The next seasons of Game of Thrones is almost here, and after months of debating Jon Snow’s fate we seem to have some conclusive news about one of our favorite characters in HBO’s hit TV series. A new Game of Thrones trailer was just released, but you can’t see it yet. Some members of the press at SXSW in Austin have already been given a sneak peek though, and you’ll definitely want to know what they had to say. More →
Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, criticized the NSA and hinted at future leaks in a Skype interview at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas. Assange, who is holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, did not give any details about what would be included in future leaks. He also blasted the Obama administration for its weak response to the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden. More →
Google is said to be testing its new Google Music service internally, according to sources speaking to CNET. Google had originally planned to make an announcement during the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas earlier this month, but it apparently still needs to iron out some of the details with the four major record labels. It is expected that Google Music will be a cloud-based system where users can stream, buy, and store music online for access from their Android smartphones or tablets, as well as from their computers. It’s still unclear what the pricing structure will be like, but we’re definitely hyped for this to launch. More →
Microsoft on Monday announced the availability of its next-generation desktop Web browser, Internet Explorer 9. “The best experience of the Web is on Windows with Internet Explorer 9,” said Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft’s corporate VP of Windows Internet Explorer, in a statement. “Today, the Web can unlock the power and performance of the best PC hardware through Windows and Internet Explorer 9. Websites also can act more like applications within Windows 7, with features such as Pinned Sites.” Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Web browser is one of the oldest still available, having launched in the dark ages of the Internet. Thanks to its inclusion on nearly all Windows computers sold, it is also still the most popular browser by a wide margin. Market share tracker Net Applications shows that IE’s browser market share sat at 56.77% in February. The next closest browser, Mozilla’s Firefox, owned 21.74% of the market. Hit the break for the full press release and download IE9 via the read link. More →
At SXSW, Google’s VP of Location and Local Services, Marissa Mayer, took the stage and dished out some interesting Google data, including mobile stats. During her talk, Mayer revealed the following statistics we found interesting:
- 40% of all Google Maps usage is from mobile devices, and Christmas and New Years day mobile usage surpassed desktop usage for the first time.
- 150 million mobile users on Google Maps
- Google Maps Navigation, included on Android handsets, has guided users 12 billion miles a year, and the latest version with traffic routing saves users 2 years per day in time that would have been spent in traffic.
- Google Maps could get smarter, and become contextually aware. For instance, if you were trying to catch a flight, Google Maps could see your flight schedule to see when your flight was, then look and analyze real-time traffic data and weather conditions to try and figure out the exact time you should leave
- Google would like there to be better Google Maps for iPhone. “We like being the default provider, but we’d like to get some of these updates out to a broader audience. That’s still a debate/question we’re considering.”
With Google’s Android explosion continuing, it looks like there will plenty more Google Maps and Navigation users over the next few years.
It’s the company’s first, and we’re guessing it won’t be the last. Apple is constructing a pop-up store in Austin, Texas to coincide with the launch of the iPad 2 and the ever-popular SXSW festival, which is taking place over the next week and a half. It’s being reported that Apple has rented out a 5,000 square foot, empty retail location that it will stock with Apple employees and merchandise for conference goers traveling outside of their normal stomping grounds. No word yet on whether VeriFone’s CEO will create a video demonstrating flaws with Apple’s iPod touch EasyPay system, however. More →
After last year’s embarrassment at SXSW, AT&T is going overboard to ensure a similar wireless network meltdown does not happen again this year at the annual technology conference in Austin, Texas. To avoid a second such disaster, AT&T is throwing a ton of cash and bringing in an equal amount of equipment for the SXSW conference including:
- Installing a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) at the Austin Convention Center. The DAS is comprised of 50 antenna nodes that provide the equivalent coverage of eight cell sites.
- Improving the cell sites in the surrounding area by utilizing 30MHz of spectrum for 3G instead of the standard 10MHz and upgrading the system to include the 850MHz band and HSPA.
- Bringing in three temporary cell sites that are positioned in areas expected to see high traffic.
- Improving the backhaul by beefing up the fiber optic connections that serve the eight cell sites of the DAS and the three temporary sites. According to sources within AT&T, the backhaul capacity has seen a fourfold increase.
The stakes are high for AT&T as a network failure could wipe away any gains in consumer confidence AT&T saw following its favorable review from PC World last week. With its reputation on the line, will AT&T and its 3G network rise to the occasion or will it crumble to its knees under the strain of a mob of iPhone-toting geeks? Predictions are welcome in the comments. More →
As anyone following at attendee or two of South by Southwest 2009 on Twitter can attest to, AT&T’s network down in Austin Texas is completely hosed. The tweets speak for themselves; Dropped call number 833, AT&T’s data network is down again, ^*%)*&%^)% AT&T!, and so on. Apparently the complaints aren’t isolated to Twitter as AT&T has responded publicly to the situation and stated that it intends to address its troubled network by upping capacity immediately. In fact, it expects the improvements to be felt already today:
To accommodate unprecedented demand for mobile data and voice applications at SXSW, we are actively working this afternoon to add capacity to our cell sites serving downtown Austin. These efforts are ongoing, but we anticipate that customers should see improved network performance this evening and for the remainder of the event. We will continue to monitor network performance throughout the event, and will do everything possible to maximize network performance throughout. We apologize to customers who were inconvenienced during this surge in local network demand.
Wow. If it’s that easy, AT&T, how about doing something about the disaster your 3G/3.5G network in the New York Metro area has become?