Tag Archives: Silicon Valley

Eyeing faster chips, scientists measure super-fast electrical switching

Researchers in Silicon Valley have managed to observe electrical switching that is thousands of times faster than transistors used in today’s computer chips. Their work could lead to a better understanding of how transistors work at the atomic level and in turn help to enable more powerful computers.

Transistors are semiconductor devices that act as simple on-off electrical switches. The number of transistors in a computer chip has a direct effect on its speed and power, so researchers are continually trying to make their transistors smaller and faster.

In work at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, California, researchers using an X-ray laser to discovered it takes just one trillionth of a second to switch between on and off states in a sample of magnetite, a type of mineral.

They hit each sample with a pulse of visible light from a laser, which caused the electronic structure of the material to rearrange itself. Immediately afterwards, they hit it with a burst from an ultrabright, ultrashort X-ray laser which revealed that the rearrangement had begun hundredths of quadrillionths of seconds after the initial pulse hit the sample.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

The Goldilocks Effect: Why Silicon Valley is No Longer 'Just Right'

By Kelly Clay, Contributor

For years, startup founders have flocked to Silicon Valley to build companies with idyllic dreams of large rounds of funding and huge exits. Some call it a mecca, others call it the only place to get in front of the right people, whether that’s potential co-founders, those who can provide funding or fellow entrepreneurs who know how to strike the right work-life balance. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

McAfee: The Movie!

1280-John-McAfee

Warner Bros. is talking to Ed Wood scribes Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski to write a film about the idiosyncratic Silicon Valley businessman and scourge of online viruses, John McAfee.

Deadline reports that Crazy, Stupid, Love directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra hope to helm and produce the film, which will be based on a Wired Magazine article called “John McAfee’s Last Stand.”

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at IGN Movies

Why Do Most Of The Successful Startups Come Out Of The USA?

By Quora, Contributor

I meet with startups from around the world. There are several reasons that more big tech startups come from here than from any other place. Access to role models. One CEO, as we drove by Apple’s headquarters, told me how he watched Apple growing up from a startup, like I did (I lived a mile or two away and got a tour when it was smaller than Y Combinator back in 1977). He said “if Apple can do it, anyone can.” More on why role models are so important later. Access to funding. Apple needed funding to get started. So does every startup. Only a few can go it on their own with just friends and family money. But here even friends and family money is easier to get because of the role models. We all know that if we give you $10,000 (what GoPro started up with, by the way, less than two hundred yards from my house) that it could become a billion-dollar company someday. How many people around the world know that’s possible? Not many, in my experiences. Access to business infrastructure. Need a lawyer that understands how to help startups? They are here. Need an office with good startup help? Go see something like Plug-n-Play that houses 300 startups. Need a PR firm? They are here. Need a mentor who has built a company before? They are here. Need a launch vehicle, like a conference? They are here. Need a CFO who understands how to get a company ready for an IPO? They are here. Etc., etc. Yeah, they might also exist elsewhere, but not in high concentrations like in San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, New York, Los Angeles. Access to distribution. How will you get your new service into the hands of people? How about app stores? Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have them. Who else? No one with serious ones. How about search engines? How about partnership possibilities (want OpenTable to distribute your stuff, for instance?)? Those distribution and partnership opportunities are probably in San Francisco or New York. Rarely other places. Not to mention that most of the world’s tech press is located in San Francisco or New York. Access to monetization capabilities. You want ads? New York has them. Who else will deliver you the USA market, which is still the richest in the world (at least for a few years until China totally takes over). There are other markets that can monetize, but they are not as profitable and harder to kick off a worldwide brand with. Access to Talent. The modern company will probably need a big data expert. Someone who knows how to push around a big Hadoop cluster, for instance. Do you have one in your local community? Probably not, but they exist like flies in the San Francisco area. Google, and many Silicon Valley tech companies (HP, Cisco, Sun, Yahoo) started at Stanford University, which continues to pour out a lot of top-rate engineering and business talent. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Apple Patents Its Own In-Dash Infotainment System

By Jeff Jablansky

A bystander for some time in the world of in-car connectivity, Apple seems ready to dive head-first into the fray, according to patent information made public in early July. Following the lead of Microsoft, which has its name all over Ford’s Sync and MyFord Touch systems, Apple might be quietly preparing for an overwhelming entry into the automotive market not unlike the splash it made with the iPhone.

