Microsoft Internet Explorer Pushes Beyond Second Screen To Companion Web

“We’re at a tipping point with connected devices,” a recent blog post from Microsoft Microsoft‘s Internet Explorer team reads. “Every day, 3.6 million mobile devices and tablets are activated worldwide. That’s over five times more than the number of babies born each day!” They’ve got a point, but it is a sad irony for Microsoft that so few of those mobile devices run their software.

But Microsoft has sold more than 70 million Xbox 360s and has a very TV-centric followup, the Xbox One, coming in November. As Forbes.com contributor Tristan Louis points out in today’s post on Smarter TVs, ”the upcoming battle for the living room is a chance to redeem itself and turn its fortune around.” The parody video that Louis refers to shows all of the instances of the words “TV,” “television,” “sports” and “Call of Duty” in the launch announcement. Although the announcement raised the ire of hard core gamers, the emphasis on TV (and perhaps the two things TVs are most used for, watching sports and playing Call of Duty) must have been highly intentional.

Games have been Microsoft’s route into the living room, but that strong association is now an impediment to its more generalized assault of the living room. Non-gamers are probably thinking more about the future AppleApple TV than about the Xbox as their upgrade path to interactive TV. In response to this perception, Microsoft has launched a new program called “Companion Web.” The idea is to facilitate real time interactions between different devices. And because Microsoft has no footprint to speak of in the world of mobile, they are now trying to emerge as a unifying force between iOS and Android.

The problem Microsoft is trying to solve (other than the risk of their own irrelevance) is that “the majority of sites on the web are built for only one device at a time.” The user can search for related information to what they are watching on their TV, for instance, but real time it ain’t. And content owners can make second screen experiences, but they have tended to be operating system (and sometimes even device) specific. Microsoft is after a more generalized solution that does not impose an unmanageable burden on developers.

“Regardless of who makes the device or software that powers the device, the Companion Web enables the internet to bridge the gap between these devices,” the IE blog post reads. “For developers, Companion Web represents an opportunity to reuse code that works across multiple scenarios, enabling greater reach and ways to engage an audience. For consumers, Companion Web means you’ll seamlessly move from one device to the next, interacting with your photos, videos, music, movies, television shows, files, and more.”

Companion Web would seem to be a more generalized version of the Xbox SmartGlass, which also allowed you to interact with your TV via Windows devices and select iOS and Android devices, but only on very specific games and content. The promise of the Companion Web is of a much broader range of experiences that the user could have between devices.

So far, Microsoft has released three such “Companion Web experiences” working with outside developers. I became aware of the program through Luke Wroblewski who has created a version of his Polar app that works in this companion manner with Internet Explorer. As you can see in the video below, Polar uses IE’s snap mode to assign a “sidebar” portion of the screen (in this case a Surface tablet acts a s a proxy for a Windows 8/Xbox One enabled TV) to itself while the user uses the balance of the screen to watch Futurama.

Wroblewski demonstrates the ways that you can find polls with Polar about Futurama and watch the results update in real time while you are watching the show. You can imagine something like this being a lot of fun for big live TV events like the Oscars or the Super Bowl, where the amount of real time activity would be high and seeing how other people are reacting becomes part of the entertainment. Similarly, you can make up your own hashtags for polls in Polar so that the reactions you are monitoring are only a select group of people. Either way, mass or niche, the real time linkage with the content on the big screen really extends the idea of the Polar app by making these interactions available to a room full of people—each potentially interacting with their own mobile devices.

And, important to note (since this is IE, after all, that we are talking about) that this all uses standard open web technology. Specifically, Wroblewski tells me, Companion Web uses web sockets to create the real time connections between devices. He says, “you can make a connection between pretty much any two ‘modern’ Web browsers regardless of device.” One of the other really interesting things about the Polar demonstration is that, as I described in a recent post, it uses a multi-device web page that enables all kinds of input (touch, mouse and keyboard) depending on device. And in the Companion Web experience, all all of these inputs can be used to control the connected screen.

What the other “modern” browsers don’t have that Internet Explorer 10 has is this snap mode. If there was one thing that iOS 7 should have copied from Windows (instead of all that flatness stuff) it would have been snap mode. So these Companion Web experiences will work across virtually all devices (because they use standard web tech) but the Xbox One will retain an advantage of being the only way to uses these “companions” on the screen simultaneously with other activities. And Polar, I think, has shown how this could become a really powerful feature.

