Mashup artist challenges Sony to stop gaming Youtube's censorship system

Hugh Atkin (of Romney Raps Eminem fame) writes, "This is a new video I've made in response to repeated, identical claims of copyright infringement by Sony Music Entertainment in respect of my 2008 video 'Barackroll.' Every time I've challenged a complaint, they've let it lapse and then subsequently filed identical complaints."

Sony QX attachable lens-style camera

Sony's minsucule QX Lens Camera offers the specs of its high-end RX100 point-and-shoot--a 1" sensor and Zeiss F1.8 glass--but clips right onto a smartphone. It hooks up with an iOS or Android app, via WiFi or NFC, thereby letting you use the phone as the camera's viewscreen. (There's an even smaller version, too, though its sensor and lens aren't as good; you may as well just get a Nokia 1020.)

I rather like the idea of a tiny, high-end camera that can just clip-on to anything--cellphone, webcam, helmet, bike, etc. But the RX100 is already small enough, has more features, and is only a little more expensive. At $500 for the version worth buying, that QX is a pretty penny.

Smurfs 2 already paid for with product placement

The one good review, from Variety's Scott Foundas, could not rescue Smurfs 2 from a weak domestic opening. But it's doing OK abroad, and its $150m production budget was reportedly covered in full by product placement. The advertising is incessant, say reviewers: from Gargamel's everpresent tablet PC to a duck that "urges a strolling couple to buy a Prius."

"This is basically stone-cold Sony product," writes Mike McCahill in The Guardian, a sentiment echoed by Steve Davis in the Austin Chronicle: "We’ve come a long way from Belgian comics artist Peyo’s original vision."

Which was, of course, crypto-Marxist utopianism.

How to get cinematic video from a point-and-shoot camera

The first step, unfortunately, is that you have to have Sony's remarkable but rather expensive RX100, whose larger sensor makes much of the difference. Fortunately, the rest is all menu settings to get a flat image profile and 25fps. Guides from Run, Gun and Shoot and from EOSHD have the technical goods, but you'll need to cough up your own mise en scène.

Sony's Playstation-less Playstation announcement: what were they thinking?

After a presentation that dragged on for hours, Sony failed to show the assembled game press the gadget they were there to see. The verdict was in before the event was over: another Sony shitshow. The New York Times' Brian X Chen sums it up:
During the 140-minute event, which started at 6 p.m. in New York, the press reactions started with impatience in the first hour, gradually rising to frustration in the second hour and finally, in the third hour, a combination of disbelief and disappointment when the show concluded with no price tag, no shipping date, and not even a prototype or a picture of the PlayStation 4 revealed. Left without a box to review, the press turned on Sony instead.
However, we can EXCLUSIVELY REVEAL the design for the new PS4, above. All is forgiven, Sony!

Sony unveils "reinvented" Playstation 4

Playstation 4, from Kotaku's liveblog

'Tis the season for big news in console gaming: both Microsoft and Sony have been expected to announce new hardware. Sony is first with a new edition of the PlayStation 4. Around the web, live-blog coverage of the invite-only announcement event: Verge, Engadget, Kotaku, Ars, Wired.

Early iPhone mockups show Sony influence

The current iPhone design, it turns out, was in the works since 2006—and was so influenced by Sony that they even put its logo on the mockups. Court filings in the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Samsung reveal an early concept by Apple designer Shin Nishibori which closely resembles the current-gen iPhones, complete with the silver band. [The Verge]

Read the rest

The Playstation Vita as a cellphone

Sony's tiny but powerful pocket game console has 3G, but no phone app. Skype to the rescue. [Ars]

Sony takes down game downloads to prevent homebrew

Kyle Orland writes that Sony is preventing customers from re-downloading games they've already paid for, because code flaws in them may be used to run unsigned code on the portable console. The hack is reportedly useful only for homebrew, not for piracy. [Ars]

Sony Xperia S reviewed

Vlad Savov reviews Sony's Xperia S for The Verge. With a 1280x720 display, 12 megapixel camera and a dual-core CPU, it's the company's first major new design since buying out Sony-Ericsson. How does it do?

