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Today’s guests: Patrick Beja
Verizon announced today it has signed an agreement to buy AOL for $50 a share an estimated value of $4.4 billion AOL will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Verizon. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said AOL’s “advertising platform provides a key tool for us to develop future revenue streams.” AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, who will stay on as the subsidiary’s leader, said the combination “creates a unique and scaled mobile and OTT media platform for creators, consumers and advertisers.” The deal is expected to be completed this summer.
The Verge reports that Skype Translator is now available for anyone with a Windows 8 or Windows 10 PC to try. The software can translate English, Spanish, Italian, and Mandarin in real time, converting the original language into either text or audio.
The Verge reports on a new drone called Lily that you can throw into the air and ignore as it films whatever you’re doing. You have to strap a small GPS tracker to your wrist and then Lily uses computer vision technology to recognize its owner. The tracking device also records audio that syncs to the video, shot in 1080p at 60 frames per second. It can also shoot 12-megapixel stills. Oh and its waterproof to IP67. What it doesn’t have is avoidance detection, so you should only use it in wide open spaces. The device goes on sale today for pre-order at $499, a discount from the planned $999 retail price.
ReCode reports Google’s Android One program for affordable smartphones added Turkey as its seventh country. General Mobile will produce the devices starting around US$260. Android One devices are normally supposed to sell for around $100 but electronics in Turkey generally have higher prices.
Taiwanese fabless semiconductor company MediaTek is prepping the launch of a 10-core chip called Helio X20 according to Engadget. The chip is a 20nm “tri-cluster” design consisting of two 2.5GHz Cortex-A72 cores, four 2GHz Cortex-A53 cores and four 1.4GHz Cortex-A53 cores. While all ten cores can run simultaneously MediaTek General Manger of International Corporate Sales, Finbarr Moynihan said the chip’s software will pick the ideal cluster to use depending on power and processing needs. The first commercial device using the chip will arrive in consumer devices by the end of the year at the earliest.
ZDNet reports that Samsung has unveiled a new line of chips for Internet of Things devices, called the Artik. Artik One is the size of a ladybug with a 9-axis motion sensor, Bluetooth Low Energy support.
Artik Five is the size of a 25-cent coin with a video decoder and encoder. And Artik 10 comes with an HD encoder and decoder, 5.1 audio meant for home servers and personal clouds. Samsung also has established an open source-based developer platform and starter kit, which will become available immediately.
TechCrunch reports Aliyun, Alibaba’s cloud computing unit announced a joint-venture with Dubai’s Meraas, to create apps, cloud architecture and big data tools for clients. The venture will be located in Dubai and serve the wider region. According to IDC, spending on ICT products and services in the Middle East and Africa will exceed $270 billion in 2015.
News From You:
Spsheridan sent us this story from 9 to 5 Google that following a Reddit AMA on government surveillance, Google admitted that while Hangouts conversations are encrypted, it does not use end-to-end encryption. That means Google can tap into sessions when it receives a government court order to do so. Google’s Transparency Report reveals it has received 26 US government wiretap requests from the beginning of 2013 to the middle of last year. The company did not identify how many of these, if any, were for Hangouts.
Drtolbert submitted the Engadget story that Warner Music Group announced today it made more money in Q2 from streaming licenses than it did from digital downloads. Streaming revenue rose 33% while digital sales rose 7%.
Habichuelacondulce sent us the Gizmodo report that researchers at MIT have solved one of the great artistic condundrums of our time. Sort of. A group of scientists led by YiChang Shih have developed an algorithm that can extract and automatically remove reflections in an image, like when you take a shot of something through a window. The catch is that the window has to be double-paned or very thick. Gizmodo helpfully points out that in addition to Adobe Photoshop, the military might also benefit from the algorithm, to help robots look through windows and not get confused by their own reflection.
Discussion Section Links:
Pick of the Day:
I wanted to share the following website with your listeners.
When creating a HTTPS secure website one sometimes needs to troubleshoot why Chrome or Firefox do not display the lock icon usually associated with HTTPS.
The usual culprits are external elements which are being loaded over HTTP, so https://www.whynopadlock.com/ helps you check for those elements and fix them.
Alastair Mitchell from Edinburgh, Scotland:
Just wanted to contributed to the discussion on wearables from yesterday’s episode (2490).
The majority of wearables on the market just now are focussed on people losing weight but if you’re someone like myself who needs to gain weight they are quite unhelpful. Because my focus is to gaining weight I mostly do weight training at the gym rather than cardio which wearables right now can’t track well.
I played with a Fitbit for a month or two but that was purely for geek reasons and the information I got from it was interesting but not beneficial for myself.
A wearable which focuses on overall health rather than losing weight would be really interesting to me but I’m not sure how many others want such a device.
Great show, makes my bus to work much shorter.
Rich from Lovely Cleveland:
Your discussion on the issue of interpreting the info provided by wearables left out one player. Microsoft is making an interesting push to be the service that will work cross platform to cull and interpret all of your health data. They support their Health app and Band across all the major OSes, and seem more interested in people feeding the data in than forcing people to exclusively buy into their platform (although I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if you did). Their service is still nascent, so we’ll see if Microsoft lives up to their lofty goals, but I like what they are proposing better than the device lock-in that a lot of wearable makers seem to be forcing (although I guess by being cross-platform it makes it easier for MS to lock you into their service, but at least it feels like a bigger gilded cage).
Heather from Charleston, SC:
Your conversation with Veronica and Ron on Monday got me thinking about how I’ve benefited from fitness tracking. I recently started on a new medication, and one of the potential side effects is an increased resting heart rate. Since I have heart rate data for several months back, I was able to look at the new data, see a significant increase over average, and then have a conversation with my doctor on how to proceed. Without that trend, it would have been harder to determine if there was a meaningful change.
On yesterday’s show you were discussing that 14% of Zappos staff took an exit package based on the new management approach. We look at statistics like that as a part of the analysis that we do for our work and wanted to offer some perspective on that number. According to Gallup’s ‘State of the American Workplace’ report from 2013 30% of the workforce is actively engaged and inspired at work, 52% are present but not fully engaged and 18% are actively disengaged and looking to make a change. The 14% at Zappos seen in this context might actually be a positive and given the factors associated with career path, etc. this number might actually be low. As always, there are many forces that impact things like this so this is just some conjecture based on some recent statistics.
Great to hear Veronica on her first ‘regular’ appearance last night.
Thanks for all that you do!
Bill Strait writes:
I just wanted to clarify a few points about the blockchain getting more buzz than bitcoin. The Bitcoin Blockchain is the world’s most secure public ledger. Why? Because it has the most hashing power of any distributed computer in the world. This hashing power isn’t coming from volunteers, it’s coming from bitcoin miners. Miners secure the network in exchange for bitcoin. If bitcoin becomes worthless, the miners go away. Without numerous geographically dispersed miners the blockchain is no longer secure. You cannot separate Bitcoin from it’s blockchain, but you can make other blockchains that compete with it for miners. If someone wants to put together a proposal for a Dollar Blockchain I’m all ears. For now, I’m going where the hash rate is.
Wednesday’s guest: Scott Johnson