Tag Archive | media

Mark Zuckerberg to Speak on Immigration Issues at S.F. Film Premiere

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook Home launch event.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to deliver an address on immigration issues in early August, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the first time he has spoken publicly on the matter.

The speech will include the San Francisco premiere of a new film, “Documented,” which chronicles the struggles of undocumented immigrants entering the United States.

The film was written and directed by Jose Antonio Vargas, a writer and immigration rights activist who revealed his own status as an undocumented immigrant in a widely circulated New York Times Magazine article in 2011. (Vargas also wrote a lengthy profile of Zuckerberg for the New Yorker a few years ago.)

The premiere is sponsored by and ties in perfectly with FWD.us, the sometimes controversial Zuckerberg-backed political action group focused on U.S. immigration reform. The issues that FWD.us supports are felt by many tech companies in Silicon Valley; in particular, the focus on changing certain legislation which would allow for more annual H-1B visas, ultimately granting more foreign workers entry into the U.S.

But, as the Chronicle notes, the premiere will be the first time Silicon Valley will enter the wider debate on immigration reform as a whole, rather than just focus on the expansion of visa programs in order to recruit international engineering talent.

The film debuts at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Aug. 5.

Google Suggests Web-TV Thingies You Can Buy Instead of Google’s Sold-Out Chromecast

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Google has not only sold out of Netflix giveaways to bundle with its Chromecast device, but it doesn’t have any Chromecasts to sell right now, period. If you place an order on Google’s site, you’ll be told there is a two- to three-week wait before one will ship.

As a helpful AllThingsD reader points out, as of this morning, you could still buy a Chromecast from Best Buy’s website. That’s no longer the case, either.

But if you do end up looking for a Chromecast on BestBuy.com, you will find a list of other ways you can watch Web video on your TV.

The list is provided by Google, via its AdSense ad units, which means that, even if Google can’t sell you a gadget, it might still make money by getting you to click on a link.

The list will change over time, and will vary depending on your browsing history. Here’s one I just saw:

best buy chromecast adsense

If you’re in the market for a Chromecast, you might very well have heard of Roku, which offers gadgets that do similar things, but at a higher price point.

It’s interesting to note that Google’s auction/algorithm thinks you might also want to check out devices from Western Digital, which has had a hard time getting attention for its streaming boxes. It’s also interesting to see that Aereo, a subscription service that can’t show up on your TV without help from Apple TV, Roku (or, theoretically, Chromecast), is on the list, too.

After Hacking Attack, Apple’s Dev Center Site Is Up and Running Again

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Eight days after taking it down in response to a security breach, Apple has restored the website for its Developer Center.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. But the entry page of the site was clearly visible this afternoon. Some sections, like forums, were still offline. Certificates, identifiers and profiles were back online.

An email circulated to Apple developers said, “Thank you for bearing with us while we bring these important systems back online. We will continue to update you with our progress.” It has also added a system status page so members can keep track of what’s back and working and what’s not.

Access to the site had been curtailed for several days as Apple investigated the circumstances of a security incident said to have occurred on July 18.

The company said in an email to its developer community (see below) three days after the incident took place that the site had been accessed by what it called “an intruder.”

Apple said in the original email disclosing the breach that it would be “completely overhauling our developer systems, updating our server software, and rebuilding our entire database.” It hasn’t gone into any further detail about the nature of the attack.

The Apple developer site grants access to iOS 7, OS X Mavericks and other software development tools. When it first went down it was marked with a notice saying it was down for maintenance. A later notice apologized that maintenance was taking longer than expected. Developers were told that memberships that would have expired during the downtime had been automatically extended.

Since extended downtime of this sort is rare with Apple, people in the dev community naturally began to wonder what was up. Apple finally came clean about the attempted attack and said that “…we have not been able to rule out the possibility that some developers’ names, mailing addresses, and/or email addresses may have been accessed.” Still no word on that.

Here’s the full text of the email sent around to developers.

Developer Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles Now Available

We appreciate your patience as we work to bring our developer services back online. Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles, software downloads, and other developer services are now available. If you would like to know the availability of a particular system, visit our status page.

If your program membership expired or is set to expire during this downtime. It will be extended and your app will remain on the App Store. If you have any other concerns about your account please contact us.

Thank you for bearing with us while we bring these important systems back online. We will continue to update you with our progress.

Yahoo Plans Splashy New San Francisco Digs (And Dreams of Neon Billboard’s Return)

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Justin Sullivan, Getty Images News

According to multiple sources close to the situation, Yahoo is close to signing a lease for a splashy new San Francisco outpost to keep up with the fast growth of other Web companies that have opened high-profile offices here.

Yahoo’s Mayer apparently is hoping for a big PR announcement of the space in San Francisco, much as she did with the recent news that the company was opening new digs in Times Square in Manhattan, in the former offices of the New York Times.

