The Hobbit, Django Unchained are the most-torrented movies of 2013.
Torrents. A lot of people use them to watch what they wanna watch, and no one can really explain how they work. Science is the guess. Or magic.
Torrents. They are a mystery, one that allowed approximately 8.4 million viewers to watch The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey this year for free.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey topped the list of most torrented movies for 2013. The bulk of the year’s most-downloaded movies (specifically through torrents, and not by some other magic like alchemy or Megaupload) are Oscar winners from 2012, including Django Unchained and Silver Linings Playbook.
Two movies on the list, The Hobbit and Iron Man 3, crossed a billion dollars in their worldwide gross. The two smallest gross earners on the list were Gangster Squad at number seven with 7.2 million estimated downloads, and Silver Linings Playbook at number five with 7.5 million estimated downloads.
The article only compiles the use of torrents, which doesn’t include streaming sites and more conventional file-sharing sites and methods, like telekinesis, hard copy forgery, and time travel. There are a lot of movies being watched for free out there.
A report from German news magazine Der Spiegel and security researcher Jacob Applebaum showed the NSA had worked on software that would allow it to remotely retrieve virtually all the information on an iPhone including text messages, photos, contacts, location, voice mail and live calls.
Der Spiegel claimed the NSA launched an operation in 2008 ( a year after the first iPhone was launched) called DROPOUTJEEP in 2008 ( a year after the first iPhone was launched) , a “software implant” that allowed for the retrieval of iPhone data and was actually a “trojan” malware program for hackers.
What is surprising is the agency’s purported 100-percent success rate on installing malware on the iPhone. According to the slides, DropoutJeep required “close access methods” in order to be installed on an iPhone, meaning NSA agents would need physical access to the device. However, the slide notes: “A remote installation capability will be pursued for future use.”
Apple reacted to news that the U.S. National Security Agency has worked on iPhone spyware to remotely monitor users, saying it has not cooperated with the agency on such projects and was not previously aware of those attempts.
Despite several domain changes and ISP blockades in various countries The Pirate Bay torrent site keeps on growing.
Authorities and copyright holders all over the world tried their damnedest to kill the Pirate Bay, but as data reported by TorrentFreak proves, the file sharing hub is a rogue ship that won’t sink. According to TorrentFreak, the Pirate Bay’s monthly uploads grew roughly 50 percent year over year, from 50,411 in November 2012 to 74,195 last month. The site now lists links to about 2.8 million torrents, presently being swarmed by nearly 19 million users. The Pirate Bay is reportedly developing a peer-to-peer browser that will be much harder to block using existing censorship techniques.
As TF points out, the site had to change domains six times throughout the year. This only underscores arguments made by Google and others that chasing down torrent links all over the world is a game that copyright holders can’t win.
The chart below, which is based on The Pirate Bay’s categories, shows that video is by far the most-shared content.
While uploads have grown, the drama surrounding the world’s most well-known source of torrents is certainly far from over.
In October, Jared Abrahams, a 19-year-old Southern California resident, pleaded guilty to an extortion scheme in which he secretly took pictures — many of them nudes — of at least 12 different women. Abrahams took the pictures with the women’s own webcams. According to one of the victims, Cassidy Wolf, a former Miss Teen USA winner, the pictures were taken without the warning light ever being activated.
This is not the first time someone has been remotely spied on with a Webcam, but it is the first known time that it’s been done without the warning light being triggered.
The researchers said that while they notified Apple of the vulnerabilty, the company hasn’t said how it might address it.
I remember a time when AOL was obviously going to replace email (or at least that’s what the pundits and day traders told us). Standard Internet email was clearly too anarchic, uncontrolled, and uncommercial to be suitable for real business. Now that email was escaping the ivory towers of academia, it had to be owned and managed by a corporation. That…didn’t happen.
A few years later, MySpace was obviously going to replace email. Email was only used by old fogies like myself. Anyone under 18 didn’t send or read email; and as teenagers grew up, graduated from college, and joined the work force, email was going to fade away much like Usenet news before it. That also…didn’t happen.
MySpace sold itself to Rupert Murdoch and promptly imploded. The teenagers who made MySpace the new hotness rapidly defected to upstart Facebook. And for a few years the same talking heads who had told us AOL and MySpace were going to replace email were now saying that Facebook was going to replace email. Email had become choked with spam and thus useless. Clearly Facebook was the wave of the future. By this point the articles and blog posts were beginning to sound a little familiar, as if someone had just done MySpace/Facebook and rerun the same pieces. In any case, once again that…didn’t happen.
