US coal industry saw little growth in 2017 despite White House push

The Trump administration has been eager to prop up the US coal industry despite evidence that it's in a steep decline. But did it have much of an effect? Not really. Reuters has obtained preliminary Mining Health and Safety Administration data sho…

Startups, high-speed rail and California’s infrastructure future

 California is home to two very different innovation worlds. For the readers of TechCrunch, there is the familiar excitement of the startup world, with startups working on longevity and age extension, rockets to Mars, and cars that drive themselves. Hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs, engineers, and product managers are building these futures every day, often on shoestring budgets all in… Read More

Playboy sues Boing Boing over a web link

Playboy has filed a lawsuit against Boing Boing, accusing the offbeat news blog of copyright infringement for linking to an Imgur gallery and a YouTube video that showed every Playmate centerfold. Boing Boing wasn't involved in the creation of the ga…

Kim Dotcom Sues Government for ‘Billions’ Over Erroneous Arrest

Six years ago, New Zealand police carried out a spectacular military-style raid against individuals accused only of copyright infringement.

Acting on allegations from the United States government and its Hollywood partners, New Zealand’s elite counter-terrorist force raided the mansion of Kim Dotcom, who was detained along with his wife and children.

Megaupload’s founder has always maintained that his arrest was unlawful under New Zealand law, and he is determined to hold the authorities accountable.

In addition to getting married and celebrating his birthday this weekend, the German born entrepreneur announced that he is seeking damages from the New Zealand Government.

“Today, 6 years ago, the NZ Govt enabled the unlawful destruction of Megaupload and seizure of my global assets,” Dotcom wrote on Twitter.

“I was arrested for the alleged online piracy of my users. Not even a crime in NZ. My lawyers have served a multi billion dollar damages claim against the Govt today,” he added.

Dotcom’s lawyer Ira Rothken informs TorrentFreak that a damages claim was filed at the New Zealand High Court last December.

“We confirm that our legal team filed a Statement of Claim in the New Zealand High Court for monetary damages on December 22, 2017 on behalf of Kim Dotcom against the United States and NZ governmental entities alleging that defendants pursued with malice and material non disclosure an erroneous arrest warrant,” Rothken says.

In the claim, Dotcom’s legal team argues that the arrest warrant was invalid. They say that there were no reasonable grounds on which the District Court could conclude that Dotcom’s alleged crimes were an extraditable offense.

The consequences, however, were rather severe. Dotcom lost his freedom and also his company, which was worth billions and preparing for an IPO, according to the legal paperwork.

“At the time the Restraint Orders were granted, second plaintiff was preparing to list on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong at a conservative valuation of not less than US$2.6 billion,” the claim reads.

This valuation is based on a valuation of $40 for each of the 66 million users Megaupload had, which generated $45 million in profits per year. If Megaupload had not have been raided, today’s value could be as high as $10 billion.

Mega value

Dotcom has a 68 percent stake in the Megaupload companies and seeks damages that will compensate for lost profits. In addition, he requests compensation for legal costs, lost business opportunities, loss of reputation, and other losses.

The exact scale of the damages isn’t specified and will have to be determined at a later stage, before trial.

The claim doesn’t come as a surprise to the New Zealand Government, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a brief response.

“This has obviously been an ongoing matter, so no it doesn’t surprise me,” she commented.

A copy of the full claim is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN discounts, offers and coupons

Facebook hires TV network CEO to land worldwide sports deals

It's clearer than ever that Facebook wants to become a leader in live sports streaming. Variety and the Guardian have learned that Facebook has hired Peter Hutton, the CEO of Discovery-owned TV network Eurosport, to lead its negotiations for worldwi…

Here’s how to make sure Hawaii’s missile warning fiasco isn’t repeated

This is a guest post from Steve Bellovin, a professor in the Computer Science department and affiliate faculty at the law school at Columbia University. His research focuses on networks, security, and public policy. His opinions don’t necessarily reflect the views of Ars Technica.

(credit: EUGENE TANNER/AFP/Getty Images)

By now, most people have heard about the erroneous incoming ICBM alert in Hawaii. There’s been scrutiny of the how the emergency alert system works and of how international tensions and the flight times of missiles can lead to accidental nuclear war. I’d like to focus instead on how the systems design in Hawaii led to this problem—a design that I suspect is replicated in many other states.

One possible factor, of course, is hurried design:

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

How I made an arcade cabinet with my Mac mini and M.A.M.E.

Use your Mac mini in an arcade cabinet!

