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The Verge reports BlackBerry CEO John Chen published an open letter to the US Senate supporting the principles of net neutrality. Most of it is what you’d expect. However Chen accuses Apple and Netflix of discriminating against its users for not making apps for BlackBerryOS. He writes: “All wireless broadband customers must have the ability to access any lawful applications and content they choose, and applications/content providers must be prohibited from discriminating based on the customer’s mobile operating system.”
The Next Web reports Kim Dotcom’s Mega has launched an audio and video chat service with end to end encryption. Any registered Mega user can try out the beta service. Text chat is expected to be added soon as well as video conferencing. MegaChat users made more than a half million video calls in the first hour after launch. But nobody but the participants knows what happened in them.
The Next Web reports that Twitter is rolling out a new feature called Recap, today for iOS and in the next few weeks to Android and Web. A heading will appear called “while you were away…” that will show users the best tweets that happened– wait for it– while they were away. The more you use Twitter, the more recaps you’ll see. Which tweets you see will be determined by “engagement and other factors” according to the company. You won’t be able to adjust how it works or even turn it off, but hitting X at the top of the summary often enough will direct the system to show fewer recaps.
ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley clarifies that Microsoft Office for Windows 10 will be preinstalled for free on Windows 10 smartphones and tablets as long as they are smaller than 8 inches. The suite of “touch-first” apps will be available from the Windows Store for Windows devices with larger screen sizes. If you want to take a look at the new apps, Microsoft posted a blog with screen caps. Microsoft also officially has named the next version of Office for the desktop, Office 2016. Office universal apps will be available with the Windows 10 technical preview in the coming weeks and general availability for the Office for Windows 10 suite will be “later this year.”
Also from Engadget, Nvidia has released a GPU targeting AMDs video cards at the $200 price point. Although the recently released GTX 970 and 980 are powerful, their high costs ($350 -$600+) have turned many towards AMDs cheaper but still capable Radeon offerings. Nvidia’s Maxwell based GTX 960 sports 1025 CUDA cores and clock speed of 1.1 GHz although with overlocking and decent cooling the GPU speed can be bumped up to 1.5 GHz. For the past year AMD has been able to leverage the $200 sweet spot in GPU price/performance arena, but with the release of GTX 960 AMD will be under pressure with their next generation of products.
Ars Technica lets us know about a report from cloud backup provider Backblaze on the reliability of its hard drives. HGST, owned by Western Digital now, led the way with low failure rates. For instance 2 TB 7K2000s were on average 3.9 years old but had a failure rate of 1.1%. Seagate improved a little from the last Backblaze report but still 23.8% for the Barracuda 7200.11 and 9.6% for the Barracuda LP. The 3TB Barracuda 7200.14 had an awful 43.1% failure rate with an average of 2.2 years in service. However newer Seagate model 4 TB HDDD15 only had a 2.6% failure rate albeit after an avaerage 0.9 years in service.
The Verge reports journalist Barrett Brown has been sentenced to 63 months in prison after pleading guilty to charges of transmitting threats, accessory to hacking charges, and interfering with the execution of a search warrant. Brown uploaded YouTube videos containing threats, tried to redact sensitive email procured by hackers and hid laptops in a kitchen cabinet. Brown had been originally charged with fraud for sharing a link to an Anonymous IRC chat room where stolen credit card details were being shared. Those charges were dropped. Brown has served 28 months in prison during trial which will count toward his sentence.
News From You:
tm204 posted the VentureBeat story that Amazon has introduced a program t help produce ebooks for students. The Kindle Textbook Creator, now in open beta, can make books to be sold through the Kindle Direct Publishing EDU service. It’s available for OSX and Windows. The books can have flashcards, allow note-taking, and highlighting, “cut” segments out to a separate notebook, or annotate with context.
metalfreak pointed out the PC World article noting that Documents, prepared by the Latvian presidency of the Council of the EU, note that blocking or filtering content in the “public interest” as part of a proposed net neutrality law could violate privacy laws that protect the confidentiality of communication. Last week EU ministers called on ISPs to do just such blocking and filtering of extreme content. The Latvian presidency plans to discuss changes to three articles of the proposed text at a meeting of the Council’s working party on Jan. 27
starfuryzeta sent us an Associated Press report about a drone overloaded with methamphetamine that crashed into a supermarket parking lot in Tijuana, Mexico. Tijuana police said six pounds of meth were taped to the six-propellor remote controlled craft. Authorities are investigating where the flight originated, but said it was not the first time they’d seen a drone used to smuggle drugs. Said the drone, “I am the one who flies.”
Discussion Section Links:
Pick of the Day: Freedom(TM) by Daniel Suarez via Paul Wheatley
Boss #1248 Paul writes, “Hi Tom, Hope you are well?
The HoloLens Microsoft announced yesterday got me very excited for a possible future 2nd dimension overlaid over our current dimension described in the book Freedom(TM) by Daniel Suarez, this is the sequel to Daemon. Both are excellent reads and great audio books on Audible.
The book describes a dimension overlaid using hologram glasses (and contact lenses) using augmented reality, but where people can almost entirely live in that dimension, separate currency, jobs, relationships, experience point and levelling up in ‘real’ life. Of course the book details it in a partially scary way but i for one welcome our Daemon overlords and cannot wait for this second dimension to be created.
Tomorrow’s guest: Darren Kitchen