SiliconANGLE Extracting the signal from the noise. Wed, 01 Apr 2015 21:01:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Playism wants to make the Japanese indie game market grow Wed, 01 Apr 2015 19:20:25 +0000 Continue reading ]]> gaming-controller-consoleWhile the indie game market has exploded in the West thanks to digital distribution platforms like Steam and crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, the genre has not really caught on in Japan, a country that has long been one of the leaders in game production. But Osaka-based game publisher Playism Games, a branch of  Active Gaming Media Inc, wants to change that.

Playism’s purpose is to publish foreign indie games within Japan, as well as to publish Japanese indie games internationally, but the country has been surprisingly slow to support the indie game scene in comparison to the U.S., Canada, and most of Europe.

“Active Gaming Media, our parent company, has been around since 2008, but Playism as a department and as a brand started just four years ago,” Playism marketing manager Nayan Ramachandran told GamesBeat. “It started originally because we had these disparate departments within the company  — localization, creative, marketing — and wanted to bring them together and form a brand. We focused on indie games because the people involved were passionate about the Japanese gaming industry, and saw the local doujin community as a chance to bring Japanese gaming back to prominence.”


“It’s too hard to define, because it’s so fractured”


In Japan, “doujin” refers to a hobbyist genre of fan-made products, whether they are comics, music, or even games. While in the West the term doujin is frequently understood to refer to something roughly equivalent to fan fiction, it can also be applied to original content.

According to Ramachandran, an indie gaming scene does exist in Japan, but it is fragmented and disorganized. “It’s too hard to define, because it’s so fractured,” Ramachandran said. “You have the indie scene, the doujin scene, the flash game scene, the small developer scene, etc. They’re all of varying sizes, but none of them really interact with each other.”

Ramachandran notes that one of the key issues holding back indie games in Japan is Japanese gamers reluctance to adopt a digital distribution model, but he is optimistic about the industry’s future.

“I think it’s just a matter of time,” he said. “Eventually, we’ll hit critical mass. The number of titles global audiences have an interest in will grow, and it will snowball from there. It just takes time”

photo credit: Ben Andreas Harding via photopin cc
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Newest Apple iPhone rumor roundup Wed, 01 Apr 2015 19:00:31 +0000 Continue reading ]]> The Apple Watch will hit Apple Stores in certain countries on April 24, and fanboys will surely be lining up come release day. Well, at least that’s what Apple is hoping for. But even if the smartwatch doesn’t meet sales expectations, there’s always the iPhone to fall back on.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak doesn’t see the Apple Watch as something that can truly be a game changer for the company, but he stated that he will be purchasing one, just not the very expensive Apple Edition. Still, if the Apple Watch doesn’t rake in millions of dollars for Apple, the Cupertino giant still has the third and fourth quarter of 2015 to look forward to. Apple is expected to launch its flagship smartphone and tablet sometime in the third quarter and rake in millions by the fourth quarter of 2015, in time for the holiday season.

iphone 6


So what can consumers look forward to from Apple? How many iPhone versions will the company release this year? Will it have the same features as last year’s model? Or will it be introducing new features directed at health and mobile payment? Let’s look at what the rumor mill has churned up.

iPhone rumors


Three iPhones for 2015

There have been reports that Apple will be releasing a 4-inch screen iPhone alongside the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus come September. The 4-inch screen iPhone, or iPhone 6c, is expected to follow in the steps of the iPhone 5c, which is made of cheaper materials, making it cheaper than the other models.

Leaked images of the iPhone 6c back casing shows an elongated LED flash instead of a round one. Other reports have refuted this claim, stating that suppliers have not been tasked to produce materials that would be needed for a smaller iPhone model. Despite being mocked for producing an iPhone with a plastic casing, and rumors of the iPhone 5c production being halved last year due to low demand from consumers, it was later revealed that consumers eventually warmed up to the plastic-y iPhone. This could be something Apple can consider when it comes to deciding whether to release a smaller iPhone in the future.


Force Touch

Force Touch is a technology introduced by Apple in its new MacBook’s trackpad. It utilizes pressure sensors to determine how much effort a person is applying to it which could translate to a lot of different things, such as fast forwarding a video when you apply greater pressure.

