Posts tagged Gets

Chromecast Gets New Gaming Powers, Plus Showtime and Starz

Google really, really wants Chromecast to get on your gift shopping list. So to sweeten the deal, the company just announced some brand new functionality for its $35 TV-streaming stick. Say hello to casual gaming and new premium channels.

If you already own a Chromecast TV-streaming device, congratulations! You have a new way to entertain (or distract) relatives on Turkey Day. Just call up a board game app on your mobile and fling it to your television. Compatible titles include Wheel of Fortune, Hasbro’s Monopoly Dash, Scrabble Blitz, Connect Four Quads and Simon Swipe. Or clear the furniture for Just Dance Now, test Grandma’s Web knowledge with Emoji Party, or crown the king or queen of useless knowledge with trivia game Big Web Quiz, which uses Google Knowledge Graph to create questions. 

See also: How To Send Videos On Your Android Device to Chromecast

The game selection isn’t very extensive yet, and the offerings aren’t exactly console-worthy. But this debut set makes it easy to put some family-friendly fun on the big screen for your family and friends, while they use their mobile devices as directional or motion controllers.

The thumb-sized streaming gadget also boasts support from two new premium TV channels. Showtime Anytime and Starz join the fold, which is great news if you want to binge-watch Homeland or want to catch Outlander. Like the HBO GO app, these new streaming channels require a cable subscription—for now. Also like that competitor, Showtime will also debut a standalone streaming service independent of cable packages next year. (Starz may also do the same.)

Chromecast development has been ramping up this year, with literally hundreds of compatible apps now. To make it easier to wade through the pile, Google organized its Chromecast apps page with new categories covering compatible iPhone and Android apps. Now they’re sorted into New, TV & Movies, Music & Audio, Games, Sports, Media & Video and More. 

Harking back to its launch, when Google bundled free Netflix services for Chromecast customers, the company’s sweetening the pot again—this time with two free months of Hulu Plus and 90 days of the Google Play All Access Music service. (Limited to Chromecast users who newly sign up for the services.) 

Looks like Chromecast just leapt out of the stocking stuffer category and earned a primo place on primary gift lists. 

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OpenStack Gets A $100M Vote Of Confidence—But Amazon Is Waiting

Only one open-source company that’s so far managed to break $1 billion in annual revenue. But that’s not stopping venture capitalists from spreading billions around in the hopes of helping create the next Red Hat.

See also: The Open-Source Cloud Takes A Step Toward Simplicity

Too bad Amazon Web Services (AWS) is out there waiting for them. 

Let The Venture Money Flow!

Over the past two years, the sums pouring into open-source enterprise software companies have been remarkable. Last year MongoDB (full disclosure: my employer) raised $150 million at a reported $1.2 billion valuation, while NoSQL peer DataStax took in another $106 million, valuing the company at $830 million.

Meanwhile in Hadoop Land, investors handed Hortonworks $100 million at a reported $1 billion valuation, after which Cloudera pulled in a monster $900 million round, most of it from Intel, at a nosebleed valuation reported to be around $4.1 billion. 

See also: Red Hat May Be Stacking The Deck Against Its OpenStack Rivals

And we’re not done yet. On Tuesday, Mirantis—which offers software and support for OpenStack, a collection of open-source tools companies can use to build their own clouds—raised $100 million from a variety of investors including Intel Capital and Ericsson. Nobody disclosed a valuation.

This kind of Oprah money has fewer companies to flow into these days. Many standalone OpenStack and open-source cloud startups have already been gobbled up by large vendors, mostly for nominal sums. Oracle scooped up Nimbulus last year. HP recently bought Eucalytpus, EMC acquired Cloudscaling and Cisco bought Metacloud.

That leaves Mirantis standing in an industry with some very big players as competitors, in a market that seems to be Amazon’s to lose. 

Mirantis, of course, is not the only open source company competing with Amazon. In a world increasingly gone cloud, every software vendor, open source or otherwise, competes with AWS.

Amazon: The New Microsoft?

There must be something in the water around Seattle, as the area keeps breeding hegemons. Microsoft dominated desktop and data center computing for decades. Now it’s Amazon’s turn.

Amazon Web Services is perhaps the fastest-growing software business in history, ramping to $1 billion and beyond at a torrid pace, as Pacific Crest Securities estimates:

Now that Amazon CTO Werner Vogels has made it clear that Amazon is in the “enterprise pain management” business, and won’t be content to merely provide infrastructure services, no area of software is safe from AWS’ deflationary grasp. Yet hard as it may be to compete against AWS with a proprietary licensing model, in some ways it’s harder with an open source model. 

Just ask MySQL, once a burgeoning developer of the popular open-source database of the same name.

