Monday, February 24, 2014

Mark Zukerberg CEO of Facebook decided to invest $19 Billion dollars on an APP!

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg smiles in an onstage interview for the Atlantic Magazine in Washington, September 18, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg smiles in an onstage interview for the Atlantic Magazine in Washington, September 18, 2013.

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg will take a victory lap at the world's largest mobile technology conference in Barcelona on Monday, after beating outGoogle Inc in a $19 billion acquisition of free messaging service WhatsApp. But he is facing a new arduous race on the horizon.
Just 18 months after appearing at risk of getting crushed by the swelling mobile wave, the No. 1 social network is riding high. It gets a huge chunk of ad revenue on world-wide users of smartphones and tablets, from virtually nothing several years ago.
Now, Zuckerberg's purchase of WhatsApp - while raising eyebrows with the hefty price paid for a company that boasts 450 million users but has little revenue - places Facebook at the heart of smartphone communications.
It's a twist that is sure to have some telecom bosses in Barcelona gritting their teeth. WhatsApp and its fellow messaging apps, including China's WeChat and Israel's Viber, have punched a hole in operators' sales by offering a free alternative to text messages, a $120 billion market for operators. Research group Ovum said telcos lost $32 billion in text revenue last year and will lose $54 billion by 2016.
Zuckerberg and WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum are likely to cast themselves as partners not foes of the industry in their appearances at Mobile World Congress on Monday.
Zuckerberg's keynote at 17:00 GMT is expected to focus on Facebook's efforts to make wireless Internet access easier and more affordable in developing countries.
Facebook's purchase of WhatsApp is its latest move to transform a platform and company born on the PC into a full-fledged network for a mobile generation. Zuckerberg's progress so far on mobile has positioned the company to take advantage of the fast-growing markets. And it has helped boost Facebook's stock roughly 150 percent since July.
But with a new crop of smartphone applications threatening to eat into Facebook's audience, worrying signs of waning interest amongst younger users - which the WhatsApp acquisition may help address - and a tech landscape evolving more rapidly than ever before, Facebook can't afford to fall behind again.
That is critical for Facebook as it courts the "next 5 billion" Internet users, many of whom live in places like India and Africa and who are likely to first experience the Internet on a mobile rather than a PC.
"If Facebook is not first in line when those people are firing up their devices, it stands a chance of never connecting with those folks, because there are so many alternatives," said Brian Blau, an analyst at research firm Gartner.
To some, Google wields the advantage for now.
Its Android mobile operating system comes pre-installed on roughly 80 percent of the smartphones sold in the world today. That helps ensure new users will see and use its various online services, including search, maps and its Google+ social network.
Once WhatsApp is in Facebook's pocket, there's no guarantee the messaging service - which famously eschews games, shopping or other popular add-ons to focus on pure messaging - can remain ahead in a notoriously fickle market.
Rival messaging apps such as Tencent Holding's WeChat and Naver's LINE are popular across Asia and have hundreds of millions of users. They have also expanded to allow users to book taxis, top up phone credit, and take part in flash sales, all on the app.
WhatsApp, which Zuckerberg has promised will remain independent, fits Facebook's recent approach of designing or buying "spinoff" apps for smartphones, such as Instagram or the Paper news app, which has earned positive reviews.
"You see Facebook trying to increase its surface area, with different apps for different things," said Josh Elman, a venture capital firm Greylock Partners. The idea is to give users multiple ways to interact with Facebook throughout the day.
To meet his ambitions, Zuckerberg could use the telecom industry's help. He will make his case to the handset makers and operators gathered in Barcelona that they should work together to make Internet access cheaper and more ubiquitous in the developing world.
Facebook has partnered with over 150 wireless providers over the past four years to offer free or discounted access to the social network, including a deal with Globe Telecom to provide three months of free access to customers in the Philippines.
Not everyone is on board.

