Netflix Wants the World to Binge-Watch

If the star-crossed characters on Latin American telenovelas can be relied on for one thing, it’s to make ill-advised life choices. They get entangled in troublesome love affairs. They betray their siblings. They chase dreams that fly in the face of reason. Hilarity and heartbreak ensue.

Not long ago, Bianca Comparato, an acclaimed actor on some of the most popular telenovelas in Brazil, began pursuing a risky move of her own—one that might give pause to even her most incautious characters. She started to look for roles outside the protective and lucrative embrace of Grupo Globo, one of Latin America’s biggest TV companies. Its holdings include Rede Globo, the largest broadcast TV network in South America, and Globosat, the largest group of pay-TV networks in Brazil. For decades, Globo has had a near monopoly in Brazilian living rooms. Its channels control the broadcasting rights to many of the nation’s most popular sporting events, including the World Cup, the Olympics, and the top Brazilian soccer league. Every night about 42 million people watch Globo’s newscast. The network’s studio system, reminiscent of Hollywood in the 1940s, cranks out a rich parade of telenovelas—or novelas as they’re called in Brazil—starring a rotating stable of actors made famous by Globo who, in turn, perpetuate Globo’s lock on fame. For a Brazilian actor of consequence, leaving Globo is, or was, unfathomable.

Comparato, who’s 31 and bears a resemblance to the British actor Emma Watson, grew up in a prominent Rio de Janeiro TV family. Her father, Luís Felipe Loureiro Comparato, is a celebrated TV auteur. Known in the industry simply as “Doc,” he wrote numerous popular series for Globo during the 1980s and ’90s. Bianca took to acting at an early age. When she was 18, Globo cast her in her first hit telenovela, Senhora do Destino (Lady of Destiny). During any nightly episode, half of Brazil’s TV audience tuned in to watch.

As she moved from one role to another, Comparato became restless. She grew to crave the complex, enigmatic parts she saw emerging from U.S. television—antiheroes like Walter White of AMC’s Breaking Bad or Carrie Mathison from Showtime’s Homeland. Such opportunities were in short supply at the telenovela factory. And so Doc’s daughter walked away from a promising career at Globo and eventually cast her lot with Netflix.

For the past several years, Netflix has been pouring money into Brazil. Local audiences at first met the company with skepticism, bafflement, or indifference. Over time, Netflix started to gain a following, particularly among affluent, young urbanites such as Comparato and her friends, who enjoyed the breadth and diversity of the programming delivered, for a monthly fee, to their smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

Netflix executives told Comparato they were planning their first original series to be produced in Brazil: a science fiction drama called 3%. The show, which would be shot in São Paulo, is about a dystopian near future in which every 20-year-old must square off in an elaborate, cutthroat competition called the Process. Most contestants fail and are relegated to a life of crime and corruption. A lucky few, the 3 percent, get to leave the city and spend the rest of their lives in the Offshore, a paradise for the ruling elite. Comparato loved the idea and was cast as the protagonist—a wily, strong-willed contestant named Michele Santana.

“When I said yes to Netflix, it wasn’t that easy—it was scary,” she says. “We didn’t know if it would work in Brazil. It would never be as big as Globo. Would I ever work at Globo again?”

On Nov. 25, Netflix made the first eight episodes of 3% available online in Brazil and 190 other countries. The following morning, Comparato appeared on a Brazilian talk show to promote the series. As she left the studio, she was mobbed by a throng of teenagers, some of whom had already binge-watched every episode. Comparato’s social media following exploded, her phone constantly lighting up with Instagram tags and Facebook messages from fans and viewers all over Latin America, the U.S., and Europe. “Anybody 25 and under, they don’t watch TV anymore,” she says. “They just don’t. They go to the internet and watch whatever they want.”

Davos: Can connectivity feed the world?

What do elections, cell phones and social media have to do with the food on your plate? More than you might think.

We’ve entered a new global era. In the midst of a shifting geopolitical landscape, the accelerating pace of technology, and unprecedented inequality, our diets might seem like a modest concern. Yet the food we choose to eat – and the systems that deliver it – are among the most powerful forces shaping the world. What will we consume in the future? And how can this food be healthy for people without over-taxing the planet?

The answers are complex. But one element is apparent: feeding a world of 8.5 billion people nutritiously and sustainably by 2030 will depend on connectivity. Putting good food on every plate depends on trade, technology, communication and collaboration in an interconnected world.

