Rdio intros new social features and redesigned player

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Social media streamer Rdio rolled out a major redesign a little over a year ago and has done a bit of tweaking since then. Now, following a recent update to its mobile apps, the service is making even more changes. At the top of the list are methods for getting social on the site, with friends from Twitter and Facebook hitting its front page, alongside their listening habits and influencers selected by the service. You can also check out a curated list of potential friends, if the front page just isn’t doing it for you. Autoplay, meanwhile, creates personalized stations and keeps the music going after you’re out of ideas, or you can proactively create stations by clicking on album artwork. Also new is a thumbs up / thumbs down voting feature and a full-size player featuring big album artwork and upcoming tracks.

Filed under: Software

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Source: Rdio Blog

ASRock announces M8 compact gaming rig in collaboration with BMW

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BMW and ASRock just announced the new M8 gaming PC, which will debut at Computex next week. The collaboration is ASRock’s first rig with a small form factor, though it shares the sharp lines and edgy color palette of the hulking, BMW-designed Thermaltake Level 10 case. An OLED screen sits on the front of the case and displays stats such as fan speed and temperature, and there’s a knob for adjusting the fan depending on the game at hand. Interestingly, the M8′s semi-transparent side panels are attached magnetically rather than screwed in, so users should have no trouble accessing components. So far, the companies have only shared connectivity specs: 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 are on board, as is a quad-core Creative SoundCore 3D audio processor. We’re bound to find out more in Taipei, though, so hang tight.

Filed under: Desktops, Gaming

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Via: SlashGear

Source: BMW

ASRock announces M8 compact gaming rig in collaboration with BMW

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BMW and ASRock just announced the new M8 gaming PC, which will debut at Computex next week. The collaboration is ASRock’s first rig with a small form factor, though it shares the sharp lines and edgy color palette of the hulking, BMW-designed Thermaltake Level 10 case. An OLED screen sits on the front of the case and displays stats such as fan speed and temperature, and there’s a knob for adjusting the fan depending on the game at hand. Interestingly, the M8′s semi-transparent side panels are attached magnetically rather than screwed in, so users should have no trouble accessing components. So far, the companies have only shared connectivity specs: 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 are on board, as is a quad-core Creative SoundCore 3D audio processor. We’re bound to find out more in Taipei, though, so hang tight.

Filed under: Desktops, Gaming

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Via: SlashGear

Source: BMW

Mac Pro refresh possible as inventory dwindles before WWDC

Apple might be neglecting its Mac Pro line, but that could change come next month when WWDC rolls into town. It turns out that retail supply of Mac Pro units is dwindling, and many places are either out of stock or have very limited units in. As history would suggest, this usually means that an updated model is incoming, and WWDC could be the place that we’ll see it first.

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Retail stores like MacMall, B&H, Adorama, Amazon, Frys, and Best Buy reported that they were either out of stock or had limited quantities. MacConnection and Apple’s own store were the only locations that mentioned having the 2012 Mac Pro in stock, while MicroCenter, Frys, and Best Buy said that limited supply was available.

2013 could be the year of the Mac Pro, as Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed himself that the company would be introducing new Mac Pro hardware at some point this year, and what better time than Apple’s first keynote of 2013 at WWDC. We certainly wouldn’t be surprised if it was at WWDC. Otherwise, we’d expect updates during Apple’s usual fall event.

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The last time the Mac Pro was updated was last year during WWDC 2012, but we’d hardly count that as a significant upgrade. Apple didn’t touch on it at all during the keynote, and only quietly updated them in the Apple Store, letting people find out on their own that the towers were upgraded with new and slightly quicker internals.

The Mac Pro recently was discontinued in Europe, but it wasn’t necessarily the lack of interest in the full-size tower computer than it was dealing with regulatory standards in the continent. The new product certification standards in Europe appear to have something to do with a few internal components in the Mac Pro systems, such as power supply parts and various wiring, but while Europeans will no longer see the Mac Pro, sales in other countries will continue as normal.

