psychonaut writes "Blogger DoctorBeet discovered that his new LG television was surreptitiously sending information about his TV viewing habits, as well as the names of the files he watched on removable media, to LG's servers. There is an undocumented setting in the TV configuration which supposedly disables this behaviour, but an inspection of the network traffic between the TV and the Internet showed that the TV continues to send the data whether or not the setting is disabled. DoctorBeet contacted LG, but they shrugged the matter off, saying that it's a matter between him and the retailer he bought the TV from."
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An anonymous reader writes "From the guy who brought you CD syncing and the original music locker (both of which saw lawsuits from record labels) comes the latest invention to rock the music world: a real-time radio search engine. 1000s of worldwide stations are indexed in real-time and users can search and play most any popular artist — even the digital holdouts (Tool, Led Zeppelin, etc) that are unavailable on paid services like Spotify. (Kinda wonder why Google hasn't done this.) Link on main page points to an API for those who want to build mobile and web services."
waderoush writes "Anki gained instant fame as the robot-car company that launched at Apple's WWDC in June. Its iPhone-controlled racing game hit Apple stores in October, and the company is hoping it will be a holiday hit. But while Anki Drive offers offers a novel physical/virtual entertainment experience for kids and their gadget-loving parents, being a toy company 'is not our vision,' says co-founder and CEO Boris Sofman in this combined company profile and product review from Xconomy. Anki Drive is planned as the first in a series of new consumer-robotics products that are intensively AI-driven, as compared to the mechanically sophisticated but relatively instinctual or behavioral robots exemplified by iRobot's Roomba (which is probably the most successful consumer robot to date). The common characteristics of Anki's coming products, in Sofman's mind: 'Relatively simple and elegant hardware; incredibly complicated software; and Web and wireless connectivity to be able to continually expand the experience over time.'"
The last time we talked with Dr. Poor (who is now a Senior Editor at aNewDomain.net), we ran out of time and didn't get around to discussing 3-D and ultra-high-def TV and whether they're worth buying. So here he is again on the Slashdot TV screen (which is *not* high-definition), talking about the TV marketplace. This is a perfect time for that discussion, since Dark Friday is only a few weeks away, and after that we move into the month during which TVs and a lot of other items sell at a lot higher rate than they do during the rest of the year. If you're thinking about buying a new TV for yourself or as a gift this holiday season, you might want to listen to what Dr. Poor has to say on the subject before you do.
solareagle writes "Venezuelan President Maduro has declared war on 'bourgeois parasites' by taking over Daka, an electronics retailer similar to Best Buy. USA Today reports, 'National guardsmen, some of whom had assault rifles, were positioned around outlets of [Daka] ... Maduro has ordered to lower prices or face prosecution. Thousands of people lined up at the Daka stores hoping for a bargain after the government forced the companies to charge "fair" prices. "I want a Sony plasma television for the house," said Amanda Lisboa, 34, a business administrator who waited seven hours outside a Caracas store ... "It's going to be so cheap!" "This is for the good of the nation," Maduro said, referring to the military's occupation of Daka. "Leave nothing on the shelves, nothing in the warehouses Let nothing remain in stock!" Maduro said his seizures are the 'tip of the iceberg' and that other stores would be next if they did not comply with his orders.'"
alphadogg writes "A music industry group is warning some 50 website that post song lyrics that they need to be licensed or face the music, possibly in the form of a lawsuit. The National Music Publishers Association said Monday that it sent take-down notices to what it claims are 50 websites that post lyrics to songs and generate ad revenue but may not be licensed to do so. The allegedly infringing sites were identified based on a complicated algorithm developed by a researcher at the University of Georgia." The "complicated algorithm" (basis statistics using Excel and Google) is described in the NMPA's "Undesirable Lyric Website List." Anyone remember lyrics.ch?
On Friday, Marvel released its latest superhero blockbuster, Thor: The Dark World. Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Tom Hiddleston reprise their roles as Thor, Dr. Jane Foster, and Loki. Christopher Eccleston, best known for his role as the Ninth Doctor on BBC's Doctor Who, portrays Thor's nemesis in The Dark World: Malekith, ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim. Despite a strong opening weekend at the box office, critical reception has been lackluster. The movie averaged 66/100 on Rotten Tomatoes and 54/100 on Metacritic, but user reviews rated it higher, at 86/100 and 8/10 respectively. io9's review calls the plot "completely forgettable," but also said, "at a time when superhero films are gravitating towards Christopher Nolan-style darkness, it's really nice to see a movie go swinging into adventure with a song in its heart." Comic Book Resources also commented that the movie was a lot of fun, but added, "the film doesn't quite reach its true potential due to a villain who never truly feels like much more than an amorphous bad guy." Those of you who went to see it over the weekend: what did you think?
