Monthly Archives: November 2014

Unreleased Sony movies leak online following studio hack

Unreleased Sony movies leak online following studio hack

There may now be some strong evidence that the Sony Pictures hackers came across a treasure trove of sensitive info when they broke into the movie studio’s networks. High-quality screener copies of Annie, Fury, Mr. Turner and Still Alice have reached torrent file sites well before you can get any of them at home — and, outside of Fury, before you can even see them in theaters. While there’s no direct evidence that the Sony Pictures attackers (the “Guardians of Peace”) are responsible, a tipster claiming to be the “boss of G.O.P.” has emailed many media outlets claiming that the group seeded the bootleg videos. That may be supported by the names of the torrents themselves, which start with “2014 Sony Movie” in a seeming attempt to highlight the source.

If the GOP did pirate the movies, that suggests that there are far worse things to come. We’ve obtained a copy of the alleged email, and it claims that “under 100 terabytes” of data is going to reach the web in the near future. Suffice it to say that Sony doesn’t want to see that happen — it could reveal the personal information for legions of workers, not to mention production plans. If there’s any truth to the threats, the company could be dealing with the repercussions of the data breach for a long, long while.

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Music labels sue Cox for not doing enough to stop piracy

Music labels sue Cox for not doing enough to stop piracy

Large American internet service providers these days tend to operate under a “six strikes” approach to piracy — they’ll warn you if they catch copyright violations, but it’s unlikely that you’ll get the boot. However, that isn’t good enough for BMG or Round Hill Music. The two music publishers have sued Cox Communications for allegedly refusing to forward notices demanding settlements for copyright violations. According to the claim, the cable giant went out of its way to treat these messages like junk mail, letting about 200,000 “repeat infringers” go scot-free. If the court agrees that Cox knowingly looked the other way, it could be in trouble. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act requires that networks have a policy for cutting off unrepentant pirates, and the lawsuit suggests that Cox doesn’t respect that rule.

With that said, there’s no certainty that the company is on the hook. A person isn’t necessarily violating copyright just because they’re supposed to get a notice — it may be up to a judge to decide. Also, the agency handing out the alerts on the labels’ behalf (Rightscorp) doesn’t have a sterling track record. Internet providers have previously ignored Rightscorp notices with little consequence, and the firm is in dire financial straits after its aggressive approach to demanding copyright settlements (which includes using robocalls) didn’t pan out. Even so, this case could set an important precedent. BMG and Round Hill would have more ammunition for future lawsuits if they win, and other labels may consider suing when they don’t believe that ISPs are taking piracy seriously.

[Image credit: Dustin Gaffke, Flickr]

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Verizon’s ‘six strikes’ policy will reportedly make users watch an anti-piracy video before bandwidth is throttled

Verizon's 'six strikes' policy will reportedly make users watch an anti-piracy video before bandwidth is throttled

We got some details on Verizon’s (and Time Warner Cable’s) so-called six strikes policy for dealing with piracy back in November, but TorrentFreak has now turned up more details on just how it will work. According to a copy of Verizon’s full policy obtained by the site, the six strikes are actually divided into three tiers, giving users increasingly serious alerts before their bandwidth speeds are reduced to 256 kbps.

The first of those are fairly straightforward emails and voicemails informing users that copyright owners have filed a complaint against them, but the second tier goes a bit further, automatically redirecting users to a website where they’ll have to acknowledge that they’ve been receiving the alerts and then be prompted to watch an anti-piracy video. If you get to the fifth and sixth alerts, you’ll again be redirected to a page where you must agree to either an immediate reduction in speed for two to three days or the same 2-3 day speed reduction delayed until 14 days later. At that point, you’ll also be able to request a review of your situation, for which you’ll be charged a $35. A TorrentFreak notes, Verizon won’t take any further action after the sixth alert, but users could then face possible litigation from the MPAA and RIAA.

