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Petr Mitrichev first repeat winner of Facebook Hacker Cup

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Mar 26, 2013 1:31 am

Facebook's Hacker Cup is a contest in which programmers from around the world are given tasks that they must program solutions to. The third annual Hacker Cup championship took place over the weekend at Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters. This year's winner is the same as 2011's: Petr Mitrichev.

 

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Mitrichev represents the first repeat winner of Facebook's Hacker Cup, though it's only been held for three years. Petr Mitrichev hails from Russia, though other countries were also represented at the finals. Contenders came from Australia, Belarus, China, France, Germany, Poland, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, and Ukraine.

 

Mitrichev was awarded first place and $10,000. Second and third place were given to Jakub Pachocki and Marcin Smulewicz, who both hail from Poland. Now the question remains: why wasn't the United States represented in this competition?

Google updates Maps with 100 more ski resorts across US and Canada

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Mar 26, 2013 1:02 am

Just like Google's update last month, Google has added an additional 100 ski resort maps to Google Maps. These trail maps can help ski and snowboard enthusiasts prepare for a trip to the mountain and scout the terrain and ways down the mountain before heading off to some distant ski resort.

 

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The trails are represented by green, blue, and black lines, with the color corresponding to the difficulty ratings traditionally used by ski resorts. Lifts are represented by dotted red lines.

 

This latest update includes Mt. Hood Meadows, Timberline Lodge, and Hunter Mountain. All 100 of the newly added resort maps are for mountains in the United States and Canada. Europe has been largely left out of these updates, aside from when ski resort maps were first introduced. Google Maps has maps for about 225 different resorts around the world.

Google adds support for Gifs as Google+ profile pictures

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Mar 26, 2013 12:37 am

Google is taking a page out of Facebook's book and is pushing images as a main part of Google+. As part of this initiative, Google has added support for Gifs to be used as Google+ profile pictures. Interestingly enough, Twitter dropped support for Gifs last September. It'll be interesting to see if they reverse their decision.

 

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Animated Gifs will be supported on both the desktop and mobile versions of Google+. As Matt Steiner, the person who first posted that Gifs are now supported, said, "[it is] like newspapers in Harry Potter." We imagine some creative people will make use of this to do some funny and interesting things, much like people did with Facebook cover photos when they were first introduced.

T-Mobile confirmed to be talking iPhone at tomorrow's Uncarrier event

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Mar 26, 2013 12:07 am

It's about time that T-Mobile got a legitimate iPhone. Currently, T-Mobile only has AT&T iPhones that have been unlocked. CNET has confirmed that T-Mobile will be talking iPhone at tomorrow's Uncarrier event. Tomorrow's Uncarrier event will be used to talk up the changes that T-Mobile are undergoing as they move towards a more European model.

 

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T-Mobile is ditching the whole two-year contract model. Along with that, T-Mobile is doing away with phone subsidies, though they are replacing subsidies with a similar option of paying a down-payment and then a monthly payment until the device is paid in full.

 

We expect T-Mobile to launch its 4G LTE network tomorrow with the iPhone 5 being the showcase device for the new network. We'll bring more T-Mobile news tomorrow as the Uncarrier event unfolds.

Apple offers free next-day shipping on all iPhones in the US

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Mar 25, 2013 11:32 pm

If you're thinking about getting an iPhone for Easter, now is probably the time. Apple is offering up free next-day shipping on all iPhone models in the United States. It's not clear whether this is a promotion for the upcoming holiday or something else, but it does appear to be a limited time only thing.

 

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Apple is likely doing this for the Easter holiday as Apple is known to run promotions around holidays. It could also be a response to Samsung's Galaxy S4 or other competitors' devices that are scheduled to start shipping soon (read: HTC One). Customers will be limited to purchasing just two iPhones with next-day shipping.

Facebook takes away desktop access to the site for its employees, wants to focus on mobile

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Mar 25, 2013 11:02 pm

Facebook is continuing to push its mobile-first approach as more and more users become mobile-only users. As means to this end, Facebook blocked desktop access to the social networking site for its employees. This forced them to use the mobile apps and figure out what's wrong with them.

