FCC may change rules that gave Dish $3 billion in small business discounts

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Earlier this year, the FCC took in $44.9 billion in bids through a wireless spectrum auction, as the wireless industry’s biggest companies battled it out for airwave licenses. But quickly, some of that money proved controversial: FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai accused Dish Network of manipulating small business discounts, paying $3 billion less in the auction than it would have otherwise.

Today, the FCC took early steps toward changing that. Chairman Tom Wheeler has circulated a “public notice” asking for comments from other FCC commissioners on possible reforms to the system, Reuters reports. Dish took the $3 billion by operating through small shell companies that it’s invested in, and the proposals would theoretically prevent that from…

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Twitter is testing a feature that removes threats and abuse from your timeline

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After admitting that it’s failed to adequately combat abuse and harassment, Twitter has been moving swiftly to weed out its worst users  — or at least make them easier to ignore. Its latest step appears to be a “Quality filter,” first noticed by Anil Dash, that will curate your timeline in an attempt to hide unwanted messages. The filter “aims to remove all tweets from your notifications timeline that contain threats, offensive or abuse language, duplicate content, or are sent from suspicious accounts.”

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Telecoms file first lawsuits against FCC net neutrality rules

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The first lawsuits against the FCC’s new net neutrality rules have come in, according to The Washington Post. The Post writes that two parties — industry group USTelecom and regional service provider Alamo Broadband — have respectively filed suit in Washington and New Orleans. We’ve contacted both parties (and the FCC) about the suits, but for now, the details are thin. USTelecom thinks that the rules, which were officially released on March 12th, are not “legally sustainable,” and Alamo believes it’s suffering harm under the new requirements, which ban internet service providers from blocking, discriminating against, or speeding up internet traffic from specific sources.

The FCC quickly confirmed these lawsuits. In a statement given to…

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NFL suspends blackout rule for 2015 season, will stream London game worldwide

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NFL owners have voted to suspend the league’s unpopular blackout rule, which forbids local TV stations from airing games with lackluster ticket sales, for the entire 2015 season. But ditching the rule isn’t yet permanent; owners plan to reevaluate upon the season’s conclusion to see if the decision had any unwanted effects. The blackout rule actually didn’t prevent any TV viewers from seeing a game in 2014, and only two games were blacked out for the year prior.

As written, the rule is activated when a team fails to sell 85 percent of seats 72 hours before kickoff; in 2012, the NFL relaxed its previous, more stringent set of requirements that led to a higher frequency of blocked games. The FCC did its part in getting here last year,…

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Apple’s largest parts supplier has a new partner for its $15,000 electric car

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China’s tech companies are suddenly very interested in building a better car. Tencent, the company behind the popular WeChat chat app, announced today that it will be partnering with Foxconn for a forthcoming $15,000 “smart vehicle.” Tencent will be providing technology services, although it’s still unclear how automated the final product will be. It’s not the only mysterious car project to come out of the Chinese tech industry this week: on Sunday, Chinese search giant Baidu pledged to launch a self-driving car within the year, following in the footsteps of the autonomous Google prototype revealed in December.

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Genetic analysis clears up the evolutionary mystery surrounding leprosy

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Leprosy has just shed some of its mystery. For the first time ever, a DNA analysis of Mycobacterium lepromatosis — a recently discovered bacteria that can cause a severe form of leprosy — reveals that the organism separated from its more common counterpart, Mycobacterium leprae, about 14 million years ago. The finding, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could lead to better diagnostic tests and a more accurate map of leprosy’s geographic distribution. But it’s also intriguing in its own right: it shows that despite having broken off into separate species long ago, two pathogens can continue to infect a host — humans — in very similar ways.

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Ted Cruz’s Twitter avatar has a certain, how do you say, Jesus-ness

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Prepare yourself, America.

For the next 20 months or so, we will be talking about Ted Cruz. Whether or not we like the guy, attention to the microscopic details of the Texas senator’s life may very well drive us to the point of madness. But don’t worry, he’s only one of many soon-to-be-declared presidential contenders that will become the awkward topic of conversation at our family dinners and holiday work parties!

