Google extends Windows Phone calendar and contacts syncing until December 31st


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Googlesyncwp81_640_large

Google has granted new Windows Phone users another extension to access its Sync service until December 31st. The company had originally planned to drop support for the Exchange ActiveSync protocol on January 30th, but it extended the cut off date until July 31st to allow Microsoft to build CardDAV and CalDAV support into Windows Phone 8. “We’ve reached an agreement with Google to extend support for new Windows Phone connections to the Google Sync service through December 31, 2013,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge.

Microsoft has enabled CalDAV and CardDAV support in its latest Windows Phone 8 update that started rolling out to devices recently, but not all handsets have the update yet. Another five months of…

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O2 Becomes Second UK Carrier To Turn On LTE; Will Go Live August 29, But With No iPhone Support


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Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 08.18.06

Looks like the honeymoon period for EE and LTE in the UK is over. This morning, Telefonica’s O2 announced that it would turn on its LTE network on August 29, becoming the second operator to offer 4G in the country. Initial cities will be London, Leeds and Bradford, with 10 more cities to come by the end of the year. The first services at the end of this month will cover 5 million people — that’s potential, not actual, subscribers, and will not include support for the iPhone 5, which will not work on the 800MHz spectrum that is part of O2′s initial rollout.

The end of the honeymoon also signifies the beginning of the price wars.

Initial tariffs will start at £26 ($39) per month, O2 says. In comparison, a contract-free, data-only, mobile broadband rate from EE is currently priced at £15 per month, and a voice-and-data tariff starts at £21 per month. There will likely be different allowances included in these figures — for example, the voice-and-data service is SIM-only and you bring your own device. Plans from EE that include devices also start at £26 per month. O2 says that those interested in registering for its LTE service can sign up here.

But you can argue that O2 will be launching with a bit of a setback: its initial rollout of LTE will not support the iPhone.

Back in February 2013, O2 was part of a group of operators — BT, EE, O2, Three and Vodafone — who were all awarded spectrum for 4G services at a total cost of £2.3 billion ($3.5 billion). As part of that, O2 forked over £550 million for spectrum in the 800MHz band. But the iPhone currently does not support LTE in that frequency, while Samsung’s LTE devices (and others from BlackBerry, HTC and Nokia) do.

O2 is posturing with confidence over this discrepancy.

Telefonica UK’s CEO Ronan Dunne told the BBC that he “would be frankly gobsmacked if their roadmap didn’t address that issue.”

Still, that’s not the same as a concrete guarantee that this will be addressed soon. Given the iPhone users are still some of the mobile world’s biggest adopters of premium-priced devices and services, and also some of the world’s most avid users of mobile data, this could become an issue.

In the meantime, O2 is doing something else: it’s offering customers who do own an iPhone 5 an easy way of making a switch to another device that will be supported. The so-called “4G phone promise” will let users who bought an iPhone 5 from O2 between September 2012 and March 2013 upgrade at any time without breaking contract. This is not a free upgrade, in that users still need to sign up for a new contract on the new device. However, O2 offers to reduce the remaining line rental by 25%, along with a guaranteed price of up to £295 for users recycling their iPhone 5.

Tapping into iPhone users, even under these circumstances of luring them away from iPhones in favor of devices that will see those users spending more money on O2′s network overall, is a logical move for the carrier.

O2 is the UK’s equivalent of AT&T: it was the first network to have the iPhone and has continued its strength in that category as a result, even as Samsung and other Android makers have gained a lot of smartphone users in the process. Kantar WorldPanel for example noted a month ago that Android OEMs took over 55% of smartphone sales in the previous 12 weeks, compared to iPhone’s 30%, and Android is currently growing faster than iPhone in sales.

EE’s LTE network, which launched in October 2012, has a big head start just in terms of setting out its stall. It is currently live in 95 cities and aims for 110 cities covering 60% of the population by the end of the year. In June of this year it announced 687,000 customers and is aiming for 1 million by the end of this year. First mover doesn’t always mean biggest in the long run, of course: Three, at the time a totally new operator, was the first to offer 3G in the UK market years ago, but it’s far behind the other three incumbent players today.

It looks like O2 made a point of acting as fast as it could; it notes that the news comes a day after Ofcom cleared the use of spectrum for 4G services. “It’s great that I am able to announce O2 4G the day after the spectrum has been cleared for use,” noted Ronan Dunne, CEO of Telefónica UK, in a statement. “Digital connectivity will be made ubiquitous by 4G and become the oxygen of modern life. It is our intention to use 4G to inspire the nation through the possibilities of technology, encouraging people to live more, do more and be more with O2.”