Siri Eyes Free integration highlights Apple’s approach to designing a tech-heavy, distraction-free driving environment, and automakers already are lining up to make it a part of their connectivity suites. Many of the Cupertino-based giant’s proposed technological advancements already have found their way into production cars, such as haptic-touch screens and programmable dashboards, but the list of functionalities is impressive nonetheless.

Apple Receives Patents for In-Dash Infotainment System

  • As with an iPhone or an iPad, controls on the dashboard and center stack can utilize touch, pinch, and slide movements. The patent information explains the benefit in terms of operating the windshield wipers, which allows for the driver to select exactly the speed and frequency of each wipe rather than defer to fixed intermittent positions.
  • Apple’s patent mimics systems like BMW’s proprietary iDrive for primary controls, highlighted by a central control knob as the lynchpin of functions that are not controlled by voice, in the vein of iDrive.
  • An overhead camera, or two, is responsible for recognizing and monitoring driver and passenger behavior in the car.  Dashboard-mounted cameras are another option, designed for face recognition and airbag deployment based on seats occupied, among other inputs. In some circumstances, the patent hints that the software could disable the ignition for unknown drivers. Infrared technology also lets the car know which occupants are doing what in the cabin.


Of course, it’s worth noting that Apple has thousands of patents and patent applications filed with the U.S. and the European Union, with only a very small amount ever coming to fruition. (Just last year we reported on a steering-wheel-mounted iPod-style remote control that we’ve yet to see any sign of in the real world.) Considering Apple’s already dipped a toe in the waters of in-car connectivity with Eyes Free, we’d imagine that something similar to these patents is in the works in Silicon Valley.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

President Obama: Please Ban WiFi on Airplanes!

By Tom Gillis, Contributor As much as I bristle at my heavy air-travel schedule, I continue to find that the metal tube with no WiFi at 30,000 feet provides really high quality disconnected think time that simply doesn’t occur in other facets of my life. I recently went on a program with British Airways where they invited 130 people from Silicon Valley to fly SFO to LHR and work on some interesting social problems. I was struck with the high levels of engagement and enthusiasm of the participants—and in large part I attribute this to the fact that our iPhones weren’t constantly buzzing. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Official: Renault-Nissan zero-emissions car sales whir past 100,000 [w/video]

By Jonathon Ramsey

2013 Nissan Leaf - maroon - front three-quarter view

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The electric vehicle has gone gold at RenaultNissan, clocking 100,000 sales in a three-year period that began with the first Nissan Leaf being sold in Silicon Valley, California in 2010. Since then, the Leaf has become the EV champion of the world, selling more than 71,000 units so far, the majority of those in the US. The 100,000th EV sold by the Alliance was also a Leaf and also sold in the US, but on the other side of the country, in Georgia.

By comparison, Renault has sold 30,000 electric vehicles since late 2011, looking after other segments of the EV market with the Kangoo Z.E., Zoe, Twizy and Fluence Z.E. The alliance estimates that its efforts have been driven 5.2 million ion-powered miles and saved 14 million gallons of oil since they appeared. For a bit of sobering context, the US averaged 18.83 million barrels of oil per day in 2011, which is almost 791 million gallons. Per day.

So we’re getting there, albeit slowly. Quietly. There’s a press release and a video below with more details on the achievement.

