whats known and unknown

Digital bookstore Emily Books launches iOS subscription app for ebooks


Emily Books, the independent ebookstore and publisher cofounded by writer and former Gawker editor Emily Gould, has offered readers a subscription model since its launch in 2011: One ebook a month, for $13.99 a month or $159.99 a year. Now the company is taking that model to iOS (s AAPL), with a new reading app that also allows subscriptions.

Emily Books largely focuses on “transgressive memoir and fiction,” usually written by women, that has never been published in digital format before. Titles include the little-known Muriel Sparks novel Loitering with Intent and Meghan Daum’s essay collection My Misspent Youth.

The app, “Emily Books Reader,” was built by 29th Street Publishing, a New York-based startup that has also built iOS magazines for publications like Serious Eats and The Awl. (Gould is also the editorial director at 29th Street.)

emily books reader

Each issue of “Emily Books Reader” includes the month’s…

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With the iPhone’s help, Verizon dominates summer smartphone sales


More than one out of every three smartphones sold in the U.S. this summer was activated on Verizon Wireless’s(s vz)(s vod) network, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech’s latest consumer survey numbers. Verizon’s share of the smartphone market jumped from 30.2 percent in the summer of 2012 to 37.1 percent in the three-month period ending in August.

Kantar Summer 2013 smartphones by carrier

What’s most interesting is what accounted for that growth: the iPhone(s aapl). AT&T(s t) has long been the undisputed king of iPhone sales in the U.S., but more and more customers are bringing their iOS devices to Verizon’s network. According to Kantar, the iPhone accounted for 44.6 percent of its smartphone sales this summer up from 35.9 percent last year. Verizon was probably helped by the fact this was the first summer an iPhone supported its LTE network as well as the first year all three commercially available generations of the iPhone worked…

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Samsung invests $4M in wireless charging company PowerbyProxi


PowerbyProxi, a wireless charging technology company, received $4 million in funding from the Samsung Ventures Investment Corporation on Monday, hopefully bringing the world closer to a single wireless charging standard. Samsung and PowerbyProxi are members of the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) which backs the Qi charging standard.

Powerby Proxi is an active member of the WPC; Tony Francesca, the company’s VP of Business Development, Consumer Technologies heads up a WPC task force “designed to define a wireless power resonant extension to the Qi specification.” The goal is to allow multi-device charging and add spacial freedom to chargers and the devices that use them.

Samsung also backs the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) which formed last year, but its phones that support wireless charging currently use the Qi standard of the WPC. Qualcomm(s qcom) is founding member of the A4WP yet joined the WPC last week. Why? According to The Register, Qualcomm hopes…

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Microsoft Windows Azure snags FedRAMP approval for government cloud work


Microsoft Windows Azure now may find it easier to win government cloud contracts with its newly minted FedRAMP approval Susie Adams, CTO of Microsoft Federal in a blog post Monday morning wrote — in perfect government-speak — that Microsoft:

“received notice that Windows Azure was granted the FedRAMP Joint Authorization Board (JAB) Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO). Windows Azure is the first public cloud platform, with infrastructure services and platform services, to receive a JAB P-ATO.”

Nearly every cloud provider worth its salt is scrambling to attain the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program accreditation because it will soon become mandatory for any company wanting to provide cloud services to the U.S. government which is into year six of its “cloud first”initiative to streamline IT operations and increase efficiency.

While Microsoft claims to be the first public cloud platform, with infrastructure services and platform services, to receive the specific JAB P-ATO, but…

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Hey look, Google Fiber is going to go live in Provo in October


The energy that Google has harnessed around its fiber effort now extends to locals making cute commercials about the coming service, with residents of Provo, Utah pulling this little skit together — comparing Google Fiber to a fire hose and a sad, middle-aged man trying to fill his pool with a garden hose to represent existing broadband providers. The video also suggests that Google plans to start offering service in October (the mayor’s comments below the video indicate mid-month.)

The video, which was published by Provo’s mayor last week, is a great example of Google’s ability to inspire locals and city officials to trumpet the coming of the service and help market it. Google announced that it was buying the existing Provo fiber network for $1 and building out its service there back in April.

The commercial exemplifies two things; one is that Google has got this social engineering

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Cloudera now supports Accumulo, the NSA’s take on HBase


Cloudera will be integrating with the Apache Accumulo database and, according to a press release, “devoting significant internal engineering resources to speed Accumulo’s development.” The National Security Agency created Accumulo and built in fine-grained authentication to ensure only authorized individuals could see ay given piece of data. Cloudera’s support could be bittersweet for Sqrrl, an Accumulo startup comprised of former NSA engineers and intelligence experts, which should benefit from a bigger ecosystem but whose sales might suffer if Accumulo makes its way into Cloudera’s Hadoop distribution.

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Sensorly adds mobile speed data to crowdsourced coverage map app


Sensorly, the French platform for crowdsourcing cellular and Wi-Fi coverage maps, has updated its app to also show users what sort of speed they should be expecting.

The service, which offers 300 maps across 50 countries, has actually allowed users to test and upload the mobile broadband speeds they receive for a while, but this is the first time that it’s feeding that data back to members of the community so they can see what performance carriers generally offer in a given area. Rivals for this kind of service include RootMetrics and OpenSignal.

