news aggregator

Webvan founder Louis Borders is working on a new grocery delivery business (Jason Del Rey/Re/code)

techmeme - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 1:10pm

Jason Del Rey / Re/code:
Webvan founder Louis Borders is working on a new grocery delivery business  —  Webvan's Founder Is Back and He's Building Another Grocery Delivery Business  —  Two years after his high-flying online grocery business collapsed into bankruptcy, Webvan founder Louis Borders was quoted as saying …

Categories: news

Wink's remarkable book picks of the week

boingboing - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 1:08pm

Wink is a website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. My wife, Carla Sinclair, is the editor. We take photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed books about Rocketeer creator Dave Stevens' beautiful comic book art, unusual maps of an ordinary neighborhood, the history of economics told through comics, visual representations of history, a visual guide to psychology, and hundreds of excellent optical illusions.

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Categories: news

Record Labels Sue Pandora Over Pre-1972 Recordings (Ed Christman/Billboard)

techmeme - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 1:00pm

Ed Christman / Billboard:
Record Labels Sue Pandora Over Pre-1972 Recordings  —  As expected, the three major labels, ABKCO, and the RIAA filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in New York state court against Pandora for playing pre-Feb. 15, 1972 recordings without making any royalty payments.

Categories: news

Heartbleed exploits expand to VPN devices: attackers hijack user sessions, bypassing multifactor authentication (Dan Goodin/Ars Technica)

techmeme - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:35pm

Dan Goodin / Ars Technica:
Heartbleed exploits expand to VPN devices: attackers hijack user sessions, bypassing multifactor authentication  —  Heartbleed maliciously exploited to hack network with multifactor authentication  —  Demonstrating yet another way the catastrophic Heartbleed vulnerability threatens users …

Categories: news

LiveRail Serves the Most Video Ads in March, Takes Top Spot in Ad Ranking

clickz - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:09pm
In the most recent report from comScore, LiveRail overtook AOL, Inc. to solidify its position at the preferred sell-side video advertising technology provider.
Categories: news

Welcome to the spectrum-dome: FCC lays groundwork for its controversial incentive auction

GigaOm - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:55am

This spring is shaping up to be a very contentious season for almost everyone that has a stake in the country’s wireless airwaves. The Federal Communications Commission on Friday released its recommendations for how the upcoming broadcast airwaves incentive auction should be conducted. It will impact mobile carriers, internet companies, TV broadcasters and proponents of free-to-use unlicensed spectrum.

The incentive auction will be the first of its kind, requiring an enormously complex process involving a reverse auction, a reconfiguration of the UHF TV band, and a forward auction of newly created 4G licenses – and there’s no guarantee that the FCC can pull it off.


Source: FCC

The spectrum in question is in the 600 MHz UHF band, which now carries TV signals in markets all across the country. However, mobile carriers have long had interest in the band, because its low frequencies would enable their LTE signals to propagate further, creating higher coverage networks.

Now the FCC has to convince hundreds of TV stations around the country to sell off their licenses and instead share channels with other stations, migrate to the VHF band or go off air entirely. If enough broadcasters participate, the FCC will get enough spectrum to hold a traditional spectrum auction for mobile carriers – if they’re willing to meet the broadcasters’ prices. That’s a lot of ifs.

The nuts and bolts

The FCC’s report and order (R&O) – which will go before the full commission in its May 15 meeting – tries to maximize the chances that the incentive auction doesn’t flop by creating as much leeway in the process as possible. The R&O recommends splitting the airwaves into the small discrete chunks of 10 MHz (5 MHz for the uplink and 5 MHz for the downlink). Then it would split those licenses up geographically into partial economic areas (PEAs) that would allow operators to bid on them on market-by-market basis (as opposed to the big nationwide or regional licenses the FCC has auctioned in the past).

Source: Shutterstock / Refat

So, for instance, if many broadcasters in LA decided to part with their airwaves, the FCC could still auction off multiple 4G licenses in southern California even if broadcasters in New York decide not participate. And if only a few broadcasters in any given market are interested, the FCC could still pull out some usable 4G spectrum (it only takes two 6 MHz broadcast licenses to create a single 10 MHz mobile broadband license).

