Amazon put $1.3 billion into Prime Instant Video last year

Amazon may have surprised Wall Street by how much sales went up in the fourth quarter of last year ($29.3 billion, with a profit of $214 million), but for customers its Prime service is the big deal. Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said Prime membership in the US grew by 50 percent last year, despite a price hike . That growth probably explains (and helps justify) the expanding number of services it's tacked on to what was originally just an offer of free / cheap shipping. According to Bezos, Amazon plowed $1.3 billion into Prime Instant Video alone in 2014, snapping up exclusives, content from HBO and creating award winning programming like Transparent . [Image credit: Shutterstock] Of course, since this is Amazon there's no exact number of Prime subscribers revealed, but the company apparently spent "billions" on shipping for the program. The company's Fire phone didn't seem to merit much discussion, but for now Wall Street is happy and customers keep clicking that Buy button, so why rain on the parade? Filed under: Internet , Amazon Comments Source: Amazon

Use Facebook while in South Carolina jail, go to solitary for 37 years

Prisons have a legitimate interest in controlling contraband, but in South Carolina, using social media from behind bars is a Class I offense, carrying stiffer penalties than murder, escape and hostage-taking. Read the rest

T-Mobile forced to stop hiding slow speeds from throttled customers

When T-Mobile US customers exceed their monthly data caps, they aren't cut off from the Internet entirely. Instead, T-Mobile throttles their connections to 128Kbps or 64Kbps, depending on which plan they have, for the rest of the month. But T-Mobile has made it difficult for those customers to figure out just how slow their connections are, with a system that exempts speed test applications from the throttling. After complaints from consumer advocates , the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigated the issue and has forced T-Mobile to be more honest about its network's throttled speeds. Announced today , an agreement between T-Mobile and the FCC ensures that customers will be able to accurately gauge their throttled speeds. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Here’s how YouTube is making it easier to watch 4K video

It's one thing to find 4K video , but it's another thing to play it -- the bandwidth needed to play high-quality 4K video could easily crush many home internet connections, let alone your mobile service. YouTube isn't taking that challenge lying down, though. As the service explains, it has been encoding many videos in its newer VP9 format in recent months to make 4K more viable and improve the picture you see. The codec uses as little as half the bandwidth as the H.264 standard you see on many parts of the web, even as it bumps up the image quality by prioritizing sharp features and taking into account fast-moving elements in the footage, like water spray. The result is video that not only starts playing sooner (since it spends less time buffering), but runs at resolutions that your connection might not otherwise handle. Even if your internet access isn't up to handling 4K, this could still make the difference between watching in HD versus blocky standard definition. The real question is whether or not your favorite apps and devices can handle it. Chrome, Firefox and a lot of recent hardware (such as the Galaxy S6 ) have native support, but there's no guarantee that it'll be ubiquitous -- not with the industry's H.265 standard competing for attention, anyway. Filed under: Internet , Google Comments

Windows 10 Timeline remembers everything you did on your PC

One of the more intriguing features Microsoft will include in this fall's Windows 10 Creators Update is Timeline. As the name suggests, it's a way for you to move backwards in time and see things you were working on in the past and resume what you were doing. Microsoft described it as a visual timeline of everything you were doing on your computer, and you can jump back into files, applications and websites where you left off. Introducing Timeline. Easily jump back in time to continue where you left off. #Windows10 #MSBuild pic.twitter.com/e3gxhXnp6W — Windows (@Windows) May 11, 2017 Timeline lives in the Windows app switcher. When you click it, you'll see your active apps, but below that you'll see what you were running earlier in the day. Clicking down on one of those things that you were using earlier will pop it open just as you were using it before. This works across multiple devices, as well -- when you open up another Windows device where you're signed in, you can resume the tasks you were using before. This will even work across other devices like an iPhone using the Cortana app. If you're somewhere where you have Cortana, it'll prompt you to continue working on whatever you were doing before. If you don't have the specific app installed on your phone, it'll help point you to the right app as well. At first glance, it sounds a little bit like the Time Machine backup feature that Apple has included in macOS for years now. But Time Machine is more of a file backup system that lets you go back and see earlier versions of files that you might want to restore. Microsoft's Timeline covers applications and websites as well as just files, and it doesn't require an external hard drive, as it's not really a true backup system in the way Time Machine is. Indeed, Timeline appears more like Microsoft's answer to Continuity, a feature Apple build into macOS and iOS that lets you pick up and resume work across whatever Apple device you're using. Timeline is just one feature in the forthcoming Creators Update, which features a host of tools for using Microsoft's software and services across devices. The "Microsoft Graph" set of APIs will let you pick up and continue work across multiple devices and will iOS and Android as well as Windows. It'll also let you have a "universal clipboard" across your devices. Click here to catch up on the latest news from Microsoft Build 2017.

