Bitcoin Monument Opened in Slovenia

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, March 14, 2018 | | 0 comments »

Bitcoin Monument
The first monument to the blockchain technology that underpins crypto-currencies took center stage last 13 March on a roundabout in Slovenia, authorities in the country's fourth largest city said.

Weighing three tonnes and with a diameter of about seven meters the circular metal sculpture was unveiled next to the courthouse in Kranj, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of the capital Ljubljana.

The design, featuring the 'B' symbol crossed by two vertical lines that represents both blockchain and the bitcoin currency, was chosen by popular demand.

"We asked citizens on our Facebook page to decide what to place in the new roundabout and this was one of the first ideas we received... Kranj has a lot of companies dealing with high technology," mayor Bostjan Trilar told Reuters.

The monument was paid for by two local firms that use blockchain technology, a software company 3fs and digital currency exchange Bitstamp.

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App Investments Can Lead To New Growths

Posted by Kirhat | Tuesday, March 06, 2018 | | 0 comments »

App Investments
It has become very obvious that linear advertising revenues are going to decline in the coming years for big networks.

Squeezed by Facebook and Google on one side, and impossible consumer expectations created by Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services on the other, the idea of an ad-supported entertainment business is under siege.

But in a wide-ranging conversation at the Code Media conference in Huntington Beach, Calif., the top executives of Turner and A+E Networks elaborated on how their app businesses and investments in startups are driving new growth.

While it's not a revelation that apps are a great way to make money and build a deeper relationship with consumers, and that technology is the future for networks (frankly the tech companies that have overrun Hollywood in the past few years are a stark example of this new reality), the success of Turner's Boomerang service and the investments that A+E have made in companies like Atlas Obscura and Vice highlight alternative ways to make money.

Turner launched Boomerang last year as a subscription service for cartoons in a joint venture between Cartoon Network and Warner Brothers. The app now counts roughly 150,000 subscribers, according to Turner chief executive John Martin. Martin also said the company was seeing success with its Filmstruck service, which leverages the Turner Classic Movies brand to offer a curated slate of movies to watch.

Martin said Filmstruck "provides a learning experience into what the future of this business is going to be which is tapping into fandom."

For Martin, the idea of curation is going to be increasingly important as the amount of available distractions and stories explodes across different media properties. If the future of Turner is, as Martin says, "being responsible for controlling the consumer experience from start to finish," then guiding people to apps where Turner can control that experience just makes sense.

Meanwhile, A+E has leveraged its investments in Atlas Obscura and Vice to provide new types of marketing dollars and open the network to an entirely new audience, according to chief executive Nancy Dubuc.

Dubuc pointed to the company's investment in Atlas Obscura as being a great way to move its audience from television at the History Channel, through Atlas Obscura to experiential marketing campaigns for a credit card company like American Express that would give benefits to new applicants.

Dubuc also said that Vice Media has been a success for the company. "Vice came to be around converting a channel so that you can reach a millennial audience," Dubuc said of the A+E decision to convert its H2 channel over to Viceland.

"They have the second most upscale audience to Bravo," Dubuc says of the Viceland channel. While the channel hasn't seen tremendous subscriber growth, it's reaching an audience of 18-34-year-old males with household incomes over US$ 60,000, she said.

Those numbers will appeal to any marketer.

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Apple Produces TV Series And Stars Kevin Durant

Posted by Kirhat | Tuesday, February 27, 2018 | | 0 comments »

Kevin Durant
NBA star Kevin Durant has agreed to co-produce a basketball-themed drama television series that will be part of Apple's original television programming.

The scripted series, to be called "Swagger," will be written by noted screenwriter Reggie Rock Bythewood and produced by Imagine Television and Kevin Durant's Thirty Five Media, a source familiar with the plan said, confirming earlier media reports.

Durant himself tweeted about the new program, saying "So excited to partner with Imagine and Apple on this series...much more to come."

Durant, the star forward for the Golden Star Warriors, will produce the show with Imagine, which is led by Hollywood producer Brian Grazer and director Ron Howard.

The new series will be inspired by Durant's youth basketball experiences, including amateur leagues and families dealing with the opportunities and problems of the richer professional leagues.

Bythewood is known for his work on the 2009 film "Notorious" about the killing of a the rap star known as Notorious B.I.G.

Apple has been reaching deep into its cash holdings to ramp up its original television offerings, having signed a deal with Steven Spielberg for the sci-fi series "Amazing Stories," and another show with stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

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Facebook Worked Out Paywalls at iOS

Posted by Kirhat | Monday, February 26, 2018 | | 0 comments »

The social media giant Facebook will begin allowing news publishers to run paywalls inside Facebook's iOS app starting 1 March 2018. They first started testing paywalls on Android in October, but at the time it couldn't come to an agreement with Apple about how subscription revenue would be taxed.

