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Comment Voted Down (Score 1) 276

For what it's worth, it was a narrow defeat 217-205 with neither party voting in lockstep. It was close enough to make the White House sweat. If the point was to start a conversation, it looks like Rep. Amash got their attention. I'm not sure whether the American public will ever get to hear more about the program, but the administration is going to have to give a lot more information to a wider array of congressmen if they want their support. I have a feeling there were a lot of Democrats making a deal that they would vote with the White House this time in exchange for more information on the program before it comes up for a vote again. It's going to be a pretty unpopular vote to have on their record come election time. Amash clearly has a good PR bone here and he isn't going to just let this die quielty now.
Biotech

Genetically Engineered Silkworms Spin Spider Silk 188

disco_tracy writes "Silkworms have been modified to produce spider silk, creating a fabric that could be used in everything from bulletproof clothing to artificial tendons." For some reason, this is far less revolting to me than the idea of spider silk being milked out of goats.
Handhelds

When You Really, Really Want to Upgrade a Tiny Notebook 104

Benz145 writes "The famous Sony VAIO UX UMPC may have been cancelled a few years back by Sony, but the community at Micro PC Talk won't let it die. Modder Anh has carefully removed the relatively slow 1.33Ghz Core Solo CPU and installed a much faster Intel Core 2 Duo U7700 (a process which involves reballing the entire CPU). On top of this, he managed to install an incredibly small 4-port USB hub into the unit which allowed for the further instillation of a Huawei E172 modem for 3G data/voice/SMS, a GPS receiver, and a Pinnacle HD TV receiver. All of this was done without modifying the device's tiny external case. Great high-res pictures of the motherboard with the modded hardware can be seen through the link."
Businesses

Game Prices — a Historical Perspective 225

The Opposable Thumbs blog scrutinizes the common wisdom that video games are too expensive, or that they're more expensive than they were in the past. They found that while in some cases the sticker price has increased, it generally hasn't outpaced inflation, making 2010 a cheaper time to be a gamer than the '80s and '90s. Quoting: "... we tracked down a press release putting the suggested retail price of both Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64 at $69.99. [Hal Halpin, president of the Entertainment Consumer's Association] says that the N64 launch game pricing only tells you part of the story. 'Yes, some N64 games retailed for as high as $80, but it was also the high end of a 60 to 80 dollar range,' he told Ars. 'Retailers had more flexibility with pricing back then — though they've consistently maintained that the Suggested Retail Price was/is just a guide. Adjusted for inflation, we're generally paying less now than we have historically. But to be fair, DLC isn't factored in.' He also points out all the different ways that we can now access games: you can buy a game used, rent a game, or play certain online games for free. There are multiple ways to sell your old console games, and the competition in the market causes prices to fall quickly."

Comment Aren't those security concerns, not privacy? (Score 1) 126

They're good moves, don't get me wrong, but I'm more worried about all of the privacy data flying around to who-knows-where. Was anyone complaining about how a friend took their phone and logged into Facebook to look at their Friends' vacation photos? If someone hacks my account that's a completely separate issue.
Piracy

Ubisoft's Authentication Servers Go Down 634

ZuchinniOne writes "With Ubisoft's fantastically awful new DRM you must be online and logged in to their servers to play the games you buy. Not only was this DRM broken the very first day it was released, but now their authentication servers have failed so absolutely that no-one who legally bought their games can play them. 'At around 8am GMT, people began to complain in the Assassin's Creed 2 forum that they couldn't access the Ubisoft servers and were unable to play their games.' One can only hope that this utter failure will help to stem the tide of bad DRM."
Patents

Patent Markings May Spell Trouble For Activision 82

eldavojohn writes "If you pick up your copy of Guitar Hero and read the literature, you'll notice it says 'patent pending' and cites a number of patents. A group alleges no such patent pends nor are some of the patents applicable. If a judge finds Activision guilty of misleading the public in this manner, they could become liable for up to $500 per product sold under false patent marking. The patents in question seem to be legitimately Guitar Hero-oriented, and little is to be found about the mysterious group. The final piece of the puzzle puts the filing in Texas Northern District Court, which might be close enough to Texas Eastern District Court to write this off as a new kind of 'false patent marking troll' targeting big fish with deep coffers."
Piracy

Sony Joins the Offensive Against Pre-Owned Games 461

BanjoTed writes "In a move to counter sales of pre-owned games, EA recently revealed DLC perks for those who buy new copies of Mass Effect 2 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Now, PlayStation platform holder Sony has jumped on the bandwagon with similar plans for the PSP's SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3. '[Players] will need to register their game online before they are able to access the multiplayer component of the title. UMD copies will use a redeemable code while the digital version will authenticate automatically in the background. Furthermore ... anyone buying a pre-owned copy of the game will be forced to cough up $20 to obtain a code to play online."

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