Sesame Street’s YouTube Channel Hacked With Porn

Katy Perry can breathe a little easier now. It turns out she wasn’t the steamiest thing to hit Sesame Street after all. According to ABC affiliate, KGO, YouTube took down the children’s entertainment channel for  “repeated or severe violations of our Community Guidelines”. The violation you ask? Porn!

Katy Perry

Before you fall out of your chair, know that Sesame Street’s channel was hacked. The hackers uploaded several porn movies to the site. According to an article by Naked Security (no pun intended) author, Graham Cluley, the porn was available for the world to see for about 20 minutes before being taken down. At this time, YouTube and Sesame Street are staying silent about it.

Not only did the hacker’s upload porn, they also managed to change the profile page for the channel. Here is an excerpt, which was caught by Naked Security’s blog:

WHO DOESN’T LOVE PORN KIDS? RIGHT! EVERYONE LOVES IT! IM MREDXWX AND MY PARTNER MRSUICIDER91 ARE HERE TO BRING YOU MANY NICE CONTENT! PLEASE DON’T LET SESAME STREET TO GET THIS ACCOUNT BACK KIDS :( PLEASE…LET ME AND MRSUICIDER91 HAVE IT AND WE GONNA MAKE ALL THE AMERICA HAPPY!

The YouTube profile MrEdxwx, mentioned in the quote is a legitimate channel, but they are adamantly denying having any role in this hack. It appears they are a gaming channel. According to their profile  they state, “Please understand i did not hack sesame street , i RESPECT youtube community guidelines !” They also posted a plea in the form of a video, which you can view below.

It has barely been a year since Sesame Street pulled a duet between Katy Perry and Elmo from their show. Her outfit is pictured at the top of the article. You can see why some parents were a little concerned about the amount of cleavage their 6 year olds were going to be exposed to. Compared to today’s events, Katy Perry pales in comparison.

Miss Piggy and KermitI remember back when Miss Piggy and Kermit were the only “steamy” romance on the block. It is a real shame that people have nothing better to do with their time than try to expose millions of children to pornography. I have to wonder if this has anything to do with Reddit’s recent decision to ban /r/jailbait, which was a very controversial child porn site, being shut down recently. Who knows? What I do know is that if these folks have the knowledge to hack a site like this, they ought to have the knowledge to do something constructive for society at large. Instead, they spend their time victimizing the most innocent of us all, our children.

Speculated Specs and Pictures of Samsung and Google’s Next Nexus

The much anticipated and very soon-to-be-announced Nexus from Google and Samsung has been teased. If you watched the video, you’ve been longing for a bit more. A bit more has been provided.

If the snapshot above looks a bit too curvy, it’s because it’s emphasised by the contrast and then drawn out by a razor-thin light shining from behind. We can easily make out 3 contact pins which are likely for a dock, a camera shutter button and a rather bulbous housing at the rear. Chances are, you’re going to watch the video again and pause it to try and make out some more detail. Don’t bother.

A cleaned up and modified image from the Samsung Teaser video has been floating around the web. Some kind chap took the liberty of putting his photoshopping skills to work. After removing the backdrop, punching up some color compensation and I’m sure a bit of the clone tool was used, the image left is one to behold.

If the rumoured specifications are true, the next Google flagship is going to absolutely be the next clamoured-after device. BGR, having a penchant for posting ‘sourced’ exclusive rumours, has published full specs of the upcoming device.

  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 9mm thin
  • 4.65-inch 1280 x 720-pixel Super AMOLED HD with curved glass
  • TI OMAP 4460 dual-core Cortex A9 processor clocked at 1.2GHz
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 32GB of built-in storage
  • 5-megapixel camera on the back, 1.3-megapixel in the front
  • 1080p HD video capture support
  • LTE/HSPA depending on carrier
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n
  • NFC
  • 1,750 mAh battery

The specs are nothing crazy, making them that much more believable…except the powerhouse stuffed inside the Android slab. TI’s OMAP 4460 is a beast of a SoC to dump into a phone, but OMAP4 is the reference platform for Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) so, again, it’s very likely believable. The screen size and resolution are perfectly aligned with what’s been trending in the industry. Competitor devices, such as the recently announced HTC Sensation XL, are hitting 10mm measurements and come packed with the full gamut of connectivity. Huge batteries are getting shoved inside small phones in order to power larger screens and NFC chips, while still allowing you to get a day’s worth of work done on a single charge.