If you were lucky enough to upgrade your existing Mac line up this holiday season to a new iMac Pro, you may be wondering what to do with some of your older less powerful hardware. Rather than give my Mac mini away or recycle it, I decided to revamp and update my home built arcade cabinet running the multiple arcade machine emulator (M.A.M.E. for short) and use the Mac mini as the engine.

What is M.A.M.E.

For simplicity’s sake, I’ll define M.A.M.E. as an archive of the vintage software that ran arcade systems from yesteryear. The developers try their best to recreate the software systems that ran/run on arcade based computers and do so strictly via CPU emulation for that purpose. The developers avoid using GPU acceleration for the emulation because actually running of the software is simply an aside to the purpose of their mission. As a result, if you want to run some older arcade games, the best recreation aside from having an authentic arcade CPU board, would be the M.A.M.E. project.

Completely Apple-based M.A.M.E

I previously had the traditional M.A.M.E. setup running a Windows-based PC. It worked very well but it was unwieldy, loud, overly wired, and frankly just old. I had built up so much software cruft over the years that the system started to become quirky rather than useful in it’s function. Since I was already using an old Apple Cinema Display as the monitor, I figured I’d make the cabinet a complete Apple affair with with my LED Cinema Display, my 2014 Mac mini, and my full sized Apple keyboard (a third-party trackball doubles as a mouse so that was not needed).

The extra bits

When building a M.A.M.E arcade cabinet you can be as authentic to a true arcade cabinet as you desire. You can just run the emulator on your current Mac and use a keyboard and trackpad as your input devices and be done with it. Or, you can go for a more traditional experience and build a real arcade cabinet to house the computer and attach custom arcade quality joysticks and buttons for your inputs.

I went the more traditional route but I didn’t build my own arcade cabinet. I found a old bowling game that was non-functional from a local ad and picked that up for $100.

I also didn’t add custom joysticks or buttons. Instead I opted for a pre-built joystick from X-Arcade called the Tankstick + trackball for $150.

The nice thing about the Tankstick is that it uses real arcade quality joysticks and buttons built into a solid casing that when plugged into your computer, is detected as a regular keyboard. The “up” button is effectively a “1” on your keyboard for example. This means that when you are mapping user inputs on a game for your emulator, you won’t run into any compatibility issues as all the emulator will see is a normal keyboard being used to map your buttons to.

On top of that, when I bought my Tankstick, it came with a CD-ROM of classic arcade games that you can legally play on your M.A.M.E. cabinet.

OpenEmu, a M.A.M.E. frontend

Anyone who has used M.A.M.E. knows that all of the options that are available to you in the default user interface can be a bit daunting. I decided to use OpenEmu as my M.A.M.E. front end. Although OpenEmu is not strictly a M.A.M.E. emulator front-end, it does provide a experimental build that allows for you to run M.A.M.E. binaries through it’s GUI.

To get the M.A.M.E. enabled OpenEmu build simply do the following:

  1. Head to
  2. Click the dropdown button next to the Download Now button.
  3. Select OpenEmu Experimental.
  4. Done.

Once downloaded, you can simply double click the downloaded file to run the application. It’s already in an uncompressed form so if you like the program, you can place it somewhere more permanent on your hard drive like you applications folder

Connecting the computer components

Assembly of the computer components was the easiest aspect of this project. The Mac mini was upgraded to macOS High Sierra. The LED cinema display simply plugged into the mini display port on the back of the Mac mini. USB ports on the back of the Mac mini. You need to use up 2 port for the Tankstick with trackball. The trackball of the Tankstick also doubles as a mouse pointer for your Mac. So you needn’t have an extra mouse connected to your system.

Prepping the arcade cabinet

I completely removed the joystick deck from the arcade cabinet. This was done so that I can simply place the X-Arcade Tankstick right onto the cabinets side walls and secure it with screws. The Tankstick with trackball is roughly the width of a standard arcade cabinet so the fit was perfect.

I also removed the deck bezel that hides the area underneath the joystick deck. This was done so that I can place my keyboard onto the maintenance platform and keep it there for easy access when needed to perform non-arcade functions. I made the platform have the ability to also slide out a bit for easier keyboard access but then be able to “hide away” when not in use.

The LED cinema display is also 22 inches wide so it neatly rests on the wooden back plain within the width of the cabinet. All I needed was to add small 3-inch wooden block under the stand of the LED cinema display to raise it’s profile to sit in the middle of the viewing area.

Once installed, I fed the wires underneath the bezel and placed the Mac mini on the base of the cabinet. The back end has a space for the power outlet.

