Nesting Buddy

There was a funny headline a few weeks ago featuring a Canadian police officer who threatened to force driving-under-influence (DUI) offenders to listen to Nickelback as punishment for their impaired driving. It was meant to be a lighthearted banter and funny take on the serious problem, but after receiving criticism from the band's critical fans, the officer apologized.

Constable Robb Hartlen went viral with a Facebook post (since deleted) in which he joked that the "Kensington Police Department Drinking and Driving Gift - Christmas Bonus Edition" included a free, mandatory spin of Nickelback's 2001 Silver Side Up album as punishment.

The officer wrote in a long FC apology, "What do you do when you use a joke to carry a message, but the message turns into the joke?" At the time of the original post, Hartlen said he thought it was a "great idea... [to] get the message out." When the message went international, though, he worried that "somewhere in the noise, the message of Don't Drink and Drive was overshadowed by negativity towards the band I said I would play if you did," he wrote.

"At first I admit I was fine with the way I worded the post. I was sure a hugely successful band would be fine with a little good will shade thrown their way, after all it's for a good cause. But the more successful the post became the less the Don't Drink and Drive message was mentioned and the fact we love or love to hate Nickelback took centre stage. And that prompted me to think less about Nickelback as the 'Entity' and more about the 4 guys, 4 human beings from Alberta who were dragged into this international story. And the more I thought about that, the less funny the humor seemed."

In other words, he felt bad for trolling the band and worried that people were not getting the whole "don't drink and drive" message.

"I was accused of making light of Drinking and Driving. I was stunned by that," he wrote. "I, as a police officer, and as EVERY police officer before me, know too well the catastrophic devastation drinking behind the wheel can create. Police Officers, as well as my brother and sisters in the Fire and Paramedic world will attest to, having to attend the scenes of these events. The destruction to not only vehicles, but to families, bodies, entire lives, we see this destruction. We smell the pain mixed with booze covered in motor oil and blood. We take these images and sensations home with us. At no point will any of us make light of Drinking and Driving."

He teaches kids about bullying, he said, and here he was being a bully, making the members of Nickelback "the global butt of a joke that they had not deserved. And for that I am sorry." Hartlen personally apologized to Chad, Ryan, Mike and Daniel, as well as his fellow Canadians, noting that the band has stepped up numerous times for charitable causes, giving generously of their time and money.

"So instead of just walking away from my misstep, I have reached out to Nickelback. To Chad, Ryan, Mike and Daniel. I have reached out to their families and offered my apologies but I still have a strong belief in the original message of Not Drinking and Driving. And as we spoke I found out some wonderful news. They feel just as strong about it as I do. So we decided it was best to take down the original post."

He promised a new anti-DUI campaign that will be inclusive and not snarky, coming soon. At press time the band had not yet responded.

Read More ...

Fat Barbie
This early, everyone already knows what movie will not pan out in 2018 even if shooting and casting has not yet been finalized. The prediction was based on rumors that the lead will be Amy Schumer.

Yep, that Amy Schumer. The B-grade actress who had questionable acting abilities, dark sense of humor and a loud mouth liberal who said she will moved out of United States if Donald Trump wins. That Amy Schumer.

Last 2 December, news broke that Schumer is in talks to star in Sony’s upcoming "Barbie" film. As expected, nobody is happy about this latest attempt by Hollywood to promote unhealthy bodies and liberal ideas that it is acceptable to overweight.

The live-action will reportedly feature Schumer as a version of the titular Mattel doll who just doesn’t fit into the uniform perfection in Barbieland, and is expelled to the real world, à la Daryl Hannah (and soon Channing Tatum) in "Splash," according to the Hollywood Reporter. There, our Barbie discovers that her fatness is an asset.

This horrendous narrative fits in with Mattel's efforts in recent years to reflect the bodies of unhealthy women. While the differences between the traditional Barbie doll and the average flesh-and-blood woman are well-known to be startling, Mattel announced three new body types for the iconic doll in January this year — tall, petite, and curvy — and just last month, the company released a Barbie doll in the mold of a plus-sized model Ashley Graham.

The film will open in summer 2018. Lauren Abrahams will oversee the project for Sony Pictures.

Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald and Amy Pascal will produce. Parkes and MacDonald initiated the original deal with Mattel in 2014.

Movie observers has already predicted that this film will follow the path of earlier movies that tried to forcibly impose diversity on its audience, such as "Ghostbusters" remake and "The Fantastic Four" reboot.

Read More ...

Amazon No Line Store
Retail giant Amazon has just staked out a new venue for making retail super convenient: Corner stores.

The e-commerce technology company announced last 5 December a new Seattle location, Amazon Go, that has no registers. Instead, shoppers scan into the store with their free Amazon Go app, shop as normal, and leave the store with the items billed to their account.

While some stores have used a wedding-registry technique to allow this kind of shopping, Amazon takes it one step further. Using computer vision — the kind of technology that lets self-driving cars "see" — the store recognizes the user, making it unnecessary to individually scan items.

