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  • The Sony Hackers Just Pranked The FBI

    Kim Jong Un

    The hacker group who broke into the computer network of Sony Pictures and managed to halt the release of 'The Interview' have issued a new message, this time mocking the FBI. 

    The Daily Beast reports that Guardians of Peace published a new message on Pastebin on Saturday. Here's that message in its entirety:

    By GOP

    The result of investigation by FBI is so excellent that you might have seen what we were doing with your own eyes.

    We congratulate you success.

    FBI is the BEST in the world.

    You will find the gift for FBI at the following address.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiRacdl02w4

    Enjoy!

    The link in the message leads to a Japanese prank video which repeats the phrase "You are an idiot" to the tune of throbbing house music. It seems that Guardians of Peace are mocking the FBI's "excellent" investigation, which led to the US government declaring on Friday that North Korea was behind the cyber-attack.

    The "You are an idiot" video could be an attempt to criticize the FBI for blaming the Sony hack on North Korea. Some are still unconvinced by the US government's claim that the software used in the Sony hack was similar to programs used in the past by attacks linked to North Korea.

    US authorities found the evidence to be overwhleming enough to call out North Korea directly, and President Obama has vowed to respond to the attack.

    SEE ALSO: Obama May Have Forced Sony To Release 'The Interview'

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  • The 16 Best Selfies From 2014

    Train Selfie

    The end of December is near and as we look back on the last 12 months, it felt fitting to roundup our favorite selfies of 2014.

    BuzzFeed completed a list of 25 selfies and from there, we chose some of the best from their picks and added some of our own. You can see their full roster of front-facing camera shots here.

    From Ellen and pals at the Oscars to the guy who survived a plane crash, these are some of the best, most hilarious, and popular selfies of 2014.

    This guy who tried to take a selfie as a train was passing by. We thought it was a hoax at first, but it ended up being real.

    Read that story here.



    Ellen took a selfie with her famous friends at the Oscars.



    This guy survived a plane crash, then took a selfie while floating in the ocean.

    Read the full story here.



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  • How To Get A Few More Days Out Of An Opened Bottle Of Wine

    You don't have to finish the bottle just so it won't go bad. These three devices will help you keep your wine 'fresh' for a few days longer. Thanks to Town & Country Magazine.

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  • Microsoft Plans A Virtual Reality Headset For Xbox One To Compete With The Oculus Rift (MSFT)

    Xbox One controller

    We've known for some time now that Microsoft has been at least exploring virtual reality. 

    But it looks like Microsoft has moved forward and has actually created an Xbox One virtual reality headset like the Oculus Rift.

    "I think the technology is really interesting, and it’s definitely something we’ve been playing with for quite a while," Xbox head Phil Spencer told IGN in March.

    Microsoft has even given the mysterious Xbox One VR headset to some game developers, according to VRFocus.

    "The developer kit is currently ‘circulating’ a group of developers working on the console," VRFocus reports. "Several studios have confirmed to VRFocus that they are working with the device, while Techradar has also received similar information that suggests teams have already begun work on software for the kit."

    While there's no information on the design of the headset or the type of games being developed, Microsoft is rumored to officially announce the VR headset at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June.

    Oculus VR's headset Oculus rift Tokyo Game Show 2014The news of an Xbox One VR headset means Nintendo is the last major gaming platform to join the virtual reality wave of the past two years. Sony already announced its Project Morpheus headset, and then there's the Oculus Rift for PC. Oculus has even worked with Samsung to debut the Gear VR headset for mobile.

    Nintendo could soon follow, and the company has already voiced its curiosity for virtual reality, though it may take a more cautious approach.

    "Certainly, it's something we're looking at,” Nintendo of America's president and chief operating officer Reggie Fils-Aime told GameSpot back in June. "We look at a wide range of technologies. When it's there and enables a fun experience, we'll be there, too."

