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    The Black Rider

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    Wednesday, October 23, 2013

    Banksy is The Dark Insight. Business Insider~Artman

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    Yahoo beats Google in September web traffic in US again - The Times of India on Mobile

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    Sunday, October 20, 2013

    Insight: As Brazil's Batista falters, Rio dream does too

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    Reuter site - Big data heralds return of the Cray supercomputer

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    Big data heralds return of the Cray supercomputer

    Sun, Oct 20 07:33 AM EDT

    By Bill Rigby

    SEATTLE (Reuters) - "Big data" means big computers, and good news for Cray Inc.

    The pioneer of supercomputers in the 1970s stood on the brink of obscurity 20 years ago but is now surging back to prominence. Its shares have almost doubled over the past 12 months.

    The explosion of data - measuring weather, traffic, health and countless other areas - coupled with a desire to tease meaning out of it, demands greater computing power than is accessible via standard machines.

    "The assumption was that supercomputers were cliche five years ago. People thought, 'I can run my simulation on my laptop'," said Barry Bolding, a Cray vice president, at the company's Seattle headquarters last week. "That may have been true, so long as the data associated wasn't growing as well. But raw data is being created in exabytes as we sit here. More data means bigger computer, bigger computer means more data."

    Experts estimate that 2.5 exabytes - or 2.5 billion gigabytes - of data are now generated every day, and the world's capacity to store that data is doubling every 40 months, which all plays to Cray's strengths.

    A basic Cray cabinet costs $500,000 and up and is roughly the size of a refrigerator. Big customers can group 200 or more into massive supercomputers worth hundreds of millions of dollars, such as "Titan" at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

    Titan, completed by Cray last year, is the world's third-fastest supercomputer, takes up the size of a basketball court and can perform more than 20,000 trillion calculations a second.

    To be sure, most companies will never need that scale, or can process what they need through multiple machines running in tandem on a high-speed network or in the cloud, which for many projects works out cheaper and more power-efficient.

    What makes supercomputers different is that they can make a huge number of interconnected calculations at the same time, rather than a consecutive list of unconnected calculations, which makes them good for running complex simulations and mining unrelated data.

    For example, weather apps on smartphones are based on vast models run by research agencies on supercomputers. Financial firms can detect online fraud or cybersecurity breaches in seconds rather than days by using supercomputer models, which would take days on standard set-ups.

    "Big data is a new term, but arguably the supercomputer market was the original home of big data, and Cray has been dealing with it forever," said Steve Conway, an analyst at tech research firm IDC.


    The Seattle-based company, with just over 900 employees and a market value of around $940 million, has changed ownership several times but was started in 1972 by Seymour Cray, the "father of supercomputing."

    With a recent resurgence in supercomputers, Cray is garnering Wall Street's attention. This June, it sold one of its new XC30 supercomputers to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts for $65 million, nabbing a contract from a long-time IBM customer.

    That sort of deal is piquing investor interest. Wall Street analysts are expecting revenue of $519 million this year, up 23 percent from 2012, with a gross profit margin around 34 percent. Its shares are up 91 percent over the past 12 months while rival Silicon Graphics International Corp's are up 90 percent. Cray is now richly valued, with a share price 36 times estimated earnings for the next 12 months, compared with 19 times for SGI.

    The global market for computers costing more than $500,000 is on a tear, according to IDC, having more than doubled to $5.6 billion in 2012 from $2.7 billion in 2008.

    The whole market for high-performance computing (HPC) - essentially any machine bigger than a desktop used for intense computation - is forecast to grow 7 percent a year through 2017, well ahead of the stagnant business server market.

    The U.S. government directly or indirectly accounted for two-thirds of Cray's revenue last year. But the company is reaching out to new customers interested in big data. Last year it set up a new unit called YarcData - Yarc is Cray backwards - to focus on analyzing huge amounts of information and teasing out unseen patterns in a process known as graph analytics.

    "Unstructured databases are becoming more prevalent, gathering raw data from everywhere," said Cray's Bolding. "Now you start asking very complex questions, and it starts to create links between sets of data."

    The YarcData unit is helping the U.S. government detect fraud patterns in Medicare and Medicaid payments. Private sector customers include medical research group Mayo Clinic and several financial services, life sciences and telecommunications firms, which Cray cannot name for contractual reasons.

    New efforts are working and should boost revenue over time, said Sid Parakh, an analyst at fund firm McAdams Wright Ragen.

    "This is not a commodity market. It takes years of experience," said Conway at IDC. "It's easy to build a big computer, but it's not easy to build a big computer that works."

    (Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

    Twitter quitters dog IPO

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    Friday, October 11, 2013

    Reuter site - U.S. cable companies should create Netflix rival: Malone

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    U.S. cable companies should create Netflix rival: Malone

    Thu, Oct 10 17:10 PM EDT

    By Liana B. Baker

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cable pioneer John Malone said on Thursday that cable companies should team up to create a rival to Netflix Inc <NFLX.O> that would deliver programming over the Internet on a national basis.

    Cable companies could "solve the problem" of high programming costs by acquiring content for an Internet-based service under one brand that they would sell in a bundle with broadband, Malone said at Liberty Media Corp's <LMCA.O> annual investor conference.

    Malone, who is chairman of Liberty Media, used the example of Comcast Corp's <CMCSA.O> Xfinity video streaming product one day being shared with the rest of the cable industry to become a national brand.

    He added that another alternative would be for Hulu to "be bought and syndicated" by cable companies or for an entrepreneur to create a new product from scratch that the cable industry can get behind. He had said previously that cable companies should make a joint bid for Hulu, the Internet streaming service that was for sale at one point.

    The cable industry has a history of working together, and he pointed the creation and funding of HBO, saying it "made us all rich."

    A national Internet-based TV service could help the cable industry get back market share from satellite and telecommunications competitors, and also give a boost to smaller cable companies that lack infrastructure.

    When asked about whether he still has an appetite for a merger or acquisition, Malone said that, if cable came up with a transformational product to rival Netflix, it would "increase my appetite as an investor to be willing to invest in the business through consolidation."

    Malone, whose media holding company has an investment in cable provider Charter Communications Inc <CHTR.O>, made an offer for Time Warner Cable Inc <TWC.N> over the summer, but it was rejected, Reuters has reported.

    Time Warner Cable shares closed up $6.68, or 6 percent, on Thursday at $116.95 per share.

    During a question and answer session with investors, he praised Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings and launched into an analysis of Netflix's business model, saying it was big enough to buy exclusive national content at good prices, something the cable industry has struggled with.

    "The cable industry has been very slow (which has) created a window of opportunity to the over the top guys," he said, referring to Internet based TV services such as Netflix.

    Wunderlich securities analyst Matthew Harrigan said that Malone's cooperation idea was a good one. But he added it would be difficult to get all the players on the same page because the large companies such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable have more advanced technology than the smaller players.

    "It's kind of like herding cats," Harrigan said about cable companies working together

    Earlier on Thursday, another one of Malone's companies, Liberty Interactive Corp <LINTA.O>, said it would split into two tracking stocks, and also create a new company made up of its stake in TripAdvisor Inc <TRIP.O>.

    (Reporting By Liana Baker; Editing by David Gregorio, Ronald Grover and Andre Grenon)

    'Bionic man' walks, breathes with artificial parts

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