Yet we are growing more geopolitically disconnected. After an era of increasing globalization, we are reversing course. Nations that have historically been drivers of open trade and alliance-building have turned inward, prioritizing domestic concerns. Collaborative norms and international institutions are being questioned. And these changes are underpinned by increasing wealth and power disparity.

What might this mean for the world’s food systems? Such fragmentation could drive starker social and economic divisions between the affluent and the poor, creating islands of plenty along with hunger hotspots. It could also provoke new tensions: Nigeria depends on food imports to feed its population of 186 million, which is expected to exceed 260 million by 2030. What might be the cost of food in Lagos if Nigeria’s trade is weakened or cut off, and with what consequences for poverty, hunger, social stability and migration?

Another medium of connectivity – technology – has the potential to link and serve people across geography, class and culture. But without care, it could benefit only wealthy citizens while leaving the poorest behind.  One look into the future shows a world reshaped by innovation, and such changes will impact food in unexpected ways: a meal in 2030 may have been grown in a lab, harvested by robots or chosen on a personalized nutrition app. Yet many of the most powerful innovations are less visible: technologies that increase connectivity – such as mobile platforms and the internet – hold profound promise to chip away at problems like hunger. A digital divide currently separates the 4 billion people disconnected on the internet from the rest of the world. How much economic growth could we stimulate if every smallholder farmer accessed accurate market data on her phone to inform planting and selling choices? And of the 40% of food that is lost in most of the developing world, how much could be saved if trucks on remote roads were equipped with spoilage sensors?Unprecedented social connectivity means that new norms spread quickly – for good or bad. Nearly half of the global population eats unhealthy diet, and this trend is likely to worsen. Especially among the growing middle class in regions like Asia, billions of people are transitioning towards diets high in sugar, salt, fat and meat. And while food choices are influenced by factors ranging from price to convenience to culture, they are also a product of social aspirations, informed and perpetuated by social connectivity. Social media is a high-speed train; when used intentionally, the tracks can be laid towards better choices for people and the planet. Such choices shape the whole system, from fork to farm – so what would it look like if cultural icons appeared on advertisements for vegetables? Or if wasting food were a social taboo?

[Source:-Forbes]

TERROR IN SPAIN: Gunman screaming ‘Allahu Akbar’ opens fire in supermarket

The man was reportedly carrying gasoline and gunpowder in his pockets as he entered the Mercadona shop, in As Lagoas, Ourense.

Numerous shoppers were inside making their purchases when the assailant, who was armed with a shotgun, entered and fired several shots.

Supermarket employees said he fired at least six shots during the terrifying ordeal.

Spain supermarketTWITTER • RTn_Galicia

The gunman shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ as he opened fire in the Mercadona supermarketOne employee said the man, who was standing just a few metres from him, yelled “Allahu Akbar”, which translates to “God is greatest”.

Police arrived at the scene to arrest the attacker.

One witness told local media: “Agents came out with a vest shouting and pushing the people.”

Officer Carlos Perez, who was already at the supermarket, revealed he was fired at when he tried to stop the attack.

The 38-year-old revealed the attacker was only apprehended after his colleagues arrived.

Spain witnessTWITTER

A horrified witness is consoled outside the store

MercadonaTWITTER

The incident took place in a Mercadona shop, in As Lagoas

He said: “I had the impression that he ran out of ammunition.”

It is believed no shoppers were injured during the attack.

Local media reported that the attacker had been living in the area for six months and had previously shopped in the supermarket.

Shotgun fired in Spanish supermarket

TWITTER

The gunman was armed with a shotgun, entered and fired several shots

A gunman fired shots in a Spanish supermarketTWITTER

Supermarket employees said at least six shots were fired during the terrifying ordeal

[Source:-Express]

Social media is the root of most evil

It amazes me how many people have gotten riled up by fake news stories on social media.

Mainly because I’m guessing everyone at one time or another, clicked on a fake news story after looking at the headline.

What’s more amazing is the number of people who see the headline and believe it’s true without reading the story, or read the story and still believe it is true.

Our recently completed election cycle was a perfect example. Too many supporters on both sides were willing to “share” or “like” a fake news story just because it was negative to the candidate they didn’t care for.

Social media is evil.

Need more proof? Our president-elect openly uses Twitter. Now, I like this. I enjoy Twitter and can find out some great things using the social media platform.

But, Donald Trump needs to slow down on his use. A Happy New Year’s tweet calling opponents losers? Attacking actress Meryl Streep after the Golden Globes just because of her acceptance speech?

Was Streep out of line for what she said? No, especially because she never mentioned Trump by name. Not once.

