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The overall Sony brand has reportedly taken a major hit in terms of consumer perception in the wake of the hacks against Sony Pictures and the ensuing fallout. The controversy has pushed media and technology giant to its worst levels in six years, according to new research service YouGov, discovered by Variety. YouGov's BrandIndex is calculated by asking people:"If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?" This is then calculated into a score that can range from 100 to -100, with a zero being a neutral position. Sony's score this year began at 13, dropping to 11 on November 24 when the Sony hack was first made public. It only fell further from there as the hackers posted troves of internal Sony documents, including executive salaries, personal emails, and even movie scripts. Things got even worse for Sony following week's cancellation of The Interview, the controversial James Franco/Seth Rogen movie apparently at the heart of the cyberattack, which the FBI says came from North Korea. As of Friday, December 19, Sony's score was 3, a six-year low. YouGov points out that this could fall further, as The Interview's cancellation has drawn much displeasure from some, while United States president Barack Obama has even said Sony "made a mistake" in scuttling the movie's release. This isn't the first time Sony's brand image has taken a hit in recent years. The company's BrandIndex score dropped off in April 2011 when the PlayStation Network was breached. Millions of accounts were compromised, and the service itself didn't return to full functionality for weeks. For more on the fallout from the Sony Pictures hack, be sure to read GameSpot sister sites CNET and CBS News. The YouGov BrandIndex is measured by interviews with 4,300 people every weekday from a representative US population sample.
In 2012 a device called PirateBox excited users with the prospect of anonymous wireless file-sharing anywhere, no Internet required, and at a cost of just a few dollars. Now the project has released PirateBox 1.0 and a brand new website. TorrentFreak caught up with PirateBox founder David Darts for the lowdown. Inspired by the local communications power of traditional pirate radio, in 2011 NYU art professor David Darts created the PirateBox. Part WiFi hotspot, part file server, PirateBox provides quick, easy and above all anonymous access to the files onboard. In 2012 and following a breakthrough update, the cost of creating a PirateBox dropped from a very reasonable $100 to an extremely attractive $50. Anonymous offline file-sharing was now within everyoneâ€™s reach. Since then PirateBox has gathered an extremely enthusiastic following, something which has spurred its developers on. Yesterday PirateBox delivered its v1.0 update and a brand new website so to celebrate the occasion TorrentFreak caught up with creator David Darts. TF: PirateBox was warmly welcomed by the community in 2012. How has community feedback shaped the PirateBox project since? DD: The community has had a big impact on the development of PirateBox. When I originally released the project, it was essentially just an offline browser-based file sharing system. My first prototype was basically a proof-of-concept â€“ a light-weight python web server running on a hacked Seagate Dockstar network adapter connected to a pocket wireless router. Almost immediately after publishing the project online, I started receiving feedback from developers and hackers around the world who were interested in using and contributing to the project. My inbox also started filling up with support requests, which is why I set up the PirateBox Discussion Forum. While I believe in the Free Open Source ethos of providing tech support for my peers (Iâ€™ve been the beneficiary of this support many times), I simply couldnâ€™t handle the volume of requests. Fortunately, the community stepped up and helped out with support (and testing, and development) through the discussion forum. Many of the key features of the PirateBox, like the chat room and UI, have been co-developed by the community. Matthias Strubel, who is now the projectâ€™s lead developer, was one of the community members who reached out and joined the PirateBox team. He has really helped push the project forward. pbox-4 TF: Has PirateBox been used in any unexpected or innovative ways? DD: As designers know all too well, their creations are often used in ways they didnâ€™t necessarily intend. The PirateBox is no exception. It has been used by musicians and bands to distribute their music at festivals and gigs, by teachers to distribute and collect digital materials from students, and by emergency response workers and volunteers to distribute local first aid information and community updates. Conference organizers have used it to distribute conference materials and to provide local wireless commenting during presentations, and itâ€™s been utilized by CryptoParty workshop volunteers to securely share cryptographic keys. pbox-1 TF: How many users of PirateBox are there today? DD: Well, we donâ€™t track our users but the project has grown â€œrhizomaticallyâ€ across several websites and languages so itâ€™s a little tricky to estimate how many PirateBoxes are out in the wild today. It is possible, and sometimes preferable, to distribute the PirateBox software locally (and anonymously) using a PirateBox and, because the boxes never go online, itâ€™s impossible to really keep track of them. Generally speaking, this is a good thing. TF: Technology is always on the move â€“ which developments have most affected todayâ€™s PirateBox compared to the one that launched two years ago? DD: Two big tech trends have helped push PirateBox 1.0 development forward: The proliferation of small screens, which is how we increasingly interact with the network and each other, and the increased availability of tiny, inexpensive computers (including wireless routers, single board systems like the Raspberry Pi and other embedded â€œInternet of thingsâ€ devices) which are rapidly filling up our world. pbox-3 Version 1.0 is thus designed with mobility and low cost hardware in mind. Weâ€™ve reworked the UI and based it on Twitterâ€™s Bootstap so that the software plays nicely with small screens. And weâ€™ve built PirateBox 1.0 to run natively on inexpensive hardware. Another â€œtechnologyâ€ development that helped increase interest in the PirateBox project was the confirmation through the Snowden leaks last year that the US government was operating near universal mass-surveillance programs around the world, often in partnership or, at least, with the complicit support of several large technology and Internet companies. While this has obviously raised very serious questions and concerns around the world, these revelations have at least helped push important conversations about privacy, surveillance, censorship, freedom, etc. to the forefront. These are all issues that the PirateBox project engages with and thus it has helped inspire new users to join the project. pbox-2 TF: What is so special about the release of PirateBox 1.0, why should existing users upgrade, and what do new users have to look forward to? DD: Along with the increased stability of PirateBox 1.0, the key new feature is Matthias Strubelâ€™s â€œbox-installerâ€ which radically simplifies the process of building or upgrading a PirateBox. It is now possible to build a new PirateBox in just a few easy steps. One of my favorite new features of PirateBox 1.0 is the UPnP media server which starts streaming video and audio files over the network as soon as theyâ€™ve been uploaded to the box. Iâ€™ve actually been using this feature for awhile. It works perfectly as a backend to XBMC for instance and is also a great way of streaming movies to your mobile devices when traveling. PirateBox 1.0 also offers a image/message bullet board called Kareha by default which is similar to the software used on 4chan. This means that PirateBox 1.0 offers 4chan in a box functionality, which I think is pretty cool. And of course, it also comes with a chat room and browser-based file sharing system. TF: What role do you see PirateBox fulfilling in the future and what plans do you have for the next 12 months? DD: The holy grail of offline networking is wireless mesh and weâ€™ve been experimenting with it in the PirateBox. Matthias has been playing with Forban over the last year and weâ€™ve successfully deployed and connected small sets of PirateBoxes using the B.A.T.M.A.N. protocol. This is really just an experimental feature at this point but it is something weâ€™re planning to keep developing. Iâ€™ve also been experimenting with connecting the PirateBox to the Internet, which, in some ways, is counter to the philosophy of the project as an offline file sharing and communications system. However, I also think thereâ€™s real value in providing people with ways to connect online that help preserve their privacy. This is especially important for those who are less tech-savy and thus may not know how to protect themselves from tracking, etc. While the PirateBox will continue to be an offline file sharing and communications system, we may consider providing an optional feature in the future that allows it to be used online. Or this may become a new fork of the projectâ€¦.. Interested in making your own PirateBox? source http://torrentfreak.com/piratebox-de...elease-140531/