Archive for February, 2014

Project Tango – Curtain Raiser

The future is really awesome as Google announces Project Tango. Wondering what it is about? Let me tell you. Project Tango is about launching an Android-supported Smartphone with powerful motion detectors and extraordinary 3D sensors. Yes! You read it correct, it is 3D sensors.

Smartphone with 3D Sensor

Team Google has been working with tech-experts, research labs, universities and industrial partners to make this dream come true. Through Project Tango, Google is trying to harvest approximately 10 years of research in Robotics and computer vision. ATAP – Advanced Technology and Projects group at Google is using all this research to silhouette a unique Smartphone – to be witnessed in near future.

Google Prototype SpecsJohnny Chung Lee, Project Lead at ATAP says: “We are physical being that live in a 3D world; yet, mobile devices today assume that the physical world end at the boundaries of the screen”. Thus, the goal of Project Tango is twofold: develop a Smartphone with human-scale understanding of space along with motion. Hence, in near future, we might be able to use a Smartphone that is Smart indeed.

This technology – this device will easily outrun any of the leading Smartphone products trading in the market today. A Smartphone with 3D sensors so powerful that takes ¼ of a million measurements per second updating the position and rotation of the phone – sounds too good to be true; but, for Google, impossible is the word that doesn’t exist.

Google Tango2

A Device with Endless Possibilities

Google is assessing the possibilities of applications that can comply to the standard of the Smartphone. A revolutionary device like this sure needs innovative applications. Currently, Google envisages indoor navigation and gaming applications for the sensors; but, we can’t imagine the possibilities associated with such innovative device.

With this device, the world will become your playground. You can generate a map – or a game-world of your own by simply scanning the fraction of your physical environment such as your living room. It won’t be just a device – it will allow you to interact with your environment in a radical style.

Google Tango33Project Tango is still in developmental phase. Nevertheless, Google aims to ship 200 prototypes by March, 2014 to authorized developers. Yes! The prototypes are ready. However, it may take Google months or even years to distribute the product to the end-users; because, we haven’t embraced such technology – and pioneering something is a hell of a job.

Google Tango1

Conclusion – More Like a New Beginning

After developers’ job is done, Google will dispatch the furnished prototypes to affiliate companies for navigation, data processing, mapping and gaming applications as well. I can’t wait for this dream to come true; because, with this device, the possibilities are endless. I totally agree with Johnny Lee on this one: “The future is AWESOME”.

Homosexuality, a sin for the masses have become lifestyle for a few in our society. Despite of the legalization and acceptance of homosexuality by different countries around the globe, it is still bizarre and intolerable by many states. Hence, an embargo acknowledged by the gay community cannot be confined to a particular belief or set of values followed by the natives of a specific locality.

Nonetheless, Pakistan is one of the countries where homosexuality is one of the highly rated taboos. Despite of all the restrictions imposed and the fear of defamation, acceptance of homosexuality in Pakistan is increasing drastically. The trend has not only engulfed metro cities but also the rural community and townships since decades. This story doesn’t embrace a male-male encounter only; it has a female-female version too.

mmff

Before proceeding any further, I would first like to clarify something – I neither favor nor condemn homosexuality. However, homosexuality, as per the values we ought to follow is like an affliction that weakens our societal grounds or is it our shallow and so-called modern societal values that somehow let this all happen. This mystery is still unresolved.

Offended by the rejection and prohibition of homosexuals in Pakistan, a few so-called activists launched Pakistan’s first website for homosexual community. The website was later banned by PTA. But, I salute the audacity of website’s admin with my middle finger.

We can sue PTA but the trial would be too public, said Queer Pakistan’s admin. We didn’t receive any notice that our website contains sexually explicit or offensive content, he continued. You won’t find any name here because he didn’t disclose it. He didn’t want to be named for running such website but had the guts to declare PTA’s action as unconstitutional and against freedom of speech.

16The purpose of launching such website was sex education, he asserted. Really? Sex education? Is this the reason you guys had this slogan: “Know us, don’t hate us”? No? How about this one: “You can’t curry love”? If PTA hadn’t banned this website, we would have been PhDs in sex education by now.

