By BeauHD from Slashdot's search-and-destroy department
After someone leaked an incomplete scene featuring Jodie Whittaker's Thirteenth Doctor, the BBC headed to court to track down the perpetrator. Gizmodo reports: In fact, the corporation has filed an application in a California court this week in an effort to expose the person who put the leaked footage online -- hoping California's Federal Court would put pressure on Tapatalk, whose messaging service was used to upload and disseminate a non-final, 53-second clip of Whittaker's Doctor in action. The BBC isn't accusing Tapatalk of any wrongdoing; rather, it just wants details on the user that uploaded the clip, so it can attempt to isolate just where in Doctor Who's long line of production the clip got leaked.
In a statement provided to, well, itself sort of, the BBC said that it was taking court action so that fans could "enjoy the final and fully completed version of the episode when it premieres," but it's about more than the integrity of the fan experience here, given that the clip was allegedly pretty clearly unfinished. And while the BBC would prefer that no sneaky footage of one of the most highly anticipated seasons of Doctor Who in a while is out there before it says so, it especially doesn't want it out there if it's footage that's not been edited into the version fans will eventually see on TV.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's arts-and-crafts department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Outline: As if they weren't already doing the absolute most, the die-hard fans of the rap group Insane Clown Posse have become accidental heroes for people concerned about facial recognition tech: According to Twitter user @tahkion, a computer science blogger for WonderHowTo, Juggalo makeup outmatches the machine learning algorithms that govern facial recognition technology.
In a series of follow-up tweets, @tahkion explained that facial recognition works by pinpointing the areas of contrast on a human face -- for instance, where a nose is located, or where the chin becomes the neck. As it happens, juggalo makeup often involves applying black paint below the mouth, but above the chin. That makes facial recognition vulnerable to misidentifying the placement of the jaw. Face-painting styles like "corpse" makeup also obscure the face. However, they don't create enough contrast to effectively confuse most facial recognition systems. Dramatic styles of feminine makeup, like heavy eyeliner, also are generally not enough to confuse facial recognition systems, @tahkion claims. However, facial recognition tech such as Apple's Face ID, which does not rely on visible light and uses depth perception, would not be tricked by juggalo makeup.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's alternative-strategies department
Greg LeRoy and Maryann Feldman from The Guardian discuss some alternative strategies for cities that want large tech companies like Amazon and Apple to invest locally but don't want to offer huge subsidies. They advise against using "old economy" incentives for "new economy" firms, which are more susceptible to disruption, because it can be costly and counterproductive. Unfortunately, many politicians continue to mismatch incentives "especially because some tech companies have become very aggressive about demanding big tax breaks," reports The Guardian. From the report: Here are two proven alternative strategies. The first could be called "back to basics." A regional government inventories existing small- and medium-sized firms, the backbone of many local communities. Typically family-owned and located in micropolitan and rural areas, these firms are often neglected by policymakers and shortchanged by incentive programs. A regional government asks: which industry sectors are we already comparatively good at? Which of those sectors have the best futures? How can our public systems help those promising firms grow? Do they need export assistance? Customized training? Technology diffusion? More engineering-school graduates? There are some simple fixes that could go a long way.
The second alternative takes this same approach and applies it to very young companies and to emerging technologies with more speculative prospects. This was North Carolina's successful strategy from the 1950s until the mid-1990s. Making no big bets on any one company, the state invested in all levels of education, created its community college system and upgraded the state universities. It also focused on highway upgrades and other infrastructure investments. [...] Austin, Texas, currently the hottest tech-led economy in the U.S., provides a model: there, local entrepreneurs became local champions, creating early incubators, reinvesting their gains and working with local government.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
Michael Zhang, reporting for PetaPixel: A Virginia federal court has made a decision that photographers won't be happy to hear: the court ruled that finding a photo on the Internet and then using it without permission on a commercial website can be considered fair use. The copyright battle started when photographer Russell Brammer found one of his long-exposure photos of a Washington, D.C. neighborhood cropped and used by the website for the Northern Virginia Film Festival on a page of "things to do" in the D.C. area. Brammer then sent a cease and desist letter to Violent Hues Productions, the company behind the festival, and it responded by immediately taking the photo down. Brammer then sued the company for copyright infringement, and it responded by claiming fair use. In his ruling, the judge said, "Violent Hues' use of the photograph was transformative in function and purpose. While Brammer's purpose in capturing and publishing the photograph was promotional and expressive, Violent Hues' purpose in using the photograph was informational: to provide festival attendees with information regarding the local area. Furthermore, this use was noncommercial, because the photo was not used to advertise a product or generate revenue."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's best-of-AIM department
An anonymous reader shares a report: Over the last year, gadget and software makers have developed ways for users to better manage their relationship with technology. They make it easier to ignore notifications or quiet all but the most important stuff. But even the latest mobile OS updates don't address the entire problem. In this always-on era, we are assumed to be near our phones all the time, and there is no good way to signal to the world when we are not. There is no way to proclaim, "I'm not available, I won't see your notification, and I won't care until next Sunday." The solution isn't complicated. In fact, it has been around since the '90s. It is called an "away" message, and we need it now more than ever. Most people's first experience with an away message came on AOL Instant Messenger. Those were the days before mobile, when you could only be online while sitting at the computer -- probably a wheezing beige colossus running Windows 95. Rather than log off every time you had to run to the store, AIM allowed you to change a small icon next to your name from green, which signified you were online and available, to red, which meant you were temporarily indisposed. [...] Away messages helped users understand why their buddies weren't responding. More important, away messages offered permission to actually go away. If someone needed you urgently, they would try another route, but mostly they would leave you alone. You weren't ignoring them on purpose; you were just gone.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's deep-dive department
Kasmir Hill, reporting for Gizmodo: It's the smartphone conspiracy theory that just won't go away: Many, many people are convinced that their phones are listening to their conversations to target them with ads. [...] Some computer science academics at Northeastern University had heard enough people talking about this technological myth that they decided to do a rigorous study to tackle it. For the last year, Elleen Pan, Jingjing Ren, Martina Lindorfer, Christo Wilson, and David Choffnes ran an experiment involving more than 17,000 of the most popular apps on Android to find out whether any of them were secretly using the phone's mic to capture audio. The apps included those belonging to Facebook, as well as over 8,000 apps that send information to Facebook. Sorry, conspiracy theorists: They found no evidence of an app unexpectedly activating the microphone or sending audio out when not prompted to do so. Like good scientists, they refuse to say that their study definitively proves that your phone isn't secretly listening to you, but they didn't find a single instance of it happening. Instead, they discovered a different disturbing practice: apps recording a phone's screen and sending that information out to third parties.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's oops-i-did-it-again department
Instead of uploading a trailer of "Khali the Killer," an upcoming move from Sony Pictures Entertainment, the conglomerate accidentally uploaded the entire movie on Google's video platform, according to users. TorrentFreak: When we started writing this article the movie had around 8,000 views. Just a few paragraphs later that had swelled to almost 11,000. However, while news may be traveling quickly, those numbers probably won't reach epic levels anytime soon. As usual, the comments on YouTube are absolutely brutal. The section includes gems such as "Trailer gave the whole plot away. Pass," "It's just the trailer the whole movie will be 4 hours," and the rather blunt "Someone's getting the sackï."Read Replies (0)