Sunday, 30 June 2013

Football??


Football fan juror halts rape trial because defendant supports rival team

A football fan sitting on a jury cost the taxpayer thousands of pounds when he caused a rape trial to be halted just because the defendant supported a rival team.

The Newcastle United fan told fellow jury members he could not give David Blake, from Sunderland, a fair trial as it was just 24 hours after the Tyne-Wear derby.
In an outburst he branded the defendant a "Mackem rapist" – Mackem being a slang term for people from Sunderland.
The juror claimed to have been left distraught by Newcastle's 3-0 home defeat to their bitter Premier League foes last month.
His bias meant Judge Penny Moreland had to halt the trial, dismiss the juror and swear in a new panel at Newcastle Crown Court – at a cost of £5,000 to the public purse.
The case, which had heard the opening from the prosecution, had to be started again, meaning half a day was wasted.
Jurors are given a clear warning by judges at the start of every case that they must try defendants on the evidence they hear in court and nothing else.
The juror – who has not been named – was told not to come back to court to complete his two weeks service.
Blake was found guilty of raping the woman, who had fallen asleep in a spare bed, alone, after a party.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Who’s A Hungry Boy!!


Man charged in overnight feast at Ky. supermarket
Authorities in Kentucky have charged a man who officers say had an overnight feast in a closed supermarket outside Louisville.
The manager of a ValuMarket says he found 57 empty whipped cream cans in the garbage when he arrived Monday morning. WAVE-TV (http://bit.ly/15HQ8k7 ) in Louisville reported 30-year-old Trevor Runyon was charged after he was found in the ceiling of the store.
Surveillance video from the store showed that Runyon cooked and ate six steaks, washed them down with beer and then topped off his meal with shrimp and birthday cake.
Police say Runyon slipped into the store and hid while employees closed it for the night.
Bullitt County Detention Center records show Runyon is from Shepherdsville, Ky. It wasn't clear whether he has an attorney.

Friday, 28 June 2013

The Getaway?


Police hunt man on mobility scooter

Police are trying to track down an unlikely getaway driver - a man on a mobility scooter who escaped the scene at just 4mph.

Officers have today released CCTV images of a the man they would like to speak to following an incident in a supermarket.
A 79-year-old woman was shopping at a Tesco store in Portsmouth, Hampshire, when she placed one of her shopping bags on the floor as she stopped to pick up some groceries.
She then walked away, forgetting to take the bag that contained a purse with £90 in it, and it was taken from the store.
Police are now looking for the man on a mobility scooter who was captured on CCTV.
Investigating officer, PC Sara White, said: "I would like to hear from anyone who can identify the man pictured in the CCTV as I believe he may be able to assist with enquiries."
The UK is now the mobility scooter capital of Europe, with nearly 300,000 of the chairs in use compared to just 70,000 five years ago, it was revealed earlier this month.
Some are limited to a top speed of 4mph, whilst others are capable of achieving speeds of up to 8mph.
It is not the first time that police have had to appeal for help in tracing a driver who made a low speed get-away.
In May last year Dorset police released CCTV images of a woman mobility scooter driver who allegedly knocked a 63-year-old down in a hit and run outside a butchers shop.
In 2007 a pensioner managed to give officers the slip in Middlesbrough when he took a sharp turning off the road as they chased him at 8mph.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Don’t Ask!!


Tight-lipped celebrities are ruining talk shows, says Alan Carr

Alan Carr, the presenter of 'Alan Carr: Chatty Man', says he is often banned from asking guests on his talk show any interesting questions.

Sir Michael Parkinson may have said that the problem with talk shows nowadays is the celebrity hosts who reckon “it’s a doddle”, but Alan Carr claims that any guilt really lies with the guests who appear on them.
“You can’t talk about anything now,” the presenter of Alan Carr: Chatty Man tells Mandrake at the Arqiva British Academy Television Awards at the Royal Festival Hall.
He said he was often told: “Don’t talk about their bad plastic surgery, don’t mention their drug abuse, don’t mention their alcoholism.”
Carr says hosts are too scared to ask the stars about forbidden topics because if they do the publicists who impose such bans will stop other clients from appearing on the show. “They are so well hooked up that it’s like if you don’t adhere to these rules, you will never work again,” he adds.
The 36-year-old presenter, who won best entertainment performance at the ceremony, tells me he was recently told he could not look directly at one celebrity’s hair while interviewing them.
“I was told for a certain guest, 'don’t look at their hair’ and, of course, I didn’t even know it was fake before they drew attention to it.”
Carr concedes that it is the behind-the-scenes staff who are often caused the most grief by high-maintenance guests.
“The thing is they are nice to me,” he says. “It’s the runners and researchers that get soup thrown over them if it is not room temperature, but then they come on and are perfectly pleasant to me.”
Carr’s claims come after Jonathan Ross said his ITV show has lower ratings than The Graham Norton Show because of Norton’s interview technique.
“I think Graham gets first bite of film guests,” he said. “Some stars prefer his show over mine because they’re less protected on my programme.
“If they go on Graham’s, three guests all sit together on the sofa. He recently had Jude Law on his show, who could hide behind fellow guest Dame Judi Dench. On my programme they can’t do that.”

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Firefox….Foxed!


Mozilla Angry with UK Government Surveillance Spyware Agency

Top executives at the Mozzarella Foundation got angry with the British government spyware outfit called Gamma International: the open source browser developers became furious after they found out that the agency was using Firefox as a disguise for its FinSpy software.
Mozilla complained that FinSpy works by installing a disguised version of Firefox and then accessing key-strokes, activating webcams and recording Skype calls as Firefox. In such way, users don’t delete the software. The spyware is used by governments to snoop on citizens. In the meanwhile, the product was outed by human rights group Citizen Lab.

