|Popcorn Time is so good at movie piracy, it's scary|
|By Thom Holwerda on 2014-03-11 16:01:55|
One thing that iTunes, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have proven is that content makers can fight piracy by providing a better, easier service to paying customers. But what happens when piracy fights back with something just as convenient?
A new app called Popcorn Time raises that very question. Available for Windows, Mac and Linux, Popcorn Time lets you stream the latest movies - including American Hustle, Gravity and Frozen - with just a couple clicks. The software uses BitTorrent to find and download movies, but eliminates the usual hassle of wading through sketchy torrent sites and waiting for the file to finish downloading.
Basically, it's the version of Netflix that you've always wanted - and maybe have been willing to pay extra for - but that Hollywood may never allow. It's also a flagrant enabler of copyright violation, at least in the United States.
It's the perfect product for movie lovers. It has a super-simple interface, completely abstracts Torrents away, works on the three major desktop platforms, and with one click and just a few minutes of waiting, you're watching a high-quality movie streamed through BitTorrent.
The entertainment industry could have built this years ago. Except, they were too busy suing the shit out of the very people they should have been serving to realise all the technology they needed already existed. Had the entertainment industry not been the only industry in the world that is protected by a huge, special legal framework, they would have been forced to innovate much sooner - and they most likely would have built this a decade ago.
|CryEngine adds full, native Linux Support; Valve open sources ToGL|
|By Thom Holwerda on 2014-03-11 13:54:17|
Two loosely related news items.
During presentations and hands-on demos at Crytek's GDC booth, attendees can see for the first time ever full native Linux support in the new CRYENGINE. The CRYENGINE all-in-one game engine is also updated with the innovative features used to recreate the stunning Roman Empire seen in Ryse - including the brand new Physically Based Shading render pipeline, which uses real-world physics simulation to create amazingly realistic lighting and materials in CRYENGINE games.
Second, Valve has released ToGL as open source, a Direct3D-to-OpenGL translation layer, which the company itself uses for Dota 2.
|iOS 7.1 on the iPhone 4: as good as it's going to get|
|By Thom Holwerda on 2014-03-11 10:21:21|
iOS 7 is unlikely to run better on the iPhone 4 than it does in iOS 7.1. That's not to say that the experience is great - even stepping up to an iPhone 4S would get you noticeable gains in performance and overall smoothness - but it's better than it was, and it's as good as it's going to get.
If you're sticking with the iPhone 4 for another year, iOS 7.1 makes performance tolerable enough that using the phone isn't unbearable.
Good news for iPhone 4 owners - and good on Apple for taking care of this demographic.
|iOS 7.1 released|
|By Thom Holwerda on 2014-03-10 17:31:37|
iOS 7.1 is packed with interface refinements, bug fixes, improvements, and new features. Apple CarPlay introduces a better way to use iPhone while driving. And you can now control exactly how long Siri listens and more. Getting the update is easy. Go to Settings. Select General. And tap Software Update.
Getting the update is easy indeed. There's a certain other mobile operating system that could learn a few things from that one.
|What ever happened to MSX computers|
|By Thom Holwerda on 2014-03-09 17:35:21|
Not too many people will recall the short-lived era of the "MSX" initiative which was slated to pretty much take over the non-existent middle world where consumer electronics met personal computers. It was always believed, back then, that this is where the sweet spot of profits would emerge. What emerged was instead laughable MSX. It was one of Microsoft's greatest flops.
The MSX was one of the first computers I ever used. I did basic BASIC stuff on it when I was a kid.
|Samsung's thing for (faux) leather continues|
|By Thom Holwerda on 2014-03-08 20:42:38|
Out of the millions of things Samsung throws at a wall each year to see what sticks, they seem to have picked the fake leather on devices. The most recent victim? A Windows 8 laptop - the ATIV Book 9 'Style'. This thing joins the phones, tablets, and ChromeBooks Samsung has already tacked the fake leather onto.
Genuine question: is there anyone in the audience here who likes this look? If so, why?
|Google cited as bothered by Android-Windows hybrid|
|By Thom Holwerda on 2014-03-08 14:39:07|
Google is the force behind a potential delay in the first tablet to instantly switch between Windows 8.1 and Android 4.X using Intel technology, a fresh report from Asia says. A CNET source backs up this claim.
The original source is DigiTimes, so some salt may be required, but sources confirmed it to Cnet. There's no detail on exactly which steps Google has actually taken, but it's clear this reeks quite strongly of the same illegal and despicable acts Microsoft committed 15 years ago to pressure OEMs into not shipping BeOS.
|Sailfish 1.0 demonstration at MWC|
|By Thom Holwerda on 2014-03-08 14:35:31|
Jolla has been keeping their OS in beta testing program since November last year when they have finally released their device ahead of schedule. Since then we have seen 4 updates hitting our devices each month naturally and it's something we have not seen from any other manufacturer other than Jolla.
And now here we are with the Sailfish 1.0 which will be released in about a week after this video was published.
Nice detailed video about all the new stuff in the first non-beta release, Sailfish 1.0. It'll be released next week.
|Microsoft is using your data to target political ads on Xbox Live|
|By Thom Holwerda on 2014-03-07 22:30:28|
Microsoft is trying to convince politicians to take out targeted ads on Xbox Live, Skype, MSN and other company platforms as midterm elections begin heating up around the country. To plug the idea, Microsoft officials handed out promotional materials Thursday at CPAC, the annual conference for conservatives.
It's the latest move by tech companies to seize a piece of the lucrative political ad market. The ads, which would appear on the Xbox Live dashboard and other Microsoft products, combine Microsoft user IDs and other public data to build a profile of Xbox users. Campaigns can then blast ads to selected demographic categories, or to specific congressional districts. And if the campaign brings its own list of voter e-mail addresses, Microsoft can match the additional data with individual customer accounts for even more accurate voter targeting.
This from the company behind "Scroogled".
On a more general note, hypocrite company behaviour like this should be illegal. A company should not be able to say "leave company Abc behind because they do xyz, and come join us!", only to then turn around and do xyz as well. This is lying, and should be punishable in some way.
|Windows 8.1 Update 1 download leaked early by Microsoft|
|By Thom Holwerda on 2014-03-07 00:12:36|
Microsoft finalized its upcoming Windows 8.1 Update recently, but the company appears to be sharing it a little early today. While the software maker is expected to release the update officially in April, Microsoft has only detailed a few of the features in the update and has not yet provided an official release date. Links to download a final version of the Windows 8.1 Update, thanks to Microsoft’s Windows Update service, have been discovered. A series of patches are required to obtain the full update, but once installed the new desktop-friendly features are enabled.The update can be downloaded via a registry change, or through direct links, but we recommend waiting for Microsoft to officially release it through the normal Windows Update channels in April.
Don't try this on a production machine.
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