Canonical, the company that sponsors Ubuntu Linux, announced back in February that it would no longer be funding Kubuntu -- a fork that uses the KDE desktop environment rather than Ubuntu's Unity interface -- after the release of Kubuntu 12.04. Things looked bleak for Kubuntu as the lone full time dev working on the distro began looking for a new job. Yesterday, the dark cloud lifted: Kubuntu found a new sponsor.
Tablets will be the death of the computer! Just ask the armchair pundits spouting their visions of PC doom over the Web on a daily basis. Here at Maximum PC, we're a little skeptical of that view – how do you shove a 12-inch long XFX Radeon HD 6990 into a tablet? – but the rise of mobile devices has made the future of laptops a little iffy. Intel, along with manufacturers like Asus, are fighting back with thin, powerful notebooks called Ultrabooks. Intel's not fooling around, either. Today, the company announced the creation of a $300 million Ultrabook fund.
We here at Maximum PC love credit cards, cheap pharmaceuticals and nude celebs just as much as the next guy, we just don't like spam – or the suggestion of inferiority that its "Make (insert body part here) bigger!" offers hint at. Numbers indicate that spam makes up the majority of all emails sent worldwide, and email providers spend a ton of time and money combating spam so that we don't have to. A recent report offers new insight on how to hit spammers where it hurts – their wallets.
Boxee closed a $16.5 million round of financing led by new investors Pitango and Softbank, as well as prior investors General Catalyst, Spark Capital, and Union Square Ventures. That's $10.5 million more than Boxee's last round of funding, at which point the Boxee team consisted of 12 employees banging out code to bring the media center's software out of alpha. And now? Boxee's team is 34 members strong, the software is in version 1.0, and the Boxee Box is shipping around the world. Where does Boxee go from here?
Like most, we're big fans of the Cheezburger Network, which is best known for its weblog of lolcats and other animals, as well as its Fail Blog spinoff and other amusing memes. There's always that fear that something awesome (and free) will up and vanish one day, like what almost happened with the Xmarks project, but it's safe to say that's not going to happen here.
The Cheezburger Network has just secured $30 million in funding, most of which comes from Foundry Group, the venture capitalists that helped bankroll Zynga and Gist. Other investors throwing some cheese at CN include Madrona Venture Group, Avalon Ventures, and SoftBank Capital.
"I have been a rabid fan of Ben and the Cheezburger team for years. It’s incredible what they’ve built with a small, dedicated team," said Greg Gottesman, managing director of Madrona Venture Group. "As an investor, this one is as fun as it gets. We’re working with a great team, helping them grow an already massive audience, and testing new and exciting ways to monetize the funniest collection of sites on the Internet."
The Cheezburger team said it plans to use the funds to hire more employees (engineers, product managers, advertising salespeople, social media coordinators, and other positions) and fund other marketing and growth initiatives, the specifics of which are not yet known. If you want to apply, you can do so at http://jobs.cheezburger.com.
If you’re a regular to Wikipedia you might have noticed the donation appeals from founder Jimmy Wales scattered around the page. These images tend to stick out a bit more than your average web ad because the service is not only famous for being free, but free from the usual advertising clutter found on most sites.
The goal of $16 million was an ambitious one, but we are happy to report we now have confirmation that the world’s collective encyclopedia has met its target and will live on for another year. According to Wales more than 500,000 donations were made during the drive with an average size of $22.
"This year is a little more incredible than most because this year we celebrate Wikipedia's tenth anniversary," Wales wrote. "It's so important that we kick the year off just like this: by fully funding the Wikimedia Foundation's budget to support Wikipedia and all the sister projects as we head into the next decade of our work together. This fundraiser had all the ingredients of what we love about Wikimedia projects: people come together, contribute what they have, and together we do something amazing," Wales wrote. He also pointed out that it's not too late to pitch in.
$16 million is a lot of cash but you have to admit, when you consider the bandwidth bill they must be paying each month it doesn’t sound like Wales or anyone at the Wikimedia foundation is squandering resources.
Microsoft is not averse to spending big in hope of making inroads into businesses where it has little say. It wants to be seen as a force to be reckoned with in the smartphone arena after it launches Windows Phone 7 later this year. As a strong developer community is critical to a modern smartphone platform, the company is doing all it can to lure application developers toward its upcoming mobile OS.
It is even willing to co-fund Windows Phone 7 projects. "We have a long history of engaging with developers to offer support in the creation of compelling apps. The limited use of co-funding to help initiate strategic projects is not new to Microsoft; furthermore, developers tell us that we do not engage in any co-funding activity outside the scope of our competitors," Microsoft said in a statement.
Back in 2008, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) commissioned the development of a content filtering software. Beijing Dazheng Human Language Technology Academy and Zhengzhou Jinhui Computer System Engineering were the two companies tasked with the development of the Green Dam Youth Escort content-filtering software.
According to local media reports, the lack of funds has forced one of the developers, Beijing Dazheng Human Language Technology Academy, out of the project. "We indeed lack funds. We cannot keep on operating any more after a one-year bitter struggle," Chen Xiaomeng, the general manager of Dazheng, told ChinaDaily.com. The other company is also unlikely to continue working on the project if the current situation persists.
The money will be spread out across 66 new broadband projects affecting all 50 states. Obama administration officials estimate that some 5,000 jobs will either be created or saved as a direct result of the funding and projects.
According to Gary Locke, secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the grants and loans are primarily intended "to put Americans back to work immediately, managing projects, digging the trenches, laying fiber-optic cable, and stringing up those utility poles."
Included in the funding will be over $200 million in private investments.
Haven't heard of Vook? The short and simple is that the company puts out a hybrid app for PCs and mobile devices that combines videos, photos, and text for an entire multimedia e-book experience. You can also download and install the app through the Apple iTunes store and sync them with your iPhone, iPod touch, and pretty soon, the iPad.
Company founder Brad Inman says he plans to use the funding to expand Vook, form alliances with authors and publishers, and to build automated tools.
"There are infinite possibilities bringing together authors with filmmakers, photographers and all the other creators of media," Inman told the New York Times. "New devices such as smartphones and tablets are creating a huge surge in creativity."
Up to this point, Vook has put most of its attention towards content in the public domain, but with $2.5 million in funding, the company is in better position to more aggressively go after high-profile works.