This technology is rumored to appear in the next generation of iPhones, which could change the way users interact with their iPhones. A long, hard press on the screen could be interpreted as going back to the Home screen instead of using the Home button, or something in that sense.


Apple SIM

Last year, Apple introduced its very own network-agnostic SIM for its cellular-enabled iPad Air 2. This gave consumers the freedom to choose which carrier to connect to without having to deal with carrier contracts just to get connected; it can also be used by travelers to get a data connection from local providers.

The same carrier-agnostic SIM card is said to be coming to the next iPhone models. This will allow consumers to choose the lowest price offered by any network and not deal with lengthy contracts. Though this may sound good for consumers, it would also mean consumers have to pay for their devices without the subsidies offered by network carriers. Consumers may be turned off by the high price of the device and choose not to purchase a new iPhone.

These are just some of the recent rumors that have surfaced regarding the next iPhones. If you want more juicy rumors, check out Newest iPhone rumors: 3D display, iOS 9 features.

photo credit: Janitors via photopin cc
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Bitcoin Weekly 2015 April 1: Rakuten week long $30 discount for BTC purchases, invests in PeerNova, Bitcoin blockchain could house malware says INTERPOL Wed, 01 Apr 2015 18:25:31 +0000 Continue reading ]]> bitcoin-weeklyThis Bitcoin Weekly may have fallen on April 1st, but it’s not the April Fools edition for the Weekly.

This week, Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten is bringing bitcoin payments to the United States and to sweeten the pot has begun a week-long $30 discount (for purchases $100 and up) starting today. has invested in enterprise-grade Bitcoin blockchain product company PeerNova to the tune of $5 million. Align Commerce, a startup headed by an ex-Western Union general manager, seeks to change the landscape of money remittance with the Bitcoin network.

Also in the news, INTERPOL and Kaspersky warn that the Bitcoin blockchain can be used to store malware (and other potentially illegal data.)

News of two federal agents charged with money laundering and wire fraud for theft of bitcoins related to the Silk Road case surfaced.

This and more in this week’s Bitcoin Weekly.

Rakuten fully integrates Bitnet, BTC purchases, week-long $30 discount


Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, Inc. has announced full integration with bitcoin processor Bitnet Technologies Ltd., which opens up bitcoin payments to customers in the United States.

To encourage Bitcoin users to try out the website, Rakuten is offering a $30 discount to anyone who spends over $100 in BTC during the first week extending from April 1st until April 8th, 2015.

Fumio Kobayashi, president of said: “Bitcoin turned the Internet into a secure, seamless global payment network. By integrating with Bitnet we are now offering consumers the industry standard in secure payments, and our merchants will benefit by receiving guaranteed payments. Both consumers and merchants will have peace of mind when participating in the online marketplace.” invests 5m into PeerNova


Bitcoin technology specialist PeerNova Inc. just got a $5 million booster shot of investment money from, Inc. this week as part of a series A funding round.

PeerNova describes itself as an innovator in trustless systems based on the Bitcoin blockchain and seeks to bring blockchain-based technologies to the enterprise at scale. and its CEO Patrick Bryne are already well known for jumping on the bitcoin bandwagon early in 2014 as one of the first large retailers to start accepting bitcoin payments.

PeerNova announced that it intends to use the new money to accelerate the development of its two core enterprise products focused on data security and financial applications.

Align Commerce uses Bitcoin to compete with Western Union


BTCFeed reports that Align Commerce will be using Bitcoin in order to bridge international distances for remittances similar to Western Union. As it turns out, the CEO and co-founder of Align Commerce Marwan Forzley also worked for Western Union, as a general manager for two years, before opening the doors of his startup in 2014.

The problem that Forzley says his company is attempting to solve is inherent to the SWIFT system, one of the most popular payment networks currently used by financial institutions to move money. SWIFT uses multiple banking intermediaries to move money and sometimes transfers can take several days to complete.

According to Forzley, Align Commerce’s system will allow clients to send fiat cash across the world in a matter of minutes by using the Bitcoin network as an intermediary. Clients of the company do not need to involve themselves in foreign exchange markets and can deposit and receive in their native currency due to Align Commerce having accounts in multiple Bitcoin exchanges across the world.

