13 Unexpected Sources of Energy that Could Save the World

13 Unexpected Sources of Energy that Could Save the World

If humans are going to keep living in the style to which we’re accustomed, we need to find alternatives for fossil fuels. Partly that’s because we need to reduce pollution — and partly because those fossil fuels are going to run out. But alternative forms of energy may look a lot weirder than you think.

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Tap & Edit offers quick, gesture-based document editing

Tap & Edit offers quick, gesture-based document editing

Tap & Edit is a new app that lets you create and edit documents, letting you format them with gestures. It provides a number of templates to use, which you can customize as you wish. Creating a document is as simple as tapping New Document in the sidebar. Tap & Edit has a text formatting bar above the keyboard that can select header levels, add a list, insert an image and choose the font.

But the real power of Tap & Edit comes through in the editing gestures. You use gestures for document formatting and layout. A long tap with two fingers will select a block of text. Pressing with two fingers will allow you to move a block. Swiping left or right with two fingers will change the justification, and Double tapping with one finger selects a single line of text. Pinching will increase or decrease the size of a block, and you can also rotate a block with two fingers.

There are several sharing options with Tap & Edit as well. You can share your documents over Wi-Fi with other Tap & Edit users, or send them over email. The app also supports printing. An in-app purchase of $3.99 will upgrade you to the Pro version, which adds document sharing over Wi-Fi with other iOS devices, Dropbox support for document backup and sharing, and sending email documents in HTML or Adobe PDF.

Tap & Edit is a free, universal app, available now on the App Store.

    



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Retina iPad mini now available for order via Apple Online

    



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A Sleek Wireless Thermostat You Might Actually Want To Frame

A Sleek Wireless Thermostat You Might Actually Want To Frame

Better known for the company’s hardware that reports the weather outside, Netatmo has teamed up with Philippe Starck to create a new device that gives you complete control over the climate inside your home from your smartphone. And unlike similar wireless thermostats from Honeywell and Nest, Starck has ensured that Netatmo’s offering doesn’t overcomplicate things.

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Police: Man kills 3, then himself in NE Phoenix

(AP) — A man apparently killed his estranged wife, their teenage daughter and a male friend Tuesday at a north Phoenix home before killing himself, police said.

Police found the woman’s body burned in the home’s backyard. The daughter’s body was found inside the home, and the male victim was found shot in the front yard, Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump said.

Police eventually found the suspect’s body in a nearby alley and believe he shot himself.

The names of the suspect and the victims have not been released.

Neighbors called police at about 4 p.m. Tuesday after hearing gunshots, and dispatchers could hear gunfire in the background of the 911 calls, Crump told reporters.

Much of the residential neighborhood was evacuated until police used a robot to determine the suspect was no longer inside the home.

Police said the couple was going through a divorce and the woman went to the house to get some of her belongings with her daughter and the male friend.

The couple who lived at the home was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday regarding a protective order the wife had sought against her husband, police said. It was not immediately clear whether the hearing took place.

Crump said police were last called to the house about a month ago, when someone at the home was threatening suicide.

Associated PressSource: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/386c25518f464186bf7a2ac026580ce7/Article_2013-11-13-US-Phoenix-Shooting/id-d17fcc077a7c4a988a71fdaef4275f25
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Philippine typhoon deaths climb into thousands

TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) — As many as 10,000 people are believed dead in one Philippine city alone after one of the worst storms ever recorded unleashed ferocious winds and giant waves that washed away homes and schools. Corpses hung from tree branches and were scattered along sidewalks and among flattened buildings, while looters raided grocery stores and gas stations in search of food, fuel and water.

Officials projected the death toll could climb even higher when emergency crews reach areas cut off by flooding and landslides. Even in the disaster-prone Philippines, which regularly contends with earthquakes, volcanoes and tropical cyclones, Typhoon Haiyan appears to be the deadliest natural disaster on record.

