Tag Archives: Gadget Features

Netflix won’t renew movie licensing pact with Epix

Netflix users will soon have to find somewhere else to get their fix of “Hunger Games” and “World War Z.”

The streaming service announced Sunday it has decided not to renew its movie licensing deal with Epix when the current contract expires at the end of September. In the announcement, the streaming service said it was putting a greater emphasis on original content.

“We’ve enjoyed a five-year partnership with Epix, but our strategic paths are no longer aligned,” Netflix said in a statement to Variety. “Our focus has shifted to provide great movies and TV series for our members that are exclusive to Netflix. Epix focus is to make sure that their movies will be widely available for consumers through a variety of platforms.”

Netflix customers will soon lose access to Epix movies.

Epix did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The joint venture of film studios Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lionsgate has reached a licensing deal with streaming service Hulu that is expected to launch in October, said a source familiar with the deal.

The decision underscores the streaming service’s efforts to set itself apart from other subscription movie and TV services with fresh, original content. The move is part of Netflix’s ongoing transition from a by-mail DVD rental company into a major provider of streaming television programming.

Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, noted that because of the concurrent licensing periods, many of the popular Epix movies available to Netflix customers were also available on other subscription services. By creating its own content, Sarandos wrote, Netflix lets its customers avoid the wait for movies to make their in-home debut after their theatrical release.

“We hear from our members that you wish we had newer movies,” Sarandos wrote in a blog post. “Studio licensing practices means it often takes more than a year before consumers can watch a theatrically released movie when and how they want. Just like we’ve changed the game for TV watchers by releasing entire seasons around the world at the same time, we have begun making movies that will premiere on Netflix globally and in some cases, simultaneously in theaters.”

The post highlighted some of the original movies coming to Netflix in the coming months, including Cary Fukunaga’s “Beasts of No Nation,” Adam Sandler’s “Ridiculous Six” and Brad Pitt’s “War Machine.”

Sarandos also noted that Netflix’s exclusive access deal with The Walt Disney Company will kick in next year. The groundbreaking deal, signed back in 2012, will give Netflix subscribers access to first-run, live-action and animated feature films from Disney, including Pixar, Lucasfilm and Marvel.

“The majority of these films will arrive on Netflix faster than traditional arrangements had previously allowed,” Sarandos wrote.

Netflix has been using an ever-growing library of original programs to lure new customers to its streaming-media service. The Los Gatos, California-based company touted original programming such as “Orange Is the New Black” and “Sense8” with helping add 3.28 million new subscribers in its second quarter, easily beating its own projection for 2.5 million new subscribers.

Time will tell whether original movies will help Netflix attract more customers. Netflix expects to bring in 3.55 million more members in the current quarter, with most again coming from international markets.

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The only way to avoid hangover is to drink less, study says

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.


There’s nothing you can do about it. If you’ve drunk too much, that is.

Warner Bros/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Whether you’ve ever been drunk or not, you may be familiar with the concept of the hangover.

Those who have them look awful, behave like a sloth with a wart and drink gallons of water in an attempt to return to their more pleasant selves.

There have been many tales told of how to prevent hangover. Scientists have often weighed in — the latest idea is that the best preventative measure is to drink pear juice. Beforehand, that is.

Now a new study will relieve you of all your antidotes and hairs of the dog. For it concluded that the only way to prevent a hangover is to not drink so much.

As the BBC reports, scientists from the Netherlands and Canada examined hungover students in their respective countries. You might observe that there are rarely any other kind first thing in the morning, so they must have had plenty of potential respondents.

Still, the scientists found that among the 824 Dutch students they talked to, 54 percent did the equivalent of a late-night Jack-In-The-Box, Taco Bell or early morning fry-up in the hope of stemming a hangover’s effects. Some 66 percent tried the drink-a-lot-of-water-before-going-to-bed tactic.

They still felt largely as awful as those who had merely flopped into bed sloshed, still with their clothes on and drooled through the night.

Similar questions were posed to 789 Canadian students. The conclusion again was those who had the worst hangovers were simply those who had drunk more than they should have.

Dr. Joris Verster of Utrecht University in the Netherlands told the BBC: “Drinking water may help against thirst and a dry mouth, but it will not take away the misery, the headache and the nausea.”

The research is to be presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference in Amsterdam this weekend.

Part of the problem with hangovers is that no one really knows what causes them. It isn’t, as is often thought, dehydration. Dr. Verster told the BBC: “We know the immune system is involved, but before we know what causes it, it’s very unlikely we’ll find an effective cure.”

Perhaps it’s just the way the world works. For every pleasure, there is a certain fee that must be paid to Karmic HQ. Sometimes, the fee is steep. In the case of drinking, the fee seems to enjoy a justice-laden form of surge pricing.

You do something to excess, you pay a little more for it. It’s quaintly capitalistic in its way.

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Electronics-sniffing dog found thumb drive with ex-Subway pitchman’s porn stash

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.