I already had custom made bezels and marquees built for the cabinet for a personal flare.

Set up for gaming

Once the system is up and running, you’ll need to configure the various aspects of the system for gaming. You’ll need to change the controller mapping for your M.A.M.E. software through OpenEmu. And you’ll need add your legally owned games to the emulator. I’ll be following up with a subsequent article about the specifics needed to get you started on configuration, key mapping and game setup.

Final thoughts

There is definitely nostalgia involved in enjoying some of the older games that can be run on your M.A.M.E. system. Being able to have a more complete experience running that software on a genuine arcade cabinet makes that experience just that much better. However, the jewel of this M.A.M.E. system is the Mac mini.

Its small form factor makes with it’s ability to tie into my Apple ecosystem makes it the perfect choice for my needs since I also run macOS Server on the Mac mini as well so it serves as my VPN server, caching server and file sharing server. My LED Cinema Display was sitting in a closet for a number of years ever since I got my 5K iMac. Pairing it the the Mac mini was a no-brainer as it simply just works. So before you decommission your older hardware, get in touch with your nostalgic side and give M.A.M.E. a go. That older hardware will run it beautifully. Have you used M.A.M.E. on your Mac? Let us know how you fared!

Review: The Zoom iQ7 Lightning mic is a suitable companion to your Shot on iPhone toolkit

While I’ve been highly impressed with the video capabilities of recent iPhone cameras, the accompanying microphone has always left something to be desired. Recently, I found myself in need of a more professional audio solution for on the go video. Looking for an affordable, compact, and high quality option, I decided to try out the Zoom iQ7 microphone for Lightning-equipped iOS devices.


Amazon’s checkout-free store opens to the public January 22nd

Amazon's bid to automate the convenience store is finally ready for the public. The company has confirmed that the Amazon Go store attached to its new Seattle headquarters will be open to non-employees on January 22nd, or more than a year later than…

Scrivener for Mac: The ultimate guide

If you’re just getting started with Scrivener for Mac, here’s your first step!

Scrivener is arguably one of the best, and certainly one of the most popular Mac writing app for serious writers. It’s bursting at the seams with dozens of tools to help get you started, keep you on track, and finalize your work. Whether you’re writing a screenplay, manuscript, or just want to practice your writing skills, Scrivener has everything you need from creating your first ideas to preparing for publication. This is a comprehensive guide to getting started with and using some of the more advanced features of Scrivener for Mac.

What is Scrivener?

Maybe you’ve heard your writer friends talk about it. Maybe you’ve searched for the perfect writing app and Scrivener keeps popping up. Maybe you’ve landed on this page by accident and now you’re intrigued. Scrivener is the Swiss Army Knife of writing apps and its available for Mac.

Scrivener: An Intro to the Mac’s best writing app

How to get started with Scrivener

OK, so you’ve jumped, both feet first, into Scrivener (or maybe you’re just trying it out with the free trial period), but you don’t even know where to start. Don’t worry. You’re not alone. It’s a big program with a lot of tools and features. Take a deep breath, relax, and read this.

How to get started with Scrivener for Mac

How to write a screenplay in Scrivener

As I mentioned before (a few times), Scrivener has a lot of writing tools. One of them is a nicely designed screenplay template that includes such things as a virtual corkboard so you can workshop your ideas, scene instructions, and more. Not everyone knows how to layout a screenplay, but Scrivener makes it so you don’t have to know. You can just start writing and let the tools do the work for you.

How to write a screenplay in Scrivener for Mac

How to compile your manuscript in Scrivener

So you’ve done the writing and even went through a second or third draft, and everything seems good. Your book is done. But, there is still one last bit of work to do, and that’s to compile everything into one, cohesive work of art that you can send off to your agent to get some feedback. Luckily, You don’t really have to do much to finalize your project. Scrivener does it for you with a dedicated compile tool, designed for whatever type of project you’re working on.

How to compile your manuscript in Scrivener for Mac

Best advanced features of Scrivener

Scrivener has so many features that its user manual is nearly 850 pages long. That’s a lot of stuff to learn. It’s almost a guarantee that you won’t become an expert at everything Scrivener can do. You can, however, learn about some of the most useful advanced tools and add them to your arsenal of tricks.

Best advanced features in Scrivener for Mac

Need more help?

If you’re still trying to figure out the basics, or want to get into a specific feature more, put your request in the comments and I’ll make sure that we cover your topic and add it to this guide.

