Nvidia Shield Tablet Gaming To The Max

bbwa-nvidia-shield-tablet

I have to admit this is pretty cool. Nvidia has come out with a new tablet that is aimed right at the gaming market, right down to having a full sized gaming style controller to play on! With an 8 inch native HD display (1920×1200), Tegra K1 Keppler graphics, and low lag Wi-fi interface, this is a powerful tablet / note pad / slate based on Android and running some impressive performance numbeers. This is desktop gaming in a portable package, and a pretty impressive on at that!

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Originally Syndicated via RSS from Broadband Wireless Access

Jerk Tech and Vapid Business Models

IN my daily quest to read all of the internet (I fail badly, as everyone else does) I ran across an interesting opinion piece of Techcrunch. In a story called Stop The JerkTech, Josh Constine (@joshconstine) called out the creators of certain types of apps that appear to be to make money by helping jerks. The two he cites are a public parking space app, and a restaurant reservation app. In both cases, they are selling what is otherwise free for a fee.

I found the story to be quite entertaining because it’s a solid poke at some of the insane business models that seem to be getting financed these days. Some of them like the jerk tech are designed to make money by reselling things that are generally free, others by trying very hard to wedge themselves into normal transactions as a form of middleman. A third group of the truly vapid business models are the ones with no real business at all, based on the fantasy of build a really big audience and hope someone buys you out before you run out of funding.

I find it all interesting because much of it shows the lack of morals that exist in the tech world. The phrase often tossed around is “tech allows it”, so it must be okay. Jerk Tech is pretty much something that tech allows, but in social terms is not the best idea at all. The restaurant reservation app works by having their people make fake name reservations for all of the top restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area, and then selling those reservations to people for $10 or so. The problem is that they appear to monopolize the market place, making it impossible for normal people to just call the restaurant and get a table. Moreover, the eatery doesn’t get a cut, but suffers if all the expensive reservations are not sold and become no shows. It’s a somewhat automated version of being a really big jerk – and making money while doing it.

Middlemen business models are very popular as well, in part driven by a deep understanding of the Google business model. Google’s job is to get involved in as many transactions as possible. Everything they do to take over markets, such as giving away a free operating system, browsers, mail, search, and all of those other things is about gaining eyeballs and selling ad space. They also sell ad space on many, many websites (including this one) and take 50% of the income for doing it. They are very rich middlemen.

As a result of this, you have plenty of middleman business models. Some of the most common prey on people’s narcissistic desires to be famous. Those are companies who “help your band get airplay” or “publish your book”. Vanity presses for writers have almost always existed, they have generally been a pretty scummy way to make a living, getting the author to pay for printing books that will likely never sell. Online, “tech allows it” means that you have literally tens of thousands of these things in everything from help your band to getting your dog a job in movies. All of them are middlemen, trying to get between you and the real resources.

In fact, the internet is in fact one giant middleman contest, with the goal to remove as many of the end retail players from the game. Amazon.com is an amazing success story, and it’s business model is exactly to become the middleman in books (and a whole bunch of other things). Their goal is to make it so that instead of going to any other retailer, you go to them and they deal either directly with the manufacture or even get the other retailers to sell through their system. This gives them incredible power, and the problems that exist currently between Amazon and Hachette publications is a perfect example of the power of the all consuming middleman scenerio.

In fact, the middleman world is the fastest developing part of the internet, and in my next post, I will talk about how the middlemanware and jerk tech worlds are often one and the same.

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The Future Of Android is Android L

bbwa-android-l

Google’s Android phone OS has had an amazingly good run. From zero to the most dominant player in the mobile OS field, they have skipped by and run over pretty much everyone else except Apple’s Ios. But that success has come with some caveats, including the issue of so many versions, so few updated devices, and the problems of trying to support such a diverse device base. Android is on everything from the smallest smart phones to tablets and even video playback devices, and has a future in automotive applications as well. So with that in mind, Google set about to create the next big version of Android, called Android L.