That’s not all though. There was a page on Facebook named “Beautiful Teenage Boys of Pakistan”. The administrator of that page used to upload pictures of teenagers – half naked – with this caption “Sunny, a 14 year old beautiful teenage boy, if someone likes to friendship with him, inbox us and we will give you all information about boy with his personal cell number”. These guys went up to the next level in terms of sex education. Don’t look for the page; it is long gone, reported by the orthodox masses.

There’s a Facebook page named “Pakistan Gay Rights Movement” run by some LGBT activists. The page not only promotes homosexuality but allows users to interact with each other and exchange contacts. It is like their online dating point.

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There’s not just one or two but countless pages supporting homosexuality and even share explicit content.

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Those who belong to the homosexual community in other regions of the probably have their reasons justifying their preference. But what’s the excuse for Pakistanis to offer?

We know that homosexuality isn’t legalized. We know that our families won’t support our relationships. We know that same sex marriage isn’t a ritual supported by our societal norms. What’s the reason behind the inclination of homosexuality trend in Pakistan then? It’s nothing but an alternative that psychologically ill minds seek. It has nothing to do with love but lust and absolutely unfulfilled sexual needs that people can’t control.

Rapidly enhancing growth of homosexuality in the rural community of Pakistan is caused by the lack of contact between opposite sexes. The fear of honor killing AKA Karo-Kari in Pakistan results into minimal interaction between the opposite sexes, especially in the villages. As a result, hormonal unevenness and uncontrollable urge for sex lead people to take interest in similar sexes probably leading with concerns like child molesting and abuse as the consequences.

In metro cities however homosexual proceedings are probably another alien trend that we adopted. Inspired from the trend of dating and events like prom nights, we had rebelled against our own societal values. And guess what? We won. But soon we realized that dating is just mainstream and conventional, isn’t it? And since most of us count ourselves as so-called wannabe “Burgers”, mainstream is not for us. Why not try something new.

The factors causing homosexuality to catch fire in Pakistan circle around the aforementioned grounds. But, for us, these rationales will always be hypotheses – presumptions that we will never explore; because, we live in a state-of-denial. And always will?

Introducing the Idjit

Snapchat, one of the most frequently preferred yet controversial interaction and socialization platform these days encounters yet another security threat. Snapchat’s signups acknowledged a boost lately as many teenagers especially from the US started to switch from social networks such as Facebook to Snapchat. Click Here for more details about this trend.

Snapchat Security Alert

 

This was a considerable milestone – a great achievement for Snapchat. However, the glee of this accomplishment diminished as Snapchat was notified about a new security exploit that could be manipulated by the hackers like the preceding incident.

https://twitter.com/ChrisaHead/status/433115242139115520

 

Blast from the Past

For those of you who don’t know; Snapchat was hacked in the month of January 2014. The hackers stole username details along with numbers of around 4.6 million users and leaked the data publically over the Internet. The details were downloadable via “SnapchatDB.info” which no longer exists by the way.

SnapchatDB

It was reported that Gibson Security researchers had already informed Snapchat about their “Find Friend” exploit and how it could be manipulated by hackers. Snapchat’s ignorance led the leading social platform to concede a massive data leak where privacy of 4.6 million users was compromised.

Snapchat Vulnerable

New Exploit Discovered

This time, it is much more complicated and crucial than the previous exploit. This time, Snapchat might have to face catastrophic outcomes if their evasion continues to last. Jamie Sanchez, a Security Researcher has found that Snapchat encompasses a security loophole – a weakness that greets DDoS (Denial-of-Service) attack. If occurred, it would be an attack executed through an intermediary which will be Snapchat.

 

The Damage It Can Cause

Through this security exploit, a hacker can flood user’s inbox with repetitive messages causing the device to overload. As a result, the device (especially iPhone) will crash and may require user to hit the reset button. The attack will have considerable impact over Android devices as well. The attack may not require you to reset the device; but, it will slow down its performance to a considerable extent.

FRANCE-US-IT-INTERNET-SECURITY-SNAPCHAT

Conclusion

Snapchat unlike the previous approach adopted has reacted promptly to this threat. As per the Snapchat’s official statement, the security researchers are examining the exploit and the concern will soon be resolved. The damage caused by this exploit over Snapchat’s brand reputation is still a quesiton.

