cyclomedia writes "Switch Fringe is a relatively new not-for-profit annual music and arts festival in the UK town of Ipswich, and this year's program features a full page map of the town with details about each venue. Unlike most other maps this one is in the form of a Zelda level. This is in part due to this year's theme 'Re-imagining Ipswich,' that PixelH8 is coming out of semi-retirement to play a gig during the proceedings and possibly due to the fact that the map's designer — The Decibel Kid — spent too much time playing Zelda on a Gameboy Color during the first Web bubble."
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The Superman reboot Man of Steel broke the record for the biggest June opening weekend ever with a whopping $125.1 million. Reviews have been mixed so far, ranging from: "DC and Warner Brothers have opted to produce a movie that foregoes a character-driven story. Instead, we're left with a trite blockbuster that holds beautiful special effects, an inspiring music score, a story that panders to the movie-goer who refrains from looking deep into the story, and neglects to define Superman as character, leaving him only as a hollow symbol and stock character, which ultimately leaves the movie about the events that transpire rather than the characters involved in them," to " What this version of the iconic DC Comics superhero does is emote convincingly. Thanks to director Zack Snyder and a serious-minded script by David S. Goyer (who shares story credit with his The Dark Knight collaborator, Christopher Nolan), Man of Steel gives the last son of Krypton an action-packed origin story with a minimum of camp and an intense emotional authenticity. Not bad for somebody who spends half the movie wearing blue tights." Personally, I found it to be the best 2-hour action sequence with 30 minutes of stock romance involving Superman that I am likely to see this summer. What did you think?
hypnosec writes "Kickass Torrents hasn't been accessible since sometime yesterday, and now it has been confirmed that the domain name of the torrent website has been seized by Philippine authorities. Local record labels and the Philippine Association of the Recording Industry said that the torrent site was doing 'irreparable damages' to the music industry and following a formal complaint the authorities resorted to seizure of the main domain name. The site hasn't given up, and is operating as usual under a new domain name. The government of the Philippines has confirmed that the domain name has been seized based on formal complaints and copyright grounds."
New submitter chriscappuccio sends this excerpt from the NY Times: "The song 'Happy Birthday to You' is widely credited for being the most performed song in the world. But one of its latest venues may be the federal courthouse in Manhattan, where the only parties may be the litigants to a new legal battle. The dispute stems from a lawsuit filed on Thursday by a filmmaker in New York who is seeking to have the court declare the popular ditty to be in the public domain, and to block a music company from claiming it owns the copyright to the song and charging licensing fees for its use. The filmmaker, Jennifer Nelson, was producing a documentary movie, tentatively titled 'Happy Birthday,' about the song, the lawsuit said. In one proposed scene, the song was to be performed."
schwit1 writes with a followup to a story we discussed in April about how using voice-activated texting while driving was no safer than using your hands. Now, a study by AAA has found that using voice commands to send texts is more dangerous than simply talking on your cellphone. "Texting a friend verbally while behind the wheel caused a 'large' amount of mental distraction compared with 'moderate/significant' for holding a phone conversation or talking with a passenger and 'small' when listening to music or an audio book, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found in a report released today. Automakers have promoted voice-based messaging as a safer alternative to taking hands off the wheel to place a call and talk on a handheld phone. About 9 million infotainment systems will be shipped this year in cars sold worldwide, with that number projected to rise to more than 62 million by 2018, according to a March report by London-based ABI Research. 'As we push towards these hands-free systems, we may be solving one problem while creating another,' said Joel Cooper, a University of Utah assistant research professor who worked on the study. 'Tread lightly. There's a lot of rush to develop these systems.' The findings from the largest U.S. motorist group bolster National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman's call to ban all phone conversations behind the wheel, even with hands-free devices."
ObsessiveMathsFreak writes "Ireland's own SOPA Act has finally struck home. Today, the Irish High Court ordered all ISPs to begin censoring the The Pirate Bay. After earlier attempts were struck down, this case was brought by EMI, Sony, Warner Music and Universal music under new copyright laws brought in last year. This follows the largest ISP Eircom already having voluntarily blocked the Pirate Bay after previous legal action. Despite some early indications that some ISPs would appeal the decision, it now appears that like Eircom, they have quietly given up. Pity; IT was one of the few industries Ireland was getting right."
