Monthly Archives: October 2013

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Review: Kaleidescape’s $3995 Cinema One is everything except affordable

Lee Hutchinson

Ars has covered Kaleidescape many times over the past several years, most recently in March when the company was handed a defeat in its long-running court battle against the DVD Copy Control Association (CCA). (The company has since appealed the ruling.) Kaleidescape makes home theater machines—devices that can keep all of your DVD and Blu-ray movies in a single location and play them without the hassle of digging through DVD cases to find the right disc. The thing that sticks out about Kaleidescape is that its home theater boxes aren’t small. These are typically enormous devices that cost many thousands of dollars, and the boxes are more likely to be installed by a home theater contractor than by a normal consumer.

Any self-respecting home theater geek these days likely already has a setup designed to do something similar. This usually takes the form of a home theater PC running XBMC or one of its variants, with video and music stored either on internal storage or connected to a NAS over Ethernet. Doing this will get you a system that does most of the things Kaleidescape’s boxes do, but the DIY route comes with the added hassle of installing and maintaining your own software. You also need to acquire a working knowledge of disc ripping and encoding, a task that isn’t terribly difficult but isn’t terribly easy either.

Kaleidescape’s systems automate a significant chunk of the HTPC experience, wrapping the movie ripping and storage aspect in a single attractive package that looks and functions more like an appliance than an HTPC. The company’s traditional products, as mentioned, are expensive—like, $10,000-type expensive. They’re great for an upmarket customer who wants to wire every room in his or her vacation home up for movie watching, but it’s not a great option for the more middle-class among us.

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Patent goliath Intellectual Ventures looks to raise another $3 billion

Patent-holding giant Intellectual Ventures (IV) has been making the rounds seeking investors for a new patent-purchasing fund, according to a Reuters report.

The company is apparently out of money, having spent the $6 billion it has raised since its inception in 2000. For the time being, it has stopped buying new patents.

According to the material IV gave to prospective investors, which were reviewed by Reuters, the company has achieved average return of 16.2 percent on the first patent fund it put together in 2003. Its second fund, completed in 2008, has achieved an average return of 2.5 percent.

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US indicts suspected Anonymous members for leading 2010 “Operation Payback”

Back in 2010, “Operation Payback” involved a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against anti-piracy websites as a way to protest what some members of Anonymous viewed as an overly greedy intellectual property industry. The attack was later revived in early 2011.

On Thursday, 13 men were indicted (PDF) in federal court in Virginia on one count of Conspiracy to Intentionally Cause Damage to a Protected Computer. They are accused of using the well-known Low-Orbit Ion Cannon application to conduct DDoS attacks on the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, the United States Copyright Office of the Library of Congress, Visa, MasterCard, and Bank of America.

According to the indictment, the victims suffered “significant damage,” noting specifically that MasterCard suffered at least $5,000 in losses during a one-year period. (For the record, MasterCard profited $415 million in 2010.)

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Report: Apple buys Cue, a Google Now-esque personal assistant service

Anonymous sources are telling several outlets (including AppleInsider and TechCrunch) that Apple has just purchased Cue, a personal assistant service with more than a few similarities to Google Now. News of the acquisition (which, according to various sources, cost Apple somewhere between $35 and $60 million) follows the complete shuttering of the service yesterday.

Cue (once called Greplin) could pull data from a number of services including Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter. It would then organize this data and present you with a unified list of relevant information whenever you opened the app. Android users with Google Now enabled already enjoy similar functionality—Google Now will dynamically track packages or show you the status of flights, for example, based on data it pulls from your configured e-mail accounts. With Apple’s purchase of Cue, we would not be surprised to see Siri become capable of the same kinds of tasks in the future (in fact, this was something we asked for in our iOS 7 review).

TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino posits that the service could also be used to improve the “Today” section of iOS 7′s Notification Center. Currently, the feature can show you the weather and a brief summary of your upcoming day based on your calendar appointments, but Cue’s ability to reach beyond your calendar for this sort of information could make the feature more appealing.

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Adobe source code and customer data stolen in sustained network hack

Adobe said it suffered a sustained compromise of its corporate network, allowing hackers to illegally access source code for several of its widely used software applications as well as password data and other sensitive information belonging to almost three million customers.

Adobe dropped the bombshell revelation shortly after Krebs on Security’s Brian Krebs reported that the hack began sometime in mid-August and was carried out by the same criminals who breached LexisNexis and other major US data brokers. In the course of investigating the earlier intrusions, Krebs said he happened upon a 40 gigabyte trove of source code, much of it belonging to Adobe. Adobe confirmed its ColdFusion Web application software and its Acrobat document program were among those that were stolen.

