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Google

Google Tests A Software That Judges Hollywood's Portrayal of Women 110

Slashdot reader theodp writes: Aside from it being hosted in a town without a movie theater, the 2016 Bentonville Film Festival was also unusual in that it required all entrants to submit "film scripts and downloadable versions of the film" for judgment by "the team at Google and USC", apparently part of a larger Google-funded research project with USC Engineering "to develop a computer science tool that could quickly and efficiently assess how women are represented in films"...

Fest reports noted that representatives of Google and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy appeared in a "Reel vs. Real Diversity" panel presentation at the fest, where the importance of diversity and science to President Obama were discussed, and the lack of qualified people to fill 500,000 U.S. tech jobs was blamed in part on how STEM careers have been presented in film and television... In a 2015 report on a Google-sponsored USC Viterbi School of Engineering MacGyver-themed event to promote women in engineering, USC reported that President Obama was kept briefed on efforts to challenge media's stereotypical portrayals of women. As for its own track record, Google recently updated its Diversity page, boasting that "21% of new hires in 2015 were women in tech, compared to 19% of our current population"....
Media

The Slashdot Interview With VideoLAN President and Lead VLC Developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf 40

You asked, he answered!

VideoLan President and Lead Developer of VLC Jean-Baptiste Kempf has responded to questions submitted by Slashdot readers. Read on to find out about the upcoming VideoLAN projects; how they keep VLC sustainable; what are some mistakes they wish they hadn't made; and what security challenges they face, among others!
Hardware

Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Use Optical Media? 376

The other day at an event, public relation officials were handing out press kit (it usually contains everything the company announced, photos from the event, and contact information of the company) to journalists. When I reached office and opened the kit, I found a CD in it. Which was weird because it's been two to three years since I had a computer with an optical drive. And all these years I didn't need one. Which brings up the question: Does your work require dealing with CDs and DVDs anymore? An anonymous reader asks the same question: I still use optical discs for various backup purposes, but recently I developed doubts as to the reliability of the media to last a reasonable amount of time. I have read a review on Amazon of the TDK DVDs, in which somebody described losing 8000 (sic!) DVDs of data after 4 years of storage. I promptly canceled my purchase of TDKs. So, do you still use opticals for back-up -- Blu-Rays, DVDs, CDs? -- and if so, how do you go about it?I do buy Blu-Ray discs of movies, though. So my life isn't optical disc free yet. What about yours?
Crime

US Unveils Charges Against KickassTorrents, Names Two More Defendants (arstechnica.com) 110

A total of three men are said to be operators of file-sharing site KickassTorrents (KAT), according to U.S. prosecutors. Last month, federal authorities arrested the 30-year-old Ukrainian mastermind of KAT, Artem Vaulin, and formally charged him with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of criminal copyright infringement. Two other Ukrainians were named in the new indictment (PDF): Levgen (Eugene) Kutsenko and Oleksander (Alex) Radostin. While only Vaulin has been arrested, bench warrants have been issue for the arrest of all three men. Ars Technica reports: "Prosecutors say the three men developed and maintained the site together and used it to 'generate millions of dollars from the unlawful distribution of copyright-protected media, including movies, [...] television shows, music, video games, computer software, and electronic books.' They gave out 'Reputation' and 'User Achievement' awards to users who uploaded the most popular files, including a special award for users who had uploaded more than 1,000 torrents. The indictment presents a selection of the evidence that the government intends to use to convict the men, and it isn't just simple downloads of the copyrighted movies. The government combed through Vaulin's e-mails and traced the bitcoins that were given to him via a 'donation' button."
PlayStation (Games)

PlayStation 3 Games Are Coming To PC (cnet.com) 123

PlayStation 3 games are coming to Windows. Sony said Tuesday that it is bringing its PlayStation Now game-streaming program to Windows PCs. The service broadcasts PlayStation 3 games over the internet similar to the way Netflix beams movies to devices like Roku. CNET reports: This fall, you'll be able to play previously exclusive games like Uncharted 3 and Shadow of the Colossus on a Windows laptop. The catch: you'll be playing those games over the internet with Sony's streaming game service, PlayStation Now. Think Netflix. PlayStation Now has already been around for a couple of years on the PS4, PS3, PS Vita handheld, plus a handful of Blu-ray players and smart TVs. For $20 a month or $45 for three, the service gives players unlimited access to a long list of over 400 PlayStation 3 games. Like Netflix or any other streaming service, the quality can vary wildly depending on your internet connection -- Sony requires a solid 5Mbps connection at all times, and that doesn't change today. What changes is the size of Sony's audience. With a Windows laptop or tablet, you aren't tethered to a big-screen TV. You could theoretically take these PlayStation games anywhere -- and wherever you go, your save games stream with you.
Television

