Tech News Reporter

Facebook Shows Off Redesign

Posted on | March 7, 2013 | Comments Off

Via The New York Times

Facebook announced on Thursday a substantial redesign of its News Feed, the front page that users see when they access the service.

Mark Zuckerberg described the new News Feed as a “personalized newspaper” that is more visual and allows users to choose the topics they’re most interested in. The images and links to articles are bigger, making it easier to see on mobile screens.

“This design reflects the evolving face of News Feed,” Mr. Zuckerberg said at a news conference at the company’s headquarters here in Silicon Valley.

The redesign does not change anything about the filtering algorithm that Facebook uses to select what shows up on a user’s News Feed.

But users will now be able to drill down into topic-specific news feeds — one for music, another for photos, another for the publications, celebrities or brands they follow. That choice is aimed at addressing a concern raised by advertisers and content publishers like news sites: under the old system, it was difficult for their followers to see everything the companies have posted.

[Full article here]

Curated by contributor Phineas Upham

As Italy’s Tech Eco-System Finally Ignites, Two VCs Combine To Create United Ventures

Posted on | March 7, 2013 | Comments Off

Via TechCrunch

Two Italian VC firms and an institutional player, Fondo Italiano di Investimento, have combined to form United Ventures, closing a first round of funding at €30 million ($39M). The new firm has set a fund-raising target of €50 million, with a term of ten years and brings together Annapurna Ventures, a firm founded by Massimiliano Magrini which has specialized in seed investing, and Jupiter Venture Capital, which specialized in early-stage and late-stage investments, a firm founded by Paolo Gesess.

Together, with institutional and private investors, the new entity aims to take advantage of a recent explosion in tech activity in Italy, which was evidenced by the enormous reception we had a TechCrunch Rome last year. In part, Italy’s terrible economy is channeling talent towards one of the few growth areas: tech.

In addition to Fondo Italiano di Investimento, the first closing of the fund was participated in by institutions Fondazione Banco di Sardegna, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca, Banca Sella and Banca Patrimoni. Among individual investor there is serial entrepreneur Matteo Fago founder of Venere.com, Marco Corradino co-founder of BravoFly group and Davide Serra managing partner of the edge Fund Algebris.

[Full article here]

Curated by Phineas Upham

Does Spotify Need A Web Player? (Of Course It Does)

Posted on | March 7, 2013 | Comments Off

Via TechCrunch

News broke out today that Spotify would be making a beta version of its web player available to all of its users in the UK, with the promise that a full release would come later this year.

I’m not complaining that I’ll soon be able to access Spotify through my browser. But why is Spotify, well established streaming music juggernaut that it is, using its resources to make this happen? In other words, does Spotify need a web player?

It isn’t as if there are a growing number of Chromebook users out there that are just itching to get their streaming music action on. A new report released Monday revealed that Chromebooks accounted for only 0.07% of desktop and laptop web traffic. The fruit there isn’t ripe for picking. In fact, the fruit there hasn’t even started growing at all.

[Full article here]

Microsoft Tweaks Kinect to Add More Gesture Recognition

Posted on | March 7, 2013 | Comments Off

Via Tech News World

Microsoft on Tuesday demonstrated added hand gesture functionality for its Kinect technology, which is being adapted to let users not only wave their hands, but clench their fists and pinch their fingers to pan and scroll through an on-screen app.

The company showed the latest version of Kinect during its annual TechFest conference, which highlights developmental projects underway at Microsoft Research.

“Ultimately you would want to get to the ‘Minority Report’ approach where you’re flipping your way through data,” Bob O’Donnell, a program vice president at IDC, told TechNewsWorld. “The trick is to get the software to work the way you want it to.”

Using hand gestures “would be great for content creation and simulation,” Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research suggested. “Imagine the potential for analyzing motions or simulating those motions into computer-generated characters.” The technology could “bring us further towards making animation very close to reality.”

[Full article here]

Apple Pushes Out WiFi Fix for iOS 6

Posted on | December 19, 2012 | Comments Off

Via Tech News World

Apple on Tuesday began pushing a fix to a WiFi bug in iOS 6 that targets the iPhone 5 and iPad mini.

Apple has released very little information about the fix. Its support site simply describes the 6.0.2 update as “fixes a bug that could impact WiFi.”

This latest fix for iOS 6 is the second since the software was released in September. The first fix addressed a number of problems including the display of horizontal lines across the iPhone’s virtual keyboard, inability to perform over-the-air updates on the iPhone 5 and the removal of meetings from the calendar after the user accepts an invitation to attend.

Apple did not respond to our request to comment for this story.

[Full article here]

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