers asserted that individuals would violate emissions laws if they had access to the code. But we’ve now learned that, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, Volkswagen had already programmed an entire fleet of vehicles to conceal how much pollution they generated, resulting in a real, quantifiable impact on the environment and human health.

This code was shielded from watchdogs’ investigation by the anti-circumvention provision of the DMCA. Surprisingly, the EPA wrote in [PDF] to the Copyright Office to oppose the exemptions we’re seeking.

With a headline like that, it sounds like an episode of Scooby-Doo. The EPA’s argument in the linked letter is actually reasonable: you know that people will hack the ECM, especially if they get the source code.
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The Cruelest Opt-Out Forms » Tumblr

A project in which @lydialaurenson collects all those forms where, when you decline, you’re meant to feel guilty for doing so. Such as this:

Of course you don’t have to read it. You could just miss the best chance of your life.
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Self-parking cars are better than humans at parking » Fusion

A new study from the AAA put human drivers who considered themselves adept at parallel parking in a “park-off” against five models of self-parking cars. The result? Human drivers got absolutely destroyed by the automated cars in a test of basic parking skills.

Nearly 80% of survey respondents contacted by the AAA said they were “confident in their parallel parking abilities.” But self-parking cars hit the curb 81% less often than human drivers in the road test, and parked themselves with 47% fewer maneuvers. Self-parking cars were also able to park 37% closer to the curb than human drivers, and—to add insult to injury—they did it 10% faster than the humans.

“Self-parking cars” somehow doesn’t sound as sexy, you know? But the clincher is: only one in four of the people in a survey said they’d trust a car to do the parking. This is the knowledge gap that’s so crucial: we don’t know how good robots are at things.
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One million Android users infected with malware through an IQ testing application » Softpedia

Catalin Cimpanu:

The app is called Brain Test and is a simple IQ testing utility, which comes packed with a combination of complex malware strands.

According to Check Point’s research staff, the application was detected via the company’s Mobile Threat Prevention system, first on a Nexus 5 device.

Because its owner, after receiving the malware alert, did not manage to uninstall the malicious app, this prompted Check Point’s team to have a closer look at the source of the infection.

By reverse-engineering the Brain Test app, researchers found a very well-designed piece of malware, which allowed attackers to install third-party applications on the user’s phone, after previously rooting the device and even managing to become boot-persistent.

Brain Test came with a complex detection avoidance system

Looking even further into the issue, researchers found a complex system that allowed the malware to avoid detection by Google’s Bouncer, an automated app testing system that checks for known security issues.

The malware contained code that prevented it from executing if it detected it was being run from certain IP ranges, or domains containing “google”, ”android”, ”1e100.”

After managing to get around Bouncer’s checks and getting installed on a user’s phone, Brain Test would execute a time bomb function whenever the user would run it for the first time.

Even after Google zapped it, the app was re-uploaded five days later. Software that detects when it’s being tested really is the flavour of the month, isn’t it?
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London Collision Map Beta

Discover where road traffic collisions have happened in London since 2005; then filter by year, road user, collision severity and age group.

Figures for 2014 show that the number of people Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) on London’s roads fell to the lowest level since records began. Safe Streets for London, London’s road safety plan, set out the ambition to work towards roads free from death and serious injury and the Mayor’s new target is to halve the number of KSIs by 2020 compared to the Government baseline.

Nice idea, but it’s pretty hellish to use. Heatmaps might have worked better.

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Why HP is irrelevant » Om Malik

A few years ago, in a conversation with my friend Pip Coburn (who spent a long time as a tech-stocks strategist for UBS before starting his own firm, Coburn Ventures), I mentioned that a certain company was dead, though not many realized it. And by “dead,” I didn’t mean that it was bankrupt, out of money or out of business. I meant it was dead in its ability to find growth, excitement and new ideas. Any positive energy had flattened and turned negative. “With that lens on, HP has been ‘dead’ for 15+ years,” Pip emailed me this morning.

Pip says that “companies have a space and time and purpose and when those fade the company would be wise to steadily shut itself down.” Like some other large tech companies, HP fits that bill. In a note to some of his clients, Pip pointed out, “The company [HP] doesn’t even do a good job of pretending to have a strategy.” And he is right.

