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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 14 declined, 30 accepted (44 total, 68.18% accepted)

+ - Indie Game Jam show collapses due to interference from "Pepsi Consultant"

Submitted by Sockatume
Sockatume (732728) writes "Would you like to see a half-million-dollar TV show in which four teams of indie developers and Youtube personalities compete to create amazing videogames? Tough luck, because GAME_JAM from Maker Studios has spectacularly imploded. Although a lot could go wrong with this kind of show, the blame isn't being levelled at game developer egos or project mismanagement but the heroic efforts of one Matti Leshem, a branding consultant brought in for Pepsi. After imposing Mountain Dew branding rules that even banned coffee from the set, his efforts to build a gender divide amongst the teams culminated in the competitors downing their tools and the projection collapsing. Accounts from Adriel Wallick, Zoe Quinn, and Robin Arnott are also available."

+ - Italian researchers demonstrate "powerloader" suit

Submitted by Sockatume
Sockatume (732728) writes "Researchers in Italy have demonstrated a powered exoskeleton that can lift 50kg with each hand, as demonstrated in video with the BBC. The "body extender" from the Perceptual Robotics Laboratory of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa has been developed for applications like disaster relief, and is just one of many strength-augmenting systems being developed for use in rescue, military, and medical applications. While neither the researchers nor the BBC make the comparison to the Powerloader in the movie "Aliens", I mean come on, look at it."

+ - MtGox files for bankruptcy protection, confirms rumours 4

Submitted by Sockatume
Sockatume (732728) writes "The beleaguered MtGox bitcoin exchange has officially filed for bankruptcy in Tokyo, as reported in various news sources via AFP. According to the Wall Street Journal (paywalled; see The Verge for re-reporting) Bitcoin held an impromptu press conference that addressed recent rumours. They state that they have over $60m in liabilities against just $30m in assets, and confirm the loss of over $500m worth of Bitcoins, split between customers' balances (750,000 BTC) and company assets (100,000 BTC)."

+ - Google Apps licence unsurprisingly forbids forking, promotes Google services 1

Submitted by Sockatume
Sockatume (732728) writes "If you want to ship a phone with Google's apps on it, you need to licence them. A copy of the OEM licencing agreement from 2011 was recently leaked, and Ars Technica provides a summary. Amongst the rules: a company licencing Google Apps can't act in a way that would fragment Android, but must also maintain the platform's open-ness; most of Google's services must be included; Google apps must be defaults, and placed within a couple of clicks of the default home screen. No surprises but it's interesting to see the details laid out."

+ - Zynga purchases mobile game/animation tech firm NaturalMotion

Submitted by Sockatume
Sockatume (732728) writes "Zynga, the controversial Facebook and mobile games firm, have announced that they are to acquire NaturalMotion for $527m in cash and equity. Zynga hope that their acquisition's successful brands and development software will reverse their own post-Facebook decline, announcing 15% job losses within Zynga in the same statement. UK-based NaturalMotion made its name in animation technology (used in Grand Theft Auto 4 and Bioshock Infinite), and published sports and horse-related iPhone games until it acquired CSR Racing developer Boss Alien in 2012. Despite the acquisition, the company will continue to publish games under its own name."

+ - Great Firewall of UK blocks game patch because of substring matches

Submitted by Sockatume
Sockatume (732728) writes "Remember the fun of spurious substring matches, AKA the Scunthorpe problem? The UK's advanced "intelligent" internet filters do. Supposedly the country's great new filtering regime has been blocking a patch for League of Legends because some of the filenames within it include the substring "sex". Add one to the list of embarrassing failures for the nation's new mosaic of opt-out censorship systems, which have proven themselves incapable of distinguishing between abusive sites and sites for abuse victims, or sites for pornography versus sites for sexual and gender minorities."

+ - Obama's NSA snooping changes will transfer oversight to FISA courts 1

Submitted by Sockatume
Sockatume (732728) writes "President Obama will announce later today that although the NSA's data collection operations will continue, the actual information will be moved to a new "private entity". The NSA and other security agencies will then need permission from the FISC, also known as the "FISA Court", to access it. That body, which famously snooped upon Verizon's entire call database, will then evaluate whether access should be granted."

