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What Did Maisie Williams Say That Almost Ruined GoT?

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Maisie Williams, GoT Leak

Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark in the best series ever in television history–Game of Thrones, just pulled off the most believable, most shocking, and probably the best prank on this year’s April Fools.

The 22-year old actress went for an interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon where she ‘accidentally’ slipped about revealing her character’s fate in the last season of the epic saga.

Like most of the cast in Game of Thrones, they are under a tight lock and key by HBO executives and are sworn to never let anything come out of their mouths about anything and everything that’s in store for the last season. Williams goes off saying, “I’ve decided to just keep a tight lip on everything. HBO [has] sent out a lot of memos recently about saying nothing . . . they would absolutely kill me.”

Like most hosts, Jimmy Fallon attempted to persuade the actress into telling her a little bit of information on what happens in the last season and like every time that happens, there’s still that hidden desire that guests would actually spill something.

Williams seemed to have her foot on the ground and said that she really couldn’t say anything. However, when Fallon said “just a crumb, m’lady. That is all I ask,” Williams gave in and decided to share something about how the cast felt at the end of shooting. She said nonchalantly, “During shooting, like, the final days were really, like, emotional, saying goodbye to all of the cast. Because when I found out that Arya died in, like, the second episode.”

The crowd gasped and fell silent as Williams places her hand on her mouth, eyes wide open with fear. That’s how it felt when a hidden desire is actually granted, and it doesn’t feel great.

“What?! Are you kidding me? That’s a spoiler!” Fallon says to Williams with a bit of shock and surprise trying to break the stilling atmosphere.

It was probably the worst thing she could have said and you would surely wish there was a rewind button because those aren’t the kind of things you would like to hear, ever!

Williams, who was shaking at this point, felt scared and asked if they were playing live. Fallon proceeds on telling that they can edit that part out and they can do a do-over. Still, Williams who was trembling said that the audience is still going to tweet about it.

There was really nothing that her hand covering her mouth can do at this point as words have already been said and damage has already been done.

Appearing to be overwhelmed with the situation, Williams says sorry and runs off to the backstage on the verge of crying. Fallon, who apparently didn’t know how to react, stood up and followed her where he casually pulls the curtains away revealing Williams and says in unison, “April Fools!”

A sudden breeze of fresh air finally passed and the crowd cheered.

First of all, April Fools is arguably the best or the worst holiday humans have invented. You can make jokes about toilet paper dispensers or pull funny pranks on your friends but doing it on serious topics of conversations like Game of Thrones is just cruel!

But Williams, who has been shooting with Game of Thrones for nearly a decade now has totally impressed the online world with how her reactions felt genuine and real, anyone could have easily feel for that even if deep inside you know they’re playing a prank. We certainly knew but we still fell for it!

Also during the interview, the actress told Fallon her five best moments about playing Arya.

  • Witnessing Ned’s beheading in Season 1 that started her spiral for vengeance.
  • Spending time with ‘The Hound’ and promising to stick a knife through his eye and through the back of his skull. Dark, very dark.
  • Throwing away Arya’s original costume for 4 years. She says it was an emotional shift, which eventually transformed ger character.
  • Getting reunited with Sansa; and
  • Teaming up with Sansa to kill ‘Little Finger’. One of the most badass scenes in the series, certainly a Top 5 moment.

Game of Thrones airs its last season this April 14 Saturday.

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Celebrities

Millions Of Celebrity And Influencer Personal Info Exposed In A Database

Instagram influencers and celebrities had their data scraped and stored in an unprotected online database. It also contained computed value of each influencer used to determine how much to pay them for sponsored ads. Click To Tweet

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Influencers and Celebrities
Photo: TT Marketing | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

An unsecured database containing the private contact information of millions of Instagram influencer, celebrities and brand accounts have been discovered and is said to have included personal information such as phone numbers and email addresses. The database was supposed to be unprotected, and anyone could have access to the plethora of sensitive information that it contains.

The discovery was first reported by Zack Whittaker from Tech Crunch and said that cybersecurity researcher Anurag Sen discovered the exposed and unprotected database, hosted by Amazon Web Services. According to the initial report, there were already 49 million records in the database and seemed to have been growing by the hour.

In hindsight, each record in the database contained publicly listed data scraped from influencer, celebrity, and brand Instagram accounts including their bio, profile picture, their follower count, verification status, and their location by city and country. However, the database also contained private contact information, including email address and phone number.

Several high profile influencers and celebrities were found in the database, including some prominent beauty and fashion bloggers, food bloggers, celebrities, and other famous social media influencers. According to Whittaker, he contacted several people on the list at random whose information was found in the database, and some of them indeed replied, confirming that some – or most – of the data contained in the database are actual data scraped from their Instagram accounts.

The database was then traced back to an India-based social media marketing company, Chtrbox, a firm that pays Instagram influencers to post sponsored content on their accounts. The report revealed that each record, aside from public and personal information of the account owner, also includes an estimated worth of each account, factored by the number of followers they have, the engagement level they receive, the width of their reach, likes, and shares they had. The calculation was used as a metric to determine how much to pay an influencer to post a sponsored content on their account as an ad.

