I share a sea story on the show tonight, based on a video I saw this evening shared with me by my oldest daughter.. Hope you enjoy it. Supreme Court makes major rulings plus I get deep into a pile of tech stories and update you on my Transformation.
Welcome to The Gadget Professor Show #163 hosted by Don Baine, produced by Mike Baine.
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By now, you have probably heard about the Supreme Court’s decision on the case called American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo. In short, the Justices voted 6 to 3 in favor of the broadcast industry. Justice Breyer’s opinion was supported by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Ginsburg, Kagen, Kennedy, and Sotomayor. The Justices who dissented were Justices Scalia, Alito, and Thomas.
Within seconds after the decision was revealed, rage swept across the internet. The “Court of Public Opinion” clearly feels that the SCOTUS decision stinks. Those hoped to finally being able to “cut the cord” and get rid of their cable bill forever are not going to see that happen through Aereo right now.
In plain English, this is a case about copyright (at least, that’s how SCOTUS sees it). The basic idea is that if you make a work – such as a television show – you can get a copyright. No one else is allowed to “publicly preform” that work unless they pay you. Aereo doesn’t pay the copyright owners, so SCOTUS decided that what Aereo was providing was illegal.
The Justices did not choose to make a decision about some related, and important, concepts. They didn’t specify how the copyright laws apply to services that aren’t exactly like the cable companies. They felt that their decision regarding Aereo did not call into question of the legality regarding cloud computing. Personally, I think that Justices’ lack of clarifying about these concepts is going to lead to more lawsuits as companies fight about where the real boundary is between legal and illegal.
Aereo released a statement from CEO and Founder Chet Kanojia regarding the SCOTUS decision. Here are some key points from the statement:
“…Consumer access to free-to-air broadcast television is an essential part of our country’s fabric. Using an antenna to access free-to-air broadcast television is still meaningful for more than 60 million Americans across the United States. And when new technology enables consumers to use a smarter, easier to use antenna, consumers and the marketplace win. Free-to-air broadcast television should not be available only to those wh can afford to pay for the cable or satellite bundle.”
“…We are disappointed in the outcome, but our work is not done. We will continue to fight for our consumers and fight to create innovative technologies that have a meaningful and positive impact on our world.”
Those of you who still have unsold items sitting in the Diablo III Auction House have a very short time in which to collect them. Back in March of 2014, Blizzard Entertainment announced hat they would be closing both the gold Auction House and the real-money Auction House. Both will be closed forever on June 24, 2014.
Players have had a lot of time to remove their items from either Auction House. Blizzard has done a very effective job of making it clear that the Auction Houses are about to close. They posted it on the log in screen for Diablo III many times. Several different Blizzard Twitter accounts have sent out Tweets about it. Even Tyrael (@AspectofWisdom) reminded players about it!
The @Diablo Auction house will be closing tomorrow. Make sure you check the "Completed" tab to make sure of no leftover items!
— Tyrael (@AspectofWisdom) June 23, 2014
Those who had items left in either Auction House got an email a few days ago that reminded them to go get their stuff before it disappeared. The email included instructions about how to go about collecting the items.
Despite all the warnings about the impending closure of both Auction Houses (which Blizzard started sending out in March) there are going to be people will be completely shocked and surprised when they realize sometime tomorrow that can no longer retrieve the items that they left in the Auction House. The items that they ignored, and left to gather virtual dust in the Auction House, suddenly become incredibly meaningful to them. I am expecting a lot of complaining by disgruntled, procrastinating, players all over social media tomorrow.
Looking for an adventure video game that has been designed with children in mind? The LEGO Minifigures Online game is now in beta. The game is made by Funcom, who also are makers of The Secret World (and other games).
The LEGO Minifigures online game involves collecting all the minifigures that are represented in the game and taking them on grand adventures. There is a Pirate World, a Space World, and a Medieval World.
Players choose a minifigure as their playable character. Each one has special abilities. Players can interact with the environment in the game by smashing walls and building machines. It is an adventure type of game that includes a story line that is geared for children.
It is an online game, and parents are encouraged to play it with their children. LEGO Minifigures Online is a Free-to-Play game. As you may have expected, it includes optional in game purchases. However, it promises that the game can be played completely without requiring players (or their parents, to be more accurate) to spend real world money on it. The game requires children who are under the age of 13 to have to rely on their parents for in-game purchases.
Memberships can be purchased for 1 month, 6 months, or 12 months (and are priced at $7.99, $39.99 and $69.99). The more you spend, the more “extras” it unlocks. It should be noted that you cannot use the chat function unless you have paid for a membership.
Right now, the game is in beta, which means that things within it in could change. Those who would like to give the game a try must download it and be using a Windows PC. The Funcom website says the game will launch for PC, iOS and Android during the second half of 2014.
One big advantage of having your kids play with virtual LEGOs, instead of physical ones, is obvious. You greatly reduce your risk of stepping on a LEGO that your kids left on the floor!
In this episode Rob and Todd talk about the latest announcements by Apple. We also cover the latest news on new podcast companies launching. We review some global podcasting trends and ponder why the Android community is not embracing podcasting.
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Riot Games, maker of League of Legends, is doing something new. It doesn’t take place inside a video game, either. Queue Dodge offers employees “cash to quit”.
New hires at Riot Games will have the ability to quit their jobs and get some money for doing so. They can take advantage of Queue Dodge anytime within their first 60 days. Those that choose to quit will be paid up to 10% of their annual salary (up to $25,000). Right now, this offer is only available for newly hired employees of Riot Games that are in North America.
It seems like a strange move. Why would a company put a potential employee through what they describe as a “rigorous interview process” and pay if they quit within the first 60 days? It sounds counterintuitive. Wouldn’t that encourage people to quit?
The answer appears to be directly connected to “the unique flavor” of their culture. In short, Riot Games wants to ensure that people stay working for them because they are a good fit, and not just for the paycheck. They want to provide a “well-lit, safe exit path” for workers who self-identify as a mismatch. I think it is meant to be an open, positive, way to end an employment situation.
I can see where Queue Dodge would give newly hired employees the financial flexibility to opt-out of working for Riot Games without having to worry about how they will pay their bills while they are looking for another job. It can take some of the stress out of being unemployed.
On the other hand, I cannot help but wonder if the existence of Queue Dodge might influence current employees to be less accepting of new hires who are a little different than themselves. The pessimist in me wonders if Queue Dodge would function as a way to pressure people to quit.