Vodafone Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said earlier this month that Facebook had approached him about waiving data charges when customers access the website from their mobiles. But Colao rejected the idea because he didn't see any benefit for his company, which is Europe's largest wireless carrier and also operates in India and across Africa.
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Monday, February 17, 2014

Bringing Back Old School Games with PIXEL

Take your old Lite-Brite and turn it up to 11. Add Bluetooth, tuck in animation support, and let people draw their designs via smartphone. What do you get? Something like PIXEL.
The (aptly named) PIXEL is a display built specifically for showing off pixel art. A pixel art photo frame, if you will.
Want an animated loop of Sonic tapping his foot atop your mantle? Sure. An endless chain of Marios coming out of a pipe in your bathroom? Okay! Want Pac-Man to waka-waka around the screen until the end of time? Hell, why not.
When you want to change up the photo, you’d just pop open the app on your smartphone and draw away. Want to do something a bit more complicated — like animation? Make your design in your favorite editing app, then transfer it to the PIXEL over USB or Bluetooth. If you’re drawing a still, you’d send it a PNG; if you’re doing animation, you’d send it a GIF.
PIXEL has raised $20,000 on Kickstarter so far, having originally set their goal at just half that. This is actually the second version of this product — the team raised $50k for a slightly-less-pretty version back in early 2013.
If you’re able to squeeze in and grab one of the few remaining early-bird deals, a fully assembled PIXEL will set you back $260. After those are gone, the rest will go for $300. Alternatively, you can save a few bucks by opting for the DIY Kit version at $220 — but it’s a bring-your-own-soldering-iron type of thing, so make sure you know what you’re getting into.
If you’d told me a few weeks ago that I’d soon be wanting a pixel art photo frame, I’d have responded by saying “What the hell is a pixel art photo frame?”
Two weeks later, I’m trying to figure out which pixel art photo frame I want.
Just last week, Darrell pointed out the Game Frame, a strikingly similar concept that has raised $60k on Kickstarter with nearly 3 weeks left in its campaign.
pixel gameframe
PIXEL and Game Frame are parallels in many way, but each has its own strengths. Game Frame comes with art from the much-adored pixel artist eBoy, while PIXEL comes with art from 10 different artists. PIXEL has a higher resolution (1024 pixels vs. Game Frame’s 256), but Game Frame uses some clever optics voodoo to make each individual LED into a massive, evenly-lit square pixel. Each ends up having its own totally different visual style.
I’ll take either. Or both. Yeah, I’ll take both.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

FACEBOOK now valued at more than $150 Billion!

When Facebook hunts for new talent, what tops its wish list? Brace yourself for a surprise. The giant social network – now valued at more $150 billion – is in the midst of a skills quest that doesn't involve its usual pursuit of software virtuosos.
What Facebook craves these days is people who can sell.
Scan the listings on Facebook's careers page, and you'll find an impressive 170 or so openings in sales and business development. (The exact total fluctuates slightly, day by day.) The reason: Facebook's money engine is built on advertising. Even in the highly automated world of online marketing, it turns out that making deals come together still requires a human touch.
There isn't a single technical department at Facebook that is as eager to hire. As of Feb. 9, Facebook was hunting for 97 more software engineers, another 78 infrastructure specialists, and 51 data/analytics experts. Yes, fast-growing Facebook has some openings in every section. But the demand for extra people is most intense in the time-tested world of sales.
There's a bigger message here.Think of Facebook's job postings as a peek into the next decade's career options for all of us. We're in the midst of an age of incredible technological disruption to traditional jobs. But there's a way to make your career automation-proof without needing a high-tech Ph.D. As I've suggested before, the key to sustained employment will be to concentrate on the people skills that machines can't copy.
Don't just take my word for it. Recently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics updated its 10-year employment projections, listing the fields where it expects the most job growth by 2022. The BLS's top 10 areas for expansion include two categories that are totally customer facing: retail sales and customer service, as well as four health-care sectors (including nursing and home health aides) in which basic people skills such as empathy make all the difference.
Books such as "The Second Machine Age," by MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, do a great job of alerting us to the labor-market disruptions brought on by new technologies. Read about the implications of self-driving cars, robot-controlled surgical tools and the like – and you'll come away wondering if anything useful will be left for human beings to do.
But as the movie "Her" cleverly suggests, when it comes to interpersonal dynamics, even the most alluring machines can't quite get it right.The movie's lead character, Theodore Twombly (played by Joaquin Phoenix), starts out totally enchanted by his virtual girlfriend. Then, as the story plays out, we learn some surprising things about the "perfect" machine. And we come to view the "imperfect" people in Twombly's life quite differently.
Facebook's hiring priorities are a wake-up call regarding the importance of human connections, too. As the current job listings show, there's room at the giant social network for someone who can build sales relationships with German automakers or Singaporean gaming companies.
For that matter, if your Turkish, French, Italian or Polish is strong enough that you can chat up clients in those languages, you're in demand, too. No engineering Ph.D needed. Or, if you prefer stitching together strategic partnerships with big-company clients in Chicago or New York, there's a job waiting for you. In fact, multiple jobs.
(Photo of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: by Robert Scoble Flickr/Creative Commons)
*All information and images does not belong or relate in anyway to BYTE ME, LLC.