Equifax: we missed 2.5 million people when we counted the size of our breach

Turns out that the total number of people whose lives Equifax ruined by doxing them and then dumping all their most sensitive personal and financial data is 145,500,000 , not 143,000,000. The company's new CEO apologized for the misunderstanding, and persisted in calling the people his company destroyed "customers" despite the fact that the vast majority of them were not Equifax customers, just random people whom Equifax compiled massive dossiers on, and then lost control over.

Antarctica’s ‘Dragon Skin’ Ice Is Incredible

Dragon skin ice sounds like something you’d encounter beyond The Wall in the Game of Thrones fantasy realm. But good news nerds, you can find this magical-sounding stuff right here on Earth—though you’ve gotta be lucky, and willing to travel to some of the most hostile environments on the planet. Like the team of… Read more...

Verizon fought the NSA’s metadata collection program but lost anyway

It looks like Verizon's concerns about government snooping go beyond publishing transparency reports -- but also haven't had much of a tangible effect. The Washington Post understands through both a declassified ruling and sources that Big Red quietly challenged the constitutionality of the NSA's call metadata collection in January, only to be shot down by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in March. The company had been hinging its case on Judge Richard Leon's non-final ruling that the NSA's surveillance is unconstitutional . FISC Judge Rosemary Collyer, however, argued that Leon's opinion was "unpersuasive." She sided with earlier precedents claiming that people have "no legitimate expectation of privacy" when they hand data over to third parties, such as telecoms. Collyer also didn't believe that the scale of any data collection determined whether or not a search is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, and rejected notions that metadata was likely to reveal private information. As you might imagine, civil liberty advocates disagree with this interpretation. TechDirt notes that there's a big difference between targeting one person versus the entire US, that many do expect privacy, and that it's entirely possible to track people using metadata. Verizon isn't confirming that it filed the challenge, which redacts the source of the complaint. Provided that the Post 's sources are accurate, though, Verizon was the first carrier to dispute the constitutionality of the NSA's activities; Judge Collyer noted that no other network had tried this before. We don't know if other firms have attempted something since, but they may not be eager to follow in Verizon's footsteps knowing the likely outcome. Filed under: Cellphones , Wireless , Internet , Verizon Comments Via: TechDirt Source: DocumentCloud , Washington Post

Germany Sets New National Record With 85 Percent of Its Electricity Sourced From Renewables

Germany was able to set a new national record for the last weekend of April with 85 percent of all electricity consumed in the country being produced from renewables -- wind, solar, biomass, and hydroelectric power. Digital Trends reports: Aided by a seasonal combination of windy but sunny weather, during that weekend the majority of Germany's coal-fired power stations weren't even operating, while nuclear power stations (which the country plans to phase out by the year 2022) were massively reduced in output. To be clear, this is impressive even by Germany's progressive standards. By comparison, in March just over 40 percent of all electricity consumed in the country came from renewable sources. However, while the end-of-April weekend was an aberration, the hope is that it won't be for too much longer. According to Patrick Graichen of the country's sustainability-focused Agora Energiewende Initiative, German renewable energy percentages in the mid-80s should be "completely normal" by the year 2030. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Biggest Global Cyber Attack Ever? 10 WannaCry Ransomware Facts

A global cybersecurity attack involving WannaCry ransomware crippled Microsoft Windows computers across the globe today. Here are 10 facts to know. The post Biggest Global Cyber Attack Ever? 10 WannaCry Ransomware Facts appeared first on ChannelE2E .