Two CNN producers were arrested just trying to enter this building this past week.
Two CNN producers were arrested just trying to enter this building this past week.
An interesting story from the British Postal Museum. Have fun reading :-)
“Cats were first officially appointed by the Post Office to catch rats and mice in September 1868 (although there had undoubtedly been cats in post offices before). Three cats worked on probation at the Money Order Office in London, with an allowance of one shilling a week.
The cats had to rely on mice for the rest of their food, with the Secretary to the Post Office warning that if the problem with mice was not reduced within six months the allowance would be cut…”
full story here
March 12, 2014
A new torrent application that allows users to stream Hollywood movies to various devices has been advertised as a free, possibly illegal challenger to Netflix, although its success depends on whether casual downloaders are willing to take the plunge.
Popcorn Time – a new BitTorrent-powered app available on Windows, Mac, and Linux – uses the same technology that has made sites like The Pirate Bay and Kick Ass torrents so popular. To successfully download a torrent file, a user must connect with others users known as seeds and leechers and pay attention to their upload ratio, all while hoping that they have not downloaded a corrupt file or been tracked by copyright enforcers.
Aware of this complexity but hoping to keep BitTorrent alive, a developer known only as Sebastian told TorrentFreak’s Ernesto that he set out to take Netflix’s streaming technology and adapt it to the black market movie audience.
Popcorn Time essentially does the work that a movie pirate already does for them. They select a movie to download and, instead of checking when the download is complete or playing a video back through an app like uTorrent, Popcorn Time simply opens its own media player while seeding the file in the background.
“The technology behind the app is very simple,” Sebastian told the website from his home in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “We consume a group of APIs, one for the torrents, another for the movie info, and another for the poster. We also have an API for the subtitles. Everything is automated, we don’t host anything, but take existing information and put it together.”
The developers have cautioned that Popcorn Time is still in beta mode, causing some video playback to appear blotchy and audio to sometimes play out of sync. That disappointment may be tapered by the sheer size of Popcorn Time’s library, which includes films like “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Gravity,” and a number of others that have yet to reach sites like Netflix or Hulu.
Alex Tretbar, a writer for DigitalTrends.com, downloaded the software and admitted that while it is clearly in beta mode, Popcorn Time was a pleasant surprise.
“As a quick quality test, we downloaded the software and booted up the recently-released ‘Thor: The Dark World.’ Surprisingly, within 10 minutes of dialing in the Popcorn Time URL and downloading the needed software, we already had a 1080p copy of the film running beautifully (considering the quickness with which the program operates), with much of the film on the way to being entirely buffered. The movie had an impressive array of eight available subtitle language options,” he wrote.
“The interface is extremely straightforward, with a Netflix instant queue-style quilt of film cover art popping up upon startup. The only other visual aspect is along the left-hand side – a fairly comprehensive genre list with categories ranging from Animation and Biography to Film-Noir and Fantasy, and a search field.”
The problem is that sharing copyrighted content is illegal. While all users may not be aware, a stipulation on Popcorn Time’s FAQ does indicate that a customer is in fact uploading a movie at the same time they are watching it. Hollywood executives, copyright enforcers, and law enforcement officials have spent well over a decade in pursuit of violators, and uploading content is widely considered to be one of the riskiest online behaviors a person can engage in.
Sebastian told TorrentFreak the software developers are not concerned.
“We don’t expect legal issues. We don’t host anything, and none of the developers makes any money,” he said. “There are no ads, no premium accounts, and no subscription fees or anything like that. It’s an experiment to learn and share.”
If Popcorn Time will ever catch on with the public remains to be seen, but the startup must already consider its stiff competition. Last year Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told reporters that piracy has dropped by 50 percent in Canada since the service was made available there.
“Netflix is so much easier that torrenting,” he said, as quoted by TorrentFreak. “You don’t have to deal with files, you don’t have to download them and move them around. You just click and watch.”
If the case of DVDFab is any indication, Netflix’s dominance may be Popcorn Time’s smallest concern. The service specializes in removing copyright protection from DVDs and helping users rip them to their computer, where the contents of the disc may go online or to another DVD. Yet a New York federal court has ruled that the company must turnover several of its domain names, bank funds, and social media accounts to the government.
AACS, a group founded by Warner Bros, Disney, Microsoft, and other entertainment players, convinced a judge to grant a broad injunction that may also apply in court proceedings against a torrent streaming service like Popcorn Time.
“The DVDFab Group openly touts these illegal circumvention attributes of the DVDFab Software on the DVDFab websites, advertising that, among other things, its software products ‘remove all Blu-ray copy protections,’ and ‘can remove…all known AACS copy protections,’” AACS wrote, as quoted by Torrent Freak.