VIA: MacTrast


Mac Pro refresh possible as inventory dwindles before WWDC is written by Craig Lloyd & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 – 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

After Four Years At Twitter, Director Of Platform Ryan Sarver Will “Fly The Coop”

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Ryan Sarver, who joined Twitter four years ago and is currently its director of platform, announced today he’ll be leaving the company on June 28th, and has “no plans but rest”. Fittingly, he announced his departure in a series of tweets seen below.

The Swapper review: Swap it to me

While walking through an interstellar outpost midway through The Swapper, you come across a giant asteroid lodged into a series of steel girders and bathed in dotted lights. You might think it’s a weird choice of interior decoration, made all the weirder by the all-caps message it soon beams into your brain. “The one called the Swapper: it manipulates minds by some method that is not persuasion or argument. Is it a weapon?”

By this point in the game, though, it would be weird if the asteroid didn’t start spouting nonsense—and besides, this is the first time the voices in your head make even a little sense. This rock is plainly describing the game that contains it, which may seem quite familiar at this point. After all, The Swapper‘s brain-bending 2D puzzles, super-scientific yet non-violent gun, and cryptic sci-fi disaster setting will hardly turn the puzzle-platformer genre on its head.

But maybe the genre doesn’t need upending. The Swapper is the latest game to make the most of a maturing genre by combining accessible smarts, meaty puzzles, and beautiful atmosphere. For a game all about duplicates, this one retains its own identity.

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Geillermo del Toro’s “Pacific Rim” movie gets monster Kaiju teaser gallery

This week the folks responsible for promoting the upcoming film Pacific Rim have done a bit of spilling from behind the scenes as well as right up in front of the cameras. What you’re about to see is this film’s essence, with several characters wearing futuristic space suits doing battle with monster beasts from the sea. This upcoming film event is being directed by Guillermo del Toro and will appearing in both 2D and 3D as soon as July 12th.

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The movie will be rated PG-13, which is a bummer for those of you wishing to see Dredd-style massacres, beast style, but the action within should settle stomaches nonetheless. The images pushed today show Halo-style suits, mech battles, and machines so big they could pinch a helicopter.

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While it’s obvious this movie won’t be entirely serious – we’re talking about massive Japanese creatures from the ocean, after all – it’s sure to be a hoot. In one image you’ll see some Sin City-style mixes of comic-style environment with live-action humans in the center, while in another shows lightening cracking from the sky when the first whale-beast approaches.

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This film is coming in with a plot that’s about as thick as the budget is sure to be, starting with a war with “legions” of monsters called Kaiju rising from the sea and the humans meant to protect us fighting them off with tower-sized robots called Jaegers.

With a completely strange combination of actors from Charlie Day (from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) to Ron Perlman and back to Idris Elba and Rinko Kikuchi, there’s more than a little chance that this film will be a cult classic. This film is being released by Warner Bros. Pictures and will be coming to 2D, 3D, and IMAX theaters near you.

VIA: Coming Soon
SOURCE: Variety


Geillermo del Toro’s “Pacific Rim” movie gets monster Kaiju teaser gallery is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 – 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

US Cellular Home Phone plan suggests mobile isn’t everything

US Cellular is looking to compete with the other major carriers on a home phone solution that uses mobile phone towers. We’ve heard about US Cellular’s own offering earlier this month, but now the carrier has announced that Home Phone is coming June 7 in stores and June 20 for those that want to order online.

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The service will allow you to use any standard home phone, and the $20-per-month plan comes with unlimited nationwide calling over US Cellular’s network, and it also comes with voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, and three-way calling. Users will also be able to keep their own home phone, so there’s no need to get a whole new one, thankfully.

The device itself, which essentially just looks like a wireless router, costs just one penny after signing a two year contract for the service. We’re guessing you could buy it outright without a contract, but US Cellular hasn’t detailed unsubsidized pricing. The device can support up to two corded phones or “multiple” cordless phones via two phone ports, though no internet connection is required.

