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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Privacy

The Dead Past: the Biggest Threat To Privacy Is Us 130

Posted by timothy
from the norm-isn't-just-that-guy-on-cheers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals candidly discusses the future of privacy law in an essay published today in the Stanford Law Review Online. Referencing an Isaac Asimov short story, Kozinski acknowledges a serious threat to our privacy — but not from corporations, courts, or Congress: 'Judges, legislators and law enforcement officials live in the real world. The opinions they write, the legislation they pass, the intrusions they dare engage in—all of these reflect an explicit or implicit judgment about the degree of privacy we can reasonably expect by living in our society. In a world where employers monitor the computer communications of their employees, law enforcement officers find it easy to demand that internet service providers give up information on the web-browsing habits of their subscribers.'" (Excerpt continues below.)
Television

Matt Groening Reveals Springfield Is In His Home State of Oregon 148

Posted by samzenpus
from the where's-Shelbyville? dept.
First time accepted submitter TheSeventh writes "Simpsons creator Matt Groening has revealed the location of the real Springfield: It's in Oregon. In an interview with Smithsonian magazine, Groening credits the name to the hit TV show Father Knows Best. The show 'took place in the town of Springfield, and I was thrilled because I imagined that it was the town next to Portland, my hometown,' he says. 'When I grew up, I realized it was just a fictitious name. I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names for a city in the U.S. In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought, 'This will be cool; everyone will think it's their Springfield.' And they do.'"
Media

MythTV 0.25 Released, New HW Acceleration and Audio Standards Support 144

Posted by timothy
from the now-that's-some-conservative-numbering dept.
unts writes "The highly configurable Linux PVR, MythTV, has reached the 0.25 release, over 500 days after the previous full release. New features include VAAPI support, E-AC3, TrueHD, and DTS-HD audio, the ability to control other home entertainment devices via HDMI CEC and additions to the API to allow HTTP live streaming. The release notes for 0.25 don't reflect the release status at the time of writing, but should contain most of the relevant changes. MythTV can be used as a backend (recorder) and frontend (viewer), but can also feed other frontends such as appropriate versions of XBMC. Hopefully the new HTTP streaming API will lead to even more ways to get your video fix."
It's funny.  Laugh.

IT Calls of Shame 256

Posted by samzenpus
from the is-your-screen-on? dept.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's JR Raphael offers up six memorable tales of trouble and triumph from the tech support desk. 'Working in tech support is a bit like teaching preschool: You're an educator who provides reassurance in troubling times. You share knowledge and help others overcome their obstacles. And some days, it feels like all you hear is screaming, crying, and incoherent babble.' Pronoun problems, IT ghosts, the runaway mouse — when it comes to computers, the customer isn't always right."
Movies

How James Cameron Pumped Volume Into Titanic 289

Posted by timothy
from the really-big-hose dept.
MrSeb writes with ExtremeTech's account of how director (and deep sea explorer) James Cameron spent a reported $18 million converting his blockbuster movie, Titantic, to 3D. The article "looks at the primary way of managing depth in 3D films (parallax), how you add depth to a movie that was originally filmed in 2D, and some of the software (both computer and human-brain) difficulties that Cameron had to overcome in the more-than-two-year process to convert Titanic into 3D."
Sci-Fi

How Las Vegas Missed Out on a Life-Sized Starship Enterprise 240

Posted by timothy
from the oh-the-the-huge-manatee dept.
T-Kir writes "Apparently 20 years ago, instead of the Fremont Experience, downtown Las Vegas was actually close to building a life sized version of the refit USS Enterprise, and would have — had it not been for the then studio chairman Stanley Jaffe nixing it at the final meeting. The project had support from Paramount licensing and then-CEO Sherry Lansing, the Las Vegas Mayor, and the downtown redevelopment committee, but not opinion of Mr Jaffe: 'I don't want to be the guy that approved this and then it's a flop and sitting out there in Vegas forever.' As a Trek fan, I'm saddened that this never got built because I feel that this would've appealed to a much wider audience than science fiction fans. Props to io9 for picking this story up."
Hardware Hacking