sciencehabit writes "Science Magazine has posted the 12 finalist videos from its annual Dance Your PhD contest. The contest asks scientists from around the world to send in videos of themselves interpreting their research in dance form. As usual, this year's finalists have gone all out with some wacky, fun, and just plain bizarre videos. You can vote for your favorite, with the winner and reader's choice announced on November 21."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Calum Marsh writes in The Atlantic that when Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers hit theaters 16 years ago today, American critics slammed it as a 'crazed, lurid spectacle' featuring 'raunchiness tailor-made for teen-age boys' and 'a nonstop splatterfest so devoid of taste and logic that it makes even the most brainless summer blockbuster look intelligent.' But now the reputation of the movie based on Robert Heinlein's Hugo award winning novel is beginning to improve as critics begin to recognize the film as a critique of the military-industrial complex, the jingoism of American foreign policy, and a culture that privileges reactionary violence over sensitivity and reason. 'Starship Troopers is satire, a ruthlessly funny and keenly self-aware sendup of right-wing militarism,' writes Marsh. 'The fact that it was and continues to be taken at face value speaks to the very vapidity the movie skewers.' The movie has rightfully come to be appreciated by some as an unsung masterpiece. Coming in at number 20 on Slant Magazine's list of the 100 best films of the 1990s last year, the site's Phil Coldiron described it as 'one of the greatest of all anti-imperialist films,' a parody of Hollywood form whose superficial 'badness' is central to its critique. 'That concept is stiob, which I'll crudely define as a form of parody requiring such a degree of over-identification with the subject being parodied that it becomes impossible to tell where the love for that subject ends and the parody begins,' writes Coldiron. 'If you're prepared for the rigor and intensity of Verhoeven's approach—you'll get the joke Starship Troopers is telling,' says Marsh. 'And you'll laugh.'"
v3rgEz writes "By September 14, 1960, Isaac Asimov had been a professor of biochemistry at Boston University for 11 years, and his acclaimed "I, Robot" collection of short stories was on its seventh reprint. This was also the day someone not-so-subtly accused him of communist sympathies in a letter to J. Edgar Hoover. They ominously concluded that "Asimov may be quite all right. On the other hand . . . . ." The "tip off" wasn't given much credit, but it didn't matter since Asimov's science fiction writing alone was enough to warrant FBI monitoring, particularly as the FBI hunted for the mysterious ROBPROF, a communist informant embedded in American academia. MuckRock has Isaac Asimov's FBI files in full, and a write up of the more interesting bits."
Nerval's Lobster writes "By 2015, Americans' ability to access digital media at home and on mobile devices will raise the average volume of media consumed to the equivalent of nine DVDs worth of data per person, per day – not including whatever media they consume at work. That estimate adds up to 15.5 hours of media use per day per person, which breaks down to 74 gigabytes of data per person and a national, collective total of 8.75 zettabytes, according to a new report. Between 2008 and 2013, Americans grew from watching 11 hours of media per day to 14 hours per day – a growth rate of about 5 percent per year, lead author James E. Short wrote in the report. The increasing number of digital-data consumers and the shift from analog to digital media drove the total volume of data in bytes to grow 18 percent per year. That growth rate 'is less than the capacity to process data, driven by Moore's Law, [of about] 30 percent per year,' he added, 'but is still impressive.' Social media is growing even faster than other options – 28 percent per year, from 6.3 billion hours in 2008 to an estimated 35.2 billion hours in 2015. Companies expecting to catch the attention of either employees or customers will have to do so in the context of an increasingly media-swamped population. Digital data consumption will continue to rise, the SDSC projections estimate, possibly to more than an average of 24 hours per person per day – which is only possible assuming multiple simultaneous data streams running through the minds of Americans watching TV, browsing the Web and texting each other simultaneously, probably to ask why they never have time to just sit and talk any more."
UnknowingFool writes "Blockbuster announced that it will close its remaining 300 U.S. locations by January and discontinue the DVD by mail service. Before being bought out by Dish, the chain was slowly closing locations. Dish's CEO said, 'This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment.' From an all-time high of 9,000 locations in 2004, the chain has fallen on hard times and had emerged from bankruptcy in 2011."
Ender's Game is the quintessential classic military sci-fi book. It ranks near the top of virtually every list of good sci-fi novels. When Hollywood decided to finally go forward with a movie adaptation, the initial reaction from most fans was one of skepticism. (After all, we saw what they did to I, Robot.) But there was reason to hope, as well, because Ender's Game is more action-friendly than many sci-fi stories, and the filmmakers had a big budget with which to make it. The movie was finally released last week; read on for our review. In short: the film tries too hard to straddle the line between assuming viewers are familiar with the details and bringing new viewers up to speed. The cuts to the story were both too much and not enough. It left us with only brief glimpses at too many characters, and introduced themes without fleshing them out enough to be interesting.
An anonymous reader writes "You thought Halloween was for treats. Not this time. Panasonic announced to its investors today that its plasma TV business would be over by the end of March 2014." Blacker blacks and brighter whites aside, there are some good reasons for the shift.
mask.of.sanity writes "Stand aside P!nk, Niki Minaj; you've just been beaten by a music generator. One Aussie security expert curious about the fraud mechanisms at play on streaming services like Spotify uploaded garbage music tracks and directed three Amazon virtual machines to click the play button 24/7 for a month, earning him top spot in online music charts and $1000 in royalties."