Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Hey….I’d Nowhere Else To Park!

Car drives onto roof by mistake

A stolen car became airborne and landed on the roof of a California apartment building, startling residents.

The driver, who fled the scene in California in his boxer shorts, is said to have lost control in foggy conditions, and hit some large rocks that sent the car flying into the air.
Police say the driver of the stolen vehicle was speeding and hit a raised area of the road and became airborne.
No one was injured in the incident in Fresno, California despite two people being in the house at the time.
"It appears that they climbed the berm (kerb), the car begins to go airborne, strikes a boulder and a tree stump that further lifts the car airborne and launched it upon the roof about 10 feet behind it," Lt. Anthony Martinez of the Fresno Police said.
Some residents of the area were startled and thought the whole thing was a prank.
"At first I though it was a prank like you've been punked or something, I thought somebody lowered the car on the house because that's not something you see everyday," witness Jeanell Ricks said.
Police arrested a 26-year-old man a short distance away from the accident scene. He faces charges of driving a stolen vehicle.
The vehicle was later removed from the roof by a crane.

Monday, 30 January 2012

An Art Critic?

Woman accused of damaging $30M painting
A 36-year-old woman was accused of causing $10,000 worth of damage to a painting by the late abstract expressionist artist Clyfford Still, a work valued at more than $30 million, authorities in the U.S. state of Colorado said on Wednesday.
A police report said Carmen Tisch punched and scratched the painting, an oil-on-canvas called “1957-J no.2”, at the recently opened Clyfford Still museum in Denver and pulled her pants down to slide her buttocks against it.
Tisch was charged with felony criminal mischief on Wednesday and has been held on a $20,000 bond since the incident in late December, said Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney’s Office.
Kimbrough said Tisch urinated after she rubbed up against the canvas, but whether urine got on the painting was still under investigation, she said.
Born in North Dakota in 1904, Still was considered one of the most influential of the American post-World War Two abstract expressionist artists, although he was not as well known as others such as Jackson Pollock.
Still died in 1980, and the city of Denver worked for years with his widow, Patricia, to secure the single-artist museum. She died in 2005, and her husband’s collection was bequeathed to the city.

Four of Still’s works were auctioned by Sotheby’s last year for $114 million to endow the Denver museum, which opened with much fanfare in November.
Because Still closely guarded his works, most of the pieces at his namesake museum had not previously been displayed.
Tisch will be formally advised of the charges on Friday, Kimbrough said.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

It’s All The Movie Industry’s Fault!!

Movie Industry Killing Films, not Pirates

Famous film writer David Germain claimed that this year's box office receipts appeared below last year not because of piracy, but rather because the studios didn’t have a successful movie.
Back in 2010, they had Avatar and Dark Knight, but in 2011 they didn’t get a single must-see mass blockbuster. Nevertheless, this reveals one of the problems that the movie industry has been having adjusting itself to our digital era.

For a while now, the movie studios have tried to encourage consumers to the cinemas by developing a product worthwhile experiencing in comparison to what people could have at home. But it wasn’t like that: instead, the movie studios have jacked up the price of a cinema ticket so much that they could now be compared to live concerts and restaurants. Indeed, today a family of four will have to mortgage their house if they want to see a film. So, when they have other, cheaper alternative, they won’t even bother – most people will just wait for the movie to come out on DVD and watch it at home.

There used to be time when users were happy with the fact that they find themselves tossed in a room with a bunch of strangers, where the worst worry is about someone rustling their sweetie packets. However, today you have to worry about people with cell phones that keep ringing and sending messages, or even about an idiot insisting on shouting a review of the movie to their mate over the phone. With audience experience going, sitting in a dark room with a bunch of kids watching Transformers would drive someone to bittorrent in order to avoid the experience.

The next problem is the inflated prices of food available in the cinema – indeed, it is unclear to everyone why popcorn and fizz, which have to be about the cheapest food products should cost so much. David Germain pointed out that the movies currently being screened are actually more about overhyped disappointments and there’s really a complete lack of choice. In 2010, indie, foreign and documentary movies did really well, they also cleaned up at Netflix and Blockbuster. Germain also added the statistics shows that while the audience still loves films, cinema theaters are already losing their charm and the studios have lost the plot.

Meanwhile, the Motion Picture Association of America insists that everything will be all right if they could crucify some more file-sharing pirates.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

The First Hacker?

Who Was the First Hacker?

New Scientist has recently revealed the name of the world's first hacker, who managed to discover a security hole in Marconi's wireless telegraph and managed to show the inventor up.
It turned out that a stage magician named Nevil Maskelyn wrecked a public demo of Marconi's wireless telegraph over a century ago, in 1903, – he sent insults in Morse code down the wire. The crowd was really amused when the physicist John Ambrose Fleming has been adjusting arcane apparatus while preparing to show the long-range wireless communication system created by his boss, the Italian radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi, who was several hundreds miles away trying to send the message.

