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Submission + - Microsoft fights Apple trademark on 'App Store' ( 1

angry tapir writes: "Microsoft is asking the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to deny Apple a trademark on the name "App Store," saying the term is generic and competitors should be able to use it. Apple applied for the trademark in 2008 for goods and services including "retail store services featuring computer software provided via the internet and other computer and electronic communication networks" and other related offerings."

China's Nine-Day Traffic Jam Tops 62 Miles Screenshot-sm 198

A traffic jam on the Beijing-Tibet expressway has now entered its ninth day and has grown to over 62 miles in length. This mother-of-all delays has even spawned its own micro-economy of local merchants selling water and food at inflated prices to stranded drivers. Can you imagine how infuriating it must be to see someone leave their blinker on for 9 days?

Submission + - Lego ‘CubeDudes’ by PIXAR Animator Ang (

An anonymous reader writes: PIXAR Animator Angus MacLane has created an incredible series of LEGO ‘CubeDudes’ modeled after beloved characters from sci-fi movies and comic books. From Star Wars heroes R2D2 and C-3PO to Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear and Jessie, the pixellated creations bear a remarkable likeness to their forebears. MacLane says, “When I had a moment here and there I chip away at a few at a time. I’ll have the body of one ‘Dude and a head of another that I will be working on at the same time. It takes mebout 10-15 minutes to make one CubeDude and I average about two a day.” The hardest part is the color palette — LEGO doesn't make purple bricks, so villains like Lex Luthor, The Joker, and Grimace are a challenge.

Open Sarcasm Fighting Copyrighted Punctuation Screenshot-sm 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."

Submission + - 2010 is the year of 3D

GuyFawkes writes: It is now, just this first week in January, basically impossible to avoid some media outlet breathlessly informing me that 2010 AD is going to be the year of 3D, not only will we now be having 3D TV sets in our homes, but every piece of cinematic crap from the seventies (Star Wars) onwards is going to be re-released in 3D.

Luckily, all the major electronics manufacturers have new products, which take about a year to develop, ready to take advantage of the “smash hit” that was Avatar, which took about a year to develop. Now isn’t that a happy coincidence?

Even Sky, who have yet to broadcast any decent quality HD content (e.g. 1080p @ > 16 mbit/sec) are getting in on the bandwagon, football is going to be in 3D.

Deep Joy. Every pub, venue and lounge on the planet is now going to look like covens of the Stevie Wonder appreciation society.
(I’m not going to diss Roy Orbison, at least he had talent)

Even better, studios are claiming that the new 3D format is “pirate proof”!! (Yeah, that’ll be why I downloaded the 3d IMAX version of Avatar buddy) This fallacy is of course based on the false notion that all film piracy is due to kids sneaking camcorders into the cinema.

Even better still, all your Blu-Ray players and 1080p HD televisions are now obsolete, so you’ll have to buy new stuff.

So, what is 3D TV?

Currently, there are two ways of displaying a picture, one is interlaced, one is progressive.

A 1080p set has 1080 horizontal lines, in an interlaced picture every other line, or 540 lines, is refreshed each frame, in progressive, all 1080 lines are refreshed each frame.

A frame is each individual image on a roll of film.

Now we have seen our flat panel TVs, which started out at 50 Hz (60 Hz if your are state-side) go to 100 Hz (120 Hz) and now 200 Hz (240 Hz) and of course the default 24 Hz movie refresh, which is a bit of nonsense really because if you show a 24 Hz movie on a 240 Hz set, it just means ten successive frames on the set show each frame of the movie, then move on to the next frame.

Now it depends on whether or not you are cynical (experienced) or gullible.

It just so happens, rather like Avatar and 3D televisions both being ready for market at the same time, that all the existing HD TV technology is exactly what you need to do 3D TV, how amazing is that?

How it works is this, you take the existing panel technology, and then you put a *switchable* polarising filter in front of the screen. No aftermarket answers here, you buy a whole new set.

Then, with the existing technology which allows refresh rates which are multiples of frame rates, you start showing left channel image data for this frame with the polarising filter switched this way, then you show the right channel image for the same frame with the polarising filter switched that way.

All you need to add now is a set of gimpy Stevie Wonder glasses, with each lens containing nothing more than a polarising filter, set at 90 degrees to one another, to match the two states of the polarising filter built in to the screen, and voila!

Part of each frame can only be seen by the left eye, while the right eye sees only dark screen, and part of each frame can only be seen by the right eye, while the left eye sees only dark screen. Do this backwards and forwards fast enough and, like cine film, you get apparent smooth motion, but now in 3D.


The keyboard that I am typing this on IS three dee, and because the function keys are further away from my eyes than ZXCVB etc, there is depth of field and focus.

But, on a television screen, absolutely everything you see is exactly the same distance away. There is no depth of field, there is no focus.

So how the hell to they say it is 3D.

Google “moving optical illusion” and all will become clearer, or more blurred and head-achey depending on your perspective.

So it is NOT 3D, and like the so called 3D pictures shown on the Google search, a large part of the “trick” to viewing them involves training your mind to stop rejecting the twisty wrongness, and start perceiving depth or movement that simply is not there.

This is nothing less than a MASSIVE social experiment in optical /neural stimulus.

I am personally extremely dubious about the long term effects of this on the brain.

Speaking of myself personally, I have what is known as a “lazy eye” which means my brain basically ignores much of what my right eye sees. It all works, and when I was seven years old I wore a patch on my left eye for six months, which taught my brain to stop ignoring my right eye, but, within six months of removing the patch, my brain went back to ignoring it again.

For people like me then, this new 3D technology simply does not work, period, and can not be made to work.

Interestingly, only a very small percentage of the population use both eyes equally, the vast majority of the population have brains that favour one eye slightly over the other, it is a distribution curve, with people like me at one end, and those who use both eyes equally at the other, and everyone else somewhere in the middle.

But of course none of this matters, the marketing departments have already decided the future.

So, to (mis)quote Animal Farm, our dystopian Stevie Wonder fan club future worlds looks like it is going to be “Four eyes good, two eyes bad”

I wonder if it will evolve into “Four eyes good, two eyes better”

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