The other big issue is how much new unlicensed spectrum would be created in the band. As opposed to licensed airwaves, which are controlled by a single carrier, unlicensed are open to anyone to use and form the backbone of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth communications. In lower bands like 600 MHz, those airwaves could be used for new longer-range white spaces broadband technologies.

While unlicensed advocates want the FCC to dedicate as many as 24 MHz for free-to-use airwaves, the FCC’s proposal would set aside one specific band for unlicensed: Channel 37, which is used today for radio astronomy and medical telemetry. But the FCC would also allow unlicensed use in the “guard band” between TV and mobile broadband – think of it as DMZ where no cellular or broadcast signal can tread – and a section of airwaves called the duplex, which divides the uplink 4G signals from downlink signals.

Source: Shutterstock / iconmonstr

When repacking broadcasters’ 6 MHz channels into 10 MHz licenses, the FCC would add all of the leftover megahertz onto the guard and duplex bands, so the more broadcasters participate in the auction, the more unlicensed airwaves will be created in a given market. FCC officials estimated that could be anywhere between 12 and 20 MHz.

What’s at stake

There’s a lot on the table, and there are lot of competing interests taking their seats, some of whom may elect to take their chips and leave. The FCC has to convince broadcasters — who tend to have a deep distrust for their regulator — that this auction is in their best interests. Meanwhile, the carriers are fighting amongst themselves about how the spoils will be split.

The FCC’s R&O doesn’t even address one of the most controversial parts of the auction: whether AT&T and Verizon will face restrictions on how much spectrum they can bid on in any given market. Congress is calling for an unfettered auction where AT&T and Verizon have free rein, though lawmakers seem more concerned about boosting auction revenue for federal coffers than they are about competition.

FCC Commissioners (L to R): Commissioner Ajit Pai, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Chairman Tom Wheeler, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and Commissioner Michael O’Rielly (Source: FCC)

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is backing plans that would limit those two megacarriers’ ability to bid in the auction to ensure smaller regional carriers, as well as Sprint and T-Mobile, will be able to pick up licenses. AT&T this week threatened to back out of the auction entirely if the final rules go against it. Whether AT&T is just posturing remains to be seen, but if it sticks to its threat it would take a major bidder out of the auction, and increase the chances the FCC fails to meet its bidding revenue targets.

The auction is still over a year away, scheduled for mid-2015, but one thing is for certain. Nailing down the rules of the auction is going to be a long, controversial process, all the way up until the first bid is placed.


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HTC hints at DSLR-like optical zoom in the next 18-24 months, "wants to own the selfie market" (Vodafone Social)

techmeme - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:55am

Vodafone Social:
HTC hints at DSLR-like optical zoom in the next 18-24 months, “wants to own the selfie market”  —  HTC talks camera tech: DSLR-destroying optical zooming ‘18 months’ away  —  The HTC One (M8) is here, and even though we're only in April, it's already a strong contender for phone of the year.

Categories: news

Airbnb closes TPG-led $450M-500M funding round valuing company at $10B (Ingrid Lunden/TechCrunch)

techmeme - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:35am

Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:
Airbnb closes TPG-led $450M-500M funding round valuing company at $10B  —  Airbnb Has Closed Its $500M Round Of Funding At A $10B Valuation, Led By TPG  —  TechCrunch has learned that Airbnb, the fast-growing site that lets people become hoteliers by renting out sofas, rooms or entire private homes …

Categories: news

Facebook's Paper for iOS updated with birthdays, events, photo comments, group updates, and more (Emil Protalinski/The Next Web)

techmeme - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:20am

Emil Protalinski / The Next Web:
Facebook's Paper for iOS updated with birthdays, events, photo comments, group updates, and more  —  Facebook today released the first major update to its Paper for iOS app, adding a slew of new features just 10 weeks after the initial launch.  You can download the new version now directly from Apple's App Store.

Categories: news

This week in bitcoin: Another creator, another MtGox failure

GigaOm - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:00am

In this week’s bitcoin review, we recap how MtGox and the hunt for bitcoin’s creator have managed to dominate headlines again.

This week in Satoshi Nakamoto: Is it Nick Szabo?

It’s a new month, so it’s time for a new bitcoin creator candidate and MtGox scandal. Up to bat for Satoshi Nakamoto this week is Nick Szabo.

Szabo, a respected blogger, was identified as a potential creator of bitcon after a forensic linguistics study said his writing patterns had an “uncanny” likeness to that of the original bitcoin paper. The Aston University study matched a different, independent study from December that also identified Szabo as a possible author.