Haiyan hit the eastern seaboard of the Philippine archipelago on Friday and quickly barreled across its central islands before exiting into the South China Sea, packing winds of 235 kilometers per hour (147 miles per hour) that gusted to 275 kph (170 mph), and a storm surge that caused sea waters to rise 6 meters (20 feet).

It wasn’t until Sunday that the scale of the devastation became clear, with local officials on hardest-hit Leyte Island saying that there may be 10,000 dead in the provincial capital of Tacloban alone. Reports also trickled in from elsewhere on the island, and from neighboring islands, indicating hundreds, if not thousands more deaths, though it will be days before the full extent of the storm’s impact can be assessed.

“On the way to the airport we saw many bodies along the street,” said Philippine-born Australian Mila Ward, 53, who was waiting at the Tacloban airport to catch a military flight back to Manila. “They were covered with just anything — tarpaulin, roofing sheets, cardboards.” She said she passed “well over 100″ dead bodies along the way.

In the storm’s aftermath, people wept while retrieving the bodies of loved ones from inside buildings. On a street littered with fallen trees, roofing material and other wreckage, all that was left of one large building were the skeletal remains of its rafters.

The airport in Tacloban, about 580 kilometers (360 miles) southeast of Manila, was a muddy wasteland of debris, with crumpled tin roofs and overturned cars. The airport tower’s glass windows were shattered, and air force helicopters were flying in and out as relief operations got underway. Residential homes lining the road into Tacloban city were all blown or washed away.

“All systems, all vestiges of modern living — communications, power, water — all are down,” Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said after visiting Tacloban on Saturday. “There is no way to communicate with the people.”

Haiyan raced across the eastern and central Philippines, inflicting serious damage to at least six of the archipelago’s more than 7,000 islands, with Leyte, neighboring Samar Island, and the northern part of Cebu appearing to take the hardest hit. It weakened as it crossed the South China Sea before approaching northern Vietnam. It was forecast to hit land Monday morning.

On Leyte, regional police chief Elmer Soria said the provincial governor had told him there were about 10,000 deaths there, primarily from drowning and collapsed buildings. Most of the deaths were in Tacloban, a city of about 200,000 that is the biggest on Leyte Island. A mass burial was planned for Sunday in a nearby town.

On Samar, Leo Dacaynos of the provincial disaster office said 300 people were confirmed dead in one town and another 2,000 were missing, while some towns have yet to be reached by rescuers. He pleaded for food and water and said power was out and there was no cellphone signal, making communication possible only by radio.

Reports from the other affected islands indicated dozens, perhaps hundreds more deaths.

The massive casualties occurred even though the government had evacuated nearly 800,000 people ahead of the typhoon. About 4 million people were affected by the storm, the national disaster agency said.

President Benigno Aquino III flew around Leyte by helicopter on Sunday and landed in Tacloban to get a firsthand look at the disaster. He said the government’s priority was to restore power and communications in isolated areas and deliver relief and medical assistance to victims.

Challenged to respond to a disaster of such magnitude, the Philippine government also accepted help from its U.S. and European allies.

In Washington, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed the military’s Pacific Command to deploy ships and aircraft to support search-and-rescue operations and airlift emergency supplies, while European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso sent Aquino a message saying “we stand ready to contribute with urgent relief and assistance if so required in this hour of need.”

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon offered his condolences and said U.N. humanitarian agencies were working closely with the Philippine government to respond quickly with emergency assistance, according to a statement.

The Philippines is annually buffeted by tropical storms and typhoons, which are called hurricanes and cyclones elsewhere on the planet. The nation is positioned alongside the warm South Pacific where typhoons are spawned. Many rake the islands with fierce winds and powerful waves each year, and the archipelago’s exposed eastern seaboard often bears the brunt.