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According to Engadget, the device that’ll handle all of your calls is a PCD-made base station with a model number of FT2260. It sports dual-band support (800/1900 MHz CDMA), a QSC6055 chipset, two regular phone jacks and a USB port (for diagnostics purposes only, however). The device also has a 1500 mAh rechargeable battery that claims to get two hours of talk time or 36 hours of standby time.

US Cellular’s $20-per-month option is quite a steal, although Verizon‘s offering is the same price for unlimited calling as well, with a $10 plan to share minutes, and since this technology uses cell towers, we imagine that Verizon has quite a few more than US Cellular does. Nonetheless, if you’re an area that reigns with US Cellular, this is certainly another option to consider.


US Cellular Home Phone plan suggests mobile isn’t everything is written by Craig Lloyd & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 – 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

Connecting Offline Shopping With E-Commerce, Curebit Partners With Bonobos On New “Retail Referrals” Program

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Curebit, an e-commerce startup which has built its business around optimizing and tracking word-of-mouth referrals for customers like Bonobos, Restaurant.com, Jawbone, True & Co., and others, is now stepping into the world of offline brick-and-mortar commerce with a new solution it’s calling “Retail Referrals.” This new in-store program, being trialed in a half-dozen Bonobos “Guideshop” locations, encourages shoppers to “tell a friend” about their purchase after checkout in order to earn additional store credit if the friends buys using the provided discount code.

Despite a rough start, Curebit now has a couple thousand customers, including around eighteen enterprise customers worldwide using its solutions, which have historically been focused on driving and tracking referrals for e-commerce businesses. The company drove 25 percent of Bonobos’ new customers in 2012 by helping the retailer change its referral strategy from Facebook to email, which Curebit found was converting better.

Now the plan is to help retailers marry their offline operations with online – two channels that are often at war with each other within these organizations.

“This is very applicable to major, classic ‘old-school’ retailers right now which are very concerned with the transition [from offline to online]. A lot their sales are still happening offline right now – 90 to 95 percent,” explains Curebit’s co-founder and CEO Allan Grant. “And in a lot of ways, they’re basically fighting between their offline and online channels.”

The new Retail Referrals program could help retailers use their heavy offline traffic to support their online operations, and vice versa. Trials are now underway at six Bonobos locations. (Its Guideshops are stores where people can try on the clothing in real life, then purchase items in-store via iPads using Bonobos’ e-commerce site). These include New York, Bethesda, Chicago, D.C., San Francisco, and Boston locations.

After checkout, the store clerk explains how the referral program works, and asks the customer if they would like to share an offer with friends via email. They can then do so directly on the iPad.

Of course, most major retailers don’t have iPads at point-of-sale (well, yet?), but the system can be customized through Point-of-Sale integrations which could have a URL printed on receipts, for example, or could include codes emailed to customers after first collecting their information at checkout.

The promotions offered are up the retailer, but Curebit is heavily involved in that process, having transitioned away from being a pure technology play to something of an agency model where it helps retailers with everything from copy-writing to design for the promotions to assistance in understanding what types of promotions will work for that business and why.

Its offline referrals system is flexible enough, allowing customers to give discounts to friends through SMS, email, social media, or even just providing them with special discount codes or short URLs they can share as needed.

While in the Bonobos experiment, it’s likely going to work fairly well, given the heavy technology presence with in-store iPads, a salesforce whose main goal is to support an e-commerce website, and the company’s close working relationship with Curebit, in more traditional retail stores, having salespeople tell shoppers, “oh hey, there’s something on your receipt,” for example, hasn’t always been too successful – just ask those running post-purchase surveys which tend to have low single-digit response rates at best.

Still, with surveys, there’s often no benefit to the customer him or herself, not to mention that surveys are tedious and time-consuming. Giving a friend a discount that could later pay off in the form of store credit is something which the team at Curebit thinks consumers will be more likely to do.

