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Comment Quite True. Can confirm by personal account. (Score 1) 182

Yes it is true. A personal experience below.

Using real open source projects in the context of a University course can be a quite successful experience. Both from the didactic point of view and from a software production perspective.
Five years ago I decided to involve my students of the advanced computer graphics course at the Pisa University in the collective writing of an extensible mesh processing system that we called MeshLab with a plugin based architecture that allowed a easy to be managed compartmental development. Students get very involved and, beside the computer graphics hard core topics of the course, they learned a lot in term of collaborative development, ethics of sw development, open source licenses. At the end of that course a working system was successfully distributed under a GPL.
Since then, every year, I have repeated this approach extending it, and with the helps of tens and tens of willing students the system evolved into a serious complex mesh processing system, GPL'd, multiplatform, included in ubuntu and that is used worldwide by ten of thousands of users in academic and commercial environments.
I found that the knowledge of participating to the development of a **real** system gives the students a really strong motivation to give their best. The fact that their contribs will be released publicly with their name linked to the commits and listed in the official developer page was a strong incentive to do not cheat. For most of them it was the first time that they were making something real (not only exercises) something with a purpose that was quite different from the standard "get the score" approach. Many of the students continued to maintain their portion of code well beyond the course terms (some even after graduating).

I cannot but thanks my students for the dedication that they have shown in the projects.
Just google for MeshLab for more details of it.

Lego 'CubeDudes' By PIXAR Animator 34

An anonymous reader writes "PIXAR Animator Angus MacLane has created an incredible series of LEGO 'CubeDudes' modeled after beloved characters from sci-fi movies and comic books. From Star Wars heroes R2D2 and C-3PO to Toy Story's Buzz Lightyear and Jessie, the pixellated creations bear a remarkable likeness to their forebears. MacLane says, 'When I had a moment here and there I chip away at a few at a time. I'll have the body of one Dude and a head of another that I will be working on at the same time. It takes me about 10-15 minutes to make one CubeDude and I average about two a day.' The hardest part is the color palette — LEGO doesn't make purple bricks, so villains like Lex Luthor, The Joker, and Grimace are a challenge."

New Mars Rover Rolls For the First Time 100

wooferhound writes "Like proud parents savoring their baby's very first steps, mission team members gathered in a gallery above a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to watch the Mars Curiosity rover roll for the first time. Engineers and technicians wore bunny suits while guiding Curiosity through its first steps, or more precisely, its first roll on the clean room floor. The rover moved forward and backward about 1 meter (3.3 feet). Mars Science Laboratory (aka Curiosity) is scheduled to launch in fall 2011 and land on the Red Planet in August 2012. Curiosity is the largest rover ever sent to Mars. It will carry 10 instruments that will help search an intriguing region of the Red Planet for two things: environments where life might have existed, and the capacity of those environments to preserve evidence of past life."

KDE SC 4.7 May Use OpenGL 3 For Compositing 187

An anonymous reader writes "KDE SC 4.5 is about to be released and KDE SC 4.6 is being discussed. However, Martin Graesslin has revealed some details about what they are planning for KDE 4.7. According to Martin's blog post, they are looking at OpenGL 3.0 to provide the compositing effects in KDE SC 4.7. OpenGL 3.0 provides support for frame buffer objects, hardware instancing, vertex array objects, and sRGB framebuffers."

Nuclear Energy Now More Expensive Than Solar 635

js_sebastian writes "According to an article on the New York Times, a historical cross-over has occurred because of the declining costs of solar vs. the increasing costs of nuclear energy: solar, hardly the cheapest of renewable technologies, is now cheaper than nuclear, at around 16 cents per kilowatt hour. Furthermore, the NY Times reports that financial markets will not finance the construction of nuclear power plants unless the risk of default (which is historically as high as 50 percent for the nuclear industry) is externalized to someone else through federal loan guarantees or ratepayer funding. The bottom line seems to be that nuclear is simply not competitive, and the push from the US government to subsidize it seems to be forcing the wrong choice on the market."

