No, Beatport’s subscription will not kill music – here’s how it really works


Pioneer and Beatport this week announced new streaming offerings for DJs. And then lots of people kind of freaked out. Let’s see what’s actually going on, if any of it is useful to DJs and music lovers, and what we should or shouldn’t worry about.

Artists, labels, and DJs are understandably on edge about digital music subscriptions – and thoughtless DJing. Independent music makers tend not to see any useful revenue or fan acquisition from streaming. So the fear is that a move to the kinds of pricing on Spotify, Amazon, and Apple services would be devastating.

And, well – that’s totally right, you obviously should be afraid of those things if you’re making music. Forget even getting rich – if big services take over, just getting heard could become an expensive endeavor, a trend we’ve already begun to see.

So I talked to Beatport to get some clarity on what they’re doing. We’re fortunate now that the person doing artist and label relations for Beatport is Heiko Hoffmann, who has an enormous resume in the trenches of the German electronic underground, including some 17 years under his belt as editor of Groove, which has had about as much a reputation as any German-language rag when it comes to credibility.


The skinny:

Beatport LINK: fifteen bucks a month, but aimed at beginners – 128k only. Use it for previews if you’re a serious Beatport user, recommend it to your friends bugging you about how they should start DJing, and otherwise don’t worry about it.

Beatport CLOUD: five bucks a month, gives you sync for your Beatport collection. Included in the other stuff here and – saves you losing your Beatport purchases and gives you previews. 128k only. Will work with Rekordbox in the fall, but you’ll want to pay extra for extra features (or stick with your existing download approach).

Beatport LINK PRO: the real news – but it’s not here yet. Works with Rekordbox, costs 40-60 bucks, but isn’t entirely unlimited. Won’t destroy music (uh, not saying something else won’t, but this won’t). The first sign of real streaming DJs – but the companies catering to serious DJs aren’t going to give away the farm the way Apple and Spotify have. In fact, if there’s any problem here, it’s that no one will buy this – but that’s Beatport’s problem, not yours (as it should be).

WeDJ streaming is for beginners, not Pioneer pros

This first point is probably the most important. Beatport (and SoundCloud) have each created a subscription offering that works exclusively with Pioneer’s WeDJ mobile DJ tool. That is, neither of these works with Rekordbox – not yet.

Just in case there’s any doubt, Pioneer has literally made the dominant product image photo some people DJing in their kitchen. So there you go: Rekordbox and and CDJ and TORAIZ equals nightclub, WeDJ equals countertop next to a pan of fajitas.

So yeah, SoundCloud streaming is now in a DJ app. And Beatport is offering its catalog of tracks for US$14.99 a month for the beta, which is a pretty phenomenally low price – and one that would rightfully scare labels and artists.

But it’s important this is in WeDJ as far as DJing. Pioneer aren’t planning on endangering their business ecosystem in Rekordbox, higher-end controllers, and standalone hardware like the CDJ. They’re trying to attract the beginners in the hopes that some of those people will expand the high end market down the road.

By the same token, it’d be incredibly short-sighted if Beatport were to give up on customers paying a hundred bucks a month or so on downloads just to chase growth. Instead, Beatport will split its offerings into a consumer/beginner product (LINK for WeDJ) and two products for serious DJs (LINK Pro and Beatport CLOUD).

And there’s reason to believe that what disrupts the consumer/beginner side might not make ripples when it comes to pros – as we’ve been there already. Spotify is in Algoriddim’s djay. It’s actually a really solid product. But the djay user base doesn’t impact what people use in the clubs, where the CDJ (or sometimes Serato or TRAKTOR) reign supreme. So if streaming in DJ software were going to crash the download market, you could argue it would have happened already.

That’s still a precarious situation, so let’s break down the different Beatport options, both to see how they’ll impact music makers’ business – and whether they’re something you might want to use yourself.

Ce n’est pas un CDJ.

Beatport LINK – the beginner one

First, that consumer service – yeah, it’s fifteen bucks a month and includes the Beatport catalog. But it’s quality-limited and works only in the WeDJ app (and with the fairly toy-like new DDJ-200 controller, which I’ll look at separately).

