Microsoft teases Windows 10 phone and Xbox interfaces

This post is by Tom Warren from The Verge - All Posts

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Microsoft’s Windows 10 unveiling was focused on the desktop and the enterprise, but the company also dropped some significant hints at its future direction for phone and Xbox. While there was no meaningful discussion about the user interface changes to Windows Phone and Xbox, Microsoft did reveal some changes in an image highlighting Windows 10 across multiple devices. Traditional Windows Phone devices appear to feature the familiar tiled interface with Windows 10 that currently exists with Windows Phone 8.1, scaling all the way up to devices with 6-inch displays. Where things seem to change are with 7- or 8-inch tablets. Microsoft’s image appears to suggest that small Windows tablets will take on more of a Windows Phone-like interface…

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2 surprising ways to use Docker to grow your business

This post is by Lucas Carlson, CenturyLink from VentureBeat

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2 surprising ways to use Docker to grow your business
Image Credit: Lee Gilbert/Flickr

When your first hear about Docker containers, you might think that server density is all it’s good for. After all, you can usually fit 10–100 times as many containers on a server than virtual machines. But server-density techniques have been used by savvy system administrators for more tha 10 years with Solaris Zones and BSD Jails.

Docker isn’t just a major technological advancement. It has serious business reproductions as well. So how are savvy cutting-edge business people using Docker to grow their business today?

Using Docker to understand your per-user costs

Many software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses have a very difficult time figuring out their per-user cost of goods sold. When you are a small SaaS business, this is not a problem because you can simply average it out to get an estimated cost per user. But as you grow, it becomes increasingly important to become more fine-grained about these numbers in order to identify fraud, abuse, and even upselling opportunities.

Because Docker is more lightweight than and faster to use than virtual machines, and can even be used on top of virtual machines, you can use it to start separating users’ application instances from each other.

Separated user instances can allow you to meter user consumption in a more service-oriented way without being cost-prohibitive. Trying to reproduce this kind of isolation with separated virtual machines for businesses already in the cloud would usually not only be overkill, but also prohibitively expensive.

Because Docker containers share a Linux kernel, the higher density allows you to rethink how to architect applications that your chief financial officer will thank you for.

Using Docker for recruiting and employee retention

Top engineering talent is increasingly rare and difficult to retain. To make matters worse, developers and operations teams have never traditionally got along very well. Even with new devops technologies like Puppet and Chef, often it is the operations teams who enjoy using them more than the developers.

Docker is the first devops tool that is as popular with developers as it is with ops people. That’s because the developers can work freely inside the containers while the operations team works outside the container and stitches them together. This creates a decoupled buffer zone of harmony.

According to Monster, Inc., and Forbes, traditional recruiting and retention strategies aren’t working anymore. Companies must think outside of the box by embracing new technologies that their employees feel are cool to work with and encourage workplace happiness and harmony. Docker’s devops bridge-building capabilities should be looked at as a great tool for recruiting and retention.

These are just a couple examples of how Docker can be used in surprising ways. Docker is changing the technology landscape faster than anyone could have predicted and it has only been less than two years! What clever ways are you seeing Docker being adopted in new and interesting ways?

Lucas Carlson is the chief innovation officer of CenturyLink, a global cloud, hosting, network and telecommunications provider. He publishes weekly Docker advice, tutorials, and open source software like Panamax (Docker management for humans) in the CenturyLink Labs blog.

CenturyLink, Inc. operates as an integrated telecommunications company in the United States. The company provides local and long-distance, network access, private line, public access, broadband, data, managed hosting, colocation, wirel… read more »

Gold iPads coming this month, rumored 12.9-incher next year

This post is by Cassandra Khaw from The Verge - All Posts

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Apple will add gold to the iPad’s monochromatic palette, according to Bloomberg. “People familiar with the plans” reportedly stated that the color option will be revealed this month along with new versions of Apple’s tablets. Bloomberg writes that the decision could be attributed to a desire to boost sales of the iPad, which have been in slow decline since its introduction. With the help of this aesthetic update and next year’s rumored introduction of iPads with a 12.9-inch screen, Apple may be able to appeal to a wider range of customers, including the business-oriented demographic.

