Inside the offices—and servers—of the video streaming empire:
"On a normal weeknight, Netflix accounts for almost a third of all Internet traffic entering North American homes. That’s more than YouTube, Hulu, Amazon.com, HBO Go, iTunes, and BitTorrent combined. Traffic to Netflix usually peaks at around 10 p.m. in each time zone, at which point a chart of Internet consumption looks like a python that swallowed a cow. By midnight Pacific time, streaming volume falls off dramatically."
PUBLISHED: May 9, 2013
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3782 words)
A visit to Iceland and CCP Games, the company behind the sci-fi video game Eve Online. The game has grown to 500,000 users and $65 million in revenue:
"Economists have written dozens of papers celebrating the sophistication of Eve’s economy and the amazing level of industry among the players, who basically create everything within the game from scratch. 'It feels like a real economy instead of one rigged by a gaming company,' says Vili Lehdonvirta, a researcher at the London School of Economics who’s studied virtual games since 2004. 'Since there’s no legal system, the economy resembles that of a developing nation where people trade based on trust and social relations.'
"The thought of Eve advancing economic teaching provides some measure of comfort for Icelanders who’ve grown to detest the presumed economic whizzes in the real world. Just down the road from the CCP headquarters, the Harpa, a giant glass opera house, glows in different colors at night. It symbolized Iceland’s banking boom. Now it may have to be torn down, because it’s too expensive for the country to maintain. CCP held its most recent Christmas party there."
PUBLISHED: April 19, 2013
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2872 words)
Steve Jobs had grand plans for Apple's new headquarters, but now there are questions over whether the company should be going through with them:
"Apple hasn’t announced any major changes to Jobs’s vision, so some of the sought-after $1 billion savings will likely come by rolling back his sky-high requirements for fit and finish. Rather than cement floors, Jobs wanted to use a stone-infused alternative such as terrazzo, buffed to a sheen normally reserved for museums and high-end residences. Jobs insisted that the tiny gaps where walls and other surfaces come together be no more than 1/32 of an inch across, vs. the typical ⅛ inch in most U.S. construction. Rather than a lightweight, sound-absorbing acoustical tile, Jobs even wanted the ceilings to be polished concrete. Contractors would typically erect molds with crude scaffolds to pour the cement in place, but that leaves unsightly ruts where the scaffolding puts extra pressure on the surfaces. According to two people who’ve seen the plans, Apple will instead cast the ceilings in molds on the floor and lift them into place, a far more expensive approach that left one person involved in the project speechless."
PUBLISHED: April 4, 2013
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2750 words)
How Disney CEO Robert Iger engineered the deal, and whether George Lucas can really retire:
"Iger understood Lucas’s concerns. 'George said to me once that when he dies, it’s going to say "Star Wars creator George Lucas," ' he says. Still, Iger wanted to make sure that Lucas, who was used to controlling every aspect of Star Wars, from set design to lunchboxes, understood that Disney, not Lucasfilm, would have final say over any future movies. 'We needed to have an understanding that if we acquire the company, despite tons of collegial conversations and collaboration, at the end of the day, we have to be the ones who sign off on whatever the plans are,' says Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios.
"Lucas agreed, in theory."
PUBLISHED: March 7, 2013
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3466 words)
How a group of thieves stole $7.4 million from Brink's guards in a warehouse at Miami International Airport, and were caught by FBI investigators:
"Monzon’s plan, naturally, was to lie low. The crew sealed the money in vacuum packs and split up. Monzon stashed some of his money in PVC pipes and buried them under his family’s house in Homestead, a rural area halfway between Miami and the Florida Keys. Some went into the attic. He didn’t hide it all, though: He bought a Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle worth about $14,000. But the everyday dramas of ordinary life continued. Monzon kept his job at the rental company. Cinnamon kept working as well, as a receptionist at Vista magazine. 'I get up every day at six in the morning to come work like a slave,' she complained months later in a phone conversation tapped by the FBI."
"Boatwright took a different approach. He bought a Rolex and a set of gold caps for his teeth and began days-long drug binges at strip clubs. He dropped thousands of dollars partying with friends. Rumors spread to Monzon that he was doing drugs right out in the street."
PUBLISHED: Feb. 22, 2013
LENGTH: 12 minutes (3185 words)
"It’s not a matter of isolated incidents; it’s a continuous invasion." Dell's director of malware research attempts to trace a series of attacks back to their source—in this case, China, and a man named Zhang Changhe:
"Up to now, private-sector researchers such as Stewart have had scant success putting faces to the hacks. There have been faint clues left behind—aliases used in domain registrations, old online profiles, or posts on discussion boards that give the odd glimpse of hackers at work—but rarely an identity. Occasionally, though, hackers mess up. Recently, one hacker’s mistakes led a reporter right to his door."
PUBLISHED: Feb. 19, 2013
LENGTH: 12 minutes (3192 words)
Social network CEOs look for wisdom from evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar, who pioneered research into human relationships:
"A little more than 10 years ago, the evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar began a study of the Christmas-card-sending habits of the English. This was in the days before online social networks made friends and “likes” as countable as miles on an odometer, and Dunbar wanted a proxy for meaningful social connection. He was curious to see not only how many people a person knew, but also how many people he or she cared about. The best way to find those connections, he decided, was to follow holiday cards. After all, sending them is an investment: You either have to know the address or get it; you have to buy the card or have it made from exactly the right collage of adorable family photos; you have to write something, buy a stamp, and put the envelope in the mail. These are not huge costs, but most people won’t incur them for just anybody.
"Working with the anthropologist Russell Hill, Dunbar pieced together the average English household’s network of yuletide cheer. The researchers were able to report, for example, that about a quarter of cards went to relatives, nearly two-thirds to friends, and 8 percent to colleagues. The primary finding of the study, however, was a single number: the total population of the households each set of cards went out to. That number was 153.5, or roughly 150."
PUBLISHED: Jan. 16, 2013
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3383 words)
From The Daily Beast's David Sessions, a collection of stories on gun violence and policy in the U.S., featuring The Atlantic, Washington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek and Mother Jones.
Cook reflects on his early days with Apple, how the company has changed in the past year, and what Steve Jobs told him before he died:
"So we started talking about what it meant. Again, this is when I am thinking, and I’m certain he’s thinking, that this is going to go on for a long, long period where he’s the chairman and I am CEO. So I’m trying to understand—how does he see this working? He had obviously thought very deeply about it.
"And as a part of this, I asked him about different scenarios to understand how he wanted to be involved as chairman. He said, 'I want to make this clear. I saw what happened when Walt Disney passed away. People looked around, and they kept asking what Walt would have done.' He goes, 'The business was paralyzed, and people just sat around in meetings and talked about what Walt would have done.' He goes, 'I never want you to ask what I would have done. Just do what’s right.' He was very clear."
PUBLISHED: Dec. 6, 2012
LENGTH: 33 minutes (8482 words)