Stoobalou writes "UK game developers have just been dealt a financial blow by Chancellor George Osborne in his first budget, which sees the coalition government scrapping the video game tax relief plans promised by Labour. In his speech today, Osborne simply said the 'planned tax relief for the video games industry will be cancelled.' According to the government's budget report, the cancellation of video game tax relief will save the government £40 million in the 2011-2012 financial year, and a further £50 million in each subsequent year."
feldhaus writes "The BBC reports that the first beams for over one year have been successfully sent around the complete circumference of the Large Hadron Collider. Engineers do not yet have a stable circulating beam but they hope to by 0600 GMT on Saturday."
Engadget has snagged some of the details behind a bunch of multi-touch mouse prototypes from Microsoft Research. The prototypes range from the wacky to the extreme, but at least they are thinking outside the mouse trap. "Each one uses a different touch detection method, and at first glance all five seem to fly in the face of regular ergonomics. The craziest two are probably "Arty," which has two articulated arms to cradle your thumb and index finger, with each pad housing its own optical sensor for mission-critical pinching gestures, and "Side Mouse" which is button free and actually detects finger touches in the table immediately in front of the palm rest. Of course, there's plenty of crazy in the FTIR, Orb Mouse and Cap Mouse (pictured), which rely on an internal camera, orb-housed IR camera and capacitive detection, respectively. Of course, there's no word on when these might actually see the light of day"
neonsignal writes "Opera 10 has been released. It now supports rich text email, the 'turbo' Opera proxy server feature, some HTML 5 support, XML 'pretty printing,' extra skinning features, and a 100/100 score in the Acid3 test. There has been no official announcement as yet."
chrb writes "Several British news sources have recently reported on the growing campaign that calls for an apology to Alan Turing for his persecution by the British government. The petition to the Prime Minister was started by John Graham-Cumming, who has also written to the Queen requesting a Knighthood for Turing, but admits that a pardon is 'unlikely,' saying, 'The most important thing to me is that people hear about Alan Turing and realize his incredible impact on the modern world, and how terrible the impact of prejudice was on him.'"
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "With the main Pirate Bay website experiencing DNS issues, downtime and uncertainty about both the lawsuits and potential sale to GGF, a Pirate Bay clone has already gone online. True to their principles, someone at TPB put up a torrent with a 21.3 GB copy of the site as it exists today. And now that archive is alive, at BTArena.net. Linus' old adage about backing up everything by putting it on FTP and letting the world mirror it may need to be updated. Torrents are much more efficient." "Downtime" may be a nice word for it; reader Underholdning writes "The Register has a story about a Swedish court ordering ISPs to disconnect The Pirate Bay or face a massive daily fine. The reason for the shutdown was an upcoming civil lawsuit by copyright holders. As usual, Torrentfreak has an updated story. It seems like the takedown until now has been successful." Believe what you will; the site itself says they'll be back up "in a few hours."
Vamman writes "In light of the recent announcement of the new MechWarrior game, Smith and Tinker has granted our online dev team MekTek.net (which has been supporting MechWarrior for almost a decade now) permission to release MechWarrior 4 entirely for free using the same type of distribution model that id Games used for Quake3's free release.
SlappingOysters writes "Natal could be capable of a lot more than was originally thought. Gameplayer has some information about how the technology will function in multiplayer, and goes on to reveal how it is intelligent enough to give full-bodied virtual movement to disabled gamers. The site had previously revealed that the Natal dev kits have been with developers for a couple of months, suggesting that the device may not be as far off as has been suggested by some media outlets."
Gamasutra reports on a talk given at GDC by Peter Molyneux, founder of Lionhead Studios and designer of games such as Black & White and Fable. Molyneux discussed some of the experimentation that went into the development of their various games. Quoting: "After his overview of the process, Molyneux demonstrated a number of actual experiments. He began by showing an early version of Fable II's dog, which he himself designed and which ended up factoring heavily into the full game. 'This is probably one of the most valuable experiments we ever did,' he said. Using the original Fable engine, the team asked itself, 'Why don't we think how the dog can actually move and be a companion to the player?' They decided to focus on exploring what a dog would do, rather than try to slot a canine into existing typical video game companion tasks. This led to the mechanic of the dog running out in front of the player, rather than beside or behind the player as most game AI companions are positioned, which had a huge impact on the dog's role."
