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Submission + - The Rebirth of PC Gaming? Bring on the Modders! (

Deathspawner writes: "The future of PC gaming is oft-debated, but one thing's for certain: modding has always made it better. With that, wouldn't it make sense for developers to focus more on giving the community the modding tools it needs? Further, couldn't publishers look to modding as a way to increase revenue, by allowing modders to sell their sanctioned creations? Valve already offers robust community options in its Steam platform — and already has payment processing in place. Is this the natural next step for PC gaming?"

Submission + - Scientists argue for new climate science approach

Gyreign writes: A number of mistakes and eroding public confidence has some scientists calling for drastic changes in how future United Nations climate reports are handled. Scientists are laying out arguments for reform in Thursday's issue of Nature as clamor grows for the resignation of the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
"Like the financial sector last year, the IPCC is currently experiencing a failure of trust that reeals flaws in its structure," wrote Eduardo Zorita of the GKSS Research Centre in Germany.

Iran Suspends Google's Email Service 436

appl_iran writes "Iran's telecommunications agency announced that it would be suspending Google's email services permanently, saying it would roll out its own national email service." From the short WSJ article that is kernel of this Reuters story: "An Iranian official said the measure was meant to boost local development of Internet technology and to build trust between people and the government." Funny way to go about that. Updated 20100211 9:54GMT by timothy: Original link swapped for a more appropriate, updated one.
The Courts

RIAA To Appeal Thomas-Rasset Ruling 275

frank_adrian314159 writes "The RIAA will appeal the ruling that reduced Jammie Thomas-Rasset's $1.92 million fine for file sharing to $54,000. '"It is a shame that Ms. Thomas-Rasset continues to deny any responsibility for her actions rather than accept a reasonable settlement offer and put this case behind her," said RIAA spokeswoman Cara Duckworth.' Joe Sibley, an attorney for Thomas-Rasset, said his client would not settle for the $25,000 that the RIAA has asked for. '"Jammie is not going to agree to pay any amount of money to them," Sibley said, adding that it doesn't matter to Thomas-Rasset whether the damages are $25,000 or $1.92 million.' In addition, Thomas-Rasset's attorneys say that, win or lose, they plan to appeal the constitutionality of the fine."

Phone and Text Bans On Drivers Shown Ineffective 406

shmG writes to share news of a recent study on the impact of laws which ban the use of cell phones while driving. There appears to be no reduction in accidents as a result of these laws. "The HLDI compared collisions of 100 insured vehicles per year in New York, Washington DC, Connecticut, and California — all states with currently enacted roadway text bans. Despite those laws, monthly fluctuations in crash rates didn't change after bans were enacted, [although] there were less people using devices while driving. An earlier study conducted by the HLDI reported that cellphone use was directly linked to four-fold increases in crash injuries. Also independent studies done by universities have shown correlation between driving while using a phone and crashes."

New Touchscreen Technology Like Writing On Paper 123

An anonymous reader writes "A company claims it has the technology to make writing on touchscreens more like writing with pencil and paper, when the harder you press the thicker the line you produce. The technology uses a material called Quantum Tunneling Composite (QTC), the resistance of which is extremely sensitive to pressure, unlike today's touchscreen phones, which might be fine for basic finger-pointing, but they are poor at gauging the pressure of the touch. The hope is that this will be useful in Asia for handwriting recognition, because Asian scripts use a lot of variation in line thickness. Interestingly, screens with a standard 2D touch matrix can get the extra measure of control using a narrow strip of QTC down the side."

Has Apple Created the Perfect Board Game Platform? 531

andylim writes " is running an interesting piece about how Apple has created a 'Jumanji (board game) platform.' The 9.7-inch multi-touch screen is perfect for playing board games at home, and you could use Wi-Fi or 3G to play against other people when you're on your own. What would be really interesting is if you could pair the iPad with iPhones, 'Imagine a Scrabble iPad game that used iPhones as letter holders. You could hold up your iPhone so that no one else could see your letters and when you were ready to make a word on the Scrabble iPad board, you could slide them on to the board by flicking the word tiles off your iPhone.' Now that would be cool."

iPad Is a "Huge Step Backward" 1634

An anonymous reader writes "FSF's John Sullivan launches the Defective by Design campaign and petition to rain on Steve's parade, barely minutes out of the starting gate. 'This is a huge step backward in the history of computing,' said FSF's Holmes Wilson, 'If the first personal computers required permission from the manufacturer for each new program or new feature, the history of computing would be as dismally totalitarian as the milieu in Apple's famous Super Bowl ad.' The iPad has DRM writ large: you can only install what Apple says you may, and 'computing' goes consumer mainstream — no more twiddling, just sit back, spend your money, and watch the show — while we allow you to." What is clear is that the rise of the App Store removes control of the computer from the user. It makes me wonder what the next generation of OS X will look like.
PC Games (Games)

Future Ubisoft Games To Require Constant Internet Access 497

Following up on our discussion yesterday of annoying game distribution platforms, Ubisoft has announced the details of their Online Services Platform, which they will use to distribute and administer future PC game releases. The platform will require internet access in order to play installed games, saved games will be stored remotely, and the game you're playing will even pause and try to reconnect if your connection is lost during play. Quoting Rock, Paper, Shotgun: "This seems like such a bizarre, bewildering backward step. Of course we haven't experienced it yet, but based on Ubi’s own description of the system so many concerns arise. Yes, certainly, most people have the internet all the time on their PCs. But not all people. So already a percentage of the audience is lost. Then comes those who own gaming laptops, who now will not be able to play games on trains, buses, in the park, or anywhere they may not be able to find a WiFi connection (something that’s rarely free in the UK, of course – fancy paying the £10/hour in the airport to play your Ubisoft game?). Then there's the day your internet is down, and the engineers can’t come out to fix it until tomorrow. No game for you. Or any of the dozens of other situations when the internet is not available to a player. But further, there are people who do not wish to let a publisher know their private gaming habits. People who do not wish to report in to a company they’ve no affiliation with, nor accountability to, whenever they play a game they’ve legally bought. People who don’t want their save data stored remotely. This new system renders all customers beholden to Ubisoft in perpetuity whenever they buy their games."

'Innovation In a Flash' Is a Myth 163

An anonymous reader writes "A New York Times article spells out what most of us probably already knew: real innovation takes lots of time and hard work to come to fruition. The article looks at the origins of new ideas, and attempts to dispel the myth that 'Eureka' moments create change. Comments author Scott Berkun, 'To focus on the magic moments is to miss the point. The goal isn't the magic moment: it's the end result of a useful innovation. Everything results from accretion. I didn't invent the English language. I have to use a language that someone else created in order to talk to you. So the process by which something is created is always incremental. It always involves using stuff that other people have made.'"

The trouble with money is it costs too much!