Charter and CenturyLink to Debut Streaming Skinny Bundles

Charter Communications and CenturyLink are the latest operators to introduce streaming skinny-bundle options for consumers looking for alternatives to conventional pay TV. The new services join a crowded field as an increasing number of companies face the challenges involved with attracting cord cutters and new customers. Charter will test its $20 per month Spectrum Stream that offers local broadcast and cable channels, VOD titles and optional premium channels. Meanwhile, CenturyLink Stream has introduced bundles that range from $15 per month to the Ultimate 45+ channel package for $45 per month. Continue reading Charter and CenturyLink to Debut Streaming Skinny Bundles

Google Releases Public Beta of Cloud Video Intelligence API

Google’s Cloud Video Intelligence API just entered public beta. Using a system called label detection, the API lets users upload a video and get back information about the objects appearing in it. Google also added support to identify pornographic content and announced improvements to the Cloud Vision API to make several features more accurate. By putting its Cloud Video Intelligence API into public beta, Google is taking another step in its plan to make artificial intelligence more accessible to more developers. Continue reading Google Releases Public Beta of Cloud Video Intelligence API

Google Creates a Unified Corporate, Consumer Gmail Policy

Google has just standardized its Gmail policy, saying it will no longer scan the user emails of its free consumer service in order to serve targeted ads. The company adopted this policy with its G Suite corporate customers’ emails, and now adds its consumer service to avoid confusion and create a single policy. Google says the new policy, which will impact 1.2 billion consumers, will become active later this year. The company will continue to serve ads, but will draw data from YouTube or search rather than emails. Continue reading Google Creates a Unified Corporate, Consumer Gmail Policy

Discovery Moves TV and Business Systems Into AWS Cloud

By the end of 2017, Discovery Communications will have shifted the processing of all its U.S. TV programs and 80 percent of its business systems from its own data centers to the public cloud. Last week, the company distributed Discovery Life and Destination America, among the smallest of its 13 U.S. channels, via Amazon Web Services. By doing so, Discovery is moving away from its reliance on pricey satellite networks and enabling more flexible programming, says the company chief technology officer John Honeycutt. Continue reading Discovery Moves TV and Business Systems Into AWS Cloud

Sling TV Debuts Enhanced DVR, Availability on More Devices

Sling TV’s DVR is one of its more attractive features to consumers, and the company just rolled out DVR enhancements, as well as the option to record TV shows on more devices and channels. The company reports it took customer requests into consideration in tweaking the DVR, which now also protects recordings from deletion, a feature found on hardware-based DVRs. Being able to protect against deletions, however, is not commonly found on cloud-based DVRs for streaming video services. Continue reading Sling TV Debuts Enhanced DVR, Availability on More Devices

Comparing Major Cloud Storage Services by Price, Features

Amazon just pulled the plug on its Unlimited Everything plan, which allowed users to keep as much as they wanted in their private Amazon cloud “locker” for a mere $60 per year. That figure is at least half of the industry standard of $10 per month for 1TB of space. Although Unlimited Everything, which launched in 2015, has come to an end, Amazon’s new offering is still relatively inexpensive, at that same $60 per year for 1TB and an extra $60 for every additional terabyte up to 30TB. Continue reading Comparing Major Cloud Storage Services by Price, Features

IBM Aims to Power IoT, AI, VR With New 5-Nanometer Chip

IBM Research, GlobalFoundries and Samsung partnered to create transistors for a 5-nanometer semiconductor chip, expected to enable chips with 30 billion transistors. Researchers say the technical achievement should enable the $330 billion chip industry to keep up with Moore’s Law, the 1965 statement by Intel chairman emeritus Gordon Moore that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits would double about every two years. Three years ago, IBM vowed to invest $3 billion over five years in chip R&D. Continue reading IBM Aims to Power IoT, AI, VR With New 5-Nanometer Chip

Plex Includes Live TV, Nvidia Shield Aims to Be Best Partner

Plex just announced that it is allowing users to not simply record TV programs, but watch live TV from broadcast stations. Originally launched as a company that allowed users to organize their media, Plex introduced its DVR feature last fall, initially requiring a digital antenna and HDHomeRun digital tuner. The company also now supports digital tuners from other vendors, such as those from Hauppauge and AVerMedia, among others. Nvidia’s Shield software also now supports Plex’s DVR and Live TV capabilities. Continue reading Plex Includes Live TV, Nvidia Shield Aims to Be Best Partner