There is plenty here for everyone. The goals appear to be a more unified experience on all Android devices, and significantly better battery life. Initial tests have shown upwards to 35% longer battery life when compared to KitKat (version 4.4) on some phones.

There is a pretty decent write up here at Tech Radar that summarizes all of the good things coming to Android L.

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Broadband Wireless Access

F1 Shakes Up Boring Season with FRIC Ban Threat

kizo-mercedesf1

The 2014 Formula 1 (F1) season has been a it of a bust in many ways. A whole lot of new technology has been featured especially in the shift from “engines” to “power units” with much more battery power and smaller, turbo charged engines. One team, Mercedes F1, got it pretty much exactly right out of the box, and one or the other of their drivers have won every race except 1, when a rare double mechanical problem took one out of the race and slowed the other.

Mercedes as a result dominated the points race,their drivers could take two races off and still be clear of the chasing pack in both individual and team points. With half the season done, it has been looking like a foregone conclusion, so much so that many teams are already talking about 2015 and just playing out the 2014 hand for show.

Well, it seems that the F1 brain trust has decided that they need to spice things up. To this regard, they have looked at a piece of technology that has been used for a couple of years now. Called the FRIC (front and rear inter connected) suspension, it uses a closed hydraulic system to try to retail car ride height at an even level. The aerodynamics of the cars are greatly upset when the car is not level or hasa shift in attitude, so these systems are very powerful indeed. There has been some suggestion that FRIC was one of the reasons why Red Bull had been so dominating in the last couple of years. F1 has suddenly decided that this may in fact be a “movable aerodynamic device” in violation of Article 3.15 of F1’s Technical Regulations.

The timing of this is certainly interesting. Except for the fact that Mercedes has wisely let their drivers compete for wins and the championship, the season has pretty much been more of a question of who ends up in 3rd. The rumors are that this could hurt Mercedes the most, as their system apparently is very good. It is suggested that it could also hurt Red Bull, who’s car has been low on power but has very good handling this year. The next race weekend in Germany will tell us the full story, as it is rumored that the teams are in in process of either removing the system entirely or disconnecting it from front to rear in order to avoid sanctions. This could mean a shake up in a season that seemed to be already over.

BMW Working On Inductive Charging

kizo-inductive-charge-bmw

Automotive technology in the area of alternate fuels and electric vehicles is fun to watch, in part because it’s sometimes very slow moving, and yet at the same time with plenty of leaps and bounds in technology that are pretty amazing. I found this article on BMWBlog and on Automobile Magazine’s website that both talk about BMW working on an indictive charging system for the electric cars. The idea is to take away the cable and make recharging just a normal part of parking your car in the garage. It’s sort of a big step up from the inductive charging systems used for remote controls and game remotes.

The concept by itself is quite nice, but continues to point out some real drawbacks of the purely electric car world. You only have to look at all of the people who street park their cars in major cities to understand that any house bound or garage bound recharging system is just not workable in the real world for a large percentage of the driving population. it suggests actually in some ways that we may be headed for a future where car ownership and driving is reserved for the well off who have garages for their cars at home. It may also suggest a future where shared cars (hourly rentals) are much more of a common thing, rather than actual car ownership.

No matter what, it’s is certainly fascinating to see what is under development!

Samsung Race to the Bottom

samsung

Adding more to the story from yesterday’s CNN Money post comes this story from Techcrunch. it’s called Samsung’s Race to the Bottom and it points out of many of the issues that they are facing. One of the key areas of discussion of course is that smart phones are reaching commodity level, and that many people are not upgrading. But there are also the issues of having a lot of competition in the Android market, and the current availability of all the good parts for all of the competitors means that Samsung’s offering perhaps aren’t as unique and as special as they once were. So they are forced to compete on price, which can certainly hurt.

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Broadband Wireless Access

Apple Submits Patents For Stronger Displays

apple-logos

Interesting story I found added on today’s Techcrunch article list, featuring some news about some patent applications from Apple. It seems they are working on tougher Sapphire displays that are somewhat flexible in nature, using lasers and other techniques for tempering certain areas and not others. They are also claiming patents on ways to have illuminated buttons. It’s an interesting read, you can check it out here.