    SEE ALSO: Sony Hack Results In The 'Best Week By Far' For Confidential Messaging Apps

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  • Uber Responds After Singer Nikki Williams Accuses Her Driver Of Trying To ‘Grab And Kiss’ Her

    Nikki Williams, a singer-songwriter based in South Africa, tweeted early Saturday morning that her Uber driver “tried to grab and kiss on me in my own driveway.”

    Williams says she fought off her driver and reported the incident to Uber. 

    The ridesharing company was swift to respond, deactivating the driver and providing the following statement to Mashable:

    Uber has zero tolerance for this behavior, and we apologize to Ms. Williams for this terrible experience. We immediately deactivated the driver, and have begun an investigation.

    We’ve reached out to Uber for more information and we’ll update the story if we learn more from the company.

    This is just the latest in a string of alleged incidents against Uber drivers. A Boston-based Uber driver was arrested this week for allegedly kidnapping and raping a passenger on Dec. 6, and an Uber driver in India allegedly raped a female passenger last week.

    In response to these incidents, Uber outlined several steps it is considering to increase the safety of its global operations, including research into biometrics and voice verification to improve its screenings of drivers.

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  • This Really Does Look Like A Bubble

    Oculus VR's headset Oculus rift Tokyo Game Show 2014In December 15 years ago the dotcom crash was a few weeks away. Veterans of that fiasco may notice some familiar warning signs this festive season.

    Bankers and lawyers are being priced out of office space in downtown San Francisco; all of the space in eight tower blocks being built has been taken by technology firms.

    In 2013 around a fifth of graduates from America's leading MBA schools joined tech firms, almost double the share that struck Faustian pacts with investment banks.

    Janet Yellen, the head of the Federal Reserve, has warned that social-media firms are overvalued--and has been largely ignored, just as her predecessor Alan Greenspan was when he urged caution in 1999.

    Good corporate governance is, once again, for wimps. Shares in Alibaba, a Chinese internet giant that listed in New York in September using a Byzantine legal structure, have risen by 58%. Executives at startups, such as Uber, a taxi-hailing service, exhibit a mighty hubris.

    Yet judged by the financial yardsticks of the dotcom era there is as yet no bubble. The NASDAQ index of mainly technology stocks is valued at 23 times expected earnings versus over 100 times in 2000. That year Barron's, an investment magazine, published an analysis showing that 51 listed technology firms would run out of cash within a year. On December 6th Barron's repeated the exercise and found only five listed tech firms with wobbly finances.

    Instead, today's financial excess is hidden partly out of sight in two areas: inside big tech firms such as Amazon and Google, which are spending epic sums on warehouses, offices, people, machinery and buying other firms; and on the booming private markets where venture capital (VC) outfits and others trade stakes in young technology firms.

    google

    Take the spending boom by the big, listed tech firms first. It is exemplified by Facebook, which said in October that its operating costs would rise in 2015 by 55-75%, far ahead of its expected sales growth. Forget lean outfits run by skinny entrepreneurs: Silicon Valley's icons are now among the world's biggest, flabbiest investors.

    Together, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Twitter invested $66 billion in the past 12 months. This figure includes capital spending, research and development, fixed assets acquired with leases and cash used for acquisitions.

    graph economist

    That is eight times what they invested in 2009. It is double the amount invested by the VC industry.

    If you exclude Apple, investments ate up most of the cashflow the firms generated.

    Together these five tech firms now invest more than any single company in the world: more than such energy Leviathans as Gazprom, PetroChina and Exxon, which each invest about $40 billion-50 billion a year.

    The five firms together own $60 billion of property and equipment, almost as much as General Electric. They employ just over 300,000 people.

    Google says it is determined to keep "investing ahead of the curve".

    Big firms are also making speculative bets, to add new products and insure themselves against technological change.

    Amazon is investing in content and recently acquired Twitch, a video-streaming firm. Google is throwing cash at driverless cars, robots and home thermostats.

    Facebook has acquired Oculus VR, a maker of virtual-reality headsets. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's boss, has said that it will not have an immediate payback: "It's going to take a bunch of years to get there."

    mark zuckerberg

    What are the odds of all this money being spent sensibly? Apple is still tremendously profitable. The other firms have patchier records.

