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27th November   

Proxy Services for Poxy Countries...

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Melon Farmers logoWhat's a Chinese netizen to do if he happens to find the BBC a legitimate news outlet but his government disagrees? Countries like China and Saudia Arabia regularly censor the Internet, which means that some citizens in those countries are regularly trying to evade the government blocks. Other countries like the UK intend to impose draconian imprisonment for viewing dangerous pictures. Come December 1, Internet users will have a new tool psiphon.

psiphon is currently in development at the Citizen Lab, a part of the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto. The project's goal is to allow surfers in countries with censored 'Net access to connect to web proxies posted in uncensored countries. Unlike other anonymizing or proxy services, psiphon relies on "networks of trust" to distribute the proxy addresses, hopefully making psiphon nodes more difficult to find and block.

Here's how it works: "psiphonodes" are set up by users in uncensored countries, who then distribute the site address only to users in censored countries whom they actually know or trust. When those users visit the psiphonode, they log in over a secure HTTP connection and a small bar appears in the top of their browser window (no software is downloaded or installed). Web addresses are entered into this bar and routed through the psiphonode like a regular web proxy. The entire session is encrypted.

To make the system difficult to shut down, each psiphonode is run independently. If one is blocked, all the others remain live. And because the system is based on personal connections rather than large lists, each node should be more difficult to find. Should a censor notice the unusually long encrypted session and investigate the IP address, he will find only an innocous web page. To log in to psiphon, each user receives a specialized URL; viewing the root page reveals nothing, not even the login screen.

Versions of the software will be available for both Windows and Linux, with a Mac version to follow. psiphon will be free and open-source (it's offered under the GPL), but in its initial incarnation will only support Web browsing; VoIP and IM usage will not be covered.

psiphon is only the latest project to offer a way around the censors; earlier projects like Peacefire attempted to do the same thing.


20th November   

Sweet Music to a Nutter's Ears...

Mi-Porn.com logo

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SafeMusic bannerAs a producer, a musician, and most importantly a parent I always have two things in mind; The best interest of my children and great music. Sometimes the two clash. There are some incredible songs out there that are sure to change the world or already have. Sometimes these songs can unfortunately contain one or two words that stop a child from listening to it or worse corrupting their mind. I accidently downloaded the unedited version of Jame's Blunt's You're Beautiful and when I went to play it for my daughter I was shocked with the F word. This was her favorite song from the radio, how could daddy make such a mistake. This program was my answer for situations like this.

Fortunately I am also a computer programmer. I invented an application that will help someone who doesn't have the tools that I have to protect their children. The application is called SafeMusic. It allows you with the ease of a point and click interface to remove explicit/unwanted words, lyrics, or sounds from any song or recorded sound. While that in itself is a savior for most of us, it also allows us to share the pinpoints of those offending words using an internet database. It takes a parent that cares and adapts to the changing world to make a difference. Enrich your children with the music that some of the greats have brought us while being a great parent and making sure some of the words the artists chose don't enter your children's minds.


21st August   

Google Prove Mature and Adult...


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Google video logoIt has been noticed by Google watchers that there has been a change in the way that files can be uploaded to Google Video. The change is from the previous “pornographic or obscene” material to the now brief restriction on “obscene” material, with the word pornographic being dropped. A new “mature and adult” category has also been added.

There seems to be a fine line as to whether Google is allowing porn on its Video site. On one hand it is allowing material that is clearly containing nudity to be uploaded but on the other it is still requesting that users certify that content is not pornographic on certain areas of the site.

By allowing a “mature and adult” and allowing nudity on the site but still not allowing the content via its terms and conditions there are two possibilities for what Google are planning to do or in the process of doing:

  • Either testing what users will upload and how far they will push the boundaries of the “mature and adult” labe
  • Or Google may be in the process of changing their site to allow porn and more hardcore content in the future.

After all the porn industry is a huge market and Google are always looking at new products and ways to expand their current products so why not the porn industry. There is also a thought that maybe Google is initially just “testing the water” before fully going forward with the idea.

Google is already profiting from the porn industry in its search results by the use of the Pay-per-Click advertising so it makes sense in lots of ways for Google Video to have some association with the porn industry.


30th July   


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PornoTube logoA US firm has launched a pornographic copy of the popular YouTube video sharing site.  PornoTube allows users to upload their own amateur porn and share it with other users.

YouTube's terms and conditions explicitly state that users are not permitted to upload content that is pornographic. PornoTube features similar functionality to YouTube, such as the ability to rate submissions, add tags describing the content and list items as favourites. The ability to comment on videos has currently been removed.

