Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for August 1st, 2017

CNET reports: Amazon just put budget phone maker Blu in the penalty box. The online retailing giant told CNET that it was suspending sales of phones from Blu, known for making ultra-cheap Android handsets, due to a “potential security issue.” The move comes after security firm Kryptowire demonstrated last week how software in Blu’s phones collected data and sent it to servers in China without alerting people. Blu defended the software, created by a Chinese company called Shanghai Adups Technology, and denied any wrongdoing. A company spokeswoman said at the time it “has several policies in place which take customer privacy and security seriously.” She added there had been no breaches. Blu said it was in a process of review to reinstate the phones at Amazon. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Sony is acquiring anime distributor Funimation

Posted by kenmay on August - 1 - 2017

Turns out the partnership Sony and Funimation forged to create the latter’s streaming service wasn’t a one-off thing. Sony Pictures is currently in the process of buying 95 percent of Funimation for $143 million, putting the anime distributor’s value at around $150 million. Funimation’s streaming website, which launched earlier this year, has over 400 titles on offer, including Dragon Ball Z, Cowboy Bebop, One Piece and Attack on Titan . While the service is new, the company itself has been selling anime DVDs and merchandise for over two decades. Sony isn’t a newcomer in the space either — it owns the ANIMAX network, which airs anime in 23 countries around the globe, including Japan. It also owns AXN, a cable TV channel that broadcasts anime, action shows, movies and sports programs. By acquiring 95 percent of Funimation, though, it will also be in direct competition with Netflix and Hulu, which have animated offerings on top of TV shows and movies. Sony Pictures Television President Andy Kaplan said: “Around the world, Sony’s networks have been major players in the anime space for nearly two decades, and in more recent years we have rapidly increased our networks’ over-the-top and digital offerings to consumers. With the acquisition of Funimation, the combined IP of ANIMAX, KIDS STATION and Funimation allows us to deliver the best anime to fans across all screens and platforms.” Source: Sony Pictures

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Here’s something you don’t see every day: a typewriter that hammers out musical notations. Made for use with music staff paper, the Keaton Music Typewriter was first patented in 1936 by San Francisco’s Robert H. Keaton for use by composers, arrangers, teachers and students. The original model had just 13 keys but Keaton’s second patent for this “music typing machine” was granted in 1953 and included 33 keys. If you’ve got a spare $12K, you can pick one of these little beauties up from Etsy shop WorkingTypewriters (back in the 1950s they sold for $225). The seller writes: Estimates are that there are less than 20 machines on there, maybe even as few as 6… The Keaton Music typewriters were produced in two batches, this one stemming from 1953 and has the more elaborate keyboard. They were made with the idea that musicians would be able to quickly and precisely write out their compositions. A typewriter for music. It didn’t work as well, typing music is more laborious than typing words and it never really caught on. Watch the video to get a feel for how challenging this “typewriter for music” is to operate.

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