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Submission + - Sony Reaches Settlement In PlayStation3 "Other OS" Class Action Lawsuit

Dave Knott writes: After six years of litigation, Sony has reached a settlement with the the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit relating the Sony's removal of Other OS functionality from its PlayStation3 gaming console. Sony and lawyers representing as many as 10 million console owners reached the deal on Friday. Under the terms of the accord, gamers are eligible to receive $55 if they used Linux on the console. The proposed settlement also provides $9 to each console owner that bought a PS3 based on Sony's claims about "Other OS" functionality. The accord did not say how much it would cost Sony, but the entertainment company is expected to pay out millions.

Submission + - A Tour Of Campus 2, Apple's Upcoming Headquarters

Dave Knott writes: Popular Science has an article detailing Campus 2, Apple's upcoming headquarters, including a video with a tour of the under-construction complex. The Spaceship, as many have nicknamed it, is over one mile in circumference and when it is completed later this year it will house 13,000 employees. Its exterior will largely be composed of thousands of huge curved glass planes, and floors and ceilings will be constructed from hollow concrete slabs that allow the building to “breathe,” bolstering its eco-friendly qualities. Campus 2 will run entirely on renewable energy, with rooftop solar panels providing an output of 16 megawatts of power and acting as the campus’s primary energy supplier. Upon completion, the main building will have four stories above ground and three below, with numerous other facilities including seven cafes, a fitness center and a 120,000 square-foot theater where Apple will hold its famous product announcements. Construction on the building is expected to be finished by the end of 2016.

Submission + - Astronauts Enter Inflatable Space Station Module For The First Time

Dave Knott writes: The International Space Station's new inflatable habitat has had its first visitors. Astronauts have entered the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), "to collect an air sample and begin downloading data from sensors on the dynamics of BEAM's expansion". BEAM is part of a project to test how expandable habitats — which provide more usable volume per unit launch mass than do traditional rigid modules — perform in space. Over the next two years, NASA and Bigelow will study how well BEAM protects against temperature extremes, radiation and micrometeorite strikes.

Submission + - The 2015 Nebula Awards

Dave Knott writes: The winners of the 2015 Nebula Awards (presented 2016) have been announced. The Nebulas are voted on by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and (along with the Hugos) are considered to be one of the two most prestigious awards in science fiction. This year's winners are:

Best Novel: Uprooted , Naomi Novik
Best Novella: Binti , Nnedi Okorafor
Best Novelette: “Our Lady of the Open Road,” Sarah Pinsker
Best Short Story: “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers,” Alyssa Wong
Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation: Mad Max: Fury Road , Written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris
Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy: Updraft , Fran Wilde
Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award: Sir Terry Pratchett
Kevin O'Donnell Jr. Service Award: Lawrence M. Schoen
2016 Damon Knight Grand Master Award: C.J. Cherryh

Submission + - The Pirate Bay Loses Its Main Domain Name In Court Battle 1

Dave Knott writes: The world's most popular torrent website, The Pirate Bay, is suffering a major blow after the Swedish Court ruled Thursday that it will seize the domain names 'ThePirateBay.se' and 'PirateBay.se' and hand over them to the state. This is the latest development in an ongoing legal tug-of-war between The Pirate Bay and Swedish prosecutors, which has at various times seen the courts rule in favour of either side, only to see the case proceed via further appeals. Despite previous criminal convictions, the torrent site has always remained functioning by moving to different web domains several times. However, this time, The Pirate Bay loses its main .SE domain, the world's 225th most popular website according to the Alexa ranking, as reported by the Swedish newspaper DN.

Submission + - Hyperloop Technology Tested Successfully In Nevada Desert

Dave Knott writes: Hyperloop One (formerly known as Hyperloop Technologies) conducted a successful test of its high speed transportation technology Wednesday in the desert outside Las Vegas. The seconds-long, outdoor demonstration featured what appeared to be a blip of metal gliding across a small track before disappearing into a cloud against the desert landscape. A fully operational hyperloop would whisk passengers and cargo in pods through a low pressure tube at speeds of up to 1,207 kph (750 mph). Maglev technology would levitate the pods to reduce friction in the city-to-city system, which would be fully autonomous and electric powered. A day earlier, the company had announced the closing of $80 million in financing and said it plans to conduct a full system test before the end of the year.

Submission + - George R.R. Martin Releases A New Chapter From "The WInds Of Winter"

Dave Knott writes: George R.R. Martin has uploaded a new sample chapter from The Winds Of Winter , replacing an older sample chapter that had been on his site for the previous year. The new chapter features Arianne Martell and has previously been read by Martin at several fan conventions. Fans should take note, however, that this does not indicate an imminent release of the sixth volume of A Song Of Ice And Fire . Says Martin, "no, just to spike any bullshit rumors, changing the sample chapter does NOT mean I am done. Monkey is still on my back... but he's growing, he is, and one day..."

Submission + - The World Video Game Hall of Fame 2016 Inductess 1

Dave Knott writes: The World Video Game Hall Of Fame has announced its inductees for the year 2016, the second group of games to be so honoured since the award's inception in 2015. The Hall Of Fame "recognizes individual electronic games of all types—arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile—that have enjoyed popularity over a sustained period and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general". This year's six inductees are: Grand Theft Auto III, The Legend of Zelda, The Oregon Trail, The Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Space Invaders.

