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PC Gaming Suggestions for Console-like Fun? 513

jayminer writes "We are a relatively newly married young couple who enjoy spending our spare time at home. We don't own a console but have a gaming laptop with DVI output to play games on our TV. My wife is also a CS major so she's computer literate enough. She does not like strategy games, MMORG or any other role-playing game. Apart from "Find the Sausage" jokes, we need quality gaming advice, preferably games which we can play with a single laptop connected to a single large screen, with two gamepads, a console-like experience. What are your suggestions?"
Software

HD Video Editing with Blender 73

Posthis writes "While the VSE sequence module has been part of Blender for a while, the upcoming version v2.46 comes with some new powerful video editing features, like Proxy editing, optimized FFmpeg support, and more. Not many use Blender strictly as a video editor because it's not very straight-forward, but given the fact that it now deals with HDV and 24p footage much more comfortably compared to other OSS video editors, it makes it a sound contender. This new tutorial shows the basics of how to use it as a video editor and put your masterpiece together."
Sun Microsystems

Sun Turns to Lasers to Speed Up Computer Chips 130

alphadogg writes to mention that Sun is attempting to move from the typical design of multiple small chips back to a unified single-wafer design. "The company is announcing today a $44 million contract from the Pentagon to explore replacing the wires between computer chips with laser beams. The technology, part of a field of computer science known as silicon photonics, would eradicate the most daunting bottleneck facing today's supercomputer designers: moving information rapidly to solve problems that require hundreds or thousands of processors."
The Military

World's Most Powerful Rail Gun Delivered to US Navy 615

An anonymous reader writes "The world's most powerful functional rail gun capable of accelerating projectiles up to Mach 8 has been delivered to the Navy. The new rail gun is a 32-megajoule Electro-Magnetic Laboratory Rail Gun. The Navy eventually hopes to have 64-megajoule ship mounted rail guns. 'The lab version doesn't look particularly menacing -- more like a long, belt-fed airport screening device than like a futuristic cannon -- but the system will fire rounds at up to Mach 8, drawing on tremendous amounts of electricity to generate the current for each test shot. That, of course, is the problem with rail guns: Like lasers, they're out of step with modern-day generators and capacitors. Eight and 9-megajoule rail guns have been fired before, but providing 3 million amps of power per shot has been a limitation.'"
GUI

Command Line Life Partner Wanted 503

emj writes "Craiglist offers an interesting approach to finding a life partner , summmary: "There is a sad truth to the world today. I am part of a dying breed of people known as "shell users." ... Because there are fewer and fewer of us, I must help keep our lineage alive. I am looking for someone to help me do this. I need a woman (obviously) who is willing to raise a child with me in the method of Unix."."
Input Devices

Use Your Cellphone as a 3D Mouse 77

Roland Piquepaille writes "In recent years, we've started to use our cellphones not only for placing calls or exchanging messages. Now, we take pictures, read our e-mails, listen to music or watch TV. But, according to New Scientist, UK researchers are going further with a prototype software that turns your cellphone into a 3-D mouse. The phone is connected to your computer via Bluetooth. And you control the image on the screen by rotating or moving your phone. As says one of the researchers, 'it feels like a much more natural way to interact and exchange data.' The technology might first be used in shopping malls to buy movie tickets or to interact with advertising displays."
The Internet

Is Copy Protection Needed or Futile? 392

Hugh Pickens writes "Columnist Saul Hansell is hosting a debate about copyright issues and technology on his blog at the New York Times . On one side Rick Cotton, the general counsel of NBC Universal, says that anyone who is intellectually honest must 'acknowledge, confront and speak to the tidal wave of unlawful, wholesale reproduction and distribution of copyrighted content that is currently occurring in the digital world' and that we should be 'identify workable, flexible and effective approaches that reduce piracy without being intrusive and that fully respect other interests such as privacy and fair use.' Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School, responds that 'locks will be broken, and so a business model that depends on locking is very vulnerable' adding that locks may form a part of certain successful business models but 'too much reliance on locking can seriously backfire.' Wu and Cotton will respond to each other and to comments by readers today." As for the man on the street, Panaqqa wrote us with word that the Question Copyright site has posted an interesting video of ordinary people explaining why they think copyright exists. It's pretty clear that most people don't understand it at all.
The Internet

