In September 2012, shortly after Marissa Mayer took charge of Yahoo, she moved swiftly to try and rectify what was considered the search giant’s biggest problem: a lack of talent. The company’s long-serving head of human resources departed, and aformer private-equity executive, handpicked by Mayer, replaced him.
Since then Yahoo has been on an acquisition spree—or more accurately an acqui-hire spree, buying some 37 companies and their staff, according to CB Insights, the biggest of which was the $1.1 billion purchase of blogging service, Tumblr.
And now Yahoo thinks the problem is solved and its talent crisis is over. At least, so suggested its chief financial offer, Ken Goldman, who spoke at a Morgan Stanley investor conference in San Francisco this week. Goldman was asked whether an exodus of Yahoo veterans to places like Facebook, Google and startups could affect the quality of its services.
“There’s no question that we lost a number of folks along the way. We lost that because, in some respects, we pushed them out,” he said. ”When we came to the company, and we talked about acquisitions…frankly, companies did not want to be acquired by Yahoo…and for us to even acquire them we would have to pay a ‘Yahoo premium’ because they didn’t want to come here. That’s not the case any more.”
Competition for talent in Silicon Valley is fierce, and of course the CFO is going to talk up Yahoo as a good place to work. But Goldman’s statement is backed up by the company’s annual report, which claims that it received more than 340,000 job applications in 2013, double the number in 2012. According to the career site Glassdoor, Yahoo was the third-highest-paying company in Silicon Valley for engineers last year, behind Juniper Networks and LinkedIn.
But salary isn’t everything; unlike Facebook, Google or Twitter, Yahoo did not make it into Glassdoor’s separate list of the 50 best places to work.
Mayer has received her fair share of criticism for not letting staff work from home and for scheduling weekly meetings on Friday afternoons. But if the company is to be believed, the cultural change she has instigated is working.
“She deserves the credit relative to changing the attitude and morale and the desire, if you will, to… attract new folks as well as to retain folks we have,” Goldman said. “So I think – I’m very confident. If you talk to anybody at Yahoo today you would find them, whether they’ve been here for a year or five years, they’re very, very pleased with what they see in working at Yahoo. I’m absolutely, very confident in that relative to attrition and our ability to hire all points to that.”
It’s been quite a week for major Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox.
The leading Bitcoin exchange shut down, filed for bankruptcy, and gave a hint of just how much control it’s lost. Bitcoin owners are freaking out, and they have their reasons.
Don’t worry if you haven’t kept on top of all the news. We’ve gone ahead and encapsulated it all.
First things first: After Mt. Gox discovered a possible hack and the theft of hundreds of thousands of Bitcoins, including some of its own, the exchange shut down on February 25.
More than $400 million in Bitcoin has gone missing.
On Feb. 28, Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy.
The exchange said it was under order not to pay its debts and apologized to users “for causing so much inconvenience.” Its liabilities far outweighed its assets. In fact, Mt. Gox wasn’t even sure how many Bitcoins had vanished.
A Mt. Gox help line wasn’t very helpful to some people who were trying to call in yesterday, Bloomberg reported.
Yesterday, in a Bitcoin chat room, a user named nanashi____ surfaced with word of a 20 GB file representing sensitive data of an undisclosed nature that Mt. Gox stored. Apparently, people hacked in to Mt. Gox and were trying to figure out what to do with the data.
Also over the weekend, someone posted some curious code on the text-pastingwebsite Pastebin. It seems to be from Mt. Gox’s back end, and it seems to contain a means to route Bitcoins to places where they aren’t supposed to end up. At least that’s the way Ars Technica is writing about the code.
A class-action suit is being organized against Mt. Gox’s chief executive, Mark Karpeles, to recover the Bitcoins that went missing in the apparent hack, Bitcoin news outlet CoinDesk reported today.
At one point, Mt. Gox was the largest Bitcoin exchange. But BTC China took that title, only to have BitStamp claim it later, according to a 91-page report on Bitcoin that CoinDesk released last week.
During all the tumult, Bitcoin prices haven’t dropped off, believe it or not. At one point on February 25, the price sat at $452.22; and earlier today, it hit $656.20, the highest point since Valentine’s Day, according to CoinDesk data.
Even so, the dismantling of a major Bitcoin exchange should serve as a yellow flag for anyone thinking about buying, selling, or mining the digital currency. Clearly these systems can get sabotaged, and the lack of insurance means no there’s no guarantee to get your money back.