Forzley explains that the entire process from start to finish takes only a few minutes to complete.

As for regulation, Forzley says that his company does not suffer much burden from that yet and that it is in fact less burdensome than other remittance companies. And, while he expects this to change in the future, that chances are good that those costs for bitcoin-related businesses will still be lower than legacy systems such SWIFT and Western Union.

bitcoin-hand-dropINTERPOL, Kaspersky Labs says Blockchain could be used to house malware


According to a report from INTERPOL prepared with the help of a Kaspersky Labs expert researchers have discovered something known to the Bitcoin community since 2009: the Bitcoin blockchain can be used to store any data, including malware and otherwise illegal data.

According to the report, the open space in the blockchain that allows for arbitrary data to be stored during transactions (usually for the purposes of signing or messaging) could be used to store malware permanently.

“The design of the blockchain means there is the possibility of malware being injected and permanently hosted with no methods currently available to wipe this data. This could affect ‘cyber hygiene’ as well as the sharing of child sexual abuse images where the blockchain could become a safe haven for hosting such data,” the Kaspersky’s research reads.

Researchers suggest that the blockchain could therefore be used to distribute malware for multi-modular systems that use computers running a bitcoin node as storage for parts of the malware software set. And, researchers concluded, the blockchain could also be used as a command-and-control for botnets due to its distributed nature and communication techniques that would make commands opaque to everyone except for recipients.

Gavin Andreson, chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation, however disagrees that a C&C structure in the blockchain would be very plausible because of how expensive it would be for hackers to utilize it. Each command would cost some non-trivial amount of BTC, which has a real world value. Furthermore, the permanent structure the Bitcoin blockchain means that even though these commands could be obfuscated now, in the future once discovered every command would be indelibly recorded.

Botnets currently exist that are substantially cheaper, more widespread, and less complex for storing, distributing, and commanding malware.

Odd twist to Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht trial: Federal agents charged with stealing bitcoins


Two agents have been charged with money laundering and wire fraud in relation to the underground dark web marketplace Silk Road. Carl Mark Force IV, who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Shaun W. Bridges, who worked for the Secret Service, were named in allegations unsealed on Monday in federal court in San Francisco.

According to the New York Times, Force is alleged to have stolen and liquidated a “sizable amount of Bitcoins” for his own personal use while part of an undercover investigation of dark web marketplace Silk Road. Instead of turning over the bitcoins as part of the investigation, Force kept them for himself.

Bridges, it is alleged, diverted almost $8,000 in digital currency to his own accounts that he had gained control of during the course of the investigation.

This appears to tie in somewhat to the trial of Ross Ulbricht, convicted of being administrator of the Silk Road as “The Dread Pirate Roberts.” Ulbricht’s lawyer Joshua L. Dratel said that the trial judge suppressed this information from the trial at the government’s request. The government claims that the investigations by Force and Bridges happened external to the investigation into Ulbricht.

Although with this information surfacing, Dratel claims that Force attempted to extort the Dread Pirate Roberts out of $250,000 under the identity of “Nob.”

Bloomberg interviewed Blockchain Technology Consumer Solutions CEO Charles Allen about an encounter with Bridges and the basics of the story.

The story of potential corruption and malfeasance painted by the New York Times story adds entire new layers of mystique and intrigue to the already romance-laden Silk Road Trial. Patrick Byrne speaks about ‘The Bezzle’


The Bezzle, according to CEO Patrick Bryne, is a term that refers to the amount of value embezzled from financial markets by dishonest actors, such as bankers and stockbrokers. According to Byrne the United States’ financial system is particularly susceptible to this phenomena but the Swiss banking system is not.

In the video above, he speaks to how a Bitcoin blockchain system at Bitcoin Conference 2014 in Amsterdam, with a publicly auditable ledger, could be used to prevent this sort of fraudulent behavior with banking and stock trading.

The example he uses in his talk is he alleges that there are instances where stock traders have sold the same stock to multiple holders—something that would be difficult with Bitcoin due to the blockchain. He uses this to speak to how blockchain-technologies could be a threat to “dishonest bankers” in the future but not to “honest bankers.”

