Technology archive for 2017-01-26

As regulators waver, Apple takes on Qualcomm in courts

(2 years ago)
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc's new legal assault on Qualcomm in the United States and China reflects its conclusion that regulators are unlikely to put an end to what it considers the chip maker's unfair business practices, analysts said.

Alphabet quarterly profit misses estimates, shares fall

(2 years ago)
(Reuters) - Google parent Alphabet Inc posted fourth-quarter profit below analysts' estimates on Thursday, sending its shares down 2.7 percent in late trade and raising concerns that growth in the company's powerhouse advertising business may be slowing.

Customer Feedback Surveys Could Be Considered Harmful

(2 years ago)
Longtime Slashdot reader Stunt Pope writes: Customer Feedback surveys are now near-ubiquitous, subjecting us all to near-Black Mirror-esque pursuit to "rate your experience" for everything from going to the bank to ordering a pizza. Thanks to The Curse of Goodhart's Law, all of these surveys are beyond useless and even damaging. Mark Jeftovic writes in a blog post: "The shop/hire-rate-reward feedback loop has become baked-in to some systems. Many live marketplaces incorporate these feedback transactions into ratings, which then become a score which then impacts future prospects of whomever is being rated. And that's where the trouble starts. There is a point where this stops being useful and the knock-on effects of a ratings system predicated on feedback results becomes counter-productive. That point is when the ratings become targets. When a company decrees 'All customer feedback ratings must score a minimum of X, or else...' the company has just commenced the process of invalidating and corrupting all useful information to be gleaned from that feedback/survey process. A label which captures this concept is 'Goodhart's Law' -- after economist Charles Goodhart, who posited in essence that 'when a measure becomes a target, it becomes useless.'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Alphabet quarterly profit misses estimates, shares fall

(2 years ago)
(Reuters) - Google parent Alphabet Inc posted fourth-quarter profit below analysts' estimates on Thursday, sending its shares down 2.7 percent in late trade and raising concerns that growth in the company's powerhouse advertising business may be slowing.

Microsoft reports $1.35B revenue from Surface, down 2% YoY, as Azure revenue rises 93% YoY (Emil Protalinski/VentureBeat)

(2 years ago)
Emil Protalinski / VentureBeat:Microsoft reports $1.35B revenue from Surface, down 2% YoY, as Azure revenue rises 93% YoY  —  Microsoft today reported earnings for its second fiscal quarter of 2017, including revenue of $26.1 billion, net income of $6.5 billion, and earnings per share of $0.83.

China girlfriend rental app gets leg up from Lunar New Year demand

(2 years ago)
BEIJING (Reuters) - As millions in China head home to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday with their families, 24-year-old Luoluo is busy answering messages on a mobile app from desperate men looking to hire an instant girlfriend whom they can present to mom and dad.

Lionsgate in talks to sell Epix stake to MGM, Viacom: sources

(2 years ago)
(Reuters) - Lionsgate has initiated talks to sell its stake in Epix to the premium U.S. cable channel's other two shareholders, MGM Holdings Inc and Paramount, a unit of Viacom Inc, according to people familiar with the matter.

PayPal quarterly revenue rises 16.6 percent

(2 years ago)
(Reuters) - PayPal Holdings Inc reported a 16.6 percent rise in quarterly revenue, in line with analysts' estimates, helped by growth in customer and merchant accounts on its payments platform.

Microsoft's quarterly profit rises 3.6 percent

(2 years ago)
(Reuters) - Microsoft Corp reported a 3.6 percent rise in quarterly profit on Thursday, powered by a surge in demand for the company's flagship cloud platform Azure.

Intel reports 9.8 percent rise in quarterly revenue

(2 years ago)
(Reuters) - Intel Corp reported a 9.8 percent rise in quarterly revenue on Thursday, boosted by a stabilizing PC market and a rise in demand for its data center services.

