Stories for Aug. 22, 2014
In Brief

The anonymity network Tor has always enjoyed a paradoxical relationship with the U.S. authorities – part-funded by the State Department and previously the military; targeted by the NSA – but this is something else. Tor operations chief Andrew Lewman said in a BBC interview published Friday, that people in both the NSA and the U.K.’s GCHQ have tipped off the Tor team when those spy agencies found flaws in its software. That lets the team fix those vulnerabilities quickly, where they might otherwise have gone undiscovered. Lewman suggested this happened on a “probably monthly” basis, though this is all a “hunch” based on the expertise on display – Tor takes anonymous bug reports.

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Stories for Aug. 21, 2014

cloud apps mobile

In this webinar an expert panel will examine the infrastructure needs of customer-facing applications by examining the challenges faced by businesses in the most demanding industries. It will provide a framework for evaluating technology decisions from the perspective of customer experience quality and suggest metrics that can help businesses justify and benchmark the success of their investments. Read more »

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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.

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 »

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