The Best Miscellaneous Fun Movie/TV Gifts of 2014
12 minutes ago
You've heard the advice before: Check your kid's candy bucket after going trick-or-treating. Throw away any homemade goodies. Sometimes hospitals even offer to X-ray the candy just to make sure there isn't a needle in that Snickers bar.
This advice turns out to be the ultimate Halloween prank, a horror that has never happened, not once, in the history of Halloween, according to a researcher who has studied reports of Halloween mischief dating back to the 1950s.
The best-known case of Halloween candy tampering came in 1974, when Texas dad Ronald Clark O'Bryan killed his son by lacing his Pixy Stix with cyanide to claim $20,000 in life insurance. Before that, a Detroit 5-year-old died in 1970 after eating heroin supposedly hidden in his Halloween candy. It turned out the boy had simply gotten into his uncle's stash.
When Google announced what is clearly the best car navigation application on any mobile today, it didn’t just take a swipe at GPS navigation companies such as Garmin and TomTom. It took a swipe at Apple.
Beyond the advanced features of the Google Maps Navigation app (voice search, crowdsourced traffic data, Street View navigation), what makes the app noteworthy is that it launched on Google’s own Android phones first rather than on the iPhone. By doing so, Google is putting Apple on notice that it is no longer reserving its best apps for the iPhone.
This is but the latest sign of a growing rift between Apple and Google. A couple years ago, when the iPhone first launched, Google and Apple had a strong partnership. At the time, Google CEO Eric Schmidt described the relationship as so close that it was akin to merging “without merging. Each company should do the absolutely best thing they can do every time.” Google supposedly didn’t need to creat its own phone, because it could simply create software for the iPhone. And, in fact, some of the best apps on the iPhone—Mail, Maps, YouTube, Search—were developed by Google.
Only two years later, Apple and Google no longer have such a cozy relationship. A new Android phone is now launching every other week, it seems. Feeling the competitive threat, Apple started blocking Google apps such as Google Voice and Latitude from getting on the iPhone, and Schmidt stepped down from Apple’s board (although there were also other reasons for that having to do with antitrust scrutiny).
So Apple starts to back away from letting Google take over the iPhone with all the best apps by rejecting them. And now we have Google’s response: a big middle finger. If Apple is going to make it hard to get on the iPhone, then Google will stop giving Apple its best apps first and use them to make its own Android platform more appealing.
Apple is in a terrible position here because the future of mobile apps are Web apps, and Google excels at making those. Apple needs Google, it’s most dangerous competitor in the mobile Web market, to keep building apps for the iPhone. Google would be foolish not to since the iPhone still has the largest reach of any modern Web phone. But it will no longer be a priority.
The sad thing is that Apple has been here before—with Microsoft. In the late 1990s, Apple had to beg Microsoft to keep building Office for Macs. Now it may be in the same position with Google. There may be more than 85,000 apps in the App Store, but it is only a handful which actually drive purchases. If Google Maps Navigation becomes one of those types of killer apps, Apple might need to do some begging first before Google goes through effort to make it for the iPhone.
In an early episode of the excellent TV series Mad Men, agency partner Roger Sterling walks into creative director Don Draper's office to find Don gazing off into space.
"I'll never get used to the fact that most of the time it looks like you're doing nothing," Sterling quips.
Sterling should take comfort in the fact that our best creative work is done in times of reflection and idleness. Studies have shown that the wandering mind is more likely to have a "Eureka!" moment of clarity and creativity. Taking breaks and zoning out from everyday tasks gives our brains time to do a kind of long-term, big-picture thinking that immediate engagement with bosses and clients and email and meetings does not.
Relive the pivotal moments of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope on your iPhone or iPod Touch in Star Wars: Trench Run, a brand new game launching soon. Developed by Infrared5 and distributed by THQ Wireless Inc., Trench Run lets you skim the surface of the Death Star trenches as you seek to target a small thermal exhaust port less than two meters wide. Can you reenact the shot heard 'round the galaxy? Is the Force with you?
Trench Run uses simple motion controls and realistic game play to put you in the action. Tilt your iPhone or iPod touch to maneuver your X-wing. Tap one side of the screen to fire weapons, and tap the other to call on the power of the Force, which slows the action down allowing you more control. The game features two main play scenarios -- flying in the trench, and dogfighting with TIE fighters high above the Death Star surface.
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Turns out Seth MacFarlane isn't PC enough to be a PC. Microsoft was set to sponsor a prime time special by the "Family Guy" creator as part of its Windows 7 media blitz, but was somehow surprised when the typically MacFarlane-esque fare didn't exactly "fit with the Windows brand."
Variety reports that three days after crowing about its new Seth MacFarlane deal to the world, it pulled the plug after getting a look at the content, which included "riffs on deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest," the company pulled out of the project.
Clean up your mess! This is the message that the Bearkat Democrats wanted to send to Congressman Brady by bringing gifts of mops and buckets to his office last Thursday, Oct. 22.
This event was spurred by a speech given by President Obama on Oct. 16 that called for Republicans to "grab a mop" and help clean up the mess that was created by the Bush Administration.
All over the nation, college Democrat chapters bonded together in this call to action, totaling 14 chapters. SHSU and UT were the only colleges in Texas who took part in this event.
"We did it to a larger scale than any other group in the country," noted Scudder.
