Posts tagged wants

Google Webmaster Trends Team Wants To Visit Your Office

Gary Illyes from Google announced on Google+ that the Google Webmaster Trends Analyst team is looking to observe you and your company, while you work. Gary said Google is looking to sit with companies, agencies, and website owners at their office and watch them as they work on “managing their…

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Look Out—Bitcoin Wants To Get Standardized

Bitcoin Bank

Sure, Bitcoin’s price has fallen roughly 70% from its peak last December, but it still has a loyal following and continued interest from Silicon Valley VCs. So naturally, the Bitcoin Foundation has a plan to make the cryptocurrency more reliable and recognizable.

It has one word for us: standards.

In a press release issued Tuesday, the foundation laid down its formal plan of action to streamline Bitcoin’s underlying code, its symbol and other terminology in the next six months. It’s the first we’ve heard about the previously unnamed Bitcoin Foundation’s Financial Standards Working Group since it put out a call for volunteers in the Reddit r/bitcoin community back in June.

See also: Forget Bitcoin: There’s A Better Model For Mobile Money

“Standardization is an important step towards removing obstacles for mainstream adoption,” Bitcoin Foundation executive director Jon Matonis said in the statement. “This is especially true with a technology for financial innovation that is global in reach.”

The standardization attempt will cover three areas. First, the foundation will apply for an internationally recognized currency code for Bitcoin under the ISO 4217 International Standard for currency codes. ISO 4217 requires that all codes begin with an X, so the most commonly used BTC code is out, with XBT as a prospective replacement.

Second, the foundation will attempt to establish a Unicode-approved currency symbol. Unicode makes it possible for a currency symbol to be displayed in any computer typeface. The current contenders are B, ฿ and Ƀ.

See also: I Bought Bitcoin In Person And Here’s What Happened

Third, the group will standardize Bitcoin’s subunits. The average currency operates with two subunits, or numbers to the right of the decimal, as in $1.00. But when one bitcoin is worth hundreds of dollars, subunits are necessary for conveying regular day-to-day transactions, which currently go down to the eighth decimal place—a unit commonly known as a satoshi after the (possibly pseudonymous) Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto. This doesn’t fit with the standard for other currencies, so the foundation is working on an alternate solution.

Volunteer chair Beth Moses, who helped standardize the extravehicular interfaces on the International Space Station for NASA, will be heading the 20-person Bitcoin Foundation working group. 

Illustration by Madeleine Weiss for ReadWrite

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Facebook Wants To Be Creepier Than Google With Your Data

Facebook mobile

In an ever-escalating battle to own the Internet, Facebook is going after Google’s digital advertising empire, using your personal information as ammunition.

Atlas, the ad-serving platform Facebook purchased from Microsoft in 2013, will apply Facebook user data to sell ads on websites outside the social network. That’s not as creepy as it might sound, or rather, it’s not any creepier than anything else that happens to your not-so-personal-anymore info already free-floating on the Internet.

Facebook’s repository of humans will provide basic information to target ads bought through Atlas and track their performance, The Information reports. Long story short, Atlas will use basic Facebook data, such as your age range and gender, to show you ads that best appeal to your demographic. 

As part of Facebook’s refortification of Atlas, an advertiser’s customer lists will be cross-referenced with Facebook user email and phone numbers to help zero in with info most likely to make you, the ad viewer, buy stuff. 

This is an initial shot across Google DoubleClick ad network, with Facebook supplanting HTTP cookies—which track Internet users from site to site—with real human information. You can opt-out of cookies, which also time out and have been known to carry spyware. More importantly (to advertisers) cookies don’t track users from desktop computers to mobile devices. But Facebook is everywhere. 

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Kevin Spacey Wants You to Tell a Better Content Marketing Story #CMWorld2014 by @hubshout11

On September 10, 2014, actor Kevin Spacey appeared as a keynote speaker at Content Marketing World 2014, an event sponsored by the Content Marketing Institute, in Cleveland, Ohio. While the actor best known for playing Frank Underwood in the Netflix series House of Cards may sound like an odd choice for a keynote speaker at a content marketing convention, Spacey had an important message for content creators and marketers in attendance. “The story is everything,” he said, “which means it’s our job to tell better stories.” Spacey knows a thing or two about storytelling. The guy is, after all, an Oscar-winning actor, film director, […]

The post Kevin Spacey Wants You to Tell a Better Content Marketing Story #CMWorld2014 by @hubshout11 appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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SearchCap: Germany Wants Google’s Algorithm, Google My Maps Back & Bing Predicts Scottish Referendum

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: German Official: Google Should Reveal Its Ranking Algorithm One of the unanswered questions in the ongoing European-Google antitrust saga is what concrete changes…

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Germany Wants Access to Google’s Search Algorithm

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said Google needs observing and noted anything that does not feature in its top search results might as well not exist.