However, before the show could start, the apparatus in the lecture theater started to tap out a message – it appeared to be a poem accusing Marconi of "diddling the public". Fleming's assistant found out that beaming powerful wireless pulses into the theater were strong enough to be able to interfere with the electric arc discharge lamp of the projector. The apparatus began spelling "Rats" repeatedly and after this ripped into the poem.

That’s how Maskelyn proved that Marconi's item was insecure, and the others could easily eavesdrop on private messages as well. Meanwhile, Fleming fired off a missive to the Times, calling the hack “scientific hooliganism” and asking the readers to help him find the hacker. Nevertheless, Maskelyn, whose family earned money by making "spend-a-penny" locks in pay toilets, outed himself 4 days later. He tried to justify his actions by the security holes it discovered for the public good. He used Morse code in his mind-reading tricks and managed to send wireless messages between a ground station and a balloon located 10 miles away. Nevertherless, Maskelyn was stuffed up by the fact that Marconi had patents on his technology but failed to develop it.

It later appeared that he was hired as a spy for the Eastern Telegraph Company that was worried that Marconi could stuff up its business.

The first hacker built a 50-metre radio mast somewhere on the cliffs in order to find out if he could eavesdrop on messages beamed by Marconi Company to vessels. As a result, Maskelyn pointed out that Marconi’s security was a doddle to hack. Although Maskelyne's name had been forgotten, he is now again in the history books as the world's first hacker.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Staying Alive With Vinnie Jones

Vinnie Jones demonstrates CPR to the tune of Staying Alive in Heart Foundation advert

The footballer turned Hollywood hardman stars in the new TV campaign promoting the use of hands-only CPR.

In the 30 second advert the actor reprises his most recognisable role as a gangster while demonstrating the correct way to carry out cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). He tells viewers to use 'hands only' rather than the kiss of life claiming "you only kiss the missus on the lips".
He also demonstrates the correct timing of CPR by following the beat of Staying Alive by the Bee Gees while two heavies wearing leather coats look on.
The British Heart Foundation is hoping Jones' starring role in the campaign will help promote the correct emergency procedure when dealing with a cardiac arrest.
It follows a UK-wide survey that revealed four in 10 people feared they would be sued if they did something wrong, despite the fact there has never been a successful case of that kind in the UK.
The poll also showed nearly half of people are put off helping because of a lack of knowledge about CPR. A fifth of respondents worried specifically about the thought of the kiss of life or catching an infectious disease.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Steal A Car….Choose Germany!

Cars 'too easy to steal' in Germany, says envoy

Poland's ambassador to Germany on Monday rejected responsibility for a spate of car thefts on the border between the two countries, suggesting it was "perhaps" too easy to steal cars in Germany.
"This is primarily a problem for the police in the country in which the cars are being stolen," Marek Prawda told the Maerkische Oderzeitung, a regional daily based near the border.
"They should be better prepared. Perhaps it is still too easy to steal cars in Germany," added the ambassador.
Poland's police had successfully tackled the problem of car theft, bringing down the number of vehicles stolen from 72,000 in 1999 to 16,500 in 2010, he added.
According to regional police statistics cited in the media, car thefts in Brandenburg, a German state bordering Poland, have risen by 250 percent compared to 2007, when Warsaw entered the EU's border-free Schengen zone.
In the border town of Frankfurt an der Oder, the number of cars stolen has risen by nearly 500 percent in the same timeframe, according to official statistics.
The cars are often sold on in other countries of the former Soviet bloc or broken down for spare parts.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

It’s Incredible?

Incredible Hulk convicted for selling drugs in Coventry

A man dressed as The Incredible Hulk has been convicted for drug dealing in Coventry.
The "conspicuous" Scott Anderson, 32, was arrested outside the Skydome nightclub by police officers, reports the Coventry Telegraph.
He was caught trying to sell unwanted cocaine on April 23 at around 3am.
"At around about that time they saw the defendant, dressed conspicuously as The Incredible Hulk, hand something to someone who handed money to the defendant," said prosecutor Christopher O'Gorman.
Anderson's defence admitted to Coventry Crown Court that "he couldn't have stood out more".
He was jailed for supplying cocaine and possessing cannabis.
The Hulk is Marvel Comics character Bruce Banner, who transforms into a savage and super-powered green behemoth when angered.
The character has starred in various comics series, several movies and the legendary 1970s television show. He will be played by Mark Ruffalo in the forthcoming Avengers film.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Honest…It’s Real?

Man tried to use $1m bill at NC Walmart

Do you have change for a million-dollar bill?
Police say a North Carolina man insisted his million-dollar note was real when he was buying $476 worth of items at a Walmart.
Investigators told the Winston-Salem Journal that 53-year-old Michael Fuller tried to buy a vacuum cleaner, a microwave oven and other items. Store employees called police after his insistence that the bill was legit, and Fuller was arrested.
The largest bill in circulation is $100. The government stopped making bills of up to $10,000 in 1969.
Fuller was charged with attempting to obtain property by false pretense and uttering a forged instrument. He is in jail on a $17,500 bond, and it isn't clear if he has an attorney. He is scheduled to be in court Tuesday.

