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04/04/2020 10:04:45  

Even before what is technically known as All This, my vices were decidedly homebound

At 41 and with three kids, there are precious few vices still available to me, and now there are even fewer. If I crave a big night, I get into bed at 8pm, reach for my laptop and rewatch the whole first series of Channel 4’s Stath Lets Flats. And if I’m having a proper massive one, I rewatch the second series, too.

But even before what is technically known as All This, my vices were decidedly homebound, and not just because I did them in my home, but because they were literally about homes. My wholly unguilty pleasure has long been the magazine Architectural Digest, specifically its tours of celebrity homes. It is no exaggeration to describe these articles as an obsession, because they hit my two weakest spots: the private lives of famous people and eccentric home decor. If you have talked to me at any point over the past five years, you probably thought I was listening; but I was almost certainly thinking about news anchor Anderson Cooper’s wall of devotional oratories, Sharon Stone’s fur-covered armchairs, or Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s all-white mansion. Daily, I cherish the interior shot of the Kardashian-Wests with their four children, all dressed in white, looking less like the inhabitants of a luxury family home and more as if they’ve been sectioned in a secure psychiatric unit.

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03/04/2020 18:04:44  

What you can do to suspend payments or get refunds during the coronavirus crisis

You are paying monthly for your car insurance – but no longer using your car. You have an expensive season ticket for travel into work on the train – but now you are at home. You’re paying for a football TV channel – but there are no matches. And your daughter is back from her closed university – but is still having to pay residence hall fees. What payments can be frozen and what refunds can you request during the coronavirus crisis?

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03/04/2020 13:04:38  

Despite an amazing performance from Brooklynn Prince, Apple have got to be kidding with this based-on-a-true-story drama about a precocious young hack

Child worship, the US author Florence King once wrote, is America’s gross national product. Whether you react with horror or delight at this idea will go a long way towards predicting how fully you will embrace Apple TV+’s latest offering, Home Before Dark.

The 10-part series, released in its entirety on the streaming platform, is inspired by the real-life work of Hilde Lysiak, who at the age of nine managed to scoop seasoned professional journalists on a local murder case. She overheard a stray remark at her local police station, followed it up and published a report in the local paper – which she had started as a family newsletter and had grown into a YouTube channel and print publication with subscription membership.

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03/04/2020 06:04:39  

Beijing ‘aims to turn national disaster into global triumph’ with help of TV news channel and Twitter

The Chinese state is ramping up its English-language media campaigns in a bid to defend the country’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, highlight the failings of western governments, and raise China’s standing on the world stage.

Photographs of Chinese aid – dubbed “facemask diplomacy” – arriving at Heathrow on Saturday including boxes labelled “Keep Calm and Cure Coronavirus” have been promoted to UK audiences by the Xinhua news agency. Some younger Chinese diplomats have used English-language Twitter, which is banned within China, to spread false suggestions that the virus may have been started by the west to discredit the Chinese state.

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02/04/2020 21:04:01  

The internet is rife with online communities where users can go and share Zoom conference codes and request that pranksters connect and hurl insults, play pornographic material, or make death threats against other participants -- in a practice called Zoom-bombing or a Zoom raid. From a report: ZDNet began tracking the tactic since mid-March when the term was first coined following a TechCrunch article. Ever since then, Zoom-bombing incidents have increased, as articles in major news outlets like the New York Times and the BBC have made the practice a favorite pastime for all the teenagers stuck in their homes during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantines. From a niche prank that started on a derelict Discord channel, Zoom-bombing has now spread to enormous proportions -- being so rampant these days that the FBI sent a nationwide alert last week, urging companies, schools, and universities to take steps to secure their Zoom channels. But as Zoom-bombing became more popular, more pranksters wanted to join on the fun, and more users wanted their friends' Zoom meetings disrupted. And as the old saying goes; where there's a demand, there's always a supply. Over the course of the past week, the number of places on the public internet where you can request a zoom raid from a gang of bored teenagers has exploded.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

