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Lytro receives $50 million investment, will put it into VR and video

Lytro is a name that is usually associated with premium cameras, but the company has just secured itself $50 million in funding from GSV Capital, that it will use to push into the worlds of VR and video.

 

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The company will lay off around 25 to 50 of its 130 employees, but it will be acquiring new talent with knowledge in VR and video. With Lytro concentrating, at least before this investment, on tubelike, selective-focus cameras, it would make sense for the company to make a splash in the world of virtual reality, and video.

 

VR video from a company with an eye for detail like Lytro feels like a match made in Heaven, where we could see the real-world captured in stunning 360-degree goodness. Lytro is still working on its third-generation camera for 2016, which the company teases "should be pretty intriguing".

YouTube isn't making money, even with those countless views on videos

Google isn't seeing any profits out of YouTube, according to The Wall Street Journal. The video streaming giant that Google has pushing out billions of views of cat videos, DC Toy Collector unwrapping various toys and chocolates, and more pulled $4 billion of revenues in 2014. This is up from $3 billion in 2013.

 

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YouTube's revenues were up $1 billion last year most likely because of Google introducing premium ads in the form of "Google Preferred". Business Insider reports that YouTube's main problem is that "people generally only watch its videos when they're embedded in other sites", but I don't know if that claim is really what happens out in the real-world.

 

Google now wants people to begin visiting YouTube's homepage in the same fashion that they turn the TV on, expecting to view high-quality content across various channels, again, in the same way they would on TV. This is a big part of the reason it has been signing over big checks to original content creators, in the hopes it will pull over more viewers.

Apple to pay $533 million due to iTunes patent infringements

Apple has just been ordered to pay $532.9 million by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas due to their iTunes service infringing on three different patents owned by Smartflash.

 

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This Texas-based company holds patents "relating to digital rights management, data storage and managing access through payment systems," as reported by Gizmodo. Claiming that they were used without permission, Smartflash first took Apple to court in May 2013 claiming that the tech giant was infringing on their patents related to Apple's song, video and game download services.

 

Apple claimed that these patents are too basic and general to be legally enforced, however US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap and the jury disagree. Smartflash started the claim by asking for $582 million in damages, however the final figure has molded to a slightly-smaller $532.9 million total.

Continue reading 'Apple to pay $533 million due to iTunes patent infringements' (full post)

Woolworths now allowing eBay parcel pickup, Australia Post unfazed

I certainly didn't see this coming - popular online auction service eBay has partnered with the Australian supermarket Woolworths for the power of good, allowing users to pick up their online purchases from a store closest to them.

 

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Announced yesterday, Australian residents in the states of New South Wales and Tasmania can have their precious goods sent to a collection of 90 Woolworths and Big W shopfronts where they can drop in and pick up their orders. eBay isn't looking to stop here, with plans set in place to expand to 250 merchants within the next two months alongside Woolworths claiming to be researching up to 12,000 web retailers for future possible partnerships.

 

Australia Post is reportedly not worried about this partnership, although it is already "facing its first full-year loss in its 30 year history as a statutory business" as reported by iTnews. A spokeswoman has informed media that this company will play "an integral part of the new eBay/Woolworths partnership," adding that "we will still pick up the parcels from the different eBay merchants and deliver the articles as addressed to Woolworths collection sites."

 

Is this a service that you would like to take advantage of? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook or in the comment section below.

Chinese government relying more on home grown hardware, technology

China has turned its back on Cisco, Apple, McAfee, and other major US technology companies, dropping the companies from its approved purchase lists. Instead, Beijing has approved thousands of Chinese-made hardware and software vendors, in an effort to boost the Chinese technology industry.

 

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One-third of foreign tech brands were cut from China's approved list, as domestic brands increased to almost 5,000.

 

"The Snowden incident, it's become a real concern, especially for top leaders," said Tu Xinquan, associate director for the China Institute of WTO Studies at the University of International Business and Economics, in a statement to Reuters. "In some sense the American government has some responsibility for that; (China's) concerns have some legitimacy."