Speculation builds on a Verizon-Charter tie-up, no offer made

(2 years ago)
(Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc is interested in exploring a combination with U.S. cable company Charter Communication Inc as part of a long list of acquisition targets but no proposal has been made for a tie-up between the two companies, sources told Reuters on Thursday.

PayPal quarterly revenue rises 16.6 percent

(2 years ago)
(Reuters) - PayPal Holdings Inc reported a 16.6 percent rise in quarterly revenue helped by the continued growth in customer and merchant accounts on its payments platform.

War movie 'Apocalypse Now' getting its own videogame

(2 years ago)
(Reuters) - Francis Ford Coppola is developing an interactive, psychological horror videogame based on his epic Vietnam War film "Apocalypse Now," and is asking the public to contribute $900,000 toward the cost of making it.

Facebook Dumps Personalized 'Trending Topics' After Backlash

(2 years ago)
As the company works to strengthen its reputation as a place for news and curb the spread of misinformation on the site, Facebook announced it has removed the personalized interest-based list of news topics on the right-hand side of your news feed. Now everyone in a geographic region will see the same trending topics. CNET reports: In addition to doing away with the personalized list, there are two other big changes to the trending topics section that will start rolling out today and will take place for everyone in the U.S. "in the coming weeks." First, instead of just seeing a bare-bones topic, like "Saturn" or "X-men," two things that had been trending for me, you'll see a full headline from one of the news stories about that topic. That's the headline that had always popped up when you hovered over the topic. Second, Facebook is changing the way the topics are selected. The topics had been chosen based on how many people on Facebook are engaging with it. With the new changes, Facebook will look at the number of outlets posting stories on a particular topic, and decide its inclusion based on engagement around that group of articles. "This should surface trending topics quicker, be more effective at capturing a broader range of news and events from around the world and also help ensure that topics reflect real world events being covered by multiple news outlets," Will Cathcart, vice president of product management, said in a statement.[..]

China girlfriend rental app gets leg up from Lunar New Year demand

(2 years ago)
BEIJING (Reuters) - As millions in China head home to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday with their families, 24-year-old Luoluo is busy answering messages on a mobile app from desperate men looking to hire an instant girlfriend whom they can present to mom and dad.

Microsoft Cloud Strength Highlights Second Quarter Results (Microsoft)

(2 years ago)
Microsoft:Microsoft Cloud Strength Highlights Second Quarter Results  —  REDMOND, Wash. — January 26, 2017 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the following results for the quarter ended December 31, 2016:  · Revenue was $24.1 billion GAAP, and $26.1 billion non-GAAP

Alphabet Announces Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2016 Results (Alphabet Investor Relations)

(2 years ago)
Alphabet Investor Relations:Alphabet Announces Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2016 Results  —  Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG, GOOGL) today announced financial results for the quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2016.  —  “Our growth in the fourth quarter was exceptional — with revenues up 22% year on year and 24% on a constant currency basis.

Microsoft Reportedly Working On a 'Lightweight Version of Windows' Known As 'Cloud Shell'

(2 years ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Neowin: Last week, details emerged of Microsoft's plans to develop a single, unified, 'adaptive shell' for Windows 10. Known as the 'Composable Shell', or CSHELL, the company's efforts were said to be focused on establishing a universal Windows 10 version with a standardized framework to scale and adapt the OS to any type of device, display size or user experience, including smartphones, PCs, tablets, consoles, large touchscreens, and more. Today, Petri reported that Microsoft is working on a new shell for Windows known as 'Cloud Shell'. According to internal documentation referred to in that report, Cloud Shell is described as a "lightweight version of Windows designed for the modern computing world." It also hints at plans to introduce the Cloud Shell sometime in 2017 -- but little else is known about the new shell besides that. Cloud Shell is said to be connected, in some way, with the Windows Store and Universal Windows Platform app framework, and the report speculates that it may also be related to Microsoft's plans to bring the full version of Windows 10 to mobile devices with ARM-based processors, which it announced in December. However, the cloud nomenclature, and the reference to this being a 'lightweight' version of Windows could hint at a 'thin client'-style approach, in which the Windows 10 shell could be streamed from Microsoft's Azure platform to any device with an internet connection, while its cloud servers remotely[..]