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Is our privacy worth what AT&T Gigapower will pay for it? Wed, 01 Apr 2015 18:20:55 +0000 Continue reading ]]> large eyeball man open doorway watching spy privacyIf the Internet is going to claim my privacy anyway, why not take the discount and pretend I’m happy? I’m talking about AT&T’s pricing for its 1Gbps Uverse Gigapower broadband. So named, I suspect because AT&T gigs you since they have the power.

AT&T is offering a $29 monthly discount on the $139 fee, provided you are willing to allow AT&T to monitor all your traffic and mine it for advertising leads. How this is different from what the NSA was accused of doing  to keep us safe from terrorists I am not sure.

Perhaps if the NSA had offered each of us $29-a-month, everything would have been OK?

Here’s the news: AT&T, in rolling out its 1Gbps fiber optic service in Cupertino, announced $139/month pricing, discounted to $110 for those willing to allow AT&T to monitor their browsing habits and look at other data, as well. Slate’s David Auerbach adds more of a chill to the story than I will in this post.

Gigapower is now available in six markets — Texas, Missouri and North Carolina — with 10 more planned to roll-out in coming months.

AT&T, of course, says your data will be secure and won’t be sold, but does anybody really believe this? Never a data breach? And how will AT&T respond to court orders? Will anything change with all this new data?

I’ve long been convinced that if people knew what corporations were doing with their data they’d like the NSA a whole lot more. We have the Ed Snowden’s of the world to warn us about government, but where is a Snowden where corporate use and misuse of personal data is concerned? And does anybody read those privacy policies? Most just routinely click “yes” when they appear on-screen. What are they doing to us and would resistance actually be possible?

We — at least some of us — say we are very concerned about privacy. But, most of us don’t show it, and our behavior does not seem to change because of privacy concerns. Identity theft concerns will move us, but privacy includes a much larger territory than identity crimes.

Call me fatalistic, but I am not sure what information AT&T will be gathering that Google doesn’t already have. Google gives me search and mail and apps, and probably several things I’ve forgotten. In return, Google right now makes sure I see pet insurance ads on almost every website that I visit. And I never even shopped for pet insurance.

Living in the sticks, as I do, I am not expecting to be confronted with AT&T’s privacy “deal”  very soon. By that time, I can base my decision on what others find, but my sense is that if I can’t save my privacy — that ship has sailed — at least I can save some money.

photo credit: Nick Kenrick. via photopin cc
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Nintendo shuts down Super Mario 64 HD fan remake, surprising no one Wed, 01 Apr 2015 17:50:25 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Mario64_-_Dire_Dire_DocksNintendo Co Ltd is not exactly known for being very lenient when it comes to fans using its IPs to make their own content, not even in the form of free advertising through Let’s Plays or machinima, so it is no shock that the Japanese game maker has come down hard on a fan working on an HD remake of Super Mario 64.

The Cease and Desist notice did not even surprise the project’s creator, Erik Ross. “I received a copyright infringement notice on both the webplayer as well as the standalone builds,” Ross wrote on the project blog. “Which is fair enough, really.”

“In light of Nintendo recently making a deal to release some of their IPs on mobile platforms, it’s probably not in their best interests to have a mobile-portable version of Mario 64 sitting around,” Ross explained. “In any case, I didn’t really expect for this project to get so popular, and was hoping it would function primarily as a educational tool and a novelty.”

While Ross may have been expecting Nintendo’s decision, the company does sometimes look the other way when it comes to fan projects. For example, Nintendo maintains a tense but so far non-confrontational relationship with the fan-made Super Smash Bros. Brawl mod Project M, which remains extremely popular with competitive players and esports tournaments.

Project M attempts to remove many of Brawl’s more luck-based features to make the competitive experience more like that of the previous game in the series, Super Smash Bros. Melee. This includes fast-paced combat, a high skill cap, and a deep meta game. On the Project M website, the creators wrote, “In short, Project M aims to capture the essence of what made Melee a truly great game in our eyes.”

While Nintendo does not strictly support Project M or its intent – it is even a forbidden topic on MiiVerse – the game is less likely to get the same treatment as Ross’s Mario 64 remake because it is not a standalone product using Nintendo’s assets, as Project M requires players to already own a copy of Brawl in order for it to work.

