Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Find: Meet the company that's behind HP's smartwatch



Meet the company that's behind HP's smartwatch
// The Verge - All Posts

HP threw a curveball when it announced a surprisingly good-looking smartwatch earlier this year, the Michael Bastian-designed Chronowing. It doesn't have the horsepower of an Android Wear device or the to-be-released Apple Watch, but the Chronowing still manages notifications from your phone, has a neat subdial that simulates an analog watch face, and — this is key — actually kind of looks like a real watch.

But HP didn't make the Chronowing, it turns out. Multiple sources familiar with the relationship have confirmed that the manufacturer behind the timepiece is Meta, the Fossil spinoff that recently launched its own M1 line of smartwatches penned by former Vertu designer Frank Nuovo.

The relatively low-resolution, monochrome square...

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Find: Talent magnet: The new Citrix building

Yup. I'd work there. 

*** 

Talent magnet: The new Citrix building
// Walter Magazine

VIEW FROM THE TOP: The building itself was created using ShareFile and other Citrix software, said Steve Nicholson, who directed the site selection, design and construction of the new building remotely, in part, from his base in Santa Barbara. He says he spent several months after Citrix’s acquisition of ShareFile “just watching how they do what they do” before deciding what kind of building would best suit the group’s needs.

VIEW FROM THE TOP: The building itself was created using ShareFile and other Citrix software, said Steve Nicholson, who directed the site selection, design and construction of the new building remotely, in part, from his base in Santa Barbara. He says he spent several months after Citrix’s acquisition of ShareFile “just watching how they do what they do” before deciding what kind of building would best suit the group’s needs.

by Liza Roberts
photographs by Nick Pironio

“The way people work is changing,” says Citrix vice president Jesse Lipson. “Work and play used to be clear-cut. Those lines are blurring.” As a result, “The nature of an office has changed.”
Lipson’s office, anyway.
The Duke philosophy major turned successful software entrepreneur sold ShareFile, the cloud-based file sharing software maker he founded, to Citrix for more than $50 million in 2011. On Oct. 9, to much fanfare, he unveiled its new Raleigh workplace.
The Citrix building on S. West Street took a former Dillon Supply warehouse and turned it into a place that has to be seen to be believed. With 170,000 square feet of custom-made, customizable Herman Miller workstations; a basketball court; a two-story living wall of 8,000 plants; nooks for naps; a rooftop yoga studio; art from North Carolina artists; a racquetball court; a gourmet café; fresh air from sliding doors and windows; a giant, fully equipped gym; bikes to borrow; and a bocce court with the best view in town, it’s no ordinary office. It’s green in all of the important ways, and has technology imbedded in everything from responsive lighting to automated ambient noise control. To say it’s the office of the future is like saying the Tesla Roadster is the car of the future. It’s extraordinary, but most of us will be lucky to get a test drive.

The two-story living wall – which hangs from a crane left over from the building’s previous life as an industrial warehouse – is home to 8,000 plants from 14 different species. They include several varieties of philodendron, orchid, and fern.

The two-story living wall – which hangs from a crane left over from the building’s previous life as an industrial warehouse – is home to 8,000 plants from 14 different species. They include several varieties of philodendron, orchid, and fern.

The building’s center is created by a cantilevered tower of eight recycled shipping containers, all named for different philosophers: Aquinas, Aristotle, Bacon, Boole, Camus, Cicero, Derrida, and Descartes. It seems entirely likely to a visitor that Citrix vice president Jesse Lipson, a philosophy major at Duke, won’t take long to tackle the rest of the philosopher alphabet as the company continues its warp-speed growth.

The building’s center is created by a cantilevered tower of eight recycled shipping containers, all named for different philosophers: Aquinas, Aristotle, Bacon, Boole, Camus, Cicero, Derrida, and Descartes. It seems entirely likely to a visitor that Citrix vice president Jesse Lipson, a philosophy major at Duke, won’t take long to tackle the rest of the philosopher alphabet as the company continues its warp-speed growth.