Continue reading 'Chinese government relying more on home grown hardware, technology' (full post)

Apple spending big dollars investing in two new Euro data centres

Ireland and Denmark are in Apple's sights, with the tech giant announcing that we will see an environmentally sustainable data center constructed in each which country - set to cost them €1.7 billion ($1.93 billion US).

 

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These centers will be 166,000 square meters in size each and used for Apple online and cloud services for European customers. These fully renewable energy supplied facilities will be supporting Apple's iTunes, App store, iMessage, Maps and Siri applications.

 

No details have been provided just yet of exactly how this renewable energy will be generated and when asked by iTnews "on the design for power usage efficiency, total rack space capacity and server hardware choice for the data centers" no answer was given.

 

The Danish facility is set for construction in Viborg, Jutland and is located next to one of the largest electric substations. It's worth noting that excess heat produced by this data center will be used as part of the Viborg district central heating system.

Continue reading 'Apple spending big dollars investing in two new Euro data centres' (full post)

The countdown to House of Cards season three begins, 5 days left

Netflix will be unleashing the third season of House of Cards on February 27, but before then, the streaming giant has released a very short teaser, which you can view below.

 

 

The teaser itself shows off some of the familiar characters having a conversation, but what are those conversations about exactly? Then we have the shoes... the damn shoes. Just release it already, Netflix - my binge watching awaits!

Continue reading 'The countdown to House of Cards season three begins, 5 days left' (full post)

US Marshals will auction Ross Ulbricht's 50,000 bitcoin stash

Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht's stash of 50,000 bitcoins will be auctioned by the US Marshals in an auction on March 5. Pre-registered participants will have the chance to place bids during a six-hour window, with the winning bidder contacted on March 6.

 

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The value of bitcoins has decreased from $1,147 in December 2013 down to $238 over the weekend.

 

"This sealed bid auction is set for 50,000 bitcoins separated into two series: Series A (10 blocks of 2,000 bitcoins), and Series B (10 blocks of 3,000 bitcoins," according to a public statement from the US Marshals. "You will not have the opportunity to view other bids. You will not have the opportunity to change your bid once submitted."

Continue reading 'US Marshals will auction Ross Ulbricht's 50,000 bitcoin stash' (full post)

Bitcoins have major potential in Africa, changing banking industry

The bitcoin cryptocurrency is struggling in the United States and other developed nations, but could have a major impact in sub-Saharan Africa. Around 75 percent of the population don't have a traditional bank account, and while more users rely on mobile phones to make transactions, it can be a slow and expensive process.

 

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There were up to $1.8 billion in remittance fees, with a traditional money transfer charging a 12 percent transfer fee. Embracing bitcoins would help speed up the process, so money arrives to the recipient faster, while also being much cheaper.

 

"Bitcoin can greatly alter the remittances industry and beyond," said Michael Kimani, head of the African Digital Currency Association, in a statement to CNN. "From seven days [for a transaction to clear] using banks and PayPal, down to 20 minutes speaks volumes."

Continue reading 'Bitcoins have major potential in Africa, changing banking industry' (full post)

Apple Pay taking over mobile payments as rivals struggle to compete

Since its public launch in October, Apple Pay continues its march towards becoming the mobile payments leader - with consumers testing the service, and more businesses willing to give it a try. Apple Pay now has two-thirds control of the surging mobile payments market, according to the Robert Baird's analyst group.

 

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Whole Foods embraced Apple Pay and mobile payments have increased 400 percent, the company said. Meanwhile, Apple Pay is responsible for 80 percent of mobile payments, with that number rising even higher.

 

"There are still a limited number of vendors that are supporting it, but our expectation is that's going to continue to grow just given the early success the early vendors are having with it," said Will Power, senior research analyst of Robert Baird, told CNBC. "Right now, the Apple iPhone - hard to believe - seven years later or so is as well positioned competitively really as it's ever been."

Continue reading 'Apple Pay taking over mobile payments as rivals struggle to compete' (full post)

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