Paul Hansmeier pleaded guilty to of wire fraud and money laundering today for his role in the Prenda Law copyright scam. Prenda uploaded porn movies to download sites, got the IP addresses of users accessing the files, then shook them down for settlements with the threat of exposing them to their families and the public through court action.
Later on, it made its own pornographic films and put these on pirate sites so it could gather more cash. The documents suggest Prenda set up shell companies to gather the "settlement" fees and hide its involvement. The settlement scheme was uncovered by an investigation into Prenda Law, which saw both Hansmeier and Steele charged with fraud in 2016. Steele pleaded guilty in early 2017 to seven charges including mail and wire fraud. He also agreed to help prosecutors investigating the case.
He lost his law license in 2016. Cory:
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For more than four years, we've chronicled the sleazy story of Prenda Law, a copyright troll whose extortion racket included genuinely bizarre acts of identity theft, even weirder random homophobic dog-whistles, and uploading their own porn movies to entrap new victims, and, naturally, an FBI investigation into the firm's partners' illegal conduct.
BookBot is a nifty book retrieval system at North Carolina State University's James B. Hunt Jr. Library. Here's a panoramic book's-eye view of the retrieval process. Read the rest
Static shelves with bins holding small parts take up a lot of space. It's interesting to see this case study of how a traditional warehouse was able to use wasted air space to reduce storage area by 94%. Read the rest
Lego makes storage containers that click together like standard bricks (Amazon), coming in a range of sizes and all the classic lego colors, from single-nodule pencil cups to four- and eight-nodule boxes.
They suggest using it to store normal lego bricks, which makes me want a range of miscroscopic legos that may be stored inside the normal ones, with these tiny ones concealing a further inner layer of quantum-scale legos.
Plastic polypropylene, pvc free
Gather all your regular lego bricks in this large size storage brick and make it a more playful way of tidying up
This large size LEGO storage brick also work as stackable blocks with the rest of the storage bricks
Storage bricks come in classic lego colors
Large size lego storage bin
Storage bricks come in classic lego® colors
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Synology's DS718+ NAS DiskStation (Amazon) is $400 data storage box. For me, it replaces very two annoying things: a monthly subscription to Dropbox, and a drawerful of USB drives used to back up a houseful of computers.
But file syncing and backups are just two things a modern NAS can do.
In fact, the first thing you'll notice after setting it up is that it's really a fully-featured computer that happens to be set up with storage in mind. The web-based control panel replicates a desktop user environment, complete with windows, folders, icons and drop-down menus.
There are pros and cons to this. One one hand, you'll not only get rid of cloud subscriptions, recover your data privacy and have less gear lying around, but find yourself with a hundred other interesting applications to fool around with. Want a basic web-development box? There's one-click setups for Apache, nginx, common databases and popular platforms such as WordPress, Discourse and Node. Want to use it as a 4K media streaming box? Easy. Want a fancy-pants router? It has dual gigabit ethernet and can be set up as to provide DHCP or VPN.
On the other hand, it's more complicated than the things it replaces. I just wanted to get out of the cloud and get rid of all these damned backup drives, but now I'm a sysadmin. (There are less fancy options such as WD's My Cloud devices, but they're almost as expensive (Amazon) when the cost of drives is factored in)
And I'll admit that I enjoyed experimenting with Synology's add-ons. Read the rest
For years, John Steele has been half of a criminal enterprise masquerading as a copyright law firms, "Prenda Law," whose owners, clients and employees were a mix of lies, impersonations, and crumbs of reality. In a guilty plea, John Steele admitted that the whole thing was a con, that they stole $6,000,000 from innocent internet users by threatening them with draconian copyright lawsuits, and then laundered the money. Read the rest
We've followed the saga of Prenda Law for years year, documenting the bizarre, criminal conduct of the firm's principles, Paul Hansmeier and John Steele, who used shaky methodologies to identify people to accuse of pirating pornographic material, then demanding money to "settle the claim" on pain of having your name linked with the porn downloads in a court filing. Read the rest
The first terabyte SD card
will soon be sold by Sandisk. They were apparently first to 512GB too (don't, PNY's is cheaper), but no-one cared because that's not as arbitrarily interesting a number. No release date, no price. It'll be about $700.
Hitachi sold the world's first one terabyte hard disk drive in 2007, according to Wikipedia, one sixth of which would fit in a terabyte, assuming you're just counting the plain text of articles.
I wish there was an SD card format in the exact shape of tiny 3½-inch floppy disks, complete with a sliding metal hatch over the connectors and a free bootsector virus Read the rest
For more than four years, we've been writing about Prenda Law, a prolific copyright troll (that is, a company that sends dire legal threats and demands for money to people they accuse of copyright infringement, based on the flimsiest of evidence), whose conduct is so breathtakingly illegal that it feels like satire or performance art (but it's not). Read the rest
Elena Marimon Munoz won the British Life Photography Award for this fantastic shot of Stonehenge, titled "Past Present."
"By the time the sun started to rise above the stones, hundreds, if not thousands of people, had gathered inside the stone circle, phones and cameras up in the air ready to record the magical moment," Marimon Munoz said. "In the picture, I wanted to capture the mixture of ancient history and modern technology, fused together - past and present."
(BBC News via Daily Grail) Read the rest
$20 is the lowest price I've seen for a 128GB flash drive. The PNY Attaché has 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon with over 3,000 reviews.
Here's the obligatory image of a 5MB hard drive being loaded on a plane in 1956:
You need 25,600 of these hard drives to get 128 of storage.
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Copyright shakedown company Rightscorp, which threatens suspected music sharers with lawsuits unless they give Rightscorp money, has agreed to pay $450,000 to settle claims it illegally targeted thousands of people with recorded messages.
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Morgan Pietz, an attorney who played a key role in bringing down Prenda Law, sued Rightscorp in 2014, saying that the company's efforts to get settlements from alleged pirates went too far. Rightscorp's illegal "robocalls" violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a 1991 law that limits how automated calling devices are used. The class-action lawsuit claimed that some Rightscorp targets were receiving one robocall on their cell phone per day. It's generally illegal to have automated devices call cell phones.
Earlier this week, Pietz and his co-counsel filed court papers outlining the settlement. Rightscorp will pay $450,000 into a settlement fund, which will be paid out to the 2,059 identified class members who received the allegedly illegal calls. Each class member who fills out an "affidavit of noninfringement" will receive up to $100. The rest of the fund will pay for costs of notice and claim administration (about $25,000) and attorneys' fees and costs, which cannot exceed $330,000. Rightscorp will also "release any and all alleged claims" against the class members. The company had accused the 2,059 class members of committing 126,409 acts of copyright infringement.
Mark wrote about the "just works" movie app a while ago, but if you're a fan, you're on a lawyer's hitlist. Read the rest
A nice idea from Australian startup Memobottle. The price is
good stiff too though:
just $5 $25. Read the rest