“It doesn’t feel like a coupon code, it feels like free money,” says Grant of the promotions the stores will offer their customers. “Here, you feel like you’ve earned it – your friend bought, you got this as a reward. This is valuable,” he adds.

The offline referrals program is a high-level, enterprise offering, and will be priced depending on integration requirements and other factors beginning around $30,000 per month.

Aiming To Make You More Productive, [email protected] Launches A Music App For iOS

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I’ve always been impressed by people who can listen to music while they write. I mean, I’ll do it every once in a while, especially when one of my co-workers is being particularly distracting, but in general I’ve found that music just slows me down.

Well, there’a startup called [email protected] aiming to solve that problem, and today it’s following the launch of its website and Android app with the release of an app for iOS.

Founder and CEO Will Henshall seems uniquely positioned to work on something like this. He founded music tech company Rocket Network and also created the audio media transfer system DigiDelivery, which he sold to Avid/Digidesign in 2003. But he’s also a professional musician and songwriter, having been one of the founding members of the band Londonbeat and one of the writers on their hit songs “I’ve Been Thinking About You” and “Come Back.”

Henshall told me that most music is that it’s designed to delight and distract you — those are worthy goals, but they’re not exactly the best combination when it comes to productivity. [email protected], on the other hand, has licensed tracks that were chosen specifically to not distract you, and in fact to help you focus. That means no tracks with vocals, saxophones, or other things that [email protected] has tested and found distracting. Henshall said that’s not quite the same thing as just playing elevator music, which people have learned how to ignore entirely. Here’s a little more info on how it works from the [email protected] website:

The [email protected] system makes it easier for you to get into the concentration flow, and then keeps you there. It works in the background by subtly soothing the part of your brain, the limbic system, that is always on the lookout for danger, food, sex or shiny things. …

Each piece of music phase sequenced by [email protected] has a specific role in influencing how your brain habituates, enhancing your focus and reading enjoyment. Characteristics such as musical key, intensity, arrangement, speed, emotional values, recording style, and much more determine what is played where and when.

If you’re a little dubious about the science, there’s more detail and more citations on the site. For what it’s worth, I’ve been listening to [email protected] while I work this morning, and while I haven’t noticed a dramatic increase in productivity or anything, I do feel like I think I went a solid hour without getting distracted, which is kind of a miracle.

When you’re listening to to the app, you can choose from different channels like Cinematic, Ambient, and Classical. You can also skip songs, which will give the app more information about what works and doesn’t work for you. There’s no advertising. Instead, there’s a three week free trial period — after that, you can only listen for 100 minutes at a time or you have to pay a subscription fee of $3.99 per month for unlimited access.

As for the iPhone app, Henshall said it’s pretty similar to the web and Android versions, except that it has been optimized for iOS hardware and supports both portrait and and landscape mode, plus it uses digital signal processing so that the audio settings get automatically adjusted based on what’s playing.

I also asked whether Henshall had any trepidation about putting his name on the company, and he replied, “I’ve gotta tell you, it wasn’t my idea. I didn’t want to be that guy, you know?” However, he realized that “being able to focus at will, being able to control your own life” is the key to the company’s vision.

[email protected] is backed by the Pritzker Foundation and Singularity University.

Weotta iOS local discovery app goes nationwide, Google Ventures approves

Weotta iOS local discovery app goes nationwide, Google Ventures approves

Finding things to do and places to go has never been easier thanks to services that neatly pull all the options together. Weotta hopes to be another weapon in your discovery app arsenal after expanding its coverage to the whole of the US, having initially been limited to 40 cities. As the company’s CEO told Forbes, the free iOS app uses “phrase extraction and natural language processing” to source its local suggestions from the nooks and crannies of the internet. That same wizardry is used to steer its rating system, which is based on what’s said about a venue or event rather than aggregating numerical scores. It’ll learn your likes and dislikes, tailoring recommendations as it gets to know you better, but you can discover what’s happening in the area for yourself using the search feature. Via Facebook Connect, the app will also tell you what’s popular among your peers. While Weotta is only available for iOS, it’s attracted funding from Google Ventures, which is a recommendation in itself that suggests you give it a whirl.

