Amazon released branded semiconductors to home equipment designers who are working on Internet-of-Things devices, WiFi routers and other smart home appliances. The chips come from Annapurna Labs, which Amazon purchased in 2015 for a rumored $350 million. On January 7, 2016, the company announced that its Alpine chipset was available for a wide range of applications.
Amazon probably isn’t the only reason Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) is spending $13 billion on content this year — but it’s one of the biggest reasons. The goal of Netflix’s content strategy is clear. Netflix wants to give subscribers everything they want — and more content they perhaps didn’t even know they wanted. That will drive subscriber growth and cement Netflix’s dominance in the space. From there, Amazon, Disney (NYSE:DIS), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), and everyone else can play for second.
There need not be a documentary about the Syrian catastrophe to rally the world around its cause—just as, in Matthew Heineman’s previous film, Cartel Land, there was no need to vilify the world of Mexican cartels or the DEA or the paramilitaristic nationalists patrolling our Southern borders to confirm that murder and drug trafficking are bad. The threats are known and the stakes understood, at least conceptually. And yet, by offering dedicated, deeply intimate portraits of the people caught up in these crises, Heineman complicates them beyond all repair, placing himself in undoubtedly death-defying situations to offer a perspective whose only bias is instinctual. So it is with City of Ghosts, in which he follows members of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, a group committed to using citizen-based journalism to expose the otherwise covered-up atrocities committed by ISIS and the Assad regime in Syria. In hiding, in Turkey and Germany and at an event for journalists in the U.S.—in exile—these men, who Heineman characterizes as a very young and even more reluctant resistance, tell of both the increasingly sophisticated multimedia methods of ISIS and their hopes for feeling safe enough to settle and start a family with equal trepidation about what they’ve conditioned themselves to never believe: That perhaps they’ll never be safe. Heineman could have easily bore witness to the atrocities himself, watching these men as they watch, over and over, videos of their loved ones executed by ISIS, a piquant punishment for their crimes of resistance. There is much to be said about the responsibility of seeing in our world today, after all. Instead, while City of Ghosts shares plenty of horrifying images, the director more often that not shields the audience from the graphic details, choosing to focus his up-close camera work on the faces of these men as they take on the responsibility of bearing witness, steeling themselves for a potential lifetime of horror in which everything they know and love will be taken from them. By the time Heineman joins these men as they receive the 2015 International Press Freedom Award for their work, the clapping, beaming journalists in the audience practically indict themselves, unable to see how these Syrian men want to be doing anything but what they feel they must, reinforcing the notion that what seems to count as international reportage anymore is the exact kind of lack of nuance that Heineman so beautifully, empathetically wants to call out. —Dom Sinacola
Good delivery system, reasonably priced, decent movie and tv show selection, but some of the original programming is mediocre ranging to so-bad-it’ll-set-your-teeth-on-edge bad, shows like Transparent or Mozart in the Jungle start off strong but quickly degenerate into the worst Showtime-like cheesy schmaltz of star pimping, tired old tropes taking the place of plots, and comic relief comprising little more than a parade of characters written solely as one walking quirk each, while others like The Man in the High Castle are just jarringly bad from the get-go, seemingly written by a committee who studied what tonal elements make up a dystopian setting and then assembled these elements while committing zero interiority to the show. Aesthetics and taste are not Jeff Bezos’ strong suits, apparently. But otherwise this is a fine service, just don’t accidentally step off into Amazon’s own focus group-driven attempts at film or television production and you’ll be fine.
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