The UpStream

House Works to Limit the FCC

posted Sunday Apr 1, 2012 by Scott Ertz

House Works to Limit the FCC

The FCC has been working very hard to expand their reach over the past few years. They tried to declare themselves Lord of the Internet, they single-handedly shut down the AT&T/T-Mobile merger and most recently wasted billions in private funding by stopping LightSquared's LTE network.

Most of the country is more than a little concerned about the FCC and their self-proclaimed powers over others. Included in that list are members of the US House of Representatives. Currently, the House has been working on a bill, the FCC Process Reform Act of 2012, to limit the powers of the FCC. This bill would essentially create oversight for the agency, which has never existed before.

How would this bill make the world a better place? Hit the break to find out.

Windows Licensing Put to the Test

posted Sunday Apr 1, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Windows Licensing Put to the Test

With piracy in the news constantly right now because of the recent takedown of Megaupload and the future of piracy in the sky, now is possibly the worst time for a new company to try and make a name for itself in the piracy game. Desktops on Demand, however, is trying to do just that.

If you have ever wanted to have a Windows computer without the hassle of speed or dealing with the peskiness of having a legal copy, then this service is for you. Through the service you can host virtual desktops that allow you to do normal computer functions remotely, through any Windows, Mac, iOS or Android device. They describe themselves as,

Desktops on Demand is a hosted virtual desktop service providing disposable desktops which allow you to protect yourself against malware and cyber attacks. Most malware and cyber attacks occur simply because you use the internet and increasingly sophisticated malware can easily infect your computer and give cyber-criminals access to your personal and financial data.

While their beta will start in less than a month, there is a lot of trouble ahead. Hit the break to find out why.

Xbox 360 Adds More Media Apps, Still Lacks Some Promised in October

posted Sunday Apr 1, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Xbox 360 Adds More Media Apps, Still Lacks Some Promised in October

Since October, Microsoft has been boosting its media partners that are available on the Xbox 360 and even though all of the partners they announced were not available when the Xbox Dashboard was refreshed, we were promised we'd see the entire list at some point. While the news surely wasn't encouraging, a few days after the refresh Xbox Live was given another bunch of media apps that we were able to play with, however we still were missing around ten that were on Microsoft's initial list. Then, in mid-February, the 360 was given another batch of apps, yet we still did not see Bravo, HBO Go, Vevo, Xfinity and Manga Entertainment and some of those weren't even on the "Coming Soon" list.

Almost six months after the announcement of all of these different media additions to Xbox Live, more were added this week. What's been added and why are we still missing some apps? Learn about it all after the break.

BlackBerry's New Direction

posted Saturday Mar 31, 2012 by Scott Ertz

BlackBerry's New Direction

It is no secret that Research in Motion and BlackBerry are in trouble. They have had trouble selling their PlayBook tablets, even having to recall some and they are losing marketshare at an alarming rate, not helped by a massive outage last year. Add to that a long-overdue and constantly teased BlackBerry OS 10, also not without issue and the company's inability to get people to upgrade to OS 7-powered devices and you end up with a new CEO.

Only 10 weeks into his tenure and Thorsten Heins is making some major changes. He has started cleaning house on executives that have led to this disaster, including former Co-CEO Jim Balsillie. He also plans to clean house on some of RIM's consumer-facing projects. He believes that consumer-level products do not quite play into RIM's wheelhouse of expertise. On this week's earnings call he said,

It's now very clear to me that substantial change is what RIM needs... We see that Blackberry can not succeed if we try to be everybody's darling and all things to all people.

So, what does Heins believe are RIM's strengths and what are the changes he sees? Hit the break to find out.

Facebook Timeline Now Active for Brand Pages

posted Saturday Mar 31, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Facebook Timeline Now Active for Brand Pages

Friday, Facebook make a pretty major move, introducing Facebook Timeline to all brand pages. Unlike personal timelines, which have not yet forced their way into the lives of those who do not want it, brand pages have all been converted. Perhaps Facebook learned their lesson from making it semi-optional with personal profiles, requiring them to now maintain two separate sets of profile code for personal pages.

The Timeline for Brands comes with a load of new features that did not exist previously. First, and most interestingly, is messaging capabilities. In the past, it was incredibly difficult to communicate with a brand in a meaningful way. You could leave a comment on their wall, but I can tell you as a brand manager myself, it is very difficult to keep up with what you have read and what you have not. The ability for someone to message you directly is a much more convenient way of communicating.

What other new features are available to Brands now? Hit the break to find out.

Small SimCity Updates Tells Us There's a Bigger Picture in Store for All

posted Saturday Mar 31, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Small <i>SimCity</i> Updates Tells Us There's a Bigger Picture in Store for All

As promised, I bring an important, albeit small update from Maxis and EA regarding their upcoming SimCity title that was announced at GDC a few weeks ago.

SimCity's Facebook was completely redone this week in-line with their Timeline transition and we got to see a new cover photo and a few new status updates. More importantly, Ocean Quigley, SimCity's Creative Director, posted on the fan page late Friday afternoon a message to all fans about how the cities in the new SimCity game will interact and connect with each other. Everything looks to be pointing to another game that will require an active Internet connection to play and keep the game updated.

Of course, users will always be up in arms over a change, and you can read about that on their fan page. However, we have the message and a new screenshot from the game after the break.

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