Filed under: Cellphones, Tablets, Software, Mobile

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Source: Weotta, Forbes, App Store

Two Years After TweetDeck Acquisition, Founder Iain Dodsworth Leaves Twitter

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TweetDeck founder Iain Dodsworth announced today that he’s leaving Twitter. In his tweet, Dodsworth noted that it’s been two years since Twitter acquired TweetDeck, and he said “now feels like a perfect time to start something new.”

Dodsworth’s departure comes as Twitter’s vision for TweetDeck does seem to be shifting. A few months ago, it shut down the iPhone, Android, and AIR versions. There are still native Windows and Mac apps, but the company has suggested that the web version will be its focus going forward.

Naturally, today’s news has prompted more speculation and handwringing about TweetDeck’s future. For example, Reuters social media editor/incoming Circa editor-in-chief Anthony De Rosa tweeted that the news made him “fear even more for @TweetDeck.” But Erica Anderson, Twitter’s manager of news, responded that TweetDeck has a new product manager, Sharath Bulusu from the Guardian (whose hiring was announced a couple of weeks ago).

“We do realize how important it is,” Anderson said.

A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment further on the news.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 700M aims to make gaming notebooks powerful and portable

This week the folks at NVIDIA have unveiled several high-powered graphics cards to advance the world of desktop gaming, the tiniest of these being the GeForce GTX 700M notebook GPU. A family of four cards is being shown here, each of them with a slightly different build for different kinds of gaming setups. The builds of the devices coming with NVIDIA’s technology inside as part of this next wave of gaming notebooks will be small, too – dashing the past in which “big and heavy” were required in order to have enough power to speak of in a “gaming laptop”.

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Each of the cards introduced here in NVIDIA’s new notebook line are, as they say, “Kepler top to bottom.” This means technologies like Boost 2.0, SLI, and top-of-the-line power. NVIDIA is making clear their intent to be part of the world’s most portable gaming notebooks, starting with the Razer Blade, a notebook revealed earlier today packing a GeForce GTX 765M.

The GeForce GTX 765M is a step up from the least powerful of the four cards in this family. Also included is the 760M, 770M, and 780M. The difference between these cards begins with the number of CUDA cores that sit under the hood. While both the 765M and 760M both work with 768 CUDA cores, the 770M starts in with 960 cores, and the 780M sweeps the rest with 1536 cores.

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Above you’ll see a break-down of how each of these cards is different from the next: base clock speed, memory and all. You’ll be working with 1080p Ultra settings if you’ve got a 780M working for you, while a 760M will deliver 1080p High – the differences will be slight, but they’ll definitely be there.

These cards will be employing NVIDIA Optimus technology, allowing high performance graphics processing while battery life remains sustained. Optimus was created by NVIDIA at seeing IGPs deliver good battery life while failing to show GPU performance and graphics up to modern standards. With Optimus, NVIDIA is delivering a fully-automated battery optimization system that dynamically switches between the notebook’s IGP and dedicated NVIDIA GPU.

Pricing and release details for the 700M series for notebooks will be appearing soon. Stay tuned as additional notebooks begin to appear with NVIDIA’s next-generation graphics solutions under the hood – you might even be able to fit a gaming notebook in your backpack before summer is over!


NVIDIA GeForce GTX 700M aims to make gaming notebooks powerful and portable is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 – 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

LinkedIn Launches SMS-Based Two-Step Authentication To Prevent Account Hacking

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LinkedIn today announced that it has added optional two-step verifications to its sign-in process. With this move, LinkedIn joins Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook and numerous other services who have recently enabled two-factor authentication to ensure that it’s harder for hackers to compromise their users’ accounts.

Unlike some of these other services, LinkedIn’s system doesn’t offer a smartphone app. Instead, it can only send codes via SMS.

