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14/12/2018 18:06:13  

Some YouTube channels are publishing full-length episodes of TV shows, rights of which they obviously do not own, and on top of this, they are trying to crowdfund their piracy efforts by asking viewers to donate some cash. From a report: YouTube creators asking for money is nothing new, be it through the site's built-in membership features or third-party services such as Patreon. But trying to profit off someone else's intellectual property isn't the same as asking for support on an original video they've created. The person who runs the Kitchen Nightmares Hotel Hell and Hell's Kitchen channel did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Engadget, but their Patreon page (named YoIUploadShows) isn't coy. "Hey! It's not as easy as you might think to make my content, I have to look for the best quality episodes I can find, download them, convert them, edit them, render them and upload them," YoIUploadShows' Patreon page reads. "This can sometimes take at least a few hours. Especially because the downloads are usually slow and the rendering itself can take a couple hours, because I started making all my uploads in HD instead of 480p to give them a little extra clarity." It's not easy, folks, so for that he or she "would really appreciate the extra support if you have any money to spare :)"

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12/12/2018 11:05:34  

The new Metropolitan Opera director, shaking things up with the first female composers and a production of Lincoln in the Bardo, shares how he’s going to lure new audiences to the opera

In the late 1990s the Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, spending a weekend in New York City, found himself one afternoon “just wandering towards” the Upper West Side. He was with his partner, the Canadian violist Pierre Tourville, walking up Broadway. They turned a corner and “there it was”, he recalls, “the plaza and the fountain and the arches of the Met. Pierre said to me: ‘One day it’s going to be your house,’ and we sort of laughed. I must have been 22. But it wasn’t something that was so out of the question that it couldn’t be a dream. And here we are all this time later and it’s happened.”

Nézet-Séguin, now 43, officially took over as music director of the Metropolitan opera house in August. Earlier this week he was in the pit for his first production in post, a new La Traviata, starring Diana Damrau and Juan Diego Flórez, which will be streamed worldwide as part of the Met’s Live in HD cinema serieson 15 December. His arrival comes at a crucial moment for the organisation. The Met, not alone among major opera houses, is wrestling with the perennial problems of finance and audience emerging from the tension of having to balance the preferences of its traditional subscribers – older, richer, more conservative in their tastes – with the need to encourage a new generation. In recent years the house has also attracted protests against a controversial production of John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer and endured protracted backstage labour disputes with craft unions. The popular line was that there was as much action off stage as on. “But of course everything is dramatic,” laughs Nézet-Séguin. “It’s opera!”

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11/12/2018 17:05:27  

Chris Siebenmann, a Unix Systems Administrator at University of Toronto, writes about the inability to figure out the bottleneck when an SSD dies: What unnerves me about these sorts of abrupt SSD failures is how inscrutable they are and how I can't construct a story in my head of what went wrong. With spinning HDs, drives might die abruptly but you could at least construct narratives about what could have happened to do that; perhaps the spindle motor drive seized or the drive had some other gross mechanical failure that brought everything to a crashing halt (perhaps literally). SSDs are both solid state and opaque, so I'm left with no story for what went wrong, especially when a drive is young and isn't supposed to have come anywhere near wearing out its flash cells (as this SSD was). (When a HD died early, you could also imagine undetected manufacturing flaws that finally gave way. With SSDs, at least in theory that shouldn't happen, so early death feels especially alarming. Probably there are potential undetected manufacturing flaws in the flash cells and so on, though.) When I have no story, my thoughts turn to unnerving possibilities, like that the drive was lying to us about how healthy it was in SMART data and that it was actually running through spare flash capacity and then just ran out, or that it had a firmware flaw that we triggered that bricked it in some way.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

06/12/2018 18:04:24  

An anonymous reader shares a report: At 9:46 last night, Tom tweeted an 87-second video in which he and his go-to director Christopher McQuarrie explained the concept of video interpolation and why it is the death of all good things. Video interpolation, they explained, is a digital video effect used to improve the quality of high-definition sport. "The unfortunate effect is that it makes most movies look like they were shot on high-speed video rather than film," said Cruise. "This is sometimes referred to as the 'soap-opera effect'." They explained that most HD televisions come with video interpolation switched on by default, they explained how to switch it off, and then they both nodded with total sincerity. Now, it's worth noting that Tom Cruise is by no means the first film-maker to rail against motion smoothing. Back when he was still the Guardians of the Galaxy director, James Gunn tweeted that he, Edgar Wright, Rian Johnson and Matt Reeves were also peeved about the default nature of video interpolation, to which Reed Morano replied that she started a petition to fix the issue a number of years ago, to little avail. Why did it fail? Possibly because none of these people are Tom Cruise. Because Tom Cruise has made a career of total commitment. Take him to a premiere and he'll spend hours on the red carpet, shaking every single hand until everyone's happy. Put him in a movie with helicopters in it and he'll teach himself to fly a helicopter to the level of a veteran stunt coordinator. Break his ankle on the side of a building, and he'll stagger out of frame on his ruined legs rather than blow a shot.

