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In Brief

Netflix has seen its traffic grow “at an incredible rate” since launching in the UK two years ago, according to local ISP Plusnet, whose Senior Product Specialist Dave Tomlinson detailed Netflix’s traffic patterns in a blog post Thursday. YouTube video streams still amount for more overall traffic on Plusnet’s network, according to Tomlinson, but Netflix sees a much higher spike in the afternoon and evening. That’s a good sign for Netflix’s international expansion: The streaming service is set to launch in six additional European countries next month.

In Brief

Serendipity music map
Every second there are ten pairs of people on Spotify who start listening to the same song within a tenth of a second of each other — whether it’s obscure Norwegian black metal or the latest Enrique Iglesias song. As part of Spotify’s new Media Artist in Residence program, Kyle McDonald visualized the pairs in a project called Serendipity. By using d3.js, Storm and Spotify’s API, McDonald constructed a fast moving map around the world showing that music tastes may be quite local (only within miles of each other) or across several timezones. While McDonald said via Twitter that the real-time version is only in Spotify’s office, the one for the public on the web is still pretty interesting to watch. And be sure to have your headphones in — the songs change as the map moves.

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In Brief

This is pretty cool: A few Netflix engineers integrated the streaming service’s connected TV app with Hue connected light bulbs from Philips to change the colors of your living room light based on the movie you’re watching. This is similar to a recent SyFy experiment with Sharknado, but in Netflix’s implementation, the light color even changes while you navigate through Netflix’s TV app queue. The integration was done as part of Netflix’s most recent hack day, where other teams built an Oculus Rift UI, a command line Netflix app and a mini player Chrome extension to binge while you’re working. Sadly, all of those hacks are internal, and may never become part of any actual products.

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BuzzFeed has come under fire for deleting thousands of old articles, which founder Jonah Peretti says didn’t live up to the kinds of standards the site wants to adhere to now. Should the company be criticized for doing this because it’s a journalistic no-no, or congratulated for evolving? Read more »

In Brief

The YouTube app on your television may be getting a makeover: Google has updated the interface for its YouTube App for TV to reduce the number of clicks needed to get around menus armed only with a remote control. The update has already rolled out to Microsoft’s Xbox One, and will head to other streaming devices “in the following weeks.” The new interface relocates subscriptions to channels and videos to a menu on the left hand side, like on the web, and it also puts a search bar on the top of the default home page. You can check out a preview of the interface in your browser here.

In Brief

Sportscaster ESPN is getting ready to shut down its public API. ESPN’s API team announced this week that it won’t be issuing any new API keys going forward, and that all previously issued API keys are going to be revoked in early December. The move will help the company to “better align engineering resources with the growing demand to develop core ESPN products,” the team said in a blog post. ESPN isn’t the only media company that recently decided to pull the plug on a public API: Netflix announced two months ago that it will shutter its public API in November.

In Brief

A U.K. man has been arrested for running a proxy server that granted access to “piracy” websites that had been blocked by the courts. The unnamed 20-year-old was arrested earlier this week in Nottingham, according to a Thursday statement by the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU). According to Wired, the arrested man was running Immunicity, a proxy service set up in 2013 to bypass court-ordered site blockages. As far as I’m aware, this is the first arrest in the U.K. over the circumvention of copyright-protecting measures by proxy, so it should be an interesting case to watch.

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