Sunday, July 27, 2014

IGT Not Deterred by Zynga Scrapping Real-Money Gambling Plans


In its Q2 earnings report earlier this week, Zynga said it has abandoned its plans to pursue real-money gambling in the U.S. But Nevada-based IGT, which makes both physical and virtual casino games, said its plans are unaffected.

"What Zynga's finding out is that breaking into real-currency wagers is a difficult thing," said executive VP Robert Melendres, who heads IGT's interactive division. "They built their business as more of a causal social gaming business. We are well situated to take advantage of [real money], just as we've done in Europe."

Melendres's goal is "convergence": Bringing the experience someone might have playing, for example, a Wheel of Fortune slot machine (which IGT develops and manufactures) with the separately branded games of its social casino product DoubleDown Casino. In addition to getting cleared by regulators, he said part of the challenge is in the gameplay itself: Offering the same odds and the same "thrill" (his word) of risking real money that one gets in Vegas.

IGT acquired DoubleDown for $500 million in early 2012, one week before Zynga announced its now-scrapped casino ambitions. The Facebook-integrated site now offers roulette, blackjack, video poker and 37 slots games, which - like many of the innumerable competing social/mobile casino games - encourage users to purchase virtual currency, which is then what's (legally) wagered.

According to its Q3 earnings report, the company's social casino gaming revenue is up 105 percent year over year to $61.4 million, and monthly active users increased 28 percent from 5.2 million to 6.7 million in the same time frame. But Melendres said he is confident that IGT will be part of the "first meaningful wave" of real-money gambling for players in states that have legalized it, expecting to have a foot in the door by Q1 2014.

The real-money online gambling market, which H2 Gambling Capital said currently grosses about $30 billion worldwide, already surpasses other forms of social gaming and is expected to keep growing, as shown in this chart from Betable.

Barnaby Jack, Famous Hacker, Dies

Barnaby Jack, the hacker known for making an ATM literally spit out cash, died Thursday, days before he was set to show how to disable a pacemaker from 30 feet away at Black Hat, the large annual hacker conference. He was 36 years old.

Jack was the director of embedded security research at security firm IOActive. He had previously worked at a variety of security firms, including McAfee.

The San Francisco Medical Examiner's office confirmed the death Friday but didn't yet know the cause.

Read the rest of this post on the original site

Saturday, July 26, 2014

After Hacking Attack, Apple's Dev Center Site Is Up and Running Again


Eight days after taking it down in response to a security breach, Apple has restored the website for its Developer Center.

Apple didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. But the entry page of the site was clearly visible this afternoon. Some sections, like forums, were still offline. Certificates, identifiers and profiles were back online.

An email circulated to Apple developers said, "Thank you for bearing with us while we bring these important systems back online. We will continue to update you with our progress." It has also added a system status page so members can keep track of what's back and working and what's not.

Access to the site had been curtailed for several days as Apple investigated the circumstances of a security incident said to have occurred on July 18.

The company said in an email to its developer community (see below) three days after the incident took place that the site had been accessed by what it called "an intruder."

Apple said in the original email disclosing the breach that it would be "completely overhauling our developer systems, updating our server software, and rebuilding our entire database." It hasn't gone into any further detail about the nature of the attack.

The Apple developer site grants access to iOS 7, OS X Mavericks and other software development tools. When it first went down it was marked with a notice saying it was down for maintenance. A later notice apologized that maintenance was taking longer than expected. Developers were told that memberships that would have expired during the downtime had been automatically extended.

Since extended downtime of this sort is rare with Apple, people in the dev community naturally began to wonder what was up. Apple finally came clean about the attempted attack and said that "...we have not been able to rule out the possibility that some developers' names, mailing addresses, and/or email addresses may have been accessed." Still no word on that.

Here's the full text of the email sent around to developers.

Developer Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles Now Available

We appreciate your patience as we work to bring our developer services back online. Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles, software downloads, and other developer services are now available. If you would like to know the availability of a particular system, visit our status page.

