The Twitch purchase – more proof that cable TV is dying

Thrown into the Deep End

Recode: Amazon to Acquire Twitch for More Than $1 Billion
[Via Daring Fireball]

Peter Kafka and Eric Johnson, reporting for Recode:

Amazon is buying videogame streaming site Twitch for more than $1 billion to edge past Netflix and Youtube in a race for younger viewers, according to a source.

Google had been in talks to acquire the company, but that deal died, according to the source. Amazon then entered the picture and completed what is one of its biggest acquisitions to date, this person said.

For the uninitiated, Twitch is a platform for making and talking about videos of videogame play. About a million users a month record themselves playing videogames, while the rest — pegged at 50 million unique viewers in July — watch and comment on the videos. In January, Twitch reported that 58 percent of its viewers spent more than 20 hours per week on the site.

The future of TV is online streaming, not traditional “channels” that come through cable or satellite. It occurs to me that Google’s 2006 purchase of YouTube for $1.65 billion has proven to be one of the smartest and most important acquisitions of the Internet era. My son and his friends watch far more YouTube content than they do traditional TV. Cable TV is dying.


The median age of people watching broadcast networks is 60. The median age for Fox News is 68. That increased  almost 2 years over the course of one – suggesting that FOX is not attracting younger viewers.

So what are the younger people doing if not watching TV? Streaming video on demand is one of them. They can watch virtually anything online. And if it is not online, it is probably not worth watching. 

Netflix is producing great things to watch. At anytime you want. without having to wait weeks to see each episode. Twitch is another novel entertainment solution. I would not expect watching video games played by others to be big but it is.

Heck, even the Emmy broadcast last night made fun of this, with jokes about how many awards Netflix was garnering. Very few of the class programs, from Game of Thrones to Breaking Bad to True Detective or Fargo have to be shown on TV.

Especially as costs drop and disruption accelerates. Netflix makes money of programs like House of Cards if it is able to keep just a few hundred thousand people paying.

I get to watch a lot free video at Amazon if I have a Prime Account (closing in on $100 a year). If HBO had a streaming service apart from cable, would they make more money? There are a ton of hits to get HBO without cable.

$1 billion may be chump change as things progress. 

You really can get an iPhone working after it has spent minutes underwater

Resuscitating a Drowned iPhone 5
[Via Daring Fireball]

Rob Griffiths, writing at Macworld:

Thanks to (I’m guessing) some time in the rice and a healthy dose of compressed air, I now have a fully functional iPhone 5, as seen in the image at right. I find this simply amazing, given the amount of time it spent 10 feet deep in a lake. So what did I learn during this incident?

(Via Shawn King.)


It id not easy fixing the phone but, as this story shows, it is possible.

Distributed approaches revolutionizing big data

 Data Represented in an Interactive 3-D Form


For Big-Data Scientists, ‘Janitor Work’ Is Key Hurdle to Insights 
[Via -]

Technology revolutions come in measured, sometimes foot-dragging steps. The lab science and marketing enthusiasm tend to underestimate the bottlenecks to progress that must be overcome with hard work and practical engineering.

The field known as “big data” offers a contemporary case study. The catchphrase stands for the modern abundance of digital data from many sources — the web, sensors, smartphones and corporate databases — that can be mined with clever software for discoveries and insights. Its promise is smarter, data-driven decision-making in every field. That is why data scientist is the economy’s hot new job.


Data just exist. They require humans to provide context. They always will.

So creating better ways for more people to interact with the data will lead to more insights.

No doubt about it.

Popularity is not the way to judge science articles

 Guest Publication

Article-Level Metrics: An Ill-Conceived and Meretricious Idea 
[Via | Scholarly Open Access

Many are excited about innovative measures that purport to quantify scholarly impact at a more granular level. Called article-level metrics or ALMs, these measures depart from time-honored computations of scholarly influence such as the journal impact factor. Instead, they rely on data generated from popular sources such as social media and other generally non-scientific and meager venues.

As someone who studies predatory open-access scholarly publishers, I can promise you that any system designed to measure impact at the article level will be gamed, rendering the metrics useless and invalid. For instance, there are already companies that sell Facebook likes — an example is the firm called Get Likes. Predatory publishers are partly successful because of complicit authors, and these same authors will pollute popular metrics just like predatory publishers have poisoned scholarly publishing.


From last year but worth remembering.

Popularity is open to way too many gaming approached. Giving the people what they want is a horrible way to measure and perform scientific research.

Recently, I have noted the appearance of what I call “article promotion companies.” These are discipline-specific websites that spam the authors of scholarly articles with offers to promote their articles through the promotion companies’ websites. An example is the company Educational Researches. They generally charge $35 to promote a single article. Many email me asking about the ethics of these services. Certainly many more such services will appear if article-level metrics catch on.

$35 to get a paper a higher score. How many researchers would use such an approach to increase their chances for tenure? It would distort the entire publication of science.

We already see too many approaches for gaming Twitter trends or Facebook likes. So many that they often are no longer good measures of popularity.

Subjecting a researcher’s career and tenure prospects based on social media tags will not produce better science.It will produce scientists focussed on getting on Twitter.

A yelp for cops? Another reason for the police to confiscate smart phones


These 3 Teenagers Created An App To Hold Police Accountable
[Via ThinkProgress]

Three high school students have developed a mobile app to hold police accountable in communities nationwide. The app, Five-O, is a timely development, since the shooting of Michael Brown last weekend sparked a national conversation about police brutality and law enforcement in the U.S.

Caleb, Ima, and Asha Christian, three siblings from Decatur, Georgia, created Five-O for individuals to document and rate their encounters with police officers. With the app, citizens can discuss the reason behind their police encounters, and what occurred during their interactions. Moreover, individuals can transfer the recorded information to law enforcement, which can be used in cases where legal action is necessary. Five-O allows citizens to input relevant demographic information, including age and race, and rank officers’ level of professionalism.

“We’d like to know which regions in the US provide horrible law enforcement services as well as highlight the agencies that are highly rated by their citizens. In addition to putting more power into the hands of citizens when interacting with law enforcement, we believe that highly rated police departments should be used as models for those that fail at providing quality law enforcement services,” explained Ima, the eldest of the three siblings.


Bet this gets downloaded a lot but probably will not be that useful Hope I’m wrong.

More Medical disruption: GoPros in surgery, to be watched with Oculus Rift by students


Virtual surgery gets real 
[Via — Medium]

Virtual surgery gets real What the Oculus Rift could mean for the future of medecine Technological innovation takes time : virtual reality has been a thing in the medical field for more than three decades, and despite great promises it isn’t widely available yet. Things could change quickly, and the innovation won’t come from the usual suspects in medecine, but the gaming world.


The cost for devices continue to drop so far that individuals can now accomplish what used to only be seen in science fiction.

Instead of 10s of thousands of dollars for a virtual operating room and the cameras, a couple of GoPros and some software is all that is needed.

The cameras are small enough that they were mounted on the doctors head during surgery. The Rift allows 3D viewing. The ability to rapidly educate students is tremendous.

Helping the blind – a use for iBeacons

San Francisco Airport testing beacon system for blind travelers (Josh Lowensohn/The Verge)
[Via Techmeme]

Josh Lowensohn / The Verge:
San Francisco Airport testing beacon system for blind travelers  —  App will tell visually-impaired travelers, and eventually everyone, what’s around them at all times  —  San Francisco Airport is testing out location-aware beacons to help visually-impaired people navigate around …


So iBeacons can be used for something other than selling us stuff or coupons. Nice.


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