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GeekWire is an independent technology news site and online community based in Seattle, Wash. — covering the people, companies and innovations emerging from the Pacific Northwest and impacting the world. Founders John Cook and Todd Bishop bring their popular website to radio life weekends on KIRO Radio.

Latest news from GeekWire

University of Washington researchers land $1.5M grant to build more efficient solar cells

A group of University of Washington researchers was awarded $1.5 million today as part of a national grant to reduce the cost of solar energy. The U.S. Energy Department dolled out $53 million to 40 research projects, including one from the UW that is creating new hybrid material which can form the top part of a tandem solar cell and bring down the overall cost of solar energy. ?Fluctuating supply and demand cycles can be unsustainable for developing technologies for markets like renewable energy, so advances in research and technology are needed to ensure that the gains in solar affordability remain sustainable long … Read More on GeekWire

Microsoft alumni group giving $175k to former employees’ nonprofit ventures

Microsoft Alumni Network 10-17 event
The Microsoft Alumni Foundation has announced new grants and matching funds totaling $175,000 for former employees whose philanthropy and nonprofit work has been recognized by the group for improving the lives of others. The funds were announced at an event in Redmond attended by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the new L.A. Clippers owner ? himself a new addition to the ranks of Microsoft alumni. The grants were given to three projects run by former Microsoft employees who were selected from the foundation’s group of “Integral Fellows,” who have been recognized for their nonprofit and philanthropic work. Each of the three … Read More on GeekWire

This new wearable fitness tracker is free — with a $12 yearly subscription

Do a Google search for “wearable fitness trackers” and you’ll find an endless list of wristbands that largely accomplish the same task: record steps, count calories burned, monitor sleep activity, and track other health-related statistics. A new Seattle startup called Pivotal Living this week unveiled its first health device, which is yet another wrist tracker. But unlike most of what other companies have released, this particular product is a little different ? it’s free. In an attempt to position itself in a crowded wearable fitness space, Pivotal Living is taking a unique angle by offering a yearly $12 subscription plan for full access to … Read More on GeekWire

GeekWork: eBay is hiring for its next-generation shipping and logistics platform

“I wouldn?t call it a change in direction but a greater focus and clarity,” eBay CEO John Donahoe told Forbes on the day of its headline-making split with PayPal. “The nice thing about the spin-off is that it allows eBay to keep its own profits and reinvest it back in the businesses that will [be] best to drive incremental growth and provide a more cohesive capital allocation.” Part of that growth involves bringing on some new talent. Ebay has posted several openings on GeekWork, GeekWire’s jobs site, including a Senior Technical Product Manger position. The online marketplace is looking for someone to help build … Read More on GeekWire

Outerwall to receive $16.8 million payment as money-losing Redbox Instant joint venture winds down

Redbox Instant just couldn’t make it in the streaming video world against Netflix, Amazon and others, and that’s why Bellevue-based Outerwall and telecom giant Verizon announced plans to end the service earlier this month. Now, we’re getting some insights into the nuts and bolts of the Redbox Instant business. A SEC filing released today indicates that Outerwall’s Redbox unit formally withdrew from the joint venture effective Oct. 20th, with the filing showing a business that wasn’t gaining much traction. As part of the withdrawal agreement, Outerwall’s Redbox is receiving payment of $16.8 million. The filing indicates that Outerwall made a total … Read More on GeekWire

Nintendo’s new 3DS coming to the U.S. after the holidays

nintendo photo_3dsll_01_w
Nintendo will be missing out on the crucial holiday shopping season, choosing instead to release new hardware next year in the U.S. It’s been three and a half years since it released the first Nintendo 3DS, which was novel at the time for offering 3-D gaming on the go. Since then, it has sold 44 million units despite competing against smartphones that play games in addition to doing so much more. The updated version of the portable gaming device, called the New Nintendo 3DS, launched in Japan on Oct. 11, and will arrive in Australia and New Zealand next month. It will not come to the U.S., or to Europe, until … Read More on GeekWire

Jukebox hero? Pandora offers musicians stats on how often they get played

Pandora has started offering musicians more details about how users on its online radio service are interacting with the songs they play. The company launched the Artist Marketing Platform (AMP) today, which will provide artists with more information than they’ve ever received about who likes their music. Musicians will see where people are listening to their music, as well as which tracks are getting the most play, and how many people have heard their songs in the past month. To put the magnitude of the announcement in question, Pandora revealed that it has more than 125,000 individual artists with music on … Read More on GeekWire