GOOGLE expands Cloud, cuts price -- APPLE buys Twitter fire hose -- MICROSOFT's grand cross-OS plan -- SALESFORCE capitulates -- U.S. students 36th in MATH


December 3, 2013 06:00 PST | 09:00 EST | 14:00 UTC

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>> MASSIVE CLOUD BANK: Google Compute Engine goes live, by Joab Jackson: "After running the service in preview mode for over a year, Google is making its IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) Google Compute Engine (GCE) available as a full-fledged commercial service... GCE competes with Amazon's popular Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) service. A number of companies already use GCE, including Snapchat, Evite and Red Hat. GCE offers a Linux virtual machine that could be used in one or more instances to execute workloads. Like other services offered on the Google Cloud Platform, GCE runs on the same infrastructure that Google uses for its own services." InfoWorld

>>>> Google's Compute Engine hits general availability, drops instance prices 10%, adds 16-core instances & docker support TechCrunch

>>>> Google Compute Engine is GA and it's still not Amazon Web Services GigaOM

>>>> Red Hat and Google Compute Engine - extending the datacenter Google Cloud Platform Blog

>> MONEY SHOT: Apple taps into Twitter, buying social analytics firm Topsy, by Daisuke Wakabayashi, Douglas Macmillan: "Apple recently acquired social-media analytics firm Topsy for more than $200 million... Topsy specializes in analyzing the global conversation on Twitter. Its tools can decipher how often a term is tweeted, find an influential person on a specific subject, or measure the exposure of an event or campaign. The company is one of a handful of Twitter Inc. partners with access to the so-called 'fire hose' -- the full stream of tweets... Topsy then analyzes this information and resells it to customers." [Blogosphere echo chamber count: 220] Wall Street Journal (paywalled)

>>>> Topsy could help fill in Apple's big hole -- big data GigaOm

>>>> "The interesting thing about Topsy is that it brings big data analytics into Apple for the first time. Not historically a strength." @BenedictEvans >> COMING ATTRACTIONS: Microsoft codename 'Threshold': The next major Windows wave takes shape, by Mary Jo Foley: "Threshold will include updates to all three OS platforms (Xbox One, Windows and Windows Phone) that will advance them in a way to share even more common elements... Threshold doesn't refer to a single Windows OS -- not even the expected, converged hybrid comprised of the Windows Phone OS and Windows RT. Instead, the codename refers to the wave of operating systems across Windows-based phones, devices and gaming consoles... Microsoft plans to support the same core set of 'high value activities' across platforms." [Blogosphere echo chamber count: 200] ZDNet

>>>> 2013 will be the worst year ever for PCs, says IDC CITEworld

>>>> Look for the Windows 8 Grinch this holiday season InfoWorld

>> CRIME & PUNISHMENT: Wisconsin man sentenced for participating in Anonymous DDoS, by John Ribeiro: "Eric J. Rosol, 38… took part in a denial of service attack for about a minute on a Web page of Koch Industries, using software called a Low Orbit Ion Cannon Code... Rosol, who pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of accessing a protected computer, was sentenced to two years of federal probation and ordered to pay $183,000 in restitution... The parties had agreed that the direct losses as a result of the attack on the website were less than $5,000 but Koch Industries had argued that it hired a consulting group to protect its Web sites at a cost of approximately $183,000." PCWorld

>> ALL YOUR BASE: Scientist-developed malware covertly jumps air gaps using inaudible sound, by Dan Goodin: "Computer scientists have developed a malware prototype that uses inaudible audio signals to communicate, a capability that allows the malware to covertly transmit keystrokes and other sensitive data even when infected machines have no network connection. The proof-of-concept software--or malicious trojans that adopt the same high-frequency communication methods -- could prove especially adept in penetrating highly sensitive environments that routinely place an 'air gap' between computers and the outside world. Using nothing more than the built-in microphones and speakers of standard computers, the researchers were able to transmit passwords and other small amounts of data from distances of almost 65 feet." Ars Technica

