Consumer content

Turkish citizens fight back against Twitter ban

#twitter blocked in #turkey tonight. folks are painting #google dns numbers onto the posters of the governing party. pic.twitter.com/9vQ7NTgotO

— Engin Onder (@enginonder) March 21, 2014

The people of Turkey are still finding their way into the Twittersphere despite a government ban of the site.

On Thursday, Turkish courts took Twitter offline for the country's 76 million citizens following actions by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. An unabashed critic of social networks, Erdogan has threatened to "wipe out" the site in the wake of a political corruption scandal that has embarrassed the government through news, videos, … Read more

Beats Music turns 7 out of 10 free-trial users to paying ones?

Streaming-music service Beats Music signed up 1,000 people a day as paying subscribers before any free trials, and is keeping more than 70 percent of AT&T free-trial users as paying customers once those introductory terms end, according to a Bloomberg report.

The report cited unnamed people familiar with the matter, reporting figures that were provided to investors in February. Beats Music launched publicly on January 21 with AT&T offering "Family" customers a 90-day free trial and individual AT&T wireless customers a 30-day free trial. Before January, Beats Music was in a … Read more

Samsung, Fox announce expanded 4K content deal

Building on a content deal first announced at CES 2014, Samsung and 20th Century Fox today revealed what the companies are calling a "New UHD Content Ecosystem."

Said to deliver a variety of 4K (aka UHD) content using the Smart Hub platform built into Samsung's 2014 4K TVs, the partnership "will also explore additional collaboration opportunities in multiple areas of innovation."

Specifics beyond those vague buzzwords, for example timing, delivery mechanism, bandwidth requirements and cost, were scarce. We'll try to pry more details about the announcement from Samsung at its press event today in … Read more

Airbnb nears major funding round on $10B valuation, report says

Airbnb, the service that connects travelers and those who want to rent their homes out to those folks, is closing in on a massive funding round, a new report claims.

Airbnb could raise between $400 million and $500 million in a round that would value the company at $10 billion, making it among the most valuable online startups in the world, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the company's plans. If completed, the round would be the first for Airbnb since 2012 when the company raised cash on a $2.5 … Read more

Tumblr woos TV networks too, teaming up with Viacom

Tumblr is the latest social network to woo television as an advertising partner, announcing Viacom as the first television programmer to strike an marketing partnership with the Yahoo-owned blogging site.

Television networks have been the prom queen every social network wants to take the the dance lately, as they look for ways to turn their finger-on-the-pulse intrinsic value into actual advertising dollars.

Twitter has been wooing TV networks with marketing partnerships that shore up the newly public social network's revenue capabilities. Facebook, the biggest social network in the world, has been shouting about its value for marketing television lately … Read more

Flowery Google Doodle heralds first day of spring

I hate winter. I despise it. I loathe it. I detest it. I abhor it. In case you haven't gotten the message, it's not exactly my favorite time of year. That's why I welcomed the latest Google Doodle celebrating the vernal equinox, otherwise known this time of year as the first day of spring.

Occurring twice a year, once three weeks into March and again at the same point in September, the equinox marks the time when the sun aims its rays directly at the equator. That means people in both the northern and southern hemispheres enjoy … Read more

Sound bite: Despite Pono's promise, experts pan HD audio

Pono Music's roaring success on Kickstarter, raising $4.3 million so far, shows that thousands of people believe better audio quality is worth paying for.

The company -- backed by star musician Neil Young and selling a $400 digital audio player along with accompanying music -- promises people will hear a difference between Pono Music and ordinary music that's "surprising and dramatic." The company's promise is based in part on music files that can contain more data than not only conventional MP3 files, but also compact discs.

There's no doubt that highly compressed music … Read more

Creeping closer to TV channel, Netflix licenses 'Fargo' abroad

Netflix wants to be the world's hottest cable channel that isn't on cable, and it's creeping closer with another syndication deal for a high-profile show.

The online-streaming video site will make episodes of FX's upcoming series "Fargo" available on its platform in the Netherlands almost immediately after the shows air in the US.

The deal follows one Netflix secured earlier this year to make the final eight episodes of AMC's "Breaking Bad" available to Netflix customers in the UK and Ireland a day after the US airdate. Netflix said it was … Read more

Flappy Bird is coming back to the App Store

Good news. Or bad news, if you enjoyed quiet moments of solitude without your eyes fixed on pixelated pipes. The creator of the addictive mobile game Flappy Bird confirmed on Twitter on Wednesday that the game will eventually return to the App Store.

@painfullpacman Yes. But not soon.

— Dong Nguyen (@dongatory) March 19, 2014

After the game's rapid media rise, seemingly out of nowhere, last month, Dong Nguyen, the game's 28-year-old developer, abruptly pulled the title from the iOS App and Google Play stores. The Vietnam-based developer apparently took the game down because he'd been hounded by … Read more

Use Cloak to avoid social-network frenemies in real life

A new iPhone app called Cloak promises to help you keep your distance from contacts in your digital circle who you'd rather avoid in real life.

The application, which bills itself as an "antisocial network," is as simple as they come in that it has a single purpose: to alert you to the nearby whereabouts of flagged Instagram and Foursquare "friends."

The idea is to let you construct the opposite of a contact list, so that you know when your overly loquacious acquaintance Joe is inching dangerously close to your current location.… Read more