LONG-term mobile phone users could face a higher risk of developing cancer in later life, according to a decade-long study.
The report, to be published later this year, has reportedly found that heavy mobile use is linked to brain tumours.
The survey of 12,800 people in 13 countries has been overseen by the World Health Organisation.
The second oldest rivalry in Texas will have a new home next season as the Battle of Piney Woods will be moving to Reliant Stadium next year.
Sam Houston State University, Stephen F. Austin University and Lone Star Sports and Entertainment have come to terms on a four year contract for an unspecified amount of money.
Responding to the growing furor over the paychecks of
executives at companies that received billions of dollars in
federal bailouts, the Obama administration will order the
companies that received the most aid to deeply slash the
compensation to their highest paid executives, an official
involved in the decision said on Wednesday.
Apple said Monday that fourth-quarter profits rose more than 46 percent to 1.67 billion, or $1.82 per diluted share, on sales of $9.87 billion for the three-month period ended September 26, 2009.
Apple sold 3.05 million Macintosh computers during the quarter, representing a 17 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter.
Scientists claim the giant atom-smashing Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is being jinxed from the future to save the world.
In a bizarre sci-fi theory, Danish physicist Dr Holger Bech Nielsen and Dr Masao Ninomiya from Japan claim nature is trying to prevent the LHC from finding the elusive Higgs boson. Called the "God particle," the theoretical boson could explain the origins of mass in the universe — if physicists can find the darn thing.
The scientists say their math proves nature will "ripple backward through time" to stop the LHC before it can create the God particle, like a time traveller who goes back in time to kill his grandfather.
"While it is a paradox to go back in time and kill your grandfather, physicists agree there is no paradox if you go back in time and save him from being hit by a bus," Dannis Overbye wrote in the New York Times.
On Thursday morning, Amazon.com took another step in its effort to bring instant gratification to its customers, introducing a new “Local Express Delivery Option.” If an eligible item is ordered before 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. (depending on the city) Amazon will have it delivered on the same day. To start out, the e-commerce giant is rolling out the service in seven cities - New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Las Vegas and Seattle. (With Chicago, Indianapolis and Phoenix to come soon).
"Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. Blog Action Day 2009 will be one of the largest-ever social change events on the web."
Kellogg Co. is introducing new technology in the U.K. that allows it to burn its famous signature onto individual cereal flakes by using lasers.
The technology, which was developed in Britain, is being used in a trial to stamp out imitation cereals -- which Kellogg calls "fake flakes" -- by branding Corn Flakes with the company logo.
Helen Lyons, lead food technologist at Kellogg, said in a statement, "There has been an increase in the number of [private labels] trying to capitalize on the popularity of Kellogg's corn flakes. We want shoppers to be under absolutely no illusion that Kellogg's does not make cereal for anyone else. We're constantly looking at new ways to reaffirm this, and giving our golden flakes of corn an official stamp of approval could be the answer."
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Matthew Whalen, a senior at Lansingburgh Senior High School, says he follows the Boy Scout motto and is always prepared, stocking his car with a sleeping bag, water, a ready-to-eat meal — and the knife, which was given to him by his grandfather, a police chief in a nearby town.
But Lansingburgh High has a zero-tolerance policy, and when school officials discovered that Whalen kept his knife locked in his car, he says, they suspended him for five days — and then tacked on an additional 15 after a hearing.
Another fall symbol, the pumpkin pie, may take a hit by Thanksgiving. Last year's weak harvest in Illinois, which leads the nation's pumpkin industry, has led to a shortage of canned pumpkin.
Shoppers reported that they could scarcely find canned pumpkin on the shelves of grocery stores in the past few months. Roz O'Hearn, a spokeswoman for Nestle SA, the parent company of canned-pumpkin leader Libby's, said help is on the way.
"If you looked [during] the last few months, canned pumpkin was not on the store shelves," Ms. O'Hearn said. "There were a lot of weather issues with last year's harvest which left us without a surplus."
Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine indicated that she would support the Finance Committee health care bill, although she withheld support for future versions of the legislation. She is the only Republican senator to have voiced support for the bill.
An investigative series I've been writing about organized cyber crime gangs stealing millions of dollars from small to mid-sized businesses has generated more than a few responses from business owners who were concerned about how best to protect themselves from this type of fraud.
The simplest, most cost-effective answer I know of? Don't use Microsoft Windows when accessing your bank account online.
I do not offer this recommendation lightly (and at the end of this column you'll find a link to another column wherein I explain an easy-to-use alternative). But I have interviewed dozens of victim companies that lost anywhere from $10,000 to $500,000 dollars because of a single malware infection. I have heard stories worthy of a screenplay about the myriad ways cyber crooks are evading nearly every security obstacle the banks put in their way.
But regardless of the methods used by the bank or the crooks, all of the attacks shared a single, undeniable common denominator: They succeeded because the bad guys were able to plant malicious software that gave them complete control over the victim's Windows computer.
Why is the operating system important? Virtually all of the data-stealing malware in circulation today is built to attack Windows systems, and will simply fail to run on non-Windows computers. Also, the Windows-based malware employed in each of these recent online attacks against businesses was so sophisticated that it made it extremely difficult for banks to tell the difference between a transaction initiated by their customers and a transfer set in motion by hackers who had hijacked that customer's PC.