A new generation of exploits

The Acrobat software family, which is intimately linked to the nearly ubiquitous Reader application, has long been a favorite target of malware developers looking for ways to sneak their malicious wares onto people’s computers. The specter of hackers having full access to the raw source code of those applications is troubling, because it could make it easier to identify bugs that can be surreptitiously exploited in drive-by website attacks.

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Changes coming to Engadget’s RSS feed

Hey there, Engadget’s main news feed will soon be changing over to a new version featuring excerpted content. You’ll still get the headlines and a good chunk of each post, but for those wanting the full story, you’ll need to click through to the site (which has been the industry standard way of publishing news feeds for some years now).

For many RSS readers, this actually makes it easier to scan headlines and find the story you want to read. And for those of you reading on a mobile device, our iOS and Android apps (as well as Flipboard) will continue to offer full, unexcerpted content.

We know that there are also some of you who really do prefer to read full content in your RSS reader. Well, good news: we’re still making a full, unexcerpted feed available for you to subscribe to here.

How Procrastination can become a Productive activity?

How Procrastination can become a Productive activity?

To be sure we’re on the same path here, I’d like to remind what is the act of procrastination about: putting off or delaying an action to a later time. In other words, procrastinating is postponing the important things we have to do and doing more pleasurable things instead.

We all have different ways to procrastinate, and most of the time it involves a device (computers, phones, tablets). Whether we surf the web, read articles, try new apps, watch videos, or chill out at the coffee machine, our goal when we procrastinate is just to do something else!
The first step to turn our procrastination habits into productive ones, is to understand why we procrastinate. Is it because we are lazy? Because we feel unproductive? Because we ‘re not organized? Or is it just because what we have to do is really unpleasant?

Sometimes you often find yourself procrastinate because you have this really tricky task to do and you don’t know where to start or how to manage it. So, couldn’t it be interesting to find a way to do some productive procrastination?!

My personal procrastination refers to a loss of personal productivity, at some point in my day I don’t know how to manage what I have to do, I don’t feel creative and ideas won’t come up.
But procrastination doesn’t mean doing nothing. My advices today won’t be about curing procrastination but how to procrastinate well.

So here are 5 tips to productively procrastinate.

Look for inspiration

You may procrastinate because what you have to do is unpleasant, or you’re disorganized, or you feel overwhelmed by the task. Maybe what you need to motivate yourself is to find inspiration to accomplish your task. You need to go look for information that will help you get back on track.

And the Internet is full of information and ideas to help you accomplish your task (of course you’ll have to look in the right direction and not loose yourself…). Even if it’s not fully relevant information, just the action of looking for it might help you find new ideas to accomplish your task.

A friend once told me: "Creativity is the art of not revealing its source". So if you’re feeling down and don’t know how to accomplish something go find some inspiration!

Discuss your ideas with friends

Need a break? Can’t deal with what you need to do? Why not take few minutes to discuss it with a friend. It’s often when you’re talking about something that you’re solving problems, just by putting words on what you have to do. Talking to a friend who is not working with you can have multiple effects. It can be totally useless… or it can help you find awesome solutions.

I have few close friends who are working in startups like me. And when I feel like procrastinating I chat with some of them about the things I have to do that are bothering me. I ask them for their opinion and advices.
I’ve found this activity very productive. In fact, discussing about your work problem with people outside of your work can sometimes leads to great new ideas!

Procrastinate outside the internet

Well, this might not be the most productive activity but the goal is to get some fresh air. If you can’t work on a task and keep postponing it, try to take a walk outside instead of staring at the internet. If you don’t abuse, procrastinating outside the internet will really do some good to your brain and to your productivity.
Just stop staring at screens.

Write down your thoughts

This is the most productive tip to fight my useless procrastination. When I can’t work on something I write down stuff. It might be a list of things I want to do, an article, or just writing what I’ve done so far and what I need to do to complete this task I can’t work on. The good thing about writing is that you keep track of it, you can share it, and someday you’ll find that piece of essay useful for your work.
My mathematics teacher once told me: "I don’t need to keep a close eye on you to make sure you’re working. I’ll figure it out by the amount of rough copy in the trash". "Writing is learning, the more you write, the more you learn."

Paul Graham: "The most impressive people I know are all terrible procrastinators. So could it be that procrastination isn’t always bad?"