North Korea Unveils Netflix-Like Streaming Service Called 'Manbang' (bbc.com) 162

North Korea has unveiled a set-top box that offers video-on demand services similar to Netflix. The service is called Manbang, which translates to "everywhere" in Korean, and allows consumers to stream documentaries about Kim Jong Un and other "educational" programs, as well as five live TV channels. "If a viewer wants to watch, for instance, an animal movie and sends a request to the equipment, it will show the relevant video to the viewer [...] this is two-way communications," according to NK News. It reportedly works by plugging the set-top box into an internet modem, then connecting an HDMI cable from the cable box to the TV. A very small number of North Koreans will actually be able to use the device as "only a few thousand [...] have access to the state-sanctioned internet, in a nation of 25 million people," reports New York Daily News.
Piracy

Scammers Use Harvard Education Platform to Promote Pirated Movies (torrentfreak.com) 27

TorrentFreak reports: Spammers are using Harvard's educational sharing tool H2O to promote pirated movies. Thousands of links to scammy sites have appeared on the site in recent weeks. Copyright holders are not happy with this unintended use and are targeting the pages with various takedown notices. H2O is a tool that allows professors and students to share learning material in a more affordable way. It is a welcome system that's actively used by many renowned scholars. However, in recent weeks the platform was also discovered by scammers. As a result, it quickly filled up with many links to pirated content. Instead of course instructions and other educational material, the H2O playlists of these scammers advertise pirated movies. The scammers in question are operating from various user accounts and operate much like traditional spam bots, offering pages with movie links and related keywords such as putlocker, megashare, viooz, torrent and YIFY.
Sci-Fi

Star Wars Actor Kenny Baker Dies at Age 81 (theguardian.com) 51

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes The Guardian: The British actor who played R2-D2 in the Star Wars films has died at the age of 81 after a long illness. Kenny Baker, who was 3-feet 8-inches tall, shot to fame in 1977 when he first played the robot character.

He went on to play the character in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well as the three Star Wars prequels from 1999 to 2005. He also appeared in a number of other much loved films in the 1980s, including The Elephant Man, Time Bandits and Flash Gordon.

Baker's niece told the newspaper that "He brought lots of happiness to people and we'll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world..."
Space

Barry Jenner, Who Played Admiral Ross On 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,' Dies At 75 (deadline.com) 59

New submitter bufo333 quotes a report from Deadline: Character actor Barry Jenner, best known for his pivotal role as Admiral William Ross on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and with credits including recurring roles on "Dallas," "Knott's Landing," "Family Matters" and many others, died on August 9, his family has announced. He was 75.
Data Storage

Seagate Reveals 'World's Largest' 60TB SSD (zdnet.com) 162

An anonymous reader writes: While Samsung has the world's largest commercially available SSD coming in at 15.36TB, Seagate officially has the world's largest SSD for the enterprise. ZDNet reports: "[While Samsung's PM1633a has a 2.5-inch form factor,] Seagate's 60TB Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) SSD on the other hand opts for the familiar HDD 3.5-inch form factor. The company says that its drive has "twice the density and four times the capacity" of Samsung's PM1633a, and is capable of holding up to 400 million photos or 12,000 movies. Seagate thinks the 3.5-inch form factor will be useful for managing changing storage requirements in data centers since it removes the need to support separate form factors for hot and cold data. The company says it could also scale up capacity to 100TB in the same form factor. Seagate says the 60TB SSD is currently only a 'demonstration technology' though it could release the product commercially as early as next year. It hasn't revealed the price of the unit but says it will offer 'the lowest cost per gigabyte for flash available today.'"
Advertising

Suicide Squad Fan Suing Studio For 'False Advertising' Over Lack of Joker Scenes (independent.co.uk) 260