If your program membership expired or is set to expire during this downtime. It will be extended and your app will remain on the App Store. If you have any other concerns about your account please contact us.

Thank you for bearing with us while we bring these important systems back online. We will continue to update you with our progress.

Yahoo Plans Splashy New San Francisco Digs (And Dreams of Neon Billboard's Return)


Justin Sullivan, Getty Images News

According to multiple sources close to the situation, Yahoo is close to signing a lease for a splashy new San Francisco outpost to keep up with the fast growth of other Web companies that have opened high-profile offices here.

Yahoo's Mayer apparently is hoping for a big PR announcement of the space in San Francisco, much as she did with the recent news that the company was opening new digs in Times Square in Manhattan, in the former offices of the New York Times.

Mayer apparently likes old media locations. While the company has been looking at a number of locations in an increasingly tight office real estate market in San Francisco, it has zeroed in on a large amount of space in the famed San Francisco Chronicle building at 5th and Mission Streets.

That is now the location of Square, the high-profile online payments company which did a handsome redo of its office there. It is expected to vacate and move to an even swankier new space nearby by the end of September.

It's not clear if Yahoo has actually signed the lease there or how many floors it will take, but sources said that the deal is in advanced stages.

Yahoo, whose main headquarters are in Sunnyvale, Calif., in the heart of Silicon Valley, already has a large location in San Francisco that houses several hundred sales, engineering and other employees over three floors.

But it is located in a nondescript office tower in the duller financial district of the city and not in the more hip environs south of Market Street, which has seen a major renaissance over the last two years due to the opening of numerous Internet companies.

That's where companies like Twitter, Airbnb, Square and also many Sand Hill Road venture firms have built dramatic and highly designed offices. In addition, companies with existing big Silicon Valley campuses, such as Google, have also located fast-forward spaces in San Francisco.

In fact, the search giant is apparently now dramatically expanding its footprint at its SF HQ in Morgan Stanley's Hills Plaza building, which is right at the foot of the Bay Bridge on the city's waterfront.

As does Google, so copies Yahoo these days - from free food to trendy offices.

In fact, sources said Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer - who was a longtime Google exec - has been eager to up the company's attractiveness to younger entrepreneurs, which includes providing appropriate urban digs within a stone's throw of twee coffee roasters and ironic donut purveyors.

There are, obviously, no molasses, Guinness-soaked pear donuts easily found in Sunnyvale.

Yahoo has tried to create some hipster cred in the big city before. In 2006, it founded an incubator space in San Francisco called Brickhouse, to foster fast-forward ideas. But it ended up shuttering it two years later due to cost-cutting.

The same expense-chopping was to blame for the end of the iconic Yahoo billboard on the eastbound lane of the Bay Bridge - a retro motel-style one with many quirky mottos, including, "A Nice Place to Stay in the Internet" - that the company gave up in 2011 after a decade. It has since been rented by Clear Channel to the Gap's Old Navy.

According to sources, Yahoo's marketing head has told employees that the company has been trying hard to reclaim its past glory, in neon lights at least.

I emailed Yahoo for comment, but horses will fly - it could happen! - before I expect any kind of substantive response from PR at the company.

Friday, July 25, 2014

JUJEO Silver Net 3.5mm Earphone Headset with Mic for iPhone, iPad and iPod – Non-Retail Packaging – Green

JUJEO Silver Net 3.5mm Earphone Headset with Mic for iPhone, iPad and iPod - Non-Retail Packaging - Green

  • The earphones are designed to provide increased listening enjoyment at lower levels, listening to music at optimal volumes to avoid hearing damage
  • Comes with a microphone, make and answer calls handsfree while driving
  • Silicone earpieces for comfortable and stable fit
  • Cable Length: about 116cm
  • The earphones are designed to provide increased listening enjoyment at lower levels, listening to music at optimal volumes to avoid hearing damage ^Comes with a microphone, make and answer calls Handsfree while driving ^Silicone earpieces for comfortable and stable fit ^Cable Length: about 116cm

Silver Net 3.5mm Earphone Headset with Mic for iPhone iPad iPod - Green