Analog News Editors In A Digital World – A Case Study

There are four major methods used on TV to obscure a person’s face so that he would not be recognized:

  • Pixelization: during editing, a video graphics filter is used to lower the resolution of the footage
  • Black bars: during editing, a graphical element is superimposed over the footage
  • Extreme close-up: focusing during filming on a single facial feature, such as lips or eyes
  • Silhouette: adjusting the camera exposure during filming so that the person appears totally black

The latter method was used during yesterday’s evening news, in a pre-taped press conference. Since this was not a live broadcast, there was no reason for any slip-up, and for the most part I could only see the silhouette of the woman talking. But when some still photojournalists used their camera flash, it lit the entire room and for a split second revealed the face of the woman.
Now perhaps during the 1990’s this kind of incident would not amount to much, since you could not rewind live TV or use your computer to download the news – but those analog days are long gone, and it is about time people in the Israeli media would recognize that fact.

Since this is not the first time I have noticed the Israeli media dropping the ball on this issue, I thought I would present a case study of the three Israeli broadcast channels, examining yesterday’s cover of that news conference:

Continue reading Analog News Editors In A Digital World – A Case Study

Spam: Don’t Get Mad – Get Even!

Note: Projects discussed in this post have been discontinued. Just scroll down and watch the analog spam-trap video.

I am pretty sure that within the mass of people who say they hate spam (and that is all they ever do against it) there may be a few that actually want to fight back.
As a believer in proactive measures against spammers I was an avid fan of Blue Frog, an Israeli software that started causing spammers actual financial loses. After its sad demise in 2006, which left me with a lot of spam and nowhere to shove it, I had to find a path to which I can direct my anti-spam energies.
Until the new and improved Blue Frog project (called Okopipi, or Black Frog) will mature, I was left with SpamCop.net, a free spam-reporting tool that has been around since 1998, but was never aggressive enough for my taste.

I have been using this tool for a couple of months now, and thought it is nothing to email home about. Basically, it identifies the IP where the email originates (thus allowing the ISP to identify the spammer) and the server that hosts the website selling the advertised product (thus allowing the hosting company to identify the seller who paid the spammer for the marketing campaign).

I could not get excited about SpamCop because you never know if the reports you file are ignored or acted upon by the anti-spam personnel at those companies. After reporting more than 1500 emails, I could not answer truthfully if I made any difference.

Until today!
This is the email I just received and wanted to share:

Hi
 
Thank you for your report concerning this Unsolicited Bulk Email incident.
The account concerned has been identified and suspended under the terms of the Sky Broadband Acceptable Use Policy.
Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience that this incident may have caused.
 
Kind regards
Anthony Edwards

Sky Broadband Abuse Team

That’s why I will keep on reporting my spam with SpamCop, knowing that others will do the same, and hoping that the small dents we might make in the big spam machine will accumulate and lead to its beautiful demise.

To leave you with a smile, here is a video documenting an art installation by Bill Shackelford. It is an analog spam-trap machine, consisting of a computer that monitors email accounts, a printer that prints any spam that arrives, and a paper shredder that automatically shreds any printed spam.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHtDHyS_QIc