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Amazon Fire TV: What We've Learned

Mashable hosts a MashTalk Hangout on Air Thursday, April 3, at 1pm ET to discuss all things Amazon Fire TV.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft for the iPad soft launches in Canada, New Zealand and Australia

Blizzard announced last year that it was bringing its popular card trading game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, to the iPad and iPhone in the coming months. Now, Blizzard has confirmed that the title is soft launching in Canada, New Zealand … Continue reading →

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Estonia’s Startup Wise Guys Launches BusinessTech B2B Accelerator | TechCrunch

Specifically, the program is seeking B2B startups, citing areas such as payments, security, and the cloud — emphasising the opportunity to build a bridge between existing enterprises and the upstarts accepted into the accelerator. The deal on offer falls into the upper region of the standard accelerator offering. Startup teams get up to €15,000 in funding, contingent on number of founders, in return for giving away 8% equity. There’s also an opportunity of €1 million in follow-on funding via a partnership Startup Wise Guys has with the tax payer-funded SmartCap VC fund.

How to Successfully Implement a Brand Ambassador Program

After gauging prospective ambassadors’ attention, it’s time to get them in the door. Sure, some of these people will be motivated to work primarily for experience, especially when recruiting college students. However, most brand ambassadors will be looking for a little reciprocity from the brand they choose to represent.

3 Buzz Aldrin On Tinkering With The Bounds Of What's Possible

-- Buzz Aldrin is a former American astronaut and the second man to walk on the moon. In 2011 he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor, along with the other Apollo 11 crew members, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins, and Mercury Seven astronaut, John Glenn. Dr. Aldrin is an author of eight books including his New York Times best selling autobiography entitled, “Magnificent Desolation” which was released in 2009 just before the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo XI moon landing.

Ridley Scott is Master Chief of Halo 'digital feature' - CNET

Games don't often translate into compelling movies, but here's hoping that the involvement of Ridley Scott's 'Scott Free' production house can spice things up a little. Scott is best known for his directing work, and is responsible for such classics as "Alien", "Thelma & Louise" and, er, "G.I. Jane".

Fantastical 2, The Best iPhone Calendar App, Is Now Available On iPad | TechCrunch

The best thing about this newly released, larger version of the iOS 7-optimized smart calendar and reminders app, is that it doesn’t feel like a whole new application you have to learn to use, with a bevy of features designed “just for iPad users,” so to speak. Instead, moving to the iPad-friendly version of Fantastical 2 feels like a natural progression from a smaller screen to a bigger one, where nothing is missing or out of place, and where the few changes that arrive are welcome instead of jarring.

Introducing Vine Messages

White House objects to Samsung's use of Obama photo

When the White House publishes campaign photos and commercials showing the president shaking hands, kissing babies, or even in selfies with the hot Danish Prime Minister, promoting his presidency, basically “selling” Obama to the public, that’s OK. But when another entity uses Obama’s image to promote their product, the White House now objects to the use of his image? Double standard, anyone?

Tech Giants Team Up With Pharma to Protect Software Patents

Concerned that the value of their patents could be in some danger, Apple, Microsoft and IBM have teamed up with major pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers to launch a new industry group to talk up the value of the current patent system and defend some types of patents.

Amazon's Fire TV promises a premium set-top experience (update: hands-on video)

During our brief time with the device, it was every bit as quick and impressive as it was during the on-stage demo. Voice searches were quick, if not exactly flawless thanks to the rather noisy demo area. It was less than a second from when I finished speaking to when the results popped up on screen (though, it seemed odd that Amazon assumed I meant "Klint Eastwood"). Despite its insistence that it handled search better than platforms like Roku, we'd have to say things aren't so cut and dry. Sure, you can voice search using the microphone on the remote, but searching with text requires the same cumbersome reliance on the remote's directional pad and an onscreen keyboard. Not to mention that Roku and Chromecast are also able to deliver voice search through their respective mobile apps.

