"Satellites, stratospheric drones, and new forms of wireless networks—these are the technologies Facebook is betting on to make Internet access much, much cheaper and more widely available.Facebook’s Three-Point Plan to Get Four Billion More People Online
Today, roughly 4.2 billion people are not online. The social network established its Connectivity Lab in 2014 to work on new communications technologies to dramatically shrink that number.
Yael Maguire, head of the connectivity lab, laid out his plan to deliver on that mission at EmTech MIT 2016 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Tuesday. He said the lab has to develop multiple new technologies in parallel because the problem of getting people online is too complex for a single answer."
2016-10-20T06:53:39.087-04:00Check the full post for details on how Google is leveraging machine learning, Slack integration, and more in G Suite
"One of the core promises of Google Docs is to help you and your team go from collecting ideas to achieving your goals as quickly and easily as possible. That’s why last month we launched Explore in Docs, Sheets and Slides — with machine intelligence built right in — to help your team create amazing presentations, spreadsheets and documents in a fraction of the time it used to take.Five new ways to reach your goals faster with G Suite
Today, we’re introducing five new time-saving features designed to speed up and simplify the way you work, so you can focus on bringing your team’s ideas to life."
2016-10-20T06:39:57.241-04:00Later in the article: "The lawsuit says that when Apple alerted Amazon to the problematic chargers supplied to it by Mobile Star, the online retailer turned over its entire inventory purchased from the company."
"Ever had to buy a new Apple charger from Amazon? Well beware even those labelled as the genuine article — according to a recent lawsuit filed by Apple, 90 percent of them are fake.Apple lawsuit says 90 percent of 'official' chargers sold on Amazon are fake - The Verge
The iPhone-maker is currently suing a company named Mobile Star LLC for trademark infringement, alleging that the firm has been passing off counterfeit Apple chargers as the real thing. PatentlyApple has posted the text of the lawsuit, in which Apple reports buying a number of Mobile Star's chargers from Amazon."
"Prepare for another Apple event. The company on Wednesday sent invitations to the media, asking them to gather at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., for a product launch event.Apple sends out invites for Oct. 27 event - The Washington Post
Apple is widely expected to introduce a batch of laptops at the event — an area of the company's product lineup that has gone without a major refresh for quite a while. Apple hasn't updated its Retina MacBook Pro or MacBook Air in more than a year; the company did offer a refresh of its MacBook in April. The standard MacBook Pro hasn't had an update in four years."
2016-10-20T06:24:36.649-04:00Check this Tesla post for more details
"Tesla Motors said on Wednesday that it would equip all of its new vehicles with technology that enables fully autonomous driving, but would not activate the system until it undergoes further testing.Tesla Will Make Its Cars Fully Self-Driving, but Not Turn the System On Yet - The New York Times
In a blog post, the maker of electric cars said the new hardware included cameras, sensors and radars that allow the vehicles to operate without a human driver.
The company said the technology would be installed in all of its models, including the much-anticipated Model 3 sedan, which is expected to reach the United States market next year."
2016-10-19T07:06:49.221-04:00Perhaps best to wait until after the final debate tonight...
"Facebook is a place for making friends, sharing photos, and stoking bitter political arguments that last a lifetime. And while the social network pays a lot of attention to the first two activities, it's rather neglected the third. Not any more: as of this week, you can publicly endorse political candidates on Facebook.How to endorse a political candidate on Facebook and lose friends forever - The Verge
There's a whole guide to this process in Facebook's Help Center, but it's pretty straightforward. Just go to the Facebook page of a candidate you like, select the "Endorsement" tab on the left-hand sidebar, and hit "Endorse" on the right. You can then choose who to share this endorsement with whoever you like — friends, enemies, soon-to-be-enemies — and write a little message to go along with it."
"Apple is planning to introduce new Macs at an Oct. 27 event, sources confirmed to Recode.Apple plans to launch new Macs at an October 27 event - Recode
The move had long been expected, given that the company released MacOS Sierra last month but had yet to introduce any new computer models sporting the software. It also comes just in time for Apple to have the new products on sale for the full holiday season.
Apple has gone a long time without making significant changes to any of its Mac models, with most experts encouraging customers to hold off all but essential new purchases until the lineup was updated. Tops among the rumors have been reports that Apple will introduce a new MacBook Pro sporting a row of customizable touchscreen keys."
