The UpStream

Amazon Prime Instant Video Inks Deal with MGM Studios

posted Saturday Jun 23, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Amazon Prime Instant Video Inks Deal with MGM Studios

If you thought that Amazon was going to allow their Prime Instant Video service to just linger around now that it's on the Xbox 360, you were sadly mistaken. As more and more media partners find new outlets for their content, Amazon is trucking away at new partnership deals.

This week, Amazon went right to the top of the studio world and nabbed a huge licensing deal with MGM Studios. Amazon Instant Video will now have access to classic films and TV shows going all the way back to the 1980s and can hopefully snatch up a couple of those Netflix detractors with A-movies like The Terminator, Rainman and Silence of the Lambs.

YouTube Cracks Down on Data Scrapers

posted Saturday Jun 23, 2012 by Scott Ertz

YouTube Cracks Down on Data Scrapers

YouTube has gone on a new crackdown kick, going after a German website that converts YouTube videos to MP3. This site is a very effective way for people to steal music in high quality, without having to be watched by RIAA on a torrent site. Both Google, who owns YouTube, and the content owners, are concerned about this easy pirating process, which is significantly harder to trace than those using torrents. Combine all of that with a recent NPR blog post by an intern who claims to be part of a generation that doesn't believe they should pay for music.

So, YouTube sent a cease and desist letter to Philip Matesanz, owner of youtube-mp3.org, claiming Terms of Service violations. Part of their ToS says, "Content is provided to you AS IS." This means that you cannot change the content from that provided through the service; essentially claiming the entire concept of the service is against ToS.

Matesanz, a 21-year-old student, believes this is incorrect. Hit the break to read his statement and YouTube's response.

Will Xbox 360 Be Banned in the United States?

posted Saturday Jun 23, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Will Xbox 360 Be Banned in the United States?

Several months ago, Microsoft filed suit against Motorola over Android-related patent infringement. Motorola, of course, counter-sued, claiming patent infringement on the Xbox 360. That suit was a little surprising, considering the companies tend to stick to like-minded infringement cases. Microsoft didn't think too much about it and let the courts get involved. Sadly for Microsoft, they have lost 4 of the 5 claims.

Both Motorola and the judge in the case have recommended that the International Trace Commission block all imports of the Xbox 360 into the US. Motorola offered a deal, giving Microsoft 33 cents for every Android phone they have sold, while charging Microsoft 2.25% of each Xbox 360 sold. Microsoft has declined this offer, leaving the Xbox 360 in jeopardy of import blocking.

So, why did Microsoft decline the offer? Hit the break to find out.

The Internet is Not Always Mean

posted Saturday Jun 23, 2012 by Scott Ertz

The Internet can be a wickedly mean place. For once, however, we have a story where real life was mean and the Internet came through to resolve the issue. Here's the situation: you might have seen the YouTube video entitled "Making The Bus Monitor Cry." In this video, a group of 12- and 13-year-old boys harass a 68-year-old bus monitor to the point where she cries. Obviously this was a terrible thing to do to anyone, let alone a senior citizen.

Luckily, since some people on the Internet have a heart, some of that goodwill was directed toward this woman, named Karen. In fact, one man, Max Sidorov, felt so bad about what happened that he used Indiegogo, a crowd-source funding site, to raise money to send Karen on "a vacation of a lifetime." His goal was to raise $5,000 to try and offset her $15,506 annual income and allow her to take some time away from the kids and relax, hopefully getting her into a positive mindset.

His project, however, has gone a little differently from the original plan. He has, as of the writing of this article, raised $620,863 for Karen. This is more than 100 times beyond what he wanted to raise and what he thought he could raise. This is enough money for Karen to never have to work again, and certainly not have to get onto a school bus ever again, which after this event, might be the right decision for her. Hopefully she can take the time she deserves and enjoy life.

Karen, being a caring person, does not want criminal charges pressed against the children, but she does hope they are not allowed to ride the bus for at least a year. While no decision has been made by the school that we have heard of, several of the boys have sent Karen personal messages apologizing for what they did. One child said,

I wish I had never done those things. If that had happened to someone in my family, like my mother or grandmother, I would be really mad at the people who did that to them.

Hopefully this exposure will teach these kids, and others, that respect is required when dealing with other people. If you would like to donate to the fund, you can do so right here.

Windows Phone: Redefined

posted Friday Jun 22, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Windows Phone: Redefined

Microsoft had a very big week. Between redefining Microsoft Surface and a major Windows Phone event, they are showing the new way they do business, and it is a positive change indeed. Windows Phone 8, officially announced Wednesday morning, is a massive improvement on the Windows Phone concept. In addition to some significant interface enhancements, they also changed the technology powering the OS. Unlike WinPho7, WinPho8 is powered by the same core technologies that power Windows 8. This means a wider range of hardware support, more development choices and, of course, performance enhancements.

The new core will allow existing WinPho7 apps to continue to run, recompiled by Microsoft themselves, with no need for developer interaction. It also allows for future development to be done with any of Microsoft's core technologies, like C#, VB.net or F#. It also allows app development with HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. While seasoned developers might not be interested in developing with web tech, it will lower the entry barrier for new developers getting into mobile. It also allows for a more write-it-on, publish-it-everywhere approach for developers who also have to deal with Apple and Android.

The core technology changes allow for better development choices, but it also allows for some nifty interaction updates. Hit the break to find out what they have added.

Microsoft Surface: Redefined

posted Friday Jun 22, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Microsoft Surface: Redefined

If you have been following our coverage of Windows 8, whether it be early looks, the new logo, the consumer preview or the most recent release preview, there has been one consistent question: would Microsoft make a branded device to be the flagship of the OS? That question was answered Monday when Microsoft unveiled Microsoft Surface.

Now, you might recognize that name from CES 2011 or CES 2012 as the Samsung SUR40, a 40-inch, Microsoft-powered, massively multi-touch device powered by PixelSense. Well, that technology will now reside under the PixelSense moniker, as that is really the underlying technology, and the new Windows 8 tablet family will take on the Surface branding in its place.

So, what is so special about this Microsoft flagship Windows 8 tablet? Hit the break to find out more and see Microsoft's announcement video.

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