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Broadband Wireless Access

Samsung Hits The Profit Panic Button

samsung

Samsung today pushed the panic button on their financial outlook, “The South Korean electronics giant issued a second quarter earnings warning Tuesday, claiming that its profit could fall as much as 26% from the year earlier. “. This story from CNN Money is an eye opener for some, but really it’s something that anyone can see coming.

Smart phones have more or less hit the wall in technology terms. The current crop of phones are not that much better than the ones before them, the last real big innovation was perhaps LTE, and that was perhaps the final reason for most people to upgrade in the last few years. However, quad core processors and HD quality screens up to nearly 6 inches released since 2011 or so have pretty much come to dominate the marketplace – and they are great. The results are that fewer people are buying upgrade phones, and are instead sticking with the already great phone they are using. It may also be an indication that people are not obtaining new phones when the renew their service contracts, which may push the demand for new phones 2 years down the road at a least.

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Broadband Wireless Access

Is Claiming Fair Use Just a Nice Way to Pirate Stuff?

I read Mike Masnick over at Techdirt on a fairly regular basis, in part because he is an endless source of laughs for me. He has completely convinced himself of a bunch of different things about the economics of the internet, piracy, and copyright, yet most of what he supports seems to flicker and fade. Trent Reznor, once one of the true heros of the “FREE!” economy and one of it’s pioneers apparently had second thoughts, signed a new record label deal and appeared at the Grammy awards. Most of the tricky “pay what you want” schemes for selling things have faded away, and still few crowd funded entertainment options have really played out in a big way. Some minor successes to be sure, but nothing that has anyone running for cover.

What really caught my eye was an article about fair use and the “innovation economy”. Now, fair use is one of the rallying cries of the anti-copyright set, and one that Masnick attempts to push as a right, and not an affirmative defense. Yet, in the seminal case on the subject, Campbell v. Acuff Rose Music, the judge in the case clearly stated that “fair use is an affirmative defense”. In fact, it’s pretty self explanatory, fair use is saying “yes is used the copyright material, but I feel I have the right because…”. The first part of claiming fair use is an admission that you used copyright material without permission. Masnick seems to have a real problem with this basic idea, and as a result, much of what he writes about copyright on Techdirt tends to suffer the juice of the poisoned apple.

What is funny is that fair use is sometimes used as an excuse for piracy. It’s a big logical jump, where people say that since the Betamax case permitted “time shifting” by recording a program now for later viewing, pirating a copy of what you didn’t record is okay because you could have done it. Some might call that bootstrapping, but I call it the misinformed leading the misinformed. The legal reality is much simpler. The best way to explain it is that while the courts have tolerated to some extent “remote” DVR machines hosted by cable companies, they are careful to assure that each end user records and plays back their own copy of the programming, and not a shared network copy. They also do not store all material and allow a user to select from programs they did not explicitly record. So they are not creating a on demand system, rather just a DVR with a very long wire. By the same logic, obtaining from a third party a copy of what you did not yourself record would not be time shifting or fair use, just a straight copyright violation.

Mike Masnick also points to a recent court ruling with a blazing headline of “Court Ruling Notes That For-Profit, Full Copy Of Audio, Without Commentary Can Also Be Fair Use, In Specific Circumstances”. It sounds like fair use is a free for all for full use of audio, right? Well, not really, First off, the case is very narrow in scope, and most importantly, it involves the news media reporting on a given topic. The recording in question is of an earnings conference call for shareholders, and was used by Fox specifically as part of a news report. It’s not surprising or even particularly revolutionary that such audio could be used to report on something. Yet, Masnick repeatedly hammers on the “full length recording” as some magical thing, like suddenly the courts are going to give everyone a pass on using audio in any way they see fit. The ruling is extremely narrow in focus, and deals with the news media, a news story, and a very specific news worthy item. It’s not a revolution, it’s how things have always been.

