Netflix Hits Back At FCC Commissioner Pai

Last week, FCC Commissioner Arjit Pai accused Netflix of working on securing Internet “fast-lanes” for its streaming service. The online media distribution website had initially declined to comment but has now hit back at Pai.

Netflix vs the FCCThe company claims that the controversial “Open Connect” caching tools, an open-source technology, will not give it an advantage over its video content and will protect the privacy of its customers.

Regarding interconnection, Netflix currently pays some Internet Service Providers to directly host its online content on private networks. The company has previously raised issue that under Net Neutrality it should not have to pay these fees and that interconnections should be regulated. However to ensure short-term connectivity to its customers, Netflix will pay.

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Sony Suspends Filming In Wake Of Hacker Attack

Due to the recent attack by a hacker cell that has allegedly been linked to North Korea, Sony Pictures has had no choice but to shut down all of its movie filming.

Sony PicturesBecause the attack left its computer networks disabled, the entertainment industry giant cannot process any payments nor make any transactions. This issue has caused third party film shoot cancellations.

Apparently, the group of hackers, who refers to themselves as “The Guardians of Peace,” or GoP are aiming to prevent the release of Sony Pictures upcoming movie called “The Interview”. In the movie, which is due to open in the US on December 25th of this year, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is assassinated. Sources believe this may be part of the motivation behind the chain of crippling hacker attacks on the popular film company.

The hacking cell reportedly disabled ITS security measures and disabled key elements of the Sony network. The hackers also stole a lot of valuable info, including private emails and confidential movie data. As if adding insult to injury, the hackers have been leaking a steady flow of some of the stolen info, including a number of embarrassing emails containing “sensitive” comments made about a number of celebrities.

Also obtained in the vicious hack, was every email of every single employee of Sony from the last 10 years, the salary of nearly every employee, and future movie plans. What this essentially means is that these information “leaks” could go on for weeks or possibly even months.

The FBI is currently investigating the attack, with suspicions falling on North Korea due to the highly destructive malware having been written in Korean.

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.