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Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban Wants To Erase Your Digital Footprint

Mark Cuban doesn’t like the trolls on Twitter. According to the startup investor, star of Shark Tank and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, he has to think twice before tweeting anything, because there are hoards of jerks on the social network who want to pick him apart. 

That’s why his application Cyber Dust makes everything disappear. 

Cyber Dust is “very much like Twitter,” Cuban said on stage at the TechCrunch Disrupt event on Monday. “But the difference is, the only people who see it are the people who follow me, and because it’s inline instead of timeline, everyone sees it.”

Cyber Dust also is a bit like Snapchat, though instead of photos and videos, the app centers around texts which disappear 24 seconds after they’re opened. The application is built on the follower model, so you’ll see updates from anyone you follow which won’t get lost in an ever-changing timeline. But as soon as you read a post, it will disappear.

Cuban thinks disappearing messages might make people more honest about what they share, because there is little fear of Internet bullies going through your timeline history and finding something to call out and tweet.

“So many people [on Twitter] are trolls that are just looking for things to say, so no one speaks openly,” he said.

The app is clearly targeted to younger consumers, similar to Snapchat, another teen favorite. Cuban used his own pre-teen daughter as an example as a potential user who will, like many other teenagers, eventually send a text she didn’t mean.

“That message is … not something that can be repurposed,” he said. “If someone tries to screenshot it, you’ll know it, and we can deal with them.”

In his talk, Cuban inadvertently made an argument an algorithm-based Twitter timeline, which may start having features like the Facebook timeline—popular content up top—and less like a real-time stream of information. Cuban said that tweets are often lost in the timeline, and people are never sure how many users actually see what they’re saying. With Cyber Dust, you can be sure anyone who follows you and actively uses the application will see your posts before they disappear.

 Lead image by Owen Thomas

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Ahead Of Apple, A New Crop Of Smartphones Wants Your Attention

Next week will be all about the new Apple iPhone. This week, however, is more of a free-for-all among manufacturers determined to garner as much attention for their new smartphones as possible.

Maybe some of these companies want to beat Apple out the door; others may have simply set their launch dates long ago to coincide with the IFA Show in Berlin. Either way, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, and others have their own moments in the spotlight right now.

Here’s what’s hot in the world of smartphones and tablet releases so far:

Microsoft’s Nokia Lumia 830

Dubbed by Microsoft as “the affordable flagship,” the Lumia 830 invokes Nokia’s premium PureView photo lineage, but for a middle-of-the-road price compared to the Lumia 930 or 1020. With a 5-inch, 720p display, a 10-megapixel rear camera and Zeiss optics, this Nokia Lumia is a picture-taking machine first, a phone second.

As a budget camera phone, its quality may not be quite as good as its higher-end siblings, but Engadget pointed out a noteworthy feature: The 830 is capable of taking two photos at the same time, one with flash, one without. The Lumia 830 has a polycarbonate shell and aluminum frame, and will ship with the Lumia Denim update, a specialized version of Windows Phone 8.1.1 (Update 1), globally this month, priced at €330 (roughly $430 USD). 

HTC Desire 820

This colorful “midrange flagship,” there’s quite a bit that the Desire 820 and the Lumia 830 have in common. What sets the Desire apart is its 64-bit support for Android L, the next generation of Google’s mobile operating system.

For Desire users, that means increased performance while playing games or using processor-heavy applications, and even less battery drain—but only after Google releases Android L this fall. The Desire 820 features a 13-megapixel rear camera. It will be here in late September, but there’s no price yet.

Sony’s Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact, and Z3 Tablet Compact

Sony unveiled a trio of Xperia devices to give gamers a reason to take notice. The 5.2-inch Z3 smartphone with 20 megapixel camera and 1080p screen, the Z3 Compact with a 4.6-inch 720p display, and the super-light 8-inch Z3 Tablet Compact.

Sony says the Z3’s 1080p screen is the brightest of the leading smartphones, which is all the better for use as a gaming platform—both the Z3 and the Z3 Compact can serve as Playstation 4 controllers. Meanwhile, the Tablet Compact can Remote Play stream PS4 games over a local Wi-Fi network. 

Don’t worry about dropping it in the bathtub either. All three devices can survive in up to three feet of water for up to 30 minutes, and take pictures down there while they’re at it, which might The Z3 is the only one confirmed to be making it to the U.S. so far, but no price has been announced. 

