Also, the BlackBerry Classic brings sexy back, Netflix is never going offline, Yo gets festive, Wikipedia edits 2014, and the best Star Wars Christmas lights ever.
Sony Pulls The Interview Because Of Hackers
A Seth Rogen movie has caused an international incident. That’s it. I’m done. Reality has jumped the shark.
— Jason Lee Byas (@jasonleebyas) December 18, 2014
Sony Pictures has pulled The Interview after several major movie theater chains decided against showing the movie. The Interview is a comedy film directed by Evan Goldberg, and starring Seth Rogen and James Franco. The latter play journalists sent to North Korea to assassinate Kim Jong-un after securing an interview with the supreme leader.
In November, Sony Pictures suffered a major hack of its corporate computer system. The power behind the hacking group responsible hasn’t yet been identified, but there is speculation that North Korea is involved. However, the evidence appears to be sketchy, at best. Or, at worst, non-existent.
The theater chains balked at screening the flick after the same hacking group recently sent out a threat to any theater screening The Interview. The message, as sent to various news organizations, read:
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.
With the theater chains deciding the risks associated with screening The Interview were too great, Sony was forced to pull the film entirely, saying, “We have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.”
It’s entirely possible that a gaggle of giggling 12-year-olds are sitting in their bedrooms shocked at the impact their words and actions have had. It’s also possible that this is one of the best viral advertising campaigns ever conceived, and The Interview will be released at a later date with more interest than it ever had originally.
This is all possible, but not likely. The most logical explanation is that a serious hacking group with an unexplained hatred for Sony has scared movie theaters into not screening a film, leading Sony to cut their losses and run. Which is a shameful state of affairs, whichever way you look at it.
BlackBerry Classic Parties Like It’s 2008
BlackBerry has officially launched the BlackBerry Classic, a smartphone that looks and feels like it belongs in 2008. The BlackBerry Classic is virtually indistinguishable from Blackberry handsets of old, such as the Bold line. Hence the Classic in the name.
Some of the tech under the hood is rather aged too, but then this is a phone aimed exclusively at business users who are more likely to send hundreds of emails in one day than play mobile games for hours at a time. Hence the QWERTY keyboard.
The BlackBerry Classic is priced at $449 unlocked, with contract pricing to follow. In the U.S. AT&T and Verizon will both be carrying the device in 2015, with local carriers around the world also on board. Unfortunately, it’s still a BlackBerry. Hence no one will buy it.
Netflix Is Never Going Offline
The moment between Netflix episodes when you see your reflection on the black screen and wonder what you’re doing with your life.
— Scott Warner (@ScottWarner18) December 18, 2014
Netflix is unlikely to ever allow users to download movies and TV shows for offline viewing. This is according to Cliff Edwards, Netflix’s director of corporate communications and technology, who simply told TechRadar, “It’s never going to happen.”
The reason for this is that such a move would likely be a “short term fix for a bigger problem.” Because while the current state of WiFi coverage means offline viewing would be useful, this is likely to change in the future. At least according to Netflix.
Yo Adds Ho Ho Ho, But No Bottle Of Rum
Next step, a “No” app for parents of nagging kids. Or a “Ho ho ho” app for xmas…#yo
— Rebecca Bream (@Rebecca_Bream) June 20, 2014
Yo, quite possibly the dumbest app ever released, has added a festive twist to its usual trick. A Yo sent on either December 24 or December 25 will automatically become a “Ho Ho Ho” instead. And that’s the thrilling extent of the change… but I’m not sure what more you were expecting.
As CNET points out, this opens the door for Yo to change its message to commemorate other holidays, starting with New Year’s Eve. Suggestions on a postcard, please.
Wikipedia Looks Back On 2014
While the bigger websites such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have all compiled summaries of the year for some time, Wikipedia has been conspicuous by its absence. Until now.
For the first time in what will hopefully become a new tradition, Wikipedia has created a video chronicling the past 12 months via the edits and updates made to the online encyclopedia. And all using photos and videos free to use under the Creative Commons licenses.
The Best Star Wars Christmas Lights
And finally, with Star Wars very much back in vogue thanks to Star Wars: The Force Awakens being a year from release, is there a better theme to choose for a Christmas lights display? No, there is not, as evidenced by this startlingly impressive display by a music teacher called Tom.
Your Views On Today’s Tech News
Should Sony have pulled The Interview because of the threats or released it regardless? Who do you think is responsible for the hacking that started this whole sorry saga? Will you be buying a BlackBerry Classic?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.