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NAMCO Takes Down Student Pac-man Project 218

An anonymous reader writes "The core of how people first learn to do stuff — programming, music, writing, etc. — is to imitate others. It's one of the best ways to learn. Apparently a bunch of students using MIT's educational Scratch programming language understand this. But not everyone else does. NAMCO Bandai sent a takedown notice to MIT because some kids had recreated Pac-man with Scratch. The NAMCO letter is pretty condescending as well, noting that it understands the educational purpose of Scratch, but 'part of their education should include concern for the intellectual property of others.'"

The Sun Unleashes Coronal Mass Ejection At Earth 220

astroengine writes "Yesterday morning, at 08:55 UT, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory detected a C3-class flare erupt inside a sunspot cluster. 100,000 kilometers away, deep within the solar atmosphere (the corona), an extended magnetic field filled with cool plasma forming a dark ribbon across the face of the sun (a feature known as a 'filament') erupted at the exact same time. It seems very likely that both eruptions were connected after a powerful shock wave produced by the flare destabilized the filament, causing the eruption. A second solar observatory, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, then spotted a huge coronal mass ejection blast into space, straight in the direction of Earth. Solar physicists have calculated that this magnetic bubble filled with energetic particles should hit Earth on August 3, so look out for some intense aurorae — a solar storm is coming."
Data Storage

New PS3 Firmware Causing HDD Upgrade Problems? 82

Channard writes "While there have been occasional reports of previous PS3 firmware upgrades causing system crashes and so forth, Sony's new firmware upgrade for the system, 3.41, is apparently stopping PS3 owners from upgrading their hard disks. This problem has been encountered by many users on Sony's forums and occurs when you try to put a new hard disk into a PS3 that already has the firmware upgrade installed. The general course of action for upgrading a PS3's drive is that you download the latest PS3 firmware onto a memory stick and, after swapping the hard drive in the PS3, plug the stick in, allowing the PS3 to properly prepare the disk for use. But as of upgrade 3.41, the PS3 fails to recognize the firmware on the stick, complaining that it can't proceed until you insert the correct firmware. Repeating the process and re-downloading the firmware does not fix the problem, as I can confirm, having encountered the problem myself. Users can put the old hard disk back in, provided they've not reformatted it for some other purpose, so all is not lost. Sony have apparently told gaming website CVG that 'The information available to our Consumer Services Department does not suggest that this is a problem PlayStation owners are likely to experience when upgrading the HDD with 3.41 update.' This seems to fly in the face of the currently available information — although whether or not this statement was issued by Kevin Butler is unclear. Either way, PS3 owners encountering this problem will likely have to wait a few days for a fix and use their old HDDs for now."

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."

Comment Location Based Ads, Isnt that called Billboards? (Score 1) 54

The correct patent is patent 7,668,832 granted Feb 23, 2010 as listed Thanks ButlerM

Location based advertising - Isnt that called billboards?

Or store signs or product displays?

To say you want to claim the right that at X and Y coordinates you control the method of putting up product advertising with *gasp* price information is all silly - they are called signs. Stores use them all the time.

And yes IP specific advertisement has been around before the 2003-2004 patent. Now the IPs move and become mobile shouldnt
make a difference.

Comment Re:Ham radio is truly dead...Not (Score 2, Interesting) 114

There are couple of things that make Port-Au-Prince (PAP) unique.
Haiti gets regularly hit by hurricanes. They have an abysmal electrical system.
During normal times you are lucky to get 10 hours of electricity a day.
There are 4 cell phone carriers, 30 percent of the population owns cell phones.
If you are cell phone carrier, you always want to have 24 hours of operations.
In order to do that in PAP you had to have a very robust generator - fuel supply system and distribution just to handle the "Haiti" normal daily power outages. So post catastrophe - guess what the cell phones came up pretty quick and many got to call the US to relatives to tell them "They are starving and had no water for days". I'm pretty sure no post-apocalyptic fiction writer saw that one possibly happening.
Additionally with only one undersea cable a lot of telecom-traffic is handled by satellite and is also why TV/ISPs were able to deliver video and messages immediately after the quake.
The water system in PAP was also lousy in normal times so water-trucks, walking 5 miles to a kiosk a large portion of the population was used to that. So when the quake hit and the city lost its mains. The water trucks still worked.
So ironically their horrible utilities and the system in place to cope with that saved many in a quake generated catastrophe.

Ham radio does not pretend to replace the phone company / 911 and never did. So you're a little misinformed there. And among the ham radio guys... all 650,000 in the US less than one half percent are trained and have an interest in
emergency communications Even then I am being generous.. probably closer to a quarter of percent.
Yes the ham radios and antennas can cost from 600-2500 dollars depending on your goals, but the equipment lasts 20 years. So exactly how much money have you spent on computer equipment in 20 years and how much is that biyearly cell phone contract? Ham radio plays a very very small but necessary role in helping route emergency information from point A to point B when all else fails it is the last line of communication.
Even in Katrina, the two groups I am credited with helping assist used cell phones to call out to a distant relative, I just completed their call for help to the closest authority. Even in the twitter example it took several hops to find someone who could help.

Ham radios role in Haiti this time can be counted on one hand. I knew one of the two Haitian Ham radio operators that got on air a couple days after the quake. Almost all in the Haitian Radio club had lost a relative to the quake.
How many Ham radio operators do think a very impoverished country as Haiti has? Exactly what is that Haitian radio operator going to say on day two after the quake that we didnt already know. We were sending the kitchen sink, the bathroom sink our neighbors sink in an effort to help take away some of the misery.

As a life long computer geek and later radio geek I applaud ANY means of communications method that saves lives and minimizes human misery.

Every disaster is different... if a category three hurricane hit PAP there would be no cell phone, nor satellite dishes...
But that undersea cable would still be there and radio always works.


Comment Prior Art.... BBS Software (Score 2, Informative) 227

Long before the commercial internet the network of places of interests were held together by *gasp* modem and phone line. Then
came ISDN , then DSL ... all ran over the same copper.

MUSTANG SOFTWARE wrote a BBS package called Wildcat, which interestingly is still a viable product. Product is now supported by Santronics.
They used dialup (network) registration along with an auto-patching and updating for new features. The software would not run unless you registered it via dial up (later the internet) as critical components to running were uploaded at the time of registration. This system ran on DOS and little later Windows NT 3, which I believe predates the 1991"patent". The Wildcat BBS was started in 1986.


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