At the time of its $1 billion acquisition by Sun in 2008, MySQL was doing roughly $100 million in sales. That’s not bad, but it pales in comparison to how much AWS was making on that same MySQL code, both in terms of RDS and MySQL-related EC2 revenue

While there are no official numbers from AWS on its cloud business, I’ve heard from inside sources that AWS made several hundred million in revenue at the time of the MySQL acquisition, and I would venture that its RDS + MySQL-related EC2 revenue is now approaching the $1 billion mark.

It’s not just MySQL, of course. Amazon is also the world’s largest Linux vendor, the largest Hadoop vendor and so on. Importantly, AWS has done what no open source company has ever managed to do: make money off all otherwise free open-source software. By turning open source software into managed services, AWS can turn any open-source code into cash.

A Quixotic Mirantis Counterattack

Adrian Ionel

Now Mirantis and its investors hope to stem that tide. The good news is that Amazon has no interest (so far) in selling OpenStack private cloud services. 

That’s also the bad news.

When I talked to Mirantis CEO Adrian Ionel about why VCs would pour money into an AWS competitor, he didn’t hold back:

We have seen strong customer traction and out-sized business results, and we are working with some of the best brands in the world, including Home Depot, Wells Fargo, and PayPal. Earlier this year, we closed the largest OpenStack deal in history with Ericsson (more than $30 million in software licensing revenues over five years). We are becoming known as a the breakaway independent OpenStack leader, and it’s exciting to see the momentum build.

That may be true, but it’s not yet clear that Mirantis and its 450 engineers have much chance against AWS. Ionel is quick to point out that Mirantis can hold its own against other OpenStack contenders like VMware, HP, Oracle, Red Hat and possibly Cisco-via-Metacloud: “We already have the largest OpenStack customer base of any vendor, and dominate Web/SaaS, service provider, and enterprise markets.” 

He further notes, “Customers routinely tell us that they chose Mirantis because there was no proprietary agenda, which means so that they can avoid the lock-in of traditional IT.” But those same customers are actively embracing AWS, with GE the latest poster child.

Fighting The AWS Beast

In fact, as I’ve argued before, OpenStack’s best chance at relevance is likely Red Hat, which has the broad open source portfolio to make it a potential contender against Amazon’s array of services. Ionel disagrees, saying that “The ‘benevolent dictator’ model may be past its prime,” and that “Other models can be more powerful, like an open, market-driven meritocracy combined with deep user engagement in R&D.”

This still doesn’t answer the AWS threat. To that Ionel retorted, 

OpenStack lets them fine-tune their cloud to their needs. By contrast, AWS is a much simpler “one-size-fits-all” platform which standardizes everything to the lowest possible denominator for its customers. Although this makes sense for some enterprises and workloads, it cannot make sense for all of them.

Maybe, maybe not. But I seriously doubt most enterprises today are concerned with the “one-size-fits-all” epithet and instead view it as a convenient way to get to the cloud fast. Until OpenStack can deliver a deep cloud experience as easily as AWS does, $100 million isn’t nearly enough.

Lead photo by kayugee

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Apple’s Mac Mini Gets An Update, Lower Price

Apple unveiled the latest update, along with a price reduction, to its most diminutive desktop computer Thursday at a product launch on its Cupertino campus.  

See also: What Apple Announced At Its Thursday iPad Event

The Mac Mini’s first update in two years includes faster 4th generation Intel Core processors, Intel Iris and HD Graphics 5000, PCle-based flash storage, 802.11 ac Wi-Fi and two Thunderbolt 2 ports. Apple also claims that the new Mac Mini is the world’s most “energy efficient desktop.” The new Mac Mini start at $499, a $100 reduction from the previous version’s $599 price tag. 

The Mac Mini begins shipping Thursday. 

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Like Google, Apple’s Siri Also Gets Stephen Colbert’s Height Wrong

Google came under fire last night from Stephen Colbert, over a direct answer that got the comedian’s height wrong. But Apple’s Siri makes the same mistake — something Colbert didn’t raise during his video appearance at the Apple’s iPad event today. Stephen Colbert…



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SEO Gets Overlooked As Lead Generation Tool – MediaPost Communications


MediaPost Communications
SEO Gets Overlooked As Lead Generation Tool
MediaPost Communications
Among the 342 North American real-estate agents and brokers participating in a survey, 83% believe SEO offers the most important source for online lead generation, but only 4.9% said they generate referrals by optimizing content. It's not clear whether

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Hyungsik admits he gets jealous when he sees drama co-stars Seo Kang Jun … – allkpop


allkpop
Hyungsik admits he gets jealous when he sees drama co-stars Seo Kang Jun
allkpop
On September 25, ZE:A's Twitter uploaded the above picture featuring Seo Kang Jun, Nam Ji Hyun, and Hyungsik with the caption: "In a little bit at 11:10 PM, team 'What's With This Family' will appear on 'Happy Together'! Everyone stay tuned for

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Amazon Gets Serious About Hardware With 6 New Tablets

When it comes to owning your entertainment experience, Amazon is not playing around. 

