SiliconANGLE Extracting the signal from the noise. Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:41:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A new messaging app called “Gems” wants to pay its users in Bitcoin Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:29:27 +0000 Continue reading ]]> app-icon-550x550A new social messaging platform aims to reward users with Bitcoin for spending time on it.

Most social networks and messaging platforms make money from selling information about their users to advertisers. That’s what Gems – the world’s first social currency network – wants to do as well. But instead of keeping all the revenues for itself, it’ll share some with its users, since it’s their information that’s being sold.

“Everything we do on Facebook or Whatsapp, [the companies are] making money out of it. They’re using our information, they’re selling it to advertisers and we don’t see anything out of it. We think that the users should be rewarded much more for using the application. So anything that we can do to incentive people, we do it with Gems,” Daniel Peled, lead developer for Gems said in an interview.

On Gems’ website, the social network explains why it wants to reward its users and how it’ll go about doing so. It’s very simple – the more you use the site and recommend it to your peers, the more you’ll be rewarded for your efforts. So the more successful Gems becomes, the richer everyone will be.

Gems will be available for download as a free app for iOS and Android. Each user, upon registration, gets his or her own wallet which is protected by a passphrase chosen by them. The user’s profile name also serves as the alias to their Gems wallet, making Bitcoin transactions between users easier. The service is powered by Counterparty, which is a platform for free and open financial tools on the Bitcoin network.

Gems features unlimited messaging, users can be anonymous if they please, communications are always encrypted, and as stated earlier, if a user can refer their friends, he or she will be rewarded.

Messaging between friends is free, but to send an unsolicited message or advert it will cost you ‘Gems’ to do so. Those users who decide to view the ads will be rewarded with some of these Gems, which can be exchanged for Bitcoins whenever they want to cash out.

Peled believes that Gems will be stronger than other altcoins, as the strength of the service will be determined by the number of users.

“There are two things that will give real value to Gems, one is the users, 40% of the Gems are going to be distributed in a couple of years for inviting people in the network,” Peled said. “The second thing is we’re trying to build a social network that is more fair for the user.”

Gems hasn’t yet launched, but its creators are promising it will be available “very soon”.

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Role reversal for custom furniture software births Things of the Internet Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:02:19 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Massuni custom furniture software design shelf home decorThings of the Internet. That’s a new phrase coined by Jeff Wilson, the man behind the custom furniture startup Massuni, a branch of Verso Furniture, Inc. Looking at the flipside of  The Internet of Things movement, Massuni creates real-world objects that aren’t embedded with technology, but are carved from its invisible matrix and the imaginations of its users. Unlike the basic software offering a handful of pre-determined size and color options from manufacturers like hem,’s high-end subsidiary, Massuni lets users customize furniture pieces from start to finish.

Launching its campaign today on Kickstarter, Massuni’s founder set out to democratize furniture design. Wilson’s vision, however, took years to complete and was far more challenging than he’d expected.

“It’s been an enormous undertaking, but we’ve been determined to build a scalable platform to offer every piece of furniture in the known universe,” Wilson said in an interview. Among his biggest challenge was the algorithm underlying the Massuni system, which calculates the price of each furniture piece as it’s being designed by the buyer in the web-based program. That real-time data exchange is extended to the user, so they’re able to re-design furniture according to their own budgetary needs.

Wilson had to flip the traditional furniture-making process on its head to defy the mass-production mentality in exchange for one-off pieces, designing a factory floor with 27 work stations. Simplifying all furniture creations to a program that works with this factory layout, Massuni can accommodate over a million-trillion combinations of furniture sizes, finishes, cuts and trims – and that’s before you even consider additional variables such as furniture hardware (cabinet knobs and drawer pulls).

With 15 years of experience in cabinetry, Wilson had to re-think the way furniture is made in order to create a baseline for setting up the Massuni factory. The core process is patent-pending, and barely mentions furniture at all. Primarily the patent addresses the way Massuni organizes and prescribes objects in a 3-dimensional space, essentially reskinning an object from a basic box to something ornate.

