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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella published an email memo to his employees on the company website today, laying out his vision for all to see. The 3100 word manifesto claims Microsoft is no longer so much about devices and services as it is about productivity and platform. Nadella used the word productivity 20 times in the memo. One notable exception to the productivity push was the Xbox. Nadella said Microsoft would “continue to innovate and grow our fan base with Xbox.” He also showed his literary bent quoting Nietzsche and Rilke.
9to5 Google reports the US FTC announced it is filing a complaint against Amazon, alleging that children can buy things in apps without parental consent. Amazon changed its in-app purchase policy last month but the commission wants full refunds for affected parents and a court order forcing Amazon to continue to get permission before in-app purchases. Apple settled with the FTC over similar issues earlier this year.
TechCrunch reports Amazon is launching a secure enterprise storage service called Zocalo in limited preview today. Amazon says the service lets users “store, share, and gather feedback on documents, spreadsheets, presentations, webpages, images, PDFs, or text files – from the device of their choice.” Pricing is $5 per user per month, which includes 200 GB of storage for each user. Amazon Workspaces customers get Zocalo for free but at 50 GB a user. 200GB per user costs an extra $2 a month for those customers.
LinkedIn may be retiring its Contacts app, but TechCrunch reports they’ve launched a new replacement called LinkedIn Connected. More than just a contacts manager, the new app will try to alert you to information about your contacts that you need to know, such as profile updates, job changes, birthdays and more. The new app will only be available in English speaking countries and on iOS for now, though Android is on the way.
TechCrunch reports on a new app for Google Glass called MindRDR. It works in conjunction with the Neurosky EGG biosensor, to read brainwaves. The app translates the brainwaves into a meter you see in glass. Focus hard enough to lift the meter and a picture is taken. Focus harder and the picture is Tweeted. It’s a small start— TO MIND CONTROL! Neurosky retails for £71 in the UK.
Reuters reports Google services are working again in China more than a month after maps, email and other functions were blocked. The disruption began int he run-up to the 25th anniversary of demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Line, KakaoTalk, Flickr and OneDrive also began experiencing disruption in China last week.
MANY of you, including normgregory and KAPT_Kipper on the subreddit pointed out the Aereo letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan which argues since the US Supreme Court ruled Aereo has an “overhwelming likeness to the cable comanies” Aereo should get to benefit from their legal protections. Specifically Aereo would like to be allowed to pay the compulsory license fee set up for cable companies in Section 111 of the Copyright Act of 1976. Broadcasters told the court they found this request “astonishing,” but they really have nothing to worry about. The 1992 Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act provides the broadcasters the right to demand Retransmission consent which they can charge for. Most likely they could just charge Aereo more than it could afford and be done with them. However the broadcasters don’t want a precedent set that a cable company operating over the Internet is the same as one operating over traditional cables.
The Next Web reports The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman confirmed that Elon Musk has pledged to donate $1 million toward Inman’s effort to turn Nikola Tesla’s former laboratory into a museum. Tesla will also construct a supercharging station for Tesla cars in the museum’s parking lot. Today is also Nikola Tesla’s birthday. He is 158.
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KAPT_Kipper submitted the GeekWire report on Microsoft Bing’s preternatural ability to predict the World Cup Soccer results. Bing has predicted every one of the 14 knockout round matches correctly. It only got 60% of the group matches right. Bing uses data like team records, strength of schedule, margin of victory in past matches, home field advantage, weather and playing surface among others. It predicts Germany will beat Argentina in the final.
fja sent in the BBC story that emergency legislation will be brought in next week in the UK to force phone and Internet companies to log records of customer calls, texts and internet use. A recent ruling of the European Court of Justice has removed the obligation on telecoms companies to retain records of when and who their customers have called, texted and emailed. The three major parties in the UK all agree that the data needs to be retained to aid law enforcement. The emergency legislation will not extend previous rights and will create a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board as well require transparency reports.
jcsheffield posted the Wired story about research published in the journal Nature today describing the first steps toward creating a new type of ultrathin, superfast, low-power, high-resolution, flexible color screen. The displays use phase-change materials that change between crystal and disordered glass in response to a current. The material, known as GST can be layered on mylar to create a flexible screen. As usual it will be years and hundreds of millions of dollars before you can buy contact lenses made of the stuff, but hey, someday!
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Pick of the day: Waze! via Jennie
Now I’ve recommended Waze to you before, but yesterday Jennie was driving down from Connecticut to New York City at 10:30pm at night and ran into terrible stand still traffic. Her Apple map program had nothing to say about this, so she opened up Waze, a community-based traffic and navigation app. Jennie discovered that due to construction, I-95 was down to ONE LANE. She says there was something very comforting about knowing that ten Waze-rs were ahead of her in the jam, showing her exactly where the crunch began and ended. Armed with their knowledge, Jennie was able to exit I-95 and drive the streets of Stamford, CT for a mile and a half, then get back on the highway post-construction and cruise on home to New York City. So thanks Waze!