Even if none of the extremely likely, highly believable and trending rumours are true, one thing is for sure, Samsung’s UNPACKED event is highly anticipated and I hope they can deliver.

Sharukh Khan on Google +, and Ra.One Everywhere on the Web

Shahrukh Khan, arguably the biggest Bollywood superstar, has upped the ante for digital marketing for his upcoming film Ra.One. The movie, a superhero flick, has an official YouTube channel with videos of making, the cast and crew interviews, and the promotional events. Another partnership with Indiagames has seen the launch of Ra.One social game that would reach out to over 500 million users through DTH and a Facebook game.

The latest step in the digital arena is Shahrukh Khan being the first verified Indian celeb on Google+. Over the last 2 weeks, Google has reactively removed many fake Shah Rukh profiles. Of course, this is a move from Google to popularize its new social network: Google+. In the US, celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Britney Spears, and Paris Hilton already have verified profiles on the social network.

Shahrukh Khan might be cheesy in his interviews and mass-market in his approach to cinema, but is well respected as a keen businessman. His indulgence in cricket where he owns the Kolkata Knightriders franchise has seen the company profiting even when the team hasn’t done well on the field. His star power is infectious, and he has always garnered successful partnerships with brands.

Going digital with Ra.One is probably the first step in a continued and sustained effort. While a movie builds digital content in an organic, steps like online premiere and digital music downloads further the reach and also gain mindshare amongst digital industry.

So You Want to Kick the Google Habit? [Editorial]

Google-Logo

 

Google Everywhere

It is hard to go online today without touching one or more Google products or services. If it is not search, it may be email, YouTube, Blogger, Picasa, Docs, or Calendar. Google has truly blanketed us with their web-based app offerings. Heck, even the Google Doodle is a conversation topic!

In this editorial, I shall discuss how you can kick the Google habit, what I am using now as alternatives and why you probably won’t be able to replace certain Google products today. Ready to move away from Google? First, some background.

Why un-Google?

Some of the reasons I personally decided to look for alternatives:

  • Google became a part of virtually everything I did online. I used GMail, Google Reader, Google Finance, Blogger, Picasa, Picasa Web, Google Docs, Google Search, Google Calendar and Google Maps. I felt uncomfortable putting such a large portion of my online life in Google’s hands.
  • Google morphed from the cool little startup building fun stuff for consumers, to a dominant public company whose revenues essentially came from just one product. That’s the key most (96%) of its revenues (and profits) came from search advertising. In other words, it needed other ways to make money. The most obvious way to do so would be to extend the arm of advertising, their main revenue-generating product, into other products. I realized I was the merchandise.
  • Google seemed to get Apple and Facebook envy. Apple was growing rapidly across all their product lines and at very high profit margins, and Facebook was taking eyeballs and key talent away from Google. This led to some bad attempts to mock Apple and Facebook publicly, which of course delighted the Google developer and enthusiast community but came off as being negative to me. If you make a great product, you don’t need a negative campaign.
  • Aside from philosophy, some of the competing products started becoming better, and Google’s products started getting worse (more on that within my descriptions) prompting me to start Project Un-Google which was an effort to use fewer and fewer Google products, hopefully reaching a point where I did not depend on any Google product at all.

Whether it is for philosophy, or hedging your web app bets, it is good to know there is life outside Google when it comes to products and services online and offline. There is usually a strong resistance to change, especially if you have a long history with a product. There is a high cost for transferring the old stuff, and learning your way around a new product/service. However, these challenges are not insurmountable, and I hope you take a look at some or all of the products I list here as an alternative to Google. If you have ideas of other products I may not have mentioned, please let me know!

Popular Google products

Here are some of the Google products/services I will be comparing to competition:

  • Search
  • Picasa
  • GMail
  • Calendar
  • Documents
  • Groups
  • Finance
  • Blogger
  • Chrome
  • Maps/Directions
  • Talk/Chat/Voice

I realize Google has many more products, appsand services, but I did not look at products like Book Search which are very niche. My attempt here is to look at the commonly used products and services only.