“We had to invent a new way of defining the shape and position of how these objects relate to each other…basing the position of the equipment for intersection points,” Wilson explained.

While Wilson crafted a new standard for his furniture factory to operate as efficiently as a mass-production facility, interestingly enough, Massuni’s factory doesn’t host a single 3D printer. This, he said, would actually raise costs instead of keeping them low. As the size of a 3D-printed piece increases, the cost grows exponentially. And when it comes to creating furniture, 3D printers are still too limited in printable material options for the showcase pieces in a home. Moving forward, however, Wilson anticipates that 3D printing may come in handy for creating hardware pieces, like door handles.

Massuni’s launch begins as a social effort, seeking crowdfunding success on Kickstarter. But Wilson hopes the social love won’t stop there. Given the software-centric nature of Massuni, he plans to keep things as open as possible to incorporate furniture designs from users.

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Microsoft endorses value of the app economy | #BigDataNYC Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:50:36 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Joseph Sirosh, Corporate VP, MicrosoftThe rise of the app economy has created a unique opportunity for developers to pursue their ambitions, producing multi-billion dollar success stories such as Instagram and WhatsApp, but the data science community does not yet have a medium through which to channel its potential. Microsoft Corp.’s Joseph Sirosh dropped by theCUBE at SiliconANGLE’s recent BigData NYC meet-up to share how he and his team are changing that.

As the head of the machine learning group within the Redmond giant’s booming cloud business, Sirosh is at the forefront of the effort to bring about what Cloudera Inc. chief office strategy Mike Olson described as the “Big Data app economy” back in 2011. For the vision to come together, he believes that the data science scene needs its own version of the App Store.

“Data scientists don’t build software apps, they build machine learning models, they build analytical systems, they build visualizations – they don’t have an outlet to monetize this,” said Sirosh, who has himself been practicing the trade since before data became a buzzword. Microsoft hopes to provide that outlet in the form of the Azure Marketplace, which allows users to publish pre-packaged algorithms and machine learning models for others to consume.

The strength of that model comes not from groundbreaking analytics projects but rather the much more common everyday use cases such as production recommendations on retail websites, Sirosh stressed. That kind of data-intensive task not only requires the know-how of a data scientist but also the scalability that Microsoft promises to bring to the table with Azure.

“Building these recommendations is a hard job; it takes a data scientist to do that. But there’s another part that’s equally hard: To build an API that hooks into that web page, handles the volume of traffic and reliably serves recommendations with every click,” Sirosh explained. The last ingredient in his vision for the Big Data app economy is domain expertise, an invaluable asset in addressing analytics challenges limited to a specific department or industry.

Traditionally, addressing such a specializing need required companies to hire their own data scientists, who are scarce and expensive. Sirosh compared the challenge to custom-tailoring.

Thanks to automation, however, “Manufacturing clothes became so easy and so automated that you can go to a department store, select the sort of things you like and buy it,” he added. “So you need to create something like that: finished services that I can buy.”

Microsoft is aiming for exactly that with with its Marketplace, which, continuing the clothing analogy, Sirosh described as an effort to build a “factory in which data scientists create a large number of intelligence services so that you can get your APIs and just go.”

Watch the complete video (23:15)

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Teradata pivots up the analytics food chain with data relationships mapper Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:30:14 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Food chainTeradata Corp. is rolling out a new solution for identifying relationships across different kinds of information that aims to take the data scientist out of the analytics equation and hurry business insights along. The launch comes as the growing competition from Hadoop pushes the company to expand beyond its data warehousing home turf in pursuit of additional revenue streams.

Connection Analytics, as the new offering is known, runs atop the Aster Discovery Platform that Teradata obtained with its acquisition of the competitor of the same name back in 2011. The software takes advantage of the graph capability, which makes it possible to store information in the form of objects and the relationships between them, to enable users to drill into those connections for a true-to-life view of the situation at hand.

That makes it easier to expose patterns about and among all kinds of data entities, from customers accessing a retail website through strategic social media accounts to malicious bots. And to help users spot more complex relationships that require further digging to uncover, Connection Analytics harnesses another key feature of the Aster Discovery Platform: the SQL-MapReduce framework.