Who’s it for? “The Beginner DJs that are just starting out will have millions of tracks to practice and play with,” says Heiko. “Previously, a lot of this market would have been lost to piracy. The bit rate is 128kbs AAC and is not meant for public performance.”

But us serious Beatport users might want to mess around with it, too – it’s a place you can audition new tracks for a fairly low monthly fee. “It’s like having a record shop in your home,” says Heiko.

If you think fifteen bucks a month for everything Beatport is a terrible business idea, don’t worry – Beatport agree. “This is the first of our Beatport LINK products,” says Heiko. “This is not a ‘Spotify for dance music.’ It’s a streaming service for DJs and makes Beatport’s extensive electronic music catalog available to stream audio into the WeDJ app.” The bigger picture looks to higher quality streams, offline ‘locker,’ and the stuff serious DJs will need. And yeah, Beatport want more money for that, which is good – because you want more money charged for that as a producer or label. But before we get to that, let’s talk about the ‘sync’ option, the other thing available now:

WeDJ – a mobile gateway drug for DJs, or so Pioneer hopes. (NI and Algoriddim did it first; let’s see who does it better.)

How you get paid: Heiko explains: “We create a royalty pool to share with all labels and then distribute based on number of plays. The per-play pay fee will change depending on subscriptions/plays.”

By the way, part of the problem with iTunes was that Apple – who care more about you buying iPhones, presumably, than they do music downloads – more or less buried download sales once they went with subscriptions. So since Beatport is still in the download business, will LINK try to direct some of these new and beginning DJs to the store?

The answer is yes; Beatport tells us they’re investigating how to do this, but there will be at least an initial effort. “For the launch of the Rekordbox integration we will have a page with curated playlists and charts (by our curation team but also by labels, DJs and other partners) to discover music for LINK and also to download it, says Heiko.”

Beatport CLOUD – the sync one

Okay, so streaming may be destroying music but … you’ve probably still sometimes wanted to have access to digital downloads you’ve bought without having to worry about hard drive management or drive and laptop failures.

Beatport CLOUD does that, the sync/locker making a comeback, with €/$ 4.99 a month fee and no obligation or contract. It’s also included free in LINK – so for me, for instance, since I hate promos and like to dig for my own music even as press and DJ, I’m seriously thinking of the fifteen bucks to get full streaming previews, mixing in WeDJ, and CLOUD.

There are some other features here, too:

Re-download anything, unlimited. I heard from a friend – let’s call him Pietro Kerning – that maybe a stupid amount of music he’d (uh, or “she’d”) bought on Beatport was now scattered across a random assortment of hard drives. I would never do such a thing, because I organize everything immaculately in all aspects of my life in a manner becoming a true professional, but now this “friend” will easily be able to grab music anywhere in the event of that last-minute DJ gig.

By the same token you can:

Filter all your existing music in a cloud library. Not that I need to, perfectly organized individual, but you slobs need this, of course.

Needle-drop full previews. Hear 120 seconds from anywhere in a track – for better informed purchases. (Frankly, this makes me calmer as a label owner, even – I would totally rather you hear more of our music.)

There should be some obvious bad news here – this only works with Beatport purchased music. You can’t upload music the way some services have worked in the past. But I think given the current legal landscape, if you want that, set up your own backup server.

What I like about this, at least, is that this store isn’t losing stuff you’ve bought from them. (Bandcamp does a nice job in this respect – and of course it’s the store I use the most when not using Beatport.)

Update: I got a couple of questions on this tier – mainly, why it’s five bucks, and where that money goes. I’m unclear whether this fee, download limits, and previews are entirely Beatport-related, or whether they also tie into rights management and deals with the labels, so I’ll try to find that out. I also do wonder if Beatport will need to add more functionality to this or the ‘pro’ tiers to entice users. But we’ll see.

The new Beatport cloud.

How you get paid: Yes, CLOUD adds a fee – and that fee does go partly to you. “CLOUD provides two additional services” say Heiko. “The revenue from CLOUD will be shared with labels/suppliers.”

Beatport LINK Pro – what’s coming

There are very few cases where someone says, “hey, good news – this will be expensive.” But music right now is a special case. And it’s good news that Beatport is launching a more expensive service.