The hurdle, at least in the early days for all UK operators, will remain whether consumers will be willing to pony up more money for faster mobile services than they have today. O2 is supposedly going to be bundling in extra services like music with its packages to entice users. I’m not sure how well that ever worked for 3G services, although consumer tastes for streaming media, and device specs, have certainly contributed to a more fertile ground for marketing and service bundles like these to work better this time around.

Improving smartphone sales and a weaker yen help Sony to $35 million quarterly profit


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Sony-nab-20130568_large

It may not be quite the windfall profit we’re used to seeing from Apple or Samsung, but Sony has kept its financials on the positive side of the ledger over the last financial quarter — owing primarily to “strong” smartphone sales and a favorable shift in currency exchange rates. In the three months between April and June of this year, Sony saw both a “significant increase in unit sales” of its Android smartphones and an improved average selling price per handset. That’s at the heart of the company’s improved profitability.

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Panasonic tries on a new look with retro-styled GX7 camera


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Lumix_large

Panasonic is introducing a retro look for its newly announced Lumix GX7, the successor to one of its best mirrorless cameras, the GX1. The new Micro Four Thirds camera includes a 16-megapixel sensor, a built-in electronic viewfinder, and a 3-inch touchscreen display. That’s all housed inside of a metal body sporting the kind of two-tone throwback looks that have been in style recently, doing away with a more modernized vintage design that Panasonic has been using ever since its very first DSLR.

The sensor inside of the GX7 is apparently brand new, and Panasonic says that it should offer improvements on both color saturation and light sensitivity over its predecessor. That lends to the GX7’s increased ISO range, which has jumped up to…

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Retina iPad mini ‘likely’ coming this year: WSJ


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Ipad-mini-lte-stock-theverge-1_1020_large

The high-resolution screen of Google’s new Nexus 7 made quite a splash when it was introduced earlier this month, but it looks like it will be stacking up against a Retina version of the iPad mini later this year. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple’s suppliers are gearing up for a new mini with a high-resolution display to be released in the fourth quarter of this year. Apple is said to be sourcing the displays from three different companies: LG, Sharp, and Apple’s mobile rival Samsung. According to the Journal‘s sources, Cupertino had originally intended to rely just on LG and Sharp, but has decided to use screens from Samsung to ensure it can meet demand.

Apple is also said to be considering a colorful array of back covers for…

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Fab raises another $10 million and sets sights on Asian markets


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Fab CEO Jason Goldberg wrote in a blog post Wednesday night that the design-oriented e-commerce site has raised another $10 million from the Asian venture capital group SingTel Innov8, the corporate VC arm of a major Asian telecommunications company. While Fab is currently selling products in North America and Europe, Goldberg said they would like to expand into Asia, and this new funding and VC relationship could help them get there.

The $10 million is a new addition to a previously-announced $150 million Series D round, which we covered in June. This brings Fab’s total venture funding to a whopping $320 million, Goldberg wrote.

Goldberg explained the funding in a blog post Wednesday night:

“I’m pleased to share that as part of our ongoing Series D round of financing, SingTel Innov8, the corporate VC arm of the SingTel Group, Asia’s leading communications group, invested $10 million in Fab today. This is a particularly meaningful relationship for Fab as we are very pleased to have SingTel’s insight as we explore our expansion plans in the Asia region.

Fab is the place to discover the most exciting things in your life. Today, Fab sells in 29 countries across North American and Europe. We are developing plans to bring the Fab lifestyle to Asian markets.

SingTel has a lot in common with Fab – they serve a growing, young, and sophisticated population of consumers who are looking for lifestyle products to reflect their optimistic, dynamic and vibrant approach to life. That matches well with the predominantly 25-45-year-olds who come to Fab to browse and buy unique and compelling items they’ll live with in their homes, wear, and gift.”

However, while Fab continues raising money, the company still has a lot to prove. As I wrote recently, Fab has nailed the discovery element of online shopping, but could have a hard time building a global commerce business around fun and quirky home and design items. The company hopes to get there by pivoting away from strictly flash sales and carrying more streamlined merchandise, but this week it laid off more than 100 employees in Europe as part of this shift. And Bloomberg reported that Fab missed its targets for revenue by almost 20 percent, and that it’s still a “money-losing” company.

