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Comment Packt is pretty good (Score 1) 271

I've written a couple of books with Packt and they are good for new authors. They pay higher royalties (avg 25%) for ebook sales, the standard royalty percentage for print copies is 15%, and it takes about 6 months to go through the whole process of writing, rewrites, and publication. Disadvantages: You don't usually get to pick your cover (They have a standard format and use photographs, so have your own photo ideas, camera ready if your heart is set on a concept), The writing can be hectic if you have a job and family on top of it, and the advances are lower than some of the other guys. Advantage: They use Word primarily, but you can give them files in OpenOffice if you want. Bonus: They are a nice, supportive, cooperative bunch of people to work with. I'd write for them again if I had another good technical book idea ready to go.

Submission + - Microsoft to Kill Windows 7 Beta Februrary 10th (informationweek.com)

mamaphoenix writes: "Paul McDougall of InformationWeek reports Computer enthusiasts who want to get their hands on the trial version of Microsoft's next operating system have just two more weeks to do so. The company says it will end availability of Windows 7 Beta on Feb. 10. There are a couple of loopholes, however. Users who started to download the OS before that date will have until Feb. 12 to complete the process. Also, Microsoft will continue to distribute product keys beyond Feb. 12 to users who have previously downloaded Windows 7 Beta but have yet to obtain a key. "We are at a point where we have more than enough beta testers and feedback coming in to meet our engineering needs, so we are beginning to plan the end of general availability for Windows 7 Beta," said Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft's in-house Windows blogger, in a post Friday. Microsoft will post warnings on its Web site that the download program for Windows 7 is about to end starting Tuesday. A final version of Windows 7, Microsoft's follow-up to Windows Vista, is expected to be available in late 2009 or early 2010."

Comment It's Economics, not particle physics (Score 1) 931

Did your professor forget about Google not to mention used textbooks? The proff is going down a slippery slope if I ever saw one. Taking up people's notes is just paranoid and stupid. The only time I experienced something similar was for a music appreciation class where to fulfill the writing requirement we had to keep a specific notebook of class notes for the TAs to flip through and check that we were actually taking notes. Complain up the chain. Better yet, get a group in class to complain up the chain, to the school paper, etc.
The Courts

The State of Video Game Regulation 154

Gamasutra is running an in-depth look at the regulation of video games in the US and other countries. They discuss the reasons for such legislation, such as child protection and intellectual property restrictions, as well as what gamers can expect to see in the coming years. "Fairfield also points out combinations of laws, which, when put together make for strange outcomes. The biggest of these, for video games, is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. In short, gaining unauthorized access to someone's computer and doing $500 in damages opens you up for criminal charges. It's good for prosecuting hackers, but it makes for a strange fit with social networking websites and user-generated content. That fit was especially strange when prosecutors weren't quite sure how to approach the widely publicized case of Megan Meier. The 13-year-old Meier committed suicide after being deceived and bullied by another girl and her mother, Lori Drew. Unable to find a good way to approach the issue, prosecutors charged Drew under MySpace's End User License Agreement, effectively giving MySpace the power to dictate criminal law."

Nano-motors For Microbots 77

Smivs writes "The BBC are reporting on the development of tiny motors the size of a grain of salt which could power surgical Microbots. Some surgical procedures are hindered by the size or inflexibility of current instruments. For example, the labyrinthine network of blood vessels in the brain prevents the use of catheters threaded through larger blood vessels. Researchers have long envisioned that trends of miniaturisation would lead to tiny robots that could get around easily in the body. The problem until now has been powering them. Conventional electric motors do not perform as well as they are scaled down in size. As they approach millimetre dimensions, they barely have the power to overcome the resistance in their bearings. Now, research reported in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering has demonstrated a motor about 1/4mm wide, about the width of two human hairs."
United States

Researcher Finds No Link Between Violent Games and School Shootings 116

GamePolitics writes "A researcher at Texas A&M International University has found no link between playing violent video games and school shootings. Prof. Christopher Ferguson cites 'moral panic' and criticizes politicians, the news media and some social scientists for playing up what he believes is a false connection between video games and school shooting incidents. Quoting: 'Actual causes of violent crime, such as family environment, genetics, poverty, and inequality, are oftentimes difficult, controversial, and intractable problems. By contrast, video games present something of a "straw man" by which politicians can create an appearance of taking action against crime.'"
The Military

Oldest Weapons-grade Plutonium Found In Dump 552

Urchin writes "Researchers have just identified the first batch of weapons-grade plutonium ever made. The batch was produced as part of the Manhattan Project, but predates Trinity — the first nuclear weapon test — by seven months. It was unearthed in a waste pit at Hanford, Washington, inside a beaten up old safe."

Sugar-Coated Drug-Dealing Game Approved For iPhone 73

Pocket Gamer writes "Of course, Apple wouldn't allow such a salacious games as Dope Wars on the hallowed corridors of the App Store. What Catamount's done is sugarcoat its game (quite literally) and turned it into Prohibition 3: Candy Wars — a reskinned version of the exact same game."

Comment Girls Go Tech (Score 1) 252

Call or Google search your local Girl Scout council and volunteer to help with their Girls Go Tech program or to visit local Girl Scout groups to show girls how to build robots and do fun database or computer tricks.

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Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. - Alan Turing