Nowadays instances of major online content providers ditching Flash entirely or in part are becoming very common. The latest do so is the venerable British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the largest broadcaster on planet Earth. According to a report, videos on both the mobile and regular versions of the BBC News site are now available in HTML5.
We may call the glorious series of tubes the World Wide Web, but that doesn’t mean you can view every website’s content all around the globe. Many of the big name content providers – like Steam, Netflix, Pandora and BBC – employ region locks to limit their services to specific countries. But this is the Internet we’re talking about, so naturally, there are ways around the roadblocks.
Lawrence Hryb (aka Major Nelson), director of programming for Xbox Live at Microsoft, on Tuesday announced the release date of the next Xbox 360 update in a blog post. The update, which will bring a raft of features, will be available next month. Hit the jump to find out the exact release date and other details.
While we may question the sanity of anybody still clunking around the Web with the decade-old Internet Explorer 6 – even Microsoft wants that dinosaur to die – we wouldn't go as far as to say that the people who use IE are stupid. That didn't stop AptiQuant Psychometric Consulting from doing it, though. Last week, the group released a report that claimed that IE users had the lowest collective IQ of users of any browser. Stop chuckling, "Like"-clicking Chrome and Firefox fans – it turns out we're the idiots. The whole thing was probably a hoax.
The bring your own computer to work debate is one that we are sure many Maximum PC readers will have a unique opinion on, but it was also the subject of conversation in a recent BBC article where several business were asked to chime in. The concept is fairly simple. How many of you toil away for 40 hours per week on a five year old PC running Windows XP? It’s even more painful when you consider that you probably have more CPU horsepower on the smartphone in your pocket, than the soviet era antique humming away under your desk.
Several large tech companies such as Intel and Microsoft owned up to operating a “bring your own computer to work” policy where the hardware is subsidized, and both companies had nothing but praise for the program. "Employees love having the freedom to choose whatever they like," said Citrix’s vice-president of marketing. The reality is that there are a number of consumer devices that provide services that you just don't see in a corporate laptop, and employees just enjoy their computing experience more."
Of course not everyone is convinced. BNet columnist Erik Sherman says mainstream rollouts of this type of program are simply wishful thinking. "Why do you assume the employees are going to spend the money on the service contract just because you told them to?" Have you ever got anything repaired through a chain store? I have - it took like four weeks. Please don't tell me it's going to go any faster because I bought the computer for work?"
No doubt the debate will continue to rage on, but which side of the fence do you fall on?
According to a recent presentation by Harvard’s Jonathan Zittrain, the Internet’s delicate and vulnerable nature is held together by random acts of kindness.
As a key example, he cited when Pakistan’s government took YouTube offline in 2008. It wasn’t long before it was back, thanks to a largely unknown, unpaid and unauthorized team of volunteers. “It's like when the Bat signal goes up and Batman answers the call,” said Professor Zittrain.
The same social structure of those helping without any intention of compensation is clear on Wikipedia. “It's like dark matter in the universe. There's a lot of it, you don't see it but it has a huge impact on the physics of the place.”
Sure, you could always play it safe and have your wife shack up in a hospital when she’s in the beginning stages of childbirth, or, you could whip out your iPhone and begin to search YouTube for instructional videos on how to deliver it yourself! This is one Marc Stephens did, and it worked out well for him.
According to the BBC, “Marc Stephens watched the videos as a precaution when his wife Jo started to feel some discomfort. Four hours later, his wife went into labour and started giving birth before an ambulance could arrive at their home in Redruth. ‘I Googled how to deliver a baby, watched a few videos and basically swotted up.’”
Admittedly Mr. Stephens does have some very limited prior experience, given that this is his fourth child. “For our first I spent most of the time at my wife’s head, now I’m not afraid to go down to the business end.”
UK’s Competition Commission has disapproved Project Kangaroo, a proposed Hulu-esque VOD service, which was supposed to provide video content – mostly free videos - from three of its joint owners, the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. The fear of Kangaroo’s inevitable hegemony led the Commission to veto the alliance. The Commission felt that the video-on-demand service would have resulted in the “loss of competition” between its proprietors.
The three companies expressed their disconsolation in a joint statement. “We are disappointed by the decision to prohibit this joint venture. While this is an unwelcome finding for the shareholders, the real losers from this decision are British consumers. This is a disproportionate remedy and a missed opportunity in the further development of British broadcasting,” the statement reads. Although consumers would have most certainly devoured the service, the Commission's findings appear to be reasonable.