The videos are delivered in Flash and can be easily shared on external sites. The terms and conditions of the site state that users must not submit material for which they do not own the copyright.


17th July   

Secret MSN Messenger Censorship Capability...

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MSN Messenger gaggedMSN has refused to confirm whether it is censoring messages sent across the MSN Messenger network.

Computeractive tried sending messages containing the phrase 'download.php', as might be found in a web link. Although the message appeared to have been sent, the recipient never got it. There was no warning on the sender's PC, as might happen if someone was sending a picture to a computer that cannot receive it.

In a statement, MSN said that it had added a security feature to MSN Messenger to prevent users from accidentally clicking on links sent in messages but said nothing about whether the messages would be blocked.


13th July   

Extreme Protection...

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HeatseekBrowsing for adult content just got easier thanks to the launch of Heatseek, a webbrowser that claims to make searching for and viewing adult content more efficient. The browser is only compatible on PCs running Windows, and is powered by Internet Explorer’s engine.
While Heatseek’s stated mission is to give consumers the ultimate software for securely obtaining, organizing, and viewing personal content , it is clear security was a top priority in development.

Secure credentials are needed just to open the browser and encrypted downloaded files are only playable through Heatseek. The browser also claims to protect against popups, spyware and viruses.

Heatseek began in 2005 when a few guys wondered why viewing adult content on a computer was so unfriendly to users, the company’s website states. We thought everyone must be so annoyed at popup windows, friends and spouses finding stuff on their computer, and viewing pics and videos with all these different programs that weren’t designed for this type of material. Thus, Heatseek was born.

The browser’s user friendly features include one-click downloading for pictures and videos, a bookmark feature that allows users to jump to their favorite adult content and a “panic” button that kills the application immediately. Additionally, users can create playlists a la iTunes to efficiently organize downloaded content.

The basic version of Heatseek is free. A premium version is available for $20, which allows the sharing of content across browsers, media players and computers because the files have been unencrypted.


12th June   

Playing at PC Age Restriction...

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Melon Farmers logoMicrosoft is betting that many of us will learn to view the beige box on our desk in this way as part of the coming release of Windows Vista. With this operating system, Microsoft is planning to radically change the way we use and enjoy our PCs.

The Game Explorer should be a welcome development for parents as you will be able to better control exactly what your children are playing on the PC. Microsoft have added "Lock Out" options tied to games' classifications. If you don't want your eight-year-old playing violent video games, but don't mind your 15-year-old having access to them, this feature will make it easy to manage.

Each of your children will have a unique login and, as a part of this, you as the administrator will be able to control how much access is granted to each user. This, therefore, eliminates the need for you to stand over your PC and manually monitor what they're playing.

Vista also will incorporate the American ESRB video game ratings, so your Game Explorer will have all of the rating information pertaining to a game from the second you install it. This will make choosing appropriate content and controlling access easy.

Wickham says game ratings and the access system also will be localised for Australian users. We also are looking to work with other rating systems outside of the US and already have looked at incorporating the rating system with your OFLC in Australia.

Even more importantly, Vista will make it a cinch to control computer use by making it possible for certain parts of the PC to be "locked off" at certain times. Say your daughter has one hour of free time between 7pm and 8pm and is then supposed to do homework for an hour before bedtime. Using the scheduling dialogue, which is a part of Game Explorer, you will be able to ensure she can play games for that hour, but after that time access to games will be disabled, helping you to get the homework part of the evening under way.


3rd June   

Place Shifting...

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Melon Farmers logoAn electronic gadget that promises to unshackle consumers from their TV sets became available in Europe opening up new ways for users to watch television wherever they go. The Slingbox is available in Britain this week, ahead of a broader European launch later this year.

The Slingbox plugs into a terrestrial, cable or satellite TV set-top box and then transmits the video over the Internet. Consumers can then tune in via a PC or a laptop. The device is part of a new product category known as "place-shifting".

The device, which sells for 180 pounds ($338) could complicate the nascent efforts of broadcasters and mobile-phone companies to sell TV downloads and other video services. Slingbox users in the United States can also use mobile phones to watch video, though that service is not yet available in Britain.


5th May   

Blue for Blu...

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Melon Farmers logoThe pornography industry will likely play a big role in determining which of the two blue-laser DVD formats, Blu-ray Disc or HD-DVD, will be the winner in the battle to replace DVDs for high-definition content.