Monday, 23 January 2012


Panto slammed for 'ugly sisters' jibe

A pantomime has been criticised after naming the two ugly sisters after princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
The performance of Cinderella at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, Kent was criticised for featuring two male actors dressed up as the ugly sisters.
Theatre-goers complained it was a "cheap joke" to call the sisters after the Duke of York's two daughters.
One critic, Bob Britnell, a senior planning officer for Canterbury City Council, said the two daughters of Sarah, Duchess of York should "not be mocked".
He said: "Looking at their photos, they don't seem ugly, just two pretty, ordinary girls who get on with their lives without courting celebrity, so why mock them?
"Sadly there are plenty of people out there willing to mock others for no good reason.
"What a shame our pantomime has added to them. Shame on the producers and shame on the theatre for not intervening."
But producer Paul Hendy, who also wrote and directed the show, denied it was a slur on the Royal princesses.
"The sisters are indeed called Beatrice and Eugenie but the term 'ugly sisters' is never actually used in relation to the names and we never refer to the Royal family at any point," he said.
"I do hope people will come to see for themselves that the Beatrice and Eugenie joke is a very small part of the show and is in no way offensive."

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Bouncing Balls!!

Cannonball hits house after TV experiment goes wrong


A cannonball crashed through a home in California on Wednesday after an experiment on a television show went wrong.

Nobody was injured when the cannonball went astray, although a parked car was damaged.
The mishap took place during filming at an Alameda County Sheriff's Department bomb range in Dublin, California, which is about 25 miles east of San Francisco. The cannonball is believed to have unexpectedly bounced off a safety beam, when the show's producers were testing the stunt.
"During the testing, a cannonball took an unforeseen bounce from a safety berm," a spokesman for the Discovery Channel, which airs the MythBusters show, said in a statement.
MythBusters is a science show that stars special effects experts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, who conduct unusual and occasionally explosive experiments to test the validity of urban myths, such as whether shooting fish in a barrel is as easy as it sounds.
It is unclear what experiment the show's producers were attempting when the cannonball hit the house. However, a bomb technician and explosives safety expert was present during the firing.
"All proper safety protocol was observed" prior to the incident, a spokesman for the cable TV network added.
A representative for the county sheriff could not be reached for comment

Saturday, 21 January 2012

ISP Blocking?

How to Access Censored Websites

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began targeting “rogue” online services last year within the ‘Operation in Our Sites” campaign. As a result, a lot of domain names have been either closed or blocked. That anti-piracy policy has already spread its tentacles outside the American soil; for instance, in the United Kingdom, BT (the largest Internet service provider) had been forced by the court order to block access to Newzbin2, a well-known Usenet indexing service. Meanwhile, one more threat to the liberties of the ordinary user is the undergoing Stop Online Piracy Act (better known as SOPA) – a legislation that might grant absolute power to government authorities over the web itself.
DNS blocking is recognized as the adopted solution against the “notorious” online services. It has been argued against by Public Knowledge: the outfit explained that this blocking method actually causes conflict between DNS server on the web, thus creating both security holes and opening doors for identity theft. In addition, not all users were happy to see they aren’t able to access their favourite websites any more. That’ why there appeared a lot of ways to circumvent the sites blocking.
One of them is BlockAID – a service especially designed to help Internet users access blocked online locations by getting a built-in database of all those websites. In case an Internet user tried to access a blocked Internet portal, BlockAID would redirect them to the correct address instead of the one seized by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Although this piece of software doesn’t automatically detect blocked services yet, it still can learn to do so. If you are interested in this application to help you access blocked sites, you can easily find an online guide on how to use it.
Among other solutions the experts point at a FireFox plug-in introduced by MAFIAAFire. This software easily installs on your PC as an add-on to the Internet browser, and, being at its conceptual stage, makes an attempt to overcome the problem of blocked sites by sending a number of the user’s requests (that he chooses) to certain websites via a proxy. The plug-in is also available on the Internet, as well as many reviews and advices on how to use it more efficiently.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

An Irish Solution?

Ireland Will Implement Website Blocking

Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner has ordered a halt on the “three-strikes” regime because of its conflicts with privacy policies and the failure of the country’s Internet service provider Eircom to properly apply the “graduate response system”.
The issue dates back to 2009, when the Irish Recorded Music Association had reached an agreement with one of the largest ISPs in the country on the issues of unauthorized file-sharing. Under this agreement, the ISP, supervised by the outfit members (EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner), had to introduce the graduated response system.

A year ago, Eircom promised that it would be proceeding with implementation of the protocol which might lead to the suspension and ultimately disconnection of Internet service for those subscribers who deliberately and persistently violate copyright legislation.

