It appears that Netflix has some new competition in the form of a Redbox and Verizon partnership. Today they're slowly rolling out their content streaming alternative to the masses. For $8 per month, Redbox Instant will have unlimited streaming and four DVD rentals; $9 if users opt for the Blu-ray option. As part of the launch, Redbox Instant has released their universal app for iOS that works on iDevices. To date, it is a mystery what contracts the Redbox and Verizon partnership has with studios with regards to content.
For those brave early adopters out there, y'all have the chance to get in on the Redbox Instant action by signing up on their private beta via their website.
Read More | Redbox Instant
The airwaves are running out, and you may've noticed it from the data diet your phone company has probably went on, or from the inability to send texts from busy areas in the city.
The FCC has approved the transfer of 608 spectrum licenses to AT&T that cover about 82 percent of the US population. Don't start streaming those 1080p movies from your data plan just yet, as the new spectrum isn't going in effect any time soon. It'll be years before any of us can take advantage of it, we're afraid.
Read More | FCC
Tis the season for stealing! No, what? 7,000 Nintendo Wii U consoles were nabbed from a SeaTac Seattle Air Cargo warehouse on Saturday night. Get this--the getaway vehicles were two semi trailers. The burglars managed to use forklifts to steal the pallets of the gaming consoles. It is speculated that it was an inside job. Police authorities are on the lookout for two semi trailers with the branding logo of McKinney. However, more likely than not, these will end up on internet sites such and Craigslist and eBay. Considering that each unit costs $300, it's not crazy to say that the thieves walked away with roughly 2.1 million dollars. Like they say, it's the most wonderful time of the year!
Read More | ABC News
Instagram wants you to know that it hears your concerns and its doing its best to alleviate the symptoms of change. Accordingly, the photo-sharing service has altered the parts of its new Terms of Service.
Earlier, we reported that many people were leaving the service for Flickr and the like, because people took the new ToS to mean the community's photos would be unfairly monetized for Instagram's gain. Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, has since made it clear that is not the case. Systrom states that Instagram wants "to experiment with innovative advertising." Which according to Systrom means allowing Instagram access to people you follow, and who they follow, for businesses to use in order to better promote its business.
Systrom also claimed that users still own their content and that his company won't sell user photos to advertisers.
Read More | Instagram Blog
When Google Music came to Europe, it brought a new feature not available in the US -- Scan and Match. It's similar to iTunes Match, whereas it scans your local music collection and puts them in the cloud so that you don't have to.
After downloading the Music Manager, it will match your songs up with Google's, and begin "uploading" your songs into the cloud at a rate of about 30 seconds per album. After your music is in the cloud, you can listen to it on different devices, even iOS if you use Google's HTML5 web app.
Now US users are able to take advantage of this feature. It's free, and automatic for the most part, so you won't have to go through the cumbersome process of backing up your digital music collection solo.
Read More | Google
Bitcasa brings its unlimited cloud storage from the desktop to the mobile-verse today, with Android and Windows Phone 8 users getting first dibs. An iOS and Mac version are promised in early January, however, so you won't feel left out in the cold for too long.
The apps for Android and Windows 8 stream media through its native player with two-way file access so you can access your files from your Surface. Android users can also link their camera app to Bitcasa, so each photo they take is automatically saved to the cloud.
Read More | Google Play Store
Nielsen and Twitter are joining forces to create Nielsen Twitter TV Rating. Twitter, as we all know, is a social media platform that sees more than a billion tweets every 2.5 days on an inexhaustible list of topics. Nielsen specializes in information, particularly what consumers watch and buy. With Nielsen Twitter TV Rating, the two companies hope to find a standardized way of measuring the conversations happening around TV shows.
The ratings will be commercially available Fall 2013, and, according to Twitter's blog, will function as "one common benchmark from which to measure the engagement of their programming." The new rating system will set in place measures to quantify the people discussing the TV shows, as well as the people who were exposed to the conversation. The goal will be to provide "the precise size of the audience and effect of social TV to TV programming."
This is not the two companies first pairing, as both came together earlier this year to measure the impact of brand advertising campaigns using Twitter surveys.
Read More | Twitter Blog
Here's what Samsung had to say:
"Samsung remains committed to licensing our technologies on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, and we strongly believe it is better when companies compete fairly in the marketplace, rather than in court. In this spirit, Samsung has decided to withdraw our injunction requests against Apple on the basis of our standard essential patents pending in European courts, in the interest of protecting consumer choice."
Read More | The Verge
If you're not familiar with the SmartGlass second-screen app for Microsoft's Xbox 360, it is an app that seeks to improve user viewing experience by connecting the 360 console to smartphones and tablets. Sports fans might be in for a new reason to download the app if they haven't already, as Microsoft is bringing SmartGlass functionality to it's ESPN and NBA Game Time apps, as well as a new Sports Picks app.
From the SmartGlass app for iOS, Android, and Windows, you will be able to navigate the content from the apps directly from the tablet or smartphone. SmartGlass also brings more interaction to the viewing experience, such as allowing competition between friends to see who is most knowledgeable about whatever they're watching, with the chance to be featured in a global leader board.
While Twitter has been described as a "self-cleaning oven" and a "truth machine," rumors do slip through and cause confusion, if briefly. A new study building on research done in 2010, analyzing tweets surrounding the Chile 8.8 earthquake, is currently researching the possibilities of sussing out the true tweets from the false ones.
The study uses 16 features to identify whether a tweet is credible or not. It seems reliable information tends to be longer and include URLs, as well as come from people with a lot of followers. The true tweets also tend to be negative in nature, and do not contain exclamation points or question marks.
A new paper by those behind the Chile earthquake study, Carlos Castillo, Marcelo Mendoza and Barbara Poblete, will appear in the journal Internet Research next month with what look to be encouraging results. Their algorithm had an AUC of 0.86, meaning that when it's presented with a false tweet and a true tweet, it would label the true tweet more credible 86 percent of the time.
It's not perfect, and actual people would probably fair better in determining which tweet was more credible. Probably. In any case, it's nice to see we're making strides toward making the Internet a more credible place. My only concern is the escalation factor; that is, the people behind the deliberately false information will only adopt better practices to fool such truth-seeking algorithms.
Read More | Slate