Lenovo’s Vibe Z2 and Vibe X2

Lenovo is calling the Vibe Z2 its “selfie phone.” While the 13-megapixel rear camera is comparable with the competition, the company also put an 8-megapixel camera in front. The Z2 will retail at $429 in China this October, with plans to expand to Europe and Asia. There’s no mention yet of a launch in the U.S. 

Alongside the Z2, the company also announced its Vibe X2 smartphone, which will be available in two variations, one with a dual-SIM (to work with more cellular networks internationally) and a single SIM version.  

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge

See also: The Only Thing Samsung’s Not Into Is Restraint

Samsung released its latest phablets in the Note series on Wednesday in conjunction with the IFA show in Berlin. The Note 4 is a stronger, thinner version of the Note 3 with the bulk of the changes made to its battery life—Samsung claims it has a 7.5% longer battery life, and only takes 30 minutes instead of an hour to charge to 50% power. Meanwhile, the Note Edge provides extra screen real estate that serves as a secondary display for users.

Motorola is also expected to unveil updates to its Moto X and Moto G smartphones, alongside the much-anticipated Moto 360 smartwatch on Thursday. Altogether, it looks like the smartphone makers are doing their best to make this pre-Apple week an exciting one. 

Lead image via HTC; Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact image via Sony; Samsung screenshot via Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

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Meet The Open-Source Startup That Wants To Automate Your Next App

Some people watch TV in their spare time. Others play basketball. Mitchell Hashimoto, overachiever that he is, started an open-source project.

And not just any project. In 2010, Hashimoto used his spare time to turn his college dorm room into Vagrant, a popular developer tool that makes it easy to build complete development environments. With a marketing plan straight out of Open Source 101 (“open source the code, blog and tweet about it and wait for word of mouth to take over”), Vagrant now generates millions of downloads, inspires a small army of contributors and boasts a bevy of big-name users, including the BBC, Nokia, Expedia and ngmoco.

See also: DevOps—The Future Of DIY IT?

Hashimoto, however, isn’t done. 

Mitchell Hashimoto

Two years ago he formed a company, HashiCorp, to give him the funding and freedom to build a suite of services to manage the full lifecycle of application development, delivery and management. Not content to be popular with the developer crowd, in other words, Hashimoto is also currying favor with operations engineers.

This places Hashicorp right at the nexus of so-called DevOps, in which developers take on more responsibility for managing the infrastructure that hosts their applications and puts them in the hands of users. Some people view DevOps as heralding the eventual extinction of IT operations as a specialized function; Hashimoto isn’t one of them, although he does think IT suffers from a fatal lack of automation. And that’s a problem he’s trying to fix.

See also: The Truth About DevOps: “IT Isn’t Dead; It’s Not Even Dying”

I sat down with Hashimoto to discuss DevOps, IT automation and how producing new tools for both developers and operations has turned into an open-source success story.

Special Delivery (For Applications)

ReadWrite: Hashicorp offers a number of different applications, from Vagrant to Consul. What’s the common thread between these seemingly disparate applications?

Mitchell Hashimoto: The common thread is application delivery in a modern datacenter.

Taking an application (or service—whichever vocabulary you choose is equivalent in this case) from development into production and iterating it is a overly complicated task right now. There are a lot of moving pieces and a lack of clarity of the capabilities of each piece. 

With our tools, we’re trying to solve the common datacenter problems: development environments, service discovery, resource provisioning, etc. These are problems that anyone with a datacenter—cloud or physical—has, and it’s silly that there isn’t a common solution to these problems.

Well, that isn’t entirely true. There are technology-specific solutions in some cases. For example, VMware claims to solve all these problems, but with a VMware-heavy skew. 

We want to build tools that are agnostic to these sorts of decisions: whether you’re using OpenStack or AWS, physical or virtual, we want our tools to apply to you to solve the common problems stated earlier.

We Serve Both Kinds—Dev And Ops

RW: Tell me a bit about the tools you provide. Who uses them and why? What do they replace, if anything?

MH: We provide a number of tools: Vagrant, Vagrant Cloud, Packer, Serf, Consul and Terraform, each designed to help streamline application delivery in the modern datacenter. 

Vagrant manages work environments; Packer builds machine images and/or containers; Serf does cluster membership; Consul is a solution for service discovery and configuration; and Terraform builds infrastructure. That is the elevator pitch for all of them. Of course, none of these “elevator pitches” really does them justice, but they’re a start.

Our primary users are developers and operations engineers. The percentage of each group varies from tool to tool (i.e. Vagrant is developer-heavy, but Consul is operations-heavy), but as a company we build solutions to problems in the DevOps space, which by its very name affects developers and operations! Our tools primarily replace non-automation-friendly predecessors, or less flexible predecessors. 

Packer moving right along

Since we’re coming at this problem space from the point of view of DevOps, our tools work well with others in that space and our tools focus on automation. 

