Netflix Hosts Internet TV Summit in Utah

On Thursday, December 11, 2014 Netflix held its very first “Internet TV Summit.” The affair was deemed a private one and had an array of entertainment industry bigwigs in attendance. The Summit was hosted at a posh and classy upscale resort located in Utah.

The CEO of NNetflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastingsetflix, Reed Hastings and the Netflix chief content officer, Ted Sarandos both hosted the legendary summit event. The Amangiri luxury resort, which is in the Southern Utah area, was the location where the Netflix-hosted Internet TV summit took place.

Some of major execs who attended the event include: the Chairman-CEO of Warner Brothers: Kevin Tsujihara, the president of Sony Pictures Television: Steve Mosko, the CEO of Discovery Communications: David Zaslav; the chairman of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group: Jeff Shell; the CEO of DreamWorks Animation: Jeffrey Katzenberg, the chairman and co-founder of Imagine Entertainment: Brian Grazer, the CEO of Lionsgate Films: Jon Feltheimer, and vice chairman of Lionsgate Films: Michael Burns.

Invitations to the Netflix-hosted summit had been extended to both CBS and HBO but neither company was reported to have had execs in attendance.

A spokesperson for Netflix confirmed that the privately hosted event indeed took place, but declined to provide any of the major details, such as who all was in attendance or what the primary motivation for the event essentially was.

A company rep described the event as an informal “one-day discussion about the future of Internet TV, bringing together our friends from both the entertainment and technology industries.”

The affair was similar to other informal gatherings the e-commerce industry giant has held such as: Amazon Campfire and Google Zeitgeist. Both events had literally dozens of novelists in attendance.

Hacking Threats: FBI Warns Energy & Defence Firms For Possible Attack

The security agency FBI has issued fresh warnings to Defence Firms about possible hacking threat. Reports suggest that the documents of FBI indicates clear attack potentially originating from Iran. The target industry is Defence and Energy firms. Scrutiny Company Cylance has also suggested that the plot is roaming about for two years in the United States. The warnings came after unethical hacking created controversy for Sony.

Hacking threatsFBI understands the potential harm that can be caused by the Sony Picture Style attack. Educational, Energy and Defence sectors could be the worst affected if the attacks are carried out in a similar fashion. FBI has immediately issued warning to the sectors to take adequate measures against the Cyber Attack.

The origin of the attack is still not certain. The Stuxnet Cyber Attack that was carried out in Iran a couple of years ago on the Nuclear Programme of the country has many similarities to it. This might be an indicator for the origin. Symantec recently published a report that confirms the existence of a malware named ‘Regin’ in the country. Cylance has also pressed the Iranian connection to the possible Cyber Attacks. However, FBI has taken a defensive approach and right now not co-relating the threats with any country. FBI is said to be going in to the depth of the possible attacks on technological ground and trying to figure out the possible way outs. The agency is also carrying out a detailed research of the possible style of the cyber attacks. However, many of the IPs that have been traced for involvement of attack are originated from Iran.

However, speaking about the boarder aspects of the cyber attacks, the agency revealed that US is not only the target of the group. They are targeting sectors like Transport, Hospital as well, in other countries like Qatar, China, UK and Canada. The time is high for the organizations to step up especially after the warning and prohibit the misuse of the technology advancement of a certainly unethical group, regardless of nationality.

For Its New In-Car Computer Systems – Ford Ditches Microsoft For Blackberry

This past Thursday, the Ford Motor Company introduced its newest in-car computer system, the Ford Sync 3, which will be running on Blackberry’s QNX software. The rumor that Ford was planning to drop Microsoft had been floating around for a while.

Ford new in-car computerFord introduced its first Sync ever, the MyFord Touch, back in 2007, but the Microsoft operating system-powered unit received numerous complaints from more than 22,000 Ford customers.

The motor company giant’s vehicle ratings have suffered significantly due to all of the bugs and issues of the MyFord Touch system and after 18 months of development, Ford is now replacing the faulty Microsoft-powered infotainment platform for the QNX platform, an infotainment platform that’s considered a leader in its market.

Ford is expecting to have the new Sync 3 installed in over half of its 2016 Ford and Lincoln model vehicles, which are expected to be available by late fall 2015 throughout the latter part of 2016.

