Stories for Mar. 18, 2014
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.

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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.


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 »

In Brief

Facebook is putting its interest in curation to work, as its alternative mobile app Facebook Paper will partner with the TED  brand and curate the “Ideas” vertical during the TED 2014 conference in Vancouver this week. According to an email from Facebook, the partnership will bring exclusive content surrounding the TED talks, as well as news and insights related to the talks and conference, to Facebook Paper. This is also the first branded partnership for the app since its launch a few months ago. 

In Brief

iPhone 5C
photo: Apple

Apple is expected to launch an 8GB model of its iPhone 5c handset as early as tomorrow, based on a Monday report from Engadget. The site has an alleged document from O2 Germany suggesting the entry-level edition will cost 60 Euros less than the current 16 GB iPhone 5c. Engadget also has an image depicting an 8GB version of the phone. If true, the move could support expectations that its iPhone 5c hasn’t been selling well and the company is looking to boost sales by making the phone more accessible to those with tighter budgets.

MakerBot store filament
photo: Signe Brewster

Most desktop printers rely on spools of plastic filament as their “ink.” But to encourage a new generation of beautiful printers that work seamlessly, one prominent member of the 3D printing community says we need to rethink spool design. Read more »

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