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Firespotter Labs Becomes Switch, Providing A Cloud-Based Phone System For Google Apps

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switch_across_multiple_devices_300 Unified communications has long been touted as the future, but being able to provide access to all of one’s calls and messages on multiple devices is an idea that has just barely come to fruition. Now, the folks at Firespotter Labs think they’ve built a solution — a cloud-based platform for enterprise communications called Switch Read More

Apple Accepting iTunes Donations For ‘City of Hope’ Center During October

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city-of-hope-itunes Apple will be accepting donations for the City of Hope charity during the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the company revealed today. The organization is a research and treatment center created to combat not only breast cancer, but also diabetes and other life-threatening diseases including lymphoma and brain cancer. The organization aims to make it easier to… Read More

I spent 48 hours on Ello. This is what I saw

This post is by Ronnie Charrier, Northcutt from VentureBeat

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I spent 48 hours on Ello. This is what I saw
Image Credit: Jordan Novet/VentureBeat

If you’ve been on Facebook or Twitter in the last week, you’ve probably heard a lot of people talking about this thing called Ello. If you tried to sign up to see what it is, you would’ve gotten a message back saying, “We will invite you as soon as we can. Ello is currently in beta, and we are inviting new users in small groups as we roll out new features.”

One of Ello’s founders, Paul Budnitz, told Betabeat that the site has been receiving more than 30,000 of these sign-up requests per hour this week. The only way to get an account is to receive one of five unique invite codes that every user gets. This has caused quite a stir, and it’s gotten to the point that people are actually purchasing invites from other users on eBay, with prices ranging from $5 to $500.

So, what is Ello?

Ello is a free, invite-only, independent social network, with no export tools or an application programming interface (API). It is bright and clean and promises, in its manifesto, to stay ad-free, to never sell your data, and to not force you to use your real name. I was able to get an invite from a friend and have been playing around with it for a few days.

Here’s what a profile looks like:

Wait, it has a manifesto?

Yes. And it’s genius. I could, and might, write an entire piece on the brilliant marketing strategy they’ve used, but for now, let’s just say they make it quite clear who their target is.

Why is this getting so much buzz?

Ello actually launched in April and was mostly used by only about a hundred of Budnitz’s friends. You could point to a number of different reasons that Ello has gained so much popularity in the last week — their marketing being one — but the main reason, it seems, is a new Facebook policy cracking down on users who don’t go by their real names. This caused an outcry from members of the LGBTQ community, and when you see Ello’s zero-tolerance hate policy, something neither Twitter or Facebook has, you see why there is so much debate going on.
Added to that is many people’s growing frustration with Facebook, which is evident in one Ello user’s post:

@lmorchard: FWIW, I’ve thought of every social network since LiveJournal as some huge party thrown by people I usually don’t know yet random assortments of old & new friends tend to show up. The Facebook party is weird because my Mom & Grandma showed up. I’m amazed at how long some of these parties have gone on, and it seems like there are some weird people wandering around trying to sell shots of peculiarly branded booze. That usually means it’s time to go home and/or go onto the next party.

What’s so different about Ello?

Timing, mostly. It’s really not all that different from Facebook or Twitter: You have a profile, you can change your image and banner, you update your status, you share pictures, you add friends. But, and this is the but, there are no ads. And it’s this promise – that you’ll be able to spend more time interacting with your friends instead of being inundated with sponsored ads, game requests, and Facebook’s never-ending app integration — that’s causing so many people to take the time to see what all the fuss is about.

What do I think so far?