Even by the standards of the Philippines, however, Haiyan is a catastrophe of epic proportions and has shocked the impoverished and densely populated nation of 96 million people. Its winds were among the strongest ever recorded, and it appears to have killed many more people than the previous deadliest Philippine storm, Thelma, which killed around 5,100 people in the central Philippines in 1991.The deadliest disaster on record was the 1976 magnitude-7.9 earthquake that triggered a tsunami in the Moro Gulf in the southern Philippines, killing 5,791.

Haiyan’s winds were so strong that Tacloban residents who sought shelter at a local school tied down the building’s roof, but it was ripped off anyway and the school collapsed, City Administrator Tecson Lim said. It wasn’t clear how many died there.

The city’s two largest malls and groceries were looted and the gasoline stations destroyed by the typhoon. Police were deployed to guard a fuel depot to prevent the theft of fuel. Two hundred additional police officers came to Tacloban on Sunday from elsewhere in the country to help restore law and order.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Aquino was “speechless” when he told him of the devastation the typhoon had wrought in Tacloban.

“I told him all systems are down,” Gazmin said. “There is no power, no water, nothing. People are desperate. They’re looting.”

Tacloban, in the east-central Philippines, is near the Red Beach on Leyte Island where U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur waded ashore in 1944 during the Second World War and fulfilled his famous pledge: “I shall return.”

It was the first city liberated from the Japanese by U.S. and Filipino forces and served as the Philippines’ temporary capital for several months. It is also the hometown of former Filipino first lady Imelda Marcos, whose nephew, Alfred Romualdez, is the city’s mayor.

One Tacloban resident said he and others took refuge inside a parked Jeep to protect themselves from the storm, but the vehicle was swept away by a surging wall of water.

“The water was as high as a coconut tree,” said 44-year-old Sandy Torotoro, a bicycle taxi driver who lives near the airport with his wife and 8-year-old daughter. “I got out of the Jeep and I was swept away by the rampaging water with logs, trees and our house, which was ripped off from its mooring.

“When we were being swept by the water, many people were floating and raising their hands and yelling for help. But what can we do? We also needed to be helped,” Torotoro said.

In Torotoro’s village, bodies could be seen lying along the muddy main road, as residents who had lost their homes huddled with the few possessions they had managed to save. The road was lined with trees that had fallen to the ground.

Vice Mayor Jim Pe of Coron town on Busuanga, the last island battered by the typhoon before it blew away to the South China Sea, said most of the houses and buildings there had been destroyed or damaged. Five people drowned in the storm surge and three others were missing, he said by phone.

The sound of the wind “was like a 747 flying just above my roof,” he said. His family and some of his neighbors whose houses were destroyed took shelter in his basement.

Tim Ticar, a local tourism officer, said 6,000 foreign and local tourists were stranded on the popular resort island of Boracay, one of the tourist spots in the typhoon’s path.

UNICEF estimated that about 1.7 million children are living in areas impacted by the typhoon, according to the agency’s representative in the Philippines Tomoo Hozumi. UNICEF’s supply division in Copenhagen was loading 60 metric tons of relief supplies for an emergency airlift expected to arrive in the Philippines on Tuesday.

“The devastation is … I don’t have the words for it,” Interior Secretary Roxas said. “It’s really horrific. It’s a great human tragedy.”

___

Associated Press writers Oliver Teves and Teresa Cerojano in Manila, and Minh Tran in Hanoi, Vietnam, contributed to this report.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/philippine-typhoon-deaths-climb-thousands-092323892.html
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What we learned on Election Night

WASHINGTON (AP) — Electability and pragmatism won. Ideology and purity lost.

In Democratic-leaning New Jersey, voters gave Republican Chris Christie a second term and rewarded him for his bipartisan, get-it-done, inclusive pitch. In swing state Virginia, voters narrowly rejected Republican Ken Cuccinelli’s uncompromising, conservative approach.

If there’s a lesson from Tuesday’s off-year elections, it might be that during a time of deep divisions within the Republican Party, staunchly conservative GOP candidates who press ideological positions have difficulty winning general elections in competitive states. Candidates with mainstream appeal like Christie in New Jersey and Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia can overcome obstacles that might trip up others.