Reaction on Twitter and Reddit has been mixed — while Szabo has been on the top of many people’s lists for some time, he’s also repeatedly denied it and people who know him are stepping forward to support his denial. While the study possibly matches Szabo to the paper, it doesn’t mean he’s the sole creator either. Another commonly held belief is that Satoshi Nakamoto might be a group of people under that pseudonym — if so, Szabo might just be a piece of that puzzle.

Meanwhile, MtGox continued its struggles in court. Last week, it was rumored that the exchange’s CEO Mark Karpeles would be arrested if he attended a hearing about the exchange in the US. He obviously didn’t attend, but his legal team is pushing ahead in the U.S. courts and is trying to recover $5 million that had been seized by the Department of Homeland Security. In Japanese bankruptcy court, the MtGox team asked to switch to liquidation proceedings rather than restructuring, lessening the chance of recovering any of the missing money.

The market this week

Bitcoin didn’t stay below $400 for long. The price has climbed more than $100 this week, closing some days as high as $530. The market closed at $494.10 on Thursday, but had fallen to $478 at 9 a.m. PST.

For background on why we’re using Coindesk’s Bitcoin Price Index, see note at bottom of the post. 

Here are some of the best reads from around the web this week:

  • Don’t hold your breath for bitcoin purchases on Amazon — the e-commerce titan said it doesn’t have any plans to “engage” in bitcoin commerce.
  • If you’re bitcoin mining, it might help to have your dad’s power plant be the one to generate the electricity.
  • It’s been a week for bitcoin documentaries. CNBC has a great one here while there’s also a more stylized documentary, The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin, circulating the film festival crowd.
  • Dogecoin, meet Dogecon. The shiba inu and comic sans-loving altcurrency is hosting a meet up next week in San Francisco. I’ll be attending, but City AM is right to question whether Dogecoin is starting to cannibalize itself.
Bitcoin in 2014

The history of bitcoin’s price

A note on our data: We use CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index to obtain both a historical and current reflection of the Bitcoin market. The BPI is an average of the three Bitcoin exchanges which meet their criteria: Bitstamp, BTC-e and Bitfinex. To see the criteria for inclusion or for price updates by the minute, visit CoinDesk. Since the market never closes, the “closing price” as noted in the graphics is based on end of day Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or British Summer Time (BST). 

Feature image from Pond5/StevanoVicigor

Categories: news

5 big speakers and 5 big ideas for building next-generation infrastructure

GigaOm - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 10:53am

Distributed computing is nothing new, but like the Big Bang, what was once contained as a singular node of computing has exploded into an ever-expanding number of real and virtual machines traveling farther and farther from any central origin. It’s not a perfect metaphor. There was never just one mainframe or one data center, but the thinking is similar. The number of nodes is increasing and their placement on the network is moving further and further out.

Which is why this year at Structure we’re pushing further and further into use cases and an understanding of how one builds computing that no one organization has control over. Can computing embrace entropy while still delivering reliable results? The event, held in San Francisco on June 18 and 19, attempts to discover how big names in webscale computing are thinking about the edge and designing applications that can span both the cloud and individual sensors. But while the Googles and Facebooks might be the leading edge, how far can companies like HP or VMware drag enterprise clients into the future, and what’s keeping them back?

1. An application that lives in every time zone

Over the years Google has driven the technology behind distributed computing with technologies such as Map Reduce and Spanner. It is clearly thinking about how to build applications that aren’t isolated in one data center or even one time zone. This type of distributed thinking is behind its latest networking investments and is why Urs Hölzle, SVP Technical Infrastructure and Google Fellow, is speaking at the Structure. But we’re also bringing in others who understand these problems including Facebook’s Jay Parikh and Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie.

Urs Hölzle

2. Building trust on untrusted hardware

Securing more and more devices isn’t just hard, it’s becoming impossible as we span different clouds, data centers and networks. With security flaws like Heartbleed or weak physical endpoints such as the point of sales terminals that led to the Target data breach, we’re going to need a new model for security. Matthew Prince, the CEO of CloudFlare has a some ideas on how we implement security in this brave new world.

