Miscellaneous

26 June 2014

Google, Microsoft and Others Delve Deeper Into Cloud Storage for Businesses New York Times

File cabinets -- the digital kind -- may be the technology industry's next big battleground.

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Submarine cable company SubPartners urges Tasmania to get connected [includes maps of underwater internet cables connecting Australia and world] ABC News

The company building part of a huge underwater digital cable network that will come within 170 kilometres of Tasmania has warned the State Government costs will go up the longer it delays investing in the project.

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24 June 2014

How Australia connected to the internet 25 years ago The Conversation

It is a quarter-century since Australia first connected to the internet, but this technological breakthrough had a long gestation. What is now a global phenomenon was once the property of an exclusive community.

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22 June 2014

Google considering investment in new subsea cable Reuters

Google Inc is considering an investment in a new cable across the Pacific Ocean, the Wall Street Journal reported citing people familiar with the matter.

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How far can Amazon go? It has upended industries and changed the way the world shops. But it should beware of abusing its power The Economist

When Jeff Bezos left his job in finance and moved to Seattle 20 years ago to start a new firm, he rented a house with a garage, as that was where the likes of Apple and HP had been born. Although he started selling books, he called the firm Amazon because a giant river reflected the scale of his ambitions. This week the world's leading e-commerce company unveiled its first smartphone, which Amazon treats less as a communication device than an ingenious shopping platform and a way of gathering data about people in order to make even more accurate product recommendations.

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17 June 2014

Microsoft Unveils Machine Learning for the Masses New York Times

Microsoft has a new strategy to win cloud business: A supposedly comprehensive predictive analysis service -- and all you have to do is store your data in Azure, the Microsoft cloud.

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11 June 2014

Small business is missing the mobile, social, cloud revolution by Jim Minifie, Productivity Growth Program Director at Grattan Institute The Conversation

Most companies that live and breathe the online revolution are not tech startups, but smart smaller firms that use online tools to run their core business better: to cut costs, reach customers and suppliers, innovate and get more control. Many others, however, are falling behind, according to a new Grattan Institute discussion paper.

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08 June 2014

A new piece of technology makes it possible to use a browser for video calls The Economist

It has been possible for a while to use a web browser on a computer or mobile device for a video chat, but this has required downloading a plug-in with additional software. For some people that is too bothersome or tricky to install, and others have worried about introducing unfamiliar software to their devices. Now a new standard makes it possible to make video calls through a web browser without any shenanigans.

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06 June 2014

Amazon Boycott Gets a Helping Hand From Stephen Colbert New York Times

Stephen Colbert went after Amazon Wednesday night, literally giving the retailer the finger on his Comedy Central show. Twice.

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03 June 2014

Amazon's scorched-earth campaign: Why the Internet giant started a war Salon

Here's what monopoly power means: If you're Amazon, you can ignore the public relations hits that come with blistering front-page stories in the New York Times and stinging opinion pieces, and continue blithely about your business.

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29 May 2014

Google Releases Employee Data, Illustrating Tech's Diversity Challenge New York Times

Google on Wednesday released statistics on the makeup of its work force, providing numbers that offer a stark glance at how Silicon Valley remains a white man's world.

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26 May 2014

Info wars: why it's time for Google & Co to come clean The Guardian

The recent decision by the European Court of Justice, that EU citizens should have a "right to be forgotten" from Google search results, has picked the scab on a much deeper cultural issue; who defines the limits of free speech? American and European approaches to it could not be more divided. This has in the past been only a matter of passing curiosity, but now with US technology companies and social platforms shaping global speech and publication, the regulatory and commercial restraints on free expression are going to be a dominant theme of information policy in coming years.

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24 May 2014

Amazon Flexes Its Muscles in Fight Against Publishers New York Times

Amazon's power over the publishing and bookselling industries is unrivaled in the modern era. Now it has started wielding its might in a more brazen way than ever before.

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07 May 2014

Google's Uber power play is reminiscent of the big bad Microsoft Salon

Google Maps just told me to "Get an Uber." OK, perhaps it is more appropriate to say that Google suggested that I "get an Uber." But there's the rub -- is Google being its usual helpful self, or has the company crossed the line into domineering behavior modification?