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The delightful (and dangerous) world of DIY kits

The delightful (and dangerous) world of DIY kits

We can’t always work alongside a pro to see what makes things tick, and that’s where do-it-yourself projects come in handy. They’re the entertaining alternative to learning a new skill. In this week’s Rewind, we’ve tracked down a series of kits that were released over the years, which have sought to inform us in fields like electronics, music and the secrets of the scientific world. Join us in the gallery below to see some of the incredible (and occasionally dangerous) DIY projects that have been shared with curious minds.

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The delightful (and dangerous) world of DIY kits

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Lumia phone leaks with a 1020-like camera hump

Lumia phone leaks with a 1020-like camera hump

For a while, rumors were circulating that Microsoft was working on McLaren — a successor to the Lumia 1020 with a giant camera and “3D touch” gestures. It was supposedly cancelled, but a listing for a prototype on Chinese auction site Taobao suggests that the device (or something like it) was close to completion. Known only by its internal RM-1052 name, the Windows Phone has a 1020-like camera hump and similar styling cues, but it’s made mostly of aluminum. There’s only a hint of plastic at the bottom that’s presumably meant to improve wireless reception. The mystery phone appears to have superior performance, too, since a software shot points to a 1080p screen instead of the older phone’s 720p panel.

While the image is bound to whet the appetite of mobile photography fans, it’s not absolutely certain that this is McLaren. The camera doesn’t appear to have a mechanical shutter, and it looks like there’s a conventional LED flash instead of xenon; either Microsoft was planning to scale back the optical technology on McLaren, or this is another device entirely. If it’s the latter, there’s still a chance that this represents a future product, rather than a vision of a Lumia that might have been.

Lumia phone leaks with a 1020-like camera hump

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Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1

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  • Reviews 10

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  • Type Mobile / embedded OS
  • Source model Closed
  • Released 2014-04-14

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9.2average user rating
  • Ease of use 10
  • Speed 9.8
  • Configurability 9.2
  • Ecosystem (apps, drivers, etc.) 8
  • Openness 8.4

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Inhabitat’s Week in Green: interactive pajamas, Earth-sized force field and a fold-up camper

Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.

Inhabitat's Week in Green: interactive pajamas, Earth-sized force field and a fold-up camper

The holiday shopping season kicked off on Friday, and Inhabitat is here to help you get through the shopping madness with our carefully curated Green Holiday Gift Guide. With over 200 inspired gift ideas, we’ve got something for everyone on your list; from gadget geeks to green thumbs, crafters to hostesses, parents to kids. And speaking of unique gift ideas, here are some weird ones we saw this past week. Toilet company Kohler is behind one of the strangest products to cross our inbox in recent weeks: a smart toilet seat that can make your poop smell like avocados. Seriously. For the person who can’t live without the internet, there’s Lantern — a tiny solar-powered device that brings connectivity to off-grid areas. And Balance Edutainment has created the world’s first interactive pajamas, combining organic and fair trade cotton PJs with a mobile app and books for children.

Shields up! It may sound like science fiction, but a team of scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder just discovered a Star Trek-like invisible shield surrounding the Earth that protects it from “killer electrons.” The shield lies 7,200 miles above the Earth’s surface, and it stops ultrafast electrons that could threaten astronauts and fry satellites.

This past week marked a milestone for renewable energy — according to a new report, the price of solar and wind energy have fallen so much over the past five years they’ve finally reached grid parity in the United States, meaning that they are cheaper than fossil fuels. The country’s largest solar power plant is now up and running in Southern California. The Topaz Solar project in San Luis Obispo County includes an astounding 9 million solar panels across 9.5 square miles and generates 550 megawatts of clean energy. California will also soon be home to the world’s largest lithium-ion battery. Southern California Edison is set to obtain a massive 400MW battery, which will provide power during peak energy periods. And in a futuristic proposal that is raising eyebrows in the design world, Japan’s Shimizu Corporation is proposing to build an underwater city that would be powered entirely by renewable energy. The Atlantis-like city would be contained in a 1,600-foot-wide sphere that could house up to 5,000 people.

