June 15, 2013

Gannett in $2.2 Bil Deal to Acquire Belo Station Group | Variety

Gannett Co. is betting big on the future of local broadcast TV, setting a $2.2 billion deal to acquire station owner Belo Corp.

Deal will nearly double Gannett’s station holdings to 43 from 23, giving the parent company of USA Today TV stations in 21 of the top 25 markets. It will also expand Gannett’s clout with the Big Three networks as an owner of NBC, CBS and ABC affiliates reaching nearly one-third of U.S. TV households.

Gannett will pay $1.5 billion in cash, or $13.75 a share, to acquire Dallas-based Belo. Deal also includes the assumption of $715 million in existing Belo debt.

Read more: Gannett in $2.2 Bil Deal to Acquire Belo Station Group | Variety

New Myspace takes it back to the future | The Japan Times

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – Tim and Chris Vanderhook think Myspace had it right — at one point. And they believe they’ve revived and improved that formula for success as the revamped first titan of social media debuts its latest incarnation.

The Vanderhooks unveiled the new Myspace.com on June 12, revealing a site focused on entertainment that combines social networking with streaming music. There are new features aimed at helping musicians, writers and other artists connect with their followers, an app and a radio function.

Read more: New Myspace takes it back to the future | The Japan Times

Agile, simple iOS 7 could be heaven for Apple users

SAN FRANCISCO — Think Apple’s critics struck a raw nerve with the company?

“Can’t innovate anymore, my ass.” That’s from Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president for worldwide marketing, speaking on stage at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

Schiller was essentially talking about Apple’s new tubular-designed Mac Pro, the kind of powerful computer used by developers who make up much of the WWDC audience. But he might as well have been addressing Apple’s most vocal detractors, those who say that Samsung is now the company that Apple used to be and that Tim Cook isn’t Steve Jobs. These are the fickle what-have-you-done-for-me-lately types who wonder whether the company that altered the tech landscape with the Mac, iPod and iTunes, iPhone and iPad has lost its mojo. As if pumping out game-changing hardware is some sort of divine obligation.

Read more: Agile, simple iOS 7 could be heaven for Apple users

Gov't proposes rules for self-driving cars

The agency released a set of proposed rules and regulations for autonomous vehicles Thursday while, at the same time, announcing plans for its own research programs looking into self-driving technology.

NHTSA recommends that states issue separate driver licenses, or at least special driver license endorsements, for those who wish to operate autonomous vehicles. These special licenses or endorsements should be given only after someone has completed a training that would cover such things as how and when to take over control of a vehicle.

Read more: Gov't proposes rules for self-driving cars

Wearable-technology pioneer Thad Starner on how Google Glass could augment our realities and memories

Countless wearers of Google Glass stalked the halls of this year's Google I/O developer conference, but only a lucky few were sporting the prescription model, which makes room for lenses in a more conventional glasses frame. Among those lucky early adopters with imperfect vision was Thad Starner, a Georgia Tech professor who, in 2010, was recruited to join a top-secret project at Google's fabled X Lab. That project, as it turned out, was Glass, and Starner's role on the team as a technical lead would be a vital one.

Starner claims he invented the term "augmented reality" in 1990 and, after experimenting with wearable technologies for 20 years now, offered us a rare perspective on where the stuff has been and where it's headed. So, then, we were very glad to get a few moments to chat with the man at I/O and get his insight into how we got to be where we are and, indeed, get some suggestions from him on where we're going from here.

Read more: Wearable-technology pioneer Thad Starner on how Google Glass could augment our realities and memories

Internet Marriages on Rise in Some Immigrant Communities - NYTimes.com

With a red embroidered veil draped over her dark hair, Punam Chowdhury held her breath last month as her fiancé said the words that would make them husband and wife. After she echoed them, they were married. Guests erupted in applause; the bride and groom traded bashful smiles.

Just then, the Internet connection cut out, and the wedding was abruptly over.

Normally one of the most intimate moments two people can share, the marriage had taken place from opposite ends of the globe over the video chat program Skype, with Ms. Chowdhury, an American citizen, in a mosque in Jackson Heights, Queens, and her new husband, Tanvir Ahmmed, in his living room with a Shariah judge in his native Bangladesh.

Read more: Internet Marriages on Rise in Some Immigrant Communities - NYTimes.com

June 11, 2013

June 2, 2013

With high-tech guns, users could disable remotely - Yahoo! News

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A high-tech startup is wading into the gun control debate with a wireless controller that would allow gun owners to know when their weapon is being moved — and disable it remotely.

