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In Brief

DataSift, one of the two companies (along with Gnip) granted real-time access to the Twitter firehose, now offers real-time and historical analysis of Tumblr data. While it’s best-known for Twitter, DataSift actually analyzes dozens of social media and commenting platforms, which is pretty handy if you want to compare sentiment, engagement or whatever else across platforms where people behave quite differently.

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On The Web

The NSA may have found a way to monitor some credit card transactions, according to a Snowden-derived report from Germany’s Der Spiegel. The agency said in leaked documents that it found a way to access Visa transactions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, but the financial services company denies the tapping of its networks. The report highlights an NSA financial database called Tracfin, into which SWIFT international transfer information also flows through the interception of “SWIFT printer traffic from numerous banks.”

In Brief

An MIT professor has conducted some handy research that could help make applications run faster and use less energy by overcoming an inherent drawback of multicore processors. The problem is that although the local caches on chips save them the latency of having to access RAM, the hardware-wired algorithms powering them often assign data to cache locations randomly without considering the core trying to access it. The new software-based technique, called Jigsaw, tracks which cores are accessing what data — and how much — and assigns data locale accordingly. The paper detailing Jigsaw is available here.

In Brief

New research out of Carnegie Mellon University shows that analyzing fans’ tweets can help gamblers make better bets on NFL games. Sometimes. Their technique wasn’t very effective at picking winners or betting the over/under, but it was 55 percent accurate on bets against the spread (and then only during the middle of the season). I doubt anyone will undertake this effort themselves for such a slight edge, but there might be a business here if someone can figure out a consistently accurate model.

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Couchbase is officially opening up two new technologies to mobile developers as part of a public beta program. Couchbase Lite is a lightweight database designed specifically for iOS and Android devices, while Cloud Sync Gateway syncs local data with a bigger database in the cloud. Read more »

On The Web

Yup. Makes me wonder if the tech companies that have been lobbying for Patriot Act reform over the past few years were doing so in part to get out from under the NSA’s thumb. Policy discussions were always couched in geopolitical language, but they must have foreseen the backlash even from U.S. customers if word ever got out about what was up.

Dallas-based enterprise-search company PureDiscovery has closed a $10 million series C funding round that should help it brings its BrainSpace platform to the masses. The idea is one to build knowledge about the content of documents rather than just an index of what’s where. Read more »

In Brief

A San Mateo, Calif.-based startup called Space-Time Insight has raised a $20 million series C investment round led by London-based firm Zouk Capital. Space-Time provides a platform for analyzing and visualizing streaming data, and is gaining traction in the utility sector. We profiled the company in 2011, specifically its work with California ISO to put real-time energy data on an 80-foot screen in the agency’s control room. Space-Time closed a $14 million series B investment round last September.

On The Web

Vodafone is having trouble finding enough Kabel Deutschland shareholders willing to sell up. Reuters reports the British mobile giant has secured only around 20 percent of the German cable firm’s shares, and it needs 75 percent by midnight Wednesday or the deal is off. It could be shareholders are waiting until the last minute in case a rival offer comes in — either way, it’s a nailbiting finish for freshly flush Vodafone and its plans of pushing further into the European fixed-line market.

In Brief

Narrative Science, a startup that turns complex text documents into reports or articles that are supposed to resemble something written by a human being, has raised an $11.5 million series C funding round. News organizations have already used the company’s software to turn sports stats or corporate earnings statements into articles, but it has potential anywhere someone is trying to analyze loads of text documents. CIA-backed venture capital firm In-Q-Tel invested in Narrative Science in June.

On The Web

Germany’s Der Spiegel reports that the U.S. National Security Agency can access user data such as contacts lists, SMS traffic and location from the leading phone platforms and — embarrassingly given its security reputation — email from BlackBerry. This latest Snowden revelation begs the question: is any mobile OS safe?

In Brief

Hortonworks is making progress on its mission (via a project called Stinger) to speed up SQL-like queries in Hadoop using Apache Hive. New features in the latest version of Hortonworks’ Hadoop distribution have improved Hive performance tens of times in some instances, and the company is aiming for 100x improvements soon. Hortonworks has also added support for new types of SQL data. Competitor Cloudera opted to forgo Hive in favor of its own Impala technology for interactive queries.

In Brief

eBay has acquired Seattle-based price-prediction startup Decide.com, and the service will shut down on Sept. 30. The entire team will head over to eBay to help the e-commerce giant improve its experience through predictive modeling. The entire team except Co-founder and CTO Oren Etzioni, that is: the University of Washington computer science professor, Madrona Venture Group partner and former Farecast founder is heading up Paul Allen’s new Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

Oren Etzioni

Oren Etzioni

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