Page Six says Disney wants reshoots on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Despite strong trailer, Disney reportedly wants more control over upcoming flick.

Ben Mendelsohn as an unnamed Imperial officer on the bridge of the Death Star. (credit: Disney)

Page Six, a gossip and culture spinoff of the New York Post, reported yesterday that Disney executives are unhappy with the current version of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the spinoff that’s supposed to tell the story in between Star Wars episodes III and IV. According to anonymous sources, the movie is now scheduled for an "expensive reshoot" over the summer, ahead of its December release.

A source elaborated that, "the movie isn’t testing well” and “Disney won’t take a back seat.”

Screen testing of a movie is common in Hollywood and tweaking the film according to the screen tester’s comments is routine, but the Page Six sources seem to suggest these alterations go beyond that.

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Intel’s post tick-tock “Kaby Lake” CPUs definitely coming later this year

“7th-generation Core” CPUs will launch in a few months, and that’s all we know.

Enlarge (credit: Intel)

Intel's main Computex announcement was the launch of its high-end (and high-cost) Broadwell-E chips, but the company also made a passing mention of a couple of next-generation architectures for mainstream and low-end systems that will ship in finished systems by the end of the year.

The most significant of these two architectures is Kaby Lake, the replacement for Skylake. Kaby Lake breaks from the "tick-tock" schedule that Intel has followed for most of the last decade; that schedule has been replaced by something Intel calls "Process, Architecture, Optimization," in which it introduces a new process (formerly a tock), introduces a new architecture on that process (formerly a tick), and then tweaks the architecture without changing the process. Kaby Lake is an "optimization" and will be built on the same 14nm process as Skylake.

Intel has said very little about Kaby Lake, and aside from confirming that the CPUs will be called "seventh-generation Core" processors and that they'll definitely be shipping later this year, it didn't reveal much new information at Computex. Previous rumors and leaks point to expanded 4K video playback capabilities, including support for HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 and hardware decode support for 10-bit HEVC and VP9 videos. The processors should also be socket-compatible with Skylake, provided your motherboard OEM provides a BIOS update to add support. Rumors say the Kaby Lake launch will start with low-voltage Core i3/i5/i7 and Core m3/m5/m7 CPUs for laptops and convertibles first and come to desktops later—Asus is already showing off a Surface clone with a Kaby Lake CPU, suggesting that the chip is already sampling to Intel's partners. This bodes well for its availability.

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Samsung’s new SSD is smaller than a microSD card… but way faster

Samsung’s new SSD is smaller than a microSD card… but way faster

SanDisk’s latest solid state drive is super-fast, supporting sequential read speeds up to 1,500 MB/s and write speeds up to 900MB/s. It can also hold a lot of storage: Samsung plans to offer models with up to 512GB of storage.

But the new Samsung PM971-NVMe SSD is tiny: it weighs just 1 gram and measures 20mm x 16mm x 1.5mm. That makes it smaller than an SD card (32mm x 24mm) or a typical postage stamp (24mm x 22mm).

Continue reading Samsung’s new SSD is smaller than a microSD card… but way faster at Liliputing.

Samsung’s new SSD is smaller than a microSD card… but way faster

SanDisk’s latest solid state drive is super-fast, supporting sequential read speeds up to 1,500 MB/s and write speeds up to 900MB/s. It can also hold a lot of storage: Samsung plans to offer models with up to 512GB of storage.

But the new Samsung PM971-NVMe SSD is tiny: it weighs just 1 gram and measures 20mm x 16mm x 1.5mm. That makes it smaller than an SD card (32mm x 24mm) or a typical postage stamp (24mm x 22mm).

Continue reading Samsung’s new SSD is smaller than a microSD card… but way faster at Liliputing.

Cluster of “megabreaches” compromise a whopping 642 million passwords

MySpace, Tumblr, and Fling are the latest services to join discredited LinkedIn.

(credit: CBS)

Less than two weeks after more than 177 million LinkedIn user passwords surfaced, security researchers have discovered three more breaches involving MySpace, Tumblr, and dating website Fling that all told bring the total number of compromised accounts to more than 642 million.

