Originally posted on Gigaom:

AT&T Digital Connected Home Mobile World CongressThe promised connected pajamas failed to make an appearance at Mobile World Congress, while many of the touted devices in GSMA’s Connected House exhibit — such as the vending machine you can interact with on Facebook — failed to impress. But beyond the gimmicks was an undercurrent of serious innovation around the Internet of things.

Ericsson(s eric) and AT&T (s t) both tried to answer the question of how our future connected devices will communicate with each other as well as humans. If we build a world where 50 billion devices are connected, those devices will generate a lot of chatter, and that chatter could get very annoying, said Mikael Anneroth, manager of user experience at Ericsson Labs.

When our lamps are constantly telling us they’ve been left on and doors incessantly update us when they’ve been unlocked, we will get bombarded with information. While that info at times is…

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Originally posted on Gigaom:

Updated: Microsoft Azure went down Monday night and stayed down for hours. That news comes as Microsoft(s MSFT) is trying to pitch two-year-old Azure as a safe and reliable platform for consumer and business applications.

As first reported byThe Registerwhich cited Microsoft’s service page, Azure’s service management system started acting up just before 6 p.m. Pacific time, and the problem persisted for at least 12 hours.  Microsoft’s Service Dashboard showed that two Access Control areas — in Northern Europe and South Central U.S. — were disrupted as of 10 a.m. Pacific time Tuesday.

In a statement, Microsoft said it became aware of an issue impacting Windows Azure service management in some regions at 5:45 p.m. It deployed a fix that worked for  most customers, but that three regions — North Central U.S. and South Central and North Europe – remain affected while Microsoft continues to work on…

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Originally posted on Gigaom:

Voice search on mobiles is becoming all the rage, and the folks behind the popular Dolphin Browser are adding more voice functionality in their latest version. Dolphin Sonar is part of the 7.4 release of Dolphin Browser for Android(s goog), making it easy to search the web, share links or open specific web apps and pages by speaking.

Here’s a short promo video on the new Sonar feature that’s clearly taking a fun shot at Apple’s(s aapl) Siri functionality, which launched with the iPhone 4S last October.

As a regular user of the Dolphin Browser — here are eight reasons why — I like the concept of integrated voice actions to use the web. Dolphin has long supported gestures to help navigate the Internet, and the new Sonar feature extends the usefulness of the browser. I’ve been using Sonar for the past day and generally like where the…

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Originally posted on National Post | News:

by Ella Ide

VICTORIA — Passengers, including 13 Canadians, faced a third day without power and hot food on a stricken Costa cruise ship in the sweltering Indian Ocean on Wednesday, as helicopters airlifted fresh bread to the liner.

Towed by a fishing boat and guarded by coast guard vessels in the pirate-infested Indian Ocean, the Costa Allegra was carrying passengers who prepared to spend a third night on the vessel since an engine fire knocked out power on Monday.

Costa Cruises said the cruise liner was due to arrive at the Seychelles capital of Victoria around 9:00 a.m. local time on Thursday.

With no electricity and no air conditioning, the passengers are crowded on decks in sweltering temperatures, with the liner’s operating company Costa Crociere saying it was offering mineral water “for personal hygiene needs.”

[np-related]

“The bathrooms on the ship have not been working since the fire,” Italian…

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Originally posted on Gigaom:

Facebook is giving brands and organizations new tools to manage the way they interact with users on the social network, with updated Pages that will provide a better visual experience to users and advanced administrative tools for responding to user messages.

The new Facebook Pages include many of the same elements that individual users have: They include a large cover photo, a smaller profile photo and apps with photos, videos and places. It also gives brands and organizations to “pin” posts, which will hold them at the top of the Page timeline for seven days, and to “star” them, which will make photos and videos available in a double-wide format. Organizations can also set milestones, such as when they were founded or when they reached a certain number of users or likes.

In revamping Pages, Facebook has also attempted to make them more social, by enabling users to see which…

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Apple looks to Chomp to improve App Store discovery

Originally posted on Gigaom:

With more than 550,000 apps, finding the right app in Apple’s App Store (s aapl) can be a challenge for some. Though the App Store is still ahead of rival Android Market (s goog) in discovery features, Apple clearly sees a need to ramp up and improve the way it helps consumers pick through its growing collection of apps. That’s what’s behind the acquisition Thursday of Chomp, an app discovery engine that helps users search for apps on iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

The acquisition, first reported by TechCrunch and confirmed by Apple, gives Apple a pretty robust tool to improve its App Store. Chomp lets users find apps by searching without knowing the name of a particular app. Users can search by what an app does and then find relevant results, which start appearing right as a user begins typing. Chomp looks at all the data associated with an app…

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Originally posted on Gigaom:

Updated: Box is enhancing the Android clients for its cloud-based storage service in a plan that makes Android first among equals in smartphone and tablet OSes.

Box, formerly known as Box.net, is one of several companies — including fan-favorite Dropbox as well as Microsoft(s msft), and Google(s goog) — competing to store your digital paraphernalia — Word documents, presentations, photographs, whatever — in the cloud and make it accessible from your devices of choice.

A big part of the update is the facelift Box gave virtually all Android clients. “We worked closely with Google to build a modern interface using Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich principles. That Android 4 UI will run cross all Android clients,” said Matthew Self, VP of platform engineering for Box. (Ice Cream Sandwich is Google’s name for the latest Android smartphone OS.)

Given the number of Android flavors in the field —…

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