Windows 8 Must Battle XP for Large Chunk of User Base


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While Windows 8 rolled out to great fanfare Thursday, it still has to fight fellow Microsoft operating system Windows XP for users.

The 11-year-old program has nearly 30% “usage share” worldwide, reports web analytics firm StatCounter. Although Microsoft stopped selling it in 2010, XP remains one of the most popular OSestoday.

As of September, XP holds 27.64% usage share worldwide — second only to Windows 7 at 52.2%, according to StatCounter. In the U.S., XP has 16.42%, while Windows 7 sits at 49.36% (the latter debuted in 2009).

SEE ALSO: How to Get Windows 8 Now

“Our stats confirm the theory that business users in particular have been reluctant to move from XP,” said StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen. “The new Windows 8 interface represents a radical overhaul for Microsoft.”

“The scale of change of the desktop experience, however, may heighten the initial reluctance of traditional business users to upgrade to this new OS.” Leer más “Windows 8 Must Battle XP for Large Chunk of User Base”

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MyBreastCancerTeam Is First Social Network for Women With Breast Cancer


For women undergoing breast-cancer treatment, receiving support from family and friends is important for the recovery process. But there is one source of support that is often overlooked: fellow breast-cancer patients who are going through the very same thing.

As the first social network that connects women facing breast cancer, MyBreastCancerTeam seeks to address this. Throughout the stages of cancer, users can connect to women who are in the same situation as them: those undergoing treatment, those recently diagnosed, or those who have been out of treatment for many years.

“When you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, you have this overwhelming desire to find other women, just like you, who have been through this,” Mary Ray, co-founder of MyBreastCancerTeam, tells Mashable. “You want to learn from them; get perspective, assurance and validation from them. And you don’t just want to hear from one woman like you; ideally, you want to find 10 to 20 women who were the same age, had the same type and stage of breast cancer. By its definition, MyBCTeam as a social network is purely focused on connecting women with each other, who’ve been through breast cancer.” Leer más “MyBreastCancerTeam Is First Social Network for Women With Breast Cancer”

Scientists Convert a 53,000-Word Book Into DNA


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In a scientific first, Harvard University researches successfully transformed a 53,426-word book into DNA, the same substance that provides the genetic template for all living things. The achievement could eventually lead to the mass adoption of DNA as a long-term storage medium.

Published Thursday in the journal Science, the experiment aimed to demonstrate the viability of storing large amounts of data on DNA molecules. Since the data is recorded on individual nucleobase pairs in the DNA strand (those adenine-guanine/cytosine-thymine pairs you may be straining to remember from high school biology), DNA can actually store more information per cubic millimeter than flash memory or even some experimental storage techs, IEEE Spectrum reports.

The difficulty is in the translation — both to DNA and back again (summarized in the diagram below). The researchers started with the book’s content, which included the text as well as 11 images and a javascript program, and converted it to binary code. Then they assigned every 0 and 1 a nucleobase.

dna-book-640

Top image courtesy of iStockphotoalengo Leer más “Scientists Convert a 53,000-Word Book Into DNA”

Here’s What Social Networks Know About You


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A read through most online privacy policies is enough to make your stomach acid curdle. And social media companies have more access to personal data than most.
The infographic below, created for Baynote, explains why your web browsing and online interactions have become much more personalized. Are you comfortable with a highly customized experience, knowing it’s your data that’s making the difference?

Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr, William Warby / feastoffun.com.

Some collect information you expressly give them, like your credit card and telephone numbers. Others gather data based on how and where you use their services. This might include anything from device and browser information to location intel. And some of it gets really specific — think about your last search query or ad click. It’s probably all “fair” game. Leer más “Here’s What Social Networks Know About You”

NASA Releases Awesome Images of Massive Solar Flare Heading Toward Earth [VIDEO]


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NASA is keeping a close eye on that solar flare that started on Thursday, July 12, and now it’s released dramatic time-lapse video and photos of the flare that’s found its way to Earth.

There’s nothing to fear with this solar dustup — although it’s rated X1.4, barely within the “extreme” range, it’s not expected to cause any damage to electronic equipment, either in orbit or here on terra firma.

However, as we mentioned in our previous post about this latest solar flare, there might be some unusually southern northern lights tonight, so it might be a good idea to go outside and take a look if you live north of New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Barcelona or Paris (approximately 40 degrees North latitude).