Nevertheless, something went wrong when the ISP sent 300 notification letters to the wrong people. This failure wasn’t taken easy by the country’s Data Protection Commissioner that launched an investigation to establish the legality of the “three-strikes” regime. A report was released, saying that the authorities have decided to put a halt to the practice.

The industry experts agree that today both the courts and the official Data Protection Commissioner are starting to understand the fundamental right of users to access the web, and not to be tracked while doing so. Despite the fact that things looked bleak for the entertainment industry, one more report was released recently, revealing that website blocking can be considered as an alternative solution.

According to the local media, Seán Sherlock (Minister of State for Enterprise) is going to publish an order early next year which will allow copyright owners, after obtaining a court order, to deny access to violating services with the help of broadband providers. However, it is still unclear which websites will be classified as infringing.

The decision of the minister was mainly influenced by EMI’s threats to sue Ireland if it fails to find a feasible solution against digital piracy. In response, the Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Jobs said to EMI that the order is expected to be published and applied as law in January 2012.

Monday, 16 January 2012


Man rings 911 about broken iPhone

A US man has been arrested after dialling 911 on five different occasions to complain about his broken iPhone.
A US man has been arrested after calling 911 to complain about his broken iPhone.
Michael Alan Skopec rang the police on five different occasions and the officials eventually visited his home just before 1am in Kendall County, Illinois, and discovered he appeared to be intoxicated, according to The Smoking Gun.
The 48-year-old man didn't say what was supposed to be wrong with the gadget or what he wanted the police to do about it and he was eventually arrested for arrested for obstructing a peace officer.

Sunday, 15 January 2012


SOPA Opponents Created Emergency IP Lists

Legislation known as SOPA is getting closer and closer towards final passage, which makes a lot of users very nervous. Today it looks like a very predictable development is taking place – Internet users are generating the lists of IP addresses to bypass DNS filtering.
The expectations are that DNS censorship could soon become a reality in the United States. If a company or government entity decides to make an online service disappear, it would be just the one complaint away from reality. From the very start, experts saw groups sending IP lists over networks like IRC in order to make sure that the web remains relatively unfiltered. Today the concept of sharing unfiltered domain names became a reality.

A lot of users seeing the list in question might not necessarily know what to do with the addresses. That’s why people also publish different guides on how to maintain a HOSTS file, attaching screenshots. Such instructions show what to do with an IP address you get from the list. If you are looking for an IP address to a site not found in the emergency SOPA list, you can obtain it by different ways. First of all, you are able to obtain the IP address of your favorite site via web hosting instruments or even using command prompt. Best of all is if you obtain the IP address before the domain is filtered.

In fact, many industry observers believe that this would become a new norm after SOPA passes. However, there is a problem with this way – the matter is that you are putting your Internet security in the hands of people generating those lists of IP addresses. For example, if one of the users were to add an IP address to the list in question which actually points to a malicious site instead of the real online service, then the troubles start for other users. That’s something that should be manually fixed on the end-users part. Another solution is to remove the entry entirely. In fact, that’s the part that makes a lot of insecurity experts freak out over this suggested bill – because it would make the web less secure. Indeed, if the government wasn’t considering DNS filtering in the SOPA legislation at all and left the automatic DNS system alone, this issue wouldn’t be causing security problems in the first place. However, the authorities seem to pay little attention to such issues.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Good For Canada…..Sense At Last!!

Canada’s Artists Call for Legal File-Sharing

Songwriters Association of Canada is one of Canada’s most prestigious assets, with members including Bryan Adams, Randy Bachman and Carole Pope. The outfit’s Vice President Jean-Robert Bisaillon claimed that the web has animated the music business, and this claim actually reflects the group’s views on file-sharing. They believe that file-sharing is actually the best music provider people can have today, so instead of fighting progress the copyright owners should better think of making it legal, while compensating the musicians who choose to share their content.
The outfit explained how file-sharing represents an opportunity, not a threat, to the entertainment industry. In addition, it’s also trying to gain the stakeholders’ sympathy by pushing the idea of monetizing file-sharing via a licensing system for consumers. The group pointed out that by monetizing behavior instead of any specific technology, musicians and copyright owners will create a basis for the business model which is able to continue for decades instead of trying the impossible task of monetizing the ever shortening cycle of changing technology.

Songwriters Association of Canada believes that the practice of file-sharing is actually great and virtually unstoppable. That’s why they want to establish a regime letting everyone to keep on doing this without stigmatizing the consumers but rather looking for a way for musicians and copyright owners to be compensated for their works being shared.

Another positive aspect is that people will be able to find music which isn’t available in the commercial realm offer. They will also be able to find a higher quality and afford music even if they are poor. Most importantly, consumers will be able to discover new musicians and recommend them to friends.