>> CONFIRMED: Google plans 'floating retail store,' builder says, by Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross: "It turns out that the mysterious high-tech barge that Google is building at Treasure Island (San Francisco) is just the first of three floating wonders the company plans to launch, at a total cost of $35 million. In a confidential budget report we obtained, barge builder Turner Construction Co. says the idea is to construct the vessels at Treasure Island, then dock them in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York." SFGate

>> DEATH & TAXES: Supreme Court refuses Amazon's challenge to online sales tax law, by Jeff John Roberts: "Can states collect sales tax from online retailers that have no physical presence in the state? For now, the answer is yes... The Supreme Court ruling on Monday comes as the 'Market Place Fairness Act,' which would require internet retailers with more than $1 million in sales to collect sales tax for state government, remains stalled in the House of Representatives... Amazon and Overstock challenged a 2008 NY state law that required them to collect tax because they have a presence in the state through their affiliates -- third-party websites that make a commission when they refer traffic to the retail giants. Amazon, noting that the company has no offices or employees based in New York, had argued that the affiliate presence wasn't enough to give it a legal presence in the states -- but a divided appeals court sided with the state government." GigaOM

>> GEEK ALERT: Microsoft's Desktop Optimization Pack gets Win 8.1 management capabilities, by Juan Carlos Perez: "MDOP 2013 R2, released on Monday, lets IT administrators manage BitLocker in Windows 8.1 using version 2.0 SP1 of Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) and manage Group Policy with version 4.0 SP2 of Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM). The suite's Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) also can be used now with Windows 8.1... The suite also includes Version 5.0 SP2 of the App-V virtualization tool, which has an Office Deployment Tool for Office 2013 virtualization." InfoWorld

>> LIBERTÉ, ÉQALITÉ: This landmark study could reveal how the web discriminates against you, by Parmy Olson: "Researchers at Princeton University and Belgium's KU Leuven have released 'bots' that mimic real people across the web to track how they experience the same sites differently... The researchers are giving their fake profiles ages, genders, affluence levels, locations, interests and more, in order to seek patterns of discrimination that parallel those same attributes." Forbes

>> Cyber Monday sales soar to record as Amazon, eBay win shoppers: "Online sales rose 19 percent from 2012 as of 9 p.m. in New York yesterday." Bloomberg

>> CareerCloud app aims to find job openings before they're advertised Computerworld

>> Americans are bad at math and average at science, study shows The Verge

>> Huawei CEO to French media: 'We have decided to exit the US market' SlashGear

>> Huawei's problems in the US point to branding challenges for other Chinese tech companies TechCrunch

>> Salesforce says hackathon winner didn't cheat but declares tie, gives two finalists $1M each TechCrunch

>> D-Link issues fixes for firmware backdoor in routers InfoWorld

>> Facebook pushes news to the top -- literally TechHive

>> BlackBerry open letter to customers is long on cliches NetworkWorld

>> Spotify opens up analytics in effort to prove its worth to doubting musicians The Guardian

>> Microsoft launches Student Advantage worldwide, lets teachers who bought Office 365 give it to students for free TNW

>> Microsoft makes sweeping changes to its volume-licensing plans ZDNet

>> Yahoo's Year in Review includes top searches for 2013 & first ever posting of top Tumblr trends [Spoiler: Minecraft hit #4, ahead of Selena Gomez.] Search Engine Land

>> Hackers are attacking millions of computers and demanding ransom in bitcoins Business Insider

>> Bitcoin developer KnCMiner sells $8M worth of hardware in 24 hours, as mining technology arms race goes insane Business Insider

>> BITCOIN AT THIS HOUR: $1,156 Mt.Gox

>> TWEET O' THE DAY: "If we've learned one thing from the #Snowden leaks it's this: perhaps even more than a Privacy Overseer, NSA needs graphics and UX designers" @thegrugq

FEED ME, SEYMOUR: Comments? Questions? Tips? Shoot mail to Trent or Woody. Follow @gegax or @woodyleonhard.

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