It’s certainly a different experience. It’s obvious from the outset that they are trying to be anti-Facebook, but the problem with that is that Facebook has spent a lot of time and money making itself user-friendly. Being new and different can be cool, but that only lasts so long if the experience isn’t intuitive and user-friendly. There are certain times that you can definitely tell that Ello is still in beta and has a lot of bugs to work out. There’s also a glaring lack of features, most notably user blocking and a mobile app. It does have a list of upcoming features that it says will be available soon, which you can see here:
It’s not all bad, though. The simplicity of the interface is very straightforward, and the feed is extremely fluid. There’s not a character limit like there is with Twitter, and you can posts GIFs and do some other fun stuff that you can’t on Facebook. There’s a couple of interesting things like the Ello Facemaker tool, which lets you paste the Ello logo on your face, hiding your identity or just showing your support for the new site.

If I were to give it a grade, I would give it an incomplete. There are some nice ideas here, but it still has a long way to go. And where it goes is the most interesting part of all this.

Can it really stay ad-free and survive?

Probably not. As reported by Gawker, Ello received venture capital funding back in March for $435,000. Venture capitalists are not like Kickstarter or crowdfunding projects and don’t just give money away for goodwill. There will certainly be outside pressure on them to make money, both for themselves and their investors, and that is bound to shape the direction the company goes in.

One way the startup will try to do this, they say, is by introducing new “special features,” which people will be able to have permanently by paying a small, one-time fee. While this certainly shows the startup’s desire to think differently to keep the site ad-free, it’s hard to imagine this both generating enough revenue to keep the site afloat and not causing people to flee back to their already free social media sites. Don’t forget, Facebook was also once a free, “product-first” company when it started.

Should I join?

It’s up to you. You’ll have to get an invitation first, but I doubt that will be too hard in the coming weeks. It depends on what you want to get out of your social-media experience. And you might go through all this trouble for nothing. It is going to be a long, uphill battle for Ello to succeed, and it seems unlikely that it can stay both ad-free and hate-free the entire time.

But for now it is, and that’s something.

Ronnie Charrier is a social media manager at Northcutt.


VentureBeat is studying the state of marketing technology. Chime in, and we’ll share the data.

76 of 79 deceased NFL players’ brains had evidence of degenerative disease

This post is by Rich McCormick from The Verge - All Posts

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New data from the United States’ largest repository of human brain samples has shown that an overwhelming majority of NFL players who submitted their brains for analysis after their death suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The Department of Veterans Affairs’ brain repository, based in Massachusetts, found that 76 of 79 former pro players had evidence of the condition, which can be caused by repeated head trauma.

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YC’s Altman Thinks Reddit’s Community Ownership Experiment Could Be A Model

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reddit The thought of using crypto-currencies to back shares of a company first crossed Y Combinator head Sam Altman’s mind about two years ago. “It was an idle thought that popped into my head,” he said. “It was not until Reddit reached out to me about fundraising that I thought about it again.” So when he decided to lead Reddit’s $50 million Series B… Read More

Malware that hit Occupy Hong Kong has an iOS counterpart

This post is by Ruth Reader from VentureBeat

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The malicious spyware that circulated the Occupy Hong Kong movement disguised as a protest coordinating app appeared to only target Android phones. But a new discovery from Lacoon Mobile Security shows that whoever deployed the malware also had a trojan built for iOS.

Last week, a number of protesters received a WhatsApp message inviting them to download an Android app purporting to coordinate the Occupy Hong Kong pro-democracy movement, according to the South China Morning Post. The movement responded quickly and said it had not released such an app. It was soon found to contain malware that exploits SMS, email, instant messages, call logs, location data, and usernames and passwords found on the device.

Lacoon CEO Michael Shaulov explained that his team found the iOS malware operated on the command and control server attached to the Android trojan horse. It’s unclear how many people, if anyone at all, was infected with the iOS malware. In the first place, people could only download the malware on a jailbroken phone.

Occupy Hong Kong with Peace and Love is a response to Beijing’s decision to choose candidates for Hong Kong’s 2017 elections. When Britain ceded Hong Kong back to China in 1997, the country promised Hong Kong could retain some of the freedom it enjoyed under British rule — including democratic elections.

