Pablo Escobar’s very happy hippos

See the original posting on The Verge

There are hippos in Colombia, thanks to the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar. BBC News‘ William Kremer writes that the cocaine trafficker once built himself a zoo filled with exotic wildlife. Following Escobar’s death, his animals were relocated across the country — all except the hippos. There had initially only been four, but the creature’s numbers have swelled up to 50, and possibly many more have escaped and are now flourishing in Colombia’s tropical climate. The article also examines the various attempts that have been made to contend with these “living, breathing metaphors for Escobar’s place in Colombia’s national psyche.”

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Microsoft seeks Office for Android testers as it readies tablet version

See the original posting on The Verge

Microsoft may have released a basic Office app for Android phones almost a year ago, but the company is now building a suite designed specifically for Android tablets. The upcoming release, expected later this year, will join Microsoft’s Office for iPad version as the second major tablet-focused push for the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the company is currently preparing a private beta test for the Office Android tablet version, and is accepting participants through a special pre-release program. Companies and individuals can register their interest in testing pre-release versions of Office over at Microsoft’s SharePoint site.

Office for Android tablets is expected to include a…

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Source: Rackspace Wants To Take Itself Private

See the original posting on TechCrunch

4870003098_26ba44a08a_b Rackspace — the publicly-listed enterprise cloud services company that competes against the likes of Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft and Google — has been in the spotlight after announcing in May that it has hired bankers to help consider offers to parter with or be acquired by another company. However, it could choose a third option: taking itself private. Following the likes… Read More

US Marshals Have Sold 30,000 Silk Road Bitcoins

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allyourbitcoin The US Marshals announced they have sold 30,000 BTC to an anonymous bidder. The auction took place on June 27 and the highest bidder won all 30 blocks of 1,000 bitcoins. Comically, the sender of a an email to those involved in the auction disclosed all the bidders last week, making it clear that a number of big players, including Barry Silbert of SecondMarket and Bitcoin Investment Trust,… Read More

A Closer Look at Android RunTime (ART) in Android L

See the original posting on Anandtech

With the latest I/O conference, Google has finally publicly made public its plans for its new runtime on Android. The Android RunTime, ART, is the successor and replacement for Dalvik, the virtual machine on which Android Java code is executed on. We’ve had traces and previews of it available with KitKat devices since last fall, but there wasn’t much information in terms of technical details and the direction Google was heading with it.

Contrary to other mobile platforms such as iOS, Windows or Tizen, which run software compiled natively to their specific hardware architecture, the majority of Android software is based around a generic code language which is transformed from “byte-code” into native instructions for the hardware on the device itself.

Over the years and from the earliest Android versions, Dalvik started as a simple VM with little complexity. With time, however, Google felt the need to address performance concerns and to be able to keep up with hardware advances of the industry. Google eventually added a JIT-compiler to Dalvik with Android’s 2.2 release, added multi-threading capabilities, and generally tried to improve piece by piece.

Lately over the last few years however, the ecosystem had been outpacing Dalvik development, so Google sought out to build something new to serve as a solid foundation for the future, where it could scale with the performance of today’s and the future’s 8-core devices, large storage capabilities, and large working memories.

Thus ART was born.

Senators Call On Obama For More Transparency In The Intelligence Community

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7604868970_59ba477343_o Two senators who scolded the intelligence community for failing to provide a sufficient transparency report are taking their complaints to the White House. Senators Al Franken and Dean Heller asked President Barack Obama “to support stronger transparency provisions” in a letter Tuesday. The senators urged Obama to endorse their bill that would require the intelligence community… Read More

MakersKit Raises $1.5 Million In Seed Funding To Launch A DIY Empire

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Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 1.23.04 PM Looking to build a 21st century DIY media empire? The rags-to-not-yet-riches story of Jawn McQuade and Mike Stone, the co-founders of MakersKit may have written the instruction manual.
Launched in February last year, the company has already raised $1.5 million in seed financing, inked distribution agreements with Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters, and published a book through Amazon. Read More

Dropbox Buys E-Commerce A/B Testing Service Predictive Edge, Shuts It Down

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dropbox-biz Dropbox has made another acquisition: Predictive Edge, a startup that had built a way to personalise e-commerce offerings, along with dynamic pricing, for marketers to send out to users and run A/B tests around them. The service will be shut down, and the founders will be working on something different, as they note in an announcement on the site: “Predictive Edge is joining forces… Read More

Congress quietly removes annual reporting requirement for paid travel

See the original posting on The Verge

Congress has been criticized for many things in recent months — fumbling on immigration reform, failing to pass basic bills for state services, leaving the longterm unemployed without help — you name it. Now you can add obscuring details of who’s paying for lawmakers’ travel to the list. As first observed by National Journal, the House Ethics Committee — which is in charge of establishing the rules by which Congress operates — quietly removed a requirement to list “sponsored travel” on their annual financial disclosure forms. Sponsored travel refers to those trips lawmakers take that are paid for by groups outside Congress, often agenda-based or lobbying organizations. The trips have a tendency to be lavish and extend to lawmakers’…

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