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Smartwatches Are a Great Idea — Except for the ‘Smart’ and ‘Watch’ Parts

Tech

So help me, I want to be excited about smart watches. I like watches. I like new categories of gadgets. And I believe, instinctively, that there must be some way to build a device you strap to your wrist that has a shot at making life better for hundreds of millions of people.

I’ve got plenty of company: Take a look at this Google Trends chart, which shows how interest in the term “smartwatch” has bounded upwards since 2010.

But whenever I sit down and think about whether smartwatches are ready to become a major tech category–as I did today when reading about Sony’s upcoming SmartWatch 2, arriving in September–I conclude that the category is nowhere near ready to become the next breakout hit. I can’t even confidently say that I think it’ll ever be ready for mass consumption.

Here’s why:

The technology isn’t ready. What you really…

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Netflix wants to spend up to 15 percent of its content cash on originals

Gigaom

Netflix (s NFLX) wants to spend up to 15 percent of its entire licensing budget on the production of original content within the next few years, according to Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, who said Thursday at the Nomura 3rd Annual U.S. Media & Telecom Summit in New York that the company is going to keep growing its original output over the next few years, with the goal of roughly doubling the number of titles within the next 18 months.

The company is currently spending around five percent of its content money on originals like House of Cards, Hemlock Grove and the new season of Arrested Development. Asked about that show, Sarandos said that the company had extremely high expectations about the initial viewership of the show. “And it met our expectations, and we are thrilled,” he said.

He added that viewers also seem to love the show, despite…

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TEDGlobal newsmakers: May El-Khalil on the meaning of marathons

TED Blog

On Sunday, May 26, two rockets soared over Beirut, Lebanon, hitting a Shi’ite Muslim area in the southern part of the city. The rockets raised fears that Beirut could become embroiled in the civil war raging in nearby Syria. And yet, these bombs did not stop women throughout the city from lacing up their running sneakers and taking to the streets to run their hearts out. May 26 was also the day of the Beirut Marathon’s first all-female event, the 10K Women’s Challenge. About four thousand woman participated, even as news of the bombing spread.

The Beirut Marathon was founded by May El-Khalil, who will speak at TEDGlobal 2013 on June 12 during the session “World on Its Head.” With the 10K Challenge shining a spotlight on the courage and strength of Beirut’s women, and with so many questions still out there about why two bombers targeted…

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Google invests in big South African solar project

Gigaom

Google (s GOOG) is taking its strategy of investing millions of dollars into clean power projects in the U.S. and focusing it on Africa for the first time. On Thursday, the search engine giant announced that it’s invested $12 million into a large — 96 MW — solar panel farm in South Africa.

When built, the solar project, called Jasper Power Project, will be able to deliver enough clean power for the equivalent of 30,000 South African homes and will be built in the Northern Cape province near the town of Kimberly. California-based solar developer SolarReserve is working with South African clean power companies Intikon Energy and Kensani Group to build the project.

solarpanelThe Jasper solar farm will cost $260 million, and the developers have closed on the financing, including other investments from Public Investment Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa and the PEACE Humansrus Trust. The same developer group…

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