services

Pandora One hikes subscription price, nixes annual option

Pandora is making a few changes to its premium streaming music service -- most notably a fee hike for new monthly subscribers.

The company announced Tuesday that because of rising royalty rates it pays to musicians, it's having to up its monthly fee for the first time since Pandora One debuted in 2009. Starting in May, new members will have to pay $4.99 per month rather than the current rate of $3.99 per month.

"The costs of delivering this service have grown considerably," Pandora wrote in a blog post. "For example, the royalty rates … Read more

Dropbox gets chatty and buys workplace chat service Zulip

Dropbox has quietly acquired a workplace chat service startup called Zulip, according to TechCrunch.

While the two companies are keeping mum on the buyout, an email that Zulip sent its customers was published on Pastebin Monday. In the email, the company confirmed the acquisition.

"We have some news for you, but you gotta keep it secret. Can you do that? Alright, sweet," the email said. "Here's the deal: Dropbox is acquiring Zulip. We're incredibly excited about working with an awesome group of people on a problem with huge scale, at a company that's as … Read more

Amazon said to be adding a music-streaming service

Amazon is said to be looking to create its own version of Apple's popular iTunes Radio. According to The Wall Street Journal, the e-commerce giant has reportedly been in talks with major record labels to create its own music-streaming service.

The service would reportedly be available to Amazon Prime customers -- who pay $79 per year for free two-day shipping and Amazon's video-streaming service. The music service is said to be like iTunes Radio that plays music based on user preferences, rather than a subscription service like Spotify that gives users unlimited music access.

Amazon would limit how … Read more

Pastor creates Web site to shame bad after-church restaurant tippers

Whenever the collection plate used to come around in church, necks would crane to observe how much people were contributing.

"Were those just coins?" you could hear one lady mutter.

"One measly note? But they've got a four-bedroom house in Spain," a man gruffed.

It seems, though, that some leave church with parsimony still churning around the stomachs.

For a Tennessee pastor, Chad Roberts, has taken it upon himself to chide those who tip meanly in restaurants after church.… Read more

AT&T offers price cut for 2GB 'Mobile Share Value' plans

AT&T is cutting the price of its 2GB Mobile Share Value Plan.

The company announced Saturday that starting tomorrow -- Sunday -- customers with one smartphone can sign on to the 2GB plan for $65 a month, and customers with two smartphones can sign on for $90 a month. In both cases, that's a $15 drop from current Mobile Share Value Plan charges, the company said.

Customers can bring their own phone, buy one at full retail, or finance one through AT&T Next.

The plans come with unlimited talk and text, 50GB of cloud storage, … Read more

Yahoo to require Yahoo ID; no more Facebook or Google logins

Yahoo has begun the gradual phase-out of letting people access certain services with their Facebook or Google logins. Now, to sign into all services, users will need a Yahoo ID.

The first service to stop allowing other login credentials was Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick'Em up; and soon services like Flickr and Fantasy Sports will also require a Yahoo ID.

"Yahoo is continually working on improving the user experience, which includes our sign-in process for Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick'Em," a Yahoo spokesperson told CNET. "This new process, which now asks users to sign in with a … Read more

Comcast really, really doesn't care about you (allegedly)

Comcast has often managed to be the target of abuse and, on a good day, gallows humor.

It regularly features in the Consumerist's list of worst American companies. Indeed, just three years ago, Comcast encouraged its staff to vote so that it wouldn't be named Worst Company in America.

But, now that it is proposing a merger with Time Warner Cable, things will certainly get better. The new Timecast (or Corner) will be a joy to do business with.

Your cable box will be automatically renewed every six months and installed by a happy, well-dressed employee. The box … Read more

UppWireless offers $15 BYOD phone service

Looking for dirt-cheap phone service for your smartphone? If it's an unlocked GSM phone that began life on AT&T or T-Mobile, you might want to check out UppWireless.

For as little as $15 per month, you can stock your smartphone with a no-contract SIM card that leverages Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connectivity for calls, text, and data. But is it really as simple as that?

I'll let you know once I've had the chance to test UppWireless for myself. In the meantime, I can tell you that your $15 buys you unlimited calling and texting … Read more

Uber to add push notifications when surge pricing subsides

Uber's surge pricing has proven to be a sure-fire way to get users up in arms. But, it appears the ride-sharing company is working to placate that anger.

The company's CEO Travis Kalanick announced Monday that Uber is planning to send app push notifications to users when surge pricing subsides -- that way, users will know when fares have returned to normal rates, according to GeekWire.

"One of our goals for 2014 is bringing humanity to our communications," Kalanick said at the Launch Festival on Monday, according to GeekWire.

Surge pricing is when Uber charges extra … Read more

RealPlayer Cloud goes global

RealNetworks today announced the global roll-out of RealPlayer Cloud, a service that lets people watch and share videos on a variety of devices and operating systems.

RealPlayer Cloud was first announced in September 2013, but was only available in the US and Canada. With today's announcement, people will be able to share videos internationally.

"We're excited to bring RealPlayer Cloud to consumers worldwide. In just five short months, we've experienced extensive user growth and now have more than 500,000 users in the US and Canada," said Rob Glaser, interim CEO of RealNetworks. "Clearly … Read more