Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Harry Potter Finale Shatters US Box Office Record

LOS ANGELES: The final Harry Potter movie shattered the record for an opening weekend at the North American box office, industry trackers said.

Muggles -- non-magical people -- of all ages handed over a collective $169.2 million as they flocked to see "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2," the eighth and final film about the boy wizard.

The haul is $11 million more the previous opening weekend record of $158-million set in 2008 by the Batman film "The Dark Knight."

"DH-2" had already raked in a record $92.1 million in opening day sales, smashing the previous record held by "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," which took $72.7 million in 2009.

In the finale to one of the most successful film franchises of all time, released in both 2D and 3D versions, Harry takes on evil Lord Voldemort in a climactic showdown at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

James Harrison Does More Harm To Steeler's Image

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a sexually assaulting, drunk-driving, bin Laden-loving, gun-toting, head-hunting, in-fighting, gay-bashing, finger-pointing rogue outfit. And most of that was just in the past couple of months.

Some of it is just allegations and some interpretation. And this is certainly not a statement on gun control, but instead just about image.

The Steelers' image as the gold-standard of NFL righteousness was always mythology anyway.
But with Hines Ward’s arrest for alleged DUI, Rashard Mendenhall’s tweets about the U.S. not hearing Osama bin Laden’s side of the story and Ben Roethlisberger’s lingering bad-guy standing, things were changing. Now, after James Harrison’s cover story in the upcoming issue of Men’s Journal, it has all added up to a new image for the Steelers. They have touched on, danced on, stomped on, just about every part of the stereotype of athletes behaving badly. It tops off with Harrison’s cover photo.

Imagine what NFL commissioner Roger Goodell must have felt Wednesday morning when he saw Harrison, the guy he has held as an example of dirty play, on the cover of a magazine, arms folded across his chest, holding a gun in each hand under the headline: “Confessions of an NFL Hitman.”
Highlights in the article include Harrison calling Goodell a devil, a thief, a dictator and a puppet, and saying “If that man was on fire and I had to (urinate) to put him out, I wouldn’t do it. I hate him and will never respect him.”

And this about Harrison’s own quarterback, Roethlisberger, who threw big interceptions in the Super Bowl: “Hey, at least throw a pick on their side of the field instead of asking the D to bail you out again.

Read the full story and view his interview HERE

Flying Cars Legal Now?

A flying car? Doesn’t that deserve a place in the pantheon of crazy gizmos that we would never be able to see in our lifetime? Perhaps, but chances are quite high that the Britney Spears generation will be able to see one take to the skies – and the road, sometime during this life. After all, the Transition as the vehicle is called, has just received its clearance from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), making it road-worthy.

As for the skies, fret not – Terrafugia’s Transition has already gone through the paces at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for flight, where it is classified under the “light sport aircraft” category. 

Basically, the Transition is able to use the same tires it employed when it took off in 2009 for its air and road trials. The Transition is going to cost $200,000 if you want a two-in-one vehicle in your garage.

Source: Here

Monday, July 11, 2011

ISPs Agree For "Six Strikes"

American Internet users, get ready for three strikes "six strikes." Major US Internet providers—including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable—have just signed on to a voluntary agreement with the movie and music businesses to crack down on online copyright infringers. But they will protect subscriber privacy and they won't filter or monitor their own networks for infringement. And after the sixth "strike," you won't necessarily be "out."

Much of the scheme mirrors what ISPs do now. Copyright holders will scan the 'Net for infringement, grabbing suspect IP addresses from peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. If they see your IP address participating in a swarm for, say, Transformers, they will look up that IP address to see which ISP controls it, then fire off a message.

ISPs have committed to forward such notices to subscribers—though, crucially, they won't turn over actual subscriber names or addresses without a court order. This is a one-way notification process.

The agreement puts heavy emphasis on "education," going so far as to recast this behavior as some "right to know" on the part of parents unaware of a child's P2P activity. According to today's announcement materials, the goal is to "educate and stop the alleged content theft in question, not to punish. No ISP wants to lose a customer or see a customer face legal trouble based on a misunderstanding, so the alert system provides every opportunity to set the record straight."

It would be much easier to see "education" focus as a principled stand by content owners if they hadn't spent years suing such end users, securing absurd multi-million dollar judgments in cases that they are still pursuing in court. As it is, the shift looks more like a pragmatic attempt to solve a real problem through less aggressive measures after the failure of scorched earth tactics.