Our president is supposed to be above such actions. Our president is expected to listen to criticism, thank the person for their perspective and move on. In other words, stay above the fray no matter what is going on.

As a presidential candidate, Trump didn’t do that. As president-elect, Trump hasn’t done that yet. Will he as president? I certainly hope so.

Social media has allowed everyone – no matter their physical attributes – to become a bully.

Personally, I go by the motto, “Don’t type something online you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.” I’m kind of a straight shooter, so I will say something to anyone if I feel strongly about it.

But cyber bullying and cyber cruelty have taken on a life as its own. People are fearless behind their keyboard and let the insults fly at an incredible rate. Teens have committed suicide due to cyber bullying.

It’s gotten that bad.

Yet, it’s also taken true emotion out of an equation. Without human interaction, how can a cyber bully know how much their words hurt? How will anyone convince them they’ve gone over a line?The scariest thing I’ve ever heard was when a cyber bully was told her victim killed herself, she laughed. When asked why, her reply was, “She shouldn’t have read what I said.” Not, “I shouldn’t have typed it” or “I’m so sorry.” Yep, it’s the victim’s fault for reading the bombardment of insults thrown at her.

Still don’t think social media is evil?

Terrorists are using social media to recruit teenagers to their cause. Racial hate groups gather to plot or plan attacks against people of a different race or nationality or religion. Misguided youth learn how to make pipe bombs to plant at school.

Now, social media can be wonderful in many ways, but I can’t help but see the division in our nation in just the last 10 years. I’ve never seen a more bitter election. I’ve watched in horror at so many acts of violence. I’ve prayed for friends whose child committed suicide after a brutal cyber bullying attack.

We used to want our children to stay home and stay safe. Now, even home isn’t safe because social media is everywhere – computers, tablets, cell phones – anyone can tell anyone else an insult at any time of day.

Know what the worst part is? A viral video on the Internet featuring puppies or kittens will always get watched more times than a video from a teen pleading for help.

Always.

Oh, and while I’m on the subject, when did a generation start believing everything they do in life needs to be on a social media account? Does anyone really follow anyone else just to find out what they’re eating or doing at all times? I don’t care what John Doe is eating, so Doe, leave the food off of Twitter.

People are willing to spill everything about themselves online and, get this, it’s often what starts cyber bullying.

Comedians like to joke the Internet is just about porn. Isn’t that the point I was trying to make? The Internet and social media are the root of most evil on our planet.

So, to watch the Internet world and social media go ballistic, here’s a few opinions I want to share: Donald Trump will be a better president than Jesse “The Body” Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger were governors, but that isn’t saying much; social media sites need to eliminate fake news stories completely; political parties need to change their ways to eliminate the hate and vile thrown during elections; hold meaningful conversations in person, not over the Internet; cyber bullies are cowards; if you want facts and unbiased news, read a newspaper; and finally, cat and dog videos on the Internet are cute and should never be taken down.

So, anyone who wants to let me have it on social media, go ahead. Want to talk to me in person? Even better. I’ll know the difference between the two.

[Source:-Daily Globe]

Trump news conference sets worldwide social media afire

President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in Trump Tower, Manhattan. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

In his first news conference since the Nov. 8 election, President-elect Donald Trump set social media ablaze on Wednesday with remarks including harsh criticism of the press and a defense of his goal to improve ties with Russia.

The session, held in the lobby of his Trump Tower headquarters in Manhattan, featured a number of viral moments, like an exchange with a reporter whom Trump accused of peddling “fake news.”

“I’m not going to give you a question,” Trump told the journalist from CNN, which reported on Tuesday that the Republican president-elect had been briefed by U.S. intelligence agencies about allegations that Russian operatives had compromising information about him.

“You are fake news!” he told the reporter in a moment that reverberated on Twitter.

Trump’s comment that reporters were “the only ones who care” about whether he released his tax returns stirred up 165,000 tweets during the session. Social media users asked others to “retweet if you’re not a reporter and still care about seeing Trump’s tax returns.”

In Russia, the hashtag #TrumpPressConference was a top-trending topic during the news conference and for several hours afterward.

“If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability because we have a horrible relationship with Russia,” Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, said in reference to the Russian president.

“I don’t know that I’m going to get along with Vladimir Putin. I hope I do. But there’s a good chance I won’t,” Trump said, prompting thousands of tweets from people in Russia.

U.S. intelligence agencies have said Russia was behind a hacking campaign aimed at boosting Trump’s presidential candidacy against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

There were some 80,000 tweets worldwide stamped with the #TrumpPressConference tag during the hour-long session with about 250 reporters.