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Independent: Reddit user BlackPanther2016 has threatened to begin legal action against Warner Bros and DC Comics later this week, claiming that teasing Joker scenes in trailers that did not make the final film amounts to "unjust false advertising." The disgruntled superhero fan argued in a post on Movies subreddit that he should receive a refund after driving 300 miles to London to watch "specific scenes explicitly advertised in TV ads" only to leave feeling ripped off. He says he will file a lawsuit on August 11, with his "lawyer" brother leading the case. Part of his litigious post reads: "Suicide Squad trailers showcased several specific Joker scenes that I had to pay for the whole movie just so that I can go watch those specific scenes that Warner Bros/DC Comics had advertised in their trailers and TV spots. These scenes are: when Joker banged his head on his car window, when Joker says 'Let me show you my toys,' when Joker punches the roof of his car, when Joker drops a bomb with his face all messed up and says, 'Bye bye!' None of these scenes were in the movie." Last week, Suicide Squad fans petitioned to shut down rotten tomatoes over negative reviews.
Sci-Fi

Star Trek Convention Celebrates The Show's 50th Anniversary (cnet.com) 25

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: CNET has a photo gallery with highlights from this year's Star Trek convention, celebrating the show's 50th anniversary. Highlights include a replica of the time portal from Harlan Ellison's City on the Edge of Forever episode, as well as a weird model of the Enterprise made entirely out of balloons. Special guests included former Star Trek actors Jonathan Frakes, Kirstie Alley, Levar Burton, and Whoopi Goldberg. And William Shatner reportedly made "the Captain Kirkiest stage entrance ever made," then talked about everything from Star Wars and The Twilight Zone to Pokemon Go.
Government

Conservative Site Argues Profiting from Snowden 'Treason' May Violate Law (judicialwatch.org) 236

"A federal appellate court has ruled that government employees, such as Snowden, who signed privacy agreements can't profit from disclosing information without first obtaining agency approval," writes the conservative advocacy site Judicial Watch. Slashdot reader schwit1 quotes their article: This would make it illegal to profit from his crimes and the Department of Justice should confiscate all money made by the violators. Snowden is no whistleblower. In fact he violated his secrecy agreement, which means he and his conspirators can't materially profit from his fugitive status, violation of law, aiding and abetting of a crime and providing material support to terrorism.
In addition, they argue that both an upcoming movie about Snowden by Oliver Stone and the 2014 documentary Citizenfour "may be in violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act, which forbids providing material support or resources for acts of international terrorism... It's bad enough that people are profiting from Snowden's treason, but adding salt to the wound, the Obama administration is doing nothing about it. "
It's funny.  Laugh.

Suicide Squad Fans Petition To Shut Down Rotten Tomatoes Over Negative Reviews (variety.com) 407

The much-anticipated movie Suicide Squad has largely failed to impress film critics and normal people alike. People are leaving the theaters disappointed, with a firm belief that DC Universe has let them down again. Vanity Fair goes as far as saying, "Suicide Squad isn't even the good kind of bad," adding that "I'd have to imagine that most fans of Harley Quinn -- male, female, gay, straight -- will be disappointed." The ratings are super low at IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes as well. Amid these reviews, the fans of the film have launched a Change.org petition with the intent of shutting down film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Variety adds: Abdullah Coldwater, the DC Comics fan who drafted the petition, accused the site of giving "unjust bad reviews" that "affects people's opinion even if it's a really great [movie]." He added, "Critics always give The DC Extended Universe movies unjust bad reviews." The petition has received over 13,000 signatures as of this post. "Suicide Squad," which stars Will Smith, Jared Leto and Margot Robbie and is one of the most highly-anticipated movies of the summer, currently has an approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes of 34 percent. In comparison recent critical disgrace "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" settled at 27 percent on 344 critiques, whereas Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War" garnered a laudatory 90 percent with 320 critics chiming in.
United Kingdom

British Newspaper Fooled By Online Harry Potter/Pokemon Go Hoax (snopes.com) 36

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: "The creators behind Pokemon Go are developing a new Harry Potter version of the app, according to reports," claimed The Metro -- citing as their source the web site "Hello Giggles". But that site's source -- as well as the source for an inaccurate article in Yahoo! Style -- was the infamous JTXH, a parody news sites created three months ago, whose other false scoops have included "NASA to make announcement involving 'religious' implications" and "Denny's waitress assaulted by Muslims for serving bacon during Ramadan".
From Snopes.com: There is no real radio or television outlet with the call letters JTXH; that identifier is purely the province of a fake news web site masquerading as a legitimate news outlet. JTXH News has previously published fabricated clickbait stories such as "Bernie campaign caught distributing LSD to youth" and "Chick-Fil-A is considering banning anyone who 'can't figure out their gender.'"
Piracy

Mr. Robot 'Plugs' uTorrent and Pirate Release Groups (torrentfreak.com) 118

From a TorrentFreak report: The latest episode of award-winning TV show Mr. Robot includes a nod to online pirates. The main character Elliot is shown pirating a movie using uTorrent, while his movie folder lists movies from various pirate groups including YIFY. The group in question appreciates the "bad ass" mention, while another group casts doubt on the hacker's choice of BitTorrent client.
As the screenshot shows, Elliot uses a recent version of the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent, showing a house ad for an upgrade to uTorrent Plus. In the "movies" folder, which is also shown, we can see various other movies complete with release group tags such as YIFY, PRiSTiNE, DiPSHiT, RARBG and CRiTERiON.