2016-10-19T06:57:27.963-04:00Also see Yahoo Says Traffic Rose Despite Hacking That Could Alter Verizon Deal (NYT)
"Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of 14 cents per share, excluding certain expenses, compared to 15 cents in the same period a year ago. Instead, Yahoo reported earnings of 20 cents.Yahoo met its earnings goals by cost-cutting, not by building its business - Recode
Wow, right? Well, no. While it looks like a big beat, this result is primarily due to cost cuts and not massive growth in its businesses. Adjusted Ebitda, which is a real measure of performance, was down to $229.2 million from $244.2 million. (Kudos to CFO Ken Goldman for making it look better than it is at Yahoo via cost cuts and creative accounting!)
While revenue in its mobile, video and native businesses rose, the big moneymakers declined as advertisers fled and traffic declined. Display ad revenue was down 7 percent and search revenue was down 14 percent."
2016-10-19T06:52:57.356-04:00Convenient for Note 7 users who didn't get the memo re The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is officially banned from airplanes (The Washington Post)
"The Transportation Department's ban on the Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 could be leaving some users in a lurch if they try to bring the phone on any flight going to or from any part of the United States. To help those folks, Samsung is setting up pop-up exchange booths at airports to offer customers another Samsung phone in exchange for their faulty Notes.Samsung is setting up booths at airports to exchange Note 7s - The Washington Post
In a statement, Samsung said booths in the United States will be at “some of the most frequently visited airports around the country,” but it did not provide a full list of airports. San Francisco International Airport seems to be one of them as Twitter users have reported seeing booths there."
"Instead, let’s examine a more basic mystery buried in the emails: Why were all these people discussing so much over email in the first place? Haven’t they heard of phone calls? Face-to-face meetings in dimly lit Washington parking garage? Anyplace else where their conversations weren’t constantly being recorded, archived and rendered searchable for decades to come?
The answer, of course, is that email is as tempting as it is inescapable, for Mrs. Clinton as well as for the rest of us. More than 50 years after its birth, email exerts an uncanny hold on all of our internal affairs.Whoever Wins the White House, This Year’s Big Loser Is Email - The New York Times
But everything must meet its maker, and for email, that time is nigh."
2016-10-19T06:37:58.520-04:00For more positive Pixel perspectives, peruse Google Pixel review: Home run (The Verge), Mossberg: Google's first phone is first rate (The Verge), and Google Pixel Review: The Android iPhone You’ve Been Waiting For (WSJ)
"The absence of a major competing Android device works out especially well for Google because the Pixel is, relatively speaking, mediocre. It is slower than Apple’s iPhone 7 and the Galaxy S7, Samsung’s smaller flagship phone. Photos shot with Pixel’s camera don’t look as good as the iPhone’s. And Google’s built-in artificially intelligent virtual assistant, called Assistant, is still fairly dumb.Google Pixel Review: Assessing the New Smartphone - The New York Times
But hey, the Pixel probably won’t burn down your garage or injure a child. So if you prefer Android and are already hooked on Google’s suite of internet-powered software, including its maps, photos, email and document-editing apps, then you probably won’t regret buying the Pixel."
2016-10-19T06:29:45.494-04:00Thomas Friedman on the campaign significance of WikiLeaks; also see Ecuador Cuts Internet of Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’ Founder (NYT)
"Thank God for WikiLeaks.WikiHillary for President - The New York Times
I confess, I was starting to wonder about what the real Hillary Clinton — the one you never get to see behind closed doors — really stood for. But now that, thanks to WikiLeaks, I’ve had a chance to peruse her speeches to Goldman Sachs and other banks, I am more convinced than ever she can be the president America needs today.
Seriously, those speeches are great! They show someone with a vision, a pragmatic approach to getting things done and a healthy instinct for balancing the need to strengthen our social safety nets with unleashing America’s business class to create the growth required to sustain social programs."
2016-10-18T20:23:01.908-04:00Final paragraph: "Microsoft said in a statement: “We respect Coach Belichick’s decision, but stand behind the reliability of Surface. We continue to receive positive feedback on having Surface devices on the sidelines from coaches, players and team personnel across the league.”"
"“They’re just too undependable,” Bill Belichick, the Patriots’ chronically unimpressed coach, said.Fed-Up Belichick Takes Screen Out of His Arsenal. (The Hand-Held One.) - The New York Times
“It’s basically a problem every week,” he added.
“I just can’t take it anymore,” he said at a news conference Tuesday.
