Archive for May, 2011
When Amazon started selling Lady Gaga’s album for $0.99 the other day, there was no doubt it would stand to lose millions. The total today, we now know, is about $3.2 million. This was still a good move for Amazon.
Why? Well, loss-leader strategis aside, if you’re up on Amazon’s wheelings and dealings this month, you know that the Cloud Player is still very much in its infancy, Google just launched its own cloud-based music locker, and Apple is rumoed to be all but ready to launch their streaming-based iTunes service at WWDC. That’s some serious competition, and what better way to increase awareness than basically give away a sure-fire hit pop album through your MP3 store?
Add on top of that a general increase in awareness of Amazon’s overall status as a online retailer and that $3.2 million ding is undoubtedly music to executives’ ears. [Billboard]
Google flight schedule search takes off, helps you figure out when to get aboard originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 30 May 2011 04:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Microsoft’s consumer PC sales growth has pretty much never declined. Not even when Microsoft released Vista. Not even when the economy went in the toilet.
But suddenly, the growth of sales is about to go negative, says Citi analyst Walter Pritchard. Take a look at the chart below, and consider what changed in the last year.
Maybe you’ve heard of BitCoin—it wants to shake the entire global economy. And some people think it might! It’s online money—an alternative to dollars and euros. Well what’s that mean? It’s complicated, but we break it down.
BitCoin is a digital currency…
BitCoin is not real money. It’s an online “currency”—virtual tokens that can be exchanged for goods and services at places that accept it, the same way you’d give someone a dollar for a cookie.
…with mega aspirations…
In their YouTube manifesto, BitCoin’s creators say they’re going to revolutionize global finance the way the web changed publishing. So! Kind of a lofty goal, aiming to be a global currency up there with (or replacing) the dollar. Right now, that’s still the pipiest of pipe dreams.
…that’s exchanged via P2P…
When you write your friend a check, money from your account is withdrawn from your bank, and then transferred to her bank, and then she withdraws it as cash (maybe). With BitCoin, there are no middlemen (other than the users that comprise the network itself). Money goes straight from you to whomever, through the BitCoin P2P system, with no intermediary agency passing along the chips.
…and generated by its users…
This is where it starts to get a little weird! Unlike traditional currency, that’s backed up by something, (be it gold, silver, or a central bank), BitCoins are generated out of thin air. Through a process called “mining,” a little app sits on your computer and slowly—very slowly—creates new BitCoins in exchange for providing the computational power to process transactions. When a new batch of coins is ready, they’re distributed in probabilistic accordance to whomever had the highest computing power in the mining process. The system is rigged so that no more than 21 million BitCoins will ever exist—so the mining process will yield less and less as time goes on, and more people sign up. This makes the whole system a lot sweeter for early adopters.
…to be spent at the few places BitCoin is accepted…
Not many places accept BitCoin at the moment, unlike traditional currency. But! There’s decent incentive for small businesses to use it—it’s free to use, and there aren’t any transaction fees. At the moment you can buy the services of a web designer, indie PC games, homemade jewelry, guns, and, increasingly, illegal drugs. If the internet is the Wild West, BitCoin is its wampum.
…or converted into real money.
Just like you can trade in yen for dollars, you can swap your BitCoins with other users for several “real world” currencies. And right now, the BitCoin is trading very high! As I write this, one BitCoin is worth $7.5. Not too shabby at all.
The Kindle has been a huge success, no doubt about that, but we are continually amazed at just how big a success it has become. Amazon too, apparently. The company just issued a press release to announce that digital book sales have now exceeded sales of all print titles, both hardcover and paperback combined. As of April 1st, for every 100 print books that Amazon has sold (of any kind) the company moved 105 Kindle books, and no that doesn’t include downloads of free titles. Also of note: the ad-supported reader that’s shipping for $114 is now selling more quickly than the normal, $139 version. Proof, then, that people will put up with more ads in more places for 25 bucks.
Kindle books officially take over print sales at Amazon, pulp starts making retirement plans originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 19 May 2011 10:01:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
This is according to researchers at the University of Ulm, in Germany, who found that any phones running a version of Android prior to 2.3.3 are vulnerable to an attack thanks to a weak ClientLogin authentication protocol. Any time an Android user signs into a service such as Twitter, Facebook or a new Google account, the authToken information is stored for 14 days, and accessible if you know how to go about it, claim the researchers:
“To collect such authTokens on a large scale an adversary could setup a wifi access point with a common SSID (evil twin) of an unencrypted wireless network, e.g., T-Mobile, attwifi, starbucks…With default settings, Android phones automatically connect to a previously known network and many apps will attempt syncing immediately. While syncing would fail (unless the adversary forwards the requests), the adversary would capture authTokens for each service that attempted syncing.”
The team feigned an attack, and found it was “quite easy to do so.” Gulp. The reason 99 per cent of the Android handsets in existence are said to be vulnerable to such an attack? It’s because any phone not running Android 2.3.4, which Google released a few weeks ago, hasn’t had the security hole patched yet.
In this digital age, isn’t the phone book a paperweight that nobody uses? San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors must agree as they are passing legislation that stops the phone company from spamming your doorstep with the Yellow Pages.
Right now, every San Francisco resident gets a phone book and the telco hands out more than 1.6 million directories each year in the city alone. If you stacked these bulky books, they would extend to over eight times the height of Mount Everest. What a colossal waste of resources.
This Yellow Pages bill has to pass one more vote before it takes effect, but if it is approved, the phone company must confirm that you want the Yellow Pages before they deliver one you. An outreach program will make sure older and non-tech savvy residents still get the book, but everyone else will be Yellow Pages free. [Good]
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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