Friday, August 24, 2012

GVLN - Are Torrents Destroying Hollywood? Part 2

English: Underside of a DVD-R disc, modified t...
English: Underside of a DVD-R disc, modified to have transparent background. Fran├žais : Dessous d'un DVD (sur fond transparent) Frysk: DVD/d├╗belskiif (Unterkant) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Upload / Download
Upload / Download (Photo credit: johntrainor)
In our last article we looked at torrents and a site where nearly 2,000 videos are hosted for free downloads.  We discussed the quality of the files and the file types.  In this section we are going to go further into the quality of the video files themselves and once again you will be shocked at what we have found.  On testing the videos, we found the quality of the films to be outstanding.  So we wondered if the quality could be maintained if these files were transferred into DVD format to play on any DVD player.  In many cases, you end up losing a good amount of quality when transferring up.

Our first test on one of the films we downloaded didn't work to well.  The quality of the picture was fine, however, the sound did not transfer to the DVD.  There were also compatibility issues with some of the DVD players we tested the video on.  We switched to a different program that took longer but gave us much more control over.  On that end we had a tremendous amount of success.  We were able to make a great DVD copy from the torrent video.  We were able to put a new menu and scene selection as well as a play button.  On test, the new DVD passed as being excellent.

  What that means.  In our last section we talked about the lead time on the video, The Avengers.  This video is released one month before it's retail scheduled release and while it is still playing in some movie theaters.  This means an average person can take one of these downloaded torrent files and turn it into a viable copy.  Once the copy is made, it's not hard to press about 20 copies per day on the average desktop home computer.  Give a person 5 days and one can press about 100 copies by the weekend.

  As Saturday hits, those 100 copies can easily make their way to any flea market for sale.  If it costs about $3.00 per copy to produce, one can sell copies for about $8.00 each making $5.00 profit per copy.  That $8.00 price tag is much lower than the $18.00 new release price that the stores will be asking so if the flea market is a good location, one could easily sell all 100 copies over the weekend.  Profit to the pirate?  About $500.00 minus expenses for the space at the flea market plus travel and food.  On Monday, the process starts all over again.  So within a 4 week lead time period, it's very possible for a pirate to pocket about $2,000.00 just on one video.

  Think $2,000.00 isn't a big deal?  Let's look at that from a real perspective.  Once again, all one has to do is look at how many people a day are already downloading a copy of this one video.  Thousands of people a day.  If 100 people decide the pirate the video for profit, $2,000.00 become $200,000.00.  100 people making 400 copies and selling them over a 4 week period means 40,000 lost retail sales or  at a price of $18.00 each, $729,000.00.  That's nearly three quarters of a million dollars in lost sales from pirating.


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  That still does not account for the lost sales from the people who illegally downloaded a free copy who now will not be buying or renting this film.  So it's fair to say that the net loss just from this one torrent site alone is in the millions of dollars.  This is only one torrent site.  There are hundreds of sites hosting torrents all over the world.  Once it's on one, it;s easy to put it on others.  Now let's once again go back to all the other videos on this one site alone and you see the pirates have an entire industry to plunder.

  This now leads to our next question.  How did the people hosting the torrents get a hold of a copy of the film before it's release date?  The copy we downloaded was not shot in a movie theater.  It's as clean as they come.  Others on the site one would say is obviously hacked from disk.  Not that hard to do.  But this being a film not yet out on disk and not being a film copied to a video camera from a movie theater, it's not hacked.  This is were we will begin our next section of this story.



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Gloucester, VA Sheriff's Race - Two Candidates Now On The Ballet

Republican Party (United States)
Republican Party (United States) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Clarence Bowser and Darrell Warren are the two candidates now seeking election this fall for the Sheriff's position.  Clarence Bowser is running as an independent and Darrell Warren is running under the Republican platform.  There are no other challengers to Darrell Warren from inside the Sheriff's Office this time although Clarence Bowser is an ex sheriff's deputy from the Gloucester County Sheriff's Office.

