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Editorial

Submission + - SPAM: Are We In a Post-Brand Era?

Amy Bennett writes: "The personal technology industry has changed a lot in recent years. Consumers today put great time and effort into Internet-based research and seem to have come to realize that 'just because a product has a familiar name attached to it, it may not be the best one available,' says Don Reisinger in a recent article. 'Years ago, the name Dell actually mattered to people and in case we're keeping score, so did Gateway too.' There are, of course, notable exceptions to the rule: 'Generally speaking, people are still devoted to buying Apple products just because the company's name is painted on it and Sony still harbors customer trust even though many of its products don't stand up to its competitors,' says Reisinger."
Link to Original Source
Role Playing (Games)

Submission + - Latest News on Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition->

Lord Aramil of Dreadwood writes: Blogger and Dragon magazine writer Jonathan Drain is tracking the latest developments on the new D&D edition. Highlights include: Thirty levels instead of twenty, no more XP costs for magic items creation, flexible talent trees replacing feats and prestige classes, a new racial bonuses system that obsoletes ECL, and an end to rubbish skills like Forgery and Use Rope. A quote from the blog: "Unlike 3.5, all the changes this time around sound like theyre definitely for the better ... If nothing else, at least they have the opportunity to get rid of Mialee."
Link to Original Source
Patents

Peer Review Starts for Software Patents 102

perbert writes "As seen in an interview in IEEE Spectrum: Qualcomm v. Broadcom. Amazon v. IBM. Apple v. seemingly everyone. The number of high-profile patent lawsuits in this country has reached a staggering level. Hoping to curtail the orgy of tech-industry litigation, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is experimenting with reforming the way patents are applied for and processed. Launched on 18 June 2007 was an Internet-based peer-review program whereby anyone (even you) can help to evaluate a number of software patent applications voluntarily submitted for public evaluation. The one-year pilot Peer-to-Patent program is a collaboration between the USPTO and New York Law School's Institute for Information Law and Policy, in New York City. The program's Web site allows users to weigh in on patent applications by researching, evaluating, submitting, and discussing prior art, which is any existing information, such as articles in technology journals and other patents, relevant to the applicant's claims."
Censorship

Pirate Bay Launches Uncensored Image Hosting 461

Spamicles writes "The guys over at the Pirate Bay have launched a new, censorship-free image hosting website called BayImg. Users of the new service don't have to sign-up in order to upload images. However, they can assign a 'removal code' to uploaded images, in case they want to delete the files after a while, and tags to categorize images. BayImg currently supports 100+ file formats, and supports uploading Zip and Rar archives. The maximum file size of uploads is 100MB. The article also discusses TPB's plans for launching a video streaming service that will potentially compete with YouTube."
Microsoft

Mandriva Says No to Microsoft Linux Deal 150

Kurtz'sKompund writes "French Linux vendor Mandriva said no to dealing with Microsoft on open source patents. They're the third Linux vendor in a week to do so, joining Red Hat and Ubuntu in the 'against' column. TechWorld reports that Mandriva's CEO echoed statements from other open source leaders, saying essentially 'we don't need to pay protection money to do our job.' From the article: 'Jonathan Eunice, an analyst at Illuminata, said Microsoft's deals with Xandros and Linspire don't have the same impact as they would if they had been made with a major Linux vendor such as Red Hat. "I think Microsoft is going to second-tier players, and they're cutting deals with them because they are softer targets," Eunice said.'"
United States

Submission + - Growth of e-waste may lead to national 'e-fee'

jcatcw writes: "A bill in Congress would add a recycling charge to the cost of laptop PCs, computer monitors, televisions and some other electronic devices, according to a story at Computerworld. The effort to control what's called e-waste could lead to a national "e-fee" that would be paid just like a sales tax. Nationwide the cost could amount to $300 million per year. Already, California, Washington, Maryland and Maine have approved electronics recycling laws, and another 21 states plus Puerto Rico, are considering them."
AMD

Submission + - Atom-thick carbon transistor could succeed silicon

Matthew Sparkes writes: "Transistors more than four times smaller than the tiniest silicon ones — and potentially more efficient — can be made using sheets of carbon just one-tenth of a nanometre thick. The transistors are made of graphene, a sheet of carbon atoms in a flat honeycomb arrangement. Graphene makes graphite when stacked in layers, and carbon nanotubes when rolled into a tube. "This new material has properties that suggest it could have a range of powerful applications.""
Power

Submission + - Using Gym Rats' Body Power to Generate Electricity

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes: "A Hong Kong health club is hoping that a car battery, some StairMasters and dozens of gym rats can help ease the world's energy problems. It is just one of a wave of projects that are trying to tap the power of the human body, the Wall Street Journal reports. From the article: 'The human power project at California Fitness was set in motion by Doug Woodring, a 41-year-old extreme-sports fanatic and renewable-energy entrepreneur, who pitched the experiment to the gym's management last May. "I've trained my whole life, and many megawatts have been wasted," says Mr. Woodring, who has worked out at the Hong Kong gym for years. "I wanted to do something with all that sweat." '"
Power

Submission + - Is Nuclear a Viable Option for Our Energy Needs?

Prof. Goose writes: "Very interesting and detailed technical piece on the pros and cons on nuclear power.

Technically, there appear to be no show stoppers for a considerable expansion of Nuclear Power throughout the world. It is a low carbon energy source with abundant fuel supplies. The technology works and has much potential for improvement. Whether or not a large scale expansion eventuates depends on how it competes with Coal on economic grounds and with the public on political grounds. This in turn will be determined by the performance of the nuclear industry over the next few years as these purportedly cheaper and safer plants are built.
http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2323"
First Person Shooters (Games)

Submission + - Virtual Reality Game Ties Depression To Brain Area

An anonymous reader writes: Scientists are using a virtual-reality, three-dimensional video game that challenges spatial memory as a new tool for assessing the link between depression and the hippocampus, the brain's memory hub, Science Daily reports. Spatial memory is the memory of how things are oriented in space and how to get to them. Researchers found that depressed people performed poorly on the video game compared with nondepressed people, suggesting that their hippocampi were not working properly.

The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else doing it wrong, without commenting. -- T.H. White

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