Tech Tuesday – Netflix in 4K, Macbook Not-So-Pro
Tetrafam, long time no see! I’ve finally finished up moving and settling in to the new place, and it’s about time I get back to some tech news. Let’s see what’s worth talking about this week.
This week’s tech news includes the following:
1. Apple Releases 2016 Macbook Pro
Apple has finally announced and released their 2016 refresh of their Macbook Pro laptop.
While many were elated to finally hear about Apple’s new laptop, many of us were also pretty disappointed to see the amount of “courage” they put into the laptop. Much like removing the headphone jack from the iPhone 7, Apple has focused on thinness and design over the actual functionality of what is supposed to be a “professional” tool.
They kept the headphone jack this time, but Apple has removed every other port besides Thunderbolt (in the USB type C form factor). Also, the new laptops run with the previous generation of Intel processor architecture. Very confusing decisions from Apple, but macOS Sierra’s integration with the hardware should make most buyers happy.
Oh yeah, and there’s a new OLED touch bar, as rumors speculated. It’s kinda neat.
2. Netflix (sort of) Releases 4K Streaming for Desktops
Some set-top-boxes, smart TVs, and consoles already support 4K video streams from Netflix, but PCs have never had that option due to alleged “piracy concerns.” Finally, Netflix has made 4K streaming available via Microsoft’s Edge web browser (since it can enforce DRM on streaming video, unlike Google Chrome).
However, Netflix is only supporting 7th generation Intel Core processors (the “Kaby lake” Series) for 4K playback. This is for hardware decryption of 10-bit HEVC codec files. While it does makes sense, it’s still a little odd – and frustrating – that even on my i7-6900K and GTX 1080 rig (totally capable of handling any 4K video feed) I can’t stream Netflix in 4K.
At least the latest Chromecast Ultra and Roku devices can stream Netflix in 4K, I guess.
3. Facebook Takes Aim at Fake News
A debate has been swirling around the issue of fake news sites and articles spreading on social media sites – mainly Facebook. Even President Obama commented on the issue during a press conference.
In a Facebook post, CEO Mark Zuckerberg vaguely outlined a plan to combat fake news articles moving forward – including warnings that a post may be fake, easier reporting tools to point out fake articles, and leaning on a fact-checking organization.
This is nice to see. We have a battle between free speech and information flow versus curating for everyone’s well-being, and Zuckerberg seems to be on the right path. However, no information was given as to when this plan will start.
4. What.cd Shuts Down
Once again, another torrent giant has fallen. Sad times, again.
What.cd was an audiophile haven for music torrents. The site was created in 2007 as a spiritual successor to Oink, which had shut down the same year. What.cd was an invite-only “private tracker” that focused on music, but contained torrents of all kinds.
This happened after French cybercrime authorities seized 12 servers powering the site’s infrastructure, according to Zataz Magazine (in French). According to the What.cd Twitter handle, no databases or user information was seized, however.
what.cd will be eulogized as a piracy hub but there were literally thousands of albums on there that do not exist anywhere else anymore
— luh croy (@shoegays) November 17, 2016
The site was a place to find fairly rare releases and rare qualities of rips of music. For many, Spotify doesn’t replace a full FLAC discography of their favorite band or artist.
Hopefully someone took the time to archive everything shared there at some point. Or maybe users can pool their downloads together. I don’t know, it’s just sad.
— What.CD (@whatcd) November 18, 2016
~ Adam // EposVox