Ron Wagner, director of IT operations at E! Entertainment Television in Los Angeles, said his company has already chosen the Blu-ray Disc format, in large part because of talk in the porn industry favoring it over rival HD-DVD.

Wagner said that while attending last year's National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) annual conference in Las Vegas, more than one panel discussed several major players in the porn industry going the Blu-ray route.

Porn studio Digital Playground, which claims to have produced the largest number of high definition movies in the industry over the past three years, said it is choosing Blu-ray Disc for all of its "interactive" films because of its greater capacity. It also selected Blue-ray because Sony chose the format for its PlayStation 3 (PS3) box, due out in November.

The co-founder of Digital Playground, Joone said the fact that Sony chose Blu-ray guarantees his studio an instant home audience: PlayStation 3 is going to be the Trojan horse that will get a lot of numbers into the home theater systems,the living rooms.

Blu-ray is not only backed by entertainment giant Sony, but Panasonic, LG Electronics, Philips Electronics and movie studios Disney and Fox. Blu-ray offers storage up to 50GB capacity, or up to nine hours of high-definition content. In contrast, HD-DVD has 30GB capacity and is supported by companies like Toshiba, NEC and Warner Home Video.


5th April   

Ultimate Media Dinosaur...

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Melon Farmers logoThe inevitable failure of the UMD movie format, seen clearly from the declining levels of movie studio and retail support, is yet another costly lesson for the entertainment industry in the pointlessness of proprietary physical media.

Sony is keen to remind people, at every possible juncture, that the PlayStation Portable isn't just a videogames console. Movies, music, photos and web browsing are all part of the offering as well. No amount of marketing can rescue a fundamentally bad idea, however - and for all Sony's efforts at promoting it, we have to confess to an almost complete lack of surprise when the Hollywood Reporter this week revealed that both Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures were dropping out of releasing movies on the PSP's Universal Media Disc, while 20th Century Fox, Buena Vista and even Sony Pictures are scaling back releases on the format.

Retail watchers are reporting that the format is gradually losing shelf space at key locations, and giant US retail chain Wal-Mart is rumoured to be about to drop UMD entirely from its shelves. Anonymous movie executives quoted by the Hollywood Reporter pulled no punches - sales are near zilch, one stated, while another said that no one's even breaking even on UMD .

It's easy to pinpoint what the problem with UMD is. It's a bad answer to a question nobody was asking; a poorly conceived format that nobody wanted, but which Sony foisted on the market without giving the remotest thought to how it would fit with consumers' existing pattern of media usage and consumption. Under-specified, over-priced and far too late to market to be of any real interest, it's the movie format that nobody wanted.

It's certainly true that nobody asked for or wanted a disc format for portable movie playback. Why on earth would anyone want to pay the price of a DVD just in order to get a lower resolution version of the movie that can only be played back on one device, when you could just buy the DVD and rip the content to watch on the PSP as well as owning a full-scale version to watch at home?

Both Sony and its partners need to think hard about the kind of outdated, foolish thinking that has brought us to this juncture. The crux, we suspect, is the comment we made above about buying a DVD and ripping it to a digital format to use on your PSP; an action which seems perfectly natural and normal to the majority of consumers, just like copying a CD to tape to listen to in your car used to be, but which fills media companies with horror.

These companies don't believe that consumers should be allowed to do as they please with the media they buy. In their world, if you buy a DVD, you should then have to buy the same film again on UMD to watch it on your PSP; buy it again from the iTunes store to watch it on your iPod video, or from your carrier to watch a clip of it on your mobile phone. You should pay again for the HD-DVD or Blu-Ray disc to see a high definition version.

So, the death of UMD is just another crossroads what promises to be a tedious and drawn-out war over consumer rights in the digital age, but it's a clear message to the studios and the hardware manufacturers, at least. Consumers don't want your single-purpose, proprietary formats; they don't want to be sold the same product over and over again in different boxes; and they sure as hell don't want the media companies to try and dictate what the market will look like.


5th April   

Download to Burn...

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Melon Farmers logoIf you could buy a porn video, download it in about an hour and burn it to a DVD that will play in any standard drive, would you do it? What if it had built-in digital rights management (DRM) code that only let you burn the file to disk one time, and one time only?

Vivid, arguably the most tech-savvy of the big adult entertainment studios, is launching a new Burn to DVD service on April 3 with the expectation that you, and millions like you, will.

We expect the service to be extremely popular , says Hirsch. Just hit the button, download and burn.