Popsikle writes "A few days ago one of the Web's largest hosting discussion forums was supposedly hacked via their backup servers. From the story: 'We've since learned that this very deliberate, sophisticated and calculated hack against Web Hosting Talk was carried out by gaining access to our offsite backup servers. From our backup servers, the hacker gained access to the WHT db server. The malicious attacker deleted all backups from the backup servers within the infrastructure before deleting tables from our db server. We were alerted of the db exploitation and quickly shut down the site to prevent further damage.' What sort of security do you put on your backup infrastructure? Looking at your backup solution could you be completely taken down by either someone obtaining a backup or accessing your backup servers? What sort of recommendations does everyone have for this not to happen?"
narramissic writes "A report released Friday by a group of cyber-security experts from greylogic finds it is very likely that the Foreign Military Intelligence agency (the GRU) and Federal Security Service (the FSB) directed cyber attacks on Georgian government servers in July and August of 2008. 'Following a complex web of connections, the report claims that an Internet service provider connected with the Stopgeorgia.ru web site, which coordinated the Georgian attacks, is located next door to a Russian Ministry of Defense Research Institute called the Center for Research of Military Strength of Foreign Countries, and a few doors down from GRU headquarters.' But Paul Ferguson, a researcher with Trend Micro who has reviewed the report, says it's a 'bit of a stretch' to conclude that the Georgia attacks were state-sponsored. 'You can connect dots to infer things, but inferring things does not make them so,' he said. One other interesting allegation in the report is that a member of the Whackerz Pakistan hacking group, which claimed responsibility for defacing the Indian Eastern Railway Web site on Dec. 24, 2008, is employed by a North American wireless communications company and presents an 'insider threat' for his employer."
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The Free Software Foundation has requested permission to file an amicus curiae brief in an RIAA case, SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, defending the defendant's Due Process defense to the RIAA's claim for statutory damages. In the brief [PDF], FSF cites some of the leading authorities for the defense, including the 2003 decision of the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in Parker v. Time Warner, which held that excessive statutory damages are subject to the same due process test applicable to punitive damage awards by juries. Additionally, the brief cites three district court decisions, including UMG v. Lindor, and two law review articles — all of which deal specifically with Copyright Act statutory damages applicable to infringement of an MP3 file — to like effect."
After all of the uproar surrounding some of the Obama administration's recent decisions, trade officials have promised a thorough review of the USTR policies regarding transparency. In an effort to ensure that the review includes all possible angles, the USTR is urging groups to make other proposals as well. "KEI is very impressed with the USTR decision to undertake a review of USTR transparency efforts. They are taking this much further than simply reviewing policies on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), or recent controversies over the secrecy surrounding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations. The review offers the possibility of more transformative changes, including pro-active measures to enhance transparency, covering all aspects of USTR operations, including multilateral, plurilateral, regional, bilateral and unilateral trade policies and negotiations. We are also grateful that USTR is offering to have a continuing dialogue on this issues. KEI will offer additional suggestions on transparency to USTR, and we encourage others to do so also."
Saul J writes with an update to the patent lawsuit that was filed by Fenner Investments back in 2007 against Nintendo and Microsoft. The suit alleged that the two companies had infringed upon a patent for a joystick port interface. The trial was set to begin today, but now Judge Leonard Davis of the US District Court in Tyler, Texas has ruled that there is no need for a jury trial. One of Nintendo's lawyers said, "Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others. We also vigorously defend patent lawsuits when we firmly believe that we have not infringed another party's patent, despite the risks that this policy entails."
gametunnel1 brings us the February round-up of reviews for recent independent game releases. The top game this time around was Crayon Physics, which was also celebrated at the Independent Games Festival. Also scoring high were Ragdoll Cannon and adventure game Emerald City Confidential, about which they say, "The game is set in the mythical land of Oz, but not quite the same one as the movie/books. Rather than a cheery and fun-filled world, Oz is depicted like a 1940s film noir, so things are much bleaker. ... The highlight of the gameplay would have to be the gathering of information, via investigation of the environment or questioning characters in the game. Talking to characters for leads and clues is fun, especially since sometimes you'll have to figure out if what they're saying has any significance or not."