posted 3 days ago on techmeme
Sean O'Kane / The Verge: Spotify updates iOS app with Touch Preview, a quick way to sample and discover music using gestures  —  Spotify unveils Touch Preview, a beautiful new music discovery tool  —  An audible solution for a visual problem  —  Last year was a busy one for Spotify.  It hit 10 million paid subscribers.

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Danny Sullivan / Search Engine Land: Google Suggesting Firefox Users Change Their Search Engine & Home Page  —  Now that Yahoo has gained search share from Google thanks to its Firefox deal, the search giant seems to be finally hitting back with moves to get users to switch to Google.  —  I've been checking each week since …

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Shara Tibken / CNET: Surface devices running Windows RT will not be updated with a full version of Windows 10  —  Microsoft's Windows RT isn't dead...yet  —  The software giant says it's working on an update for the versions of its Surface tablet that used an ARM-based chip.  But it will only have some of the functionality of Windows 10.

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Mark Gurman / 9to5Mac: Apple targets Watch battery life of 2.5 hours heavy use and 3.5 hours standard use; pure standby battery life likely to be 2-3 days; CPU said to be A5-caliber  —  Apple targets for Apple Watch battery life revealed, A5-caliber CPU inside  —  Although Apple has said that the Apple Watch …

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Russell Brandom / The Verge: Journalist and Anonymous advocate Barrett Brown sentenced to 63 months in prison on charges stemming from Stratfor hack  —  Barrett Brown has been sentenced to 63 months in prison  —  After years of legal battles, Barrett Brown's legal saga has finally come to a close.

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Jack Clark / Bloomberg: Amazon Agrees to Buy Israel's Annapurna Labs for AWS Cloud Unit  —  Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) agreed to acquire Israeli semiconductor company Annapurna Labs, seeking to improve performance within its Amazon Web Services cloud unit.  —  A deal has been reached but hasn't yet closed …

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Michael Carney / PandoDaily: Braintree opens private beta allowing US merchants to accept bitcoin via its v.zero SDK and Coinbase integration  —  Paying for Uber with Bitcoin?  Braintree opens up bitcoin payments to its thousands of merchants  —  Two of the biggest forces in modern payments collided today …

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Phil Goldstein / FierceWireless: T-Mobile to let lower-credit customers who pay on time get access to $0-down smartphones  —  T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) is giving every customer with a monthly voice plan who has made or makes 12 consecutive on-time monthly bill payments access to zero-down financing for smartphones regardless of their credit score.

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Ryan Lawler / TechCrunch: Uber study of US drivers: average earnings are $19/hour, more than for taxi drivers; 40K joined in December; 70% drivers active after six months  —  Uber Study Shows Its Drivers Make More Per Hour And Work Fewer Hours Than Taxi Drivers  —  The people who drive for Uber generally …

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Deborah Gage / Wall Street Journal: Persado Raises $21 Million to Replace Human Copywriters With Computers  —  Persado Inc. has raised another $21 million for software that aims to replace copywriters with computers, in another demonstration of the power of machines to solve problems that used to be the sole domain of humans.

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Horace Dediu / Asymco: Apple paid iOS app developers $10B in 2014, more than Hollywood's US box office revenues  —  Bigger than Hollywood  —  Apple paid $10 billion to developers in calendar 2014.  Additional statistics for the App store are:  — $500 million spent on iOS apps in first week of January 2015

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Emil Protalinski / VentureBeat: Microsoft announces Office 2016, coming in the second half of 2015  —  At its Windows 10 event yesterday, Microsoft unveiled the touch-optimized version of Office.  Today, the company offered more details about that version, and then snuck in another announcement: the next desktop version …

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Jacob Kastrenakes / The Verge: Tumblr's Creatrs Network connects Tumblr's top artists with brands to help make ads  —  Tumblr wants its best artists to create ads people actually like  —  Tumblr's beautiful, GIF-filled feed is what keeps bringing visitors back, and it wants to make sure the feed stays that way even as brands begin to fill it with ads.