The other two Companion Web experiments released so far do not make use of this snap mode feature. DailyBurn, see video below, uses a smartphone or tablet to get real time data related to workouts you view on your TV. This app is clearly trying to appeal to users who may need some constructive excuse to get an Xbox One.

Mix Party, introduced in the (purposely?) obnoxious video below, allows people at a party to create real time, collaborative playlists with their phones. As with Polar, the real time aspect of this is part of the entertainment value. I’m not sure if DailyBurn is intended as a solo experience or if multiple people could monitor their own individual performance of a shared video workout or not, but Mix Party and Polar clearly have real time, fact to face interactions in mind.

What is interesting to me about this strategy is that there are some extra capabilities that Microsoft has built into IE 10/Xbox One (and likely will build more) that will give it an advantage as an app enabled web TV platform, but the apps developers write will also work well on all devices. This strategy of “progressive enhancement” is a comfortable one to developers because it keeps their options open. Allowing for these entropic possibilities is a smart way to get developers on board, which, in turn, could be the means to Microsoft’s resurgence through the big screen.

Intel Aims to “Re-Architect” Datacenters to Meet Demand for New Services

  • Reveals new details of the forthcoming 22nm Intel® Atom™ processors C2000 product family, enabling the company to target a larger portion of the datacenter market.
  • Unveils future roadmap of 14nm datacenter products including a system-on-chip (SoC) that for the first time will incorporate Intel’s next-generation Broadwell architecture to address an even broader range of workloads.
  • Rackspace Hosting* announces that it will deploy a new generation of rack designs as part of its hybrid cloud solutions aligned with Intel’s Rack Scale Architecture vision.

As the massive growth of information technology services places increasing demand on the datacenter, Intel Corporation today outlined its strategy to re-architect the underlying infrastructure, allowing companies and end-users to benefit from an increasingly services-oriented, mobile world.

The company also announced additional details about its next-generation Intel® Atom™ processor C2000 product family (codenamed “Avoton” and “Rangeley”), as well as outlined its roadmap of next-generation 14nm products for 2014 and beyond. This robust pipeline of current and future products and technologies will allow Intel to expand into new segments of the datacenter that look to transition from proprietary designs to more open, standards-based compute models.

“Datacenters are entering a new era of rapid service delivery,” said Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the Datacenter and Connected Systems Group at Intel. “Across network, storage and servers we continue to see significant opportunities for growth. In many cases, it requires a new approach to deliver the scale and efficiency required, and today we are unveiling the near and long-term actions to enable this transformation.”

As more mobile devices connect to the Internet, cloud-based software and applications get smarter by learning from the billions of people and machines using it, thus resulting in a new era of context-rich experiences and services. It also results in a massive amount of network connections and a continuous stream of real-time, unstructured data. New challenges for networks, computing and storage are emerging as the growing volume of data is transported, collected, aggregated and analyzed in datacenters. As a result, datacenters must be more agile and service-driven than ever before, and easier to manage and operate.

The role of information technology has evolved from being a way to reduce costs and increase corporate productivity to becoming the means to deliver new services to businesses and consumers. For example, Disney* recently started providing visitors with wirelessly connected-wristbands to enhance customers’ in-park experience through real-time data analytics. Additionally, a smart traffic safety program from Bocom* in China seeks to identify traffic patterns in a city of ten million people and intelligently offers better routing options for vehicles on the road.

‘Re-Architecting’ Network, Storage and Servers

To help companies prepare for the next generation of datacenters, Intel revealed its plans to virtualize the network, enable smart storage solutions and invest in innovative rack optimized architectures.

Bryant highlighted Intel’s Rack Scale Architecture (RSA), an advanced design that promises to dramatically increase the utilization and flexibility of the datacenter to deliver new services. Rackspace Hosting*, an open cloud company, today announced the deployment of new server racks that is a step toward reaching Intel’s RSA vision, powered by Intel® Xeon® processors and Intel Ethernet controllers with storage accelerated by Intel Solid State Drives. The Rackspace design is the first commercial rack scale implementation.