Now, Facebook's head of news partnerships Campbell Brown said that publishers wanted to give away five free articles, not ten, so Facebook is switching to that lower threshold before asking users to pay, and that includes bringing the test to iOS.

"We're working now on a subscription product that we're moving forward with on iOS on Mrach 1st, which is a breakthough. We had a hold-up there." Asked to clarify what changed with Apple, Brown said "It's resolved."

On Android, Facebook directs users to the publishers' website to complete the subscription transaction, and publishers keep 100 percent of the revenue. That's despite the fact that Android's general rule is that subscriptions should go through Google Payments, with Google getting 30 percent for the first 12 months and then 15 percent. It's unclear exactly how revenue will be split on iOS. Presumably either Apple will get its 30 percent and the publisher will get the rest, or the publisher will get to keep it all.

"This was something that Facebook wouldn't even consider for a long time so it's an important step" Brown said. "We've made some changes. We've lowered the meter to five articles before you hit the paywall. I'm super excited about the potential here."

Backing up that claim that this is a serious strategy shift, Digital Content Next CEO Jason Kint said Facebook told him paywalls would interfere with Facebook's data and ads business.

Brown also announced that Facebook is creating a dedicated section for news on Facebook's original video programming hub Watch. She explained that it's strange that there's no dedicated place to go for news on Facebook, and this will fill that gap, giving Facebook a place to highlight breaking news when important things happen. Meanwhile, she says that Facebook could have better communicated ahead of its terrifying test that removed all news from the News Feed in six countries.

When asked about whether Facebook would consider paying publishers directly for their content like television channels, as suggested by News Corp's Rupert Murdoch, Brown laughed, but concluded that she'd "never say never". She also mentioned that her job is to get accurate and informative news on Facebook, not to make every publisher on Facebook happy.

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LiDAR Not Included In Musk's Self-Driving Strategy

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, February 14, 2018 | | 0 comments »

Elon Musk's vision of autonomous driving differs from a lot of Tesla's competitors in that he's been adamant that LiDAR isn't a core component of his approach.

The current stance of of Tesla CEO provokes a lot of debate among experts in the field, many of whom, including former Tesla employees, disagree that full autonomy can be managed with a sensor load out that doesn't include LiDAR.

"We have to solve passive optical image recognition extremely well in order to be able to drive in any environment and in any conditions," Musk said during Tesla quarterly earnings call.

"At the point where you've solved it really well, what is the point in having active optical, which means LiDAR. In my view, it's a crutch [...] that will drive companies towards a hard corner that's hard to get out of."

Musk said that they'd want to do active photon generation in the radar range because that's something that can see through small occlusions, so it's not possible to do it from visual info and apply machine learning to work out variances in lighting conditions, etc. He said that he "finds it quite puzzling that companies would choose to do active photon generation in the wrong wavelength," however, meaning working with the laser spectrum, since it's very pricey.

In fact, Musk called it 'expensive, ugly and unnecessary," and added that even though he's still clearly set against its inclusion in Tesla's autopilot designs, it's still possible his own bet in this area isn't 100 perhaps correct.

"Perhaps I'm wrong, in which case I'll look like a fool," he said. "But I'm quite certain that I'm not."

The strongest argument in Musk's favor might be that the best current drivers also lack LiDAR arrays – humans, which depend primarily on standard passive optical sensing when doing their own driving.

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Apple's Shazam Acquisition is Under Scrutiny

Posted by Kirhat | Tuesday, February 13, 2018 | | 0 comments »

Apple Shazam
The European Commission has just announced that they will undertake a review of Apple's acquisition of music discovery service Shazam. This was a response to request made by several countries to weigh competition concerns.

Apple officially announced it was buying UK tech veteran Shazam back in December. It did not disclose the price-tag for the deal but sources suggest it's paying in the region of US$ 400 million.

At the time it described its Apple Music streaming service and Shazam's music discovery offering - aka an algorithmic music recognition engine that can ID whole tracks just by listening to a few seconds - as "a natural fit", adding: "We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today’s agreement.”

In a press release last 6 February, the Commission said it had accepted a request by seven European countries to assess the proposed acquisition - which it says "may threaten to adversely affect competition in the EEA" (European Economic Area).

A provision in EU law allows Member States to submit a request to the executive body to examine a merger that does not have an EU dimension - on account of it not meeting the turnover thresholds set by the EU Merger Regulation - but which nonetheless affects trade within the EU Single Market and threatens to significantly affect competition within the territory of the countries making the request.

The EC said EU Member State Austria submitted the initial request, with Iceland, Italy, France, Norway, Spain and Sweden joining subsequently.

"On the basis of the elements submitted by Austria and the countries joining the referral request, and without prejudice to the outcome of its full investigation, the Commission considers that the transaction may have a significant adverse effect on competition in the European Economic Area," it writes. "The Commission has also concluded that it is the best placed authority to deal with the potential cross-border effects of the transaction."

The Commission added that it will now ask Apple to notify the transaction.

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