Image credit: “Mario64 – Dire Dire Docks“. Via Wikipedia.
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Edible capsule monitors stomach health Wed, 01 Apr 2015 17:17:20 +0000 Continue reading ]]> stomach intestines digestion digestive diagramThis week’s Smart Health roundup features a gas-sensing capsule to monitor stomach health, a necklace that monitors food and liquid intake, and a wearable temperature monitor.

High-tech gas sensing capsule to monitor stomach health

A team of researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and Monash University, led by RMIT professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, is developing a capsule that features biocompatible cladding, a gas-permeable membrane, and a gas sensor, microprocessor, and wireless transmitter powered by a battery, meant to be swallowed by a patient or test subject. The capsule will be able to transmit data gathered from the digestive system directly to a smartphone for analysis.

The capsule measures the concentration of select intestinal gases, by-products of gut organisms’ metabolism. This could help analyze how microorganisms and the gases they produce affect a person’s health, as well as determine how certain food can affect it.

“Being able to accurately measure intestinal gases could accelerate our knowledge about how specific gut microorganisms contribute to gastrointestinal disorders and food intake efficiency, enabling the development of new diagnostic techniques and treatments,” Kalantar-zadeh stated.


Smart necklace that monitors nutrition

Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science is developing WearSens, a high-tech necklace that is able to monitor food and drink intake to help battle obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other health problems related to nutrition.

The researchers stated that WearSens can distinguish whether a person is taking in solids or liquids with 87 percent accuracy, differentiate between hot and room-temperature drinks with 90 percent accuracy, and between food items with different textures with 80 percent accuracy. The numbers are expected to improve as the user calibrates the necklace based on their eating habits.

“Today, many people try to track their food intake with journals, but this is often not effective or convenient,” Majid Sarrafzadeh, a distinguished professor of computer science and co-director of UCLA’s Wireless Health Institute, said. “This technology allows individuals and health care professionals to monitor intake with greater accuracy and more immediacy.”


STEMP – Smart Temperature Patch

Temperature monitoring can be used for a lot of things, like watching for fever spikes or tracking ovulation cycles in women. But manually tracking one’s temperature can be annoying and time consuming. A project on Indiegogo called STEMP aims to make temperature monitoring as easy as putting on an adhesive bandage. STEMP or Smart Temperature Patch is able to continuously monitor the wearer’s temperature throughout the day and have the data available on their smartphone.

The STEMP sensor connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth and easily attaches to a person with the use of medical-grade, disposable adhesive. The adhesive ensures that the sensor stays in place so users can wear it and forget it, but still get accurate temperature reading throughout the day.

photo credit: Digestive Organ Chart 3 via photopin (license)
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Unicorns are real in open source | #OCPSummit15 recap Wed, 01 Apr 2015 16:30:42 +0000 Continue reading ]]> IMG_4161

Open Compute might not be “a sexy topic,” said but it represents the best of “off the charts innovation,” said John Furrier during a live wrap-up segment with Jeff Frick on theCUBE at OCP Summit 2015. Furrier and Frick joined forces to remark on their observations while at the Open Compute Summit. “There’s an ecosystem developing,” continued Furrier, “there are unicorns out here.” He believes that there were Amazon-like companies in attendance. “Open compute gives them instant scale soling all the large-scale complexity problems,” noted Furrier.


Open source enables hardware companies to act like software ones


Open source for hardware is a little harder to understand than open source for software. “But the open source hardware effort and the architectural design and sharing of best practices is letting people act like software companies in the hardware space,” said Frick. When hardware start ups are enabled to act like software companies, their CAPX [capital expenditure] costs are lower.

Major companies have been contributing to Open Compute in order to encourage adoption of cloud computing. With companies like Facebook, Microsoft, and Hewlett-Packard bringing their proprietary reference implementations and architecture to Open Compute, younger companies have the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants. This enables them to get a head start innovating in the “top 20 percent,” according to Furrier, as opposed to spending their time and money building the initial 80 percent. Furrier predicted that this will have “large scale global impact.” He called the Open Compute phenomenon “disruptive and exciting.”