Continue reading Renault-Nissan zero-emissions car sales whir past 100,000 [w/video]

Renault-Nissan zero-emissions car sales whir past 100,000 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Jul 2013 17:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Wall Street Activists Target Silicon Valley

By Nathan Vardi, Forbes Staff

One year ago, Ben Horowitz, one of the most prominent venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, told tech company CEOs to beware of activist investors. The man whose venture firm had backed and invested in the hottest new social media companies, like Facebook, Twitter and Groupon, said that for founders of tech companies “shareholder activism is not a good idea.” …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Glass Is The New Black: My Experience As A Google Glass Explorer

By Millie Tadewaldt, Contributor

It’s been about a month since I made the ultimate futuristic fashion statement… that is, a month since I picked up my sky blue Google Glass from the Big G’s sprawling headquarters in Silicon Valley.  In my four weeks as a Google Glass Explorer, I’ve given a lot of thought to this innovative new product: how it could influence my work and personal lives, what disruptions it could lead to, and how it might affect society at large once more than a few thousand people get their hands on it. Google Glass is an ambitious device that is still very much still in alpha: the firmware is minimally-featured, battery life is short, and, without wider adoption, availability of apps and collaborative opportunities for use are lacking.  But, if Google can get users past some of these hurdles, there is much promise for Glass to seriously change the way people interact with the digital world (and the physical world, too). To pick up a Glass, we “Explorers” must attend a fitting in one of a few select Google campus locations.  I’m fortunate to live just up the road from Mountain View, so my husband and I hopped on the 101 one Saturday for the quick one hour drive to Google HQ.  My arrival at the designated building had a Willy Wonka-esque vibe to it: friendly, attractive Glass Guides milled about outside and welcomed us with a huge smile and flutes of champagne. I was given a hands-on lesson in using my new Glass, and then a tour around the campus, a perfect opportunity to try out my new gadget. It was a fun, unique and loyalty-building experience and Google managed it perfectly. Glass is a unique device: most navigation is done either verbally, or through swiping gestures on the outside of a plastic box that sits next to your temple.  The critical part of my initial Glass experience was quickly learning how to use the thing, and it was a huge help to have a friendly Guide sitting next to me, using her own Glass in parallel.  Given how helpful my Guide was, and how relatively technologically-savvy I like to think I am, I found myself immediately wondering how Google would be able onboard the general public when the device eventually enters mass-production. Relatedly, Glass is also a very solitary experience. I discovered this the next week when I offered to do a “demo” of Glass to some coworkers in my office.  We blocked an hour and all sat down at a conference table to give it a try. But, we quickly realized that this “demo” consisted of one of my colleagues wearing the Glass while I clumsily tried to explain it from memory.  I was definitely not as smooth as my Guide had been!  Glass has a handy Guest Mode that you turn on for sharing with friends, but there’s currently no easy way to switch between Google accounts without actually resetting the device to factory settings. This is, of …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Crowdfunding Lesson From Habitat: Empower Your Volunteers

By Devin Thorpe, Contributor

Dave McMurtry is a player in Silicon Valley. I mean that in the very best sense. He is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and has spent much of his career in the tech community, including more than half a decade at tech giant Intuit. He more recently served as the CEO of Loomia, a social media company. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

These 10 Tech Startups Attract Insane Interest On LinkedIn

By George Anders, Contributor

Each year, thousands of tech startups in Silicon Valley compete to be what author Michael Lewis famously dubbed “The New, New Thing.” Eventually an elite group of winners emerges,  ready to be crowned the next Googles, Facebooks or whatever. But in the early days of this battle for supremacy, is there any reliable way to tell which newcomers are gaining the most traction? …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Ban passwords, say advocates of alternative authentication

Passwords are a thing of the past and they need to go, according to a group of Silicon Valley-based tech companies who are part of a public advocacy campaign called Petition Against Passwords.

Passwords are the keys that enable access. At the same time, they’re also the weak link that smashes the security chain, according to many experts, who for years have warned that passwords simply don’t work as they used to, and that password protection alone isn’t enough.

