How Game of Thrones Made Piracy History

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

Traditionally, the Game of Thrones season finale is among the most viewed episodes, also on pirate sites.

When the entire series comes to an end, interest is only heightened.

This is what happened indeed. While many people have been rather critical about the story-line of the final season, millions of people ‘tuned’ in, both through authorized and unofficial channels.

The official ratings shot through the roof, with 13.6 million US viewers during the official airing, which is also a new all-time record for an HBO show. On pirate sites, there was plenty of interest as well.

Millions of people pirated a copy. At the height, yesterday afternoon, more than 200,000 people were actively sharing the three most popular torrents, with the most popular one being good for 130,000 sharers alone.

While this is a massive number, it’s nowhere near the all-time record. That dates back to 2015, when over a quarter million people were simultaneously sharing a single file. This drop is in part because the piracy ecosystem has evolved.

Torrent sites used to be the main distribution platforms for pirated TV shows, but unauthorized streaming sites are much more popular today. These sites don’t make any viewing numbers public but are good for millions of ‘pirate’ views as well.

With this in mind, it is likely that the record of the largest BitTorrent swarm in history will never be broken.

The end of Game of Thrones wraps up one of the biggest continuing stories in file-sharing history. The HBO show was as crowned the “most pirated” TV-series for several years, and is likely to scoop up this title again in 2019, to secure its place in history.

Aside from the impressive numbers, Game of Thrones was also at the center of other piracy-related news and discussions, much of which we have discussed in detail here.

One key theme that reappeared year after year were the numerous leaks. The most prominent one dates back to 2015 when the first four episodes leaked from a promotional screener.

In 2017 a Game of Thrones episode leaked with a “Star India” watermark. This eventually led to the arrests of four people. Keeping up with this trend, several episodes came out early this year as well, and even before the final, the plot was already out.

The fact that pirates were often able to see GoT episodes before regular viewers only increased the piracy figures. This was also confirmed by academic research which found that these leaks bred pirates while hurting official viewing numbers.

Other major factors that played a role in the high piracy rates are ‘availability’ and pricing.

During the early seasons, Game of Thrones wasn’t as widely available as it is today. And even if it was, there were often significant release delays, up to several weeks. That drove many people, especially the bigger fans, to pirate sites.

Over the years the availability problem was addressed in many countries, but for many a pricing hurdle remained. Watching Game of Thrones legally, could in many cases cost hundreds of dollars per season, while the pirate alternative was free.

Ironically, even those who had eventually signed up for a legal subscription would sometimes continue to pirate, just out of habit. In Australia,  for example, 20% of the Foxtel subscribers who had already paid for Game of Thrones still chose to pirate the show instead.

In Australia, Game of Thrones piracy has been a hot topic for years. Due to early release delays and relatively high pricing, many chose the piracy route. This frustrated rightsholders and even the U.S. Ambassador, with the latter stating that there is no excuse for ‘stealing.’

Amidst all the controversy, HBO remained fairly calm. Yes, the company issued thousands of takedown notices and even warned some individual file-sharers, but that was about it. Some people did receive settlement demands in 2016, but that was the work of scammers.

Some people connected more directly to Game of Thrones also recognized the upside of piracy.  Director David Petrarca, for example, previously admitted that piracy generated much-needed “cultural buzz” around the series.

Similarly, Jeff Bewkes, in 2013 the CEO of HBO’s parent company Time Warner, noted that piracy resulted in more subscriptions for his company and that receiving the title of “most-pirated” TV-show was actually “better than an Emmy.

That’s a worthy statement to end with.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Bosch to Sell Low-Cost Sensors for Flying Cars

Post Syndicated from Philip E. Ross original

Bosch expects the first flying taxi service to take off in a major city by 2023

Bosch today said it plans to sell a universal control unit for flying cars that combines dozens of sensors that have been proven in cars on the ground. 

