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Microsoft Announces Dates for BUILD 2012 Developer Conference

posted Sunday Jul 29, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Microsoft Announces Dates for BUILD 2012 Developer Conference

It feels like it was just yesterday that Microsoft had its //build/windows Conference, even though in reality it was almost a year ago. In that event we were granted the access to the wonderful Windows 8 that we are all sorts of excited about. After it was all over, the only thing I could think about was when the next BUILD conference would be and what we'd see next.

Well, good news for you is that this week we learned of exactly that thing. Not to let the Windows 8 hype die out, shortly after release of the new operating system and hardware on October 26th, Microsoft has set the date of this year's //build developer conference, and it will be from October 30th to November 2nd, right at the heart of the company's home operations base in Redmond, Washington. As always, the event is geared towards developers and how they can use the full potential of the Microsoft environment and the insane amount of products the company has. However, similar to Google's I/O and Apple's WWDC, the average consumer always wants to know what's coming next. Because of that the BUILD event will also have announcements about upcoming projects and updates and Microsoft said this year they will talk about Windows Azure, Windows Phone 8, Windows Server 2012, Visual Studio 2012 and a bunch of other exciting new products.

Microsoft's first annual developer event was last year in Anaheim, CA and had 5,000 people attend 275 sessions with 350 speakers. On moving BUILD back home to Redmond, GM Tim O'Brien said,

BUILD 2012 will be on the Microsoft campus, and I know what you're thinking... if it's not in some cavernous convention hall, then it must be a dialed-down version of last year's event, etc.... but don't be confused: this will be unlike anything we've held on our corporate campus in a long time.

We hope Microsoft lives up to its promise and delivers yet another exciting look into the world of Windows. This will also be where they will have all of the sessions that would have appeared at MIX, as the company has decided to no longer host that event individually. Registration for BUILD is August 8th and that will also be the day Microsoft releases the sessions and speakers they have lined up for the conference. Of course, you can be assured we will deliver any awesome information we learn from the event. What are you looking for to hearing about? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Digg to Relaunch With Help from Realtime Search Engine

posted Sunday Jul 29, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Digg to Relaunch With Help from Realtime Search Engine

It has only been two weeks since the discovery that Digg's value was incredibly low, and we are only 3 days away from the new owners' relaunch of the platform. That relaunch will include an integration with a new social search and statistics engine, Realtime. Realtime is a service provided by URL shortening service, Bitly, who is owned in part by Betaworks, the new parent company of Digg. See a trend here?

In addition to Bitly, Realtime and now Digg, Betaworks also owns Chartbeat, which is a real-time website statistics service, similar to Google Analytics, as well as SocialFlow, a multi-network social engagement service. Clearly Betaworks has a focus on social and they are going for it full steam ahead. They even seem to have a plan on how to integrate their services to make one powerful network. Using the data collected through Realtime, Digg will be able to effectively compete with Facebook's new news suggestion service integrated into their timeline. While Facebook can make suggestions based on popular articles on their own network, Realtime will give Digg the power to suggest articles popular on all of the networks.

I suggested last week that Digg would have to do something major to be able to prove relevance again, and this might just be the move it needed. In experimenting with Realtime myself, I can say there is a lot to be excited about but a lot to be concerned about, too. Some categories return incredibly accurate results, while others are all over the place. For Digg to be truly successful again they need to know that Realtime's results are not always accurate and take that into consideration. They also have to keep Facebook's news bar into account, and be prepared for Google's URL shortener, as well as their lack of interest in sharing the data they mine with anyone.

What's your take? Will this help keep Digg alive, or will they be destined to be the first major casualty of the Web 2.0 bust? Let us know below.

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Reports Say Twitter to Start Reality TV Show

posted Thursday Jul 26, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Reports Say Twitter to Start Reality TV Show

Last month, when I reported that Draw Something would turn into a TV game show, I thought that was pretty crazy as it was. Granted, previous shows Pictionary and Win, Lose or Draw were very successful but my feeling was that for this day in age, a social media game turned TV show could be a little farfetched. However, this week Twitter has decided that they are missing the spotlight and reports are coming in that the company is considering producing a reality TV show all about Twitter.

Does this all sound a little nuts to you as well? Well, read on, because we have the full story after the break.