The problem with passwords is twofold, according to the advocacy group, which aims to influence large digital service providers to move toward “password-less” authentication and identity protection. On one hand, users either create easily remembered passwords that are entirely too weak or they are forced to pick passwords that are hard to remember, but quickly cracked by machines. The other side to that is a lack of password policy enforcement, and the gaps in basic data protection that can lead to breaches that expose millions of passwords. When breaches expose passwords, they often make their way online and wind up in wordlists that are used by password cracking software.

Last April, LivingSocial, a website dedicated to offering consumers daily deals on local products and services, was compromised and some 50 million users were urged to change their passwords. The concern was that many of the users that were exposed faced additional risk due to password recycling. The incident also highlighted the importance of properly protecting user data, especially passwords.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

CSOFT Goes For A Soft Touch In Scaling Outside China

By Rebecca Fannin, Contributor

One of the more interesting aspects of my role covering innovation trends in emerging markets is the opportunity to see companies close-up as they scale. Such was my recent experience attending a summit held by CSOFT International in Beijing and Sanya, the Hawaii of China. CSOFT was celebrating its 10th anniversary with a two-day program of experts speaking about globalization trends in the so-called localization business in which it operates. One clear takeaway? I am sure that CSOFT would never have become a profitable player in this market without the visionary leadership of its very determined president and CEO, Shunee Yee (pictured with me). Sounding a bit like Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Shunee says “the sky’s the limit” on her startup’s potential, which she envisions becoming a $1 billion business.  The company’s nifty-looking headquarters at Beijing’s sleek, new World Finance Centre is a symbol of her ambitions. The summit I attended was designed to bring together employees and celebrate ten years — and many more. It did not disappoint with lots of good cheer and information exchange plus such treats as a dinner overlooking the Forbidden City and a luau on the beach to wrap things up. CSOFT, which she founded in 2003, has revenues topping $30 million and an average annual growth rate of 30 percent over the past ten years. Having reached that tier without raising any outside finance and entirely through organic growth, Shunee is now pushing CSOFT to expand its presence and profile overseas. After plans to open an office in Shenzhen this September, the next move is likely to be branches in Silicon Valley and Berlin, building out its remote operations in many markets. The outsourcing company’s business is naturally international, and three-quarters of its clients are based in the U.S., including Pfizer, Intel and Dell.  What CSOFT does essentially is translate or localize training manuals, how-to guides and promotion materials in various languages for companies doing business across borders.  It may not sound all that exciting but it’s essential. Along with her husband, Carl Yao, who is an executive VP in charge of the company’s technology, they are working together to keep CSOFT up to date technologically too. Carl showed me a mobile app he’s been working on that brings in elements of both Twitter and Wikipedia so that users can instantly translate terms and share them with the community. CSOFT got on the fast track when the multilingual localization firm that Shunee was working for in the early 1990s was acquired by outsourcing company Lionbridge. She was sent to open an outpost office in Beijing. When that rep office did not get off the ground, she promptly folded the team she had assembled into what became CSOFT in Beijing. Articulate, poised and personable, Shunee’s background follows the typical returnee path of the first generation of China’s tech entrepreneurs. Growing up in an intellectual household as the daughter of a dean at Nanjing University, she was under a lot of pressure to achieve. After graduation from Nanjing Normal University, she taught for eight months, then decided to quit to go to the U.S. There, she earned a Master’s degree from the Rhode Island College. It was in the U.S. that she also met her husband, who was working on his PhD in computer science, and later joined her in Beijing.  Now they and an employee group of …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

After a year at Yahoo, Mayer still sprinting to catch up

Since taking the reins as Yahoo’s CEO a year ago this week, Marissa Mayer has set out to revamp the struggling Internet company with a series of rapid fire acquisitions that could make even her former colleagues at Google envious.

In a strategy she has described as “a series of sprints,” Mayer has bought more than a dozen companies this year alone, mostly in pursuit of her goal of taking the lead in mobile, and to bring back the cool to a brand that was once the envy of Silicon Valley but somehow came to symbolize the very opposite of innovation.