Submission + - Real shark repellents under development (

An anonymous reader writes: Reseach into the workings of shark brains may lead to new repellent technology which will help prevent the animals being killed in commercial fishing operations and could be used to keep them away from popular beaches.

Submission + - Help NASA decide where to explore ! (

An anonymous reader writes: NASA is inviting the public to vote on where to perform a simulated lunar mission at

In September 2010, NASA will be simulating a lunar mission in northern Arizona. Astronauts will drive the "Space Exploration Vehicle"
( to explore and do geology field work. NASA has taken two GigaPan ( panoramic images of the test site. You can look at these images and vote to help NASA decide which location to visit. The location that receives the most votes will be incorporated into the mission plan and astronauts will go there in the SEV to perform field geology and collect rock samples. Voting ends on August 8, 2010.


Open Sarcasm Fighting Copyrighted Punctuation 155

pinkushun writes "SarcMark is a copyrighted punctuation mark, that claims 'It's time that sarcasm is treated equally!' Pretty damn cheeky while they're charging for their software, which only inserts their punctuation through a hotkey. Open Sarcasm is destroying SarcMark by advocating a new punctuation mark (not displaying here properly — alt+U0161) as the new open and free sarcasm symbol. Either way, this will be one interesting turnout. With bad unicode support across the web, displaying the characters properly might be an issue. PS Left out sarcastic end sentence as Slashdot doesn't display the U0161 character."

Wine 1.2 Released 427

David Gerard writes "Stuck with that one Windows app you can't get rid of? Rejoice — Wine 1.2 is officially released! Apart from running pretty much any Windows application on Unix better than 1.0 (from 2008), major new features include 64-bit support, bi-directional text, and translation into thirty languages. And, of course, DirectX 9 is well-supported and DirectX 10 is getting better. Packages should hit the distros over the weekend, or you can get the source now."

Comment Emulating, not porting, is the key. (Score 2, Interesting) 122

In the context of archiving games, accurate software emulation the whole HW underlying each game is the only solution.
Obviously it should be done in a open, portable, multiplatform way to ensure that it is a long term solution.

Mame and Mess ( ) has already shown that this approach is viable and practical.

Submission + - Three Google executives convicted over youtube vid (

polarfox writes: Three Google executives were convicted of invasion of privacy today over the transmission of a video showing an Italian teenager being abused by classmates. The three each received a suspended sentence of six months in jail.

Comment Re:Several problems (Score 1) 413

I do not completely agree with the above post. While it is true that there are fields where the cost of the sw is not a real issue it is also true that some of these software niches are filled by FOSS tools. For example in 3D printing/rapid prototyping one of the best tools around for cleaning up models is an open source tool, called MeshLab ( ) .

Comment Re:Misleading title (Score 1) 152

The concept is not completely new. There is a vast literature on the reconstruction of 3D objects from image sequences, ( ) Beyond the well known Photosynth (that does NOT reconstruct a dense surface) there are other free tools that allow to create complete 3D objects from photo sequences.

Arc3d and MeshLab can provide tools for reconstructing full 3D objects like a href=" "> this one.

Disclaimer (I am involved with MeshLab devel)

Steve Jobs Takes Leave of Absence From Apple 429

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Network World: "A number of sites are reporting that Apple's CEO Steve Jobs is taking a leave of absence till June at least. Speculation over Jobs' possibly failing health has run rampant in the past few weeks. Prior to the recent MacWorld show, Jobs said he had a hormone deficiency that had caused him to dramatically lose weight. In a memo today Jobs told workers his health issues are more complex than he thought." Reader Bastian227 adds a link to this letter from Steve Jobs on Apple's website, which also says that Tim Cook will be responsible for daily operations, though Jobs will remain involved with major strategic decisions.

A 3-D Holographic Display 53

ZonkerWilliam sends along a link to a Wired writeup on a novel 3-D holographic display developed at USC. Be sure to watch the video at the bottom of the page. "The process is not simple but can be defined through a few key concepts: Spinning mirrors, high-speed DLP Projections, and very precise math that figures out the correct axial perspective needed for a 360-degree image (even taking into account a viewer's positioning.)"

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