 

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Facebook Product Manager Josh Williams:

To be honest, a couple of weeks ago, myself and a number of other product managers had access to our website internally shut off. Basically it forced us to use only mobile devices for a week ... It forced us to say, 'Hey, we have these features that exist in one place but not in another, and we have to remedy.'

 

Facebook has previously forced its employees to switch from their iPhones over to Android devices to encourage development of the Android app. At the time, the Android app was far behind the iOS app in terms of performance, design, and overall functionality. This apparently worked well because the Android app of today is much better than it used to be.

HTC ditching 'Quietly Brilliant' tagline, looking to be bolder with marketing

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Mar 25, 2013 10:32 pm

HTC has a lot riding on the HTC One. This device will make or break the "Quietly Brilliant" company. HTC Chief Marketing Officer Benjamin Ho wants to make sure that the HTC One makes the company. That's why HTC is retiring their "Quietly Brilliant" tagline and will be taking a more aggressive approach to advertising.

 

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"We have a lot of innovations but we haven't been loud enough," Mr. Ho said. We've already seen some of HTC's more agressive marketing. Outside the Galaxy S4 launch event, HTC employees demoed the new One device. They directly attacked the Galaxy S4 with the Twitter hashtag #theNextBigFlop.

 

We'll keep an eye on HTC to see if the new marketing strategy pays off. HTC really needs to come up with some great ads to help sell their devices. Making a great device doesn't hurt either.

Facebook rolling out threaded comments and replies for Pages

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Mar 25, 2013 10:01 pm

Facebook is updating its commenting system with threaded comments and replies, a technology that has existed around the web for sometime. Reddit comes to mind as a site that has focused on threaded comments and replies. The new feature will roll out to Facebook Pages starting today.

 

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This new commenting feature will allow users to more easily interact with Facebook pages and keep conversations more organized. Comments, and their subsequent replies, will be organized according to relevance to viewers. It will base relevance off of positive feedback, connections, and negative feedback.

 

Pages with more than 10,000 followers, such as ours, are said to have the feature automatically turned on. Other Page owners are able to opt-in to the update by heading to the Manage Permissions section of the admin panel. All pages will be forced into the new commenting system on July 10, 2013. Check it out and let us know what you think of the changes.

Google's LTE-enabled Chromebook Pixel shipping by April 8

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Laptops | Posted: Mar 25, 2013 9:32 pm

Google's somewhat overpriced Chromebook Pixel comes in two varieties: with or without LTE. The differences between the two models are small. The more expensive Pixel, which features LTE, comes with an LTE radio and 64GB of local storage. The cheaper variety is stuck on Wi-Fi and comes with just 32GB of local storage.

 

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For $1,449 and a delay in shipping, users get access to Verizon's LTE network. Included in the price is 100MB of data per month for two years. The additional access comes at an additional price, which we've listed below:

 

  • $9.99 - an unlimited day pass
  • $20 - 1 GB good for one month
  • $35 - 3 GB good for one month
  • $50 - 5 GB good for one month

 

The unlimited $10 per day pass will likely be the best for users like myself. The only time I would need access and not have Wi-Fi would be at tradeshows or traveling to tradeshows. During those tradeshows, I'd likely be using lots of data and would easily blow through a 5GB cap.

 

If you're already a Verizon customer with a Share Everything plan, you can add the Pixel as an additional device for just $10 per month.

Spotify launches ad campaign, looks to gain wider use

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Mar 25, 2013 9:02 pm

Streaming music provider Spotify is looking to move into the mainstream with a new series of TV advertisements. The first campaign kicks off with a spot during NBC's "The Voice." This particular advertisement will feature complementary Wed and social media components to increase engagement.

 

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This advertising campaign likely comes as a result of, at least partly, complaints by major music label executives that Spotify hasn't done enough to expand in the US market. In December, Spotify announced that they have one million paying subscribers in the US. It's worth noting they've only been in the US for a year and a half.

Continue reading 'Spotify launches ad campaign, looks to gain wider use' (full post)

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