The elephant in the room: Are you ready to face big data?

Our use of social media, smart devices and the Internet all create huge volumes of data. Behind the scenes, machine-to-machine interactions, sensors, recommendation engines and APIs drive a proliferation of information. Much of this data — in some studies as much as 80 percent — has little to no structure and much of it is generated at machine speed; at high velocity. This kind of “big data” — extremely large data sets that have little to no structure and are growing every minute — is hard for databases and analysis tools to handle just in time. But it also contains a wealth of valuable information waiting to be found.

Review: A Minecraft review isn’t really possible, but we’ll try anyway

How the hell do you write a review for a game that’s been out since 2009? A game that you’ve played across many changes, with additions and subtractions, a game without a box, a user manual, or, really, any sort of guiding pedagogy. I’ve personally spent at least 100 hours, probably more, playing this procedurally generated oddity of a video game across the beta and official versions, on servers, my own server, and in single player modes. And yet, I still can’t seem to get a simple handle on it, and why it keeps me coming back for more.

Review: Should you buy Star Wars: The Old Republic?

Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft could soon be feeling a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of subscribers suddenly cried out and started heading for a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars: The Old Republic is an impressive and easy to play new competitor from Electronic Arts that makes great use of the Star Wars license. It is the most promising new massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) since World of Warcraft claimed the genre’s throne seven years ago.

Facebook’s Android app beating out iPhone for daily usage

According to analytics reports by AppData, the Android application had 58.3 million daily active users on December 17, as opposed to the iPhone’s 57.4 million DAU. Indeed, Facebook is the most popular Android app for users 18 and older, according to a Nielsen report. The social network’s app came right after the Android Marketplace as most used application for Android users between the ages of 18 and 44, which means Android users of a wide age range are paying attention to what Facebook is doing in their mobile strategy. Now they’re starting to pay more attention daily.

Watchitoo is best of WebEx and live streaming, launches layers (exclusive)

The company, which competes with the Cisco owned WebEx and Citrix‘s GoToMeeting, is trying to be the less clunky, more integrated option for all kinds of businesses with video conferencing needs. Up to 25 people can interact with the video as a participant or a viewer, and can toggle between the two. The technology exists not as a separate service, like WebEx or GoToMeeting, but rather as code integrated directly into the website. This makes it easier to brand as your own, and since it’s embedded on your website, it’s easier for your participants to find and join the video conference, a criticism of its two main competitors. Businesses can also use Watchitoo to live stream events.

Star Wars: The Old Republic debuts on Tuesday as one of the most ambitious games ever

BioWare’s epic new online game Star Wars: The Old Republic debuts on Tuesday. A persistent world known as a massively multiplayer online game (MMO), the title is one of the most ambitious video games in history. One of its many lofty goals is to challenge World of Warcraft, the seven-year-old fantasy role-playing world that is the world’s biggest money-making online game with more than 10.3 million paying subscribers and around a billion dollars a year in revenue. Another is to take the Star Wars fan base and bring it into the modern age of the MMO, ensuring that George Lucas’s franchise lives on in the age of massive blockbuster games. And it is also aimed at bringing in a steady stream of revenue for Electronic Arts, elevating it and its developer BioWare into the stratosphere of the game industry, where respect and revenues go hand in hand.

Week in review: Zynga goes public, while we go holiday shopping

Don’t panic: It’s only a week until Christmas.
To help you procrastinate on your shopping (not to mention Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Solstice preparations), we’ve assembled this list of ten of the best tech business and gaming stories of the week.
We’ll start with a a gift guide, so you can pretend this is actually helping you accomplish your holiday goals.