Meanwhile, the big labels’ concerns aren’t actually focused on the musicians’ wellbeing, since they try to control the market as long as they are able to and as long as it will bring them profit, even if it is derived from legal action. On the other side, music is proved to be much better off with the Internet, as it allows for musical discovery regardless of distance and time, sparking co-operations between artists unimaginable before. Finally, it was the web that has helped musicians to book international tours without expensive long-distances charges and postal delays.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Greed…Nothing Else But Greed

Publishers Go Greedy With Apple

Six of the top publishers have cooperated in order to fix a price for ebooks higher than that of a hard copy – this is regardless of the fact that the cost of making an ebook is less than the cost of a hardback.
Wall Street Journal revealed that the price fixing was agreed on at the behest of Steve Jobs, who wanted to open an Amazon style ebook shop but didn’t want to involve discounting that made Amazon that successful. So, Jobs and six publishers have negotiated a new pricing model – they were undoubtedly happy since they felt that this move preserved the value of books and encouraged other businesses to enter the electronic book market.

This deal promises guaranteed profits on best-selling titles for such retailers as Barnes & Noble that today accounts for 27% of the digital books market, along with Amazon. All this offers tremendous profits for the publishers, but not many benefits for consumers.

This new pricing deal among publishers can prevent retailers from discounting electronic books without their permission, while there’s no similar agreement about printed books. Although the stores are still able to cut the price for printed books as much as they want to entice readers to purchase, they will now have to comply with the new, higher prices for e-books set by the copyright owners.

It looks like the publishers decided that people will now pay more money for the benefits of electronic books like portability and convenience. However, this might become the biggest own goal in the history of publishing. Currently the readers are forced to choose between the goods that are more expensive, they have to get mailed to them (but can be kept on shelves), and the goods which are instant but much cheaper. So, if the publishers force readers to pay higher prices for electronic books, they would abandon the idea in droves.

In addition, it’s unclear how copyright owners want to justify the margins in the scam. Currently, a typical book contract pays 3-10% of the final cost to the writer, while the distributor and retailer receive 50-60%, and the publisher gets the rest. While distribution of a printed book was quite expensive, since it required shipping and storage, an ebook costs a fraction of that. It may even be as low as 5% after the distributor takes a cost for delivering the product to the reader. However, the publishers didn’t increase the share of the authors who are still left with contracts. In other words, writers won’t see much money at all.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

No Ticket?

Commuter who tackled fare dodger 'was pushed to the limit'

The family of a commuter who was filmed throwing a suspected teenage fare dodger off a train last night insisted he was a "quiet man" who had been "pushed to the limit".

Alan Pollock, 35, a financial manager with one of the world's biggest asset management firms, was applauded by passengers when he dragged 19-year-old Sam Main from the Edinburgh-Perth train.
He intervened after the student failed to produce a valid ticket during an angry confrontation with a conductor.
Footage of the incident has been viewed 600,000 times on the internet and a Facebook group called, "Pay yer train ticket or the big man will chuck ye aff", has been set up in his honour.
The burly businessman, who was casually dressed in a rugby top at the time, is a performance manager with the blue chip investment management company BlackRock in Edinburgh.
He has refused to comment and is said to be embarrassed by the attention, but his father Jim, a retired accountant, said he brought his son up to know "right from wrong".
"It's very out of character for Alan. He must have been pushed to the limit. I was a wee bit disappointed no one actually got up and helped him."
He said his son would not have acted without the conductor’s permission to intervene.
“He's not impulsive, but the situation was getting out of hand and the inspector wasn't able to do anything. He's got his family's support.”
At their home on the banks of the River Forth in Stirling, the asset manager’s wife Avril described the father-of-three as a "quiet man".
He joined BlackRock last June, specialises in risk analysis and describes his interests as investing, running, hillwalking and canoeing. A spokesman for BlackRock refused to comment on the incident.
Meanwhile, Mr Main insisted yesterday that he was “clearly assaulted” and called for Mr Pollock to be charged.
The second year surveying student at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh suffered cuts and bruises when he fell on the platform at Linlithgow station, one stop short of his destination at Polmont.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Italians Are Annoyed?

Italy Angry with Switzerland for Protecting File-Sharers

Recently the Swiss government made a decision to endorse a law according to which non-profit file-sharing is considered legitimate. The Swiss government believes that the so -called “illicit” downloads don’t actually hurt the entertainment industry like various anti-piracy groups claims they do. However, this decision has led to a hostile reaction from the Italian government.
Italy is known in file-sharing circles for the legislation pleasing entertainment industry, which it has adopted in a popular form of “three-strikes” regime. Under this law, Internet users accused of copyright violation could have their broadband connection terminated.

Italy has issued a kind of response via Enzo Mazza, the president of the Italian music industry group FIMI (known in the country as Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana), the next day after Switzerland had made an announcement. This response was a bit childish, claiming that Switzerland was the country that had hid the loot of history’s biggest criminals, and whose banks had shielded tax evaders. Now this country is also accused of protecting Internet thieves.

However, Switzerland had reasons to decide so. The country’s government made their decision after consulting a federal study and different researches, all of which conclude, along with some other things, that piracy doesn’t actually cause the country any significant economic damage. Instead, the experts pointed out that file-sharing only affected big foreign companies.

