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Comment I liked the PC controls. (Score 1) 49

I'm going to disagree with the interface evaluation- I actually like it quite a bit on the PC side with the mouse/keyboard set up, and to me that was preferable to the PS3 interface. I could use hotkeys and the mouse combos, which is my preferred playing style, and I thought it worked great.I agree with some of the commentors that the menu interface is a bit clunky, though.

Television

How High-Tech Gadget Trends Differ By US Region 51

Ant writes in with news of a study revealing differences in gadget preferences by US region. The survey is not rigorous, based as it was on 7,500 online questionnaires submitted to Retrevo, a website for tech shoppers. The company plans to run the survey annually. "...in the smartphone category, the state of Maryland came out on top with 48 percent more households owning at least one such handset than elsewhere in the country. ... In iPad use, the state of New York took top honors. According to the survey, 52 percent more households have at least one iPad in the Empire State. ... Massachusetts beat out the rest of the nation in e-reader adoption..."

Comment Re:It was never illegal in the first place (Score 2, Informative) 423

Not quite. While reverse engineering is ordinarily legal, the anti-circumvention provision of the DMCA doesn't make allowances for fair use or other uses that may have otherwise been legal. That's one of the reasons the Section 1201 rulemaking procedure exists; to see if there are legitimate reasons for circumventing technological protection measures. I think it's a bit backwards, personally.

Comment Re:Is this subject to a whim? (Score 5, Informative) 423

The Librarian of Congress is appointed by the President. The Register of Copyrights is appoints by the Librarian.

There is an extensive rule-making procedure for this process (Section 1201 rulemaking- see the featured link at copyright.gov). Unfortunately, those asking for the exemptions generally bear the burden of proof, and have to ask for the exemptions every three years. It is difficult to plan based on these exemptions.

Image

Prince Says Internet Is Over 450

the_arrow writes "According to the artist currently known as Prince, 'The internet's completely over.' At least that what he says in an interview with the British newspaper Mirror. Quoting Prince: 'The internet's like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you.'"
Image

How Sperm Whales Offset Their Carbon Footprint 150

Boy Wunda writes "Scientists at Flinders University in South Australia found that in an awesome example of design by Mother Nature, Southern Ocean sperm whales offset their carbon footprint by simply defecating – an action that releases tons of iron a year and stimulates the growth of phytoplankton which absorb and trap carbon dioxide. If only we humans could say the same for our poop, which really doesn't do much more than just sit there." I'm going to do my part by buying some iron supplements and a can of chili, and heading off toward the ocean.

Comment Re:They Need to Write a Distinction into Their Stu (Score 1) 261

In the report, they do distinguish between what they term "counterfitting" and "piracy." Unfortunately, their definition of piracy is still overbroad, referring to making any unauthorized copy (which, as we should know, is not always illegal).

The report is good in pointing out that none of the Internet-based piracy "research" is reliable, specifically looking at numbers the Government claims, the BSA, and the MPAA studies.

The report still says that despite these weaknesses, piracy is a problem.

Comment Privacy is more nuanced than that... (Score 3, Informative) 521

Privacy is a nebulous concept, and it's possible that in some cases, we give up privacy, and in others, we don't. It's not necessarily a binary on/off thing that you either have or you don't. I don't believe that people who say that privacy is dead are correct; or if they are, it's a very narrow view of privacy. You still don't have people watching you in the shower, for example. (Hopefully...)

Check out Daniel Solove's work- here's a good start.
"I've got nothing to hide" and other misunderstandings of privacy
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=998565&rec=1&srcabs=667622

He's got some other interesting articles on the subject there, and some interesting books as well.

There are still things you can fight for to protect privacy, even if you are giving up some facets. You can fight against ubiquitous surveillance, and continue to do the things that you're doing to protect your privacy. You can help make threats to privacy transparent, for example, by supporting groups like EFF.

Comment Re:Good (Score 4, Insightful) 218

Orphaned works are most certainly not a fiction. As someone who regularly works with libraries, archives, & museums, I can say with some certainty that orphan works are huge problems for such entities, and copyright law as it's currently instantiated ensures that these works may disappear forever. Orphaned works are the majority of works in existence.

See the Copyright Office comments (and the US Copyright Office favors strong copyright laws)
http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/
See the Association of Research Libraries comments to the Copyright Office
http://www.arl.org/bm~doc/lcacomment0305.pdf
See the Society of American Archivists Best Practices
http://www.archivists.org/standards/OWBP-V4.pdf
See some of Peter Hirtle's comments.
http://blog.librarylaw.com/librarylaw/2009/09/orphan-works-and-the-google-book-settlement.html ...and so on.

Orphaned works is a huge issue, and will become more of an issue as we attempt to work with and preserve digital works.

Censorship

Italy Floats Official Permission Requirement for Web Video Uploads 131

An anonymous reader writes with some bad news from Italy, noting that new rules proposed there would "require people who upload videos onto the Internet to obtain authorization from the Communications Ministry similar to that required by television broadcasters, drastically reducing freedom to communicate over the Web." Understandably, some say such controls represent a conflict of interest for Silvio Berlusconi, "who exercises political control over the state broadcaster RAI in his role as prime minister and is also the owner of Italy's largest private broadcaster, Mediaset."
Image

Police Called Over 11-Year-Old's Science Project 687

garg0yle writes "Police in San Diego were called to investigate an 11-year-old's science project, consisting of 'a motion detector made out of an empty Gatorade bottle and some electronics,' after the vice-principal came to the conclusion that it was a bomb. Charges aren't being laid against the youth, but it's being recommended that he and his family 'get counseling.' Apparently, the student violated school policies — I'm assuming these are policies against having any kind of independent thought?"
Mars

Mars Images Reveal Evidence of Ancient Lakes 128

Matt_dk writes "Spectacular satellite images suggest that Mars was warm enough to sustain lakes three billion years ago, a period that was previously thought to be too cold and arid to sustain water on the surface, according to research published today in the journal Geology. Earlier research had suggested that Mars had a warm and wet early history but that between 4 billion and 3.8 billion years ago, before the Hesperian Epoch, the planet lost most of its atmosphere and became cold and dry. In the new study, the researchers analysed detailed images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is currently circling the red planet, and concluded that there were later episodes where Mars experienced warm and wet periods."

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