By creating an independent, peer-to-peer 'mesh' network among devices, users could wrest the Web free from the hubs of giant corporations.
By Ryan Bradley, Fortune
A few weeks ago, a messaging app called FireChat launched. It looks, at first, like just about any other messaging app in an already very crowded market, but FireChat is sneakily subversive and quite possibly the most important thing to happen to the Internet since international network hubs began to form in 1995.
(This is the moment when you ask: "Wait . . . what? Why?")
FireChat uses a criminally underexploited feature in iOS 7 called the Multipeer Connectivity Framework. This sounds fancy and complicated, but all it means is that one Apple (AAPL) device (an iPhone, an iPad, even an iPod Touch) can connect to another without using the Internet.
That last part is the most important and worth repeating: The device need not have a traditional network connection -- 3G, wireless, whatever -- but is instead creating its own network with another device. Two smart, connected machines, communicating via their own wireless signals, or Bluetooth, to talk to one another: This is what's called a peer-to-peer connection. It's also how Apple's Airdrop feature works.
While most digital natives know how to connect with people they already know, they aren't as good at using social networking to boost their careers.
By Ryan Holmes, Fortune
They're the generation brought up on Facebook (FB). Some have never known a world without the Internet. The innermost details of their lives have been exhaustively Instagrammed, and they get their news from Twitter (TWTR), not TV.
But when it comes to using social media at work, millennials -- the generation whose birth years can range anywhere from 1980 and 2000 -- can be surprisingly, even dangerously, unprepared.
"Because somebody grows up being a social media native, it doesn't make them an expert in using social media at work," says William Ward, professor of social media at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. "That's like saying, 'I grew up with a fax machine, so that makes me an expert in business.'"
With its new $99 Fire TV device, the online retail giant aims to compete in the living room with Google, Apple, Roku and others.
By Shalini Ramachandran and Greg Bensinger, The Wall Street Journal
Amazon.com (AMZN) unveiled a new set-top box Wednesday dubbed "Fire TV" to stream video, games and music to the TV set, an ambitious move by the Internet retail giant to break into the living room.
The new device is part of its Kindle series of products, and is priced at $99 -- the same prices as Apple's (AAPL) competing box, Apple TV. Fire TV begins shipping Wednesday and offers features like voice-activated search, gaming capabilities, instant-start video and a FreeTime program for kids.
Amazon also is offering a gaming controller for $39.99.
The device thrusts Amazon into an intensely competitive market in streaming devices, particularly following the runaway success of Chromecast from Google (GOOG) last year. Amazon will have to distinguish the FireTV from Roku's set-top box, Apple TV and gaming consoles such as Xbox from Microsoft (MSFT), all of which carry similar apps and services. (Microsoft owns and publishes MSN Money.)
The move adds convenience for urban customers -- and aims to trim the billions of dollars the e-commerce giant spends on packing and shipping each year.
By Greg Bensinger, The Wall Street Journal
Amazon.com (AMZN) has quietly rolled out a new service to let customers return unwanted merchandise using large metal lockers it has installed for deliveries in garages, convenience and grocery stores in major metropolitan areas.
The service will help address a problem that has plagued Amazon and other e-commerce retailers. As much as a third of all online purchases are eventually returned, by some estimates, making it costly for merchants that in some cases pay for shipping in both directions.
Packaging and shipping orders is a major expense for Amazon. The company has been on a warehouse building frenzy in recent years, constructing facilities close to urban centers to speed delivery times. Amazon spent $8.59 billion on order fulfillment in 2013, up from $6.42 billion a year earlier.
The social media company shouldn't be changing its core product in its quest for growth.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Wednesday session on a modestly lower note, but it is worth mentioning today's retreat took place after six consecutive gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.1%) and S&P 500 (-0.2%) settled not far below their flat lines, while the Nasdaq Composite (-0.8%) lagged throughout the session.
Equity indices started the day in the red, with the Nasdaq showing early weakness as large cap tech names and biotechnology weighed. The technology ... More
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