Speech Recognition Pioneer Novauris Bought By Apple, Team Now Works On Siri | TechCrunch

Novauris actually began operations in March 2002, after reassembling almost all the former Dragon Systems U.K. R&D team. Founder Jim Baker funded the initial development work and originally owned the company, but Bridle and Hunt bought him out along with some help from private investors in September 2004. They then brought on Kim, who had been heading up TTS company NeoSpeech, as CEO.

Nest Finds Flaw in Smoke Detector, Halts Sales

The flaw in question has to do with a feature called Nest Wave, which allows users to turn off the smoke and carbon monoxide alarm by waving their hands in front of it. Nest has discovered that the feature could be activated by accident.

Microsoft’s Visual Studio Online Comes Out Of Preview, Gets A 99.9% Uptime SLA | TechCrunch

At the same time, though, Microsoft admits that users may sometimes want to switch back and forth between cloud and on-premise solutions. As part of today’s update, the company announced, Visual Studio Online users can now export their data to an on-premise Team Foundation Server, too. This should make this solution quite a bit more interesting for businesses that were on the fence of using Visual Studio Online or think their needs may change over time.

CitusDB Releases An Open-Source PostgreSQL Tool That Promises Better Database Performance | TechCrunch

CitusDB, a database analytics startup that is hoping to take on big boys like Oracle, today announced the release of CSTORE, a columnar store extension for PostgreSQL. The open-source tool, which the company says is the first for PostgreSQL, is available for a free download starting today.

Scarlett Johansson is a telekinetic superhuman in the trailer for 'Lucy'

Even with  Captain America: The Winter Soldier hitting theaters, Scarlett Johansson isn't taking a break. In the movie Lucy , written and directed by acclaimed French filmmaker Luc Besson, Johansson plays a woman working as a drug mule for the mob. But when some of the drugs she's carrying start to leak into her system, she turns into a "metahuman" with telekinetic powers and the ability to absorb intelligence instantly. The first trailer promises a wild ride with Johansson rendering people unconscious with a flick of her wrist — and that's just for starters.  Lucy is scheduled to hit theaters August 8th.

Clari, A Mobile-First Predictive Sales Tool, Comes Out Of Stealth With $6M From Sequoia | TechCrunch

Like many a startup, the concept for Clari’s came out of Byrne trying to solve challenges elsewhere. At a previous company, Byrne tells me, “We saw that selling that we experienced was incredibly hard. CRM productivity was hard. There were too many application silos, and a lot of ‘black magic’ in how things were done, We felt there was a massive opportunity to address these pain points, and we were excited to explore how the BYOD trend and mobile eating up the enterprise could play into it.”

Tesco Buys Into Ad Tech As Big Data Division Dunnhumby Nabs Sociomantic For Over $100M | TechCrunch

UK-based Tesco , the world’s second-largest retailer after Walmart, has made a killing in its sector by jumping early into the use of big data, collected via loyalty cards as well as through stores and online, to figure out what its customers wanted to buy. Today, Dunnhumby , the data science group that helped Tesco with that effort, which Tesco eventually acquired, is making an acquisition of its own. It has bought Sociomantic Labs , an ad tech firm that specialises on programmatic and retargeting advertising with an emphasis on e-commerce.

Turkey lifts Twitter ban: official

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's telecoms authority lifted a two-week-old ban on Twitter on Thursday after the constitutional court ruled the block breached freedom of expression, an official in Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's office said.

India’s Homeshop18 Files For $75M Nasdaq IPO, Ahead Of Bigger E-Commerce Rivals | TechCrunch

HomeShop18 is the online & on-air retail marketing and distribution venture of Network18 Group that was launched as India’s first 24 hour Home Shopping TV channel. HomeShop18 is a venture of the Network18 Group, India’s growing media and entertainment group that operates India’s leading business news television channels like CNN-IBN, CNBC TV18 and CNBC Awaaz . HomeShop18 offers innovative …

19 New Google Shares Hit Market as Founders Cement Grip With Split

“In a perfect world, you’d rather all shareholders be treated the same, but they have the right to do this, and we have the right to hold or sell our shares in response,” Ryan Jacob, manager of the Jacob Internet Fund, which counts Google among its top holdings, said in an interview in New York. “I can’t say I’m thrilled about it, but it’s not going to make me sell the shares. Once this takes effect, Google will be just as good an investment as it was yesterday.”

