Weekly News Roundup 30/3/2015

Telstra offering big bonus data packages.

telstraIn what seems to be an attempt at compensating for not making Netflix quota free like so many other Internet Service Providers, Telstra is adding massive data cap upgrades to new accounts bringing the monthly allowance in some cases up to 10GB.
This bundled with a free 6 month subscription to Presto is quite the sweetner.
Lifehacker’s comparison to other providers shows that the value is there for the big plans but those on the lower usage plans may find the competition offers better value for money.

Radio Shack (US) selling customer email and home addresses.

Bankrupt electronics retailer Radio Shack has auctioned off its customer database containing millions of email addresses, home addresses and possibly other personally identifiable information to Standard General the largest shareholder of Radio Shack.
Bloomberg reports that there is a legal challenge from the Attourney Generals of both Texas and Tennessee stating that the sale of personal information is in violation of Radio Shack’s privacy statement.
In short this opens an interesting chapter on the ownership of personal information in the case of the custodian going into liquidation.
Other parties that believe to have a stake in at least some of that information is AT&T one of the prominent players in the US telecommunications market. What makes AT&T nervous about the Standard General purchase is that if it goes through the expectation is that Radio Shack stores will become shared spaces with Standard General and its telecommunications partner Sprint, one of AT&T’s competitors.
Having information on AT&T’s clients will give Sprint an advantage over it’s competitors.
In an age where data is worth so much, this will be a hotly contested case with many interested parties worldwide and no doubt will add a few more pages to privacy statements as well as standard terms of service in the future.
Read more about this on The Verge.

Pixar releases Renderman to the public for free.

Yep. The in house rendering software used by Pixar to create the stunning visuals in all their animated blockbusters is now free (as in beer) but there is a catch.
This is only the rendering software as in the bit that takes a 3D model (usually made in the eye-wateringly expensive Maya) and applies lighting and surface effects. There is hope however that the popular free 3D modeller Blender might produce models that could be supported by Renderman.
For now though talented creators that have access to Maya could be on a more even footing with the animation Goliath as long as they follow the terms of use dictating that it is to be only for non-commercial use.
Full story on Arstechnica.com

Other stories…

British Airways Frequent Flyer accounts hacked.
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/mar/29/british-airways-frequent-flyer-accounts-hacked

British Schools threaten reporting parents to police if kids play Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty.
http://www.cnet.com/news/school-principals-threaten-parents-with-police-if-kids-play-grand-theft-auto/

Most excellent Super Mario 64 remake can be played in your web browser.
http://techcrunch.com/2015/03/29/this-guy-remade-super-mario-64s-most-iconic-level-in-hd-and-playable-in-your-browser/