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Eyeing Potential Growth In Asia, Fab Raises $10M From Singaporean Telecom Giant SingTel


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Amidst layoffs, and shortly following a new $150 million round in new funding, Fab is announcing an additional contribution to its Series D round of financing. Singaporean telecommunications giant SingTel Group has put $10 million into Fab, and according to the design-focused ecommerce company, the Asian company will will be a key partner wIn helping Fab explore expansion opportunities in Asia.

CEO and co-founder Jason Goldberg explains that SingTel will be instrumental in helping Fab expand to Asian markets. He writes: SingTel has a lot in common with Fab – they serve a growing, young, and sophisticated population of consumers who are looking for lifestyle products to reflect their optimistic, dynamic and vibrant approach to life. That matches well with the predominantly 25-45-year-olds who come to Fab to browse and buy unique and compelling items they’ll live with in their homes, wear, and gift.

He also addressed some of the changes taking place at the company, namely the layoffs and ditching the flash sales model: Most importantly, we announced the centralization of our operations at our New York headquarters, underscoring our shift from a flash sales model to more of a comprehensive global online lifestyle shop. We have momentum, we have growth, we have a solid team in place, and we have millions of customers worldwide that we want to continue to fall in love with Fab.

Fab, which was valued at $1 billion in this round, is going to be raising around $100 million more as part of  its Series D (Goldberg said in tonight’s post that more Series D investors will be announced in the future and he will share the news as it happens).

Part of this new financing is going towards Fab’s next pivot as an international design powerhouse. In May, Fab debuted its new design store, which makes it more of an integrated e-commerce site. The company is also experimenting with brick and mortar stores.

As we’ve said in the past, international is a huge potential growth area for the company, particularly in Asia. Tencent and Itochu invested in the first part of the Series D and it comes of no surprise that additional money is coming from Asian investors as well.

In the past, Fab has been expanding via acquisitions as well so it should be interesting to see if the company scoops up an startups in Asia for its big push into the region. Stay tuned.

Bean there, backed that: a legume-based MP3 player sprouts on Kickstarter


This post is by Chris Welch from The Verge - All Posts


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Mp3bean_large

Attempting to crowd fund a dedicated MP3 player in 2013 is a risky proposition. We’re long removed from the days when traditional iPods could be seen on every street. Rather, we’re firmly in an era where smartphones have supplanted PMPs for a vast majority of people. But having said all that, you’ve never seen anything quite like the Kickstarter project launched by London-based startup Cybotanics today. We haven’t either. Meet iBean and iTagua, described as “the world’s very first digital audio music players designed using whole natural botanical casings, gathered sustainably from the amazon rainforest.”

This isn’t your typical MP3 player

More succinctly, they’re tiny MP3 players (think a round iPod shuffle) encased in either a bean…

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Failed Kickstarter board game resurrected by game publisher Cryptozoic


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Doom_large

After the board game The Doom That Came to Atlantic City was abruptly cancelled despite raising over $122,000, the response from Kickstarter backers was predictable (and appropriate) a mix of outrage, confusion, and disappointment. However, when Erik Chevalier — who led the project — backed out, the intellectual property behind the game reverted to its original designers: Keith Baker and Lee Moyers. On their respective blogs and on the website for games publisher Cryptozoic, they have announced that the game will be published and shipped to backers, at Cryptozoic’s own expense. Cryptozoic publishes several popular titles, including the World of Warcraft Trading Card game and a Lord of the Rings card game. Baker and Moyers say that…

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Apple will keep fake chargers from hacking your iPhone with iOS 7


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Last month, researchers at Georgia Tech unveiled a clever hack. Using a tiny Linux computer disguised as a USB charger, they could penetrate any iPhone or iPad’s defenses and reportedly install malware in less than a minute. Thankfully, that attack vector will soon be far easier to combat: Apple has added a new prompt that warns users and asks them for permission in the latest beta of iOS 7.

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The Pinterest Roadmap Revealed


This post is by Josh Constine from TechCrunch


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Pinterest Roadmap tight

The rise of Pinterest wasn’t all cocktails and cupcakes. It conquered huge scaling challenges to become the world’s keepsake box. Now as the we ditch the desktop for mobile, how will Pinterest evolve to connect us with the things we love? Today Pinterest’s head of engineering Jon Jenkins gave a surprisingly candid look at the past and future of Pinterest journey to build the interest graph.