A few days ago, Mozilla has sent Gamma a cease and desist letter and asked them to stop such illegal practices immediately. The representatives of Google admitted that not was the activity illegal, but Mozilla takes it seriously because it is deceptive, harms users, can cause consumer confusion and harm the company’s reputation.

Apparently, Mozilla can’t abide a software company using its name to disguise online surveillance instruments that can be – and actually have been – used by Gamma’s customers to violate other people’s human rights and online privacy. However, the spyware doesn’t affect Firefox itself or the way it operates. In fact, FinSpy only uses the brand and trademarks to lie and mislead users, which is one of its methods to avoid detection and deletion.

If you are targeted by FinSpy and decide to take a look at files related to the spyware, you’ll see that Gamma misrepresents the software as being “Firefox.exe” and includes the properties associated with the popular browser with a version number and copyright and trademark claims attributed to Firefox and Mozilla Developers. This tactic showed up in a spyware attack in Bahrain, which targeted democracy activists, as well as in spyware used in the run-up to Malaysia’s future elections.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

What’s In A Name?


Apple Called Outdated iPhone “Vintage”

A new marketing spin from Apple can be seen as an insult to the intelligence of the American nation. Now Apple is peddling a phone it has dubbed “obsolete” in the rest of the world as “vintage” in the United States.
Media reports reveal that starting 11 June, the original iPhone 2G model will gain “obsolete” status – in other words, the device won’t any longer be serviceable in the Apple care centers. According to press reports, the “obsolete” status for the iPhone model will apply in Canada, Asia, Europe, Japan and Latin America.

This wasn’t a great surprise for many – after all, the Apple 2G is really outdated – but for some reason the company doesn’t want to admit that in the United States. Instead, the first-generation mobile device will be given “vintage” status – may be in the hope that the terminally dumb will suddenly want to buy it. Moreover, they will even be given limited support to do so: currently running iOS 1.0, the iPhone can be upgraded to iOS 3.1.3, but couldn’t manage anything more advanced than that.

The critics point out that only Apple could take the word “vintage” (normally applied to fine wines and cheese) and stick it on something the rest of the world called obsolete. The most amusing thing is that the company clearly understands that the rest of the world isn’t so dumb to fall for the marketing scam. Therefore, Apple isn’t even trying it on in nations where its customers are a little more discerning.

In the meanwhile, Apple is also rendering many other technological gadgets “obsolete” – for example, the 17-inch and 20-inch iMac G5, the late 2005 Mac mini, and the 15-inch and 17-inch versions of the Apple PowerBook G4. Among the list of retired devices you can also find the mid-2007 iMac, Mac Pro, late-2007 iMac, Xserve and AirPort Express Base Station. However, none of these gadgets are considered “vintage” – instead, some of them should probably be labeled “fire hazard”.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Here Kitty Kitty!


New York police officer gets stuck in tree while rescuing stranded cat

A New York police officer was forced to make an embarrassing 911 call after getting stuck in a tree while attempting to rescue a stranded cat.
Violent crime in the  US city may have dropped to its lowest level since the early 60s but the streets clearly remain a hazardous place for the NYPD.
The unlucky officer climbed the tree outside an elementary school in Queens on Monday but maybe should have called for back-up first.
With the frightened feline perched a lofty 30ft up in the tree, the officer was afflicted by a sudden spell of vertigo.
‘The cop went up after the cat. The cat went a little further out. So, the cop went further out and he got stuck,’ said a NYPD source.
The New York fire department soon came to the duo’s rescue, armed with a tower ladder, as a crowd of pupils from the nearby school gathered to watched the drama unfold.
‘It was kind of comical,’ said 22-year-old Oakland Park resident Jeff Yu. ‘They seemed to be enjoying themselves. There were no rude comments or anything.’
Both were eventually rescued ‘safe and sound,’ the city’s fire chiefs said.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

To Pay Or Not To Pay?


Top 10 weird reasons for not paying rent in Scotland

A survey in Scotland has shared some of the strangest excuses tenants make for not paying their rent.
Letting Protection Service Scotland questioned landlords across the country.
From all the weird excuses accumulated, 'I have a phobia about touching my cheque book' was voted the best, followed by 'my father died' - specifically when used for at least the third time.
Director of the organisation Kevin Firth said: "There are certainly some entertaining answers there.
"But at the end of the day they are all just excuses and excuses don't wash.
"The same can be said about deposit protection. There'll be no excuses for Scottish landlords and letting agents after May 15. All deposits need to be protected by that date."
The top 10 weird excuses, as voted by Scottish landlords, in full:
1. I have a phobia about touching my cheque book.
2. My father died - for the third time.
3. A dog ate my rent money.
4. My pet died and I have to pay the funeral costs.
5. I need the cash for my Rangers season ticket.
6. It's Christmas and I've had to buy presents.
7. I had to pay a bank tax.
8. I spent the money at the bookies.
9. I'm saving for a holiday.
10. The money fell out of my pocket.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Big Bird Watch Out!


Man Sexually Abused His Peacock

A man from northwest suburban Roselle, in DuPage County, faces a charge of misdemeanor animal cruelty after police said he sexually abused his pet peacock.
David Beckman, 64, of the 600 block of East Devon Avenue, was charged with the crime after police learned the bird died while they were investigating Beckman about an alleged case of indecent solicitation of a child.
Details surrounding the case with the peacock, reportedly named Phyl, were unclear Friday, as investigators said it was part of the case involving the child, the Daily Herald reported.
Court records confirmed Beckman faces three charges of harassment by telephone, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, two counts of marijuana possession, attempted indecent solicitation of a child, cruelty to animals, and two counts of battery.
He remained in the DuPage County Jail on Friday on a $10,000 bond

Friday, 21 June 2013

A Wrong Turn?


Thousands of runners disqualified from marathon after wrong turn

Thousands of runners were disqualified from a recent marathon after inadvertently taking a wrong turn.