The updated QNX in-car infotainment system has been designed more like that of a smartphone, and promises easier usage and a more natural voice command interface. The layout is has been simplified with larger fonts and a swipe-navigated touch screen with a pinch to zoom feature, a lot like most modern-day tablets. Physical buttons and dials will also be offered for those users who prefer physical controls over touch screens.

The QNX software platform also offers a faster, more intuitive system, with an 8-inch screen size and brighter background colors. An added feature for Apple iPhone users is its seamless integration with Apple’s SIRI virtual assistant technology. Additionally, with the reduction of the number on-screen items will make control easier by decreasing the number of times drivers have to look at the screen.

The new Ford Sync 3 system runs on completely different hardware, therefore vehicles that have shipped with older versions will be unable to run Sync 3.

YouTube Now Features GIF Creation

GIF’s are now coming to YouTube. The feature is going to be first tested on PBS Idea Channel’s YouTube page.
To make a GIF the process is rather simple: by clicking on the share button, one can find an option to make a six-second GIF from the video.

Youtube feature - Create GIFsThe interface to make a GIF is quite straightforward and easy to use. It features an expanded video reel and controls for trimming. Users can trim up to six seconds of video and have options to add text at the bottom and top of the frame.

The animated GIF is hosted on YouTube’s servers and can be shared as a standalone link or embedded on a webpage.

Thus far, the option to make a GIF has not appeared elsewhere on YouTube but users can expect the feature to appear on other channels.

It will be interesting to see whether this feature is in the hands of the video uploader or whether it will be automatic. YouTube has so far not commented on any such plans.

In a “YouTube Creator Preview” video posted in late November, software engineer Michael Chang spoke out the experimental GIF feature.

A sign-up form is available for those who wish to join the GIF Beta program. Limitations on joining have not been provided by the company.

Facebook Drops Bing: Developing Its Own Search Tool

For the past four years, Facebook, the largest social network in the world, has been “In a Relationship” with Microsoft’s Bing search engine. It has allowed for a broader online search through Bing’s engine, from within the site’s own search tool.

Facebook drops Bing for searchesHowever, the social network site is no longer showing Bing’s web search results in its “Facebook Search” feature.

Facebook’s decision to drop Bing from its search tool was due to its plans for focusing its site’s searches on helping Facebook users locate information that has been shared with them on the social network’s own site. A spokesperson for the social network claims that Facebook and Microsoft are still partnered in other areas.

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Microsoft: Now Accepting Bitcoin As Payment For Games And Other Content Purchases

Last week, Microsoft Corporation is now allowing its U.S. customers to use bitcoin currency to purchase apps, games, and other digital content. Microsoft made no official announcement of their decision; however, a new page was added to the tech industry giant’s customer support site detailing how its customers can deposit Bitcoin virtual currency into their Microsoft accounts.

Bitcoins now accepted by MicrosoftThis means that Bitcoin is now offered as an online payment option for digital games and videos on Xbox game consoles, for apps, services, and other digital content on Windows phones, and even for Microsoft software.

Bitcoin payments can only be used in fixed amounts and can only be made by customers who live in the U.S. It cannot be used as a direct payment method for Microsoft products and/or services, only as a Microsoft account deposit. All Bitcoin transactions are irreversible.

Microsoft is not the first nor is it the only major company to accept Bitcoin currency. Its just another addition to a growing list of companies that are currently accepting Bitcoin payments. As of December 1st of this year, Paypal, Dell, Expedia, Newegg, Amazon.com, Target, Zappos Whole Foods Market, Zynga , Bloomberg and a large number of other widely-known major corporations are all acceptors of Bitcoin payments.

Microsoft is however the largest tech company to begin accepting Bitcoin, beating out both Dell and Newegg. The use of Bitcoin and other digital currencies, even though not mainstream yet, is growing constantly.

The “mining” process for the Bitcoin virtual cash is based on solving complex mathematical algorithms. The system is designed for a limited number of Bitcoins can be discovered, which limits them to a finite quantity.

In December 2013, one Bitcoin was worth over $1100, its highest peak ever. Its value has steadily decreased since then, and as of December 10th of this year, each one is worth about $357.

All Bitcoin transactions are recorded in a publicly-accessible general ledger.