Google, Facebook Look to Expand Reach of Internet Access

Led by Greg Wyler, founder of O3b Networks, Google’s plans to increase Internet access through satellites surge forward. In order to reach unwired regions, Google plans to spend an estimated $1 billion to $3 billion on a fleet of satellites. The project is expected to begin with 180 small, high-capacity satellites orbiting the earth at lower altitudes than traditional satellites. Both Google and Facebook are looking to increase revenue and earnings, and have pinpointed users in these remote regions to do so. Continue reading Google, Facebook Look to Expand Reach of Internet Access

Mortar Data Makes it Easier to Build Recommendation Engines

Mortar Data, a New York-based company known for building and hosting custom big data applications, recently announced the launch of a recommendation engine platform that allows anyone to build their own system, and use it with their own data, for free. Recommendation systems are becoming increasingly popular, and have become a gold mine for big companies such as Pandora and Netflix, which use the services to make recommendations based on customer history. Continue reading Mortar Data Makes it Easier to Build Recommendation Engines

Amazon Hires Engineering Team to Design Its Own Server Chips

Retail and cloud giant Amazon has joined Google and Facebook in investing in development its own server chips. The company recently brought together a team of CPU architects and hardware development engineers, four of whom come from Calxeda, the defunct ARM-based server startup in Austin, Texas. Despite the high initial costs of custom server chips, these specialized products would allow Amazon to optimize costs and improve performance. Continue reading Amazon Hires Engineering Team to Design Its Own Server Chips

Facebook Plans to Launch its Long-Awaited Mobile Ad Network

Facebook is expected to launch its mobile advertising network during the F8 developer conference in San Francisco at the end of this month. Facebook plans to leverage its massive user information database for better ad targeting, and will pitch the ads to publishers and developers. The social giant will also benefit from expanding its ad reach, and will allow the company to profit from its over 1 billion users even when they are not on the site itself. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Launch its Long-Awaited Mobile Ad Network

LinkedIn Has 300 Million Registered Users, Mobile Use on Rise

LinkedIn recently announced that it now has more than 300 million registered users, about two-thirds of which are based outside the United States. While the company has not specified how many of the 300 million are active monthly users, it reported 139 million monthly unique visitors and 48 million Slideshare visitors for the fourth quarter of 2013. During that same period, LinkedIn noted that 41 percent of its traffic came from mobile devices, a percentage it expects to continue increasing. Continue reading LinkedIn Has 300 Million Registered Users, Mobile Use on Rise

NAB: USC’s Elizabeth Daley Speaks at Tech Summit on Cinema

The ongoing effort to utilize new technologies in the service of storytelling was the theme of USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) Dean Elizabeth Daley’s keynote address Sunday at the SMPTE Technology Summit on Cinema at NAB. Digital technology is deeply engrained throughout the SCA curriculum. In fact, the Interactive Media & Games Division and the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts wouldn’t exist without it. Yet “everything has changed, and nothing has changed. Great storytelling is still key,” Daley said. Continue reading NAB: USC’s Elizabeth Daley Speaks at Tech Summit on Cinema

Panel Envisions the Future of Cinema at SMPTE Tech Summit

The through-line of Saturday’s “The Future of Cinema” panel at the SMPTE Technology Summit on Cinema at NAB was entertainment technology evolution and experimentation, for better or worse, in the service of story and the entertainment experience. Panel members from MKPE Consulting, Entertainment Technology Canada, Group 47, IMAX, Disney and Deluxe discussed a range of topics including projection systems, light sources, frame rates, dynamic range, color gamut and what moviegoers will be looking for in their theater experience. Continue reading Panel Envisions the Future of Cinema at SMPTE Tech Summit

SMPTE Tech Summit at NAB: Distributive Creativity in the Cloud

“Computers are like a bicycle for our minds,” Steve Jobs once said. “If that’s the case, then the cloud is a jetliner,” said Josh Rizzo, VP technology for Hula Post Production and moderator of SMPTE’s “Distributive Creativity” panel at NAB on the use of the cloud by the entertainment industry. Rizzo started off by making two overarching points: First, the entertainment industry is moving from expression to experience. Second, anything that can be built can be hacked, but the cloud is more secure than many options. Continue reading SMPTE Tech Summit at NAB: Distributive Creativity in the Cloud