Now Pinterest is a team of 140, with 70 engineers, $338 million in funding, and a massive headquarters in San Francisco. But at the start, it was just the three co-founders Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp, Paul Sciarra, and a single engineer.

2010: “The Year Of The Creation Of The Business”

Pinterest began as a few guys with a mission “To help people discover the things they love and then do those things in real life. With only one engineer, it was almost lucky that Pinterest didn’t become popular yet or the whole thing could have come crashing down.

2011: “The Year Of Scaling Challenges”

Jenkins says that “traffic was doubling every month and half” and provided this traffic graph, though with no X axis about exactly how many page views the site receives. He explained that the site wasn’t exactly built to last at first. “It was originally written in Python, but when you build a website [for a small user base] you don’t think about modularity very much. And when a million people show up on your door step you’re just trying to keep the thing from falling down.”

2012: “The Big Year Of Mobile”

In August it released new versions of its iOS and Android apps that would serve as the modernized foundation of the future of its business on the small screen. Pinterest began learning how people used the service differently depending on their device. For example, in the daytime it sees a lot of phone use as people try to discover new things. They might walk around the grocery store with a recipe pin open on their phone to help them find ingredients. “Then in the evening we see tablet usage increase significantly as they’re trying to make that recipe” Jenkins says.

2013: “The Year Of Adding A Lot More Value To Pins”

Pinterest this year began showing related pins when you pinned something, and providing pin recommendations via email. It also launched expanded pins so recipes would show ingredients, movies would show reviews, and products would show prices. Most recently, it began using the feed editor to recommend more content to you. With big plans afoot, Pinterest also rewrote its entire site — not to handle traffic, but to let multiple engineers enhance it simultaneously without tripping over each other and causing non-stop bugs. “How can we create modules that let engineers go in and work without screwing over the other developers?” He’s convinced that the new modular Python architecture “will allow the organization to scale.”

The Future

Looking forward, Pinterest has five big projects its working on:

Building The Interest Graph:  Unlike other social networks, Jenkins says that “Pinterest isn’t fundamentally about connecting people to other people. It’s about connecting people to interests.”

For years you had little but your own brain and the boards you browsed to find pinspiration. But now Pinterest is lending a helping hand thanks to a ton of data analysis. “Pins can’t exist unless they’re assigned to a board. Out of those boards, we try to identity interests through collaborative filtering, associative rule mining, natural language processing to provide discovery. I can pin five shirts I like and Pinterest derives my interest in fashion.” Recommendations could make Pinterest even more addictive for hardcore users, and help it retain newbies until they’re hooked.

Scaling Big Data: “Figuring out how we’re going to scale the data repositories for pins will only become more complicated as we grow internationally” Jenkins said. That why he says “we’re hiring pretty aggressively” in areas including machine learning, data mining, operations, and infrastructure.

Making Pins More Useful: Expect more pin types to gain expanded information like recipes did. “Useful” could also end up as a euphemism for “buyable”. Pinterest is renowned for driving traffic to ecommerce sites. If it could bring more of the shopping experience inside its site and apps, it could provide value to users while also arguing that it deserves a revenue share or commission from merchants.

Bringing The Grid Onto Mobile: Pinterest’s best known and most frequently copied element is its masonry grid design which allows for rapid intake of visual information. Now it’s trying to get the infinite scroll part of the grid to work on small screens with limited storage. “It’s easy to load things but your phone gets very angry with you if you don’t unload things”, Jenkins says. There’s also be a bit of bringing the mobile onto the grid, as Pinterest tries to take what it’s learning on mobile back to its website. That could include touch capabilities for touch-enabled laptops like the Chromebook Pixel.

Creating A Platform Foundation: “People keep asking ‘When are you going to release an API?’” Jenkins wouldn’t give a firm answer but did reveal a bunch of details. “We are working very closely with a very select set of partners to figure out what the API is that we should release. We are going to work with content providers to offer extended functionality so they can understand how the content they produce is being used in the Pinterest system. Content providers want distribution. If we can help them understand what resonates they’ll be happier, and Pinners will be happier as well.”