What will the cities of the future look like? For one, they may be 3D printed. Foster + Partners, one of the world’s leading firms, is partnering with a Swedish concrete manufacturer to create the world’s first 3D-printing concrete robot The device promises to save time and money while enabling architects to create objects in any shape. City streets will be a lot different too — four design teams recently outlined the future of personal transportation, and they all agree that the year 2050 will look radically different than the present. Design firm IDEO also unveiled its vision of what the vehicles of the future might look like — the firm thinks self-driving cars could drive increases in efficiency, convenience and urban growth. In other green transportation news, Mini recently unveiled a folding electric scooter that can transport commuters for the “last mile” of their trip without adding to existing traffic congestion. For those who’d prefer to ditch the city altogether and heed the call of the great outdoors, there’s the Wide Path — a tiny, foldable camper that can be towed by a bike. And if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to take a ride on the world’s longest zip line, take a look at this video of the TreeTop Crazy Rider in Australia.

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Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features

Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.

Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features

The holiday shopping season kicked off on Friday, and Inhabitat is here to help you get through the shopping madness with our carefully curated Green Holiday Gift Guide. With over 200 inspired gift ideas, we’ve got something for everyone on your list; from gadget geeks to green thumbs, crafters to hostesses, parents to kids. And speaking of unique gift ideas, here are some weird ones we saw this past week. Toilet company Kohler is behind one of the strangest products to cross our inbox in recent weeks: a smart toilet seat that can make your poop smell like avocados. Seriously. For the person who can’t live without the internet, there’s Lantern — a tiny solar-powered device that brings connectivity to off-grid areas. And Balance Edutainment has created the world’s first interactive pajamas, combining organic and fair trade cotton PJs with a mobile app and books for children.

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Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features

There are certainly ways to play classic Game Boy titles on modern TVs, but many of them involve emulators. What if you have the real system in your hands? That’s where the crowdfunded Hdmyboy project might just save the day. The project lets you modify the original Game Boy (thankfully, in a non-destructive way) to put its video on any HDMI-equipped display. If you’ve ever wanted to play Link’s Awakening on your big-screen set, it’s now relatively trivial. The Hdmyboy even works with a NES controller, so you can relive your childhood from the comfort of the couch.

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Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features

Your graphing calculator may not be getting much use these days now that other mobile devices can do the job, but it still has a few tricks up its sleeve if you’re willing to do some tinkering. Christopher Mitchell’s latest project, ArTICam, lets you turn a TI-83 Plus or TI-84 Plus calculator into a selfie-oriented camera. The mod mostly requires a Game Boy Camera and a programmable Arduino board like the Uno. After a little bit of wiring and some (thankfully ready-made) code, you can snap self-portraits with a calculator command. The 128 x 123 grayscale pictures you take won’t win photography awards, but that’s not the point — this is more about having fun with gadgets that might otherwise sit in the closet gathering dust. Hit the source link if you have the gear and want to give ArTICam a whirl.

[Thanks, Christopher]

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Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features

It’s no surprise that ridesharing outfits like Lyft and Uber are disrupting the taxi business through lower pricing and technological advantages. However, it’s now clear that these app-based upstarts are also hitting taxis where it really hurts: the value of owning a taxi service. A New York Times analysis reveals that the prices of medallions, which are necessary to operate taxi fleets in numerous US cities, have plunged sharply in the past year. In Boston, Chicago and New York City, the price of a medallion has fallen between 17 to 20 percent. Ridesharing is affecting how often cities and owners can sell medallions, too. Philadelphia is cutting prices just to sell these items at all, and half of New York’s recent sales (a mere 10) were foreclosures — the former owners just couldn’t afford to stay involved.

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Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features

Well, would you look at that: scientists have discovered that DNA can make it through the hellish ordeal of atmospheric re-entry after all. German and Swiss researchers dotted a rocket’s grooves and screw heads with fragments of genetic blueprints to see how they’d fare in situations that could’ve led to the appearance of life on Earth. Scientific American notes that the 13-minute rocket trip might not perfectly represent how DNA might actually travel from one celestial body to the next (that’d be by meteor), but there is purpose here. What the experiment suggests is that even if the meteor’s been scorched, that the material can survive at higher temperatures than previously expected, and as such this paints a better picture of just how resilient DNA is. What’s next? Pushing the limits further and seeing exactly what it takes to kill the double helix — we’re pretty sure at least one rock band is itching to find out.