SMPTE Tech Summit: Understanding the Human Vision System

The first Saturday morning session of SMPTE’s Technology Summit On Cinema at NAB focused on factors that could impact the UHD TV rollout, including research on what humans are able to see and observe. During a panel titled “Understanding the Human Vision System,” Dr. Jenny Read of Newcastle University Institute of Neuroscience set the stage by discussing four parameters of vision: spatial resolution, temporal resolution, dynamic range, and color perception. Related studies from Dolby, EBU and EPFL were presented. Continue reading SMPTE Tech Summit: Understanding the Human Vision System

Billy Chasen Shutters Turntable.fm, Launches New Social App

Turntable.fm founder Billy Chasen announced that the service is officially closing, “ending one of the most compelling experiments in music discovery to ever hit the Web,” suggests The Verge. Chasen attempted to play by the rules, paying every time a song was streamed, which eventually proved to be too expensive. He believes that the music industry is stifling innovation and digital startups. For his next venture, Chasen is going social with Ketchup, a free app he launched last month. Continue reading Billy Chasen Shutters Turntable.fm, Launches New Social App

NAB 2014: First Trifocal 3D Film Will Be Shown in Las Vegas

Walt Disney Studios’ experimental live action 3D film “Make/Believe” will be shown at NAB in Las Vegas next month. Currently in the final stages of post production, the 10-minute 3D short was shot with a new trifocal camera system. “Make/Believe” was produced by German research institute Fraunhofer HHI with Disney and Berlin firm Real Life Films using Fraunhofer’s hybrid camera system and software. The film will be shown in the Fraunhofer booth at NAB. Continue reading NAB 2014: First Trifocal 3D Film Will Be Shown in Las Vegas

Banjo Raises $16 Million, Aims to Become TiVo for Social Media

Banjo Inc. has raised $16 million in Series B funding in its pursuit to become like a DVR for compelling social media content and conversations. Banjo offers a way to view aggregated, relevant social conversations about news and events attached to specific geographic locations or venues, all in one convenient stream. The startup recently released Android and iOS versions of its mobile app with a new Banjo Rewind feature that lets users access a past event to learn what people were discussing about it. Continue reading Banjo Raises $16 Million, Aims to Become TiVo for Social Media

Wireless Power: Experiments in Charging Future Mobile Devices

Scientists and engineers are working towards making wireless power possible by harvesting and transforming existing energy from the world around us. Models they have looked at include nanoscale pillars that turn waste heat into electricity and a spongey smartphone case that generates electricity from sitting on a vibrating surface. One source of energy is thermoelectricity, which works by creating electricity from the current created by electrons moving from hot to cold, an approach that may be ideal for humans. Continue reading Wireless Power: Experiments in Charging Future Mobile Devices

SXSW: Neil Young Launches Kickstarter Campaign for PonoMusic

Legendary musician Neil Young, the featured speaker on the eve of South by Southwest Music, introduced PonoMusic, his new high resolution audio ecosystem, to a capacity crowd in Austin, Texas. Only four hours earlier, he launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, which raised more than 50 percent of its fundraising goal before he appeared onstage. The mission of PonoMusic is to bring the highest-quality music to discerning consumers who want to experience music the way the artists intended. Continue reading SXSW: Neil Young Launches Kickstarter Campaign for PonoMusic

Apple iOS 8 Rumored to Feature Health and Fitness Monitoring

Apple plans to release its newest version of iOS this year, and its biggest feature is expected to include integrated health and fitness tracking. This latest development indicates Apple will likely introduce the iWatch, sources say, and iOS 8 will also feature a new app currently codenamed “Healthbook.” The app and wearable combination is said to be able to monitor fitness statistics, track weight loss, and keep an eye on users’ vital signs like blood pressure and hydration levels, among other indicators. Continue reading Apple iOS 8 Rumored to Feature Health and Fitness Monitoring

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