Compared to predecessors in some categories, we focus on having a better user and operator experience, as well as bringing more flexibility where possible. For example, with Terraform, it can be compared to something like AWS CloudFormation, but Terraform supports any cloud, not just AWS. But Vagrant, for example, doesn’t replace any specific existing tool, it just makes it easier to do what was a primarily manual task before.

RWWhat are the biggest inhibitors to developer productivity today?

MH: A lack of agility brought about by a lack of automation.

There are a number of aspects of a developer’s workflow that can be improved: we can make building developer resources faster, we can improve the delivery pipeline and we can increase the mean-time-to-feedback for deploys. But I posit that each of these improvements requires better automation and tooling to safely manage this automation.

The Relevance Of IT Operations

RW: In the DevOps debate, where do you fall? Are IT operations increasingly irrelevant? 

MH: I believe IT operations will always have a place, but some job functions are shifting. Developers are increasingly taking control of their pieces of infrastructure, a realm where IT previously ruled supreme. In the future, I believe we’ll see IT teams shrunk down—but still extremely important—and we’ll see developers—or call them “operations engineers”, meaning less IT, more dev-like—having a lot of control over the datacenter.

Our technology is built for this future. We have some pieces that are more relevant to developers (Vagrant, Packer), and we have some pieces that are more relevant to IT or more sysadmin folks (Terraform, Consul). There is overlap in there, but in a traditional IT world, we see a scenario where our tools are really bridging a gap to allow them to work together more effectively.

RW: Who is your target user/customer? Do “Microsoft developers” want these tools, too, or is it the AWS crowd that primarily finds your stuff interesting?

MH: Our target user/customer is anyone deploying applications.

I’m glad you brought up Microsoft developers. I actually switched to using Windows full time earlier this year so I can better understand a certain problem space for Windows developers, and to make sure our tools worked well for them. 

There is a huge interest in our tools from the Microsoft community, and we treat them as first-class citizens in our target user base. All our tools from Vagrant to Terraform are built to support the Microsoft ecosystem, and we think its going to be a big market for us as our business grows.

I think its fair to say the “AWS crowd” found our stuff first, but as time has gone on (remember: we’ve been building these tools for five years now!), we’re relevant in the Microsoft world now, too.

Lead image by Stefan Goethals; other images courtesy of Hashicorp

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Google Wants To Control Every Character You Type

Imagine a typeface that unites all the world’s languages. A publisher could print a book in Arabic, Cherokee, Egyptian Hieroglyphics and more—all without swapping out fonts.

That’s what Google is attempting to accomplish with Google Noto, a free font family that currently supports 96 languages, and aspires to support them all. Noto stands for “no tofu,” where tofu are what font professionals call those empty white boxes that appear when a character isn’t supported in a typeface.

Started in 2012, the Noto font family now spans 100,000 characters. This month, Google partnered with Adobe to release a new collection of fonts—Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean—which can be used separately or bundled together in one file so a writer can switch between languages without switching to another font.

This isn’t the first time a technology organization has made an effort to universalize the world’s fonts. In 1987, the Unicode Consortium began developing a way to make computer type compliant with global languages. The result was the Unicode Standard, a system of character codes designed to eventually represent every character in every language on Earth.

See also: Google’s Gender Diversity Push Is Paying Off

Unicode Standard wasn’t really adopted by Web browsers until 2008, and still isn’t a complete solution for capturing all the nuances of global languages in a culturally sensitive way. It was designed with character universality in mind, not particular languages. So the playing field is still ripe for a new global typeface. Whether Google is the right team to take the field, however, is debatable. 

Pakistani-American writer Ali Eteraz told NPR that he isn’t sure a massive software company like Google is the right steward for the project: “I tend to go back and forth. Is it sort of a benign—possibly even helpful—universalism that Google is bringing to the table? Or is it something like technological imperialism?”

In other words, when Google is the only entity making decisions, critics fear that the actual language speakers left out of the process are the ones who suffer. Critics already have found issues with Noto’s handling of Urdu, which they say incorrectly adopts Arabic characters. 

See also: How And Why Google Is Open Sourcing Its Data Centers?

Google has already taken on an enormous effort, but one way it could attempt to improve cultural sensitivity toward global languages would be to support languages that even Unicode has overlooked. NPR used the example of Nastaʿlīq Urdu, a type of calligraphic script used in famous Urdu poetry. Right now, the only way to share it online is through image files.

Google Noto has already made strides toward not only supporting common modern languages, but minority and historical ones too. While supporting such languages will require extensive research and development, it’s the only way to truly achieve Noto’s ultimate goal of “visual harmonization across languages.”

Photo courtesy of NASA

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