If you’re still not sure WTF Bitcoin is in the first place, read our introductory guidefrom last month.
At Samsung's satellite Galaxy S5 launch event, the company also unveiled its Gear Fit smartwatch/smart band hybrid.
SEE ALSO: Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo: Hands On
Of the three products, the Gear Fit is the most interesting — not just in terms of its design — but in terms of its positioning and functionality. With the right marketing and the right set of features, the Gear Fit could be the type of of mass-market wearable Samsung needs to wash away the taste of the Galaxy Gear.
Samsung dropped the "Galaxy" moniker from its wearable line — ostensibly because it wants to keep "Galaxy" focused on tablets and smartphones. The name change isn't the only strategic shift.
Even though the Galaxy Gear was unveiled only about six months ago, it has already been replaced with a better-designed Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. Mashable Editor-at-Large Lance Ulanoff argued Gear 2 is everything the original Gear should have been, and I totally agree with his assessment. Genuinely, its hard to look at the original Galaxy Gear and see it as anything other than a stopgap that was released with the hopes of capturing some holiday wearable dollars.
The difference with the Gear family in 2014 — aside from a better design and more refined components — is that there are now multiple products available.
The Gear 2 is being positioned as the high-end smartwatch. It's the flagship. The Gear 2 Neo is a cheaper smartwatch for the everyman. The Gear Fit has a lot of smartwatch-like functionality built-in, but it's clear Samsung is using it to target the burgeoning fitness band market.
Interestingly, it's the fitness market — a place Samsung hasn't been actively focused in the past — that may provide the best path to mainstream success.
The market for fitness trackers and health bands — let's just call them smart bands — is growing. Fast. Canalys reportes that 1.6 million smart bands shipped in the second half of 2013, up 700% from the first half of the year.
Canalys predicts 8 million smart bands might ship in 2014 and that by 2017, the shipments might be as high as 45 million units. Right now, the dominant players in the field includeFitbit, Jawbone and Nike — but there's plenty of room for newcomers, especially with a recognizable name like Samsung.
Smartwatches might be mainstream in the future, but smart bands are encroaching on mainstream now.
Smartwatches might be mainstream in the future, but smart bands are encroaching on mainstream now. Most of my friends don't have a smartwatch, but I'd say nearly 75% have a Fitbit or a Nike Fuelband.
The Gear Fit isn't Samsung's first crack at this space. During the Galaxy S4 launch last year, Samsung showed off an S Band) fitness tracker. I don't think the S Band was ever actually released (and if it was, it was in very limited quantities), but the press images and samples we saw looked a lot like the original Fitbit.
And while the S Band was basically a pure fitness tracker, the Gear Fit is much more of a smartwatch/smart band hybrid.
The Gear Fit has all the typical fitness-tracker accoutrements: It can monitor exercise and sleep, it has a built-in pedometer and heart-rate monitor, and it has a stopwatch and a timer.
The real plus, however, is that it can also talk to your phone.The Gear Fit can display calls, e-mails, app alerts and get push notifications. It can also act as a media controller.
With notifications and alerts, the Gear Fit is edging into smartwatch territory.
Right now it's not clear how Samsung will open up the Gear Fit to outside developers. Unlike the Gear 2 and Gear Neo — which use the Samsung-backed Tizen mobile platform — the Gear Fit runs a proprietary Samsung embedded OS. That said, even without broad third-party support, support for app notifications might be enough for some users.
I have long expected the smart band and smartwatch markets to converge. We treat the two as separate categories, but there is no reason that your smartwatch shouldn't be able to track your steps or that your smart band shouldn't be able to let you change the station on Pandora.
We'll have to use the actual product to be sure, the Gear Fit looks like the first real hybrid device — and that's a good thing.
Much of the hesitancy with smartwatches, at least with individuals I talk to, revolves around two issues: use case and looks.
Having the fitness-tracking abilities gives a solid use case to wary users. This is one of the reasons the Pebble/Runkeeper partnership made so much sense, and why Pebble remains focused on working with fitness app developers.
After starting with tracking a run or a step count, a user might just find that she enjoys getting app notifications, seeing call alerts and having the ability to control her headphones.
Don't let the "Fit" moniker fool you, the Gear Fit can also act as a watch.
