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Netflix Streaming Down on Some Devices

June 5, 2014

Netflix streaming down on Apple TV, Chromecast

By Gilbert Falso :: 9:11 PM

Netflix’s streaming video service appears to be down for many users in the U.S. and Canada this evening. Shortly after 9:00 PM Eastern time, users flooded Twitter with complaints that the service was slow or not working at all.

It does not seem to be a widespread outage yet, and judging by many of the Tweets, users most affected appear to be those streaming via a device like Apple TV or Google’s Chromecast.

Users report slow video load times, or videos halting in the middle of playback with an error message stating that the title cannot be played at this time.

Netflix has not responded to the outage complaints yet, and has not verified that there is indeed an issue with their service.

The outage comes on the evening before the long-awaited premier of season 2 of the hit Netflix original series Orange is the New Black. Many users are bemoaning the fact that Netflix’s servers aren’t up to the task of streaming on a Thursday night, let alone ready for the expected crush of traffic tomorrow when the new season debuts.

Massachusetts Plane Crash

June 1, 2014

Hanscom airplane crash

By Gilbert Falso :: 2:39 AM

A private jet carrying seven people veered off the runway on Saturday night at Hanscom Field, a small general aviation airport outside of Boston. It took off briefly before slamming to the ground in an explosive fireball.

All on board the plane were killed in the crash. Their identities have not yet been released, pending notification of their families.

Reports indicate that the aircraft was a Gulfstream IV jet bound for Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was using Runway 11 at the airfield around 9:45 p.m. when the incident occurred.

Witnesses who live near the runway reported seeing thick black smoke and flames shooting out of the wreckage shortly after the crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will be jointly working on an investigation into the cause behind the accident.

Hanscom airport is immediately adjacent to a U.S. Air Force base of the same name.

Apple Confirms Deal to Buy Beats Electronics

May 28, 2014

Apple Buys Beats Headphones Streaming Music Dr. Dre

By Cynthia Herbert :: 5:10 PM

Apple Computer today confirmed what had been rumored weeks earlier – they have entered into a deal to purchase the Beats Electronics company for $3 billion.

Beats, maker of well known headphones hawked by rapper CEO Dr. Dre, also runs a streaming music service – something Apple is keen to get its hands on. When news of a possible deal originally broke, the price was slightly higher, but no worry, with a 25% stake in the company, Dre will likely get about $750 million out of the deal.

“It’s the future we’re betting on,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in an announcement about the deal. “We’re gaining rare talent, a fast-growing subscription service and premium headphones that have done incredibly well.”

Beats subscription music service, launched in January, has about 112,000 subscribers – a number that Apple certainly hopes it can increase quickly. The company was purchased not for its headphones, but for the streaming music portion of the business, noted Cook.

It appears, for now, that Apple will keep the Beats brand separate from Apple, but Dre and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine will spend considerable time at Apple’s headquarters in the Silicon Valley as key executives in the company.

The deal, consists of of $2.6 billion in cash and $400 million in Apple stock, the vesting of the stock will occur over an unspecified time period. This is by far the most expensive deal that Apple has entered into in its 38 year history. Pending regulatory approval, the deal should close sometime in September.

Apple did already have a streaming music subscription service, iTunes Radio, via the iTunes platform, but it has shown lackluster performance since it was launched last fall.

Android Version of Spotify Hacked

May 27, 2014

Android version of Spotify hacked

By Paul Thomson :: 11:14 AM

The Android version of the popular streaming music discovery and listening service Spotify has been hacked. The company has reported on their blog that at least one user of the service was the victim of a data breach.

Spotify is planning to release an updated Android application in the next few days to address the security issue. Spotify does not seem to consider this a serious issue, as the data breach did not divulge any password, financial or credit card information.

At this time, it does not appear that the hack can affect users on Spotify’s web, iOS, or Windows Phones platforms.

The platform was launched in October 2008, and recently reported a user base of 40 million, with 10 million of those being paid subscribers to the service.

Who Was Rachel Carson? Google Doodle Honors Conservationist

May 27, 2014

Rachel Carson Birthday Silent Spring

By Cynthia Herbert :: 2:23 AM

If you’ve been to Google’s homepage today, you’ve likely seen the image above. But who is that woman with the binoculars, field guide, and knapsack?

Today’s Google Doodle pays homage to Rachel Louise Carson, a marine biologist by training who was an American conservationist in the middle of the 20th century. She was born on May 27, 1907. Carson is probably most well known for her 1962 book Silent Spring, which brought to light the negative effects on the environment that the widespread use se of pesticides was having in post-war America.

From extensive research done in the 1950s, most of which centered on birds and waterfowl, Carson pointed a finger at the growing chemical industry and their production and marketing of synthetic pesticides. Carson accused the chemical companies of disseminating bad information, and also targeted public officials for not investigating the damage that chemicals were doing to the environment.

The book was widely denounced by U.S. chemical companies when it was published, but it resonated with the American public, and eventually led to the banning of popular pesticide DDT for agricultural purposes, and kicked off an environmental movement in the country that eventually saw the creation of the Environmental Protection Industry.

The title of the book, Silent Spring comes from the decline in bird population that Carson and other researchers noticed, and later attributed to overuse of pesticides in the country. Fewer songbirds in the skies and trees made for a much quieter springtime.

Carson died of complications from breast cancer in 1964.