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Friday, November 25, 2021

Telenovelas have been a staple of Latin American television for decades. They’re just as popular with Hispanic audiences in the U.S., and so Telemundo is starting up its own telenovelas from its Miami studios, marking the first time the genre has been produced in America.

It’s a shrewd move, as Spanish-language media in the States is a major growth sector. But the popularity of telenovelas is far from limited to Spanish speakers:

They have gone global, with entire shows sold at top dollar to networks in Poland and Russia. Consider the wide and frenzied appeal of the genre:

During one five-year stretch, a Brazilian telenovela called Escrava Isaura, about a white woman made a slave by mistake, was the top-rated show - in Poland.

The novela Los Ricos Tambien Lloran (The Rich Also Cry) was more popular than the U.S. soap Santa Barbara - in Russia.

The Colombian hit Betty la Fea, was rewritten and repackaged into Verliebt in Berlin - and was wildly popular in Germany.

Xavier Aristimuno is a Miami-based distributor of telenovelas and other Latin American TV programming. His company, Bamboo TV, specializes in distributing the shows to Asia.

Aristimuno recalls that he was lunching at a tiny beachside cafe in Bali, Indonesia, in 2001, when he mentioned to the waitress that his company was involved with the production of Cassandra, a popular novela filmed in Colombia and broadcast in Bali.

“Within 20 minutes, I had the whole village around me,” said Aristimuno. “They knew more about the story than I did.”

Soap operas are soap operas, boundless of language and culture. And there’s not much soapier than these shows.

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 11/25/2005 07:35:29 PM
Category: TV | Permalink | Feedback

You learn something new every day… Sensibly enough, asterisk-dollar sign is the glyphic way to signify the most ubiquitous of java joints.

I imagine it must come in handy for the text-messaging/IMing set. Like: “Meet me l8tr @ *$, k?” Brevity above all else when you’re communicating via thumbstrokes. Or, I’m guessing, when nose-blogging.

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 11/25/2005 06:55:37 PM
Category: Internet | Permalink | Feedback

crack the cap
Normally I wouldn’t encourage such blatant vandalism, but this detailed tutorial on hacking into a new-generation Coca-Cola vending machine via the existing number keypad is intriguing. Makes me want to try it out on the next machine I run across; bonus points if the thing is otherwise out of order.

There are a lot of steps to take to get to the ultimate goal — nabbing a free can of soda! — but here’s the basic first step:

To enter the menu, there’s a button combination. HERE’S THE ONLY THING YOU HAVE TO REALLY REMEMBER:


The buttons are numbered depending on how they are positioned. They will either be vertical (more likely), or in horizontal rows of 4 buttons per row. If it is vertical, the first button is #1, the one below it is #2, and so forth. If the buttons are in horizontal rows, the first button is #1, and the one to the right of it is #2. The numbers work like a type writer after that. In rows of 4, the first button of row 2 will be button #5. So, to review, getting in to the debug menu looks like this:

$1.00 ——-
[ Coke ] < -- Hit this button last
[ Coke ] <-- Hit this button second
[ Diet Coke ] <-- Hit this button third
[ Sprite ] <-- Hit this button first
[ And so on ]

Isn’t it kind of silly to have to access computerized equipment in this manner, in this day and age? It seems so 1980s-like, when arcade games were set up like this, requiring elaborate maneuvers with the joystick and Fire buttons to get a status reading. And obviously, it’s susceptible to outside interference.

I can’t imagine it would be hard to build in an easily-accessible USB port somewhere on the machine, where an employee would be able to plug in a keyboard, or even a laptop computer, and do their business that way. As more of these vending machines take on wireless capabilities, that’s another option — but that seems too exploitable too. A USB port does the job, and wouldn’t be as readily used by pranksters.

UPDATE, 3/9/2006: While I don’t make a habit out of updating old posts, I’ve been getting enough traffic to this particular one that it’s probably warranted.

As of this writing, the original source for the snippets I’ve posted here seems to be defunct. I don’t have any more information on this machine-hacking technique than what’s printed above.

However, I recall that my source was just one among many on the Web disseminating the lowdown, and a Google search yields plenty of other sites that allege to have instructions. So check those out, and stop bugging me. ;)

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 11/25/2005 10:31:38 AM
Category: Tech | Permalink | Feedback (7)