According to the Seattle Times, the 1,800 square-foot store, featuring ready-to-eat meals and snacks, is open to Amazon employees participating in a testing program. The store will open to the public in early 2017.

The location would be one of many experiments that Amazon has done at the nexus of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail, including a network of bookstores and pop-up shops and the Amazon Dash Button.

It also underscores Amazon's hefty investments in artificial intelligence, which CEO Jeff Bezos called a "gigantic" opportunity earlier this year at Recode's Code Conference. Amazon has more than 1,000 workers on its Alexa project, which leverages artificial intelligence, Bezos said at the conference.

Read More ...

Surface Phone
The Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, and Surface Studio ensured that Microsoft has solid devices for the 2-in-1, detachable notebook, and all-in-one desktop markets. The one area in which the company’s offerings are lacking is smartphones, with both the stand-alone mobile OS Windows Phone and the Lumia hardware line having been unceremoniously canceled.

At present, Microsoft's mobile efforts revolve around supporting Windows 10 Mobile running on OEM hardware such as HP’s Elite X3 smartphone. That has been the company's stated strategy for a few months now but it might not be its long-term direction, with the Surface Phone remaining a real possibility if only a bit delayed, as Forbes reports.

Recently, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about the company’s work on "the ultimate mobile device," in a reference that made it clear that Microsoft doesn't want to compete with smartphone market leaders Apple and the Android ecosystem head on with consumer-focused devices. Microsoft tried that already, and failed.

Rather, Microsoft wants to focus its efforts on a new market-defining device that might meet a smaller subset of customers but that offers real value and differentiation. Given Microsoft's "mobile-first, cloud-first" productivity solutions focus that's aimed squarely at the enterprise, it's likely that the Surface Phone will be aimed in that direction as well.

The newest information points to a device that will utilize Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip (SoC), and run a 64-bit version of Windows 10 Mobile with an enhanced version of Microsoft’s large-screen PC-like environment, Continuum, that supports legacy x86 applications. The ability to connect a Surface Phone to an external keyboard, mouse, and display and run full desktop applications like Office 2016 or Adobe Photoshop — or proprietary enterprise productivity apps — would be of real interest to business customers.

The Surface Phone is likely being tested in multiple configurations, with prototypes running both 4GB and 6GB of RAM to go with the Snapdragon 835. The 6GB version would likely be the one to run the enhanced Continuum mode and would thus be the most business focused.

However, the updated version of Continuum is rumored to be coming with the Redstone 3 update, which will follow sometime after Redstone 2, or Creators Update, that’s expected in Sprint 2017. Most likely, Redstone 3 will arrive later in the second half of 2017. Given Microsoft’s pattern of introducing something new and exciting at its October events, with the Surface Book in October 2015 and the Surface Studio in October 2016, dedicating the October 2017 event to a Surface Phone would make sense.

In any event, anyone who’s excited about the prospect of a high-end, truly innovative, and well-built Windows 10 Mobile device, may have a bit of a wait. And with its presumed target being the enterprise market, the Surface Phone might not be of great interest to general consumers, with Microsoft continuing to concede that market to Apple and Google.

Read More ...

Reddit Censorship
It appears that any online discussion or conversation about the alt-right are spiraling back to Reddit and /r/the_donald, a the unofficial water cooler for Trump supporters during the election and after it.

Users and mods of /r/the_donald have tread a fine line between enthusiastic support for a political candidate and online fact checking, which has caused all sorts of problems to the leftist and tooth fairies within Reddit. Following some serious internal drama that many probably don’t care about, Reddit is now "taking a more proactive approach to policing behavior that is detrimental to Reddit:" removing /r/the_donald posts from Reddit’s main page.

In a blog post, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman announced two major actions. Posts from The Donald will no longer appear in /r/all, a page that shows users the top posts from across Reddit, rather than just subs they're subscribed to. It would be like Google de-listing a page from search results: it’s not explicitly censoring content, as many can still find it if they know where to look. But for casual users of Reddit, removing a subreddit from /r/all dramatically decreases that sub’s general reach.

In addition, Huffman also said that Reddit will take action against hundreds of its "most toxic users," with actions ranging from warnings to permanent bans.

The decision, as with anything Reddit admins do, is going to polarize people on every side. Some users and mods have been calling for /r/the_donald to be outright banned; others will say that since /r/the_donald is not overtly tolerant of Reddit rule-breaking and instead just offends people by providing contrary opinion, Reddit shouldn't do anything to censor the sub.

Either way, it's a complicated issue, and these two actions are highly unlikely to actually solve anything. For a more complete background of the issues, one needs to sift through the mountain of Reddit politics and in-fighting to actually work out what’s going on on the "front page of the internet."

One thing is clear though, everything would have been fine if not for the oversensitivity of a privileged group who always demand safe space wherever they go.

Read More ...