Weekly News Roundup (2 February 2014)

A pretty quiet week, the first week of the Year of the Horse. My Chinese horoscopes says work is going to be pretty light for the first half of the year, but I hope this isn’t due to a lack of news, because scrounging around for news is much harder work than having lots and just writing about it.

For what it’s worth, here’s the news.


Hadopi Logo

Hadopi has been pretty useless, says new study

A new study confirms that Hadopi, the French three-strikes laws, has been a total waste of time and money. The study found that Hadopi had little or no effect on the downloading habits of French Internet users, even those that had received a warning under the system. Most simply migrated to another method of downloading that did not fall under the monitoring of Hadopi, and while some lessened the intensity of their downloading, these changes were “insignificant” according to the survey data.

Those in favor of a legal solution to the piracy problem has, in the past, pointed to some data that showed decreases in P2P piracy and also an increase in digital revenue. The migration to other un-monitored services may explain the P2P piracy stats, and digital revenue has been rising for the music industry around the world, even in countries without tough legal measures (I think I even remember reading an article where it showed French growth in digital revenue had lagged that of other countries with less legal sanctions).

In the end, it’s services like iTunes, Spotify and Netflix, and helping people to find out about these legal alternatives that end up providing positive results for the entertainment industry, something the study also concludes.

High Definition

Here’s an interesting story I read during the week. Not important enough to write it up as news, but apparently Facebook has data that is stored and retrieved from a 10,000 Blu-ray disc array. It’s for data that is rarely accessed, also known as “cold storage”, and so things like response time and speed isn’t a huge factor. It saves Facebook money and it’s also a greener solution than powering the equivalent number of hard-drives.

I can see this type of storage being used for other data-rich websites, where some of the data is rarely accessed. My irony meter would explode though if Netflix start using this method – just think of it, Netflix streaming movies from Blu-ray discs!


While one unlikely industry is taking an interest in Blu-ray discs, another one that has always relied on discs is thinking of giving it up. Not giving up on the idea of getting rid of discs, Microsoft may be testing a new budget version of the Xbox One that does not include a Blu-ray drive. Instead, gamers would have to get their games via digital downloads, cutting out retailers in the process.

White Xbox One

You might be able to buy one of these white Xbox Ones sometime this year without paying $11,000 for it

Of course, this is just a rumor. Even if Microsoft is testing the concept, there’s no way to know whether they will actually be brave enough to go ahead with the plan.

Regardless, the rumor has already been called “one of the dumbest ideas in history” by one analyst, although I guess it all depends on how cheap the drive-less Xbox One is going to be. At $399, the same price as the PS4, it won’t be competitive. And if the price drops too low, then people will wonder why the “normal” Xbox One, simply with a Blu-ray drive added to the mix, would cost so much more. I also think this flies in the face of Microsoft’s main “all-in-one” strategy – you can’t have an “all-in-one” media device that won’t play Blu-ray movies, can you?

More believable are the rumors of a white Xbox One, and one with a 1TB drive, both coming just in time for this year’s holiday shopping period. The 1TB Xbox One, in particular, is a much needed add-on considering the size of games these days.

And that’s all I could find this week. It’s not much, but it’ll have to do for now. Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Horse. See you next week.


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