"Any one of these 4 I'm going to talk about on their own would be notable, but to see a cluster of them appear together is quite intriguing," security researcher Troy Hunt observed on Monday. The cluster involves breaches known to have happened to Fling in 2011, to LinkedIn in 2012, and to Tumblr 2013. It's still not clear when the MySpace hack took place, but Hunt, operator of the Have I been pwned? breach notification service, said it surely happened sometime after 2007 and before 2012. He continued:

There are some really interesting patterns emerging here. One is obviously the age; the newest breach of this recent spate is still more than 3 years old. This data has been lying dormant (or at least out of public sight) for long periods of time.

The other is the size and these 4 breaches are all in the top 5 largest ones HIBP has ever seen. That's out of 109 breaches to date, too. Not only that, but these 4 incidents account for two thirds of all the data in the system, or least they will once MySpace turns up.

Then there's the fact that it's all appearing within a very short period of time - all just this month. There's been some catalyst that has brought these breaches to light and to see them all fit this mould and appear in such a short period of time, I can't help but wonder if they're perhaps related.

All four of the password dumps are being sold on a darkweb forum by peace_of_mind, a user with 24 positive feedback ratings, two neutral ratings, and zero negative ratings. That's an indication the unknown person isn't exaggerating the quality of the data. The megabreach trend is troubling for at least a couple of reasons. First, it demonstrates that service providers are either unable to detect breaches or are willing to keep them secret years after they're discovered. Second, it raises the unsettling question where the trend will end, and if additional breaches are in store before we get there?

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MPAA Lobbyist / SOPA Sponsor to Draft Democratic Party Platform

The Democratic Party has appointed a committee tasked with drafting the party’s platform. The 15-member panel includes MPAA lobbyist Howard L Berman, an attorney and former U.S. Representative who not only co-sponsored SOPA and tried to enshrine P2P network sabotage in law, but has also been funded by Hollywood throughout his career.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

berman-smallLast week Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz chose a panel of individuals to draft the party’s platform.

As previously reported, 15 were selected, with six chosen by Clinton, five chosen by Bernie Sanders and four chosen by Wasserman Schultz. While other publications will certainly pick over the bones of the rest of the committee, one in particular stands out as interesting to TF readers.

Howard L Berman is an attorney and former U.S. Representative. He’s employed at Covington & Burling as a lobbyist and represents the MPAA on matters including “Intellectual property issues in trade agreements, bilateral investment treaties, copyright, and related legislation.”

It will come as no surprise then that the major studios have been donors throughout Berman’s political career. As shown in the image below, the top five contributors are all major movie companies.


Born in 1941, Berman’s work with the film industry earned him the nickname “the congressman from Hollywood” and over the years he’s been at the root of some of the most heated debates over the protection of intellectual property.

In 2007 and as later confirmed by Wikileaks, Berman was one of the main proponents of ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

Just five short years later Berman was at the heart of perhaps the biggest copyright controversy the world has ever seen when he became a co-sponsor of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

“The theft of American Intellectual Property not only robs those in the creative chain of adequate compensation, but it also stunts potential for economic growth, cheats our communities out of good paying jobs, and threatens future American innovation,” Berman said in the run-up to SOPA.

While these kinds of soundbites are somewhat common, it’s interesting to note that Berman showed particular aggression towards Google during hearings focusing on SOPA. On November 16, 2011, Berman challenged the search giant over its indexing of The Pirate Bay.

google-bayInsisting that there “is no contradiction between intellectual property rights protection and enforcement ensuring freedom of expression on the Internet,” Berman said that Google’s refusal to delist the entire site was unacceptable.

“All right. Well, explain to me this one,” Berman demanded of Google policy counsel Katherine Oyama.

“The Pirate Bay is a notorious pirate site, a fact that its founders proudly proclaim in the name of the site itself. In fact, the site’s operators have been criminally convicted in Europe. And yet…..U.S.-Google continues to send U.S. consumers to the site by linking to the site in your search results. Why does Google refuse to de-index the site in your search results?” he said.

Oyama tried to answer, noting that Google invests tens of millions of dollars into the problem. “We have hundreds of people around the world that work on it,” she said. “When it comes to copyright….”

Berman didn’t allow her to finish, repeating his question about delisting the whole site, again and again. Before Berman’s time ran out, Oyama was interrupted several more times while trying to explain that the DMCA requires takedowns of specific links, not entire domains. Instead, Berman suggested that Oyama should “infuse herself” with the notion that Google wanted to stop “digital theft.”

