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School Spying Scandal Gets Even More Bizarre 699

Several sources following the recent school webcam spying debacle are reporting that an even stranger twist has surfaced. The student in question that was disciplined for an "improper act" was apparently accused of either drug use or drug selling. Turns out he was eating Mike & Ike candy, not popping pills. While there is probably more to this story than has made it to the general public, the officials involved have done a particularly bad job of actually managing the events.

Photoshop Disaster Draws DMCA Notice For Boing Boing 391

Pickens writes: "Cory Doctorow writes that Ralph Lauren issued a DMCA takedown notice after Boing Boing republished the Photoshop disaster contained in a Ralph Lauren advertisement in which a model's proportions appear to have been altered to give her an impossibly skinny body with the model's head larger than her pelvis. Doctorow says that one of the things that makes their ISP Priority Colo so awesome is that they don't automatically act on DMCA takedowns and proceeded to dare Lauren to sue. 'This is classic fair use: a reproduction "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting," etc,' writes Doctorow. 'Copyright law doesn't give you the right to threaten your critics for pointing out the problems with your offerings.' Doctorow adds that every time Lauren threatens to sue he will 'reproduce the original criticism, making damned sure that all our readers get a good, long look at it,' 'publish your spurious legal threat along with copious mockery,' and 'offer nourishing soup and sandwiches to your models.'"
Role Playing (Games)

BioWare On Building a Community For Dragon Age 34

Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare, sat down with Gamasutra to discuss upcoming RPG Dragon Age: Origins, as well as some of the features they're working on for release alongside the game. In particular, they are interested in building a framework for players to show off their characters and share stories about the gameplay they encounter. "We're creating a community site that's going to enable the fans to get revved up about what each other is doing. They're showing their choices and consequences to friends. Even though it's single-player, you can still reveal those choices to each other and have fun doing it. It enables some of that stuff that occurs anecdotally amongst friends at the water cooler: 'Hey, did you play this yet? Did you go this way?' 'No, I didn't run into that. I did it this way.' 'Really? I didn't run into that at all!' You can meet people who are across the world and enable them to see those kinds of things, too, which I think will lead to a lot of fun discussion and collaboration in the community."

Submission + - Google Suggest reveals what we're searching for. (

Josh Levin writes: "Searching for stuff on the Web is typically a one-man job. Punch in your query, hit enter, and your computer hands over a list of the most relevant results. But searching doesn't have to be solitary. As we're typing away in our little vacuums, Google is collecting and storing what we write. Want to see what other people are curious about? Download the Google Toolbar, start typing, and you'll see a list of suggested queries: similar terms that other users often search for. For tech researchers, this is an incomparable tool for figuring out how and why we use search engines. For me, it's the makings of an endlessly fun parlor game that offers answers to mankind's enduring mysteries. What do we think about when we think about Tom Cruise? What are the most frequently mispronounced words in the English language? And when people write "my balls," what word usually comes next?"

Submission + - AMD chipset offers cheap HD video, overclocking (

Vigile writes: "Users looking for a low cost solution to setting up an HD-ready HTPC for HD-DVD and Blu-ray support will find the AMD 690G, with a freshly updated BIOS and driver, quite interesting. With the Radeon IGP helping with decoding, this $75 motherboard could be the best option for the PC so far. Not only that, but the new BIOS offers impressive overclocking support. PC Perspective has a full review of one of the first boards to arrive with these changes."

Submission + - Shrunk Budget for NASA Causes Delay in Manned Moon

mikesd81 writes: "Playfuls has an article stating that the $545 million reduction from NASA's budget for 2006 could delay the agency's plans to send a man back to the moon in 2014, NASA's boss Michael Griffin told the Congress on Thursday. The possible delay could be four to six months delay (pushing the 2014-planned flight to early 2015) and into a "brain drain" of specialists. Congress' refusal to accept the initial budget for the project could postpone the first launch of the new manned spacecraft until December 2014 at the "very best". President Bush's $2.9 trillion fiscal 2008 space and science budget includes more than $6 billion for NASA. Included is $1.2 billion for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to develop the new rocket for Orion. If the Congress accepts the funding, NASA would also receive $1.6 billion to conduct astronomy research, upgrade the Hubble telescope and build new space telescopes."
Role Playing (Games)

Submission + - Wizards of the Coast has moved away from DRM!

sckeener writes: "Wizards of the Coast (D&D) has decided that the PDF market is viable and has switched from DRM to watermarking!

