Just 24 hours ago, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that the Sony Pictures hacking incident is a “serious national security matter” and that the White House is looking for a “proportional response.” While North Korea’s name has been tossed around as a likely culprit behind the attacks on Sony Pictures, there has yet to be any official confirmation by Sony Pictures or the White House. All that changed today when the FBI officially named North Korea as the country behind the attacks that have rocked Sony Pictures.
We are deeply concerned about the destructive nature of this attack on a private sector entity and the ordinary citizens who worked there. North Korea’s actions were intended to inflict significant harm on a US business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves. Such actions of intimidation fall outside the bounds of acceptable state behavior.
The FBI went on to say that analysis of the “destructive malware” used on Sony Pictures was critical in the Bureau’s ability to link the attacks directly to North Korea with Sony having reported the incident within hours. They went to say that Sony
has been a great partner in the investigation, and continues to work closely with the FBI
After the jump, more details, including details from President Obama.
It’s hard to believe it, but CES 2015 is nearly two weeks away. CES has always been an important convention for Sony where in the past, the company had debuted their 4K TV fleet, new Xperia smartphones, and much more. For CES 2015, Sony wants us to ‘Welcome to the New World’ in a teaser video. The cryptic video features shots of beautiful color, lollipop, and human emotions among other things. Those three likely hint at new 4K televisions from Sony while lollipop is surely a reference to the latest Android build that’s expected to hit Sony’s entire Xperia Z line in early 2015. As the human emotion, you sometimes have to hear to believe, referencing Sony’s growing line of high-end speakers.
The video is available after the jump.
The Sony Pictures hack that’s been unfolding which has now resulted on the Hollywood studio to cancel all plans to release The Interview is an event that reaches far beyond Sony. Though the incident has rocked Sony Pictures with unforeseen consequences for years to come, other studios have taken note as well. Since the group behind the incident threatened with a 9/11 style terrorism attack on patrons who would dare see the film on its then-scheduled Christmas release, other studios have begun to take note and modify their projects. Specifically, New Regency has cancelled a Steve Carell North Korean thriller that was set to be directed by Gore Verbrinski and Paramount Pictures has pulled Team America: World Police, the satirical film from the creators of South Park, which debuted exactly a decade ago in theaters.
Since Sony Pictures decided to pull The Interview from theaters, The Alamo Drafthouse, an upscale theater chain in Austin, Texas had decided to show Team America instead, which ended with the team killing Kim Jung-il, father of Kim Jung-un, who was the target of The Interview. However, as you can see, Paramount Pictures has since pulled that film as well.
With Hollywood studios deciding to play it safe against would-be hackers and pulling any film that depicts North Korea, it’s up to The White House to formulate a response – and that’s exactly what they might do.
Sony has updated their Lifelog app, bringing with it GPS support for Android Wear. Released earlier in the year, Android Wear is the latest OS iteration from Google that’s meant specifically for wearables like smart watches. Following the announcement of the new OS, the Sony SmartWatch 3 was released, one of the first devices with Android Wear. The SmartWatch 3 is also one of the very few devices on the market with built in GPS which allows you to leave your smartphone at home while still being able to track and log all of your movements. Now, Sony’s Lifelog app can take advantage of this feature as well, completing the circle.
Details after the jump.
Thanks to the whole threat of 9/11 style terrorism and all, Sony Pictures has decided to pull The Interview from theaters. For those unfamiliar, the group behind the Sony Pictures hack recently upped their ante against the Hollywood studio and the American public by declaring all those who opt to see the Seth Rogan and James Franco comedy on Christmas Day as viable targets. While not pulling the film at that time, Rogan and Franco canceled all of their press events to promote the film. Soon after, Sony Pictures made it clear that it would be fine if theaters opted to not show the film.
Now, Sony Pictures is officially pulling the movie from theaters. Though according to Homeland Security there is little evidence of an actual threat, SP likely wants this saga to end as soon as possible. While in an ideal world they would be standing up to terrorists and stand for American ideals where we don’t change our lives due to fear, Sony also likely doesn’t want to be involved with such headlines should there be an actual attack. So will the theatrical cancelation of The Interview mean the former cyber criminals and now terrorist group get the last laugh?