For labels and artists, it means a serious chance to stay alive. (I mean, even for a label doing a tiny amount of download sales, this can mean that little bit of cash to pay the mastering engineer and the person who did the design for the cover, or to host a showcase in your local club.)

For serious users using that service, it means a higher quality way of getting music than other subscription services – and that you support the people who make the music you love, so they keep using it.

Or, at least, that’s the hope.

What Beatport is offering at the “pro” tiers does more and costs more. Just like Pioneer doesn’t want you to stop buying CDJs just because they have a cheap controller and app, Beatport doesn’t want you to stop spending money for music just because they have a subscription for that controller and app. Heiko explains:

With the upcoming Pioneer rekordbox integration, Beatport will roll out two new plans – Beatport LINK Pro and Beatport LINK Pro+ – with an offline locker and 256kbps AAC audio quality (which is equivalent to 320kbps MP3, but you’re the expert here). This will be club ready, but will be aimed at DJs who take their laptops to clubs, for now. They will cost €39,99/month and €59,99/month depending on how many tracks you can put in the offline locker (50 and 100 respectively).

You’ll get streaming inside Rekordbox with the basic LINK, too – but only at 128k. So it’ll work for previewing and trying out mixes, but the idea is you’ll still pay more for higher quality. (And of course that also still means paying more to work with CDJs, which is also a big deal.)

And yeah, Beatport agree with me. “We think streaming for professional DJ use should be priced higher,” says Heiko. “And we also need to be sure that this is not biting into the indie labels and artists (and therefore also Beatport’s own) revenues,” he says.

What Heiko doesn’t say is that this could increase spending, but I think it actually could. Looking at my own purchase habits and talking to others, a lot of times you look back and spend $100 for a big gig, but then lapse a few months. A subscription fee might actually encourage you to spend more and keep your catalog up to date gig to gig.

It’s also fair to hope this could be good for under-the-radar labels and artists even relative to the status quo. If serious DJs are locked into subscription plans, they might well take a chance on lesser known labels and artists since they’re already paying. I don’t want to be overly optimistic, though – a lot of this will be down to how Beatport handles its editorial offerings and UX on the site as this subscription grows. That means it’s good someone like Heiko is handling relations, though, as I expect he’ll be hearing from us.

Really, one very plausible scenario is that streaming DJing doesn’t catch on initially because it’s more expensive – and people in the DJ world may stick to downloads. A lot of that in turn depends on things like how 5G rolls out worldwide (which right now involves a major battle between the US government and Chinese hardware vendor Huawei, among other things), plus how Pioneer deals with a “Streaming CDJ.”

The point is, you shouldn’t have to worry about any of that. And there’s no rush – smart companies like Beatport will charge sustainable amounts of money for subscriptions and move slowly. The thing to be afraid of is if Apple or Spotify rush out a DJ product and, like, destroy independent music. If they try it, we should fight back.

How you get paid: The PRO rates will represent a higher rate than what you get from the standard LINK services – because of the higher fee. And it’s more like the fee you get from downloads, not the cents-per-play trainwreck that is services like Beatport.

“The revenue share for LINK streaming between Beatport and the labels/suppliers (depending if a label has a direct deal or if we get the music from a distributor) is the same as for our downloads,” says Heiko. “If producers/musicians want to know more about their revenue share they can contact their label/distributor,” he says.

About the ‘locker’

Correction: I incorrectly described the CLOUD product as being a ‘locker.’ That term is meant to be applied to the virtual bin where a fixed number of tracks are available offline without an Internet connection.

Some folks will remember that Beatport bought the major “locker” service for digital music – when it acquired Pulselocker. [link to our friends at DJ TechTools]

On the coming LINK Pro plans, the locker is part of what you pay for at the higher subscription rate. It gives you the ability to access music from your subscription in places you don’t have an internet connection. Now, lots of us DJ with more than 50-100 tracks on a stick – so you can bet a lot of people will still wind up for now using USB sticks.

Will labels and artists benefit?