 

Users who are concerned about their privacy might not prefer Snapchat over other social platforms anymore. Nevertheless, the world is filled with naïve Netizens who might prefer the earlier approach adopted by Snapchat itself – ignorance.

It all started on Facebook’s 10th anniversary. Millions of users went insane after seeing Facebook movie of Netizens added in their social circle. Each Facebook movie prescribed a link – instructing users to access the link if they want to see their Facebook movie. And millions of naïve users eventually clicked on the link in order to get their hands on their very own Facebook movie.

 

The movie initiated from the second they joined Facebook and embraced every moment till that very moment the link was clicked. This is not all. After seeing their ridiculous Facebook movie, millions shared their private moments online.

 

People falling in the same genre (Stupid) watched, liked and even shared movies of people in their social circle. Hence, your private moments were shared with not only your friends; but their friends; and their friends; and their friends or may be shared publically by some idiots who don’t know how to access/change their Facebook privacy settings.

That’s not all. Millions of people even Tweeted their Facebook movies and uploaded them on YouTube. Like flooding Facebook’s timeline wasn’t enough for them. Some of them even promoted their private moments via #hashtags.

https://twitter.com/RachelFavre/status/431800305869938688

 

Soon, Facebook’s timeline flooded with movies shared by almost everyone in everyone’s social circle – it was like a plague that spread faster than any Virus followed by Zombie apocalypse.

 

Where many enjoyed this ludicrous act, some intellectuals condemned it. These were the people that use Facebook the way it should be used – to interact and socialize not to flood others’ wall with silly Facebook movies.

 

It was an activity when millions shared a movie showing that 107 people (who probably added you because you wear revealing outfits or you’re just cute) liked your status when you put this on your wall “At3 Ic3 Cr3aM T0dAy”. Furthermore, no one gives a damn to your stupid “Duck Face Selfie” liked by your idiotic friends – who probably are more stupid than you are.

 

I have one question to ask you now. Did you even bother to think for a single minute about your privacy? Are you even familiar with this term? P R I V A C Y (spelled as prescribed) as per Snowden’s revelation is victimized repeatedly by the vigilant agencies along with their alleged allies (multinational, telecom and tech giants); privacy that our generations probably won’t be acquainted with; privacy that will soon be eradicated from the face of digital universe and will be remembered as nothing but a myth.

Who am I kidding? You probably don’t even know who Snowden is? Go back to your restroom selfie photo session. A little heads-up here – people take a leak or shit in restroom – this is the sole reason for which they were made.

I would like to appreciate Facebook though for this phenomenal promotional strategy. I mean the moment they realized that they are being dumped by teenagers. The moment they found that teens have started to switch from Facebook to Snapchat and other alternates (Click here to know more); because, for them Facebook isn’t cool anymore – BANG! They came from nowhere with this campaign which created an effective brand recall. It was like:

Facebook Movie Everywhere

The purpose of this post was to give you a wakeup call or perhaps to poke you and say: be cautious of what you do online. Protect yourself and your activities. Your privacy is already vulnerable to divergent threats; there are many trying to sneak into it – don’t make it too easy for them. I will be glad if this post brought some sense to you. If not then you probably don’t give a damn to your privacy so stop flooding other people’s walls with your silly Facebook movies – that’s the least you can do.

Update: Glimpse to Character Persona, Meet-ups and Dialogues

The story starts with strange abductions plaguing Gotham City. The media as usual jumps to the conclusions without a delay – blaming The Dark Knight (Mysterious Batman) for the abduction. People think of Batman as a blood sucking vampire at this point of the story. No matter how strange it sounds; but, it was an easily ingestible accusation because Vampire Batman did exist in Batman & Dracula: Red Rain comic created by Doug Moench and Kelley Jones.

Anyway, the first character to make his appearance in the movie was Green Lanter (Hal Jordan) supposedly chasing a Parademon with an abducted victim. Hal Jordan saves the girl but that ungrateful bi*ch shows no gratitude and whacks poor GL with this comment: “What’s the catch? What’s it gonna cost me”? Green Lantern continues his pursuit and is ambushed from behind. Moments before GL is going to get his ass kicked by the Parademon, Batman saves his butt from the demon.