Don’t expect it to be rushed out “I might be overly rigorous in how I think about APIs. I want them to be extremely high quality” Jenkins says. Taking a dig at Facebook and Twitter, and following a similar thought pattern as Google+’s Vic Gundotra, he says ”I don’t want to make mistakes other companies have made where they release APIs and then have to pull them back. I wouldn’t be proud of that.”

Today, Jenkins says that depending on what external traffic monitoring site you look at “we’re a top 15 site in the US and higher than that in terms of apps.” comScore currently pegs it at 48.7 million global monthly users. And while you might think Pinterest is a big popularity contest, Jenkins says that if you talk to long-time users, “many of them pin for themselves. They’re not using Pinterest to put on a show or posture externally. People view it as an act of self-expression.”

Just because our world is being digitized doesn’t mean we’ve lost our desire to collect. If Pinterest executes on this roadmap, it could build tree big enough for us all to nest in.

ProfitBricks Drops Prices, Makes Big Claims About AWS And Its High Costs


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ProfitBricks-Cloud-Computing-Logo

Cloud provider ProfitBricks has dropped the price of its CPU cores and RAM by 50 percent, making the claim that essentially it is far cheaper to use its service over Amazon Web Services (AWS).

I’m not sure if I should be impressed or not with their analysis, which looks at a variety of factors, ranging from AWS requirements for temporary storage to the different pricing plans they offer. They cite AWS lack of flexibility with its instance sizes. The list goes on.

In the end I’m impressed with ProfitBricks, but not for its claims of how much cheaper they are or how much more AWS could actually drop its own prices. More so, it’s the power of its platform and how the company is approaching the market that is most impressive. Here’s what I wrote about the service a few months ago:

ProfitBricks raised $19.5 million in March and now has a total of $38.3 million in funding. Founders Achim Weiss and Andreas Gauger built 1&1 Internet, one of the world’s largest web-hosting providers with 70,000 servers and 10 million customers. The company has some muscle not only in funding, but also what it can offer in terms of scaling out and up. Scaling up allows for new apps to be deployed in an environment similar to AWS and means building out vertically to one stack with up to 62 cores.

ProfitBricks charges only for compute and storage, and customers pay for what they consume, which speaks to the company’s pricing claims. They strive to be a pure-play service with InfiniBand networking, which makes their offering super fast.

But AWS is valued for exactly what ProfitBricks derides. AWS has a wide selection of pricing and a correlating list of services that customers value.

So in the end, ProfitBricks is trying to exploit AWS pricing models, claiming in comparison they have a superior, fast and flexible service. I can dig that. But it by no means seems to affect the reasons why people choose AWS. They’re not using AWS just because of its pricing but because of everything about it, including cost, its community and its scrolling list of services and features.

Pinterest adds to mobile experience with contextual menus; no API just yet


This post is by Jordan Novet from GigaOM


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Pinterest threw a party to talk up engineering work at its new San Francisco headquarters Wednesday, and it didn’t announce the long expected API. Most components are set in place, said Jon Jenkins, Pinterest’s head of engineering, but the company wants to make sure key partners will be pleased with the results.

What’s more, the company doesn’t want to backpedal on an API that isn’t just right. Jenkins said he’s seen companies do that and then regret not fixing little things. It’s a sensible perspective for a company that’s taken on users in the millions in the past few years and is aiming for international adoption. Pinterest had more than 48 million monthly unique visitors, according to a February report.

As announced yesterday, Pinterest is taking advantage of touch screens by rolling out to users the ability to pin things after pressing down and holding on items they find on Pinterest on mobile devices. Android support is coming in the next few days.

Pinterest Jon Jenkins Contextual Menu

And it will keep building on experiences from tablets, smartphones and perhaps other kinds of mobile devices, Jenkins said. That might mean tapping GPS and accelerometer capabilities inside of a smartphone, for example, he said.

For the API, analytics on how content is used on Pinterest is an important area of focus. That way content providers can get value out of it, and perhaps pinners will get more of the content they, well, pin.

Last week the company introduced a way to see recommendations on the main site and in emails based on what users have already pinned. And since Jenkins came on, the company decided to rewrite the website in Python to make it more conducive to having multiple developers update different portions at the same time without them stepping on each other’s toes. It’s also introduced details to go along with actual pinned things — movies, products and recipes.

The company has been trying to boost its engineering profile. It launched an engineering blog in June and opened up about the architecture of its interest graph a few weeks ago. The engineering team of less than 70 comprises nearly half the company’s workforce, which is now at around 140 people.