+ - NSA collects full text of 200m SMS messages per day 1

Submitted by Sockatume
Sockatume (732728) writes "Leaked documents from GCHQ, the British intelligence agency, indicate that the NSA has been accumulating a database of the full text of SMS messages, so that they can be mined for personally identifying information, travel plans, bank information, and the like. The archive targets the population in general rather than known suspects, a feature that GCHQ highlights as a major advantage."

+ - Secret Italian stem-cell treatment protocol leaked; concerns raised about safety

Submitted by Sockatume
Sockatume (732728) writes "Secret documents evaluating the stem-cell treatment offered by Italy's Stamina Foundation have been leaked to the journal Nature. The reports raise concerns about the failure to screen for pathogens, that the procedure disagrees with fundamental stem-cell science, and that parts of the clinical protocol were copied directly from Wikipedia. The leak also includes the extensive gagging clauses placed upon those evaluating the treatment's efficacy."

+ - Chinese firm can now produce 500 cloned pigs per year 1

Submitted by Sockatume
Sockatume (732728) writes "According to an article published by the BBC, Chinese firm BGI has refined cloning procedures to the point where they can produce 500 pigs per year, performing two embryo implantations per day with a 70-80% success rate. Much of the operation is concerned with producing genetically-engineered animals for research. The biotech firm's other work includes million-individual-scale animal and plant genetic sequencing."

+ - Behind the scenes of WiiU software development

Submitted by Sockatume
Sockatume (732728) writes "Digital Foundry has published an article from an anonymous but trusted developer outlining the challenges of developing for the Nintendo WiiU. The piece confirms some common perceptions of Nintendo, such as their attitude to thirdparty developers, and presents a few surprises, such that network code wasn't made available to outside developers until the console was almost on sale."

+ - Standardised laptop charger approved by IEC

Submitted by Sockatume
Sockatume (732728) writes "The IEC, the standards body which wrote the phone charger specification used in the EU, has approved a standardised laptop charger. While the "DC Power Supply for Portable Personal Computer" doesn't have a legal mandate behind it, the IEC is still optimistic that it will lead to a reduction in electronics waste and make it easier to find a replacement charger. Unfortunately the technical documentation does not seem to be available yet, but previous comments indicate that it will be a barrel plug of some kind."

+ - Disney pulls a reverse Santa, takes back Christmas shows from Amazon customers

Submitted by Sockatume
Sockatume (732728) writes "Since 2011, Amazon Instant Video has sold a series of Christmas shorts from Disney called "Prep and Landing". Unfortunately this holiday season, Disney has had a change of heart and has decided to make the shorts exclusive to its own channels. Showing an abundance of Christmas cheer, the Mickey Mouse company went so far as to retroactively withdrawn the shows from Amazon, so that customers who have already paid for them no longer have access. Apparently this reverse-Santa facility is a feature Amazon provides all publishers, and customers have little recourse but to go cap-in-hand to a Disney outlet and pay for the shows again."

+ - Sony issues detailed PS4 FAQ ahead of launch

Submitted by Sockatume
Sockatume (732728) writes "Sony has released a detailed FAQ for the PS4 system, which launches in coming weeks. Of particular note: although Bluetooth headsets will not be compatible, generic 3.5mm and USB audio devices will work; the console will require activation via the internet or a special disk before it will play Blu-ray or DVDs; media servers, MP3s, and audio CDs are not supported. The console's "suspend/resume" and remote assistance features are listed as unavailable for the North American launch, implying that they will be patched in before the console launches in Europe later in November."

+ - Dell releases new Ultrabook that smells of cat urine

Submitted by Sockatume
Sockatume (732728) writes "The BBC is reporting that Dell's Latitude 6430u Ultrabooks have an interesting characteristic you won't find in any Macbook Air: the palmrest emits an odour like cat urine. An issue with a manufacturing process is thought to be to blame. Although Dell has assured potential customers that the issue has been fixed, reports in the Dell support forum indicate that units with the novel fragrance continue to ship out to users. Dell staff state that the palmrest will be replaced by Dell at no cost, but only if the unit is still under warranty."

From Sharp minds come... pointed heads. -- Bryan Sparrowhawk