September 15, 2019 - Episode 538 - Show Notes

September 15, 2019 - Episode 538

Sunday Sep 15, 2019 (01:27:31)

Description

This week, Uber's fighting off pressure, EA's testing under stress, and Vudu's hiding from bad words.

Participants

Scott Ertz

Host

Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.

Avram Piltch

Host

Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.

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Uber lays off another 435 employees in an attempt to save money

This has been a rough year for ride-sharing platform Uber. The company has seen increasing losses every quarter, and there seems to be no slowing it down. In just the second quarter of 2019, the company reported a loss of $5 billion, or roughly the entire GDP of Barbados. A large portion of that loss is related to the company's IPO, but the company is still losing about $1 billion per quarter without those one-time losses.

California passes new law that could effectively end the gig economy

The gig economy is the basis for companies like Uber, Lyft, Instacart, Postmates, TaskRabbit, etc. The idea is that you can sign up to be a contractor for the company, setting your hours and working within your confines. You're never required to do a job, and your payment is entirely dependent on how much work you take on. Think of an Uber driver, who is allowed to work when is convenient for them and take or skip any ride that is offered to them. The gig economy has grown into a major player in the market over the past few years and shows no signs of slowing down. Unfortunately, one US state is making it more difficult for those companies to exist.

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EA begins technical test of its upcoming game streaming service

Cloud gaming is quickly becoming a hot market. Sony bought into the idea several years ago with Gaikai, which later became the basis for PlayStation Now. However, other companies have held off on the idea, as limitations in infrastructure and cost have ended brands like OnLive. The winds seem to be changing, as all of the big players, and a few new ones, are trying their hand at game streaming. Microsoft has Project xCloud, Google has Stadia, and now Electronic Arts is throwing their hat in the ring with Project Atlas.

News From the Tubes

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Scraping web content just got a little closer to legal in the US

Data scraping has long been the scourge of website owners. You do a lot of work to produce a website that provides useful information to people, and someone else comes along and scrapes that data from your website and uses it for their gain. In some cases, it can simply be an annoyance that makes it feel like your work was violated. In other cases, it can be the basis of an entire business model, such as Hyp3r's scraping location data from Instagram. In that case, Instagram cut off access to the data, but that's not always possible.

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Walmart introduces "Family Play" to censor movies and TV on Vudu

Family-friendly content has always been a mucky topic. In the 90s, movie rental stores tried removing questionable content from movies, only to be sued by the movie studios. More recently, VidAngel tried to do the same thing, only with the added bonus of having stolen the movies in the first place. They also didn't fare well in a legal battle with the studios, being denied the "right" to sell pirated and altered movies.

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