The second issue, the one of design, is an area where smart bands are far more advanced than the smartwatch. The smartwatch is still trying to decide how it looks and what it does. Trying to compensate for the size of the screen, the shape of the face, the design of the band, all comes with compromises.
I really like the smartwatch space, but if I'm being honest, none of the major players are particularly beautiful. I really like the design of the Pebble Steel, but it's still much more suited for a man.
The Gear Fit isn't perfect, but it's a very good first attempt at this space.
The Gear Fit has a curved Super AMOLED display, which Samsung says is the first for a device like this. The immediate benefits are that it is both bright and vivid — and the touch sensitivity in my tests was spot-on.
Having touch support helps the Gear Fit stand apart from some other fitness trackers that rely on buttons.
Having touch support helps the Gear Fit stand apart from some other fitness trackers that rely on buttons.
The band itself was comfortable — and available in a variety of colors. I might quibble with the radius of the screen's curve — it's still a bit big for my wrist — but for someone who isn't built like a tiny child, it will look great.
Even better, I found the way the interface was designed to make tons of sense. Tech Editor Pete Pachal and I discussed the orientation of the icons on the device. Pete thinks it might serve better to be vertically stacked, rather than horizontal.
I disagree. Orientation is a difficult thing to manage on these types of devices, because you will literally read the text and information from the side, regardless of what wrist you use — but I think the left-to-right motif that matches what Nike does with the Fuelband works quiet well.
I also think that this orientation works well for activities such as controlling media.
The curved Super AMOLED screen really does make a ton of sense. I'll also pass on another suggestion from Pete Pachal — one I agree with this time — Samsung should look at using flexible displays in the band. that way, the curve could be more contoured to a bigger or smaller wrist.
I don't really get the point of a flexible phone. A flexible screen on a smart band or smartwatch, however, is a great idea.
One of the things I admire most about Samsung as a company is that it isn't afraid to try, fail, and try again. In fact, that is pretty much the company's MO in mobile. The company's first Android phones were not good — but then the Galaxy S series came along, and it was a revelation.
The same is true for the company's attempts at tablets. The first Galaxy Tab was not a good device. Fast-forward a few years, and Samsung is making the Nexus 10.
It's too soon to say if Samsung will find success with smartwatches or hybrid wearables like he Gear Fit. The Galaxy Gear was not a good start, but the Gear Fit actually has signs of promise.
The Galaxy S5 might have been the focal point of Samsung's MWC presentation, but for my interest, the product I really can't wait to see evolve is the Gear Fit.
On February 14, 2014, the Hennessey Venom GT set a new world speed record for 2-seat sports cars by reaching a top speed of 270.49 mph (435.31 km/h). The test was performed at the Kennedy Space Center on the 3.2-mile Space Shuttle landing runway. Brian Smith, Director of Miller Motorsports Park, drove the Venom GT to its record speed. A representative from Racelogic, world-renowned maker of VBox GPS data-acquisition systems, was on hand to independently verify and document the Venom GT’s highest recorded speed. The Venom GT was powered with Pennzoil Platinum® with PurePlus™ Technology, a first of its kind synthetic motor oil made from natural gas
By Jo Best | February 24, 2014 -- 08:26 GMT (00:26
Three years after ditching Symbian for Windows Phone, and mere months before being absorbed into the Microsoft empire, Nokia has released its first Android mobile phones.
The devices, called the Nokia X, X+ and XL, were unveiled at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona on Monday.
The widely-leaked Nokia X is a low-end device and appears to be aimed at emerging markets. It comes with a four-inch screen with an IPS display, a three-megapixel rear camera, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage.
The X+ has the same four-inch screen, but adds an SD card slot, with a 4GB microSD card included. There's 768MB of RAM, 4GB of storage and a three-megapixel rear camera.
The XL has a five-inch screen, 768MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and two cameras: a two-megapixel front-facing camera and five-megapixel rear equivalent.
All three run dual-core 1Ghz Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm.
The devices are available in green, red, yellow, red and bright blue. The X, available now, will go for €89, the X+ is priced at €99 and slated for an early Q2 release, while the XL, also planned for early Q2, will cost €109. "The devices will be available broadly, starting in growth markets," Microsoft devices head Stephen Elop said, across Asia-Pacific, Europe, India, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.
What makes the devices remarkable is that they won't be powered by Nokia's traditional choice for its lower-end handsets, the Series 40-based Asha OS, or its preferred smartphone operating system, Windows Phone. Instead, the X family will be running Android.
