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Best Buy announces its founder and chairman will step down next month

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 15, 2012 3:08 am

Best Buy has announced that its founder Richard Schulze will step down as chairman of the company, following the company's annual shareholder meeting to be held on June 21. Schulze is set to be replaced by Hatim Tyabji, the current chair of the audit committee and chairmand and CEO of Bytemobile.

 

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A statement released today, Tyabji said that the story of Best Buy is a remarkable American success story and that Schulze's leadership and vision helped to change the landscape of American retail. But, Schulze's reputation could be hit, following an investigation of former CEO Brian Dunn. A story from CNET, says that Best Buy hired law firm WilmerHale to investigate the conduct of Dunn.

 

The investigation found that Dunn had an "extremely close" relationship with a female employee that negatively affected the work environment. This relationship between Dunn and the employee demonstrated poor judgment and a lack of professionalism but the report concluded that he didn't misuse any company resources. Dunn resigned as CEO only last month. The problem here is that Schulze found out about the incident back in December of last year, but failed to inform the board members.

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Groupon posts its first quarterly profit

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 15, 2012 2:31 am

The world's largest daily deals company, if you didn't already know, is Groupon. The company has proudly posted their first quarterly profit, where they reined in marketing spending while signing up more customers and merchants, with these effects driving up stock 12.5-percent higher.

 

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Groupon now sports more than 36.9 million active customers, and has passed 100,000 merchants served in the first quarter. Groupon's after-hours rally to roughly $13.21 followed a big gain of more than 18-percent in regular trading on Nasdaq, the company's largest single-day gain since they went public in November.

 

Analysts have said short-sellers scrambled to cover their positions, anticipating better-than-expected results after the bell. But, the good news does come at a price. Groupon has lost more than half its market value this year, with concerns of waning demand for its daily deals, as well as the company's accounting troubles. Revenue sits at $559.3 million, compared to $295.5 million in the first quarter of 2011. So we can see year-over-year revenue is up considerably.

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Max Payne 3 is receiving some great reviews, if you didn't want to play it before, you'll want to now

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: May 15, 2012 1:32 am

One of my favorite series ever is Max Payne, and the third outing, this time by Rockstar, is nearly here. The game releases later this week on the consoles, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, with the PC release slated for two weeks from now.

 

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Whilst that's bad news for PC gamers, the game itself seems to be getting quite positive reviews. Ranging from 90- to 100-percent. There's a few niggly reviews where they've reviewed them at lower scores, but the positive reviews far outweigh the negative ones. G4TV smashes out of the gate with a 5/5 review, so I'm guessing they loved it.

 

G4TV's final words:

 

Max Payne 3 is a technological tour de force that will have you screaming "Dear lord!" more times than midnight mass. The performances are top notch, the action plays out with unrivaled fluidity, and the multiplayer is deep and rewarding. Silly distractions aside, Max Payne 3 is an action lover's wet dream that also happens to employ some of the slickest direction and transitional trickery this side of a David Fincher box set. Lock and load. It's bullet time...time.

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YouTube views falling as time spent increases

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: May 14, 2012 10:32 pm

YouTube is an empire like Google, one that is built on clicks and advertising. However, as of late, clicks have been falling, but YouTube isn't concerned. You see, this is all going perfectly according to plan. YouTube would rather have "engagement" than "views" as it will allow them to garner a more lucrative advertising market.

 

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YouTube has invested $100 million in order to create content channels which should aid in getting users to more engagement and fewer clicks. Incidentally, this type of video, the engaging type, is more appealing to advertisers as users who are engaged are thought to be in a more receptive mind-set for brand advertising.

 

"Our goal is we want users to watch more and click less," said Cristos Goodrow, a former Google search executive who joined YouTube as director of engineering a year ago. "This is better for users because it takes less clicking to get to the video you want to watch." Eli Goodman, media evangelist at ComScore, said, "The effectiveness of advertising is enhanced when someone is in an engaged state."

 

Additionally, YouTube is struggling with when to show a user an ad. Previously, an ad was shown about every 7 minutes. Now, however, they are changing that to an equation that features hundreds of variables. This equation tries to decide when a user is engaged. At that point is when the ad should be shown. However, some people were worried that some people would never see ads. "There were some internal struggles; some people

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Romney uses targeted Google ads to counter Obama's Barnard commencement speech

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: May 14, 2012 9:31 pm

President Obama has used technology to his advantage. Technology most likely won him the election in 2008 as he was able to reach out to the young, hip crowd through this new medium. His opponents, apparently, aren't as far behind as everyone thought as Romney's campaign has bought targeted ads to counter Obama's Barnard Collage commencement address.

 

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People who search Google for "barnard commencement" will end up seeing an ad like above if they live in the New York City. The ad links to Romney's website and is entitled "Obama's Wasteful Spending." The ads are targeted to the zip code where the college is located. This zip code happens to be 10027.

 

The 2012 presidential campaign has seen targeted advertising before, so this is just another example. Previous advertisements have been as narrowly focused as this in that they focused on a single zip code. While I'm not sure just how many people are going to see it, it seems like it could be a good way to take a bit of press away from Obama and the event.