Initial reports said it did not appear the Chinese government was involved in the malware. However, Lacoon says that the development of an advanced iOS trojan may indicate otherwise. “Cross-platform attacks that target both iOS and Android devices are rare, and indicate that this may be conducted by a very large organization or nation-state,” the company said in blog post.

What’s really remarkable about this attack is that an entity in China, likely a well-resourced one according to Shaulov, has created trojan malware for iOS. “It’s the first time in the industry that we’ve actually see such a sophisticated trojan,” said Shaulov. It’s a particularly scary prospect, because iOS does not have antivirus software. Apple relies on its capability to keep a tight handle on what gets downloaded onto its devices, otherwise security goes out the window.

Also, if this is the work of the Chinese government and its cybersecurity team, as Lacoon seems to think, Hong Kong’s protesters have good reason to worry.

VentureBeat is studying the state of marketing technology. Chime in, and we’ll share the data.

The Wu-Tang Clan is selling its new album inside a $79.99 speaker

This post is by Josh Lowensohn from The Verge - All Posts

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In a world where Neil Young is trying to sell an MP3 player for $399, and Taylor Swift sees selfies as a form of currency, the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA wants to sell the group’s latest album inside a portable speaker. The legendary rap group has partnered with speaker company Boombotix to come up with a wearable speaker that has eight of the songs from Wu-Tang’s upcoming album, A Better Tomorrow included, along with an exclusive bonus track. The entire package will actually be available in November before the album is released. If there’s one catch to all this, it’s that only 1,000 of the $79.99 speakers are being sold through Boombotix’s site, with another 2,000 that will be sold in Zumiez stores (yes, that Zumiez). After that, you’ll have to…

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Here’s How Windows 10 Will Make Your Mouse And Fingers Get Along

This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch

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Earlier today during its event in San Francisco, Microsoft played a video detailing how its coming Windows 10 operating system will handle a fusion of touch, and more traditional mouse-based input. I filmed a bootleg copy, but Microsoft just published a more polished version, so you are in luck. Handling both touch and mouse input is a rough line to walk, given that computing form… Read More

Deem grabs $30M to help companies maximize their bottom lines

This post is by Kia Kokalitcheva from VentureBeat

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Deem grabs $30M to help companies maximize their bottom lines

Deem is a San Francisco company with a couple other offices in the world, and it might be one of the most ambitious companies I’ve never heard of until today. And to fuel that ambition, it has raised $30 million in new funding, according to a legal filing today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

But here’s why I’m amazed. If you look through its site, it offers one set of products to help companies save in all possible ways, one set of offerings for businesses to maximize their sales, and another bunch of offerings to help them spread promotions and acquire users and customers. To do so, it has several partners in its networks, including Office Depot, Samsung, 3M, Foursquare, Microsoft, American Express, and MasterCard, among others. Deem’s customers can tap into these networks, such as partners for more cost-effective business travel for their employees,.

Basically, it seems like its a large suite to take care of a good chunk of what a business would need to maximize its bottom line — shrink spending and up revenue.

According to the filing, Deem has raised $30 million of the total of $68 million that it seeks to raise. The company has been around since 2000 and now has offices in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Seacaucus, N.J.; and Bangalore, India.

Deem is a leading cloud and mobile commerce company, delivering Commerce-as-a-Service (CaaS) to a large and diverse ecosystem of customers, merchants and partners enabling them to lower costs, increase revenue and deepen customer loyal… read more »

This is how Cortana works on Windows 10

This post is by Tom Warren from The Verge - All Posts

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Microsoft showed off a small number of Windows 10 features at the company’s event this morning, but one rumored one was missing: Cortana. The software maker focused on some of its desktop improvements for Windows 10, and Cortana is one of the many changes that will be coming ahead of the final release next year. While the special Technical Preview build of Windows 10 that will be released tomorrow won’t include Cortana, Microsoft is already testing the digital assistant inside of other Windows 10 builds internally. It’s an early implementation, but Cortana will be fully integrated into the search experience in Windows 10.

