Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pirate Bay: End of the line?

One of the most visited website in the internet, popular for facilitating peer-to-peer file sharing using magnet links and torrent. Pirate Bay had always been shrouded with copyright infringement controversies.

Founded in late 2003, it was actually first established by a Swedish anti-copyright organization called Piratbyran (Piracy Bureau). The website later run separately since October 2004 by dedicated individuals.

The Pirate Bay had a reputation of providing access to copyrighted material without the owners' consent. They have been involved in a number of lawsuits, both as plaintiff and as defendant.

On 31 May 2006, the website's servers were raided and taken away by the Swedish police in Stockholm. The websites went down for several days, but went back up and running as usual as the case pursuit by the authority went ongoing. It was on 17 April 2009 that the website's founders, admins, and supporter found guilty under the charge of 'assistance to copyright infringement'.

Who are the individuals behind The Pirate Bay? The defendants for the Pirate Bay case were, Gottfrid Svartholm, Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neji, and Carl Lundstrom. All four of them were sentenced to one year in prison and payment of a fine for 30 million krona. They appealed the verdict and the case continues until 26 November 2010, where the Swedish appeal court upheld the verdict, decreasing the original prison terms but increasing the fine to 46 million krona.

Carl Lundstrom however was not one of the individuals that run the Pirate Bay website. However, in 2003 to 2005, it was his company Rix Telecom that provided services and equipment to the Pirate Bay torrent tracker website. He was charged for being 'accessory to breaching copyrighted law'. He appeal for the verdict when the court found him guilty, and had his sentence reduced to 4 month with increased fine to 32 million krona.

The Pirate Bay website then spiraled into cycles of online and offline status with its bandwidth provider receiving injunctions from the court and their URL being blocked by many ISP provider from other countries.

What about the other defendants? After the verdict by the court, all of the website's co-founders vanished and avoided capture. However, one by one they were apprehended with their sentence upheld. Gottfrid Svartholm was arrested by Cambodian police in the capital of Phnom Penh on 30 August 2012, Peter Sunde was arrested at a farm in Oxie, Malmo, on 31 May 2014.

And finally, early November on 2014, Fredrik Neij was arrested on the border between Laos and Thailand by the Thailand authorities. With Neij capture, all formers founder of the Pirate Bay have been apprehended, dealing a symbolic blow to the global online file sharing communities.

He was in custody in Bangkok immigration office pending deportation to Sweden.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hendo Hoverboard

From the KickStarter campaign, Hendo Hoverboard is designed by Greg and Jill Henderson. Claimed to be the world's first hoverboard, Hendo Hoverboard utilizes Magnetic Field Architecture (MFA) technology, similar to technology applied to maglev trains. For $10,000, this board can be yours.

How does the hoverboard works? It have four magnetic disc, or dubbed as the 'hover engines', mounted under the board. The board can levitate about an inch from the ground with the rider on top, but apparently this futuristic board is not without several drawbacks.

First of all, it does not levitate on just any surface. It requires a non-ferromagnetic conductor, such as copper or aluminium, smooth surface in order for it to levitate properly. Second, just like any other modern vehicle nowadays, this board also requires power source. And apparently the board uses LiPo batteries that could run about 10 minutes of hovering experience. Thirdly, it have a very loud screeching noise when in use.  

But Hendo Hoverboard is not the only thing offered by the Henderson couple. One of their aims is also to promote the technology behind it, where they believe highly potential for future benefit if unlock. They also offered 'The Whitebox", a developer kit that contain basic hovering and propulsion system based on the technology they developing. It also include control for propulsion by you mobile device (iPhone/Android).

You can go their Kickstarterr campaign page to learn more about what they intended for the technology application. They also have set up their own webpage called HendoHover.


Oscar Pistorius - Athlete turned Criminal

Just yesterday, on 21 October 2014, Oscar Pistorius received a prison sentence of maximum five years under the charge of culpable homicide. The case is from February 2013, where allegedly he shot and killed his own girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a South African model, at his home in Pretoria, South Africa.

Oscar Pistorius, or known as the 'Blade Runner', because of his carbon-fiber running blades, is an athlete who won six Paralympic gold medals. These also made him known to be the fastest man running on no legs. He was also the first amputee runner to compete at Olympic Games, where he managed to appeal for qualification into Olympic 2012 in London. He have a long standing career as a sprint runner since Paralympic Games 2004 in Athens

His trial for the murder began on 3rd March 2014 in Pretoria. Although he acknowledged that he shot Reeva and causing her death, he insist that he mistook her to be a house intruder. The day that the incident took place, it was Valentine's Day. There was a possibility that her girlfriend wanted to give him a surprise for such occasion.

However, the case became a public outcry due to many factors such as the possession of firearm in the first place. Oscar also shot whom he though an intruder through his bathroom door, raising suspicion whether or not he deliberately unleashed the shots. Reeva Steenkamp was also shot several times with hollow point bullets.

Another factor was that some South Africans people raised the concern that Oscar might received leniency because he was rich and famous. Some of them even surprised that even though Oscar was acquitted with the murder, he was instead convicted with lesser crime of culpable homicide, or negligent homicide. The concern was that it would create a new precedent for future crime, where someone who shot a bullet through a closed door without knowing the person on the other side would not be accounted as murder.

Currently, Oscar Pistorius is serving his sentence in the Pretoria Central Prison.

Oscar Pistorius and his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Actor Robin Williams passed away

Last week, actor and comedian Robin Williams was found in his apartment, forever lost to us. Found in his home in Paradise Cay near Tiburon, California, he was allegedly committed suicide by hanging. Initially it was confirmed that the cause of death was due to asphyxia. He passed away at the age of 63 years old.

Robin McLaurin Williams, an actor and comedian. Commonly and famously known for his role as Mork in the TV series Mork & Mindy. Though to his younger fans, he was also known to be the voice for the Genie character in the Aladdin animated movie from Disney. He was incredibly successful in his career in both stand-up comedy and feature film acting.

It was known that Robin William sometimes suffered from depression before this. He was also known to be struggling with addiction with drug and alcohol throughout his career. Though the mainstream media reported that Robin William was dealing with severe depression prior to his apparent suicide, amazingly he actually finished all 4 of his films that is supposed to be released posthumously around this year.

"Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb", "Meryy Friggin' Christmas", "Boulevard", and "Absolutely Anything" is Robin Williams final works, and possibly the final gift to all those that loved him.

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