problem

Netflix Encodes Every Movie 120 Different Ways

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5969677/netflix-encodes-every-movie-120-different-ways

The problem with streaming video to different devices—computers, tablets, phones, and whatever else—is that they all demand subtly different streams if they’re to look their best. If you’re Netflix, which streams to 900 different types of device, that leaves you with some work to do.

According to Netflix, it has to encode each and every movie it offers in 120 different ways. Add to that the crowd sourcing of subtitles, global variation in titles and formats, and an armful of other problems, and the work Netflix has to go to makes $8 a month seem even better value. The video above was used at a Netflix recruitment fair—but gives a decent insight into how its video wends its way from Hollywood to your tablet. [GigaOm]

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Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 news No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5885321/how-iphone-apps-steal-your-contact-data-and-why-you-cant-stop-it

How iPhone Apps Steal Your Contact Data and Why You Can't Stop ItThe internet is starting to realize something unsettling: our iPhones send information about the people we know to private servers, often without our permission. Some offending apps are fixing themselves. Some aren’t. But the underlying problem is much bigger.

Apple allows any app to access your address book at any time—it’s built into the iPhone’s core software. The idea is to make using these apps more seamless and magical, in that you won’t have dialog boxes popping up in your face all the time, the way Apple zealously guards your location permissions at an OS level—because fewer clicks mean a more graceful experience, right? Maybe, but the consequence is privacy shivved and consent nullified. Your phone makes decisions about what’s okay to share with a company, whose motivation is, ultimately, making money, without consulting you first.

Once you peel back that pretty skin of your phone and observe the software at work—we used a proxy application called Charles—watching the data that jumps between your phone and a remote server is plain. A little too plain. What can we see?

As Paul Haddad, the developer behind the popular Twitter client TapBot pointed out to me, some of App Store’s shiniest celebrities are among those that beam away your contact list in order to make hooking up with other friends who use the app smoother. From Haddad’s own findings:

Foursquare (Email, Phone Numbers no warning)
Path (Pretty much everything after warning)
Instagram (Email, Phone Numbers, First, Last warning)
Facebook (Email, Phone Numbers, First, Last warning)
Twitter for iOS (Email, Phone Numbers, warning)
Voxer (Email, First, Last, Phone numbers, warning)

Foursquare and Instagram have both recently updated to provide a much clearer warning of what you’re about to share. Which every single app should follow, providing clear warnings before they touch your contacts. But plenty of apps aren’t so generous. “A lot of other popular social networking apps send some data,” says Haddad, “mostly names, emails, phone numbers.” Instapaper, for example, transmits your address book’s email listings when you ask it to “search contacts” to connect with other friends using the app. The app never makes it clear that my data (shown up top) is leaving the phone—and once it’s out of your hands and in Instagram’s, all you can do is trust that it’ll be handled responsibly. You know, like not be stored permanently without your knowledge.

Trust is all we’ve got, and that’s not good. “Once the data is out of your device there’s no way to tell what happens to it,” explains Haddad. Companies might do the decent thing and delete your data immediately. Like Foursquare, which says it doesn’t store your data at all after matching your friends, and never has. Twitter keeps your address book data for 18 months “to make it easy for you and your contacts to discover each other on Twitter after you’ve signed up,” but can delete the data at any time with a link at the bottom of this page. Or a company might do the Path thing, storing that information indefinitely until they’re publicly shamed into doing otherwise. Or worse.

We need a solution, and goodwill on the part of app devs is going to cut it. All the ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO DO THIS? dialog boxes in the world won’t absolve Apple’s decision to hand out our address books on a pearly platter. iOS is the biggest threat to iOS—and nothing short of a major revision to the way Apple allows apps to run through your contacts should be acceptable. But is that even enough? Maybe not.

Jay Freeman, developer behind the massively popular jailbroken-iPhone program Cydia, doesn’t think Apple’s hand is enough to definitively state who gets your address book, and when:

“Neither Apple nor the application developer is in a good position to decide that ahead of time, and due to this neither Apple’s model of ‘any app can access the address book, no app can access your recent calls’, nor Google’s method of ‘developer claims they need X, take it or leave it’ is sufficient.”

