Archive for April, 2011

Al Gore’s Next Invention: The Future of Books? (Cheap Shot, But Cool App) [NetworkEffect]

April 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Push Pop Press , a digital book publishing platform, went live with its first title this week, Al Gore’s “Our Choice,” available as an iOS app for $4.99. The start-up, as we’ve written before, was founded by an Apple designer prodigy named Mike Matas. “Our Choice” was first demoed at TED , where Matas wowed the crowd by activating a wind turbine demo within the book by blowing on his iPad and iPhone. The most distinctive part of the book platform seems to be the ability to pull any multimedia off the page with a two-finger gesture and browse around infographics with one finger (and occasionally your breath). But now that the book’s available, you can buy it for yourself here or watch the tour guided by Al Gore below. Other iPad-focused interactive book makers include Inkling and 955 Dreams .

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Still Not Convinced the Cloud Is a Risky Place? Here Are Some Scary Numbers To Ponder. [NewEnterprise]

April 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

The myriad of computing service failures during the last week or so have had me thinking back to my conversation in March with Drew Bartkiewicz. We’ve had Amazon Web services fail and bring down much of the Web with it. Add to that the Playstation Network outage, which is still unresolved and is starting to get ugly in a legal and regulatory sense for Sony. And before that there was the breach at the email marketing company Epsilon . It’s as though this week was tailor-made for Bartkiewicz (pictured), who argues that companies in the cloud business–and their customers, too–are in denial about risk . And by risk I mean not the technological possibility that a service may fail to work as advertised, but in the financial liability sense. In Amazon’s case, there’s not been any real discussion of financial liability.

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Apple Is Now More Profitable Than Microsoft ("Bill, Thank You. The World’s a Better Place.") [Digital Daily]

April 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

“I will make more profits and certainly there is no technology company in the planet which is as profitable as we are.” — Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, May 27, 2010 What was unimaginable just a decade ago has finally occured. Apple is now more profitable than Microsoft . Posting earnings for its most recent quarter Thursday, Microsoft reported net income of $5.23 billion on revenues of $16.42 billion . Which turned out to be significantly less than the net profit of $5.99 billion on revenues of $24.67 billion Apple turned in last week . Another remarkable–and remarkably ironic–milestone for Apple, which surpassed Microsoft in market cap last May. It was Microsoft, after all, that breathed new life into a struggling Apple back in 1997 with a $150 million investment in the company ( see video below ). What was it Bill Gates said at the time?

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The Programming Insider: ABC’s GMA Narrows the Gap

April 29, 2011  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

In Today’s Issue: Ratings Box: What’s Hot/What’s Not On the Air This Weekend : Prime-Time Programming Options

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Amazon Details Last Week’s Cloud Failure, and Apologizes [NewEnterprise]

April 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Amazon has released a detailed account of its terrible, horrible, no good very bad week , during which portions of its Amazon Web Services crashed in the US, and brought the operations of numerous other companies down with it. It’s a rather lengthy read , so I thought I’d pull out some highlights. It at all started started 12:47 AM PDT on April 21 in Amazon’s Elastic Block Storage operation, which is essentially the storage used by Amazon’s EC2 cloud compute service, so EBS and EC2 go hand-in-hand. During normal scaling activities, a network change was underway. It wasn performed incorrectly. Not by a machine, but by a human. As Amazon puts it: The configuration change was to upgrade the capacity of the primary network. During the change, one of the standard steps is to shift traffic off of one of the redundant routers in the primary EBS network to allow the upgrade to happen. The traffic shift was executed incorrectly and rather than routing the traffic to the other router on the primary network, the traffic was routed onto the lower capacity redundant EBS network

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Mod, Ikiru to produce ‘Ghost’

April 29, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

International News: Film Factory takes international rights -- Mod Producciones, the producer of Alejandro Amenabar's "Agora" and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Biutiful," is teaming with Spain's Ikiru Films, Ciskul and Think Studio to produce Javier Ruiz Caldera' "Ghost Graduation."

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I Do… Want Some Magnum Ice Cream. (Really?) [MediaMemo]

April 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

No surprise that my Twitter feed is overrun with the royal wedding: This is the sort of thing that everyone says they don’t care about, but ends up watching/talking about anyway. I am surprised, though, at what happens when I click on #royalwedding , Twitter’s official hashtag for the event: I end up on the day’s Promoted Trend, purchased on behalf of something called “ Magnum Ice Cream ,” and which directs Twitter users to Magnum’s Facebook page . Turns out this is indeed a real product, from Unilever, and I guess they’re getting their money’s worth, because you’re reading about it now. More important is that near the height of the ceremony Twitter was seeing 13,000 #royalwedding tweets per minute . I do wonder, though, how the media companies Twitter has been encouraging to use #royalwedding today feel about helping the social network promote the “stylish and luxurious lifestyle inspired by the world’s most pleasurable ice cream.” Related: In advance of the event, Twitter and ABC News told me they were working closely together on live coverage and plans, with hashtag polls and onscreen meters showing the velocity and total number of wedding tweets, etc.  But this turned out to be pretty restrained: In an hour of viewing this morning, I only saw a single reference to Twitter cross my screen (an ABC rep tells me there have been more). Also worth noting: If you wanted to, you could watch the wedding itself on Twitter.com, via a livestream that NBC News provided. Pretty sure we’ll see more of this.

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Yes, Apple Did Buy the iCloud.com Domain [Digital Daily]

April 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Apple has indeed acquired the domain name iCloud.com from Sweden-based hybrid cloud computing outfit Xcerion. Sources in position to know confirm that Apple bought the domain as GigaOm first reported Thursday , though they declined to say whether its rumored $4.5 million price tag was accurate. Just what Apple plans to do with the domain is unclear. Presumably, it will have something to do with whatever cloud-based services the company is rumored to be ramping up in its 505,000-square-foot North Carolina data center. PREVIOUSLY: Apple Poaches Microsoft’s Datacenter GM Apple’s Area 51: The Truth Is Out There Apple’s N.C. Data Center Intended for iTunes, MobileMe Apple Owns Another 70 Acres Near NC Data Center Was Apple Planning on Doubling Its North Carolina Data Center All Along? Apple Reaching for the Cloud With MacBook Air and N.C. Data Center That’s Apple’s New Data Center? Where’s the Giant Glass Cube?

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Meredith Vieira Waves Goodbye to Today

April 29, 2011  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Meredith Vieira is preparing for an early exit from NBC’s Today show, taking a bow some three months before her contract expires in September. According to The Hollywood Reporter , the 57-year-old Vieira will step aside in June, making way for news reader Ann Curry to slip into the seat next to Today co-host Matt Lauer.

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Information Diet: Busy Philipps

April 29, 2011  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Adweek: What’s the first information you consume in the morning? Busy Philipps : I have a 2-and-a-half-year old, so generally speaking, I don’t get any news until I’m not with her, which tends to be when I get in the car. What do you read or watch or listen to at the breakfast table? If anything, it’s Go, Diego, Go! on Nick Jr. , or princess music. What occupies your mind in the car, on the subway, train, or bus? I listen to NPR in the car, which is how I get my news. But here in Los Angeles we have KCRW , and between 9 and 12, they just play music. There are days where I can go until late afternoon without hearing anything that’s going on in the world

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