An anonymous reader writes "Several UK Internet providers have quietly added a list of new sites to their secretive anti-piracy blocklists. Following in the footsteps of Sky, the first ISP to initiate a proxy blockade, Virgin, BT and several other providers now restrict access to several torrent site proxies. The surprise isn't really that proxies have been added to the blocklist, but that the music industry and ISPs are failing to disclose which sites are being banned."
An anonymous reader writes "The Free Lossless Audio Codec, FLAC, loved by audiophiles for its lossless fidelity has been updated to version 1.3.0. FLAC is an audio format similar to MP3, but 'lossless', meaning that audio compressed in FLAC doesn't suffer any loss in quality. FLAC v1.3.0 is the first update in almost 6 years and it is also the first release from the new Xiph.Org maintainer team." Big new feature: ReplayGain works for sampling rates up to 192kHz so you can finally control the volume of your obsessively ripped LPs.
benrothke writes "Phil Lapsley calls his book 'the untold story of the teenagers and outlaws who hacked Ma Bell.' The story is an old one, going back to the early 1960's. Lapsley was able to track down many of the original phone phreaks and get their story. Many of them, even though the years have passed, asked Lapsley not to use their real names." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.
vinces99 writes "Forget to turn off the lights before leaving the apartment? No problem. Just raise your hand, finger-swipe the air and your lights will power down. Want to change the song playing on your music system in the other room? Move your hand to the right and flip through the songs. University of Washington computer scientists have developed gesture-recognition technology that brings this a step closer to reality. They have shown it's possible to use Wi-Fi signals around us to detect specific movements without needing sensors on the human body or cameras. By using an adapted Wi-Fi router and a few wireless devices in the living room, users could control their electronics and household appliances from any room in the home with a simple gesture."
Presto Vivace writes "In a blog post, danps explains how the music industry initially thought that the Internet meant that people wanted their music for free. In 2003 Apple persuaded the industry to use an online music store with DRM. But DRM just does not work for consumers, so by 2011 online music stores were DRM-free. Sadly, the book industry has not learned these lessons. And there are larger lessons for the gadget industry: 'The tech industry right now is churning out lots of different devices, operating systems and form factors in an attempt to get the One True Gadget — the thing you'll take with you everywhere and use for everything. That's a lovely aspiration, but I don't see it happening. What I see instead is people wanting to only carry around one thing at a time, and rotating through several: Smart phone for everyday use, tablet for the beach, laptop for the road, etc. If you can't get the book you paid for on each of those devices, it's a pain. As a reader I want to be able to put a book on everything as soon as I buy it so I always have a local (non-Internet dependent) copy — no matter which thing I run out of the house with.'"
jones_supa writes "During a debate in London last night, the game of whac-a-mole related to blocking pirate sites was discussed by artists, labels, the BPI, and Google. Most interestingly, Google's Theo Bertram brought to the table the idea of going after the sites as a business, which in practice would mean strangling their (often voluminous) advertising budget. A test performed by musician David Lowery confirmed that a search for Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Call Me Maybe' conjured up a list of unlicensed sites, some of which have an advertising relationship with Google. Geoff Taylor of the BPI said that Google has the both the information and technological ability to directly stomp infringing sites, but at the same time noted that somewhat oddly iTunes has not arranged itself a prominent position in the results to promote legally-purchased music, which can't be completely Google's fault."
phrackthat writes "A UC Berkeley group, in a bid to drive down the costs of 3-D printing, has been focusing on more natural materials such as salt, wood, ceramics and concrete (the last two, while not naturally occurring, are made of naturally occurring components). The use of these materials create new avenues for architecture, such as printing buildings. Professor Ronald Rael, the head of the project, stated that these materials and the designs they enable will require new IP protections — 'This is going to require some IP protection for designs, so if you design architecture in the computer, you're protected, just as music and movies are.' I wonder if he's ever heard of design patents?"