02/04/2020 07:04:19  

Ant Middleton may have outed himself as a prize pillock, but there’s still plenty of guilty pleasure in watching him put the likes of Katie Price and John Fashanu through their paces

In these testing times, a show like SAS: Who Dares Wins feels a little out of place. Its brand of all-outside, roughty-toughness – especially when it comes fronted by Coronavirus Bellend-in-Chief Ant Middleton – suddenly feels very old fashioned. Now, if there was a show called SAS: Who Stays Inside Wins, then that might be worth watching.

But, still, Channel 4 has made a new celebrity version (coming soon, it says, mysteriously), and has just announced the line-up. Perhaps we should rank the new influx in reverse order of who we’ll most enjoy watching being tortured.

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01/04/2020 11:03:45  

Dan Goodin writes via Ars Technica: For almost three years, OpenWRT -- the open source operating system that powers home routers and other types of embedded systems -- has been vulnerable to remote code-execution attacks because updates were delivered over an unencrypted channel and digital signature verifications are easy to bypass, a researcher said. Security researcher Guido Vranken, however, recently found that updates and installation files were delivered over unencrypted HTTPs connections, which are open to attacks that allow adversaries to completely replace legitimate updates with malicious ones. The researcher also found that it was trivial for attackers with moderate experience to bypass digital-signature checks that verify a downloaded update as the legitimate one offered by OpenWTR maintainers. The combination of those two lapses makes it possible to send a malicious update that vulnerable devices will automatically install. [...] The researcher said that OpenWRT maintainers have released a stopgap solution that partially mitigates the risk the bug poses. The mitigation requires new installations to be "set out from a well-formed list that would not sidestep the hash verification. However, this is not an adequate long-term solution because an attacker can simply provide an older package list that was signed by the OpenWRT maintainers." From there, attackers can use the same exploits they would use on devices that haven't received the mitigation. OpenWRT maintainers didn't immediately respond to questions asking why installation and update files are delivered over HTTP and when a longer-term fix might be available. In the meantime, OpenWRT users should install either version 18.06.7 or 19.07.1, both of which were released in February. These updates provide the stopgap mitigation.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

31/03/2020 20:04:00  

It’s an even better start now! Filippo Inzaghi has given Juventus the lead from the corner. Zidane took it short to Di Livio, received the return and curled a wicked first-time cross into the six-yard area. Inzaghi was the only Juventus player in there, but he got away from Neville at the far post to volley in from two yards.

Neville’s defending was less than ideal. He was thrown by a sudden movement from Inzaghi and ended up trying to manhandle him, like a bouncer bundling somebody out the back door of a nightclub. He wasn’t even looking at the ball as it flashed across the face of goal onto Inzaghi’s right foot.

6 min Davids shields the ball from Keane near the halfway line, then suddenly opens United up with a marvellous pass down the inside-left channel. Beckham slides in ahead of Pessotto to concede a corner. This is a strong start from Juventus.

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31/03/2020 20:03:38  

Apple acquired popular mobile weather service Dark Sky to help bolster the Weather applications on its devices. From a report: The service, which has existed on the web and on iPhone and Android platforms, stood out from the competition by offering more specific data and notifications such as when it is about to rain. Dark Sky announced the deal on its website, saying "we're thrilled to have the opportunity to reach far more people, with far more impact, than we ever could alone." The companies didn't specify the price of the deal. Apple has included a Weather app on its devices since the first iPhone and currently gets its data from The Weather Channel. It could use this purchase to revamp its Weather app.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

31/03/2020 19:03:34  

Satellite radio giant SiriusXM announced today it's made its 300-plus channel streaming service available for free in North America starting today through May 15.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

30/03/2020 23:03:43  

The ‘Wacko Jacko’ persona was a deliberate ruse to cover a much darker truth, says Jacques Peretti as he examines his own complicity in letting the pop star off the hook

If you keep wondering what to think about Michael Jackson’s complicated legacy – is it OK to play Billie Jean at a party? Do you have to switch radio stations if Smooth Criminal comes on? – imagine how Jacques Peretti feels. He has made three films about the pop icon in the past 15 years and in this, his fourth, he aimed to build the fullest picture yet. But how many of us are brave enough to confront that picture?