Per Monte Cook

This has been a long time coming, and is, pretty much hands down, the best thing that's happened to the pdf side of the market in a very, very long time. Particularly if one reads between the lines of the announcement and figures that WotC finally has some faith in the medium. Price, number of titles, etc... these are all just more steps that need to be taken, but I think it's pretty clear that this was the big step.
In addition to the 3.0 and 3.5 materials, WotC's ESD Materials (older versions of D&D, modules, etc) are still available."

Submission + - Swiftness of Dow Drop Due to Computers

An anonymous reader writes: Sorry I dont know where to file this but "A computer glitch triggered a sudden plunge in the Dow Jones industrial average at mid-afternoon Tuesday, turning an already bad day in stocks into a head-turning spectacle. Dow Jones & Co., the media company that manages the well-known index of 30 blue chip stocks, said it discovered shortly before 2 p.m. that its computers weren't properly handling the day's huge volume in trades at the New York Stock Exchange. It switched to a backup computer, and the result was a massive swoon in the index as the secondary system took over processing shortly before 3 p.m. " Interesting how NAsdaq, which uses Microsoft SQL didnt have any issues -computers.htm
The Internet

Submission + - Students suspended for remarks on Prinicpal

Uthic writes: The Toronto Star reports that 11 students at Robert F. Hall Catholic Secondary School were suspended for up to eight days for remarks they made about their principal, Edward McMahon, on a Facebook group. The remarks were apparently derogatory and insulting due to the students' discontent with their principal and fell under the category of cyber-bullying. Additional information can be found on The Caledon Enterprise Website. Bruce Campbell, spokesman for the local school board, added that it's one thing to complain about your teacher or principal, but "you're taking it to a whole new level when you're putting it out there on the Internet." The group appears to have disappeared from Facebook, but there are other groups up that have some discussion about it, so one can't really verify what was said.

Do You Care About Race in Games? 322

There were several pieces up this past weekend, and a resulting lively dialogue, about the role that race plays in videogames. Game|Life talks very cogently on the subject, which got kick-started by a post on the microscopiq site highlighting important black game characters. The article asks "Jade Is Black?", highlighting the role that racial ambiguity can have in making a player empathize with a title's protagonist. Writes Kohler: "Video games put the control of the main character into the player's hands. They ask us to become the character. It's easier for anybody to identify with Jade because Jade can stand in for anything. Ellis wants more black characters in video games, and Jade, if we go by the layout of his article, is his number-one favorite. It is quite possible that he felt a stronger connection with Jade than with other game characters who are definitely black. What does that say about the power of racial ambiguity? " So, do you care about race in videogames? If so, how so?

Schneier On the US Crypto Competition 58

Bruce Schneier has a commentary in Wired titled An American Idol for Crypto Geeks on the US government's competition for a new cryptographic hash function to become the national standard, covered here recently. He talks about how much the competition, slated to wrap up by 2011, will advance the cryptographic state of the art. And how much fun he expects to have.
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - The 100 Top Selling Games of '06

Ground Glass writes: If you've been wondering what games people actually buy, here's a list of the top selling games released in America in 2006. There's plenty of charts in there as well to help make sense of the data, so you can see when people are buying games and who's making the games that are purchased. It even cross-references review scores to check on how discerning the taste of the public is.

Submission + - TaxCut Premium won't install on Firefox systems

siasl writes: Have a care all you Firefox users. Seems even though TaxCut advertises on this page : l under system requirements list : Internet Explorer 6, 7 Mozilla Firefox 1.0, 1.5 Netscape 7.2, 8 AOL 6, 7, 8 and 9 The ONLINE product is the only one to support FireFox. This other page : =1478&SP=10023&CID=0&PID=860894&PN=1&V1=860894&CUR =840&DSP=&PGRP=0&ABCODE=&CACHE_ID=0 Show's the real story for requirements : Win: Internet Explorer 6.0 Mac: Safari 1.3.2 Seems like the Firefox support is only for online version. So be careful you FireFox TaxCut users. You will be required to load IE 6 to install the downloaded version. Somewhat confusing for us bleary eyed tax payers......
The Internet

Submission + - Web 2.0: Buzzword or Internet revolution?

BobB writes: "Web 2.0 could be a meaningless marketing buzzword. Or it may represent a whole new paradigm for the Internet, one centered on user-generated content that could hasten the death of the newspaper industry. There are lots of opinions about Web 2.0, and some of them — mostly of the pro-Web 2.0 variety — were on display this week in a panel discussion during the annual meeting of the Mass Technology Leadership Council. 0.html"

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