MICROSOFT kills employee-ranking system -- GOOGLE bigger than newspaper and mag industries -- NY TIMES brain drain: Bai, Stelter follow Pogue -- MACRUMORS hacked


November 13, 2013 06:00 PST | 09:00 EST | 14:00 UTC

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>> BRUMMEL BOWS: Microsoft axes its controversial employee-ranking system, by Tom Warren: "Microsoft is killing off its controversial stack-ranking system today. While it could be viewed as an internal change that won't affect consumers directly, it will have a broad effect on current and future Microsoft employees that may just shape the future of the company... Stack ranking is a process where each business unit's management team has to review employees' performance and rank a certain percentage of them as top performers, or as average or poorly performing. Former Microsoft employees have claimed it leads to colleagues competing with each other, especially when some employees in a group of individuals need to be given poor reviews to match the method. It's a system that's similar to Yahoo's new alleged internal process of ranking employees." The Verge

>>>> Yahoo is forcing employees to rank each other and they hate it ValleyWag

>>>> BACKGROUND: Microsoft's lost decade Vanity Fair

>> STAT DU JOUR: Google is now bigger than both the magazine and newspaper industries, by Jim Edwards: "In part this is because the print media has suffered such a precipitous decline. But note that Google's last full year results from 2012 are approaching the historic maximum (in ad revenue) that all magazines combined achieved back in 2007 before the crash. It's won't be long now, in other words, before Google not only eclipses magazines but also becomes bigger than magazines ever were -- even when there was no Internet to compete with." Business Insider

>> LAST ONE OUT: Fit to sprint: Top talent exits New York Times, by Dylan Byers: "The New York Times is suffering a brain drain.... In the past nine months, at least a dozen top reporters and editors have made for the exits. Among them are such well-known and respected journalists as Nate Silver, who sprinted to ESPN; David Pogue, who decamped to Yahoo News; Jeff Zeleny, who left for ABC News; and Rick Berke, who is en route to Politico.... On Tuesday, in a sucker punch to staff morale, the Gray Lady lost more: Brian Stelter, the paper's marquee media reporter, announced he would go to CNN; and Matt Bai, The New York Times Magazine's chief political correspondent, decamped to Yahoo." Politico

>>>> TECHBRIEF FACTS OF LIFE: With his move to Yahoo News, Matt Bai becomes first political writer at The New York Times to go to all-digital news org. Politico

>> STEALING THE SHOW: Netflix introduces one unified TV interface to rule them all, by Bryan Bishop: "The experience is like parking your TV on a glossy, high-end station that's programmed just for you. Granted, much of that is dependent on Netflix actually having content you want to watch in the first place, but with the company's high-profile deals and own original content there's an increasingly diverse selection to choose from. I found myself drawn to programs that had been floating around in my queue for years, and ended up revisiting a favorite episode of Lost simply by exploring what the interface served up." The Verge

>>>> Netflix ditches Webkit to roll out slick new UI for smart TVs, Roku boxes and game consoles GigaOM

>>>> Hulu reportedly wants its subscription service available on pay-TV as it competes with Netflix TNW >> ADULT SUPERVISION: Microsoft's Joe Belfiore takes over Internet Explorer app development, by Tom Warren: "Microsoft's Dean Hachamovitch revealed earlier this week that he is switching roles to a new team inside the software giant. Hachamovitch has essentially been the Internet Explorer man at Microsoft for a number of years now, heading up the development of the company's browser rendering engine and the apps across Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox... Joe Belfiore will take over some of Hachamovitch's responsibilities for Internet Explorer... will lead a team focused on the app side of Internet Explorer and the user experience... Microsoft has had separate teams working on its trident rendering engine and the end user Internet Explorer apps that ship with Windows and other platforms, but the company is splitting the leadership of those teams even further... the trident rendering engine and IE platform remains in the core operating systems group." [TechBrief confirmed that Belfiore will also remain Windows Phone program manager.] The Verge

>>>> Microsoft's IE chief, Dean Hachamovitch, to take on a new role ZDNet

>> SPY VS. SPY: In Lavabit appeal, US doubles down on access to Web crypto keys, by Kevin Poulsen: "A U.S. email provider can promise its users all the security and privacy it wants; it still has to do whatever it takes to give the government access. That's the gist of the Justice Department's 60-page appellate brief in the Lavabit surveillance case... the government defends its use of a search warrant and a grand jury subpoena to obtain the private encryption keys for Lavabit's email service and website, and tacitly impugns Texas-based proprietor Ladar Levison for shutting down the site and thwarting the FBI's surveillance plans." Wired

