Life is never boring when your dad is an after-effects specialist for DreamWorks.
Daniel Hashimoto records his 3-year-old son Jamie during playtime and makes explosive additions afterwards.
Jamie, a lover of sci-fi and superheroes, is the star of Hashimoto’s videos, shooting lasers from his hands and navigating a sea of lava on a sofa cushion. He can wreck an entire toy store, become a mini-Jedi, or vanish into a puddle of water.
“My 3-year-old kid is awesome. He gets into some epic situations which remind me that life is an adventure,” says Hashimoto’s YouTube channel. “I do these videos completely in Adobe After Effects plus a few third party plugins.”
The L.A. based animator has worked on features like “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Kung Fu Panda 2.”
Most Americans have experienced going to a 3D movie in the past few years, but now the first 4D movie theater is opening in Los Angeles.
A Korean company, CJ 4DPlex, is planning to build the first 4D U.S. theater at the Regal Cinemas Live Stadium 14 in Tinseltown (video below).
According to Fandango.com, the 4D theater will include special effects (felt by the audience) "such as motion, wind, strobe lighting, rain, fog and scent-based elements."
CJ 4DPlex is planning to convert a small theater into a 4D theater that will hold 100 people by the summer, just in time for blockbusters, reports SlashFilm.com.
While 3D movie tickets cost more than regular tickets, it's not known how much a 4D ticket will be.
4D movies actually existed on a smaller scale in the late 1950s and 1960s, courtesy of horror-film producer William Castle.
Castle made low budget, cheesy, scary movies and placed joy buzzers under the seats in movie theaters to deliver a mild electric shock to audiences, notes Tested.com.
The Meeks family claims their cable box has been taken over by a hacker who is sending harassing messages to their televisions in Indianapolis.
According to WTVR, when a member of the family walks into a room with a television, the hacker takes control of the cable box and starts to type messages.
“This stuff is uncanny,” Alana Meeks told Fox 59 (video below). “ lI haven’t heard anything like this in my life. He says he’s a stalker.”
Alana showed one message to Fox 59 that read, "ISEEYOUHAHA." She also claims the hacker threatened her young granddaughter.
“He wants to do more than hurt her,” said Alana. “He wants to have sex with her. Pervert.”
“If you want me, come get me,” added Alana. “You know where I’m at, but you can’t have my grandbaby.”
Fred Cate, research director for the Indiana University Center for Applied Cybersecurity, explained how this type of hacking happens: “The most common ways would be using a remote control, an infrared device, but that’s line of sight. You usually have to be in the room or within a close distance and clear vision to the box you’re changing the channel on or doing the typing on.”
“Whoever did this has had to have had physical access to the apartment [or the area outside the apartment window] at some time or another,” added Cate.
AT&T, which provided the cable box, released a statement: “We take security seriously and we are working with the customer to determine the cause and remedy of the situation.”
Facebook announced that it is buying reality gaming company Oculus VR for $2 billion on Tuesday.
Mark Zuckerberg explained that Oculus is about more than just gaming; it’s also a new communication platform.
“Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world, or consulting with a doctor face-to-face,” Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg added that while mobile is the platform of today, he wants to be prepared for the platform of tomorrow.
“Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever and change the way we work, play and communicate," he said.
The Facebook-Oculus deal includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook stock. Based on the achievement of certain milestones, there’s also the potential for $300 million earn-out in stock and cash.
A groundbreaking development in the world of prosthetics could revolutionize the future for people struck with misfortune of losing a limb. In fact, the new development has already done so for Marine Corps Staff Sgt. James Sides. Sides lost his right forearm and wrist in a bomb explosion during his second tour in Afghanistan.
The prosethetic development is called the implantable myoelectric sensor system, or IMES. A person utilizing IMES receives a number of electrodes implanted in their body. The electrodes run from the brain to the prosthetic, where electric signals are converted into a digital format the prosthetic’s robotic motors can read.
For Sgt. Sides, these electrodes allow him to intuitively control his prosthetic hand as if it were his own. All he has to do is envision opening a door, for example, and his prosthetic hand will carry out the action just as your own hand would. Here Sgt. Sides uses the arm to open the door of his truck:
The technology was developed by a number of organizations including the Alfred E. Mann Foundation and the Uniformed Services University.
“We owe it to our injured service members and their families to not just provide state-of-the-science care today but to plan for the future as well, and we saw that there were limitations to what we had to offer,” said Dr. Paul F. Pasquina of the Uniformed Services University.
