Microsoft Shares Vision For Present and Future Productivity

Microsoft recently invited journalists into its Envisioning Center for a peek into its vision of the future — in particular, its vision of the future of productivity. Inside the center, Microsoft houses some of its prototype work. Journalists witnessed teams working together on giant collaborative screens, meeting in rooms equipped with devices to automatically recognize participants, and doing work at touch-powered desks. The bulk of all provided demonstrations revolved around the use of touch, voice, and augmented reality. This marks a new way forward for Microsoft.

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AI-Powered Tools Assist Human Reporting at News Outlets

Robot reporters are on the rise, in use at Bloomberg News, The Associated Press, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times among other news outlets. The Cyborg system helps Bloomberg reporters produce thousands of articles on company earnings and analyze/write financial reports very quickly. Not only do business reporters find this kind of writing dull, but Cyborg’s speed helps it compete with rival Reuters. The other news outlets above use robots to report on sports, although the LAT relies on them for earthquakes. Continue reading AI-Powered Tools Assist Human Reporting at News Outlets

Netflix Plans to Experiment With Lower Price in Asian Markets

Netflix revealed its plan to test a lower-priced tier of its subscription streaming service in certain areas as part of a strategy to boost sales, especially in emerging markets such as Asia. While the company has not committed to specific regions or a time frame, CEO Reed Hastings explained that Netflix is looking to experiment. The move would represent a shift for the company, which has consistently maintained or raised its prices while spending more on new content and local productions to attract new customers. Netflix is not expected to reduce the cost of its lowest tier, but rather introduce an alternate fourth tier with different features. Continue reading Netflix Plans to Experiment With Lower Price in Asian Markets

U.S. Claims That Russian Hackers Were Behind Yahoo Attack

The Department of Justice officially charged four people yesterday in connection with Yahoo’s 2014 data breach that reportedly resulted in the theft of data from 500 million Yahoo accounts. According to the indictment, the Russian government used the data obtained by two intelligence officers (Dmitry Dokuchaev, Igor Sushchin) and two hackers (Alexsey Belan, Karim Baratov) to spy on White House and military officials, bank executives, cloud computing companies, a senior level airline official, a Nevada gaming regulator, as well as Russian journalists, business execs and government officials. Continue reading U.S. Claims That Russian Hackers Were Behind Yahoo Attack

Snapchat Offers its Spectacles via Snapbot Vending Machines

Snap is already sold out on its first run of Spectacles, the $130 Snapchat sunglasses with a built-in camera for shooting video. The sunglasses were for sale in a pop-up vending machine, dubbed Snapbot, at the company’s Venice Beach headquarters, and now some of them are already for sale on eBay priced at $600 to $1,000. Snap is deliberately rolling out Spectacles in a playful fashion, with vending machines festooned with balloons and designed to look like a Cyclops cartoon character. Continue reading Snapchat Offers its Spectacles via Snapbot Vending Machines

Journalists to Use Samsung Gear 360 Cameras for VR News

As part of a global initiative to introduce the potential of 360-degree news reporting, Samsung is providing 50 Reuters photojournalists in 25 countries with its Gear 360 cameras. According to Digital Trends, “The cameras and new content will fuel Focus 360 — Reuters’ new virtual reality and 360-degree video and photography worldwide news portal, which launches online and on Android August 2 and on iOS August 5.” Samsung Galaxy phone owners “will also be able to watch Focus 360 content on the Samsung Gear VR headset.” Continue reading Journalists to Use Samsung Gear 360 Cameras for VR News

Adblock Plus Reaches One Billion Downloads, Spars with IAB

Adblock Plus, from German firm Eyeo, is now on 100 million active devices and close to a billion downloads, says Eyeo co-founder/chief executive Till Faida. That’s significant growth from the beginning of the year, when the company reported 500 million downloads and 50 million active users. Adblock Plus also launched its “Acceptable Ads” program targeting larger websites; by whitelisting ads, Adblock Plus receives 30 percent of the additional revenue. Faida reports that 40 out of the top 100 U.S. websites are participating. Continue reading Adblock Plus Reaches One Billion Downloads, Spars with IAB