Runners at the Marathon of the North in Sunderland last month were told they had missed out on completing the full marathon by 264 metres because of the error, MSN News reports.

Event organisers admitted that the runners took the wrong turn because of a marshalling error. This meant that all but the winner failed to complete the correct course at the April 28 event.

Organisers commented: "Regrettably, due to incorrect placing of marshals, which we take full responsibility for, only the lead athlete followed the correct route through the Sheepfold area near the Stadium of Light.

"Unfortunately, the second and third-placed runners were not within line of sight of the leader and lead bikes/vehicle.

"This resulted in all those who followed taking an incorrect route through this section.

"Our course measurer has now confirmed that 264 metres were therefore lost from the measured route.

"We are sincerely sorry for any confusion and frustration that this has caused."

Runners who were affected by the error have been offered 25% off entry to future events by organisers as an apology.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Fake?….Fly Me!


Conman who faked pilot's licence flew British passengers into Gatwick airport

A conman forged a pilot’s licence and medical certificates to obtain a job flying into one of Britain’s major airports.

Michael Fay, an American who settled in Alton, Hampshire, spent eight months piloting an Airbus A320, landing repeatedly at Gatwick.
The 59-year-old is now being hunted by police after he failed to appear in court to be sentenced for fraud.
He is believed to have fled the UK and may be seeking work as a pilot or flying instructor, police said.
Fay, a former US Air Force pilot, had worked for Afriqiyah Airways - the Libyan national carrier, and made eight landings at Gatwick between June 1, 2010 until he was arrested on February 3, 2011.
Police were only alerted to his fraud when another pilot became suspicious while talking to him on an internet forum
The conman was due to appear at Winchester Crown Court on Friday, May 3. He was sentenced to in absentia to three years in prison.
Detective Constable Chris Thorne, from Hampshire police, said: “Michael Fay is a clever and resourceful man who clearly shows no concern for public safety if he’s willing to work without the correct licences and medical certification.”
An international hunt for him us now under way and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has also been alerted.
The fraud came shortly before the collapse of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, which owned Afriqiyah Airways and had invested in a fleet which included the medium-range A320, which seats 144 passengers in two classes, for the airline.
Afriqiyah Airways, based in Tripoli, operated domestic services as well as international flights to 25 countries before the civil war. It resumed its European service in July 2012 after losing safety accreditation during the conflict.
Det Con Thorne added: “He targeted Libyan aviation at a time when the country’s political and economic standing was vulnerable and volatile.
“Had it not been for the quick thinking of a genuine pilot on the internet forum, Fay may have continued to put the public at risk in this manner unnoticed.
“Public safety is paramount so it is important people are aware that he may be trying to gain work as an airline pilot or flying instructor overseas.”
A spokesman for the company said Fay’s employment “may have been arranged through a third-party broker” who should have checked his documents and was investigating.
“The apparent use of forged documents by Michael Fay to secure his engagement with Afriqiyah Airways has also made us an unwitting victim in his criminal endeavours,” the spokesman said.
“At no time did his behaviour or demeanour draw attention to his ability or competence to fly the aircraft either with his colleagues or the station staff at Gatwick.
“Since the resumption of the airline’s European services in July 2012, as part of our continuous improvement programme all flight-deck crews have been assessed for competence in the UK, Germany and other EU states by flight simulator checks and revalidation on type as necessary.
“As a major national carrier, we place great emphasis on the safety and integrity of our crews and aircraft, and we will treat the investigation of this matter with the utmost seriousness it deserves.”

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

What’s In A Name??


Vaccines fans turned away from gig for failing to name lead singer

Fans were refused entry to a gig for The Vaccines by security because they could not name the lead singer.

Six people in total were denied access to the concert held on Monday (May 6) at Venue Cymru in Llandudno, Wales, reports
Wales Online.
One of them, Andy Bellis, recalled: "We're pulled aside to get searched and the security guy asks if I know the lead singer and [if I could] name their two albums and some songs.

"I couldn't think off the top of my head so they kicked us out, took the tickets off us and said we couldn't watch the band because we didn't know enough information about them.

"I've made a complaint to the venue asking for a refund as there was no other reason I wasn't allowed in."

A spokesperson from the venue has issued an apology and will refund the tickets.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Never Satisfied?



Viacom Lost Piracy Case against YouTube

All efforts of the entertainment industry to accuse YouTube were undermined by the legal system of the United States. For a long time Viacom had been hoping it would manage to squeeze a billion dollars from the streaming service, accusing it of allowing pirated content on the website.

However, thus far it hasn’t succeeded – media reports say that the plaintiffs had previously convinced the Second Circuit to remand the case to the district court in order to determine some factual points that related to specific videos. The matter is that the company’s cunning plan came unstuck after district judge resolved everything in favor of Google’ YouTube, once again dismissing the case.

This lawsuit is crucial, because the judge has come to a decision that YouTube didn’t have knowledge or awareness of unauthorized activity, nor was it engaged in “willful blindness” towards any specific violation. The judge also pointed out that YouTube didn’t encourage its users to commit copyright violation or otherwise interact with its users and participate in any infringement.

As a result, the judge has told Viacom and other members of the entertainment industry that the DMCA actually means that there is an element of safe haven protection in such cases as YouTube’s one.

The $1 billion lawsuit died back in 2007, right after Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion. In the case, Viacom essentially argued that the streaming service was knowingly allowing copyrighted content to be uploaded to the website. In response, YouTube explained that it was just a platform where Internet users could add content, and that the service would take down any video that the copyright owners asked.

Three years ago, a judge ruled in favor of the streaming service, granting a summary motion to dismiss the lawsuit. However, an appeals court then reversed the ruling, sending the case back to court. Now the judge again came to a conclusion that YouTube was protected by the DMCA safe harbor provision.

