January 25, 2013

The Curious Digital Round-Up

INDUSTRY NEWS

How Facebook Could Give Its New Search the Edge
The company’s search engine will become formidable when it includes the text of comments and the vast store of Open Graph data about things outside Facebook.

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Is Apple Really Doomed?
Last week was rough for Apple stock. As of Wednesday night the stock was down about 3%, after having been down as much as 5%. And over the past three months, it’s down 22%, equivalent to $130 billion in market cap.

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Google Should Thank Holiday Shoppers for Boosting Cost Per Click
Google completely overhauled its shopping experience this summer, which required merchants to pay if they wanted their products to appear on the site. While the move was controversial — and still ruffles some merchants’ feathers, the fact is, it seems to be working.

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Is Google Trying to Remake Wi-Fi?
Google is exploring new wireless technologies, possibly to develop its own wireless networks around the United States. The search engine giant has filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission, asking for a license to tinker with “an experimental radio service.”

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White House announces National Day of Civic Hacking, declares open season on government data
White House announces National Day of Civic Hacking, declares open season on government data. The inaugural National Day of Hacking from June 1st to June 2nd is inviting everyone, regardless of experience to come together and help “liberate open data,” building software that puts the government’s meticulously-compiled facts and figures to good use.

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BBC iPlayer sets new record as billions watch on phones
Phones and tablets are taking over from computers in the world of catch-up TV, BBC iPlayer figures reveal. The devices accounted for more than a quarter of requests to watch shows in 2012 – while PC viewing fell below 50 per cent of downloads for the first time in December. Along with the Olympics, mobile growth helped iPlayer to a record year – with 2.32billion people viewing programmes across 650 platforms.

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First Firefox phones revealed by Mozilla and Geeksphone
Mozilla has published details of the first smartphones to be powered by its Firefox operating system. Two handsets are to be made by a small Spanish firm called Geeksphone and will be targeted at developers ahead of the system’s formal launch.

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TRENDS

Can Virtual Classrooms Recreate a Traditional College Experience?
The burgeoning online education scene is a practical option to a traditional college education for a number of reasons — cost, convenience and efficiency. And for professors it offers a consistent classroom format.

A number of online education sites say the goal is not to be a substitute for the classroom experience, but to offer an even more collaborative learning environment, while also making education convenient and accessible for everyone.

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Cellphone Chips Will Remake the Server World. Period.
Facebook calls them “smartphone-class CPUs.” Others call them “wimpy cores.” Basically, they’re ultra-low-power server chips based on architectures that were originally designed for smartphones. Many hardware makers, including big names like Dell and AMD, as well as upstarts like Calxeda and AppliedMicro are working towards servers that use chips based on the ARM architecture that drives your iPhone.

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Has Big Data Reached Its Moment of Disillusionment?
Last year was a year when the phrase “Big Data” was all over the place. Dig through the troves of data your business generates, the thinking goes, and some useful business intelligence falls out. That, at least, is the idea, and there are numerous companies — some startups, some big and established players — trying to build business plans on different aspects of that idea.

But in the course of being reduced to a simple buzzy phrase, Big Data as a concept implies some expectations, some realistic, some undoubtedly not. The research house Gartner has a phrase for this tendency as well: The Hype Cycle.

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‘THE DIGITAL FUN BOX’

Star Trek style ‘tractor beam’ created by scientists
A real-life “tractor beam”, which uses light to attract objects, has been developed by scientists. It is hoped it could have medical applications by targeting and attracting individual cells. The research, published in Nature Photonics and led by the University of St Andrews, is limited to moving microscopic particles. In science fiction programmes such as Star Trek, tractor beams are used to move much more massive objects.

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Virals of the Week
Another week and another set of brilliant viral videos that has got lots of people talking. Rather than sifting through the billions of videos that people have uploaded, ‘simplyzesty’ have shared the ten best viral videos every week from the world of marketing and advertising.

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App of the Week: Poynt
An app to help you find services, events and people when you’re on the go. As well as providing a detailed directory, together with maps and directions, it includes an interactive search feature. Supposedly, this means you can make restaurant reservations having read a review, view film trailers and buy cinema tickets, and find the best petrol prices nearby.

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Infographic of the Week: Online Tracking 101: Who’s Watching You?
Big Brother is at it again you guys, and in 2013 it is worse than ever. New technology means tracking user habits and preferences has become even easier. Of course we all know Facebook will sell our soul to Russia and we seem okay with it, but your privacy is invaded way more than you think.

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