Intents, Contracts, and App Extensions: app-to-app communication in Android, Windows Phone and iOS 8 >> Microsoft blogs
Helpful outline from Sasha Goldshetein:
Let’s now consider a few scenarios and see how they can be handled by the various platforms. But first, how do users gain access to code that provides these extension points? On all three platforms, extensions ship as part of an app, which can provide share targets, a document source, a home screen widget, and so on. After installing an app, the setup steps for enabling the extension depend on the extension kind — for example, sharing to a new app doesn’t require explicit configuration, but putting a new widget on your home screen typically requires explicit user consent.
Notable how iOS treats processor time (and so battery power) as precious.
The trouble with IBM >> Businessweek
When the CIA turned down a cheaper offer from IBM to build a $600m cloud service in favour of Amazon, IBM protested and took the matter to court. Bad move:
A federal judge agreed, ruling in October that with the “overall inferiority of its proposal,” IBM “lacked any chance of winning” the contract. The corporate cliché of the 1970s and ’80s, that no one ever got fired for buying IBM, had never seemed less true. IBM withdrew its challenge.
No single deal encapsulates a 103-year-old company with a market capitalization of $185bn. But the CIA butt kicking is a microcosm of larger problems IBM is having as it struggles to adapt to the cloud era, in which clients large and small rent technology cheaply over the Internet instead of buying costly fixed arrays. Under [chief executive Virginia] Rometty’s leadership, revenue has declined for eight consecutive quarters, a period when most of corporate America has flourished. In January, after a year in which IBM was the only company in the Dow Jones industrial average whose shares lost value, Rometty and her top executives turned down their annual bonuses, worth in her case as much as $8 million. (Rometty, 56, who goes by Ginni, declined to be interviewed for this article.)
Long. Worthwhile. Unsettling.
Robot truck convoy tested In Nevada >> Popular Science
Like Olympic skiers racing in single file to reduce air resistance, two 18-wheeler trucks in Nevada recently proved that uncomfortably close convoys can save drivers fuel and money. The key, instead of bold Olympic athleticism, is robotic assistance. A computer-assisted truck was able to follow closely behind a human-driven truck perfectly, maintaining exactly 33 feet of distance between the vehicles. The promise is a future of safer, more fuel efficient, and more robotic trucking.
As you’ll have guessed, the technology comes from a company in Silicon Valley – called Peloton.
Family sharing brings useful new features to iOS 8 >> PadGadget
Sharing content is just one part of this new feature set. You can also use a bigger version of Find My Phone, with all users on a single map. Tracking children as they grow into teenagers and being able to manage their devices is a very nice touch.
If a child wants to buy a song or an app, then they can request access to the family credit card which sends a request to mom or dad for approval. This is so much easier than having to be there at the device to enter passwords with the kids asking for new stuff.
Perhaps the most used new feature is going to be the family shared calendar, which brings everything into a shared space for planning and organization. If you kids are as busy as mine then a shared space for tracking everything is critical. We manage right now, but this is going to make it even easier.
Reaction of my (Samsung-using) cab driver in San Francisco, who was asking about iOS 8, to the calendar-sharing feature: “Man, Android SO needs to get that.”
Apple should buy Broadcom’s cellular baseband business >> Counterpoint Technology
While R&D and integration would be tough initially, Apple has deep pockets to develop and integrate its own top-notch LTE capabilities into the products over the period of next two years. This could mean Apple will have to depend less on suppliers such as Qualcomm and can control its own roadmap by working closely with global carriers to shape its own product-cycles. Cellular IP is one weapon missing in Apple’s arsenal which it will like to acquire as mobile is the future and will power every other device.
Broadcom is looking to sell or shut its cellular baseband business. Apple already owns a chip design business, PA Semi, bought in 2006.
How Radioactive is Our Ocean? >> Center for Marine and Environmental Radiation
The lack of cesium-134, which only has a two-year half life for radioactive decay, indicates that none of the Fukushima contaminants have reached the US west coast sampling sites. Therefore, continued support for monitoring is needed as the cesium isotopes are expected to reach the coast in 2014 and levels are predicted to increase over the coming 2-3 years.
Not clear by how it’ll rise, or whether that’s at all dangerous.
Environment Agency open data – next steps >> Acorn Information
Environment Agency announcement:
We recently announced the permanent access to live flood warnings, flood alerts and river levels as Open Data.
We are now expanding that commitment to include publishing as much of our data as possible, including flood data, as Open Data. This means that over time more of our data will be made available for free to developers, technology companies and individuals.
In order to help our transition to Open Data we are setting up a user group to advise us on which of our data it is most important to concentrate on making Open.
Twitter weighs online music acquisitions
Twitter has considered buying online music services including Soundcloud and Spotify in recent months – a move that suggests it is willing to attempt its largest acquisition to secure new sources of growth.
The online messaging platform has weighed up deals worth billions of dollars as it seeks to add a music service to its offering, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Twitter has been trying to boost the amount of time people spend on its app, after coming under fire from Wall Street for slowing user growth, report Hannah Kuchler, Arash Massoudi and Tim Bradsh