Today at a press conference leading up to E3, Microsoft unveiled its next-gen games/entertainment console, the Xbox One. Their stated goal for the Xbox One is to have a single device provide "all of your entertainment." One of the big changes is increased support for voice and and gesture input. You can turn the console on by voice, and it will recognize you and automatically login. Swiping to the side with your hand will browse through menu pages, and saying "Watch TV" will bring up the TV app very quickly. The same with music, internet, and movies. The new console also supports multitasking — for example, while watching a movie, you can bring up your web browser in a side panel and surf the web at the same time. There is also a built-in TV listings app that responds to channel names — saying "Watch CBS" will switch to CBS without giving it an actual channel number. By this point, you're probably asking: does it play games? Yes. Hardware specs: 8-core CPU/GPU, 8GB RAM, a Blu-ray drive, a 500GB HDD, USB 3.0, and Wi-fi Direct. (They didn't provide the CPU frequency, instead saying it had 5 billion transistors.) The Kinect sensor got an upgrade: 2Gbps of data capture has finer skeletal visibility, can detect minor orientation changes in hands and fingers, and can even calculate your balance and weight distribution. The new controller looks slightly bigger, and is designed to play well with Kinect. They've also updated Smartglass, the remote control software that runs on mobile devices, but they didn't explain much about it. The new Xbox Live will have 300,000 servers powering it, up from 15,000 this year — though, of course, no details were provided about server specs. The console will have native game capture and editing tools — essentially, a game DVR. Saved games will be stored in the cloud, and they have new matchmaking capabilities that operate in the background. Update: 05/21 17:50 GMT by S : Halo is getting its own live-action TV show, for some reason. They'll be collaborating with Steven Spielberg. Microsoft is also partnering with the NFL for live broadcasts and interactive experiences, such as split-screen Skype chats and fantasy league updates. Xbox One will be out "later this year." No price information. it will not be backward-compatible with Xbox 360 games.
mask.of.sanity writes "Lights, sounds and magnetic fields can be used to activate malware on phones, new research has found. The lab-style attacks defined in a paper (PDF) used pre-defined signals hidden in songs and TV programmes as a trigger to activate embedded malware. Malware once activated would carry out programmed attacks either by itself or as part of a wider botnet of mobile devices."
With the kind of cagey phrasing found in many such electronics approval applications, Google describes a device that some are taking to be the successor to its discontinued Nexus Q thus: "The device functions as a media player." From the article: "Some of the specs of the device includes a 2.4GHz WiFi b/g/n connectivity. The FCC report does not contain test photos so we do not know what the device looks like. It is likely that the H840 will support Google Play Music All Access and will have similar functionality as a Sonos media player that can be connected to external speakers."
Blug_fred writes "For the second edition, today is the time to celebrate Culture Freedom Day. While not as popular as HFD or SFD, celebrating Free Culture involves finding Free Culture artists, inviting them to your place and having them perform, display or talk about what their creation(s). Of course you can always simply project a couple of Free Culture movies and launch a discussion about their business models. Either way you can find all the happening for today here on the map and we sincerely hope there will be something of interest near you."
An anonymous reader writes "In their ongoing battle against websites said to infringe music copyrights, record labels have initiated a fresh wave of actions aimed at forcing UK ISPs to carry out domain blocking. This third wave is set to be the biggest so far, affecting as many as 25 domains and including some of the world's largest torrent sites and file-hosting search engines. Furthermore, the BPI – the entity coordinating the action – will ask courts to block U.S.-based music streaming operation, Grooveshark."
Google's I/O annual conference is ramping up at San Francisco's Moscone Center. Last year, in the conference keynote, the company took its biggest-yet dive into hardware when it introduced the Nexus 7 tablet, Google Glass, and the ill-fated Nexus Q. The secret is out on Glass, of course: this year, there's a pavilion inside the conference center where I'm sure they'll be showing off applications for it. (Quite a few of the people in the endless lines here are wearing their own, too.) Anticipating the announcements at I/O is practically its own industry, but it's easy to guess that there will be announcements from all the major pots in which Google has its many thousands of (tapping) fingers. Android, search, Chrome, mapping, and all the other ways in which the behemoth of Mountain View is watching what you do. You can watch the keynote talk (talks, really) streamed online from the main conference link above, but this story will be updated with highlights of the announcements, as well with stories that readers contribute. Update: 05/15 16:22 GMT by T : Updates below. Update: 05/15 19:02 GMT by T :Update details: Notes (ongoing) added below on maps, gaming, the Play store, Google+, and more. And, notable, Larry Page is (at this writing) on stage, with an unannounced Q & A session.