“The first flying taxis are set to take off in major cities starting in 2023, at the latest,” Harald Kröger, president of the Bosch Automotive Electronics division, said in a statement. “Bosch plans to play a leading role in shaping this future market.” 

Among the many sensors in the universal, plug-and-play unit are MEMS-based acceleration sensors. These include yaw-rate sensors to measure the angle of attack—that is, the plane’s angle with respect to the oncoming air. This was the quality that was mismeasured by the sensors and misinterpreted by the control unit of the Boeing 737 Max, contributing to the two crashes of that airliner.

[$] Filesystems for zoned block devices

Post Syndicated from jake original

Damien Le Moal and Naohiro Aota led a combined storage and filesystem
session at the 2019 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit
(LSFMM) on filesystem work that has been done for zoned block devices.
These devices have multiple zones with different characteristics; usually
there are zones that can only be written in sequential order as well as
conventional zones that can be written in random order. The genesis of zoned
block devices is shingled
magnetic recording
(SMR) devices, which were created to increase the
capacity of hard disks, but at the cost of some flexibility.

One night in Beijing

Post Syndicated from Chris Chua original

One night in Beijing

One night in Beijing

As the old saying goes, good things come in pairs, 好事成双! The month of May marks a double celebration in China for our customers, partners and Cloudflare.

First and Foremost

A Beijing Customer Appreciation Cocktail was held in the heart of Beijing at Yintai Centre Xiu Rooftop Garden Bar on the 10 May 2019, an RSVP event graced by our supportive group of partners and customers.

We have been blessed with almost 10 years of strong growth at Cloudflare – sharing our belief in providing access to internet security and performance to customers of all sizes and industries. This success has been the result of collaboration between our developers, our product team as represented today by our special guest, Jen Taylor, our Global Head of Product, Business Leaders Xavier Cai, Head of China business, and Aliza Knox Head of our APAC Business, James Ball our Head of Solutions Engineers for APAC, most importantly, by the trust and faith that our partners, such as Baidu, and customers have placed in us.

One night in Beijing

One night in Beijing

Double Happiness, 双喜

One night in Beijing

On the same week, we embarked on another exciting journey in China with our grand office opening at WeWork. Beijing team consists of functions from Customer Development to Solutions Engineering and Customer Success lead by Xavier, Head of China business. The team has grown rapidly in size by double since it started last year.

We continue to invest in China and to grow our customer base, and importantly our methods for supporting our customers, here are well. Those of us who came from different parts of the world, are also looking to learn from the wisdom and experience of our customers in this market. And to that end, we look forward to many more years of openness, trust, and mutual success.


One night in Beijing

One night in Beijing

The Concept of "Return on Data"

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original

This law review article by Noam Kolt, titled “Return on Data,” proposes an interesting new way of thinking of privacy law.

Abstract: Consumers routinely supply personal data to technology companies in exchange for services. Yet, the relationship between the utility (U) consumers gain and the data (D) they supply — “return on data” (ROD) — remains largely unexplored. Expressed as a ratio, ROD = U / D. While lawmakers strongly advocate protecting consumer privacy, they tend to overlook ROD. Are the benefits of the services enjoyed by consumers, such as social networking and predictive search, commensurate with the value of the data extracted from them? How can consumers compare competing data-for-services deals? Currently, the legal frameworks regulating these transactions, including privacy law, aim primarily to protect personal data. They treat data protection as a standalone issue, distinct from the benefits which consumers receive. This article suggests that privacy concerns should not be viewed in isolation, but as part of ROD. Just as companies can quantify return on investment (ROI) to optimize investment decisions, consumers should be able to assess ROD in order to better spend and invest personal data. Making data-for-services transactions more transparent will enable consumers to evaluate the merits of these deals, negotiate their terms and make more informed decisions. Pivoting from the privacy paradigm to ROD will both incentivize data-driven service providers to offer consumers higher ROD, as well as create opportunities for new market entrants.