The prices for a DVD by download are the same as a traditional DVD, about $25 per feature, and your homemade DVD sports the same menu system, chapter navigation and any interactive features included with the original. Print the jacket art, add a jewel case and it's just like the real thing, without  a trip to the store.

The catch is that you'll only be able to burn the file to a DVD once, thanks to the proprietary burn software included with your purchase.

Burn to DVD will be offered through All Adult Channel (NSFW), which developed the application that enforces the one-burn limit. Vivid already offers content through All Adult Channel's pay-per-minute streaming.

Obviously we wanted to protect the copyright, says Vivid CEO Steven Hirsch. As soon as (All Adult Channel) was able to get the DRM in place, they had something that really interested us.

Leo Laporte and Steve Gibson discussed DRM on a recent episode of Security Now. Why is DRM so easy to crack when 128-bit public key crypto is so tough? Because the key to unlocking the DRM is right there in front of you, they say, although in much more detail. Regardless, no studio is going to release its content without some sort of confidence in a DRM system

Yet again -- an adult studio is the one willing to take the first steps ahead of mainstream Hollywood companies. We're the first studio offering a complete DVD that you can download and own, says Hirsch.

Vivid's adoption of All Adult Channel's system will carry weight with both adult and mainstream execs. Whether consumers will accept this as a viable alternative to storing porn on their hard drives or buying DVDs the old-fashioned way remains to be seen. Hirsch, of course, is optimistic.

For now, Vivid is selling 30 titles through Burn to DVD, all in standard-definition DVD quality. Hirsch says high-definition videos will become available in the future, as the company shoots about 80 percent of its new content in HD.


27th February   


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Melon Farmers logoTeledildonics is the combination of telepresence (the experience of being present in a real-world situation remote from your actual physical location) and sex. In other words, virtually realistic sex. The term teledildonics was coined by Ted Nelson, the same guy who coined the word hypertext.

Currently teledildonics are more like sex toys that can be controlled remotely or over the Internet. You'd give people a nickname that they could enter at a Web site, and then they'd play with your sex toy however they please (usually this means controlling the vibrations on a dildo or plastic vagina).

The toys are getting better. The one probably most interaction-friendly for multiple users is the Interactive Fleshlight. The Fleshlight is basically an artificial vagina compatible with a brand of vibrator called the Sinulator. The man masturbates via the vagina and causes the women's dildo to vibrate accordingly. In other words, interactive cybersex play.

But reality aside, how teledildonics has been described, and how I imagine it would ideally work, is as a video game for mature audiences. Except, while a video game gives you visuals and sounds (and maybe a shuddering of the controls when you get shot) teledildonics would immerse you in sensory feeling. Maybe someday you'll be able to don a body suit and goggles and be hooked up to the Internet in order to play with people on different parts of the planet, ideally without being able to tell it apart from reality.

Some people also claim this technology would give opportunities to people with physical disabilities. There are a few concerns and drawbacks. As someone pointed out, it could get kind of complicated – you'd have to buy the equipment and the software, put it together and install it, and read the user manual. After all that something would probably go wrong and you'd have to call technical support.

I can only imagine the frequently asked questions list on the product Web site. Is it OK if I get my body suit wet, or will that cause me to be electrically shocked?

A few other concerns include the negative habits people could learn from such a technology. For example, opponents of violent video games suggest that people could use them to kill an endless number of virtual people. Or in this case, virtually participate in activities such as rape and bestiality with a computer-generated partner.

But while this is a legitimate concern, I don't think this is going to be a huge issue. As realistic as virtual reality gets, you're still going to know that it's virtual, even if you can't sense it.

Besides, as one guy put it – teledildonics is worth trying "for the word alone."


13th January   

Appropriately Named Xbox...

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Melon Farmers logoThe Xbox 360 may well have found its true killer app – High Definition Classic Pornography.

High Def Home Entertainment, a new distribution company specialising in the High Definition DVD format, in conjunction with Arrow Productions, has announced the release of porno classic Deep Throat in HD exclusively on Xbox 360.

Well, the release is a kind of exclusive on Xbox 360 sort of thing. Exclusive that is until there is something else at retail that will allow you to get off on dated 70s porno in full HD glory.

Paul Interlandi, Head of Production at Arrow Productions, recently found the original masters of Deep Throat in a forgotten film canister, which had been kept in storage for over 35 years. Talking to an adult industry news site, Interlandi said, It was a pretty great moment.

