Netflix is now also paying AT&T to improve streaming quality

Netflix has signed another interconnection deal with another ISP: AT&T. The two sides have reached an agreement that should over time result in better streaming performance for Netflix subscribers. Terms of the deal aren't being disclosed, so we don't know how much Netflix paid for direct access to AT&T's network. But it's likely modeled after similar deals Netflix reached with Comcast and...

Amazon finally explains what it wants from Hachette: lower ebook prices

Amazon is finally providing some explanation for its ongoing dispute with the publisher Hachette, explaining that it's taken issue over Hachette's insistence on pricing ebooks above $9.99. In a note today, Amazon explains that it's not actually looking for a particularly large share of the revenue on ebook sales: it's only interested in taking 30 percent, a fairly standard figure for digital store sales and the same figure that it says Hachette proposed in 2010. Instead, the change Amazon wants to see is for most ebooks to sell for $9.99 or less, with only a "small number of specialized titles" being offered at prices above that.

30 percent of revenue and ebooks at $9.99 or below

This is Bolt, Instagram's new messaging app

Instagram has quietly unveiled its new "one-tap" messaging app, Bolt, for iOS and Android. The app lets you quickly send a photo (or video) to a friend, which then disappears once it's been read. Bolt is essentially a carbon copy of buzzy messaging app Taptalk, although a lot prettier. Tap on a friend's face to send a photo instantly, or long-press on their face to send a video. Shake your...

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National Security

The Senate's latest, best hope for NSA reform

NSA reform has been building steam for over a year now, but while the courts and even the White House have shown movement, Congress has struggled to come up with a meaningful bill. But that may change this week, as Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduces his version of the USA Freedom Act to the Senate. Even before the bill was public, it was hailed by the New York Times as "a breakthrough in...

Twitter rebounds from earnings slump with strong user growth and unexpected profit

Twitter has had a rough time during its early life as a public company. Its stock had sunk to about half it's peak value after two quarters of disappointing numbers about slowing user growth and engagement. The company's advertising business has more than doubled its revenue year over year, but so far has not been able to turn a steady profit. Over the last three months it went through a big internal shakeup that saw numerous high level executives depart. This quarter the company was hoping to demonstrate it was back on track.

UK police try to spook piracy website users with banner ads

Would an ominous banner ad be enough to dissuade you from illegally stealing an album or movie? UK authorities are apparently hoping so. The City of London Police’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is plastering ads across known piracy websites in an attempt to make users think twice before clicking the download button. "This website has been reported to the police," reads the ad. "Please close the browser page containing this website." Authorities partnered with local "creative and advertising industries" to replace regular advertisements with the straightforward warnings.

The ads appear on all sites that've been added to...

Former NSA chief makes up to $1 million a month selling cybersecurity services

General Keith Alexander was in charge of the National Security Agency when all hell broke loose and former security contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents showing the organization was spying far beyond the extent to which most people were aware (or comfortable with). But he's not letting that episode stop him from launching what looks to be an exceptionally lucrative private career guessed it, cybersecurity software.

As B...

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Coub is Russia's answer to the GIF, and it's coming to America

Short film clips that play on an endless loop are one of the internet's favorite forms of amusement. In the United States, GIFs, and more recently Vines, have done an admirable job satisfying this craving. But in Russia, another service has created a unique approach to crafting viral video. Coub is a Russian startup founded in 2012 that lets...

Microsoft offices in China raided over monopoly allegations

Four of Microsoft’s offices in China were raided yesterday as part of an anti-monopoly investigation. China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has revealed that around 100 officials made unannounced visits to Microsoft’s offices in China, seeking information on Microsoft’s...

Holographic politicians could soon become a normal thing in the US

Earlier this year, India's prime minister Narendra Modi was campaigning for reelection and used a rather unusual method for being in many different places at once: he became a hologram. Not biologically, but with the help of a company called NChant3D that broadcast his nearly hour-long speech in 53 different locations. Now a US company called HologramUSA has the rights to use that technology in the US, and has just hired a lobbyist in Washington, DC to push the Democrats and Republicans...

Facebook urges users to download Messenger before chat disappears from mobile app

In April, Facebook announced plans to pull messaging from its core mobile apps in favor of moving all chat activity to Messenger. And now the company is once again reminding users everywhere about the pending change and urging them to download Messenger. If you haven't yet installed the app, you'll likely see a notice resembling the one below over the coming days. Facebook isn't yet forcing anyone to make the switch; it says there will be several notices before messages are finally unbundled...

FAA wants Southwest Airlines to pay $12 million penalty for sloppy maintenance

The FAA is seeking a $12 million fine against Southern Airlines after finding that the Dallas-based airline did a lackluster job overseeing repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. Back in 2006, Southwest carried out "extreme makeover" alterations that were intended to "eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners," the FAA says.

But the contractor that handled the job, Aviation Technical Services, failed to follow proper procedures as mandated by the agency. Some of the...

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