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27 April 2014

The Economist explains: The backlash against big data The Economist

"Bollocks", says a Cambridge professor. "Hubris," write researchers at Harvard. "Big data is bullshit," proclaims Obama's reelection chief number-cruncher. A few years ago almost no one had heard of "big data". Today it's hard to avoid -- and as a result, the digerati love to condemn it. Wired, Time, Harvard Business Review and other publications are falling over themselves to dance on its grave. "Big data: are we making a big mistake?," asks the Financial Times. "Eight (No, Nine!) Problems with Big Data," says the New York Times. What explains the big-data backlash?

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20 April 2014

Why Facebook and Google are buying into drones The Observer

Back in the bad old days of the cold war, one of the most revered branches of the inexact sciences was Kremlinology. In the west, newspapers, thinktanks and governments retained specialists whose job was to scrutinise every scrap of evidence, gossip and rumour emanating from Moscow in the hope that it would provide some inkling of what the Soviet leadership was up to. Until recently, this particular specialism had apparently gone into terminal decline, but events in Ukraine have led to its urgent reinstatement.

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18 April 2014

The Apple Chronicles New York Times

So they're at it again, Apple and Samsung, fighting over patents in a courtroom in San Jose, Calif. They had a similar fight in 2012, in the same courtroom, which Apple won. Samsung has also won its share of these legal battles, including in Australia.

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06 April 2014

Technology's Man Problem New York Times

Elissa Shevinsky can pinpoint the moment when she felt that she no longer belonged. She was at a friend's house last Sept. 8, watching the live stream of the TechCrunch Disrupt hackathon on her laptop and iPhone. Entrepreneurs were showing off their products, and two young Australian men, David Boulton and Jethro Batts, stood behind the podium to give their presentation. "Titstare is an app where you take photos of yourself staring at tits," Mr. Boulton began, as photographs of women's chests on a cellphone flashed on the screen behind him.

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31 March 2014

How Michael Malone kickstarted the Australian internet Australian Financial Review

The news that iiNet supremo Michael Malone is departing the business he built from scratch marks the end of an era. He's a young man and we haven't seen the last of him, but his resignation closes chapter one of the story of retail internet access in Australia. We'll leave it to the finance writers to chronicle iiNet's stellar commercial performance. For us, it's a time to reflect on the technical dream that Malone and his contemporaries turned into reality.

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15 March 2014

Bill Gates: The Rolling Stone Interview - The richest man in the world explains how to save the planet Rolling Stone

At 58, Bill Gates is not only the richest man in the world, with a fortune that now exceeds $76 billion, but he may also be the most optimistic. In his view, the world is a giant operating system that just needs to be debugged. Gates' driving idea - the idea that animates his life, that guides his philanthropy, that keeps him late in his sleek book-lined office overlooking Lake Washington, outside Seattle - is the hacker's notion that the code for these problems can be rewritten, that errors can be fixed, that huge systems - whether it's Windows 8, global poverty or climate change - can be improved if you have the right tools and the right skills. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the philanthropic organization with a $36 billion endowment that he runs with his wife, is like a giant startup whose target market is human civilization.

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13 March 2014

New boycott called on Apple products for toxic chemical use Network World

Green America, a D.C.-based non-profit group, and The Nation magazine launched a campaign Wednesday intended to persuade consumers to boycott Apple products unless the company makes changes in its production and supply chain operations.

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Mapping the tubes: The hidden world of undersea cables that make up the internet The Independent

When former US senator Ted Stevens described the internet in 2006 as a "series of tubes" he was mocked mercilessly, but as this map of the vast network of undersea cables that the internet runs through is anything to go by, he wasn't too far off.

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06 March 2014

For Bitcoin, a Secure Future Might Require Traditional Trappings New York Times

Nearly half a billion dollars has gone missing, and nobody knows how. Some say there was outright theft. Others suspect fraud. Many blame lax controls, poor oversight and, above all, a reckless, globe-spanning, Wild West culture -- a culture that everyone agrees is ripe for wholesale reform.

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02 March 2014

WhatsApp vs. Asian Rivals: The Mobile-Messaging War Goes Global Businessweek

As more people choose to send messages through free apps instead of paying to use their smartphones' standard texting services, valuations of companies that make the apps are soaring. Facebook's $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp came just five days after Rakuten, the largest e-commerce company in Japan, snapped up messaging service Viber for $900 million. SoftBank is seeking to buy a stake in Japan's top mobile messenger, Line. Even BlackBerry could cash in. With 85 million users, its BBM messaging service suddenly looks ripe for a spinoff.

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South Korea's internet giant: Now or Naver The Economist

At home, South Korea's biggest web portal has thrashed Yahoo and kept Google at bay. Now its owner plans to conquer the world with its messaging service

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