Sensorly speed testSensorly’s updated Android(s goog) app is out on Monday (the app has seen over 600,000 installs, half in the U.S.) and a new version of its iOS(s aapl) app will follow later this week. However, as CEO Boris Lacroix told me, iOS users still won’t be able to contribute to Sensorly’s coverage maps due to…

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To earn a degree, more students ‘swirl’ through multiple offline and online programs


À la carte education is taking off. Society tends to assume that a direct route to a college degree is the norm, but the Chronicle of Higher Education reports that about half of students enrolled in college today opt for a nonlinear path. Instead of spending four years at a single school, students increasingly “swirl” through multiple institutions, internships and new online learning courses. But, as the Chronicle points out, students who take nonlinear paths still need more support and credentialing options.

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Cable shopping channel QVC launches toGather, a Pinterest-like social network


The web is already full of services that combine commerce and social networking, most notably Facebook (s FB) and Pinterest. But that isn’t stopping cable shopping channel QVC from launching a social network of its very own.

After a summer of testing with beta users, the company on Monday officially launched toGather, a Pinterest-like social network for QVC shoppers.

The launch comes about nine months after QVC acquired Oodle, an online classifieds site that ultimately powered the Facebook Marketplace, to boost its profile in social commerce.

“One thing that always impressed me about QVC is that they really excel in shopping as entertainment,” said Craig Donato, the former CEO of Oodle who is now the VP of social at QVC. “QVC on television is this inherently social experience… Now the web has evolved and there’s a real opportunity for QVC to reinvent what it does for online.”


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Steve Case’s Revolution Ventures raises $200M and joins the Revolution family


Revolution, the investment firm behind the $450 million Revolution Growth Fund which has made investments in LivingSocial and Revolution Money, now has raised $200 million for an early stage venture fund. Revolution Ventures will be headquartered in Washington DC and the press release makes a huge deal about it investing outside Silicon Valley. However, its only other office is in San Francisco. Revolution’s previous early stage investments, RunKeeper, BenchPrep, HomeSnap and Booker Software will be rolled into this fund.

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Meet A.I. Watch: A $279 wearable Android phone for your wrist


Another smartwatch project is trying to get funded on Indiegogo and this time it’s hoping a blend of Android(s goog) and a dash of Windows Phone(s msft) are what people want. The A.I. Watch is looking to raise $100,000 by November 9, with backers of $179 or more getting a full Android phone on their wrist for $100 under the expected retail price.

ai watch call me

The device runs on Android 4.0.4, but it’s hard not to see the nod to Microsoft’s mobile platform as well: The main home screen looks just like Windows Phone, complete with rows of different sized tiles:

ai watch overview

It’s also easy to see that the A.I. Watch is filled with features and radios: It can be a used as a standalone speakerphone thanks to the micro SIM support. The device runs on an unspecified dual-core processor and has access to the Google Play store for apps. I’m not…

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This bit goes there: VW and Metaio show off what AR can do for car service technicians


The German augmented reality company Metaio has had a few high-profile demonstrations of its technology recently, notably Ikea’s new catalog app, which lets you superimpose furniture over a view of your living room.

Well, here’s another one. Following hot on the heels of Audi’s new Metaio-enabled car manual app, here’s a demo of Mobile Augmented Reality Technical Assistance (MARTA), an app that’s designed to help service technicians muck about with Volkswagen’s new 2014 XL1 concept car:

As you can see, MARTA shows technicians what each component is, while displaying 3D animations that demonstrate maintenance instructions. All XL1 service stations across Europe will use it.

I love this stuff, mainly because I was getting a bit worried that augmented reality (AR) was doomed to be little more than a marketing gimmick – think magazine ads that “come to life” when (for reasons unknown) you wave your phone over them…

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Texas messes with Apple’s effort to protect app makers from notorious patent troll


It’s been another dark month for America’s troubled patent system. The latest news relates to Lodsys, the shell company which claims to own “in-app purchasing,” and which has been putting the screws to app makers for a share of their revenue.

Lodsys has already sued or threatened hundreds (and likely thousands) of app makers. The situation is serious enough that Apple(s appl), warning that 6 million iOS developers are at risk, asked a Texas judge in 2011 to let it participate in a trial where Lodsys is suing the app makers.

Apple says it can join in because it already bought a license for the same patents from Intellectual Ventures, the mother-troll that gave the patents to Lodsys. In Apple’s view, its license should shield the small app developers.

Unfortunately, Apple has just been booted out of court. As Ars Technica explains, the federal judge overseeing the Texas…

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Google Glass just picked paint colors for me, thanks to the Color Snap app


Sherwin-Williams brought its ColorSnap software to Google Glass(s goog) on Monday, letting Glass users snap a picture for color inspiration. The software, developed by Resource, quickly matches paint colors with colors from a picture using Google’s wearable computer. How quickly? I tested it out and got solid color recommendations of Sherwin-Williams paint in under 30 seconds. I also got directions to my nearest Sherwin-Williams store.