20 Founder Durov Backtracks On His Resignation, Now Back At The Helm As CEO | TechCrunch

Forbes today published (in Russian) a story that claims Durov has sent a note to shareholders in English to explain why he is staying on. “Since it came to my knowledge that my resignation at this moment can create unnecessary risks for our company, I intend to remain and serve as the CEO,” the note says. We have contacted to verify the note.

MightyBell Now Tolls For All | TechCrunch

Mightybell itself is clearly prettier than Facebook Groups — though initially not as intuitive or compact — and involves a couple of unique features, including “Introductions” when you first join a Circle/group, daily and weekly rituals (prompts like “What’s one new thing you learned today?”), the ability to schedule events, organize posts into collections, and start a realtime in-Circle chat.

Freestyle’s Josh Felser Launches #climate, A Nonprofit That Connects Influencers With Environmental Orgs | TechCrunch

Via an invite-only iPhone app , #climate will make it simple for leading influencers to share the climate change actions they care about most. #climate does the heavy lifting around sourcing the nonprofits and acts as a filter to match the best climate actions with an influencer’s interests. The nonprofit is already launching with an impressive group of influencers, including the NBA, Dick Costolo, Al Gore and others. In fact, Felser says his influencer reach is around 80 million strong across Twitter and Facebook.

Lumoid Wants To Rent You A Camera Now, And Everything Later | TechCrunch

Lumoid is also working with hotels to provide ready-made rental kits that guests can tap into as a premium service. This also grew out of listening to customers, says Ramamurthy. As they began shipping rentals to customers, they got more and more requests to ship out kits to hotels rather than to people’s homes. This way they had a camera waiting in the room for them rather than having to truck them along in baggage with risk of breakage. When they’re done they can just keep the memory card with their images and get charged for it, or download the images and mail it back in the package from the hotel. No fuss.

African Ebola Outbreak Is a Growing Crisis

An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in several African countries has claimed the lives of at least 80 people. Frighteningly, it has now spread to a major city. Officials are now enacting measures to bring the outbreak under control, including the introduction of health and travel restrictions.

Head of Russian social network VK withdraws resignation

Nafisa Nasyrova, a spokeswoman for Russian investment fund United Capital Partners, which owns the other 48 percent of VKontakte, said the investor had received a letter from Durov revoking his resignation. She added the board of VK was meeting on Thursday to discuss candidates for his replacement.

Kickstarter Funded Nearly 4,500 Projects To The Tune Of $112 Million Last Quarter | TechCrunch

Kickstarter published its first quarter report yesterday – a tongue-in-cheek but data-filled blog post – about its project statistics. According to CEO Yancey Strickler, the company funded 4,497 projects with pledges of $1,244,868 per day which adds up to a solid $112,038,158 total pledged in a single four month period. And they say crowdfunding is just for desperate singer-songwriters.

Apple confirms WWDC 2014 will begin on June 2nd

Apple's just announced that its annual developer conference, WWDC , will commence on June 2nd and run through June 6th. In a departure from its traditional application process, the company has already opened ticket sales on its website, but will now select attendees randomly instead of a first-come-first-served basis. That means we're no longer likely to see the super-quick ticket sellouts we've witnessed in previous years, but a lottery will ensure there's a fairer chance for all. We can expect to see all of the latest iOS and OS X developments, and anything else the company might have up its sleeve in a few short months.

Microsoft says Office iPad apps hit 12 million downloads a week after release

But on the 12 million downloads, I think that is significant – one way or another. You have to be using Office apps in one form or another to use Office for iPad – or else they are just taking up valuable iPad real estate. If you don’t have a 365 subscription, then all you can do on the iPad is view and present documents .. but you still have to using Office somewhere else to create them .. either via desktop apps (Mac or Windows) or via the free Office Online. And if you are doing that, MS has at least achieved its first objective .. to get you to stop (or not start) using Google Docs or the Apple iWork suite.