Handset makers can use Android in two ways: by using the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) or by also using Google Mobile Services (GMS) which gives makers access to a raft of additional functionality, including likes of the Play app store and Google Maps. The former is a free-for-all, the latter requires handset makers to pass a certification process, and it isn't open source.
Nokia has gone for AOSP for the X family, which means anyone buying the X, XL and X+ won't get access to the million or so apps available on Google Play. However, Android devs can port their Play apps to the handset in what Elop said would be "a matter of hours if even that", and the company will be offering a curated selection of apps through the Nokia store on the devices. X and X+ users can get apps from other Android app stores like Yandex, or in the case of the X+, sideload via the micro SD card.
"We will be taking advantage of the Android app and hardware ecosystems, but we have differentiatied by adding our own services and user experience," Elop said.
Despite being a slap in the face to Windows Phone, the Android-powered X and X+ do have a whiff of Redmond about it: Nokia's custom UI is tile-based, a nod to Windows Phone's own live tiles, including the ability to resize tiles. It will also feature Fastlane
The phone will come with a range of Microsoft services already onboard: Skype, Nokia MixRadio andOneDrive. "Nokia X takes people to Microsoft's cloud not to Google's. This was very deliberate... with this Microsoft will be able to reach people it has never before," Elop said.
The release of the X family is a notable break with Nokia's past mobile strategy: although the company had used Symbian and experimented with MeeGo — both open source OSes — in the past, Nokia subsequently abandoned both to throw in its lot with Microsoft.
According to Elop, while it may not involve a Microsoft OS, the Android-based X family will serve to bring more users to the company in emerging markets. The X family will be "a feeder system for Lumia", he said, and "gives people a gateway" to Microsoft's Windows Phone products.
It looks like Microsoft is getting serious about emerging markets, with the devices chief announcing that both the Lumia and X ranges will get price drops in an effort to grow market share: the Lumia range will go to "lower and lower price points" in the not so distant future, he said, with the X family then "trending below that".
Despite its newfound interest in Android, the Lumia will remain Microsoft's true focus on mobile. "Lumia continues to be our primary smartphone strategy," Elop said, adding all the company "innovation" will come to Lumia first.
The rumours of Nokia considering making an Android handset first surfaced last year, when the New York Times reported that the company had a working Lumia Android prototype when it began negotiations with Microsoft in February over a possible sale of its handset business.
When the acquisition was confirmed in September — a €5.4bn deal that would see Microsoft take over its devices and services unit and license Nokia patents for 10 years - it was assumed that the Android plan had been shelved.
The X family looks to be the last gasp of Nokia as an independent smartphone maker — the Microsoft deal is expected to close later this quarter.
There were also a handful of other product announcements for Nokia's other product ranges. BBM will be coming to Lumia phones, Nokia said. "Particularly in emerging markets, we're going to see a lot of interest in BBM," Elop said.
The former Nokia CEO also today announced the Nokia 220, a 2G low-end device running Series 40. Priced at €29 for a single-SIM variant, the phone has a 2.4-inch display, and has Bing, Facebook and Twitter already loaded on the phone.
Nokia's smartphone-esque Asha line also got a new addition: the 230, the company's cheapest touch Asha so far at €45. An OS update is also on the way for the Asha OS, bringing access to OneDrive, and MixRadio for wi-fi handsets.
The Nets announced the signing of Jason Collins to a 10-day contract on Sunday, making him the first openly gay athlete in NBA history.
“The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision,” Nets GM Billy King said in a statement. “We needed to increase our depth inside, and with his experience and size, we felt he was the right choice for a 10-day contract.”
Collins will be available when the Nets face the Lakers in Los Angeles on Sunday.
“Jason told us that his goal was to earn another contract with an NBA team,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “Today, I want to commend him on achieving his goal. I know everyone in the NBA family is excited for him and proud that our league fosters an inclusive and respectful environment.”
The signing, which was first reported by ESPN.com, drew praise from Athlete Ally, a non-profit organization that fights against homophobia in sports.
“We are entering a new era of inclusion with Jason Collins, the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA at the forefront,” Hudson Taylor, Athlete Ally’s executive director, said in a statement. “Jason may be the first, but he’s not the last. It’s because of him and the unprecedented leadership of professional leagues like the NBA that we’ll see more and more LGBT athletes at all levels of competition.”