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Role Playing (Games)

Looking Back At Dungeons & Dragons 189

An anonymous reader sends in a nostalgic piece about Dungeons & Dragons and the influence it's had on games and gamers for the past 36 years. Quoting: "Maybe there was something in the air during the early '70s. Maybe it was historically inevitable. But it seems way more than convenient coincidence that Gygax and Arneson got their first packet of rules for D&D out the door in 1974, the same year Nolan Bushnell managed to cobble together a little arcade machine called Pong. We've never had fun quite the same way since. Looking back, these two events set today's world of gaming into motion — the Romulus and Remus of modern game civilization. For the rest of forever, we would sit around and argue whether games should let us do more or tell us better stories."
Linux

Submission + - Danish Schoolchildren Complaints About OpenOffice (blogspot.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In Denmark in an open letter to the mayor, city council and the IT manager in Lyngby-Taarbaek Municipality, the Virum School student council is now targeting sharp criticism against the decision to replace Microsoft Office with OpenOffice. There are major problems with programs and students lack training in how to use them, says the criticism.
Portables

Submission + - 12 hour battery life in a high-end laptop? Asus sa (hjkladshjkladshjkladfs.org)

ScuttleMonkey writes: "Asus' new high end laptop could finally be the traveler's best accoutrement, touting twelve hour battery life thanks to intelligent, second-by-second, switching between the two GPUs and automatic on-the-fly re-clocking of the Intel Core i7 CPU. All this also comes in with a price tag of just over $1,000. "ASUS's solution is different because it's user-transparent; even a novice user will get the fullest possible benefit because the laptop itself is deciding when to switch. The same principle applies to the dynamic CPU clocking. ASUS includes a desktop widget to track CPU clock speed. While using the UL80JT, I could see it moving up and down with what I did; up with program openings and CPU-intensive processes, and way down at idle. Between the GPU switching, dynamic clocking, and ASUS's other power management features, the UL80JT manages to consume less than half as much power as the unibody Macbook while browsing.""

Submission + - Facebook files charges to digital suicide service (www.nu.nl) 1

xonen writes: Last week, a dutch artist collective opened a new webservice, the 'suicide machine'. Their service automates the deletion of your accounts, and account related information like friends, for a variety of services including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Their aim is to 'help you get rid of those energy consuming social networks'.

Facebook now filed charges against the website, claiming they violate their terms and conditions, and are illegaly requesting account information from their users, and applying automated access to the facebook website.

In a reaction, Moddr, the owner of the website, responded: "We are not violating their terms, if any, the users are because they are the ones providing us their account information". Also, they plan not to comply to facebook's C&D letter "Facebook is the only one that has contacted us. So far we didn't hear nothing from twitter and linkedin". Instead of complying, they plan to have a workaround ready as soon as monday to 'circumvent the blockade that facebook put on our servers". They seek aid of a lawyer nevertheless.

Excuses for my bad english.

Movies

Submission + - Here We Go Again: Video Standards War 2010 (consortiuminfo.org)

Andy Updegrove writes: Think of the words "standards war," and if you're of a certain age you're likely to think of the battle between the Betamax and VHS video tape formats. Fast forward, and you'll recall we just finished another video standards war between most of the same companies, this time between HD DVD and Blu-ray. Well, here we go again, except this time its the movie studios that are duking it out, and DRM issues is a big part of it. On the one side are five of the six major studios, dozens of cable, hardware, software, distribution and device vendors, and on the other side there's just Disney — and maybe Apple as well, and that's enough to have the other side worried.

Submission + - Mosque sound system hacked (www.rnw.nl)

meatron writes: Many towns in Turkey use a centralized electronic system for calls to prayer ("ezan") five times a day. In the blacksea coast town Rize, someone hacked the system, 170 mosques were playing songs mainly by the great musician Zeki Müren for more then 5 minutes. The mufti was shocked, he is talking about sabotage. Details in Turkish.
Games

Submission + - How to judge legal risk when making a game clone? 1

An anonymous reader writes: I'm an indie game developer making a clone of a rather obscure old game. Gameplay in my clone is very similar to the old game and my clone even has a very similar name because I want to attract fans of the original. The original game has no trademark or software patent associated with it and my clone isn't infringing on the original's copyright in any way (all the programming and artwork is original work), but nevertheless I'm still worried about the possibility of running afoul of a look and feel lawsuit or something similar. How do I make sure I'm legally in the clear without hiring an expensive lawyer that my indie developer budget can't afford?
The Internet

Submission + - UK Government Prepares FREE Broadband and Laptops (ispreview.co.uk) 1

Mark.JUK writes: The UK government has confirmed plans for a 2011 rollout of its £300m 'Broadband for All' scheme, which was first revealed in September 2008. The project will give a grant of 500GBP to children from 270,000 low income families (earning less than 16,040GBP per year), allowing them to select an approved computer. This will also include a free 12 month broadband Internet access subscription. The scheme will initially be offered to children aged between 7 and 13.
Censorship

China Faces Piracy Suit Over Censorship Software 113

angry tapir writes "Web software filtering vendor CyberSitter has filed a $2.2B lawsuit against the Chinese government, two Chinese software makers, and seven major computer manufacturers for their distribution of Green Dam Youth Escort, a controversial Web filtering package the Chinese government had mandated to be installed on computers sold there. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that Green Dam copied code from CyberSitter."
Security

Slovak Police Planted Explosives On Air Travelers 926

Entropy98 writes "Slovakian Police have planted explosives on 8 unsuspecting air travelers. Seven were stopped by airport security, including one man arrested and held upon arriving at a Dublin airport. Unbelievably, one innocent traveler made it home with 90 grams of explosives, and had his flat surrounded by the police and bomb squad."
Earth

CIA Teams Up With Scientists To Monitor Climate 417

MikeChino writes "The CIA has just joined up with climate researchers to re-launch a data-sharing initiative that will use spy satellites and other CIA asets to help scientists figure out what climate change is doing to cloud cover, forests, deserts, and more. The collaboration is an extension of the Measurements of Earth Data for Environmental Analysis program, which President Bush canceled in 2001, and it will use reconnaissance satellites to track ice floes moving through the Arctic basin, creating data that could be used for ice forecasts." Even though the program is "basically free" in terms of CIA involvement, the Times notes: "Controversy has often dogged the use of federal intelligence gear for environmental monitoring. In October, days after the CIA opened a small unit to assess the security implications of climate change, Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, said the agency should be fighting terrorists, 'not spying on sea lions.'"

Comment Illusion of dark matter (Score 1) 575

"Horava’s graviton fluctuates as it interacts with normal matter, making gravity pull a bit more strongly than expected in general relativity."

Now that's what sounds promising. Dark matter always seemed like an ad hoc explanaition. How would you (try to) falsify that dark matter exist under the current theories that are predicting it?

Comment No hit-by-bus protection (Score 3, Interesting) 429

While it seems the prosecutors in this case are overreacting (why's this even a criminal case?), what I find curious is that there was no scheme to retrieve the passwords if Childs were to pass away accidentally (no HBB protection). Passwords written on paper in a safe, safety deposit box or similar, or the passphrase to Password Safe written down somewhere secure.

It's pretty stupid to have to physically access all the routers to reset passwords in the event that the network admin dies or quits in fury. Just write the procedure into the admin's job description.

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