When I moved out of the US, one of the things I missed was Netflix. I considered keeping my subscription and streaming via VPN, but decided I needed to cut down on TV anyway and so canceled the subscription. I do have friends in similar situations who opted to keep subscribing, signing up for VPN services so they can watch in countries where Netflix is not present.

Unfortunately, according to TorrentFreak, it appears Netflix is now cracking down on customers using VPN to watch its shows. Note, that they are in fact customers.

This is in likelihood due to pressure from studios, who often have geography-focused licensing schemes. So if you’re in Australia, for example, that show you saw on Netflix via VPN was likely paid for by an Australian operator to show in Australia. I.e., it presents a lost profit opportunity for the Australian operator.

So Netflix cracking down on VPN use is perfectly fine, in my view. It’s their prerogative to structure their business however they see fit. What I do take issue with is these same Australian operators calling customers who watch via VPN as “pirates,” as if they are criminals breaking the law.

Highlighting how the TV networks view these people, an article this morning in News Corp-owned The Australian went as far as labeling subscribers as “pirates”, even though they are paying for the service.

It’s a little offensive if you think about it, and I’m not even part of the group being slandered.

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Tim Cook is fond of citing customer satisfaction scores as an indication of Apple’s truth north — that it’s about making delightful experiences for customers first; with market share and profits further down the list.

He won’t like the most recent customer satisfaction survey about mobile phones from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, based on 70,000 consumers. And that’s because Samsung beat Apple in the latest report.

Fortunately for Cook, the survey was conducted prior to the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The bigger display just might reverse the trend.

If it doesn’t, it would be interesting to see what Cook has to say in his next keynote.

Making customer satisfaction scores the key metric is tricky business. So much of it is dependent on initial expectations that’s it’s not often a good indicator of actual product worthiness or progress.

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I just returned from a holiday in Japan, a country with a fascinating culture for electronics. My biggest takeaway is how mainstream gadgets are in Japan; unlike most other countries, there seems to be electronics stores at every corner, with average, everyday kind of people shopping there.

The first impression you get from visiting one is the barrage of colors and signs that beset you. Check out one below:

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Dear Cornerplay readers, happy new year! Here’s hoping your 2014 was great and that 2015 will be even better.

When I first started this blog in May last year, I just wanted an outlet from the daily grind of entrepreneurship — a chance to flex my fingers and create something that I can complete daily, as opposed to products that take months to build and launch.

I love writing this blog. There have been times when posting daily has been an incredible challenge — because life and work can take a toll sometimes — but on the whole, this blog has been a source of joy and positive energy.

Thank you for your readership, and thank you for contributing that bit of energy in my life.

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Lizard Squad is pissing me off. First, because I couldn’t play Destiny or go on the PlayStation Network for several days because the hacker group launched DDoS attacks that brought it down. Second, because it appears at least one or them did it for money, and small money at that.

According to The Guardian, Lizard Squad launched Lizard Stresser, a service that can be used to take down any website or network for only $6, upwards to $500. The attacks on Sony and Microsoft were supposedly a “huge marketing scheme” for this DDoS service.

How…incredibly short sighted. $6?? A good coder can earn so much more doing something legitimate. The world is your oyster and the best thing you can do is charge peanuts to do evil?

The thought of every Dick and Jane spending just a few bucks to cause havoc over the smallest slight is disturbing.

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Microsoft is rumored to be working on a new browser for Windows 10. So new, it may not even be called Internet Explorer.

It will still use Trident, Microsoft’s web rendering engine, so it’s likely to be more about changing the user interface (to be more like Chrome) and brand than anything fundamental. However, the break is supposedly big enough that Microsoft will include both this new browser and the existing IE11 “just in case” for Windows 10.

The new browser’s primary feature is to be lightweight and fast loading; hence its code name “Spartan” within Microsoft. This is the browser designed for all devices: PCs, tablets, phones and maybe even smaller.

It will probably have native app support – similar to extensions – and I expect Microsoft to eventually port it to Android and iOS.

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The hype for Bitcoin was almost oppressive earlier this year. I took a look and concluded it was too early to be a mainstream opportunity: it’s not consumer friendly, not widely accepted and worse, too extreme in its volatility for most to stomach.

Yet, hundreds of millions poured into Bitcoin – from rose colored speculators to blue chip venture capitalists.

Bloomberg’s recent study is a fresh reminder that hype does not always translate into immediate payoffs. Bitcoin was actually the worst performing currency of 2014, having lost 56% of its value from last year.

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Here’s a hardware feature that doesn’t receive much publicity but which I’ve come to heavily appreciate: the Surface Pro’s AC adapter. The main reason is the USB slot on the adapter itself.

Whenever I travel, I don’t like carrying more than one plug converter and feel bad asking for more from the hotel — the USB slot on the power adapter solves that. The AC adapter charges the Surface and the USB slot simultaneously charges my smartphone, and it seems to charge just as quickly as it would normally.

Genius feature! If it gets shouted about enough, hopefully other manufacturers will follow.

 

One of the big smartphone trends this year is the “selfie” phone. HTC, Lumia, Sony, Huawei and many others all have at least one marketed that way.

I suspect that my initial reaction is like many of yours: scoffing dismissal. I’m now a convert however, and completely understand why this market might actually be large.

Sure, apps like Snapchat and Bolt encourage quick shots as ways of communicating, so the front facing camera is more valuable.

But it’s more than that, and it all comes down to this one tool: the selfie stick.

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I was asked to be a guest on a TV show (to air yesterday I believe) to talk about social media, and thought I’d share some of the Q&A and my notes.

TOPIC 1: CLICKTIVISM

Social media has become an indispensable part of many people’s lives. The one trend that piqued our interest this year is social activism or “clicktivism”. The most recent being the #ill-ride-with-you movement. It emerged as a show of solidarity with Muslims in Australia after the deadly Sydney hostage crisis. Some people had voiced fears of repercussions as the hostage taker was an Iranian asylum seeker. How effective really are these hashtag movements?

They help create awareness if the underlying cause is viral worthy, and certainly, better than the alternative where there were no hashtags to lead to easy discovery.

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