If it sounds like I’m trying to be a cheerleader for Beatport, I’m really not. If you look at the top charts in genres, a lot of Beatport is, frankly, dreck – even with great editorial teams trying to guide consumers to good stuff. And centralization in general has a poor track record when it comes to underground music.

No, what I am biased toward is products that are real, shipping, and based on serious economics. So much as I’m interested in radical ideas for decentralizing music distribution, I think those services have yet to prove their feasibility.

And I think it’s fair to give Beatport some credit for being a business that’s real, based on actual revenue that’s shared between labels and artists. It may mean little to your speedcore goth neo-Baroque label (BLACK HYPERACID LEIPZIG INDUSTRIES, obviously – please let’s make that). But Beatport really is a cornerstone for a lot of the people making dance music now, on a unique scale.

There are more questions here – like how that heftier subscription fee is divided among labels – and I’ll be looking at that more as we get closer to launch.

But the basic vision for LINK seems to be solid when it comes to revenue, at least as a place to start. Heiko again:

LINK will provide an additional revenue source to the labels and artists. The people who are buying downloads on Beatport are doing so because they want to DJ/perform with them. LINK is not there to replace that.

But I think for the reason I’ve already repeated – that the “serious” and “amateur”/wedding/beginner DJ gulf is real and not just a thing snobs talk about – LINK and WeDJ probably won’t disrupt label business, even that much to the positive. Look ahead to Rekordbox integration and the higher tiers. And yeah, I’m happy to spend the money, because I never get tired of listening to music – really.

And what if you don’t like this? Talk to your label and distributor. And really, you should be doing that anyway. Heiko explains:

Unlike other DSP’s, Beatport LINK has been conceived and developed in close cooperation with the labels and distributors on Beatport. Over the past year, new contracts were signed and all music used for LINK has been licensed by the right holders. However, if labels whose distributors have signed the new contract don’t want their catalog to be available for LINK they can opt out. But again: LINK is meant to provide an additional revenue source to the labels and artists.

Have a good weekend, and let us know if you have questions or comments. I’ll be looking at this for sure, as I think there isn’t enough perspective coming from serious producers who care about the details of technology.

Updated: Heiko provides some additional background on this service.

First, don’t think of it as Beatport moving from downloads to streaming. “It’s really a complimentary service to downloads,” says Heiko.

And he observes that your revenue as an independent label/producer is really their core business: “96% of Beatport’s revenue is paid to independent labels,” says Heiko. “Beatport’s per stream rate is very likely to be higher than other streaming services: we are putting the lion share of the LINK revenue into label payments. Unlike other services the fee will not be shared with music from other more mainstream genres which make up the majority of most streaming service’s payments.”

The post No, Beatport’s subscription will not kill music – here’s how it really works appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

from Create Digital Music

China’s rover finds mysterious minerals on the far side of the moon


Early this year, China’s Chang’e-4 lunar lander made history when it became the first spacecraft to touch down on the far side of the moon. Now, according to a study published in Nature, the lander’s rover, Yutu-2, may have detected the first signs of lunar mantle material. If the minerals it found prove to be part of the moon’s mantle, the discovery could help scientists better understand how both the moon and the Earth formed.

Chang’e-4 intentionally landed inside the moon’s Von Kármán crater, one of the largest known impact structures in the solar system. As National Geographic points out, if scientists are going to find lunar mantle material anywhere, that’s a good place to look. In exploring the carter’s basin, Yutu-2 reportedly found two minerals: low-calcium (ortho)pyroxene and olivine. Those align with predictions of what the moon’s upper mantle might contain.

Scientists suspect that the moon’s crust and mantle layers are distinct from each other, thanks to an ancient magma ocean that cooled and solidified. But what we know about the moon’s composition is largely based on surface samples brought back by the Apollo missions, which were on the near side of the moon.

To date, no one has collected mantle samples. But some scientists warn that this study is inconclusive. Yutu-2’s spectrometer could actually be seeing volcanic glass or solidified melt from the impact that first created the Von Kármán crater. Yutu-2 will continue to study these materials, in hopes of understanding their geological context and origin, as well as determining the potential to bring samples back to Earth. However the samples are interpreted, scientists agree that discovering these far-side minerals is a pioneering feat.

