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Submission + - European commissioner calls for Open Web (

Kupfernigk writes: Last Thursday at the WWW2012 conference in Lyon, Neelie Kroes called for an end to onerous DRM, which she described as "Digital handcuffs", displaying a pair of real handcuffs sent to her by Richard Stallman. She also called for the prevention of Internet blocking and said that regulations were being considered to prevent the export of Internet control tools to oppressive regimes.

Submission + - Increasing the Usability of LaTeX With Templates (

Velimir writes: LaTeX produces beautiful high-quality documents but anyone who has used it casually can attest that it can be cumbersome and time consuming to create a new document from scratch. We use templates for websites and Word documents, so why not for LaTeX? A template should capture the main elements of the document type it is written for and display these elements in a stylish way. It should also be easy to edit with commenting on almost every line and clear instructions for where to place user content. If this is done correctly, the template allows both novice and advanced LaTeX users to focus more on content rather than layout. This article explains what a LaTeX template is, why you should use one and introduces a new resource for LaTeX templates.
Social Networks

Cow Clicker Boils Down Facebook Games 237

mjn writes "Game designer and academic Ian Bogost announces Cow Clicker, a Facebook game implementing the mechanics of the Facebook-games genre stripped to their core. You get a cow, which you can click on every six hours. You earn additional clicks if your friends in your pasture also click. You can buy premium cows with 'mooney,' and also use your mooney to buy more clicks. You can buy mooney with real dollars, or earn some free bonus mooney if you spam up your feed with Cow Clicker activity. A satire of Facebook games, but actually as genuine a game as the non-satirical games are. And people actually play it, perhaps confirming Bogost's view that the genre of games is largely just 'brain hacks that exploit human psychology in order to make money,' which continue to work even when the users are openly told what's going on."

Second SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Now Being Assembled 65

FleaPlus writes "Six weeks after the first launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, the first stage of the second rocket has finished production/testing, and has arrived at Cape Canaveral for a launch as early as September, depending on the pace of a methodical review of the Dragon capsule systems and minor rocket modifications/fixes being made based on data from the inaugural launch. The rocket will launch the first operational unmanned Dragon cargo/crew spacecraft into orbit, where it will perform tests and then reenter off the California coast. CEO/CTO Elon Musk made the intriguing remark that Dragon's heat shield is strong enough to enable a return not only from Earth orbit, but also lunar orbit or Mars velocities as well."

Brazil Forbids DRM On the Public Domain 258

nunojsilva writes "Cory Doctorow reports that the Brazilian equivalent of DMCA explicitly forbids using DRM-like techniques on works in the public domain. 'Brazil has just created the best-ever implementation of WCT [WIPO Copyright Treaty]. In Brazil's version of the law, you can break DRM without breaking the law, provided you're not also committing a copyright violation.' This means that, unlike the US, where it is illegal to break DRM, in Brazil it is illegal to break the public domain."
Classic Games (Games)

Fan-Developed Ultima VI Remake Released 161

An anonymous reader writes "20 years after the original game launched, a fan-developed Ultima 6 remake has finally been released! The Ultima 6 Project was formed in 2001 by Sliding Dragon to develop a remake of Origin's Ultima VI: The False Prophet with newer graphics and a more immersive engine. Soon assembled under the banner Archon, the team members, who hail from all over the globe, have set about recreating the world of Britannia, adding an enhanced storyline to bolster intraseries continuity and building on the Ultima legacy in a way that will please fans new and old."

Submission + - Happy Birthday, Cassini Space Probe! (

An anonymous reader writes: Six years ago today, the Cassini space probe entered Saturn's orbit and began its great mission of exploration--and photography. To celebrate its birthday, Discover Magazine has put together a photo gallery with some of its most striking images of mighty Saturn's moons and rings. Featuring the fountains of Enceladus, the Pac-Man moon, and a ghostly shadow on the rings.
PC Games (Games)

King's Quest Fan Project The Silver Lining Is Back 61

LoTonah writes "After eight years of development and a Cease & Desist from Vivendi, King's Quest fan project The Silver Lining is back in action. From the website: 'We are extremely happy to announce that our project, The Silver Lining, will definitely see the light of day! In a wonderful turn of events, Activision reached out to the Phoenix Online team a few months ago with a desire to revisit their decision regarding The Silver Lining. After negotiations, the C&D has been officially rescinded, and Phoenix Online has been granted a non-commercial license to release The Silver Lining! Our team is ecstatic about this, and as hard as we've worked for eight years, it's the tireless belief and support of you, our fans, that has made this possible.' The first episode of the project is due to be released on July 10."

Supreme Court Throws Out Bilski Patent 232

ciaran_o_riordan writes "The US Supreme Court has finally decided the Bilski case (PDF). We've known that Bilski's patent would get thrown out; that was clear from the open mockery from the judges during last November's hearing. The big question is, since rejecting a particular patent requires providing a general test and explaining why this patent fails that test, how broad will their test be? Will it try to kill the plague of software patents? And is their test designed well enough to stand up to the army of patent lawyers who'll be making a science (and a career) of minimizing and circumventing it? The judges have created a new test, so this will take some reading before any degree of victory can be declared. The important part is pages 5-16 of the PDF, which is the majority opinion. The End Software Patents campaign is already analyzing the decision, and collecting other analyses. Some background is available at Late-comers guide: What is Bilski anyway?" More analysis of the decision is available at Patently-O.

1,400 Megapixel Pan-STARRS Telescope Comes Online 54

ElectricSteve writes "Astronomers in Hawaii have announced they've successfully managed to boot up the Pan-STARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System) telescope. Working from dusk to dawn every night, Pan-STARRS is able to map one-sixth of the sky each month, allowing astronomers to track all moving objects, calculate their orbits, and identify any potential threats to Earth. There are four Pan-STARRS cameras in total, each capable of capturing around 1.4 billion pixels over a sensor measuring 40 centimeters square. The focal plane of each camera contains an almost complete 64x64 array of CCD devices, each containing approximately 600x600 pixels, for a total resolution of 1.4 gigapixels."

One Step Closer to Star Wars Holograms 122

An anonymous reader noted a USC research project that is coming ever closer to bringing the classic Star Wars communication holograms from Tatooine to Earth. There's nifty video and some high resolution pictures of Tie Fighters projected into 3-D. Still no clear way to project it from an astro mech droid, but I'm sure that's coming.
The Almighty Buck

Visa Launches PayPal Alternative 141

An anonymous reader writes "Visa has entered the micropayment processing space with payclick, a pre-paid hosted service that will compete with the likes of PayPal. Payclick is aimed at teenagers purchasing online content like music and games where the value of the transaction is likely to be less than $20. Like PayPal, payclick is an online money repository that people can pay into with a bank account or credit card (Visa or MasterCard) and then use the funds to purchase products online. The service was developed and launched in Australia with a view for global markets. PayPal integration is not there yet, but parents can monitor the amount of funds their under-18 children have to spend online. For e-commerce sites, an SDK is available for payclick integration."

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