Matthew Prince

3. Going to light speed

It’s not enough to say that computing will need to occur over a greater number of devices. We also have to improve the speed that information travels over the myriad networks it will have to traverse to help with real-time data processing. We’ll also need new forms of memory capable of holding more data close to the compute and possibly containing its own processing. Speakers such as Andreas Bechtolsheim of Arista Networks, Dianne Bryant of Intel and Vinod Khosla can help us understand the hardware problems in these three areas and potential solutions in the works.

Andy Bechtolsheim

4. Leave no computer or company behind

This concept of an explosion of data and endpoints is nothing new to enterprise, which has dealt with this since mainframes evolved to the personal computer and now to every employee bringing his or her own device. But each evolution has led to more complexity and now the pressure is on to rethink the overall architecture to focus on agility. We’re bringing in Jamie Miller, the SVP and CIO of GE; Jeffery Padgett, Senior Director, Infrastructure Architecture for Gap; Don Whittington, VP and CIO of Florida Crystals; and Stephan Felisan, VP Engineering & Operations at to explore how old-line companies will make this next evolution.

Jamie Miller

5. Abstract everything you hold dear

Part of the promise of this new style of computing architecture is that more people without deep technical skills can use technology to improve their business. But to make this possible, you have to make hard tech easy. Abstraction is how most companies are choosing to do this. We’ll have the granddaddy of abstraction, Amazon’s CTO Werner Vogels, onstage to discuss how far the world’s most popular public cloud can take that concept. Mike Curtis, the VP of Engineering at Airbnb, will also join in, discussing the practical limitations of such a strategy.

Mike Curtis

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LinkedIn surpasses 300M members, announces its “mobile moment”

GigaOm - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 10:50am

On Friday, social network and recruiting site LinkedIn announced via blog post that it had officially surpassed 300 million members, with 100 million members based in the U.S. alone. Acquiring roughly 100 million users since January 2013, the company noted that much of the growth in traffic has come from two areas: internationally and on mobile. LinkedIn stressed that it was on the verge of its “mobile moment,” meaning that sometime in 2014, mobile use will actually surpass desktop traffic. Both feed directly into each other — apparently mobile accounts for more than 50 percent of LinkedIn’s international traffic already. But the company conveniently side-steps any stats related to Monthly Active Users, perhaps a sign that the company is still trying to make its platform a daily destination.

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Globalfoundries to adopt Samsung's 14nm chip production process as the companies try to woo customers away from TSMC (Don Clark/Wall Street Journal)

techmeme - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 10:50am

Don Clark / Wall Street Journal:
Globalfoundries to adopt Samsung's 14nm chip production process as the companies try to woo customers away from TSMC  —  Samsung, Globalfoundries Agree to Adopt Same Production Process  —  Unusual Alliance Could Please Chip Customers Such as Apple  —  Samsung Electronics Co …

Categories: news

King Resolves Trademark Disputes With Two Independent Developers (Eric Johnson/Re/code)

techmeme - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 10:25am

Eric Johnson / Re/code:
King Resolves Trademark Disputes With Two Independent Developers  —  Candy Crush Saga maker King has resolved its trademark disputes with the developers of two independent games, The Banner Saga and CandySwipe.  —  The mobile gaming giant had initially opposed Stoic's attempt to trademark …

Categories: news

With human ancestors, the devil is in the details

boingboing - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 10:19am

See the notches at the top of these two casts of ancient hominid mandibles? If you were a paleoanthropologist, you would spend your days arguing about the shape of those notches and their deeper possible meanings.

In 2010, the scientists who found these jaw bones decided that the bones represented a previously unknown hominid species — Australopithecus sediba — whose characteristics blend those of our genus, Homo, with those of a much older genus, Australopithecus.

BUT, now, other scientists think they're wrong, arguing that the two bones don't even come from the same species. Instead, the top mandible in this picture could be straight up Homo, and the bottom classic Australopithecus, and the whole debate — which has implications for how we draw our human family tree — hinges on the shape of that, well, hinge.

Categories: news

Samsung hints that Milk Music will 'soon' include ads, and offer a $3.99/month premium service (Jon Russell/The Next Web)

techmeme - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 10:05am

Jon Russell / The Next Web:
Samsung hints that Milk Music will ‘soon’ include ads, and offer a $3.99/month premium service  —  When Samsung introduced its first Internet radio service Milk Music in March, one of the things that stood out was that it was available free and without ads.  That may change soon, according to information disclosed by Samsung today.