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Pinterest adds to mobile experience with contextual menus; no API just yet


This post is by Jordan Novet from GigaOM


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Pinterest threw a party to talk up engineering work at its new San Francisco headquarters Wednesday, and it didn’t announce the long expected API. Most components are set in place, said Jon Jenkins, Pinterest’s head of engineering, but the company wants to make sure key partners will be pleased with the results.

What’s more, the company doesn’t want to backpedal on an API that isn’t just right. Jenkins said he’s seen companies do that and then regret not fixing little things. It’s a sensible perspective for a company that’s taken on users in the millions in the past few years and is aiming for international adoption. Pinterest had more than 48 million monthly unique visitors, according to a February report.

As announced yesterday, Pinterest is taking advantage of touch screens by rolling out to users the ability to pin things after pressing down and holding on items they find on Pinterest on mobile devices. Android support is coming in the next few days.

Pinterest Jon Jenkins Contextual Menu

And it will keep building on experiences from tablets, smartphones and perhaps other kinds of mobile devices, Jenkins said. That might mean tapping GPS and accelerometer capabilities inside of a smartphone, for example, he said.

For the API, analytics on how content is used on Pinterest is an important area of focus. That way content providers can get value out of it, and perhaps pinners will get more of the content they, well, pin.

Last week the company introduced a way to see recommendations on the main site and in emails based on what users have already pinned. And since Jenkins came on, the company decided to rewrite the website in Python to make it more conducive to having multiple developers update different portions at the same time without them stepping on each other’s toes. It’s also introduced details to go along with actual pinned things — movies, products and recipes.

The company has been trying to boost its engineering profile. It launched an engineering blog in June and opened up about the architecture of its interest graph a few weeks ago. The engineering team of less than 70 comprises nearly half the company’s workforce, which is now at around 140 people.

Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:
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Netflix yanks Star Trek III film because of poor Klingon & Vulcan subtitle translations


This post is by Tom Cheredar from VentureBeat


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Netflix yanks Star Trek III film because of poor Klingon & Vulcan subtitle translations
Source: Paramount

Netflix has decided to remove access to Star Trek III: The Search for Spock due to a defect in the streaming version of the film.

More specifically, there are incorrect — or at least overly simplified — English subtitle translations during scenes where characters exchange dialog exclusively in their semi-fictitious languages of Vulcan and Klingon. (Note: Fans have actually created their own dictionary of Klingon words, so it’s kind of a real language now, even if it’s rooted in sci-fi TV and movies.)

I was able to access the movie earlier today to see what seemed like some pretty basic translations for the Klingon dialog spoken by Christopher Lloyd’s character Kruge and his crew. However, the film was taken offline shortly after VentureBeat contacted Netflix for confirmation.

While the company didn’t comment on this particular situation, it has in the past said that it’s constantly reviewing and evaluating its library of content to make sure it’s up to par. For instance, last week the company said it occasionally finds and replaces films that are incorrectly formatted (aka badly cropped).

Instead, of pulling Klingon and Vulcan subtitle translations from an older version of the film, Netflix is planning to translate the dialog itself, according to the RadioTimes, which first reported the news yesterday. Again, Netflix wouldn’t confirm this. But personally, I love the idea of a Netflix employee patiently flipping through Ben Grossblatt’s How to Speak Klingon: Essential Phrases for the Intergalactic Traveler in between frequent pausing/playing Star Trek III.

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The UK LTE race is on as O2 prepares August 29th launch


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O2_uk_large_jpg

For about nine months now, EE in the UK has had an exclusive lock on LTE service, but on August 29th it’s going to have company. O2 has told the BBC that it will launch its 4G service on that date in three markets — London, Leeds, and Bradford — with ten more cities slated for 4G data by year’s end. Unfortunately for O2’s customers, its first offering won’t compare well with what EE already has up and running. It will be initially slower than the recently enhanced EE network, will cost more (O2’s basic 4G tier will reportedly run £26 per month), and it won’t be compatible with the current iPhone 5’s LTE bands. On that last point, Telefonica UK CEO Ronan Dunne told the BBC that he “would be frankly gobsmacked if [Apple’s] roadmap…

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Your iPhone: Made in China, Korea, Texas, Kentucky, and … Inner Mongolia?


This post is by Dylan Tweney from VentureBeat


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Your iPhone: Made in China, Korea, Texas, Kentucky, and … Inner Mongolia?

