You knew this would happen sooner or later: disposable digital cameras. Pure Digital Technologies is coming out with a disposable two-megapixel model that lacks an LCD screen and is set to retail for $11.
This year, digital cameras (digicams) will outsell conventional cameras, 12.8 million to 12.1 million, excluding disposable, one-time-use cameras. Thats a big exclusion because sales of disposable cameras will reach 214 million this year, up from 198 million in 2002. This week marks the introduction of the first disposable, two-megapixel digicam by San Francisco-based Pure Digital Technologies, which will be sold under the Dakota Digital brand through Ritz Camera for $11. While the Dakota sacrifices an LCD screen, which research says is the No. 1 reason people buy digicams, its clear that the fate of film is written on the wall. Kodak announced this week it would slash 6,000 jobs this year due to slow film sales.
Link to image of camera.
[via Geek News Central]
"For decades, movie executives could count on adolescent boys -- a key audience for summer fare -- spending a large percentage of their waking hours at the local cineplex, fueling the box office for movies such as 'Return of the Jedi' and 'Die Hard' with repeat visits. But as studios this summer report a drop in box office for the first time in years, teenage boys seem to have added movies to the list of things they're ambivalent about.
Many kids say sequels don't live up to the originals, DVDs full of bonus material come out just a few months after a movie's release anyway, and video games are more fun.
Those who do drag themselves to a film often complain about rising prices, pre-movie commercials and movie house workers who in recent years have actually enforced the Motion Picture Association of America ratings...."
Say, you don't think these same attitudes could have affected the music industry, do you? Nah, couldn't be at all related. "Piracy" must be the answer to everything. I expect Jack Valenti to again step up to the microphone later today to combat this news story, spouting some nonsense like, "It's not bad movies, it's not high ticket prices, it's not that the technologies we fought (VCRs and DVDs) have become more popular and profitable than we could ever have dreamed it would... no, I'm here today to tell you that piracy is the root of all evil, including this summer's drop in box office receipts. Piracy bad."
I have to agree, the movie industry and music industry seem intent on convincing the public that piracy is the sole reason for a loss in profits. There are so many other factors involved and this article highlights one of them.
The Inquirer: The RIAA Will Take 2191.78 Years To Sue Everyone - That's assuming that they have enough money and still exist in the 42nd Century!
The Inquirer has an article written by a reader that offers some 'what if' scenarios. [via Slashdot]
The EFF web site has just added a new feature to their subpoena search service. You can now check for subpoenas by IP address as well as username. This is a useful addition because others in your family might be using Kazaa under account names that differ from your own.
An article on the BBC's Web site today offers an insight into the methods that are currently being used by major record labels and movie studios to hunt down file-swappers. BayTSP, a company featured in the article, claims that it is finding "...between 1.5 million to 2 million copyright infringements a day".
"If you have an active internet address or connection and you are actively sharing files, our spiders will find you."
Mark Ishikawa, CEO of BayTSP, claims that even applications like Peer Guardian that are designed to block scans from known IP addresses of the RIAA, movie studios, law enforcement agencies, etc are usless against the companies spiders.
"We got an e-mail last week from someone saying 'How did you find me? I used Peer Guardian' and he thought that would save him from our spiders. There is nowhere to hide."
Kuro5hin has a very interesting and, to some, possibly disturbing article about the world of extreme body modification. The article contains links to various sites that offer explanations, stories and images relating to some of the forms of extreme body modification undertaken.
Personally, I can't understand the reason why somebody would intentionally want to remove or 'modify' a part of their body. The article points out:
While tattoos and body piercings were once markings of outsiders and special subcultures, celebrities and the public now display them as the latest fashion accessory.
These practices [extreme body modification] go far beyond the bounds of what society deems as acceptable body modification. While the mainstream may view this behaviour with revulsion and bafflement, it raises the interesting question of what is and what is not acceptable body modification in today's liberal society.
I have some tattoos and I see them as a form of art and not as a form of body modification (even though it is). I guess that because they are widely accepted by society, as well as body piercing, they are now seen as common but perhaps still not 'normal'.
Will some of the extreme body modifications outlined in the article eventually be accepted by society or will they remain part of an underground sub-culture?
Once banned under the regime of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi citizens can now use IM freely. Although much of the population does not have Internet access, those that do are discovering the advantages of IM and in particular the voice chat functions.
International phone calls are impractical and prohibitively expensive today in Iraq, and some tech-savvy Iraqis say the voice-over-IM technology has emerged as the best way to stay in touch with friends and relatives abroad by voice.
While the technology isn't perfect, the economics of voice-over IM make it attractive for users in Iraq. Internet cafes in Baghdad charge around $1 per hour for connect time, versus a going rate of about $1 per minute for long distance telephone service.
Through the use of artificial intelligence this site aims to guess the object that you are thinking of. First select the category that the object falls into and the site will ask a series of questions until it thinks it knows the answer. So far the site has been successful in guessing what I was thinking of. [via Through The Night]
More information is surfacing daily about people who the RIAA are attempting to sue for sharing copyrighted files. The latest 'victims' include a grandfather, a parent and a roommate.
The campaign is putting a scare into file- sharers, causing them to stop sharing any music from their computers, switch to programs that mask their identities or stop downloading altogether.
Many are also deleting downloaded MP3's and file-sharing software from their computers but this may not be enough.
The subpoenas are based on snapshots of information the RIAA began gathering on June 26 by scanning the list of songs being offered by users.
The scare tactics that the RIAA are employing may have already started to work. Users simply don't know if they are on the list of users selected by the RIAA.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, based in San Francisco, plans to publish -- at www.eff.org -- information from subpoenas to help computer users determine whether they have been singled out.
