Kobo Customers Losing Books From Their Libraries After Software Upgrade

Reader Robotech_Master writes: After a recent Kobo software upgrade, a number of Kobo customers have reported losing e-books from their libraries -- notably, e-books that had been transferred to Kobo from their Sony Reader libraries when Sony left the consumer e-book business. One customer reported missing 460 e-books, and the only way to get them back in her library would be to search and re-add them one at a time! Customers who downloaded their e-books and illegally broke the DRM don't have this problem, of course.From the report: A Kobo representative actually chimed in on the thread, telling MobileRead users that they were following the thread and trying to fix the glitches that had been caused by the recent software changes and restore customers' e-books. It's good that they're paying attention, and that's definitely better than my first go-round with Barnes and Noble support over my own missing e-book. Hopefully they'll get it sorted out soon. That being said, this drives home yet again the point that publisher-imposed DRM has made and is making continued maintenance of e-book libraries from commercial providers a big old mess. About the only way you can be sure you can retain the e-books you pay for is to outright break the law and crack the DRM in order to be able to back them up against your company going out of business and losing the purchases you paid for. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

LG’s first 4K OLED TV is ready to kill LCDs once and for all

LG only just brought its 55-inch 1080p OLED to a $3, 500 price that's within the limits of mainstream credit cards, and it's already back with something better. The curved 4K OLED TV we saw at CES is about to go on sale in Korea, and will arrive soon everywhere else, meaning well-heeled buyers don't have to choose between Ultra HD resolution and the sweet black levels offered by this newer display technology. We don't have an official US price for the TV yet, but HDGuru's usually reliable retail sources say the 77-inch model (there's also a 65-inch version in) will arrive for about $7, 000 next month. In Korea it's priced at about 12, 000, 000 won ($11, 738), however US prices are usually much lower. LG exec Hyun-hwoi Ha isn't mincing words either, calling the new display "the pinnacle of technological achievement" and saying the tech will overcome LCDs in sales in just a few years. Can OLED pull off what plasma couldn't ? LG is betting it will -- meanwhile Samsung seems convinced that OLED isn't quite ready for prime time. Filed under: Displays , Home Entertainment , HD , LG Comments Source: LG Newsroom

The strangest things archaeologists have found on the ancient Silk Roads

(video link) One of the greatest civilizations of the ancient world wasn't contained in a nation or a city. It was a series of trade routes that crisscrossed Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Swahili Coast of Africa, and dubbed the "Silk Road" by modern explorers. For centuries, these routes passed through wealthy cities whose vibrant cultures were hybrids of Eastern and Western culture, joined by the spirit of trade and knowledge exchange. The Silk Road civilization thrived because it had no borders. In this episode of Ancient People Did Stuff , we talk about some of the more unusual discoveries that archaeologists have made at excavation sites along the ancient Silk Roads. One of the great medieval cities of the Silk Road was Samarkand, located today in Uzbekistan. Its people were called Sogdians, and their language was the lingua franca of the Silk Road during roughly the 4 th through the 8 th centuries. And yet one of the only remaining examples we have of written Sogdian is in an angry letter that an abandoned wife sent to her husband, which was lost in a mailbag and found over a millennium later. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

About half of Detroit can’t read

America's public education system is failing the citizens of Detroit, where the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund reports that 47% of people in Detroit are illiterate . In nearby suburbs, up to one-third are functionally illiterate. (more…)

Hollywood strikes back against illegal streaming Kodi addons

An anti-piracy alliance supported by many major US and UK movie studios, broadcasters and content providers has dealt a blow to the third-party Kodi addon scene after it successfully forced a number of popular piracy-linked streaming tools offline. In what appears to be a coordinated crackdown, developers including jsergio123 and The_Alpha , who are responsible for the development and hosting of addons like urlresolver, metahandler, Bennu, DeathStreams and Sportie, confirmed that they will no longer maintain their Kodi creations and have immediately shut them down. The action comes after The_Alpha reportedly received a hand delivered letter to their UK home : "This letter is addressed to you by companies of the six-major United States film studios represented by the Motion Picture Association (MPA), namely Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., Disney Enterprises, Inc., Paramount Pictures Corporation, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal City Studios LLLP and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Netflix, Inc. and Amazon Studios LLC (represented by MPA via the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE)), Sky UK Limited, and The Football Association Premier League Limited, " the opening paragraph reads. The letter identifies the developer as the creator of third-party software that provides "unlawful access to protected copyright works, including works owned by, or exclusively licensed to, the Content Companies" and notes their additional involvement in the upkeep of the Colossus repository, an online collection of various streaming Kodi addons. With Colossus gone, a popular TV show and movie streaming tool called Covenant is also currently unavailable. It's scared a number of related addon developers, with Ares Wizard, another popular host, reportedly deciding to throw in the towel. The crackdown suggests the MPA/MPAA-led Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment has a thorough understanding of how owners of so-called "Kodi boxes" are able to stream TV shows and films illegally. While Colossus merely hosts the tools, urlresolver and metahandler did much of the heavy lifting for streamers. Their job was to scrape video hosting sites for relevant streaming links and serve them up for tools like Covenant inside Kodi. Streamers will find it very difficult to find working video streams of their favorite content without them, but they could reappear via a new host in the future. Sorry to say but I am stopping all development of the urlresolver, metahandler, and my other addons. I am not responsible for covenant and bennu but colossus has agreed to delete the repo too. — jsergio123 (@jsergio123) November 15, 2017 As pre-loaded Kodi boxes have surged in popularity in the past year, many of the most popular piracy-linked addons have targeted by rightsholders. In June, US satellite broadcaster Dish Network issued a lawsuit that targeted the TVAddons repository and forced streaming tools ZemTV and Phoenix offline. The action will be bad news for Kodi, the the company behind the popular media center. Despite attempts to distance itself from piracy, it often finds itself implicated in news reports that focus on actions taken against infringing third-party addons. Via: TorrentFreak , TVAddons

