Today in Tech News Digest, the FCC backtracks on net neutrality, Amazon wins a photography patent, Netflix raises its prices, piracy in the UK, Google Glass golfers, Adobe finds its Voice, and a live-action Akira movie trailer.
FCC Still Confused Over Net Neutrality
Web host gives FCC a 28.8Kbps slow lane in net neutrality protest. (Justice.) http://t.co/bYnksQaAbX
— Dave Winer ? (@davewiner) May 12, 2014
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is still trying to figure out exactly what rules to propose for governing the Internet. The indication being that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is trying to placate the criticisms from Internet companies and consumers.
The FCC has previously proposed that content companies should be allowed to strike deals with ISPs that give them priority use of its pipes. However, ISPs would be banned from intentionally blocking or crippling any website’s ability to deliver content.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the new revision insists the FCC will scrutinize every deal made to ensure the companies not paying extra aren’t put at a disadvantage. It’s a small but significant change that should ease, but not nullify, concerns.
The problem with this proposal is the opportunity it leaves open for others to make a mockery of net neutrality. Wheeler won’t be in office forever, and a future FCC Chairman may not uphold the ideals put in place this time around.
Is it too early to suggest this is the beginning of the end for net neutrality?
Amazon Wins Pathetic Photography Patent
— Harmony ? (@harmonyzw) May 12, 2014
As if further proof was needed that the U.S. patent system is broken, Amazon has been granted a patent that could qualify as being the stupidest ever awarded. Patent No. 8,676,045, titled ‘Studio Arrangement’, describes a method for photographing a subject in front of a white background.
The problem is that this isn’t a new or novel idea. In fact, this exact method has been used by professional photographers for decades. There are countless examples of prior art related to this patent, filed in November 2011, that brings the validity of it into serious question. Such as the countless tutorials listed on Google.
Amazon has yet to comment on the patent, but plenty of photographers have taken to blogs and forums to express their disbelief that this decades-old method is now somehow owned by the online retailer. And we’re adding our voice to that wave of discontent.
Netflix Price Rises Confirmed
Bad luck to anyone having trouble with their netflix, looks like their customer service guys are a little preoccupied with #SaveCommunity
— Lorcan Tem (@whineandrecline) May 11, 2014
Netflix has confirmed that the price for its streaming service will rise by $1 in the U.S. (to $8.99), €1 in mainland Europe (to €8.99), and £1 in the UK (to £6.99). The price rises only apply to new customers, with existing customers promised a grace period of at least two years. This adds accurate figures to our previous report on incoming Netflix price rises.
British Pirates To Be Educated
— Andy Locke (@Dar42) May 11, 2014
British citizens who regularly pirate copyrighted content should expect to receive letters through the mail in 2015. Rather than warning of punitive measures, as was originally proposed by rights-holders, the letters will be educational in tone. After four alerts, no further action will be taken. Which surely makes the whole exercise rather pointless.
Google Glass Grabs Golfers
Google Glass has been sold at a physical location for the first time, despite the device eliciting a mixed response from the Internet. As reported by Engadget, Google set up a stall selling the wearable tech to golfers competing at The Players Championship in Florida. With Google Glass boasting an asking price of $1,500, professional athletes are in the minority in being able to afford to buy a pair on a whim.
Adobe Voice Helps You Tell Stories
Adobe has released Adobe Voice, a free iPad app helping users to “create a voice narrated slideshow.” Containing access to 25,000 icons and photos, different layouts, and a choice of background music, Adobe Voice has options aplenty for budding storytellers.
Live-Action Akira Movie Trailer Debuts
And finally, having grown tired of Hollywood consistently failing to deliver a live-action remake of classic anime Akira, a group of fans has produced its own trailer, as embedded above.
The Akira Project raised funds to produce the trailer via an Indiegogo campaign. And while that failed to reach its goal, enough time and talent was found to turn the idea from a dream into a reality. And pretty damn good it is too.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.
Image Credit: Sascha via Flickr