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Submission + - BBC unveils finished micro:bit set for free, open launch this October->

An anonymous reader writes: The BBC has announced the final design of its educational micro:bit microcontroller, a pocket-sized codeable computer which the broadcasting giant will release under an open source licence in late 2015. The Micro Bit was first announced in March and marks the BBC’s most ambitious step into technology education for 30 years since the BBC Micro, launched in partnership with Acorn Computers. The micro:bit will offer a range of coding content, lesson plans, and media resources aimed at teaching and encouraging school children to program. Since it was first announced the design of the micro:bit’s board has changed considerably. The device now features three crocodile clip-friendly GPIO connectors and power rails on one side. The final version also includes two button located on top of the board, a 5x5 surface-mount LED grid, an accelerometer, a magnetometer, Bluetooth chips on the underside, and an ARM mbed microprocessor. Micro:bits will be offered free of charge to every child aged between 11 and 12 across the UK from October. A commercial launch is expected to follow, but dates and price details are yet been confirmed. The BBC also said that it was committed to sharing the complete technical specifications for the micro:bit with an open source licence. The initiative will be backed by a not-for-profit partnership between the BBC and companies including ARM, Samsung and Microsoft.
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:NFSN.net (Score 4, Informative) 148

Specifically, this post from their blog illustrates how far NFSN will go to defend their users against anybody (in this case, the UK government) who tries to bully them without proper authority.

The official lawyers for the UK government are basically saying on official letterhead (even their own filename contains “Letterhead”), “Hey, we heard you’re small. Well, we’re the world’s 6th largest economy, so we can put you out of business with legal bills if you don’t play ball.” Now, it’s not super-unusual to see a lawyer say something menacing about how if they win, you’ll have to pay their legal fees — even though that’s often not true in the US. What’s different here is that they dropped “if we win” and added “we will ruin you.” Stating that if someone doesn’t cooperate, your strategy will be to run up enough legal bills to put them out of business whether you win or not is a little different. It’s the sort of thing you expect to hear from the smarmy thug lawyer for the big bad corporation in a formulaic TV legal drama. We don’t generally see it in the real world from the legal representatives of a developed country.

Fortunately, they heard wrong. Our excellent legal team is ready, willing, and able to vigorously defend us should the need arise.

So, the story so far is that we asked to have the proper legal process followed, and the UK’s lawyers threatened to destroy us. Despite this, we are refusing to censor our member’s site. We steadfastly believe we are under no legal obligation to do so, that we will prevail in any US legal action that arises from this matter, and that any attempt by the UK government to spend us into oblivion will fail. More news as it happens.

Comment NFSN.net (Score 4, Informative) 148

For this (as well as their other policies) I'd recommend NearlyFreeSpeech.net - they have a DMCA policy page which clearly lays out the requirements that must be met to anybody intending to make a takedown claim. They're run as a pay-what-you-use host for people who have at least a small amount of knowledge of what they're doing (no cPanel interfaces here!) and from their blog and general demeanour it's clear that they are a company run by nerds who Do Things Properly.

I have no doubt that they'd follow the law if issued with a full and proper DMCA notice, but I also have no doubt that they would not give the benefit of the doubt to, or go out of their way to assist somebody filing incomplete or incorrect takedown notices.

(Full disclosure: While I've hosted my small website with NFSN for a number of years I've never received a DMCA takedown notice and I have no material which is at all likely to generate any.)

The Media

What Does It Actually Cost To Publish a Scientific Paper? 166

ananyo writes "Nature has published an investigation into the real costs of publishing research after delving into the secretive, murky world of science publishing. Few publishers (open access or otherwise-including Nature Publishing Group) would reveal their profit margins, but they've pieced together a picture of how much it really costs to publish a paper by talking to analysts and insiders. Quoting from the piece: '"The costs of research publishing can be much lower than people think," agrees Peter Binfield, co-founder of one of the newest open-access journals, PeerJ, and formerly a publisher at PLoS. But publishers of subscription journals insist that such views are misguided — born of a failure to appreciate the value they add to the papers they publish, and to the research community as a whole. They say that their commercial operations are in fact quite efficient, so that if a switch to open-access publishing led scientists to drive down fees by choosing cheaper journals, it would undermine important values such as editorial quality.' There's also a comment piece by three open access advocates setting out what they think needs to happen next to push forward the movement as well as a piece arguing that 'Objections to the Creative Commons attribution license are straw men raised by parties who want open access to be as closed as possible.'"
Science

Interviews: James Randi Answers Your Questions 217

A while ago you had the chance to ask James Randi, the founder of The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), about exposing hucksters, frauds, and fakers. Below you'll find his answers to your questions. In addition to his writings below, Randi was nice enough to sit down and talk to us about his life and his foundation. Keep an eye out for those videos coming soon.

Comment Re:A55 RGY Takes the Cake (Score 1) 178

http://grupthinkpro.s3.amazonaws.com/grupthinklive80240347b2eab6b15fd4935656ba50e8

Nobody will ever top Florida "A55 RGY" with the big orange in the middle serving as the letter "O."

A55 O RGY

Step aside, Slashdot... *puts on shades*... I got this.

Your new 'best plate ever'.

Thanks, Bay Area!

Comment Re:take the risk and Genius Bar (Score 1) 225

The mystifying part is a contract smartphone is still like $100/month bill, right? So $200 is pocket change to a smartphone contract victim, its like 2 months service.

If you're in the USA, sure. I live in the UK and pay £10/month for unlimited data, texts, and a small number of minutes which I don't use. (GiffGaff - Affiliate link.) It's astounding how deeply Americans get ripped off for phone service, and when I was living over there, shopping for mobile phones was one of the few times I felt genuinely, truly insulted as a customer. There's a lot of industries with shoddy customer service but getting a mobile phone in the US really feels like paying somebody to spit in your face.

Image

Jordanian Mayor Angry Over "Alien Invasion" Prank 217

krou writes "Jordanian mayor Mohammed Mleihan has taken a dim view of local newspaper Al-Ghad's April Fools prank, which saw a front page story claiming that 'flying saucers flown by 3m (10ft) creatures had landed in the desert town of Jafr.' The paper claimed that communication networks had gone down, and people were fleeing the area. The mayor called the local security authorities, who combed the area, but they were unable to find any evidence of the aliens. Mr Mleihan is now considering suing because of the distress it caused to residents: 'Students didn't go to school, their parents were frightened and I almost evacuated the town's 13,000 residents. People were scared that aliens would attack them.'" I guess they've never heard of Orson Welles in Jordan.
Apple

Submission + - iPad teardown photographs leaked by FCC

TACD writes: iFixit has laid its hands on some photos of the iPad's internals that were apparently leaked by the FCC. It looks like they're still poring over the pictures to glean as much information as possible but there's already some interesting information available. For one thing, the shots were supposed to stay under wraps until August 17th. Whoops!

Comment It only took a decade or so... (Score 4, Insightful) 362

You'd think the music companies would have at least one economist on staff who could explain to them, slowly and gently, that under certain circumstances it is actually possible to make more money when each individual unit is priced lower. It really takes some stubborn failure of logic to prioritise your sale price above your actual monetary returns.

Of course, it's also possible that the music quality will just decline to compensate for the drop in price.

"Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows." -- Robert G. Ingersoll

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