Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sony continues their tradition of “screwing up by the numbers.”
The Interview’ Release to Deepen Rift Between Sony, Major Exhibitors
It looks like a bitter Christmas for owners of major theatrical chains in the U.S., thanks to Sony Pictures Entertainment’s decision Tuesday for a limited release of “The Interview” in a few hundred independent cinemas — with a VOD release coming soon.
Exhibitors were already angry over last week’s move by Sony to make them the scapegoat for the Dec. 17 cancellation. Several executives told Variety that they only wanted the film’s premiere to be delayed or modified.
… After the movie was pulled from theaters, the major chains expected not to show “The Interview” due to the plans for an imminent VOD release — violating the longstanding policy that major studios wait several months after a movie opens before distributing it on other platforms.
Now that Sony has officially put the movie back in theaters outside the major chains and coupled those plans with what could be a day-and-date VOD release, tensions have been aggravated further.

(Related) Before you rush out to see this movie, read the entire review.
Film Review: ‘The Interview’
North Korea can rest easy: America comes off looking at least as bad as the DPRK in “The Interview,” an alleged satire that’s about as funny as a communist food shortage, and just as protracted. For all its pre-release hullabaloo — including two big thumbs down from Sony hackers the Guardians of Peace — this half-baked burlesque about a couple of cable-news bottom-feeders tasked with assassinating Korean dictator Kim Jong-un won’t bring global diplomacy to its knees, but should feel like a kind of terror attack to any audience with a limited tolerance for anal penetration jokes. Extreme devotees of stars James Franco and Seth Rogen (who also co-directed with Evan Goldberg) may give this Christmas offering a pass, but all others be advised: An evening of cinematic waterboarding awaits.

In contrast to Bruce Schneier's article from yesterday.
The Case for N. Korea’s Role in Sony Hack
There are still many unanswered questions about the recent attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, such as how the attackers broke in, how long they were inside Sony’s network, whether they had inside help, and how the attackers managed to steal terabytes of data without notice. To date, a sizable number of readers remain unconvinced about the one conclusion that many security experts and the U.S. government now agree upon: That North Korea was to blame. This post examines some compelling evidence from past such attacks that has helped inform that conclusion.

Perhaps some interesting legal questions? How much control over leaked data can a company exercise? (Is there a clear line, beyond which they have no control?) Probably can't ask to have it removed without claiming to own the copyright. Is it a good thing to claim embarrassing emails? Can/should you disavow (embarrassing/racist/petty/stupid/etc.) emails that claim to have been sent from corporate officers?
Sony threatens to sue Twitter over hack
Sony Pictures is warning Twitter to crack down on people who share documents and emails stolen in the massive hack on the Hollywood studio or else risk legal action.
In a letter on Monday, a lawyer for the beleaguered film studio demanded that Twitter suspend the accounts of people sharing documents stolen in the cyberattack.
“If Twitter does not reply with this request... [Sony Pictures Entertainment] will have no choice but to hold Twitter responsible for any damage or loss arising from such use of dissemination by Twitter,” lawyer David Boies wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The Motherboard and other outlets.
Twitter’s rules prohibit users from publishing private information such as someone else’s Social Security number or address as well as copyrighted information. It is unclear if images from the hacked emails would qualify under that policy or if Twitter has any legal responsibility to prevent the dissemination of the stolen documents.
Monday's letter is similar to an effort in recent days to prevent major news outlets from reporting on the contents of the studio’s hacked emails and other documents, which was also spearheaded by Boies.

Something for my Computer Security classes. Elegant data visualization.
Ooh, pretty. Look what the folks at Information is Beautiful did with data from and the Identity Theft Resource Center:

Interesting idea.
Internet Monitor 2014: Reflections on the Digital World
Internet Monitor is delighted to announce the publication of Internet Monitor 2014: Reflections on the Digital World, the project’s second annual report. The report is a collection of roughly three dozen short contributions that highlight and discuss some of the most compelling events and trends in the digitally networked environment over the past year. The publication, intended for a general interest audience, covers a broad range of issues and regions, including an examination of Europe’s “right to be forgotten,” a review of the current state of mobile security, an exploration of a new wave of movements attempting to counter hate speech online, and a speculative fiction story exploring what our increasingly data-driven world might bring. The report focuses on the interplay between technological platforms and policy; growing tensions between protecting personal privacy and using big data for social good; the implications of digital communications tools for public discourse and collective action; and current debates around the future of Internet governance. This year we are especially excited to share our “Year in Review” interactive timeline, which highlights the year’s most fascinating Internet-related news stories, from censorship to Heartbleed to the Pirate Bay raid just last week. We’ve also included a “By the Numbers” section that is slightly tongue-in-cheek and offers a look at the year’s important digital statistics such as the number of tweets per minute in 2014 (up 155,000 from last year) and the number of the top 100 accounts on Twitter that belong to Bollywood stars. The full report, individual chapters, and interactive timeline are available at the Internet Monitor website.”

If Russia tanks, are we looking at a world-wide recession? How does Putin remain popular after leading Russia to the brink of bankruptcy?
Russia Begins A $100 Billion Debt Bailout As Its Bonds Face 'Junk' Rating
Russia has begun bailing out the debt of its private and state-run companies and banks, which is denominated in dollars, according to Reuters.
Banks and companies owe a total of $600 billion in foreign debt, of which $100 billion is due next year.
The bailout will not help Russia's bond rating, which suffered a blow yesterday when the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s said there was at least a 50% chance it would cut Russia's status to lower than BBB or "junk" status.

I like putting a countdown timer up in the classroom. It helps to create that sense of doom during exams.
Three Handy Timer Tools for Teachers
One tool that can help to prevent the students and me from stretching the "break times" is to use a countdown timer like the three featured below.
You can simply type into Google search "set timer" followed by an amount of time and a countdown timer is displayed. An alarm beeps when time is up. You can make the timer appear full screen without advertisements by clicking a little box icon to the right of the timer. You can see this feature in action in the video below.
Russel Tarr's Classtools Countdown Timer has two slick features. You can create and set multiple timers on the same page. The second feature of note is the option to add music to your timers. You can have your countdown timers set to music. Mission Impossible, The Apprentice, and Countdown are the standard music options. You can add other music by using the YouTube search tool built into the timer . [I use the theme from Jaws Bob]
Online Egg Timer is a simple website offering three countdown timers on one screen. You can set just one timer or run all three at the same time with different settings. No registration is required in order to use Online Egg Timer. Just go to the site, set the countdown timer(s) using the up and down arrows, then click "start timers."

Perhaps I should get a smartphone? I have no idea what these Apps are...
The Most Popular New Ed Tech Service of 2014 According to Readers
Last week I posted a survey asking you to select your favorite new app or website of 2014. After five days of collecting responses I've closed the survey. Kahoot is the most popular new ed tech service amongst the 216 of you that voted.
Kahoot is a slick service for creating and delivering quizzes to your students' tablets, iPads, and laptops. On Kahoot you create a quiz or survey that your students respond to through any device that has a web browser (iPad, Android device, Chromebook). Your Kahoot questions can include pictures and videos. As the teacher you can control the pace of the Kahoot quiz or survey by imposing a time limit for each question. As students answer questions they are awarded points for correct answers and the timeliness of their answers. A scoreboard is displayed on the teacher's screen.
Check this chart to see how Kahoot compares to eight other student response systems.

Definitely worth the time to look through this list and select a few to try.
The Best Windows Software

No comments: