Tag Archives: Events

Ofcom to push ahead with clearing UK Digital TV spectrum for mobile data use

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The UK telecom regulator has today announced a decision to push ahead with the repurposing of the 700MHz band of spectrum for mobile data usage. The plan, which has been floated and consulted upon since the beginning of 2014, will see the rehoming of some digital terrestrial television (DTT) and PMSE (Programme Makers and Special Events) to a new band in order to make way for the increasing amount of data traffic being demanded by mobile users. In the long run, Ofcom says using the 700Mhz band will save operators money, which “will bring considerable benefits to citizens and consumers.” However,…

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Apple confirms its eighth iTunes music festival in the UK will take place in September

Apple has announced that it will host its eighth iTunes festival in the UK this coming September, taking place — as usual – at Roundhouse in London. The company says that the series of events will feature over 60 music acts, including Maroon 5, Pharrell Williams, Beck, Sam Smith and Blondie. Once again, tickets will be given away by selected media partners in the UK, but you can watch the action via an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV or iTunes on a desktop computer. ➤ Apple announcement Thumbnail image via Neil Bird / Flickr

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London, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas… and Edinburgh: YPlan launches in its fifth city

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London, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas… and Edinburgh. Not your typical cosmopolitan city-combination, but these are the places YPlan now call home. To recap, YPlan serves up a slew of events going on in a specific locale today, letting you book tickets for concerts, theater shows, comedy performances and more. It’s all about spontaneous bookings, and isn’t geared towards planning weeks or even days in advance. YPlan started out in the UK capital back in 2012 ahead of a chunky $12 million funding round, before spreading its wings to New York, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. The once iPhone-only…

This story continues at The Next Web

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Introducing Cortana, Plus 8 Other Things To Know About Windows Phone 8.1

Microsoft's Cortana personal assistant app adds item to calendars automatically.

Microsoft's Cortana personal assistant app adds item to calendars automatically.

Windows Phone is about to get a whole lot more personal.

Microsoft’s smartphone operating system now has its own personal assistant. Just like Apple’s Siri and Android’s Google Now, Microsoft’s “Cortana” is a voice activated-personal assistant to help users control their devices, send messages and search apps and the Web.

Cortana is powered by Microsoft’s Bing search engine. It will live in a Live Tile on Windows Phone and completely replaces the default Bing search engine in Windows Phone. It learns what you search and what you do over time to deliver. The assistant is named after an artificial intelligence character in the popular Halo game series.

Cortana comes with a notebook that organizes all of the functions it performs such as interests like news, traffic and weather and learns to keep track of those interests over time. Cortana knows who your best friends are and the places you frequent on a regular basis.

If you are familiar with Apple’s Siri or Google Now, Cortana will seem very familiar. It is voice-activated and helps users keep track of events and common behavior, reminders and calendar updates.

Cortana can also open apps in Windows Phone and perform actions through voice controls. For instance, a user can open Skype and call a contact by telling Cortana to open the app with the contact. It will work with third-party apps, allowing you to add TV shows to a queue in Hulu or to look up a certain person on Facebook. This is a unique feature for personal assistants, as neither Google Now nor Siri are very good at opening third-party apps and controlling them.

Microsoft is launching Cortana as a beta version as it continues to iron out the wrinkles of the new assistant. The beta designation follows both Google Now and Apple’s Siri that were both launched in beta before becoming full-fledged consumer products almost a year after launch.

Here are eight other things you need to know about the new Windows Phone 8.1 update.