GDC 2016: Reporters Face Unique Challenges Covering eSports

During the “Storytellers of eSports” panel at this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, creative execs and journalists for Twitch, Yahoo Sports, Team Liquid and 1UP Studios discussed how they cover eSports, and how their approaches differ from coverage of traditional sports. The challenge for writers is to bring life to a sport in which the players barely move, but their hand and body twitches translate into incredible feats within the game. The stories are more about eSports personalities, and less about the actual gameplay, than traditional sports. Continue reading GDC 2016: Reporters Face Unique Challenges Covering eSports

Yahoo Streamlines Online Magazine Project to Trim Work Force

Yahoo chief exec Marissa Mayer has decided to close the company’s online magazine initiative, which was one of her signature projects. Yahoo notified editors and writers at 15 publications that they would be let go. The digital magazines covered topics such as autos, crafts, fashion, food, health, real estate, technology and travel — some of which will be folded into Yahoo News moving forward. Yahoo plans to continue some original content for areas including tech and fashion, but publications covering autos and food lost all their staff. Continue reading Yahoo Streamlines Online Magazine Project to Trim Work Force

Periscope Now Broadcasts Live Video Directly Within Twitter

Twitter now allows some mobile users to watch live video feeds on its sister app Periscope within the Twitter timeline. Previously, Twitter users linked to Periscope broadcasts via the discrete app. Acquired by Twitter in 2015, Periscope has taken off among users who use it to broadcast their whereabouts from smartphones. Users have posted an estimated 100 million live feeds on Periscope in the 10 months since its purchase. By linking the two apps, Twitter will introduce Periscope to new users and become home to more content. Continue reading Periscope Now Broadcasts Live Video Directly Within Twitter

Kapture Audio Debuts Sensor-Based Recording Tech at CES

In discussing CES 2016 trends, Consumer Technology Association CTO Shawn DuBravac identified “ambient sensing,” or the ability of sensors to monitor and measure data in continuous time. On the stage at CES, he showcased a product that exemplifies some of the innovation possible with ambient sensing. Kapture Audio, a wearable platform and app, enables users to capture 60-seconds of audio and share it with others. DuBravac interviewed co-founder Mike Sarow about the device and its capabilities. Continue reading Kapture Audio Debuts Sensor-Based Recording Tech at CES

Social Ads Aimed at Journalists Becoming More Sophisticated

Marketers and advertisers have targeted ads to journalists and “influencers” for some time. But the practice is getting more advanced and pervasive, as Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies offer more granular targeting tools. In fact, the latest efforts now target customized messages to journalists as specific publications, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or USA Today. Reaching individuals who work in media can now be accomplished in a variety of ways, including using profile or email information.

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Leaked Documents Offer Details of U.S. Military’s Drone Wars

Two years after government contractor Edward Snowden famously leaked secret NSA documents, another release of classified information has occurred. This time, The Intercept — which is staffed by journalists who previously worked with Snowden — has published what it claims is a comprehensive breakdown of the U.S. government’s military drone program. The report, featuring documents provided by another whistleblower, offers details regarding U.S. strategy to kill foreign targets in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen — and highlights the unintended consequences involved with drone wars. Continue reading Leaked Documents Offer Details of U.S. Military’s Drone Wars

Canon’s New XC10 Camera Shoots Still Photos and 4K Video

Canon has released one of the first “convergence” cameras that can take both high resolution photos and videos. The XC10 can take 12 megapixel stills or 4K video with a one-inch CMOS sensor. The XC10 can also shoot video in 1080p and 8MP still photos can be taken from the video. The photos and video save to an internal CFast card, and the built-in Wi-Fi makes it easy to get photos off the device. Canon is marketing the product to journalists and other multimedia professionals who need different types of media. Continue reading Canon’s New XC10 Camera Shoots Still Photos and 4K Video

Twitter Believes the Time is Now Right for Live Streaming Apps

Despite the failure of several live streaming apps in recent years, Twitter and other investors are betting that consumers are now ready to live stream their experiences. Twitter recently acquired live streaming app Periscope for $100 million and now Twitter users can broadcast live from the social network. Meerkat, Camio, YouNow, Justin.tv, and Livestream offer similar services. With more access to streaming, people may be more inclined to share video of themselves through this model. Continue reading Twitter Believes the Time is Now Right for Live Streaming Apps

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