When we think about plants, we don’t often associate a term like “behavior” with them, but experimental plant ecologist JC Cahill wants to change that. The University of Alberta professor maintains that plants do behave and lead anything but solitary and sedentary lives. What Plants Talk About teaches us all that plants are smarter and much more interactive than we thought!
Sweet childhood memories brought back by Shane Koyczan…
Recorded live at “One Last Time” at the Waldorf Hotel on Jan. 16, 2013
Feb 10, 2014
An Ottawa startup is aiming to give television viewers who want to cut the cord that binds them to traditional content providers the ultimate device: a digital recorder that streams and records programming from dozens of local high-definition stations that are available over the air.
Nuvyyo brought its Tablo personal digital recorder to the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas earlier this year, attracting a lot of attention at a time when consumers are looking for alternatives to cable.
Tablo is a small DVR-like device that plugs into an over-the-air HDTV antenna and transmits the signal to any device that is connected to the Tablo or the internet. This includes iPads and other tablets, smartphones, PCs and televisions that outfitted with Apple TV or Google Chromecast.
Content can be recorded on the Tablo and viewed later or streamed live. A software interface makes it easy to find the signal you want and stream it when you want it.
‘There is great content out there. It’s essentially free. Everybody can pull it in’- Nuvyyo CEO Grant Hall
“It’s not just about the TV these days,” says Nuvyyo CEO Grant Hall. “It’s really about whatever device you have and wherever you are, enabling you to enjoy that live and recorded programming wherever you want to.”
An Indiegogo campaign helped pay for the first major production run of the company’s devices, which will be shipped by the end of this month.
All the major Canadian networks and, if you are close to the U.S. border, American networks such as CBS, NBC and Fox, are available as HD signals over the air.
“There is great content out there,” Hall told CBC News. “It’s essentially free. Everybody can pull it in.”
Nuvyyo’s business plan includes eventually introducing subscription fees for the Tablo service.
Consumers have been getting more and more fed up with cable and satellite subscription services, both because of their restrictive packages and their bewildering fee structures.
For these disgruntled TV watchers, having a device that enables them to cut the cord without losing access to their favourite programs, including the local news, is an attractive option.
Nuvyyo’s method of harnessing over-the-air TV is being tested in U.S. courts.
Last year, U.S. web-based broadcaster Aereo won a major court case against the TV networks, which sought to block its access to their channels, saying it was infringing on copyright. A U.S. appeals court ruled it could continue to offer over-the-air HD TV signal to consumers.
Last month the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of a case to test whether Aereo’s streaming video is indeed legal.
You’ll feel like a hipster for sure after watching this. It is way too cool. Heck, why am I talking to anyone? Hipster Lou
With thanks to Rebecca at http://misbehavedwoman.wordpress.com
Name: Anton Casey
Appearance: Pasty expat Brit.
That’s not very nice. I don’t think you’ll find many people who have a good word to say about Mr Casey.
What does he do? He’s a fund manager.
In that case, fire away. Amazingly, Casey’s job is the least unattractive thing about him.
What’s his problem? Casey – who lives in Singapore – had to leave his Porsche at the garage, obliging him to take the train.
Good for him to see how the other half lives. He then posted a picture of his son sitting on said train on Facebook, along with the caption: “Daddy, where is your car & who are all these poor people?”
Nice. Casey later posted another picture of his son sitting in the newly repaired Porsche, with the words: “Ahhhhhhhhh, reunited with my baby. Normal service can resume, once I have washed the stench of public transport off me …!”
He doesn’t come across well on social media, does he? No. Soon another of Casey’s Facebook postings went viral: a picture of his bundled-up taxi driver, with the caption: “Today’s cabbie retard award goes to … Mr Arm Warmers, stripy mittens & towel on the lap man … After all it’s only 37C outside.”
Maybe Mr Arm Warmers was chilled by the full-on air-conditioning required by his sweaty expat clientele. That was pointed out in the torrent of online abuse that followed.
Perhaps a man’s character should not be judged by unguarded comments, but by how he responds to the subsequent death threats. Casey changed his profile name to Anson Stasey, and when that failed to put people off the scent he deleted the account, and that of his wife, former Miss Singapore Bernice Wong.
That last detail is perfect. As an encore he issued a by-the-numbers apology (“I have the highest respect and regard …” blah blah blah) through a public relations firm.
How are his employers taking it? Crossinvest Asia said: “We will take appropriate action once we are in possession of all the facts.”
Do say: “Actually, Singapore’s public transport is among the cleanest in the world.”
Don’t say: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all or I’ll kill you.”
January 26, 2014
A Singapore-based UK banker, Anton Casey, who triggered massive public outrage over his Facebook remarks insulting Singapore residents, has been dismissed from his post and forced to flee to Australia.
His employer Crossinvest (Asia) Pte Ltd and Casey “parted ways”, the company indicated on Saturday, as quoted by AFP.