X-ray Detection May Be Perovskites’ Killer App

Post Syndicated from Jean Kumagai original

The wonder crystal could yield imagers that are far more sensitive than commercial detectors

The crystalline material known as perovskite makes for a superefficient photovoltaic cell. Researchers are also exploring perovskites’ potential in transistors and LED lighting. But there’s yet another use for this wonder crystal, and it may be the most promising of all: as X-ray detectors.

Dozens of groups around the world are exploring this area, and major X-ray imaging manufacturers, including Samsung and Siemens, are considering perovskite for their next-generation machines. Compared with today’s X-ray imagers, detectors based on perovskite compounds are far more sensitive and use less power. And for certain applications, the materials can be tuned to emit color when irradiated. Lab prototypes of imagers that use perovskite have been demonstrated to be at least 100 times as efficient as their conventional counterparts.

“Interest in perovskite crystals for imaging emerged out of all the recent enthusiasm to get better solar panels,” says I. George Zubal, director of the nuclear medicine and computed tomography programs at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), in Bethesda, Md. His program funds research into new imaging devices, procedures, and software, including groups looking at perovskite X-ray detection.

What makes perovskites so useful for X-ray detection is the same thing that makes them good for solar cells: They’re excellent at converting light into electrical charge. In a direct detector, X-ray photons are converted into electrons inside a semiconductor. In a scintillator imager, the X-ray photons are first converted into visible light, which is then converted into electrons by a photodiode array.

Conventional direct X-ray detectors have higher resolution than do scintillators, but they take longer to acquire an image. That’s because the semiconductor material they typically use—amorphous selenium—isn’t great at stopping X-rays. Scintillator imagers, on the other hand, are more sensitive than direct X-ray imagers—meaning you need fewer X-rays to create the image—but yield a lower-quality image.

Perovskites could be the answer to the main shortcomings of current X-ray imagers, says Zubal. “Perovskite stops a lot more of the X-rays [compared to amorphous selenium], and being a semiconductor it should give us higher-resolution images, showing the small structures of objects…. You’re also lowering the radiation dose to the patient, which is another main reason for the NIBIB’s enthusiasm.”

In one experiment, Xiaogang Liu’s group at the National University of Singapore started with a commercial flat-panel X-ray detector that used bulk scintillators of cesium iodide thallium. The group removed the CsI(TI) layer and replaced it with a layer of nanocrystals of cesium lead bromide—an inorganic perovskite—directly coating them onto photo­diode arrays. When coupled with ­photomultiplier tubes, the resulting device had a detection limit that was just 1/400 that of medical X-ray machines, as the group reported in Nature last September. Several X-ray manufacturers are now testing nanocrystal scintillators using his group’s approach, Liu says.

Liu credits grad student Qiushui Chen for coming up with the idea of using perovskite nanocrystals in this way. “A lot of our recent work involves rare-earth materials, which is what conventional scintillators use,” Liu says. To form the perovskite layer, the researchers mixed the nanocrystals with liquid cyclohexane and then spin-coated the mixture onto a flexible substrate.

“We got a little bit lucky, because we discovered that the nanocrystals had to be deposited on the substrate through a solid-state process,” Liu says. “If the particles are dispersed in solution, it’s no good.”

Researchers have also demonstrated perovskites in direct X-ray detectors with vastly superior performance to that of commercial imagers. In general, says the NIBIB’s Zubal, direct X-ray detectors are “highly more desirable” than scintillators because they avoid the extra step of converting visible light into electrons. The projects that NIBIB is supporting involve direct detection.

Jinsong Huang and his group at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have been studying direct X-ray detectors based on perovskites since 2014. (Huang also works on perovskite photovoltaics.) In one experiment, they coated methylammonium lead tribromide—a common perovskite compound—onto a regular X-ray detector that used amorphous silicon to convert the X-rays to electrons. The addition of the perovskite layer made it 3,000 times as sensitive.

“When you want extremely efficient and sensitive detectors, you need to count single photons, and that’s not easy,” Huang explains. “We showed that we can make materials that allow you to distinguish the signal from the noise.” Huang recently created a startup to commercialize radiation detectors based on his group’s work.