Freeman’s solution? Cydia’s “one-off modifications to the underlying operating system” that we deal in, nicely transfers this control back to the user.” In other words, we can’t trust Apple or the people that make apps—so let’s just trust ourselves to control how iOS works.

Freeman left us with one, final, disquieting note. Shrewd devs and others with the knowhow have been able to dig through app traffic to find out of they’re shoveling around your address book. But there’s no easy way to do this—and if a dev really wants to sneak your data through the door, there’s technically nothing we can do to stop him: “There are tons of complex tricks that can be used to smuggle both information in network traffic and computation itself.” It’s a problem fundamental to computer science—once the data’s in a dev’s hands, he can conjure it away, too small to be noticed by App Store oversight in churning sea of other apps.

Unless Apple keeps him from getting that information in the first place by letting us all make informed decisions with our phone and the private life poured into it. Your move, iOS.

Photo: Motorolka/Shutterstock

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Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Google is The Least Diversified Business In Tech (GOOG, AAPL, MSFT, EBAY)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-google-is-the-least-diversified-business-in-tech-2012-2

We love this chart from Dan Frommer at SplatF.

He calls it the “Eggs In One Basket” index, because it charts out the largest source of revenue as a percentage for all the major tech companies. (Profits would be a different story altogether.)

Google gets over 90% of its revenue from one source: Advertising. The next closest is Amazon with product sales. But, Amazon’s product sales are a mix of goods, so it’s not exactly the same as relying on just advertising.

For now, this isn’t a big problem for Google. The online ad market is still growing, and Google can capture a lot of the market. But, if things were to change, or advertising were to slow down, then look out.

What’s incredible about this chart is how diverse Microsoft is from a sales perspective. Its most dominant business group, Office, only accounts for 30% of sales. Read more on the chart from Frommer here →

chart of the day, revenue source by percentage for tech companies, feb 13 2012

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Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 news No Comments

RIM indulges in some ‘myth busting’ at BlackBerry DevCon Europe

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/07/rim-indulges-in-some-myth-busting/

Alec Saunders, VP of Developer Relations, just took the stage at RIM’s DevCon gathering in Amsterdam to build up and promptly knock down a few “myths” about RIM’s state of health. First up, he tackled the notion that BlackBerry is a declining platform by saying that App World is seeing six million downloads per day, which is up 30 percent from three months ago. He also rejected the idea that BB app devs don’t make money, revealing that 13 percent of them have made over $100,000 from their products and that App World generates 40 percent more revenue than the Android Market. Lastly, Saunders said “we’re sorry” that RIM’s strategy has been “hard to understand” for “some people”, but added that BB 10 will solve that problem. He said that the new OS represents a “simple and easy-to-understand strategy” that is about combining the best of QNX and the current BB OS, offering consistent cloud services and making software that is both backwards and forwards compatible.

RIM indulges in some ‘myth busting’ at BlackBerry DevCon Europe originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 07 Feb 2012 05:58:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 news No Comments

Hate To Be Rude, But Facebook Is Not The Next Google. It’s Not Even Close (GOOG)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-hate-to-be-rude-but-facebook-is-not-the-next-google-its-not-even-close-2012-1

Information about Facebook’s 2011 revenues and operating profits leaked last week, just ahead of this week’s expected IPO filing.

If CNBC’s reporting is accurate, the numbers are disappointing for a company that’s supposed to be valued at $75 billion to $100 billion when its shares start trading.

Revenues came in at $3.8 billion, less than an expected $4+ billion. Operating profits were $1.5 billion, less than an expected $2 billion.

Facebook’s results look particularly disappointing in comparison to Google’s first seven years of business. We’ve drawn out that comparison below. 

The comparison is actually worse than it looks. Remember, Google was born at time when Internet usage, and online ad spending, wasn’t even half of what it is today. 

