Archive for December, 2012

More Technical Difficulties at Netflix

December 31, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

This holiday season has been a rough one for Netflix. Following a lengthy outage of its Internet video streaming service on Christmas Eve , the company has been hit anew with technical difficulties. Netflix said Monday that its DVD Web site has been suffering outages, and users have been reporting sporadic availability. “We are experiencing some technical difficulty with the Netflix DVD Web site, which as a result may not be available for all members. Our engineers are working to address this issue,” Netflix said in a statement, adding that streaming has not been affected. While details of this latest disruption are slim, responsibility for it does seem to rest squarely with Netflix. That wasn’t the case with the Dec. 24 outage, which was caused by a failure with Amazon’s Web Services .

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Tech Resolutions (Comic)

December 31, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

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New PBS Documentary Takes Another Look at Silicon Valley’s History

December 31, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

It’s kind of cool that the PBS documentary series “American Experience” has plans to air a film called “Silicon Valley” in February. I’ve always liked the series — “American Experience” was the platform through which such ponderous historical TV masterpieces as “ The Civil War ” and “ Baseball ” reached the screen. I’ll certainly see this new production before I see a minute of Bravo’s maligned reality series about the Valley. Here’s the 30-second preview clip: Watch Silicon Valley Preview on PBS. See more from American Experience. It’s certainly not the first time that the documentarians of public television have sought to encapsulate for the mainstream audience the story of how the unique place that is Silicon Valley came to be what it is. The new film appears to cover some well-worn territory, mainly involving the creation of Fairchild Semiconductor by the “ Traitorous Eight ” who decamped from their prior employer, Shockley Semiconductor. Fairchild in turn would incubate numerous other companies that would become known as “Fairchildren,” including Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. Nor is this offering the only public television effort seeking to do so: Another film, “ Something Ventured ,” on the history of venture capital, is airing as well. The first time I saw the story of the “Traitorous Eight” brought to televisions was via another public television documentary, called “ Transistorized! ,” which covered the invention of the transistor in 1948 by John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley. The transistor, as you know, led to the integrated circuit, which in turn led to what we now think of as chips, which gave us modern computing. You can see the first few minutes of it below; you can watch the whole thing in six parts here . Nor was that even the first go at the history of the Valley by the public TV documentarians. In the mid-’90s there were two series, “ Triumph of the Nerds ” and “ Nerds 2.0 ,” both narrated by Robert X. Cringley . The first of those was the purpose of the 1995 interview Cringely did with Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs, which in turn became the basis for “ Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview .” There are probably others, but I don’t know about them. Anyway, here’s the first few minutes of “Transistorized”: Transistorized! from Gino Del Guercio on Vimeo .

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Live Nation Chairman Azoff Resigns

December 31, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Irving Azoff, the executive chairman of Live Nation Entertainment Inc., has left the concert promotion giant’s board and resigned as an executive, the company said Monday. The 65-year-old music industry veteran is taking with him some of his talent-management business, through which he handles the affairs of the Eagles, Christina Aguilera and other acts, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Azoff’s employment contract hadn’t been due to expire until mid-2014. Chief Executive Michael Rapino’s contract, also due to expire in 2014, was recently renewed for a new five-year term, Live Nation said last week, without mentioning Mr. Azoff. Read the rest of this post on the original site »

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Two BlackBerry 10 Devices Hit FCC Ahead of January Debut

December 31, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Research In Motion’s planned launch of BlackBerry 10 on Jan. 30, 2013, is proceeding according to schedule. New filings with the Federal Communications Commission reveal that the agency has approved two new BlackBerry 10 devices. The first appears to be an LTE handset intended for AT&T; the second is a mystery gadget with no publicly available details or specs.

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NTT Docomo Mulling Bet on Tizen OS

December 31, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

When the first smartphone to run Tizen — the Linux-based platform for mobile devices being developed by Samsung and Intel — finally debuts in 2013, it may do so in Japan. Industry sources tell the Yomiuri Shimbun that NTT Docomo, Japan’s largest wireless carrier, has quietly signed on to work with Samsung, Intel and others to bring a Tizen handset — likely the first — to market. Tizen has been pitched by its creators as a more open alternative to both Android and iOS, and one powerful and adaptable enough to run across everything from smartphones and tablets to smart TVs. With Linux guts and a higher-level interface for Web apps, it’s designed to be HTML5-friendly, which will theoretically make it appealing to developers. Just how appealing remains to be seen. But obviously that’s the key question here. Because no matter how slick and powerful Tizen is, it’s not going anywhere without a robust ecosystem and significant developer support. Which isn’t to suggest it’s a non-starter. But it’s certainly at risk of becoming one.