Google Finally Split Its Stock

The stock split was initially delayed as shareholders filed a lawsuit arguing that the move would unfairly benefit the founders. Google settled that lawsuit in mid-2013 by agreeing to pay up to $7.5 billion if there ends up being a big enough difference in the trading price of the Class A and Class C stock in the first year.

Can A First-Person Shooter Game Be Successful Without All The Shooting?

While games like Grand Theft Auto continue to break record high sales, Allison Huynh , CEO of MyDream , an ambitious 3-D multiplayer sandbox game (For PC, Mac, and Linux), hopes to create a first-person shooter game, as she openly refers to it, that doesn't relying on actually shooting anyone. MyDream combines sandbox, RPG, and adventure game genres, and allows players to experience unlimited, user-created adventures that promote skills such as creativity and collaboration instead of victory through violence. Users can solve puzzles, create new characters and landscapes, and edit every part of the game world.

Apple Teams With Old Enemies to Fight Patent Trolls | Cult of Mac

Apple’s thermonuclear war on Android has thrown the company into the courtroom more times in the last five years than ever before, so in an effort to make U.S. patent laws bend to its will, Apple has joined forces with some some of its old enemies, IBM and Microsoft to form a U.S. lobbying supergroup to fight patent trolls and push new legislation through congress.

Nokia shows off 'MD-12' Bluetooth speaker to match its new smartphones

It's not all fun phones and games at Nokia's Build shindig here in San Francisco. In addition to giving us a closer look at the new Lumia 930 , 630 and 635 , the company is showing off a Bluetooth speaker to accompany them. The MD-12 (even Stephen Elop couldn't explain the name) is available in the same cheerful color palette as the new handsets, including a bright orange hue. On the audio front, this is really just a companion device, but Nokia is claiming the bass is still better than you'd expect on a device like this. As for size, it's especially compact -- this thing is about the size of a hockey puck, making it even smaller than, say, the Mini Jambox . That said, there appears to still be a robust battery inside: Nokia is claiming 15 hours of audio playback, compared with 10 hours for the Mini Jambox. No word on when, exactly, it will go on sale, but Elop himself said it will cost $55. Nokia MD-12 hands-on See all photos 4 Photos

Twitter Now Supports Emojis on Its Web Version

is a leading source for news, information and resources for the Connected Generation. Mashable reports on the importance of digital innovation and how it empowers and inspires people around the world. Mashable's record 34 million unique visitors worldwide and 15 million social media followers are one of the most influential and engaged online communities. Founded in 2005, Mashable is headquartered in New York City with an office in San Francisco.

Flickr's Spiering Departs for Berlin Start-up EyeEm - Digits - WSJ

Mr. Spiering’s last day at Flickr was Monday, he told Digits. He said he was drawn to the company by “EyeEm’s great ambition, the technology behind the product and the possibility of a great expansion in the U.S.” He’ll remain based in the U.S.

Just Eat Joins Parade of London Tech IPOs, with £1.5-Billion Market Cap - Digits - WSJ

Online restaurant-delivery company Just Eat said Thursday it priced its initial public offering at 260 pence a share, giving it a market capitalization of £1.47 billion ($2.44 billion.)

Mario Kart 8 Video Preview

We recently took Mario Kart 8 for a spin, and we found the series' first entry on Wii U to be solid, speedy and beautiful. In addition to its gravity-defying mechanics – which we sampled at E3 last year – we got to try out plenty of new racers, power-ups and 16 different tracks, including 8 retro tracks pulled from previous Mario Kart games. Get the lowdown in our video preview, and find a list of the returning retro tracks we played after the break. Mario Kart 8 (4/2/14) Moo Moo Meadows (Wii) Mario Circuit (GBA) Cheep Cheep Beach (DS) Toad's Turnpike (N64) Dry Dry Desert (GameCube) Donut Plains 3 (SNES) Royal Raceway (N64) DK Jungle (3DS)

37 Rural internet users hope for faster access after $34m satellite boost

The National Broadband Network's $351m satellite service was launched by the former Labor government as a temporary measure before two new satellites are launched in 2015 to provide quality internet access to remote areas – about 3% of the population – that will not be covered by fibre-to-the-home, fibre-to-the-node, copper, or coaxial cables.