Fair use is a wonderful doctrine, it’s a great balancing tool to allow a narrow set of situations where one can use copyright material without obtaining the rights, and is balanced against all sorts of things. Interestingly, the Campbell v. Acuff Rose Music that is often cited in these situations is itself a bit of a red herring, firstly because the Supreme Court only ruled narrowly on what it saw as an error by the lower court and sent the case back down – they did not issue a definitive ruling! Also, the case was in the end settled by the two parties with 2 Live Crew licensing and paying to use the work in question. Their fair use claims of parody may or may not have played out in the courts, but clearly even with the Supreme Court sending the whole mess back to the lower courts, they didn’t feel the desire to press their luck. For that matter, the rights holders seemed relieved to get out with a licensing deal instead of more court time, so everyone was happy. Since that time, further rulings have pretty much shown that almost all forms of sampling to create new songs is not fair use, and that everything must be licensed. The Campbell v. Acuff Rose Music case didn’t so anything for fair use, if anything the only thing was force licensing. Their fair use claims in parody may or may not have worked out for them, and we will really never know.

It should be pointed out that one of the biggest parody music makers of modern times, Weird Al Yankovich does not rely on fair use for his work. Rather he asks permission and does not release a song unless the original artist is on board. It’s not about his pure legal standing, it’s about realizing what is right and wrong in reality. It’s that sort of thing that seems very hard for the copyright minimalist groups to understand. Sometimes you just have to be fair, even in fair use.

Another example of people not getting it is over at Torrent Freak, another bastion of piracy wrapped in free speech flag. Andy on that site is particularly humorous, only because he comes up with nuggets of self-justification that are almost beyond understanding. In defense of Kim Dotcom’s mega not removing infringing files and instead only disabling specific reported links, suggesting that perhaps an original rights holder might have used Mega for a backup, so deleting the file would violate their rights. Yeah, I know, I had to think about it a bit to realize how incredibly stupid this was. Movie makers and musical artists aren’t generally lining up to use Mega as a backup service for their finished work products. I certainly can’t imagine Warner Brothers or whatever uploading rips of their DVD products to Mega for safe keeping. Attempting to create the space for an exception by suggesting the most unlikely scenerio is laughable. It’s trying to excuse the illegal acts of thousands (if not millions) of people by suggesting something stupid. It’s pretty much on par with the guy who says that MH370 flight was taken by aliens and dropped on the moon (and seriously, someone has claimed that!).

Using fair use or completely insane possible situations to cover for rampant piracy makes those who support it look silly. Trying to drive a truck through the head of a legal pin to excuse bad behavior is the last desperate claim for those about to eat it.

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Apple Planning Busy 2014

iwatch apple

So the rumor mill is starting to crank up around Apple again, they still don’t have the Steve Jobs mystery thing worked out however. This story from Expert Reviews suggests that Apple has a full slate of new products on line, from the Iphone6 (or whatever it may be called) to new cheaper IMacs and such. The topper in all of this is the long predicted IWatch. I have posted up an image that seems to be around in a lot of places, which is based in part off of some patents Apple obtained. However, this all comes at a time where Apple is still being shaken to it’s core by staffing changes, including the “retirement” of Greg Christie, a vice president and engineer who was responsible for much of the Iphone interface that not only made the Iphone a great product, but may have defined mobile phones as we know it. Christie has been a big part of the lawsuit with Samsung, it’s not known if this change of status might also change Apple’s approach in the lawsuit.

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Broadband Wireless Access

Whiners and Wind Ups In the New F1

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am a fan of auto racing (and to an extent motorcycles as well). I have routinely and regularly called out NASCAR for their sleep inducing, near incestuous series, and I have spoken against F1 on a few occasions as well. NASCAR pretty much failed to move forward and lost me as a fan, and F1 had certainly been hovering on that side as well. Four years in a row of Red Bull dominance and an endless parade of rules bent and broken at will made F1 a bit mindless.

However, the FIA and F1 who sort of combine to actually make the series go saw the issues and decided that F1 needed to move towards being more relevant for actual road going technology. Few of us were going to benefit by increases aero effeciency by cycling our engines at high speed to detach airflow (exhaust blown aero), nor for that matter were very many of us driving around in normally aspirated high fuel consumption V8 engines. So with an eye to the future, they redid the rules to put a bigger emphasis on hybrid power, electric recovery, and fuel effciency, not only limiting the size of the engines to 1.6 liters (with turbo) but also limiting both fuel flow and total fuel allowed per race, which has certainly changed the game.