Television

The Mojave Desert: Home of the New Machine Movement (bloomberg.com) 48

pacopico writes: Most people think of the Mojave Desert as a wasteland located somewhere between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. For decades, though, Mojave has served as something of an engineering playground for people in the automotive and aerospace industries. Bloomberg has produced a documentary that looks at what's taking place with these engineers in 2016. There's a dude trying to make a flying car, Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic, a group called Hackrod using artificial intelligence software to make a car chassis, and the hacker George Hotz taking his self-driving car along the Las Vegas strip for the first time. One of the cooler parts of the show has a team of students from UCSD sending up a rocket with a 3D printed engine -- the first time any university team had pulled something like this off. Overall, it's a cool look at the strange desert rat tinkerers.
Television

Apple's Rigid Negotiating Tactics Cost Us 'Skinny Bundles' For Apple TV, Says Report (thenextweb.com) 111

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Next Web: According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, the reason we don't have actual TV channels on the Apple TV is because the company tried to strong-arm networks -- and failed. Apple's Senior Vice President Eddy Cue is said to have taken the wrong approach. In one meeting, he reportedly told TV executives that "time is on my side." Cue is also accused of bluffing executives by claiming other networks -- specifically Disney and Fox -- were already signed up. The company also refused to show off the Apple TV interface, or "sketch it on the back of a napkin," as one media executive requested. Cue also tried to strike hard bargains, says WSJ. He reportedly asked that Disney put off the royalties Apple would have to pay for several years. Those 'skinny bundles' we heard so much about were what Apple was planning to build its TV experience around, too. In 2015, a bundle consisting of Fox, ESPN and Disney content was conceptualized (and priced at $30), but no agreements were ever signed. In an effort to create more original programming, Apple is scheduled to release its 'Planet of the Apps' TV show about app developers next year.
The Almighty Buck

Amazon Debuts a Dedicated Shop For Kickstarter Products (techcrunch.com) 18

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Today, Amazon announced it's teaming up with Kickstarter to offer those successful Kickstarter products a way to reach more customers through a dedicated section on Amazon's website. Via www.amazon.com/launchpad/kickstarter, the online retailer is now featuring a group of over 300 Kickstarter products across a variety of categories, like electronics, books, home and kitchen, movies and tv, and more. The products can also be browsed by theme, like STEM products, "Always be Learning," "Exquisite Objects," "Inventing the Future," and "Public Benefit," for example. The new Kickstarter section is actually an expansion on Amazon's Launchpad platform, launched a year ago. In July 2015, the retailer debuted a dedicated portal that offered both marketing and sales for hardware and physical goods from younger tech companies. Today, Amazon says it has now worked with over 100 VCs, accelerators and crowdfunders and has helped more than 1,000 launch products across the U.S., the U.K., China, Germany, and France. All startups who participate in Launchpad receive custom product pages, a comprehensive marketing package, and access to Amazon's global fulfillment network, the retailer notes.
Piracy

James Cameron: Theater Experience Key To Containing Piracy (torrentfreak.com) 331

Director James Cameron says that the key to containing movie piracy is preserving the theater experience as something special. He made the remarks when reporters asked him about his views on Sean Parker's upcoming streaming service Screening Room which will reportedly allow users to watch a new movie on the same day as its theatre release. From a TorrentFreak article: Cameron believes that having first-run movies in the home will stop people heading off to the cinema, the place where filmmakers can really showcase their art and take the fight to piracy. "The biggest hedge against piracy is still the sanctity of the viewing experience in a movie theater -- when it comes to movies," he says. "With The Walking Dead or something like that, that's not what you're selling, but if we're talking about movies and theatrical exhibition, keeping it great, making it a special experience, is still the biggest hedge against [piracy]." Interestingly, Cameron also says that even if piracy somehow became legal and download speeds were drastically improved, viewing content outside the theatrical setting would still come up short. "You're still watching [movies] on a small platform, and it's not that social experience," he explains.

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