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Netflix's new algorithm increases quality, reduces bandwidth required

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Dec 16, 2015 10:30 am

We all know the strain of using Netflix on anything less than a fiber connection, so you'll be happy to hear that Netflix's design team have been working for quite a while on a new algorithm that will not only increase the quality of its streaming content but reduce the bandwidth required to stream said content.

 

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Netflix has been tweaking its algorithm since 2011 when it hit a road block and realized it had been going about the process entirely wrong. Instead of attempting to encode video specifically for the type of bandwidth a subscriber used, Netflix realized that they should be encoding each individual title to best suit that movie, or TV show's needs. This means that shows like Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse would use less kilobits while streaming, compared to something like Man of Steel. Barbie won't require that much visual fidelity, but the big Hollywood movies do.

 

The streaming giant has begun re-encoding its entire library with the new algorithm, with Netflix ever so slowly rolling out the newly encoded content to see if subscribers would be able to tell the difference. The next question is why? Why would Netflix go through all of this hassle. Well, considering Netflix streaming chews up a huge 37% of all the Internet traffic in the United States, but with the new algorithm, Netflix could see this drop to only 20%, according to Anne Aaron, Netflix's Video Algorithms Manager.

Pandora releases 'Thumbprint Radio' based on your own upvotes

By: Chris Smith | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Dec 15, 2015 4:34 pm

Asking you to thumbs-up songs that you enjoy or terminate those you dislike, Pandora has been operating for quite some time as a discovery radio station, enabling users to start with a specific song or artist they enjoy and walk a path through a whole genre of tunes.

 

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In its latest advancement, Pandora has released an addition to its services, offering what it calls 'Thumbprint Radio'. This new service will play you music depending on your positive correlation with previous music, displaying tracks similar to ones that you have given a thumbs-up to in the past. Functioning as something remotely similar to Spotify and its Discover Weekly service, this new Pandora service has been explained by Gizmodo as literally displaying songs that you've given a thumbs up to in the past, compared to Spotify's pledge to find you new music based around what you listen to.

 

It will be interested to see if this attempt by Pandora to widen its service will have a positive impact as it continues to feel the tightening grip of Spotify and Apple Music.

Windows Live Mail 2012 update prevents service from going kaput

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Dec 14, 2015 6:29 pm

The Outlook team recently sent out an e-mail to some users indicating Windows Live 2012 will no longer work soon unless you install this update (which some users report breaks things, so probably hold off).

 

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The interruption in service is due to changes being made to Microsoft email services in a few weeks; the email doesn't specify what the changes are, but Slipstick reports the plan is to move everything over to the Office 365 infrastructure.

Continue reading 'Windows Live Mail 2012 update prevents service from going kaput' (full post)

FindED ranks emergency rooms near to you by multiple factors

By: Chris Smith | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Dec 11, 2015 5:35 pm

Spotted on Reddit recently, FindED is a useful tool for those who don't know exactly where to go should a critical situation arise.

 

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Set up as an independent ranking platform, this website will list all close by emergency departments to you when an address is submitted, telling you information on various factors including waiting times, quality of service and travel timings.

 

Currently available solely to US residents, this website should generally be used by people before emergencies happen - it's no real use to you if you're waiting until you've been stabbed in the chest to quickly search up what direction to start driving.

Comcast CEO defends data caps, likening it to gasoline

By: Chris Smith | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Dec 11, 2015 3:33 pm

"Just as with every other thing in your life, if you drive 100,000 miles or 1,000 miles you buy more gasoline. If you turn on the air conditioning to 60 vs. 72 you consume more electricity," explained Comcast CEO, Brian Roberts, addressing why Comcast continues to place data caps on its customers, trying to liken it to 'real-world' ideals.

 

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Roberts continued, "The same is true for [wired internet] usage", concluding "the more bits you use, the more you pay." As explained in a report by Ars Technica, Roberts ignored questions about Netflix data usage but addressed his services data caps as a whole.