The networking industry is on the verge of a transition similar to what the server segment experienced years ago. Equipping the network with open, general purpose processing capabilities provides a way to maximize network bandwidth, significantly reduce cost and provide the flexibility to offer new services. For example, with a virtualized software defined network, the time to provision a new service can be reduced to just minutes from two to three weeks with traditional networks. Intel introduced Open Network Platform reference designs to help OEMs build and deploy this new generation of networks.

Data growth is a challenge to all datacenters and transferring this large volume of data for processing within a traditional, rigid storage architecture is costly and time consuming. By implementing intelligent storage technologies and tools, Intel is helping to reduce the amount of data that needs to be stored, and is improving how data is used for new services.

Traditional servers are also evolving. To meet the diverse needs of datacenter operators who deploy everything from compute intensive database applications to consumer facing Web services that benefit from smaller, more energy-efficient processing, Intel outlined its plan to optimize workloads, including customized CPU and SoC configurations.

As part of its strategy, Intel revealed new details for the forthcoming Intel® Atom™ processors C2000 product family aimed for low-energy, high-density microservers and storage (codenamed “Avoton”), and network devices (codenamed “Rangeley”). This second generation of Intel’s 64-bit SoCs is expected to become available later this year and will be based on the company’s 22nm process technology and the innovative Silvermont microarchitecture. It will feature up to eight cores with integrated Ethernet and support for up to 64GB of memory.

The new products are expected to deliver up to four times1,3 the energy efficiency and up to seven times1,2 more performance than the first generation Intel Atom processor-based server SoCs introduced in December last year. Intel has been sampling the new Intel Atom processor server product family to customers since April and has already more than doubled the number of system designs compared to the previous generation.

Roadmap for Expansion

The move to services-oriented datacenters presents considerable opportunities for Intel to expand into new segments. To help bolster the underlying technologies that power much of the next generation of datacenters, Intel outlined its roadmap of next-generation products based on its forthcoming 14nm process technology scheduled for 2014 and beyond. These products are aimed at microservers, storage and network devices and will offer an even broader set of low-power, high-density solutions for their Web-scale applications and services.

The future products include the next generation of Intel Xeon processors E3 family (codenamed “Broadwell”) built for processor and graphic-centric workloads such as online gaming and media transcoding. It also includes the next generation of Intel Atom processor SoCs (codenamed “Denverton”) that will enable even higher density deployments for datacenter operators. Intel also disclosed an addition to its future roadmap – a new SoC designed from the ground up for the datacenter based on Intel’s next-generation Broadwell microarchitecture that follows today’s industry leading Haswell microarchitecture. This SoC will offer higher levels of performance in high density, extreme energy efficient systems that datacenter operators will expect in this increasingly services-oriented, mobile world.

Opera’s State Of The Mobile Web Report: Majority Of Indonesian Opera Mini users migrate to Android

Opera, which is one of the leading providers of web browsers in the world, yesterday (24/7) through the official website has just released its latest infographic reports relating to one of its products namely Opera Mini which states, increasing the number of Opera Mini browser users in Indonesia are turning to the Android platform in mid-May 2012 to May 2013. This report shows the number of Android smartphone users in Indonesia are using the Opera Mini browser on the device.

At least that’s the conclusion of a report released by the Opera releases infographic “State of the Mobile Web Report”. In the report, there are some brief conclusions that can indicate the condition and situation of smartphone users in Indonesia in the use of web browsers – especially in the Opera Mobile web browsing on Android smartphone devices.

In the report mentions, after the number of smartphone users continues to rise in Indonesia, Opera Mini has recorded a growth of 182% of all smartphone platforms. Specifically for the Android platform, it turns out Opera Mini managed to increase the number of users up to 46% of the total increase of 189% over the past year.

Opera Mini in the report claims of the various options available browsers – especially on the Android platform, Opera Mini remains an option for some users with varied reasons. Many users assume the Opera Mini browser has been very familiar to many users of the service and the availability of data compression feature that is known to provide a faster cruising needs. In addition, Opera Mini is also recorded growth of data consumption on Android users who access the Opera Mini also grow up to 218%, this figure is much higher than the consumption data from other platforms.