“[T]he DMCA is not doing the job. That is so obvious,” he said. “[Y]ou cannot look at what is going on since the passage of the DMCA and say Congress got it just right. Maintain the status quo.”

These arguments continue today in the “takedown, staydown” debate surrounding the ongoing review of the DMCA, with Hollywood lining up on one side and Google being held responsible for the actions of others on the other. But simply complaining about the DMCA is a little moderate for Berman.

Almost one and a half decades ago in the wake of Napster and before the rise of BitTorrent, Berman had a dream of dealing with peer-to-peer file-sharing by force. In 2002 he proposed the Peer To Peer Piracy Prevention Act, which would have allowed copyright holders to take extraordinary technical measures against file-sharers in order to stop the unauthorized distribution of their content.

H.R.5211 sought to amend Federal copyright law to protect a copyright owner from liability in any criminal or civil action “for impairing, with appropriate technology, the unauthorized distribution, display, performance, or reproduction of his or her copyrighted work on a publicly accessible peer-to-peer file trading network.”

The bill didn’t deal in specifics, but “impairing” was widely believed to be a euphemism for DDoS and poisoning attacks on individual file-sharers in order to make sharing impossible from their computers.

At the time “shared-folder” type sharing apps were still popular so bombarding networks with fake and badly named files would also have been fair game, although distributing viruses and malware were not on the table. Eventually, however, the bill died.

Berman, on the other hand, appears to be very much alive and will be soon helping to draft the Democratic Party platform. On past experience his input might not be too difficult to spot.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

The 100 best stories from Radium Age sci-fi, which ruled the early 20th century

The Radium Age, 1904-1933, popularized stories about mutants, robots, ESP, and dystopia.

You've probably heard of science fiction's Golden Age, that incredible period in the 1940s and '50s when masters of the genre like Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, and Jack Vance were in their primes. But the early 20th century was an even weirder and more fantastic time for science fiction, when the genre was still in flux and the atomic bomb hadn't yet transformed our ideas about the future forever. Sci-fi historian and editor Joshua Glenn has just finished a multi-year project to bring what he calls the Radium Age back into the public eye. He has brought ten Radium Age classics back into print through his indie press HiLo Books, and he has written a number of fascinating guides to the great books of that era. Now, with his definitive list of the 100 best stories and novels of the Radium Age (1904-33), he's bringing the project to a close. But the journey for you, dear reader, is just beginning.

I've always been intrigued by the excavation of forgotten sci-fi, which is why I asked Glenn to write some of his first essays about Radium Age books several years ago for io9. "With Radium Age sci-fi, I wanted to surface and read all the best novels from that overlooked era and then introduce the era to others—so at first, I figured that writing a series for io9 would suffice," he told Ars via e-mail. "But once I realized that some of the best sci-fi from the 1904-33 period had fallen into utter obscurity, I felt compelled to start an imprint and reissue 10 of the titles that seemed most worthy of resurrecting." Now that other publishers have started releasing some of the novels on his best-of list, it seems that Glenn was on the cutting edge of a cultural revival of futuristic tales that are a century old. What's incredible about looking back on the Radium Age is that you realize so many of the science fiction themes we think of as solidly contemporary—from post-humans and the singularity, to zombie-populated dystopias—actually got their start way back in the early 1900s.

Describing some of these themes, Glenn told Ars:

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Sex with 17-year-old girl is legal in Texas—sexted pics of her are kid porn

Man faces kid porn charges for having nude pics of lover who is of consenting age.

(credit: Pro Juventute)

Try to follow along. In Texas, it's legal to have sex with somebody as young as 17 years old. But it's considered child pornography to have nude pictures of somebody under 18, even if he or she is 17.

Aldo Leiva, 51. (credit: Harris County Sheriff's Office)

This means a 51-year-old Houston math tutor is facing 20 years in prison and may have to register as a sex offender for life in connection to accusations that his mobile phone contained child pornography—which were the nude photos that his 17-year-old student-girlfriend had texted him. The case against Aldo Leiva came to light after the girl's mother found explicit pictures on her daughter's mobile phone. The Houston Independent School District Police Department opened an investigation, which led to the charges against the Houston High tutor, according to court records.

Leiva posted $20,000 bond last week, and a local judge issued a no-contact order between the girl and the tutor. According to court records (PDF), the tutor gave police his phone and unlocked it for them, and nude images of the girl were allegedly recovered.