YouTube and New York Times Launch September 11 Channel

On September 11th 2001, al-Qaeda  terrorist attacks in the United States rocked the entire  world leaving them distressed and terrified. The devastating terrorist attack took away more than 3,000 lives, and the day still remains engraved in the minds of not only the Americans, but also the entire world.

YouTube in collaboration with The New York Times is marking the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attack by launching a dedicated YouTube Channel  called “Reflections on 9/11“, featuring special videos and content from the New York Times, archived news broadcasts from September 2001, and personal stories of those people whose lives were deeply affected by the attacks.

Olivia Ma, YouTube News & Politics Manager, wrote in a blog post stating, Through telling and sharing stories, we can all hope to make sense of an event that, for many of us, was one of the defining moments of our lives. Thank you for sharing yours.

YouTube is seeking its subscribers to create videos by sharing their stories, and uploading them on the site. It is working to  collaborate  with Storyful, which will pick some of the best videos, and feature them on The New York Times websites and also on the YouTube home page on September 11 this year.

Users need to create a video based on the following questions –

  • Your strongest memory of that day or that time period
  • How 9/11 changed you, and how you believe it changed America
  • What you lost – or gained — because of 9/11

The videos must be submitted to –  http://www.youtube.com/September11

Currently the channel hosts a story told by 9/11 widow Alissa Torres, who was seven months pregnant at the time of the attack. Torres went on to write the comic book, “American Widow.”

Heeeeeeere’s Johnny! YouTube Announces Johnny Carson Channel

Heeeeeeere’s some fun news for you! YouTube’s Official Blog  announced yesterday the official    Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson  channel. For those of you who may be to young, or have lived under a rock all your life, Johnny Carson was considered the king of late night TV. For 30 years his show dominated late night TV. His show was the platform that launched the careers of many of today’s  stars. Most any late night host today will tell you of Johnny’s influence on their personal style.

YouTube Johnny Carson Channel
Courtesy of YouTube

The new YouTube channel plans to add new Carson clips each week. They are also taking requests from subscribers to their channel. When you go to the channel, make sure you take a look at Howie Mandell’s picks. He has hand picked some of his favorite videos to share with the community. He also shares some of his own personal memories of the show.

The timing of this announcement by YouTube is interesting, because Fox News also reported yesterday, in an article entitled “YouTube Joins Wal-Mart in Streaming Video“, that YouTube is in the final planning stages to offer a paid movie streaming service. According to the article, YouTube hopes to capitalize on the Android market’s success and offer it’s streaming video service hopefully before the end of the year. This seem like a natural transition for them and they certainly have the brand recognition to pull it off. Now one can only hope that this doesn’t negatively affect the YouTube service that so many of us already enjoy.

YouTube Shows Off Their New “Cosmic Panda” Design

With the launch of Google+, it seems that Google is looking to make their products prettier. The launch of the new Google search layout, the Gmail update, and the black navigation bar for Plus have all happened in the past week.We previously reported on a small change to YouTube’s video playback, but it looks like we can add all of YouTube to the list.

A post on the official YouTube blog announced that there is a new interface design in the works for YouTube. The update, which YouTube is calling “Cosmic Panda”, brings a complete redesign to the video site. It is officially part of the TestTube feature set, meaning that it isn’t going official quite yet.

What’s Different in Cosmic Panda?

Cosmic Panda brings a new look to every part of YouTube. The general idea appears to be the clean up the user interface. They have cleaned up the white space on the pages, changed the look a video page, and even altered the channel pages. Rather than trying to fully explain all of the changes, I will just give a few screenshots with captions.

Here you see the changed YouTube homepage. The biggest changes I see are the new search bar at the top, the cleaner labeling, and the Feedback tab. If you click that Feedback tab, you get the same feedback system that is available in Google+. I am happy to see that on other Google service, and hope it will penetrate into more services soon.

This is a video being played through YouTube’s new design. As you can see, the video is now more prominently featured on the page. You also get multiple sizes which can be sleeted on the right hand side. Comments are pushed further down the page. I also like the darker background around the video.

