Stories for Mar. 18, 2014
In Brief

Google just rolled out its Play Movies service, which offers Hollywood Blockbusters for rent or sale, in a whole bunch of additional countries — 39, to be precise, including a number of countries in Central and South America, Europe and Africa. This means that Google Play Movies is now available in about 60 countries around the world. However, TV show episodes are still just available in Australia, Japan, United Kingdom, United States.

Upcoming Events

In Brief

Longtime Pandora CTO and SVP of Product Tom Conrad is leaving: Conrad announced with a blog post Tuesday that he will be “transitioning to an adviser role” in three months, which is corporate speak for leaving, but on good terms. Former Pandora VP of Engineering Chris Martin has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer, and the company has started to look for a Chief Product Officer. Conrad can be credited for shaping Pandora’s technology strategy, which involved an early focus on mobile, and more recently, an embrace of open standards for connected TV and whole-home audio platforms.

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In Brief

Beastie Boys
photo: Beastie Boys

Toy maker GoldieBlox’s decision to turn a sexist rap song into a girl power commercial touched off a lawsuit last fall and led to a debate about the limits of parody and fair use. While GoldieBlox had used the Beastie Boys’ song in a clearly transformative fashion, the company also appeared to be acting with blatantly cynical and commercial motives. Alas for copyright scholars, who had hoped a court ruling might shed more light on the issue, the two sides have quietly settled the issue on undisclosed terms.

Stories for Mar. 17, 2014
In Brief

Monday was a rough day for ridesharing companies in Seattle, as Geekwire reports that the city council voted to approve a cap on ridesharing programs. The council voted unanimously to limit the number of cars allowed on Seattle roads to 150 per company, separating the regulations of a “transportation network company” from the longstanding Seattle taxi and for-hire service. The ordinance is expected to go into effect 30 days after Seattle mayor Ed Murray signs it (he has no veto power as the vote was unanimous). It’s a crushing blow to ridesharing companies that have set up shop in Seattle and see it as a key to the Pacific Northwest.

On The Web

BitTorrent-based video streaming app Popcorn Time may be the media darling of the moment, but it doesn’t account for a whole lot of P2P traffic — at least not yet. Popcorn Time usage makes up for  less than 1 percent of torrent downloads in March, according to Variety, which tapped German P2P analytics company Excipio for the data. Popcorn Time offers users the ability to stream videos directly as opposed to having to download them first to their hard drives. The app first surfaced in early March, got briefly shut down by its own developers soon after, and resurfaced only days later on different servers.

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It’s a big year for big data. In the past few months, we’ve written a plethora of stories around the topic and condensed them for your big data pleasure. Here’s our big data roundup. Read more »

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