Meanwhile, the same federal study revealed that despite the fact that about 30% of Swiss citizens aged over 15 do have a habit of downloading copyrighted content like films and music, this doesn’t really influence their buying habits in regards to entertainment. In other words, industry experts are sure that the Internet users do not spend less because they download stuff for free. Nevertheless, Italy wasn’t the only country that applied such strict anti-piracy penalties – they have been also introduced by a number of other countries like France, all of them currently receiving much disapproval by the study in question which really doubts the legitimacy of the “three-strikes” regime.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Common Sense From The Swiss!!

Switzerland Won’t Criminalize File-Sharing

Unlike the Spanish government, which is going to fight file-sharing, the authorities of Switzerland are planning to protect it. Since the entertainment industry continued pressuring on piracy, the country decided to conduct a study in order to offer a better perspective on how file-sharing affects the situation in the industry.
Now the results of the study have been published, and they lead the experts to an unsatisfying conclusion for the entertainment industry: in fact, it seems that the present anti-piracy legislation is doing its job great and therefore doesn’t need any additions or changes.

The results of the study draw a very interesting parallel between some obsolete devices, like the photocopier, audio cassettes and VCR – as we know, all of the listed items are designed to make copies, – and the worldwide web – a wonder of our century, which pushed things to the entirely different level. The study claims that it was always just the fear of change that has pushed the entertainment industries to go wild about how any new device can destroy jobs and the entire industry.
This is exactly what Swiss government is agree on, indicating in their report that each time a new media technology had been released, it has always been abused by the entertainment industry. However, this is the price the society has to pay for progress. In our world, those who can use the new technology to their benefit will win, while those who missed the development in question and keep following old business models will lose.

In addition, the Swiss government is not alone who pointed at this axiom – findings extrapolated from some Dutch study confirmed that the entertainment industry hasn’t been really losing much money, though it claims billions in damaged. Despite the fact that around a third of Swiss citizens do download pirated entertaining content, including songs, films and games through the Internet, the income of the entertainment industry remains steady, according to the results of the study. Moreover, the Dutch report points out that file-sharers are more likely to visit live performances or purchase a game. And in the music industry, file-sharing is a great advantage for newcomers as a beneficial and free advertisement campaign. In other words, the government’s message to the entertainment industry is clear enough: whether it adapts or not, the country shall not change the current laws.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Heavens Above!!

Virgin Mary billboard sparks outrage in New Zealand

A church billboard showing a shocked Virgin Mary gasping as she examines a pregnancy testing kit has sparked outrage in New Zealand.

The large poster outside St Matthew's in the City, a prominent Anglican church in Auckland, was designed by an advertising agency and depicts Mary in the style of a classical Renaissance painting.
A caption competition on the church's website has already drawn some questionable responses.
Suggestions include "Yay! I hope it's a girl," "Now, which way to the abortion clinic?" and "If I say I'm a virgin, mum and dad won't kill me."
One contributor protests: "You have crossed the line! Mary should not be the object of a trite campaign, whatever your good or not so good intentions."
Another condemns the billboard: "Can it be more offensive?"
St Matthew's, on a busy corner site in the centre of New Zealand's biggest city, is no stranger to controversy.
A billboard the church posted at Christmas two years ago showed Mary and Joseph in bed, apparently naked after having sex, with the caption: "Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow."
It provoked such fury that it had to be taken down after being attacked several times.
Defending the latest poster, the vicar, the Rev Glynn Cardy, said: "Although the make-believe of Christmas is enjoyable, with tinsel, Santa, reindeer and carols, there are also some realities.
"It’s about a real pregnancy, a real mother and a real child.
"It’s about real anxiety, courage and hope.
"Mary was unmarried, young and poor," he said.
"She was certainly not the first woman in this situation or the last."
Lyndsay Freer, a spokesman for the Catholic diocese of Auckland, was unimpressed.
"Once again, St Matthew's shows us that they have moved away from traditional Christianity, even though their hearts might be in the right place," she said.
"It is true that Christmas is real and celebrates a real pregnancy.
"It is also true that the anxiety and needs of young solo mothers today need to be addressed with compassion and care.
"But in making this point, St Matthew's ignores the gospel account of matters surrounding the pregnancy and birth of Jesus, in which Mary is not a shocked solo mother but a young woman who has given her assent and trust to God."

Saturday, 7 January 2012


Lost pensioner Dennis Leighton spends 30 hours driving around M25

A pensioner spent more than 30 hours driving around the M25 motorway after getting lost en route to visit his daughter.

