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Blockbuster withdraws Hollywood merger bid

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Movies

Blockbuster said yesterday that it has dropped its $991 million offer to acquire rival video-rental chain Hollywood Entertainment, which officially expired Thursday at midnight.

This Week's Movies, part 2: The Ring Two

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Movies
Reviews
-s

The Ring Two may have had one of the biggest premier weekends in recent history, grossing over $35 million, but I'd bet that'll be the bulk of it. After word gets around what a stinker this movie was waiting lines should be much shorter.

This Week's Movies: The Jacket and The Pacifier

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Movies
Reviews
-s

The Pacifier staring Vin Diesel was your basic Disney feel good movie. Formulaic, by-the-numbers plot and cookie cutter script are dressed up by an admirable performance from my favorite action hero and yours, Vin Diesel.

The Jacket was an imaginative pychological mystery with an intriguing plot and engaging dialogue. The actors did a marvelous job of portraying their characters. They made an unbelievable scenario plausible.

Open Source Movie by TheWeblogProject

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Movies
OSS

TheWeblogProject premieres a revolutionary and innovative way to movie production, and one which according to its creators, may seriously start to challenge Hollywood in the near future.

TheWeblogProject is in fact the first grassroots film that will be freely distributed, via the Internet and via those very P2P networks seen today as the major threats to Hollywood own sustainability.

TheWeblogProject is the first movie in which everyone can actively participate by sending in video clips.

Tarantino 'to make Friday sequel'

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Movies

"Director Quentin Tarantino is in talks to write and direct a new instalment in the Friday the 13th horror franchise, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The film-maker will reportedly meet executives from New Line Cinema this week to discuss the 12th film in the long-running 'stalk and slash' series."

Reefer Madness: the musical movie!

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Movies

"Hold on to your baggie, your bowl, and your DVD player - the madness is back!

Midnight classic Reefer Madness has been juiced up with dance routines, an all-star cast, a stirring Broadway score, mercilessly ironic song lyrics with a powerful political message, and best of all for the habitués of reefer dens around the world, a lot of laughs."

Link.

Halloween writer Debra Hill dies

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Movies
Obits

"Screenwriter and producer Debra Hill, best known for her work on the 70s horror classic Halloween, has died in Los Angeles aged 54."

The Rock solidifies Doom movie role

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Movies
Gaming

"Actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson revealed more information on the upcoming Doom film, based on id Software's hit franchise. Johnson, who was on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart promoting the film Be Cool, was prodded by Stewart about another upcoming project."

Hollywood Studios File New Round of Web Lawsuits

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Movies
Legal

"Hollywood's major movie studios filed a new round of lawsuits across the United States on Thursday against people who trade illegally copied films and TV shows on the Internet."

AMD in the Movies

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Hardware
Movies

"On May 19, the latest and final Star Wars prequel Revenge of the Sith will be heading to a theater near you. What you may not realize is that an Austin company played a role in getting it there. Austin's Advanced Micro Devices helped provide the force behind the film."

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More in Tux Machines

Openwashing Leftovers

The Last Independent Mobile OS

The year was 2010 and the future of mobile computing was looking bright. The iPhone was barely three years old, Google’s Android had yet to swallow the smartphone market whole, and half a dozen alternative mobile operating systems—many of which were devoutly open source—were preparing for launch. Eight years on, you probably haven’t even heard of most of these alternative mobile operating systems, much less use them. Today, Android and iOS dominate the global smartphone market and account for 99.9 percent of mobile operating systems. Even Microsoft and Blackberry, longtime players in the mobile space with massive revenue streams, have all but left the space. Then there’s Jolla, the small Finnish tech company behind Sailfish OS, which it bills as the “last independent alternative mobile operating system.” Jolla has had to walk itself back from the edge of destruction several times over the course of its seven year existence, and each time it has emerged battered, but more determined than ever to carve out a spot in the world for a truly independent, open source mobile operating system. After years of failed product launches, lackluster user growth, and supply chain fiascoes, it’s only been in the last few months that things finally seem to be turning to Jolla’s favor. Over the past two years the company has rode the wave of anti-Google sentiment outside the US and inked deals with large foreign companies that want to turn Sailfish into a household name. Despite the recent success, Jolla is far from being a major player in the mobile market. And yet it also still exists, which is more than can be said of every other would-be alternative mobile OS company. Read more

How I Quit Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon

It was just before closing time at a Verizon store in Bushwick, New York last May when I burst through the door, sweaty and exasperated. I had just sprinted—okay I walked, but briskly—from another Verizon outlet a few blocks away in the hopes I’d make it before they closed shop for the night. I was looking for a SIM card that would fit a refurbished 2012 Samsung Galaxy S3 that I had recently purchased on eBay, but the previous three Verizon stores I visited didn’t have any chips that would fit such an old model. When I explained my predicament to the salesperson, he laughed in my face. “You want to switch from you current phone to an... S3?” he asked incredulously. I explained my situation. I was about to embark on a month without intentionally using any services or products produced by the so-called “Big Five” tech companies: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. At that point I had found adequate, open source replacements for most of the services offered by these companies, but ditching the Android OS, which is developed by Google, was proving difficult. Most of the tech I use on a day-to-day basis is pretty utilitarian. At the time I was using a cheap ASUS laptop at work and a homebrew PC at my apartment. My phone was a Verizon-specific version of the Samsung Galaxy J3, a 2016 model that cost a little over $100 new. They weren't fancy, but they’ve reliably met most of my needs for years. For the past week and a half I had spent most of my evenings trying to port an independent mobile OS called Sailfish onto my phone without any luck. As it turned out, Verizon had locked the bootloader on my phone model, which is so obscure that no one in the vibrant Android hacking community had dedicated much time to figuring out a workaround. If I wanted to use Sailfish, I was going to have to get a different phone. Read more

RISC-V Will Stop Hackers Dead From Getting Into Your Computer

The greatest hardware hacks of all time were simply the result of finding software keys in memory. The AACS encryption debacle — the 09 F9 key that allowed us to decrypt HD DVDs — was the result of encryption keys just sitting in main memory, where it could be read by any other program. DeCSS, the hack that gave us all access to DVDs was again the result of encryption keys sitting out in the open. Because encryption doesn’t work if your keys are just sitting out in the open, system designers have come up with ingenious solutions to prevent evil hackers form accessing these keys. One of the best solutions is the hardware enclave, a tiny bit of silicon that protects keys and other bits of information. Apple has an entire line of chips, Intel has hardware extensions, and all of these are black box solutions. They do work, but we have no idea if there are any vulnerabilities. If you can’t study it, it’s just an article of faith that these hardware enclaves will keep working. Now, there might be another option. RISC-V researchers are busy creating an Open Source hardware enclave. This is an Open Source project to build secure hardware enclaves to store cryptographic keys and other secret information, and they’re doing it in a way that can be accessed and studied. Trust but verify, yes, and that’s why this is the most innovative hardware development in the last decade. Read more