The Real Michael Jackson (BBC Two) comes just over a year after the broadcast of HBO/Channel 4’s Leaving Neverland, a gruelling, four-hour documentary built around the detailed accounts of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who say they were sexually abused by Jackson as children. Peretti’s film was initially billed as a rival Jackson film, but in the event, it’s much more like an unofficial sequel; a film that could not exist if Leaving Neverland hadn’t cleared the media’s hagiographic haze, but which also provides necessary context on the huge fallout from Jackson’s 2009 death.

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30/03/2020 15:03:02  

Channel 4 has appointed Dispatches editor Louisa Compton as the channel’s new Head of News, replacing Dorothy Byrne following the abrupt news she is standing down. Byrne’s departure was widely seen as an attempt to thaw relations with Number 10, who were not happy with Byrne’s ‘Boris is a Liar’ speech over the summer… Compton, however, […]

The post Louisa Compton New Head of Channel 4 News appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

29/03/2020 20:03:36  

About 2,100 migrants in Calais and Dunkirk are fearful of being dispersed across new centres by French authorities

Up to 2,100 refugees in Calais and Dunkirk are facing an imminent coronavirus lockdown by French authorities, with many saying they will try to reach the UK rather than go to accommodation centres if their camps are cleared.

Buses will be sent to the camps to transfer refugees to centres housing up to 100 people from Tuesday. The transfers are said to be voluntary but some of the refugees told the Guardian that they distrust the police and are fearful of being forced into the centres, so plan to run away and continue in their attempts to cross the Channel.

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29/03/2020 18:03:13  

Friday's first-ever remote meeting for the Los Angeles City Council had to shut down for 20 minutes because of pranksters posting "pornographic videos". The Los Angeles Daily News has the story: Council President Nury Martinez called a recess about an hour into the meeting, which is centered around a Los Angeles-centric relief package for workers, renters and homeless people during the public health crisis. She said there were "inappropriate videos" being posted. Soon afterward, city officials' voices could be heard discussing turning peoples' video capabilities off on the channel. The reporter posted on Twitter that the meeting faced other challenges. "Councilman Joe Buscaino just yelled at his kids to be quiet." ("Maybe it's past Joe's bedtime," joked an assistant news editor.) The meeting ran on for nearly 11 hours, and by the end just six people remained in Zoom's meeting room. "Seven people on the 15-member City Council voted to ban all evictions in Los Angeles, with 6 against. But that was not enough to pass the ban. They needed 8 votes."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

28/03/2020 14:36:28  

The Body Coach TV has daily exercises for children to stay active in Covid-19 lockdown

Fitness coach Joe Wicks has said he is donating “every single penny” of the money made by his online PE sessions to the NHS.

Wicks’s YouTube channel, The Body Coach TV, has live fitness sessions every day at 9am, aimed at children in a bid to help them stay active while the UK is in lockdown and schools are closed.

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27/03/2020 16:36:14  

Kremlin-backed channel fails to overturn Ofcom ruling that also related to Syria coverage

The Kremlin-backed news channel RT has lost a high court challenge to overturn a ruling by the UK media regulator that it broadcast biased programmes relating to the novichok poisoning in Salisbury and the war in Syria.

Ofcom fined RT £200,000 after determining that seven programmes, including two presented by the former MP George Galloway, were in breach of UK broadcasting rules relating to due impartiality regarding matters of political controversy.