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Finally, you can load Fallout 4 mods on Xbox One

PS4 version can be customized later in the month.

A Eurogamer video lays out how to use Fallout 4 mods on Xbox One in detail

For decades, PC gaming elitists have lorded their ability to download imaginative game mods over their dirty console gaming peasant cousins. That advantage goes away today... at least for one major recent release. Bethesda just launched an update that allows Xbox One players to download and run Fallout 4 mods (though the Bethesda mod servers seem to be melting under the strain at the moment). A similar update for the PS4 is promised for later in June.

There are a few caveats to consider before exploring the freewheeling modding scene, as Bethesda discussed in a livestream last week. All mods have to be downloaded to the console through the in-game interface (which requires a BethesdaNet account), and there's a 2GB limit to total mod storage per system. While loading the wrong mods (or loading them in the wrong order) could make the game temporarily unplayable, you don't have to worry about screwing up your save game while playing with mods loaded—a separate "modded save" will be stored alongside the standard version. Achievements and Trophies can't be earned while using mods.

Bethesda says it will be cracking down on nudity and the use of outside copyrighted content in the console mods it hosts, so forget about your dreams of running a naked Master Chief through the post-apocalyptic wasteland. As of now, 888 of the 1375 PC mods listed on the Bethesda Workshop for the game have been approved for the Xbox One, and that ratio will likely go up as Bethesda does more testing.

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Google Promotes Pirate Movie Ratings In Search Snippet

Google and Hollywood are not on the best of terms and this isn’t going to change anytime soon. While the movie studios are urging Google to increase its anti-piracy efforts, the search engine is now overtly promoting movie ratings of a pirate site. The move is likely a mistake, but it certainly doesn’t help to move things along.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

google-bayIn recent years Hollywood has taken a rather aggressive approach against Google. The movie studios believe that the search engine isn’t doing enough to limit piracy, and have demanded more stringent measures.

One of the suggestions often made is to boost the visibility of legal movie services in search results. For example, show a list of streaming and download portals when users search for a movie.

In recent months Google has experimented with exactly this. People who search for classic “pirate” terms may see ads for legal options. In addition, the search engine now shows a snippet with all sorts of movie details when people search for a title.

This movie information also includes reviews and ratings from around the web, with links to IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and other prominent sites. A useful feature for sure, but Hollywood will not like all of the sites that are featured.

Among various established sources, Google is also showing ratings from the “pirate” streaming site FMovies. As can be seen below, FMovies user ratings are tucked between IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, using the rather inviting title “Watch Free Movies Online.”

Watch Free Movies Online (context, different search)


While FMovies ratings only appear incidentally, we have seen it across different browsers and on both desktop and mobile searches.

The link in question points directly to the FMovies page where a high quality stream of the film is readily available. In addition, users can opt to download it directly to their computer or mobile device.

Love (2015)


The FMovies ratings appear in the movie snippet because FMovies is using Google’s review markup. This allows any site to be featured there, when it complies with all the quality guidelines.

When Google announced the ratings feature last year it said it offers “publishers with an opportunity to increase the discoverability and consumption of their reviews using markup,” but we doubt that pirate sites are meant to be included.

Ironically, one of the tools that is supposed to divert people from pirate searches is now used to link people to one directly. Mistake or not, the movie studios will use these and other examples to argue that Google still has a long way to go.

Meanwhile, FMovies is enjoying the free traffic, for as long as it lasts.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

No Man’s Anger: A peaceful game’s delay sparks online hate

Why is a two-month pushback generating death threats?

Artist's rendition of some random Internet user reacting to a two-month game delay. (credit: Flickr / Thoth, God of Knowledge)

As someone who has been immersed in gaming and Internet culture for decades, I'm no stranger to how fans with enflamed passions can spew some heated and at times hateful rhetoric about their favorite properties online. Random Internet users can and do generate huge volumes of uncivil discussion, harassment, and sometimes even threats over everything from Mass Effect 3's ending to arguments over review scores.

Still, a portion of the reaction to news of the No Man's Sky delay in recent days seems fundamentally different in a way that has been troubling me.

The basic news being discussed here is pretty boring by game industry standards. No Man's Sky, which developer Hello Games has been targeting for a June 2016 release since last October, was first rumored and then confirmed to be delayed to early August over the past week.

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