The technology enables developers to write advanced functions in the language of Hadoop that would either take considerably more effort or be outright impossible to replicate in conventional structured query syntax. According to Teradata, that allows users to manipulate information in Aster environments with far greater granularity than would be afforded otherwise, making it possible to catch relationships that might have slipped through the cracks in the past.

To make it possible for everyday business users to exploit that functionality, Connection Analytics packs in over 100 built-in algorithms covering many of the the use cases that Teradata is targeting the software towards. That includes social media analytics, which identify the reasons customers jump ship and track fraudsters across accounts based on their activity patterns.

The launch marks a landmark expansion of Teradata’s capabilities, but the same time, it also holds the risk of alienating partners such as Novetta Solutions LLC, the recently funded Loggly Inc. and Alteryx Inc., which offer functionality covering many of the same areas as Connection Analytics. But that’s a tactical sacrifice the data warehousing giant is apparently willing to make to further its long-term strategic goal of remaining relevant in the Hadoop era, a challenge that it’s taking a multi-pronged approach to tackling with a combination of new solutions, professional services and acquisitions. The company has a fine line to walk in pursuing that vision.

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Apple iCloud ‘hacked’ in China –allegations fly Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:15:46 +0000 Continue reading ]]> iCloudGreat Fire, a reputed non-profit organization that monitors Internet censorship in China, has claimed that Chinese authorities are staging a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack on Apple Inc’s iCloud. “This is clearly a malicious attack on Apple in an effort to gain access to usernames and passwords and consequently all data stored on iCloud such as iMessages, photos, contacts, etc.”

Great Fire lays the blame on Chinese authorities; however, other experts have told the Wall Street Journal, that the individuals responsible for the attack on iCloud could not be identified. Regardless of who is responsible it is likely to build further tension between America and China, who are already involved in a cyber-security war.

Apple stated on its support website “We’re aware of intermittent organised network attacks using insecure certificates to obtain user information and we take this very seriously. These attacks don’t compromise iCloud servers, and they don’t impact iCloud sign in on iOS devices or Macs running OS X Yosemite using the Safari browser”.

Apple made no mention of China or provided any further details about the attack. However, a man-in-the-middle attack would allow a third party to obtain a user’s password by making them think they are signing into Apple’s iCloud service.

Wall Street Journal reported that alarm signals regarding the iCloud service in China started to go off over the weekend, when some Chinese internet users started receiving warning messages on their Internet browsers. This sparked various discussions in online groups. After testing the service, Zhou Shuguang – Taiwan-based Chinese Internet activist, found that the communication channels, linking the iCloud server and iCloud users, had been hijacked. In addition, Erik Hjelmvik, an analyst with Netresec AB, a network-security-software vendor in Sweden, arrived at a similar conclusion after reviewing data posted online by Chinese Internet users. He said, “It’s evident that it’s quite massive,” Mr Hjelmvik said. “The attack was quite sophisticated in that they apparently have quite a huge system set up in order to be able to intercept on such a large scale.”

The attack appears to be unrelated to last month’s hacking of celebrities’ iCloud accounts. Apple said that its servers were not breached in that episode, rather its investigation had found that hackers obtained passwords using ‘phishing attacks’ or by guessing answers to security questions.

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Yahoo! finally achieves “material” growth in mobile Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:00:17 +0000 Continue reading ]]> small__55351996Yahoo! Inc. is quietly hopeful of reviving its fortunes after posting a rare increase in revenues for the last quarter, partly drive by its emerging mobile business.

The news isn’t much to write home about though – the company said its third-quarter GAAP revenues increased by a measly one percent to $1.148 billion, up from $1.139 billion in Q3 of 2013. Nonetheless, that it’s the first increase in seven quarters is reason to celebrate.

Yahoo! reported a total GAAP income of $42 million from the last quarter, which was actually 55 percent down on the $93 million it raked in during Q3 of 2013. Meanwhile, non-GAAP income was down by 10 percent, to $156 million from $173 million.