“Those comments go against our core corporate and family values that are based on trust, mutual understanding and are respectful of diversity,” the company’s statement said.
Anton Casey, 39, married to a former Singapore beauty queen, has gone to Perth, Australia, in the wake of the scandal.
Casey has permanent residence in Singapore which he calls his adopted home, and claims he received death threats after posting his “poor people” comments on Facebook, referring to Singapore commuters.
One of the posts was a picture of a boy who is apparently Casey’s five-year-old son sitting inside a metro train, with a caption above his head reading: “Daddy, where is your car & who are all these poor people?”
In another post, Casey complained about “the stench of public transport” while his Porsche was in the garage.
Following the incident and the public outburst that ensued, Casey deleted all his social networks profiles.
However, Facebook users on Friday made a page dedicated to Casey and the scandal around him, an “e-card” to “say goodbye proper”, as the creator of the page put it.
Casey, in his turn, wrote a letter to a Singapore newspaper saying the remarks were “the worst mistake” of his life, the Daily Mail reported.
“I hope the people of Singapore will allow me to volunteer my time and resources to community projects to make amends. I also hope the people of Singapore, my adopted home, will forgive me over time,” Casey also wrote.
Singapore is one of the world’s richest societies, with a per-capita gross domestic product of Sg$65,048 ($50,890) in 2012, according to AFP data. Also, around 50,000 UK expats live in the wealthy country, with many of them employees of international banks.
21 Jan 2013
Call it ambush advertising, creative revenge or gangsta-style marketing — a Brazilian fashion designer has launched a commercial featuring CCTV footage of his shop being robbed by a gang of thieves.
The YouTube advert for the Reserva label features accelerated clips from a smash-and-grab raid in São Paulo last month, overlaid with thrashing guitar and drums, and captions about the store’s January sale.
“It’s not necessary to break the window. Just come in! Inventory clearance: up to 40% off.” So read the opening lines, followed by footage of the shop window being shattered by a brick and masked thieves pushing over a mannequin and stripping the shop of its merchandise.
As the robbers make off with the goods, bold red lettering is superimposed on the black and white images to describe — and advertise — the items being taken: “Jeans, Bermudas, polo shirts, tops.”
The gang flees after emptying most of the racks in less than a minute. As the thieves drive off, the caption declares: “Hurry! Why are people doing such crazy stuff for Reserva?”
The CCTV camera indicates the crime took place early in the morning on 6 December. The owner of the store, Rony Meisler, told O Globo newspaper it was the second time in less than a month that his outlet had been robbed, probably by the same gang. Police have yet to apprehend a suspect, despite the face of one of the thieves being clearly visible.
Meisler described his marketing campaign as a form of smart revenge. “They stole my clothes and we stole their image,” he told the paper. “Complaining gets you nowhere, business is about doing things. Rather than suck lemons, it is better to make lemonade with them.”
Prepare to have your mind ripped. Does anyone have any idea how he does it?
January 23, 2014
The online video streaming company
Netflix—which this week surpassed business world expectations by announcing a surge in viewership with paying membership close to 40 million U.S. customers—may seem like an unlikely ally to grassroots activists and progressive organizations fighting against the nation’s largest telecommunications companies in the name of an open and fair internet.
But if the company is willing to flex its political muscle or actually mobilizes its customer base as an army of citizen lobbyists, could such a development help turn the tide against a recent court decision that has imperiled the concept of net neutrality?
In a letter to investors released this week, the company said that if net neutrality falls prey to the nation’s largest internet service providers (ISPs)—including AT&T, Comcast, TimeWarner, and Verizon—its user could face increased fees and impaired access to the streaming service. If such a “draconian scenario” developed, company executives said, they would fight back.
“We would vigorously protest and encourage our members to demand the open Internet they are paying their ISP to deliver,” said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells in the letter, which continued:
In the long-term, we think Netflix and consumers are best served by strong network neutrality across all networks, including wireless. To the degree that ISPs adhere to a meaningful voluntary code of conduct, less regulation is warranted. To the degree that some aggressive ISPs start impeding specific data flows, more regulation would clearly be needed.
Some media reform advocates welcomed the development.
“We’re glad to see Netflix acknowledging the need for — and the consumer benefits from — open Internet rules that apply to wired and wireless networks alike,” said Free Press policy director Matt Wood in an email to Common Dreams.
According to Seth Porges, a technology write for Forbes, the potential impact of a Netflix user revolt could drastically alter the political playing field because “Netflix is the one company that could get the general public to take notice that net neutrality actually matters.”
“Quite simply,” explained Porges, “If and when 40 million Americans wake up to a significantly higher monthly bill, something’s gonna give.”
From Netflix’s perspective, however, the ISPs—”generally aware of the broad public support for net neutrality” and afraid of government pushback—are not likely to overplay their hand.
