In any case, recent headlines about a connection between Wi-Fi signals and an increase in tree sickness were apparently not the place to look for an answer.
According to a story in The Wall Street Journal, Dutch researchers have called into question data that prompted the widespread reports that Wi-Fi signals were to blame for a jump in poor-health indicators among urban trees in the Netherlands and perhaps elsewhere.
The people behind an investigation in the Dutch city of Alphen aan den Rijn say that numbers involved … Read more
Lawyers representing independent filmmakers, including the studio that produced Oscar-winner "The Hurt Locker," might learn something from a document filed with the U.S. Department of Commerce today by music, television, and film industry trade groups.
The Commerce Department recently sent out a request for information, known as a "Notice of Information," on "copyright policy, creativity, and innovation in the Internet economy." What the Commerce Department intends to do with the information it obtains was unclear this afternoon, but it did receive a response from nine trade groups representing the entertainment sector. In that … Read more
YouTube is rewarding users who do what it asks of them.
The company announced in a blog post yesterday that it has lifted the 15-minute limit on video uploads for "selected users" who have "a history of complying with the YouTube Community Guidelines and our copyright rules." It seems that those who have violated its terms in the past are still limited to 15 minutes.
YouTube didn't explicitly say for sure that well-behaved users will have an unlimited amount of time for their uploads, but it did say that if users upload "original content, … Read more
There's a scene in the film "The Social Network" in which a fictionalized version of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg holds a developer challenge that involves programming at breakneck pace and pounding frequent shots of alcohol. The real Facebook "Hacker Cup" developer challenge, which the company announced last night, will probably be a little different. We hope.
Throughout the recession of 2009, one of the few bright spots in the industry burned with the glow of a blue laser: Blu-ray players. Spreading beyond the base of the PlayStation 3, sales of standalone Blu-ray players increased 59 percent in 2009 and have grown 85 percent in 2010 through October, according to NPD's Retail Tracking Service.
Blu-ray is also a stronger format thanks to its competitive origins. Answering the mandated connectivity of its rival, HD DVD, the Blu-ray Disc Association developed BD-Live. It was originally conceived as a way to bring online extras to the disc-playing experience, but manufacturers have leaped on it to make Blu-ray the first affordable media technology beyond video games to bring the promise of Internet connectivity to the living room. … Read more
Financial services company Standard & Poor's announced changes yesterday to its S&P 500 stock market index, a widely respected compendium of large-cap U.S. public companies: Netflix is on the list for the first time. In the same announcement, rather poignantly, S&P announced that newspaper giant The New York Times Co. has been demoted to its index of mid-size companies (the MidCap 400), as has photography equipment manufacturer Eastman Kodak.
Previously, Netflix had been on the MidCap 400 list.
Netflix has had one heck of a year, nearly a decade after it first went public … Read more
Netflix's toppling of the traditional video-rental market and especially the Blockbuster chain will likely be studied by business students for years to come.
So, here's another fun fact to look at: Blockbuster CEO John Antioco was approached in 2000 by Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings about forming a partnership, recalled Barry McCarthy in an interview he gave to the Unofficial Stanford blog two years ago. I turned up McCarthy's interview while researching a story about why he's leaving Netflix after 11 years as chief financial officer.
"I remembered getting on a plane, I think … Read more
Google's annual Zeitgeist, which delivers the top searches of the year, once again provides an interesting look into what the world was thinking about.
According to Google, "Chatroulette" was the "fastest rising" search term around the world in 2010, beating out Apple's iPad and Justin Bieber, which took the second- and third-place spots, respectively. Recording artist Nicki Minaj came on the scene in a big way in 2010, capturing the fourth spot on Google's list. Twitter and Facebook also made a showing in the top 10 list, taking the No. 8 and 10 … Read more
The bad guys have created yet another online scam, this one involving fake Amazon receipts.
Targeting Amazon and its retail partners, cybercriminals are using a phony Amazon receipt generator to print bogus receipts, and then are asking for refunds from the retailer, claiming that the items they ordered were never received.
Reportedly discovered by security vendor GFI Software, this scam comes at an especially bad time, as online retailers are dealing with the onslaught of the holiday season.
"The free program available online allows scammers to create an HTML 'receipt' for phantom Amazon.com purchases," Christopher Boyd, senior … Read more