 

Green Lantern Meets Batman

Green Lantern: Batman! You’re real?

Batman: Turn it off.

Green Lantern: I had him.

Batman: Clearly. Now turnoff the damn light off before they see us.

Green Lantern: Before who sees us?

Gotham PD Official: Put your hands in the air.

Green Lantern: They don’t like us much (with his hands in the air).

Batman: The world is afraid of us.

Green Lantern: You say it like it’s a good thing.

Batman: It’s necessary.

 

Meanwhile, the parademon attacks, and the chase continues – the duo (Batman and Green Lantern) follows demon into the sewers where he sacrifices himself to protect some sort of alien computer.

 

Batman: It’s more like an alien computer.

Green Lantern: Alien? Like the guy in Metropolis.

Batman: Superman.

Green Lantern: You’ve met him?

Batman: No. But I’ve researched him. His power levels are…

Green Lantern: Not gonna be a problem for me.

Batman: We’ll see

GL meets Batman

Batman with GL Ring

In the meantime, people of Washington DC are protesting against Wonder Woman – accusing her for the property damage. Wonder Woman with her gallantly silences everyone in the protest and proceeds to meet the president of the United States.

In Metropolis, Victor Stone is upset about his father not showing up to his football match. He is on his way to meet him in laboratory where he is analyzing an alien computer. Batman and Green Lantern are chasing Superman’s signal – who is engaged in a fight with parademon on Lexcorp property. Destroying your archenemy’s property in the name of justice is hell of a nice move Superman.

 

Batman and Green Lantern Meet Superman

After watching Justice League: War your perception of Superman as a boy-scout will surely change. Superman in this movie is an ultimate badass. Superman in Justice League: War won’t hold back or hesitate to through a punch at anyone who engages in a battle with him. Justice League: War presents a new personality of Superman who unlike his previous personas is cocky, cynical and has never back-down attitude.

Being ignorant of Superman’s true potential, Green Lantern traps Batman in a shield – eager to have a few rounds with Supsy and in return gets his ass kicked.

superman GL Batman

Green Lantern to Batman: Wait here. No offense. You just get in the way. Here’s the plan. Green Lantern kicks Superman’s ass TMZ gets the video.

Bang. Bang. Bang… Aoo OoO Aoo Aoo Aaaaaahhhhh! There goes our Green Lantern – breaking through his own shield.

Superman to Batman: So, what can you do?

supsy and batsy

Batman doesn’t say anything but throws a smoke grenade and flees – trying to avoid Superman’s vicious attacks.

Batsy and Superman1

Superman: I can still see you. The creature that attacked me had one of those boxes you have – a friend of yours I assume. He blew up so I’ll ask you. What are these boxes for? Talk – while you still can.

 

Batman grunts: Aahhhhh… Trying….. to.

Green Lantern Interferes: Round 2 fly boy.

Batman: Lantern… NO.

Superman trapped in Lantern’s Chains: Chains? You’re funny – breaks through the chains.

Batman: We won’t stop him – he’s pissed-off. We have to talk to him.

Green Lantern: Sarcastically – talk to him?

 

Well, Batman was right. Superman was pissed. As soon as Green Lantern generates a shield covering himself and Batman, Superman strikes with a massive blow which reminds me of his Kryptonian Crush Super-Attack from “Injustice: gods among us”.

 

Green Lantern: This guy is gonna kill us.

Batman: No he won’t.

Batman talks to Superman: You bruise but you don’t kill. Do you? Clark.

Superman holds his punch: You’ve made your point – X -ray visions Batman – Huh! Bruce Wayne.

Green Lantern: Who the hell is Bruce Wayne?

Batman: We think its alien (referring to the box in hand).

Superman: Well, it’s not Kryptonian.

Batman: Worth a shot.

Green Lantern: Are we done fighting?

Superman: Alien is relative by the way. It’s a big universe.

