Amazon Tweaked Algorithm to Push Its Own Products

· · Link

Amazon changed the way its search algorithm works. According to an exclusive report by the Wall Street Journal,  changed products that are more profitable for the online retailer.

Amazon optimized the secret algorithm that ranks listings so that instead of showing customers mainly the most-relevant and best-selling listings when they search—as it had for more than a decade—the site also gives a boost to items that are more profitable for the company. The adjustment, which the world’s biggest online retailer hasn’t publicized, followed a years long battle between executives who run Amazon’s retail businesses in Seattle and the company’s search team, dubbed A9, in Palo Alto, Calif., which opposed the move, the people said. Any tweak to Amazon’s search system has broad implications because the giant’s rankings can make or break a product. The site’s search bar is the most common way for U.S. shoppers to find items online, and most purchases stem from the first page of search results, according to marketing analytics firm Jumpshot.

Why Apple's EU Tax Case Matters

· · Link

EU wants €13 billion for back Apple taxes

Apple’s appeal against the EU’s demand for €13 billion in taxes allegedly owed from its Irish business will be heard in the coming days. The Irish Times had a really good explainer on Friday explaining why the case is so important.

Apple has always insisted that it is absolutely not true that it did not pay all the taxes due. Apple says it is committed to respecting all tax laws as they stand, and that it pays huge amounts of tax on its profits – some $37 billion to the US treasury alone in respect of its international operations. It is now, the company boasts, the world’s and Ireland’s largest taxpayer. And the 6,000 workers it employs in Ireland pay a huge part of the State’s income tax, it notes

ImageNet Roulette Shows How ML Classifies You

· · Link

ImageNet Roulette is part of an art and technology exhibit called Training Humans. Upload a photo and the algorithm will give you a classification. Some of the labels are funny, others are racist.

ImageNet Roulette is meant in part to demonstrate how various kinds of politics propagate through technical systems, often without the creators of those systems even being aware of them.

We did not make the underlying training data responsible for these classifications. We imported the categories and training images from a popular data set called ImageNet, which was created at Princeton and Stanford University and which is a standard benchmark used in image classification and object detection.

I uploaded a photo of me and the label I received was “beard.” Accurate.

How Apple Arcade Became Tempting For a Hardcore Android User

· · Link

Apple and Google are soon to expand their rivalry into the realm of gaming services. Apple Arcade and Google Stadia are both compelling products. However, Apple Arcade seems to be getting interest from some unlikely people. On CNet, hardcore Android user Shelby Brown explained why she is paying attention to Apple’s offering.

Stadia still feels like it’s aimed solely at console gamers. On Twitter, Stadia business development manager Ray Bautista touted that the service offers 4K gameplay, no patches, no updates, no installs, no downloads and no console. But, the average person, a casual gamer or a family looking for a game to play on a Friday night probably isn’t too concerned about frames per second. While Stadia still has games to add, Apple Arcade has established itself as a lifestyle gaming service from day one.

The Most Memorable Apple Ads Over the Years 1984-2019

· · Link

Apple ad campaign: Here's to the crazy ones.

Business Insider has collected in one place all the most memorable Apple ads over the years.

  • We looked at the ads that have aired in the years since [1984] and highlighted the most memorable one each year, from dancing iPod silhouettes to the “Get a Mac” ad campaign.

This trip down memory lane is great to mull over as we’ve watched Apple grow and change.

Journalist & TMO Contributor Charlotte Henry (#2) - TMO Background Mode Interview

· · Background Mode Podcast

Charlotte Henry on Background Mode

Charlotte is a London-based technical journalist. A self described media junkie, she writes about Apple—and now for the Mac Observer as well. She has also written for City A.M. (London’s daily business tabloid,) Computer Business Review, and the Independent on Sunday. Her new book is: Not Buying It.