The technology, but not an actual gun, was demonstrated Tuesday at a wireless technology conference in Las Vegas and was shown to The Associated Press in advance. It comes at a time when lawmakers around the U.S. are considering contentious smart gun laws that would require new guns to include high-tech devices that limit who can fire them.

The new Yardarm Technologies LLC system would trigger an alarm on an owner's cellphone if a gun is moved, and the owner could then hit a button to activate the safety and disable the weapon. New guns would come with a microchip on the body and antennas winding around the grip. It would add about $50 to the cost of a gun, and about $12 a year for the service.

"The idea is to connect gun owners more directly with their guns, no matter what the circumstance," said Yardarm CEO Robert Stewart.

Read more: With high-tech guns, users could disable remotely - Yahoo! News

Microsoft Releases Xbox One Videogame Console - WSJ.com

Microsoft Corp. MSFT -0.37% unveiled a reinvented Xbox videogame console Tuesday, demonstrating an advanced motion and voice-control system and new television functions as it tries to thrust the machine back into the spotlight amid changing consumer habits.

The Redmond, Wash., software giant said its new device, dubbed Xbox One, was designed to take advantage of new technologies to offer customers ways to play games while responding to trends such as the popularity of smartphones and tablets.

Microsoft also integrated technology from its Skype video chatting subsidiary into Xbox One, allowing customers to interact with friends using a more refined version of the Kinect motion and speech sensor.

Xbox One also can play and control live television streaming from a cable or satellite set-top box.

Read more: Microsoft Releases Xbox One Videogame Console - WSJ.com

Apple CEO Tim Cook strongly defends tax policy at Senate hearing - latimes.com

WASHINGTON — Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook strongly defended the company's tax practices Tuesday at a Senate hearing highlighting the technology giant's use of Irish subsidiaries to shelter billions of dollars in income from U.S. taxes.

"We pay all the taxes we owe — every single dollar," Cook told the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

"We not only comply with the laws but we comply with the spirit of the laws," he said. "We don't depend on tax gimmicks."

Cook said the tax code "has not kept up with the digital age" and restricts the free movement of capital in comparison to the codes of other countries. He called for a "dramatic simplification of the corporate tax code," including lower tax rates and a "reasonable tax on foreign earnings."

He said Apple was "deeply committed to our country's welfare."

Read more: Apple CEO Tim Cook strongly defends tax policy at Senate hearing - latimes.com

Hell No, Tumblr Users Won’t Go To Yahoo! | TechCrunch

We’ve all by now heard about how Yahoo is trying to get some “cool” with a supposed $1 billion purchase of hip blogging platform Tumblr, but it may be a moot point if Tumblr’s users fail to stick around post-sale.

Microsoft and Facebook may be trying to make a move ahead of Yahoo, Tumblr may be inching ever closer to running out of cash, and (despite that) may not be afraid to play a little hardball. But here’s something you’re not hearing much about: Tumblr’s users are almost universally unhappy with the news that the site might get sold to Yahoo. And they may let their fingers do the talking, and the walking.

Do a search on Tumblr for “yahoo” and you get a stream of distress, interspersed with the occasional bit of helpless resignation, and some calls for activism. The voices of reluctant acceptance (usually because of the aforementioned cash situation) or anything like positivity are few and far between. No outright enthusiasm.

Read more: Hell No, Tumblr Users Won’t Go To Yahoo! | TechCrunch

Facebook, Twitter Execs Talk Advertising at D11

The D11: All Things D conference hosted two of the most powerful executives in social advertising: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. They both addressed how they're embracing the mobile format to make ads that are more engaging, and valuable to both brands and advertisers.

Sheryl Sandberg on Mobile

Though the interview kicked off with a conversation about why Sandberg wrote 'Lean In' to reverse gender inequality, the conversation focused on Sandberg's role overseeing all parts of Facebook's business. And she said Facebook's attention is firmly focused on all things mobile. Why? Facebook has one in seven minutes of all the time people spend on the desktop, but one in five minutes of the time they spend on mobile devices. And they're checking

As for the question of whether the launch of mobile super-app 'Home' fell flat, Sandberg says it's just the first version, and very early days. She says that consumers either love it or hate it, but that the potential is there to transform phones, and make them more "social" and "people oriented. But she acknowledged that it's still "very early" and "it'll be a long road."

Facebook, Twitter Execs Talk Advertising at D11


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