There are still a number of hurdles to cross before perovskite scintillators or direct X-ray imagers will be ready for market. A big obstacle is that some perovskites are sensitive to moisture. Liu has developed a method for coating each nanocrystal with silicon dioxide and is exploring other protective methods. Perovskite layers can also be encapsulated in glass, much like traditional solar cells are.

But in general, perovskite X-ray imagers won’t need to be quite as hardy as perovskite PVs or LEDs, because the environmental conditions they’ll face are more benign. Solar panels need to perform even after being exposed to the elements for 20 years, while LEDs are exposed to heat and, of course, light, both of which can degrade a perovskite compound. X-ray machines, by contrast, are typically used in climate-controlled settings. For that reason, Liu and Huang believe perovskite X-ray detectors will be commercialized much more quickly than other perovskite applications.

Huang predicts that perovskite detectors will open up new applications for X-rays, expanding what’s already a ­multibillion-dollar industry. More efficient imagers would draw less power, lending themselves to portable machines that run on batteries. Liu’s group has also demonstrated a variety of tunable, color-emitting perovskite nanocrystals. That work could lead to multicolor X-ray displays, which are impossible with today’s scintillator X-ray machines.

And because they use flexible substrates, perovskite imagers could conform to whatever’s being scanned; anyone who has experienced the discomfort of a mammogram will appreciate that feature. Faster, more sensitive imagers would also reduce the radiation from dental and medical X-rays and airport security scanners.

“Once we can make X-rays much safer, the market will change because you’ll be able to put the detectors everywhere,” Huang says.

Цацаров и Имотният регистър

Post Syndicated from Bozho original

Не вярвах, че ще защитавам някога Цацаров. Но казусът е прекалено интересен, за да не го коментирам.

Та, в имотния регистър, при търсене на Сотир Цацаров, излизат един апартамент, който няма продавач, а само купувач – самият Цацаров. Тъй като в събота имотният регистър беше спрян, това породи съмнения, че някой е искал да скрие нещо.

Само че данните са си там – при други търсения излизат. Т.е. едва ли става дума за заличаване на данни, а по-скоро за проблем при визуализацията ми. Дали пък някой не е добавил тайно в кода условие if (Цацаров) скрий данни;? Оказва се, че не.

Според отговор от Агенция по вписванията, който Капитал е получил, става дума за нещо доста по-тривиално, но и доста сериозно в същото време.

„акт №196, том 8 от 2007 г. е въведен в стара информационна система през 2007 г (…). В старата система са се въвеждали поотделно данни за всеки имот и лице, свързано с него, т.е. не е имало възможност да се отразяват връзки между страните в акта и имота. От приложената справка/снимка от медията ясно се виждат 3 отделни записа/генерирани справки. Това е така поради начина на въвеждане на данни в старата информационна система, а именно три отделни записа за всяка страна“

Ще опитам да го обясня на човешки език – вместо в базата данни всеки имот да е уникален запис, а всеки участник в сделката да бъде свързан към този запис, системата явно е била направена така че за сделката на Цацаров (която е била с един дарител/продавач и двама надарени/купувачи) е имало три записа – един запис „имот – Цацаров“, един запис „имот – жената на Цацаров“ и един запис „имот – дарителя/продавача“.

Пиша „дарител/продавач“, защото според Бивол и Капитал преди 7 години това е било променено в имотния регистър. Т.е. от дарение се е превърнало в продажба (защо и как е друга тема).

Ако чета отговора на Агенция по вписванията правилно, след като са мигрирани данните от старата система (която по спомен е функционирала преди повече от 10 години), те не са представени в новата като един имот, а като три имота с един и същи номер на документа. Поради което цялата информация излиза при търсене по документ, но не излиза при търсене на някоя от страните. Към момента на миграцията това може да е било приемливо решение, но описаното е изключително ужасен модел на данните, който дори не би ми хрумнал да направя. За да направи мазалото още по-тежко, това не е било винаги така – някои имоти са въвеждани по един начин, други по друг.

