The UpStream

Zune Music Service Stops Servicing You August 31st

posted Wednesday Aug 29, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Zune Music Service Stops Servicing You August 31st

We knew back in February that Microsoft was going to be putting the final nails into the Zune coffin, we just didn't want it to actually happen. A few months later, we saw the initial rumors of new plans with Xbox Music replacing the Zune branding, which culminated with an E3 announcement that Zune was going to be gone for good really, really soon. As I rounded out my work day today, I got the depressing email from the Zune Music Team stating that my beloved Zune will be gone by September.

In the email, we were told that come August 31st, changes were going to be made to the Zune Music service in preparation for the launch of Xbox Music later this fall, along with the Xbox 360 dashboard refresh and the launch of Windows 8. After that dreaded date, no longer will you be able to message or invite your friends, share songs and playlist, get new apps for the Zune HD, use Mixview and more.

What all is going to be removed while we wait for the new Xbox Music? We have the full details after the break.

OnLive CEO Steve Perlman Won't Be Heading OnLive 2.0

posted Tuesday Aug 28, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

OnLive CEO Steve Perlman Won't Be Heading OnLive 2.0

I'm the one that brought you here. I'm the one that ultimately made decisions, and I'm the one that ultimately takes responsibility. So I am sorry, and it didn't end up exactly as we'd hoped.

Those were the words OnLive's employees received via email from CEO Steve Perlman last week, when the company announced it was going to form OnLive 2.0, a brand new company that would operate the same as the old one, except with less employees. Perlman, the man behind QuickTime and WebTV, took full blame for the downfall of the company, with employees saying that his "ego got in the way" of the potential success of OnLive. This week, we're learning a bit more about the entire restructuring of the cloud gaming corporation. Specifically, we have learned that, despite rumors that Perlman would remain with OnLive moving forward, this is simply not the case.

Like a rebellious child, OnLive employees said they wouldn't work for Perlman in the new 2.0, which seemed to put enough pressure on investor and savior of the company, Gary Lauder, to send the former CEO packing. Instead, Charlie Jablonski, COO of the old OnLive, will be the new OnLive's COO and interim CEO until the board finds a suitable replacement.

More interesting news comes out of this tidbit of an update as well. While it was reported that almost half of the employees were retained for the new endeavor, it turns out this was not true. Several internal sources as well as 2.0 employees have stated that only 60 workers were actually rehired and most of them have been placed on just a 30-day work contract. Also, anybody who was in the team that was in charge of bringing on new games has been canned, which is different than what we were being told just a few days ago.

That's not all though, folks! The company is spinning Perlman's departure in a positive light, as expected. We have the full press release after the break.

Sony Patents an Interactive Commercial Concept

posted Sunday Aug 26, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Sony Patents an Interactive Commercial Concept

Sony has filed a patent for the most interesting and ridiculous use for the PlayStation Move we have seen yet. The patent filing describes it as a "system for converting television commercials into interactive networked video games." What it really means is that Sony has found a way to make commercials fully interactive, but not in a way that makes the commercial more memorable, but instead making the customer jump through hoops, possibly literally, in order to speed up or skip the commercial entirely.

While technologically the idea is pretty cool, there is little chance that an advertiser would want to get involved. One of the examples, pictured after the break, shows the example of someone shouting "McDonald's" at their television in order to skip the rest of the commercial and get back to the program. There is little to no chance that a true advertiser would be interested in giving the people they are trying to convince to be their customers the ability to skip the commercial experience they worked hard to produce.

Want to see how throwing a pickle at your television factors into the equation? Hit the break to find out.

LightSquared Appoints Doug Smith as New CEO

posted Sunday Aug 26, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

LightSquared Appoints Doug Smith as New CEO

If you thought the LightSquared saga was over, think again. Not even the FCC could shut them down as the company continues to push forward to provide insane 4G speeds to the masses, even to this day. After their top investor, Philip Falcone, stepped down as public face of the company, a lot of speculation arose as to what would happen next to LightSquared. This week, we have some answers.

In what seems to be similar to that of a boxer continuously answering a referee's ten-count, there's a lot of fight left in LightSquared. Even in its current bankrupt state, the company is still moving forward as best it can and this week, promoted Doug Smith to the CEO position of the troubled corporation. Smith's first comments as new CEO were that they would fight through the FCC's regulations and blockade that put LightSquared into bankruptcy protection in the first place.

LightSquared remains committed to working with all stakeholders to find an equitable resolution to the regulatory challenges that the company has faced this past year.

Before being appointed new CEO, Smith was LightSquared's co-COO and one of the designers on the actual 4G network. Smith will also be chairman of the board effective immediately, in addition to his chief executive seat. The company's previous CEO, Sanjiv Ahuja, resigned at the end of February and while was not the public head of the company, tried to lead the fight against the FCC, while trying to keep Falcone in the spotlight at the same time. After the resignation, CFO Marc Montager and smith took over the co-COO roles while looking for a new CEO to step in. Smith had worked at both Clearwire and Sprint before coming to LightSquared.

Can a new CEO, with extensive experience in several wireless companies, be the saving grace for LightSquared? There seems to be a completely uphill battle awaiting the new leader and the future doesn't look too bright. Sprint has already moved on to greener pastures and they were supposed to be LightSquared top client. What will happen now? I suppose the company will have to get out of bankruptcy protection first before anything definitive can be said. I just want faster and faster speeds and it seems like the FCC won't let that be.

Photographer Adds Some Raspberry Pi to His DSLR

posted Sunday Aug 26, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Photographer Adds Some Raspberry Pi to His DSLR

With the emergence of micro computers rapidly increasing with each passing day, I have some news that makes the pirate's use of these tiny gadgets a thing of the past. More importantly, it's news that with make Online Editorial Director for LAPTOP Magazine, Avram Piltch, admire the cool use of gadgetry. It fills the complete solution of photography, from snapping the photo to editing and uploading.

So far, if you've wanted to work on photos, you'd need a camera to actually capture the shot. Then, you'd need a computer with an active Internet connection to edit and then upload the shot to where ever it needed to go. Wouldn't it be cool if all of that came included, and not in the way Sony tried to do it sans photo-editing capabilities? Well, David Hunt, a photographer in Ireland, has come up with the solution so that all of those functions can be done by creating a battery grip for his DSLR that has a Raspberry Pi embedded in it.

Want to learn more about this cool technology and see the innards? Click the break for more.

NBCUniversal Joins the Amazon Instant Video Family

posted Saturday Aug 25, 2012 by Scott Ertz

NBCUniversal Joins the Amazon Instant Video Family

Amazon has been beefing up its music service as well as its instant video service. To emphasize that point, they have signed a deal with NBCUniversal to bring a metric ton of new programming to the service.

Right now, Amazon Instant Video offers NBC series like Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, Parenthood and Parks and Recreation. Brad Beale, director of digital video content, said,

We continue to invest heavily in our content selection for Prime members and have now reached over 22,000 movies and TV episodes available instantly with unlimited streaming.

We are excited to be working with NBCUniversal to add their award-winning lineup of TV shows such as Parks and Recreation and Friday Night Lights to Prime Instant Video.

This brings Amazon's catalog to over 22,000 movies and television episodes available for instant stream for a flat rate of $80 per year. That price also gives full Amazon Prime benefits, including free shipping on Amazon purchases. If you are still trying to decide between Netflix and Hulu, this might make the decision even harder.

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