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Comment It's not about the visuals... (Score 1) 429

I don't think people get it. Even when the original Tron came out, nobody really believed that there was actually a world inside a computer. I was 10 at the time and even at that age it was obvious the concept was pure fantasy. What it did inspire in me at the time was the possibility of the computer as a creative medium, expressed not only in the cgi animation but in the analogy of the programmer as a creator of a world. I credit the movie with inspiring me to pursue a career in computer science, by showing that it could be a creative field that could inspire, at a time when the only other facet being shown of computers were of a deeply logical and unfeeling world. For me the most important legacy of Tron was the metaphor of the programmer as a creator and an artist.
Star Wars Prequels

Submission + - Lucas set to release 3D Star Wars beginning 2012 (

kaptink writes: Hold on to your light saber — because George Lucas' celebrated Star Wars saga is expected to be released in 3D, beginning in 2012.

All six of the franchise's titles will be released in 3D by 20th Century Fox, which also released the original films, beginning with Episode I: The Phantom Menace, in early 2012, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

After 2012, each subsequent movie would be released in order, in consecutive years.

Lucas has said that his intense experience seeing James Cameron's 2009 3D mega-success Avatar convinced him that his own Star Wars franchise was ready for 3D treatment.

Comment Re:Constant telemetry... (Score 1) 266

There already is a telemetry system in place to provide data for maintenance called ACARS. The problem is that long segments of airplane flight are over the ocean, where the only link is through satellite, which is expensive and limited in bandwith. ACARS tries to solve this by providing the data in short bursts, which is sufficient for maintenance but not enough for a flight data recorder.

The suggestion for a "glass box" has been around for a while, the problem is a lack of technological maturity to provide the required bandwith, while maintaining an affordable cost.


Submission + - Nokia Phones Offering Free GPS for 74 Countries

adeelarshad82 writes: Nokia has introduced free driving and walking directions for 74 countries on a range of their mobile phones, in a direct challenge to Google and the entire GPS navigation industry. The new version of Ovi Maps, available today on 10 phones with more existing models to be added in the next several weeks, will offer voice-guided driving and walking directions featuring text-to-speech, lane assistance, live traffic and road works information, and detailed content from partners including Lonely Planet and Time Out, all for free. Maps will cover 180 countries; navigation will be available in 74, including the U.S. and Canada. Not surprisingly, shares of GPS makers Tomtom and Garmin fell sharply on the news.

Submission + - NASA Puffin Low Noise, Electric VTOL Personal Air (

teambpsi writes: NASA has designs on a super quiet (read stealthy) one person VTOL. Scientific American has a scoop here

It's no flying car — or jet pack for that matter, but it seems potentially more realistic, and less likely to set you on fire.

Submission + - Mozilla Firefox 3.6 Released 2

Shining Celebi writes: Mozilla has released Firefox 3.6 today, which adds support for Personas, lightweight themes that can be installed without restarting the browser, and adds further performance improvements to the new Tracemonkey Javascript engine. One of the major goals of the release was to improve startup time and general UI responsiveness, especially the Awesomebar. You can read the full set of release notes here.

Submission + - Agriculture: Invented, so that we might have beer (

Jeremy Erwin writes: Our Neolithic ancestors might have first experimented with agriculture in order to ensure a steady supply of alcoholic liquids according to a new book by Patrick McGovern, Uncorking the Past The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages

"Archaeologists have long pondered the question of which came first, bread or beer. McGovern surmises that these prehistoric humans didn't initially have the ability to master the very complicated process of brewing beer. However, they were even more incapable of baking bread, for which wild grains are extremely unsuitable. They would have had first to separate the tiny grains from the chaff, with a yield hardly worth the great effort. If anything, the earliest bakers probably made nothing more than a barely palatable type of rough bread, containing the unwanted addition of the grain's many husks."

Calcium Oxalate is considered by most brewers to be an undesirable byproduct of alcohol production. Lacking a firm grasp of chemistry and filters, early brewers simply created special grooved beer crocks would allow the beer stone to precipitate out of solution into the grooves. 5500 years later, the deposits remained, providing archaeologists with evidence of beer production.


Lotus Teases With a Fuel-Agnostic Two-Stroke Engine 269

JohnnyBGod writes "Lotus claim to have invented a new, more efficient engine design. The two-stroke, flex-fuel engine can achieve, according to the surprisingly technical press release, 'approximately 10% better [fuel consumption] than current spray-guided direct injection, spark ignition engines.' The engine has a sliding puck arrangement to control its compression ratio, and has direct injection and a wet sump, to eliminate fuel leakage to the exhaust and the need to mix oil with the fuel, two common problems with two-stroke engines. Lotus engineering have released a video explaining the engine's operation."

Dev Booted From App Store For Inflated Reviews 178

An anonymous reader writes "Molinker, a Chinese developer of iPhone apps, has been booted from the App Store after being caught trying to game the App Store review system. It seems reviewers were being paid off with free apps in return for 5-star reviews." This means the removal of over 1000 apps, described in this article as "knock-offs of existing applications."

Google CEO Says Privacy Worries Are For Wrongdoers 671

bonch writes "In a surprising statement to CNBC, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told reporter Maria Bartiromo, 'If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.' This will only fuel concerns about Google's behavior as it becomes an ever more powerful gatekeeper of information; though Google says it is aware of these concerns and has taken steps to be transparent to users about the information that is stored."

Comment Re:If you give up the inch, they'll take the mile (Score 1) 901

This isn't a problem of changing mindset, this is a problem of dollars and cents. Changing from imperial to metric requires not just changing all your drawings and specifications to the metric system - a huge endeavour by itself. It also requires retooling all your manufacturing base. You'll have to get all your suppliers onboard as well. And all of this will have to be done simultaneously, as your product won't assemble properly if half of its screws are metric and the other half imperial.

None of this is trivial, and assuming that americans resist using imperial units because of a mindset attitude trivializes the problem. Hell, I'm canadian, where we've supposedly been using the metric system for the last 25 years and my company still uses imperial units because the cost of conversion would be prohibitive.

Comment Re:how about that (Score 1) 204

This works because we're talking about dedicated engineering software which is sold almost exclusively to businesses at enormously inflated prices. We pay more than US$100,000 per year for a single license of some of our design software. Getting unemployed engineers, who would never be able to legally afford those licenses in any cases, into using their products is a win-win situation. When the market picks up and they're rehired, they may well find themselves in a purchasing decision for the very same software for their firm. Plus, given the steep learning curve for many engineering software, people are less likely to easily switch over to competing software.

It's a brilliant strategy, and companies already do this all the time with trial versions of their products. But for most consumer software, it would be undercuting their own market.


Damning Report On Sequoia E-Voting Machine Security 200

TechDirt notes the publication of the New Jersey voting machine study, the attempted suppression of which we have been discussing for a while now. The paper that the Princeton and Lehigh University researchers are releasing, as permitted by the Court, is "the same as the Court's redacted version, but with a few introductory paragraphs about the court case, Gusciora v. Corzine." What's new is the release of a 90-minute evidentiary video — the researchers have asked the court for permission to release a shorter version that hits the high points, as the high-res video is about 1 GB in size. See TechDirt's article for the report's executive summary listing eight ways the AVC Advantage 9.00 voting machine can be subverted.

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