Despite recent cooperation of Viacom and YouTube, it looks like Viacom isn’t giving up yet. Viacom has issued a statement to say that it will appeal the court ruling, claiming that the decision ignores the opinions of the higher courts and completely disregards the rights of content creators. Viacom wants a jury to weigh up the facts of this case and take into account the “overwhelming evidence” that the streaming service willfully infringed copyright.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Incredibly Drunk?



Police hunt woman dressed as Incredible Hulk

Police are hunting a woman who was dressed as the Incredible Hulk when she allegedly attacked another woman outside a restaurant.

The suspect, who had green skin, red hair and a white T-shirt like the cult comic book character, launched the ''unprovoked'' attack in York, North Yorkshire Police said.
The 17-year-old victim suffered a black eye and bruising to her face.
Pc Cheryl Hunter, of York Safer Neighbourhood Team, urged witnesses to get in touch, and said: ''This appears to have been a wholly unprovoked assault.
''Thankfully the injuries were not too severe. However, the outcome could have been far more serious.''
The incident occurred just after 3am on Friday April 26, outside a McDonald's restaurant on the city's Blake Street, police said.
The woman dressed as the Incredible Hulk had left the restaurant with a group of other people.
She is believed to be white, aged in her late teens or early 20s, around 5ft 8in and of medium build.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

The U.S. Rules?…Yeh Right!


Spain Removed from Watch List, Ukraine under Scrutiny

The Office of the United States Trade Representative has recently released its 2013 report, known as the “Special 301”. There, Ukraine found itself at the top of the notorious list, marked as a “Priority Foreign Country”.
In the meanwhile, Spain and Bulgaria managed to make it out of the “Special 301”, but they aren’t off the hook completely, because the United States Trade Representative will keep conducting reviews on both of them. The “Special 301” also reveals that Canada’s grade has been modified, from “Priority Watch List” to “Watch List.”

The report noted that a year ago, the United States welcomed the passage of the Copyright Modernization Act. The latter, among other things, was created to implement Canada’s obligations under the WIPO Internet Treaties, as well as to address the challenges of copyright piracy. A few months ago, Canada also implemented the Combating Counterfeit Products Act in order to strengthen IPR enforcement. The latter included provisions which would provide ex officio authority to the local customs officials to seize pirated and counterfeit goods at the border.

Along with Canada, Israel, Egypt, Mexico, and Brazil also made it to the “Watch List”, while such countries as Algeria, Argentina, China, Chile, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, and Venezuela had less luck and were all tagged under the “Priority Watch List.” In addition, the report says that obtaining effective enforcement of IPR in China is still its central challenge. The matter is that more than 90% of the revenue generated by American movies in China is represented by box office revenues, compared to 25-30% in the US. This difference is explained by widespread piracy of films in the Internet and on optical discs.

Finally, the American government discovered that some trends are blossoming – for example, the “emergence of Media Box piracy, whereby “boxes”, usually having capability to play high definition content, are loaded with lots of pirated works. Such boxes may be sold with preloaded content, while later offering to upload new content for a relatively low fee. Of course, the entertainment industry was quick to respond – it pointed out that Ukraine and Thailand still need better copyright laws and congratulated Spain for a job well done.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

They’re All At It!!


Vatican Illegally Downloads Porn

Although the Vatican is the only city state in the world with zero live births, this doesn’t mean that the residents of this tiny country, that was granted independence by Benito Mussolini 84 years ago, don’t see any sexually explicit shenanigans.

Security experts have recently found out that Holy See PCs were involved in some quite unholy practices, including downloading bondage, domination, sadism and masochism torrents. Undoubtedly, this doesn’t mean that it’s cardinals who are downloading BDSM porn. By the way, the content downloaded by the Vatican carries titles like “BDSM Sklavin Zuchtigung im Dunklen Hobbykeller teen fesselspiele”, which actually sounds quite nasty even by German standards.

A lot of lay people work for the Vatican and therefore have access to PCs situated in the city. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that cardinals are not downloading BDSM content. In fact, all the experts can say for now is that someone in Vatican City downloaded the works of Lea Lexis, Krissy Lynn, Tiffany Starr and Sheena Shaw, as well as such sitcoms as Touch, The Americans and The Neighbors.

According to the statistics, the downloads were tracked in the first 3 months of this year. The experts also point out that the Vatican doesn’t have its own mobile carrier. In other words, we won’t ever know whether Vatican residents accessed porn and torrent websites through mobile gear. The information gathered by the experts only covers unauthorized torrent downloads.

In the meanwhile, the industry observers note that after a series of particularly nasty scandals involving the church, it’s a kind of comforting and even surprising to see the Vatican residents «simply” downloading lesbian and BDSM porn content.

Friday, 14 June 2013

No-One Is Safe From The Leeches!


64-Year-Old Teacher Accused of Pirating Movies

A former English teacher Emily Orlando was quite surprised to be accused of illegally downloading “Maximum Conviction”, a movie starring Steven Seagal. The same can be said by most of the other 370 defendants involved in the lawsuit.
Emily Orlando has repeatedly informed her students on the importance of copyright and the ethical issues it involves, so she was very surprised to receive a notice accusing her of unauthorized downloading “Maximum Conviction”. The English teacher was given a two-week-deadline to settle with $7.500 for Voltage Pictures or risk being find by $150.000.

In the meanwhile, the lawyer of Voltage Pictures refused to comment on the issue, but it became known that the magnitude of this lawsuit, involving over 371 people, is no uncharted territory for him, as he filed 9 other similar cases, rounding up to 1,000 defendants.

Speaking about the studio’s financial claims, the teacher expressed outrage, claiming that it is terrifying and nothing but a legal extortion. Even though she didn’t do anything, she now has to get a lawyer and fight the claims. As you know, quick settlements are the preferred method in such cases, normally by both parties, but it is not necessarily the best of choices.

In fact, the movie is worth $12.99 on Amazon, but the cases in question don’t seek that – actually, if all victims of commercial invoicing ultimately pay $2,000 or $3,000, the company will receive more than a million dollars in total.

