Archive for December, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Kittens Playing on Tablets? Oh, My!

December 30, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Toddlers playing with iPads. That is just so 2011. The hot trend, as we prepare for 2012, is animals using touchscreens. First there was this bullfrog playing an Android game . Then there was the report of orangutans using iPads for video chat . Now, there’s this video of a cat playing Fruit Ninja. That’s not all. There’s a dog playing Veggie Samurai , a bearded dragon lizard playing Ant Crusher , and even a monkey playing Angry Birds . Some are actually targeting the market directly — like Purina, the maker of Friskies cat food. The company has a series of apps designed just for felines . I guess it is probably a good thing that the iPad screen is made of Gorilla Glass. According to Friskies, the iPad playing surface is kitty-friendly . “We found that the bare glass screen on the iPad stands up to our cat’s claws with no problems, but please be aware that a cat’s sharp claws could damage add-on plastic film covers,” the company says on the technical support page for its cat games. With additional reporting by Liz Gannes.

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Knicks Fans: Hoopless, Hopeless in New Year

December 30, 2011  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Time Warner Cable subscribers in New York are on the verge of losing MSG, the regional sports network that serves up a steady diet of Knicks, Rangers, Islanders and New Jersey Devils games. MSG’s carriage deal with the cable operator is set to expire as the ball drops in Times Square and, despite the approaching deadline, sources say that negotiations essentially have ceased. “Unfortunately, we have not had any recent, meaningful discussions with Time Warner Cable,” MSG said in a statement. “They have rejected every one of our fair proposals for nearly two years, and are unwilling to value our programming in the same manner as other distributors or even engage in good faith negotiations on behalf of their customers.” Sources said a buzzer-beater deal to keep MSG lit up in New York is unlikely. “Knicks fans will almost certainly miss out on the Raptors game [Jan. 2],” said one executive with insight into the situation. For its part, Time Warner Cable said the decision to pull the plug on the RSN rests wholly on MSG’s shoulders. “We will not remove MSG from our New York cable systems,” said Mike Angus, senior vice president, content acquisition for Time Warner Cable, in a statement. “That ball is in MSG’s court, so these channels will come off only if MSG pulls the plug.” Angus said the operator offered to continue to carry MSG through the end of the 2011-12 NBA and NHL seasons, at a 6.5 percent increase—the rate offered by the RSN earlier this summer. According to Time Warner Cable, MSG is now asking for a 53 percent increase in its carriage fee, an assertion the network characterized as factually inaccurate. Per SNL Kagan estimates, operators pay $4.91 per sub per month for the right to carry the RSN’s feeds—$2.63 for MSG and $2.28 for MSG Plus. The costs associated with delivering sports programming have made RSNs some of the priciest channels on the cable dial. In New York, YES Network (Yankees/New Jersey Nets) costs operators $2.99 per sub per month, while SportsNet New York (Mets) carries a fee of $2.55. On average, the cost of carrying a nationally distributed basic-cable network is 26 cents per sub per month

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Exclusive: Here’s What Hurd’s Actual HP Expense Reports Say About Controversial Fisher Dinners

December 30, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

While much of the attention may focus on the original letter written by Gloria Allred to Mark Hurd claiming a pattern of sexual harassment of the marketing contractor Jodie Fisher, the fact remains that he was fully exonerated of those allegations by an internal Hewlett-Packard investigation conducted by the law firm of Covington & Burling on behalf of HP’s board of directors. In fact, what got Hurd ousted from his job as HP’s CEO on Aug. 6, 2010, were questions related to his expense reports. So what do they show? AllThingsD has obtained some background notes that were prepared in connection with the so-called Covington Report — which a Delaware judge has ruled will remain under seal — delivered to HP’s board during the summer of 2010. The one page of notes goes into some detail about the nature of the four of Hurd’s expense reports that specifically name Fisher as having been in attendance. This is a key detail because HP’s official reason, as explained by then general counsel Michael Holston on Aug. 6, 2010, was that Hurd’s expense reports were prepared in a way that “had the effect of concealing Mark’s personal relationship with the contractor.” How might Hurd have arguably used an expense report in this way? By leaving her name off of reports claiming expenses for certain dinners. But here are four examples of expense reports where Fisher was specifically named. By way of explanation, mentions of “Fimbres” refer to Hurd’s assistant Caprice Fimbres, who had hired Fisher in the first place.

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Twitter CEO Costolo in 140 Characters or Less: Dude’s About to Wipe Out

December 30, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Problem : Twitter CEO Dick Costolo’s holiday vacations don’t attract worldwide press coverage like those of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg . Solution : Be your own paparazzi! Costolo posted this awesome surfing action shot on his Twitter account in the wee hours of this morning. He attributed the pic to Federated Media founder John Battelle, who’s also vacationing in Hawaii this week. By the way, Costolo doesn’t limit himself to unplanned dives, as this appears to precede. He’ll be speaking at our D:Dive Into Media conference next month.