Vivid colors iPhone wallpaper pack 2

We are going back to back with intense vividly colored iPhone wallpapers. Last week’s Wallpapers of thew Week, vivid wallpaper pack, was one of the most popular wallpaper posts in some time. I figured, let’s rinse and repeat. Today’s collection is inspired by the original iPhone X advertising wallpapers, but in a strong new color scheme. … Read the rest of this post here

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Why inclusion in the Google Arts & Culture selfie feature matters

 When Google Arts & Culture’s new selfie-matching feature went viral earlier this week, many people of color found that their results were limited or skewed toward subservient and exoticized figures. In other words, it pretty much captured the experience of exploring most American or European art museums as a minority. Read More

Copyright Trolls Obtained Details of 200,000 Finnish Internet Users

Fifteen years ago, the RIAA was contacting alleged file-sharers in the United States, demanding cash payments to make supposed lawsuits go away. In the years that followed, dozens of companies followed in their footsteps – not as a deterrent – but as a way to turn piracy into profit.

The practice is now widespread, not just in the United States, but also in Europe where few major countries have avoided the clutches of trolls. Germany has been hit particularly hard, with millions of cases. The UK has also seen tens of thousands of individuals targeted since 2006 although more recently the trolls there have been in retreat. The same cannot be said about Finland, however.

From a relatively late start in 2013, trolls have been stepping up their game in leaps and bounds but the true scale of developments in this Scandinavian country will probably come as a surprise to even the most seasoned of troll-watchers.

According to data compiled by NGO activist Ritva Puolakka, the business in Finland has grown to epidemic proportions. In fact, between 2013 and 2017 the Market Court (which deals with Intellectual Property matters, among other things) has ordered local Internet service providers to hand over the details of almost 200,000 Finnish Internet subscribers.

Published on the Ministry of Education and Culture website (via the data (pdf) reveals hundreds of processes against major Finnish ISPs.

Notably, every single case has been directed at a core group of three providers – Elisa, TeliaSonera and DNA – while customers of other ISPs seem to have been completely overlooked. Exactly why isn’t clear but in other jurisdictions it’s proven more cost-effective to hone a process with a small number of ISPs, rather than spread out to those with fewer customers.

Only one legal process is listed for 2013 but that demanded the identities of people behind 50 IP addresses. In 2014 there was a 14-fold increase in processes and the number of IP addresses targeted grew to 1,387.

For 2015, a total of 117 processes are listed, demanding the identities of people behind 37,468 IP addresses. In 2016 the trolls really upped their game. A total of 131 processes demanded the details of individuals behind 98,966 IP addresses. For last year, 79 processes are on the books, which in total amounted to 60,681 potential defendants in settlement cases.

In total, between 2013 and 2017 the Market Court ordered the ISPs to hand over the personal details of people behind a staggering 198,552 IP addresses. While it should be noted that each might not lead to a unique individual, the number is huge when one considers the potential returns if everyone pays up hundreds of euros to make supposed court cases go away.

But despite the significant scale, it will probably come as no surprise that very few companies are involved. Troll operations tend to be fairly centralized, often using the same base services to track and collect evidence against alleged pirates.

In the order they entered the settlement business in Finland the companies involved are: LFP Video Group LLC, International Content Holding B.V., Dallas Buyers Club LLC, Crystalis Entertainment UG, Scanbox Entertainment A/S, Fairway Film Alliance LLC, Copyright Collections Ltd, Mircom International Content Management, Interallip LLP, and Oy Atlantic Film Finland Ab.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN discounts, offers and coupons

Apple HomePod Receives FCC Approval, Could Launch Soon

Apple’s Siri-powered intelligent speaker, the HomePod, has officially been granted approval by the Federal Communications Commission, or as people more commonly know the organization, the FCC. The approval means that we are likely to be as close to HomePod release as we will get without it physically being in our hands.

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Tech Deals: 45% Off Beats Pill+, $10 Off Fire TV Stick For Kodi, $200 Off MacBook Air Starter Bundle, More

The weekend would simply not be the weekend without being able to simply browse through a collection of hand-picked, wonderfully selected, price reduced deals. Yes, that’s right, this is yet another installment of our daily technology deals, which are all in place to let you get new products and accessories in your life without having to pay full price.

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Apple Is Currently Replacing Faulty iPhone 6 Plus Units With iPhone 6s Plus Until March

If you own an iPhone 6 Plus that is damaged to the point of needing to be replaced, you may be in luck according to a new report claiming that Apple will be replacing the older iPhone with one a year newer – the iPhone 6s Plus – through March.