Three races into the new era of F1, and it’s pretty easy to see that some engine companies got it, some didn’t so much, and others just having been able to integrate the whole thing into a functional package. Mercedes has certainly put together a great engine package, which is powering most of the teams near the top, and Renault has pretty much dropped the ball, and served up a complex system that doesn’t seem to be work well and is prone to failures.

There have been complains and whining from all sides on this one, even F1 head Bearnie Ecclestone complained the cars were too quiet – until he heard them in person and then said it wasn’t that bad. Clearly the cars are quieter, considering they don’t rev to 18,000 rpm anymore and have their exhausts blocked by a turbo, but they turn out much more torque and power total than the old cars. There are also complaints that the cars are harder to drive and hard to make work propertly.

Not surprisingly, the sourest of sour grapes appears to be coming from previously dominant Red Bull racing. They have been the team who has dominated for 4 years, with a slick combination of the best packaging plus some incredibly inspirated rule… what would you call it… rule skirting. Everything and anything was fair game to them, including apparently heating the underside of the car so the floor would flex more during the race to increase downforce, to flexible noses, blown exhausts, and a whole bunch of other things that will one day come to light when the players are not longer in the game, and will reveal just how much of a charade it all was. Red Bull loved the old rules because they found all the ways to get around them, winning the last 8 or 9 races last season without even marginal opposition. They were just that far ahead.

Now, they find themselves having problems, and that has resulted in some pretty sad whining from them. F1 champ Sebastian Vettle was asked about the engine sound, and he said it was “sh-t” (poop). Red Bull honcho and Team owner Dietrich Mateschitz has made some not so veiled threats about leaving the series, and now chief engineer (and rule bender) Adrian Newey had made it clear he things all of this technology is expensive, meaningless, and not relevant. Of course, it probably pisses him off no end that he can no longer find another twist in the rules to apply an aero adjustment to make his cars slide to the front anymore, and in fact his original 2014 design was at least partially scrapped because the car kept overheating and catching fire.

My opinion? Red Bull can take the door and go. They are fair weather friends to F1, and as soon as things are not going their way, they are quick as a group to start talking the series down and making off the cuff comments that are not to anyone’s benefit. The races so far in 2014 have been interesting, with plenty of different strategies and challenges, and as a result, F1 is actually fun to watch again. Red Bull want it their way, the old boring way… and that’s just not going to happen.

In the never ending world of chess that is F1, Bernie Ecclestone perhaps gets the last word on this one, the one that is likely to get Red Bull to shut up already. He announced that two new teams would be coming to F1, which would pretty much negate whatever potential loss would come from losing the two Red Bull teams. So if Mateschitz thought he had F1 by the short and curlies, it turns out that he may just be giving himself the wedgie instead.

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Mobile Rises as PCs Continue To Fade

goodbye PC

The times they are a-changing, and if you are in the business of making desktop computers or their parts, then you are probably hurting in a very big way. People are buying as much as they did before, if not more, but now more and more are buying portable devices and leaving the desktop behind. This report that I found over at Techcrunch shows a nearly 5% increase in phone sales, and a near perfect matching 6.6% decline in PC sales.

It could be said that this is the long goodbye for the PC as we know it. The PC world is getting it from all sides, from quadcore phones and tablets to online cloud services that make home storage seem as up to date as floppy disks. There is plenty of action in phones, tablets, phablets, and a fast growing market is the clamshell devices, which fold open to reveal a laptop like screen and keyboard combo, albeit in a smaller package.