A new focus for entrepreneurs


With their focus trained on the last 20 percent, Frick observed that the expectations of the entrepreneur have changed. Entrepreneurship has become more about “putting things together that already exist in a different way to solve a unique problem,” said Frick. He continued, citing how in the past, the focus was on being a “really deep expert in a particular technology,” but now, “how you bring them together in innovative ways” is more important. A key observation is that the ability to “play on the edge of different technologies and find ways to bring them together,” said Frick

Riding new waves of innovation


Part of finding new ways to bring technologies together is keeping an eye out for the next wave. Both Frick and Furrier predicted that the coming wave will be cloud and IoT [Internet of Things], in addition to “a new type of hardware device.” They suggested that big companies like HP, Microsoft, and Facebook will continue to bring exciting new innovations, like System-on-a-Chip (SoC), to the Open Compute market. Furthermore they said that the software defined datacenter will become “the new normal.”


New types of data centers


Frick and Furrier agree with previous theCUBE guest Cole Crawford that another cloud is forming in opposition to the current data center trend. In comparison to having a few really large data centers, Crawford predicted that this new type of data center will be “on the edge.”

While these two types of data centers will be different, Furrier suggested that “there will be some common ground.” Since there are “a lot of open source platforms to grow on,” Furrier said, “I believe there’s going to be opportunity when it comes to proprietary differentiated products.” Above all, he stressed, “with virtualization and cloud, it’s about the workload and the value will come from the apps.”

Watch the full segment below, and be sure to check out more from SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of OCP Summit 2015.


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Microsoft’s new Surface 3, you’re the one that I want Wed, 01 Apr 2015 15:20:06 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Microsoft Surface 3 tablet (Microsoft Corp.)

Microsoft is out with its newest Surface tablet, a machine that is a touch slower and a tad smaller than its current Surface Pro 3.

The new Surface 3, announced Tuesday, is also less expensive and improves battery life by 25 percent, to 10 hours of video playback on a full charge.

Due in stores May 5, the new Surface starts at $499 and also ditches Windows RT for real Windows 8.1. It does not include a stylus but can be used with the SP3 stylus available for purchase separately. The keyboard/cover is also an extra expense.

I have been searching for a small laptop for about a year now. It has to run real Windows applications and have a decent keyboard. Smaller is better, but tablet functionality is not so important to me. I’ve looked at a number of machines and seriously considered a Dell. I need this machine to be inexpensive, since it won’t be a primary tool.

It is hard to say “I’ve decided” when I have yet to touch the Microsoft Surface 3, but having seriously considered the Surface 3 Pro (too expensive) the new, slightly smaller, less-expensive model looks good. An LTE model will release later, but Wi-Fi meets my needs.

The $499 model includes 2GB RAM and a 64GB storage. Doubling RAM and storage adds $100. The Type Cover and Surface PC stylus cost extra, so a fully accessorized Surface 3 looks like $799 out-the-door. More if you want the docking station.

That same $799 is the starting price for the entry-level Surface 3 Pro, which sports a 12-inch screen compared to the 10.8-inch Surface 3. Both are HD resolution and both upgrade to Windows 10 for free when the new OS ships.

Of course, everything will upgrade to Win10 for free, at least machines capable of running the new Windows.

My former colleague, Mark Hachman, details the Surface 3 tech specs  at PC World.

Some customers will have a hard time deciding whether the Surface 3’s performance will be up to their tasks. Here’s what Microsoft has to say:

“If you do very demanding work – things like editing and rendering video or complex 3D modelling – then the power and performance of a Surface Pro 3 is for you,” writes Microsoft VP Panos Panay on the Surface blog announcing the new product. writes  If the majority of your work is less intense – working in Office, writing, using the Internet (using IE, Chrome, or Firefox!), and casual games and entertainment, then you’ll find that Surface 3 delivers everything you need.

“If the majority of your work is less intense – working in Office, writing, using the Internet (using IE, Chrome, or Firefox!), and casual games and entertainment, then you’ll find that Surface 3 delivers everything you need,” Panay adds.

Decisions, decisions, thankfully while preorders have started, the new Surface will also be in the Microsoft’s retail stores starting April 1, so I will get to compare and decide soon.

