Amazon offers company building as free shelter for Seattle’s homeless

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File this one under good corporate karma. 

Amazon is repurposing a building purchased for its downtown Seattle campus as temporary housing for the city’s burgeoning homeless population, Amazon real estate director John Schoettler said in a statement Thursday

The nearly 35,000 square-foot building will house about 200 residents and was formerly a Travelodge hotel and college dormitory, the Seattle Times reported

Rooms in the shelter will be reserved for families with children, as well as their pets. Residents will only be allowed to stay in the shelter at night, but can store possessions in their rooms while at Mary’s Place’s day shelters, the nonprofit said on its Facebook page. Read more…

More about Homelessness, Mary S Place, Philanthropy, Corporate, and Shelter


Cloud Computing

Microsoft, Google make their pitches to unseat Amazon in the cloud

The past two weeks have been a bonanza of cloud conferences and they provide useful insight into the ongoing IaaS cloud wars between Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

Google makes its case in the cloud

Last week Google attempted to attract developers to its cloud with the inaugural GCP NEXT Conference in San Francisco.

+MORE AT NETWORK WORLD: 10 Biggest announcements from Google’s cloud conference | Hottest products at Hadoop World conference +

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Network World Cloud Computing

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Amazon Cloud, Analytics Help Researchers Fight Famine

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Researchers in the US and China explore rice genomes with AWS analytics tools to develop drought and disease resistant crops.
InformationWeek: Cloud

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Amazon will reportedly launch a $50 tablet later this year

Amazon's 6" Fire HD tablet

Amazon is reportedly looking to launch a $ 50 tablet. The device will feature a 6-inch screen and go on sale in time for the holiday shopping season, according to “people familiar with the matter” cited by The Wall Street Journal.

It’s not a huge stretch to see Amazon slashing the price of its tablets even lower than they already are: After all, the online retail giant has always played a margins game. Amazon’s 6-inch tablets currently start at just $ 79 for the Kindle and $ 99 for the Fire HD.

The $ 99 price tag includes advertisements, though consumers can opt to pay $ 114 for a version without ads. It’s not clear if the $ 50 version will include ads, but it’s certainly possible.

Amazon clearly wants to attract buyers looking for the best bang for their buck, but that’s a dangerous game to play. Most tablets are already quite affordable, but a $ 50 option would mean taking even more shortcuts in terms of screen quality, durability, and battery life.

Indeed, rumor has it the $ 50 tablet will have a mono speaker, rather than stereo. As for the screen, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos apparently has tried this before:

Mr. Bezos had set an internal goal of the $ 50 price tag for versions of both the Fire tablet and Kindle e-reader, viewing the rock-bottom prices as a crucial lure for a more cost-conscious group of buyers, the people said. But the e-reader screen technology from its vendors ultimately proved too expensive to drop the retail price, the people said.

To lower costs, Amazon has reportedly outsourced much of the development of the 6-inch tablet. Two firms were named: Shanghai Huaqin Telecom Technology and Taiwan’s Compal Communications.

The $ 50 device will not be Amazon’s only unveil. As always, the company will refresh its tablet line later this year. In addition to 6-inch devices, there will also reportedly be 8-inch (not new) and 10-inch tablets (this would be new).

Last month, we heard whispers that Amazon was looking to give up on making smartphones. Tablets though, are still very much on the agenda.

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Amazon Snaps Up Elemental to Boost Video on AWS

Amazon will acquire Elemental Technologies in a bid to enrich the video capabilities of its AWS cloud service, the company announced Thursday.

Elemental makes software to help media and entertainment companies take live and on-demand video intended for traditional purposes such as cable, satellite or over-the-air broadcast and reformat it for digital distribution to PCs, smartphones, tablets and TVs. The Oregon company was founded in 2006.

Amazon Web Services plans to use the technology in new integrations and infrastructure offerings, it said. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year; terms were not disclosed.

Elemental claims more than 700 media franchise customers and powers over-the-top TV applications including the BBC’s iPlayer, CNNGo, ESPN ScoreCenter, HBO GO, MSNBC Shift, Sky Go and Sky Now. It also supports 4K Ultra HD services, including those delivered by the BBC during the 2014 World Cup.

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CIO Cloud Computing

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