Microsoft’s new Windows 10 OS has a new search button on the taskbar, and Cortana currently appears at the top of…

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A Messaging Giant Goes Public In Korea And DCM Reaps The Rewards

This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch

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moneybags As the mobile messaging company Kakao Corp. gets ready to celebrate the culmination of its long-awaited initial public offering on the Korean stock exchange, a world away, on Sand Hill Road, the partners at venture capital firm DCM are probably getting ready to do some celebrating of their own. Three years after its initial investment in Kakao, the venture firm will be able to harvest the… Read More

The Steam Slate Desktop

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The Steam Slate Desktop

Over on our Facebook page, Panda Nguyen shared his desktop in the comments of our post about last week’s featured desktop—well, we liked it so much, we had to feature it too. It may look like Steam is built-in, but it’s not—it just fits very well. Here’s how he set it all up.

Read more…

Funding Daily: It’s all Good

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Funding Daily: It’s all Good
Image Credit: John Louis/Flickr

Get all the tech funding news of the day delivered straight to your mailbox! Sign up for Funding Daily and never miss a deal.

Things are just dandy today at Good Technology, Eventboard, Front, Reddit, and a few other companies today. Read on to find out why.

Good Technology takes $80M

Good Technology, a company that helps big businesses let their employees use mobile devices securely, has taken on $80 million before its upcoming IPO. In announcing the new funding today, Good didn’t say who was putting up the money. It only said Oppenheimer & Co. was handling the book-running.

Read more on VentureBeat: Mobile security player Good Technology takes $80M ahead of IPO

Reddit gets $50M

Community news-sharing site Reddit has raised a new $50 million round of funding, the company told VentureBeat today. The new round of funding was led by Y Combinator president Sam Altman, with participation from from Alfred Lin of Sequoia Capital and Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz. Others who participated in the round include a handful of tech industry entrepreneurs including Peter Thiel, Ron Conway, Paul Buchheit, Jessica Livingston, Kevin and Julia Hartz, Mariam Naficy, Josh Kushner, and even Reddit CEO Yishan Wong.

Read more on VentureBeat: Y Combinator president upvotes Reddit with $50M investment

Remind scores $40M

San Francisco-based startup Remind has no revenue to date. But that hasn’t stopped the secure broadcasting app for teachers, students, and parents from landing a new $40 million round on top of a previous $19 million. The new Series C funding round was led by previous investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, The Social+Capital Partnership, and First Round.

Read more on VentureBeat: Tapping mobile communication between parents and teachers, Remind scores $40M

Dwolla raises $9.7M

Payments startup Dwolla has picked up $9.7 million in new funding, TechCrunch reported today. CME Group has joined in as an investor in the round alongside Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, and Village Ventures, the company said in a statement.

Read Dwolla’s blog post.

365Scores raises $5.5M

365Scores, a startup with mobile apps for tracking sports games and teams, announced today $5.5 million in new funding. LETA Capital, Cedar Fund, Titanium Investments and private investors participated. The startup now sends 2 billion push notifications per month, it said in a statement today. Increasing social is on the to-do list for the startup.

Read the press release.

Front raises $3.1M

Problem: Mass emails come in to your office all the time, and there’s no way to collaborate on the perfect response. Solution: That’s where Front, a startup from Y Combinator’s 14th class, comes in. Front has now announced that it has raised a $3.1 million seed round led by Jeff Clavier’s SoftTech VC. A number of SaaS-focused VC firms also participated, including BOLDStart, Point Nine Capital, Caffeinated Capital, and a number of angel investors. Among the angels were Gmail’s creator Paul Buchheit, Yahoo former chief product officer Geoff Ralston and Yahoo Communication Products SVP Jeff Bonforte.

Read more on VentureBeat: Team email startup Front raises $3.1M for ‘multi-player version of Gmail’