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Star Wars: The Force Awakens continues to break records, with its latest record-breaking achievement being the fastest movie to make $1 billion at the box office.
It only took 12 days for The Force Awakens to make its $1 billion, thanks to the holiday weekend seeing the latest Star Wars movie making $153.5 million domestically, and $133.3 million overseas. This brings The Force Awakens to around $1.09 billion in 12 days, making its second weekend bigger than all of the other biggest openings of all time, except nine of them. That's a huge achievement in itself, too.
Jurassic World was the previous movie to have the record, as it reached $1 billion in 13 days. I think we're going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens break Avatar's box office haul of $2.78 billion - with The Force Awakens, in my opinion, to make between $3 billion and $3.2 billion. The next big movie to compete against it at the box office will be next year's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (which is the most expensive movie of all time, according to reports), which arrives on March 23.
North Korea may have successfully landed a man on the Sun, but it looks like the country is a bit paranoid when it comes to its own Linux distribution, Red Star OS.
Red Star OS has been pulled apart by researchers, showing just how closed off it really is. The Linux distribution watermarks files on USB sticks, so that Pyongyang can track contraband material, and the OS also doesn't like modifications. Red Star OS will reboot the PC immediately if it discovers changes to system files, too.
The built-in antivirus software and web browser both direct themselves to internal servers, with the encryption on Red Star OS custom-developed - most likely to keep the prying eyes of the NSA and GCHQ away. The walls that North Korea has built up within Red Star OS is to keep its citizens unaware of the world around them, so if they did modify the OS, they'd be tracked down immediately - and probably sent off to live on the Sun.
New additions to the European General Data Protection Regulation have been proposed to the European Parliament which seek to further protect the personal data of minors, specifically teens under the age of 16 with some interesting new rules.
These new additions are not yet law and still need to be fully ratified by the greater European Council and European Parliament in early January of 2016 to become official, though they've passed through initial inspection by the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee.
There are eight separate clauses that EU regulators are trying to get passed that are supposed to provide a framework for modernising data privacy policies. And in actuality, the new proposed rules give greater control of your own data and are better suited to privacy.
It looks like ride-sharing giant Lyft is getting a huge injection of funding from Saudi Arabia's Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, who announced that his Kingdom Holding Co. will secure a 2.3% stake in Lyft.
The 2.3% stake will cost al-Waheed's company $104.9 million, which is one part of the largest investment by an unnamed group for $247.7 million, taking a 5.3% stake in Lyft. These investments boost Lyft's estimated valuation to $4.92 billion. With Lyft only operating in the US right now, and the San Francisco-based company scaling back its overseas expansion plans, this investment should be quite a nice surprise over the holidays for Lyft.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is pushing towards $1 billion in worldwide box office sales at lightspeed, taking just 8 days to reach $890 million. The Force Awakens broke single-day box office records when it opened and pulled in $610 million in just a matter of days, as well as being the biggest opening in box office history in the US.
Out of the $890 million worldwide gross, $440 million has been grossed domestically in the US, while $449.9 million has been made overseas. The opening weekend saw The Force Awakens command $247 million in the US alone, but it looks like The Force Awakens will reach $1 billion in the next day or two.
These box office numbers are only up to Christmas Day, so we should expect a huge wave of numbers for the weekend to hit in the next day or so. The Force Awakens made an estimated $49 million domestically on Christmas Day, so we should expect $60 million or more for Saturday and Sunday, pushing the movie over $1 billion.
Out of the $3 billion that Spotify has paid out in the last six or so years, less than 1% has actually reached the hands of artists who have their tunes on the streaming giant's service.
Well, Spotify is sick of this, and has said that it is going to get knee-deep into the music royalty business, noting that different publishers own the rights to the same tracks in different countries. Years ago when physical sales were dominating, this didn't used to be an issue. But with global streaming services, it takes time to find out who to pay, and some royalties end up just sitting there.
Spotify has said: "Today we are excited to announce that Spotify will invest in the resources and technical expertise to build a comprehensive publishing administration system to solve this problem". This is all Spotify is saying on the matter right now, so we can expect more to be said in the New Year.
LG is set to have the biggest CES yet, with the company showing off a slew of new TVs - including its kick-ass 4K OLED TVs, but the company has announced that it is set to launch premium home appliances at the Consumer Electronics Show next month.
LG is calling its premium home appliances brand "LG Signature", but hasn't provided any more details on the new gear. The South Korean giant has formed a team within the company to create the LG Signature products, with input from "leading design experts". LG has teased that its Signature appliances have been "stripped of all features that detracted from the brand's spirits".
During the filming of the latest, and last Resident Evil movie, a crew member has died in a horrific on-set accident.
South African website IOL reports that 34-year-old Ricardo Cornelius was severely injured during the filming of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, when a US Army issue Hummer fell on top of him on the film's set in Cape Town. Cornelius died in hospital on December 3.
Reports state that the Hummer was standing on a small platform, which then tilted when it was being manually rotated. The vehicle fell, landing on Cornelius. But it gets worse. He was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support, with his wife telling IOL "At the hospital, doctors said they had to take him into theatre as soon as he arrived".
Back in September 2014, NVIDIA filed patent infringements against both Samsung and Qualcomm - and then a couple of months later in December 2014, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) said it would be investigating the lawsuit between Samsung and NVIDIA.
Well, a United States ITC judge has ruled that NVIDIA has infringed on three of Samsung's patents, and while this isn't a final design from the judge, NVIDIA will be counting down the days until the full ITC reviews the case a few months from now. One of the main patents expires in 2016, so any ban on products using that patent would only last a few months.
NVIDIA has repleid saying that it is "disappointed" in the ITC's verdict, rejecting the claim that Samsung was pulling old, irrelevant patents out of the closet. Samsung hasn't yet commented, but it insists that its patents are vital to making SoC products.
Anonymous source and The Internet Association have both revealed that T-Mobile's Binge On program actually throttles data and reduces quality in order to serve up content.
T-Mobile shocked the world when the released their Binge On program, that allowed users to stream video and audio from various online services without having it count against your monthly data-caps. On the surface it seemed like a splendid deal, but there's always a catch.
That catch is that your content is served to you in lower quality, without you knowing and without giving you a choice. The Internet Association has been keen to point out the poor and sneaky business practices by T-Mobile, noting that providing Binge On is a boon to many customers, though even if it does happen to be throttled, proper notice or even a choice whether it should count against your data at the cost of high quality content, should be mandatory. The FCC is currently investigating the matter.