This is not the first time Clarence Bowser has run for this position but he gets very little local press compared to other candidates in past campaigns.  Clarence has written a book and it is available on Amazon.  The name of that book is Penalty of Justice: The Pro Se.  CLICK HERE to see the title on Amazon.  You can also read a good section of the book to get a feel for it right on the Amazon site.


























A section above seems to have a misspelled word after star which should read medal.  In the opening is a misused word, tricky should read trickery.  The above is re printed under fair use laws for this news story.


    
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GVLN - Are Torrents Destroying Hollywood? Part 1

Hollywood Sign
Hollywood Sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Are torrents destroying Hollywood?  There have been a number of articles we have been reading all around in regards to just his subject.  Some complain that torrents aka peer to peer file sharing is costing Hollywood movie studios billions of dollars in revenue.  Others complain that Hollywood is doing it to itself.  We set out to see exactly what the real deal was as we have seen a lot of holes in all the stories out there.  You are going to be surprised at what we have found.   

We began by searching out a torrent software product that has an excellent overall rating.  Once we found the software and loaded it the rest was easy.  What we found was a real shocker.  We came across a host web site that could easily be compared to the Amazon of movies.  Though the selection was limited to just under 2,000 videos, the selection was still very impressive and hosted on an incredibly well laid out site where a great deal of both time and money was spent on the site.

The image to the right here is a sample screen shot of the listings from the site we are presently talking about.  If you click on the image, you will get an enlarged view.  This site has it all.  If you choose to view the info on the movie, you go to a new page where a brief synopsis of the movie is on the page along with usually 3 screen shots from the actual film.

You also have an option to watch a preview of the film you are considering.  The majority of the previews we have watched are the actual trailers for the film with only a few that were done by someone from outside of the movie studios.  Again, when you opt for the film preview, a new pop up window appears and the preview plays on the pop up.  This is some nice expensive software and design.  Again, look at the picture above.  That is a very well thought out site design.

  This site above is where we ran the vast majority of our tests.  Again the site is extremely well laid out and no expenses seem to have been spared.  Yet there is no charge for downloading any of these movies.  You read that right, no charge for downloading any of the movies on this site.  This site also has a very large Facebook fan page where they announce all their latest releases.

  On the torrent software, there are an average of between 200 and 400 seeds or people at any given time of the day or night that are both downloading these films as well as uploading them.  The way the torrent software works as you are downloading something, you are also uploading a smaller section of that same file to someone else as well as other films you have in your torrent list that others are looking to download.

  It's an exchange service of sorts.  The site we are discussing here makes the entire process seem very legitimate because of it's incredible professionalism.  What really shocked us is the new video release that showed up on the site a few days ago.  The Avengers.  This film is still being played in some movie theaters and has a release date of September 25th, 2012.  This torrent site already has the entire video available for download for free.  With hundreds of people downloading this video at any given moment during a 24 hour period, that means that thousands of people a day are getting this film before it even hits the store shelves.

  So on that end, yes, Hollywood is suffering huge losses on the potential sales of this and other titles before it even hits the shelves.  Plus as we have already said, this film is still playing in some movie theaters.  That affects the sales of tickets at the theaters as well.  The picture here shows the download from the torrent site.


This site usually offers the film in two to three formats.  1080 P full high definition, 720 P standard high definition and when available, 3D 1080 P.   The site has all three formats available for the Avengers film on line now.  More than a month before it's scheduled release date.  Amazon has a pre order price on the 3D Blu Ray version of 29.96 with free shipping and you have to wait for it.  It won't ship until release date.

  How do you estimate the loss on this one title alone?  We ran our tests for two weeks.  We were able to download about 50 films with a retail value of somewhere around one thousand dollars.  Again that was only for two weeks and we did not spend all day every day doing so.  We downloaded about 4 or 5 per day.  About 3 to 4 hours worth of time each day.

  We checked a number of items during this time.  We checked for back door attacks, viruses, open port hacks, malware, spyware and anything else that could go wrong.  We had no issues on any of the files or any of the times we downloaded and uploaded the torrents.  What about quality?  Here is where once again we were very shocked.  The quality of the torrents are extraordinarily good and the file formats used on just about everyone of these films were a universal MP4 format.  Only a couple of the films was in an mkv format.  The mkv format is not a common format and one will not be able to play the video without a special codec or video player to handle the file format.