Counting Crows releases album through BitTorrent in advance of a concert tour

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: May 14, 2012 8:34 pm

In a move quite contrary to current trends, Counting Crows has released an album using the BitTorrent protocol to spread the music for free. Both the band and label have approved this new move, which comes in advance of a new concert tour the band is about to embark on. "I don't know why everybody's not doing it," said Counting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz.

 

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Torrents allow musicians to get more exposure. Sure they don't sell as many albums, at least not right away, but they get more exposure and people talking about them. This conversation, in turn, yields higher ticket sales to concerts and events. Once a band starts selling out where they are playing, they often get to move to a bigger arena or charge more for tickets. Either way, they make more money.

 

Of course, it is important to note that P2P BitTorrent traffic is usually illegal as it consists of copyrighted files. As such TweakTown does not condone or encourage this. However, in this instance, it is legal to download Counting Crows' release as they have released it to be free to share. Duritz said: "We're trying to create a business model for a business that hasn't existed yet: Independent bands doing well. For a new band, I highly recommend giving away the whole record."

Facebook Mobile gets an update to better use white space

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: May 14, 2012 7:31 pm

I'm pretty sure Mark Zuckerberg is even more OCD about GUI layout and usage than even Steve Jobs was. The latest example of this is the new update that has been released for mobile users. The update aims to make better use of the limited screen real estate that is often a restriction on mobile design.

 

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Facebook plans to make better use of the real estate by reducing the amount of white space, or blank space. Instead, some of the content will be more densely packed so that more fits onto the screen. Above is a before picture and below is an after. You can clearly see the change in the size of the 4 photos posted.

 

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Starting today, we're rolling out an improved design for posts in news feed on your mobile phone. Now photos are up to 3x larger, and all posts will fill your mobile screen from edge to edge. The new design will be available on iOS, Android and m.facebook.com. Check out some before/after screenshots below.[above]

 

It is likely that if you go to use Facebook Mobile you will immediately see the change. Whether or not you like it, however, is another story. Part of the problem is that there are too many features to pack into a mobile experience. However, it seems as though what Facebook can fix, they will.

Benchmarks point to Verizon's Galaxy S3 having a dual-core processor

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: May 14, 2012 6:32 pm

In a move that is sure to upset some, it appears that Samsung has only included a dual-core processor for the North American version of its Galaxy S III. Now, they haven't come out and said that outright, but benchmarks have surfaced which point to the State-side phone featuring only a dual-core Snapdragon S4.

 

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The site where the benchmark surfaced doesn't clearly state that it is a Snapdragon S4 either, but the evidence is pretty clear and points to the fact that it is. The benchmark entry makes note of the 1.5GHz core clock and the inclusion of the Adreno 225 GPU. The rumors that claim this are certainly gaining some steam with the new benchmarks.

 

Now, while this is only a Verizon phone, I would have to think that the rest of the carrier variants will carry the same Snapdragon S4 processor. This processor is the same as the HTC One X which could cause some people to choose that phone over the S3 since the S3 won't have anymore horsepower than the One X. We can't fully confirm this story until an official launch.

Wireless emergency alert texts set to go live this month on AT&T, Sprint, other carriers

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: May 14, 2012 5:32 pm

It was just a matter of time before the government decided to start blowing up users phones with text messages. At least they aren't campaign text messages, but rather something of a bit more importance. The message in question will be a warning about severe weather warnings in the user's area.

 

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The alerts will be based upon the cell phone's location rather than where it is subscribed. This way, if a user is traveling, he will also get the message and be better aware of upcoming or worrying weather conditions. It's a slightly better method than looking up at the sky like I do. The service is free and actually uses a different method than texting, but it will look like a text when received.

 

Almost every carrier is participating, including AT&T, Cellcom, Cricket, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. Once the system is up and kicking, every single user will be automatically signed up for three types of alerts. Yes, while the system is for weather, the government has demanded use for national emergencies to.

 

The three types of alerts are: presidential alerts for national emergencies, AMBER alerts for missing children, and weather alerts for severe weather. Users can opt out of the AMBER alerts and weather alerts but there is no such luck for opting out of the presidential alerts. Let's hope that these stay being used only for national emergencies.

Kickstarter API bug allowed 70,000 unpublished projects to be visible by public

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: May 14, 2012 4:29 pm

Programming bugs almost always make their way into production code through some inadvertent way. This time it is Kickstarter who has found a flaw in some of its code. This bug allowed access to 70,000 unpublished projects' project description, goal, duration, rewards, video, image, location, category, and user name.

 

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On the Kickstarter Blog, they have made it abundantly clear that no financial data was ever publicly visible. Of the 70,000 "visible" projects, only 48 were viewed, and that includes views by the Kickstarter team trying to verify and patch the bug. The bug had been introduced into the code with the April 24 homepage redesign.

 

The bug was introduced when we launched the API in conjunction with our new homepage on April 24, and was live until it was discovered and fixed on Friday, May 11, at 1:42pm. The bug made accessible the project description, goal, duration, rewards, video, image, location, category, and user name for unlaunched projects. No account or financial data was made accessible.

 

Based on our research, the overwhelming majority of the private API access was by a computer programmer/Wall Street Journal reporter who contacted us. Outside of that person's use, our research shows that a total of 48 unlaunched projects were accessed during the three weeks this bug was live (this number includes a number of views by Kickstarter's developers working on the API itself).

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