Major League Baseball Latest to Join Net Neutrality Efforts Against FCC Fast Lane Proposal

mlb_tv app screenshotIf any group should be nervous about the implications of an internet “Fast Lane”, major league sports should be at the top of that list.

As more and more consumers are diversifying their media consumption, one of the few areas you can count on to get viewers watching in real-time, with ads, are sports games. ESPN Scored a hit this summer streaming the World Cup over their mobile app, and Major League Baseball has been improving their MLB.tv service.

Of course streaming live HD video takes some bandwidth, and that means MLB would also need to negotiate a separate deal with ISP’s to “guarantee” a fast enough service for their subscribers. It’s entirely likely those additional costs would eventually be passed down to consumers.

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Japanese Research Group Develops Battery with 7 Times the Capacity of Li-Ion

rav4ev battery cutawayThe longest running smartphones on the market today last at best two days. Imagine if they ran for almost two weeks.

A group at the University of Tokyo School of Engineering led by professor Noritaka Mizuno, and working in cooperation with Nippon Shokubai Co Ltd. are developing a new manufacturing method which might substantially improve energy density in cars and as storage units for homes connected to a smart grid.

Using an “oxygen rocking” design, the team is confident their new storage technique should be capable of storing up to seven times the energy of traditional Lithium Ion cells, while maintaining a high degree of reliability and safety.

Of course like several of the other recent “exciting” scientific battery discoveries, this is still at the research phase. However developments like this should mean improved run time for our gadgets and vehicles is getting closer.

Verizon Wireless to Start Throttling Legacy Unlimited Data Plans

featured imageThe truly unlimited party is almost over.

Via a press release, Verizon Wireless announced they will expand their “Network Optimization Policies” to include people on 4G LTE networks. Previously, only 3G “subscribers with unlimited data plans whose data usage is in the top 5 percent of all data users” were targeted. As more consumers are moving to LTE, now any heavy user will be affected.

Starting in October 2014, Verizon Wireless will extend its network optimization policy to the data users who: fall within the top 5 percent of data users on our network, have fulfilled their minimum contractual commitment, and are on unlimited plans using a 4G LTE device. They may experience slower data speeds when using certain high bandwidth applications, such as streaming high-definition video or during real-time, online gaming, and only when connecting to a cell site when it is experiencing heavy demand. (Note: Does not currently apply to government or business accounts that have signed a major account agreement.)

Of course, VZW would appreciate you not hammering their 4G network with HD Netflix streaming, but chances are pretty good they’re already throttling that anyway

As we push more data intensive services to our phones and tablets, will a move like this change your usage or behavior? Will this make you more likely to consider changing providers when it comes time to sign a new contract? Leave us a comment, and you can read the full press release below.

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‘The Expendables 3′ Leaks Online in DVD Quality Before Film’s Release

The-Expendables-3Often when copies of a film show up online close to a film’s release in theaters, they’re often bad camera jobs. People pointing a camera at a movie theater screen to capture the footage. No such luck for the producers on ‘The Expendables 3‘ as a DVD quality rip of the film showed up on file sharing services July 24th.

It’s not clear who leaked the film, but it’s already been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. It will be interesting to see how this might affect the box office tally for the film which opens August 15th. If it takes a bad beat opening weekend, you can be sure that heads will roll at distributor Lionsgate over how this screener got loose.

Before people get too excited about snagging a copy of the film for free on their favorite torrent service, production company Nu Image has been active in the past in suing people sharing previous titles of theirs. With a leak this potentially damaging, we might assume they’ll be very active in trying to chill sharing activity…

Verizon FiOS Customer Posts Video Showing Netflix Throttling

verizon throttling netflixColin Nederkoorn pays for a 75Mbps Verizon FiOS connection. That should be screamingly fast for streaming HD video, yet he often finds his video buffering and the quality regularly scales back to a mess of 8-Bit impressionism.

Connecting to Netflix directly, even a 320 x 240 resolution video at a meager bitrate of 235Kbps  will often stutter. It’s an insanely frustrating situation to pay for that level of service and not be able to watch even the bare minimum quality video without interruption.

The funny thing is, when Colin connects to Netflix through a VPN, his video SCREAMS, chewing through 720p streams at 3Mbps without issue.

To over-simplify, the VPN masks the final destination for Colin’s web traffic, which means Verizon can’t see that he’s pulling info from Netflix. Suddenly that “Network Congestion” evaporates.

This is of course one person’s experience, so we shouldn’t extrapolate this as a company-wide business practice without more evidence, but it certainly doesn’t paint Verizon in a positive light, especially after their recent feuds with Netflix over who is to blame for streaming interruptions.

Friday Fun: Jimmy Kimmel Shows Folks Apple’s iWatch (Really $20 Casio)

jimmy kimmel apple iwatchMan on the street jokes are regular fodder for late night comedians, but Jimmy Kimmel loves picking on technology.  In this bit he turns his sights on Apple fans, promising people a sneak peek at Apple’s new iWatch. In reality they’re playing with a $20 Casio. Let’s see how folks like it once they slap an Apple logo on the back.

Google Voice Now Allows for Calls Through Hangouts

google voice hangoutsProgress has been painfully slow, but eventually Google Voice and Hangouts will merge into one super app of calling and communication. Recently we’ve been looking for changes to the Hangouts app, but Google has just announced an update to Voice that shows they are walking these two services together.

Alex Wiesen, a Manager at Google, posted this to G+ yesterday:

When I’m travelling I like to call my family from the Google Voice website on my laptop, but without a phone handy, it’s a little hard to use. To make things easier, we’ve just added Hangouts as an option when making calls from the web. It works even if you aren’t using Hangouts in Gmail, and doesn’t require a Google+ account. Try it the next time you place a call from the Google Voice website — I think it’s a much easier way to keep in touch with people.

You can check out the update now logging into Google Voice on a desktop browser. Hopefully this means we’ll eventually see updates to the mobile apps for these services soon.

Chromecast Turns 1 – Offers up Three Free Months of Play Music All Access to Celebrate!

google chromecast tv hdmi dongle somegadgetguyHappy Birthday Chromecast!

Google’s little, inexpensive, wunder-streaming HDMI stick is now a one year old, and no birthday should ever pass without celebrating it with presents. Google’s gift to Chromecast users is a free three month trial of Play Music All Access. The caveat is you can’t already be signed up for the All Access service, so those of us all ready paying for it aren’t invited to the party.

If you do have a Chromecast, head over to chromecast.com/offers to sign up!

 

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