Stories for Nov. 25, 2013

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In Brief

Big changes at BlackBerry continue: On Monday, the company announced that COO Kristen Tear and CMO Frank Boulben are leaving. BlackBerry recently replaced its CEO with John Chen following in the footsteps of Thorsten Heins, making for a full executive sweep of late. After watching its handset market share erode and failing to sell the company, Chen has his work cut out for him. There are no quick-fixes likely available, although the company is sure to continue pushing its services, even as large organizations consider alternatives: Earlier this month it was reported the Pentagon is distancing itself from using BlackBerry.

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On The Web

Editas Medicine, a startup that wants to enable “molecular surgery”  to cut out bad genes before they can manifest themselves, has $43 million in Series A funding from Polaris Partners, Flagship Ventures and Third Rock Ventures.  Co-founder Dr. J.Keith Joung, who is also director of molcular pathology at Mass General Hospital, told The Boston Globe that the idea is to “make changes to DNA … if there’s a defect, you can fix it; if there’s a missing piece you can put the missing piece in.”

HTC One gold

HTC today announced a new gold variant of the HTC One. Unlike the 18-carat version introduced last month, this phone is merely gold-colored. Read more »

On The Web

Ben Thompson maps out the symbiotic relationship between Social & Communications. It dovetails nicely with my news & analysis about why Instagram is launching messaging. It can be summed up by this tweet of mine: “Most modern applications need a layer of communication – comments, lightweight signals such as likes & messaging.” This in-turn led to a fun twitter conversation with contributions from John Lilly, Josh Williams, Adam Besvinick, Charles Ying and Semil.

In Brief

Like Sony before it, it seems that Microsoft is benefitting from next-gen hype: the company said that more than a million Xbox One consoles were sold in less than 24 hours after launch last Friday — a feat that apparently shatters the initial sales record of the Xbox 360. However, its important to note that the Xbox One had a worldwide release while the similar sales numbers of the PlayStation4 were limited to the U.S. and Canada. But the strong reception both consoles have already received is a sign that next-gen fever will hit holiday shoppers hard.

In Brief

500 workers at Amazon’s German logistics centers have walked out in protest at the company’s working conditions, and in support of better pay. This is the fourth strike by German Amazon workers this year, and union Verdi says more are coming. Meanwhile in the UK, a BBC investigation has also uncovered Amazon distribution center conditions than one stress expert described as “all the bad stuff at once”, with workers suffering increased risk of mental and physical illness. This is one way to offer market-beating prices, as is not paying very much in the way of taxes. 

In Brief

The Dutch publication NRC has published claims, based on Edward Snowden’s leaks, that more than 50,000 computing networks around the world have been infected with NSA or GCHQ malware, Belgacom-style, in order to siphon off information. The New York Times has revealed the NSA’s plans for grabbing more powers in future, in a report that also mentions a fascinating NSA data visualization tool called Treasure Map. And journalist Glenn Greenwald has challenged assertions by the Norwegian intelligence service that it only spied on Norwegians outside the country.

Stories for Nov. 24, 2013

benedetto4

The relevancy-defining, edge-weighting algorithms of Google’s Knowledge Graph, Facebook’s Open Graph and Gravity’s Interest Ontology are closely guarded company secrets. Imagine if that data was available to everyone — it would be as disruptive as Amazon Web Services. The internet would be a better place. Read more »

Stories for Nov. 23, 2013

field of dreams
photo: Universal Pictures

The platform-as-a-service market hasn’t caught on was wildly as some anticipated a few years ago, and Apprenda CEO Sinclair Schuller has some ideas why that it is. He says his PaaS company is killing it because it made some smart — and prudent — decisions. Read more »

Weekend Plans

Selfies, Selfies and more selfies: so much so it is the word of the year and in order to celebrate and understand the concept of selfie, I decided to curate seven of the best pieces I have read around selfies. Read more »

Stories for Nov. 22, 2013
In Brief

Hot on the heels of the HBO Go app launch, as well as signs that more apps may be supported soon, comes the news that Chromecast is now more widely available for sale. Google’s TV streaming stick started selling at Staples stores as well as through the retailer’s website this week. Motorola is also selling the device through an online store you probably didn’t know existed, and Verizon has begun to sell it online as well as in its flagship store in the Mall of Americas in Minneapolis as well. There’s no word on when Chromecast will find its way into regular Verizon stores, or other retailers, just yet.

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