Was Belichick talking about backup quarterbacks? Properly inflated footballs? Nope. He was talking, of course, about the scourge of the N.F.L.: tablet computers. The Microsoft Surface tablets that the league uses on the sideline to provide images of plays are an I.T. nightmare, Belichick said."
"Microsoft’s embrace of programmable chips knowns as FPGAs is well documented. But in a paper released Monday the software and cloud company provided a look into how it has fundamentally changed the economics of delivering hardware as a service thanks to these once-specialty pieces of silicon.How Microsoft Fell Hard for FPGAs
Field programmable gate arrays, or FPGAs, are chips where the logic and networking functions can be reconfigured after they’ve been manufactured. They are typically larger than similarly functioning chips and traditionally were made for small jobs where the performance advantage outweighed the higher engineering cost associated with designing them."
2016-10-18T07:17:00.307-04:00Tbd if it'll go full ELIZA mode and, e.g., encourage you to text your mom; also see Facebook Messenger's New 'Conversation Topic' Feature Seems Creepy and Bad (Gizmodo)
"Facebook Messenger may have already hit the billion-user club this past summer, but the company is always looking for new ways to increase app usage. The latest attempt is the introduction of “conversation topics” on Messenger – a feature offering suggestions about what to talk about with friends. These conversation starters appear to rely on Messenger’s connection to Facebook’s larger social network, as they reference things your friends have done lately – like where they’ve been, or events they plan to attend, for example.Facebook Messenger suggests what to talk about with “Conversation Topics” feature | TechCrunch
The feature was spotted this weekend on the iOS app by Chris Messina, who posted to Twitter about the new conversation starters."
2016-10-18T07:01:47.145-04:00The Tesla documentary premieres tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern; also see Inside Nat Geo’s Incredible Documentary Mission to Mars (Wired)
"ON TUESDAY, THE PBS historical series American Experience will premiere its latest documentary, “Tesla.” No, it’s not about the electric car company. It’s about Nikola Tesla, the electrical engineer whose experiments and inventions moved electronics into the modern era. Tesla was a wacky guy with some far-fetched ideas, but many of theories about how electricity could work would eventually prove to be dead on."American Experience "Tesla" Documentary: Watch an Exclusive Clip | WIRED
"Walt Disney Co. decided not to pursue a bid for Twitter Inc. partly out of concern that bullying and other uncivil forms of communication on the social media site might soil the company’s wholesome family image, according to people familiar with management’s thinking.Disney Dropped Twitter Pursuit Partly Over Image - Bloomberg
The producer of family fare like “Finding Dory” had gone so far as to hire two investment banks, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Guggenheim Partners LLC, to help evaluate a bid for Twitter. Disney management also listened to a presentation about the business from Twitter executives, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private."
"Alongside falling revenue in some older lines of business, revenue from cloud services across all IBM business segments grew 42% in constant currency to $3.4 billion, Mr. Schroeter said. Those cloud services include SoftLayer, which sells access to computing capacity over the internet, and Bluemix, which sells access to software over the web, among other things. The cloud business during the quarter added new customers including Dixons Carphone Group, JFE Steel Co., Ltd. and Vodafone India.IBM Revenue, Profit Edge Lower - WSJ
Cloud computing is one of several faster-growing areas that IBM calls strategic imperatives. Those businesses, which also include artificial intelligence, data analytics and security, grew 15% in constant currency during the third quarter compared with 12% during the second quarter. They now represent 40% of IBM’s overall business."
2016-10-17T08:17:10.187-04:00The Project Titan mystery continues
"Apple Inc. has drastically scaled back its automotive ambitions, leading to hundreds of job cuts and a new direction that, for now, no longer includes building its own car, according to people familiar with the project.How Apple Scaled Back its Titanic Plan to Take on Detroit - Bloomberg
Hundreds of members of the car team, which comprises about 1,000 people, have been reassigned, let go, or have left of their own volition in recent months, the people said, asking not to be identified because the moves aren’t public.
New leadership of the initiative, known internally as Project Titan, has re-focused on developing an autonomous driving system that gives Apple flexibility to either partner with existing carmakers, or return to designing its own vehicle in the future, the people also said. Apple has kept staff numbers in the team steady by hiring people to help with the new focus, according to another person."