Here’s a video demonstration of how ColorSnap Glass works in theory:

In practice it works as advertised. I added the app to Google Glass through the Sherwin-Williams website and then snapped a picture of my Google+ background image; it’s a shot of our land before we built our first house in the 1970s. I always liked the colors of the field.

Here’s the original image followed by the paint palette recommended by the Color Snap Glass app.

NJ field

Color Snap Glass

I think the app did a…

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Hey fellas: This startup wants you to monitor your fertility, too


In the past year or so, several new startups have targeted women with apps and other digital tools that promise a better chance at conceiving. But a Livermore, Calif. startup wants to tackle the other side of the equation: men.

That’s because while women are primarily responsible for carrying and delivering children, when it comes to conceiving, male-related issues are the root of infertility problems 40 percent of the time.

“It’s a nascent market, but we think there’s a lot of pent-up demand to help give some feedback on the male side,” said Greg Sommer, CEO and co-founder of Sandstone Diagnostics.

Bringing biodefense-related diagnostic technology to consumers

Before launching about a year ago, Sommer and his co-founder worked at Sandia National Laboratories, where they developed instruments that would enable first responders to rapidly detect toxins, radiation or other biological agents for defense needs. Along the way, they realized that…

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Game streaming website Twitch secures $20M Series C funding


If you don’t know it already, live broadcasting video games has become a lucrative venture for Twitch. Bolstered by the rise of eSports and a Youtube-minded generation of gamers eager to hold live broadcasts while playing their favorite games, the website entertains more than 45 million unique visitors per month. That demand has no doubt fueled the company’s successful $20 million Series C round, led by Thrive Capital.

This latest round follows a $15 million Series B in 2012, led by Bessemer Venture Partners. In just a year’s time, the company has seen a viewership boom, doubling last year’s traffic of 20 million monthly uniques. The money will go towards scaling the company’s sales division and infrastructure to cope with new users.

“Gamers today have a healthy appetite for both producing and consuming live video game content, so it’s vital that we’re not only keeping pace with them, but staying…

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You are the interface: Interacting with our new, connected environments


During the great Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, a seismic event that killed a quarter of a million people, a community of “primitive” individuals was able to preserve their culture and lives in the face of supreme devastation. Given the location of their encampments along the islands west of Burma, the Moken people, by all stretches of logic, should have been obliterated during the tsunami, but their casualties were minimal.

mobilize-2013-essayIn determining how a community void of modern technology could have survived such a devastating event, anthropologists concluded that the Moken’s relationship with their environment, through various audible and visual cues, provided them with a keen understanding of the impending danger and led them to take action that saved their lives. In the hours leading up to the tsunami, the Moken noticed that the normally incessant cicadas on land had gone silent, and that normally reclusive crabs and lobsters…

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Analytics for ERP: the benefits of big data in the cloud


Traditional ERP systems were designed to support in-house, vertically integrated processes and supply chains that rarely changed. The analytics that supported those systems were equally stubborn. Modern logistics are far more fluid, and partners, suppliers and customers demand personalized service. Moving ERP to the cloud can bring flexibility to your back office. Cloud-based analytics can add real-time decision support that allows you convert flexibility into efficiency, shortening production cycles, adapting to disruptions, and responding to customer demand before the customer even asks.

In this webinar, our panel will discuss these topics:

  • How have machine-generated data and other emerging data inputs strained existing ERP systems and analytics?
  • How have shorter production cycles and the supply chains that support them affected traditional ERP systems?
  • Which ERP applications will see the most benefit from the cloud?
  • What efficiencies can businesses realistically expect from cloud-based analytics?
  • How can businesses transition to the cloud…

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Taking on Twitter, Facebook will send TV networks more data


Facebook (s FB) is going to start sharing weekly data reports with ABC (s DIS), NBC (s GE), Fox (s NWS) and CBS (s CBS). The Wall Street Journal‘s Digits notes that the reports will include how many likes, comments and shares TV episodes get on the social network. They will also include some data from private posts:

“The new television data report will tally all posts, including private ones, but Facebook says the data is collected anonymously and will only be shown in aggregate to protect users’ privacy.

The new Facebook reports are fairly limited. They show, for example, that a recent episode of ABC’s ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ generated more than 1 million interactions from some 750 thousand people.”

The move is seen in part as an attempt to compete with Twitter, which has actively wooed TV networks with data on tweets about their shows. As my…

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iPhone 5s in-store pickup option returns to Apple’s online store


Apple(s aapl) introduced the option to purchase an iPhone 5s with in-store pickup through its online store last Monday, only to pull the function a day later. It appears to be working again now, though in-store pickup availability is still extremely limited.

Apple lists online shipping dates for all iPhone 5s models for some point in October. A quick search around New York City showed a 16GB space gray Verizon(s vz)(s vod) model of the phone available from Apple’s flagship Fifth Avenue store. But gold iPhones are still nowhere to be found, at least within the tri-state area.

iPhone 5s pickup availability

Still, this could be a sign that Apple’s iPhone 5s supply is beginning to catch up to demand. But if you still can’t find the model of the phone you want directly from Apple, here’s a list of other places you can try in the meantime.

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