Dennis Leighton, 82, was eventually found by police still at the wheel of his silver estate after worried family members reported him missing.
The retired carpenter had set off from his home in Windsor, Berks., to see his daughter Hazel, 55-miles away in Swanley, Kent.
But after getting “a little lost”, what should have been a straightforward, hour-long drive instead became a two-day journey. Officers eventually found him still in his Vauxhall Astra in south London.
A police source said yesterday: “He had been driving around the south of the country, predominately on the M25 motorway but had also gone onto some A roads in the area.
“He had stopped to catch up on some much needed sleep - we think in a motorway service area, before setting off again.
“He is after all 82-years-old. Presumably he put fuel in the car during the service stops over the two days.”
Mr Leighton, who lives alone, set off from his semi-detached home on December 12 at 7.30pm.
After family members reported him missing, his car was spotted on a police automatic number plate recognition camera in Dartford, Kent, on Tuesday at 11.20am - six miles from his intended destination.
Yet despite an extensive search, the pensioner could not be located - sparking a multi-force missing person appeal.
However, in the early hours of yesterday (Wed), more than 30 hours after leaving home, he was found by Met Police officers safe and well in his car in South London.
Sergeant Sarah Godsmark, of Kent Police, said during the missing person appeal: “We are concerned for Mr Leighton's welfare as he is elderly and is about to spend his second night away from his home.
“He has made this journey several times before and knows the route well. I would urge anyone who has seen Mr Leighton or has noticed a silver Astra estate acting suspiciously to contact police urgently. It is likely he is parked up in a service area or lay-by.”
A spokesman for Thames Valley Police added yesterday: “He got a little bit lost but was found safe and well in the early hours of this morning.”
Mr Leighton’s adventure echoes that of Mohammed Bellazrak’s three-day ordeal last Christmas.
The grandfather hit the headlines when he became disoriented in heavy snow after driving his wife to catch a holiday flight.
The 72-year-old spent three days and nights driving up and down the M4 motorway trying to find his way home to Wiltshire from Gatwick Airport.
He had set off from his home in Trowbridge on December 23 to drive his wife to Heathrow airport where she was due to catch a flight to Morocco.
However, bad weather meant the flight was diverted to Gatwick and he was eventually found on Christmas Day, still at the wheel of his Peugeot 307, when he triggered a police camera and was flagged down by officers in Oxfordshire.

Friday, 6 January 2012

The Danish Pirates??

Streaming Service Targeted by Anti-Piracy Group

After Danish largest Internet service providers had received a court order to block access to The Pirate Bay, the country wasn’t satisfied with the result and went further. Now the American-based streaming music service Grooveshark is targeted by the anti-piracy outfit RettighedsAlliancen.
The anti-piracy outfit has sent a notice to the country’s court, where it pleads to order Denmark’s broadband providers to cut off access to the site. It explains that if someone wants to offer music on the local market, they must sign an agreement with copyright owners. Meanwhile, Grooveshark streaming service doesn’t have any and is very uncooperative.
Within the past several years such legitimate services as Spotify are more likely to be used by the country’s Internet users, and the government agrees that they must get aid to be able to operate. Anti-piracy outfit pointed out that online music market is still developing, and it should be supported by officials. However, if Grooveshark continues, the market may suffer. Of course, the industry that has been doing business in the same way over the last twenty years will be threatened by any innovation. In respond, Grooveshark argues that it complies with the DMCA and therefore can’t be targeted as a rogue service – basically, YouTube is doing the same thing.
At the same time, the country’s copyright owners argue that taking down infringed content without closing down this streaming service is inefficient and actually impossible. But they somehow overlooked the fact that the service has been licensed by many record labels, including EMI. Although Grooveshark reacts to takedown notices, the industry doesn’t consider it good enough – it wants complete control. Of course, after Spotify, partially owned by a number of record companies, was launched in the country, the time came to get rid of the competition.
It seems that Denmark is becoming less neutral and free, i.e. turning into a censoring state, just like Syria and China, which are effectively destroying the web. Fortunately, the country is currently using only DNS-blocking, which can be circumvented without much effort. In addition, if the country applies the same logic throughout the web, it would have to block Facebook and YouTube for hosting potentially infringing content until notified.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

What A French Stink!!!!

Chanel Ordered Domain Seizures

During the fight against sites trafficking in counterfeit luxury products Chanel somehow managed to convince the court that it should have the authority to seize as many as 700 domain names.
The perfume overlord has filed a joint lawsuit in Nevada against almost 200 domain names that turned out to have nearly nothing in common. As a result, the court allowed the company to take them down. Moreover, it also allows Chanel to add new names to the list and seize them as well.
In fact, the court order allows the company to take control of any online location without even having to prove anything. In other words, no site identified by Chanel has a right of appeal. The services won’t be allowed to contest it either. Meanwhile, the standard of evidence that the company has needed thus far has been top of the range. Chanel hired a Nevada investigator to order from 3 of the 228 websites in question. After the orders had arrived, they were reviewed by the company’s official and declared counterfeit, while the rest of the sites were closed down on the say so of the company’s anti-counterfeiting specialist surfing the Internet.
Local judge ruled that evidence was enough and ordered the domain names seized and transferred to GoDaddy. There the domain will redirect to a page with a seizure notice. In addition, the judge ordered search engine indexing, which neither Google nor Bing have complied with so far. Still, it seems that the court didn’t realize that the websites may even be registered outside the United States, thus making a ban worldwide. Indeed, it turned out that the list of offending domains contains poshmoda.ws – a domain registered in Germany.
Although Germany didn’t hand over sovereignty (except for a bunch of war criminals that helped put the United States onto the moon) and the German registrar hasn’t yet complied with the American court order, it still might be possible. As you might remember, the government of the United States has made similar domain name seizures during “Operation In Our Sites” campaign. That time they seized domains both from the US and abroad.
American attorney have already pointed out that if someone could appeal the court decision in any other place, they’d certainly win. However, no average German website would manage to defend itself in the Texas court. Worse still, copyright owners have asked the Congress to write provisions into legislation that allows them to carry out similar events legally.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