MINIX: Intel’s Hidden In-chip Operating System

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, writing for ZDNet: Matthew Garrett, the well-known Linux and security developer who works for Google, explained recently that, "Intel chipsets for some years have included a Management Engine [ME], a small microprocessor that runs independently of the main CPU and operating system. Various pieces of software run on the ME, ranging from code to handle media DRM to an implementation of a TPM. AMT [Active Management Technology] is another piece of software running on the ME." At a presentation at Embedded Linux Conference Europe, Ronald Minnich, a Google software engineer reported that systems using Intel chips that have AMT, are running MINIX. So, what's it doing in Intel chips? A lot. These processors are running a closed-source variation of the open-source MINIX 3. We don't know exactly what version or how it's been modified since we don't have the source code. In addition, thanks to Minnich and his fellow researchers' work, MINIX is running on three separate x86 cores on modern chips. There, it's running: TCP/IP networking stacks (4 and 6), file systems, drivers (disk, net, USB, mouse), web servers. MINIX also has access to your passwords. It can also reimage your computer's firmware even if it's powered off. Let me repeat that. If your computer is "off" but still plugged in, MINIX can still potentially change your computer's fundamental settings. And, for even more fun, it "can implement self-modifying code that can persist across power cycles." So, if an exploit happens here, even if you unplug your server in one last desperate attempt to save it, the attack will still be there waiting for you when you plug it back in. How? MINIX can do all this because it runs at a fundamentally lower level. According to Minnich, "there are big giant holes that people can drive exploits through." He continued, "Are you scared yet? If you're not scared yet, maybe I didn't explain it very well, because I sure am scared." Also read: Andrew S. Tanenbaum's (a professor of Computer Science at Vrije Universiteit) open letter to Intel. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Geode jigsaw puzzles

This stunning line of geologically-inspired jigsaw puzzles, named Geode, is the creation of Massachusetts-based generative design studio and retailer Nervous System . As described in their blog : Geode is a jigsaw puzzle inspired by the formation of agate, a colorful banded stone. Each puzzle is unique, emerging from a computer simulation that creates natural variations in the shape, pieces, and image. Hundreds of lasercut plywood pieces intertwine to form a challenging, maze-like puzzle. Each geode is a slice of an algorithmic rock. The puzzles are intricately cut in birch plywood, completely unique from each other, and available in two sizes (approx. 180 pieces for $60 and 370 pieces for $95 ). https://vimeo.com/239518266 ( My Modern Met )

Text Adventure Competition Reports A 36% Spike In Entries

There's just four days left to vote for the winner of the 23rd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. An anonymous reader writes: This year's contest set a record, drawing 79 new text adventures -- 36% more entries than the previous year's 58. All of this year's games are available online, furthering the competition's goal of "making them freely available in order to encourage the creation, play, and discussion of interactive fiction." (And they're also available in a 236-megabyte .zip archive.) Each game's developer is competing for $4, 800 in cash prizes, to be shared among everyone who finishes in the top two-thirds (including a $247 prize to the first-place winner). Authors of the top-rated games will also get to choose from a 38-prize pool (which includes another $200 cash prize donated by Asymmetric Publications, as well as a "well-loved" used Wii console). But the most important thing is there's a bunch of fun new text adventures to play. Reviews are already appearing online, lovingly collected by the Interactive Fiction Wiki. And one game designer even livestreamed their text adventure-playing on Twitch. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

A new ‘Star Wars’ trilogy is coming from ‘The Last Jedi’ director

The Last Jedi helmer Rian Johnson has signed on to write and direct a new trilogy within the Star Wars universe, Disney announced today . There aren't any details to share about the new project yet, but the company explicitly noted that it'll feature new characters and be completely separate from the Skywalker saga. If anything, the new spin-off trilogy is a sign that the company was pleased with his work on The Last Jedi , which hits theaters on December 5th. "We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi , " Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, said in a statement. "He's a creative force, and watching him craft The Last Jedi from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career. Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy." Source: Disney

What’s under the yellowed crust of varnish on renaissance paintings

https://twitter.com/philipmould/status/927542755500359680 Art dealer and BBC presenter Philip Mould posted this video showing restoration work on a centuries-old painting . It's more vigorous than you might expect: a solvent tailored to the varnish but safe for the paint, and the resulting slimy mix simply wiped off to reveal surprisingly clear, vibrant color. Mould hasn't shared the secrets of what method is being used. Turpentine is sometimes used with another solvent, but that doesn't appear to be what's happening here. No matter what method is employed, it takes a good deal of skill to remove the varnish and not have any impact on the actual painting underneath. Details about the featured painting aren't abundant. Mould later clarified that the "woman in red" is 36 years-old and was painted in 1618, according to an inscription. Below is a digital restoration of the Mona Lisa . The varnish and paint are reportedly too chemically similar to attempt the job with current techniques.