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BREAKING NEWS: JUSTIN BIEBER HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR - Just kidding, no one cares. Let’s talk about the stories that matter. You might not have had time to catch the top new posts this week - so ActivEngage saved them for you. This week, Netflix bares its teeth at Internet service providers, a deep space probe speaks to Earthlings, and new crash test data which shows smaller isn’t safer.
Netflix is the entertainment lifeblood of millions of American, but it also wields considerable purchasing power. In the company’s annual letter to investors was a word of caution to its ISP partners. Because of recent rulings on the FCC’s net neutrality guidelines, domestic internet service providers can now legally impede video streams for the sake of profit. "Were this draconian scenario to unfold with some ISP," Netflix writes, "we would vigorously protest and encourage our members to demand the open internet they are paying their ISP to deliver."
Now that Twitter’s gone public, it’s going to try and monetize social media by enabling users to purchase directly from their feeds. In a not-so-distant future, Best Buy might be tweeting pictures of the latest gadget along with a button that buys it for you. Twitter has hired its first head of commerce, former Ticketmaster president Nathan Hubbard, amid an overhaul of online services. Forrester Research projects that e-commerce will be $370 billion market by 2017.
Way back in 2004, the European Space Agency launched the Rosetta probe to catch the comet 67B/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The spacecraft has been in hibernation for the past three years as it hurtles towards the edge of our solar system, but it shook off its sleep on January 20th to make contact with researchers on Earth. If everything goes as planned, the probe will intercept the comet in November and drop a rover on its surface, completing a ten-year mission.
Well, it’s one of the top ten for us anyway. 3Birds makes websites that focus on customer retention. These sites are used in the service departments of brands like Honda, Jeep, Lexus, Acura, and Kia. 3Birds has picked ActivEngage as the preferred chat provider for the fixed-ops sites they create, because ActivEngage is the only chat provider that has enough dealership knowledge to handle conversations about service.
The French company Induct has launched the world’s first fully-autonomous vehicle, on sale for a quarter-million dollars. It’s not exactly going to replace your old car; it travels up to 12 miles per hour and looks like a ridiculous golf cart. But this electric vehicle is far better suited to function as a shuttle for downtown environments or college campuses. The Navia car can navigate traffic and narrow alleyways without any guidance from infrastructure - a first of its kind.
I’ve always thought supply chain and logistics optimization is pretty cool, but Amazon has patented an “anticipatory package shipping” system that sends your items to you before you ever purchase them. This forecasting model uses data from your prior online activity to estimate what you’ll buy in the future. Then Amazon ships the things you’re likely to purchase to a hub near your geographic location. Pretty creepy, right?
The nation of Ukraine is in full revolt after new legislation uses cell phone surveillance to identify political dissidents. Every Ukrainian that had a cell phone near possible protest sites received a text message on Thursday morning: “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.” We saw in the Arab Spring of 2012 that technology can be a liberating force, but this incident proves that it can be used to oppress as well.
South Korea, a nation already renowned for nationwide wireless internet access, has announced plans to roll out a $1.5 billion broadband service that puts all U.S. carriers to shame. Within six years, South Korea will have access to Internet speeds that are 1,000 times faster than those here at home. Do the math - 450 mbps/sec is enough to download a feature-length 800 MB film in two seconds.
Our founding fathers spoke of the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and private browsing histories. The UN has now unanimously voted to adopt a resolution that names online privacy a basic human right. Speakers noted that “the global and open nature of the Internet and the rapid advancement in information and communication technologies as a driving force in accelerating progress towards development in its various forms.”
Smaller doesn’t mean safer. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released the results of the new small-overlap crash test for miniature vehicles, and the Chevy Spark was the only one to escape with a mark of “acceptable.” During this test, the front quarter of the driver side of the vehicle collides with a barrier at 40 mph. Is this bad news for convenient cars?
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