The fact is, Facebook is a huge consumer hit – 850 million people us the site each month – but it’s ad products are not, really. 

Google’s ad products are business magic. Consumers see ads for products that they literally want to see. 

So far, Facebook hasn’t found that kind of magic. Investors looking at Facebook’s S1 filing this week will have to wonder if it ever will.

chart of the day, revenue after launch for tech companies, 01/31/12

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Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 news No Comments

Bloomberg Didn’t Sell Enough Terminals So Now Everyone’s Bonuses Are Getting Whacked

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/bloomberg-didnt-sell-enough-terminals-so-now-everyones-bonuses-are-getting-whacked-2012-1


Bloomberg Terminal

The lower bonus situation on Wall Street isn’t just for the bankers, but for the companies that service the bankers as well.

Since Bloomberg LP failed to meet its quota for selling its famous terminals, everyone at the financial media giant will receive lower bonus payouts, the New York Post reported citing an internal memo.

That means your favorite Bloomberg News reporters and Bloomberg TV anchors will take home a lower paycheck, according to the report.

If you’re not already familiar with the Bloomberg terminal, it’s basically a computer that’s targeted toward financial professionals so they can message other users, obtain real-time market data, news and stock quotes among many other functions.

They’re really awesome.

According to the Post, there are currently 310,000 terminals that are being used worldwide.  However, the company only added 13,672 in 2011, which was short of its internal sales goal of 15,000.

So if they sold 1,328 more they wouldn’t be having this lower payout problem.  Of course, it’s not exactly the best environment out there on Wall Street.

On a side note, revenue at Bloomberg climbed $720 million, or 10.5%, to $7.59 billion, the Post reported.

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Thursday, January 26th, 2012 news No Comments

SOPA and PIPA Have Been Pulled (For Now) [Sopa]

Source: http://lifehacker.com/5877993/sopa-and-pipa-have-been-pulled-for-now

SOPA and PIPA Have Been Pulled (For Now)After Wednesday’s all-day protest of SOPA and PIPA, the bills that want to censor your internet, both bills have been shelved for further consideration, and will not be voted on as scheduled. Rep. Lamar Smith, the sponsor of SOPA, said he’s still committed to fighting piracy, but that this legislation isn’t the way to do it:

I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy. It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.

The Committee will continue work with copyright owners, Internet companies, financial institutions to develop proposals that combat online piracy and protect America’s intellectual property. We welcome input from all organizations and individuals who have an honest difference of opinion about how best to address this widespread problem. The Committee remains committed to finding a solution to the problem of online piracy that protects American intellectual property and innovation.

We’re hesitant to say the bill is “dead”, but after the events of this week it’s unlikely we’ll see SOPA and PIPA come to a vote in their current form. This probably isn’t the last we’ve seen of anti-piracy legislation, of course, and future bills could be just as dangerous. There are still things you can do to help, and while this is a victory, it isn’t a permanent one, so we wouldn’t get too comfortable just yet. Hit the link to read more.

Photo by Aspect3D (Shutterstock).

Statement from Chairman Smith on Senate Delay of Vote on PROTECT IP Act | US House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary via Ars Technica


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Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 news No Comments

Yikes! Oracle Issues Emergency Fix For A Big Fat Security Problem (ORCL)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/yikes-oracle-issues-emergency-fix-for-a-big-fat-security-problem-2012-1


larryellison oracle tbi

Oracle today warned customers that they need to fix a major hole in its flagship database or risk downtime and hacker attacks, reports Infoworld.

In a weird twist of events, the hole was actually found by Infoworld, a news site that covers the tech industry. Oracle even gave the publication a public credit for finding and reporting the hole — and waiting to publish the story until Oracle could issue a patch, which it did today.

The flaw had to do with time stamp technology that acts like an internal clock. This clock is the key to keeping data synchronized and safe. When multiple databases are linked together the clock could be manipulated to be inaccurate. This is one of those critical systems that was difficult to fix and affected a long list of Oracle’s products.