In this special edition of BGM, Charlotte chats about her reactions to Apple’s September 10 iPhone event. She noted how Apple is in a new balancing act, promoting hardware to sell services—and vice versa. Charlotte told me about how pleased she is with the new iPad and plans to buy one. Then we took a closer look at the value proposition comparing the iPhone Xr to the iPhone 11. Charlotte also filled us in on her experience watching the event in the Apple London flagship store.

Netflix Buys Streaming Rights to Seinfeld Starting 2021

· · Link

Netflix has bought global streaming rights for Seinfeld. It will begin in 2021, when Hulu’s contract for streaming it expires.

This is the first time Seinfeld will be available on Netflix and the first time that all 180 episodes will be on one service globally and in 4K. Seinfeldmade its streaming debut with the Hulu deal. Internationally, it is streaming on Amazon in a number of territories; that will all be consolidated on Netflix under the new deal.

I watched a couple of reruns of Seinfeld on TV when I was younger, and I never got into it. Maybe I’ll give it another go on Netflix.

HP Printers Send a Ton of Data Analytics Back Home

· · Link

Software engineer Robert Heaton found disturbing evidence that HP printers request a lot of analytics permissions to send back to the company.

In summary, HP wants its printer to collect all kinds of data that a reasonable person would never expect it to. This includes metadata about your devices, as well as information about all the documents that you print, including timestamps, number of pages, and the application doing the printing (HP state that they do stop short of looking at the contents of your documents).

iPhone 11's U1 Chip Could Spark a Revolution

· · Link

You wouldn’t know it because it wasn’t mentioned during the iPhone 11 keynote, but the new iPhones have a new chip. Called Ultra Wideband, or “U1” it’s a way for iPhones to figure out their position in 3D space relative to other U1 devices. Apple mentions the use-case of a person pointing their U1 iPhone at another U1 iPhone to send files over AirDrop. Jason Snell writes that this is just the beginning.

But the possible applications of UWB go way beyond AirDrop and tracking tags. Decawave’s Viot says potential applications include smart home tech, augmented reality, mobile payments, the aforementioned keyless car entry, and even indoor navigation. (And it’s not a power hog, either—Viot says that Decawave’s latest UWB chip uses one-third of the power of a Bluetooth LE chip when in beacon mode, as a tracking tile would be.)

Aggressive iPhone Pricing Might Not Be Enough

· · Link

A number of Apple products got aggressive new price points at the “By Innovation Only” event. At Wired, Daphne Leprince-Ringuet wonders if it will be enough.

For a company that is famous for premium pricing, Apple’s sudden shift to more affordable devices (even if it is its older line-up) comes as a surprise. A look at its sales performance last year might explain the change of heart: in 2018, Apple’s best-selling device was the $649 iPhone XR, meaning that its entry-level device out-performed the more advanced XS and XS Max. In other words, phone buyers are unwilling to shell out the extra dosh to get their hands on Apple’s best smartphones. Last year in China, the tech giant even cut prices for some of its iPhones, iPads, Macs and AirPods by nearly six per cent – partly in response to “lower than anticipated” iPhone sales in the country… By cutting its prices on phones and watches, therefore, Apple is hoping to supplement its iOS customer base and lure in new customers who might purchase other services within its ecosystem.

'Carpool Karaoke' Wins Creative Arts Emmy

· · Link

Apple’s Carpool Karaoke emerged victorious at the Creative Arts Emmy awards Sunday, AppleInsider reported. It was named Short Form Variety Series at  the ceremony which was held, somewhat ironically, at the Microsoft Theater.

The streaming show is a long-form version of the popular segment from CBS’ “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” with the talk show host praising both his show and the spinoff. “We just want to be a place people go to have a really nice time before, or let’s be honest, while they fall asleep,” Corden told Variety. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards honor outstanding artistic and technical achievement in various TV and program genres. While the Primetime Emmy Awards are better known and are the main awards, the Creative Arts version recognizes other elements of show production and types of content not served under the Primetime accolades.