 

Cyborg Origins

Victor Stone confronts his father in the lab asking about his unavailability from his match. His father being a complete asshole says:

 

Dr. Stone: Open your eyes son. Look at the world we live in today. We are witnessing the birth of a new race of superhuman – beings who can fly, tear through buildings and outrun race cars. They will make what you can do obsolete. In that world, throwing a football is a joke.

 

Meanwhile, the alien boxes activate themselves and eventually blow – opening portals to let thousands of Parademons from Apokolips enter the world. A full scale invasion as hypothesized by Batman. One of those boxes blows while Victor was holding it in his hand – costing Victor half of his body; however, his vital are still responding somehow. With deep remorse, Dr. Stone conducts an experiment on his son as a last resort to save him – transforming his son into a Cyborg and making his brain work like a quantum computer.

Cyborg origins

Wonder Woman Meets Superman

When the parademons attack President’s flight, Wonder Woman comes to rescue. Superman however saves the day when he catches the airplane as soon as an engine blows up. Wonder Woman seeing a man as strong as she is or probably more is infatuated with Superman – the feeling is mutual though.

 

Wonder Woman: My god.

Superman: You’re strong.

Wonder Woman: I know.

superman meet wonderwoman

Flash Meets Green Lantern and Batman

The battle continues as Batman and Green Lantern take on the parademons with all that’s left in them. Flash makes an appearance and saves Green Lantern from an ambush.

Green Lantern: Flash! My boy! Great to see you – and yeah! That’s Batman.

Flash: Batman is real?

Green Lantern: Yeah! He’s over there.

Flash: Wait! What?

Flash to Batman: It is a real honor to meet you sir Batman, sir Bat..Batman, sir. Uhmm

Batman: I followed your efforts in Central City Flash. You do efficient work.

Green Lantern: Hey, Barry. You got something on your nose.

Batman: Get ready! Here they come.

Flash Meets Batman

I don’t know if any of you noticed it; but, for a moment I thought Flash and GL exchanged their persona. It was the Flash who was always called immature by the League Members due to his witty attitude. But I could say otherwise after seeing this meet up – or he was just shocked and excited to meet the Dark Knight.

 

Cyborg and Shazam Meets the Rest of JL Members

While the parademons were assembling to welcome Darkseid, Cyborg and Shazam met rest of the members of Justice League.

 

Green Lantern: Who the hell are you supposed to be – Mr. Robotto?

Cyborg: Who I am – doesn’t matter. What I know – does.

Batman: Which is?

Cyborg: I have talked to their technology. I know their plan – they are terraforming the earth. It’s about to get ugly.

Batman: That fits.

Green Lantern: How do you figure?

Batman: The water is on fire.

Shazam meet JL

So, the invasion begins. The parademons are abducting hundreds of humans in order to harvesting process. A process where Darkseid through his technology can harvest, repurpose and transform any living form to create an army of parademons. The earth is terraforming and our heroes engage in battle with Darkseid to prevent what’s going to happen.

=END of UPDATE=

 

Prologue

Justice League: War officially released on 4th February 2014 though it was much awaited movie for all comic fans out there. Justice League: War represents DC Universe’s ‘New 52’ reboot acknowledged in 2011 by all comic fans. Unlike Marvel, DC Universe likes to adopt change more frequently and experiments with its characters every now and then – sometimes in name of an alternate universe but mostly via a reboot. New 52 reboot introduced diverse alterations with respect to DC characters: superhero mythology, costumes and even their origins.

JL War Main

Justice League: War provides glimpse to the origin of Justice League – witnessed plenty of times before with different stories to support the initiation. The founding members of Justice League as per Justice League: War plot are Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Cyborg and Shazam (A replacement for Aquaman) – united to protect earth from an alien invasion led by Darkseid (Lord of Apokolips).

Darkseid and Para

The Review and Critique

Justice League: War is directed by Jay Oliva – a well-known personality responsible for the masterpieces like Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox, Batman: Under the Red Hood and The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 & 2 to entertain all DC animated universe fans out there.

Jay Oliva is renowned for his alterations to plots and sometimes to characters; but, this time he takes the trend to the whole new level. Justice League: War follows New 52 continuity but in Jay Oliva’s style. Despite of the wide acceptance of Justice League: Origins as per New-52 concept, Oliva had to add a little spice of his own.