Christie, in a victory speech aimed at national Republicans, said Americans “angry with their dysfunctional government in Washington” could look to his state as a model for getting things done.

“I know that if we can do this in Trenton, New Jersey, maybe the folks in Washington, D.C., should tune in their TVs right now,” Christie said. “See how it’s done.”

Christie trounced his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono, offering a template for Republicans who want to win and attract a broad coalition of voters. His re-election, the largest by a Republican governor in New Jersey since 1985, could help him make a case for governing as a conservative without ceding the political middle ahead of a possible presidential bid.

In Virginia, McAuliffe held off a late charge by Cuccinelli in a polarizing campaign that exposed liabilities that could drag down both parties next year: President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul for Democrats and a partial government shutdown for Republicans. McAuliffe is a longtime friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, giving the former secretary of state an important ally should she seek the White House again.

In Republican-friendly Alabama, Bradley Byrne, a lawyer backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, defeated tea party-backed candidate Dean Young in a special GOP primary to succeed retiring Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala. Byrne will be the heavy favorite in December to hold onto the congressional seat and gives business groups a victory over the tea party.

Far from the intensity of a presidential campaign, the low-turnout elections don’t offer a greater meaning into the nation’s political psyche. But Virginia and New Jersey often give parties clues to the electorate’s mood heading into congressional elections.

The backdrop was a partial government shutdown triggered partly by tea party demands and a clunky rollout by the Obama administration of the health care law.

In Virginia, exit polls showed that about a third of voters said they were personally affected by the government shutdown, and those who were broke for McAuliffe by nearly 20 points. But Cuccinelli held a narrow edge among those who said health care was their top issue and 53 percent of all Virginia voters said they opposed the health care overhaul passed in 2010. Tea party leaders and social conservatives said the state attorney general’s vociferous opposition to the health care law narrowed the gap — even though it didn’t overcome a fundraising disadvantage.

“This has got to be a real wakeup call for the Obama White House and Democrats in general,” said Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. “If the tail of the Obamacare meltdown could have this kind of impact … then I think they need to be really concerned about the red state Democratic seats” in the 2014 Senate elections.

Both New Jersey and Virginia offered overtones for the 2016 presidential race.

Christie’s advisers were quick to point out that the governor won a majority of women and boosted his support among black and Latino voters, showing that he could compete for voters who comprise Obama’s coalition.

For Democrats, the election may make some wonder if Buono is this year’s version of Garry Mauro, the Texas Democrat who lost to George W. Bush in a lopsided governor’s race in 1998. Some Democrats regretted not competing more aggressively against Bush, who captured the GOP nomination and won the White House in 2000.

But it remains to be seen if Christie’s conservative-yet-pragmatic approach can win over Republicans in places like Iowa and South Carolina, where party loyalists may be skeptical of his post-superstorm Sandy alliance with Obama and his commitment to conservatives on social issues.

Democrats’ win in Virginia gives a boost to the Clinton campaign model of attracting moderates and business-oriented voters while driving turnout among women. McAuliffe’s narrow victory rested on a 9-point edge among women and could offer Democratic candidates in 2014 a model for winning in swing-voting territory — especially if Obama’s support is weakened.

Christie and McAuliffe both outspent their opponents by large margins and aired tough TV ads months before the election to negatively define their opponents, stealing a page from Obama’s playbook against Republican Mitt Romney. No matter the election, the tactics matter.

“We shouldn’t lose focus on the fundamentals,” said Republican strategist Martin Baker, a former adviser to Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign. He said the races are “textbook examples that money and mechanics remain critical to a successful campaign.”

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Ken Thomas covers national politics for The Associated Press.

