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In News

By Contrive Media

Plotting the next Silicon Valley

On 26, Mar 2013 | In News | By Contrive Media

Crave globe-trotter Eric Mack kicks off an exclusive four-part series on the unlikely Latin American spot hoping to transform itself into a new hub for science, technology, and innovation.

QUITO, Ecuador–Imagine it’s 2023. Things have shifted in the world of technology, and I’m not just talking about the elimination of the standard-transmission vehicle in favor of autonomous transport. Companies in Asia, the United States, and Europe still produce many of the world’s major innovations in everything from energy efficiency and biotechnology to IT and consumer electronics, and many of those products are still made in China.

But there’s also a new player on the scene that wasn’t registering on anyone’s radar in the tech world just a decade ago.
In this particular vision of the future, a small but rapidly growing number of innovations are born, nurtured, produced, and sent to market from a tiny but vivacious country sandwiched between the Pacific and the Amazon — Ecuador.

Scientists and researchers flock to this new Latin American take on Silicon Valley to develop new medicines near the remarkably biodiverse Amazon rain forest. Other nearby abundant natural resources aid in the development of cutting-edge solar cells and new petrochemical technologies. And software and hardware designers take advantage of…

Read the whole story: Plotting the next Silicon Valley — you’ll never guess where

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In News

By Contrive Media

Google I/O is sold out

On 13, Mar 2013 | In News | By Contrive Media

The developer conference, a staging ground for news on Android, Google Glass, and more, sells out in less than an hour.

It took less than an hour for Google’s developer conference, Google I/O, to sell out today.

The event, which will be held May 15-17 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, has always been a popular draw for the developer community. About 50 minutes after the tickets went on sale at 7 a.m. PT today, the “sold out” message appeared. On the registration page instead was a note that the keynotes and top sessions will be available on computer, phone, or tablet.

Google I/O has been the venue for the announcement of major releases of Android, as well as a chance for conference attendees to check out experimental products, such as Google Glass. With the recent hype building over Google’s high-tech headgear, there are high expectations Google will wow the audience with new features and apps.

In addition, it has been the conference to get a lot of free Google gear. Last year, attendees got the Nexus 7 tablet, Nexus Q, Galaxy Nexus smartphone, and the Chromebox, a value of more than $1,100.

Given the early stage of Google Glass, it’s unlikely that developers will get to take a pair home for themselves. But the Nexus 4 smartphone from LG and the…

Full Article: And just like that, Google I/O is sold out

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In News

By Contrive Media

Social Media… Twitter Is Live TV; Facebook Is DVR

On 06, Mar 2013 | In News | By Contrive Media

When you follow someone on Twitter, you see everything they post. When you follow someone on Facebook, it decides what you see. Which is right? I’d say both, and it comes down to the live TV versus DVR personalities of each service.

Should Facebook Show Everything?

The issue of Facebook deciding what to show people in their Facebook news feed came up this week when Nick Bilton of the New York Times wrote about how over the past year, the engagement on his posts had dropped, despite his having gained a huge increase in Facebook followers.

That echoed concerns from Star Trek alum and social media extraordinaire George Takei, who last year was alarmed that his Facebook engagement was down. He wondered, as Bilton did, if this was perhaps something Facebook was doing to get him and others to pay for better visibility. Billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, also got in on the criticisms last year.

I used to be in the “Facebook should show everything” camp. For example, when the Subscribe feature (now called Follow) launched in 2011, I wished it was…

Original Article: For Social Media Viewing, Twitter Is Live TV; Facebook Is DVR

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In News

By Contrive Media

Symantec denies blame after hacks

On 31, Jan 2013 | In News | By Contrive Media

Summary: After one of the world’s most famous newspapers points the finger at Symantec for failing to protect its network against a four-month long Chinese cyber-attack, the security firm returns fire.

After The New York Times slyly pointed the finger at Symantec for failing to protect it from a four-month long series of attacks by Chinese hackers, the anti-malware and security firm has fired back with its own critical rhetoric.

Arguably one of the world’s most well-regarded and well-known newspapers, The Times exclusively reported yesterday that its own networks have been “persistently attacked” by Chinese hackers, and that they infiltrated computer systems and acquired passwords for its reporters and other employees.

The newspaper, with help from security experts, were have “expelled the hackers,” and “kept them from breaking back in.”

The Times believes that the timing of the attacks coincided with an investigation it carried out in late October that found the Chinese prime minister had accumulated “several billion dollars through business dealings.”

