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TMCNet:  Boot up: Humin touch?, breaking the internet, Swiftkey's fast rise

[August 14, 2014]

Boot up: Humin touch?, breaking the internet, Swiftkey's fast rise

(Guardian Web Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) A burst of 8 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team Humin address book app is built on founder's contacts >> Businessweek Humin analyzes contact data to try to give users more relevant information. "The goal is to remember someone the way you do," Jain says. The app combines contacts from multiple sources into a list that's searchable by details such as mutual friends or where and when you met. Besides annotating your contacts so you don't have to, the app reorders them based on details such as who's in town.


"It's changed how I make calls," says Shakil Khan, head of special projects at Spotify. "I don't have some Adam or Aaron at the top of the list who I haven't seen in years." Troy Carter, who's amassed more than 10,000 contacts while managing celebrities such as Lady Gaga, says Humin "solves a personal pain point for me" by eliding contacts he doesn't use. Carter and Khan say they chose to invest because they were impressed with Jain.

Goes live in the iOS App Store today, 14 August.

512KDay: How the internet BROKE (Next time, big biz, listen to your network admin) >> The Register Trevor Pott: Yesterday, 12 August, 2014, the internet hit an arbitrary limit of more than 512K routes. This 512K route limit is something we have known about for some time.

The fix for Cisco devices – and possibly others – is fairly straightforward. Internet service providers and businesses around the world chose not to address this issue in advance, as a result causing major outages around the world.

As part of the outage, punters experienced patchy – or even no – internet connectivity and lost access to all sorts of cloud-based services.

Gree turns to native games to save company >> Tech In Asia In 2012, the company announced that it would focus on browser-based gaming using HTML5. That era is essentially over. Gree said in today's earnings report that it decided to initiate an internal restructuring that will take the 700 employees currently working on browser games and have them join the team focusing on full native games. The company will now have 1,000 employees dedicated to full native games, over half of its 1,894 staff.

How SwiftKey built the world's smartest keyboard and soared to the top of the app economy >> TechRepublic [Co-founder Jon] Reynolds started working on the problem at home and mentioned it to his friend Ben Medlock, who he had met at Cambridge University and who, as luck would have it, was not only intrigued but also had a background in artificial intelligence and natural language processing, making him an ideal co-founder and CTO for the company.

Medlock said the key breakthrough they had, right at the start, was the realisation that building a better keyboard was not about how to lay out the keys or how to arrange the characters. It was about how to capture the way people use language.

Their first instinct had actually been to dump the Qwerty keyboard and to come up with something radical and optimised for touchscreen devices. They quickly realised this was the wrong approach.

"We very quickly realised that people have Qwerty wired into their brains and that layout is almost as familiar to them as speaking. It really is that fundamental an element of people's communications lives," he said.

Instead, they focused on the problem of how to capture the way we use language and how to build that into the software that sits behind the keyboard and makes predictions.

This meant approaching the problem from two different directions. The first thing Medlock needed was a huge source of information about how people use language, so he used the European Grid - a huge massive parallel computing network built to analyse data from the Large Hadron Collider data - to extract all the publicly available texts off the internet in different languages. This formed the basis of the background model.

The mobile OS paradigm >> Learning by Shipping Steve Sinofsky (formerly at Microsoft, where he oversaw Windows 8): During the transition from mini to PC, the low price and low performance created a price/performance gap that the minis thought they would exploit. Yet the scale volume, architectural openness, and rapid improvement in multi-vendor tools (and more) contributed to a rapid acceleration that could not compare.

During the transition from character-based to GUI-based PCs many focused on the expense of extra peripherals such as graphics cards and mice, requirement for more memory and MIPs, not to mention the performance implications of the new interface in terms of training and productivity. Yet, Moore's law, far more robust peripheral support (printers and drivers), and ability to draw on multi-app scenarios (clipboard and more) transformed computing in ways character-based could not.

The same could be said about the transition to internetworking with browsers. The point is that the ancillary benefits of these architectural transitions are often overlooked while the dialog primarily focuses on the immediate and visible changes in the platform and experience… The transition to the mobile OS platforms is following this same pattern. For all the debates about touch versus keyboard, screen-size, vertical integration, or full-screen apps, there are fundamental shifts in the underlying implementation of the operating system that are here to stay and have transformed computing.

Samsung Z permanently axed – report >> Mobile World Live Samsung has apparently dropped the Tizen-powered Z smartphone from its portfolio, following the shelving of its anticipated debut in Russia. According to Tizen Experts, the South Korean company is now focusing its efforts using the platform on two entry-level devices for emerging markets.

The news is hardly surprising: with continued delays, the device begins to look less competitive in the face of continued upgrades to devices powered by Android – including Samsung's own products.

But the challenges faced by Samsung will not fundamentally be different in emerging markets to more developed regions.

Five police investigated after Delhi launches WhatsApp anti-bribery campaign >> BBC News Five policemen in India are being investigated for alleged corruption after officials received complaints on a newly-launched helpline number.

Since its launch on 6 August, the helpline has received more than 3,700 WhatsApp messages and 622 calls.

Officials said they had received two video and three audio messages and were investigating the reported incidents.

Motorola makes a comeback >> PCWorld Sold 8.6m smartphones in 2q 14 compared to 6.5m in 1Q14, according to ABI Research: thanks to the Moto G, the LTE version of that phone and the Moto E, Motorola's sales have turned a corner. The company apparently hit on a winning formula, offering phones at lower prices but with features good enough to please many consumers.

"As the market for flagship smartphones has softened and a lot of people are looking at buying devices without a contract, Motorola's Moto E and G seem to have really captured the moment," [Ben] Wood [of CCS Insight] said.

The strategy to pair decent specs with a low price isn't the only reason for Motorola's comeback. Avoiding the cluttered interface found on many other Android products also helped, according to Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner. And while the US remains an important market for Motorola, traction in India and a return to Europe have also lifted its sales.

Motorola consistently made operating losses while owned by Google. Question is, can Lenovo (soon to take it over) grow it to breakeven? You can follow Guardian Technology's linkbucket on Pinboard To suggest a link, either add it below or tag it with @gdntech on the free Delicious service.

(c) 2014 Guardian Newspapers Limited.

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