Twitter sentiment regarding Trump during the event was 14 percent positive, 63 percent neutral and 23 percent negative, according to global digital marketing technology company Amobee.

Also stirring Twitter reaction were Trump’s comments about the wall he has pledged to build on the U.S.-Mexican border and to have Mexico pay for.

He said he would not wait for negotiations with Mexico before beginning construction, but added: “Mexico in some form … will reimburse us.”

In response, former Mexican President Vicente Fox tweeted:

“Neither today, nor tomorrow nor never Mexico will pay for that stupid wall.”

[Source:-Reuters]

Fifth Pakistani social media activist reported missing

ISLAMABAD: A fifth Pakistani rights activist has gone missing, his colleagues said Thursday, as the United Nations raised concerns over shrinking freedoms for campaigners.

Samar Abbas, a middle-aged IT worker and head of the anti-militancy Civil Progressive Alliance, disappeared under mysterious circumstances after arriving in the capital Islamabad from the southern port city of Karachi on Saturday, January 7, according to Talib Raza, a colleague from his organisation.

“We formed the alliance to protect the rights of minorities. He had launched a struggle against the banned militant outfits’ activities and we together staged protests for the rights of the minorities,” said Raza.

“This seems to be an organised attempt to shut the progressive and liberal voices in the country,” he added.

Four leftist bloggers were previously reported missing from various cities in Pakistan between January 4 and 7, raising fears of a crackdown on social media, the last bastion of free speech in a country where journalism is increasingly under threat.

Human Rights Watch said their near simultaneous disappearances raised concerns of government involvement.

The government has denied this, and on Tuesday Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told the Senate authorities would soon recover all the missing.

Rights groups say Pakistani activists and journalists often find themselves caught between the security establishment and militant groups including the Taliban.

The United Nations and Amnesty International have expressed concern for the missing activists.”No government should tolerate attacks on its citizens,” said the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression, David Kaye.

“By making the investigation of these disappearances an urgent priority, the Pakistani authorities can send a strong signal that they take seriously the responsibility for the life and security of all of its citizens, particularly in cases involving freedom of expression.”Pakistan is also ranked among the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists, and reporting critical of the military is considered a major red flag, with journalists at times detained, beaten and even killed.
In April 2014, unidentified gunmen attacked but failed to kill Hamid Mir, one of the country’s most recognised TV anchors. His employer and his family later accused the director general of the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency of involvement.

[Source:-TOI]

Wading through the Internet of Crap

Connected home gadgets were everywhere at CES 2017 — we saw WiFi cameras, smart walking canes and Echo clones aplenty. But while several of them were truly innovative, there were some that made no sense at all. Just because something has Bluetooth or internet connectivity that doesn’t make it useful. Even more ridiculous are devices that have voice controls when they don’t actually need them. As Nick Offerman said on our Engadget stage a few days ago, sometimes the best tech is low-tech. As far as tech for tech’s sake goes, here are some of the worst offenders from this year’s show.

 [Source:-Engadget]

7 Ways The Internet Of Things Will Change Businesses In 2017

Internet of Things

Okay, marketers and technology enthusiasts have been talking about the coming of the Internet of Things (IoT) for years. But with products like Google Home and Amazon Echo emerging and gaining popularity, it’s reasonable to suspect that 2017 is the year that IoT finally starts taking off.

Even though original estimates held that we’d see 50 billion “connected” devices by 2020, revised estimates are still targeting nearly 30 billion, representing an industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars in the near future.

So here’s the question—is your business ready for the IoT? Even if you don’t deal directly with technology, IoT devices are going to have a massive impact on how you do business.

Here’s how.

1. Data, Data, Data

Marketers and entrepreneurs love data, and with IoT devices connecting consumers in new ways with more interactions, they’ll have greater access to that data than ever before. Smart devices will be able to track and record patterns of consumer behavior, and possibly even learn from them, making intelligent product recommendations and customizing searches in new, innovative ways.

Companies can start taking advantage of this by using these data-based insights to come up with more effective advertising, and get to know their target demographics on a more specific, qualitative level. Chances are, you’ll have more data at every stage of the consumer buying cycle, from research to purchase and implementation.

2. Inventory Tracking and Management

Next up, IoT will likely revolutionize how companies track and manage their inventory. If you’re a business that relies on warehousing, manufacturing, or storage, you probably use remote scanners and similarly high-tech devices to help your workers keep track of inventory item by item. In the near future, smart devices should be able to keep tabs on inventory changes completely automatically, freeing up your workers for more important, cognitively demanding tasks. It’s not just about the “smart home” anymore—it’s also about the “smart office” and “smart warehouse.”