Clearly the Chinese government—specifically the “Chinese military,” according to AT&T, which informed the newspaper of the attacks—did not approve of such fine investigative journalism.

But in the report, The Times also took the opportunity to prod Symantec with a sharp journalism…

Read Full Article: Symantec denies blame after Chinese gov. hacks The New York Times

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In News

By Contrive Media

Twitter-Instagram feud escalates as photos show up wonky

On 05, Dec 2012 | In News | By Contrive Media

Instagram disabled its Twitter cards integration today, which means that photos appear oddly cropped on Twitter. Instagram’s CEO pledges that his company will remain integrated with Twitter in some form, though.

The Twitter-Instagram feud continues, with Instagram today disabling a feature that allows photos to be properly displayed on Twitter’s Web site and apps.

Twitter noted in a status update today that Instagram disabled its Twitter cards integration. What that means is photos from Instagram are difficult to view and appear cropped or off center.

Instagram Chief Executive Kevin Systrom, meanwhile, said today at the LeWeb conference in Paris that while the relationship with Twitter is changing, Instagram will remain integrated with Twitter in some form.

He noted that the move today, while confusing to some, is the right step for Instagram, which wants more people to view images via Instagram’s site instead of through other sites.

“Really it’s about where do you go to consume that image, to interact with that image. We want that to be on Instagram,” Systrom said at the LeWeb conference today. “What we realized over time is we really needed to have an awesome Web presence.”
Systrom added that the change was his decision, not an order from…

Read the whole story here: Twitter-Instagram feud escalates as photos show up wonky

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By Contrive Media

The crazy truth: Google+ can thrive alongside Facebook

On 30, Nov 2012 | In News | By Contrive Media

The tech world loves to pit these two against each other. But for now, they really are on different courses.

It’s easy to call Facebook the social network of the past. It’s harder to build the social network of the future.

To hear Bradley Horowitz tell it, though, Google is well on its way. Google+, he says, lets people share with others in a more natural way than its competitors. Easy privacy controls, an environment free from obtrusive advertising, and highly polished mobile apps combine on Google+ to deliver a next-generation social network, as Horowitz tells it.

“It’s not attempting to chase the social networks of the past,” he said this week at a Business Insider conference in New York, in an assertion that launched a hundred headlines. “We’re charting our own course, and it’s a different course.”

The 15-minute interview with Google’s vice president of product for Google+ showed off a refreshingly pugnacious side of a social network that’s been rather quiet as of late — and, in doing so, got the network its best press coverage in months. (Slagging on Facebook’s increasingly advertising-heavy newsfeed, which no one besides Facebook investors are excited about, can do that for you.) Horowitz went on to suggest that Facebook fails to capture the way people interact in the real world. As a result, he drew renewed attention to the…

Read the full article here: The crazy truth: Google+ can thrive alongside Facebook



In News

By Contrive Media

Blackout: Syria vanishes from Internet

On 29, Nov 2012 | In News | By Contrive Media

An outage at 10:26 a.m. UTC, or 5:26 a.m. ET, shut down all Syrian access to the Web. Phone lines also appear to be down, and airlines are canceling flights.

Syria, ravaged by a vicious civil war, has now lost contact with the outside world.

The Middle Eastern country has been experiencing an Internet outage for several hours, and many people on Twitter are reporting that phone lines are down as well. In addition, some airlines are canceling flights to Damascus.

According to Renesys, which operates a real-time grid that continuously monitors Internet routing data, all 84 of Syria’s IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet. The outage started at 10:26 UTC (12:26 p.m. in Damascus or 5:26 a.m. ET), and there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight.

The site initially said that 92 percent of the country’s routed networks were offline, but the remainder also eventually disappeared. Renesys said it’s “investigating the dynamics of the outage and will post updates as they become available.”

Shutting down Web and phone service is a tactic increasingly pursued by countries to limit the spread of information both within the country and to the outside world. Egypt and Libya switched off Internet access early in their own uprisings last year, but Syria hadn’t taken the step despite being embroiled in a bloody war for many months now.

The move today could signal even tougher times ahead for…

See the whole story here: Blackout: Syria vanishes from Internet

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In News

By Contrive Media

Microsoft Surface: Not really a tablet or a laptop

On 26, Oct 2012 | In News | By Contrive Media

If Microsoft’s new Surface device is successful, it will create a new category, something between Apple’s iPad and notebook computers made by its partners.

