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Tag Archives: culture

Meg Whitman will lead HP Enterprise, Dion Weisler to head HP’s PC and printer unit after split (Arik Hesseldahl/Re/code)

After Hewlett-Packard splits in two later this year, Meg Whitman will be CEO of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, the forthcoming corporate computing and networking company, and Dion Weisler will head up HP Inc., the printing and PC company, the company announced today. While the appointments aren’t a surprise, it’s worth noting that several of HP’s most senior executives will be staying close to Whitman as part of Enterprise: Cathie Lesjak, currently CFO will be with the new company. John Schultz will be the general counsel, retaining his role from the current company. Henry Gomez, probably Whitman’s closest right hand, will keep his role as chief marketing and communications officer. John Hinshaw, currently executive VP for technology and operations, will be chief customer officer. He’s a former Boeing exec who has gotten attention at HP for shaking up its day-to-day business practices by doing things like making HP a customer of Salesforce.com. Martin Fink will be the CTO and will continue to run Hewlett-Packard Labs , the research and development operation. Mike Nefkens will continue to run the long-troubled enterprise services unit, which is made up primarily of EDS, the IT services company HP acquired in 2008. Bill Veghte , who was briefly COO of HP, then later tapped to replace Dave Donatelli as head of the enterprise group, will continue in that role. The enterprise group sells servers, networking gear and other IT hardware. Robert Youngjohns will continue as head of the software unit

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Google signs deal with NFL to show highlight clips in YouTube, Search, will share ad revenues (Peter Kafka/Re/code)

It took a long time, but it’s finally done, just in time for the Super Bowl: Pro football finally has a deal with Google to distribute some of its video. Starting this week, official NFL highlight clips will show up in Google’s YouTube , as well as in Google search results themselves. Google will also provide detailed information about games and scores — including kickoff times as well as the networks that are airing the games — via its “OneBox” results format, which it uses to show off extended answers to search queries instead of simple links. The NFL says Google will sell ads against the league’s information and clips and share revenue with the NFL; the deal also calls for Google to promote the NFL on YouTube and in other places. The NFL still wants you to watch its games on the TV networks that have paid a lot of money to show those games, so the main idea of the pact is to steer viewers towards the NFL’s TV partners or its own NFL.com site. But the league says it will give Google some “in-game” clips to show, starting with Sunday’s Super Bowl. You can get a sense of what the NFL and Google are doing right now, by searching for “Seahawks,” which will give you this result: We can’t show you what this would look like with video, since there’s none to show off yet, but Google provided a mock-up of what that would look like on your phone: This deal isn’t surprising, since YouTube already has deals with pro baseball, basketball and hockey. And the NFL has already struck video deals with Twitter and Facebook , and has always said Google would be an obvious partner. Google also did something similar with ESPN last year during the World Cup , where it provided detailed information about games in its search results and tried to steer searchers to ESPN and ESPN.com to watch the matches. I still find it fascinating that Google is striking commercial deals about the stuff it shows in its search results, as opposed to straight-up ads. But I have yet to hear anyone carp about it. And there’s certainly a logical rationale for working with the one source that has the rights to provide the information searchers want. Still, it’s a long way from basic blue links.

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Barrett Brown sentence shows increasing dangers of security journalism, and why reporters should step back until laws are fixed (Quinn Norton/Medium)

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or CFAA I’ll Go First I started studying the computer underground back when I worked in tech, as an early web developer, in the mid 1990s. I found the world fascinating, and I interviewed people and wrote about it, initially for myself. I never participated much. At first this was because I didn’t have much to contribute, but in time I came to understand that I wanted to remain on the disinterested side of law enforcement. This was not only because of what it meant for my own long-term prospects, but because it would let me build more understanding of the culture I was studying, and ultimately let me share what I learned of that culture with more people. As the internet escaped its counter-culture and specialist roots, I have been able to speak to a much wider audience than I could have dared to hope for back in 1995. The internet went from being my world to being nearly everyone’s world in the historical flash of two decades. As for me, I left the tech industry and began to write about how that industry was changing the world full time, including tech’s often hunted underground. I was speaking to a wider audience than were on the net at all when I started. Since then, I have built a career largely out of writing about hackers, often from deep in their culture. Even when I’ve not worked on reported pieces myself, I have helped many other journalists understand, interpret, and find sources on hacking stories. While it’s not been key to my reporting for the last 18 months, much of my career as a journalist has involved reported pieces on legal and illegal hacking, activist and otherwise

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In response to rise of programmatic advertising, AOL drastically restructures ad sales staff (Kara Swisher/Re/code)