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Paul Sawers / VentureBeat: Amazon launches Kindle Textbook Creator to help schools turn PDFs into digital books  —  Amazon has unveiled a new program designed to help educational establishments and authors produce ebooks for students.  —  With KDP EDU and the Kindle Textbook Creator, Amazon is expanding its Kindle Direct Publishing …

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Jason Del Rey / Re/code: Button Raises $12 Million to Make the App World as Interconnected as the Web  —  Could 2015 be the year of “deep linking?”  —  One startup trying to ride that wave is Button, a New York City-based company which is today announcing a $12 million Series A investment less than a year after its launch.

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Catherine Shu / TechCrunch: Kim Dotcom Launches Skype Competitor MegaChat  —  Kim Dotcom, the infamous entrepreneur behind Megaupload, has released his latest product.  Currently in beta, MegaChat is a browser-based encrypted video calling and file-sharing platform that is being positioned as a Skype competitor.

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Mike Snider / USA Today: Verizon earnings meet estimates despite 4Q net loss  —  Verizon shares dropped slightly after the company reported a net loss in its fourth-quarter earnings, attributed to employee pensions and benefit costs.  However, revenues met expectations thanks to increased wireless and broadband connections.

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Nick Bilton / New York Times: In-flight Wi-Fi is getting slower, less reliable, and more expensive as demand increases  —  The Sorry State of In-Flight Wi-Fi  —  35,000 FEET, SOMEWHERE OVER THE MIDWEST — I've finally found something on commercial flights that's worse than airplane food: the Wi-Fi.

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Derrick Harris / Gigaom: Ex-Facebookers at Interana raise $20M for mass-scale event data  —  Interana, a Menlo Park, California, analytics startup that officially launched in October has closed a $20 million Series B round.  Index Ventures led the round, which also included new investors AME Cloud Ventures, Harris Barton and Cloudera's Mike Olson.

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Sarah Perez / TechCrunch: Gift Card Marketplaces Raise Grabs $56 Million From NEA And Others  —  A company offering a marketplace where consumers can buy and sell their unused gift cards, Raise.com, announced this morning it has taken in a sizable $56 million round of Series B funding, led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA).

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David Shamah / ZDNet: Amazon looking to buy datacenter tech startup Annapurna Labs for $350m  —  Summary:Amazon is reportedly in talks to buy a stealth-mode Israeli startup that could give its datacenters a boost.  —  After almost a year of searching, Amazon has found its Israel ‘soulmate,’ which is developing …

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Brian Beach / Backblaze Blog: Backblaze: 4 TB HGST and Seagate hard drives are most reliable, 3 TB Seagate and WD drives fail often  —  What is the Best Hard Drive?  —  It was one year ago that I first blogged about the failure rates of specific models of hard drives, so now is a good time for an update.

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Farhad Manjoo / New York Times: The case for Marissa Mayer, as key metrics suggest the turnaround at Yahoo is on track  —  Marissa Mayer's Plan for Yahoo Takes Hold.  The Question Now Is Time.  —  When Marissa Mayer was offered the chief executive job at Yahoo in the summer of 2012, she had a script for returning …

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Catherine Shu / TechCrunch: BlackBerry CEO Wants Legislators To Make Developing BlackBerry Apps Mandatory  —  At this point, BlackBerry and Windows Phone fans are probably used to having a much smaller selection of apps than their counterparts on iOS and Android smartphones.  After all, diehard devotees of BlackBerry and Windows Phone …

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Jessi Hempel / Wired: Inside Nadella's plan to reinvent Microsoft, starting with HoloLens, a flatter org chart, and a willingness to forge new partnerships  —  Satya Nadella's Got a Plan to Make You Care About Microsoft.  The First Step?  Holograms … REDMOND MISSED MOBILE  —  The old Microsoft never gained turf in smartphone operating systems.

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