Flurry Finds That Apple Devices And Phablets Scored Big On Christmas

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iphone-6-plus-front-hand Flurry has released its annual Christmas report. Each year, the holiday sees the highest number of device activations and app installations as people open presents, and last week was no exception. What is interesting is that 51.3 percent of new devices activated were made by Apple, compared to 17.7 percent for Samsung, and 5.8 percent for Nokia. Read More

LG bets on webOS and a quantum-dot picture to help its new 4K TVs stand out

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Last year, the most notable thing about LG’s TVs was the software running on them: webOS. LG had just picked up the corpse of the former mobile operating system and repurposed it for the living room. The resulting user interface was a step above what other TV manufacturers had on offer at CES 2014. It was refreshing and fast, with clear traces of the software that many former Palm users still miss today. As for the TVs themselves, they were okay — but didn’t do much to stand out from a crowded field including Sony, Samsung, and Vizio. Now LG’s back with a 2015 lineup that’s all about 4K and, if you believe the company, improvements to picture quality.

Prepare for another 4K TV rush

LG has already rolled out a few 4K TV models this year…

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Flywheel goes after Uber with $10 rides on New Year’s Eve in four cities

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New Year’s Eve is the biggest night of the year, with Uber alone saying it plans to complete 2 million rides. But it’s going to cost you — New Year’s Eve is notorious for high surge pricing, and lots of people are going to be looking for alternatives. Flywheel, an app for booking regular taxis using your smartphone, is offering one: $10 flat-rate rides in San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, and Sacramento. From 8 p.m. Wednesday until 3 a.m. Thursday, you can get you to your destination at a cost that is likely less than its rivals.

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2014 had the fewest flight crashes in decades

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Given the number of major flight crashes and disappearances this year, it might seem like flight safety has taken a bad turn. But it turns out that 2014 hasn’t actually been a statistically worse year than many of those in the recent past. As pointed out by The Wall Street Journal, the Aviation Safety Network currently measures both the accident and fatality rate of 2014 flights as falling beneath the 10-year average — making this year an improvement in some areas.

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Almost every single Xbox executive we profiled in this video last year has left the company

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Boyd Multerer — the genius Microsoft engineer who founded Xbox Live, helped build the Xbox 360, and led the development of the three-operating-systems-in-one Xbox One platform — announced on Twitter today that he’s left Microsoft to pursue new opportunities. Multerer has been on leave since the Xbox One launched; he and his wife Keri launched the interactive erotica site Silkwords back in February, and now he says he’s focusing on other new startup ideas.

But more importantly, Multerer’s departure means that almost every single person on the Xbox One team we profiled last November when that console…

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You can now watch every Marvel movie scene in chronological order, starting in 2987 BC

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Marvel Studios has made it a selling point that every frame it produces lives in the same continuous universe. So what if you wanted to watch it in order? Not based on release dates but the narrative itself — from a 2987 BC flashback in Thor: The Dark World through the Battle of New York in The Avengers?

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Statistical Modelling and Analysis of Big Data

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There is a one day work­shop on this topic on 23 Feb­ru­ary 2015 at QUT in Bris­bane. I will be speak­ing on “Visu­al­iz­ing and fore­cast­ing big time series data”.
OVERVIEW

Big data is now endemic in busi­ness, indus­try, gov­ern­ment, envi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment, med­ical sci­ence, social research and so on. One of the com­men­su­rate chal­lenges…

Xiaomi’s Apple-inspired gadgets have made it a $46 billion company

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After raising $1.1 billion in new capital, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has been valued at $46 billion. This means it’s worth more in the eyes of investors than even over-performing Uber (currently valued at $41 billion) and is now the most valuable ventured-backed tech startup in the world. That’s not only testament to the company’s growth — sales are up by 300 percent year on year — but it even managed to produce a small profit of $56 million last year. Dedicated apps have kept customers loyal (and offered alternatives to Google services blocked in China) while its online-only sales approach has created hype and saved money on stores. There’s just one element of Xiaomi’s business that will never be acknowledged: its debt to Apple.

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Biz2Credit Gets $250 Million Commitment

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Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 12.08.04 PM Lending startups are en vogue this year, with LendingClub and OnDeck planting the flag for the industry in public markets (and offering healthy returns to investors). But there’s a crop of other lenders and service providers waiting in the wings, like Biz2Credit, which just received a $250 million commitment from investment firm Direct Lending Investments. Read More

Microsoft reportedly working on brand new web browser for Windows 10

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Microsoft is said to be at work on an all new web browser, codenamed Spartan, that could officially move the company away from Internet Explorer upon the launch of Windows 10. ZDNet reports that the new app is not Internet Explorer 12, the next iteration of Microsoft’s longtime browser that we’d typically expect alongside another major Windows release.

Instead, it seems that the company is planning to start anew with a web browser that looks and feels “more like Chrome and Firefox” according to ZDNet. But despite a new appearance (and perks like extensions), this new browser would retain the foundations of Microsoft’s current web technology. The new software will continue to utilize the Chakra JavaScript engine and Trident rendering…

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Take a look at polaroids from the set of Star Wars IV: A New Hope

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With enough time, the most ordinary objects can become extraordinary. These polaroids, on display through January 4th, 2015 at the British Film Institute Southbank as part of an exhibition of materials from the set of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, were taken by crew member Ann Skinner. She’s credited for continuity, also known as script supervisor. It was typical in that time for script supervisors to use instant photographs to supplement quickly written documentation of a scene’s set-up. Was Darth Vader facing left or right? Was Princess Leia wearing a bracelet in this scene? And at which point did Luke Skywalker lift his lightsaber? Here’s an example of Skinner’s notated script:

The job is incredibly stressful, requiring a…

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