3. Remote Work

On the other hand, if your business doesn’t directly deal with any physical inventory, the IoT could open up a world of new possibilities for remote work. With multiple devices all wired into the same network, your remote working employees will be more connected than ever before, and may be able to accomplish new types of tasks from remote locations by tapping into devices in your office or factory floor. Remote workers tend to be happier and more productive, so the arrangement could also help improve your bottom line.

4. Speed and Accessibility

Since consumers will have access to new forms of research and purchasing, the buying cycle will likely diminish in length. Consumers will, with a handful of spoken phrases, be able to find and order exactly the product they’re looking for, and they’ll demand delivery of the product sooner (since all our technological advances tend to emphasize instant gratification). Fortunately, your partners, suppliers, and logistics providers will all have similarly advanced technology at their disposal, meaning you’ll be able to serve your customers faster.

5. Efficiency and Productivity

It’s not all about speed—you’ll also be able to get more done in less time. In addition to instant gratification, technological evolution also tends to favor productivity and efficiency. The latest and greatest IoT developments will likely allow you and your workers to accomplish large-scale tasks faster and with greater precision, including data analysis and management. You may find that you need fewer staff members, or else you’ll be able to scale operations in new areas that allow you to expand your business.

[Source:-Forbes]

Alphabet says balloons beat drones for internet delivery

Project Loon

Alphabet has shut down its Titan unit that was exploring the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for the delivery of internet services.

The Google parent is instead focusing on its balloons-based Project Loon to deliver the internet to remote areas.

Google acquired in 2014 Titan Aerospace and the team from the drone startup was brought in late 2015 into the X research lab, which incubates a number of Alphabet moonshot projects like the Project Wing project for drone-based delivery.

The work on the use of high-altitude UAVs for internet access was ended shortly after, as it was found that in comparison, at this stage “the economics and technical feasibility of Project Loon present a much more promising way to connect rural and remote parts of the world,” Alphabet said in a statement Wednesday.

News of the shutdown of the Titan project was first reported by 9to5Google. Many people from the Titan team have been assigned to other projects at X, including Loon and Project Wing, Alphabet added.

The company has also invested in satellites that can beam internet signals to earth. In January 2015, Google invested in SpaceX, a private company led by Elon Musk, to design, manufacture and launch rockets and spacecraft.

[Source:-PC World]

Trai may make your phone calls and mobile internet cheaper this February

"Provision of Internet telephony has been in telecom licence, but it has not expanded in country. Today, we discussed issues that are holding on to its expansion," Trai Chairman RS Sharma told reporters here on the sidelines of Open House Discussion on Internet telephony.

NEW DELHI: Telecom regulator Trai plans to finalise recommendations on the Internet telephony framework by February — a move that may lead to cheaper phone calls and facilitate the one made via various mobile applications.

“Provision of Internet telephony has been in telecom licence, but it has not expanded in country. Today, we discussed issues that are holding on to its expansion,” Trai Chairman RS Sharma told reporters here on the sidelines of Open House Discussion on Internet telephony.

“We expect to finalise the recommendations on this paper by February,” he added.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India started consultation on the subject in June. At present, Internet service providers (ISPs) can provide Internet telephony from PC to PC.

With the advancement in technology, mobile phones are facilitating voice calling through apps like Whatsapp and Skype.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said Internet telephony has now become similar to conventional telephony and these providers compete directly with the existing technology used for making phone calls via landlines or mobile phones.

The consultation followed dispute between private telecom operators and state-run BSNL, which announced the launch of a new service that enables its customers to make local and STD calls from their landline phones in India by using a mobile application when they are abroad.

Voice over IP (VoIP) uses network resources much more efficiently than conventional telephone service, reducing the costs of providing a call (albeit with the loss of some call quality and service features, creating opportunities for regulatory arbitrage that enable Telecom Service Providers and consumers to reduce or avoid call charges, Trai said.

Cellular industry body COAI has alleged that BSNL’s new service for making calls is in violation of licence norms.

In the paper, Trai has said that Internet telephony which provides low cost calling service may be the future but still, some existing operators may be reluctant to introduce VoIP because they already offer voice services over the PSTN (landline)/PLMN (mobile network).

Perhaps understandably, they do not wish to cannibalise their higher margin services offerings, it said.

[Source:-ET]