Apple just patented a way for anyone to disable the camera on your phone

Today, an article popped up in my Google News feed, with the headline “Apple patented a way to keep people from filming at concerts and movie theaters on their phones“, and to be honest it gave me the chills. At a first glance it doesn’t seem like such a dangerous idea, but just think about it for a seconds.

Giving anyone the ability to remotely disable your camera is a bad idea. A really bad idea. Especially if it can cover an entire venue.

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Julie Borowski don’t understand coal

The stupid is strong with this one… Julie Borowski just uploaded a video on how killing coal is a bad thing. She apparently comes from a long lineage of coal miners, so she gets how important coal is to fight poverty and put food on the table. And in the process, she fails to see the whole picture.

I guess the feedback on that video got a bit heated, as she disabled the comments within a few hours of uploading. She has since re-enabled them, which she deserves a gold star for. That does not however make her argument any more valid.

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Fair Use and Copyright Strikes

A few days ago I posted about how Universal Media Group filed a takedown notice against a remix I made almost 3 years ago, resulting in SoundCloud removing it from my profile. In this post I thought I’d expand on the concept of fair use when it comes to remixing, from a legal aspect as well as my own thoughts on the matter.

But first an update on the matter. I just received another e-mail from SoundCloud, informing me that my account just received its first copyright strike:

We contacted you recently to let you know that we’d received a report of copyright infringement. Unfortunately, because you’ve been unable to show that you have the rights to post this track, we’ve had to issue a strike against your account. […] A strike is a warning. We issue a strike whenever someone makes a claim of copyright infringement against content in your account that is not successfully disputed.You have one strike, which does not affect your use of SoundCloud. If you receive a second strike, you will no longer be able to make tracks available for download. If you receive a third strike, your SoundCloud account will be terminated in accordance with our Terms of Use.

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Universal Media Group just filled a takedown notice against my remix

Some of you may know that I produce music. If you have browsed my site before, you have probably found the music section. It’s one of many hobbies, including programming, electronics, and photography. I guess I got cursed with the creative gene. Some of it is original stuff, while some is remixes of other songs. In my world, a remix is the ultimate compliment, and they usually pop into my head when I hear something catchy or interesting on the radio or the internet. In the end, I always credit the original artist, and I consider it free promotion for the artist in question.

I have been posting my remixes online for years, with the ones I feel are the best ones ending up on SoundCloud. A few days ago, I received a message from SoundCloud telling me they had received a direct copyright claim from Universal Music Group on a two year old remix I made of Rihanna’s tune “Only Girl” and had removed the song from my profile.

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Oh no, they found The Encryption!

The ignorance around cryptography is mindblowing… This is a quote from a RawStory article:

Investigators looking into the deadly shooting in San Bernardino, California last week have found built-in encryption in the phones of the two shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, authorities told CBS News on Friday. The news comes a day after lawmakers said there wasn’t any evidence that they had used encryption technology.

Newsflash: Encryption is built into every phone, every computer, and pretty much everything else. If something isn’t encrypted, it means that practically anyone could sniff it. Your phone most likely encrypt your 3G and 4G traffic (not so much 2G/GSM tho), and if you are connected over WiFi that too is encrypted. The updates to your computer are (hopefully) downloaded over a encrypted connection to make sure that nobody has hijacked the update process and feeding you malware or trojans instead. Encryption is everywhere! It is the tech equivalent of a lock on the front door!

This entire crypto debate is flawed, in that banning or somehow enforcing weakened of broken encryption will only hurt regular people who rely on it every day to read e-mails, communicate with friends and family, and doing banking online. If someone thinks that only the good guys will have access to any back doors or weak spots, that’s just naive.

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Beware of the evil words!!!

Can books be evil? Will that crime thriller you got for Christmas light your house on fire after cooking meth in your bath tub and chasing the neighbourhood kids with your snowblower?

I would say no, but it seems there are people out there that are of a different opinion. “Mein Kampf” is back in print in Germany, and some people are horrified; Afraid of the written word, just like how Muslims seem to be afraid of cartoons and women.

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How the US is making hitmen obsolete

To get rid of someone you dislike in the US has never been easier. All you need to know is where the person is or will be, and three digits: 9-1-1. Here is the three-step guide to offing your nemesis for free:

Step 1: Call the police, and make up some bogus claim involving the person.

Step 2: Wait for the police to arrive.

Step 3: Profit.

Best of all, there will be no collateral damage and nobody can claim you were behind it. Don’t worry, the friendly officers that pull the trigger for you will not face any consequences either. After all, they are the law.

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Religion: Still washing brains clean from logic and critical thinking

We tend to refer to the current times as “modern“, and in many aspects that is a suitable term. Yet still, we have to battle superstition and ignorance from religious nuts that rank ancient books above scientific knowledge. A grand example is the lot that claim the theory of evolution is just a theory, demonstrating the lack of the knowledge you normally gain in elementary science class.

Although I don’t think that anybody that follows this blog would make this mistake, but just for the sake of completion let me point out that a scientific theory is not the same thing as a “normal” theory. In science, the term theory is used for something that has been repeatedly proven and explained.

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Tony Hawk 5: The new hope

This is good news for all you Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater fans out there! Robomodo, the developer of THPS5 has some good things in store for us! From what I’ve gathered, it seems the release-day patch (despite its size) was primarily to get the multiplayer part working, and now it is time for the actual content update!

Robomodo has mentioned new levels, hopefully more like the older games in the series, and new playable characters. This also includes fixing the gravity-defying slam to only do it’s thing when you double-tap the triangle button, something that should make grinding a bit less of a pain for THPS old-timers.

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