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April 17, 2013

Technology News Briefs — April 17, 2013

Twitter Cuts Flattr From Its Platform

Twitter is pulling the plug on Flattr, a service that enables users to send a digital thank you to those who favorite one of their tweets.

Flattr said it will no longer be able to offer its service because Twitter has ruled that it violates the social media site’s API terms. The service was removed from Twitter April 16.

“We think that we’ve created a beautiful way to support creators by checking what you favorited on Twitter and letting you send a flattr to the writer of a tweet. Twitter did not,” reads a Flattr blog post.

Twitter says Flattr’s service violates the second part of its API terms clause which reads: “Your advertisements cannot resemble or reasonably be confused by users as a Tweet. For example, ads cannot have Tweet actions like follow, retweet, favorite, and reply. And you cannot sell or receive compensation for Tweet actions or the placement of Tweet actions on your Service.”

The Flattr blog post noted that while the clause makes sense for companies attempting to profit from retweets, in the case of its service, “the rule is strangely stomping out innovation on their platform.”

“We have tried to suggest different solutions asking for an exception to the terms, even forgoing our cut, etc, without any result. But, this does not mean that we will give up negotiating with them over this on behalf our users and also their users,” the blog reads.

“Twitter users create the favorite and just like they own their tweets they should own the result of their action. If you favorite something we argue that you should be able to decide what you want to do with the data you create. If you want to use it to give Flattr donations to other Twitter users you should be the one to make that decision.”

Netflix to Replace Silverlight with HTML5

Netflix has announced its plan to replace Silverlight with HTML5 for its on-demand Internet streaming service.

The change, engineering director Anthony Park and streaming standards director Mark Watson said in a blog post, is in part due to Microsoft’s plans to pull the plug on its video plugin in 2021.

“Over the last year, we’ve been collaborating with other industry leaders on three W3C initiatives which are positioned to solve this problem of playing premium video content directly in the browser without the need for browser plugins such as Silverlight,” the post reads. “We call these, collectively, the ‘HTML5 Premium Video Extensions.’”

The extensions include: Media Source Extensions (MSE), Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) and Web Cryptography API (WebCrypto).

“We’ve been working with Google to implement support for the HTML5 Premium Video Extensions in the Chrome browser, and we’ve just started using this technology on the Samsung ARM-Based Chromebook,” the post says. “Our player on this Chromebook device uses the Media Source Extensions and Encrypted Media Extensions to adaptively stream protected content.”

WebCrypto has yet to be implemented in Chrome, so Netflix has been using its own PPAPI (Pepper Plugin API) plugin, which provides the necessary cryptographic operations.

“We will remove this last remaining browser plugin as soon as WebCrypto is available directly in the Chrome browser.  At that point, we can begin testing our new HTML5 video player on Windows and OS X.”

HP to Offer Devices with Leap Motion’s 3-D Motion Control Technology

Leap Motion is teaming up with PC-maker HP to bring 3-D motion control to HP devices.

The partnership will kick off with the Leap Motion Controller being bundled with select HP products and progress to Leap Motion technology being embedded in HP devices.

“Our focus at Leap Motion is to fundamentally improve how people interact with their devices, and offer as many ways as possible to achieve that vision,” said Leap Motion co-founder and CEO Michael Buckwald in a press release.

“The possibilities for innovation are incredible, when you think about what will come from this collaboration between two respected global leaders in their fields — HP, the world’s largest technology company and Leap Motion, creator of the world’s most powerful 3-D motion-control technology.”

Leap Motion-enabled HP devices will come pre-loaded with Leap Motion’s application store, Airspace. The app store offers a wide range of software for gaming, music, education, art and productivity to name a few.

“Customers want to go to the next level when creating and interacting with digital content,” said Ron Coughlin, HP’s senior vice-president and general manager, Consumer PCs. “Leap Motion’s groundbreaking 3-D motion control combined with HP technology and amazing developer apps will create incredible user experiences.”