Microsoft Offers Windows Phone 'For Free' To Lower Manufacturer's Costs and Increase Market Share

Let’s start with that phrase, because it’s about to get sliced and diced, it’s about to have a bundle of caveats,and  it’s not going to mean the bill of materials lie that says software will actually read $0.00. But that statement, coming out of Microsoft’s Build 2014 conference, is not only a clear in its intention, but it is also being repeated loudly around the tech reporting circles .

Barrett Brown Signs Plea Deal in Case Involving Stratfor Hack | Threat Level | WIRED

Barrett Brown, whose case became a cause célèbre after he was charged with crimes related to the Stratfor hack, has agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors, according to court filings.

Why You Should Google Yourself And Not Feel Guilty About It

The Most Exciting New Features of the Latest Windows Phone OS | Gadget Lab | WIRED

Microsoft VPs announced a slew of new features for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 at its annual BUILD developer conference Wednesday. The updates promise to make the experience of using both OSes — particularly Windows Phone — more personalized, more efficient, and more intelligent. Here are some of the highlights.

Streaming Hub Showdown: Amazon Fire TV vs. Roku

Powered by a Qualcomm quad-core processor and a dedicated GPU, the Fire TV is primed for big-time Android gaming. Amazon also offers a $40 gaming controller that looks a lot like the Xbox One  controller. Roku's remote is more basic than Amazon's game controller, but it does include motion control, for Wii-like controls. Amazon already has Roku beat on game selection, though, boasting over 100 supported Android games. Roku's got a pretty large selection of games, but they range from popular titles like Angry Birds to basic titles like Tic Tac Toe, and they're typically not as full featured as Android titles. More than the Roku, Apple TV, or Chromecast, the Fire TV will present an accessible way to get your Android games onto your big HDTV screens.

Tech Elite Roll With HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ Punches - Digits - WSJ

Television critics are already warming to “Silicon Valley,” the comedy mini-series premiering on HBO this Sunday. But the show’s toughest critics are likely to come from Silicon Valley itself.

Fort Hood Shooter Identified as Specialist Ivan A. Lopez, 34, of Puerto Rico

Specialist Lopez reportedly walked into the building just before 5 p.m. CT on Wednesday and opened fire. He then hopped into a vehicle, drove a short distance to another building, entered it, and again opened fire. He was confronted by a female MP in a parking lot and then shot himself in the head.

Apple announces WWDC 2014 scheduled from June 2 – 6; tickets go on sale now through April 7

Tickets will go on sale now through April 7 at 7:00 am PDT, and tickets will be issued to attendees through random selection. Developers can apply for WWDC tickets here. Apple will inform developers the status on Monday 7:00 am PDT. They’ll be available for $1599. The tickets are restricted to paid members of the iOS Developer Program, iOS Developer Enterprise Program, or Mac Developer Program.

Yahoo Is Finally Encrypting the Bulk of Its Data

We were thrilled to hear today that Yahoo is carrying through a concerted effort to protect users across its sites and services by rolling out routine encryption in several parts of its infrastructure. The company's statement announced that, among other things, it now encrypts traffic between its data centers, makes secure HTTPS connections the default for some web sites, and has turned on encryption for mail delivery between Yahoo Mail and other email services that support it (like Gmail).

Can better encryption from Yahoo and others stop the NSA?

If Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, and the others lock down enough of those back doors, will they be able to prevent the spying we’ve all become so fed up with? Security experts will tell you that Yahoo’s long-overdue move is a step in the right direction – end-to-end encryption, to prevent confidential data from being casually spied upon. Especially the “forward secrecy” Yahoo said it’s turning on, which should add an extra level of security.

Stop Accumulating Stuff And Start Accumulating Experiences

Step three is the best bit. It's a game I think of as the Brewster's Millions game. It's inspired by the 1902 novel and the 1985 movie, where Brewster has to spend $30 million in a month, and have nothing material to show for it at the end. To play properly, you don't have to spend the full $30 million, but you do have to spend the same amount you would normally spend in a month, and still have nothing physical at the end.