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An AP News Analysis

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/analysis-post-shutdown-pragmatism-082801331–election.html
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Challenges abound for Twitter heading into IPO

This photo shows the sign outside of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. Seven years after co-founder Jack Dorsey sent the first tweet through the online messaging service, more than 500 million posts are shared each day by everyone from the Dalai Lama to Justin Bieber. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

This photo shows the sign outside of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. Seven years after co-founder Jack Dorsey sent the first tweet through the online messaging service, more than 500 million posts are shared each day by everyone from the Dalai Lama to Justin Bieber. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

This photo shows the sign outside of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. As Twitter prepares to complete its initial public offering of stock this week, the San Francisco company’s history of losses totaling nearly $500 million is raising questions about its ability to turn a cultural phenomenon into a sustainable business. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(AP) — Twitter has built a digital town square that’s teeming with activity but riddled with financial potholes. Seven years after co-founder Jack Dorsey sent the first tweet through the online messaging service, more than 500 million posts are shared each day by everyone from the Dalai Lama to Justin Bieber.

But all the chirping hasn’t translated to profits — nor is it expected to any time soon.

As Twitter prepares to complete its initial public offering of stock this week, the San Francisco company’s history of losses totaling nearly $500 million is raising questions about its ability to turn a cultural phenomenon into a sustainable business.

Twitter’s IPO promises to be another touchstone in the Internet’s evolution from a geeky backwater to a wellspring of world-changing innovation and jaw-dropping wealth. In that sense, the company’s stock market debut shares parallels with the IPOs of two rivals: online social networking leader Facebook Inc., which went public nearly 18 months ago, and search engine leader Google Inc., which made the leap to Wall Street in 2004.

But Facebook and Google were already profitable by the time they went public. By contrast, Twitter’s coming out is a throwback to the late 1990s, a more perilous time in Internet investing — when hundreds of dot-com companies completed IPOs without ever having earned a profit.

“They have a nice and interesting base to build upon, but an exciting business with lots of users doesn’t necessarily generate returns,” says James Gellert, CEO of Rapid Ratings, a subscription service that examines the financial health of companies.

Rapid Ratings gives Twitter’s financial fitness a rating of 19 on a scale of 100. Gellert says that between 1991 and 2011, 90 percent of companies that defaulted on their debt received a rating of 40 or below. By comparison, the firm rated Facebook at 73 just before its May 2012 IPO and Google at 80 ahead of its August 2004 offering.

With 232 million users and an IPO poised to as much as $2 billion, Twitter is unlikely to go bust like so many of the companies that disappeared after the dot-com bubble burst in 2000. So many investors are optimistic about the company’s future that Twitter on Monday seized on the demand for its stock and raised the projected price range of its IPO to $23 to $25 per share, up from an earlier target of $17 to $20.

Despite that enthusiasm, Twitter faces a slew of hurdles that range from an outsize proportion of international users —who generate less revenue than their U.S. counterparts— to concerns about a slowing rate of growth at a time when its user base is less than a quarter of Facebook’s.

Although they both compete for people’s attention and posts, Twitter and Facebook work differently.

Facebook gives its users control over who’s in their social circle and which of their online friends can see specific posts. Twitter is set up so users can “follow” anyone — whether it’s a celebrity, politician, sports star or a pithy teenager — who also has an account on the service. This flexibility makes Twitter like an open book that can be read by anyone. Unlike Facebook, Twitter restricts each post on its service to no more than 140 characters.

Twitter’s openness has left the service with a bit of an identity problem. While Facebook is known as a to connect with friends and family and LinkedIn is the go-to place for exploring career opportunities, Twitter’s purpose is more difficult to define, says Scott Kessler, an analyst with S&P Capital IQ.

In its IPO paperwork, Twitter highlights the simplicity, accessibility and spontaneity of its service and depicts it as one big conversation. Gartner analyst Brian Blau believes many people see it as a “giant party line.”

Blau’s analogy is apt. Long before Twitter, a party line was a telephone line shared by multiple subscribers. Think of it as a line for you, your neighbor and maybe Mrs. Smith around the corner. In rural areas, an entire town might share a single party line. If the line was in use, other subscribers could pick up their telephone and either eavesdrop or join the conversation.