    Google's return on capital has halved to about 20%, after accounting for stock-option costs. Amazon has never generated much cash. The longer-term omens are not good. Few firms learn how to create a framework for spending tens of billions of dollars almost overnight.

    When previous champions, such as Nokia, Yahoo and Microsoft, made big acquisitions in adjacent areas they often fared badly. There are few obvious sources of restraint at those firms still dominated by powerful leaders who control their companies: Google, Facebook and Amazon. All five of today's stars have lots of excess cash. Much of this is parked offshore and cannot be brought home without incurring tax, giving an extra incentive to spend it.

    The second area of technology froth is in private markets. Their exuberance was demonstrated on December 4th when Uber closed a $1.2 billion private funding round that valued the five-year old firm at $40 billion. Baidu, China's biggest search engine, is set to buy a stake, too.

    There are 48 American VC-backed firms worth $1 billion or more, compared with ten at the height of the dotcom bubble, according to VentureSource, a research outfit. In October a software firm called Slack was valued at $1.1 billion, a year after being founded. 2014 looks set to be the biggest year for VC investments since 2000.

    uberPart of what is happening is a shift away from stockmarkets. Entrepreneurs are keen to avoid the bureaucracy involved in initial public offerings. They now have alternative ways to raise cash and to award tradable shares to staff. More institutional investors are buying into private technology firms, alongside VC funds. Unlike in 2000 the firms they invest in already have scale. Uber's gross sales, of which it keeps about 20%, are expected to hit a run rate of $10 billion by late 2015.

    But with many investors chasing a few firms, VC gurus are worried about frothy valuations. The best-known of these, Marc Andreessen, has said valuations are getting "a little warm", and called for discipline. A banker warns that successful funds' recent run of profitable exits is encouraging them to take "lottery ticket" bets. Among the most recent tech firms to debut on stockmarkets with huge share-price "pops" are Lending Club, a peer-to-peer lending platform, and New Relic and Hortonworks, two "big data" software firms.

    The sins of big, listed tech firms and younger, private ones will be forgiven if their growth continues at a blistering pace for several years: so far there is no clear sign of deceleration. But if these firms do slow down before then, the present investment boom will look like a horrible mistake for the firms and investors that financed it.

    For society, though, there is little to fret about. As in 1999-2000, startups and tech giants are creating jobs and investing in new technologies and infrastructure that boost long-term economic growth. But this time round a slump would be unlikely to lead to a broader contagion, since it would be confined to private markets and a few large firms with strong balance-sheets. Silicon Valley still does vanity, bubbles, genius and excess. But when it comes to causing crashes, it has learned to be less evil.

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  • Researchers 'Averaged' The Faces Of 400 CEOs — And The Results Say A Lot About Race In Business

    What happens when you combine the faces of 400 CEOs? 

    A startling picture of just how similar, and pale, our modern leaders are.

    SumoCoupon, the money-saving coupon company, used the face-manipulation software Psychomorph to "average" the faces of 400 executives in 10 different industries, from nonprofits to entertainment to transportation. They also averaged the age and income of CEOs in each industry. 

    Some of the results are to be expected (e.g., startup CEOs are about 15 years younger than the rest), while others are more surprising (female leaders in politics seem to have shorter hair than the other women).

    See the images below.

    average face of a ceo

     

    NOW WATCH: Couples Therapist Reveals The Key To Having A Good Sex Life

     

    SEE ALSO: Google Has An Embarrassing Diversity Problem

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  • These Sub-$200 Headphones Are Petite And Powerful, But Also Imperfect

    v-moda-xs

    V-Moda’s “XS” headphones promise all kinds of interesting contradictions: Diminutive in size but big on sound; thin and sleek, but also extremely durable and collapsible for easy traveling.

    After putting two different-colored models to the test (we tried matte black and white silver), the XS over-the-year headphones live up to most of those expectations, but fall short in a few areas.