Certainly a big part of the market is because mobile and portable computing is still a young industry, expanding rapidly and evolving at full speed, with many playing catchup to the current 4G standards. There is also the basic concept that the PC market hasn’t moved forward much in the last few year, the last big leap for most people was onto Windows 7, as most seem to have avoided windows 8 variants where possible. For many, there aren’t enough new features or benefits to justify a costly upgrade. However, it’s apparently easier to justify a nice sized chunk of change for the latest iphone or Samsung device, and the tablet world is expanding rapidly and the devices are impressive pieces with great graphics, screens, and processing power.

The PC will always have a place, but it appears that for many, the PC is’t the first choice anymore

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Broadband Wireless Access

Comcast and Apple Reported Talking About Streaming TV

comcast apple

The hot rumor of the last couple of days is that Apple and Comcast are in talks regarding a streaming TV service. There are stories on the Hollywood Reporter and Techcrunch that show how this might all pan out. What is interesting here is that they are apparently avoiding a net neutrality issue (at least for the moment) by negotiating to have the service provided on the “TV” part of the bandwidth, and not on the internet side of the IP tv delivery method. This would essentially create a service that would sew up the last mile, and at the same time perhaps show a new future business model for cable and internet companies, selling access to the last mile without actually using the internet. Net neutrality supporters are probably woofing their cookies thinking about this one, as it entirely sidesteps the who deal and leaves them out in the cold.

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Broadband Wireless Access

7 Ways Clickbait Will Destroy The Internet

click bait

Sarcasm is pretty much how I roll sometimes, and this is going to be one of those posts. Almost everyone surfing the internet has been a victim of click bait at one time or another, and it is only getting worse. If the term clickbait doesn’t ring a bell, let me take a moment to […]

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Samsung S5 Reviews are in

samsung s5 reviews

Reviews are coming in for the Samsung S5, and so far it seems like this is another home run for this prolific company. Samsung has really turned into a market dominating force with it’s Note II, Note 3, and S series phones, plus a whole host of most budget minded options. The S5 is pretty much a top of the line phone with everything you could want – 2.5GHz Quad core application processor, Android 4.4.2 (Kitkat), and a 16Mega Pixel camera. This is one very complete and very impressive piece of technology, a phone that everyone seems to want!

Check out this review of the Samsung S5 for more info!

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Broadband Wireless Access

AandE Folds Under Pressure and Brings Back Phil Robertson

duck dynasty phil robertson

It’s amazing what a whole bunch of public pressure can do to correct over zealous political correctness. It seems that A&E figured out which side of the bread their butter was on, and decided to “reinstate” banished Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson to the show.

Now, for those of you following along, you will know that the suspension was sort of meaningless and knee jerk reactionism at it’s finest, considering that the show is not currently filming. Suspending Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty and then running multiple marathons on air shows how screwed up A&E is over the whole subject. When they had a racial issue with Dog the Bounty Hunter, they not only suspended production, but also took the show off the air for a time. Since Duck Dynasty has been their best rated show ever, it seems they weren’t willing to walk the walk this time, and only talked the talk.

A statement from A&E to The Hollywood Reporter read as follows:

As a global media content company, A+E Networks’ core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect. We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people’s homes, and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principles.

That is why we reacted so quickly and strongly to a recent interview with Phil Robertson. While Phil’s comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs and his own personal journey, he and his family have publicly stated they regret the “coarse language” he used and the misinterpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article. He also made it clear he would “never incite or encourage hate.” We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article and reiterate that they are not views we hold.

But Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family … a family that America has come to love. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A+E Networks also feel strongly about.
So after discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family.

We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company and the values found in Duck Dynasty. These PSAs will air across our entire portfolio.

Some bloggers and opinion sites are suggesting that A&E may have made peace with GLAAD and other groups by perhaps spreading a little holiday cheer (read cash) or perhaps offering to work on shows that are more “gay friendly” in the future. All kidding aside, it’s clearly one of those issues of economics more than anything else, A&E could not afford to lose it’s top rated show, and the rest of the cast of Duck Dynasty had made it very clear this week that without Phil, the rest of them were done.

So score one against political correctness, and perhaps GLAAD and other professionally offended groups can pick better battles, where they aren’t trying to trample someone’s first amendment rights because they don’t like the comments.