Two separate eBay auctions for iPhones with Flappy Bird installed have attracted dozens of bids, both of which have top bids so far of over $90,000. Creator Dong Nguyen pulled the game from app stores yesterday, meaning the mobile hit is now an instant collector's item.
Flappy Bird isn't exactly "rare," however, as it's been downloaded more than 50 million times. The brutally difficult but simply designed mobile game is still playable on your device if you've already downloaded it.
With six days to go, seller "pindrus" has received 74 bids for an iPhone 5S with a copy of the game. The top bid on that auction is $99,900. Separately, eBay seller "Kristenater91" has received 65 bids--with a top bid of $90,200--for an auction ending this evening.
It's possible that bids are being run up by trolls, as was the case with super rare NES game Nintendo World Championship late last month. We won't know for sure until the auctions end.
Nguyen removed Flappy Bird from iTunes and Google Play yesterday, saying its removal was not related to legal issues (it bears resemblances to the Super Mario franchise), but rather because "I cannot take this anymore," he said, referring to all the attention coming his way.
Nguyen is forgoing a major payday by pulling Flappy Birds, as he revealed last week that the game was pulling in an average of $50,000 per day in advertising revenue.
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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Todays most downloaded app!

As of this moment, the top free download on the app store isn’t Instagram, or Facebook, or Snapchat, or even the brand new streaming service Beats Music. It’s a skeletal, crummy-looking, ad-saturated game called Flappy Bird. Yes, Flappy Bird.
You can only do one thing in Flappy Bird. The thing you can do is tap the screen to make the bird … beat … its wings, and in so doing, attempt to fly through a series of narrow, same-sized gaps.
Flappy Bird is comically hard. The wave intervals in which your dumb little bird rises and falls are so large that it takes perfect timing to pass through a gap. Add to that the fact that the pipes are placed close together and that their collision borders seem to extend more than a few pixels beyond their color borders, and you have a supremely frustrating little time-waster. I played for three minutes before I cleared my first pipe, and after ten minutes my best score was 7 (pipes passed).
So why, exactly, is this ugly, spare, hard, unoriginal game so crazily popular? (And it is popular: its 63,100 user reviews average four stars.) Scrolling through the reviews yields a few answers.
The first reason, and the most surprising, seems to be that people actually enjoy the challenge and frustration provided by the game.
These reviews are typical:

The second reason, possibly problematic, is that aspects of its art —the pipes and the bird, so really everything, lol—closely resemble the original Super Mario Bros.. Even though the game is brand new, it feels aesthetically as if it has been around for years.
The third reason, which is why I love the game, is that, purposefully or not, it scans as a parody of the bird games, Angry Birds and Tiny Wings, that dominated, and continue to dominate, the paid section of the app store. Everything from the inane name to the single, simple mechanic feels like a piss-take. Though the game is made by an apparently sincere developer from Hanoi, it could just as easily be the work of an indie mischief-maker.
That may be why the game is ultimately so brilliant: It’s terrible and crappy and soulless, but also wonderful and addictive and funny. It is hideous and pixelated but nostalgic and beautiful. It’s incredibly hard but it also exacts no cost for losing. It is a question and an answer, a problem and a solution, and perhaps the alpha and omega of mobile gaming.

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Thursday, February 6, 2014




Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Did Microsoft choose the wrong CEO?