Pasquina said that researchers are elated “to have a young Marine be the first person in the world to receive this type of technology. We are extremely encouraged with the results so far.”
Speaking on Sides’ new prosthetic arm, Pasquina said “We knew if we could somehow tap into the muscles in the forearm, not only would you be able to control each of those independent movements, you'd be able to do it much more intuitively.”
Sgt. Sides’ trial with the technology has been a huge success. He can now open doors, shake hands, and press buttons intuitively -- a feat that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. The trial has been such a success that another military amputee is in line to receive a similar prosthetic arm within the next month. After hearing of Sides’ success, the patient can’t wait.
“[He] is already anxious to get the surgery scheduled and get these implants,” Pasquina said.
What else is on the horizon in the world of prosthetics? Artificial limbs with feeling. Researchers in Denmark recently wired in pressure sensors that connected artificial fingers in a prosthetic to the organic nerves in a man’s upper arm. The setup allowed the man, Dennis Sorenson, to feel different textures of objects he touched with the prosthetic.
"I could feel round things and soft things and hard things," he says. "It's so amazing to feel something that you haven't been able to feel for so many years."
With say, 5-10 more years of research, it’s not hard to envision researchers combining the two technologies to create a prosthetic arm that can both move and feel intuitively. Speaking on these realistic developments, prosthetist Robert Lipschutz said “…when this becomes perfected, it will be huge.”
Fun fact: the main law protecting your online privacy rights is older than the web itself.
It's true. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act was implemented in 1986, three years before the World Wide Web was conceived in 1989. And while technology has evolved at unfathomable speeds since 1986, the ECPA remains largely unchanged.
So, how good of a job can a law do at protecting your online privacy if it was written before the web even existed? Not a very good one. In fact, the ECPA is the main reason so much of your online information can be legally accessed without a search warrant. Here’s a quick list of some of the digital information the ECPA grants the government the right to search without your consent:
- Emails and text messages over six months old
- All private social media messages over six months old
- Search queries
- Documents stored online
The liberties granted to the government when it comes to obtaining online information concern a number of advocacy organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union.
“The outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) allows the government to intercept and access a treasure trove of information about who you are, where you go, and what you do, which is being collected by cell phone providers, search engines, social networking sites, and other websites every day,” the ACLU writes on its website. “The Founding Fathers recognized that citizens in a democracy need privacy for their ‘persons, houses, papers, and effects.’ That remains as true as ever. Today's citizens deserve no less protection when their "papers and effects" are stored electronically.”
In a 2011 interview, technology author Daniel J. Solove spoke on America’s current stance on cyber security. Solove believes the dynamic is “wrongly skewed towards the security side.”
“Privacy is often cast as a right of particular individuals while security is cast as a broad social interest,” Solove said. “When privacy is balanced against security, security often wins because the well-being of the many outweighs the interests of one person. But this is a faulty way to see privacy. Privacy is a societal value ... Privacy is not only about the individual, but it involves the extent and nature of government power ... In a free society, we shouldn't have to wonder before we do anything how some bureaucrat will view it."
Microsoft has asserted its right to read customers’ emails, according to a story on CNN. Last week the company admitted in federal court documents that it had hacked its way into a journalist’s Hotmail account to stop a leak of some proprietary software. The company said it was justified in doing so because the software, had it leaked, would have empowered hackers to exploit security vulnerabilities and put other customers at risk.
"In this case, we took extraordinary actions based on the specific circumstances," said John Frank, a Microsoft lawyer.
According to the FBI, Microsoft learned in 2012 that an ex-employee had leaked the software to an anonymous blogger. Fearing that the blogger could could sell the information, company attorneys approved “content pulls” from the blogger’s email accounts. Under such a situation law enforcement agencies would be required to obtain a warrant. Microsoft claimed, though, that its terms of service allow the company to access information in customers’ accounts “in the most exceptional circumstances.”
"Microsoft clearly believes that the users' personal data belongs to Microsoft, not the users themselves,” said Ginger McCall of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. McCall believes users would be upset if they knew what the terms of service of most email providers actually allowed.
"This is part of the broader problem with privacy policies," she said. "There are hidden terms that the users don't actually know are there. If the terms were out in the open, people would be horrified by them.”
The problem extends beyond Microsoft according to the Guardian. Apple, Google, and Yahoo all have similar policies. A recent story quoted excerpts from each company policy.
Google, for instance, requires that users "acknowledge and agree that Google may access … your account information and any content associated with that account… in a good faith belief that such access … is reasonably necessary to … protect against imminent harm to the … property … of Google.”