Sgt. Snout to the rescue. Silicon-sniffing Bear is a black Lab, like this fellow.

© Image Source/Corbis

The arrest of former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle — and his subsequent guilty plea on child pornography charges — shocked some.

But was it just traditional policing and online detection processes that captured his behavior? It seems not.

Crucial to the case was the role of a Labrador retriever called Bear. Bear is specially trained to detect electronic devices — especially the tiniest ones.

In an interview with NBC News, one of Bear’s trainers, Todd Jordan, explained that a child pornography collection housed on a microSD storage card might contain thousands of images.

“Each photograph is considered a victim,” he said.

The 2-year-old Bear — one of only five dogs trained to sniff out electronics devices, says NBC — can identify an SD card, a thumb drive or an iPad, through the way their individual chemical components are put together. Jordan explained that these things smell differently from a remote or an alarm clock, for example.

When Bear finds something, he sits. When Jordan asks him to point out exactly where the tiny card is, Bear points with his nose.

Bear’s other trainer, Dennis Clark, told Fox News that in order to train him, they went to a laboratory and isolated the one particular odor that’s given off by specific electronic devices.

That odor was then “imprinted” on Bob. The training process takes between 6-8 months. It’s much harder being an electronic device-sniffing dog than, say, a narcotics-sniffing dog. Drugs have more obvious odors.

Clark explained that Bear and a trainer — in the case of the Fogle search, Jordan went with him — go in after the humans have done their best.

“Bear located some items that had been missed by the investigators,” he said. It was his seventh search on behalf of the authorities.

Bear has now been sold to the Seattle Police Department for $9,500, NBC said.

A prosecutor in the US Attorney’s office, Steve DeBrota, told NBC: “I thought I was being punked, but it does work.”

He said that Bear was “a key part of the team.”

The world needs more Bears.

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Flamboyant Tesla Watch steampunkifies your wrist

Calling all steampunk adventurers, pirates, scientists and Victorian ladies. Your outrageously large vacuum-tube-decorated wrist watch has arrived here.

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See what it’s like to get smacked by a grizzly bear in this GoPro video

Need an image to spark your nightmares tonight? This first-person video of a grizzly bear taking a swipe at a camera with its gigantic claws should do the trick.

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Defense Dept. turns to Apple, Lockheed Martin for wearable tech

A group of 162 companies, universities and other groups, including Boeing, Apple and Harvard, will help the US military advance wearable technologies.

Dave Cheng/CNET

The US Department of Defense is partnering with Apple, Lockheed Martin and 160 other private institutions to create wearable tech — in a deal that will give the industry a $171 million boost in both the consumer economy and the military.

It’s all part of the Pentagon’s newly announced Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Hub — an initiative by the Obama administration to create high-tech sensory gear flexible enough to be worn by people or molded onto the outside of a jet.

“I’ve been pushing the Pentagon to think outside our five-sided box and invest in innovation here in Silicon Valley and in tech communities across the country,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in a statement Friday.

The cooperation reflects how some of the biggest corporations and governments see wearables as a next major technology frontier. As companies like Apple, Samsung and Sony are racing into the wearables market, which includes smartwatches, fitness bands, smart glasses and clothing, the new partnership with the Pentagon is a way for the government to get involved in this growing industry. The Pentagon sees these emerging products as having benefits for better medical health monitoring and global connectivity for the consumer economy and military.

“The emerging flexible hybrid electronics sector promises to revolutionize the electronics industry, and the Silicon Valley-based FlexTech Alliance consortium, backed by companies as diverse as Apple and Lockheed Martin and major research universities including Stanford and MIT, represents the next chapter in the long-standing public-private partnerships between the Pentagon and tech community,” the Department of Defense said in a statement.

Total shipments of wearable products are expected to jump to 126 million items in 2019, up from nearly 20 million last year, mostly due to increased demand for smartwatches and fitness bands, according to IDC’s forecasts.

The FlexTech team includes more than 160 companies, nonprofits, independent research organizations and universities.

Under the agreement managed by the US Air Force Research laboratory (AFRL), the team will receive $75 million in DoD funding over five years matched with more than $90 million from industry, academia and local governments. In total, the institute will receive $171 million to invest in strengthening U.S. manufacturing, according to the DoD statement.

The new partnership aims to advance the use of printing technologies to create stretchable electronics. Those electronics could be embedded with sensors and worn by soldiers. In the end, it could be used on ships or warplanes for real-time monitoring of their structural integrity.

Carter will deliver a talk about the partnership between the Pentagon, academia and the private sector in Mountain View, California, starting at 11 a.m. PT.

High-tech fabric has gained prominence not only in the US but around the world. Intelligent Textiles, a British firm, combines electronics engineering, product designer and knitting. The firm weaves electronics into fabric — not embedding electronics, but weaving them into the product itself. One area where high-tech fabric has seen frontline action is in the Canadian military’s IAV Stryker armored personnel carrier.

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