Microsoft has finally ended the speculations about who might become the third CEO in the company’s history. It has revealed that Satya Nadella, a veteran insider, will take the top job at the company. Nadella (46), who has been with Microsoft for over 22 years, used to be the executive vice president in charge of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group.
So far, only co-founders Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer have headed up the company. Given that over recent years, Microsoft has failed to keep pace with more innovative rivals including Google, Apple and Facebook, fresh blood was urgently required. Previous CEO Steve Ballmer failed miserably to deliver innovations and lead the company into new and exciting fields.
This is why I felt quite strongly that an inspirational, external CEO was required. What Microsoft now needs is someone who can take tough decisions; cut the losses in many areas where Microsoft is failing to compete, and really focus the company on the things it is good at. In my view, Microsoft requires a large scale restructuring that will only work if it is headed up by a visionary leader, someone that can inspire and motivate the people to join that journey. Otherwise, the company will continue to sink and fall apart in slow motion.
Somehow, I don’t think, soft-spoken and poetry loving Nadella is right for that job. He has kept a very low profile and can hardly be described as a visionary leader. Probably even less so than Steve Ballmer, who at some point had one of the lowest employee approval ratings of any CEO. For me, Nadella seems like the “safe” choice and I don’t think for one minute he was the first choice. The problem was that other players like Ford Boss Alan Mulally were on the list but declined publicly.
What goes in Nadella’s favour is that he seems a really nice guy. But is nice what Microsoft needs now?
Also, with the announcement of the new CEO, Microsoft also revealed that Bill Gates is stepping down as Chairman. On the surface this seems a good move because it creates more space and freedom for Nadella to make more radical decisions and put his own stamp on things. Unfortunately, Gates will stay on the board as ‘Founder and Technology Advisor’. Really, technology advisor? Anyway, Steve Ballmer will also stay and John Thompson will be the new chairman of the board.
I would love to see Nadella succeed but somehow I can’t see that he would be able to make the radical changes that are required if the co-founders still sit in the background, holding many strings. For me, Microsoft might just have missed another opportunity to take the company into a new direction. But what do you think? Could he just be the right person?
Let me know your thoughts and please share your views. To help make up your mind, here is the first interview with Satya Nadella as the new Microsoft CEO:

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Article posted by:    Bernard Marr

Monday, February 3, 2014

Rumors has it Samsung Galaxy S5 may top iPhone 6 in sales? Here's Why!

There are two strings of smartphone launches this year that are obviously the most highly anticipated of 2014. The first comes from Apple, which is expected to launch an iPhone 6with a larger display as well as a phablet-sized iPhone. Perhaps just as eagerly anticipated, however, is Samsung’sGalaxy S5 lineup. Galaxy S5 rumors have been coming hot and heavy in recent months and while there are a number of conflicting reports out there, even leaks that contradict each other may still end up panning out. Why? Considering how many different Galaxy S4 models Samsung has debuted so far — some as recently as last week — we can probably look forward to several different Galaxy S5 versions debuting this year beginning in March or April.
Top South Korean brokerage KDB Daewoo Securities has detailed at least one of Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S5 models in a recent note to clients, which was picked up on Monday by by The firm has a history of revealing accurate details surrounding unannounced devices long before they debut.While the various Galaxy S5 reports out there have come from sites with varying track records, one of the latest leaks comes from a rather convincing source.
In KDB’s latest note, the firm’s analysts claim to detail both a flagship Galaxy S5 model as well as Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6 and its larger companion. From the looks of things — on paper, at least — the Galaxy S5 will pack specs that outshine and outclass its iOS-powered rivals.
According to KDB’s unnamed supply chain sources, the Galaxy S5 will be powered by either a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon chipset or an octa-core 64-bit Exynos SoC clocked at 2GHz. As was the case with the Galaxy S4, the processor will vary by region and device model.
Other specs, according to the firm, include a 5.2- or 5.25-inch AMOLED display with WQHD resolution (2,560 x 1,440 pixels), 3GB of RAM, 32GB/64GB/128GB storage options, a 16-megapixel rear camera, a 3.2-megapixel front-facing camera and a massive 3,200 mAh battery. KDB also says that the Galaxy S5 version it has detailed will be the first flagship phone from Samsung to feature an all-metal case.
The firm’s note states that Samsung’s Galaxy S5 will debut in either the first or second quarter this year. A separate report recently stated that Samsung plans to unveil the new handset during a special event in mid-March.
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Article posted by:    Zach Epstein