Submission + - 2016 Hugo Awards Shortlist Dominated By Rightwing Campaign

Dave Knott writes: The annual Hugo awards for the best science fiction of the year have once again been riven by controversy, as a concerted campaign by a conservative lobby has dominated the ballot. The Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies movements, which both separately campaign against a perceived bias towards liberal and leftwing science-fiction and fantasy authors, have managed to get the majority of their preferred nominations on to the final ballot, announced today. Since 2013, the Puppies factions have posted recommendations of works to combat the Hugo tendency to reward works that leaders of the movement deem “niche, academic, overtly to the left in ideology and flavour, and ultimately lacking what might best be called visceral, gut-level, swashbuckling fun”. The Rabid Puppies has been successful in getting its nominations on the shortlist again this year; out of 80 recommendations, 62 have received sufficient votes to make the ballot. At MidAmeriCon II this year, it was announced that more than 4,000 nominating ballots were cast for the 2016 Hugo awards, almost double the previous record of 2,122 ballots. This news was initially greeted with cautious optimism, but the shortlist shows that the Puppies and their supporters have redoubled their efforts to “game” the awards. The shortlist will be voted upon and the winners revealed at the forthcoming Worldcon in Kansas in August.

Submission + - Microsoft Unlocks The Ability To Turn Xbox One Consoles Into "Development Kits"

Dave Knott writes: Microsoft today made good on a nearly three-year-old promise, unlocking the ability for all retail Xbox One consoles to become development kits. This mode will allow anyone to build, test and experiment with Universal Windows Program (UWP) development. Converting a console to Dev Mode requires no special equipment or fees, though to fully access the abilities, a user will need to create a Dev Center account. After setting up Dev Mode, a user simply pairs their Xbox One with Visual Studio, which sees the console as a Windows 10 machine to which it can deploy content directly through a wired connection. While this feature eases self-publishing on Xbox One, a developer will still have to go through Microsoft's concept approval, which usually takes about two weeks, before the game is eligible to be published on Xbox One. The big change here is that while traditionally Microsoft had to give a hopeful developer a dev kit, now a developer can just switch over their own retail console.

Submission + - Amazon Launches New, Free, High-quality Game Engine: Lumberyard

Dave Knott writes: Amazon has both announced and released a new, free game engine, Lumberyard, which offers deep integration with its Amazon Web Services server infrastructure to empower online play, and also with Twitch, its video game-focused streaming service. Lumberyard is powerful and full-featured enough to develop triple-A current-gen console games, with mobile support is coming down the road. Its core engine technology is based on Crytek's CryEngine. However, Lumberyard represents a branch of that tech, and the company is replacing or upgrading many of CryEngine's systems. Monetization for Lumberyard will come strictly through the use of Amazon Web Services' cloud computing. If you use the engine for your game, you're permitted to roll your own server tech, but if you're using a third-party provider, it has to be Amazon. Integration of Amazon's Twitch video streaming tools at a low level also helps to cement that platform's dominance in the game streaming space. Alongside Lumberyard, the company has also announced and released GameLift, a new managed service for deploying, operating, and scaling server-based online games using AWS. GameLift will be available only to developers who use Lumberyard, though it's an optional add-on. The game engine is in beta, but is freely usable and downloadable today.

Submission + - New Mersenne Prime Discovered, Largest Known Prime Number: 2^74,207,281 - 1

Dave Knott writes: The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) has discovered a new largest known prime number, 2^74,207,281-1, having 22,338,618 digits. The same GIMPS software just uncovered a flaw in Intel's latest Skylake CPUs, and its global network of CPUs peaking at 450 trillion calculations per second remains the longest continuously-running "grassroots supercomputing" project in Internet history. It is almost 5 million digits larger than the previous record prime number, in a special class of extremely rare prime numbers known as Mersenne primes. It is only the 49th known Mersenne prime ever discovered, each increasingly difficult to find.

Submission + - Another Giant XKCD Comics Experiment

Dave Knott writes: XKCD creator Randall Munroe has decided to celebrate the release of his new book, Thing Explainer, by creating a "small game" called Hoverboard. In actuality, it is a gigantic scrolling comic in the same style as his previous Click And Drag. However, this time there is a game element as one navigates the comic. Explore giant starships and volcanoes, or search for hidden lairs, all in the name of finding as many hidden gold coins as possible.

Submission + - Anonymous Says U.S. Senators Were 'Incorrectly Outed' As KKK Members

Dave Knott writes: Nine names, 23 email addresses and 57 unlabelled phone numbers were published by hackers last weekend as part of an Anonymous-organized effort to "unhood" members of the Ku Klux Klan. There are doubts, however, about the Operation KKK data dump's veracity — and about one file, in particular, that alleges four U.S. senators and five mayors have hate group associations. The questionable data was released on PasteBin by an individual called Amped Attacks, who has now distanced himself from Anonymous, stating "i am not apart of anonymous nor have i ever claimed to be. i am my own man that acts on my own accord. i do however respect #OpKKK." To clarify the situation, Anonymous took to Twitter on Tuesday evening to state that "the twitter account that released the pastebin with the government officials that are clearly not KKK". Meanwhile, the Anonymous members behind Operation KKK say that "the actual release for Operation KKK will be 5 Nov." This is of course a date that has no small significance for Anonymous.

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