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Nokia’s Dying Symbian OS Still Rules the Smartphone World

December 30, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

How ironic is this? Symbian, the mobile operating system that Nokia is slowly abandoning as it refocuses its smartphone strategy around Microsoft Windows Phone, is the leading mobile OS worldwide. December StatCounter metrics, compiled by Pingdom , show Symbian with a 33.59 percent share of the global smartphone market. That’s more than Apple’s iOS, which claimed a 22.56 percent share that same month. And it’s more than Android, as well: Google’s juggernaut mobile OS accounted for just 21.74 percent in December. Remarkable.

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Churches Bring Custom Apps to Their Flocks

December 30, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Andrea Davis has created a new wing of her church: her car. When Ms. Davis, 45 years old, has downtime from her job helping manage parking for University of Tennessee-Knoxville sporting events she’ll settle in to her Honda Civic to catch up on sermons via audio and video from her church’s free, custom-made smartphone app. “I feel that anywhere you go, you should carry that spirit with you,” says Ms. Davis, who holds a second job as a teaching assistant and lives 45 minutes away from Faith Promise Church located in Knoxville, Tenn. “It’s like I’m there and not missing anything.” Read the rest of this post on the original site

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Christy Wyatt on How Motorola Plans to Stand Out From the Android Pack

December 30, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Even as it prepares to be swallowed up by Google, Motorola Mobility is hardly standing still. One of the key driving forces behind the company is Christy Wyatt, a former Palm and Apple executive, now corporate vice president and general manager for mobile devices at Motorola. In an interview earlier this month, Wyatt talked about how the company is trying to stand out in an increasingly crowded Android field. Here’s a partial transcript of our interview: AllThingsD: Where do you see the opportunity to invest to make your Android devices better than others? Christy Wyatt: We’ve focused over the past year in four key areas. They’ve moved a little bit away from what I’d call aesthetics and focused more on user experience and performance. The first is modality. You saw us earlier in the year launch our first Web-top platform with the lap dock. This is really the concept that your phone is really enough for you 80 or 90 percent, but sometimes — if you are writing a long article, for example — you are going to want a keyboard. That doesn’t mean you want a different device. You might want a different way of accessing the device you are already using. You don’t have to be carrying 52 cords and 52 chargers and multiple data plans. The second one is this concept of “content anywhere.” We’re not a content company, per se. We don’t have a music store or a video store or a book store. We’ve really never gone down that path, because we believe the consumer has many viable paths for buying content already. From a consumer’s perspective, I’m less interested in selling you yet another 99-cent song. I’m more interested in giving you an integrated view of where all your stuff is. When I say, “show me my music,” I mean all of my music, not just the stuff I bought from the store on that particular device

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Woof! GreenGoose’s Dog-Focused Wireless Sensors Now Available for Order.

December 30, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Do you already track your own health using apps, GPS, Wi-Fi scales and wearable devices? Well, perhaps after the “ quantified self ” comes the quantified dog. Really! The first product from GreenGoose , a start-up that makes wireless sensors for personal tracking, is a $49 kit of dog-focused sensors to monitor walking, playing, feeding and rewarding your pets. The San Francisco company started taking orders on Thursday , promising to ship the doggie sensors in January. GreenGoose’s sensors measure a pet’s movement, and communicate with a base station plugged into a user’s home wireless router. The sensors come in the form of stickers, tags and cards, and contain batteries estimated to last up to a year. So, for instance, GreenGoose’s dog-walk measurements come from a tag that can be attached to the handle of a dog leash. The sensor keeps track of whenever the leash is used, and sends a summary of the walk when the owner comes back into range. The owner can get stats and summaries through a “Petagonia” iPhone app. “The whole idea is simply making everyday things we do more playful,” said GreenGoose founder Brian Krejcarek, in an email to AllThingsD . GreenGoose’s next two specialized apps for its sensors include one that discerns whether a toilet seat has been left up or down, and a credit card-shaped one that simply “measures when you get up off your bum and move about.” “From there, we’ve got about 100 in the design queue,” Krejcarek said, noting that there will also be an open API, so other people can build their own apps, too. Programmable and wearable hardware is super hot right now, driven in part by the theory that an intelligent and helpful “ Internet of things ” might emerge, in which every device and all sorts of other things are connected to the network. Another such effort, named Twine, recently raised $436,000 from individual donors on Kickstarter, more than 12 times as much money as it was seeking

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RIM’s Share of The U.S Smartphone Market Slips Again

December 30, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

comScore has published its latest report on the U.S. smartphone market and, as expected, the numbers look pretty grim for Research In Motion. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android continue to bleed the BlackBerry of share in the States. For the three-month period ending in November, RIM’s share of US smartphone subscribers fell to 16.6 percent from 19.7 percent. That’s a 3.1 point change from August and another nasty decline for RIM, which continues to struggle against subscriber losses in the U.S. Meanwhile, the BlackBerry-maker’s misfortune continues to be its rivals’ gain. For the same period iOS’s market share rose by 1.4 percentage points to 28.7 percent, and Android’s to 46.9 percent from 43.8 percent.

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Shopping Under the Influence

December 30, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

I mean, if you think about what most people do when they get home from work in the evening, it’s decompression time. The consumer’s in a good mood. – Steve Yankovich , vice president for mobile for eBay, in a New York Times article by Stephanie Clifford about companies adjusting their e-commerce promotions to appeal to drunken online shoppers

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