Emily Orlando has talked with the rest of the defendants and encouraged them to not settle. Moreover, they may share the costs of the lawsuit. She found out that her ISP used dynamic IP addresses, which means that a subscriber can’t be linked to a specific/static IP address. Despite this fact, the ISP still gave away her personal details.

Of course, Emily Orlando had no idea of what BitTorrent network is until she received a letter. She admitted that she prefers films via Blockbuster or the TV. In the meantime, the lawyers admit that this is federal court and the average person will be intimidated by this and try to avoid any connections with the case.

The worst part is to know that your Internet service provider can sell you out faster than Judas, while such lawsuits’ projections on the US copyright law and the way it’s enforced are definitely flawed.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Second Thoughts?


Microsoft May Backtrack on Its Touch Obsession

The suspicions of the industry observers are that Microsoft might have realized that the reason users don’t want to move to Windows 8 is because of its inconvenient interface. When the software giant introduced Windows 8, it for some reason believed that in the middle of a recession, the users would splash out on an expensive touch screen. Therefore, in order to make sure they adopted this, Microsoft got rid of the classic start screen and forced people to search through mobile tiles. However, it now seems that the company didn’t acknowledge that people may simply say “no” to the new OS. As a result, Windows 8 is not selling well at all.

The industry experts say that Windows Blue, also referred to as Windows 8.1, may backtrack on some of those stupid Microsoft novices. The rumors are that the upcoming update may bring the Start button back to the Windows desktop and provide people with the ability to bypass the Start screen entirely at boot.

Microsoft is currently still unsure about introducing the changes, but at least it is considering this option – this is a good sign anyway. If Microsoft kills both the Start button and disables the boot-to-desktop option by default in the next major Windows update, it will make absolute sense. The experts point out that businesses afraid of retraining costs or user backlash tend to purchase Windows 8 with a Windows 7 interface. There are more barriers to sale – for example, the fact that most people believe they need a touch screen to use Windows 8. In the meanwhile, Windows Blue is expected to come out later in 2013. Industry observers say that a public preview should arrive in or around June.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

W.I. Walk The Plank!



Women's Institute welcomes piracy victim wearing eye patches and waving plastic cutlasses

A branch of the Women's Institute who dressed as pirates to welcome a guest speaker on piracy realised they had made an embarrassing mistake – because he was actually giving a talk on being held hostage by Somalians.

The red-faced ladies of the Women's Institute donned eye patches, wigs and fake wooden legs for the speech by Colin Darch, 75.
They had been told the retired sea captain would be talking to them about piracy – so several members went in fancy dress.
But when Colin arrived at their hall they discovered he was there to discuss how he was savagely beaten and held at gunpoint during a 47-day ordeal in the Indian Ocean.
Colin, of Appledore, Devon, went along to the meeting to read extracts from his book, Capture By Somali Pirates & Other Events At Sea.
But when he showed up he found the ladies sitting around holding plastic cutlasses and pirate costumes at the Parkham branch of the Women's Institute (WI) in north Devon.
The red-faced ladies apologised and explained they had no idea about the harrowing content of his talk – and he carried on as planned.
Writing in an official notice about the event, a member wrote: "Embarrassingly, the WI all dressed up as pirates for the event, not realising that Captain Darch was going to be talking about his experience of being held hostage by Somali pirates rather than piracy in general.
"However once this had been gotten over everyone sat down to listen to Captain Darch's story, and what a story it was. Absolutely fascinating and gripping."
Captain Darch was held hostage by twenty armed pirates after they leapt aboard his 35m ship in the Gulf of Aden, off the north coast of Somalia, in 2008.
Four Russian crew members were ordered to lie down but Captain Darch and his Irish engineer, Fred Parle, 68, were needed to sail the Danish ship, the Svitzer Korsakov.
Mr Darch's account describes how he was struck over the head and warned he would be shot if his crew disobeyed their captors.
He and his fellow hostages were accompanied everywhere they went, even to the lavatory.
Six weeks later a rumoured £350,000 ransom was agreed and the crew were freed.
Captain Darch returned to Appledore, Devon, where he was reunited with wife Barbara and began writing about the terrifying episode.
The retired seafarer pressed on with last month's talk despite the costume blunder – and even sold a handful of books – according to a WI notice.
It continued: "If you ever get a chance to hear Colin speak grab the opportunity because he is a great raconteur and very humorous."
Following that, Captain Darch was then in charge of the MS Oldenburg before retiring two years ago.
Speaking earlier this year, he said: "While we were being held the pirates didn't object to us making notes, which myself and the chief engineer needed to do as part of managing the ship.
"We needed to make notes of the distances travelled and other things. I had an A4 pad with me all the time. In total the notes made up 47 pages once they were typed.
"It has just been in the last couple of months I have compiled the book with my grandson helping me as I decided to self-publish it. I think my family are quite amused."

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Horsing About!


Are horses 'lazy' or just bored, ask scientists

Horses are "lazy" - or at least have little interest in academic research - a new study has found.

