Archive for Visual Evidence

NBC’s Bullshit-Laden Entirely Contrived Panic-Inducing “Sochi Personal Electronics Hacking Exposé” Is A Journalistic Embarassment

Sorry about the rather unwieldy headline, there. But really, there was no other way to approach this. Brian Williams of NBC – who used to be a real journalist and should definitely know better – put together this breathless report from Sochi that shows personal electronics being remotely compromised with malware and accessed by crackers within minutes of landing at the airport in Sochi. In the video you see a phone being “automatically” being taken over as soon as they turn it on, and two brand-new Macbook Pros being compromised just by turning them on at the hotel and leaving them running for an hour.

It’s the kind of thing that is frightening for average computer users and will get lots and lots of clicks and links and shares and oh my god this is awful what will we do?!?!

Except that the entire thing is a self-created and purposely staged sham, verging on a complete fabrication.

If you watch the unedited video, the whole thing is actually laughable
. Instead of the phone “automatically” downloading malware, the reporters followed an URL to an unknown site and then installed the linked software themselves. Whether or not it was even (as claimed by their security “expert”) malware is debatable, since they never actually said what the linked file was. And the Macbooks that were “remotely accessed while just sitting there”? They manually opened a file that was attached to an unknown email. And bypassed the system warnings telling them not to open it.

The whole thing is a farce. But you will see dozens and dozens of links to it today. Because that is what tech “journalism” has been reduced to. Fabricated bullshit laced with fear, in a sad and desperate attempt to get a few clicks.

Shame, Brian Williams. Shame.

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Mega Huge Football Game Ads

There was a time when Super Bowl ads were shrouded in secrecy … hush-hush and kept under wraps until the moment they were released to a breathless audience during the Big Game. Then Volkswagen realized that they could short circuit the whole thing by releasing their ad on YouTube a week early and getting millions of views for free. This was, as they say, a game-changer.

Pun intended.

Mercedes-Benz upped the ante last year with internet-only release the “feature-length” version of their spot, and now the gloves are off. Pretty much everyone is either releasing their ad, their teaser, their trailer, or their “making of” video now. Including Newcastle’s “making of the teaser for the trailer of the mega huge football ad that with could have made” which is quite frankly the best of the lot, hands down.

The only problem is keeping track of it all, and the gang over at Fast Company has you covered with the full roster of everything released so far, with thumbnail analysis and constantly updated as new stuff hits. Just the ticket for a completely unproductive end of the week. Enjoy.

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Apple Drops The (Snow)ball

Let’s just state the obvious first: Apple’s 2013 Christmas commercial is mostly brilliant. It looks great, it hits just the right balance of traditional sappiness .vs. modern cool, and it has a really nice twist-and-payoff ending. Better, the footage you see in the “finished product” was actually shot and edited on an iPhone 5S … a small but crucial distinction that is a big deal but really doesn’t seem to matter to other companies cough cough Nokia Samsung Blackberry cough.

But … there is a single glaring flaw in the commercial that sort of torpedoes the whole thing. When we see slacker kid constantly at his phone and seemingly ignoring the family, he is always holding the phone in portrait mode. But when the video plays, almost all of it is in landscape. Once you notice it, it becomes jarring and almost laughable, pretty much permanently spoiling any magic the spot could have otherwise woven. It’s also inexcusable, since the twist would not have been given way in any sort of manner by having the kid hold the phone correctly … kids oblivious to the world around them while holding phones in landscape mode are an entirely common sight.

I understand that the fenderheads at the average ad agency would have missed this one small yet wildly important detail. But someone at the top levels at Apple had to approve this ad, and they have no excuse for missing such a boneheaded misstep. It could have been one of the great soft-sell spots of all time. Instead, it’s 60 seconds of landscape fail.

Inexcusable. Period.

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Western Media, Explained

If you ever needed a nutshell course in how media works and what their priorities really are … it’s your lucky day. How the various media arms react to the Asteroid Apocalypse Of 2014 is not only wickedly hilarious … it’s also deadly accurate.

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The Mac Power Cord Double Wrap

Damn. Like everyone else commenting on this … why did I never figure this out?

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Reuters – Photos Of The Year 2013

The end of any calendar year always means year-end reviews from the assorted news agencies around the globe. The best of these are always the “year in photos” retrospectives and Reuters is first out of the gate with an amazing collection of some seriously powerful images. You should probably be aware that there are some rather graphic items in here … it’s easy to forget that we live in a hell of a nasty world.

It’s also stuff that needs to be shown. Every time someone tries to save a couple of bucks by shopping for cheap-ass “Joe Fresh” clothes at Loblaws, they should have to look at this picture first. In fact, Galen Weston – and his kids – should have to look at this every single day.

TIP: Click on the “View All Images” link under the first picture to browse through without the annoyance of a slideshow.

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Instant Art Lesson

How to draw a butt. The perfect addition to any Christmas card, really.

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The Ramen Rater .vs. God Of Patena

So I’ve long been a regular reader of “The Ramen Rater“. I have a serious soft spot for noodles in general, and I am all agog when I find some really primo instant ones. I’m also a huge fan of inexplicable Japanese TV – and the more unfathomable the show is, the better I like it. So when Hans the Ramen Rater was a guest on God Of Patena – on one of the strangest of all shows in Japan – I couldn’t stop watching.

The large and shouty Scandinavian-looking fellow in the pink helmet? Just a bonus.

BTW: The best thing about the Ramen Rater is that he puts the UPC number in every review. Makes it quick and super easy to look stuff up when you are at at the asian grocery and checking out the array of packages. Well done, sir, well done.

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Amazon Prime Air

For those who missed, Jeff Bezos was on 60 Minutes last night and he was talking about Amazon’s new initiative: Amazon Prime Air. In a nutshell, it will use automated drones to deleiver your purchases by air to your doorstep in 30 minutes or less.

As fantastic as it seems, this is a lot closer to reality that you might think. Drone technology is widespread, relatively inexpensive, proven, and reliable. And if anyone has the resources (Warning: Brutal pun imminent) to get this off the ground (Hey! I warned you!) it’s Amazon. They have staggering amounts of revenue and have no need to ever turn any of it into profit – a perfect storm for developing pie-in-the-sky (Ha! Again!) stuff like this. And if you are the nay-saying type and wondering how far along from “interesting idea” to “making it happen” they are, take a look:

Obviously this would start in larger cities – and probably ones with pleasant climates – and spread from there. But I have to wonder: How long before people start scanning the skies for flying yellow boxes and shooting the things down for free loot? Or just following them to doorsteps and grabbing the boxes as they leave them? And do you get to keep the little bin? That looks like it would be handy for all sorts of stuff. Just saying.

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The Beatles In Studio

This is one of the coolest vintage photo archives around. The photos are all sorts of cool on their own, but the “Virtually In Studio” entry is quite frankly brilliant. Play around with “being there as one of the Fab Four” for a while, and then start to work back through the archive proper.

Three things stood out to me: The boys dressed quite well as a rule, they drank a crapload of tea, and the recording floor at Abbey Road is fucking huge.

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