Ask Slashdot: How To Make My Own Hardware Multimedia Player? 140

Posted by timothy
from the many-have-tried dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I was looking at multimedia players from brands such as SumVision, Noontec and Western Digital. They all seem to be some device which accepts a USB hard-drive and commands from an IR remote control, and throws the result over HDMI. I have my own idea of what a hardware multimedia player should do (e.g. a personalized library screen for episodes, movies and documentaries; resume play; loudness control; etc.). I also think it will a good programming adventure because I will have to make the player compatible with more than a few popular codecs. Is this an FPGA arena? Or a mini-linux tv-box? Any advice, books or starting point to suggest?" There certainly have been a lot of products and projects in this domain over the years, but what's the best place to start in the year 2012?
China

Proposed Chinese Copyright Changes Would Encourage Re-Use 169

Posted by timothy
from the thousand-flowers-all-bloom-differently dept.
New submitter BBCS writes "The National Copyright Administration of the People's Republic of China ('NCAC') is seeking public comments on a controversial draft amendment to China's copyright law. A number of recording artists and musicians have reacted strongly against this proposed amendment because it appears to encourage using others works without compensation. The amendments that have drawn particular ire are article 46 & 48. Per Article 46, one does not need consent to make recordings of another person's musical work if 3 months have passed since such work was published. Per Article 48, to use such person's musical work, one must contact the NCAC, identify the published material and its author, and within 1 month of use, submit a usage fee as per the NCAC, to facilitate the distribution of payment to applicable parties. I wonder what happens when someone applies to make use of Chinese Democracy by Guns N' Roses." What would you do, if copyright were so strongly time-limited?
Australia

Bogus Takedown Notice Lands $150k Settlement In Australian Court 115

Posted by timothy
from the let-the-dingos-eat-her dept.
Fluffeh writes "Richard Bell, an Australian Film Maker, on a fellowship in New York, produced and directed approximately 18 hours of raw footage for a film with the help of an assistant called Tanya Steele and paid her for these services. Ms Steele, through her American lawyers, sent letters to Mr Bell and his agent claiming that she owned the copyright in the footage and demanding that the trailer be removed from the Internet. She also caused the Vimeo website to remove the trailer. In response, Bell went to the (Australian) courts, which declared him the owner of the copyright in the film, and deemed Steele's threats "unjustifiable". Bell then asked for damages. These were granted in the latest judgment because Bell had lost the opportunity to sell some of his works, which typically cost tens of thousands of dollars, as a result of Steels' threats. The Australian judge awarded over $150,000 in damages plus another $23,000 costs against her."
Canada

Canadian Telcos Lobby Against Pick-and-Pay TV 244

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the netcraft-confirms-broadcast-media-is-dying dept.
silentbrad writes with an excerpt from the Financial Post: "BCE Inc., Rogers Communications Inc., and Shaw Communications Inc. which together control two-thirds of the $8.3-billion broadcast distribution market, are lobbying against the so-called 'a la carte' model that would allow customers to pick and pay for individual networks, arguing the change would have disastrous consequences for programmers, such as Bell Media and Shaw Media. 'A regulation requiring that all programming services must be made available to consumers on a stand-alone basis would have far-reaching ramifications,' BCE, whose Bell owns 30 specialty networks, said in a submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. 'Undoubtedly, a market shake-out, causing many specialty services to exit, would ensue.' The three big players, led by BCE, have told the CRTC they support the status quo of 'tied selling,' or the practice of grouping weaker-performing networks in with a popular channels, versus a new approach to sell channels individually. ... In the race for subscription dollars, rates for TV services across providers have risen sharply over the last decade as the number of specialty channels, each commanding its own fee, has soared. Net costs to subscribers climbed another 2.6% in 2011, while average bills now hover around $60 a month."
Businesses

