As feared, the FCC has decided to dismantle Obama-era net neutrality rules, rules that protected consumers from ISP throttling. The winners of course, are ISPs, cable companies, and wireless companies. The losers - the American consumer. The changes are expected to be approved at a Federal Communications Commission meeting in mid-December.
I was searching for lifelike mice on Amazon today (long story) and found this unbelievably racist Halloween mask of a black man. Tiny ears, white eyes, big lips – just like the racist cartoons of the 50’s. My gut reaction was shock and I began to wonder how the seller would justify placing an item like this for sale. My guess is, they would argue it’s nothing more than a caricature, which begs the question – are caricatures racist by nature?
Just when I assumed the era of goofy Microsoft business moves was over, they go and do it again. Yesterday Microsoft announced that they were doing away with their unlimited OneDrive storage option. According to Microsoft, some users had abused the “limit” by storing “entire moving collections and DVR recordings”.
We just took a giant step closer to Jetsons-like futuristic living. With Amazon and Vox’s newly announced partnership partnership, if you run out of toothpaste, you simply stand in your bathroom, say “Vox, send me toothpaste”, and Amazon will make sure it’s on its way to your doorstep.
When 60 Minutes broke the well-timed Cyber Monday story that Amazon intended to offer product deliveries with a 30-minute turnaround time using automated flying drones, people wondered, can this be true? Could drones be used to make personal deliveries to our homes? In short, yes, it can, and will be done – and the FAA is already scrambling to define the playing field for commercial drone-based deliveries.
Amazon today announced the availability of their improved Amazon Cloud Drive cloud storage service. The new version of Amazon Cloud Drive allows file synchronization via a desktop app for Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8, and Mac OS 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8. No word on when support for Android, iOS, or other mobile platforms will be made available. Cloud Drive offers 5GB of free space (compared to Dropbox’s 2GB, Google Drive’s 5GB and SkyDrive’s 7GB free space options). Additional Amazon Cloud Drive space runs $1 per 2GB data - 20GB costs $10 a year, 50GB costs $25 a year, with several more tiers all the way up to 1,000GB for $500 a year. This puts the Amazon Cloud Drive price right even with SkyDrive, slightly cheaper than Google Drive, and half the price of Dropbox (come on guys, are you gonna wait until your market share begins to plummet before lowering the price?)
Under The Dome, a 13-episode adaptation of a Stephen King novel that’s being produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television will tell the story of a small New England town that is suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by an enormous transparent dome. The series’ first episode should air June 24 on CBS and in a surprise announcement, will become available to Amazon Prime members 3-4 days after it airs on CBS - a first for Amazon Prime who typically is only allowed to air television show episodes months, or years, after they have appeared on TV.
It’s going to be interesting to see what direction Amazon takes with its newly announced virtual currency - “Coins”. The new concept could be promotional in nature, or possibly used to Amazon’s benefit by promoting customer loyalty and/or reeling in app developers and locking them in to Amazon’s App Store platform. Amazon Coins are a new virtual currency that consumers can use to purchase apps and games on the company's flagship device, the Kindle Fire tablet. The product will launch in May 2013 by which time, Amazon is expected to give away tens of millions of dollars worth of Coins in order to spur adoption of the new virtual currency. Amazon has confirmed that consumers will not be compelled to use the Coins, and will still have the ability to pay for items in the Amazon Appstore store using their credit cards. Still, we expect to see a pretty aggressive marketing campaign for the new product
Amazon’s US-East Region 1 data center is a popular choice for their ELB (Elastic Load Balancing) service because it’s cheap and typically is the first data center to get new services when Amazon rolls them out. It also tends to be a headache for US-East customers who rely on its CDN delivery network. On Christmas Eve at approximately 2:00 PM PST, the US East data center, located in suburban Washington, D.C., went offline and stayed down until around 8:45 AM PST knocking Netflix, Heroku (but not Amazon Prime) offline during a critical customer viewer time-frame.
Amazon announced yesterday that its film production arm, Amazon Studios, is producing six comedy series pilots that could become full-season productions if the pilots are well received by viewers. The comedy series were created by a mix of established writers such as Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury), Principato-Young (Reno 911), and David Javerbaum (The Daily Show), as well as newcomers making their way into the spotlight via Amazon Studios’ open-door development process.
A possible new species of spider in the Cyclosa genus has been discovered that builds a realistic, larger fake decoy spider to confuse predators (or to lure in prey). The decoy spider is built like a larger version of the spider itself, complete with legs and all, and is about an inch in body length. Its ingenious builder is much smaller, around a quarter of an inch in body length and hides above or behind the decoy. The decoy spider is constructed from bits of leaves, debris, and dead insects and looks exactly like a larger spider hanging in the web. Researchers found about 25 of the spiders in the area surrounding the Tambopata Research Center in the Peruvian Amazon. Specimens are being collected so scientists can determine if it is a new species of spider.
Single issues of digital DC Comics are now available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple. Previously digital single issues were available only in Comixology and DC Apps and the only comics viewable on Amazon and Barnes and Noble devices were graphic novels. The new digital single issues can be viewed on the color Amazon Kindle and Nook Color devices and purchased through their respective online stores. Since 2011, sales of digital comics have increased by 197 percent.
Reports indicate that Amazon is getting close to greenlighting a new, original musical comedy titled “Browsers”. The single-camera project was originally developed last year at CBS, but it didn't get beyond the script stage. "Browsers" revolves around four interns working at a Huffington Post-esque website, with musical elements woven into the narrative.
Amazon has rolled out a new photo-management application, Cloud Drive Photos for Android, this morning. The application integrates tightly with the photo capabilities in Android. Users can press and hold a photo in the gallery and choose “Upload to Cloud Drive” to send photos to Amazon’s cloud storage service or choose to upload all photos from their gallery. The app also features options for sharing your photos with other installed apps (e.g. you can upload photos to Facebook directly from the Amazon Cloud Drive Photos app) and sending photos to friends. The app also includes some pretty nice functions for photo viewing.
Amazon quickly went on the offensive after last week’s iPad mini announcement, pointing out the glaring differences between the iPad Mini and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD. Leading off the ad is this quote: "Your Apple 7.9 inch tablet has far few pixels than the competing 7-in tablets. You’re cramming a worse screen in there, charging more, and accusing others of compromise? Ballsy."