The retail giant rolled out its largest product launch since it entered the hardware business on Wednesday, introducing six new tablets. Amazon’s new line ranges from a kid-friendly e-reader to a Kindle Fire tablet for power users. All are available for pre-order now and are scheduled to arrive in October. 

The new products include:

Fire HD 6 Tablet: $100

The new tablet comes with a 6-inch HD display, wi-fi, front and rear cameras, and offers 8GB or 16GB of storage. 

Fire HD Tablet, Kids Edition: $149 to $189

This “kid-proof tablet” for kids ages 3 to 10 is available with either a 6-inch display ($149) or 7-inch display ($189). The kids edition has features similar to the new Fire HD 6 for grownups, along with a 2-year guarantee and a protective case. The tablet also features unlimited access to 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, apps and games at no extra cost and built-in parental controls. 

Fire HDX 8.9 $379 to $479

Described by Amazon as “our most powerful tablet ever,” the Fire HDX 8.9 features an HDX display, Wi-Fi and is available with a range of storage, including 16GB ($379), 32GB ($429) and 64GB ($479).

Kindle $79

Amazon’s “most affordable” e-reader does away with page-turning buttons, offering a touchscreen display, a faster processor and more storage.

Kindle Voyage $199 to $269

Amazon’s blinged-out Kindle Voyage, for its most “passionate readers,” features the latest generation, backlit Paperwhite Display, high resolution and contrast, an adaptive front light and “reimagined page turns,” which allow readers to turn a page “without lifting a finger.” 

Kindle Voyage is available with Wi-Fi only ($199) or Wi-Fi and 3G ($269).

Lead photo by Amazon

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TV Rank: Google Gets Patent On Using What You’re Watching To Influence Search Results

Google uses a variety of signals to determine how to rank search results, such examining linking patterns on the web, an individual’s geographic location, search history and more. Now, perhaps what you’re watching on TV might become a new factor. Bill Slawski, an SEO patent guru, posted…



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TV Rank: Google Gets Patent On Using TV Viewing Habits To Influence Search Results

If Google can use HTTPS as a ranking signal, why can’t they use your TV viewing habits as a signal for what content to rank for your query? Bill Slawski, an SEO patent guru, posted on his blog that Google was recently granted a patent around the concept of using TV listings within the search…



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Online Education Gets Fast-Tracked With Coursera Classes On-Demand

This is the year massive open online courses (MOOCs) come of age, says Daphne Koller, cofounder and president of Coursera. And the way her company’s helping that happen is offering up learning on-demand. 

Consumers are accustomed to getting everything as soon as they request it, Koller explained Wednesday at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco. So Coursera is testing a way for learners to start classes immediately, right when they sign up, rather than waiting, sometimes months, for the class to begin. 

“We find the number of people who enroll for a class and immediately start taking it are twice as likely to complete it as those who enroll a month or two before it begins,” Koller explained.

See Also: I Failed My Online Course—But Learned A Lot About Internet Education

Coursera is currently testing this self-paced model in four classes, and  Koller said that the course completion is promising. The company is planning on rolling it out to more courses overtime.

But Completion Rates Are Still Low

One of the repeated criticisms of MOOC providers like Coursera and Udacity is the abysmal completion rates. People sign up for courses, they just don’t finish them. 

For Coursera, only 5% of people who click “enroll,” actually complete the class, Koller said. That number dramatically increases when students are offered the opportunity for completion certificates or credentials provided by online course providers.

One of the most popular credentialed classes, the Johns Hopkins Data Science specialization, not only gives students the benefit of learning the concepts of one of the most high-demand technological fields, but also provides them with the necessary skills and credentials to showcase for employers.

 The data science specialization is one of a handful of paid course programs that Coursera launched in January to help increase completion rates among students.

“The credentials are becoming much more valued in the workplace—70% of our learners want to post their credential on their resume,” Koller said. “Conversion rates among learners who are taking a course for the credential have more than doubled.”

According to a study by Duke University, employers are taking online course credentials seriously, too. Of the 398 employers that participated in the survey, 72% of those that were familiar with MOOCs “had used, considered using, or could see their company using MOOCs for recruitment.”

When paired with on-demand and self-paced learning, these accredited courses could provide a way for students to fast-track their careers inexpensively. For example, in the time it would take an unemployed student to sign up for a traditional MOOC course and wait for it to begin, he or should could’ve already completed a similar class via Coursera fast track option. 

Coursera, and others like it, are changing the way people can access and take classes—you don’t have to be in college to take a college course anymore. And the last two years have only scratched the surface.

“We have demonstrated our learners are seeing a big impact on their lives,” Koller said.

Image by Selena Larson for ReadWrite.

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