According to numerous sources, AOL is now initiating long-planned changes to drastically reorganize its advertising sales staff, a move which is likely to result in an unspecified number of layoffs at the New York-based portal. While there will also be hiring taking place in new areas of business in a restructuring designed to orient the company toward its more promising businesses going forward, the changes have shaken the AOL divisions in charge of revenue. It’s not clear how many ad staff will be let go in the changes, but a number of competing tech companies told me this week that they have been inundated with resumes from AOL sales execs in anticipation of the changes. And I have been similarly pinged by many worried about the impact of the shifts. The ad moves, which will see top execs in modified roles, also comes as the company is culling some of the many underperforming content properties it owns, sources said. That will also mean cutting and also shifting of a large number of jobs in its Brands group. Why do you care about this latest round of musical chairs at AOL? Because it clearly represents what a content-and-advertising focused company — in the same boat as rivals like Yahoo — must do as the advertising landscape changes quickly, moving from a business of premium display sales to “programmatic” advertising. Simply put, rather than people, negotiations and insertion orders, programmatic is the use of machines to buy ads using big data. It is obviously more efficient, especially as the targeting technology improves. Currently, about 40 percent of AOL’s business is programmatic, a number that has increased dramatically and will do so even more going forward. Thus, if software ends up selling up to 80 percent of ads, it’s pretty clear that the sales force must be reshaped and, really, winnowed down

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11 of 14 projects in Sundance Film Festival’s experimental showcase use virtual reality (The Verge)

The most buzzworthy feature of 2015’s Sundance Film Festival isn’t a film at all, but pair of virtual reality goggles you strap to your head. Three years after VR made its debut at Sundance, the technology has fully established itself. An entire section of the festival is now devoted to VR experiences, many of them more interactive than what we’ve seen to date. Talk to filmmakers and they’ll tell you they can’t remember being so excited: some say it’s like they’re present at the dawn of a new medium. Take Birdly , a full-body VR experiment that turns you into a bird flying above the streets of San Francisco, soaring higher with every flap of your arms. Or Project Syria , which throws the viewer in the middle of a harrowing rocket attack. Or, perhaps most darkly, Perspective; Chapter I: The Party , which lets you see the world through the eyes of a man, and then a woman, as an encounter at a college party turns into sexual assault. All are on display at New Frontier, Sundance’s annual showcase for works at the intersection of art and technology. And they’ve quickly become the talk of the festival. filmmakers say they can’t remember being so excited Virtual reality debuted at Sundance in 2012 with Nonny de la Peña’s Hunger in Los Angeles , which used an early head-mounted display to place viewers in the middle of a food line outside a church. That project was developed by then-19-year-old Palmer Luckey, and the success of Hunger spurred him on to build a consumer version of his VR headset

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Button Raises $12 Million to Make the App World as Interconnected as the Web (Jason Del Rey/Re/code)

Could 2015 be the year of “deep linking?” One startup trying to ride that wave is Button , a New York City-based company which is today announcing a $12 million Series A investment less than a year after its launch. Redpoint Ventures is leading the round and partner Chris Moore is joining Button’s board of directors. Deep linking is a technology that allows apps to talk to each other so that users can tap from inside one app to access a specific point inside another app as if they were clicking a link on a web page. Button’s thesis is that as more people buy stuff or order stuff on mobile phones, the stage will be set for apps to build bigger businesses by tapping into new audiences through direct links with other apps. Think of it as an affiliate network for the app world. In practice, this means deals like one Button recently landed with Uber. The partnership allows Button to integrate some Uber features inside of other apps on the Button platform. For example, people who use the new app Resy to make restaurant reservations can select the type of Uber they want and see the estimated fare inside Resy, thanks to Button’s tech. They are then sent to complete the purchase in Uber’s app. Button’s goal is to sign up a bunch of apps that are category leaders: Uber for ride hailing, Resy for reservations, maybe a food delivery service or a home-cleaning service, and so on. Once it has those on board, it can pitch a wide array of apps on allowing their own users to essentially order or buy stuff from these partnering apps with the tap of a phone’s screen. “Our thesis is: Don’t try to mash everything into your app,” CEO Mike Jaconi said. “Instead, let’s create a really intelligent connection to a service that’s already been optimized.” The funding comes as a rash of competitors such as URX and Quixey are tackling similar problems. Facebook and Google also are looking to tackle deep-linking technology. But Button hopes to carve out its own space in a few ways.