The critical patch sent out today fixes a whole bunch of other flaws, too. Some 78 holes will be patched across all of Oracle’s major product families.

Inforworld contends that Oracle executives knew about the time stamp problem and not only downplayed it, but issued a workaround fix that could have caused customers even more headaches and money. Oracle seems to have gotten its act together and really fixed the security flaw this time, Infoworld says.

 

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Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 news No Comments

The Agonizingly Slow Decline Of Live TV

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-the-decline-of-live-tv-2012-1


It seems you can’t follow the tech industry today without being bombarded with reports heralding the impending death of television as we know it. While we believe the television model will eventually be disrupted, there’s no evidence of any imminent collapse. Instead, the likely scenario is of a very slow decline, with TV remaining an amazingly large and profitable business for many many years to come.

A new survey from Deloitte indicates viewers are engaging with that model in new ways, with bad implications for the network’s ad sales.  When asked how they watched their favorite show, 71% of respondents chose live TV, down from 87% three years ago.  Some of the biggest winners? DVR, on demand, and the show’s internet site.

What does it mean? Consumers are wising up that you’re no longer chained to a show’s air date and if you have the patience to wait 30 minutes you can skip all the ads.  The real big problem, however, is that these are engaged consumers with intent. In other words, exactly the kind of people advertisers want to be reaching.   

Deloitte: Live TV Decline


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Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 news No Comments

Mobile Advertising Comes Of Age

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/millennial-media-ipo-2012-1

 

millennial media ad impressionsMillennial Media, a mobile advertising network, filed for an IPO last week. We were waiting for this, as we’d predicted this would happen this year (though we didn’t think it would happen so soon).

How is Millennial Media’s business?

Pretty good, actually.

Here are the highlights:

  • The company generated $70 million in revenue in the first nine months of 2011, from just $6.2 million in 2008;
  • The company has never had a profitable quarter and is still losing money, $4 million for the first nine months of 2011.
  • It’s pretty big and growing pretty fast: it processed 40 billion ad impressions in December 2011, and impressions are growing fast (see chart); Millennial Media has 16.7% marketshare according to IDC.

The Business

millennial media revenues and lossesYou’ll almost certainly see plenty of headlines about Millennial “never turning in a profit” throughout its road show. That’s correct. It’s also irrelevant.

Millennial is growing fast and into an enormous market opportunity–mobile advertising. It should not be profitable. Gartner thinks mobile advertising will be a $20.6 billion market by 2015, which may be conservative. That’s the opportunity Millennial is going after.

What’s more, Millennial Media seems to be gaining both market and operating leverage.

millennial media advertisersMillennial Media’s gross margin, which is roughly the amount it keeps after payments to publishers, improved from 34% to 39% in the first nine months of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. This is happening as Millennial is growing both advertisers and spending per advertisers, as you can see in the chart at right.

What’s more, Millennial’s losses are narrowing, as you can see in the chart above.

All of this suggests that Millennial is gaining both market leverage–as it gets more established it can keep more of the revenue it generates for publishers–and operating leverage–gaining operational efficiencies as it scales up.

The Market

Mobile Advertising RevenueOne thing people might be worried about is competition from Apple and Google. We’re not. Here’s why:

  • Even though Google is much bigger than Millennial (see chart at right, using data aggregated and estimated by Business Insider Intelligence), most of that is on owned-and-operated properties. Google’s AdMob network is bigger than Millennial’s but it is not dominant.
  • Apple’s online advertising format/network, iAds, has struggled in the marketplace.
  • Ad networks are not a winner take all market. On the web, there are a few giants, and many profitable smaller players. There’s no reason why it couldn’t be the same on mobile, and Millennial, as the biggest independent player, is well positioned.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Millennial Media looks like a strong business scaling up nicely in an exciting, fast-growing market. It’s kind of a boring business–an ad network, but it seems to be executing well. More importantly, don’t trust the media reports that will inevitably bang on about how Millennial has never been profitable. Yes, that’s true, but it doesn’t matter.

 

 

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Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 news No Comments

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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