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Dogecoin Site Dogewallet Apparently Hacked

dogecoin

Over Christmas, a pretty novel and nasty hack was apparently inflicted on the Dogecoin site Dogewallet. This is a site that maintains the coin accounts for users. Anyway, the hackers came up with a very novel hack, which was to modify the transfer or payment page so that when people would send Dogecoins to someone else, it would be re-routed to the hacker’s account instead. Since Crypto currencies are pretty much a no-take back, no come back system, once the transaction occurs people cannot get their coins back, no matter what. A pretty good summary of what happened can be found on this story from The Verge.

If you want to know more about Dogecoins, you can check out the Dogecoin Forum. If you like my site, or just feel like you want to make me smile, you can send me some Dogecoins to DFG869epZd1QmXw89hsujQ2DuUzR9159Qm

Lotus F1 Owner Thinks Most Teams In Financial Trouble

The financial troubles of Lotus F1 team got revealed late in the 2013 season, when driver Kimi Räikkönen stated without a doubt that he had not been paid at all for that season so far. While he was apparently paid at least in part, he still decided to take the two last races off, which may have cost the team third place in the constructors championship – and the extra money that comes with it.

Now Lotus F1 owner Gerard Lopez has been quote as saying that “For 80 per cent of the teams, their financial situation is no better than ours”. This seems to line up pretty well with reports that Sauber was pretty close to the brink near the end of the 2013 season, and that teams like Catherham and Marussia are working on somewhat limited budgets. Further, teams like Williams and even McLaren are dealing with losses of a major sponsorship, so much so that it is also reported that McLaren may have their first orange team color car in years, with the lack of a true major sponsor for 2014 by the time they introduce their cars in late January.

This is against a backdrop of a huge increase in expenses with new power units for 2014, and a general feel that the costs of the series have reached a point where most major sponsors don’t want to pay for the exposure that comes with the series. Many of the teams have one or both of their drivers as “pay” drivers, that is to say that they are selected not for being the best driver available, but rather because they have sponsorship backing willing to pay to get them in the seat.

F1′s shift in 2014 to a series not only based on pure speed but also based on efficiency, extended electric / hybrid power trains, and the like is perhaps it’s last gasp attempt to remain relevant. The upcoming Formula E series with all electric open wheel cars looks poised to pounce, with more relevant technology and the same general car look, which may mean that F1 teams will continue to suffer in their quest for sponsorship dollars.

If Lopez is right, the current situation in Formula 1 could in fact signal the end of the line for auto racing as we knew it. If 6 or 7 of the F1 teams fold because of a lack of financing, the series itself would almost certainly fold, grids of 12 cars would make absolutely no sense for race promoters or TV, viewers and sponsors would disappear overnight. Will the dinosaurs of the racing world finally turn to fossils?

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Political Correctness Taken Too Far and Marks And Spencers

Here’s another story, just like the Duck Dynasty story, that shows that the public is no longer willing to get their rights trampled on just to be politically correct. The UK has a fairly significant Muslim population, thanks mostly to unchecked immigration policies. In many places, the Muslims are insular, living in tightly group communities and not integrating into society. Many companies make all sorts of accommodations when they hire Muslim people, from special holidays to multiple breaks per day to pray. It’s pretty unfair to everyone else who doesn’t get to slide away from work for 30 minutes every few hours, and it creates resentment and trouble. The UK is country with a huge racial issue bubbling under and soon to explode.

A recent event at Marks and Spencers shows just how fed up the public is with these unreasonable accommodations. It seems that a Muslim employee was working at the check out cash at one of their stores, and refused to serve a customer because the customer was buying alcohol, which is against their religion. Marks and Spencer has made the fatal mistake of allowing their employees to decide what their job is, using their religion to decide which tasks they can and cannot do – and the company is stupid enough to back them up.

News flashing for M&S and many other companies out there: If you have an employee that cannot do the work, don’t keep them on the payroll. Don’t give them light duties or selective jobs to avoid their issues, let them know that the job includes all of the tasks, and they can either do the job or leave. Telling a paying customer to wait because they refuse to handle a closed and sealed bottle of champagne (or any pork meat, for that matter) is horrible customer service, it’s insulting to the customer, it creates unneeded delays, and most of all, it’s political correctness gone wild. If they cannot do the job (all of the job) then don’t hire them to start with!