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How to Check Uptime of iPhone or iPad to See When Last Booted

Uptime determines how long a computer or iOS device has been turned on for, or at least when the hardware was last booted or rebooted. On a unix machine or any Mac, you can check uptime with the uptime command or system System Information, but the iPhone and iPad has no such mechanism for seeing … Read More

The Chinese think Palo Alto is dumpy

 Good news! The great Raw Water Story of 2017 is finally over. Google tells me that searches went up ten-fold over the raw water craze, but thankfully, humans seem to have filtered out any more stories or follow ups. Silicon Valley can rest easy. But wait! There is another crisis brewing, and it isn’t the animal fecal matter in your algae water. Over the past few days, we’ve seen… Read More

Mike Moritz and the declining America worker

 Storied Sequoia investor Mike Moritz threw fire into the tech Twitter gumbo with his observations of hard-working Chinese workers and slothful Silicon Valley engineers. Moritz, a billionaire, clearly needs page views to fund his retirement. The major money quote about Silicon Valley is this: “In recent months, there have been complaints about the political sensibilities of speakers… Read More

China Seriously Doubts Objectivity of US ‘Pirate Site’ List

Late last week, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) released an updated version of its “Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets,” identifying some of the worst IP-offenders worldwide.

The overview is largely based on input from major copyright holders and related industry groups. While the US Government admits that it doesn’t make any judgments, the list carries a lot of weight and can hurt the image of companies that are singled out.

For some of the ‘classic’ pirate sites such as The Pirate Bay, this doesn’t really matter. On the contrary, they may see it as a badge of honor. However, for billion-dollar businesses such as Alibaba and VK, it’s a different story.

They are not at risk of being the target of a criminal prosecution, as some classic pirate sites are, but the listing will make them a hot topic on the political agenda.

Interestingly, it seems that not all countries are happy with seeing some of their top companies being singled out. When China’s commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng was confronted with the fact that Alibaba and its site were listed, he made some noteworthy observations.

“In the report, the U.S. frequently discusses the relevant Chinese businesses with the words like ‘reportedly,’ ‘according to authoritative sources’ and the like,” Feng told the local press.

In its report, the US Government stressed that Alibaba should do more to combat counterfeiting and piracy on and other platforms, but China’s officials don’t seem convinced.

“It lacked conclusive evidence and had no relevant figures to back up its points. We have no choice but to express our doubts about the objectivity and reliability of the department that issued the report,” Feng added.

China’s commerce ministry has a point. The USTR report is compiled from comments that are provided by copyright holders. These are not thoroughly vetted, as far as we know, which doesn’t seem very objective.

Even more concerning, copyright holders often cite the USTR’s notorious markets list in legal and lobbying efforts, even though they are in essence their own findings in a rewritten form. While that may be very convenient, it can also be misleading.

Alibaba itself went a step further than the commerce ministry and noted that the company is being used as a “scapegoat” in a geopolitical game. In a detailed ten-page rebuttal, the marketplace responded to the allegations point by point.

“As a result of the rise of trade protectionism, Alibaba has been turned into a scapegoat by the USTR to win points in a highly-politicized environment and their actions should be recognized for what they are,” the company commented.

“The USTR’s actions made it clear that the Notorious Markets List, which only targets non-US marketplaces, is not about intellectual property protection, but just another instrument to achieve the US Government’s geopolitical objectives.”

Critique on the USTR’s Special 301 reports, which the Notorious Markets lists are part of, is not new. Earlier this year Canada’s Government described the process as flawed as it’s mainly driven by one-sided copyright industry claims.

“Canada does not recognize the validity of the Special 301 and considers the process and the Report to be flawed,” a Government memo read.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN discounts, offers and coupons

Katalyst.Ventures, a new firm led by Susan Choe, has raised $34 million

 There aren’t a lot of venture funds that are led by a single general partner who happens to be a woman. Sonja Hoel Perkins is one. The longtime Menlo Ventures managing director founded her own venture firm two years ago. Cindy Padnos, who spent four years with Outlook Ventures as a director before founding her own firm, Illuminate Ventures, nine years ago, is another. Now Silicon Valley… Read More

Women’s March embraces collaborative social app Crunchet

 Today’s nationwide Women’s March attendees will advocate for voter registration through every conceivable social network, so one of its planning organizations has allied with a new app that lets you combine posts from across apps. Crunchet will help the Women’s March Alliance and Chicago march create collages of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, Spotify, and… Read More


 Within a matter of months, the General Data Protection Regulation will apply across the EU and business processing citizens’ data will need to be sure they’re compliant. We explain the major changes incoming and take a look at some possible impacts… Read More

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