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Sony

Submission + - Another (Big) nail in HD-DVDs coffin. (nytimes.com) 5

Binkleyz writes: Netflix has decided to abandon the HD-DVD format in favor of BluRay. Up to now, Netflix had been supplying both formats to its customers, but with this latest decision by the predominant online movie rental outfit, many of the adherents to HD-DVD have lost their primary source of content.
Games

Writer's Guild Nominates Game Writing 81

Ars Technica's Opposable Thumbs blog notes that the Writer's Guild of America stepped back from the picket line long enough to nominate a few 2007 games for great writing. Unfortunately, their nominees suck. The list of nominees consists of: "Crash of the Titans, Written by Christopher Mitchell, Sierra Entertainment. Dead Head Fred, Written by Dave Ellis and Adam Cogan, D3 Publisher. The Simpsons Game, Lead Writer Matt Selman, Written by Tim Long and Matt Warburton, Dialogue by Jeff Poliquin, Electronic Arts. The Witcher, Lead Story Designer Artur Ganszyniec, Dialogue Sebastian Stepien, Additional Dialogue Marcin Blacha, Writers Sande Chen and Anne Toole, Atari. World in Conflict, Story Design Christofer Emgard, Story Consultant Larry Bond, Script Consultant Ed Zuckerman, Sierra Entertainment." No Mass Effect? Nothing at all from the Orange Box? No BioShock? For shame, WGA.
The Internet

FCC To investigate Comcast Bittorrent Meddling 196

An anonymous reader writes "FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said Tuesday that the commission will investigate complaints that Comcast actively interferes with Internet traffic as its subscribers try to share files online. A coalition of consumer groups and legal scholars asked the agency in November to stop Comcast from discriminating against certain types of data and to fine Comcast $195,000 for every affected subscriber. While known for months in tech circles, the issue wasn't given broad attention until an Associated Press report last year, in which reporters tested and verified the data blocking."
Transportation

GM Says Driverless Cars Will Be Ready By 2018 646

Gregor Stipicic writes "Cars that drive themselves — even parking at their destination — could be ready for sale within a decade, General Motors Corp. executives say. 'This is not science fiction,' Larry Burns, GM's vice president for research and development, said in a recent interview. GM plans to use an inexpensive computer chip and an antenna to link vehicles equipped with driverless technologies. The first use likely would be on highways; people would have the option to choose a driverless mode while they still would control the vehicle on local streets, Burns said. He said the company plans to test driverless car technology by 2015 and have cars on the road around 2018."
Space

New Chip For Square Kilometer Radio Telescope 88

An anonymous reader writes "ZDNet Aus reported on a new low-noise chip that could help in building the $1.6B Square Kilometer Array, the world's largest radio telescope. Wikipedia claims the telescope will be 50 times as sensitive as current instruments. It will have a resolution able to detect every active galactic nucleus out to a redshift of 6, when the universe was less than 1 billion years old and way crazy. It will have the sensitivity to detect Earth-like radio leakage at a distance of several hundred to a few thousand light years, which could help greatly with the search for extraterrestrial life. The chip's designer, Prof. Jack Singh, commented on the chip's ability to help with quantum computing research, due to its ability to operate at millikelvin temperatures, necessary to prevent quantum decoherence."
Media (Apple)

DRM-Free Means Apple-Free?

Technical Writing Geek sends us an opinion piece from Microsoft Watch that contends that the music labels, finally letting go of DRM, have the additional goal of freeing themselves from Apple's choke-hold on the music business. Quoting: "Apple CEO Steve Jobs is getting exactly what he asked for nearly a year ago: Industry movement away from DRM music. But the DRM freedom he wanted is looking more like DRM freedom from Apple. There has been a whole lot of shakin' going on the last two weeks with respect to DRM-free content: Warner made its library available to Amazon, as unprotected MP3s. Sony BMG announced plans to release its catalog DRM free. In the second quarter, Napster will go back to its MP3 roots, with a library available in the unprotected format... While the DRM-free moves may be good for consumers, many labels have another motivation: DRM freedom from Apple."

Alienware's Curved Monitor 269

ViperArrow writes "Alienware has showcased a curved display prototype supporting a resolution of 2880x900, aimed mainly toward gamers, with a refresh rate of .02ms. This 3-foot-wide DLP with LED illumination will be available by the second half of 2008. The monitor is still showing some flaws, but Alienware assures us that these will be gone by release. No price has been revealed as of yet."
Movies

Paramount to Drop HD DVD? 470

zeromemory writes "The Financial Times reports that " Paramount is poised to drop its support of HD DVD after Warner Brothers' recent backing of Sony's Blu-ray technology, in a move that will sound the death knell of HD DVD and bring the home entertainment format war to a definitive end." According to the Times, Warner Brother's recent defection to Blu-Ray allowed Paramount to terminate their exclusive relationship with HD DVD. Universal Studios remains the only major studio to exclusively support the HD DVD format, though rumors have surfaced that their contract may also contain a termination provision similar to that exercised by Paramount."

NFL, MLB Accused of Bogus Copyright Claims 116

P Crewe writes "A complaint filed by the Computer & Communications Industry Association accuses the NFL, MLB, and a number of studios of deceptive trade practices, saying that their far-reaching copyright claims systematically misrepresent the rights of consumers to use copyrighted material. 'According to the complaint, such warnings "materially misrepresent" US law. Fair use is given short shrift, and as a result, consumers are left with the impression that any use that the rights-holders do not expressly approve is illegal. "Consumers have the right to use the content in legal, non-infringing ways," CCIA spokesperson Jake Ward told Ars Technica. "Putting these warnings on broadcasts, videotapes, and DVDs is both misleading and threatening."'"
Games

Rockstar Appeals British Ban on Manhunt 2 56

1up is reporting (via MCV) that Rockstar has decided to appeal the BBFC ruling on their uber-violent Manhunt 2 title. The 'next step' is to get a hearing scheduled, which will allow the game to be demo'd and arguments given. "Rockstar Games had been given six weeks to appeal the decision, and with that opportunity about to expire, the company lodged its formal appeal yesterday ... The appeal was filed with the Video Appeals Committee, which can overturn the BBFC decision. As noted in our first article about the ban, the VAC overturned the BBFC's ban of Carmageddon back in 1997, giving Rockstar a glimmer of hope in its current situation."
Input Devices

Mouse or Trackball? 627

Loconut1389 writes "I've been an avid mouse user for years, but lately all of the wrist movements have added up and combined with a desire for some added precision when not using my tablet in photoshop, I decided to purchase a large trackball. Logitech makes a few with a small, thumb controlled ball, but it looked like you'd get a tired thumb and have no added precision. After searching around, it seems that the only large one really available is a Kensington for about $90. Only CompUSA seemed to even carry the kensington in-store (and had none in stock). After ordering one online and using it for a few days now, I don't know how I ever lived with a mouse. The trackball has better precision, less wrist movement, and even gaming is pretty cool/easy with it (can spin it to whip around real quick, etc). All that said, it seems like trackballs have all but vanished except in medical fields (sonograms, etc) and perhaps graphic arts. I'm left insanely curious why trackballs haven't resurfaced now that optical technologies have fixed the main problems of old trackballs (and mice). Do you use a trackball? If so, are you in graphic design?"

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