Not if Sony listens to our plan that not only sends a direct ‘F You’ to the group behind it and North Korea, be it if they are involved or not. But it also helps one of the company’s younger services (Crackle) which sure could use a national campaign. Meet me after the jump.
Your Christmas wishes may have just been answered early. Plex, the company behind the streaming server software for Mac and PC is finally bringing their app to PS3 and PS4. For those unfamiliar, Plex allows you to stream movies, TV shows, pictures, and music from your home computer to a number of devices which now include the PlayStation family. Once the free app is downloaded on your computer and PlayStation, little stands in the way of you streaming. Best of all, Plex handles all codecs on the computer, requiring little support from PS3 or PS4, including MKV files.
More after the jump.
In my book, it’s kind of hard not to like Channing Tatum. I don’t know the man nor have I ever met him but, from what I can tell, not only is he good at what he does, but he’s having fun while doing it. This is an important thing because when you tend to enjoy what you do, you also bring joy to those around it. I’ve made it quite clear that we won’t be posting any leaked emails and till now we haven’t. You can read my reasonings here. This email however is an exception because it’s short (kind of, you’ll see why) but just shows you his attitude towards things, and doesn’t reveal anything other than Tatum’s fun personality.
When the box office returns for the opening weekend of 22 Jump Street were announced, the action comedy starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill came in second on the list of best-ever opening weekends for R-rated comedy. Till that point, Seth MacFarlane’s Ted held the number two spot. Channing’s email to Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal and other studio execs awaits you after the jump.
So I disappeared for a while from writing movie reviews because I was busy writing and producing a web series. I was putting in sixteen hour days on set writing on the fly, helping direct scenes, and various odd jobs that needed done. The process was incredible with a huge team of awesome people working as hard as any crew could work with only the best of attitudes. And in the end, despite all the incredible effort, I won’t be totally sure of how people will react until it goes public.
What is completely sure is how much work and time and effort went into even a small film shoot like that. So when I watch a film like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, I can’t even understand how it’s even possible. These things are herculean efforts of unreal complexity. The sheer enormity of just things like managing all the people involved is unfathomable. You add up a huge cast, massive sets, CGI of gigantic proportion, huge sound design, lighting, etc…. And to have it be as enjoyable and interesting as Mockingjay 1 is pretty incredible.
In case you’d missed it, recently Square Enix announced plans to bring Final Fantasy VII to PS4. While you’d been able to play FF7 on PS3 and PS Vita, the digital downloads were exact ports of the classic PlayStation One game. This time around, Square Enix would be bringing a remastered version of the game to PS4 though it’s not what you’d think. Instead, the game is a port of the PC version of Final Fantasy VII which had some slightly improved visuals. Shortly after the announcement of bringing FF7 to PS4, Square Enix announced that the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD would also make its way to PS4. Final Fantasy X/X-2 was released on PS3 with remastered graphics, bringing with it much improved graphics.
If that wasn’t enough, Square wants to bring even more past Final Fantasy entries to the PS4.
The group behind the Sony Pictures hack that has devastated the Hollywood studio with unknown repercussions that will likely be felt for years has, until now, remained in the realm of the internet. That is to say that, while their attacks have had an enormously negative impact on Sony Pictures and its staff members that are caught in all of this, all of their actions have existed in the cyber world. As we approach December 25th, the release date for The Interview, a comedy by Seth Rogan and James Franco where the two attempt an assassination on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, #GOP, the group believed to be behind the attacks, has steadily upped their threats.
Just yesterday, the group revealed that they have a “Christmas gift” for Sony that will be their biggest one yet. Unfortunately, we know what they mean by that as the group has decided to graduate from cyber terrorism to real terrorism. Details after the jump.
The hacker group
country? North Korea? behind the Sony Pictures hack doesn’t seem to be done with the Hollywood studio quite yet. Since the original hacking which took place three weeks ago, the group has steadily released sensitive data from Sony Pictures. The released documents have ranged from embarrassing emails between executives with less than flattering language to financial results and accounting practices on films. While we’ve done our best to keep you up to date on this ongoing saga, we’ve decided to not post any of the revealed private information as we’d simply be furthering and helping the hackers in our opinion. You can read about our decision here.