Via: National Geographic

Source: Nature

from Engadget

Teen hacked Apple hoping the company would offer him a job


If you were a teen hoping to land a job at a tech giant, how would you go about it? Plan your education and hope you eventually land an internship? An Australian had another, less conventional method.

The teen hacked Apple and pleaded guilty while admitting that he hoped this would land him a job at the iPhone maker. He’d heard that Apple hired a European who’d done the same thing, and had assumed that a job was waiting for him the moment he was discovered. Clearly, law enforcement had other ideas.

Thankfully, this doesn’t appear to be the early end to his career. Like his partner in the hacks, the teen won’t face a conviction — instead, he’s on a $500 AUD (about $346 US) good behavior bond for nine months. He was 13 when he started the hacks, and the magistrate in the case believed testimony that the teen had been using his technological powers for good since then. He hoped to study digital security and criminology at university, and wasn’t relishing the thought of a hacking conviction staining his record.

As for Apple? A spokesperson didn’t comment on the case itself in a statement to Australia’s ABC. Instead, it stressed that its staff "vigilantly protect" company networks, and "contained" the hacks before reporting them to police. No one’s personal data was exposed, Apple said. Despite the follies of youth, the teen may just have to do well in school, land the right jobs and make a few connections — like anyone else.

Via: Gizmodo

Source: ABC News

from Engadget

These Milky Way and star trail photos were taken handheld with a smartphone


These Milky Way and star trail photos were taken handheld with a smartphone

by Leave a Comment

Huawei P30 Pro seems like an impressive phone when it comes to its camera specs. Singapore-based photographer Justin Ng put it to a test and took some awesome photos with Huawei’s latest flagship phone. He shot handheld in the middle of the night and managed to capture the Milky Way and star trails using nothing but his smartphone camera.

Justin admits that he was skeptical at first, despite reading positive reviews of the phone. He took a three hour’s drive to a resort in Mersing, Malaysia and took the first snapshot two and a half hours after midnight. It was a quick test photo of his resort – and the Milky Way was visible in it.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect it to be so easy,” Justin writes. “All I did was to point and shoot HANDHELD in Photo mode (Master AI enabled automatically) and let P30 Pro performed its magic.” The photo above is completely unedited, straight out of camera, and here are a few more attempts, handheld and unedited:

After taking photos of the Milky Way, Justin decided to try shooting star trails using the Photo mode. Here’s what he got:

Later, Justin also tried shooting the Milky Way in Night mode, but he explains that the image quality wasn’t as good as with photos taken in Photo mode.

Of course, smartphone photos in such conditions can’t be as good as photos taken with a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Even Justin notes that would still prefer using a DSLR for a serious shoot. However, these results are rather impressive for photos taken handheld with a smartphone. And as Justin puts it, “the best camera is the one you have with you.”

Justin took some more handheld photos of the Milky Way using the same phone. What’s also stunning about them is that they were taken in heavily light polluted Singapore.

If you’d like to see more of Justin’s work and blog posts, head over to his website and follow him on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

from -Hacking Photography, One Picture At A Time

Glovo faces safety protests after delivery rider killed on the job


Spanish on-demand delivery startup Glovo is facing angry protests from couriers on its platform following the death of a 22-year-old rider on Saturday in Barcelona where the business is headquartered.

Local press reports that the man, a Nepalese national called Pujan Koirala, had been substituting for a registered Glovo courier at the time he was struck and killed by a garbage truck. It does not appear that Koirala had a visa to work legally in Spain.

After Koirala’s death, a number of Glovo couriers held protests in front of the company’s office, burning the signature yellow delivery backpacks and criticising it for ignoring long-standing safety concerns — using hashtags #glovonosmata #glovomata on social media — aka, “Glovo kills us,” “Glovo kills.”

In Barcelona, Glovo couriers are a more common sight than on-demand rivals such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo — typically to be found thronging eateries waiting to collect take-away orders and/or biking at speed to a drop-off. The city is one of Glovo’s best markets, though it also operates in other countries in Europe, as well as in LatAm and Africa.