Those who responded have said that they used the email and the phone number as default to sign up for Instagram and they also denied having been involved in a business with Chtrbox.

The researchers were able to contact Chtrbox and was successfully in having them take the database offline; however, Pranay Swurap, the founder of the social media marketing firm and it’s Chief Executive Officer, refused to comment and answer questions raised by the researchers.

Until now, it is unclear how the company was able to obtain the massive data they have.

One theory made by the researchers is that two years ago, a security bug in the developer API of Instagram has allowed hackers to obtain email addresses and phone numbers of six million Instagram accounts. The hacker later sold the data they were able to scrape by exploiting the bug was sold to highest bidders for bitcoin.

Hackers have launched a website with a searchable database of some Instagram users’ alleged personal info. The data, a sample of which the hackers provided t, appears to include email addresses and phone numbers for a selection of high profile Instagram users, including politicians, sports stars, and media companies. The data also seems to contain information on more ordinary accounts, too.

“Instagram clearly hasn’t yet understood the full impact of this bug,” said one of the people behind the site, dubbed ‘Doxagram.’

Some of the accounts in the list are seemingly high profile. One entry is allegedly for the official President of the United States’ Instagram account. Another alleged account appears to belong to Cristiano Ronaldo, the world-famous soccer player.

As for why the database contains high profile users, the hackers claimed they set up their scraper to initially target all users with over 1 million followers, and then recursively harvest other users. In all, the hackers claim to have over 6 million accounts in their database.

Meanwhile, in a statement made by Facebook following the disclosure of the database said that the company is investigating the matter.

“We’re looking into the issue to understand if the data described – including email and phone numbers – was from Instagram or from other sources,” said an updated statement. “We’re also inquiring with Chtrbox to understand where this data came from and how it became publicly available,” it added.

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TV Shows

‘Young Sheldon’ Season 2 Finale: What’s Meant To Be Will Always Find Its Way To You

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Young Sheldon Season 2 Final Scenes
Young Sheldon Season 2 Finale

As you get older, sometimes do you also think and reflect if you are moving closer to your goals in life? Did you become a better person than you were a year before? Are you making good use of your talents or potential? What if you’re falling behind or what if you don’t achieve that thing you wanted to have in the future?

Last May 16 in Young Sheldon’s Season 2 finale episode titled A Swedish Science Thing and the Equation for Toast, I somehow learned that “what’s meant to be will always find it’s way to you” and won’t just pass by.

Young Sheldon is about a nine-year-old genius from East Texas who turned out to be a brilliant theoretical physicist in the hit comedy sitcom Big Bang Theory. In the mentioned episode, he invited some of his family and friends to have a Nobel Prize Announcement party, to listen to the radio broadcast of 1990 Nobel Prize dedication. But nobody joined him.

During that time, he was heartbroken, and he thought he was a neutrino fated to be sad and lonely forever. But in the future, he was happy to be wrong. It turns out he’s a quark.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a quark is one of the primary forms of matter that make up an atom. Anyways, he said that one of the remarkable characteristics of quarks is that they are bonded together.  After the voice over, we see Sheldon’s younger Big Bang Theory friends at different sides of the world. Sheldon was not alone after all.

The young Leonard Hofstadter was also listening alone in his room, in his table, we can see his inhaler. Penny (Leonard’s future wife) is sleeping.  Raj (the future Astrophysicist) was doing his homework in his rocket/spaceships themed room. Howard (the future Engineer and astronaut) was playing a video game in his bedroom which was full of magic kit items. Bernadette (Howard’s future wife) was also sleeping, and in her night table, we can see her glasses, a photo of her and a pageant trophy. Lastly, Amy (Sheldon’s future wife) is still awake, but she’s not listening to the Nobel prize broadcast. She is reading a book.

The episode was shown in CBS, a few minutes in CBS after BBT‘s last episode ever. Fans were overjoyed and teary-eyed to have this surprise. It proves that even though Sheldon was alone during that time, in the end, he’ll meet real friends who will love, support and accept him as he is, who will also be there for him when he wins the Nobel Prize.

According to Steve Molaro, they somehow want to honor Big Bang Theory in their momentous night and give a love letter in the form of a cross over. Without BBT, Young Sheldon won’t be possible.

The series is an origin story set in 1989; it centers on how Sheldon Cooper became the guy that he is in Big Bang Theory and how he survived high school at a very young age. In this show,  we’ll get to know more about  Sheldon and his love for trains, his fanboy tendencies to Professor Proton and his childhood friends like Tam. The cast includes  Ian Armitage (young Sheldon), Zoe Perry (Mary, Sheldon’s mom), Lance Barber (George, Sheldon’s dad), Reagan Revord (Missy, Sheldon’s twin sister), Montana Jordan ( George Jr, Sheldon’s big brother) and Annie Potts (Meemaw, Sheldon’s grandma). 