Another conclusion is no less interesting is the report released by Opera Software stated, of the total amount of consumption data obtained, as many as 36% of consumption data obtained from access to a variety of popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and so forth, followed by sites such as e-commerce, media, and a variety of other websites that charge a percentage amount of the consumption data. Facebook specifically for social media, as much as 68% of users managed to “donate” the number of page views on the Opera Mini browser on their Android devices.

Compact and simple system that brought the Android platform turned out to have a role on the growth of Opera Mini users on the Google’s platform. It is believed by the release of Opera The report also stated that Android users in Indonesia using the Opera Mini browser surfing 83% more than users running Opera Mini on other smartphone devices.

Of the report may actually be concluded, that there is only reporting an increase in migration of users of Opera Mini for the Android platform that can be a concern, but also the condition of the mobile web users in Indonesia was enough to get special attention from the internet industry abroad. Of this report is also expected to become a benchmark for the industry in the internet world that Indonesia is arguably one of the market is important for the development of the internet industry in the whole world.

Google Nexus Ready to Use Android 4.3

California – Google announced the Android 4.3 operating system in a Google event in San Francisco on July 24, 2013. Android 4.3 will be used on the Google Nexus 7 new and old.
Since the announcement of Android 4.3, the operating system on a tablet computer Google Nexus 7, 10 and Nexus smartphone Google Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus will be upgraded to Android 4.3, said Hugo Barra, vice president of product manjemen Android.
While the mobile operating system of the Samsung Galaxy S4 edition of Google Play and HTC will also be enhanced, Barra stated.
Barra did not say when the other Android devices can get Android 4.3. At the operating system is not much change. There is only a little extra on the software. For example, the profile Multi-User Restricted, Smart Bluetooth technology and the higher graphics capabilities thanks to Open GLES 3.0.
Officially, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean is still in version. In accordance with the changes only slightly. This means, the fans still have to wait for Google’s Android operating system Key Lime Pie.

MySpace users threaten to sue after years of blogs deleted

MySpace has been accused of deleting years worth of users’ personal blogs and histories after the site underwent a $20 million relaunch last month.

The move was a bid to shed the site’s outdated image and attract a new teenage fanbase, after millions of users migrated to Facebook as their primary social networking site in the late 2000s.

Purchased by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation in 2005 for $580m, a decision Murdoch has since called a “huge mistake”, MySpace’s focus on music and entertainment over social interaction has been credited as one of the reasons behind its decline.

At its peak, the site boasted 125m users and more webpage visits than Google. It now has around 25m users.

In 2011 Specific Media Group and pop heartthrob Justin Timberlake jointly purchased the company for $35m, and have since attempted to rebrand the site for the teenage generation through campaigns with rapper Pharrell.

This sleek new makeover has resulted in the deletion of blogs, videos, private messages, posts and comments without prior warning, much to the fury of its remaining loyal users.

Distraught fans created a thread entitled ‘I want my blogs and classic myspace back’ to vent their frustration at the move one user called “crass arrogance”.

They continued: “You have stolen 6 years of blogs and something that is priceless to me and cannot be replaced.”

Another lamented the deletion of her blogs, writing: “Openly and freely I shared intimate moments that can not be relived or retold for they where experienced. I would revisit myspace religiously because of my blogs… Myspace did an ultimate back stab.” [sic]

MySpace responded to concerns with the soothing message that the information had not been lost forever.

It said: “Change isn’t easy and there has been a lot going on lately. We understand that this information is very important to you. Please understand that your blogs have not been deleted. Your content is safe and we have been discussing the best ways possible to provide you your blogs.”

Google Selects HE-AAC Multichannel From Fraunhofer IIS For Google Play Movies in Surround Sound

Google and Fraunhofer IIS deliver the first movies with a true 5.1 channel surround sound experience from Google Play. The immersive sound quality consumers have come to expect from TV, Blu-ray disc or DVD is now available with movies streamed or downloaded from Google Play directly to their Android devices running 4.1 or later. Google chose HE-AAC Multichannel as Android’s only surround sound codec due to its open-standard nature and excellent bit-rate efficiency.

When connected to a surround sound system and TV with an HDMI cable, Android users will be able to play high quality audio and video from their smartphones and tablets in surround. On the go, Android devices will play movies in great stereo quality and selected Nexus products will also include the Fraunhofer Cingo virtual surround rendering technology, which will play movies in realistic surround sound on earphones or tablet stereo speakers.

