Weekly tech news roundup for Friday, May 23

Amazon_HBOHBO shows now available on Amazon Prime
I told you they were coming, and now they’re here. All seasons of The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Eastbound & Down, and Flight of Conchords are now available on Amazon Prime. Selected seas of Treme, True Blood, and Boardwalk Empire are also ready for streaming. Now you know what you’re going to watch this weekend! 😉

Steampunk, hashtag, and selfie are now officially words
It’s true—all these words are now in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Of course, they’re not alone. Crowdfunding, tweep, catfish, turducken, poutine, fracking, freegan, and even social networking are now official words. You can check out a list of some of the other new words here (with their definitions of, course!).

WhistleGPS“Fitbit for dogs” also adds GPS feature
Whistle is an activity monitor for dogs, and it just got better—the latest version includes a GPS tracking. Now, you can not only see how much activity your 4-legged friend has gotten all day, you can also see where he/she is. While a so-called “Fitbit for dogs” alone does seem a little odd to me, I guess I can understand how if you had a pet sitter it would make checking in (and reminding) a little handier (and, if you had an obese pet, it could a way to know they’re not getting enough exercise). But, to be able to track down a missing dog with a phone app? Now that really makes sense to me.

Facebook adds audio recognition for music and TV shows
Forget sharing what you’re feeling, now you can share what you’re listening to or watching. Facebook’s newly announced sound recognition feature, coming to iOS and Android, from the description sounds a lot like a Shazam. The feature will let mobile Facebook users create a status update and tag a show or a song. It’s something you’ll have to turn on when the update pushes out in the coming months. If you do, the microphone will be activated and you’ll see an audio levels indicator that can ID millions of songs or TV shows in the U.S. If you don’t turn it on, nothing will change about your mobile Facebook’s look and feel.

YouTube to buy Twitch for $1 billion
If and when the deal closes, it’ll be the biggest acquisition in YouTube history (other than being bought by Google in 2006, that is). Twitch is the most popular web videogame-streaming service that lets users broadcast live video of game play from Xbox and PlayStation consoles. More than 45 million users are on Twitch each month, with one million of those uploading videos. Now the question becomes whether the Justice Department is going to green light the deal—it could pose anticompetitive issues.

Please take my money: Touchfire keyboard
A silicone keyboard for your iPad that doesn’t add any real thickness or weight to your iPad—genius. Check it out (I wish I had known about this before I made my Mother’s Day list!)

I think I might have to give one of these a try!

Netflix’s next original series called The Crown
According to the internets, Netflix is closing in a deal for a new show called The Crown—a show that will cost more than House of Cards which started their venture into original programming. The Crown, developed by the guy who wrote Frost/Nixon, The Queen, and The Last King of Scotland, follows the life of Queen Elizabeth II. The production value is expected to be high and add to Netflix’s growing portfolio of original content meant to differentiate it from other services (which seems to be working—one article I read said, “Netflix has gained about 6.5 million U.S. subscribers in the year or so since the release of House of Cards…”)

springpadSpringpad will be no more
I’m actually pretty sad about this. Springpad, which is not too dissimilar to Evernote, is going out of business. The website and the app will shut down starting June 25th. According to their blog announcement they will be offering an export tool so you can move your stuff to another service. My husband and I found the notebook sharing quite handy at the holidays to maintain gift idea lists, so we will miss this one. Reports are saying the Springpad team plans to build something new, but no one knows exactly what it will be.

OwnFoneWorld’s first Braille phone
How cool is this? A company in the UK called OwnFone lets customers create their own custom phone—and they can add Braille buttons. The buttons are pre-programmed to call family and friends allowing the visually-challenged a great way to stay in touch. The phone is small, only about the size of a credit card and apparently has a long battery life (up a year in standby mode!). I love it when technology is used for good, and not just fun :-).

Zepp sensor will improve your baseball, golf, or tennis game
The Zepp wearable sticks to your glove or the end of your bat/tennis racket when synced to the app on your phone, tracks your every swing and gives you a score for each one. Apparently it can even tell when you’re just taking practice swings and when you’re really trying. The device tracks data about an athlete’s power, speed, acceleration, and more (and depending on the sport). Maybe it would even improve my golf swing? Yeah, I’ll believe it when it happens 🙂 (still you’ve gotta admit it looks sexy and cool:)

Amazon battles Hachette books
Hachette, the publisher of upcoming works by J.K. Rowling, Anne River Siddon, and many other popular authors is being dissed at Amazon.com. As of Thursday night, Amazon stopped taking orders for many coming Hachette books. This is an escalation of a battle that’s been going on for a while over failed contract negotiations (rumor has it Amazon wants a higher profit margin). As a result, Amazon has been cutting back on discounts for Hachette books (and has been putting “similar item at a lower price” ads on Hachette book pages), and there are also reports of Amazon delaying book shipments from Hachette. Now experts are wondering if the Justice Department will step in to investigate whether Amazon is violating anti-trust laws, although they’ve never interfered before.

About Missy Kellor

Missy works on the Corporate Communications team and reports stories to TDS employees and customers. This is right up her alley because she’s an extrovert and also a big fan of research (really, she’ll look up just about anything that strikes her interest). Missy is a native of Madison, Wis. with an undergraduate in Anthropology and a master’s degree in Life Sciences Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interest in the Internet as a mass media shaped her work towards a PhD in Journalism and Mass Communications. She’s also worked as an editorial assistant, copywriter, and production artist. In her off hours, Missy is a crafter, Pinterest addict, reader, wife, and mom of two kids. You can find Missy on G+ and on Twitter.

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  1. Weekly tech news roundup for Friday, May 30 | TDS Home - May 30, 2014

    […] Why? After Friday meetings they will hang out at the BAR IN THE OFFICE. No joke. Twitch (which as you heard, YouTube is looking to buy), the incredibly popular video platform for streaming online gaming, was […]

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