[Image credit: Getty Images/OJO Images RF]

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Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features

If you’ve been intrigued by the hack that took down Sony Pictures’ computers, you’ve probably wondered who the self-proclaimed culprits, the “Guardians of Peace,” might be. Are they disgruntled employees? Social activists? According to Recode sources, Sony is worried that they’re actually North Korean cyberwarriors. The company and its security consultants are “actively exploring” theories that an outfit in China breached the network on North Korea’s behalf. Investigators haven’t confirmed anything, but they also haven’t ruled out the Korean link so far.

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Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features

So you’ve finally recovered from Thanksgiving dinner, only to realize that you missed out on some hot Black Friday deals. Are you stuck paying full price for your gifts? Far from it — a whole host of stores are participating in Cyber Monday, a second round of (usually online-only) sales that are frequently as tempting as what you saw just a few days earlier. There are some particularly juicy bargains this year, ranging from surprisingly affordable 4K TVs and smartwatches to gigantic game console bundles. Check out the gallery below to see some of the bigger Cyber Monday deals we’ve spotted so far, and be sure to let fellow readers know about other bargains in the comments!

[Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

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Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features

Some mornings, you wake up, walk outside and breathe in a hearty lungful of dirty, smog-heavy air. It’s almost tasteless, but it can still wreak havoc on your respiratory conditions. What if you could avoid those nasty, unseen pockets of nasty air? That’s sort of the idea behind the TZOA, a Kickstarter project that bills itself as the world’s first wearable enviro-tracker. The tiny, round tracker has sensors that keep tabs on air quality, UV light, humidity, and temperature — all of which feed data to a companion smartphone app to quantify the environment around the wearer. The user can then see get a quick look at the quality of the local air and upload the data to create a crowdsourced pollution map of their town.

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Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features

When we talk about the idea of video games as art, we typically mean as art unto itself — but what if a video game was a companion piece to an existing piece of art? And what if that work was over 100 years old? That’s the idea behind Tate Worlds, a free modern art-inspired Minecraft map pack. The project uses Mojang’s endless open-world game as a vehicle for exploring paintings and sculptures in the Tate collection, pitting players against challenges with thematic ties to specific works of art.

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Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features

When the European Union first put the “right to be forgotten” into effect, it didn’t really give search sites much help. Should search listings disappear simply because they’re embarrassing? What if you’re a notable figure? At last, though, there are some clearer answers. The European Commission has published guidelines that tell search providers how to handle your takedown requests. For the most part, the recommendations line up with what Google has been doing so far. Websites have to balance your privacy demands against the public’s rights; a search firm can pull details of your personal life, for instance, but it can refuse to hide criminal convictions or your official work record.

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Put your Game Boy on the big screen with this HDMI adapter

Put your Game Boy on the big screen with this HDMI adapter

There are certainly ways to play classic Game Boy titles on modern TVs, but many of them involve emulators. What if you have the real system in your hands? That’s where the crowdfunded Hdmyboy project might just save the day. The project lets you modify the original Game Boy (thankfully, in a non-destructive way) to put its video on any HDMI-equipped display. If you’ve ever wanted to play Link’s Awakening on your big-screen set, it’s now relatively trivial. The Hdmyboy even works with a NES controller, so you can relive your childhood from the comfort of the couch.

This isn’t the cheapest way to indulge your nostalgic side. It’ll require a pledge of between €115 to €125 ($143 to $156) to get both the adapter and a replica NES gamepad when they ship in May. If your parents sold your Game Boy years ago, a limited-run €1,000 ($1,245) pack will get you a clear handheld and 10 games on top of the Hdmyboy kit. You’ll have to really miss the days of monochromatic mobile gaming for this to make sense, but the price could be justifiable if you’ve been dying to brush up on your Dr. Mario skills.

