The Crystal-Clear Edition Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Inside Pandora's Plan To Reinvent Itself—And Beat Back Apple And Spotify, by John Paul Titlow, Fast Company

But there are some notable things Pandora has not done. It hasn’t become a hugely profitable company—most financial quarters, it reports a loss—and its core product has not changed all that dramatically, even as on-demand streaming has taken hold and competition has heated up. In the coming months, Pandora is getting ready to make some major changes to its product and business model—and it's praying that it all pays off. That’s why Westergren flew to New York from California this morning. The task ahead of him is hugely challenging—not to mention urgent.

"It’s crystal clear to me what I should be doing," says Westergren, who replaces Brian McAndrews, who suddenly left the company in late March after two and a half years as CEO. "Both why I should be doing this as a job in the first place and what the most important things to tackle are."


Apple To Hold New Year's Sale In Japan Starting January 2, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Starting on January 2, Apple plans to hold a special New Year's Sale both online and at all of its retail locations in Japan, continuing a long tradition of offering something special on January 2 in the country.

Video Converter HandBrake 1.0.0 Released, by Martin Brinkmann, GHacks

So what is new in HandBrake 1.0.0? A lot. The presets that the program ships with have been updated big time. You get new device presets for devices released in recent time, new general use presets for best compatibility, new presets for web publication or sending, and new Matroska presets that include support for VP9 video with Opus audio.

That's not the only change however. The developers of the program have improved the audio and video sync engine; it handles problematic video sources better in the HandBrake 1.0.0 release.


Apple Publishes Its First Artificial Intelligence Paper, by Aaron Tilley, Forbes

Apple has published its very first AI paper on December 22. (The paper was submitted for publication on November 15.) The paper describes a technique for how to improve the training of an algorithm's ability to recognize images using computer-generated images rather than real-world images.

Will Donald Trump’s Corporate ‘Tax Holiday’ Create Jobs? Not Necessarily, by Leslie Picker, New York Times

President-elect Donald J. Trump has said he would like to create a “tax holiday” so that American companies can bring back profit that was generated overseas at a lower rate. In his view, this influx of cash will create jobs.

But corporate boards and executives may have different ideas.

They are likely to use much of the estimated $2 trillion held overseas to acquire businesses in the United States, to buy back their own stock or to pay down debt, say advisers of America’s top corporate executives.