Mayer apparently likes old media locations. While the company has been looking at a number of locations in an increasingly tight office real estate market in San Francisco, it has zeroed in on a large amount of space in the famed San Francisco Chronicle building at 5th and Mission Streets.

That is now the location of Square, the high-profile online payments company which did a handsome redo of its office there. It is expected to vacate and move to an even swankier new space nearby by the end of September.

It’s not clear if Yahoo has actually signed the lease there or how many floors it will take, but sources said that the deal is in advanced stages.

Yahoo, whose main headquarters are in Sunnyvale, Calif., in the heart of Silicon Valley, already has a large location in San Francisco that houses several hundred sales, engineering and other employees over three floors.

But it is located in a nondescript office tower in the duller financial district of the city and not in the more hip environs south of Market Street, which has seen a major renaissance over the last two years due to the opening of numerous Internet companies.

That’s where companies like Twitter, Airbnb, Square and also many Sand Hill Road venture firms have built dramatic and highly designed offices. In addition, companies with existing big Silicon Valley campuses, such as Google, have also located fast-forward spaces in San Francisco.

In fact, the search giant is apparently now dramatically expanding its footprint at its SF HQ in Morgan Stanley’s Hills Plaza building, which is right at the foot of the Bay Bridge on the city’s waterfront.

As does Google, so copies Yahoo these days – from free food to trendy offices.

In fact, sources said Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer – who was a longtime Google exec – has been eager to up the company’s attractiveness to younger entrepreneurs, which includes providing appropriate urban digs within a stone’s throw of twee coffee roasters and ironic donut purveyors.

There are, obviously, no molasses, Guinness-soaked pear donuts easily found in Sunnyvale.

Yahoo has tried to create some hipster cred in the big city before. In 2006, it founded an incubator space in San Francisco called Brickhouse, to foster fast-forward ideas. But it ended up shuttering it two years later due to cost-cutting.

The same expense-chopping was to blame for the end of the iconic Yahoo billboard on the eastbound lane of the Bay Bridge – a retro motel-style one with many quirky mottos, including, “A Nice Place to Stay in the Internet” – that the company gave up in 2011 after a decade. It has since been rented by Clear Channel to the Gap’s Old Navy.

According to sources, Yahoo’s marketing head has told employees that the company has been trying hard to reclaim its past glory, in neon lights at least.

I emailed Yahoo for comment, but horses will fly – it could happen! – before I expect any kind of substantive response from PR at the company.

Top Skype Exec Mark Gillett Departs Microsoft

According to an internal memo sent this morning to employees, top Skype exec Mark Gillett is leaving Microsoft. Sources said that Gillett – who is corporate VP for Skype, as well as its Lync communications product – has another job he is headed to, although the memo did not mention where he was going. Gillett, who is responsible for Skype’s product, engineering and operations worldwide, has been with the online telephony company for several years, including before Microsoft bought it. Previous to that, he worked at private equity giant Silver Lake in Europe.

Here’s the Music Lou Reed Liked

US singer and composer, Lou Reed attends

PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images

Lou Reed was a capital-R Rock Star, but he was also very much a normal-sized human. If you lived in New York in the last couple decades, there was a good chance you’d bump into him doing something very normal, just like regular people do. Once I went to get sushi at an unremarkable place on 13th Street, and there he was, picking at something with Laurie Anderson.

So there’s my Lou Reed story.*

Anyway, just like millions of other people, Lou Reed had a Spotify account. Because he is also a capital-R Rock Star, Spotify occasionally encouraged its users to follow his activity on the streaming music service. So, if you did, you could see what he was listening to.

Or, at least, what whoever was using Lou Reed’s Spotify account was listening to. On the Internet, no one knows if your dog is controlling your playlist.

With that caveat in mind, here, via the Daily Dot, is what Lou Reed was listening to – and liking – in the past year or so. Reed also had other curated playlists, but this one is worth noting because so much of it will be familiar to the average music fan. Turns out Lou Reed listened to Paul Simon, David Bowie and … Lou Reed. Just like a regular human.

And here’s a tremendous Lou Reed performance from 1974. RIP.

* I do have a much better Alec Baldwin story. It is not risque, but it is sort of unbelievable. Yet there are many witnesses.

Amazon Unveils Its MatchBook Print-and-Kindle Combo Deal

Amazon today launched the MatchBook program it announced last month, which lets owners of select print books bought on Amazon get the Kindle e-book versions for $2.99 or cheaper.

Neustar Buys Aggregate Knowledge, One of Facebook’s Ad Tech Favorites, for $119 Million Cash

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iStockphoto | dny59

Neustar, which makes most of its money managing databases for phone companies, is buying Aggregate Knowledge, an analytics company best known recently for its work with Facebook.