Young Sheldon is somehow different from the Big Bang Theory. It is shot using a single camera while BBT is shot using a three-camera in front of a live studio audience.  Parsons is one of the Executive Producers of the show. At the same time in the series, we can hear him narrate as adult Sheldon in some of the significant parts of the show.  Zoe Perry (who plays Young Sheldon’s mother) is the biological daughter of Laurie Metcalf (who plays the Older Sheldon’s mother in BBT).

According to the producers Chuck Lorre and Steve Molaro, they have been interested in and discussing plans on having Sheldon’s childhood story for almost ten years. But, The prequel series started with Jim Parsons’ idea when he was bonding with his intellectually gifted nephew. He plays the older Sheldon in Big Bang Theory. He then emailed Chuck Lorre, BBT’s co-creator. Young Sheldon’s first ever episode premiered last September 25, 2017.

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Podcast

Spotify Goes Big On Podcasts

The popular music streaming app, Spotify, is all-in with podcasts as it launches a redesigned user interface (UI) that refocuses Spotify into two different audio categories

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Spotify redesigned UI to direct users to their favorite podcast shows.
Spotify spends $500 million this year in an effort to lead the podcast market. Photo: Michael Fötsch | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
Spotify redesigns UI to put focus on podcasts as the company goes big by spending $500 million on acquisitions to improve their standing in the podcast market. They also encourage users to create new podcasts using new tools. Click To Tweet

The popular music streaming app, Spotify, is all-in with podcasts as it launches a redesigned user interface (UI) that refocuses Spotify into two different audio categories: Music and Podcasts. While it is not new that podcasts and audio shows are already thriving in the app, Spotify makes it easier for listeners to navigate the app to search for their favorite podcast shows.

The new redesigned UI is only available for a limited number of users as of now, though, and was first reported last week. The new design emphasizes bolded headings for both “music” and “podcasts” on the app’s library page. Currently, Spotify users have to sift through six categories at the top of their library pages to find a dedicated podcast section. While Spotify confirmed that they were testing “new products,” they declined to comment on when the new redesigned UI would roll out to all users.

Screenshot from The Verge

According to Spotify, last year, “seven million people in the US produced podcasts—and even more, people consumed them.” And it makes sense why the app company is putting money on podcasts on its platform. Spotify has spent up to $500 million on podcasts alone. The spending included their acquisition of major companies like Gimlet Media. The equivocal emphasis of Spotify to spend on promoting podcasts on its platform says so much about its goal to compete with Apple and Luminary to try to become the go-to place for podcast listeners, and improving “discoverability” and ease of use is necessary to achieve their goal.

A few days ago, Spotify also released a tool called Soundtrap for Storytellers to encourage podcast producers to produce more shows on Spotify. Soundtrap for Storytellers is a comprehensive podcast creation tool that offers recording, remote multi-track interviewing with video chat, smart editing of audio as a text document, full audio production, direct-to-Spotify publishing of the podcast, and transcript publishing to optimize SEO all in one service.

In an event hosted by Spotify for the launch of Soundtap for Storytellers, they invited popular podcast producers to talk about their craft and how they can use the new tool in their podcasts. Hannah Berner, the host of the popular podcast show Berning in Hell, said that she “think(s) a lot of podcasters don’t have any knowledge about the importance of SEO, or getting found in unique ways, besides just promoting on our social media. So having a transcript of what you’re saying that also helps with SEO is incredible.”

Soundtrap demo at the Spotify Office. Photo: Spotify

Lindsay Metselaar, host of We Met At Acme, said that the prospect of being able to record with people who are not physically with her is what excites her the most about the new podcast creation tool.

“The fact that you can record with someone when they’re not physically with you is huge. I’m not able to do that right now because the sound quality is just not the same with other programs or over the phone. But Soundtrap allows two computers to have the same recording situation set up. That’s huge for podcasting,” she said.

The new podcast tool is available starting May 14 online and on iOS and Android, with pricing starting at $14.99/month and an annual plan starting at $11.99/month.

In addition to Soundtrap for Storytellers, Spotify is also encouraging new artists to create more podcasts on its newly acquired tool called Anchor. Anchor is a free-to-use podcast creation, distribution and monetization platform that says its mission is to “democratize audio.” It was one of two New York-based podcast companies (alongside Gimlet Media) acquired by Spotify in February for $343 million combined.

“There’s no doubt that podcasting is expanding like crazy, and if you have a story to tell, someone out there is dying to hear it,” writes Spotify in the news post.

“For those who are ready to experiment, have fun, and try out a new way to connect with fans, here’s why it’s time for you to start using Anchor.”

Spotify is making a concerted effort to encourage more of its platform’s 3.9 million artists and dedicated-podcast creators to use its marketplace tools – like Anchor and Soundtrap for Storytellers. If successful, Spotify will make itself a one-stop-shop for podcast producers, hosts, and artists, and might be able to top competitors like Apple and Luminary in the podcast wars online.

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