Teamsters Organize Uber Drivers Classified Indie Contractors

Riding-sharing app Uber has tussled with its drivers over how to define their status: independent contractors or full-time employees. Uber prefers to identify its drivers as independent contractors, which lets it off the hook for paying minimum wage, overtime and its share of Social Security. Recent settlements in class-action lawsuits in California and Massachusetts, which must be approved by a judge, allow Uber to continue this classification. The Teamsters union is busy organizing drivers who want representation. Continue reading Teamsters Organize Uber Drivers Classified Indie Contractors

Senate Intelligence Committee Drafts Cyber Threat Legislation

The U.S. government has had little success in passing bills to establish security standards and facilitate data sharing between the private and public sectors, but the Senate Intelligence Committee is currently drafting a new bill that would serve that purpose. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Saxby Chambliss co-authored a bill which states that a company cannot be sued for sharing threat data to any entity or the federal government to prevent or investigate a cyberattack. Continue reading Senate Intelligence Committee Drafts Cyber Threat Legislation

ITU Group is Testing High Dynamic Range Format Proposals

According to David Wood, chairman of the International Telecommunication Union group working to recommend a global blueprint for UHD, high dynamic range (HDR) technology “may well be an important feature of Ultra HDTV in future years, though the jury is still out, and will take some months to reach a verdict.” The group is currently considering HDR as an addition to UHD, and is looking at format proposals from companies including Dolby, Philips, Technicolor and the BBC. Continue reading ITU Group is Testing High Dynamic Range Format Proposals

Will Proposed FCC Regulations Create a Two-Speed Internet?

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed to allow broadband providers to charge fees for high-speed Internet for faster delivery of video and other data, essentially allowing a premium Internet fast-lane for companies that can pay. Small content providers may not be able to compete because they do not have the resources to pay for high delivery speeds. The regulations would also prohibit broadband companies from blocking or slowing down individual websites. Continue reading Will Proposed FCC Regulations Create a Two-Speed Internet?

SMPTE Tech Summit: Understanding the Human Vision System

The first Saturday morning session of SMPTE’s Technology Summit On Cinema at NAB focused on factors that could impact the UHD TV rollout, including research on what humans are able to see and observe. During a panel titled “Understanding the Human Vision System,” Dr. Jenny Read of Newcastle University Institute of Neuroscience set the stage by discussing four parameters of vision: spatial resolution, temporal resolution, dynamic range, and color perception. Related studies from Dolby, EBU and EPFL were presented. Continue reading SMPTE Tech Summit: Understanding the Human Vision System

CreativeFuture: Coalition Looks at Solutions to Online Piracy

Independent film executive Ruth Vitale — who has held positions at New Line Cinema, Paramount Classics and First Look Studios — was recently named executive director of CreativeFuture, a coalition of movie and television producers, unions and companies that is aiming to steer Hollywood’s digital future. After tech giants convinced Congress that proposed antipiracy laws were too restrictive of online freedom, the film and television industries remain threatened by online piracy. CreativeFuture hopes to change that. Continue reading CreativeFuture: Coalition Looks at Solutions to Online Piracy

Full-Length Feature Film to Be Shot Entirely on Apple iPhone

Production is scheduled to begin in June for what is claimed to be the first full-length feature film shot entirely with an Apple iPhone. The film is under a SAG-AFTRA production contract — “Ultra Low Budget” — and will be shot on the newest iPhone, the 5s. Writer/director/producer Brian Kowalchuk and crew are working with Apple executives to address the challenges of logistics. The production has a target release date of April 2015. Continue reading Full-Length Feature Film to Be Shot Entirely on Apple iPhone

The AMAZE Project: Space Agency Brings 3D Printing to Metal

The European Space Agency plans to apply 3D printing to metal in order to build parts for jets, spacecraft and fusion projects. ESA and the EU, together with industrial and academic partners, are developing the first large-scale 3D production methods to create metal parts that are lighter and more affordable than conventional parts. While 3D printing is already being used to produce plastic products, applying the process to metal parts for rockets and planes would save money and be more efficient. Continue reading The AMAZE Project: Space Agency Brings 3D Printing to Metal

Mobile Broadband Subs Approaching Two Billion Worldwide

According to figures released yesterday by the International Telecommunications Union, mobile broadband accessed by tablets and smartphones is the fastest growing segment of the global information and communication technologies market. ITU’s “Measuring the Information Society” report found declining prices for mobile and fixed broadband services in addition to “unprecedented adoption of 3G,” with the number of worldwide mobile broadband subscriptions approaching two billion. Continue reading Mobile Broadband Subs Approaching Two Billion Worldwide

Deal Update: Vodafone and Verizon Agree on Financial Terms

Last week we reported that Verizon Communications had scheduled a board meeting to discuss the possible acquisition of Vodafone’s 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless, a deal that would be the second-largest acquisition on record and potentially lead to additional mergers across the global telecom industry. Vodafone confirmed late yesterday that terms of the deal call for Verizon to pay $130 billion. If approved by both boards, the deal could be announced as early as this afternoon. Continue reading Deal Update: Vodafone and Verizon Agree on Financial Terms

Verizon-Vodafone Deal Could Potentially Upend Telecom Market

Verizon Communications is reportedly in talks with Vodafone Group to pay as much as $130 billion for Vodafone’s 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless. The deal, which could be completed within a week, would be the second-largest acquisition on record and could possibly lead to a new round of mergers across the global telecom industry. According to people familiar with the matter, Verizon has scheduled a board meeting to discuss the deal. Continue reading Verizon-Vodafone Deal Could Potentially Upend Telecom Market

VFX Community Proposes Forming Union and Trade Group

The visual effects community held a town meeting Thursday evening in Los Angeles to address rising concerns regarding the state of the VFX industry. “Pi Day” organizers included community members Bill Gilman and Neha Wickramasekaran. During the event, hosted by VFX artist Mariana Acuña, effects veteran Scott Ross and others proposed the formation of a VFX union and a trade association for visual effects facilities. Continue reading VFX Community Proposes Forming Union and Trade Group