Jumping into the discussion is alluring to the chatty and vivacious, but intimidating for those who are still unsure of their voice. Twitter will have to find ways to get more users to overcome their timidity so they become more active — and more attractive targets for advertisers. According to a recent Associated Press-CNBC poll, 29 percent of people with Twitter accounts never tweet at all.

Twitter’s user growth is already slowing, triggering alarms among some analysts. It took Facebook eight months, from August 2008 to April 2009, to go from 100 million to 200 million users. For Twitter, it was 15 months, from September 2011 to the following December. Facebook, only two years older than Twitter, now has 1.2 billion users.

Beyond Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter also faces competition from up-and-coming startups such as Instagram, the wildly popular photo-sharing app owned by Facebook, Pinterest Inc. and even the likes of Snapchat, a service that lets users send photos and videos that disappear in less than 10 seconds. There’s also a host of emerging social networks for niche audiences such as members of the military, the visually impaired, doctors and people who want to connect with their neighbors.

“Users’ attention and time is becoming more fragmented, and so is the advertising revenue,” says Larry Chiagouris, a Pace University marketing professor who studies social media.

Last week, Facebook surprised investors by acknowledging that fewer young teenagers are logging in to its site daily, a trend that threatens to undermine the social network’s vitality. This hasn’t emerged as a major problem for Twitter, but it probably will have to keep spending heavily to develop features to keep the younger part of its audience hooked.

One of the company’s biggest problems may present its greatest opportunity. Most of Twitter’s user growth is outside the U.S. at the same time that the company has gradually introducing more advertisements on its service. The ads have quickly turned into Twitter’s main source of revenue, which has soared from just $28 million in 2010 to a projected $650 million this year.

Even so, there’s unevenness in the way Twitter generates its ad revenue. Just 26 percent of its revenue comes from abroad, even though more than three-quarters of its users— about 179 million people— live outside the U.S. Put another way, Twitter generated $2.36 per U.S. user in the July-September quarter compared with just 24 cents per user in the rest of the world. Facebook, by comparison, generated 52 percent of its revenue outside the U.S. in the same period, fetching an average of $4.83 per U.S. user and $1.07 per international user.

The dramatic imbalance between Twitter’s international revenue and its audience size abroad means the company isn’t getting enough of a return on its investment into making sure the service works smoothly for users outside the U.S.

In its IPO documents and video presentation to prospective investors, Twitter says it plans to bring in more international revenue by hiring more sales representatives in Australia, Brazil, Ireland and the Netherlands. The company also says it will introduce technology that will make it easier for marketers in other countries to buy ads.

Ramping up advertising growth will be difficult in many countries that lack the affluence and marketing-driven culture of the U.S., predicts Andrew Sheehy, an analyst at Generator Research.

In its IPO documents, Twitter listed Saudi Arabia, Russia and South Africa among the countries where it expects to gain a significant number of users in the next few years.

“Unfortunately, the international side of Twitter’s business is less of a monetize-able beast than the U.S. is,” Sheehy says. “This dynamic is not going to go away overnight.”

__

Ortutay reported from New York.

Associated PressSource: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/495d344a0d10421e9baa8ee77029cfbd/Article_2013-11-04-US-Twitter-IPO-Challenges/id-210372428dea40efbd5937adb4780a13
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iPad Air still coveted by Chinese consumers, despite rise of Android tablets

Android tablets may be on the rise in China, but that hasn’t stopped Beijing resident Fu Zheng from buying Apple’s latest iPad product. He was among the first to get his hands on the device on Friday when Apple launched the iPad Air at one of its local stores in the city.

“Everyone thinks Apple products are good,” said Fu, who also own’s the third and fourth generation iPads.

Apple still remains the leading tablet vendor in China, but increasingly more consumers in the country are buying Android tablets. In this year’s second quarter, Apple’s tablet shipments to the Chinese market fell to a 28 percent market share, while competing products from Samsung Electronics, Lenovo and little-known “whitebox” vendors saw shipments increase, according to research firm IDC.