Facebook says it will promote longer videos with high completion rates in News Feed (Peter Kafka/Recode)

(2 years ago)
Peter Kafka / Recode:Facebook says it will promote longer videos with high completion rates in News Feed  —  Because that's what's on TV.  —  You know how mobile + social is supposed to = short attention span?  —  No more, says Facebook: It says it is going to start rewarding video makers who create longer clips — if people actually finish them.

Chrome Now Reloads Pages 28% Faster

(2 years ago)
Google has announced that it has worked with Facebook and Mozilla to make page reloads in Chrome for desktop and mobile significantly faster. According to Google's data, reloading sites with the latest version of Chrome should now be about 28 percent faster. From a report: Typically, when you reload a page, the browser ends up making hundreds of network requests just to see if the images and other resources it cached the first time you went to a site are still valid. As Google engineer Takashi Toyoshima notes in today's announcement, users typically reload pages because they either look broken or because the content looks like it should have been updated (think old-school live blogs). He argues that when browser developers first added this feature, it was mostly because broken pages were common. Today, users mostly reload pages because the content of a site seems stale. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Postmates offers 25-minute guaranteed delivery of alcohol in San Francisco and Los Angeles (Bryan Clark/The Next Web)

(2 years ago)
Bryan Clark / The Next Web:Postmates offers 25-minute guaranteed delivery of alcohol in San Francisco and Los Angeles  —  After raising $140 million in funding and growing to over 2 million deliveries per month what's next for on-demand courier Postmates?  Getting you drunk, fast.  —  Startups like Drizly …

Driverless Bus Makes Debut in Georgia at Start of US Tour

(2 years ago)
A shuttle bus that drove itself _ along with human passengers _ through a course in a parking lot near Atlanta is embarking on a tour that will include stops in Texas and California

Driverless Bus Makes Debut in Georgia at Start of US Tour

(2 years ago)
A shuttle bus that drove itself _ along with human passengers _ through a course in a parking lot near Atlanta is embarking on a tour that will include stops in Texas and California

Twitter Scrambles For Next Big Feature, Bets On Merging Tweets, Hashtags, Moments

(2 years ago)
Twitter is introducing a long requested feature: A better way to discover people, events and trends.The company is introducing Explore, a tab that the company says will be a home for the most popular and relevant content on the platform. From a report: In a blog post today, product designer Angela Lam said the addition will house Trends, Moments, Search and live video. "Over the past year, we've been exploring different ways to make it simpler for people to find and use Trends, Moments, and Search," Lam wrote. "During our research process, people told us that the new Explore tab helped them easily find news, what's trending, and what's popular right now." Explore -- which will begin rolling out for iOS today and for Android within the next few weeks -- is similar to what Twitter has been testing with some users a few months back. The news also comes just a few weeks after CEO Jack Dorsey used his own account to crowdsource suggestions for what users think Twitter could do to improve the experience. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Scientists Take First Steps to Growing Human Organs in Pigs

(2 years ago)
Scientists have grown human cells inside pig embryos, a very early step toward the goal of growing livers and other human organs inside animals to transplant into people

New Zealand To Bring Ultrafast Internet To 85 Percent Of Population

(2 years ago)
Ultrafast broadband is coming to more than another 200,000 homes, but doubts are already being expressed that the expansion of the network isn't quite ambitious enough. From a report: Another 423,000 people will be able get ultrafast broadband (UFB) by the end of 2024 as a result of a long-awaited decision to expand the network. Prime Minister Bill English said UFB would be extended to more than 151 additional towns, on top of the 33 cities that are already getting the service. The expansion will mean UFB will be available to "up to 85 per cent" of the population, up from the 75 per cent coverage that is planned to be delivered by 2020. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Doomsday Clock Is Reset: Closest To Midnight Since The 1950s