It’s true: HP hasn’t made a market since, what the inkjet printer? Bubblejet printer? Laser printer? Whichever, it’s been a long time.
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When radiation isn’t the real risk » The New York Times

George Johnson:

This spring, four years after the nuclear accident at Fukushima, a small group of scientists met in Tokyo to evaluate the deadly aftermath.

No one has been killed or sickened by the radiation — a point confirmed last month by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Even among Fukushima workers, the number of additional cancer cases in coming years is expected to be so low as to be undetectable, a blip impossible to discern against the statistical background noise.

But about 1,600 people died from the stress of the evacuation — one that some scientists believe was not justified by the relatively moderate radiation levels at the Japanese nuclear plant.

None of the workers who went into the stricken plant has died of radiation poisoning. The biggest problem for those workers is heatstroke caused by the extra protective equipment they wear.

Truly, the media reaction to Fukushima was enormously overblown; we are all bad at evaluating risk, but the media perhaps worst of all because “if it bleeds, it leads”.
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BT pledges better broadband for UK » BBC News

BT has hit back at rivals calling for its break-up, with a strategy to make the UK the fastest broadband nation.

It revealed plans to connect 10 million homes to ultrafast broadband [300-500Mbps] by the end of 2020 and raise the minimum broadband speed for homes that cannot get fibre to 5-10Mbps (megabits per second).

It comes in a week when rivals have denounced the quality of UK broadband.

In a letter to the Financial Times on Monday, they said BT should be split.

Sky, Vodafone and TalkTalk were among signatories to the letter which claimed that millions of customers currently have a “substandard” broadband service.

Homes currently passed by fibre, according to Ofcom: 23.6m (with 30% takeup, ie 7.1m users).
Households in UK: 26.4m.

However, the gap between that pledge of ultrafast and minimum is just absurd. And it’ll be those who need the faster speeds – in rural areas – who won’t get it.
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Soft underbelly » Asymco

Horace Dediu suggests that existing carmakers are underestimating the threat they face from computer-industry entrants:

Traditional car making is capital intensive due to the processes and materials used. There are however alternatives on the shelf. iStream from Gordon Murray Design proposed switching to tubular frames and low cost composites.  BMW has an approach using carbon fiber other composites. 3D printing is waiting in the wings. All offer a departure from sheet metal stamping.

With new materials, costs for new plants can be reduced by as much as 80% and since amortizing the tooling is as much as 40% of the cost of new car, the margins on new production methods could result in significant boosts in margin.

There is a downside however. What is usually compromised when using these new methods is volume and scale of production. So that becomes the real question: how many cars can Apple target? 10k, 50k, 100k per year? Could they target 500k? That would be 10 times Tesla’s current volumes but only a bit more than the output of the Mini brand.

Now consider that the total market is 85 million vehicles per year. For Apple to get 10% share would imply 8.5 million cars a year, a feat that is hard to contemplate right now with any of the production systems. On the other hand selling 80 million iPhones and iPads in a single quarter has become routine for Apple and that was considered orders of magnitude beyond what they could deliver. Amazing what 8 years of production ramping can offer.

Given that cars are increasingly computers with fancy cases on wheels, you really don’t want to rule out low-end or even high-end disruption.
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Ad tech always wins: Ad blocker users are the new hot ad-targeting segment » Digiday

Lucia Moses:

“We want to find ways to reach these consumers in ways that suit how they want to be communicated to and with,” Laura Mete Frizzell, gm of search/analytics/media at 360i. “They are part of an audience for which the brand is relevant and can offer utility.”

The potential to target ad blockers is “on the radar,” said Jon Anselmo, senior vp, managing director of digital innovation at MediaVest. “People’s behaviors, including ad blocking, do provide us insights about who they are and what they care about. A tech-savvy nature could absolutely be one such insight.”

On the seller side, too, the idea of targeting blockers is starting to pop up in conversations with publishers like Complex, said its CEO and founder Rich Antoniello. “Those are the hardest to reach people,” he said. One response by Complex has been to use the space normally given over to ads to present ad blocker users with a message asking for their emails to target them regardless.

Mark that last one, because it must surely be the dumbest thing you’ll see today. (Via Rowland Manthorpe.)
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