Envy was the running joke on ribbon-cutting day. Just about every person who toured the place – who ranged from elected officials including Gov. Pat McCrory and Mayor Nancy McFarlane to an assorted who’s-who of the Triangle’s business and community leaders – had the same thing to say, with a laugh for the sake of tact: Citrix, will you hire me?
Which is the idea.
Lipson, who found this unlikely spot for as many as 900 employees – in what was then an empty warehouse on a mostly empty street – says the building is designed not only to facilitate creative work from teams of people – but to convince them to work there in the first place. And to stay, once they do.
At first, Lipson says he hesitated to suggest such a massive, complex, expensive, and risky idea – gutting a warehouse to build an office like this one – to his then-brand-new boss, Mark Templeton, Citrix’s CEO. “I didn’t want to be the guy who got us into this disastrous real estate deal,” Lipson recalls. Templeton’s response sealed the deal: “He said, is this the place that will help you attract and retain the best talent in the Triangle? If yes, do it.”
That was two years ago. At that point, the company committed to add 340 jobs within five years – to grow from 130 to 470 workers – in exchange for more than $9 million in state and local incentives. As of last month, the company had blown past those numbers.  More than 600 employees fill the building today, and Lipson says the number will likely reach 900 in the next couple of years.
“It’s about inventing the future,” Citrix CEO Templeton told the 200-plus crowd gathered on opening day. “Powered by a whole new generation of people.” The N.C. State graduate says Citrix doesn’t have to look far to find them: “North Carolina is creating talent. The talent is here.”

 

Whiteboard tabletops and morphing conference rooms are made for collaborative work. Among the many pieces of recycled material from the Dillon Supply warehouse incorporated into the new Citrix building are several railroad ties that form the bases for glass-topped conference tables.

Whiteboard tabletops and morphing conference rooms are made for collaborative work. Among the many pieces of recycled material from the Dillon Supply warehouse incorporated into the new Citrix building are several railroad ties that form the bases for glass-topped conference tables.

 

A rooftop bocce court is one of the building’s many recreational options on every floor.

A rooftop bocce court is one of the building’s many recreational options on every floor.

OUTSIDE IN: Folding glass NanaWalls turn a rooftop patio into an alfresco dining spot.

OUTSIDE IN: Folding glass NanaWalls turn a rooftop patio into an alfresco dining spot.

A ride-in bike storage area has room for 80 bikes, including eight loaners for employees who need to zip to a cross-town meeting, or to take home if ride-share buddies leave them behind.

A ride-in bike storage area has room for 80 bikes, including eight loaners for employees who need to zip to a cross-town meeting, or to take home if ride-share buddies leave them behind.

'Climbing Figures', a sculpture by Ranier Lagemann, scales the parking garage.

‘Climbing Figures’, a sculpture by Ranier Lagemann, scales the parking garage.



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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Find: Apple releases WatchKit developer tools alongside first iOS 8.2 beta



Apple releases WatchKit developer tools alongside first iOS 8.2 beta
// Ars Technica

As of today, developers can officially begin writing software for the Apple Watch.
Megan Geuss

The Apple Watch is set to launch early in 2015, and back in September Apple said that developers would be able to write software for it using a new set of APIs called WatchKit. Today Apple has officially issued the first beta of WatchKit to third party developers, who can get started writing and testing Apple Watch software now.

According to Apple's WatchKit page, Apple Watch apps are actually divided up into two parts. One is "a WatchKit Extension" that actually runs on your iPhone, and the other is "a set of user interface resources that are installed on Apple Watch." The iPhone's more powerful SoC will actually be executing the code, and you interact with that code through the UI on the watch's screen. Apple's introductory video at the bottom of the WatchKit page explains the basics of how the phone and the watch will communicate, and how apps will work—we'll sum up some of the most interesting parts, but developers especially will want to watch the whole thing.

This is an interesting way to handle things, because it takes some pressure off of the hardware inside the Apple Watch itself (Apple called the entire system the "S1" in its presentation, but aside from that we know little about it). One worry that has surfaced as pundits have debated the watch's price tag is the replacement cycle—does Apple expect you to replace your watch every year? Every two or three years, like you do with your phone? Some guesses on cost, particularly for the gold Apple Watch Edition, have gone up to $1,000 and beyond, and watch aficionados who spend that much on these things generally expect them to last.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Find: Google changes stance on net neutrality four years after Verizon deal

A big deal: google flips to say mobile data should also be net neutral. 

Google changes stance on net neutrality four years after Verizon deal
// Ars Technica

Four years ago, Google teamed up with Verizon to argue that most network neutrality rules should not apply to cellular networks. The companies got much of what they wanted, with the Federal Communications Commission passing rules that let wireless operators discriminate against third-party applications as long as they disclose their traffic management practices. Wireless companies were also allowed to block applications that don't compete against their telephony services.