49 See A Classic "Painting" That's Actually A Spellbinding CGI Masterpiece

"This was my first time re-creating a painting, and the cause is a bit sentimental," Farkas tells us. It started as a challenge from his wife. She dared Farkas to make a full 3-D version of a classic painting they'd seen in a booklet on holiday, and the Hungarian artist decided on using Gyula's painting, which depicts Budapest's recapture as Ottoman forces invade. After analyzing the painting and figuring out the character positions in the 3-D space, he had to create digital models for every person, animal, and object that appears in the image. By the time he finished texturing and planar projection, the image required 8.5 million polygons to support it.

Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich steps down after controversy over gay marriage views - The Next Web

Mozilla has announced that its CEO Brendan Eich has resigned in the wake of a controversy surrounding his prior support of an anti-gay marriage law.

51 Vine Releases a Direct Messaging Feature
52 Child of Light rhymes fairy tale charms with JRPG arms
53 ‘Bounty Hunter’ Earns Record Payout from Facebook - Digits - WSJ
54 Microsoft polishes up Azure portal for real people who happen to be developers
55 Imgur: From Reddit ‘Gift’ to $40 Million in Venture Capital - Digits - WSJ
56 Singing a new tune? PC maker Acer taps a former entertainment executive as its CFO - Digits - WSJ
57 Popcorn Time Is Far From Gone
58 Meet The USC Journalism Professor Leading A Course On Google Glass
59 Amazon's Fire TV Also Takes On Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft - Digits - WSJ
60 VKontakte CEO Pavel Durov un-resigns
61 Elon Musk Goes Off On New HBO Show 'Silicon Valley' — The Guy Who Wrote It Has Probably Never Even Gone To Burning Man
62 Samsung Tweaks How It Calculates Marketing Costs - Digits - WSJ
63 Google is testing an army of new features for Gmail | Android |
64 Harnessing the Power of Hashtags to Tackle Climate Change - Digits - WSJ
65 Dropbox Promotes Sujay Jaswa to Financial Chief Ahead of IPO - Digits - WSJ
66 Why I Built
67 Don’t Be Alarmed When Google Trades Around $560 - Digits - WSJ
68 Turkey Reportedly Unblocks Twitter Following Court Ruling
69 The Crazy Things Delta Does to Cancel Fewer Flights Than Any Airline
70 IFTTT Arrives On The iPad
71 With Opower's IPO, founders show meaningful tech can pay off
72 Boundary raises $22M to watch all your apps and infrastructure
73 Microsoft debuts developer preview of mysterious 'Project N' - CNET
74 What Keeps European Data Managers Up at Night? Regulation - Digits - WSJ
75 How to not get ripped off by High Frequency Traders
76 Tech Meets Hollywood at Premiere of HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ - Digits - WSJ
77 Kids are Heroes - Kids are making a difference in this world
78 40 Financial Things You Should Know By 40
79 CRM and Cloud Computing To Grow Your Business -
80 Why giving away our wealth has been the most satisfying thing we've done
81 OperationSAFE is on JustCoz!
82 The 72 Worst Internet Sayings, Ranked
83 Planets³
84 Jeopardy Contestant Tells Trebek He's Wearing 'Fancy Suit' Made By Children
86 'She Was More Concerned About Her Phone Than Getting Out Of The Drain'
87 NASA Space Assets Detect Ocean inside Saturn Moon - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
88 A Wildly High Percentage Of Tesla Drivers Read The Drudge Report While Behind The Wheel
89 Amazon Fire TV users going to porn site? - CNET
90 So You Think You're Smarter Than A CIA Agent
91 Paid App Market Is Shrinking With Stunning Speed
92 The TheTechNewsBlog Daily
93 Apple iPad review
94 WATCH: Huge Repertoire Of Facial Expressions Revealed In Controversial New Study
95 This Clever Radar Detector Is Like Siri for Dodging Cops | Gadget Lab | WIRED
96 NASA must immediately cease contact with Russia [Updated at 19:30 CDT]
97 Driven: how Zipcar's founders built and lost a car-sharing empire