Stories for Aug. 20, 2014

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In Brief

Chef, the company that provides commercial support for the open-source Chef configuration management and deployment tool, on Wednesday said noted agile development bigwig Jez Humble has joined the company as VP of engineering. Humble is the co-author of the book Continuous Delivery, which advocates for a kind of development process in which software can be rapidly deployed to production at any given moment. Since Chef promotes the devops school that aims to bring developers and operations staff together, this hire makes sense. Humble’s development skills and notoriety in the agile community could help bridge that gap. Humble was previously a principal at the agile consulting firm ThoughtWorks.

In Brief

This is pretty cool: A few Netflix engineers integrated the streaming service’s connected TV app with Hue connected light bulbs from Philips to change the colors of your living room light based on the movie you’re watching. This is similar to a recent SyFy experiment with Sharknado, but in Netflix’s implementation, the light color even changes while you navigate through Netflix’s TV app queue. The integration was done as part of Netflix’s most recent hack day, where other teams built an Oculus Rift UI, a command line Netflix app and a mini player Chrome extension to binge while you’re working. Sadly, all of those hacks are internal, and may never become part of any actual products.

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identity

In this webinar, we will examine the immediate need to extend identity to customer audiences, the risks of doing so using legacy software, and the most effective path businesses can take to build for the future while recognizing value today. We will discuss real-world examples in the automotive, marketing, and other industries, and draw lessons that businesses of all sorts can use. Read more »

In Brief

Nook

The largest retail bookseller in the United States is now in the business of selling Samsung tablets. As was announced earlier this summer, Barnes & Nobel will discontinue its own line of skinned Android tablets and instead will partner with Samsung to sell a Nook-branded version of the Galaxy Tab 4, which will be called, rather uncreatively, the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. This version of the seven-inch tablet will have several Nook book and music marketplaces preinstalled and it will be sold for $180 at Barnes & Noble as well as online. Barnes & Nobel locations will also offer customer support for customers struggling with the jump from paper books to a fully-fledged Android tablet.

In Brief

Michael Halbherr has stepped down as CEO of Nokia Here, the Finnish firm’s mapping and location-based services division, after just a few months in the role. He had been with Nokia for eight years and on its leadership team for three, but he only took the Here CEO spot on 1 May this year. The team is now looking for a new chief, under the temporary leadership of Core Map Group SVP Cliff Fox. The division is currently unprofitable, but is betting on success in the connected car market in particular. According to a Wednesday statement, Halbherr quit in order to “focus once again on entrepreneurial activities.”

Stories for Aug. 19, 2014
In Brief

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel has reportedly been meeting with big companies to pitch the ephemeral messaging app as a content channel and advertising option, according to the Wall Street Journal. Ads would appear as part of “Snapchat Discovery,” a new product that would include articles and video from media companies. Users would hold down their screens to see such content, prefaced by an ad. It could be a lucrative audience — the WSJ also reported that now more than 500 million snaps are reportedly sent a day and half the users are teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17.

In Brief

2014-08-19-17.17.49

The Sharp Aquos smartphone with those oh-so-skinny bezels announced earlier this week in Japan is officially coming to the United States, and no surprise, it’s headed exclusively to Sprint and its prepaid subsidiaries, Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile. But what is a bit of a surprise is how attractively priced it is: At $240 without a contract, it represents a strong challenge to the Moto G LTE for the mid-range Android crown. It’s even cheaper on Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, checking in at $150 when purchased locked from Sprint’s prepaid MVNOs. There isn’t an official release date yet, but it should be available later this fall.

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