Така че изглежда, че този уикенд е нямало действия по скриване на информация, която така или иначе вече е била известна. Агенцията казва „то така си беше“ и съм склонен да им вярвам.

Казано на шега – лош модел на данните води до политически скандал. Но всъщност това е част от големия проблем тук. Че данните в един от най-важните регистри в държавата с в такъв вид вече над 10 години. И че агенцията не е предприела никакви мерки да ги „почисти“. Цацаров не е изолиран случай и регистърът реално не предоставя адекватна справочна информация.

Реформата в Агенция по вписванията трябваше да е започнала. Трябваше тези сриващи се регистри да бъдат закрепени отдавна, а данните в тях – почистени от проблеми като горния. Трябваше да се е случила интеграцията на имотния регистър с кадастъра. Трябваше отдавна да е преразгледан ЗКИР и имотният регистър да се превърне в истински първичен такъв (в момента водещото са хартиите, на база на които съществува той).

Паралелно с това е нужно да се гарантира интегритета на данните в такива ключови регистри. Не може да се разчита единствено на организационни мерки, които се заобикалят с „една заповед отгоре“. Макар в случая манипулация да няма (или поне тя да не е станал тази година), трябва да има технически гаранции, че манипулации е нямало никога. Квалифицирани електронни времеви печати е първа стъпка към това.

Може в случая Цацаров да не е виновен и манипулация в регистъра да няма, но Агенция по вписванията трябва най-накрая да спре да се движи по инерция. Но за това е нужен не само технически капацитет, но и политическа адекватност.

Italian Version of Article 17 Requires LEGAL Content to Be Filtered Out

Post Syndicated from Andy original

After years of work, on March 26, 2019 the new EU Copyright Directive was adopted, with 348 Members of Parliament in favor, 274 against, and 36 abstentions.

A little under a month later, the EU Council of Ministers waved the legislation through, despite opposition from Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Finland, and Sweden. Belgium, Estonia, and Slovenia abstained.

EU member states were then granted two years to implement the law, which includes the controversial Article 17 (formerly 13). That requires platforms like YouTube to sign licensing agreements with creators. If that proves impossible, they will have to ensure that infringing content uploaded by users is taken down and not re-uploaded to their services.

Or, if one takes on face value a recently published official translation of the Directive, something much more outrageous.

As revealed by Eleonara Rosati over at IPKitten, someone has made a small but monumental mistake when transposing the Directive into Italian.

First, the relevant section in English;

7. The cooperation between online content-sharing service providers and rightholders shall not result in the prevention of the availability of works or other subject matter uploaded by users, which do not infringe copyright and related rights, including where such works or other subject matter are covered by an exception or limitation.

Now, the same section in the Italian version (translated back to English);

7. Cooperation between online content sharing service providers and rights holders must prevent the availability of works or other materials uploaded by users that do not infringe copyright or related rights, even in cases where such works or other materials are subject to an exception or limitation.

So, according to this translation, sites like YouTube must work with rightsholders to ensure that non-infringing works are never made available on their platforms, even when the use of such works is allowed under relevant exceptions, presumably including…..erm….fair use. Or is that unfair use? Difficult to say.

Rosati suggests on Twitter that people might like to run through the now fully-published Directive on the Official Journal of the EU to see if there are any other errors in other countries’ translations.

Considering Italy didn’t want this law to pass, it’s lucky this error got spotted early or the much-heralded “meme ban” might’ve been just the tip of the iceberg.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Къщи за тъщи: Сестрата на еврокандидат на ДПС с къща за гости финансирана с 240 000 лв. от Европа

Post Syndicated from Димитър Стоянов original

понеделник 20 май 2019

[$] The rest of the 5.2 merge window

Post Syndicated from corbet original

By the time Linus Torvalds released the 5.2-rc1 kernel
and closed the
merge window for this development cycle, 12,064 non-merge changesets
had been pulled into the mainline repository — about 3,700 since our summary of the first “half” was written. Thus, as
predicted, the rate of change did slow during the latter part of the merge
window. That does not mean that no significant changes have been merged,
though; read on for a summary of what else has been merged for 5.2.

