The UpStream

Sony Relaunches the PSN

posted Saturday May 14, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Sony Relaunches the PSN

It is official - just a few hours ago Sony finally relaunched the PlayStation Network. The relaunch was accompanied by a firmware update for the PS3 as well as a mandatory password change. Of course, not all functions are back online yet and it is not available to the entire country. If you are interested in finding out what states are back up and working, hit the source link.

This restoration comes after weeks of outages because of an attack on Sony's PSN infrastructure. Much of the personal data was accessed, possibly including credit card data. Sony has assured their customers that even if the billing data was compromised, it is all encrypted. Of course, if someone is capable of breaking through Sony's defenses, they are probably capable of decrypting a little billing data.

The attack was initially blamed on AnonOps, the group behind many of the DDoS attacks we have talked about in the past, who even threatened Sony over the treatment of GeoHot. They have, however, said they were not involved and this is an organization that claims every attack they are involved in proudly.

To find out about Sony's resolutions, hit the break.

Google Finally Launches Music Service

posted Saturday May 14, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Google Finally Launches Music Service

The worst kept secret in the media world has finally been launched officially - Google Music. Similar to Amazon's new music locker service, or MP3 Tunes or any number of similar services, Google Music gives you the ability to store your music on a remote drive and listen to it through the web, a desktop client (one would assume) or an Android app. No longer do you need to sync your music between your computers and phone - it is always available to you wherever you have Internet access.

This seems like a great idea until you are driving down Alligator Alley and you have little or no Internet service plus no radio stations. That small problem aside, it is a nice concept. I have personally been using MP3 Tunes for a year or so now on my personal phone and it really does make it more convenient than having to keep my phone synced with the latest music I have collected.

For the good and the bad, hit the break.

Facebook Proves They Are Not as Smart as Google

posted Saturday May 14, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Facebook Proves They Are Not as Smart as Google

The rivalry between Facebook and Google has been intense for those of us on the inside. Google sees Facebook as a major threat and has decided to make social networking a priority. The feud came into the public this week when Facebook made a pretty stupid mistake. They hired PR-firm Burson-Marsteller to start a smear campaign against Google.

Let's start the story at the end: two representatives from the firm wrote to a blogger and offered to help him write an op-ed article about how Google's new Social Circle product was invading people's privacy. He refused and, instead of blowing off the ridiculous request, posted the communications between himself and the firm on his website. This caught the attention of USA Today, who had also been contacted about writing about the "privacy issue". They then accused Burson of what they caled a "whisper campaign" against the search giant.

To find out the full tie to Facebook, hit the break.

Microsoft - Skype Press Conference (Notes)

posted Tuesday May 10, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Microsoft - Skype Press Conference (Notes)

This morning Microsoft and Skype held a press conference that would outline the future of the formerly separate companies. There was a lot of exciting talk about integrating Skype into their 'Microsoft Skype Division' which would entail extending the Skype service to Win Pho 7, Xbox Live, Kinect, Outlook and more. It seems Microsoft and Skype hope to integrate devices and services that will bring together the users business life and personal life, as they become increasingly more mixed with one another. Take a look at my notes from the press conference for more in depth information. Just keep in mind that all of this is paraphrased for all of our conveniences.

Steve Ballmer:

Microsoft creates a better life for millions of people and companies around the globe. Bing helps people make decisions, Xbox 360, and Kinect created an enjoyable entertainment experience.

They dream about building experiences that aren't limited by distance or device. Microsoft sees more of this opportunity by combining Skype with them.

The Skype brand has become a verb that is synonymous with communication. Skype has 170 million users with 600k new registrations per day and more than 40% are on video.

Microsoft made an unsolicited offer to Silver Lake, finalized the price on Apr. 18th and sealed the deal on May 9th 2011.

Microsoft is dedicated to Skype and once integrated Tony will be in charge of running the Microsoft Skype Division.

They want to optimize Skype for Xbox, Kinect, Win Pho 7 and the PC. They also want to extend the reach of Skype to Outlook, Messenger, Xbox Live and Hotmail.

If you are a user or consumer how does this impact you? Skype fits the context in the way that people live to connect the devices and things they do at work with those they use and do at home.

"Outlook is such a tool." - Steve Ballmer

To catch the rest of the news from Tony Bates, Steve Ballmer and Peter Klein, hit the break.

Microsoft Acquires Skype for $8.5 Billion

posted Tuesday May 10, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Microsoft Acquires Skype for $8.5 Billion

The Internet was buzzing last night with rumors of Microsoft possibly acquiring VoIP company Skype for an amount in upwards of $7 billion. Well, this morning it was announced officially at a press event, which opened with a subtle, yet very blatant statement along the lines of, "since there isn't anything else going on today, we decided to give you guys something to talk about", clearing aimed at Google's I/O event. Microsoft's Steve Ballmer and Skype's Tony Bates, CEOs of each of their respective companies, joined the stage to announce the acquisition worth $8.5 billion in overseas cash. Clearly, Intel isn't the only one throwin' the Benjamins as of late.

Ballmer started first by stating that their goal has always been to empower people around the world with new technology to bring people together and by creating that new technology it would make life better. Ballmer then said that Skype simply made sense to help strengthen their position. Microsoft has always been about making communications the most fundamental aspect of life and that although communication is changing rapidly, moving beyond text and email, Microsoft wants to make talking with people around the world as easy as talking with someone across a kitchen table or conference room.

Microsoft's CEO then went on to talk about Skype and how much of a great franchise the company is. Skype has had an accelerated user growth as of late, with 170 million users connected to the service at a 40% growth year over year. There are over 600,000 new registrations every day. Obviously these users are increasing the amount of use the software is getting as well. There was a recorded 207 billion minutes of voice and video used in the Skype service in 2010, and at peak times there were upwards of 30 million users on the servers. Skype has also seen an explosion in video, with that being over 40% of their use. The company has also seen overall revenue growth of 20% year-over-year.

Steve Ballmer then went on to talk about the details of the deal, which we have after the break.

Hulu Plus Makes its Way to the 360

posted Sunday May 1, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Hulu Plus Makes its Way to the 360

Finally, after months of talk and seeing Hulu Plus pop in and out of Xbox Dashboard tiles, we finally saw that this week, Hulu Plus has made its way onto the Xbox 360. In a time where, Netflix is making all other competition look foolish, this is a perfect move for Hulu to try and get some attention.

Now, you can finally get your current shows from ABC, FOX, NBC, Comedy Central and more on your console which we'd hope by now is connected to an HDTV.

Currently, Xbox is offering a free week of Hulu Plus, which Jack's Links Beef Jerky is providing (weird), for anyone who signs up before May 6th if you don't already have a Plus account.

Here's what's also cool: Hulu Plus will be Kinectable right from the start. Enjoy waving and yelling at your TV to watch your latest Parks and Recreation antics right from your couch without the need of a controller.

Pete Thompson, GM for Xbox LIVE said,

We're proud to deliver the best in entertainment content like no other device in the living room. Hulu Plus is an important addition to support our continued effort to expand entertainment on Xbox Live. And by adding the magic of Kinect, we're truly transforming the way people enjoy their favorite entertainment.

I'm very curious to see if this gets Hulu out of the hole it was being thrown into.

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