Since the dawn of time, they have seemed man’s hardest working animal companion – performing stoically as a method of transport, a weapon of war and a beast of burden, as well as a variety of sporting and recreational roles.
But, new research suggests that the humble horse might not be quite such a willing worker as it often appears.
A scientific study entitled 'Are Horses Lazy?’ has found strong evidence which indicates the answer is 'yes’ – or at least that they have little appetite for such research.
The study, in the latest edition of the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, involved horses being given the option of a short or long period of exercise.
A Y-shaped maze was built in an indoor arena and the animals were conditioned, through repetition, to associate one exit with a single lap of the arena – 130ft – and the other with two laps.
After that, the horses, without a rider, were allowed to chose which exit they wanted.
Once they left the maze, a rider climbed on for the single or double lap. The process was repeated until a clear preference emerged, or 35 passes through the maze had been made.
Of the 14 horses taking part, four preferred the shorter course and two for the longer one. Eight did not show a statistically significant preference.
But while there was not an overwhelming preference for the shorter route, the researchers picked up other signals that left them in little doubt as to the animals’ appetite for the study.
Over the course of the trial, some horses became increasingly reluctant to even enter the maze and most showed increasing reluctance to being mounted by the waiting rider – by sidestepping.
Also, during the conditioning phase, when being walked on longer route, the animals displayed more tail swishing – a sign associated with disgruntlement.
But in perhaps the clearest sign that the animals were reluctant to take part, an earlier pilot study, featuring four horses, had fallen flat because all horses repeatedly chose the left fork, which pointed towards the exit door.
On a number of occasions, they left the maze so quickly and trotted towards the exit so that they could not be caught by the waiting rider. For the main experiment, the researchers, from the University of Guelph, in Canada and University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, in Austria, rotated the course by 90 degrees, to remove this temptation from the animals.
Dr Uta K├Ânig von Borstel, one of the researchers, said: “We asked 'are horses lazy’ and the answer would definitely be yes.
“They will actually go to extra effort and work hard in order to avoid work. That is the impression we were left with after the study.
“Many owners have the impression that their horses love to run and work hard, and that might sometimes be the case but it is limited to a very short period of time.
“If they are allowed their own way, horses would be back in the stable with their mates, eating.
“The horses weren’t interested in our study. Either they didn’t understand the set up – that they could chose between more and less work – or they were just indifferent and thought 'whatever, let me get out of here’. They preferred to be somewhere else.”
She said horses could be motivated to work harder with more positive reinforcement – being given more treats and encouragement – and less negative reinforcement.
Before the tests, the owners or handlers had been asked to rate whether they considered their animal lazy or energetic, on a scale of one to five.
But the results showed that this had little impact on their preferences.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Play Nice Boys??


Microsoft Started Open War against Google

Microsoft has finally started a nasty marketing war directly against the search giant and ended any pretence of niceness between the companies. Microsoft has released a series of attack ads in the United States that have upped the ante considerably in its trade war against Google which commenced 5 months ago.
The advertisements that have emerged on the Internet, on TV and in print demonstrate that Google is more interested in increasing profits than protecting its users’ privacy. This ad campaign was developed by a former political operative Mark Penn, a corporate strategist. He is known as a former pollster for President Bill Clinton and campaign strategist for Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful bid for president 5 years ago.

In the advertisements, Microsoft vilifies Google for sharing personal data collected about people purchasing Android applications. That’s a step up from earlier adverts that skewered Google’s long-running practice of electronically scanning the contents of everyone’s Gmail accounts in order to help sell adverts.

Microsoft points out that the company had a better alternative which doesn’t do such kind of nefarious things. Negative advertising isn’t widely seen in Europe and it’s just the underdog who needs to use it. However, it also stresses how the search engine has evolved from an endearing Internet start-up to a scary entity that takes a too close look at personal information. The software giant can get away with its adverts since Google has already been caught a few times and copped regulatory fines and other settlements across the world.

Ironically enough, it’s now Google who is facing complaints about its practices being anti-competitive. At the same time, Microsoft is depicted as fighting for a freer market. A few days ago, a group of companies led by the software giant explained that it has asked European authorities to investigate whether Google is acting unfairly by giving away its OS to mobile device manufacturers on the condition that its own apps like YouTube and Google Maps are installed and prominently displayed. The most interesting part that it’s exactly what Microsoft was accused of in its browser anti-trust cases earlier.

Thus far, the search giant processes about 2/3 of search requests in the United States and handles an even larger percentage of queries in Europe. In the meanwhile, Google’s market value has rocketed from almost $25 billion at the time of its IPO to $255 billion.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Copyright Trolls!


American Court Ran out of Patience with Commercial Invoicing

It seems that the courts of the United States are losing patience with copyright troll firms, who may find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
A good example of the recent days is Prenda Law, which believed it would be a wizard wheeze to act on behalf of porn firms. Their model of commercial invoicing was nothing difficult: they found a list of IP addresses which downloaded the copyrighted content and threatened to sue them for hundreds of thousands. After this, the firm suggested to pay a much lower out of court settlement. As you can guess, the threat of a lawsuit was only used to scare Internet users into paying nominal settlement fees.

Prenda was doing well until one of the judges in Los Angeles claimed that enough was enough. Otis Wright demanded Prenda lawyers to explain their strategy in filing lawsuits involving hundreds of web users alleged of infringing porn film copyrights. Instead of answering to the judge, Prenda lawyers behaved very strange and pleaded the Fifth Amendment claiming that they would be incriminating themselves.

So, Prenda Law might be regretting the fact that it ended up in Wright’s court, because he ruled last year that copyright trolling was “essentially an extortion scheme” and claimed that the plaintiffs gamble that many defendants will send back a nuisance-value check to the plaintiff. The rewards were revealed by Prenda attorney, who bragged he had managed to collect $15 million settling such lawsuits. Of course, people would prefer to pay over going public in their porn downloads.

However, the things went wrong for the copyright troll when evidence was submitted that a couple of production companies it supposedly represented as clients, Ingenuity 13 and AF Holdings, appeared to be shell companies it set up on the West Indies island of Nevis. In violation of the court rules, Prenda lawyers concealed their direct interest in those lawsuits.

The judge believes that the porn companies are fronts for the copyright trolls, and Prenda Law realized it’s time to voluntarily drop the lawsuits in Wright’s court, but the judge wouldn’t let them do so. Wright hasn’t revealed what he’ll do about the company, but the experts expect him to ask federal prosecutors to investigate Prenda Law. As a result, other judges may start to look very closely at the copyright trolls as well.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Keeping Up With The Joneses?


Quick – fetch the decanter!