Security updates for Monday

Post Syndicated from ris original

Security updates have been issued by Debian (cups-filters, dhcpcd5, faad2, ghostscript, graphicsmagick, jruby, lemonldap-ng, and libspring-security-2.0-java), Fedora (gnome-desktop3, java-1.8.0-openjdk-aarch32, libu2f-host, samba, sqlite, webkit2gtk3, xen, and ytnef), Mageia (docker, flash-player-plugin, freeradius, libsndfile, libxslt, mariadb, netpbm, python-jinja2, tomcat-native, and virtualbox), openSUSE (kernel and ucode-intel), and SUSE (kernel, kvm, libvirt, nmap, and transfig).

Bluetooth’s Complexity Has Become a Security Risk (Wired)

Post Syndicated from corbet original

Wired looks
at the security issues
stemming from the complexity of the Bluetooth
Bluetooth has certainly been investigated to a degree, but
researchers say that the lack of intense scrutiny historically stems again
from just how involved it is to even read the standard, much less
understand how it works and all the possible implementations. On the plus
side, this has created a sort of security through obscurity, in which
attackers have also found it easier to develop attacks against other
protocols and systems rather than taking the time to work out how to mess
with Bluetooth.

How the United States Plans to Update Its Nuclear Arsenal

Post Syndicated from Maria Gallucci original

Vice Admiral Dave Kriete explains how the United States maintains its stockpile, and why the nation is developing new low-yield nuclear weapons

Earlier this year, at a sprawling complex in the Texas Panhandle, a new type of nuclear weapon began rolling off the production line and into the United States arsenal. The ballistic missile warheads are low-yield and relatively small, and they reflect a growing push by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration to modernize the nation’s nuclear weapons program after decades of stagnation.

Vice Admiral Dave Kriete has played a key role in developing U.S. nuclear weapons policies. Since June 2018, he has served as deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command, the military unit responsible for detecting and deterring nuclear, space, and cyber attacks against the United States and its allies. Kriete also helped craft the 2010 and 2018 Nuclear Posture Reviews—the Pentagon’s guiding document for U.S. nuclear policy, strategy, and capabilities.

Kriete, who is based in Omaha, Nebraska, spoke with Spectrum during a recent visit to New York City. He discussed plans for nuclear weapons modernization, and the challenges to achieving them. This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

NVIDIA Brings Robot Simulation Closer to Reality by Making Humans Redundant

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original

Learning in simulation no longer takes human expertise to make it useful in the real world

We all know how annoying real robots are. They’re expensive, they’re finicky, and teaching them to do anything useful takes an enormous amount of time and effort. One way of making robot learning slightly more bearable is to program robots to teach themselves things, which is not as fast as having a human instructor in the loop, but can be much more efficient because that human can be off doing something else more productive instead. Google industrialized this process by running a bunch of robots in parallel, which sped things up enormously, but you’re still constrained by those pesky physical arms.

The way to really scale up robot learning is to do as much of it as you can in simulation instead. You can use as many virtual robots running in virtual environments testing virtual scenarios as you have the computing power to handle, and then push the fast forward button so that they’re learning faster than real time. Since no simulation is perfect, it’ll take some careful tweaking to get it to actually be useful and reliable in reality, and that means that humans have get back involved in the process. Ugh.

A team of NVIDIA researchers, working at the company’s new robotics lab in Seattleis taking a crack at eliminating this final human-dependent step in a paper that they’re presenting at ICRA today. There’s still some tuning that has to happen to match simulation with reality, but now, it’s tuning that happens completely autonomously, meaning that the gap between simulation and reality can be closed without any human involvement at all.

The collective thoughts of the interwebz

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