This last screenshot is of a YouTube channel. As you can see, these have changed a lot as well. You can still include a background on your channel, but it won’t be as distracting as it was previously. I really like the prominent statistics displayed on the page, including views and the last time the channel operator signed in.

Cosmic Panda: A Better Experience

As far as I am concerned, I think that YouTube has got something special with Cosmic Panda. I really like the changes they have made. I hope that this gets rolled out as an official change soon. However, I know that not everyone will like it. You can decide for yourself by hitting up the Cosmic Panda site and clicking “Try It Out!”

If you decide you hate the new look, you can go back the Cosmic Panda site and revert the changes. If you do, be sure to send them a feedback message telling them why. Let’s help make YouTube better.

 

 

YouTube Begins Rolling Out Sleek New Video Player

In the past few years, YouTube has come of age. It went mainstream, paired up with the entertainment industry, and even found ways to generate revenue. Since acquiring YouTube, Google has packed it to the brim with handy features like interactive transcripts and leanback mode. However, one area where it hasn’t made much progress is visual appearance. Google has tweaked the video player a number of times in the past, with the most recent update adding HD image previews and providing a logoless embed option. In spite of that, YouTube’s player is still probably amongst the ugliest.

The good news is that Google has finally decided to go for a complete redesign, and is rolling out a new video player to select users. The new video player ditches white completely in favor of a sleek black skin. The roll out began a short while back, and doesn’t seem to be restricted to any specific region.

YouTube-Skin

Have you received the new video player? What is your take on the new YouTube player skin? Don’t forget to share your opinion with us.

Xbox 360 To Get Voice Control, Bing, YouTube, Tiles & Live TV

At their E3 keynote, Microsoft introduced a major update to the Xbox 360 dashboard. The update includes a new interface and deeper Kinect integration.

Metro UI

The dashboard now looks a lot more like Zune with tiles and navigation categories at the top. The Metro UI is now part of Windows 8 (tablet), Windows Phone 7 and the Xbox. The live tiles are updated with relevant information.

Bing

Microsoft’ s decision engine is slowly becoming an integral part of the company’s product portfolio. Bing is an important feature in Windows phone 7 and today  Microsoft  integrated Bing’s search capabilities in Xbox 360. The Bing interface on the Xbox is elegant and coupled with voice control, searching your catalog and the Internet looks fun.

With Bing, a user can search within apps like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, ESPN and Xbox  LIVE  Marketplace to find relevant entertainment content.

Voice Control

With Kinect integration, Microsoft has now enabled voice control throughout the Xbox. Voice commands can be used with Bing to search within apps for content.

Live TV and YouTube

Microsoft has promised subscription based TV services starting this fall in the US. Currently,  Microsoft  has partnered with Sky TV in the UK, FoxTel in Australia and Canal+ in France for live television in the respective countries. In addition to subscription based local TV content, Microsoft will be streaming martial fights under Ultimate Fighting Championship and feature some exclusive UFC videos.

Microsoft has been able to strike a deal with Google to bring YouTube to the Xbox 360. This allows users to access the huge  repertoire  of videos on the website using voice control in their living room. Looks like Google just lost a reason to sell Google TVs.

Miscellaneous

As spotted by Tom Warren, the dashboard update has an apps section with Marketplace. The apps are the currently available third party services integrated in Xbox. As the people at This Is My Next noticed, live TV has a tile named My DVR.

Images courtesy This Is My Next and Microsoft PR

You won’t beleive what she does!! Facebook Scam

A new like-jacking scam is spreading through Facebook. The scam states: “You won’t beleive what she does!! Omg you have to watch it”. The message contains a YouTube link and when a user clicks on the video link, the scam will be automatically posted on your Facebook wall stating that you “like” the video.

Here’s a screenshot of the scam:

Facebook Scam
You can notice that there’s a typo in the scammer’s message. The word ‘beleive’ has been spelled incorrectly.

Beware, please do not click on the link and remember to ‘Mark as Spam’

Here’s a post written by Cliff on how you can avoid like-jacking scams on Facebook.

Image credits: Facecrooks