With drones becoming one of the most popular gifts this past holiday season, millions of new aircraft will take to the skies this year. The FAA was able to predict the sensation and implemented a bunch of
new rules on flying them, along with requiring almost all drones to undergo a registration process on the agency's website. One would imagine that the regulations in place would be enough to protect property and restricted air spaces, however the State of California disagrees and is looking to implement more rules on drone use.
There are currently two different bills being passed around California, each by a different lawmaker, that would add more regulations to drone use in the state. One of the new laws, if passed, would make it a requirement that all drones have a "tiny physical or electronic license plate" attached to the aircraft. The other bill would see to it that pilots who cause damage with their drones would have to leave contact information with the other party, much like one has to do with car accidents.
What's the cause for all of the increased regulation on these new flying devices? Well, considering California's ability to blow things up out of proportion, drones have caused power outages, prevented fires from being put out and one drone even struck a baby, all in 2015. That was enough for Glendale, CA Assemblyman Mike Gatto to introduce a "$1 or so" insurance policy program that he is hoping will be passed. Gatto also wants to require all drones come with a kill switch that will immediately disable the drone when it approaches an airport. I think we overlooked how dangerous that can be in practice, but again, this is California.
I think 2015 showed us that in the era of democratized aviation, certain types of incidents will be fairly common. More and more people are buying these and that's great. This is just like the 1920s when more and more people were buying cars, but I just think that we need some basic rules going forward.
Gatto hopes that he can introduce the bill next week and that it will be passed relatively quickly. Similarly, Monterey Park, CA Assemblyman Ed Chau says that drone accidents are increasing and owners should be responsible for the damages. I'm completely on board with the idea of making pilots accountable for their actions, and Chau hopes that this good practice will simply become a law.
Unfortunately, as the number of drones in the air will only increase in the coming years, we are going to see more and more accidents. And even with world-class safety features and training, accidents are still going to happen, just like on our roadways. If a drone breaks down, runs out of power or crashes into something, the operator needs to do the responsible thing and come forward and identify himself to the victim and to the police. This bill will make that responsibility the law.
That bill is currently in review within California's legislation system. Interestingly, drone bills in the past have been vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown, who shot down a bill in September that asked to ban drone use over private residences at altitudes of 350 feet or less. Some of the newly-proposed bills are far less restrictive than that, and it would seem likely that the bill to require owners to report and admit damage will end up becoming a law. After all, drones are known to the State of California to cause birth defects, or something like that.
Back in September, Hulu finally gave users what they wanted -
advertising-free streaming. For only $4 more per month than their initial paid package, streamers could enjoy no commercials on almost all content. Since then, Hulu has been riding high on its successes as it hopes to take on Netflix for the top video-streaming spot on the 'net. In order to help that motive along, the company continues to sign content deals with partners from all over the place, and this week was no exception. Hulu has reached out to Sony to ink a deal that will bring over older shows and movies to the platform.
Since Hulu is known for mostly current shows, it has been fighting to add a formidable backlog to its offerings in order to keep users engaged on the service. This deal with Sony Pictures will bring over some very popular shows of the 90s and 2000s. The full catalogs of The Shield, Party of Five, Damages, Happy Endings and Dawson's Creek will all make their way over to Hulu. For movies, titles like Jerry Maguire and My Best Friend's Wedding will also be found in Hulu's ever-expanding film selection.
This deal is after an initial deal with Sony Pictures that saw Seinfeld show up on the service for a cool $700,000. Early last year, Hulu began going on a contract frenzy with Disney, Comcast and Fox, all of which are co-owners of Hulu itself. The company also sought after AMC Networks and Discovery for exclusive deals for a bunch of content.
That's not all for Hulu, however. The green team is also focused on original content, much like Netflix and Amazon, in order to give customers a reason to pick one service over the other. A deal has been struck with award-winning producer J.J. Abrams and New York Times Bestseller Stephen King on an eight-part mini-series called 11.22.63. The show will premiere on February 15th and is based on King's book about a teacher who tries to go back in time to stop the assassination of JFK. Abrams spoke highly of Hulu in a statement that indicated he was shopping around the idea.
We feel incredibly lucky to be working with Hulu. They've been remarkable and incredibly collaborative and excited about this as we were. That really is why we ended up there. We did go out to a number of different places, had some offers, but the enthusiasm was clear and it matched ours.
Further proving its success, Hulu's newest comedy, Casual, was recently nominated for a Golden Globe Award, which was a first for Hulu.
EA has had its EA Access program available for the Xbox One for quite some time now. For $5 per month, or $40 for the year, you get free games, exclusive trials, early access to demos and discounts on game purchases. However for those on EA's Origin platform for PC, nothing like that existed. The company has its Great Game Guarantee, but giving gamers the ability to try games worry-free is a bigger benefit to some. So in order to give the community more flexibility, variety and value, EA has introduced Origin Access.
For $4.99 a month, Origin Access will bring gamers a full collection games, along with trials, demos and discounts, just like on Xbox One. The service is launching with 15 of EA's most popular titles, such as
Battlefield 4, Dragon Age: Inquisition, The Sims 3 and This War of Mine. EA says it will add more titles from both EA studios and indie developers over time, mimicking the service on its console counterpart. EA also has a link that contains the full game list.
While the details are simple, many gamers who had the service on the Xbox One were unaware of the full feature set. EA broke that down in a simple way for Origin Access. Users will be able to:
Those interested can visit the Play More - Explore The Vault where members can download and play full versions of more than a dozen great PC games. Play First - Play EA's PC games for a limited time before they're released. All your stats and progress carry over if you decide to buy the game. Play for Less - Save 10% on your Origin purchases - from full games and DLC to content packs and more. Origin Store and sign up today. EA has also set up a FAQ page for those who have more questions.
Still not convinced? The gaming giant has enlisted the help of Bill Nye the Science Guy to produce a
quick 43 second video about the service. It also contains multiverse theory.