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The Pressure Is on HP to Stand and Deliver in 2013

December 31, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Today marks the end of what has been without a doubt the worst year in Hewlett-Packard’s corporate history. You could argue that 2011, marked by the brief period that Léo Apotheker was CEO, was worse in many ways, and that the difficulties the company struggled to correct in 2012 were created in the prior year. But by all the metrics that count, the year now ending was a whopper: Sales on an annual basis fell by more than 5 percent to $120.4 billion, and on a GAAP basis it swung from a $7 billion profit to a $12.6 billion loss. Much of those losses can be attributed to a combined $17 billion in write-downs taken during the second half of the year. The biggest was the $8.8 billion write-down announced on Nov. 20 , of which $5.7 billion was attributed to Autonomy, the British software firm HP acquired for north of $11 billion in 2011. Another $8 billion was the result of an impairment charge related to EDS, the IT services concern HP acquired in 2008 for $14 billion. If 2012 was the year that HP sought to package up all the toxic accounting and financial disclosures it could find, then 2013 either will or won’t be the year where it starts down the path toward recovery and turnaround. While HP is technically shut down now for the holidays, people I’ve talked to there in recent days tell me that the internal message being broadcast to employees at all levels is consistent: This year, everyone has to deliver. Investors frustrated by the decline in value in HP’s shares in 2012 — at $13.68, as of Friday’s close, the shares are down nearly 49 percent this year — have largely come to terms with the notion that HP had to suffer through a horrible year in order to begin the arduous process of rebuilding its business and balance sheet, though the company and its CEO, Meg Whitman, have essentially exhausted their indulgences . At a meeting of financial analysts in October, Whitman portrayed 2013 as a “ fix and rebuild ” year, and so the fixing and rebuilding will, a year from now, have to be apparent.

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The Pressure Is on HP to Stand and Deliver in 2013

December 31, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Today marks the end of what has been without a doubt the worst year in Hewlett-Packard’s corporate history. You could argue that 2011, marked by the brief period that Léo Apotheker was CEO, was worse in many ways, and that the difficulties the company struggled to correct in 2012 were created in the prior year. But by all the metrics that count, the year now ending was a whopper: Sales on an annual basis fell by more than 5 percent to $120.4 billion, and on a GAAP basis it swung from a $7 billion profit to a $12.6 billion loss. Much of those losses can be attributed to a combined $17 billion in write-downs taken during the second half of the year. The biggest was the $8.8 billion write-down announced on Nov. 20 , of which $5.7 billion was attributed to Autonomy, the British software firm HP acquired for north of $11 billion in 2011. Another $8 billion was the result of an impairment charge related to EDS, the IT services concern HP acquired in 2008 for $14 billion

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The Pressure Is on HP to Stand and Deliver in 2013

December 31, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Today marks the end of what has been without a doubt the worst year in Hewlett-Packard’s corporate history. You could argue that 2011, marked by the brief period that Léo Apotheker was CEO, was worse in many ways, and that the difficulties the company struggled to correct in 2012 were created in the prior year. But by all the metrics that count, the year now ending was a whopper: Sales on an annual basis fell by more than 5 percent to $120.4 billion, and on a GAAP basis it swung from a $7 billion profit to a $12.6 billion loss. Much of those losses can be attributed to a combined $17 billion in write-downs taken during the second half of the year. The biggest was the $8.8 billion write-down announced on Nov. 20 , of which $5.7 billion was attributed to Autonomy, the British software firm HP acquired for north of $11 billion in 2011. Another $8 billion was the result of an impairment charge related to EDS, the IT services concern HP acquired in 2008 for $14 billion. If 2012 was the year that HP sought to package up all the toxic accounting and financial disclosures it could find, then 2013 either will or won’t be the year where it starts down the path toward recovery and turnaround.

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New Crop of Online Food Services Offer Everything but the Chef

December 31, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Last week, some FreshDirect customers found themselves in a mild panic when the online grocery service suffered a two-day outage due to a renewal issue with the company’s Web domain name . What was a small glitch for FreshDirect might have been a prime opportunity for the newest crop of food delivery services — companies that don’t don’t deliver groceries, but instead ship boxes of pre-prepared recipe ingredients that aim to make even the busiest professionals or harried parents look like food stars. “We want to be your sous chef,” says Simon Schmincke, chief marketing officer at HelloFresh , which is headquartered in Berlin and recently started serving parts of the U.S. “It’s a subscription model, so you don’t have to order groceries every week.” These types of formulated meal services, like HelloFresh and Sweden-based Linas Matkasse, have been popular in parts of Europe for several years. Now they’re making their way Stateside — and showing early signs of success. Earlier this month, HelloFresh secured $10 million in funding . Another fledgling service, Blue Apron, recently nabbed $800,000 in seed funding from a group that includes the founders of Seamless and Yipit. Here’s how it works: Consumers sign up for weekly food-ordering options, which usually don’t exceed three prepared meals per week. The services then send subscribers an email a week ahead of time with some recipe options.

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