Meanwhile, take a gander at these dramatic photos from NASA, showing our mighty Sun having a mild hissy fit:


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Pics and video courtesy NASA

How Much Money Can You Make Working in Digital? [CHART]


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The world has gone digital. At this point, most companies big and small have a website, Facebook Page andTwitter handle. With these new digital properties comes a slew of digital jobs — with that comes the demand for new staff members to create digital assets, design logos, manage a website and transform sketches on napkins into actual products.

In the infographic below, produced by OnwardSearch, you can see how much dough you’d net for various jobs in the digital sector, from interactive design to front-end developers. Do you work in these fields? Do the numbers stack up with what you’ve seen in the industry? Do you think these positions and the salaries make sense, given the rise of digital media? Do you want to move to a market that pays better? Let us know in the comments below.

‘The Avengers’: The First All-Star Movie By Design


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Jeff Gomez is CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, a New York based production company that consults with Hollywood studios on some of their most popular entertainment franchises. Follow him @Jeff_Gomez.

With some industry observers projecting global box office revenues as high as $2 billion for The Avengers, it’s clear that the film is an unprecedented success. Many have pegged Marvel Studios franchise producer Kevin Feige’s creative and strategic approach in building a shared “story world” out of a series of movies (Iron ManIncredible HulkIron Man IICaptain America and Thor) that coalesced into a kind of all-star movie in Joss Whedon’s Avengers.

But contrary to popular belief, this is not the first time a mess of heroes (or anti-heroes) have been assembled in the service of a greater purpose‚ or multiple revenue streams.

Our love of team-ups, in fact, dates back to the Stone Age. Early man imbued all things around him with animus, and the coolest things — the sun, the moon, the ocean — were either the incarnations of, or controlled by superior beings, gods. It was just a matter of time before pantheons formed, relationships got complicated, and villains arose to challenge the benevolent.

Crafting For Greatness

So what makes Marvel’s Avengers different from all of these previous mash-ups? A few things, actually. By all accounts, Kevin Feige and his team laid out a vision for how every Marvel movie would dovetail into the others, each introducing characters and elements that come into play in the others, all building toward Avengers.

No writer, director or studio exec had incorporated this level of planning into how his or her franchise would unfold and interlock, not even George Lucas for his Star Wars movies.

In addition to somehow skirting all the reasons why such an endeavor could not be possible under contemporary Hollywood business and creative constraints, Marvel Studios also played the technology and digital distribution cards like no other in history.

Armed with the knowledge that their superheroes are the closest things we have to a godlike pantheon, Marvel worked triple-time over the several years to dust off these characters and reintroduce them to the world. Animated series, chapter books, action figures, video games, Blu-rays loaded with crash courses in Avengers lore, even a million-dollar Facebook game that mixed X-Men and Spider-Man into the four-color stew. We were set up like ten-pins and Avengers, as recounted by the cleverly chosen Joss “Homer” Whedon, could only bowl us over.

Here’s both the takeaway and the challenge studios face in the wake of Avengers: a well-known and coherent story world is a rare and precious thing, and there is great power in a grand unifying narrative.

Replicating Success

The threads that tie 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise together are loose at best, with various filmmakers fraying even those with different, often contradictory takes on the material. Warner Bros. approach to the DC heroes has been almost entirely auteur-driven, with Batman, Superman and Green Lantern existing in entirely different universes. It will be some years before any of those characters can meet on the big screen, even if the studio wanted them to.

We experience a certain kind of exhilaration when our gods unite toward a common purpose. That’s why we have All-Star baseball games, and why we’ll forever remember how Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner and a host of others joined forces to sing “We Are the World” for starving people in Africa. They are our champions, and their adventures together forge national, and now global narratives.

To repeat the success of The Avengers, however, studios will need visionaries up to the cause, new kinds of storytellers as savvy with how narrative unfolds across multiple media platforms (and in their ability to use marketing and licensing campaigns to build equity in lesser known characters), as they are with how to turn a good scene. Super nerds, thy time has come! 

In the Beginning

 

In the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, stalwart and charismatic Jason assembled a crew of some of the hottest celebs of his day in order to retrieve the Golden Fleece. These included Hercules, Medea and Orpheus, all stars of their own myths and legends. In The Iliad, the epic poet Homer (the Joss Whedon of his time) brings together dozens of Greek gods and heroes and crashes them into the Trojan War. The story was such a hit, Homer followed up some years later with a sequel in The Odyssey. Leer más “‘The Avengers’: The First All-Star Movie By Design”