The tragedy highlights persistent safety concerns attached to conditions for service providers on so-called gig economy platforms that rely on scores of individuals to deliver the core platform proposition who are classified as “self-employed,” rather than employed as workers with all the rights and protections that would entail — while also often having their work rate tightly controlled and managed remotely via location-tracking algorithms.

In the case of Glovo, the platform appears to weight delivery speed and availability between specific hours as key factors in distributing jobs. So, in other words, if a rider doesn’t make themselves available when the app demands, and get each delivery done quickly enough, they risk future work on the platform drying up.

A critical report last year by a U.K. politician, which examined conditions for couriers using the rival Deliveroo on-demand delivery platform, found a dual market in operation that encourages a surplus of labour that results in a winner takes all outcome where the best riders get rewarded with more stable work, while another group is left at a disadvantage to compete for whatever is left. (Deliveroo disputed the report’s findings.)

Hence, both the safety concerns attached to gig economy platforms’ algorithmic management, and the practice of registered riders substituting themselves — i.e. in order to try to keep up with the work rate being demanded by sharing their account with a non-registered rider, as appears to be the case in Koirala’s case.

In a statement yesterday, Glovo confirmed that Koirala had not been officially registered, writing that “the fact that he carried a Glovo backpack suggests that he could be using a third party’s account.”

It does not officially authorize this type of unregistered account sharing. But whether the pressures of working on its platform encourage unofficial substituting is quite another matter. (In its statement, Glovo also writes that it tries to prevent unregistered substituting by offering riders and users mechanisms where they can report suspected cases, after which it says it may immediately and permanently cancel the account in question.)

Undocumented, unregistered platform service providers plying a black economy, cash-in-hand trade entirely off the platform’s books, are clearly another, even more precarious tier of “gig” workers — given they are working illegally, meaning they risk exploitation by those they are substituting for, as well as falling entirely outside any insurance benefits that a platform may offer to officially registered workers. (Glovo does offer riders a level of insurance.)

El Espanol reports that on the fateful day, Koirala had agreed to do a delivery for his roommate. In such cases, the paper suggests, a substitute rider expects to be paid as little as €5 (~$5.60) for fulfilling the job on the registered user’s behalf.

Glovo, meanwhile, has raised more than $346 million in VC funding since being founded just over four years ago, per Crunchbase — including a $169 million Series D just last month. Investors include Seaya Ventures, Rakuten, Lakestar, Cathay Innovation, Antai Venture Builder and others.

We reached out to Glovo with questions about the safety and legal risks of using algorithms to manage a distributed “self-employed” workforce at scale. At the time of writing, we’re waiting for a response and will update this report when we have it.

Glovo investor Seaya Ventures did not respond to a request for comment about how it priced such a level of risk into its valuation of the startup.

In its statement yesterday, Glovo said it would pay to cover the expenses of the private insurance that Koirala would have been entitled to had he been working legally and able to officially register on the platform.

It’s not clear how many similarly undocumented workers are gigging on Glovo’s platform.

from TechCrunch

A laptop infected with 6 of the most dangerous computer viruses in history was sold at auction to an anonymous buyer for $1.345 million — here’s what each virus can do


laptop with malware guo dong 2x1

  • A laptop that’s utterly infested with six of the worst computer viruses and malware known to man was sold at auction for $1.345 million on Monday.
  • The types of viruses on the laptop are said to have caused $95 billion in financial damages worldwide. 
  • The laptop has had its internet connectivity and ports disabled, which hopefully means the malware within has no way to spread…hopefully. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A 2008 Samsung NC10 laptop running Windows XP just sold at auction for a whopping $1.345 million. 

Although the 11-year-old machine may have nostalgic value to some, what makes this one so special (and expensive) is that it comes with live specimens of six of the most dangerous computer viruses in existence. 

In a livestream on Twitch, the laptop can be seen turned on and running the viruses and malware. But the laptop wasn’t sold as a cyber weapon on a darkweb black market. It was sold as art.

The virus-infected laptop is an art installation called "The Persistence of Chaos" by artist Guo O Dong. 

persistence of chaos malware laptop

According to a website promoting the piece, Dong is a "contemporary internet artist whose work critiques modern day extremely-online culture. The Persistence of Chaos was created as a collaboration between the artist and cybersecurity company Deep Instinct, which provided the malware and technical expertise to execute the work in a safe environment."

