SkyDude writes: The New York Times has a story today of how the pornographic movie industry has long had only a casual interest in plot and dialogue. But moviemakers are focusing even less on narrative arcs these days. Instead, they are filming more short scenes that can be easily uploaded to Web sites and sold in several-minute chunks.
Vivid, one of the most prominent pornography studios, makes 60 films a year. Three years ago, almost all of them were feature-length films with story lines. Today, more than half are a series of sex scenes, loosely connected by some thread — "vignettes" in the industry vernacular — that can be presented separately online. Other major studios are making similar shifts.
Samantha Samson, an adult film actress, said she took her acting seriously and used to prepare studiously for her roles, like the character she played in the 2006 movie "Flasher." She said she played a psychotic who, because of the way her mother treated her, "had an obsession with flashing and doing things in public." "I used to have dialogue," said Ms. Samson, whose given name is Natalie Oliveros, and who is one of the industry's biggest stars. "Getting it on in one hardcore scene after another just isn't as much fun," she added.
Well,/.ers — what do you have to say about the state of the pR0n industry now? Oh, and there's a nice picture of Samantha Samson on the NY Times story page too.
SkyDude writes: This PC Magazine article, written by Mark Hachman, is in the July issue:
Imagine storing 10,000 standard--definition movies on one disc. Sound impossible? Not to a team of Australian researchers. The team recently published a report in the journal Nature in which it details its development of a "five-dimensional" storage medium that promises to store up 10 terabytes on a single disc.
Peter Zijlstra, James W.M. Chon, and Min Gu of the Swinburne University of Technology found a way to combine addressing data using wavelength, polarization, and three spatial dimensions, creating the so-called five dimensions of addressable space. The approach allows for a storage density of a terabit of information in just a cubic centimeter of space.
Mixing and matching different methods of addressing data has been tried using individual methods, the researchers said. In fact, writing data to a three-dimensional storage medium has been one of the hallmarks of holographic storage. But for five-dimensional storage, the team projected information into the material using different color wavelengths. Additional information was then added by polarizing the light, first at a fixed orientation and then by rotating the filter 90 degrees. Data was read using a technique called "longitudinal SPR--mediated 2-photon luminescence."
It's difficult to say, however, how easily a solution like this might be moved into production, since the medium used to store the information is a network of gold nanorods.
"The major hurdle is the lack of a suitable recording medium that is extremely selective in the domains of wavelength and polarization," the researchers wrote in an abstract. Nonetheless, companies such as Samsung have already expressed interest.
SkyDude writes: "Staffing company Manpower has released their 2009 Talent Shortage Report. In the report are the ten occupations for the US and world employers have the most difficult time filling. For the second year in a row, engineer is the hardest job to fill in America. Why are engineers so hard to find? "We have whole generations of people loving liberal arts, not going into science and math," says Larry Jacobson, executive director of the National Society of Professional Engineers.
Other professions on the staffing firm Manpower's list of the 10 hardest jobs to fill in the U.S.: information technology staffer, nurse, machinist and teacher. The survey of 2,019 employers was done in the first quarter of 2009. The report is a PDF that can be downloaded here
Forbes.com has a summary of the report that even includes a slideshow of the jobs mentioned, just in case it's not clear to the reader what a difficult job to fill looks like."
SkyDude writes: "In a January 3, 2008 blog entry by Robin Harris of PC Magazine, he writes:
Will Microsofties ever learn?
Without warning the Microsoft Office SP3 update blocks over a dozen common document formats, including many Word, Powerpoint and Excel documents. Install the update and you can't open the files. Why? Because they can!"
Yesterday's revelation that Microsoft would be watering down Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) in Windows Vista SP1 came as a bit of a surprise to me. Why, if WGA has been so successful in the prevention of piracy, and why if the mechanism caused so little collateral damage (both points Microsoft has been adamant about throughout) now backpedal and water down WGA?
The line that Microsoft has always maintained was that WGA prevented theft, protected users from being sold illegal software and that only a tiny number of users running genuine copies of Windows were affected. When put in those terms, WGA on Vista seemed like the perfect solution to the problem of piracy. Now, I've received first hand accounts from people who were adversely affected by WGA, and it doesn't sound pretty, but these were always put down as the exception, not the rule. WGA worked. Not only that, but Microsoft has spent a year perfecting and fine-tuning this anti-piracy mechanism in order to further reduce false positives. Counterfeit rates for Vista are half that of XP."
SkyDude writes: "Running a cool PC is the holy grail of gamers and power users. A guy in upstate New York has developed a device that will make a standard, off-the-shelf air conditioning unit operate down to 32 degrees F. While his invention was designed to make life easier for farmers, it clearly has other uses, particularly to computer builders. The bonus feature of the device is it causes the a/c unit to actually use less power than it normally would.
SkyDude writes: "Retailers haven't learned from TJX — still running WEP by ZDNet's George Ou — When I blogged earlier this week about TJX's failure to secure their wireless LAN and how it may end up costing TJX a billion dollars, I knew that it was merely the tip of the iceberg with so many retailers still running WEP encryption. As if WEP wasn't already broken enough, WEP is now about 20 times faster to crack than in mid-2005 when TJX's WEP-based wireless LAN was broken and I knew from experience that most retailers were still running WEP. I decided to stroll through town and check on some of the largest retail stores in the country to see how they're doing today. The reason I looked at the large retailers is because they're the big juicy targets with millions of credit card transactions that the TJX hackers love. What I found was truly disturbing and I'm going to tell you what I found.
SkyDude writes: "From Wired Blogs:
If we spent our time reporting every scam, phishing attack and other security hack that hit MySpace we wouldn't have time for anything else, but this one is funny. Someone apparently hacked MySpace's "Tom" account (the default friend for all new members) to send out a link to a phishing scam. Not news really until you consider that the Tom account has roughly 148,059,490 friends. What we'd like to know is how much money a phishing attack against MySpace can really generate — do they ask the marks to steal their parent's credit cards or something? [via Digg] http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/2007/01/the_morn ing_reb_9.html"