Alan Buckingham

Brendan Eich resigning from Mozilla shows both the good and bad sides of the web

protesters

It has been mere days since Brendan Eich stepped down as CEO of Mozilla. It was one of the shortest-lived tenures in history, but it didn’t have to be that way. I’ll spare you the details -- they have spewed across the internet, ad-nauseum. Suffice to say that his views did not meet with that of the technorati at large.

BetaNews was one of the first sites to run the story about a pair of developers boycotting the browser over a perceived difference in ideals. A firestorm ensued, but also a healthy debate. Until now, I have kept quiet throughout this situation. However with the problems now seemingly resolved, and (perhaps or perhaps not) justice done, then it is time to speak my piece.

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Roku adds Qello Concerts channel to its digital lineup

qello

Competition in the set-top box market just caught Fire -- hopefully no customers have the Nest Protect smoke alarm. With the challenge thrown down by Amazon, Roku is answering by adding another channel to its lineup, this time allowing customers to rock out in their living room.

Qello will bring concerts and music documentaries right into your home, on-demand. "Whether you’re in the mood to discover something new or want to enjoy a serenade from your all-time favorite band, Qello Concerts and Roku have you covered to stream all genres -- from Beyoncé, B.B. King and Queen to Nirvana, Mumford & Sons and Barbra Streisand", says Roku’s Ziba Kaboli-Gerbrands.

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Hulu details its Amazon Fire TV app

amazon-fire-tv

Yesterday, Amazon unveiled its Fire TV set-top box, and while the announcement came as little of a shock, given the information being rumored around the web, what was left were details. Now those are in place and the box is shipping to customers. Since the announcement, other support information has emerged, including Plex, and now Hulu.

The streaming video service was already included on the new Amazon box -- we knew that when it appeared during the announcement -- but what it would offer was not discussed.

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Plex announces support for Amazon Fire TV

plex-fire-tv

Plex has a history of supporting every platform possible, both desktop and mobile. With that in mind, Amazon today added one more to the market, throwing a challenge at the media server and end-user service.

But the challenge wasn't difficult -- after all, despite being highly customized, Fire TV still runs Android, an operating system that Plex is familiar with. The service already runs on Kindle Fire tablets, and it didn't take long to announce support for the Amazon Fire TV.

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Shelfies turn into custom themes as Gmail stops pranking users

gmail-themes

Yesterday was April Fool's Day -- a celebration of hijinks that are enjoyed by readers and somewhat feared by media outlets. Every story requires extra attention, as it is combed for signs of a prank. However, like the readers, the writers mostly enjoy the day as well -- there are notable exceptions, mostly those who managed to get bit by a joke.

One of the popular memes for this year was Gmail Shelfies which, if you were not careful, changed your email theme to a lovely picture of Katy Perry.

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Amazon unveils Fire TV -- a set-top box with streaming video and games

tv couple with remote

The rather crowded market of set-top boxes out there just got a bit larger with the announcement from Amazon that it will be joining the battle for control of your living room. Competing with the likes of Roku, Google TV and Apple TV is not easy, but Amazon is the equivalent of a 600-pound gorilla in the room.

The online retail giant already operates a popular TV and movie streaming service through its Prime program, and also has seen success in the hardware market with Kindle -- both e-readers and tablets. Now it attempts to take that experience and roll it into a device that it hopes will be welcomed into your daily entertainment experience.

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Build 2014 kicks off today -- what are you expecting?

build

There are a couple of major events scheduled for today but, with apologies to Amazon, Microsoft is set to steal the limelight with the kickoff to its Build 2014 conference. The show, which takes place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, will run through this Friday, and features a plethora of sessions geared towards developers.

But those sessions aren't what matter to the average user -- the big stories will come out on day one with the keynote that kicks off at 11:30 am EDT. There are a few things we expect and others that are are rumored, and some that can be left to pure speculation. Here is a brief look.

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BitTorrent Sync arrives on the Kindle Fire platform

bittorrent logo

BitTorrent Sync entered the market with a clear plan to not be anything like other services, instead choosing to do things its own way and protect the end-user. This resulted in alpha and beta testing, with a slow roll-out, but slow and steady often wins the race. The service is widely available now, being updated, and encompassing more platforms.