"Picture Thoreau now, on his obligation-shedding saunter through the Massachusetts woods. There are unanswered emails from the morning’s business a twitchy finger away. Facebook notifications fall upon him like leaves. The babbling brook is not only lovely, but demands to be shared via Instagram, once the correct filter (“Walden,” natch) has been applied. Perhaps a quick glance at the Health app to track his steps, or a browse of the TripAdvisor reviews of Walden Pond (“serene and peaceful”). There may be Pokémon Go baubles to collect—the app may have even compelled his walk in the first place."The Perils of Peak Attention | New Republic
2016-10-17T08:01:06.675-04:00In Wired's case, I'd settle for ads that don't cause major performance problems on my Mac
"Wired magazine rolled out a similar approach to ad-blocking earlier in the year, asking readers to either whitelist the site or pay $1 a week for an ad-free version. In April, the magazine's then-head of product and business development told Ad Age that the approach was "going great."The Atlantic's Website Will Now Let Some Pay to See No Ads | Media - AdAge
Wired, at the time, reported that 20% of unique visitors were using blockers, making the problem even more pronounced than for The Atlantic. The New York Times is also considering an ad-free digital subscription offering, though that effort doesn't seem to have progressed beyond the exploratory stages.
"All the cool kids are doing it," Ms. Lau said when asked about the rise of ad-free subscription offerings."
2016-10-17T07:30:58.250-04:00Later in the article: "If investors come to view Twitter purely as a media company, its stock price could be cut in half."
"If you are among the 73% of American adults who don’t log in to Twitter at least once a month, you can be forgiven for viewing it primarily as a place where presidential candidates launch broadsides and celebrities embarrass themselves.Why Twitter Is Actually a Media Company - WSJ
Twitter Inc.’s long struggle to define itself goes hand in hand with its recent inability to grow beyond its active but hard to grasp subcommunities. The mix of content, curation, humor, self-promotion and invective confounds its product teams, leaders and investors.
So let’s define Twitter once and for all. Twitter is a media company that happens to be based in San Francisco, and it should be structured, led and valued as such. Twitter is no longer a technology-driven hypergrowth unicorn. Twitter has, in a way, admitted as much. Last week, in a memo to Twitter staff, Chief Executive Jack Dorsey called the service the “People’s News Network.”"
2016-10-17T06:30:56.396-04:00Another incentive for Samsung customers to replace Note 7s
"Airline passengers who try to carry Samsung Electronics Co. Note 7 smartphones on flights will have them confiscated and may face fines under an emergency U.S. order that significantly expands restrictions on the devices linked to almost 100 incidents of overheating and fires.Air Passengers With Samsung Note 7 Phones Face Fines in U.S. - Bloomberg
The devices won’t be allowed aboard passenger or cargo aircraft even if they’ve been shut off, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday. Flight restrictions will be extended to each of the 1.9 million Note 7s sold in the U.S. starting at noon New York time on Saturday."
2016-10-17T06:20:19.673-04:00From an AI market dynamics reality check
"IBM has invested billions of dollars in its Watson business unit, created at the start of 2014, which now employs an estimated 10,000 workers. Its big-ticket marketing push includes clever television ads that feature Watson trading quips with famous people like Serena Williams and Bob Dylan. And Watson, after a slow start, has shown its mettle by assisting in daunting tasks like diagnosing cancer.IBM Is Counting on Its Bet on Watson, and Paying Big Money for It - The New York Times
Yet industry experts question how quickly IBM can build a business around Watson. “IBM has pursued big, bespoke moonshot initiatives that can take years and are extremely expensive,” said Tom Austin, a research fellow at Gartner. “It seems like they’re swimming upstream with that.”"
"The economist Herbert A. Simon first developed the concept of an attention economy in a 1971 essay. Taking note of the new phenomenon of “information overload,” Simon pointed out something that now seems obvious—that “a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” In recent years, thinking about attention as a scarce resource has come into vogue as a way to appraise the human and psychological impact of digital and social media.
The animating insight of Tim Wu’s illuminating new book, The Attention Merchants, is to apply this concept as a backward-facing lens as well as a contemporary one. Modern media, he argues, have always been based on the reselling of human attention to advertisers. Wu, who teaches at Columbia Law School, is a broad thinker about law, technology, and media who has had a varied career as an academic, a journalist, and a 2014 candidate for lieutenant governor of New York. He is best known for developing “net neutrality”—the principle that access providers (such as Comcast or Time Warner) should treat all Internet traffic equally—which formed the basis of a federal regulation that went into effect last year."They’ve Got You, Wherever You Are by Jacob Weisberg | The New York Review of Books