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27/03/2020 13:36:20  

The Brixton cruiserweight was on the cusp of hitting it big as the coronavirus crisis stopped boxing for the foreseeable future, but he is no stranger to isolation and is taking the blow in his stride

“I know I can go through hell,” Isaac Chamberlain says calmly as, rather than making his comeback on Saturday night in a fight which had offered him so much hope, the most interesting boxer in Britain settles back into another testing period of isolation. “I’ve sacrificed so much it’s got to the point that it’s become normal to me to go through these trials and tribulations. The world is in a very tough place right now but I just think: ‘I’ve been here before, in a very dark place. This is how my life has been for a long time.”

Chamberlain’s latest spell of solitude has been enforced by coronavirus, which led to the inevitable cancellation of Saturday’s bill in Coventry. His return was meant to be screened live on Channel 5. A second fight, on 25 April in London, has also been abandoned and so the Brixton cruiserweight has been consigned again to the wilderness.

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27/03/2020 13:36:18  

He found fame as Baldrick in Blackadder but Tony Robinson is equally proud of his documentary work. With a new series celebrating global train travel, he reflects on lockdown, his socialist beliefs and why he doesn’t miss acting

Three weeks ago, Tony Robinson completed a six-part series for Channel 5 – it starts tonight – charting a journey that took him around the world by train. Now, like the rest of us, he is being told not to walk to the end of the street. We were due to meet face to face for this interview, but we have to talk by phone instead. The upside is we have all the time in the world. “I’m one of those people who a few weeks ago would have looked at my watch and said: ‘Is 10 minutes all right?’” he says. “But now …” He trails off. Everything has been cancelled: shooting on two other series; preparing a pitch for a third. What had been a crowded diary is empty.

“All my performance work went in one day,” he says. “Had that happened at another time I would have been so pissed off you can’t imagine. But when it’s happening to everybody, you just think: ‘Oh, this is the way life is now.’” What did annoy him was that some of those postponing projects thought his age – he is 73 – might mean he couldn’t resume them in the future. “That was distressing,” he says. “It’s just old-fashioned ageism.”

What is filling his life instead is a six-year-old west highland terrier he and his wife Louise have just brought back from an RSPCA rescue centre in Derby. “It was probably our last long car journey for a year. Who knows?” he says. “She’s called Holly Berry and our flat [in west London] is full of joy. She’s had a gruelling life and it’s nice to pour our interest into an animal whose confidence is growing by the day.”

Robinson is an obsessive worker, a fact obvious from a CV that encompasses acting, presenting, writing (TV series, children’s books, an autobiography) and politics – he was on Labour’s National Executive Committee from 2000 to 2004. He says he will carry on writing during the crisis, but also looks forward to spending more time with his wife and will “tidy drawers that haven’t been tidied for at least seven years”.

Fortunately, the series for Channel 5 survived the lockdown. He travels across southern Europe, glories in the street life of South America, takes a train through Mexico and California, explores Canada and heads home via Russia and Scandinavia. It is an epic undertaking, conducted at whistlestop speed, and there are times when he looks knackered.

“It’s a celebration of life, a celebration of other people, a celebration of the world and of adventure,” he says. “Everything is so gloomy at the moment, but I was doing the final voiceover at a time when we could just explode with fun and laughter and my idiocy in the face of adversity, and we need to hold on to that. There’s a limited amount of time during which we can mourn what’s going to happen.”

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26/03/2020 22:36:16  

The series that introduced us to six disabled infants in 2003 returns in fine form as they approach adulthood, in what might be the last time for some of the participants

I remember them being born, Emily, Hamish, William, Shelbie, Zoe and Nathan. And now they’re all grown up. How did that happen? It’s a question that takes on additional meaning in this context. Emily et al are the subjects of the documentary series Born to Be Different (Channel 4), which has been following the children since 2003 as they grow up with different disabilities: some profound, some less so, some multiple, some hidden, some visible. The instalments arrive every few years: this is the 10th series, and sees them all turn 18.