>>>> DOJ says Lavabit cannot prevent search warrants by 'locking its front gate' InfoWorld

>> BLIND JUSTICE: Microsoft, Google, Facebook furious after denied full view of government reply to FISA court, by John Ribeiro: "Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and LinkedIn are objecting to the U.S. government's decision to provide them only a redacted version of its response to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to a request by the companies that they be allowed to publish information on users' data requests from the government. The companies said in a filing in the court Tuesday that they have been provided only a 'heavily redacted version' of the government's submissions, which included its response and a supporting declaration, and all requests for greater access have been rejected." InfoWorld

>> UM, COOL: MIT invents a shapeshifting display you can reach through and touch, by John Brownlee: "We live in an age of touch-screen interfaces, but what will the UIs of the future look like? Will they continue to be made up of ghostly pixels, or will they be made of atoms that you can reach out and touch?... At the MIT Media Lab, the Tangible Media Group believes the future of computing is tactile. Unveiled today, the inFORM is MIT's new scrying pool for imagining the interfaces of tomorrow. Almost like a table of living clay, the inFORM is a surface that three-dimensionally changes shape, allowing users to not only interact with digital content in meatspace, but even hold hands with a person hundreds of miles away. And that's only the beginning." Fast Company

>> WHAT SERGEY IS READING: Why we are allowed to hate Silicon Valley, by Evgeny Morozov: 'It knows how to talk about tools but is barely capable of talking about social, political, and economic systems that these tools enable and disable, amplify and pacify. Why the "digital debate" leads us astray.' Frankfurter Allgemeine

>> WHAT IF: Elon Musk's next blue-sky idea, by William Alden: "Elon Musk has built rockets and electric cars. In the future, he may be building airplanes.... Mr. Musk, the chief executive of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, said on Tuesday that he had envisioned a design for an electric supersonic airplane, with the ability to take off and land vertically. He said he began to conceive of such a jet after the Concorde was grounded a decade ago." NYT DealBook

>> ET TU, MACRUMORS?: Hack of MacRumors forums exposes pasword data for 860,000 users, by Dan Goodin: "Assume your password is known, site's top brass tells account holders... MacRumors used the MD5 algorithm, along with a per-user cryptographic salt, to convert plain-text passwords into a one-way hash. The scheme is the standard protection provided by VBulletin, the Web software used on both the Ubuntu and MacRumors forums. Still, many password experts consider the MD5 with or without salt to be an inadequate means of protecting stored passwords." Ars Technica

>>>> Hoping to avert 'collision' with disaster, Microsoft retires SHA1 Ars Technica

>>>> Facebook pushes password resets after Adobe hack PC Mag

>> DATAVIZ: Revenues per second of tech firms: current web design vs bar chart Jack Schofield

>> BP locking down personal devices in the face of cyber warfare Computerworld UK

>> Intel plays catch-up to ARM with renewed Android push InfoWorld

>> Internet of Things needs a lot of work PCWorld

>> Windows laptop, MacBook, or Chromebook? Let's ask Amazon ZDNet

>> SmartThings raises $12.5M from Greylock and Highland to power the Internet of Things TechCrunch

>> Software eats storage! Maxta presents software defined storage for vSphere challenging traditional SAN/NAS

>> Twitter embeds itself in breaking news with Custom Timelines TechHive

>> Pentagon preparing for the end of the BlackBerry era Defense One

>> Verizon cozies up with Cloud Foundry as PaaS market heats up Network World

>> Want Google Glass? Sign up at Google's Glass web site to be added to the list Marketing Land

>> Microsoft updates Surface firmware, patches IE zero-day exploit among 19 total flaws TechCrunch

>> Windows XP update locks machines with SVCHOST redlined at 100%: Fix it with KB 2879017 InfoWorld

>> HTTP 2.0 to be HTTPS only W3 (t/h HN)

>> HAD TO RUN IT (AGAIN): Justin Bieber-backed 'Shots of Me' launches selfie sharing app TechCrunch

>> TWEET O' THE DAY: "Me: in real life, you don't need to worry about a dragon attacking you and all your hobbit friends. 9yo: Dwarf friends, Dad." @petemiron

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