Mossberg Retires Weekly Column, Talks Ambient Computing

Veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg has been writing a weekly personal technology column since 1991, first at The Wall Street Journal, and then at The Verge (for which he serves as executive editor) and Recode (where he is co-founder and editor-at-large). As he retires his weekly column, Mossberg takes one more look at how consumer tech has evolved over the last three decades, “and what we can expect next.” Specifically, he addresses “The Disappearing Computer” as we enter a new world of ambient computing, in which personal computers start to fade into the background. Continue reading Mossberg Retires Weekly Column, Talks Ambient Computing

Foreign Firms Concerned by China’s New Cybersecurity Law

On June 1, China will begin to implement its new Cybersecurity Law, and foreign companies are worried. China already restricts technology, and the new law will boost tighter control over data and enforce a broader definition of the services and products impacted. Firms are particularly concerned about one regulation that would require them to store information on mainland China, forcing them to rely on cloud providers such as Alibaba and Tencent, which have more local services, as opposed to offerings from Amazon or Microsoft. Continue reading Foreign Firms Concerned by China’s New Cybersecurity Law

Advice on Keeping Smaller Businesses Safe From Cybercrime

The threat of ransomware and malware are growing. The “WannaCry” attack impacted at least 200,000 computers in 150 countries before peaking last week. Adylkuzz is another piece of malware currently threatening computers around the world. As computers become increasingly connected, so opportunities for cybercrime expand, say the experts. Part of the problem is that the Internet wasn’t designed with cybersecurity protections, and criminals are attracted to cybercrimes for the relatively easy profits they can make. Continue reading Advice on Keeping Smaller Businesses Safe From Cybercrime

Google Makes Bid to Expand Revenue Sources Beyond Search

The focus for Google at its annual I/O developer conference was artificial intelligence. Google Assistant will now be available for the Apple iPhone, a way to introduce millions more people to Google’s AI capabilities. Google also revealed more about its software development kit for Google Assistant, saying it will be better integrated into TVs, let the user type requests and questions, and add skills such as payments and receipts. Third party developers plan to integrate Assistant into numerous products. Continue reading Google Makes Bid to Expand Revenue Sources Beyond Search

Enterprise Security Provider CrowdStrike Raises $100 Million

Digital security provider CrowdStrike, which recently helped the Democratic National Committee respond to its hacking, has raised $100 million in new capital, bringing its total fundraising to $256 million and value close to $1 billion. The Irvine, California-based tech company, founded by two former McAfee execs in 2011, provides SaaS endpoint protection, threat intelligence and incident response through its cloud-based Falcon platform. CrowdStrike now has more than 650 employees worldwide. The company’s subscriptions have grown 476 percent in the last year as cybersecurity becomes a growing concern. Continue reading Enterprise Security Provider CrowdStrike Raises $100 Million

Microsoft’s New Cloud Service With AI Tools Targets IoT Use

Microsoft’s Build 2017 conference in Seattle showcased Azure cloud services for the Internet of Things, using multiple sensors and small computing devices to track data analyzed by Microsoft’s combo of cloud and AI tools. The new Azure IoT Edge speeds up the process because computing can now take place on-site. The first use cases will be industrial applications. Among its 29 AI services, Microsoft also now has automatic language translation for PowerPoint and video indexing by sight or tag when a word or phrase is spoken. Continue reading Microsoft’s New Cloud Service With AI Tools Targets IoT Use

Google Docs Users Targeted in Widespread Phishing Attack

A major phishing attack mimicking cloud-based Google Docs software spread across news organizations and other companies yesterday. Gmail users have been reporting massive numbers of fraudulent emails that masquerade as a message from Google Docs. The emails appear as an invitation to join a Google Doc and often claim to be sent by an individual in the user’s address book. However, clicking on the embedded link directs recipients to grant access to a Google Docs app that is actually a program that sends spam to addresses in the recipient’s email. Continue reading Google Docs Users Targeted in Widespread Phishing Attack

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