Anti-meme law could punish image sharers with massive fines

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Meme law

Photo: ActionNetwork.org

Memes are a core part of online life, providing us with an internationally understood means of visual conversation allowing folks to make light of the absurdity of today’s world with co-opted images taken from popular media.

Which, of course, means that lawmakers want to shut it down. A new bi-partisan bill currently working its way through Congress could do exactly that. It threatens seriously big fines for anyone who shares protected material online.

WhatsApp faces new encryption challenge after London attack

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WhatsApp on iOS
WhatsApp users have been waiting for better notifications.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

WhatsApp is under new pressure to provide a government backdoor following the recent terror attack in London.

U.K. home secretary Amber Rudd said it is “completely unacceptable” that law enforcement agencies are unable to read messages and conversations that are secured by end-to-end encryption.

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar banned from bar exams

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That fancy new Touch Bar could be dead already.
MacBook Pro's Touch Bar "compromises exam integrity."
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

After being snubbed by some professionals for its 16GB RAM limit and lack of traditional USB ports, the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar has now been banned from bar examinations in a number of U.S. states.

A testing company has warned that the Touch Bar — specifically its predictive text feature — compromises exam integrity, so students are forced to use another laptop.

Posting weed on Instagram could land you in jail

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Only blaze up if you want to pay up.
Photo: Brett Levin/Flickr CC

If you like blazing up every now and then, make sure you don’t post it on Instagram. Since marijuana use is still federally recognized as illegal in the United States, posting a picture with that Mary Jane could mean you wind up with a serious fine or even some significant jail time.

Social media strategist Shannon Self says that an Instagram post with someone smoking marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to $150,000 or 18 months of jail time. That’s especially true in many states that still have laws in place banning marijuana either medically or recreationally.

Apple-Samsung Trial Verdict: The Reactions From Apple, Samsung, And Others

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apple reaction cult of mac

Apple has won a massive damages sum of nearly $1.05 billion in the patent trial against Samsung and the reaction from the technology community has been vast and swift.

In an email immediately following the verdict, Forrester Research Principal Analyst Charles Golvin told us the main takeaway from the verdict is the focus on innovation. Companies will now be forced to create legitimately different products, or at least engineer some without extravagantly similar features:

The jury particularly vindicates Apple’s software patents and their decision has implications not just for Samsung, but also for Google, other Android device makers like LG, HTC, and Motorola, but also potentially for Microsoft who employs features such as pinch to zoom, bounce on scroll, etc. These competitors are now forced to go back to the drawing board and come up with substantively different designs — or seek settlement terms with Apple. Since many of these controls are now built into the expectations of customers in how they work their phones, those are substantive challenges.

Gartner analyst and VP of Mobile Research Van Baker agrees the redesign of products in the long term is an issue but that it won’t affect any products anytime soon.

This is a clear win for Apple but it will have little impact on the market in the near term as it is highly likely that there will be an appeal so we will have to repeat the process. If sustained it has the potential to force Samsung to redesign a number of products and it will apply significant pressure on all smartphone and tablet makers to avoid trying to emulate the Apple designs as they bring new products to market.

Earlier, the two principals in the case immediately followed the shocking judgement with their own statements.

Apple vs. Samsung Trial: Was Samsung Treated Unfairly Late In Arguments?

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Samsung may have been treated unfairly when the trial’s magistrate Judge refused to admit new evidence into the case late in the game despite the fact it had allowed Apple to order an earlier sanction against it, a prominent law blog is reporting.

A post in Groklaw.net says Samsung may build a case around the issue of unfairness in an attempt to throw out the verdict if the jury goes against it.

Myths: Why Flash Photography Is Banned In Art Galleries

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Evil flashes terrify museum guards. Photo Phil Hearing / Flickr
 

 

NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY. You’ve all read that sign, and you have all likely – being good obedient citizens – abided by the wishes of the museum or gallery which posted it. But why is it there? Why can’t you use your camera’s flash to take a photo of a painting or a sculpture? The answer, it seems, is as depressingly wrongheaded as you might suspect.

New Jersey Town May Fine You For Texting While Walking

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iPhone app 'Email 'n Walk' lets you e-mail and walk at the same time

Do you hate those morons who wander through the streets whilst tapping text messages into their phones? Do you want to knock the stupid handset out of their hands every time you’re forced to swerve or step aside to avoid them? Then you might consider moving to Fort Lee, New Jersey, where police have started fining pedestrians who they catch texting while they walk.

New Database Could Render Stolen Phones Useless

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Stolen phones. Photo West Midlands Police  (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Stolen phones. Photo West Midlands Police (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Stolen phones could soon be a thing of the past thanks to a collaboration between the U.S government and the four biggest mobile carriers. The new scheme will use a central database of stolen handsets, and the carriers will use this to block their reactivation.

The idea is that it will reduce cellphone theft by making stolen phones virtually useless.