Long term, are the measures employed by the RIAA going to be counterproductive? How many of the millions of users of P2P software will be singled out by the RIAA? What type of file sharer is the RIAA looking for?
The RIAA's president, Cary Sherman, said the association would not discriminate against small-time users."
"The idea really is not to be selective, to let people know that if they're offering a substantial number of files for others to copy, they are at risk," he said. "It doesn't matter who they are."
User names were culled from subpoenas filed with the US District Court in Washington, DC. All subpoenas, incidentally, are being served by the Los Angeles law firm of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp. A total of 253 RIAA subpoenas were listed as of July 22 through the federal court system's paid online database, PACER. The actual subpoenas are available to view online in about half the cases.
The court documents don't show individual users' real names. They do show file-sharing network user names, the user's ISP, the user's IP address, and a sampling of copyright songs the user allegedly made available for download.
The RIAA is planning to increase the amount of subpoenas requests from 75 per week to 300. This is due to an increase in staff and due to the relative ease of obtaining IP addresses of those sharing files on the Kazaa/FastTrack networks.
The amount of subpoenas requested so far stands at approximately 900. The ISP's receiving the most requests are Comcast, Road Runner, Verizon, Earthlink and AOL.
Read more here.
Will there be an end to the number of foodstuffs and 'activities' that are claimed to prevent various forms of cancer and other serious diseases?
Last week it was claimed by Australian researchers that masturbating could reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. This week Italian researchers claim that people who eat regularly eat pizza are less likely to develop cancers of the digestive tract.
Fight spam with a disposable e-mail address. This site offers a disposable e-mail address that can be active from between 24 hours and 8 days. This site is a great replacement for Mail Expire which offered the same service but seemed to have disappeared a few years back.
Other similar tools for tackling spam include Despammed and SpamMotel. Both sites allow the user to subscribe to mailing lists, register at web sites and post to newsgroups without revealing their real e-mail address.
What the bill proposes:
The Authors, Consumer and Computer Owners Protection and Security Act of 2003 - known as the Accops Act - carries penalties of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for uploading a copyrighted file to a peer-to-peer (P2P) network.
"I am speechless about the idea of putting music fans in jail for downloading music. It is wrong to illegally download, but the answer cannot be jail."
Related: Whilst on the subject of piracy, the MPAA has launched an advertising campaign aimed at educating people about the effects of movie piracy. A 30-second advert will start running on US TV networks on Thursday night and a selection of trailers will start playing in cinmeas starting on Friday.
To view the campaign trailers click here.
Further to my post yesterday on the Online Nes Emulator I discovered today that the guy who developed the NES emulator has also developed an online SEGA Master System emulator and an online Arcade Emulator. The SEGA emulator currently only has Sonic The Hedgehog but the Arcade Emulator has a whole range of classic games from the 1970s/1980s.
Here's a BBC article about how blogs are changing the way people communicate with each other. The article talks about how blogs are quickly becoming "an unofficial source of eye-witness news". It references how LA bloggers were quick to offer constant coverage of the accident at the LA Farmer's Market. LA Blogs offers a variety of links to various blogs that covered the accident.
Some predict that blogs will replace media comment sections entirely because many bloggers are far more knowledgeable about a subject than many of the paid pundits writing columns.
Sony have introduced a new handheld that simply looks stunning! The Clie Peg-UX50 comes packed full of features including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, a keyboard and a digital camera. The device features Sony's new Handheld Engine chip that can reduce power consumption by up to 40 percent and double the playback time of music and video.
[Images from Sony.jp]
Unfortunately, the device will set you back $700 when it's released in September. I don't think I'll be able to afford to replace my aging Jornada 540 with this PDA just yet.
Roger Ebert's Glossary Of Movie Terms. Here's a selection from the site.
Automatically Arriving Automobiles
Whenever cars in a chase go through a four-way junction, unrelated cars must appear from each direction and skid into the center. These cars may either stop unharmed or crash into each other in the center, upon which all the drivers will get out and shake fists at each other. No cars actually involved in the chase are ever involved in the crash.
Miracle of Available Parking Space
When a character needs a parking space, even on the busiest streets in the busiest cities, one is quickly found
Principle of Evil Marksmanship
The bad guys are always lousy shots in the movies. Three villains with Uzzis will go after the hero, spraying thousands of rounds which miss him, after which he picks them off with a handgun.
Principle of Pedestrian Pathology
Whenever a character on foot is being pursued by one in a car, the pedestrian inevitably makes the mistake of running down the middle of the street, instead of ducking down a narrow alley, into a building, behind a telephone pole, etc. All that saves such pedestrians is the fact that in such scenes the character on foot can always outrun the car.
Read more movie terms here.
[via .Net Weblog]
The madness continues...
The music industry has won at least 871 federal subpoenas against computer users suspected of illegally sharing music files on the Internet, with roughly 75 new subpoenas being approved each day, U.S. court officials said Friday.
In some cases, subpoenas cite as few as five songs as "representative recordings" of music files available for downloading from these users. The trade group for the largest music labels, the Washington-based RIAA, had indicated its lawyers would target Internet users who offer substantial collections of MP3 song files but declined to say how many songs might qualify for a suit.
Interestingly, a related article on the Excite Web site says that no subpoenas were sent to AOL, the largest ISP in the US.
There were no subpoenas on file sent to AOL Time Warner Inc., the nation's largest Internet provider and also parent company of Warner Music Group.
This isn't purely coincidental, AOL just so happen to be a member of the RIAA.