  • Windows Phone 8.1 introduces a new “Action Center” that is a drop-down menu from the top of the home screen. It provides quick access to settings and connectivity such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Airplane Mode. The new drop-down menu brings Windows Phone 8.1 in line with Android and iOS, both of which have settings menus that can be dragged from the top of a locked homescreen.
  • Speaking of the lock screen, Microsoft is now letting users customize their locked homescreens with Windows Phone 8.1. This setting was not previously available to users of Windows Phone and is an important update that will help manufacturers and users differentiate the user experience of the device.
  • The Start screen on Windows Phone will now also be customizable, letting users pick color themes or set a background images in which the Hubs and Tiles interface will lay on to of. 
  • Microsoft also has new enterprise virtual private network features that will help Windows Phone 8.1 securely connect to corporate networks. A S/MIME messages setting will help Windows Phone 8.1 enterprise users send secure messages.
  • The Windows Phone Marketplace has been updated to put a focus on apps, a departure from the previous iterations of the store that would also feature books, music and media next to apps. This should make the Windows Phone Marketplace easier to search and browse.
  • A new calendar app offers a new user interface that allows users to swipe to the right to change the day view along with week settings. Developers can build towards the Windows Phone 8.1 calendar with a new public API.
  • Microsoft added a new Wi-Fi booster it calls “Wi-Fi Sense” that will help users stay off their cellular data connections and displace to free Wi-Fi hotspots when in range. Wi-Fi Sense will automatically sign into free public networks with credentials saved within the operating system. Microsoft also improved all its other “Sense” features in Windows Phone including Battery Sense.
  • Windows Phone 8.1 provides enhancements to the “Word Flow” keyboard that improves the accuracy as well as institutes a Swype-like gesture feature that brings the keyboard much more in line with the capabilities of default keyboards for Android phones. 
  • Windows Phone 8.1 will start rolling out to consumer within the next few months. It will be available on brand new Windows Phones by late April or early May. 

Photos by Owen Thomas for ReadWrite

Read more : Introducing Cortana, Plus 8 Other Things To Know About Windows Phone 8.1

‘Sharknado 2′ Casts Al Roker and Matt Lauer Because — We Don’t Know

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This is not a joke: Today show hosts Matt Lauer and Al Roker will make cameos in Sharknado 2: The Second One movie, which debuts July 31 on Syfy.

Lauer teased their cameo Wednesday on Today, explaining the sequel’s plot in the video below.

The first movie told the survival story after a freak tornado hurled terrifying, ocean-dwelling sharks onto land in Los Angeles. Now, the weather madness is moving to New York City, with Tara Reid and Ian Ziering reprising their roles as April and Fin to save the day.

“This is a twister with teeth,” Roker said, describing a “sharknado.” Read more…

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Pavel Durov Resigns As Head Of Russian Social Network VK.com, Ukraine Conflict Was The Tipping Point

Pavel Durov, the founder of VKontakte.com, has announced on his VK.com page that he has stepped down as the head of the social network — Russia’s largest, with over 100 million users — after he said that it became “increasingly difficult” to run the social network after ownership changes put pressure on the company preserving its freedom of speech ethic. Read More

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60+ Events in Analytics, Marketing and More

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The Mashable Events Board is a great place to find leading conferences in your industry, whether it’s advertising, technology, media or public relations. This week, we’re highlighting five events that we think can help move your career forward, from those in Chicago to London. If you don’t find something that’s right for you, check out more than 60 events featured in our complete listing.

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On the Events Board, you can sort listings by date added, get discount codes as a Mashable reader and watch videos of past events to get previews of what to expect. You can also follow @MashableEvents on Twitter to catch the best events before they sell out.
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Startups, Assemble! Pitch-Off Applications Are Officially Open For The TC Boston And L.A. Meetups

Hot on the heels of our thoroughly entertaining DC and NYC meetups, we’re opening up pitch-off applications for the Boston and Los Angeles meetups, going down on April 8 and April 10 respectively.

Get ’em while they’re hot, people. Read More

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Where’s The Party? YC-Backed Shoobs Wants To Be Ticketmaster For Local Nightlife Events

Shoobs is a U.K. startup aiming to become Ticketmaster for local nightlife events. Wondering which hot DJs are coming to your corner of town soon? Shoobs wants to be the place you go to figure out where to direct your next set of dancefloor moves — and book tickets for the party. For events organisers it’s also a platform to sell tickets, promote events & connect with clubbers. Read More

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Why You Shouldn’t Decide Anything Important At Your Board Meeting

There is an old saying in poker that if you don’t know who the sucker at the table is – it’s you. The same can be said of critical decisions in a board meeting or frankly any other meeting where major decisions are ratified. If you’re turning up to important meetings hoping to persuade the critical people who attend to a decision you’re trying to make and have already “counted your votes,” you… Read More

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