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Windows Holographic will let NASA explore what Curiosity sees on Mars (Sean O’Kane/The Verge)

Microsoft announced the futuristic at-home augmented reality project Windows Holographic today, and one of the many different uses the company teased was a collaboration with NASA and the Curiosity rover team. Now, NASA has released more information on the software it built for Holographic, a program called OnSight. By using Microsoft's HoloLens visor, NASA scientists will be able virtually explore the areas of Mars that Curiosity is studying in a fully immersive way. It will also allow them to plan new routes for the rover, examine Curiosity's worksite from a first-person view, and conduct science experiments using the rover's data. NASA will literally get a new perspective on Mars The science teams at NASA that have worked with Curiosity's data before have had no problem learning plenty just by a computer screen, but Holographic and HoloLens will literally offer a new perspective on how to interpret the findings. Scientists will be able to virtually surround themselves with images from the rover and then explore the surface from different angles. That's a big deal, according to OnSight's project manager, who's quoted in the release. "This tool gives them the ability to explore the rover's surroundings much as an Earth geologist would do field work here on our planet," he says. We may still be decades away from landing humans on Mars, but it looks like Holographic and OnSight will help bridge the gap until then. The JPL team will start testing OnSight with Curiosity later this year. Deeper integration into future missions may have to wait until the next proposed Mars rover lands on the red planet in 2020.

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Every Khan Academy course is now available on the iPad for the first time (Nathan Ingraham/The Verge)

Two technology trends are inescapable: people want to do everything online, and they want to do those things on a mobile device. Education and learning are no exception — online universities and other teaching aids have proliferated in the last decade, and tablets like the iPad have often been lauded as highly useful (albeit expensive) teaching tools. Not-for-profit organization Khan Academy has the first part of that equation down — it was started in 2008 to provide learning tools, videos, and exercises to anyone who wanted them, for free. And while Khan Academy  has had an iOS app since 2012 , it has typically not offered the full experience found on its website. All of its videos were available, but none of its thousands of training exercises were offered to iOS users. That all changes today with the introduction of a completely redesigned app for the iPad — now, everything that lives on the site is also available to iPad users. That includes some 150,000 learning exercises, content that product director Matt Wahl said was "where the majority of people spend their time on Khan Academy today." He also joked that looking at reviews for the current app revealed that adding those learning exercises was something that users really wanted — beyond just the app review, though Wahl says it is overall the most-requested feature for the app. A much-needed upgrade to Khan Academy's iPad experience Rather than just port all of the exercises to the app, Khan Academy took the time to add some iPad-specific features to make the experience fit the platform better. When looking at a demo for some geometry questions, Wahl showed me how you could touch and manipulate geometric figures to help answer the questions. Another math-specific feature coming to the iPad app is the so-called "friendly guide." The guide analyzes the questions you answer correctly and incorrectly as well as how long it takes you to answer and then suggests other exercises that’ll help you in areas you’re not as strong with. And all your progress now gets synced back and forth between the iPad and the desktop, as long as you log in with a Khan Academy account. Another new iPad-specific feature, handwriting recognition, is built-in throughout the app (which means it might be a good time to find yourself a good iPad stylus if you haven’t already). The "scratchpad" features can be used throughout for note taking, but you can also use it to "show your work" when working on things like math problems — and the handwriting recognition means that once you arrive at the correct answer, the app automatically recognizes it. "We tried using keyboard input at first," says Wahl.

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Netflix Q4 earnings beat estimates with $1.48B in revenue and $0.75 EPS; now has 39.11M US subscribers and 18.28M more globally (Peter Kafka/Re/code)

A quick look at Netflix’s Q4 numbers: $1.48 billion and earnings of 75 cents a share, excluding a one-time gain.Wall Street was looking for $1.46 billion and 45 cents a share. More important are Netflix’s subscriber numbers. The streaming service says it ended the quarter with 39.11 million subscribers in the U.S. and 18.28 million in the rest of the world. Analysts expected about 39 million and 18 million respectively. Wall Street, which crushed Reed Hastings three months ago, likes what it sees this time. The stock is up 11 percent after hours. Hastings traditionally throws in a bunch of interesting data points and arguments in his quarterly investor letter, and today he has a good one: He’ll start streaming Sony’s “The Interview” to U.S. and Canadian subscribers this Saturday — “just thirty days after it debuted in theaters and pay-per-view”, he notes. Earlier today Sony announced “The Interview” had generated home video sales of $40 million; presumably it thinks it had maxed out the movie’s video-on-demand sales, since more than 40 million people will now be able to see it without paying a penny in a couple of days. Hastings also addresses Wall Street’s concern that a price increase had slowed the company’s growth last quarter. Netflix thought so too, he says – but now he thinks that’s not the case. Instead Hastings chalks up last quarter’s below-target growth with a “natural progression in our large US market as we grow” — ie, the bigger Netflix gets in the U.S., the harder it will be for the company to grow. But Hastings figures there’s still plenty of room left, and projects another 1.8 million subscribers this quarter. Some of that will come from “lower income areas of the US”, which he says generated Netflix’s “strongest” growth