Still, CEO Marissa Mayer seemed pleased with the firm’s results overall. “We saw continued stability in the business, and our investments allowed us to bring beautiful products to our users and establish a strong foundation for revenue growth,” she said. “We are extremely heartened by the year-over-year traffic increase we experienced in 2013, an early sign of return on our investments and the acquisitions we’ve made.”

One area where Yahoo! did surprisingly well was in mobile, where it’s revenues finally become “material” for the first time, according to Mayer. The firm pulled in $200 million – not too bad for a company that finally owned up to “missing the boat” on mobile not so long ago.

Mayer has said on numerous occassions that mobile is where the company’s future lies, and it’s come up with some pretty decent products lately, thanks to the numerous startups it’s purchased in the last few months. This year alone, Yahoo! has snapped up no less than four firms to boost its mobile presence – the Snapchat clone Blink; MessageMe; Aviate; and the popular mobile analytics startup Flurry.

Yahoo! has or is in the process of integrating many of these acquisitions into its own products. For example, its News Digest is partly based on Summly, which it bought one year ago. Other were bought for the talent behind them, but Mayer’s overriding goal is to make Yahoo! a serious player in the mobile arena, and now we’re seeing the first fruits of that plan.

As for what Yahoo! will do next, many are speculating more acquisitions could be on the horizon. Mayer has hardly let up in her shopping spree since taking over, and now she’s cash rich with a $5 billion windfall from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s crazy IPO, she’s unlikely to stop. Just last week the Wall Street Journal reported Yahoo! is eyeing at least two more big acquisitions, and no doubt they’ll be buys designed to push its mobile horizons even further.

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Google’s Switch tells you exactly how to move from iOS to Android Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:45:32 +0000 Continue reading ]]> android vs appleGoogle has launched Switch, a website that tells you everything you need to know about switching from Apple Inc’s iPhone and iPad to an Android-based device.

The site is basically a manual that tells people how to move everything from photos, music and contacts across to Android. It explains how to set up your email and messaging and how you go about finding all your apps and downloading new ones. The comprehensive and easy to follow guide is obviously filled with references to Google apps and services. They recommend you use Google+ Photos to move all your pictures from your iPad and iPhone onto an Android device. They also instruct you to import your iCloud contacts into Gmail. In addition they recommend you disable iMessage in order to avoid having any issues receiving SMS and MMS messages once you have made the switch to Android.

Apple launched their own instructional guide last month. Their support site provides users all the information they need to make the switch to iPhone.

Apple and Google have been battling it out over the last several years in an attempt to gain more customers. In a report released last month by research firm ComScore, Google’s Android has 51.5 percent share of the US market, while Apple has 42.4 percent.

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SAP updates HANA platform with new features, licensing + APIs Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:30:44 +0000 Continue reading ]]> small__5068482201SAP SE is hoping to ramp up sales of its flagship HANA in-memory database platform with a raft of new features, including a new application programming interface and improvements to the way it handles Big Data workloads.

The announcement came at SAP’s TechEd & d-code conference in Las Vegas. The changes are aimed at making it easier for customers to switch to HANA, whether it’s on-premise or in the cloud. As well as the performance improvements, SAP introduced a range of new trial offers, free engineering assessments and a simplified licensing plan to try and tempt enterprises to check out its database.

The SAP HANA Service Pack 9 boasts new features including multi-tenancy to simplify the provisioning and management of Big Data workloads in hybrid environments; data integration and quality tools; dynamic tiering to manage large data sets; real-time data streaming analytics; and new functions for Hadoop that give SAP HANA direct access to Big Data workloads.

SAP HANA’s cloud platform also gets an update, with new mobile services that make it easier to deploy mobile apps and services. Other new features include integration with Samsung wearable devices, data synchronization and push notification APIs. Meanwhile, SAP also announced the beta of its cloud-based API Management tech, built using Apigee technology.

These announcements came shortly after SAP detailed its latest quarterly results. According to CEO Bill McDermott, the company achieved considerable success in the cloud with a 41 percent year-over-year increase in cloud subscription and support revenues to $353 million in Q3. On the downside, traditional software sales fell by three percent to $1.21 billion, forcing the company to cut its full year profit forecast to between $7.1 billion and $7.4 billion.

