Archive for November, 2012

Why Netflix Getting What It Wants From Congress Means Your Email Will Get Warrant Protection

Why Netflix Getting What It Wants From Congress Means Your Email Will Get Warrant Protection

November 30, 2012  |  Blog  |  No Comments

Good news today for those people worried about the government snooping in their inboxes. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill Thursday that would require the feds and the po-po to get a warrant before they can get access to your email. That means getting a judge involved, and it would be an improvement from the current state of affairs. As David Kravets at Wired ably explains, the law governing your email is outdated, giving little protection to email in the cloud after it’s been there for 6 months. When the Electronic Communications Privacy Act was first passed in 1986,

Read More
How the Twitter Fail Whale helped start a cloud emailing service

How the Twitter Fail Whale helped start a cloud emailing service

November 30, 2012  |  Blog  |  No Comments

The Twitter Fail Whale is known for appearing when servers go down, or maybe showing up on the occasional t-shirt. But helping to start a business? As far as I know, he is not a great consultant. But working with the Fail Whale taught Jeremy LaTrasse, one of Twitter’s co-founders and former director of operations, an important lesson when he and his team started their company Message Bus: build a nimble infrastructure among many clouds — not just one cloud server that’s bloated and, er, whale-like. So the goal was to build a cloud-based email platform that could be dependable for a

Read More

Senator blasts FCC ownership proposals

November 30, 2012  |  Variety  |  No Comments

TV News: Cantwell urges Genachowski to hold public vote

Read More

Mirchoff draws ‘Poker Night’

November 30, 2012  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Top News: Thesp to star in Wingman indie thriller

Read More

Syria’s Throwing of the Internet Kill Switch Raises Lots of Questions

November 29, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Syria’s Internet infrastructure remains almost entirely dark today. Almost. The folks at Renesys, who were the first to notice that something was amiss with the telecom infrastructure of the war-torn Middle Eastern nation, have been hard at work sifting through their data — and they’ve found something interesting. At least five networks operating outside Syria, but still operating within Syrian-registered IP address spaces, are still working, and are apparently controlled by India’s Tata Communications. These same networks, Renesys says, have some servers running on them that were implicated in an attempt to deliver Trojans and other malware to Syrian activists. The payload was a fake “Skype Encryption Tool” — which is, on its face, kind of silly, because Skype itself is already encrypted to some degree — that was actually a spying tool. The Electronic Frontier Foundation covered the attempted cyber attack at the time

Read More

Microsoft’s New Browser "Sucks Less," Says Microsoft

November 29, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Last year we saw Samsung sell itself by attacking its competitors’ fans , and that seems to have worked pretty well . Now we’ve got a tech company attacking its critics — and giving itself a sort-of-gentle ribbing at the same time. Take it away, Microsoft: Does anyone actually get whipped up about browsers anymore? Hard to believe. But smart of Redmond to embody its critics as a basement-dwelling troll, because those guys have even fewer defenders than line-sitting hipsters. And because they’ve ensured that basement-dwelling trolls will spread the ad widely on their behalf, free of charge. Well played!

Read More

After Deal Changes With Zynga, Facebook Could Now Make Its Own Games

November 29, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Could Facebook delve into the game-making business? According to documents filed with the SEC, it’s possible. Facebook and gaming giant Zynga revised their long-standing contract agreements on Thursday , freeing up Zynga from a number of restrictions originally agreed upon by the two companies back in 2010. Among the changes, Zynga isn’t obligated to use Facebook Credits for Zynga game pages, and won’t be forced to launch games exclusively on the Facebook platform. But buried in the legalese another line jumped out at us. “…effective on March 31, 2013, certain provisions related to web and mobile growth targets and schedules will no longer be applicable and Facebook will no longer be prohibited from developing its own games.” Say what? Up until now, Facebook has expressed no intentions to get into creating games of its own. After all, Facebook has long since courted other game-making companies besides Zynga, including Wooga and King.com. In fact, part of this extrication from Zynga in today’s contract changes is an attempt to divest the two companies from such dependence on one another. While on the decline, Zynga still makes up a significant portion of Facebook’s payments business revenues. Now Facebook wants that pot to be spread more evenly across other developers — like the aforementioned Wooga and King — while Zynga needs to move faster from its reliance on Facebook’s ever-so-powerful News Feed and king-making algorithms. Facebook, of course, is strenuously denying it would ever attempt to start creating games. “We’re not in the business of building games and we have no plans to do so,” a Facebook spokesperson told me. “We’re focused on being the platform where games and apps are built.” Still, whatever Facebook’s intentions, that added clause may give other game makers cause for concern if Facebook ever decides to change its mind. Shares of Zynga were trading down nearly 9 percent in after hours at $2.39, while shares of Facebook were up a penny at $27.33.

