An oddball Russian satellite that launched to orbit last May is now raising suspicions. The so-called Object 2014-28E was put into orbit at the same time with several communications satellites, but Russia has not elaborated on its purpose. The object has been maneuvering in a precise way and it’s possible its purpose is to clear out space junk or refuel other satellites. More →
Apple’s market capitalization hit $700 billion during Tuesday morning’s trading session, which is a lot of moolah. It’s more than the value of the entire Russian stock market combined. It’s more than the annual gross domestic product of Sweden, home to such powerhouse companies as Ikea, Volvo, Ericsson, H&M, Spotify, Astra Zeneca and Assa Abloy, the world’s leading lock brand.
The Cupertino-based company also now towers over ExxonMobil, which used to be the world’s most valuable company. Poor Exxon is stuck at around $400 billion. More →
Forget Oculus Rift. Of course, it took Canadians to develop a true break-through in video gaming immersion technology: Blood Sport hardware. From Justin Bieber to Rob Ford, the world has recently started learning about the dark side of our seemingly gentle northern neighbor. Now comes gaming hardware that reroutes the electrical signal meant to trigger the rumbling sensation in the game controllers… instead, turning on blood collection system that is actually hooked into player’s veins. More →
One of the biggest inventions of our time was made at a mind-numbingly boring Swiss headquarters of European Organization of Nuclear Research. 25 years ago, Tim Berners Lee’s idea about “a wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative aiming to give universal access to a large universe of documents” led to the birth of the very first web page. It is spectacularly ugly and mind-blowingly meaningful and stated curtly that “everything there is online about W3 is linked directly or indirectly to this document.” The World Wide Web was born. More →
Over the past year, Netflix has announced a colorful smorgasbord of new original content projects that include comedy, animation, historical epics, science fiction sagas, dramedies, biopics, super hero series, etc. This towering ambition has clearly increased the concerns of media moguls. Now the 21st Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch has spelled out bluntly what he thinks: “As an industry, we need a competitor — a serious competitor — to Netflix and Amazon.” More →
The new Fiksu numbers highlight just how infernal life for app vendors has become. The price of acquiring a loyal app user has doubled from early 2012 to current level of more than $2 per user. This is a disaster for many app vendors because the lifetime value of an app user is typically less than $2, and in many cases less than a dollar. Getting consumers to download your app is becoming more difficult with each passing month and the room for smaller app vendors keeps shrinking. More →
Against odds, Nintendo turned a profit in the September quarter. It turns out that Mario Kart 8 was successful enough to give the Wii U home console enough of a sales bump to help Nintendo to eke out a $86 million profit during the autumn period. Nintendo also repeated its vow to achieve profitability for the full fiscal year and after its autumn surprise, this suddenly seems achievable. More →
Apple is edging closer to declaring an all-out war against mega retailers like Walmart, Best Buy and CVS with its payment system. The big shopping chains do not want Apple butting into their customer relationship and have already rejected the use of Apple Pay. Yet despite the stringent opposition from the leading bricks and mortar players, Apple Pay is already more popular than all other NFC solutions combined after only one week of availability. More →
One of the lesser moons of Saturn, Mimas, has been largely viewed as a boring lump of ice. But a new discovery has suddenly turned this moon into hot property: its rotational wobble turns out to be far stronger than expected. Mimas is almost perfectly spherical, so a robust wobble implies that something intriguing is going on below its surface… and that something is very likely to be sloshing. The most likely explanation for the wobble would be an internal ocean starting between 24 and 31 kilometers below the moon’s surface.
This would be something of a puzzle in a moon as small as Mimas — how could a liquid ocean remain warm enough for billions of years? One possibility is that the elliptical orbit of Mimas creates tidal friction strong enough to maintain a warm core. More →
Predicting the behavior of consumers is notoriously tough, but nowhere is it harder than in the rapidly evolving video streaming market. Pretty much nobody expected Netflix’s streaming service to bloom into the huge mainstream success it currently is. A few years ago, many viewed Netflix’s streaming operation as fatally hamstrung by the narrow and often low-quality movie selection. And this autumn, almost nobody predicted just how much a $1 summer price hike would dent the company’s momentum. More →
As it happens, the news about Netflix doing a sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and doing a break-through same-day streaming/movie theater release is far from the only bombshell Netflix is lobbing this month. The “Tiger” project alone has already ruffled movie industry feathers — major chains have instantly decided to blackball the film, preventing it from being screened on their theaters. Doing a streaming video sequel to a property that grossed more than $200 million globally in its theatrical run was already a major provocation to traditional movie industry, but now Netflix has another curve ball.
It has inked an unprecedented four-film package deal with Adam Sandler, arguably the biggest comedy star of late 1990s. More →