    First, let’s talk about the design. At first, I was really worried about wearing these headphones. They’re called “XS” because they truly are “extra small” — I thought they’d be unstable on my head and make me look goofy (well, goofier than I already look). But I was pleasantly surprised to see that they weren’t as small as I anticipated, and that they fit quite well over my ears. 

    V-Moda says it built the XS model to remove the unattractive gap between one’s head and the headphones themselves. These headphones certainly achieve this feat, as there’s virtually no air space between you and the accessory. Of all the Business Insider staffers that tried on these headphones, nobody looked goofy wearing the XS.

    What’s more, you can laser-engrave any name or logo onto the headphone’s outer shields for $45 — I asked V-Moda to engrave Business Insider’s logo, and the final result looked beautiful on both the white and black models. If you have a logo or design you like, the engraving is well worth your money. 

    vmoda headphonesFrom a design perspective, V-Moda excels in most areas on the XS. The headphones are inviting enough with leather and soft fabric on the cups and headband, but they’re also rugged enough to withstand any kind of punishment, thanks to military-grade materials. What’s really nice is that you can fold the cups into the band, which makes the XS into the most travel-friendly pair of headphones you can find. V-Moda even ships the headphones in a super slick exoskeleton case, which keeps everything neatly organized and compact, and that, too, is exceedingly small for all your travel needs.

    But even if you plan on using these headphones while traveling, just make sure you don’t move your head around too much. The XS headphones are small but aren’t very secure on your head; if you do any head banging, or even if you just look down while wearing them, the headphones will slide towards the front of your crown. This is somewhat disappointing: Headphones, to me, should be able to rest comfortably on your head in any scenario, especially if you want to rock out. A-Audio’s Legacy headphones, for example, will stay on your head no matter how violently you shake.

    vmoda headphones2And then there’s the sound quality. It’s not bad for under $200, but V-Moda has greatly emphasized the bass on these headphones, as if to say, “Yes the XS is small, but it can produce incredibly deep notes.” The problem, unfortunately, is that the excessive bass tends to drown out some of the mids, and the highs seem a bit quiet, too. 

    The sound quality in the XS is still better than what you’d find in a pair of Apple EarPods, but Business Insider’s Jay Yarow lent me his Beats Solo2 headphones, which are exactly the same price, and they sounded much more accurate to me. And they also stayed on my head when I gave them a good shake.

    In all, the XS headphones are a very good product that falls short of greatness, simply because of a few details. The design is pleasant but they won’t stay on a moving head. Bass lovers will appreciate the powerful sound, and it cancels plenty of outside noise, but it’s not always crisp or accurate. V-Moda says it built these on-ear headphones for the “modern audiophile,” but frankly, most audiophiles will want to drop an extra $50 or $100 to pick up a pair of headphones that offer superior comfort and sound.

    It feels like V-Moda is on the verge of an amazing pair of headphones; we look forward to what the company produces in the years ahead as it iterates on this ultra-small, ultra-portable design.

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  • Here's Where People Are Using Apple Pay The Most (AAPL)

    whole foods shoppers mother and daughter

    We're now getting a better picture of where iPhone users are taking advantage of Apple Pay.

    Between its launch on Oct. 16 to the end of November, Apple Pay has already grown to represent 1.7% of mobile payments.

    Google Wallet made up 4% of all mobile payments over the same period.

    The top three retailers for Apple Pay were Whole Foods, Walgreens, and McDonalds, according to research firm ITG.

    Panera and Subway rounded out the top five Apple Pay retailers.

    ITG says Whole Foods accounted for 20% of all Apple Pay transactions in November, and 28% of all dollars spent.

    Walgreens accounted for 19% of all transactions and 11% of spend, and McDonald's made up 11% of transactions and 3% of dollars spent.

    The dominant force in mobile payments right now is PayPal. The eBay subsidiary had a 78% market share last month.