The problem is that most people don’t read the terms when signing up for a new service said Charlie Howe of Skyhigh Networks.
“I would guess that most people don’t actually read the full terms and conditions before using a new application, and they would probably be surprised by what they are actually agreeing to when they click the ‘accept’ button on certain cloud services,” he said.
According to the CNN story, Microsoft, recognizing the topic is sensitive, has announced that it will bring in a former federal judge to review cases in the future where it may need to access customer information.
Most people use social media sites to connect with others, but a new app is helping users avoid certain folks.
Cloak is an iPhone app that uses check-in info posted on Foursquare and Instagram to help users spot certain people on a virtual map and avoid them.
According to UPI, this "antisocial network" was created by programmer Brian Moore and former Buzzfeed creative director Chris Baker.
According to Cloak's description on iTunes, users can "avoid exes, co-workers, that guy who likes to stop and chat, anyone you'd rather not run into."
By flagging certain people, users get warning messages from Cloak when the undesirables are within a certain range.
Of course, that dreaded person must use Foursquare and Instagram, but Cloak is planning to expand to other sites.
"We've got a lot more planned for Cloak, with Facebook being pretty important," representatives for Cloak told The Los Angeles Times.
Microsoft is charging the FBI hundreds of thousands dollars a month to view customer information, according to a recent story by the Daily Dot. The story relies on documents and invoices allegedly hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army and handed over to the Daily Dot for verification.
The documents appear to be emails exchanged between Microsoft's Global Criminal Compliance team and the FBI’s Digital Intercept Technology Unit. If they were not faked by the SEA, a group loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, the invoices are proof that Microsoft charges the FBI as much as $200 per request for information. The most recent invoice in the hacked documents was from November 2013 and was for $281,000.
Neither Microsoft nor the FBI would confirm the validity of the documents. A Microsoft spokesperson did tell The Verge, though, that such transactions were no secret and billing the FBI for such requests was standard procedure.
"Regarding law enforcement requests, there’s nothing unusual here," the spokesperson wrote in an email. "Under U.S. law, companies can seek reimbursement for costs associated with complying with valid legal orders for customer data. We attempt to recover some of the costs associated with any such orders.”
Christopher Soghoian, a technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union, asserted that charging the fees to the FBI is a good thing because it creates a paper trail and documents the amount of requests submitted by law enforcement agencies. In 2010, Soghoian attacked Microsoft for not billing the Drug Enforcement Agency for similar requests.
Nate Cardozo of the Electronic Frontier Foundation agrees that the billing is a positive.
"Taxpayers should absolutely know how much money is going toward this," he said.
Cardozo believes the documents are real.
"I don’t see any indication that they’re not real," he said. "If I was going to fake something like this, I would try to fake it up a lot more sensational than this.”
The most sensational part of the story, then, may be just how easy it was for the SEA to acquire the documents. Ashkan Soltani, who coauthored a Yale study on the costs of such programs, helped analyze the documents for the Daily Dot. He walked away shocked that the FBI was conducting the business over email.
"I thought it would be a more secure system,” he said.
In the event of a catastrophic event threatening global cyber security, seven individuals throughout the world have been entrusted with “keys” that, when combined, could restart the Internet. Each of the individuals in possession of the keys holds, however, only a fraction of the necessary recovery data. If a cyber disaster did occur, at least five of the individuals would be required to converge at a U.S. base in order to reboot the entire system that fuels so much of daily life and society around the globe. According to a report by The Guardian, the key exists in order to ensure that the domain name system remains authentic.
The individuals entrusted with these keys hail from various countries and backgrounds. There are currently keyholders living in the U.K., the U.S., Burkina Faso, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, China and the Czech Republic.
The individuals were chosen based on experience as well as geographical location. According to TIME Magazine, no single country was allowed to have a majority of key owners. Still, the United States is the central hub of the organization (referred to as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Members meet in a U.S. city at least four times per year.
The majority of the group’s members have significant experience in the field of domain name systems. Member Anne-Marie Eklund Löwinder, for instance, was one of the innovators of the domain name system security extensions, which earned her a spot in the Internet Hall of Fame.
Another member, British businessman Paul Klane, is a father of two who was headhunted in order to become a member of the group.
Although the group has an important duty, its keys are only useful in the event of a cyber attack that makes it difficult to determine the legitimacy of domain names across the web. Such an event is relatively unlikely to occur, but at least there is a safety system currently in place and ready to respond.