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Scott is a development manager here at PLuGHiTz Corporation. He is the project lead for PLuGHiTz Gaming (DDRLover and CounterQuest) as well as PLuGHiTz Live!. Scott is most known for his time in the DDR World, both as a player and then for hosting and presenting tournaments in the Tampa, Florida area. Currently, his energies have been in the development of a few new sites for PLuGHiTz Corporation, as well as redeveloping some of our current sites.
Recent UpStream Articles
posted Sunday Mar 9, 2014 by Scott Ertz
Announced this afternoon at their SXSW, Marvel has added a few long expected multimedia features to their Marvel Unlimited mobile apps. Beginning with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Marvel has begun adding a collection of additions to their new release comics.
Intended to make the books more immersive, one of the media features will be a smart soundtrack capability, which they refer to as "adaptive audio," playing related Marvel-style music from scene to scene as you read through the digital book. Kristin Vincent, Marvel's vice president of digital products, said the goal was to make the digital version of the comics feel more authentically digital, without becoming foreign to the avid comic readers. She added,
We knew we had something conceptually but we weren't sure how it was going to work with comics. We wanted to figure out how we could tell stories in new ways.
Arune Singh, director of communications for publishing and digital media, believes that this could fundamentally change the way digital comics are produced by the company, stating,
The way we used to paste comics together on the page in production, so far we have been pasting comics on our iPad. Now, we have adaptive audio.
It is definitely a change in the way that Marvel thinks about comics and their production. The adaptive audio is a huge shift in production, and an interesting technological feat. The app, now written in native code as opposed to HTML5, is able to detect when you switch panels and adjust the music PER PANEL with background score similar to the films. It is also able to adapt the music's speed and transitions based on how quickly you individually read the comics: a faster reader will have quicker transitions planned.
In addition to the adaptive audio, there is also the ability for DVD commentary-style videos. While certainly not the most popular part of a DVD, commentary is popular among a particular type of viewer. Many of those viewers are the same ones who are avid comic readers, so this feature makes a lot of sense. This feature has been available before now, but via a QR code, mostly in print comics, meaning that the already digital content was mostly unavailable to already digital subscribers.
If neither of these new features are exciting to you, there is good news. Both are able to be turned off in the app's settings.read more...
posted Sunday Mar 9, 2014 by Scott Ertz
This is one of the weirder stories we have ever covered here that isn't in the middle of April or based in New Jersey. Newsweek, after taking a 15 month hiatus from its print edition, returned to printing this week with a bang. In addition to the obvious coverage that accompanied the first major digital reversal, Newsweek decided to print a massive 4,600 word article about Bitcoin. Specifically, they printed that they had identified, found and confirmed the identity of the illusive Bitcoin founder.
Known to the Internet simply as Satoshi Nakamoto, the possibly fake name of the Internet poster who had originally unveiled the Bitcoin concept, Newsweek tracked the name back to 64-year-old southern California resident Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. Thursday morning, they printed the article, which included a quote from Dorian, "I'm no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it." That confession was all that was needed to go to print.
A few hours later, news reporters from all over the area had found Dorian's address and were camped out outside, hoping to catch a photo of the man or, even better, get a quote from him. Obviously, everyone was hoping for the type of success Newsweek had found with their article, finding some sort of exclusive piece of information, despite no reporter having any privacy from the others.
At lunchtime is when things started to heat up in the race for a scoop. Dorian, probably getting tired of people in his yard and growing hungry, decided to take advantage of the media circus and comes outside. Of course, he is immediately barraged by reporters and, on video, denies having been involved in the creation of Bitcoin. He doesn't answer any questions from anyone, but does seem to quickly make a decision, probably with no information, about which reporter he will speak to, tells the crowd he would like his free lunch and takes the reporter away.
The reporter, the Associated Press's Joe Bel Bruno takes Dorian to lunch at a sushi restaurant, with a parade of reporters following behind in what LA has become famous for: car chases. After arriving at the restaurant, and the other reporters joining them, the two leave and head off to the Associated Press offices to talk in private.
As morning turns to afternoon, the two spoke privately for two full hours, with everyone else from the #Bitcoinchase waiting outside. While they speak, it is assumed that Dorian continued to deny his involvement in Bitcoin, as shortly after the AP published a story about his denial. Obviously someone created the digital currency, but it seems it is not Dorian.
That evening, in a Jawed Karim-style return to the Internet, the "real" Satoshi Nakamoto broke their 5 years of complete silence to post thier own denial saying simply, "I am not Dorian Nakamoto." With this possibly correct new information, what is the Internet supposed to do?
Friday morning Newsweek responds to the mountain of evidence that their story may have not been entirely, or at all, factual. They claim that "the same high editorial and ethical standards that have guided Newsweek for more than 80 years" were in play during the fact gathering process for this story and that "The facts as reported point toward Mr. Nakamoto's role in the founding of Bitcoin."
Friday afternoon, two important things happened. First, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office claimed that the quote in the original article was correct, and was reported by the Los Angeles Times. This leads us all to believe that, either the question was not understood by Dorian, or the response was misunderstood.