    Apple Pay will continue growing into next year when the Apple Watch comes out. Apple has also been adding banks to their network and claims it supports cards representing 90% of US credit card purchase volume.

    SEE ALSO: Here's One Alarming Statistic That Should Make You Care About Apple Pay

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  • YouTube Star Bethany Mota Reveals Two Things Her Fans Don't Know About Her

    After more than five years and more than 600 million views, YouTube superstar Bethany Mota's legion of fans have gotten to know her pretty well.

    But when we caught up with Mota at the IGNITION 2014 event she revealed two things her fans might be surprised to learn about her.

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  • Two Teenagers Built A 3D-Printed Wristband That Can Record Live TV When You Fall Asleep

    Jonathan Kingsley Ryan OliverIt’s hard to catch all your favorite programming around the holidays — especially when your stomach is full of spiral ham and mashed potatoes. 

    But that’s where the KipstR wristband comes in. 

    Built by two British teenagers — Jonathan Kingsley, 14, and Ryan Oliver, 15 — the KipstR is like a TiVo remote in that it can pause and record whatever you’re watching. But instead of requiring manual activation, it can sense when its wearer falls asleep to then record what you’re watching, so you can continue your viewing once you wake up. 

    Kingsley and Oliver, who are both students at Manchester Creative Studio, were commissioned by Virgin Media, the company behind TiVo, to develop the KipstR, The Daily Mail reports. As such, it will only be available for Virgin Media customers in the UK; there are no plans yet for a global release, but if this device takes off, hopefully it’ll make it to the US soon.

    We jumped at the chance to work with the Virgin Media team on this project,” Oliver told The Daily Mail. “It was a brilliant challenge for us but we’ve learnt so much and are really pleased with the end result." 

    KipstR

    So how does it work? The KipstR prototype currently features a pulse-oximeter, which can measure your blood flow and the amount of oxygen circulating through it to know when you’re dozing off — basically, once the sensor notices any changes in your blood flow, it will start recording the program you’re currently watching.

    The KipstR is powered by a lithium-polymer battery, and it comes with a push button, a sleep mode indicator, and a spark core chip to process all the data from the pulse-oximeter. The outside of the prototype was 3D printed using an Objet Connex 3D printer, which was able to turn out a resin called Polyjet that’s stronger than most rigid plastics created by 3D printers.

    The two teenagers plan on giving the KipstR a trial run this Christmas, and they’re also exploring how other internet-connected devices in the home could take advantage of sleep control to help people save power, time and money.

    SEE ALSO: How NASA 'Emailed' A Wrench Into Space

    SEE ALSO: Elon Musk's Wild Plan To Revolutionize Transportation Is Moving Forward

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  • The ‘Apple Of China’ Raises Over $1 Billion, Valuation Skyrockets To More Than $45 Billion

    xiaomi mi4 smartphone launch lei jun ceoXiaomi has reportedly raised more than $1 billion in its latest round of funding, which brings the valuation of China’s biggest smartphone maker to more than $45 billion, The Wall Street Journal reports.

    The funding round — led by All-Stars Investment, a fund run by former Morgan Stanley analyst Richard Ji — is expected to close as early as Monday. 

    At $45 billion, Xiaomi would be more valuable than most other Silicon Valley technology startups, including Uber, which just closed a funding round that values the ridesharing startup at $41 billion.

    Xiaomi has made a name for itself in emerging markets thanks to its phones that are highly similar to Apple’s high-end devices, but sold at extremely low prices. The company shipped 18 million handsets in the last quarter — a whopping year-over-year growth of 239% during that period. It’s currently the fourth-biggest smartphone maker in the world, and the biggest in China.

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  • 5 Awesome Google Features You Didn't Know About

    Google has countless features that we never knew existed – you can set up an alarm in the Google Search, go into space and even play around with LEGOs. 

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  • Obama May Have Forced Sony To Release 'The Interview'

    Barack Obama Iraq

    Seth Rogen fans may want to thank President Barack Obama this weekend.