  MP4 videos are about as universal to operating systems as MP3 audio is.  Microsoft, Apple and Linux systems can all handle these formats.  Even Andriod enabled products have no issues with this file format.  Every film we checked played very smoothly and was of true HD quality.  Only the mkv file formats had some motion issues.


Ending notes:  This ends part one of this series.  We have not mentioned the name of the exact torrent software nor the name of the site in this discussion for a reason.  The site contains illegal downloads that do hurt legitimate companies and their employees.  It is not our intention to teach people how to download illegal video files, but to educate people in the problems associated with these types of sites and issues.  We have since deleted the torrent software from our own system and will soon be deleting the downloads once this series is over.



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Have a news story? Submit it above.
Some of Gloucester's most incredible history is found on this site in detail.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gloucester, VA History 1893 E-Book


Now here is a very rare book we have just finished editing.  Written in 1893 by Sally Nelson Robins, it has some history in this book that we were not even aware of.  Example is that in 1710, Gloucester, Virginia was the most populated and most prosperous area in all of Virginia.  Gloucester Place was the former home of President John Tyler and located right off of 

Gloucestertowne Road.  This book is a great resource not only from an historical standpoint, but also from a genealogy standpoint as well as it contains a great deal of old family names and places.  We spent a lot of time on correcting both spelling errors and punctuation errors however there are plenty of places we could not fix or where text is completely missing as well as some pictures.  If we are able to find these in the future, we will update the book.  You are welcome to download this book for free from our Slideshare page as it comes with a Creative Commons License 3.0.  
  We have a huge library of old and rare books on Gloucester and area history that we will be working on for some time to come.   Once they are done, we will be publishing them here on this site.















For all the latest news, please click on the Home button towards the top of this site.
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

GVLN - An Army psychiatrist says Facebook hurts our troops

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

Last Updated: 10:24 AM, August 19, 2012
Posted: 10:20 PM, August 18, 2012

Our soldiers are being devastated on an unexpected front: Facebook.
Troops who have survived shellings and shootings can find themselves emotionally wounded by online photos of spouses partying with strangers and innuendo-laden updates that betray a very different “status” than that of a devoted girlfriend back home.
Access to social media has created famous problems for the military — from pictures of soldiers acting disrespectfully, to troops inadvertently releasing the names of American dead before families were notified.
But just as problematic is the damage social media is causing soldiers’ psyches. Military psychiatrists have reported that Facebook on the front lines has played a part in a host of problems, including depression and suicide in active-duty military personnel.

“About 80% of all of our intake had some Facebook flavor,” said psychiatrist Dr. Valeh Karimkhani, an Army reserve major who has served two tours of duty in Iraq.
Karimkhani, who served in 2008 and again in 2010, said the damage was apparent when she watched troops using Skype and Facebook at the Al Asad Airbase.
“When you’re on the other side of the world and you see all these pictures of your wife or husband with a new group of people, new friends, it becomes really concerning,” Karimkhani said. “They would become depressed and paranoid and end up in psychiatry, saying, ‘I’m going to kill myself.’ ”
Military psychiatrists are now able restrict troops’ access to social media, change a soldier’s password — even force a mediated phone call with a warring spouse.
“Sometimes after contacting the spouse, they could see it was innocent,” she said.
Of course, there are times when suspicions are accurate. One soldier received a Facebook message from her husband on their anniversary, telling her he’d fallen in love with another woman and wanted a divorce.

“That was particularly cold,” said Karimkhani, chief of psychiatry liaison services at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, Calif.
The risks are even higher if it’s the soldier who is bragging about exploits online: Adultery by military personnel can be punishable by jail time.
“I am always amazed at the things people would put on Facebook, thinking it wasn’t a public forum,” Karimkhani said. “People would put some sort of back-and-forth innuendo with a new girlfriend on their wall and then be surprised that people would find out. I always want to say, ‘Hey, buddy, this isn’t your journal.’ You’re basically taking a bullhorn to say, ‘Hey everybody this is what’s happening in my life!’ ”

CLICK HERE for the rest of the story.

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