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Amazon announces plans to make movies for theaters, Prime streaming (Chris Welch/The Verge)

Amazon Studios is going to start making movies, and you'll be seeing them in theaters before they become available for streaming on Prime. Fresh off Golden Globe wins for its original series Transparent , the company today announced it will produce and acquire full-length feature films for theatrical release. Amazon Original Movies, which "focus on unique stories, voices, and characters from top and up-and-coming creators," will become available to US Prime subscribers just 4 to 8 weeks after they premiere in theaters — a far shorter video-on-demand window than the big movie studios are typically comfortable with. 12 movies a year sounds ambitious And Amazon's not exactly starting small; it plans to produce up to 12 movies each year as part of the new initiative, and those efforts will kick off in earnest later this year. "Not only will we bring Prime Instant Video customers exciting, unique, and exclusive films soon after a movie’s theatrical run, but we hope this program will also benefit filmmakers, who too often struggle to mount fresh and daring stories that deserve an audience," said Roy Price, VP of Amazon Studios. Steering the creative development of Amazon Original Movies is Ted Hope, who co-founded the Good Machine production company, responsible for films like Eat Drink Man Woman and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare was the top selling game of 2014 as industry sales grew just 1% (Brian Crecente/Polygon)

It appears the only thing people like to do more in video games than run around shooting each other, is to play football or run around on planets shooting Hive scum, and sometimes each other. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare was the top selling game of 2014, with Bungie's Destiny taking the number three spot. Both are Activision published titles. Madden NFL 15 was the second most popular, according to NPD's year end report. The sales only include physical sales of games for console, portable and PC. Total video game industry sales, not including digital sales, hit $13.1 billion for the year, up about one percent from 2013's $12.94 billion, according to NPD. While NPD didn't release per console sales for 2014, group analyst Liam Callahan said that "after 14 months on the market, cumulative sales of PS4 and Xbox One exceed the Xbox 360 and PS3 cumulative 14 month total by 65 percent." He added that bundles were a major driver of hardware sales this December. December's top selling game was also Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare , followed by Grand Theft Auto 5 and Madden NFL 15 . Destiny took the number nine spot. The full list of 2014's top games, in order, is below: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Madden NFL 15 Destiny Grand Theft Auto 5 Minecraft Super Smash Bros (for 3DS and Wii U) NBA 2K15 Watch Dogs FIFA 15 Call of Duty Ghosts

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CIA review panel exonerates CIA personnel who searched Senate Intelligence Committee computers (National Journal)

A CIA review panel announced Wednesday it had cleared the spy agency of wrongdoing in a case involving its search of computers used by Senate staffers to review the agency's Bush-era "enhanced interrogation" program. The accountability board found that a miscommunication, and not an intentional breach of an agreement, was largely to blame for the incident that erupted into public light last year and prompted some senators, including then-Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, to accuse the CIA of violating the Constitution's separation of powers.   The 38-page report additionally concludes that Senate Intelligence Committee staffers may have improperly accessed documents related to the so-called Panetta review, a 2011 CIA internal report that several senators have said is highly critical of the CIA's enhanced-interrogation program. That still-secret report is said to corroborate the findings of the Senate panel's torture report, which was released last month and found the interrogation program to be ineffective.   According to the review, CIA Director Brennan knew of the agency's access of the dedicated, walled-off network but that he and his agents did not act beyond the bounds of an agreement formed between the agency and the Senate. Brennan has previously demurred when asked who authorized the computer access, and had initially said that any hacking allegations were "beyond the scope of reason." "The board found that no discipline was warranted for the five CIA personnel under review because they acted reasonably under the complex and unprecedented circumstances involved in investigating a potential security breach in the highly classified shared computer network, while also striving to maintain the sanctity of committee work product," the board said in a statement. "Because there was no formal agreement—or even clear common understanding—governing the procedures to be followed in investigating a potential security incident in these circumstances, no course of action was free of potential complication or conflict." In a statement, Sen. Feinstein said she and her staff were still reviewing the report, which they received Wednesday morning. "Let me be clear: I continue to believe CIA's actions constituted a violation of the constitutional separation of powers and unfortunately led to the CIA's referral of unsubstantiated criminal charges to the Justice Department against committee staff," she said. "I'm thankful that Director John Brennan has apologized for these actions, but I'm disappointed that no one at the CIA will be held accountable. The decision was made to search committee computers, and someone should be found responsible for those actions." Sen. Ron Wyden, also a member of the Intelligence panel, quickly dismissed its findings.

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