Dong said the viruses in the laptop have caused $95 billion in financial damages. It’s unlikely that the laptop itself was the cause of the $95 billion in damages. It’s more likely that the viruses it contains are the same that are known to have caused damages worldwide.

"The sale of malware for operational purposes is illegal in the United States"

Dong’s laptop is "airgapped," which means its ability to connect to the internet has been disabled. Its ports have also been disabled, so USB sticks can’t be used to transfer its threats.

The terms of the auction also state that "The sale of malware for operational purposes is illegal in the United States. As a buyer you recognize that this work represents a potential security hazard. By submitting a bid you agree and acknowledge that you’re purchasing this work as a piece of art or for academic reasons, and have no intention of disseminating any malware."

Of course, anyone with an intermediate knowledge of computers would have no trouble figuring out a way to extra the viruses from the hard drive, despite the fact that the laptop itself is airgapped.

The details of the auction, including the selling price, were reported by Dong himself on his website. So it’s worth taking the claims with a grain of salt until the sale can be verified. Deep Instinct, the firm that Dong partnered with, did not immediately return a request for comment.

The buyer of The Persistence of Chaos is anonymous. Here’s hoping Dong’s dangerous art didn’t fall into the wrong hands. 

Check out the infamous computer viruses running on the most dangerous laptop in the world:

SEE ALSO: Can iPhones get viruses? Here’s what you need to know


"The "ILOVEYOU" virus, distributed via email and file sharing, affected 500,000+ systems and caused $15B in damages total, with $5.5B in damages being caused in the first week," according to Dong’s site.

The "ILOVEYOU" virus was designed to replace media files on a computer, like photos and videos, with copies of the bug itself. It would then spread itself by emailing contacts in a user’s Outlook account. 

The virus overloaded email system around the world, and a "huge chunk of the businesses and governments to fully grind down to a halt," said Philip Menke, a consultant at Intel Security who spoke with Vice



"MyDoom" was a worm designed to leave infected computers open to other malware and viruses, according to a 2004 Cnet article. Computers would become infected when a user opened an attachment send in an email containing the MyDoom worm. Dong estimated "MyDoom"caused $38 billion in damages.


When it was first released, the "SoBig" worm and trojan virus "briefly brought freight and computer traffic in Washington, D.C. to a halt, grounded Air Canada and slowed down computer systems at many major companies such as advanced technology firm Lockheed Martin," according to a 2003 CNN article

"SoBig" would be transmitted via email. Once the infected email was opened, it would scan the computer for other email address and spread itself further. 

Dong estimates that "SoBig" caused $37 billion in damages.


"WannaCry" is a recent "cryptoworm" that acted as ransomware — where a user’s data would be encrypted until the user paid a ransom to have their data released.

"The attack affected 200,000+ computers across 150 countries, and caused the NHS $100M in damages with further totals accumulating close to $4B," Dong said on the Persistence of Chaos website.


"DarkTequila" is malware that was prevalent in Latin America designed to collect a wide variety of data from an infected computer, including credentials to online services. That data could then be used for additional attacks, according to The Next Web

Dong estimates it cost "millions in damages across many users."


"BlackEnergy" was originally intended as a data collection tool, but it evolved into malware that could damage a nation’s critical infrastructure, according to Al Jazeera.

Dong said "BlackEnergy" was used used in a cyberattack "that prompted a large-scale blackout in Ukraine in December 2015." 

You can read about the Ukraine blackout here.

from SAI

Stop Playing Candy Crush and Start Playing Better Games


Thanks to smartphones and tablets, we’re all gamers now. I’m a gamer, you’re a gamer, our moms are gamers, and their moms are also probably gamers. So it’s about time we start putting all that gaming to good use.

In the video above, I make the case for deleting “dumb” games like Candy Crush and recommend “smart” games that will help you improve a skill, relax and meditate, or flex those neural connections in your brain.