Want to keep up with the Joneses? Follow our guide to middle-class cheating

TRAVEL
Are you concerned that you can only afford to go on holiday to Bognor Regis? Give a richer friend your Facebook log-in details so that they can update your status from Tuscany.
Don’t forget to polish your automated out-of-office email. “I’m currently away on annual leave; please contact my secretary” doesn’t really cut the mustard. “I’m currently on annual leave in Tuscany; please have a look at my photos on Facebook” is much more like it.
Get really good at Photoshop.
Embarrassed by the blue-and-yellow cabin-approved bag you bought from Ryanair last summer? Jazz it up by tying a stolen Virgin Upper Class label to the handle.
Do: use a car-sharing club, such as Zipcar, allowing you to pass off an Audi A3 as your own.
Don’t: get caught swiping the windscreen with Zipcar’s card.
YOUR HOME
Casually drop into conversation that you had a lovely weekend on the estate. Don’t let slip that the estate in question is the nearby council estate that you hurry through after dark.
Tell people how much you enjoy the shooting on the estate.
Does the fact that you can’t afford more than one pot of Oval Room Blue, Vert de Terre, Breakfast Room Green, Dorset Cream, Rectory Red or Manor House Gray make you weep? Don’t worry: Dulux is a lot cheaper than Farrow & Ball. Just make sure to leave the right colour chart lying around your kitchen.
Rightmove lets you search over a million properties for sale. But if you’re going to scan the website at work, remember that no one walking past your desk will be impressed unless you put in a suitable minimum price. Houses costing up to £1.5 million should do the trick.
Can’t afford to move home? Why not change its name instead. It’s relatively simple, involving letters to your local council, the Land Registry, the Electoral Roll, your mortgage lender, your doctor, and anyone else who writes to you. So take the plunge and change your address now to: “47c Smith Street, The Old Rectory, Hull.”
If you live in London, remember that every area has two names: the actual name and the one the estate agents call it. Always use the latter. It’s not Battersea; it’s South Chelsea. It’s not Maida Vale; it’s (very) North Notting Hill.
If in doubt, use “village” as a suffix. As in: “Yes, I live in Peckham Village – very up and coming.”
And if you bump into a casual acquaintance on the Tube journey home, impress them by getting off in zone one – and then walking the final eight miles to your flat in zone four.
WORK
Are you a middle manager in charge of a team of two and a budget of £10,000? No, you are what your business card says you are: “Vice President, Marketing (UK, Europe and Middle East)”. Make sure everyone sees it.
You’re not “between jobs”, “taking some time out” or, God forbid, “unemployed” – you’re on “gardening leave”. Yes, you are gardening the solitary pot plant in your tiny kitchen. It requires a lot of attention.
Do say: “I dabble in a spot of consultancy on the side. It’s all about portfolio careers these days, isn’t it?”
Don’t say: “My job only lets me into the office three days a week, so I spend the other two in my pants at home watching Neighbours.”
FAMILY LIFE
Can’t afford boarding school? No problem. Simply send your children to stay with their grandparents at weekends and pretend they’re at Radley.
Annoyed that your daughter narrowly missed out on Oxford – perhaps because you couldn’t afford to offer to renovate the college library – and is going to Durham instead? Just tell everyone she’s off to Doxbridge.
Embarrassed by the mongrel you picked up from Battersea Dogs Home? Save hundreds of pounds by forging your own five-generation pedigree certificate.
Struggling to keep up with Bupa premiums? Lots of NHS hospitals have private wings attached, so you can still enter by the appropriate door – before scuttling down the corridors to where you belong.
AT THE SHOPS
Make sure your credit card looks the part. If in doubt, colour it in with a black felt tip and write “American Express” on the front.
Looking for a Savile Row suit on the cheap? Pick one up from a charity shop, cut out the label and sew it into a suit from Marks & Spencer.
Never accept a Sainsbury’s “bag for life” when you can take your own Waitrose bag to Sainsbury’s instead.
As above, substituting Lidl for Sainsbury’s and Sainsbury’s for Waitrose.
CULTURE
Join a public library, if you can still find one, and borrow all their impressive‑looking books. Forget to return them.
Tell anyone who’s interested that the reason you bought standing tickets at the Globe has got nothing to do with the £5 price tag and everything to do with getting close to the action.
As above, for the National Theatre, remembering that standing tickets are at the back and therefore you have to say that you prefer the wider angle on the stage.
ENTERTAINING
Always remember to invite people for “kitchen suppers”. Then they’ll never discover that you don’t have a dining room.
Refer to “the old Aga”, even if your cooking device is a camping stove.
PG Tips tea bags can be taken out of their box, unstitched and put into biodegradable Teapig tea temples.
Buy a wine decanter.
Remember to throw away the three-litre, £13.29 Lidl wine-in-a-box from which you decanted the wine.

Friday, 7 June 2013

One Scoop Or Two?


Popular ice cream shop puts up prices to deter customers

A German ice cream parlour has put up its prices in an attempt to deter customers.

Owner Niko Robert has been inundated with trade since he re-opened Hokey Pokey in March after the winter break, but the influx of customers has caused queues of up to 50 metres outside the shop, drawing complaints from neighbouring vendors.

The 32-year-old is worried he could be shut down if the crowds continue, and has hiked his prices in the hope that business will calm down, reports local newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (via
The Local).

The price of his ice cream has risen from €1.20 (£1.00) to €1.60 (£1.35) per scoop.

Robert told the paper that his main priority is to reduce business to an acceptable level to ensure that the shop is able to stay open.

He said: "The aim is not to make as much money as possible here."

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Yours Or Mine darling?


