Stories for Aug. 21, 2014
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

The 25,000-people-strong “class action” privacy suit against Facebook, launched in Austria at the start of this month, is going ahead. Although the case was recently shifted from one court to another, Max Schrems’s “Europe v Facebook” campaign group said on Thursday that the wheels are now properly in motion. The Vienna Regional Court has reviewed the case and ordered Facebook Ireland, the company’s international headquarters, to respond to the claimants’ accusations of widespread breaches of data protection law. The social network has four weeks to respond, though it may also apply for a four-week extension.

Stories for Aug. 20, 2014

Media companies like BuzzFeed, NowThis News and Fusion are increasingly creating content that is designed to live on other apps and services rather than just including links to their websites. This promiscuous approach to media is a smart strategy in an increasingly crowded environment Read more »

A company called FarmLink has raised $40 million in equity capital to further its business of analyzing sensor data to determine how much food a field can ideally yield. It’s just the latest in a string of investments at the intersection of agriculture and data. Read more »

In Brief

Chef, the company that provides commercial support for the open-source Chef configuration management and deployment tool, on Wednesday said noted agile development bigwig Jez Humble has joined the company as VP of engineering. Humble is the co-author of the book Continuous Delivery, which advocates for a kind of development process in which software can be rapidly deployed to production at any given moment. Since Chef promotes the devops school that aims to bring developers and operations staff together, this hire makes sense. Humble’s development skills and notoriety in the agile community could help bridge that gap. Humble was previously a principal at the agile consulting firm ThoughtWorks.

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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