Net Neutrality Is Still an Issue, Spotify Spams Twitter, & More… [Tech News Digest]
Net Neutrality nonsense, Spotify spams Twitter, Amazon X-Ray Fire, Sprint Direct 2 You, online Ikea weddings, and proof that even chimpanzees hate drones.
Net Neutrality in the U.S. & India
It seems that the battle to protect net neutrality is far from over. The United States’ efforts to enshrine the ideal into law is facing threats from lawsuits, while India is just now embarking on its own national debate as to the merits or otherwise of this default position.
In the U.S., the new rules as set out by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have now been published in the Federal Register. Which means they’ll take effect in 60 days (on June 12) unless a court issues an injunction against that happening.
Lo and behold, the first lawsuit has been issued, with a consortium of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) calling itself USTelecom fighting the bad fight within minutes of the rules being published. More lawsuits will follow, and the whole thing could devolve into a neverending nightmare in which the only thing guaranteed to happen is that lawyers will get richer.
Meanwhile, in India, the debate over net neutrality has been brought to the fore by Airtel Zero, a plan to offer access to certain apps and websites free to consumers, with the companies themselves picking up the bill. Which clearly goes against the idea of a level playing field for all.
Hundreds of thousands of people have now sent emails to the telecoms regulator asking for action to stop Airtel Zero from happening. The campaign was fueled in part by the video embedded above, as produced by comedy collective All India Bakchod (AIB).
Which side do you fight for in the battle over net neutrality ? Be sure to let us know your thoughts on the issue in the comments section below.
Spotify Launches Spam Campaign
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) April 13, 2015
Spotify is rolling out a new feature which some people are complaining is nothing but spam. Tweet the Beat displays a pop-up ad to users asking them to send a tweet to Rihanna telling her what they think of her new song, B**** Better Have My Money. The tweet comes ready-written as a thank you note praising the song.
A Spotify spokesperson told The Verge, “What you’re seeing is a new feature called Tweet the Beat which lets listeners express love and appreciation towards the artists they follow or listen to often, and has been designed as a great way for fans to get closer to their favourite artists.”
The first problem with Tweet the Beat is it’s asking users to essentially spam their Twitter followers, and with praise for an artist who is already insanely popular. What’s more, those who pay a subscription fee to remove the ads are still being subjected to this, which is wholly unacceptable.
We can only imagine this is a direct response to Jay Z relaunching Tidal , which, while likely to fail miserably, means Spotify needs to up its game. Rihanna has already released one song exclusively on Tidal, so this seems to be an attempt to stop her from abandoning Spotify altogether .
Amazon Launches X-Ray on Fire TV
I know I’m biased but watching shows on the Amazon Fire TV Stick and the Fire TV app with IMDB X-Ray is really cool. pic.twitter.com/wjWEP6c22x
— Tac Anderson (@tacanderson) February 5, 2015
Amazon is bringing its much-lauded X-Ray feature to the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. X-Ray for Movie and TV, to give it its full and rather clumsy title, adds optional contextual information over the top of movies and television shows. It’s all powered by IMDb , which Amazon acquired in 1998.
X-Ray was first launched on the Kindle Fire in 2012, with the Fire Phone having been added since. And now it’s available for the Fire TV via an over-the-air software update. Unfortunately, but wholly unsurprisingly, it only works with Amazon Instant Video. Leaving Netflix fans wanting.
Sprint Delivers Direct 2 You
U.S. telecoms company Sprint has launched a new service called Sprint Direct 2 You. The program means eligible customers can have the company deliver a new smartphone, transfer contacts and content from the old device, and offer assistance in getting used to the new device, all without ever having to leave home.
Initially available only in Kansas City, Missouri, but set to be available nationwide by the end of 2015, Direct 2 You is available at no extra charge. Rod Millar, who is in charge of the Direct 2 U program, told Re/Code, “It transforms a pain point into a ‘wow’ moment.” Make of that horrible sentence what you will.
Ikea Introduces Online Weddings
Weddings can be prohibitively expensive, especially when the guest list is both long and includes people who will have to travel a long way to attend the ceremony. However, Ikea has a solution which means the bride, the groom, and all of the guests can attend the wedding from the comfort of their own homes.
Ikea’s Wedding Online service, currently only available in the company’s native Sweden, lets couples wed online via their webcams. They can choose from a variety of idyllic settings, and the whole thing takes place on the Internet. So, it’s not particularly romantic, but it is cheap. Just like Ikea itself.
Chimpanzees Hate Drones Too
And finally, while we already knew a scary number of people (Americans) hate drones so much their first instinct is to shoot them out of the sky, we now know chimpanzees also hates drones. Or at least this one chimp living at the Royal Burgers’ Zoo in Holland in particular.
He hates the drone flying over his airspace so much he attacks it with the branch from a tree, taking it down without too much trouble. He then investigates it before possibly trying to eat it. And the mystery is solved. [H/T The Telegraph]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
What do you think of the current Net Neutrality debate, either in the United States or India? Is X-Ray a strong enough feature to make you interested in buying an Amazon Fire TV? Should Spotify desist from asking its users to spam Twitter?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Image Credit: Sean MacEntee via Flickr