RFID implicated in live-streamed poker cheating scandal

Seems a pro-poker player, Mike Postle, has achieved impossible-seeming results. Other players have put hours upon hours upon hours into analyzing his baffling play. It is like watching someone play with perfect information, they claim!

While nothing definitive has been found, Stones Gambling Hall, a live poker site where the questionable Postle has spent a lot of time live streaming, has stopped using RFID chipped playing cards and hired an investigator.

Spying isn't just for governments!

CNBC:

It’s not just that Postle is winning, it’s how he’s winning, that is drawing suspicion. Ingram, Berkey and others have spent hours reviewing hands Postle played and found several times where Postle made a fold or a call that wouldn’t seem “right” but happened to work out in his favor.

Berkey said Postle made plays no pro would ever make, and he did them often, and they worked. Poker is a game of incomplete information. Berkey said Postle played “as if he had perfect information.”

Stones Gambling Hall said it has hired an independent investigator to look into the accusations.

In a statement Stones Gambling Hall said: “We temporarily halted all broadcasts from Stones. We have also, as a result, halted the use of RFID playing cards.”

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Spotify's antitrust complaint against Apple is a neat parable about Big Tech's monopoly

Spotify has asked the EU Commission to intervene in its business relationship with Apple, citing the fact that Apple takes a 30% vig on all customer revenues from people who join the service or buy songs through an Iphone app, while Apple's own competing Itunes store does not have to pay this commission. Read the rest

Omniverse CEO rejects piracy accusations, claims that he has a legit, "mind-blowing" 100-year license to stream TV on the internet

Mitch Wagner writes, "Omniverse CEO Jason DeMeo says a piracy lawsuit against his streaming TV service is full of crap. Omniverse faces piracy litigation from an alliance of content companies. But DeMeo says his company has a mind-blowing 100-year deal that allows it to stream TV channels over the Internet. Looks like somebody more than 25 years ago may have traded the crown jewels for a handful of beans, and Omniverse is enjoying the benefit today." Read the rest

Relax with this wintry real-time stream from a Norwegian train

Having a great time, wish I was there!

This video produced the NRK TV-program "Nordlandsbanen Minutt for Minutt", which shows ride on the train cabin driver's view through beautiful Norwegian landscape.

(via Kottke) Read the rest

A Twitch subsidiary has created an official D&D digital toolset

Dungeons and Dragons Beyond is an official digital companion to D&D, with a free character-generator and a bunch of paid additions, from access to hyperlinked editions of the rulebooks ($30/each), and a $3/player, $6/DM subscription service that lets DMs share their books with players. Read the rest

How badly do streaming services rip off musicians? A chart, updated

Information is Beautiful has updated their comparison of artist payments on streaming services, estimating that 2.4 million plays on YouTube will net a whopping $1,472 for an unsigned artist. That's $0.0006 per play! Read the rest

Babylon 5 now available to stream for free in the US

Babylon 5, even during its original run, was never particularly easy to watch when it first aired. The changing TV landscape of the time, as well as the failure of B5's original network PTEN and subsequent re-emergence on the TNT network, meant that timeslots and airdates shifted several times during the show's original five-year run.

Show creator Joe Michael Sraczynski's "B5 books" site is reporting that Go90.com now has the entire show available to stream for free for the first time, along with several other recent series.

I've always believed that B5 represented one of the better Sci-Fi "space opera" TV shows in history, and one that many people were never able to watch during its run on television. The story and effects hold up extremely well for a show that recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Now's your chance to see it in its entirety, for free, on your own terms.

Unfortunately, the site is US-only. Read the rest

The Netflix library has half the titles it did four years ago

Consumer site Extreamist confirms what many suspected: Netflix has sharply reduced its streaming library titles by over 50% from an estimated 11,000 in 2012 to about 5,300 today. Read the rest

For disabled players, Twitch offers community and a second income

A new profile in The Guardian gets to know young women with ability challenges who are earning money and raising charitable funds via online streaming service Twitch.

Apple announces Apple Music and native Watch apps

Its own News app and updates to OS X and iOS filled an unusually-packed lineup of new software

What Sony and Spotify's secret deal really looks like

The nitty-gritty details of Sony's deal with Spotify paint a picture of a very lopsided negotiation indeed, with Sony commanding an unbelievable "most favored nation" status from the streaming music provider that entitles it to top-up payments to match other labels whose music is more popular on the service. Read the rest

Roku R3500R streaming stick: Roku gets even better

I've replaced the playback devices on every TV in my home with a Roku 3. The Roku R3500R is even better! Smaller, but with the same access to the immense catalog of content and ability to feed it anything I like. This streaming stick is the way to go! Read the rest

Now a Roku 3 has replaced my AppleTv

Back in April I cancelled DirecTv and started using a Roku 3 as the main entertainment device in my living room. This week I got sick of my bedroom AppleTv and decided it was time to go all Roku.

In a side-by-side comparison of the two units I sadly found the AppleTV to just be frustrating, while the Roku is a pleasure. Read the rest

FedEx's file-transfer capacity versus the Internet

Today on XKCD's "What If...?", Randall Monroe runs the numbers of when and whether the Internet's throughput will ever exceed FedEx's sneakernet file-transfer capacity (one interesting note here: why not treat FedEx's trucks and planes full of hard-drives and SD cards as part of the Internet? After all, you book your FedEx pickup over TCP/IP, track it over TCP/IP, and pay for it over TCP/IP).

Cisco estimates that total internet traffic currently averages 167 terabits per second. FedEx has a fleet of 654 aircraft with a lift capacity of 26.5 million pounds daily. A solid-state laptop drive weighs about 78 grams and can hold up to a terabyte.

That means FedEx is capable of transferring 150 exabytes of data per day, or 14 petabits per second—almost a hundred times the current throughput of the internet.

If you don’t care about cost, this ten-kilogram shoebox can hold a lot of internet

We can improve the data density even further by using MicroSD cards:

Those thumbnail-sized flakes have a storage density of up to 160 terabytes per kilogram, which means a FedEx fleet loaded with MicroSD cards could transfer about 177 petabits per second, or two zettabytes per day—a thousand times the internet’s current traffic level. (The infrastructure would be interesting—Google would need to build huge warehouses to hold a massive card-processing operation.)

So the interesting thing here is the implicit critique of cloud computers. Leave aside the fact that a cloud computer is like a home computer, except that you're only allowed to use it if the phone company says so. Read the rest

Justin Bieber vs FreeBieber

The FreeBieber campaign -- which seeks to raise awareness of the US illegal streaming bill that criminalizes the kind of YouTube cover songs Bieber launched his career with -- has received a legal threat from Justin Bieber's lawyers, who allege that the campaign infringes on Bieber's publicity rights. But as this reply letter from the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains, they're wrong:

What’s a little unusual here is that Bieber is also complaining that the campaign violates his publicity rights. The right of publicity usually prohibits the unauthorized use of a person’s name, likeness, voice, or other identifiable characteristic for a commercial purposes. However, the law is clear that an individual’s right to control uses of his or her name and likeness must be weighed against important free speech rights. The First Amendment protects transformative uses (like the ones at freebieber.org), especially those that do not intrude on a celebrity’s market for her own identifiable characteristics. So it’s hard to believe that Bieber’s lawyers really think he can prohibit this lawful (and effective) use of his image. More likely they, like so many others, were just hoping to scare Fight for the Future out of exercising its free speech rights.

Free FreeBieber.org! Fight for the Future Faces Bogus Legal Threats Read the rest