Two-step verification ensures that just having a password (“something you know”) isn’t good enough to compromise an account. Instead, users also need a second factor (“something you have”) to log in to their accounts. Given the recent proliferation of hacked accounts on Twitter and other services, two-factor authentication is quickly becoming the new standard for thwarting unauthorized sign-ins. While it’s a bit of a hassle, it is miles ahead of the standard password-only approach.

LinkedIn will prompt users for this second factor when it detects that a user is signing in from an unknown computer or device. Unlike some of these other services, LinkedIn’s system doesn’t offer a smartphone app. Instead, it can only send codes via SMS.

Here is how to set this up:

FBI ordered to return confiscated hard drives to Kim Dotcom

It’s been quite the journey for Mega founder Kim Dotcom, but it seems like things are slowly coming to a conclusion. The High Court of New Zealand has ordered the FBI to return confiscated hard drives that were taken from Dotcom’s home when it was initially raided last year. They have also ordered the US government to destroy all copies that they might have archived.

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Essentially, the FBI messed up pretty badly, and so did New Zealand authorities when they raided Dotcom’s mansion. It’s said that they seized all sorts of stuff that actually had nothing to do with the reason that Dotcom’s house was being raided, which is illegal, but the New Zealand police cloned the hard drives anyways and gave them to the FBI.

New Zealand authorities are now required to go through all of the illegally-seized evidence and determine what is actually relevant to the ongoing trial and return any evidence that isn’t pertinent to Dotcom. However, we’re not sure how all of that will be enforced, so as far as we know, there’s no way to tell if all irrelevant evidence will be returned.

This is another win for Kim Dotcom and his legal team, and essentially a mark in the loss column for the New Zealand government. Dotcom is best known for launching Megaupload, which is a file-sharing site that was eventually shut down by the government because it hosted copyrighted content.

After the shutdown of Megaupload, Dotcom launched a similar service called Mega, but claimed it was completely legal this time around, thinking that he wouldn’t have to deal with anymore legal scrutiny. However, his new file-sharing service is receiving criticism and anti-piracy advocates are wanting to shut down Mega for hosting copyrighted material yet again.

SOURCE: TorrentFreak


FBI ordered to return confiscated hard drives to Kim Dotcom is written by Craig Lloyd & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 – 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

As TV Falls Apart, Tumblr And Twitter Aim To Pick Up The Pieces

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For years, it’s been said that Internet use would cut into the time U.S. consumers spend watching television. Today, those premonitions are beginning to hit the tipping point. TV ratings have dropped by 50 percent over the last decade. Goldman Sachs recently called the decline “the sharpest pace on record.”

The firm found that ratings in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic – the key group targeted by advertisers – fell by 17 percent last winter compared with the winter before. ABC, NBC, and Fox were most affected, with decreased ad revenues cutting into profits. (Fox had to get distributors to pay higher subscribers fees to pull a profit). But even highest-rated CBS lost three percent of its 18-to-49 audience this season, The New York Times reported in April.

Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne had released charts at the beginning of the year showing the ratings drop, claiming declines are a functional of income level.

But it’s not just that.

The writing has been on the wall for some time.

Back in 2004, for example, studies indicated that television viewing would be one of the first leisure activities to be hit by Internet use and online socializing. (Other activities supposedly affected were sleeping and real-world socializing.)

Though today, TV continues to remain the dominant medium, the emerging generation of so-called “digital natives” – the first to have been born into a world where consumer adoption of the web was already mainstream – seem to prefer other behaviors. And it’s more than just splitting time between TV and video games, or TV and mobile apps, or TV and online video. That’s why it’s funny that the general assumption is that services like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, and YouTube will eventually claim users’ time and eyeballs in the way that the “boob tube” once did.

That may not be the case. We just don’t know yet.

For a generation who grew up on the web, can we say for sure that watching TV-like content through other devices will be their preferred downtime activity?

