Canadian Tech News

Canadian Tech News, September 22nd – Netflix, Pandora, Hippie Cars, Government Transparency

Netflix Finally Available!
Netflix opened the doors to it’s dot-ca today, offering unlimited streaming service at $7.99 – $1 or $2 less than early rumour suggested. I’ve personally been looking forward to this ever since our household signed up for cable TV again. After poking around a bit today, I’ve found that the selection seems quite limited and random. Hopefully this will improve once Netflix has a larger user-base to offer to rights holder. I am happy that the service does not seem to be influenced by CanCon legislation. Which is to say, there does not seem to be a higher concentration of (obviously) Canadian Content, like there was when iTunes started offering video a few years ago.

I wonder what happens when you log in to Netflix in the US with a Canadian account and vice versa.

Pandora abandons Canadian expansion plans
Tim Westergren – CEO of music streaming service Pandora – slammed Canadian performance rights agencies today, citing high royalty rates as the main reason we won’t be seeing Pandora in Canada any time soon. Starting next year Re:sound wants to increase the royalty rates it charges to websites streaming to mobile devices – up to 45% of the site’s revenue or $0.075/song. In Westergren’s words “over 20 times what radio delivered over AM/FM pays.” Unbelievable!

Calgary firm launches the hippiest car ever
As if electric cars weren’t a hard enough sell for the average consumer already, Calgary’s Motive industries have come up with a way to make them seem even more ludicrous. Hemp-based bodies. The jokes write themselves.

Canadian Governments Respect Internet Privacy
Google has released their latest government requests transparency report – a colleciton of stats about how much private data various governments asking about, or demanding removal of. I was pleasantly surprised to find Canada at the very bottom of the list, making fewer than 10 removal requests

From The Archives Review

Pandora and The Music Genome Project is amazing. If you’ve never checked out it i suggest visiting immediately. Pandora is a streaming music site similar to Yahoo! Music, and the like. It a services that creates a customized playlist for you based on your musical tastes, with one twist, it actually works really well!

The difference is in the way it selects songs for you. Services like yahoo! typically use an amazon style popularity system. “People who like X also like Y.” The problem with this type of system is the assumption that all good music is popular. Not to mention that it’s also completely unscientific, it doesn’t actually compare the content of music.

Pandora is different. Pandora is based on the Music Genome Project. The project was started 6 years ago to “capture the essence of music at the fundamental level.” They use 400 attributes to describe each song, from the vocal qualities to musical make up to recording style and probably a bunch of other esoteric musician crap. For instance, some of the attributes describing IOU by Metric include “basic rock song structure, electronic influences, a subtle use of vocal harmony acoustic rhythm piano and extensive vamping.”

After about 8 – 10 hours I’ve tuned one of my channel very well. I’ve found myself listening to a lot of bands I’ve heard of, but never gotten around to listening to. I’ve also stumbled across few new bands I’m really digging.

The service is 100% legal – they pay royalties – and more or less ad free – there are a few amazon ads on the main page.

The only downside is the 10 song skip limit. Due to some retarded DMCA stipulation you are not allowed to skip more than 10 songs per hour, this apparently would be considered music on demand, which is illegal.

A message on the “subscribe” page threatens that they’ll soon start to advertise. If and when that happens I’ll probably pay the $4/mo.

Pandora is arguably the future of the radio. I’d love to be able to download 10 or 15 songs from my playlist, I wouldn’t even mind paying a few buck for them.

Check it out yoz.

Inside the Net 6: Tim Westergren of Pandora Media
Official Site