Amazon Remains Great For Customers, Not For Shareholders – Stock Drops 6% As Losses Widen

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amazon-angled Amazon’s Q2 2014 earnings announced today made it more apparent than ever that Amazon remains a great business for its customers, but not so much for its shareholders. The stock, after the earnings were reported, was already down by 6% and falling in after hours trading following Amazon reported net losses that widened to $126 million in the quarter. Amazon has been stretching itself… Read More

How to create a data lake for fun and profit

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Most credit James Dixon of the open source BI vendor Pentaho with coining the phrase “data lake.” Think of a data lake as an unstructured data warehouse, a place where you pull in all of your different sources into one large “pool” of data.

In contrast to a data mart, a data lake won’t “wash” the data or try to structure it or limit the use cases. Sure, you should have some use cases in mind, but the architecture of a data lake is simple: a Hadoop File System (HDFS) with lots of directories and files on it.

Why would you want a data lake?
The answers are both technical and political. Usually, when you start up any new project that involves analyzing your company’s data — especially when the data is stored across functional areas — you’re in for trouble. For example, if the business unit that wants the data isn’t part of the unit providing the data, what kind of priority do you think the unit providing the data likely assign to the effort? How is it budgeted? Who does the integration and how much needs to be done? How do you structure the data and for what purposes?

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Google integrates Drive features into its mobile Gmail apps

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Google is making it easier to send files from your Google Drive account using its Gmail apps for iOS and Android. Recent updates to both versions of the app now let users attach files from their Drive accounts to outgoing emails, as well as save attachments from incoming mail directly to Drive. Google Drive integration with Gmail has been available on the web version of the service for some time.

In addition to adding Google Drive support, the iOS app will now let users change their profile picture from within the app, as well as hide unwanted Google accounts from displaying. The latest versions of Gmail for iOS and Gmail for Android are available in their respective app stores now.

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Best New Apps: Ultratext

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Ultratext is a dead-simple iOS app for creating GIFs and sending them via MMS and iMessage. It creates flashing neon messages, with the words you type blown up in all caps, accessorized with emoji and selfies and other photos from your camera roll. Every time you hit the space bar, Ultratext gives you a new box to type into, chaining your words into a looping animation. At any point you can add a picture using either the front or rear camera. The result is a message that looks more like a billboard than a message bubble, and it’s incredibly fun. “It’s like you literally discovered fire and gave it to me,” one friend told me, after I tweeted a link to the app.

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Rihanna destroys Paris in Dreamworks’ upcoming ‘Home’

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What to do, when you find the Louvre in a hopeless place? It’s up to Rihanna to save the world in Homean upcoming animated buddy comedy from Dreamworks, and a new clip shown at Comic-Con today finds the character she plays turning Paris upside-down. Rihanna plays Tip, who teams up with an outcast alien named Oh to stop an alien race named the Boov from relocating humanity. In the clip shown at Comic-Con, Tip and Oh find themselves surrounded at the Eiffel Tower, which the aliens have set up as a radio transmission tower floating above the city.

Rihanna’s character springs into action, using alien technology to turn the Eiffel Tower upside town. A wild chase follows, during which big chunks of Paris are turned into rubble. The good…

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Chrome Android Beta Gets Single Sign-In For Google Sites And New Material Design Looks

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png;base64f0af219c77fb39c3 Google has a hit on its hands with Material Design in my opinion, which is why it’s great to see it already making its way into some products ahead of Android L’s general consumer launch. Today, Google updated the Chrome Beta for Android with some new features, including single sign-in for Gmail, Maps and Search so long as you’re signed into Chrome, but also introducing… Read More

Facebook to release open source library for iOS interface development

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Facebook, within a few weeks, plans to release an open source library intended to help developers build native Apple iOS apps with smooth, responsive user interfaces.

In a closed beta stage of release at the moment, Async Display Kit is part of Facebook’s Paper interface application for iOS. Async Display Kit defines a UI in a separate thread, so it does not hold up the user experience; when ready, changes are mapped across to the main thread.

“[The library offers] a completely new take on the way in which you can design the user interface of iOS apps,” said Facebook open source technology lead James Pearce, in an interview Tuesday at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) in Portland, Ore. Users get a fast, fluid 60-frames-per-second-type experience, with better scrolling of applications on their devices, he said.

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The truth about big data: It’s more than technology

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Hey, it must be hard to be the only person on the planet who doesn’t understand big data.