Android’s HE-AAC Multichannel implementation includes full support for loudness and downmix metadata commonly known from the broadcast TV world, as well as other features that allow the sound to be tailored for an optimum user experience in any listening mode and environment.

“Google Play movies in 5.1 HE-AAC Multichannel sound are the first realization of our vision of bringing true theatrical surround sound to mobile devices,” said Robert Bleidt, Division General Manager at Fraunhofer USA Digital Media Technologies. “The Google and Fraunhofer partnership creates a tremendous value for consumers by offering one format that delivers a high quality experience both in-home and while mobile. Consumers may experience surround sound over headphones while on their way home from work, and finish the movie in true, exciting surround in their living room,” he added.

HE-AAC Multichannel is part of the Fraunhofer FDK AAC codec library for Android since version 4.1 and a required feature of all Android-compatible devices. This software makes open-source Fraunhofer implementations of the MPEG audio codecs AAC, HE-AAC, HE-AACv2, and AAC-ELD available to the Android community.

HE-AAC is today’s most efficient high-quality surround and stereo audio codec deployed in over 5 billion devices and used in TV, radio, and streaming services worldwide. The codec is natively integrated into most operating systems, streaming platforms and consumer electronics devices. In addition to its unique coding efficiency, HE-AAC has the dynamic ability to change audio bit-rates seamlessly in order to adapt to changing network conditions as consumers stream content to a variety of devices. It can be used with any adaptive streaming technology including MPEG-DASH, Apple HLS, Adobe HDS and Microsoft Smooth Streaming.

7 Months, Google Clear 100 Million Pirated Content

CALIFORNIA – July is almost over and Google has removed more than 100 million web pages containing links content copyright infringement. The removal of the copyright holder hope these links can keep consumers from pirated content sites.

Reported by Softpedia, Friday (27/07/2013), according to TorrentFreak reports, the number of links that have been removed by Google starting this year more than in 2012. Meanwhile, Google decided to be transparent about all removal requests pirated content in search results.

Since January this year, Google has been asked to remove more than 105.3 million web pages that allegedly contain pirated content. A number of sites that claimed to contain pirated contents has also been reported.

Search engine files, FilesTube, is the most hunted with more than 5.8 million links, and Rapidgator.net Torrentz.eu followed, with each more than 2 million links.

Meanwhile, The Pirate Bay, which had become the hunted, now is not in the list of top 20. This is because the torrent sites are changing domains and only has two million links.

NSA intercepted, Apple, Google, Microsoft alliance

Jakarta – A giant technology company formed an alliance to demand transparency from the U.S. government related information monitoring program of the National Security Agency (NSA) called PRISM.
The alliance involves companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. In alliance was also a number of civic groups. In a letter that will be announced in a few hours, the alliance which amounts to 63 companies, investors, and non-profit organizations is asking for clearer rules about such things.
“Basic information about the way the government enforce laws related activities have been published during this investigation does not interfere with the investigation,” read one of the points in the letter obtained by AllThingsD on Wednesday, July 17, 2013.
The Alliance requested that they be allowed the right to announce the number of government requests for data on the users of their services. They also requested that the number of users, accounts, and information held gadget that can be announced.
Alliance also assess the amount of requests basic information about the content and the user, could be made public as part of their transparency.
At the same time, the alliance will also ask the government to announce a number of requests and the number of individuals whose data is requested from the technology companies.
This letter will be addressed to President Barack Obama and congressional leaders. Here are some names of firms and associations involved in this alliance:
Yahoo, AOL, Apple, Digg, Dropbox, Evoca, Facebook, Google, HeyZap, LinkedIn, Meetup, Microsoft, Mozilla, Reddit, salesforce.com, Tumblr, and Twitter.
Also there younow, Union Square Ventures, Y Combinator, New Atlantic Ventures, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Democracy & Technology.
In addition, there are elements of the press and advocacy organizations such as Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Public Knowledge, the Computer & Communications Industry Association, Reporters Without Borders, and the Wikimedia Foundation.