[Thanks, Will]

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Nintendo Game Boy 1st-gen

  • Key specs
  • Reviews 33

  • Prices
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  • Game format Cartridge
  • Screen size 2.5 inches
  • Direction control D-pad
  • Dimensions 5.83 x 3.54 x 32 in
  • Weight 7.76 oz

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8.2average user rating
  • Game library 8.5
  • Graphics 6.9
  • Battery life 7.3
  • Portability (size / weight) 6.3
  • Durability 9

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  1. Put your Game Boy on the big screen with this HDMI adapter + tax & shipping Buy now

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Hyperkin Retron 5 combines ten consoles into one on December 10 for $99 (updated)

Hyperkin Retron 5 combines ten consoles into one on December 10 for $99 (updated)

We love what the Hyperkin Retron 5 brings to the table, namely compatibility with ten classic gaming system cartridges: NES, Famicom, Super NES and Famicom, Sega Master System, Genesis and Mega Drive, and Game Boy original, Color and Advance. The problem is, Hyperkin’s played coy about it’s price and availability… until now. It’ll be available on December 10th, and it’ll be on sale in both Europe (for €89.99) and in the US ($99.99). And, it turns out that the Retron 5 that’ll go on sale will have a few more tricks up its sleeve than the prototype we played with back at E3. The exterior’s been modified to better cool the internal components, and it’ll pack a work with the Sega Power Base Converter that lets you play Sega’s Master System games in the Genesis slot on top. So, now you can officially start carving out space in your entertainment center for the Retron 5 — which shouldn’t be difficult once you’ve cleared out all the elder consoles it replaces. Less is more, people.

Update: We mistakenly wrote previously that the Retron 5 comes with a Power Base converter, in fact, you’ll need to bring your own converter to the party.

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Hyperkin to Release RetroN 5 on December 10, 2013
Leading video game peripherals company to release the RetroN 5 during holiday season.

EL MONTE, CA (SEPTEMBER 2013) – Hyperkin has set December 10, 2013 as the official release date for the RetroN 5. The RetroN 5 plays NES, SNES, Genesis and GBA cartridges all in one convenient console. The US release will coincide with the European release, with the MSRP set at $99.99 in the US and €89.99 in the European territories.

Hyperkin explains the delay in release was due to several key modifications made to the console shown at E3. The shell design was changed to allow for better ventilation, as well as accommodations to use the Sega Power Base Converter allowing users to play Master System cartridges on the console.

All versions of the RetroN 5 will come with an power adapter with four variable head sockets to fit multiple regions with the voltage ranging from 110 to 240 volts.

Hyperkin also confirms that the release date of October 31, 2013 listed on Amazon was a placeholder, and that Amazon has been contacted to correct the release date.

“RetroN 5 will be the most amazing classic game console.” said Steven Mar, Hyperkin’s Executive Director. “We thank everyone who has been patient and supportive of Hyperkin during development.”

For more information or media requests, please contact: media@hyperkin.com. Follow Hyperkin on Twitter and like them on Facebook for the latest news and information regarding Hyperkin.

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Mod turns your graphing calculator into a selfie camera

Mod turns your graphing calculator into a selfie camera

Your graphing calculator may not be getting much use these days now that other mobile devices can do the job, but it still has a few tricks up its sleeve if you’re willing to do some tinkering. Christopher Mitchell’s latest project, ArTICam, lets you turn a TI-83 Plus or TI-84 Plus calculator into a selfie-oriented camera. The mod mostly requires a Game Boy Camera and a programmable Arduino board like the Uno. After a little bit of wiring and some (thankfully ready-made) code, you can snap self-portraits with a calculator command. The 128 x 123 grayscale pictures you take won’t win photography awards, but that’s not the point — this is more about having fun with gadgets that might otherwise sit in the closet gathering dust. Hit the source link if you have the gear and want to give ArTICam a whirl.

[Thanks, Christopher]

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