What with its cloud revenues on the rise, it’s no surprise that this is where much of SAP’s attention has been focused in recent weeks. Earlier this month, SAP announced a partnership with business intelligence provider Birst Inc. to bring data analytics to HANA cloud, just two days before IBM Corp. certified HANA to run on its SoftLayer cloud.

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Yahoo skips details on Alibaba opportunity, growth strategy in Q3 earnings call Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:15:10 +0000 Continue reading ]]> YahooYahoo Inc. have released their Q3 earnings and after many quarters of falling revenues, they have finally reported strong financial performance with sales growth and a higher than expected profit. Yet investors remain confused on how the web giant will grow from here.

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo said “We had a good, solid third quarter. We delivered $1.094 billion in revenue ex-TAC and $1.148 billion in GAAP revenue. This represents 1 percent growth in revenue ex-TAC and 1 percent growth in GAAP revenue. We achieved this revenue growth through strong growth in our new areas of investment – mobile, social, native and video – despite industry headwinds in some of our large, legacy businesses.”

“I am also pleased to report today that our revenue in mobile is now material,” Mayer went on. “In Q3, we saw mobile revenues in excess of $200 million on a GAAP basis. Further, we estimate that our gross revenues in mobile will exceed $1.2 billion in revenue this year.”

In Yahoo’s webcast, they reported a surprising profit of 52 cents a share before stock compensation costs, compared to 34 cents a year ago. They have also increased their revenue by 1 percent from the previous period to $1.148 billion.

Yahoo’s results are an improvement from previous quarters; however, what investors will want to see is that they can compete with giants like Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. who continue to gain traction in the global digital advertising market.

Mark Mahaney, an Internet industry analyst at RBC Capital Markets said “Things might be getting less worse,” going on to note that “what people are really going to want to see is evidence that they are growing in line with the market.”

However, the biggest question on Yahoo investor’s minds, and something that wasn’t addressed by Mayer, was how they would be taking advantage of its stock holdings in the Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan. When Yahoo sold 140 million shares in Alibaba’s IPO back in September, they netted $6.3 billion, which is a vast majority of the company’s net earnings of $6.8 billion.

TechCrunch reported that Yahoo are interested in BrightRoll, a video advertising firm, for around $700 million; however, Mayer didn’t mention anything about this either.

Mayer did disclose some numbers on another acquisition, Tumblr. The blogging platform has grown from 300 million to 428 million users over the last year. Advertising revenue is still modest on the platform; however, revenue is expected to hit $100 million next year.

The hedge fund Starboard Value, which has said they own a significant stake in Yahoo, pressed the company last month to explore a merger with AOL Inc. AOL’s CEO, Tim Armstrong, at a tech conference in London on Monday, dismissed the rumors of a Yahoo and AOL merger.

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Google buys Firebase to add real-time sync & store capabilities to its Cloud Platform Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:00:47 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 2082974481_bbea257a20Google Inc., has just announced the acquisition of backend-as-a-service startup Firebase, whose platform helps developers build mobile apps for Android and iOS that can store and sync data in real time.

Firebase, which counts some 110,000 registered users, will be integrated with Google’s Cloud Platform. Other than that, the service should work just the same as it has before, and will remain platform-agnostic.

The most immediate benefit of the deal is that Firebase will be able to scale its services dramatically. “With Google’s engineering talent, resources and technical infrastructure, we’ll be able to do much more, much faster,” it says in the company blog. It goes on to state how its mission complements Google’s, as both companies strive to “help developers create extraordinary experiences” for everyone else.

As far as Google is concerned, this deal mostly seems to be an acquisition of talent and technology – however it comes with the added bonus of introducing Firebase’s 100,000 developers to Google Cloud Platform. And although the acquisition has only just been announced, Google is planning to introduce new Firebase features at its Google Cloud Platform Live event on November 4.

This is the third acquisition for Google’s Cloud Platform this year. The search giant snapped up the monitoring service Stackdriver in May of this year, before adding visual effects rendering service Zync to its Cloud Platform last August.

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