Despite multiple massive data dumps which have included five films from Sony Pictures, four which are unreleased, the group promises more to come with the biggest one yet to be released on Christmas.
We are preparing for you a Christmas gift
After the jump, more details.
Just in time for the holiday shopping rush, Sony has unveiled a new collaboration with Roxy, the well known women’s outdoor sports lifestyle brand. Dubbed as SmartBand with Roxy, the latest wearable includes all the basic functions you’d expect from devices of this sort like your step count, number of stairs climbed, and typical calories burned. The Sony SmartBand, however, has a few tricks up its sleeve, hence why Sony prefers the term “life tracker.” Beyond the basic ability to track your movement in a waterproof design and set alarms, the SmartBand also allows you to play, pause, and skip through your music and even act as a camera remote on your Android device. Connecting the Sony SmartBand is also easy thanks to the built-in NFC.
More details after the jump.
Late last week, we reported on the Qrio Smart Lock from Sony. Part of Kaz Hirai’s Seed Acceleration Program which seeks to raise Sony’s pioneering spirit of the past by funding smaller and more risky projects, the Qrio smart lock aims to make the installation of a smart lock not only simple, but one that lacks tools as well. In addition to a simple installation process, the Qrio is more affordable that other smart locks in the market like Lockitron ($179) and August ($249) and carries a nearly $130 price tag. Seeing how the project isn’t directly from Sony, Qrio launched on Makuake, Japan’s equivalent to Kickstarter in order to gain part of the funding it needs.
After the jump, the Qrio Smart Lock can be seen in action.
One of the lesser reveals from the hacking incident from Sony Pictures that frankly I feel is far more important than what Entertainment Chairman Amy Pascal said privately to somebody else in an email is the fate of Crackle. For those unfamiliar with Crackle, Sony’s free streaming service, I encourage you to read our previous in depth take on the service to really get a feel for it. According to information, Sony Pictures considered selling Crackle as late as November though since that time, the deal seems to be off. Who considered purchasing Crackle and for how much? All those details after the jump.
Amidst all the troubles at Sony Pictures and the financial woes at Sony Electronics, the once-dominant Japanese giant is looking to bring back the pioneering spirit that once defined the company. While Sony has publicly stated that PlayStation will now be a primary focus for them as they cut back their exposure in mobile and television, it doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to try things that are non-PlayStation. One such way is to fund smaller, more experimental projects with the help of crowd-funding.
Meet the Qrio smart lock from Sony.
There seems to be a very disturbing trend among mega sites like The Verge, Gawker (surprised?), and others where every information that’s revealed from the Sony Pictures hack is turned into a full blown, multi-thousand word article. As you likely know by now, Sony Pictures was hacked over two weeks ago by what’s likely a state sponsored attack by North Korea. While the reasoning behind it is unclear, many believe that it’s due to Sony Pictures upcoming comedy The Interview in which Seth Rogan and James Franco attempt to assassinate the country’s leader.
While there have been some interesting tidbits like Sony attempting to work with Marvel in order to bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe alongside Captain America and the gang, there has also been no shortage of articles covering private email exchanges between Sony staff members and executives. Instead of treating Sony Pictures as the victim of this attack where hackers illegally stole all this information, sites are now doing the dirty work by revealing every piece of information they can get their hands on and furthering their agenda. It should be made clear that there is a clear difference between journalists uncovering information and simply releasing private emails between Sony employees and spinning a story around them. Furthermore, with each new article covering some private exchange, sites are basically putting a price on our privacy.
Lets me explain after the jump.
While an interesting marketing blitz, Sony’s underwater Xperia Aquatech store never quite made sense to us. You can read our full take on why Sony could have better spent their marketing budget. Still, seeing how we have no sway at Sony, the stores opening has come and gone as it was only open for three days. Thanks to those who attend and their eagerness to share photos on Twitter, we’ve been able to get a better feel of the store and the experience it brought with it. While not as futuristic looking as depicted in the concepts, the event seems to have had plenty of flair. Now lets hope those select customers, VIP’s, and members of the media who attended will be able to share their experience with others and convince a few to buy some Xperia devices which of course is the whole point of the event.
After the jump, plenty of pictures await you.