Internet

Chicago adds ‘amusement tax’ to services like Netflix and Hulu

Chicago adds ‘amusement tax’ to services like Netflix and Hulu

Chicago is about to become a little less welcoming to cord cutters, with the city authorizing an 'amusement tax' on online streaming services like Netflix and Pandora. Under this, subscribers are going to be paying a 9-percent tax on their various cloud-based streaming entertainment services, as well as for the 'privilege' of playing games online. This is the expansion of the existing amusement tax which was previously applied to things like buying concert tickets, and it will apply to businesses as well.

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Understanding Facebook’s data lasers

Understanding Facebook’s data lasers

This week Mark Zuckerberg showed off several photographs of lasers he suggested would be sending internet signals all around the world. These lasers will be used with Facebook's Internet.org project, beaming information "from a plane flying overhead or a satellite flying way overhead," according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "They'll communicate down to earth using very accurate lasers to transfer data." This isn't the first experiment in the world to use lasers to send data. In fact several organizations - like the ESA and NASA - have already begun real-world testing for data transfer between craft in space and labs on our planet's surface. Data transfer with lasers is super reliable and fast, too!

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Facebook to beam the Internet from the sky using lasers

Facebook to beam the Internet from the sky using lasers

When your core business is essentially dependent on the Internet, it makes sense that you'd want everyone to have access to the Internet as well. Google has its Project Loon and Facebook has Internet.org. Of course, those are lofty goals, but the question is always "how". Unlike Google's balloons, Facebook will be using satellites, drones, and lasers. Yes, lasers. Mark Zuckerberg has just posted online, on his Facebook account no less, a teaser of what's to come, with lasers being shot from the sky to deliver the Internet, and Facebook, to everyone.

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YouTube details new features, targets ‘junk’ comments

YouTube details new features, targets ‘junk’ comments

YouTube has been rolling out improvements and features for its creators, and it has detailed the latest among those efforts. The creator features will have some benefits for all YouTube users, though, included among them being changes that cuts down on the number of so-called "junk" comments that litter the comments' section. There are a total of ten things that YouTube says it has been working on, the full details of which we have after the jump — they include things like mobile video management, improvements to live streaming, and more.

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Leap Second internet crash won’t happen like last time

Leap Second internet crash won’t happen like last time

Time stands still on Tuesday as an extra second is added to the 30th of June, 2015. Because the Earth's rotation is slowing - and in several billion years we'll all be dead - a second will be added to the clock. Without this second, we'd eventually have times of day that once were associated with the morning setting with the sun. We'd have chaos. But brought on so gradually that none would really notice the difference. Except computers. Back in 2012 when a second was added to the day, Linux-based systems were flung into chaos. Real chaos, not just imaginary.

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Researchers double fiber optic capacity limit

Researchers double fiber optic capacity limit

Fiber optics offer incredibly fast data transfer speeds, but the logistics of setting up the actual fibers has stymied companies from rolling out the service. The further that data from fiber optic cables has to go, the less likely it is to be accurately interpreted by a receiver. This means that distance is a limiting factor in designing fiber optic transmission networks. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, specializing in photonics, have uncovered a way to increase a the maximum power of optical signals travelling through optical fibers. By increasing the power, the distance is effectively increased, too. The researchers sent information over a record-breaking distance of 12,000 km without using any repeaters (electronic regenerators.)

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Facebook’s latest diversity report shows little change

Facebook’s latest diversity report shows little change

Facebook has introduced its latest diversity report, which details information on its own workforce. There has been little change over last year, unfortunately, showing mostly the same numbers we saw in summer 2014 -- something that doesn't fit well with the social network's diversity goals. Facebook reported its initial diversity numbers in 2014, as did many other big name businesses in the industry. Said the social network’s Global Director of Diversity Maxine Williams, “Having a diverse workforce is not only the right thing to do — it’s the smart thing to do for our business.”

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Tumblr TV arrives to mesmerize you with GIFs

Tumblr TV arrives to mesmerize you with GIFs

Tumblr has introduced another way for GIF lovers to get their looping amusement fix: Tumblr TV, which plays an endless mostly full-screen litany of GIFs on subjects that span the Internet. It's not really television or anything of the sort -- just a bizarre and somewhat trippy way to watch the GIFs that dot Tumblr's landscape. Each GIF loops a few times, then moves on to the next in the line, with users having a couple of simple controls over the content.

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German luxury hotel makes disconnecting easy with internet kill switch

German luxury hotel makes disconnecting easy with internet kill switch

We've all done it. Gone on vacation to escape from work and other responsibilities, yet we still can't help ourselves from checking email and responding to messages on our smartphone and other mobile devices. One luxury hotel in Germany wants to help its guests combat this behavior, not by forcefully denying WiFi and other internet access, but by providing a single, easy to access switch that will remove the temptation. Each room at the Villa Stéphanie has a silver internet kill switch.

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Google Sidewalk to put Wi-Fi hubs in bus stops, phone booths

Google Sidewalk to put Wi-Fi hubs in bus stops, phone booths

Just two weeks ago, Google launched a new subsidiary simply called Sidewalk that will put technology at the service of city building. Now, Sidewalk has announced its first acquisition and also its first project, an ambitious one at that. Called Intersection, the project aims to put Wi-Fi hubs in various public spots and infrastructure, where the intersection of people take place, hence the name. In practice, this means putting up kiosks or reusing bus stops and pay phone booths to provide not just high-speed but also free gigabit Internet to the public.

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