The backlash on this case has been huge, yet Marks and Spencers is still enough to stand by what amounts to being a very discriminatory policy. They have apologized that the employee refused to do their job, but still supported that employees right to refuse to help the customer. The press has gone wild, and in a country like the UK where racial issues are becoming more and more of an ongoing issue, it shows how political correctness and religious tolerance are starting to turn against those who refuse to integrate into society.

Not surprisingly, there is a move boycott M&S, and I support them completely. Policies that allow an employee to duck out of work or to not do all of their work because it might offend their gods is a step way too far that discriminates against everyone else.

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Duck Dynasty versus Political Correctness

It’s been interesting to watch the fall out of the Duck Dynasty situation, and how the battle lines are being drawn up. If you have been hiding under a rock or watching nothing but out of date soap operas, perhaps you aren’t aware of Duck Dynasty or comments made by the patriarch of the family. Basically, he pretty much stated what he believes, what is part of his religion, which is that homosexuality is a sin, like bestiality or any other odd act, and those who commit that sin will go to hell. It’s pretty much a fairly standard view that isn’t really out of the ordinary, except that Phil Robertson added some chat about anuses and vaginas, but that is just colorful language from a colorful man.

A&E, the network which plays the Duck Dynasty show immediately suspended Phil Robertson from the show, which may be a bit of a weird punishment considering that the next season is apparently already in the can ready to go, and that A&E is running a number of Duck Dynasty marathons with Phil on it. Their reaction seems a little knee jerk, and they aren’t alone. GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is a gay / lesbian group that came out and called the speech hateful, the usual spiel that seems to happen in these cases. The usual collection of bleeding hearts and political correctness finger waggers came out and wagged, gestured frantically, and made angry, offended noises.

Then something surprising happened. Usually in these cases the sponsors of the show (the ones who in the end pay for the show to be on) did what nobody expected them to do: They formed up ranks behind Phil Robertson and supported him. The Cracker Barrel chain of restaurants tried to play politically correct and split the difference, removing some products from their shelves that were specifically Phil Robertson related, but left the rest of the Duck Dynasty and Duck Commander stuff on their shelves. That seems to have gotten them both barrels from the public, as within 24 hours they reversed their decision and closed ranks. Companies such as Real Tree and others have pretty much said they may not agree with the comments, but they truly believe in his rights to have an opinion.

This is one of those cases where the political correctness nuts are pretty much left twisting in the wind. If they continue to cry foul, they are looking like they are against christians and what is in the bible, which in turn means they risk saying hateful things about a religion. The PC crew are are coming to realize that the values and opinions expressed by Phil Robertson resonate with a significant segment of the population. They may not say it in the same somewhat crude manner, but they do believe that homosexuality is a sin, against their religion, and yes, homosexuals in their view will end up in hell.

For someone like me, it’s more a case of free speech than anything. I don’t straight out agree or disagree with Phil Robertson’s views, but I do respect his right to say them. If hell exists, in my opinion there is a special place reserved for people who paint cars funny colors or put 30 inch rims on Chevy Caprices. That is my opinion, it’s not hatred, it’s just an opinion. It’s my right to have such an opinion, and Robertson is entitled to his opinion of homosexuals. Remember, religion and spirituality is something that cannot and will never be absolutely proven, it’s only an opinion.

Now, if Robertson had added “and they should all be rounded up and shot” to his comments, it would be hateful speech, because it goes beyond having an opinion and instead calling for action. He did no such thing, so perhaps the fine people over at GLAAD just need to grow a slightly thicker skin, grow up a little, and understand that not everyone agrees with their lifestyle choices. Meanwhile, A&E is left to roast on the fire, their knee jerk reaction in response to the political correctness squads makes them look weak, and at the same time continuing to run episodes with Phil Robertson in them. They profit from the controversy, which makes them look even more wishy washy.

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