Around the same time, TechCrunch was able to confirm that the email address used to post the denial from the "real" Satoshi Nakamoto is the same one used to post the original Bitcoin spec. This certainly suggests that it is the same person/people that are letting us know that Dorian is unrelated to the process. That sounds like double confirmation to me.
There is no telling how this story will eventually end, but one thing is for certain: the Bitcoin creator is real and Dorian does not fit the bill. Someone will find the person/people responsible one day.read more...
posted Saturday Mar 1, 2014 by Scott Ertz
Reporting on Hulu's moves is like watching a tennis match: if you look away for even a moment you don't know where the ball is. In a blog post this week, Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins announced that the company had sold its Japanese brand to broadcaster Nippon Television Network. The details of the sale have not been disclosed.
The decision comes as the service's successes reach their heights. With 50 content partners and over 13,000 titles supported on 90 million devices, why would Hulu decide to exit the Japanese market officially? Hopkins attributes the sale to a growth rate that leaves a transfer of ownership as the best course of action.
Luckily for Japanese customers, the service is not going to be rebranded or changed in any significant way, at least not right away.
Hulu will be licensing our brand and technology and will continue to provide services to the Japan business-loyal fans of the service will enjoy the same seamless user experience and product innovation they have come to love. Thank you to the Hulu team members in Japan, and managing director Buddy Marini, for all of your hard work and contributions. Nippon TV recognizes the talented Hulu team we have on the ground in Japan, and I look forward to seeing you keep up the good work.
If Hulu's reasons for exiting the daily operations in Japan are true, then it would make sense for the service to go to the largest broadcaster in the country. Here, the service is owned and operated by 3 of the 4 major broadcasters, which gives the service easy access to content that people want to watch. With this transfer of ownership, Hulu Japan will be gaining access to content from the largest broadcaster in its country. Hopefully, in the end, this will be a benefit for Hulu Japan's customers.read more...
posted Saturday Mar 1, 2014 by Scott Ertz
This week, Nintendo announced that as of May 20, 2014, online capabilities of non-current devices and their corresponding games will be shut down. While the DS and DSi are affected, the console that is a surprise is the Wii, which is still available, though not the current generation device. The purchase of a brand new Wii with, say, Super Smash Brothers Brawl will not be playable online.
Considering Nintendo's recent financial situations, this could be a Sony-style move in an attempt to right the ship before they have to close business units. The shutdown of servers for powering these previous games and services could allow the company to reallocate resources to new games on the current-generation consoles.
It is, however a bit of a kick in the groin to those who have supported the legacy consoles and their games. Though the 3DS continues to be the top selling console, the Wii U has not lived up to the hype Nintendo tried to build. Because of that, many people continue to use their original Wii consoles. Because of that, this might also be a move to "encourage" people to upgrade to the Wii U.
So, are any of our readers affected by this shutdown or has everyone switched away from legacy cnosoles? Let us know in the comments.read more...
posted Friday Feb 28, 2014 by Scott Ertz
It has been a weird year for Bitcoin, the crypto currency that seems to have everyone a little confused. First, several new online retailers started accepting Bitcoin as an official payment type. Then, the first Bitcoin ATMs were installed and began operation. On the other hand, there have been several bank heists, accounting for hundeds of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin thefts.
The largest of these heists comes at the expense of Mt. Gox, the world's largest repository of Bitcoin. The theft cost the company 750,000 customers and 100,000 internal Bitcoin, which at the exchange rate at the time of this writing is just shy of $492 million. The heist has also cost the company the company itself.
This week, the Japan-based Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy protection with an outstanding debt of $63.3 million. Shortly before the official filing, Mt. Gox's website was shut down and its Twitter history was cleared, causing most customers to fear they had lost their investments. The website now features only a logo and the text:
As there is a lot of speculation regarding MtGox and its future, I would like to use this opportunity to reassure everyone that I am still in Japan, and working very hard with the support of different parties to find a solution to our recent issues.
Furthermore I would like to kindly ask that people refrain from asking questions to our staff: they have been instructed not to give any response or information. Please visit this page for further announcements and updates.
In light of recent news reports and the potential repercussions on MtGox's operations and the market, a decision was taken to close all transactions for the time being in order to protect the site and our users. We will be closely monitoring the situation and will react accordingly.
That is not where this drama ends, however. After days of protesting outside of the company's headquarters, customers who have lost money in this disaster are getting restless. One of which, Gregory Greene of Chicago, has filed a class-action lawsuit against the company. Greene, who claims to have lost $25,000 in the shutdown, said,
This catastrophic loss has not only revealed the instability of a burgeoning new industry, it has also uncovered a massive scheme to defraud millions of consumers into providing a private company with real, paper money in exchange for virtual currency.
This monumental failure will raise a couple of questions regarding Bitcoin. First, can Bitcoin ever be secured? With as many massive thefts as we have seen over the last 12 months, the answer so far appears to be no. The other question is, will Bitcoin be able to survive this constant onslaught of bad press? Even if the first problem is not the result of a flaw in Bitcoin itself, it certainly affects the faith in the currency, which is all they have for success.read more...
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