Image courtesy Microsoft Corp.
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Twitter publicly launches free Storify-like filtering platform called Curator Wed, 01 Apr 2015 14:40:54 +0000 Continue reading ]]> twitter tweet birds phone pole lineTwitter Inc continues its trend of making its own alternatives to third party tools by announcing the release of Curator, which it says “enables media publishers to discover, curate and display the best Twitter content on any screen.” Twitter had already released information about Curator at the News:Rewired Conference in London back in February, but the service is now officially released to the public.

Curator allows media organizations to curate a wide range of Twitter content for their sites, taking advantage of the micro blog’s endless stream of user generated content while catering it to their specific brand and audience. This includes images, video, and Vines that are shared through Twitter. The platform also includes tools that allow organizations to discover relevant conversations on Twitter, giving them the ability to filter content by location, language, follower count, hashtags, and more.

“For example, you can find Tweets including #MarchMadness, from users with 100+ followers located in the US,” writes Product Manager Matt Dennebaum. “You can then use Curator to display the best Tweets from that search into your mobile app, during a TV show broadcast, or on any screen regardless of size.”

Curator also has tools for monitoring several types of analytics on what Tweets people are reading, sharing, and interacting with.

Its features make Curator appear to be a direct answer to third party tools like Storify, which also allows clients to sift through content on Twitter in order to curate the material for their audiences.  But one way in which Curator differentiates itself from similar tools is its ability to provide real-time access to Tweets and Vines, while other platforms frequently take a bit of time to filter through new content.

Dennebaum notes that Curator’s first round of users have had great success with the tool, saying, “Those who have been testing Curator have seen strong increases in audience engagement, participation and attention. With these encouraging results, we’re opening up the product to all media publishers around the world, for free. This includes news organizations, production companies, broadcasters, local governments, and even concert venues.”

If your organization is interested in trying out Curator, you can request access here.

photo credit: mkhmarketing via photopin cc
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Top HP exec Donatelli jumps ship to Oracle Wed, 01 Apr 2015 13:34:52 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 31368-hi-David_Donatelli.jpgMultiple sources have told Business Insider that Hewlett-Packard Co. executive David Donatelli has jumped ship to one of the company’s biggest rivals – Oracle Corp. – where he’s taken up an executive vice president position within the firm’s hardware division.

Neither company has made any official comment on the move, but Business Insider claims Donatelli will be reporting directly to another ex-HP executive, Mark Hurd, who last year replaced Larry Ellison as Oracle CEO, a position he shares with Safra Catz.

That’s significant because Donatelli and Hurd are believed to be close – Donatelli worked alongside Hurd to engineer HP’s acquisition of the storage array vendor 3PAR Inc. back in September 2010.

Donatelli was once considered to be one of HP’s most powerful suits, serving as executive vice president of its Enterprise Systems division until Meg Whitman landed in the CEO’s chair to replace Hurd. Donatelli didn’t fare well under Whitman, with rumors circulating that he was eyeing HP’s top job for himself. As a result, Donatelli soon found himself relegated to a lesser role when Whitman decided the firm’s enterprise systems unit wasn’t performing quite as well as it should.

Donatelli ended up with the relatively unimportant job of looking for startups for HP to acquire, and Business Insider says he often preferred to work at the offices of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz instead of HP’s base in Palo Alto. Such was Donatelli’s dissatisfaction with his new job that he’s reportedly been looking to leave HP since at least February 2014.

“The conjecture was that when Hurd left, Donatelli lost his air cover and then slowly things unravelled,” said Wikibon Principal Analyst Dave Vellante. “His top sales guy, Randy Seidl, saw the writing on the wall and left HP, and that was the beginning of the end.”

It’s still unclear exactly what Donatelli will be tasked with in his new position, but given that he’s a hardware specialist with 22 years experience at EMC prior to his time at HP, he offers just the kind of talent Oracle needs as is bulks up its hardware base. While Oracle’s hardware business has been doing well of late, up 5 percent in the last quarter, Oracle is still primarily viewed as a software company.

“Going to Oracle under Hurd makes a lot of sense,” Vellante commented. “Donatelli is a task master and fits the Hurd mold of no-nonsense.”

Donatelli is a veteran of multiple appearances on SiliconANGLE’s theCUBE. His most recent appearance was in June, 2013 (below, 16:36)

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