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PC Games (Games)

London Lawyers Demand £600 For One Game 404

Barence writes "A PC Pro reader has received a demand for a £600 out-of-court settlement from lawyers claiming to have forensic evidence that he illegally downloaded a PC game on BitTorrent. The law firm, Davenport Lyons, is acting on the behalf of German games distributor Zuxxez, creator of the game in question, Two Worlds. The PC Pro reader was given no prior warning to stop file sharing, unlike the usual 'three strikes and you're out' approach adopted by the music industry. The reader says, 'To add insult to injury it [Davenport Lyons] didn't pay enough postage on the letter and I had to collect it from the sorting office at a cost of £1.30. This also used up most of the two weeks that it allowed for a response.'"
Music

Sony to Buy Gracenote 146

Ian Lamont writes "Sony is buying Gracenote for $260 million. Sony will use Gracenote's online music database in its own digital content and devices, but Gracenote will operate separately and keep its own management. It's an interesting move, because many other entertainment companies and services depend on the Gracenote database, including iTunes, Yahoo, Winamp, and even the onboard stereo system used in some new Cadillacs. Gracenote has been criticized for turning the once-open CDDB project into a 'quagmire of heavy contracts, licensing fees, forced user registration and anti-competition clauses.'"

Spreading "1 in 5" Number Does More Harm Than Good 382

Regular Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton has some opinions on child safety online and the use of fear mongering. Here are his thoughts. "The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has been running online ads for several years saying that "Each year 1 in 5 children is sexually solicited online", a statistic that has been endlessly repeated, including by vendors of blocking software and by politicians who often paraphrase it to say that 1 in 5 children "are approached by online predators". While others have quietly documented the problems with this statistic, lawmakers still bring it out every year in a push for more online regulation (preempted this year only by the topic du jour of cyberbullying), so it's time for anti-censorship organizations to start campaigning more aggressively against the misleading "1 in 5" number. That means two things: framing the debate with more accurate numbers, and holding the parties accountable for disseminating the wrong ones -- and that means naming names, including those of organizations like the NCMEC that are normally beyond reproach." Read below for the rest.
The Military

US Claims Satellite Shoot-Down Success 616

Readers of Slashdot last valentines day will remember discussing US Plans to Shoot down a damaged spy satellite. An anonymous reader noted that the US is reporting success last night, thus saving us from hydrazine exposure. Of course this makes me wonder- if it's this easy, wouldn't an international super power war pretty much immediately mean the downing of every satellite in orbit?
Cellphones

Analog Cell Phone Network Shuts Down Monday 205

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "AT&T and Verizon will be shutting down their old, analog AMPS networks next Monday, and AT&T will also turn off its old TDMA network, with smaller providers expected to follow thanks to a sunset date set by the FCC. After these old networks are shut down, the networks will be all digital. Of course, if you have one of those old fashioned 'just a phone' cellphones and it happens to be analog, you'd best enjoy the last few days before it becomes useless."
The Internet

Internet "Creates Pedophiles" According to "Expert" 548

Brian Ribbon writes "In the latest sensationalist article about pedophiles on the internet, the director of a Spanish vigilante organization has claimed that the internet 'creates pedophiles'. While conflating pedophilia with child sexual abuse, the 'expert' quoted in the article incorrectly states that 'studies show that some pedophiles feel attracted to children from an early age, but the majority of them develop the tendency later on'; he then claims that 'the internet can become a catalyst for people belonging to the latter group.'"
Real Time Strategy (Games)

The Physics of Football 163

Ponca City, We Love You writes "There will be a program on applied physics and real time strategy that you might want to watch on television today. Conservation of momentum during elastic and inelastic collisions is one aspect on which to focus as players tackle their opponents. It is of critical importance that the Patriots bring down New York's huge and powerful running back, 6-foot-4, 265-pound Brandon Jacobs. An average-size NFL defensive back's mass combined with his speed — on average, 4.56 seconds for the 40-yard dash — can produce up to 1600 pounds of tackling force. A tackle with half a ton of force may sound like a crippling blow, but the body can handle twice that amount because the player's equipment spreads out the incoming energy, lessening its severity." Nanotech specialists from Cornell have developed their own take on the "physics" of the Super Bowl by creating the world's smallest trophy, which will be awarded today to a contestant who best explains an aspect of football physics. Just some food for thought while you watch the game on your brand new HD television, though you'd better not be watching it in a church.
Transportation

Airport Profilers Learn to Read Facial Expressions 676

nldavepc writes "There has been a rather scary development in airport security. Airport profilers are watching people's facial expressions for clues of terrorist intent. According to the article,"Travelers at Sea-Tac and dozens of other major airports across America are being scrutinized by teams of TSA behavior-detection officers specially trained to discern the subtlest suspicious behaviors.""
The Internet

Australian Government To Mandate Internet Filters 305

ratzmilk writes "The Australian government is mandating the creation of 'clean' internet feeds. To be optionally made available to schools and homes that request it, the feed would offer built-in filters of 'pornography and inappropriate content'. Said Senator Controy: 'Labor makes no apologies to those that argue that any regulation of the internet is like going down the Chinese road ... If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree.'"

Feed Engadget: Crapgadget: creepy baby pillow, fake Alienware PMP, USB message wand, and more! (engadget.com)


The endless flood of lame gadgets actually slowed this week in what we can only assume is a lull before the post-holiday gift-card-targeting storm, but rest assured that some still made into our inbox -- it always does. Good thing we've got Crapgadget. Enjoy the crap out of this, okay? We nearly gouged our eyes out in the making.

PS. Next week we're having A Crapgadget Christmas -- so send in pics of the worst, crappiest gadgets you get under the tree to crapgadget at engadget dawt com!

Read - Zaky baby pillow: These darn kids today, they don't live in enough terror. [Via Coolest-Gadgets]
Read - Alienware KIRF PMP: Ah, nothing goes with crappy, generic PMPs like a little light trademark infringement. [Via PMP Today]
Read - Balanzza Digital Luggage Scale: This thing might not even be worth $30 at an airport gift shop. [Via Techie Diva]
Read - USB message wand: Why communicate with others when you can just furiously wave a pre-programmed message at them?
Read - Pasen ONION1 PMP: Pasen's LAZYBUM PMP, now with added inscrutable branding! [Via Generation MP3]

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Networking

Submission + - Cisco to Allow Third Parties to access IOS (networkworld.com)

MT628496 writes: Cisco plans to build IOS on a UNIX kernel and allow third party developers to access certain parts of it. IOS has traditionally been a closely guarded piece of software without any way for anyone to add functionality. There is not a time frame for when this is to occur.
Mandriva

Mandriva's Open Letter To Steve Ballmer 357

An anonymous reader writes "An entry on the Mandriva Blog, written by Mandriva CEO François Bancilhon, says that the Nigerian government, after ordering thousands of Classmate PCs with Mandriva Linux installed, has suddenly decided that they will instead install Windows. They will pay for the pre-loaded Mandriva Linux on the low-cost computing devices intended for children in the developing world, but immmediately replace the OS. The blog doesn't quite use the 'B' word but does suggest that this was not a decision that the Nigerian government made on its own."

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