The Xperia S isn't a bad phone, it's just not particularly good at any one thing. I find this disappointing because Sony's brand ethos has always been about conquering the heights of technology, not settling for a moderately good device in the middle of the pack.

Dead on arrival, in other words. You can tell Sony is trying hard to catch up, however, because the edition of Android on it is only 14 months old.

Sony's dual-screen Tablet P arrives

Sony's double-screened Vaio P Tablet comes with "4G" internet via AT&T, dual 5.5" touchscreen displays, and a selection of apps optimized for the new format. Running Android 3.2, the data plan costs $35 a month for 3GB and $50 for 5GB. At $550, though, it'll be a difficult sell. With a two-year contract--itself a thousand dollar proposition--it's $400. Product Page [Sony]

Sony raised price of Whitney Houston albums after death

At The Guardian, Josh Halliday writes about Sony's rush to profit from Whitney Houston's death.

Sony Music has come under fire after it increased the price of a Whitney Houston album on Apple's iTunes Store hours after the singer was found dead.

The music giant is understood to have lifted the wholesale price of Houston's greatest hits album, The Ultimate Collection, at about 4am California time on Sunday. This meant that the iTunes retail price of the album automatically increased from £4.99 to £7.99.

The clockwork regularity of Sony PR disasters is really something. It's as if a Division of Unbridled Cynicism lurks deep in the bowels of its vast workforce, issuing Spite Directives to ensure an ingeniously varied drumbeat of fail.

EFF's PlayStation 3 PSA: jailbreaking shouldn't be a crime

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is petitioning the US Copyright Office for a DMCA exemption legalizing "jailbreaking" -- modifying the devices you own so that they can run software of your choosing. The Copyright Office holds hearings every three years on DMCA exemptions and these need to be renewed at each hearing.

To highlight the need for a jailbreaking exemption, EFF has made this video showing how Sony shipped its PlayStation 3 with the promise that users could run GNU/Linux on it, a promise that was taken up by many purchasers, including the USAF, who used a room full of PS3s running Linux to make a clustered supercomputer. But Sony changed its mind and revoked the feature after the fact and began to actively pursue legal penalties against researchers who attempted to restore it.

However, in April 2010, Sony’s mandatory firmware update -- version 3.21 -- removed the ability to install "Other OS" -- meaning no more Linux on your PlayStation. To add legal muscle to its firmware, Sony sued several security researchers for publishing information about security holes that would allow users to run Linux on their machines again. Claiming that the research violated the DMCA, Sony asked the court to impound all "circumvention devices" -- which it defines to include not only the defendants' computers, but also all "instructions," i.e., their research and findings.

This means you can set your PlayStation on fire, but you can’t run Linux on hardware you own. To illustrate how ludicrous this is, we made a video illustrating what an owner can do with a PlayStation -- and what Sony contends they can’t.

PlayStation 3 "Other OS" Saga Shows: Jailbreaking Is Not a Crime

Sony "Other OS" lawsuit dismissed

Though a judge tossed a lawsuit filed against Sony for removing the "Other OS" feature from the Playstation 3, even he could not let it pass without a note of disbelief: "As a matter of providing customer satisfaction and building loyalty, it may have been questionable." [Ars Technica]

Three sad things Sony did this weekend

1. The new Playstation Vita will only permit one account per device. Preventing people from conveniently switching accounts thereby makes it harder to switch between accounts established in different regions, which have different releases and prices. Also, Sony recently added additional DRM restrictions to games: you can only play them on 2, instead of 5 different consoles. You are allowed to take a game to one (1) friend's house. [Kotaku]

2. Despite buying out its failed joint-venture with Sony-Ericsson, Sony will be not be ditching the brand until later next year. Say what you want about RIM, at least it's prepared to write off inventory that it can't sell.

3. It tried to bully journalists who attended screenings of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo into not writing about it before the embargo, even though one of them has already broken it. Which, of course, turns the original offender, The New Yorker, into the recipient of a post facto exclusive. [Deadline]