Neustar, which reported earnings today, paid $119 million in cash for Aggregate Knowledge; Neustar officials said they would also use restricted stock units in the transaction.

Aggregate Knowledge had raised a reported $64 million since 2005, from investors including Kleiner Perkins, DAG Ventures and OVP Venture Partners. The company restructured in 2010, when current CEO David Jakubowski came on board.

Neustar’s main business involves managing databases of phone numbers for carriers, and that work generated more than half of its $830 million in revenue last year. But it has been trying to build up a marketing business as well; marketing is part of its “information services” unit, which makes up roughly a quarter of its revenue today.

Aggregate Knowledge is supposed to help accelerate that push, and Jakubowski will head up Neustar’s marketing businesses.

Prior to today’s deal Aggregate Knowledge has been spending a lot of time with Facebook, helping the company explain how its ad campaigns are working for marketers. That relationship will continue after the acquisition, Jakubowski said.

Amazon Mines Its Data Trove to Bet on TV’s Next Hit

In May, a dozen Amazon.com Inc. executives, including Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, gathered in a Seattle conference room to select the first original TV shows the company would produce for its streaming video service.

A group of 14 “pilot” episodes had been posted on the company’s website a month earlier, where they were viewed by more than one million people. After monitoring viewing patterns and comments on the site, Amazon produced about 20 pages of data detailing, among other things, how much a pilot was viewed, how many users gave it a five-star rating and how many shared it with friends.

Those findings helped the executives pick the first five pilots – winnowed down from an original pool of thousands of show ideas – that would be turned into series. The first will debut this month: “Alpha House,” a political comedy about four politicians who live together, written by Doonesbury comic strip creator Garry Trudeau.

Read the rest of this post on the original site

Yahoo’s Mayer on the Talent Hunt for Tech Journalists (Even From AllThingsD!)

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This weekend, a Yahoo recruiter tried to poach two of our fine AllThingsD reporters for what was described as a “new initiative within our Tech Vertical.”

According to the recruiter, who used LinkedIn for the outreach, the effort had the “backing of [Yahoo CEO] Marissa Mayer, as well as many of our executives, and will be the first of many of these types of editorial models that we expect to roll out globally within the next year.”

As I had previously written, Mayer is pushing a new content effort that will focus on bringing big content to Yahoo, including the recent splashy hiring of the New York Times’ gadget reviewer, David Pogue, also for the tech effort. She has also been in talks with well-known television news star Katie Couric about an interview-type show that would appear on the homepage.

Among many execs in the Web space, Mayer has always been more attracted to the flashier media scene, having struck deals for Google to buy content properties like Zagat while she was there. But, let’s be clear, none of her efforts there were particularly successful.

Additional efforts to up Yahoo’s content business will require the hiring of a top media exec to replace recently departed media chief Mickie Rosen. Internal sources said that Mayer has said she is aiming to hire a top television exec for the job, to underscore the company’s commitment to video.

For now, it seems, tech is just the start, according to the email from the Yahoo recruiter, without any reference to a very similar previous Yahoo effort called Tech Ticker, which petered out many years ago. And, years before that, there was another content effort, called Finance Vision.

In other words, Yahoo has been no Netflix in its many efforts to jump into the content space, save for a series of light Web shows like “Primetime in No Time.”

One show, though – “Burning Love,” created and commissioned under former media head Ross Levinsohn – has generated a lot of buzz and traffic.

Mayer seems to have even bigger plans, though, using tech an some sort of “anchor.”

“The initiative is a news website, focused on technology, that is extremely social friendly and another way to drive significant traffic back to our platform,” wrote the recruiter. “We have identified this endeavor as a key anchor of our media strategy and a high growth opportunity for the media organization.”

It’s nice to see Mayer finally acknowledging the importance of what tech journalists do, even if it means she is trying to fish in our pond.

(Marissa, bygones on the poaching, as I see it as a compliment to our excellent work at AllThingsD! So, let’s have a just-us-media-ladies lunch, and I can explain how a tech blog works and stuff.)

Here’s the full email to one of our staffers this weekend:

I am the North American Recruiting Lead for Yahoo’s Global Media and Commerce organization.

We are currently looking for strong editorial professional to join the staff running a new initiative within our Tech Vertical. This venture has the backing of Marissa Mayer, as well as many of our executives, and will be the first of many of these types of editorial models that we expect to roll out globally within the next year. The initiative is a news website, focused on technology, that is extremely social friendly and another way to drive significant traffic back to our platform. We have identified this endeavor as a key anchor of our media strategy and a high growth opportunity for the media organization. I was hoping to connect with you as I thought your background was quite interesting for the opportunity.

Please understand that we are operating under a very quick timeline – Would you be open to discussing the role?

I’d welcome the opportunity to discuss your background and Yahoo! in more detail.

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