(2 years ago)
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has taken the unprecedented step of moving the Doomsday Clock ahead 30 seconds, taking the world to two-and-a-half-minute to midnight. The scientists said Thursday that several factors weighed heavily in their decision, particularly climate change denial by people in power -- they cited U.S. President Donald Trump -- and talk about more nuclear weapons. From a report on NPR: The setting is the closest the clock has come to midnight since 1953, when scientists moved it to two minutes from midnight after seeing both the U.S. and the Soviet Union test hydrogen bombs. It remained at that mark until 1960. "Make no mistake, this has been a difficult year," Rachel Bronson, executive director and publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said as the new setting was announced Thursday. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

'The Future of Advertising is Fewer, Better Ads'

(2 years ago)
For more than a decade, the online advertising world has been dominated by "display ads," served up to consumers alongside web content, search results or social media posts. But they're not the only game in town, one digital ad exec says. From a report: "I think the advertising world going forward is going to be filled with fewer, better ads," Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer said on the latest episode of Recode Media. "The display advertising market is going to crater. By giving away stuff for free for so long, we've created an ad economy that is bigger than it should be," he added. Schafer says there's a untapped value in "nonstandard" ads, meaning branded content and other forms of advertising on platforms such as Snapchat, Musical.ly, WeHeartIt and Imgur. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Want to Track Cellphones? Get a Warrant, Lawmakers Say

(2 years ago)
Law enforcement's use of cellphone tracking devices is coming under scrutiny in at least eight states during this year's legislative sessions, where lawmakers have introduced proposals ranging from warrant requirements to an outright ban on the technology

Chrome 56 arrives with 28% faster page reloading, "Not secure" warning for HTTP password and credit card forms (Emil Protalinski/VentureBeat)

(2 years ago)
Emil Protalinski / VentureBeat:Chrome 56 arrives with 28% faster page reloading, “Not secure” warning for HTTP password and credit card forms  —  Google has launched Chrome 56 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.  Among the additions is a new warning for websites that collect passwords or credit card numbers …

Uber Was the Most-Expensed Service, With 6% of all Business Receipts in 2016

(2 years ago)
Uber continues to be the transportation service of choice for business travelers, making up 52 percent of all expenses in Q4, according to a study by Certify. From a report: The online travel and expense management service provider today claimed Uber received the majority share of ground transportation, compared to 40 percent the same quarter in 2015. Additionally, the private on-demand ride hailing service was the most expensed service in 2016. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Claude Zellweger, HTC's head of design who focused on the Vive headset, is leaving to work on Google Daydream (Vlad Savov/The Verge)

(2 years ago)
Vlad Savov / The Verge:Claude Zellweger, HTC's head of design who focused on the Vive headset, is leaving to work on Google Daydream  —  Switching VR camps from the Vive to Google's mobile alternative  —  It seems like Silicon Valley hiring season right now, as swiftly on the heels of Hugo Barra announcing …

Anyone can now make and publish Daydream VR apps (JC Torres/SlashGear)

(2 years ago)
JC Torres / SlashGear:Anyone can now make and publish Daydream VR apps  —  While virtual reality technology and hardware are almost “there”, actual significant content remains hard to come by.  With more powerful systems like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the price of equipment presents a high barrier to entry.

Apple Set To Join Amazon, Google, Facebook in AI Research Group

(2 years ago)
Apple will take a significant step toward disclosing more of its artificial intelligence research this week by becoming a member of a non-profit AI research consortium founded by five of the tech industry's biggest players, reports Bloomberg. Last September, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and IBM publicly announced The Partnership on AI, an organisation established "to study and formulate best practices, to advance the public's understanding of AI, and to serve as an open platform for discussion and engagement about AI and its influences on people and society." Apple released its first AI paper to the public last year. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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