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01/12/2018 20:03:04  

AmiMoJo writes: Japanese broadcaster NHK is launching the world's first 8K TV channel with a special edition of 2001: A Space Odyssey. NHK asked Warner Bros. to scan the original negatives at 8K specially for the channel. 8K offers 16 times the resolution of standard HD, 120 frames per second progressive scan, and 24 channels of sound. NHK is hoping to broadcast the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on the channel. 17 other channels also began broadcasting 4K programming today, according to Japan Times, even though, as Engadget points out, "almost no one has an 8K display, and most of the people who do need a special receiver and antenna just to pick up the signal... Also, HDMI 2.1 hasn't been implemented in any of these displays yet, so just getting the signal from box to TV requires plugging in four HDMI cables." NHK's channel will broadcast for 12 hours a day, reports the BBC, adding that Samsung already sells an 8K TV for $15,000, and that LG has announced one too, while Engadget reports that Sharp sells one for $6,600.

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22/11/2018 13:02:04  

Rose Tremain and Robin Robertson have criticised poets for abandoning ‘craft’ – but that argument silences the possibilities offered by new voices

Novelist Rose Tremain thinks poetry these days is overrated. “Let’s dare to say it out loud: contemporary poetry is in a rotten state,” she told the TLS this week. “Having binned all the rules, most poets seem to think that rolling out some pastry-coloured prose, adding a sprinkling of white space, then cutting it up into little shapelets will do. I’m fervently hoping for something better soon.”

Had Tremain really managed to miss the whole of modernism? After all, the modernists swore they had “binned all the rules” at or around the end of the 19th century. For anyone, much less a writer, 20th-century modernist poets are hard to miss; whether it is the sediments of Eliot or Pound, or the brilliant treasures of HD, Mina Loy or Hope Mirrlees. Had Tremain leapt over the cross-currents of the next 100 years from Tennyson to Walter de la Mare to Philip Larkin, flat-footing it on their bald, smooth verse to land on some plaintive lyrical bank of our new century?

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22/11/2018 08:01:57  

The Bad Astronomer writes: A nearby star, HD 186302, was almost certainly born from the same cloud of gas the Sun was 4.6 billion years ago. Astronomers have found it has an almost identical chemical composition as the Sun, is on a similar orbit around the Milky Way, and has the same age (within uncertainties). Interestingly, it's only 184 light years away, implying statistically many more such stars are waiting to be discovered.

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17/10/2018 14:56:29  

Pete Warden, an engineer and CTO of Jetpac, writes: When I talk to people about machine learning on phones and devices I often get asked "What's the killer application?". I have a lot of different answers, everything from voice interfaces to entirely new ways of using sensor data, but the one I'm most excited about in the near-team is compression. Despite being fairly well-known in the research community, this seems to surprise a lot of people, so I wanted to share some of my personal thoughts on why I see compression as so promising. I was reminded of this whole area when I came across an OSDI paper on "Neural Adaptive Content-aware Internet Video Delivery". The summary is that by using neural networks they're able to improve a quality-of-experience metric by 43% if they keep the bandwidth the same, or alternatively reduce the bandwidth by 17% while preserving the perceived quality. There have also been other papers in a similar vein, such as this one on generative compression [PDF], or adaptive image compression. They all show impressive results, so why don't we hear more about compression as a machine learning application? All of these approaches require comparatively large neural networks, and the amount of arithmetic needed scales with the number of pixels. This means large images or video with high frames-per-second can require more computing power than current phones and similar devices have available. Most CPUs can only practically handle tens of billions of arithmetic operations per second, and running ML compression on HD video could easily require ten times that. The good news is that there are hardware solutions, like the Edge TPU amongst others, that offer the promise of much more compute being available in the future. I'm hopeful that we'll be able to apply these resources to all sorts of compression problems, from video and image, to audio, and even more imaginative approaches.

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16/10/2018 23:56:34  

A couple months ago, it was reported that the dearly departed mobile brand known as Palm would be making a comeback. That day has finally come. Yesterday, Palm announced The Palm, a credit card-sized Android smartphone that's supposed to act as a second phone. Droid Life reports: The Palm, which is its name, is a mini-phone with a 3.3-inch HD display that's about the size of a credit card, so it should fit nicely in your palm. It could be put on a chain or tossed in a small pocket or tucked just about anywhere, thanks to that small size. It's still a mostly fully-featured smartphone, though, with cameras and access to Android apps and your Verizon phone number and texts. The idea here is that you have a normal phone with powerful processor and big screen that you use most of the time. But when you want to disconnect some, while not being fully disconnected, you could grab Palm instead of your other phone. It uses Verizon's NumberSync to bring your existing phone number with you, just like you would if you had an LTE smartwatch or other LTE equipped device. Some of the specs of this Verizon-exclusive phone include a Snapdragon 435 processor with 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 12MP rear and 8MP front cameras, 800mAh battery, IP68 water and dust resistance, and Android 8.1. As Kellen notes, "It does cost $350, which is a lot for a faux phone..." We've already seen a number of gadget fans perplexed by this device. Digital Trends goes as far as calling it "the stupidest product of the year."

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