GL New-52 characters

Replacing Aquaman with Shazam was a huge risk to take. In fact, Aquaman followers would censure this move; but, after watching after-credits scene – you would be astonished. Justice League: War concept might be hard to ingest for those who have accepted and loved New-52 Justice League: Origin story; although, with Oliva on the controls, not many can resist watching this movie. I missed Martian Manhunter though =(

Justice League: War is a perfect blend of action and storytelling with all pieces perfectly put to their place. Besides the assembly of our beloved super heroes, the story also introduced the origins of Cyborg and Shazam. Other characters were deprived from this privilege though. But, let’s face it – who doesn’t know about the origins of Superman, Batman, GL or Flash.

Sup Bat GL

Nevertheless, Oliva offered a glimpse to contemporary persona of Superman. Say goodbye to the boy-scout and welcome to a cocky, eccentric sarcastic and witty badass – an all-power Kryptonian who will never concede defeat; or hesitate throw a powerful punch; or refrain from using his heat-vision against a challenger who wishes to go a few rounds against the Man of Steel.

Super Bat

The movie is outstandingly directed and visuals are outstanding if you ask me. The characters are smartly designed and perfectly reflect New-52 visuals introduced by Jim Lee – with slight alterations though. Darkseid was drawn as a gigantic creature; however, I was quite disappointed with the impact of Omega Beams.

Darkseid

Superman’s body structure is considerably strong (height and body-type) as compared to other characters – perhaps to reflect his strength. You can see this difference clearly when Green Lantern and Batman first meet Superman; also when Green Lantern tries to hit on Wonder Woman and interfered by Superman.

superman

Wonder Woman’s persona has two sides: a never-back-down combatant and an innocent or naïve girl who probably hasn’t eaten ice cream before.

WW

Green Lantern is over-confident about his powers which almost gets him killed by Darkseid who seems to be immune from GL’s assault and breaks his army with a slight twist.

GL

One thing I can’t understand though. Why does the Flash get side-lined in every JL movie except for Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox? Moving on.

GL and Flash

The movie is well scripted and maintains the equilibrium with respect to pace of the story and character origins/meet-up. However, many have criticized the appearance of Lord Darkseid – saying that one of the most sophisticated and badass villain of all time was poorly presented and effortlessly defeated by the Justice League.

Flash Darkseid

Wonder Darkseid

Aquaman was replaced with Shazam, and I must say I really missed King of the Seas; however, after seeing after-credits scene – I was like HELL YEAH. However, I presume that amendment in characters’ personas would be hard to swallow for some fans; especially, the major alternations to Superman’s attitude – form a boy-scout to a cocky badass and Wonder Woman – from a prudent fighter to… well, a fighter but a reckless one.

Another huge alternation in character persona refers to the Dark Knight. Batman doesn’t seek help. He doesn’t rely on anyone except for himself. He doesn’t back-down and most importantly he doesn’t SMILE that often. Anyway, I must say I kind of liked this soft-hearted Batsy – tough yet sensitive.

Batman

As far as the casting goes:

  • Jason O’Mara voices Batman
  • Alan Tudyk voices Superman
  • Michelle Monaghan voices Wonder Woman
  • Justin Kirk voices Green Lantern
  • Christopher Gorham voices Flash
  • Shemar Moore voices Cyborg/Victor Stone
  • Sean Astin voices Shazam
  • Steve Blum voices Darkseid

Wrapping-up

Despite of all New-52 reboot thingy and a few additional alterations, the movie is worth watching. The movie totally rocked except for a few loopholes: Flash was sidelined in the entire movie except for the final battle with Darkseid, and Superman was side-lined in the final battle except for his final blow to send Darkseid back to Apokolips via a portal.

Super Last Blow

Darkseid was a disappointment too – his first assault to the League was furious and intimidating but eventually he’s pummeled by the League even with their ridiculous strategy.

Flash and Darkseid

Those who are already aware of New-52 reboot may easily gulp down the alterations but the movie has got a massive surprise for those who still follow the old school superhero mythology. This review rates Justice League: War on a sweet 4 out of 5 stars.

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