The apps I recommend are:

While it’s debatable how effective “brain training” games are, it’s hard to argue that doing math problems in Elevate or solving the NYT Crossword isn’t a better use of time than the zombie-mode tap, tap, tap of playing a game like Crossy Road.

from Lifehacker

The ABCs of Live 10.1: 2 minutes of shortcuts will help you work faster


A is for Ableton Live – and Madeleine Bloom can get you up and running with a bunch of 10.1 shortcuts in just over two minutes.

Madeleine of Sonic Bloom is one of the world’s top experts for staying productive in Live (to say nothing of helping us re-skin the thing so the colors are the way we want).

Live 10.1 actually added a lot of shortcuts to save you time – it’s what 10 promised, but implemented in a way that makes more sense. And she plows through them in a hurry:

via SonicBloom, which has loads more

F lets you get at fades right away.

H makes everything fill space vertically in the Arrangement so you don’t have to squit.

My personal favorite – Z, which zooms right to what’s selected and fills the Arrangement so you can focus and see easily.

And more…

This is all so much better than hunting around.

Z is so much my favorite that it just earned this:

For more on Live 10.1 and how to get started:

Ableton Live 10.1 is out now; here are the first things you should try

The post The ABCs of Live 10.1: 2 minutes of shortcuts will help you work faster appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

from Create Digital Music

Nothing Bad Will Happen If You Swim Right After Eating


Until someone asked me about it yesterday, I had completely forgotten about the childhood ritual of sitting and whining poolside after a meal. Do you really need to keep kids out of the water for a full hour? Is half an hour okay? Ten minutes? Friends, do whatever you want. There was never any health or safety related reason for the rule.

Food won’t give you stomach cramps, and cramps won’t kill you

I tried to track down the origin of this rule, and while I couldn’t find a definitive answer, there was definitely a pervasive belief, going back at least a century, that eating before swimming will cause deadly stomach cramps. In How to Swim, published in 1918, Annette Kellermann wrote:

A period of at least two hours should elapse between eating and entering the water, in order to give the digestive processes time to get their work well under way. If the water is entered too soon after eating, especially when it is at a low temperature, the digestive process is immediately arrested, and this in itself is likely to produce a severe case of cramps, and perhaps result in acute indigestion which may prove serious.

Subsequent research hasn’t been able to confirm this, and in fact competitive swimmers eat before and even during long distance swims. You might not feel comfortable having a huge meal before vigorous swimming, but you wouldn’t do that before you went for a run, either.

You can get cramps from any kind of exercise, typically in the arms and legs. A 1950 study of cramps among swimmers included this gem:

As an interesting sidelight we have made it a practice to ask at all of our classes if any student had ever had a stomach cramp while swimming. To date, after questioning over 10,000 boys, we have not encountered one person who has had one, or one person who claims to have actually seen one. …This is amazing; to say the least, in view of the large number of drownings allegedly caused by stomach cramps. …It appears probable that we have been perpetuating, unthinkingly, an invention of newspaper writers, which is no more than a notion, educed by untrained observers, based on the flimsiest of evidence.

Emphasis mine. Blame the newspaper writers if you must, but modern science agrees: there is no reason to think meals increase the risk of drowning or other swimming-related risks.

If you’re going to make up a rule, make it a good one

Some people speculate that it’s convenient to keep kids out of the water so parents can catch a break, but I’d rather just lounge in a chair and let the kids swim than answer “No, not yet” a hundred times.

(One member of the Offspring facebook group mentioned that they like to make the kids wait half an hour for poop related reasons—change that diaper before they go back in. But I’d say the rule is outdated by the time your kids are old enough to wipe their own butts.)

There are other reasons I’ve heard parents give, but most of us are pretty lackadaisical about it. “Oh, your friend has to wait half an hour? Okay, you can go back in when they do.” But let me propose a change: if you really want a bullshit rule to keep kids out of the water, feel free to make up a very specific one: for example, sharks. Oh look, they’re gone now.

from Lifehacker

Our favorite coding kits for kids


There’s plenty of reason to get your kid into coding. The next question is how. We’ve scoured the internet (and a few brick-and-mortar stores) for some of the best toys and kits to take your children from curious toddler to preteen inventor.

The best coding kits for kids

coding kit kano

from Engadget