TUMBLR AS THE NEW “TV”

Tumblr founder David Karp doesn’t seem to think so. Having built up an online community that Yahoo just acquired for $1.1 billion, he told Charlie Rose in an interview this week that Tumblr is a part of a larger transition in consumer behavior.

“What regular people out there in the world do – right now, they spend a huge amount of time in front of their televisions consuming – sort of, what do you call it – ‘premium content’ – stuff produced by publishers, networks, studios,” Karp said. “If we’re not already there today, certainly five years from now, I expect the vast majority of the content that we enjoy not to be produced by a handful of creators who are selected and supported by those big studios.”

Five years from now. 

Indeed, we could be watching crowd-funded films the likes of which Zach Braff and “Veronica Mars” have raised big money for over in recent months over on Kickstarter. Or it could be something else entirely. Karp obviously hopes that creators will find their way to Tumblr, and then others will “tune in” to watch.

But will they? Look at Facebook. The social networking giant found its place among this young generation (and those that came before), but it has somehow garnered a reputation as a necessary evil among younger users. Story, after story, after story, tell of teens and young adults who report feeling “addicted to Facebook” or “forced to” use it, rather than pleasantly consumed by it.

Can Tumblr be any different?

Well, if you think of television as a fairly passive activity involving content consumption, and that content is matched up with your interests, and can be humorous, informative, inspiring, educational, and more, then Tumblr’s network of interests comes closer to mimicking the same “feeling” that TV could once provide. This isn’t about connecting with friends like on Facebook, it’s about your own idea of entertainment.

The analogy makes sense, then, though it’s worth pointing out that today many of Tumblr’s fandoms still revolve around content still produced “old media” like TV shows and movies. And Tumblr, of course, may not last. Much of its audience is young, wary of advertising, fickle, dramatic, and could potentially still flee.

TWITTER AS A TRADITIONAL TV COMPANION

Meanwhile, Twitter, too, is slowly heading in the direction of becoming a place for media consumption, not just communication. Its recent moves to support richer media like photos, videos, apps, and articles within its stream is one example.

But Twitter is taking a different direction than Tumblr. Instead of betting against TV’s eventual decline, it’s betting big on being the TV companion app.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said this week at the D: All Things Digital conference that today’s television companies can become valuable partners for its service. Sure, the networks are clearly hungry to get a piece of the online action – it’s money for the taking. But at the end of the day, they’re still promoting “TV” – as in, flip a switch, power up your DVR, old-school television.

Twitter has been busy catering to the confused and scrambling TV industry. The company launched TV ad targeting for Promoted Tweets, powered by its acquisition of Bluefin Labs. It announced broadcast partnerships with BBC America, Fox, Fuse and The Weather Channel, allowing networks to promote TV clips. It has also struck deals with A&E, Bloomberg TV, theAudience, ESPN, Turner Sports, the NBA, Major League Baseball, Condé Nast, Warner Music, Clear Channel, Vevo, the WWE, VICE, PMC, Discovery, and others. It has partnered with Nielsen for Twitter TV ratings.

“Twitter is the social soundtrack for TV,” Costolo said at the D conference, “we’ve decided to invest heavily in that.”

No kidding.

The good news is that television – the concept, if not the medium and business model – will probably never go away entirely. But like books, or movies, or music, or games or any other entertainment medium, it’s going to change, and that’s happening right now.

It may not be as important going forward.

Some will say that the number of those truly abandoning television is still an insignificant number. That may be, but the number is growing. Nielsen reported this spring that there are now over 5 million cord cutters in the U.S., up from 3 million in 2007. In these “zero tv” households, almost half were under the age of 35.

As the older generations leave the market, the power will be in the hands of this new crowd. And they might not really care for TV like their parents did, not matter how many tweets you throw at them.

Whether they’ll continue spending their time on Tumblr or other networks, however, still remains to be seen.