Read More

Not All Apps Can Be Instagrams, but Someone Might Be Willing to Buy Them

November 29, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

So you’ve built the mobile app, and you’ve got a bunch of people using it, but it’s no Instagram. Now what? It’s not as easy to raise Series A funding as it used to be, and mobile apps are a tough, hits-driven business. An emerging option is to try to sell the application. Not for $0.99 on the App Store to all comers — the whole app, to another company or developer who will take over managing it and its users. It’s the opposite of a talent acquisition: the buyer gets the product, but not the people who made it. One marketplace for apps, called Apptopia , has sold more than 100 apps for a total of $388,000 in its first year, it told me this week. The Boston-based company, which is backed with more than $1 million from investors including Mark Cuban, is a sort of specialized eBay that now attracts repeat buyers and facilitates all the tricky parts of the transfer process. It takes a 15 percent fee and has experimented with different strategies, including time-based auctions and a sort of standing catalog of apps. What it really comes down to is this: People want to buy apps that have lots of users, according to Apptopia founder Jonathan Kay. He did the math and established that the average price per user on Apptopia transactions is $0.55. Kay pitched it as a steal, considering developers often pay much more on services like Tapjoy. Because once you have users, at the very least you can make money from showing them ads

Read More

Facebook’s New Terms: Treat Zynga Like Most Other Game Developers

November 29, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Facebook and Zynga said today that they have revised a two-year-old contract, which will make the two companies’ relationship way less complicated. The deal was originally agreed to in May 2010, and was partially disclosed when Zynga went public . The terms of the new agreement, which were disclosed in separate filings by Facebook and Zynga, are a lot less onerous for Zynga. It will also free up Facebook to make its own games, if it chooses. The main points are: Zynga will no longer be separately obligated to display Facebook ad units or implement Facebook credits on any Zynga game pages. Facebook will no longer be the exclusive social platform for Zynga, allowing it to launch games first on mobile or its own Zynga.com platform (although the games will have to launch shortly after on Facebook). Certain provisions related to Web and mobile growth targets and schedules will no longer be applicable, and Facebook will no longer be prohibited from developing its own games. Further, Zynga’s right to cross-promote between games on the Facebook Web site will be governed by Facebook’s standard terms of service. I’m hearing that the new contract was negotiated between Facebook’s Dan Rose and Zynga’s new Chief Revenue Officer Barry Cottle. In a statement, Cottle said: “Zynga’s mission is to connect the world through games. In order to do this, Zynga is focused on building enduring relationships with consumers across all platforms from Facebook and Zynga.com on the web to tablets and mobile. Our amended agreement with Facebook continues our long and successful partnership while also allowing us the flexibility to ensure the universal availability of our products and services.” After reading the documents, it is clear that the new amendments are a reflection of how much the social gaming landscape has changed over the past two years. Back when the contract was first signed, Facebook needed Zynga to help transition all developers on the platform over to Credits, which required everyone to give Facebook a 30 percent cut of all revenue. It’s now clear that the more important priority is for both Facebook and Zynga to be successful, which means less restrictive terms. And while Zynga will be required to make any social game it launches available on Facebook concurrently, or shortly following, another launch, there are some exceptions: Provisions around gambling for real money, games in China and Japan, and mobile games due to technical limitations.

Read More

Nickelodeon picks up ‘Sam & Cat’

November 29, 2012  |  Variety  |  No Comments

EXCLUSIVE: Spinoff unites 'iCarly,' 'Victorious' duo

Read More