That’s likely small comfort to those hoping that the FCC will reclaim their authority over online regulations by declaring the internet as a public utility that should be governed by an eye toward the “common good” and not the whims of for-profit corporations who display near monopoly control over the country’s digital networks. According to those groups, the FCC should reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service which would then allow it to implement net neutrality guidelines within a strong regulatory and legal framework.
As Timothy Karr, legal advocate for Free Press, recently described:
Reclassifying broadband would return the FCC’s established tradition of oversight, treating customer-facing communications networks as common carriers.
Under this standard, defined under Title II of the Communications Act, a network provider cannot block, slow or discriminate among websites and services. For instance, Verizon wouldn’t be allowed to block your use of FaceTime, Google Hangout or Skype to favor of its own video-calling service.
Netflix role in this debate, of course, cannot be separated from its own self interest. As Porges notes:
Of course, the one company that has the most to lose from [the recent court decision against net neutrality] is Netflix, which has the distinction of being an entity that simultaneously gobbles up the largest share of Internet traffic, relies the most on speedy service (you think those HD videos are gonna look as crisp under the threat of throttle?), and is the most threatening to the business core business model that cable ISPs are built on (hello cord-cutters!).
So, despite the fact that Netflix is downplaying any affects of the ruling on their business, it most definitely had an immediate and noticeable impact on the company’s stock price.
The questions remain, however, for those who have long waged the net neutrality fight on principled grounds related to open access, equitable treatment of content, and the ideals of a democratic internet: Will promises by companies like Netflix to fight on their side survive the rough and tumble negotiations and regulatory fights ahead? Or are they likely to crumble as the pursuit of profit and investor returns trump the noble promise of an internet maintained for the benefit of all?
I have to share this story with you. It’s better than a horror flick. Watch out Ireland and Scotland!
A ghost ship filled with cannibal rats is floating somewhere off the coast of Scotland, ready to crash ashore and unleash its disease-ridden cargo of starving rodents. And it’s all because Canadian authorities let the Soviet-era nightmare liner loose in the North Atlantic, satisfied that it was no longer a threat to Canada.
The “hundreds” of rats aboard the abandoned cruise ship have surely begun eating each other by now, officials say. It has been nearly a year since the vessel was intentionally lost at sea by Canadian authorities who were happy to let the “biohazard” become another country’s problem.
This gruesome gift from Canada is now expected to crash ashore in Ireland or the United Kingdom, dumping the plague ship’s living cargo of cannibal rats onto the land.
Named for a popular film actress in Stalin’s USSR, the Lyubov Orlova was built by the Soviets in 1976 to treat Russian elites with pleasure cruises to Antarctica and the Arctic Circle.
But it was seized in 2010, by Canadian police acting as debt collectors against the ship’s now-private owners, and for years it remained anchored off St. John’s, the provincial capital of Newfoundland. Finally sold for scrap in 2012, the massive ship was lost at sea just a day after being towed out. When Canadian authorities finally captured the cruise ship last year, they decided to let it loose in international waters.
A math class you wouldn’t forget :-)
Photographer Jimmy Nelson spent over four years documenting 29 cultures and tribes at risk of disappearing, often in remote parts of the world, using a 50-year-old camera in order to capture their authentic beauty.
At TED, Jimmy shares his stories about the connections he made and the lessons he has learned from these travels.
On Jimmy’s site at www.beforethey.com, you can enjoy his amazing photos in a high resolution and read a bit about the tribes.
These unusual pictures show a 1970s police car bizarrely transformed into a fully-functioning chicken coop.
French artist Benedetto Bufalino has utilised the entire vehicle to make way for the animals in his latest project called La voiture de police poulaillerí.
The Parisian bought the disused urban vehicle and gutted its interior apart from a few elements such as the steering wheel and clutch.
Fast food: This is the latest project of French artist Benedetto Bufalino – who bought and gutted a 70s police car to make a chicken coop
New home: The man removed virtually all of the vehicles’ interior features and installed wooden and chicken wire structures to contain the animals
Most of its exterior remains – including the original signage, a vinyl police banner and blaring emergency lights situated on the roof.
Bufalino opened the passenger doors as well as the bonnet and boot to fit wooden structures inside meaning they will be perpetually ajar.
Chicken wire closes up the exposed openings and makes sure the livestock are stay in the space.
The artist says by transforming the car, its purpose has been renewed into a quirky artwork that can be interpreted as both a sculptural object and a functional piece.
Quirky: The artist has previously turned a car into a BBQ and a telephone box into an aquarium
The artist is trademarked by visually humorous transformations of certain objects – often cars and vans.
Previously, he has turned such vehicles into both a BBQ and an enormous plant pot.
He has also given a new life to an old telephone box by turning it in to a giant fish tank.
To Walter. R.I.P.