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The BBC reports Facebook is considering adding something similar to the oft-requested dislike button. In a Q&A session at Facebook headquarters, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company wants to find “the right way to make it so that people can easily express a broader range of emotions.” Zuck talked about people sharing sad moments or wanting to say ‘That thing isn’t good for the world.’ For example a post that links to a report on child slavery might inspire support for raising awareness, but clicking ‘Like’ might not seem quite right.
Chinese Internet company Baidu will hold a press conference next week to announce an investment in “a prominent US based start-up,” and TechCrunch says its Uber. Bloomberg reports the investment could be as much as $600 million. The partnership helps Baidu compete in China’s taxi space, and gives Uber access to Baidu’s wealth of mobile data as well as their experience dealing with Chinese government regulations. Both TenCent and Alibab have significant investments in popular taxi apps Didi Dache and rival Kuaidi Dache.
The Next Web reports that YouTube is testing a new feature that allows users to create GIFs from YouTube Videos. Right now users can test the feature on the PBS Idea Channel page. Click the share button, drag a trim selector to the part of the video and boom 5 second GIF. You can even add text. No word on when this feature will go site wide but I’m sure glad there’s an ENTIRE year of Daily Tech News Show video out there.
Tech Crunch reports that Google has released its list of the year’s most popular entertainment as seen in the Google Play store. The most downloaded apps included language-learning app Duolingo and health app MyFitnessPal. The most downloaded game of 2014 was Candy Crush Saga. Movie of the year? Frozen TV show: The Walking Dead. Album of the year? Frozen. Fastest growing genre: Soundtracks (thank you Frozen and Guardians of the Galaxy).
Ars Technica reports Microsoft says NPD’s data for November shows the Xbox One outsold the PS4 in the US and UK. Leaked numbers indicate Microsoft may have sold as many as 1.2 million Xbox Ones with Sony selling 2/3 as many PS4s. That’s not awful news for either company as Microsoft slashed prices in November with games bundled in. Sony just added bundles this week. And good news for Nintendo too, which announced Wii U sales were up 10% and at the end of November, the console had its best hardware sales week since launch.
Ars Technica reports Google has confirmed it is shutting down its engineering operations in Russia and offer the more than 50 engineers a chance to transfer elsewhere in the company. Sales and marketing will continue on in Russia. Google’s Aaron Stein told Ars: “We are deeply committed to our Russian users and customers, and we have a dedicated team in Russia working to support them.” A Bloomberg source says Google intends to increase investment in Russia next year.
The Verge reports Sony has launched another crowdfunded experimental project. The Qrio Smart Lock claims to be the smallest of its kind and can be securely installed without tools. It allows users to open doors with a smartphone and share encrypted keys using messaging apps like Line and Facebook. Qrio is expected to retail in Japan for around ¥15,000 ($126).
News From You
djsekani sent us the Engadget report that New York Judge Denise Cote ruled that it is NOT illegal to tell people about software that can strip DRM off e-books, as long as there is no intent to distribute the DRM-free versions. Back in 2013, Abbey House Media, a company that sold e-books for Penguin and Simon and Schuster shut down its digital store. Without the store, customers couldn’t transfer their purchases to new devices. So Abbey House told customers that Calibre could be used to strip DRM from ebooks. Guess who didn’t like that? The book publishers sued saying Abbey House was contributing to copyright infringement and inducing people to break the law, but the judge disagreed. Guess who is almost certain to appeal?
TheLazyOne pointed out TechCrunch’s report on Seagate’s Shingled Magnetic Recording drives that can store 8 TB of data for about 3 cents a gigabyte by cramming more tracks on a platter. Yeah platter. They’re not solid state and they’re not even fast at 5,900 RPM and an average read/write speed of 150MB/sec. However they are cheap. Seagate will ship the drives in January for $260 for an 8 terabyte version.
And Johnsie776 tipped us off to the TorrentFreak article claiming the MPAA and its major studios members have been brainstorming ways to legally block copyright-infringing websites without getting new laws passed. The most promising would be using Rule 19 of Federal Rules of Cicil procedure. If a judge found a foreign site guilty of infringement, Rule 19 would then be used to join an ISP in the lawsuit thus allowing the blocking without finding the ISP guilty of any wrongdoing. Another of the many approaches would note that ISPs have publicly claimed they are not telecommunications services” or mere conduits of information and therefore they should not be protected by the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions.
Discussion Links: Google ex Russia
Pick of the Day: Sprint Reader via Franz
Franz has this one: Hi Tom,
a few weeks back you mentioned an ever increasing read list in your Pocket app. Well, maybe my pick can help here:
It is a Chrome extention called “Sprint Reader”, and it is an implementation of a fast-reading technique called RSVP – rapid serial visual presentation. In a nutshell, it flashes words in your view in rapid succession without you having to move your eyes. This allows for reading speeds of 600 words per minute and beyond. (Typical reading speeds is about 150-200, 300 for really fast readers). The way this works is by eliminating the limiting factor, which is movement of the eyes and re-focussing on the text.
Developer Anthony Nosek just updated Sprint Reader to 2.1 today*, so I thought I’d mention it. The code is also openly available on GitHub.
I got hooked on the idea of RSVP after I discovered Spritz ( spritzinc.com ) back in march, which sadly is a proprietary API, and was no product yet. Since then, I had a look on every single RSVP app I could find and found Sprint Reader to not only be free, but the best of the bunch.
I hope this helps you and your listeners to better cope with an ever increasing amount of interesting reads on the web.
Greetings to Jennie and guest, Thanks for the show, and keep it going strong.
Franz Reischl from Austria
(Patron of the show)
* Disclaimer: The update includes a fix from myself. To be exact, my first ever contribution to an open-source project. So I might be a bit biased when I say it’s the best, but I use it for way longer than that now.