Categories: news

Meet the 17th century's answer to Tesla

boingboing - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 10:03am
Cornelis Drebbel was a Dutch inventor who may have inspired Shakespeare's Prospero, was occasionally accused of witchcraft, and built submarines, telescopes, and feedback-control devices while simultaneously dabbling in alchemy. Bring on the "I <3 Drebble" T-shirts.

Categories: news

Should autonomous cars behave like automatons or act like human drivers?

GigaOm - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 10:00am

At Nokia’s Here connected car division in Chicago, researchers are pouring over crowdsourced vehicle data from all of the world, trying to figure out how our future autonomous vehicles should comport themselves on the road.

By comparing high-definition mapping data against the measured behavior of real vehicles, Here is determining the most optimal, safest and most fuel-efficient way for autonomous vehicles to drive on any given highway or through any feasible intersection. There’s only one problem.

The optimal way to drive is not the way real humans actually drive. The traffic patterns on our highways and roads today would look very different if they were completely populated by autonomous cars. Those cars would space them themselves far more closely than all but the most aggressive tailgaters would feel comfortable with. They’d brake too soon when coming at curves, and then they’d accelerate through those curves at speeds fast enough to turn some people’s stomachs.

Ogi Redzic, Nokia Here VP of Connected Driving (Source: Gigaom / Kevin Fitchard_

This presents a problem for Nokia and other companies developing driverless car technologies, Here VP of Connected Driving Ogi Redzic said. In these early days of autonomous driving, the auto industry has to take into account the foibles of human nature and the ingrained wisdom of the road when programming the driver logic of the first autonomous cars. Otherwise independently acting vehicles might create the congestion and cause the accidents they’re intended to avoid as human drivers react to their seemingly erratic behavior.

“Autonomous cars have to drive similarly to how humans drive,” Redzic said. “We have to humanize autonomous driving for it to gain acceptance.”

That doesn’t mean training driverless cars to weave within their lanes or flip off pokey drivers as they pass them on the shoulder. But it does mean programming some inefficient behavior into vehicles, getting them to match the typical patterns of human drivers as they, say, navigate a particularly sharp curve or position themselves between vehicles in traffic, Redzic said.

Nokia Here’s depiction of traffic speed patterns in a European city (Source: Nokia)

That won’t always be the case, Redzic added. Emulating human driver behavior will be key in emerging Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, which will take control of the wheel and peddles in emergency situations or give the car a slight nudge when it meanders outside of its lane, and in the early days of fully autonomous cars. But as more autonomous cars make it onto the road, Redzic believes humans will start adapting their behavior to the driverless cars, rather than the other way around. Redzic said he couldn’t predict an exact moment, but the day the number of autonomous cars match the number of human-controlled vehicles would be a good starting point.

Ultimately human driver behavior will have to change. We tend to think of driverless vehicles as a convenience — putting your car on autopilot so you can check your email without careening into a school bus — but there’s a much bigger picture.

Source: Shutterstock / TonyV3112

Autonomous and connected cars will be much more efficient cars. Vehicles with similar destinations will “platoon” on the highway, minimizing lane changes and easing congestion. Vehicles connecting to our transportation infrastructures will be able to route around accidents and make more efficient use of all the streets, roads and highways available.

With governments reluctant to invest more money in transportation infrastructure and the number of vehicles on roads only increasing, a key mission of the autonomous driving will be to pack as many automobiles as possible onto our existing roads, moving them from their various point As to Points Bs in the most efficient manner possible while minimizing the fuel they consume and the greenhouse emissions they produce. The alternative is global gridlock.

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How schools got desegregated ... and then resegregated

boingboing - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 9:58am
The rise and fall of desegregation efforts in the three generations since Brown v. Board. Incredible work by Nikole Hannah-Jones at ProPublica, following the school careers of James Dent, his daughter, and granddaughter in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Categories: news

Top jobs of the week in tech: Amdocs, Northrop Grumman and more

GigaOm - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 9:55am

This week make sure you check out our latest research report on utilizing cloud computing, big data and crowdsourcing to stay ahead of the competition. Also, Gigaom’s Structure conference is happening on June 18 and 19 in San Francisco and registration is picking up, so be sure to register before it is too late. Now the jobs for this week:

We also have other listings from companies like,, Raytheon and more. Click here to see what else is on our job board.

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