She’s had some success, especially on the financial side. Yahoo’s stock has risen roughly 70 percent since Mayer started there on July 17 last year, and analysts expect a 12 percent jump in profit when Yahoo reports its quarterly earnings Tuesday.

But it’s a long haul to make a tarnished brand shiny and new again, and despite buying up youthful brands like Tumblr, and revamping services like Flickr and Yahoo Mail, analysts say Mayer still has a way to go before she can claim to have brought Yahoo back from the brink.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Estonia And The Department Of Meaningless Statistics

By Mark Adomanis, Contributor

Estonia is beloved of the international business press because it is, in many ways, the perfect laboratory for conservative economic policy. The country eschews deficits, embraces hard money, loves technology, detests bureaucracy, and is generally about as free-market as any country is capable of being. This is why the country receives such laudatory coverage from places like The Economist: IT TAKES just five minutes to register a firm in Estonia, says Mihkel Tikk, the head of the country’s online portal, a one-stop-shop for e-government services. Entrepreneurs wishing to start a firm log in with their national electronic identity-card and a few clicks later the confirmation arrives by e-mail. That service and many other equally convenient electronic offerings are a big reason why Tallinn, Estonia’s capital, is now mentioned in the same breath as Berlin, London and even Silicon Valley. According to one estimate, Estonia holds the world record in start-ups per person—a sizeable feat considering that the country has only 1.3m people. Sounds like a pretty amazing place! You never need to go to the Department of Licenses and Inspections*, you can do almost all of your government paperwork online, opening a business takes less time than filling up with gas, and everyone and their cousin has a start up. Not bad for a former part of the Soviet Union! …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Are You Sure You Want To Be An Entrepreneur?

By Brock Blake, Contributor

Over the past few years, I’ve had fun visiting college campuses to talk about entrepreneurship.  The classroom is usually full of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed students that are excited about becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, or Jack Dorsey.  They spend their days reading all of the major tech blogs and know about the most recent VC fundings and billion-dollar acquisitions in Silicon Valley. The life of the founder appears to be so dreamy:  late nights, coding, angel investors, VCs, awesome teams, killer cultures, fast growth, investment bankers, luxurious travel, and then a huge exit.  Of course, they all know that it’ll be ‘hard work.’  Unfortunately, it isn’t all a bed of roses and I’m often the bearer of bad news… ‘Hard work’ is to entrepreneurship what contractions are to giving birth.  Contractions might give you a feel for what you’re about to experience, but there is almost no comparison to the experience of delivering a baby. Don’t get me wrong… (in business) there is nothing more satisfying and enjoyable (for me) than building a successful company.  It’s not a job; it’s a challenge.  It includes the highest of high experiences that create life-long friendships and memories.  However, that’s not the whole picture.  Being an entrepreneur/founder will also ‘chew you up and spit you out’ on a very regular basis.  You’ll experiences challenges, pains, and emotions you never thought you’d experience — including the lowest of lows. I’ve heard Josh James, CEO/Founder of Domo (raised over $125M) & Omniture (sold to Adobe for $1.8B), talk about how he has literally been huddled up on the floor, in the fetal position, crying as he was trying to figure out a solution to a major problem he was facing. Believe me, we’ve all been there. So, in the spirit of trying to portray an accurate reflection of what it’s like to be an entrepreneur/founder/CEO, here are a few of the things you will likely experience: …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

You'll Never Guess Where The New Hotbed Of Student Startup Activity Is

By J. Maureen Henderson, Contributor

When you think of college towns, you think of the likes of Blacksburg, Ithaca and College Station and when you think of startup hotbeds, you think of Silicon Valley, the greater San Francisco area, NYC and Boston. In either case, Montreal, Canada likely doesn’t come to mind. A group of student venture capitalists are looking to change that and to put the city with the greatest student population density in North America on the tech map.

From: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jmaureenhenderson/2013/04/22/youll-never-guess-where-the-new-hotbed-of-student-startup-activity-is/