I say, let’s enjoy this finite amount of time when Cruz is more human than flesh-standee shoulder of all of our hopes, anxieties, and fears. Let’s really relish, for example, the candidate’s oddball internet acumen, like Cruz’s Twitter avatar, which is the most blatant Jesus pose a person can hold without blaspheming the…

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The directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier are taking over The Avengers franchise

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Joss Whedon is stepping down from The Avengers franchise after Age of Ultron comes out this May, but Marvel has sewn up just about the best replacements possible for the next two installments: the Russo brothers. The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that Joe and Anthony Russo will be taking on both parts of Avengers: Infinity War, which the duo will be filming in one massive shoot starting next year. Badass Digest first reported the news.

The Russos originally made their stamp on the Marvel universe with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. That film took what had been one of the goofier franchises in the studio’s arsenal, and turned it into a surprising, ’70s-era spy thriller. While the Russos’ background was in comedy — they directed…

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The decline of the Java application server

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Application servers once ruled the world of Java application development, but no more, says Red Hat’s James Strachan. As application development migrates to container-managed services, the application server is a much smaller and less significant component of the overall dev and deploy process. Docker – ofering a new cloud stack based on containers rather than VMs — is the main culprit:

One of the big wins of Docker containers is you can spin up as many instances of a container you like on any machine and they work in a repeatable way since they are based on the same reusable immutable image. A container instance can have its own persistent state mounted on a volume; but the code (and possibly configuration) comes from an immutable image.

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Microsoft opens the doors to Windows 10 app developers

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Microsoft is now allowing developers to create apps for Windows 10. While the software maker is planning to release its operating system some time in the summer, developers can start getting used to the available tools today. Windows 10’s apps will run across a variety of devices, including the Xbox One, PCs, phones, and tablets. This initial SDK preview will let developers tweak their apps to work across varying screen sizes and optimize them for both touch and mouse / keyboard usage.

It’s a surprise move as many had expected Microsoft to wait until its Build developers conference in April to discuss how developers will build apps for Windows 10. While the tools are an early preview, they will give us a better idea of how developers…

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Listen to Death Cab For Cutie’s new album Kintsugi for free at NPR

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It’s been nearly four years since Death Cab For Cutie released their last album, and a lot has changed for the band since — most notably the departure of guitarist, producer, and founding member Chris Walla last fall. While Walla played his last show with the band in September, his presence is felt one more time on Kintsugi, the band’s eighth album that they finished up prior to his departure. DCFC has been releasing a steady stream of tracks from the album over the last few months leading up to its March 31st release, but today the whole thing can be found streaming over at NPR

It’s been a turbulent four years for Death Cab

Even though the band’s long-standing lineup all participated in the creation and recoding of Kintsugi, it’s…

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Nintendo president says report of a Zelda TV series at Netflix is incorrect

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You may want to tone down your excitement for the Zelda TV series that Netflix was reported to be working on last month. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata tells Time that The Wall Street Journal‘s story that first reported the partnership was “not based on correct information.” On the surface, that makes it sound like Iwata is denying the report, but it’s also quite possible that he’s just being cagey. Iwata doesn’t actually say that Nintendo isn’t working with Netflix — just that some amount of information was incorrect. “As of now, I have nothing new to share with you in regard to the use of our IPs for any TV shows or films,” he says.

What does that mean for Zelda on Netflix? The show was described as being in its “early stages” in the…

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Charli XCX’s new music video is your phone-charging nightmare

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Charli XCX’s new video for “Famous,” off her sophomore album Sucker, starts out innocently enough: a teenage fan takes selfies, sends some texts, and dances around her room. And then — horror of all horrors — her phone battery dies. Then her tablet dies, and she’s pulled into some laminated purgatory where she must plug her charger into the belly button of a strange, sweaty, man-monster. Ultimately, her adventure ends up on YouTube, which is appropriately meta considering the video was premiered during the YouTube Music Video Awards this morning.

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