A GoDaddy Reverse!

Go Daddy Officially Opposes SOPA

For those who believe Go Daddy didn't eat enough humble pie for backing the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the company's taken further measures to backtrack on on its earlier support of SOPA. Go Daddy's president issued an apology Thursday evening pledging to repair relationships with domain holders who bolted to competitors over the issue and to reiterate its opposition to the proposed legislation.
"We have observed a spike in domain name transfers, which are running above normal rates and which we attribute to Go Daddy's prior support for SOPA, which was reversed," Go Daddy CEO Warren Adelman said in a statement delivered to media outlets via email.
"Go Daddy opposes SOPA because the legislation has not fulfilled its basic requirement to build a consensus among stake-holders in the technology and Internet communities," he added.
Go Daddy withdrew its support from SOPA on December 23 and was removed from the list of the bill's supporters last weekend, but its competitors hammered away at its past transgressions and continued to urge Go Daddy domain holders to jump ship.
Thursday, for example, was declared "MoveYourDomain Day" by Go Daddy competitor Namecheap. On that day, domain holders who switch their registrations to Namecheap can do so at below cost, $6.99 per transfer, with the coupon code SOPAsucks. In addition, $1 from every transfer will go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to help fight SOPA and its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
Of all Go Daddy's rivals, Namecheap has been particularly aggressive in its campaign against the Net's largest domain register. Earlier this week, it charged that Go Daddy was engaging in dilatory tactics to discourage its customers from transferring their domain business to Namecheap. Those delays turned out to be caused by administrative problems between the two registers.
he campaign to encourage domain holders to desert Go Daddy began on Reddit and its success seems to have emboldened members there for more direct action against anti-piracy legislation. A thread on the social news site is calling for an initiative named "Operation Cork Screw" aimed at ousting from office Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who supports PIPA.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

GoDaddy Is Gone!!

Website hosting outfit known as GoDaddy has recently joined an elite group of the entertainment industry and paid off congressmen supporting an attempt to suspend American constitutional rights under the guise of fighting digital piracy.
GoDaddy service has officially expressed its support for the recently suggested Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) legislation, which will provide rights owners the sway to effectively take offline sites if it thinks they might so much as think about violating content. The media reports that a GoDaddy.com spokesperson applauded the authorities for taking decisive, bicameral and bipartisan action.

Executive vice-president of GoDaddy, Christine Jones, claimed during the interview that the suggested legislation would be protecting the intellectual property of hard-working US citizens, businesses and the public from the harm necessarily flowing from the purchase of fake goods. However, the industry observers believe that the service will change its mind after the entertainment industry demands GoDaddy to shut down for hosting something regarded as unauthorized material. The matter is that the new legislation doesn’t actually require anyone to provide any proof. That’s why GoDaddy is in a minority, not only of tech firms, but also public, in supporting this bill – even President Obama has said that he would veto it if it gets that far. However, GoDaddy claims that the United States can’t turn a blind eye to unauthorized conduct on the Internet.

Christine Jones explained that both businesses and consumers in the United States were getting duped, because their intellectual property was being stolen and that the online ecosystem really had a duty to help. She also added that while the United States should not be suppressing free speech, the web still shouldn’t work as the Wild West either. Meanwhile, a grassroots campaign started on Reddit has already seen GoDaddy’s clients vote with their feet. After announcing its support for the new copyright legislation, GoDaddy will be getting a great Christmas present as the sane-thinking Internet turns its back on the firm and switches domain hosting.

Monday, 2 January 2012


Man rings 911 about broken iPhone

A US man has been arrested after dialling 911 on five different occasions to complain about his broken iPhone.
A US man has been arrested after calling 911 to complain about his broken iPhone.
Michael Alan Skopec rang the police on five different occasions and the officials eventually visited his home just before 1am in Kendall County, Illinois, and discovered he appeared to be intoxicated, according to The Smoking Gun.
The 48-year-old man didn't say what was supposed to be wrong with the gadget or what he wanted the police to do about it and he was eventually arrested for arrested for obstructing a peace officer.