Actually, that’s far from true: You’re in good company. While Gartner finds that 64 percent of enterprises are investing in big data, a similar chunk (60 percent) don’t have a clue as to what to do with their data.

The real problem isn’t one of technology, but of process. The key to succeeding with big data, as in all serious IT investments, is iteration. It’s not about Hadoop, NoSQL, Splunk, or any particular vendor or technology. It’s about iteration.

Big data, big confusion
Though the number of companies embracing big data projects has grown since 2012 — from 58 percent of enterprises surveyed to 64 percent — the level of understanding of exactly what to do with that data hasn’t kept pace, as the Gartner data suggests.

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Watch Jimmy Kimmel convince people that a $20 Casio is Apple’s iWatch

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“Do you like that it tells you the date, and the time?” “Yes, that’s a neat feature.”

Jimmy Kimmel loves a good prank. He hoaxed the Sochi Olympics. He created a pretty epic twerking fail. He convinced the world that the iPad mini was the new iPhone. This week he went out onto Hollywood Boulevard and convinced a bunch of people that a $20 Casio watch with a white Apple sticker on it was actually Apple’s iWatch. Or iTime, as he refers to it, because Jimmy might know something we don’t.

The best part? People were into it. It has a stopwatch and a countdown, so it has to be amazing. And it’s always in Airplane Mode! But the real lesson here is that there are a whole lot of people (at least in Hollywood) who will basically buy anything…

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The coolest posters of Comic-Con 2014

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Movie posters need to appeal to a wide, wide audience if they actually want to get people into theaters, so today’s posters often aren’t all that interesting. But things can be different at Comic-Con. At Comic-Con, everyone is a fan, and everyone is looking out for something a little bit more exciting. Below, we’re rounding up some of the best posters that we see heading to the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con.

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Microsoft Brings OneNote To Amazon’s Android App Store

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When Microsoft said that it wanted to take its products and services to other platforms, it appears that the company meant it: Today the software firm brought OneNote, its EverNote competitor, to Amazon’s Android App Store. So, if you have a Kindle Fire or a Fire phone, you can now take OneNote on the road with you. Microsoft recently made OneNote free everywhere. Before, it had a mixed… Read More

Fixed Raises $1.2 Million For A Mobile App That Fights Your Parking Tickets For You

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fixed Fixed, the clever mobile application that helps you fight your parking tickets just by snapping a photo of the ticket with your mobile phone, has now closed on $1.2 million in seed funding. Investors in the round include Y Combinator, Merus Capital, Scott Banister, John Cobbs, Mark Randolph, Matt Humphries, Eric Wu, and David King. Headquartered in San Francisco, which also serves as its… Read More

Lawn Love Wants To Bring The Whole “Software Eating The World” Thing To Your Own Backyard

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lawn love 2 Lawncare and landscaping are areas that have remained largely un-”disrupted” in the whole software eating the world trend that’s been going on in recent years. If you’re in one of the 80 percent of American households that have a lawn, chances are that you either take care of mowing and upkeep yourself, or you have hired a local lawncare provider you’ve found the… Read More

Obama will reportedly order privacy guidelines for domestic drone use

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Privacy guidelines may soon be put in place for drones flying within the US. According to Politico, President Obama plans to issue an executive order to have a set of voluntary privacy guidelines drafted for commercial drones. The guidelines would help protect citizens as these small aircraft — often carrying cameras — become increasingly available. Politico reports that it is not yet known when the order will be issued, but that the White House is working to figure out the proper policy.

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The deadly arsenal on both sides of Israel’s invasion of Gaza

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Horrific violence continues to spread across Gaza this week, where an Israeli air and ground offensive against the Islamist group Hamas has killed more than 700 people — most of them Palestinian civilians, and many of them children. Both the United Nations and the US, Israel’s main ally, have called for a cease-fire, though neither side has shown any sign of relenting.

This month’s fighting marks the third time in five years that Israel has launched a large-scale military operation in Gaza, a small enclave on the Mediterranean that Hamas has governed since winning a majority in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections. The latest conflict was sparked by the killing of three teenage Israeli boys and, later, a Palestinian boy who was…

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Pesticide linked to three generations of genetic damage

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No one’s used the pesticide Methoxychlor for more than a decade — but according to a new study, it may be harming people for generations to come. A group of researchers at Washington State University have discovered new effects from the pesticide that reach into a subject’s epigenome, affecting children and even grandchildren of the initial subject. That ancestral exposure can contribute to in adult onset kidney disease, ovarian disease, and obesity in later generations.

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