Asus brings 4K to your desktop with massive 31.5” 3840×2160 monitor

The Asus PQ321.
Asus

Asus has just announced the cure for the common 20-something-inch 1080p display: a small TV-sized 31.5-inch monitor with a massive resolution of 3840×2160. Engadget reports that the Asus PQ321 display, which uses IGZO technology to reduce energy usage and thickness, includes DisplayPort and dual-HDMI input, integrated speakers, and an adjustable stand.

Not just any graphics hardware will be able to drive such a high-resolution display, however, and we’d like to clear up some of the misinformation out there that Asus’ announcement has prompted. Most midrange and high-end cards from Nvidia’s GeForce 600 family and AMD Radeon HD 6000 and 7000 series should support 4K resolutions over HDMI and DisplayPort, at least, owing to their support of HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2. Both of these interfaces should provide sufficient bandwidth to drive a 4K display, though in some cases at a refresh rate of only 30Hz rather than the more common 60Hz.

Integrated graphics are a bit more complicated. Intel’s current HD 4000 graphics can support 4K output with the most recent graphics drivers, but only on laptops and motherboards with a pair of DisplayPort outputs (a relative rarity in systems that rely on integrated graphics). AMD’s Trinity APUs should theoretically be able to push these high-res displays, but AnandTech reports that they support neither 4K video decoding nor 4K video output. As such, you’ll likely have to wait for the next generation of integrated GPUs to get good 4K support—the GPUs paired with Intel’s Haswell CPUs will offer DisplayPort 1.2 support, and Intel is pushing its 4K prowess hard in its marketing materials.

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Samsung tipped to bring big.LITTLE ARM power to Chromebook

With the Samsung GALAXY S 4 in consumer hands internationally, fully stocked with Exynos OctaCore processors, so too has a new Chromebook been tipped with the same technology. While the big.LITTLE ARM processor architecture suggested for this next-generation machine has been implemented on the GALAXY S 4 (the international edition, that is) for a split between obvious “big” and “little” tasks, its usage in Chrome may be a bit less obvious. This device could very well be introduced at the June event teased by Samsung as well.

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While the technology used in the Samsung GALAXY S 4 sets “big” tasks as high-powered games, video processing, and GPS tracking, Chrome OS doesn’t generally have such high demands. Low-powered “little” tasks appear much more regularly – messaging, music, and background bits and pieces galore. These low-powered tasks are assigned to lower power cores in the SoC, therefor keeping energy demands as minimal as possible.

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It’s likely that this, not so much the high-powered end of things, would be the main reason a Samsung Exynos 5410 (or something similar) would be used in a Chromebook. The tip sent to MobileGeeks this week suggests this device might never actually come to the market, mind you.

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But consider the possibilities: perhaps this means Samsung will be releasing a device not unlike the Chromebook Pixel, complete with super-high-definition display and touchscreen abilities! It was no small deal when the entirety of Google I/O 2013 was given a Pixel to develop with – Samsung may just be following up with their own high-powered web-based machine soon.


Samsung tipped to bring big.LITTLE ARM power to Chromebook is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
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The Wheelharp delivers string-orchestra sounds via a mechanical keyboard

dnp The Wheelharp delivers stringorchestra sounds via a mechanical keyboard, up for funding on Kickstarter

Currently up for $50,000 in funding on Kickstarter, the Wheelharp delivers the sounds of a chamber string orchestra via a keyboard and a full chromatic set of real strings. Oh, and it’s pretty much the most striking instrument we’ve ever seen. Developed by Los Angeles-based Antiquity Music, the device reacts to a user’s press of the keys by moving a corresponding string to a rotating wheel with an edge that bows the string. The instrument gives the player plenty of controls; the right pedal controls wheel speed, while the left mans the strings’ damper system.

Though an early version was demoed at NAMM this year, the Wheelharp is currently in R&D mode, and Antiquity plans to put much of the Kickstarter money toward researching the optimal string selection. Hit up the source link to hear the instrument in action — and to pitch in, if you’re so inclined.

Filed under: Misc, Peripherals, Alt

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Via: Laughing Squid

Source: The Wheelharp (Kickstarter)