Archive for July 26th, 2012

Twitter down!

Looks like Twitter is down again. We started noticing just little while ago and it’s happening on the Web as well as on its iPhone and iPad apps. Twitter tells us it’s aware of the issue and looking into it.

This is the second time this year that Twitter has faced a multi-country outage. The first was a month ago.

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Report: Microsoft reduces staff at Vancouver studio, cans ‘Project Columbia’ for Kinect

Microsoft has confirmed that a “small” number of positions at its Vancouver-based development studio have been terminated. According to an official statement, the roles were no longer deemed necessary after development ceased on Microsoft’s free-to-play Flight, which was released in February, and an unreleased Kinect project known only as “Columbia.”

Project Columbia, as described in late 2011, was to be an educational Kinect title meant to engage young players by pairing books with interactive music and illustrations. It was being designed in collaboration with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit (and muppet-infused) educational organization.

A report on Kotaku brought the layoffs to light earlier today, after several former employees of the Vancouver studio shared the news on Twitter. A Microsoft Studios spokesperson claims “human resources is working with the affected individuals to find new roles within the company,” and that Microsoft remains invested in the British Columbia games industry.

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Dress like the Jet Set with new Sega clothing line

Whether you’re spray-painting police officers in Shibuya-cho or bundling up for a Sakuragaoka afternoon of investigating what happened on the day the snow turned into rain, UK-based Insert Coin Clothing has styles to suit you.

The company’s “Sega Reloaded” line features authentic recreations of both Beat and Gum’s t-shirts from Jet Set Radio (which amusingly bear the characters’ own names), and both shirts and hoodies based on the tiger-adorned leather jacket worn by Shenmue’s Ryo Hazuki. Other Sega designs reference Shinobi, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe and Sonic.

Another upcoming offering by the company is inspired by Sega even more literally, complete with bags matching the approximate shape and appearance of Dreamcast and Mega Drive consoles.

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Apple releases ‘Mountain Lion’ Mac software

SAN FRANCISCO: Apple Inc released the latest version of the operating software for its MacIntosh computers on Wednesday, touting new features such as better integration with the “iCloud” Internet storage service and gaming.

The “Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion” was released a day after Apple reported disappointing results that hammered its shares.

Mountain Lion, first unveiled in June during Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, is available as an upgrade from the previous two operating systems — Lion and Snow Leopard — for $19.99. Macs purchased on or after June 11 will receive a free upgrade, the company said.

The update includes more than 200 new features, including integration with iCloud, desktop versions of Messages and Game Center, a new Notification Center, according to a press release.

A future update for the new operating system will bring Facebook directly onto the Mac, the company said.

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Twitter partners with NBC for event page

LONDON: Michael Phelps sends pictures of his dogs in swimming gear. Jordyn Wieber and the rest of the U.S. gymnasts posed for a snapshot with Ryan Lochte. Track star Lolo Jones updates her followers on her training and television habits.

Many of the top Olympians have active Twitter accounts, and the social media website is hoping to capitalize on its growing popularity during the London Games.

Twitter is partnering with NBC Sports on an Olympics event page that will offer a curated feed of the most popular posts from the games. The site goes live Thursday. It is meant to go hand-in-hand with the broadcast coverage, giving users a real-time place to react to what they see on TV.

“The primary thing we’re focused on with the events page is we want to bring the audience closer to the Olympics,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, the manager of editorial programming for Twitter. “And what that means in practical terms is we’re really interested in tweets from athletes themselves, tweets from the organizing committee, tweets from people who are on the ground at the games.”

Sports events are responsible for the majority of the top moments measured in tweets per second. Spain’s 4-0 win over Italy in the European Championship soccer final on July 1 registered 15,358 tweets per second at its highest level and prompted 16.5 million tweets in all.

But the amount of activity during top sports events can be difficult for users to manage, especially Twitter novices. Concerned about the experience for newcomers, Twitter first tried the event page concept at NASCAR’s Pocono 400 in June, then did it for a couple more races before rolling it out again for the Euro 2012 tournament.

“Our goal is with these event pages how do we make that volume accessible for any user and also make it as high of quality as possible,” Fitzgerald said.

There are several other social media sites planning for increased attention during the games.

Facebook rolled out its “Explore London 2012” in June, featuring links to pages for current and former Olympic athletes, sports, broadcasters and national teams. The site is offered in 22 different languages.

“The Olympics has been connecting fans with memorable sporting events and moments for more than a century, first in the stadiums, then through television and now on social media,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said last month. “It makes sense to give fans the best experience we can and these will be the first truly ‘social’ Games.

“I’m sure that through Facebook and all of our other social media channels we will manage to bring a new dimension to the Games for a new audience.”

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Iran threatens cyber-attackers with ‘teeth-breaking’

DUBAI: The United States will face a “teeth-breaking” response if it continues to carry out cyber attacks against Iran, an Iranian official said on Wednesday.

Iran has previously accused the United States and its allies of trying to sabotage its disputed nuclear programme by using computer worms like Stuxnet, which caused centrifuges at the country’s main enrichment facility to fail in 2010.

“If the Americans’ futile cyber attacks do not stop, it will face a teeth-breaking response,” the Iranian Students’ News agency quoted an unnamed cyber security official as saying. He gave no further details.

Last month, Iran said it had detected plans by the United States, Israel and Britain to launch what it said was a massive cyber strike, after diplomatic efforts to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme broke down.

Western powers believe Iran wants to produce atomic bombs, a charge Tehran denies. It says it only wants the technology to generate medical isotopes to treat cancer patients.

The United States and the European Union have imposed tough sanctions on Iran, including an oil embargo, which have severely weakened its currency and driven up inflation.

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Facebook user base soars to 50 million in India

HYDERABAD: Facebook has said its user base in India has grown from 8 million in 2010 to 50 million now and most of the people access the site through mobile phones, prompting it to rethink its business model.

While for other countries it was the desktop which was first used to get in to the portal, in case of India it was the mobile phone, said Kirthiga Reddy, Facebook Director – online operations and head of office – India.

Most of the people in the US started on desktop and moved to mobile, she said, adding that India is causing the company to rethink its model.

“Because many people are going to Facebook first on mobile and they might never go to desktop again,” Reddy said.

The situation has prompted Facebook to come out with many innovations so that the site can be accessed through any mobile phone, she added.

“Facebook had a user-base of 8 million when it started its office in India in 2010. It has grown to 50 million users since then,” Reddy said, adding that currently translation in India is available in eight languages.

“Globally, we have many users that contributed for translation of local languages. Translate tool is open for a few other languages,” she said.

Replying to a query, she said as per studies children below 13 tend to access Facebook when their parents are using the site.

“Our policy is that children below 13 years of age are not allowed… we have taken that very seriously. Anytime someone is being reported being under 13 (of age), we immediately look into that and take action. There is a lot of education and initiatives we engage in,” she added.

According to the information available in Facebook official site, it had 901 million active users at the end of March 2012, and approximately 80 per cent of these monthly active users were outside the US and Canada.

Facebook is available in more than 70 languages.

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