Mickey Mouse will be public domain soon—here’s what that means

Found on Ars Technica on Tuesday, 01 January 2019
Browse Various

On January 1, 2024, we'll see the expiration of the copyright for Steamboat Willie—and with it Disney's claim to the film's star, Mickey Mouse. The copyrights to Superman, Batman, Disney's Snow White, and early Looney Tunes characters will all fall into the public domain between 2031 and 2035.

Most copyrighted works become commercially worthless within a decade or two. But a small minority of famous works from the 1920s and 1930s were still generating significant revenues in the 1990s. Retroactively extending copyright terms meant an enormous windfall for the companies and families that owned the copyrights.

Copyright should end with the death of the creator, if not sooner. There is no reason to lock content away for decades.

Could You Live Without Your Smartphone?

Found on Slashdot on Sunday, 30 December 2018
Browse Various

For example, Tony North does not live for his smartphone, because he's never had one. "I just didn't want to get into the habit of distraction," he says simply, in an interview conducted over landline from his home in Paris, Ontario.

North says in the extra time "he reads many novels and enjoys quiet moments of reflection and watching the world go by." And 18-year-old Bethany March is also severely limiting her phone use. ''I saw the way that people got so invested, not just in their phones, but in social media, and I didn't want to be that person," she says. "So many times people would be zeroed in on their phones. It was just rude, to be honest. I'd think, 'I'm here with you, talk to me.'"

Yes, it is easy to live without a smartphone. There is no need to be available 24/7/365.

German town keeps Christmas tradition after privacy law nearly scrapped it

Found on CNN on Wednesday, 26 December 2018
Browse Various

In previous years up to 4,000 wishes to Father Christmas were placed on a tree at a Christmas market in the southern town of Roth.

That legislation states that parents of minors have to provide consent to the use of their kids' data. Organizations that fail to comply face big financial penalties.

It created a wish list, which included a parental consent disclaimer, which can be printed from their website and put in the wishing box at the Christmas market, which opens on Thursday.

Yes, it is stupid, but at the same time it can be helpful too. Luckily in this case, the solution was rather simple.

PewDiePie printer hackers strike again

Found on BBC News on Sunday, 16 December 2018
Browse Various

It is the latest in a series of such attacks, but this time they say they have the power to destroy the machines.

Over recent months, the Indian music label and movie studio T-Series has come close to overtaking his lead, which has led some PewDiePie fans to mount stunts to attract new subscribers.

Intentions may be good, but it should be embarrassing for the kid to mix this with a PR stunt for some ridiculous YT moneymaker.

Australia data encryption laws explained

Found on BBC News on Friday, 07 December 2018
Browse Various

Australia has passed controversial laws designed to compel technology companies to grant police and security agencies access to encrypted messages.

Under Australia's legislation, police can force companies to create a technical function that would give them access to encrypted messages without the user's knowledge.

However, cyber-security experts say it's not possible to create a "back door" decryption that would safely target just one person.

That's a great approach, knowing that criminals and terrorists would of course only use encrypted communication software developed in Australia, with servers located there too. That's one of those "we have no idea what we are doing, but we do it!" approaches.

Giraffe hacks printers worldwide to promote God-awful YouTuber. Did we read that one right?

Found on The Register on Saturday, 01 December 2018
Browse Various

People across the world have been complaining about the message printing unprompted.

We're told it was launched from a $5/month Google cloud server. The Giraffe added: "I used a tool I found called PRET (find it on github) which allowed me to connect to these printers, print my PDF, change the display to HACKED, and then quit… Wrapped everything in a script that loops through the list I downloaded off shodan, and TADA, a worldwide printer epidemic."

Some of PewDiePie's millions of followers have taken the task seriously and are flooding whatever and whoever they can in an effort to get them to subscribe to his YouTube channel, seemingly unaware that most of the world couldn't care less.

Millennials are such embarrassing failures.

Amazon confirms it’s working on a project to mine patient records and more accurately diagnose diseases

Found on CNBC on Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Browse Various

The company’s senior leader in health care and artificial intelligence, Taha Kass-Hout, told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that internal tests showed that the software performed as good or better than other published efforts to extract data on patients’ medical conditions, lab orders and procedures.

Amazon said the reason it got into this space is to help speed up the process of making sense of health data, which isn’t usually stored in ways that computers can understand and analyze.

Next news will be insurance companies and employers who express a great interest in this data.

On Thanksgiving Eve, Facebook Acknowledges Details of Times Investigation

Found on New York Times on Saturday, 24 November 2018
Browse Various

Facebook’s communications and policy chief, Elliot Schrage, said in a memo posted Wednesday that he was responsible for hiring the group, and had done so to help protect the company’s image and conduct research about high-profile individuals who spoke critically about the social media platform. Mr. Schrage will be leaving the company, a move planned before the memo was released.

The same day, Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer, posted on her Facebook page that she had no idea the company had hired Definers.

Nobody is going to buy that Mark Zuckerberg was not informed about such a PR move. Nobody is going to believe Mark "Dumb fucks" Zuckerberg, or any of his representatives, are actually feeling sorry at all. This was a planned PR coup which failed hard, and now a pawn has to go.

Would you buy a handbag from Plada or Loius Vuitton?

Found on BBC News on Tuesday, 20 November 2018
Browse Various

It was only the misspelled branding that gave the game away. One shop called itself "Loius Vuitton", the other "Plada".

Authorities closed down the fake Louis Vuitton and Prada shops in Renhuai within days, but other big brands operating in China have not been so lucky.

Why even buy the original? To belong to a herd of pitiful individuals who think bragging like that makes them better than the rest?

'Crunchy but sawdust-like': Our verdict on edible insects

Found on BBC News on Monday, 19 November 2018
Browse Various

The manufacturer markets the snack as "more sustainable than pork scratchings" and "more exciting than a crisp". However, sadly I'm not convinced it is as tasty.

Eat Grub says that gram-for-gram its dried crickets contain more protein than beef, chicken and pork, as well as minerals like iron and calcium.

Unlike the production of meat, bugs do not use up large amounts of land, water or feed, and insect farming also produces far fewer greenhouse gases.

They could always sell insects in a processed form, like flour. That can make adoption easier.