Startup Building Floating Data Centers 256

1sockchuck writes "A Bay Area startup is planning to build data centers on cargo container ships, which would be docked at piers in major Internet markets. The company, known as IDS (International Data Security) says it plans to use biodiesel to power its generators and use heat from equipment to manage temperature on board the ships, reducing their reliance on grid power. IDS is telling prospects that it hopes to eventually have more than 20 floating data centers docked at ports around the U.S."
The Almighty Buck

Circuit City Rewards Execs As Stock Tanks 354

jamie tipped us to Dean Baker's Beat the Press blog, where Baker comments on a followup to Circuit City's firing of all its highest-paid salespeople last March (Slashdot discussion here). Circuit City's stock has cratered in the meanwhile, and their response has been to offer $1 million retention bonuses to executive VPs. Baker points out that each one of these bonuses represents 35 years' salary for one of the fired salespeople.
Space

Voyager 2 Shows Solar System Is "Dented" 173

Selikoff writes "NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft has found that our solar system is not round but is 'dented' by the local interstellar magnetic field, space experts said on Monday. The data were gathered by the craft on its 30-year journey when it crossed into a region called the 'termination shock.' The data showed that the southern hemisphere of the solar system's heliosphere is being pushed in. Voyager 2 is the second spacecraft to enter this region of the solar system, behind Voyager 1, which reached the northern region of the heliosheath in December 2004."
Government

Canada's New DMCA Considered Worst Copyright Law 234

loconet writes "The government of Canada is preparing to attempt to bring a new DMCA-modeled copyright law in Canada in order to comply with the WIPO treaties the country signed in 1997. (These treaties were also the base of the American DMCA.) The new Canadian law will be even more restrictive in nature than the American version and worse than the last Canadian copyright proposal, the defeated Bill C-60. Among the many restrictive clauses in this new law, as Michael Geist explains, is the total abolishment of the concept of fair use: 'No parody exception. No time shifting exception. No device shifting exception. No expanded backup provision. Nothing.' Geist provides a list of 30 things that can be done to address the issues."
The Almighty Buck

Close but no Cigar for Netflix Recommender System 114

Ponca City, We Love You writes "In October 2006, Netflix, the online movie rental service, announced that it would award $1 million to the first team to improve the accuracy of Netflix's movie recommendations by 10% based on personal preferences. Each contestant was given a set of data from which three million predictions were made about how certain users rated certain movies and Netflix compared that list with the actual ratings and generated a score for each team. More than 27,000 contestants from 161 countries submitted their entries and some got close, but not close enough. Today Netflix announced that it is awarding an annual progress prize of $50,000 to a group of researchers at AT&T Labs, who improved the current recommendation system by 8.43 percent but the $1 million grand prize is still up for grabs and a $50,000 progress prize will be awarded every year until the 10 percent goal is met. As part of the rules of the competition, the team was required to disclose their solution publicly. (pdf)"
Education

Bill Would Tie Financial Aid To Anti-Piracy Plans 425

theodp writes "The MPAA is applauding top Democratic politicians for introducing an anti-piracy bill that threatens the nation's colleges with the loss of a $100B a year in federal financial aid should they fail to have a technology plan to combat illegal file sharing. The proposal, which is embedded in a 747-page bill, has alarmed university officials. 'Such an extraordinarily inappropriate and punitive outcome would result in all students on that campus losing their federal financial aid — including Pell grants and student loans that are essential to their ability to attend college, advance their education, and acquire the skills necessary to compete in the 21st-century economy,' said university officials in a letter to Congress. 'Lower-income students, those most in need of federal financial aid, would be harmed most under the entertainment industry's proposal.'"

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