Made in the USA? Only slightly.

A lot goes into making an iPhone: Gorilla Glass, an A6 chip, circuit boards, the accelerometer, various other components, transistors, wires, and connectors. And then there’s the software on top of that.

As we know, Apple relies on manufacturers in China, such as Foxconn and Pegatron, to assemble its iPhones. That’s not just for cost savings: Apple needs the speed that Chinese manufacturing affords to be able to make quick changes to its production lines in order to ramp up the next-generation iPhone, and it needs their reliability and volume to deliver 31.2 million iPhones per quarter.

But assembly is just the last chapter in the story. Before those factory workers can assemble all those components into an iPhone, someone has to make those components. As it turns out, those parts come from all over the world — including China’s Inner Mongolia, where most of the rare earth elements needed to make the screen, the glass, and the speakers come from.

The folks at FinancesOnline.com and Ruby Media put together this impressively tall infographic showing where the iPhone’s many components come from, based on sources such as the New York Times, ChosunIlbo.com, Cnet, and the Alliance of American Manufacturing.

Apple typically doesn’t disclose a lot of these details, so some of the information here is guesswork. But this is the most extensive look at the complexity of the iPhone’s supply chain I’ve seen yet. It’s a great snapshot of the interconnected, global electronics manufacturing industry.

Infographic showing the sources of iPhone components around the world

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Zynga’s Threatened At Least One “… With Friends” Startup Before, And It Went Nowhere (So Far)


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zynga with friends

The news broke this morning that Zynga is suing the makers of the Bang With Friends app for allegedly infringing its With Friends trademark.

There’s been plenty of media discussion about the case (I was particularly amused by Will Oremus’ suggestion that Zynga has become “the Lindsay Lohan of Silicon Valley startups“), but one thing that I haven’t seen mentioned is the fact that Zynga has tried to stop other companies from using “With Friends” names in the past. Specifically, its lawyers sent a letter earlier this year to a startup called Apartment 7 saying that it had to change the name of its CupidWithFriends dating website, and that it had until May 24 to comply.

Well, May 24 has come and gone, and today’s news reminded me to check in with Apartment 7 co-founder Jared Tame. CupidWithFriends is still up and running, and Tame told me:

We didn’t hear back from Zynga. We told them no and it’s been a little over 2 months now. We mentioned in our response that their non-response would signal a mutual agreement that we would not enter the gaming space and they would not further pursue legal action against us.

Back in May, I reached out to Zynga and Bang With Friends, because it seemed like any complaints that Zynga had with CupidWithFriends would apply to Bang With Friends too, but neither company commented.

Now it seems that they were already discussing the issue. Zynga’s lawsuit, which I’ve embedded below, doesn’t offer a specific timeline about communication between the two companies, but it does say that after “significant” efforts by Zynga to get in touch with the Bang With Friends’ then-anonymous founders, “Defendant engaged in discussions with Zynga about changing the name from ‘Bang With Friends’.” However, it says those discussions were either “a ploy” or that Bang With Friends has reconsidered.

The lawsuit also acknowledges that Bang With Friends isn’t the only company that Zynga has taken legal action against:

Zynga has diligently policed its rights in the WITH FRIENDS Family of Marks against such would-be infringers, including through the use of cease-and-desist letters, by instituting opposition proceedings with the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, by direct outreach to infringers, and through other means.

So why is Zynga suing one company but not the other? Well, a Zynga spokesperson declined to comment on Cupid With Friends, and Bang With Friends hasn’t responded to my request for comment either. One obvious difference is that Bang With Friends is much better-known — in fact, the lawsuit cites several examples where the press compared Bang With Friends to Zynga’s With Friends family of games. Plus, in contrast to Tame’s statement that he has no intention to go into gaming, Zynga’s suit suggests that Bang With Friends has more competitive plans:

In the weeks since [May], Defendant’s plan to expand its infringing activities aggressively was revealed by a person identified as a “Bang With Friends” investor. To Zynga’s great surprise, this investor stated that Defendant intends “to go from ‘Bang’ to ‘Hang’ to ‘Tennis’ to ‘Games’ to other activities.”

Business Insider noted that Zynga was granted the “With Friends” trademark in relation to “computer game software” and “entertainment services” in June of this year (it already had the trademark on specific titles like Words With Friends), so I suppose there could be more legal action in the works.

Zynga v Bang With Friends by TechCrunch