    When Obama called Sony's decision to cancel Rogen's movie, "The Interview," "a mistake" at his year-end news conference on Friday, he may have guaranteed the movie will leave the studio's vault.

    Almost immediately after Obama's remarks, some industry experts speculated the president's strongly-worded comments would get Sony to reverse its decision to pull the comedy about North Korea.

    The movie studio called off "The Interview's" scheduled Dec. 25 opening on Wednesday following a massive cyber hack that included several Sony films leaking, the release of internal emails, employees' data, and threats of terrorist attacks against theaters that played the movie.

    Along with the leaked documents the hackers released statements saying they objected to the way "The Interview" mocks North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Both Obama and the FBI have said there is evidence linking the attack to North Korea.

    In his press conference, Obama slammed Sony for setting a bad precedent with their decision to cancel the movie.

    "We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States," the president said, later adding, "I wish they had spoken to me first. I would have told them do not get into a pattern in which you're intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks."

    Right after Obama spoke, David Poland of the Hollywood industry blog Movie City News predicted the president's statement would force Sony to make a reversal. 

    "Obama calling the pulling of 'The Interview' 'a mistake' pretty much assures a release," Poland wrote on Twitter. "Though Christmas Day might be too soon functionally."

    Brent Lang, the senior film and media reporter with Hollywood trade magazine Variety, told Business Insider he agreed Obama "definitely" had an impact on the studio.

    "How could he not have? He's the president," said Lang. "That's terrible publicity for Sony. He basically called them out on television, the president of the United States."

    In the wake of Obama's comments, Lang said he believes there's a "better than 50% chance they'll release the film."

    "I don't think it's going to come out on Dec. 25 like it was supposed to. They've now started to pull their television and their other ads," Lang explained. "But at some point, in some way, people will see this movie."

    the interview movie posterIndeed, following the president's remarks,  Sony Entertainment CEO and Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Michael Lynton issued a pair of statements wherein he seemed to back track from a vow the studio made on Wednesday that it had "no further" plans to release the movie in any format. Lynton's response to Obama also seemed to blame the decision on movie theater chains that declined to show the film after the hackers made terrorist threats.

    "Let us be clear – the only decision that we have made with respect to release of the film was not to release it on Christmas Day in theaters, after the theater owners declined to show it," said Lynton. "Without theaters, we could not release it in the theaters on Christmas Day. We had no choice."

    Along with the pressure from Obama, Lang attributed Sony's apparent reversal to massive backlash from other critics like the actors George Clooney and Rob Lowe who were outraged by the studio's decision to pull the movie. Lang said the anger over the studio's decision was amplified when the government confirmed the hack was linked to North Korea.

    "It subsequently sort of came to light who was behind the hack and I think it became more of an issue about free speech than maybe Sony even realized it was going to become. So, now they're facing a lot of blowback that maybe they didn't anticipate," Lang said. "They really, as a studio, they don't want to be in a position where they're on the side of censorship."

    Lang attributed Sony's seemingly shifting plans for the film to watching them "trying to figure out a situation in real time." 

    "They are sort of changing their mind in real time because it's such an unprecedented situation. There's not really like a crisis management script they can refer to. It's so beyond what an entertainment company normally deals with," said Lang. "They didn't anticipate the vitriolic response that they received and now theyre trying to salvage what they can of their brand and what it stands for."

    Even though Sony appears to be backing down from the decision to cancel "The Interview," not everyone believes critics, even the president, played a defining role.

    Jeff Sneider, a film reporter at Hollywood industry website The Wrap, told Business Insider he doesn't think Sony ever really planned to shelve "The Interview."

    "It was always going to come out eventually, one day, in some form or another," Sneider said. "I don't think Obama ensured its release any more than Clooney did."

    Sneider said he believes Sony was merely was merely buying time to allow for an investigation of the matter. He also theorized the studio was loathe to risk an attack on a theater, which after the specific threats made by the hackers, could result in tremendous legal liability.