Lingerie firm launches women’s underwear for men

If you’re a man and have ever wanted to dress in women’s lingerie a firm has come up with the perfect product for you.
HommeMystere are hoping their new range of lingerie for males, which includes thongs and padded bras, will change the landscape of men’s underwear.
The Australian firm said their under garments include ‘comfortable men’s panties that really do fit, bra straps that don’t fall off the shoulder, teddies that don’t ride up halfway through the night and quality soft fabrics that feel great for all day wear’.
The label already has a UK seller so men this side of the world can look forward to more ‘enjoyable’ pants.
And the company are keen to stress the garments are not just for gay men.
They added: ‘We provide our lingerie for guys.
‘We are not concerned if you are gay, straight, vegetarian, republican, anglican, martian or any other persuasion.
‘We just design and manufacture attractive luxury underwear for men.’

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Nuts??


Supermarket withdraws nuts from shelves because labelling doesn’t state they contain nuts

A supermarket chain has made the surprising decision to withdraw a range of nuts because they were incorrectly labelled and didn’t state they may contain peanuts.
Booths removed Whole Hearted Roasted Monkey Nuts from its shelves because of the packaging.
The company’s technical manager Mr Waheed Hassan, who alerted the Food Standards Agency, said: ‘It is our responsibility as retailers to accurately record allergy advice, and in this instance we felt a responsibility to recall the product and issue a notice to our customers who might suffer from a specific peanut allergy.’
A spokesperson for the store, which has outlets in Lancashire, Cumbria, Yorkshire, Cheshire and Salford, stressed the supermarket chain took labelling very seriously and had posted notices around its shops regarding the incident.
A FSA spokeswoman added:’ The packaging does not state that the product contains peanuts, which is a specific allergen that’s listed in legislation.
‘People who are allergic to peanuts may not be allergic to other types of nuts.
‘Without the correct information on the packaging, people with an allergy to peanuts who might not know or make the connection between peanuts and monkey nuts, for example children, might eat the product and experience an adverse reaction.’
Customers who bought the product are being advised not to consume it if they are allergic to nuts.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

What….No Tip!


Cash-hungry termites munch through £119,000

A colony of termites has gorged itself on a diet of money, managing to eat its way through £119,000.
The insects were discovered chomping on the cash by police at a bank in Barabanki, northern India.
The 10 million rupees (£119,000) had been stored in in a steel chest that workers thought was infallible but it turned out they hadn’t planned for an attack from an army of termites.
‘It’s a matter of investigation how termites attacked bundles of currency notes stacked in a steel chest,’ said police officer Navneet Rana.
He added the bank manager had found the damage when he had accessed a disused bank room.
This isn’t the first time the ravenous insects have proved a menace.
They have previously damaged equipment and documents at other banks across India.
Authorities have taken the first steps required to open an investigation after registering a negligence case against bank chiefs.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Style Police??


Ferrari Patrol: Dubai Fights Crime In Style

Dubai Police add a new Ferrari to its fleet of crime-fighting vehicles, which already boasts a flashy green and white Lamborghini.

Police in Dubai have been showing off their new Ferrari patrol car.
The vehicle arrives hot on the heels of a Lamborghini that has already joined the city state's crime-fighting ranks.
The car - sporting the green and white of Dubai Police - was unveiled at the foot of the Burj al-Khalifa, the world's tallest building.
It will be used by women police to patrol tourist areas.
The introduction of luxury Italian cars to the police force is being seen as a sign of economic recovery in the Gulf emirate where a housing bubble burst in 2008.
n Dubai, petrol is generally cheaper than drinking water, and authorities face significant challenges to curb road accidents caused by speeding.
Last year, official figures put road deaths at 122, with 2,161 injuries, many of which occurred on the emirate's notorious Sheikh Zayed highway.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Pirates Ahoy!


Pirate ship up for sale online

Would-be Captain Jack Sparrows with £50,000 to spare have the chance to buy their own pirate ship.
The converted house boat has been put up for sale on the Craigslist classified ad website in the US.
Its owner describes it as a 1988 Gibson houseboat which holds up to 30 people and "looks like a Hollywood set".
The boat, currently located in St Louis, Missouri, has two bedrooms and two bathrooms and will sell for $79,000 (£51,191).
The advert claims: "Great as a live aboard... and an AWESOME party boat!"

Saturday, 1 June 2013

An Apple A Day??


DEA Can Read iMessages

The US Drug Enforcement Agency seems to be messing with Apple customers by pretending that it can’t read their iMessages. It was a few days ago that CNet obtained some DEA memo suggesting that the messages sent via Apple’s own system were untappable and therefore “frustrating” law enforcement.

The “leaked” memo complained that encryption used in the iMessage chat service had stymied effort of DEA to eavesdrop on people’s conversations. It was said that some recent criminal investigation was affected and the DEA warned that due to the use of encryption, it appeared impossible to intercept iMessages between two iOS devices, even though they had a court order.

In other words, it was proof that the Apple was so superior that it even had law enforcement unable to match it – so, if you wanted true privacy you had to purchase an iPhone. Pure advertising, to put it shortly. However, there was some faulty logic in the memo – while it implied that the company had some brilliant security that even the federals couldn’t crack, it also implied that Jobs’ Mob had no control over its own network.

It is a known fact that Apple can boast end-to-end encryption, but the company itself holds the key, as it means that when you boot up a new iOS device, you get access to your old messages – in other words, the company stores the data in the cloud and is able to decrypt it in case of need.

It seems that the “leak” only means that DEA isn’t able to get iMessages by going to the mobile operators, but it surely can get them by going to Apple directly. Moreover, iMessages may appear even more prone to surveillance, because SMS messages are normally stored on mobile operators’ database for a brief time, while iMessages seem to be stored by the company indefinitely.

Other media reports suggest that the memo was leaked to CNet in order to falsely imply that iMessages are almost impervious to government snooping. However, there are two plausible theories: it may be part of the federal’s effort to convince lawmakers to force all communications systems keep backdoors for wiretapping, or it may be a try to convince criminals that iMessages are safe and force them to use them falsely believing the messages are protected. So, don’t text about the corpse in the trunk even if you own an iPhone.