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Zynga's Stock Value Falls 40 Percent After Poor Q2 Performance

posted Wednesday Jul 25, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Zynga's Stock Value Falls 40 Percent After Poor Q2 Performance

When Zynga purchased developer studio OMGPOP for $200 million, we thought they were either crazy or were going to make something happen and we just weren't aware. Shortly after the big expense, however, the social game company put on an "Unleashed Event" to show the media the new games they were coming out with in order to save the company. Unfortunately, the thought of new games like Elite Slots and Matching with Friends has not been enough for the company, who has seen a sharp downturn in the amount of people actually playing Zynga games in the past two months.

This week, things are worse for Zynga and during the after-hours trading on the 25th, Zynga's stock value went down by 35 percent. Investors and stockholders alike were obviously not pleased with the company's monumentally awful earnings call and spoke with their dollars about losing a lot of faith in the social game giant.

How much money was lost and what happens now? We have the details after the break.

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Amazon Signs Exclusive Summer Deal with Warner Bros

posted Tuesday Jul 24, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Amazon Signs Exclusive Summer Deal with Warner Bros

As Netflix continues to reign supreme after some of its detractors found their way back to the streaming service, competitors like Amazon Prime Instant Video are looking for new ways to bring subscribers to their content. Recently, Amazon inked a deal with MGM Studios for some classic movies and now the company has locked up deal, including a brief exclusivity, on a couple of popular shows. Amazon announced that it has signed a licensing agreement with Warner Bros to bring West Wing, Dark Blue, Fringe, Alcatraz and The Whole Truth to the Amazon Prime's Instant Video streaming service.

Amazon also said that both West Wing and Fringe will be accessible only to Prime subscribers for the summer and will not be available to any other competitor until the leaves start changing color. The fun part is that these shows will also be available for non-Prime viewers after the summer, something which is usually reserved for less-recent titles on Instant Video. Of course, also after the summer we will see these shows end up on Netflix and possibly Hulu but it is refreshing to see Amazon act in a proactive manner and provide the content for the first time through a legal streaming service.

Brad Beale, Amazon's digital video and content director, said,

Since launching Prime Instant Video, we've continued to expand both the quantity and quality of video content for our Prime members. Bringing Fringe and The West Wing - two shows with a devoted fan base - to Prime Instant Video first, is another way for us to add value for Prime members and to continue to give customers content they love.

While this isn't necessarily a ground-breaking thing for those who are for or against Amazon, this is another deal that the company has made to keep pushing their catalog of 18,000 videos into the 20,000-and-beyond range. So the question remains: is $79 a year for both free two-day shipping on Amazon.com and 18,000 videos worth it? Or are you still on a Netflix account paying $7.99 a month (for streaming) for 60,000 shows and movies? Let us know in the comments section and tell us if you will be making the switch for these shows.

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HTC Sells Back $150 Million of Beats Electronics Shares After a Year of Ownership

posted Sunday Jul 22, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

HTC Sells Back $150 Million of Beats Electronics Shares After a Year of Ownership

Just a year after HTC acquired majority stake in Beats Electronics for $300 million, the company has decided to change its mind. Beats is buying back 25 percent of the shares sold to HTC for $150 million, the same price they initially sold them for. The decision has been marked as part of a "realignment" effort for Beats, which will now "provide Beats with more flexability for global expansion." How that will occur and why they didn't understand this concept a year ago is a bit confusing to me, however even with 25% stake in the company, HTC will be the largest outside shareholder in the company.

HTC will also be able to still have exlusivity to the Beats Audio technology found in their devices. However, things won't turn out so good for them as they are planning to post a $4.8 million loss at the end of this deal. HTC has said that they are selling the shares back due to lack of consumer interest in the audio technology in their phones. Many critics have also said that even with Beats Audio in phones like the HTC Rezound, they were unable to tell a difference in audio quality. For me, using the Rezound and the HP TouchPad, I can attest that having the tech in a mobile device makes my music stand out, especially in high-end car stereo systems.

I suppose the good news out of all of this is that if HTC isn't fully bought into the deal they thought was great a year ago, they won't have to lose all of their $300 million when Beats becomes overtaken by other headphone companies like Monster and Soul by Ludacris. Both of these companies offer new, ground-breaking, affordable headphones of all shapes and styles, without compromising audio quality or over-emphasizing the bass of a song for absolutely no reason.

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