While Android was already a part of the ecosystem, there are certain flavors of Google's OS that don't readily comply with the traditional. One of those, in fact perhaps the primary one, is Fire OS -- the operating system produced by Amazon for its popular line of tablets.

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Jack is back -- Amazon Prime scores exclusive rights to 24 streaming

24

It has been four long years since we caught up with anti-terrorism specialist Jack Bauer. No doubt a lot has happened to him over that span of time, but soon we’ll get to catch up with him again, as Fox relaunches the hit series, with a slight name change to 24: Live Another Day.

The violence, fast-paced action and questionable methods employed by Mr. Bauer may not be for every viewer, but those interested will have a second to get up to speed. While the show will appear on the Fox network in the US, Amazon Prime subscribers who want a refresher on what events lead up to this long-delayed ninth season, can begin from…well, the beginning.

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Much ado about nothing -- Dropbox quells fears of file snooping on users

eye spy keyhole

Throughout today I have watched, with a sort of detached fascination, the attention suddenly being heaped upon cloud storage service Dropbox. It is certainly not the sort of publicity a company wants, either. It also is unwarranted. The company, at least by some outlets, is being accused of policing users' personal files in a search for copyrighted material.

The fact is, this all came about based on a tweet from one lone user, who was simply mentioning a system that was already in place, and has been for some time. Darrell Whitelaw, the user at the center of this, was only asking a question, not accusing the service of anything.

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World Backup Day 2014 -- Do you know where your files are?

Cloud backup storage

Backing up files is one those New Year’s resolutions/good intention things that we all think about, but often don’t get around to doing. Despite the multitude of options available, it never ceases to amaze me every time I hear someone lament lost Word docs, photos or the like.

It's precisely that sort of disaster which World Backup Day 2014 aims to help users avoid. To drive the point home, the website cites some statistics -- 30 percent of people have never backed up their files, 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute, 29-percent of disasters are caused by accidents and one out of every ten computers is infected with a virus.

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Shazam! Rdio deepens its partnership with music ID service

Girl listening to music

Rdio is already partnered with Shazam, the app that allows you to identify that song you're hearing and are dying to know -- on the radio or TV, it can’t help with the one stuck in your head. That app hasn’t been invented yet, but I personally hope it is soon.

Now Rdio announces it has expanded the partnership beyond previous bounds. Until now users of Shazam could add songs they discovered to a Rdio playlist. Now customers of the app will be able to add any song to that list.

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Mark Zuckerberg details Facebook’s plans to deliver internet to everyone

drone

Internet is a basic human right, or so the United Nations tells us. To that end, companies like Google are testing such solutions as balloons to bring access to remote locations, while others are using alternative measures, such as satellites.

Facebook is going a bit further, apparently. An announcement from Mark Zuckerberg made me check my calendar to be double sure it wasn’t April 1st. The CEO details the experimental work being done by the company’s Connectivity Lab. "Today, we're sharing some details of the work Facebook's Connectivity Lab is doing to build drones, satellites and lasers to deliver the internet to everyone", Zuckerberg states in a Facebook post.

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Amazon announces April 2nd event featuring an update on video

amazon-video-invite

Invitations have been hitting email inboxes today for an Amazon event, even as Microsoft was busy holding its own show. The invitation hints at what is coming, though it does not come right out and say exactly what to expect.

For now we know only one thing, the subject – "Please join us for an update on our video business". The company frequently updates its Prime video library, partnering with an increasing number of studios. These can be a big deal, depending on the movies and TV shows that come along for the ride, but the announcements have always warranted nothing more than a blog post. In other words, this is something bigger.

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Younger Millennials watch more video on alternative devices than TV

TV television

It doesn’t come as any real surprise that more video is being consumed on alternative devices. With a growing amount of choice from services like Hulu, Netflix, YouTube and others, our video entertainment no longer requires a TV.

According to a new study conducted by Deloitte, the younger portion of the Millennial generation, those aged 14-24, now consume the majority of their video through alternative devices -- computers, smartphones, tablets and gaming devices.

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