Verizon sued anyway and won when a federal appeals court struck down the FCC’s prohibitions against blocking and discrimination. The decision has set off months of debate, yet Google—once a strong supporter of net neutrality—has largely remained silent.

That changed today with Google sending a message to subscribers of its “Take Action” mailing list urging them to “Join Take Action to support a free and open Internet.” Within this page is evidence that Google has changed its mind on whether net neutrality rules should apply to wireless networks.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Find: Apple announces iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus

Apple announces iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus
// Ars Technica

17 more images in gallery

CUPERTINO, CA—As expected, Apple has just updated its iPhone lineup with brand-new handsets. While last year's 5C and 5S were both variants of 2012's iPhone 5, the new phones feature a redesigned chassis made to hold their larger 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens. The new enclosures are thinner, too, with the iPhone 6 measuring 6.9 mm and the Plus coming in at 7.1 mm—both thinner than the iPhone 5S's 7.6 mm.

This is just the second time that Apple has changed the size of the iPhone's screen since the original model was introduced back in 2007, and it's the first time Apple has changed the width of its screens—the 4-inch iPhone 5 design just made the previous 3.5-inch displays taller. The new phones are better-suited to compete against ever-increasing screen sizes from Android phone OEMs like Samsung, HTC, LG, and Motorola. According to Apple slides revealed during the Apple vs. Samsung case, Apple is aware that most of the growth in high-end smartphone sales is coming from large-screened phones.

The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 has a resolution of 1334×750 (326 PPI) and the iPhone 6 Plus is 1920×1080 (401 PPI), They won't be as sharp as displays in many premium Android phones, some of which have 2560×1440 display panels, but as we've seen, those panels can be a big drain on the battery.

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Find: Apple reveals long-rumored Apple Watch

Apple reveals long-rumored Apple Watch
// Ars Technica

On Tuesday, Apple finally unveiled the Apple Watch, the company's first dedicated wearable device.

Once rumored for an October reveal, the Watch was only recently linked to today's iPhone announcement event, and while it follows devices from the likes of Samsung, Motorola, and LG, the Watch stands out thanks to its total integration with the iPhone and iOS ecosystem. The Apple Watch comes in two different sizes—one larger and one smaller.

According to CEO Tim Cook, the Apple Watch has been in development for a considerable amount of time and required a reassessment of how users interact with devices. Not content to take the iPhone experience and simply shrink it to wrist-like proportions, the Apple Watch discards traditional gesture controls like pinch-to-zoom, since they are impractical in the tiny form factor. Instead, the primary means of interaction is with the "digital crown," the tiny dial on the watch's side. Per Cook, it lets you interact with the watch without blocking its screen (although, confusingly, a screen-obscuring swipe appears to be the most common gesture used with the Watch). A press on the "digital crown" returns you to the home screen.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Find: Apple explains why your iOS app keeps getting rejected

Apple explains why your iOS app keeps getting rejected
// Ars Technica

If you've ever developed an app for the iPhone or iPad, you've had to deal with Apple's App Store Review Guidelines. The lengthy list of rules encompasses many different areas, and Apple has just published a new page to explain what rules are broken the most often—and what developers can do to avoid rejection.

Apple's graph (which reports app rejections for the week leading up to August 28) shows that "incomplete information" is the most frequent reason for rejection—this includes providing demo account credentials for apps that require an account, failure to adequately explain any special settings needed for evaluation, and failure to provide an accompanying demo video for apps that only work under specific circumstances (when attached to a particular piece of hardware, for example). In short, tell Apple what it needs to know to evaluate your app, because the company isn't going to take extra time to do research if your app isn't self-explanatory.

Bugginess is another big reason for app rejections, as is failure to comply with Apple's Developer Program License Agreement. A fuzzier problem that takes down six percent of apps is a "complex or less than very good" user interface, which could mean that the interface is too cramped or not finger-friendly—Apple provides many UI explainers to developers, and failure to take them into account can get your app thrown out even if it's otherwise useful. The chart above and the page itself explains how to comply to these guidelines as well as the others on the list, though they won't help you much if your app was one of the 42 percent rejected for "other reasons."

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