NEW YORK — Much has been speculated about how well the new Microsoft Surface will fare in the tablet world, particularly against Apple’s iPad.

But if consumers flock to the Surface, it won’t be because it’s an alternative to the iPad. Microsoft’s vision for the Surface goes well beyond the traditional tablet market. The company is betting that consumers will want to use the keyboard it’s designed for the Surface to create documents, annotate pictures, and more.

And yet, the Surface, which Microsoft launched here today, isn’t really a laptop either. The version that hits its New York store at 10 p.m. tonight and elsewhere at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow won’t run most legacy Windows applications. And, of course, it can be used without a keyboard to surf the Web and watch videos.

“Is it a tablet? Is it a laptop? What category does it go in?,” Microsoft Windows President Steven Sinofsky said at the launch event. “It’s not just a tablet, but it’s the best tablet I’ve ever used It’s not just a laptop, but it’s the best laptop I’ve ever used.”

If Microsoft succeeds, in reality, it will create..

See the whole story here: Microsoft Surface: Not really a tablet or a laptop



In News

By Contrive Media

Suddenly, Facebook seems all about the money

On 22, Oct 2012 | In News | By Contrive Media

If there’s one thing that Mark Zuckerberg has learned in Facebook’s short life as a public company, it’s that Wall Street is an unforgiving place.

The Street cares little about wide-eyed talk about making the world a more connected place. Even Facebook’s recent announcement that it now has 1 billion users — roughly a seventh of the world’s entire population — logging onto the social network at least once a month did nothing to help the stock, which now trades at about half its IPO price of $38 a share.

Wall Street, in short, wants to see the money.

It seems that Zuckerberg has gotten the message. In recent months, Facebook has rolled out product after product aimed squarely at boosting Facebook’s bottom line — from letting members send friends physical gifts to giving them the option to pay $7 to promote their posts to their Facebook friends and subscribers. Most of these efforts won’t trickle down to Facebook’s financial results when the company reports its third-quarter earnings on Tuesday. Instead, investors will be looking for words of encouragement — hopefully, with some specifics — from Zuckerbrerg and his chief lieutenants, COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Ebersman.

As it stands, Wall Street expects Facebook to post quarterly revenue of $1.23 billion and earn 11 cents a share. While that would be an almost 29 percent revenue jump from the year earlier quarter, Facebook’s growth is slowing. And clearly investors are jittery: Google’s earnings miss last week emphasized the challenges from the weak economy in Europe (also a potential problem for the ad-driven Facebook) and just how fast the shift to mobile is occurring (ditto on the problem front). Shares of Facebook have fallen more than 13 percent in the last few weeks.

The mobile ‘opportunity’

When Zuckerberg took the stage at a TechCrunch conference in September, he reframed the discussion about Facebook’s mobile problem with the skill of a smooth politician. Suddenly, Facebook’s biggest challenge became a great way to “make a lot of money.” And he has since talked about mobile as Facebook’s “massive opportunity.” Opportunity or problem, it’s certainly a reality, with…

Read whole article: Suddenly, Facebook seems all about the money

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In News

By Contrive Media

Ohhh, Internet Explorer….

On 18, Sep 2012 | In News | By Contrive Media

Microsoft rushes to patch key security hole in Internet Explorer

The German government agency overseeing IT safety is warning of a security breach in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer — and recommending people use other browsers until the problem is fixed.

The browser’s “weak point is already being used for targeted attacks,” the Federal Office for Information Security warned, adding that the code behind the attack is freely available online and might therefore spread rapidly.

A spokesman for Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday the company is aware of the issue and is working on soon rolling out a software update, a so-called patch, to fix the browser’s security features.

“This is not a massive problem. There have been only a small number of targeted attacks,” said spokesman Thomas Baumgaertner. He could not provide a figure of the number of attacks recorded so far.
The browser is used by hundreds of millions of consumers and workers around the world.

In its warning published late Monday, Germany’s IT watchdog called on people using Windows XP or Windows 7 operating systems and Internet Explorer versions 7, 8 or 9 to switch to alternative browsers until Microsoft updates the browser’s security features.

Attackers lure users to an infected website, for example through an emailed link. Visiting the website then allows hackers to introduce codes to take control of the user’s computer, the BSI agency said.
Baumgaertner noted that people should always be vigilant when clicking on links from unknown sources. He also added that many antivirus programs might already be updated to protect their users against attacks through the browser loophole.

Original online article: Microsoft rushes to patch key security hole in Internet Explorer