For some, this is a milestone they were never expected to reach. It may also be the last one. Two of the documentary “family” are now in palliative care. Shelbie, always the most severely disabled of the children, and her extraordinary, indomitable mother, Vicky, and stepfather, Nick, are reaching the end of their time together. And still, as her daughter’s health crises concertina ever closer together, Vicky’s spirit does not quail. Shelbie’s stats drop dangerously low every night, and Vicky and Nick bring her back from the brink of death knowing that soon they will not, cannot succeed. In the meantime, they plan a funeral that Shelbie would enjoy.

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26/03/2020 16:36:13  

Seven ships remained off UK coast for unusually long time this month

Nine Royal Navy ships were involved in a major operation shadowing seven Russian vessels who had lingered in the Channel for several days this month as the coronavirus crisis was beginning to worsen in the UK.

The unusually high level of Russian activity concluded about a week and a half ago and navy officials said they believed it was primarily a response to western exercises in Europe rather than to a perception that the disease was leaving the UK vulnerable.

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26/03/2020 10:36:06  

As the coronavirus pandemic stops us from enjoying our favourites with our friends and family, come watch a classic from the BBC, ITV or Channel 4 with us

Long gone are the days when the idiot box was seen as a solitary activity that rots your brain. We’re in the golden age of television – and there’s no better way to enjoy it than with friends and family, gasping at the twists and turns of Inside No9 or the actions of Jessica after she downs another glass of Pinot on Love is Blind.

Sadly, one of the victims of the coronavirus pandemic has been the ability to come together to enjoy your favourite show – so we here at Guardian Towers thought it would be fun to revisit one of your favourite TV series of yesteryear and watch along all together, discussing it as we go in the comment thread.

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26/03/2020 03:36:14  

Livestreaming sport channel was already losing customers, but pay TV company hopes to stem losses by opening up more content

Foxtel is opening up more content to subscribers in an attempt to stem the exodus of customers after the AFL, NRL and A-League seasons were suspended because of Covid-19.

The pay TV company relies on its local and international sport rights to drive subscriptions to Foxtel and streaming service Foxtel Now, but its sport streaming service Kayo is the product in real danger now that live sport is on hold indefinitely.

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26/03/2020 02:32:43  

The stars of Channel 4's anarchic sitcom open up about the shenanigans on and off-screen.
25/03/2020 15:36:00  

Presenters aware viewers will be scrutinising their bookshelves and wallpaper as well as their coverage

Journalists presenting major news broadcasts from their homes ensures programmes remain on air throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but it also offers nosey viewers a chance to indulge one of Britain’s major obsessions: snooping around other people’s houses.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy, who has been co-presenting Channel 4 News from his home in recent days, is aware that people will be scrutinising what they can see in the background closely: “Obviously you don’t want to show very much of your house because you don’t want everyone judging your home decor. You need to create a corner that doesn’t cause too much offence or give away too many of the cracks in your wallpaper.”

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25/03/2020 08:35:50  

The world’s great art museums have closed their doors – but you can travel within their walls virtually to see treasures up close

Two weeks ago, Andy Warhol opened at Tate Modern, then closed again. The artist barely got his 15 minutes. If you need an Andy fix, why not visit the website of the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, which has the largest holdings of the artist’s work in the world? If you never got to see the National Gallery’s Titian exhibition (or even if you did), there are three Facebook Live conversations about the show are also available on the National Gallery’s YouTube channel along with many other videos about other works in the collection, and key ideas.

“There is no need for you to leave the house,” wrote Franz Kafka. “Stay at your table and listen. Don’t even listen, just wait. Don’t even wait, be completely quiet and alone. The world will offer itself to you to be unmasked; it can’t do otherwise; in raptures it will writhe before you.” I have to be careful with writhing, as my back is not what it was, and we are currently not allowed visitors, especially those who arrive unmasked. Nevertheless, a bit of rapture or ecstasy wouldn’t go amiss for any of us.

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