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By Bryan McNee at

Flash is finally on its way out

Adobe said it will stop updating and distributing the Flash technology for playing multimedia on the web by 2020.

The company is collaborating with Alphabet, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Mozilla in the effort but will provide support for and updates to the software until the end-of-life date.

Meanwhile, Adobe will "encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats," the company said in a blog post.

 

Flash dates back to the 1990s, but other tech players have been speaking out against it for years. Apple in particular has been talking for years about how Flash hurts the user experience on desktop and mobile devices. "Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true," Steve Jobs wrote in 2010.

Earlier this year, Google said it would start blocking Flash by default in its Chrome browser come October, and Microsoft has sought to stop Flash from showing up in its Edge browser for Windows 10.

"Adobe will also remain at the forefront of leading the development of new web standards and actively participate in their advancement. This includes continuing to contribute to the HTML5 standard and participating in the WebAssembly Community Group.

By Bryan McNee at

Original R2 D2 sells for almost $3M

An R2-D2 droid that was used in several "Star Wars" films has sold at auction for nearly $3 million.

The auction house Profiles in History said the 43-inch tall unit that was compiled from parts used throughout filming of the original trilogy sold for $2.76 million at an auction Wednesday.

There was no information about who purchased the droid, which was the most expensive item offered in a movie memorabilia auction that included numerous props from the "Star Wars" franchise. Other items up for sale included Luke Skywalker's lightsaber from the first two films, which sold for $450,000 and Darth Vader's helmet from the original film sold for $96,000.

The Calabasas, California-based Profiles in History had estimated the droid could fetch up to $2 million before Wednesday's sale.

Other space-themed film and television memorabilia was also for sale, with a collection of 23 ships from "Battlestar Galactica" and "Buck Rogers" sold for $1.8 million. A helmet worn by late actor Bill Paxton on the set of "Aliens" sold for $51,000.

Not all the items that sold were out of this world. The lighted dancefloor from "Saturday Night Fever" sold for $1.2 million."

By Bryan McNee at

Cool idea! A hamsterwheel desk!

If you are not reaching your current productivity potential - rise up, sedentary sentients, and unleash that untapped potential within by marching endlessly towards a brilliant future of focused work. Step forward into a world of infinite potential, bounded only by the smooth arcs of a wheel. Step forward into the Hamster Wheel Standing Desk that will usher in a new era of unprecedented productivity.

​I love this idea...I wonder if there is a holder for my krispy kremes?

By Bryan McNee at

YouTube Offering Live TV Streaming

YouTube is finally getting into the skinny bundle wars, competing against Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Netflix and a host of others looking to grab consumers who want great television, but don’t want to pay for what they don’t watch.

At $35 a month, consumers in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and two other cities (with more to come down the line) can now get access to 50 channels of all different kinds of content -- news, sports, entertainment and more -- to whet their whistles and cut down on expenses or grab people who would never have paid for television in the first place.

Even though the service doesn’t have as many channels in its bundle as its competitors -- something Pacific Crest Securities analyst Andy Hargreaves said “would have appealed to a much bigger portion of the U.S. population” it does have something going for it that some of its competition doesn’t have -- access to the major broadcast networks.

Aside from Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC, Youtube has more than 1 billion people watching videos on the platform, something its competitors also can’t match.

But what else does it have?

For $35 a month, consumers can get channels like ESPN, USA, Fox News, FX, NBCSN, SEC Network and a host of others. (For every channel available, click here.)

After looking at the channels offered by the service, YouTube TV appears as if it is trying to appeal to sports enthusiasts, but there are some glaring omissions. There are no deals with Turner properties such as TBS or TNT, which have the MLB and NBA playoffs, March Madness and other sports coverage.

There are also channels that can be added on to the service, like Showtime for $11 a month or Fox Soccer Plus for $15 a month. Currently, YouTube TV doesn’t offer HBO as an add-on like other over-the-top streaming services do, but YouTube and Google said in early March they were hopeful they would get access to it.

It also comes bundled with unlimited DVR, the ability to share your membership with up to 6 accounts, no cancellation fees and perhaps most importantly, the ability to watch on any device (including a free Chromecast for signing up).

At $35 a month, it’s far less expensive than the traditional $100 a month cable bundle offered from companies like Comcast, Spectrum, Charter and others, who are working on offering their own skinny bundles as well.

It’s still early days for these over-the-top services, but YouTube is hoping that by appealing to sports fans and making it easy to get access to the broadcast networks, it will differentiate itself from the competition enough to hold onto subscribers.

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