 

While Comcast isn't completely disconnecting client internet when they reach the contract-agreed amount, customers are often charged an extra $10 for additional 50GB increments - being something that's unlikely to change, it seems. If you're interested in seeing the full interview, a video is available here.

Speedtest.net launches HTML5 speed test

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Dec 9, 2015 10:31 pm

Popular Internet speed testing website Speedtest.net has launched a beta HTML5/Javascript speed test. No extra installations of any kind are required, so, if you're determined to keep Flash off your computer or just like the feel of HTML5 over Flash (the standard test is a bit slow and clunky in comparison), this is for you.

 

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Head here to try it out for yourself.

Chicago and Los Angeles may be the next Google Fiber locations

By: Chris Smith | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Dec 9, 2015 5:35 pm

With Provo, Utah and Austin, Texas currently under its belt, Google is now looking to hit its first major city, announcing Los Angeles and Chicago as possibly locations for its next Google Fiber rollout.

 

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While these places have not yet been confirmed by Google, a a blog post recently discussed how this company is exploring the idea of rolling out services in these large areas, explained by the engineers as housing a cool "combined 6+ million people."

 

The blog post continued "As we've explored bringing Fiber to other metros across the U.S., we've worked to refine our checklist and prepare for building our network in different places," with the Google Fiber team confidently stating that they are ready to take on the challenge of such a big city. While not confirmed, this announced investigation is welcome news for many residents.

Vimeo announces 4K adaptive streaming, rolls out to select users

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Dec 4, 2015 1:08 am

Up until now, Vimeo has been allowing its Pro members to upload 4K videos, with the video sharing company now allowing some users 4K adaptive streaming. Vimeo's 4K streaming will roll out to the rest of the world in Q1 2016.

 

 

The company has pushed out support for 4K streaming across its site, and its entire catalogue of apps. This rollout features support for adaptive streaming, where your Internet connection will be battling it out for allowing up to 4K (2160p) streaming - similar to how YouTube does 4K streaming right now.

 

Vimeo's rollout of 4K support will include the streaming player on Vimeo.com, with videos embedded on other sites, Vimeo on Demand, and all of the apps on iOS, Apple TV, Android, Amazon and Roku.

Continue reading 'Vimeo announces 4K adaptive streaming, rolls out to select users' (full post)

Adobe kills Flash, meet Adobe Animate

By: Chris Smith | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Dec 2, 2015 12:37 pm

While Adobe Flash became the main 'victim' of HTML5's stellar launch, this company has finally decided to ditch the Adobe Flash Professional branding and name, opting now for Adobe Animate as a main product.

 

 

Reported by Gizmodo as found in a recent Adobe announcement regarding Animate CC, it seems like the management at Adobe wants to let its long-standing Flash name die off without too much publicity.

 

With Adobe Flash Professional now no longer around, the new Animate program logically focuses on HTML5 and is set to hit the public by January 2016. With Flash no longer the internet standard, users may feel free to disable it on all systems.

Continue reading 'Adobe kills Flash, meet Adobe Animate' (full post)

Zuckerberg announces baby girl and donation of 99% of Facebook shares

By: Chris Smith | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Dec 2, 2015 11:36 am

After the Facebook big-wig Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced the arrival of a baby girl called Max on Tuesday, Zuckerberg threw something else interesting into the mix, telling all that he and his wife will donate 99 percent of their Facebook shares to a charity.

 

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This share stockpile is worth around $45 billion and is set to be given to the 'Chan Zuckerberg Initiative,' self-described as having "the mission of advancing human potential and promoting equality." This charity will be lead by Zuckerberg and is set to be worth a massive $3 billion by 2018.

 

A report by The Guardian posted a statement from Facebook which read "[D]uring his lifetime, he will gift or otherwise direct substantially all of his shares of Facebook stock, or the net after-tax proceeds from sales of such shares, to further the mission of advancing human potential and promoting equality by means of philanthropic, public advocacy, and other activities for the public good."

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