HDHE plans to release a variety of content — including feature films, concerts, music videos, extreme sports and documentaries — in addition to the standard adult fare. Most titles will contain both High Def and standard NTSC versions, meaning they still will function in any regular DVD


11th January   

There's High and not so High Definition Porn...

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Melon Farmers logoWhile companies waffle and debate how to screw consumers harder over high definition (HD) video, the porn industry is doing HD now, with harder screwing on it, not with it. Several companies had HD titles here and there, but I only found one, Lurid, that was all HD.

Lurid specializes in HD porn, and they currently have 13 titles out and counting. There are a lot of problems with doing HD, and much of the industry is doing it basically wrong. It has come a long way from the state of affairs of last year, and HD cameras are much more available. The problem is that editing equipment is not, and most companies don't have the expertise, money, or will to do it on their own. This leads to movies shot in HD, then downsampled to be edited on normal resolution machines. It is then upsampled and burnt to DVD, giving you pretty awful quality.

Lurid on the other hand does everything start to finish in HD. Needless to say it is HD all the way through, shot in 1080i, and downsampled to 720P for production and print. They are shipped on two DVDs, one in standard def, the other with a WMVHD movie on it as a file.

Lurid was giving away an XBox360 on their stand because it is one of the only consumer devices out there that can do HD movies at the consumer level. The quality is great. Without Microsoft and the XBox360 team, we would not have true high quality filth, thanks guys.


10th January   

Internext Seminar Explores Issue of Age Verification...

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Melon Farmers logoIt’s the age-old conflict: Minors want to look at adult material, and neither their parents nor the government want to let them – so the question for today’s webmasters is how to comply with the law without being so Orwellian as to drive away paying adults?

It was – is! – a knotty problem, and no one on the Internext “Age Verification” panel Saturday at the Sands Expo Center had a definitive answer – not even moderator Lawrence Walters, a Florida First Amendment attorney with the firm of Weston, Garrou, DeWitt & Walters, who routinely hands out the “Birthday Verifier” program to his clients.

The government exploits age issues, Walters noted, and while brick & mortar adult retailers have dealt with fake IDs for years, it’s not so easy to do so online, especially since the major credit card companies have little problem issuing cards to minors and disclaiming that their cards can be used for age verification purposes. The Child Online Protection Act (COPA), however, provides that the cards can be used for just that purpose, as part of a “good faith effort” to keep minors away from sexual materials – but COPA (more properly, ACLU v. Ashcroft) is about to come to trial in the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, and technology has had a revolution or two in the years since that suit was filed.

In addition to Walters and DeWitt, the panel consisted of attorney Greg Piccionelli, who deals heavily with Internet-related free speech issues in his practice; Joan Irvine, executive director of Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP); Sean Trotter, who handles Internet issues for Adam & Eve; and Kathee Brewer, journalist for AVN Online and all had different ideas on how to handle the minors’ access issue.

Irvine told the assemblage that her organization favors, as the front page for sites with sexual material, a disclaimer page that doesn’t even show nudity, asks for an affirmation that the browser is 18 or older, and allows those not interested in sexual material a quick and easy exit from the site.

Piccionelli took that concept a step further, noting that several federal and state laws, such as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, prohibit misuse of a website’s contents, and a minor trying to access the material would certainly constitute a misuse. Therefore, Piccionelli suggests that a site’s disclaimer page specifically cite the various laws a minor “hacker” would be breaking by trying to enter the site, which Piccionelli feels would provide some protection if the site owner is later cited for allowing the access.

Trotter informed that his company, adameve.com, won’t even let minors who try to enter the site from non-U.S. addresses have access to his company’s materials, and warned that, “Unless you like orange jumpsuits and shackles,” adult webmasters had better take stringent steps to keep minors off their sites.

But while Brewer, who wrote much of the age verification material for AVN Online’s February issue, noted that many webmasters that she contacted for the article were of the opinion that it is the parents’ job to prevent their children from accessing adult material online, Piccionelli followed by saying that, It’s laudable to protect the kids … but we shouldn’t throw out constitutional rights to do it.

Piccionelli also opined that there is no sure way to verify age online, with DeWitt adding that “Kids will find a way in anyway,” and that, in his estimation, the government will have no problem driving adult webmasters out of business with onerous and expensive regulations if it thinks they will prevent minors from accessing the material. Piccionelli also decried, “the temerity with which the industry is knuckling under” to government regulation,” which he sees as “bad for the industry.”

DeWitt predicted that federal law will soon require that credit card processing of adult-related charges will soon be linked to age verification, though he gave no specific methodology by which he expected that to be accomplished.