That’s only a brief selection of “email killers” that have been sold to us over the last two decades. MSN, Twitter, text messages, YouTube, Skype, and more have all been heralded as email replacements. I’d lay good money that email will outlast all of them. By this point it should be obvious that email is here to stay. While SMTP, POP, IMAP, DNS, MX records, and even TCP itself are imperfect, they hit a real sweet spot. They are more than good enough to solve the fundamental problem of enabling people to communicate asynchronously with written messages without being locked into any one network or provider.
The protocols have evolved over time. Security has become vastly more important. More connections are encrypted than ever before (and even more should be). Authentication and authorization are enforced at most entry points to the network, which alleviates some of the more casual spamming and forgery problems. Unicode has mostly replaced ASCII and other national character sets. Attachments, MIME, and multipart messages were added before some of the people reading this were born. More changes are likely in the future.
Nonetheless, the basic architecture of email communication has remained remarkably consistent for more than 30 years and seems likely to continue for at least another 30. People need email, and they need to send it to other people who don’t use the same ISP or service they do. No single service, no single website, can hope to replace it.
Google was building a secret mobile product to fend off chief rival Microsoft. Then Apple announced the iPhone, and everything changed.
In 2005, on Google’s sprawling, college-like campus, the most secret and ambitious of many, many teams was Google’s own smartphone effort—the Android project. Its engineers thought that they were on track to deliver a revolutionary device that would change the mobile phone industry forever. They had been working with prototypes for months and had planned a launch by the end of the 2007 . . . until Jobs took the stage to unveil the iPhone.
“As a consumer I was blown away. I wanted one immediately. But as a Google engineer, I thought ‘We’re going to have to start over,'” former Apple engineering lead and early Android team member Chris DeSalvo is quoted as saying about Apple’s handset. For most of Silicon Valley—including most of Google—the iPhone’s unveiling on January 9, 2007 was something to celebrate. Jobs had once again done the impossible.
The software industry for mobile phones was one of the most dysfunctional in all technology. Phones weren’t powerful enough to run anything but rudimentary software. But the biggest problem, as Jobs had learned, was that the industry was ruled by an oligopoly: Few companies besides the carriers and the phone makers were writing software for phones, and what existed was terrible.
On the day Jobs announced the iPhone, the director of the Android team, Andy Rubin, was , on his way to a meeting with one of the myriad handset makers and carrier. Rubin was so astonished by what Jobs was unveiling that, on his way to a meeting, he had his driver pull over so that he could finish watching the webcast. “Holy crap,” he said to one of his colleagues in the car. “I guess we’re not going to ship that phone.”
What the Android team had been working on, a phone code-named Sooner, sported software that was arguably more revolutionary than what had just been revealed in the iPhone. In addition to having a full Internet browser, and running all of Google’s great web applications, such as search, Maps, and YouTube, the software was designed not just to run on Sooner, but on any smartphone, tablet, or other portable device not yet conceived. The Android team’s response was to refocus development on a new touch-enabled device — which would later become HTC’s T-Mobile G1 — and delay their planned public launch by a year. Several features from Sooner were held over, such as the phone’s physical keyboard, but the software was completely reworked and redesigned for a touch interface.
The Android team had underestimated Jobs. At the very least, Jobs had come up with a new way of interacting with a device— with a finger instead of a stylus or dedicated buttons—and likely a lot more. “We knew that Apple was going to announce a phone. Everyone knew that. We just didn’t think it would be that good,” said Ethan Beard, one of Android’s early business development executives.
Steve Jobs felt that Android was a rip-off of Apple’s iOS and wasn’t going to settle any lawsuits with Google or its partners no matter what. “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” Though Apple has not sued Google directly, the companies have waged a proxy war over Android both in court and in the conference rooms of regulators around the world. The war’s most famous battle, Apple’s landmark lawsuit against Samsung, recently concluded with Apple winning judgements totaling nearly $1 billion as a result of Samsung’s infringement.
WhatsApp, an alternative texting app for smartphones, announced today that it now has 400 million people using the service per month. It has even more people registered for the app.
That’s bigger than Twitter, which has 230 million active users and just had its big IPO.
WhatsApp is a messaging service that doesn’t require users to pay for texts. Instead, messages are sent over the Internet. It’s particularly popular overseas where carriers typically charge users for every text message sent. The app is found on iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry.
In the mobile messaging space, for example, Kik Interactive said last week it now has 100 million users. Line last month said it had 300 million. WeChat, which is owned by Chinese Internet conglomerate Tencent, is very popular in China and has about 300 million users.
“We want to steer the conversation to be about active users, not registered users,” said WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum. “We’re a bit fed up and frustrated about people talking about registered users. We think it’s important for us as a leader in the space to speak up and be ethical.”
WhatsApp users now send 16 billion messages per day. Also, users now send 500 million images per day (more than Snapchat).
Mountain View, Calif.-based WhatsApp has just 50 employees. It has venture funding from Sequoia Capital and makes money from charging long-time users a dollar per year.