Apple’s China tablets shipments will pick up with the arrival of the iPad Air, and the iPad mini, slated to arrive later this month, said IDC analyst Dickie Chang. “We think Chinese customers will have a positive response to the iPad Air,” he said, pointing to the tablet’s light weight, thinner design, and improved performance.

But in China, Android tablets will continue to eat away at Apple’s market share over time, he added. “Lenovo, Acer, Asus, Sony, Samsung, all these vendors are providing Android solutions,” he said. “Apple’s products I think have good performance and the quality is good, but the price is still different. There are now Android tablets at $100, $150.”

In China, Apple’s iPad Air starts at 3588 yuan (US$585). But on Friday, customers waiting outside the Apple store in Beijing’s Sanlitun district were eager to buy the product, despite its higher price over Android tablets.

“I’ve bought Android products before,” said a 20-year-old, with the surname Li, who waited in line. “But I think I want to buy a tablet with higher quality,” he added, referring to the iPad Air.

About 50 people waited in line before the Apple store opened at 8 a.m. on Friday. In the past, newly launched products from the company have attracted massive crowds of hundreds when first day of sales started. But since July last year, Apple has implemented a reservation system at its Chinese stores to cut down on lines and prevent customer skirmishes from erupting.

“It was easy to make a reservation,” said Fan Huajie, who wanted to upgrade to the latest Apple tablet. “I have all of their iPads,” he added.

Michael Kan, IDG News Service Beijing correspondent, IDG News Service, IDG News Service

Michael Kan covers IT, telecom and Internet in China for the IDG News Service.
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Rackspace joins forces with Hortonworks on hosted Hadoop

Enterprises can now run Hortonworks’ Hadoop-based Data Platform in Rackspace’s managed hosting environment and its public cloud.

Big data applications are difficult to deploy and harder to maintain, so many companies need help analyzing and extracting value from this vast amount of information, according to Rackspace. Like other cloud vendors, Rackspace pitches this new offering as a way to reduce the amount of time required to deploy and maintain a Hadoop-based environment.

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Rackspace also offers customized configurations to address specific requirements such as high compute or high storage workloads. To minimize the work needed to move to the cloud, existing tools can still be used, it said. But convincing enterprises to move their Hadoop applications to the cloud may not be that easy.

“We used to run on [Amazon Web Services' Elastic MapReduce], but about two years ago we moved to an in-house cluster because of the costs of EMR. We’ve expanded that cluster to almost 700 nodes. Next to that, most of our infrastructure is in-house and with the amount of data that we produce, transferring everything to a public cloud would be very costly,” said Wouter de Bie, team lead for data infrastructure at music service Spotify, via email.

Last month, Hortonworks announced that Spotify had selected HDP (Hortonworks Data Platform) as its standardized Hadoop distribution.

Rackspace wouldn’t provide the pricing for the HDP offering, but said that there is a per-node charge on top of the other hardware, software and support charges for Hadoop.

Rackspace isn’t the only company HortonWorks has been working with on HDP. The company recently announced that SAP will resell the platform and provide enterprise support. It also announced the integration of Ambari — a framework for provisioning, managing and monitoring Hadoop clusters — and Microsoft’s System Center Operations Manager.

Last week, Hortonworks announced HDP 2.0, which uses Apache Hadoop YARN as the underlying OS. That allows users to move beyond batch processing to a multi-use platform that enables batch, interactive, online and stream processing, the company said.

Hortonworks was founded in 2011 by 24 engineers from the original Yahoo Hadoop development and operations team, and has been growing since. This year the company increased its presence in Europe with teams in France, Germany, and the U.K.

Source: http://podcasts.infoworld.com/d/business-intelligence/rackspace-joins-forces-hortonworks-hosted-hadoop-229631?source=rss_business_intelligence
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