This is the realization Stud Google, Moto X

Google not only successfully make the Android operating system, but apparently Google is also competing in the smartphone market plunge in collaboration with Motorola. This time I will make sure to introduce smartphone champion, Moto X on 1 August.
Various leak is scattered, including what kind of form. A leaked disseminated @ evleaks, the usual Twitter account posted the leaked gadget show looks Moto X.
Reporting from VentureBeat, Moto X design looks interesting, where the device has a 4.5 inch screen, while the kitchen spur MSM8960T of embedded processor Qualcomm Snapdragon dual core with 1.7 GHz technology. The RAM capacity of 2 GB.
As for the power of the battery, Moto X is said to rely on the battery capacity of 1500 mAh, which is powered by a battery cover with Kevlar material which is safe on the back. While Android 4.2.2 Jelly bean in trust Google and Motorola as its OS.
Plus always on listening features allow users to do voice commands without having to touch the Moto X. To run this feature, the user must activate the pass setting. Like Siri – that should say Hi Siri password first, the first command to be spoken is Ok Google Now, however, without having to press any buttons.

Lawyer Plugin for WordPress Promises Legal Resources and Nationwide Attorney Network

After two years of development, Lawyer Plugin (www.lawyerplugin.com) launched their first public version of what promises to be an essential plugin for any lawyer running a WordPress website.

Lawyer Plugin is the first plugin of its kind: it gives law firms access to hundreds of local resources which are automatically added, updated, and synced with Lawyer Plugin’s central servers every 24 hours.

The registration takes care of all settings automatically. For example, a bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa, Florida, creates his profile with his law firm’s name, address, city, state, and practice area(s). The plugin automatically pulls bankruptcy- and Florida-related resources onto the resource page which is created by the plugin. With that, the firm becomes part of the peer-to-peer legal directory which is then displayed on the websites of every plugin user.

Block Competition

When creating the plugin, the peer-to-peer directory presented a major challenge. A law firm does not want to display competing law firms on their website. To solve this problem, Lawyer Plugin has been designed to filter competitors and only displays non-competing listings on each user’s website.

Here is how the filter works:

Smith & Smith bankruptcy lawyers in Tampa, Florida, install Lawyer Plugin.

Lisa Johnson & Associates, elder law attorneys in Asheville, North Carolina, also installs Lawyer Plugin.

Bradley Baker & James bankruptcy lawyers in Tampa Florida installs Lawyer Plugin.

Foz & Oz Attorneys at Law, bankruptcy lawyers in Los Angeles, California, installs Lawyer Plugin, too.

On the Smith & Smith resources page, Lawyer Plugin will display the listing for Lisa Johnson & Associates, because that firm does not compete in Smith & Smith’s local market. It will also display the listing for bankruptcy attorneys Foz & Oz. Even though they are bankruptcy lawyers, Foz & Oz are in Los Angeles, and therefore not competing with the Tampa, Florida practice.

However, Bradley Baker & James will not be included on Smith & Smith’s website, and Smith & Smith will not be included on Bradley Baker & James website. Lisa Johnson & Associates will display listings for all three of the above firms, because none of them compete with her practice.

A Fun Brand for a Serious Industry

Lawyer Plugin breaks out of the stuffy legal mold. On Lawyerplugin.com, users will not find any bookshelves, gavels, or court house columns. Instead, they are offered an outlet for venting with a “Hate Mail” form and noting in their legal disclaimer that the plugin has not displayed any “violent behavior,” but cautions that the “adolescent years are right around the corner.”

Last year, Lawyer Plugin posted teasers on its Facebook and Twitter profiles as beta testing began. The question was asked: “How awesome will Lawyer Plugin be?” The answers —

Coffee will drink Lawyer Plugin to wake up.

You will never need a flu shot. The flu will need a Lawyer Plugin shot.

The earth will no longer rotate around the sun. The sun will be too busy rotating around Lawyer Plugin.

And it was even predicted that Christmas will begin celebrating Lawyer Plugin.

The Lawyer Plugin’s financial backers plan to keep the plugin free. Lawyer Plugin will continue to receive funding indefinitely as add-ons are developed, and a paid, professional version of Lawyer Plugin is also in the works.

Lawyer Plugin is free and out in the court of public opinion. The developers are thirsty for user feedback and additional ideas for features.