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The Struggle For Private Game Servers 125

A story at the BBC takes a look at the use of private game servers for games that tend not to allow them. While most gamers are happy to let companies like Blizzard and NCSoft administer the servers that host their MMORPGs, others want different rules, a cheaper way to play, or the technical challenge of setting up their own. A South African player called Hendrick put up his own WoW server because the game "wasn't available in the country at the time." A 21-year-old Swede created a server called Epilogue, which "had strict codes of conduct and rules, as well as a high degree of customized content (such as new currency, methods of earning experience, the ability to construct buildings and hire non-player characters, plus 'permanent' player death) unavailable in the retail version of the game." The game companies make an effort to quash these servers when they can, though it's frequently more trouble that it's worth. An NCSoft representative referenced the "growing menace" of IP theft, and a Blizzard spokesperson said,"We also have a responsibility to our players to ensure the integrity and reliability of their World of Warcraft gaming experience and that responsibility compels us to protect our rights."
Role Playing (Games)

D&D Co-Creator Gary Gygax Has Passed Away 512

Mearlus writes "In the recent past co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons Gary Gygax has worked with Troll Lord Games, a small tabletop RPG publisher. Their forums have up a post noting that Mr. Gygax has apparently passed away. Gygax was known, along with Dave Arneson, as the Father of Roleplaying." Saddened reactions from well-known designers have already begun to appear online. Consider this is an in-memoriam Ask Slashdot question: How has D&D (and tabletop roleplaying) touched/improved your life? Update: 03/04 23:16 GMT by Z : With more time, official announcements have had time to appear. Many sites are featuring posts on Gygax's impact on gaming, including touching entries on Salon and CNet.

Bill Allows Teachers to Contradict Evolution 1049

Helical writes "In an attempt to defy the newly approved state science standards, Florida Senator Rhonda Storms has proposed a bill that would allow teachers to contradict the teaching of evolution. Her bill states that 'Every public school teacher in the state's K-12 school system shall have the affirmative right and freedom to objectively present scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution in connection with teaching any prescribed curriculum regarding chemical or biological origins.' The bill's main focus is on protecting teachers who want to adopt alternative teaching plans from sanction, and to allow teachers the freedom to teach whatever they wish, even if it is in opposition to current standards."

Iran May Shut Down Internet During Election 234

daveschroeder writes "'The Iranian government might block private access to the Internet for the general legislative election on March 14, two Iranian news outlets reported Monday. In 2006, the authorities banned download speeds on private computers faster than 128 kilobytes per second. The government also uses sophisticated filtering equipment to block hundreds of Web sites and blogs that it considers religiously or politically inappropriate. Many bloggers have been jailed in the past years, and dozens of Web sites have been shut down.' It would appear that Iran's own government is more a threat to the nation's internet connectivity than the fragility of the undersea cable network."

Feed Engadget: Robots set sail in Microtransat Challenge (

Filed under: Robots, Transportation

Having already proven their worth on the land in various Grand Challenges, robots are now setting out to conquer the open seas, with the first Microtransat Challenge now getting underway in the Irish Sea off Aberystwyth. From the sound of it, however, this year's competition is just setting the stage for next year's race, when larger boats will set sail from France and hopefully find their way across the Atlantic to the finish line in the Caribbean, relying primarily on wind speed and GPS to stay on track. According to the BBC, the boats will also have to be self-sufficient in terms of energy, and they'll need to be less than 4 meters in length (about 13 feet). No word on what's in store for the winner, but it looks like the competition is still open for anyone looking to give it a shot.

[Via Waziwazi]

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Office Depot Featured Gadget: Xbox 360 Platinum System Packs the power to bring games to life!

Feed The Register: Vista's Long Goodbye strikes again (

OS networking buckles under single media file

New data documenting quirky networking characteristics in Vista have surfaced courtesy of Windows architecture guru Mark Russinovich, who confirms that simply by playing media files, users can bring throughput in Microsoft's new and improved operating system to a screeching halt.

Feed Science Daily: Molecules Line Up To Make The Tiniest Of Wires (

As technology gets smaller and smaller, the computer industry is facing the complex challenge of finding ways to manufacture the minuscule components necessary. Now scientists have demonstrated a technique for producing conductive nano-wires on silicon chips. While the new process could provide the solution for computer manufacturers looking for ways of increasing the speed and storage capacity of electronics, it could also mean cheaper electronics as well.

Financial Services Firms Simulate Flu Pandemic 150

jcatcw writes "The U.S. Government is co-sponsoring a three-week exercise that will simulate the impact of a flu pandemic on financial services firms, including their ability to support telecommuters. The exercise is expected to be the largest in U.S. history and will involve more than 1,800 firms. From the article: 'The program will follow a compressed time frame that simulates the impact of a 12-week pandemic wave. Participants will be given information on how many absentee employees they can expect. Companies won't know exactly how hard they will be hit with sick-calls from employees until this data is made available ... In addition, participating firms won't be able to pick and choose the level of workforce reductions they get hit by.'"

Feed Engadget: Brando offers up feature-packed MP4 Watch II (

Filed under: Portable Audio, Portable Video, Wearables

Though we've definitely seen a few "MP4 watches" in our day, none of them do it up quite like Brando's MP4 Watch II. This (admittedly unattractive) timepiece plays nice with MP3 / WMA / MP4 formats and includes an FM tuner, voice recorder, photo viewer, "eBook reader," a 1.8-inch 160 x 128 resolution display, five preset equalizer modes, USB 2.0 connectivity, and yes, even a built-in speaker if you're not down with headphones. Of course, we aren't responsible for your social life grinding to a halt if caught wearing this whilst out on the town, but those who aren't concerned with image can snag the 2GB flavor for $92 or double their capacity for $26 more.

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Office Depot Featured Gadget: Xbox 360 Platinum System Packs the power to bring games to life!

Feed Engadget: Sony to establish nationwide recycling network (

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets

Sony today announced intentions to begin a national recycling program for your various unwanted or unloved electronics, imaginatively called "Sony's Take Back Recycling Program," which will begin on September 15th with 75 recycling "hot spots" around the country. The electronics manufacturer has partnered with Waste Management as part of the trash hauler's "Recycle America" program, and says that it hopes to grow its drop-off locations to 150 by year's end, with a spot in every state. The company will also accept recyclables from other manufacturers for a fee, proving once again that Sony is only in it for the money. Just kidding.

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Office Depot Featured Gadget: Xbox 360 Platinum System Packs the power to bring games to life!

Feed Wired: Meebo Brings Multi-Protocol Chat to the IPhone (

The free, web-based chat application Meebo has rolled out an iPhone app which finally brings multi-protocol chat to the Apple device. We’ve looked at a few other iPhone chat clients in the past, but even the best of them, FlickIM, only supports the AIM network. Meebo offers connectivity with AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, Jabber and Google Talk networks.

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