    "To think this movie will never be released is naive. It will definitely come out and it will definitely be in 2015. They've got to give the government time to investigate and catch these bastards," said Sneider. "It was wise to take a time out and pull the movie. It was the only thing they could do. Why take the risk of something happening. It's not worth it!"

    Sneider also predicted the publicity from the hack will make "The Interview" a success, whether in theaters or in a video on demand format.

    "The publicity will help the box office performance if they opt for a theatrical release," Sneider said. "It may very well go VOD and that'd be the end of it, but I predict it would be the most successful VOD release of all-time."

    the interview kim jon unFor his part, Lang thinks Sony genuinely considered pulling the movie. He argued that strategy is based on the studio's bottom line. Lang, who broke the news the cancellation would leave Sony with a loss of about $75 million in costs associated with the film, suggested Sony executives may have felt they could recoup more through their insurance policies than a VOD release.

    "From my understanding they could probably have made about half of their production back through insurance or terror coverage," Lang explained. "I think the high watermark for VOD is like $20 million. This would probably have been the biggest VOD title of all time just given the awareness around it, but ... by the time you cut in the cable operator, whoever it is who's distributing it, you're not going to make the money back. It's just not feasible. So, they probably took a look at those numbers and figured insurance was the better way to go."

    Lang also noted "The Interview" wasn't a big budget blockbuster, Oscar contender, or major franchise.

    "At a certain point, they can't stand to lose more money and risk the security of their employees and stuff just to release this comedy, which is a fairly small movie. This isn't 'Interstellar,'" said Lang. "It's a fairly small movie to begin with and the damages associated with this are so dispropritonate to the cost of this film and its revenues. I mean this is a company." 

    However, those calculations may have changed for Sony due to the pressure from the president and other critics along with the ensuing public relations damage.

    Still, though the film now has a ton of free publicity, Lang doesn't think it will be a moneymaker for the studio — even if the theater chains have a change of heart that lets Sony can give the movie a traditional release rather than an on demand one.

    Lang pointed out the studio's losses from this hack were not confined to the costs associated with "The Interview." The leaked personal information led to legal woes and the publication of internal emails could have caused intrapersonal drama that might pose issues for other future projects, among other complications associated with the attack. 

    "'The Interview' could be phenomenally successful, but it's doubtful that it will be successful enough to make up for all the lost revenue, for all the lost operations, the cost in legal liabilities, the cost in repairing their cybersecurity network, and the cost in repairing their brand damage," Lang said. "So, even if the film is succsessful, it won't be successful, basically." 

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  • Google Is Letting Companies Rack Up Thousands In Ad Revenue — And Then Taking It All Away

  • Protect Yourself From Hackers With A VPN Service [Up To 72% Off]

    Anonymous hackerVPN (Virtual Private Network) is a technology that allows you to connect to any private network from whenever you have internet access, from corporate networks to public or hotel WiFi. Connecting through a VPN automatically encrypts your data, hiding it from hackers or identity thieves.

    It works by creating a secured group of devices that can communicate anonymously across a public network (the Internet). They're a must-have if you use public WiFi, where you are most vulnerable to attack. Check out this article on Medium to see why.

    Use the tools below (thanks to our friends at Stack Commerce) to protect yourself from hackers looking for your information and identity online. 



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    To use BolehVPN you need to have an iOS device with OS 6.1 or later, Androids with 4.0 or later, a Mac with 10.6 or above, or a Windows computer that has XP or above.

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  • Sony Picked One Of The Worst Possible Times To Release A Movie Making Fun Of North Korea

    kim jong unSony pulled the plug on the North Korea-mocking movie, “The Interview," on Dec. 17. The film was set to release on Dec. 25.

    The decision was made a day after a hacking group called Guardians of Peace (GOP), which claims to be responsible for the hacks, threatened to attack theaters showing the movie.

    Although North Korea still denies it, FBI has concluded the North Korean government was behind these attacks.

    But on the same day the movie was pulled — Dec. 17 — North Koreans were observing the end of a three-year mourning period of their late leader Kim Jong Il, the father of Kim Jong-un.