Pirate Bay Promotion Attracts Over 5000 Artists 124

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-it-yourself-promotion dept.
redletterdave writes "While the movie and music industries would have you think that torrents are a threat to their business, thousands of independent artists heartily disagree. That's why more than 5,000 musicians, actors, writers, filmmakers and artists have signed up to be promoted by The Pirate Bay, the world's largest torrent site. Earlier this year, following the seizures of many popular file-sharing domains like MegaUpload, The Pirate Bay introduced a new promotion platform for artists called 'The Promo Bay,' which let independent artists reach tens of millions of people by offering favorable advertising spots on the The Pirate Bay's homepage. The response to The Pirate Bay's promotion platform has been overwhelming: the company announced on Thursday that it has already received more than 5,000 applications, and has managed to be a quality platform for driving significant interest to independent artists."
Music

RIP, Electric Amplifier Inventor Jim Marshall, 'Father of Loud' 166

Posted by timothy
from the stackering-accomplishment dept.
asavin writes "The founder of Marshall Amplification, Jim Marshall OBE, has died at the age of 88. A tribute to the man known as the Father of Loud was posted on his official website, praising the man whose name became iconic for electric guitarists." Reader LizardKing points to the Guardian's coverage of Marshall's passing, and adds : "A former drummer, Jim Marshall initially became involved with guitar amplification as an importer of Fender equipment, until he eventually decided to branch out and make his own amps. The trademark Marshall sound evolved alongside the requirements of such luminaries as Pete Townshend and Eric Clapton. The Marshall stack has since become a ubiquitous symbol of live rock music in particular — so much so that some bands perform in front of veritable walls of Marshall branded speakers. In addition to his lead guitar amplifiers, Jim will also be remembered for his great bass amps (as used by Lemmy Kilmister in particular) and the much sought after Guv'nor distortion pedal."
Television

Millions of Subscribers Leaving Cable TV for Streaming Services 380

Posted by samzenpus
from the end-of-an-age dept.
suraj.sun writes "Netflix and Hulu are convincing millions of cable, satellite and telco subscribers to cut the cord and dive into video streaming. That's the conclusion of a new report released this week by the Convergence Consulting Group, which finds that 2.65 million Americans canceled TV subscriptions between 2008-2011 in favor of lower-cost internet subscription services or video platforms. Though Convergence co-founder Brahm Eiley projects that the number of people opting out of TV subscription services will begin to slow in 2012 and 2013. Part of the problem, Eiley argues, may be the rising price tag for streaming rights to programming which could cause fiscal fits for Netflix."
Businesses

Google Strikes Deal With Paramount 105

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the you-have-bad-taste-in-film dept.
redletterdave writes about more movies being made available on Youtube's rental service. From the article: "Google announced a new deal with Paramount Pictures on Tuesday, which will make more than 500 movie titles available for rental on YouTube and the new Google Play platform. The deal was made even though Google is still embroiled in a four-year-old legal battle over copyrights with Paramount's parent company, Viacom. The latest deal means Google has rental deals with five of the six major Hollywood studios, including Paramount, Warner Bros., Disney, Universal Pictures, and Sony Pictures. The lone exception is 20th Century Fox, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Google will only make these titles available for rent; the search giant has not yet made a decision to sell any movies it licenses, despite pressure from major Hollywood studios looking to compensate for poor DVD sales."
Music

Despite Drop In Piracy, French Music Industry Still In Decline 272

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the everybody-loses dept.
New submitter Hentes writes "France has one of the strictest anti-piracy laws. After 17 months of operation, Hadopi has released a report, claiming that illegal P2P downloads have been reduced significantly in the country: the studies they cite measured 43% and 66% decrease in copyright infringement. But that huge amount of 'lost revenue' doesn't seem to show up in the French recording industry, as the overall recorded music market has decreased by 3.9% in 2011. Even more interesting is that digital music sales have skyrocketed in France. Could it be that it's not piracy killing the traditional recording industry but digital distribution?"

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