    Traditionally, North Koreans observe the death of a parent for two years. But South Korean TV broadcaster KBS says North Korea extended the official mourning period to three years out of respect for their "national hero." 

    This year's official mourning ceremony was more special than others. It took place at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the public square where the mausoleum for Kim Jong Il and his father Kim Il-sung is. It was held indoors the last two years.

    North Korean TVs showed the mourning ceremony all day. No alcohol drinking or excessive entertainment activity were allowed for days.

    In other words, it was a big day in North Korea. And a very sensitive time.

    So what does this all mean? 

    Sony, at the outset, may not have picked a great time to release a movie making fun of North Korea. 

    In fact, leading up to the three-year mourning period, the North Korean government is reported to have doubled down on all kinds of security measures, according to Radio Free Asia. That includes banning any type of travels, bringing back most overseas government officials, and tracking cellphones to spot any illegal calls. 

    RFA also recently said many North Korean expats have started to carry two cellphones because they’re afraid the North Korean government might be tapping into their calls. All expats are required to register their phones with the government, and if any of those phones were found to have messenger apps like Kakao Talk or WeChat, they would get arrested for suspicious activity, it says.

    KBS says North Korean press had hyped up the Dec. 17 ceremony for months to make it look like the official start of the “Kim Jong-un Era.” The reason they had the ceremony outdoors was also to show the world that Kim Jong-un has finally arrived, it says.

    Still, it’s hard to say there’s any real evidence correlating the two events. But it’s also not hard to see why North Korea was so ticked off by the movie. Does that justify the hacking, which may or may not have been perpetrated by North Korea? Absolutely not. But would that have led to the Sony hacking? Who knows?

    Here are some photos of North Koreans bowing on the street on Dec. 17 to show respect to Kim Jong Il:

    North KoreaNorth KoreaNorth KoreaNorth Korea

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  • Apple Is Now Shipping Most New iPhone Models In Just One Day (AAPL)

    iphone 6 plus japan launchIt looks like supply is finally catching up with demand for Apple’s newest and hottest smartphones.

    According to Apple’s website, most models of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are now shipping in just one business day, across all major carriers.

    The lone exceptions are the 128 GB models of each phone, which are shipping between 3-7 business days, depending on the carrier.

    Apple sold more than 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units in its opening weekend, a record for the company. CEO Tim Cook predicted the new phones would trigger “the mother of all upgrade cycles.”

    Morgan Stanley analysts predict Apple will sell nearly 70 million iPhones this quarter — and with an average selling price of $605, that could mean $42.3 billion in revenue for the fruit company.

    In its previous holiday quarter, Apple sold 51 million iPhones.

    SEE ALSO: iPhone Sales Are Going Nuclear

    SEE ALSO: Apple's Next iPhone Update Will Finally Address Its Subpar Health App

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  • REVEALED: The Demographic Trends For Every Social Network

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    The demographics of who's on what social network are shifting — older social networks are reaching maturity, while newer social messaging apps are gaining younger users fast.

    In a new report from BI Intelligence, we unpack data from over a dozen sources to understand how social media demographics are still shifting. 

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    Here are a few of the key takeaways from the BI Intelligence report:

    The report is full of charts (over 20 charts) and data that can be downloaded and put to use.

    In full, the report:

    For full access to all BI Intelligence reports, briefs, and downloadable charts on the digital media industry, sign up for a two week trial.

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  • Watch Out Lululemon — Women Are Going Crazy Over These No-Underwear Yoga Pants

    Lingerie company Dear Kate has a new approach to what type of support women need when it comes to intimate apparel. 

    Founder and CEO Julie Sygiel developed underwear with a "silky soft, patent-pending fabric" that is wicking, stain releasing and leak resistant.

    Using the same technology, she's created the first ever line of yoga pants designed to be worn without underwear.

    Produced by Sam Rega. Additional camera by Alana Kakoyiannis.

    Follow BI Video: On Facebook

     

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