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King's Quest Fan Project The Silver Lining Is Back
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's every-cloud-has-something-something deptartment:
LoTonah writes "After 8 years of development and a Cease & Desist from Vivendi, King's Quest fan project The Silver Lining is back in action. From their 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 After negotiations, the C&D has been officially rescinded, and Phoenix Online has been granted a non-commercial license to release The Silver Lining!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 8 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 10th."

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Porn Industry Ready To Drop Flash
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's stiff-competition-for-market-penetration deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Here's an interesting new angle to the ongoing Flash-HTML5 debate. Digital Playground, one of the major adult film studios, said it would drop Flash today if all browsers were HTML5-ready (*cough*, IE8, *cough*). The company's founder said, 'Flash brings everything to a crawl and has an impact on battery life. With HTML5, there is no reason to show our content in Flash.' Digital Playground also indicated that it does not expect 3-D to gain mass acceptance any time soon."

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Leaked MS Presentation Shows App Store Plans For Windows 8
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hopping-on-the-bandwagon deptartment:
FrankNFurter sends word of an internal Microsoft presentation leaked online today that contains details about Windows 8. The slides mention support for 3-D displays, connectivity upgrades, rapid startup times, and an integrated application store. Quoting Neowin: "Consumers will be able to search on the web or locally on a Windows 8 machine to access applications from the store. Microsoft also details plans for application developers to help reach millions of users. One of the goals is to ensure licensing and monetization for developers is flexible with a transparent on-boarding process. It's clear that the 'Windows Store' will be a software service Microsoft provides and hosts fully in the cloud. The company will likely build the distribution model on Windows Azure to lure application developers."

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Obama To Nearly Double the Available Broadband Wireless Spectrum
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's build-us-more-airwaves deptartment:
suraj.sun tips news that the Obama administration announced today plans to free up roughly 500Mhz of the wireless spectrum for commercial broadband. From the Washington Post: "The commitment backs a proposal by the Federal Communications Commission to auction off broadcasters' and government spectrum to commercial carriers that envision their networks running home appliances, automobile applications, tablet computers and other wireless devices. White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers said in a speech outlining the president's plan that freeing up more spectrum will spur economic growth through auctions of the airwaves and investment in wireless networks and technology. ... The FCC has proposed that 280 megahertz of spectrum come from broadcasters and other sources, 120 of which would come from broadcasters. The other 220 megahertz would come from the federal government’s holdings managed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration."

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Magento 1.3 Sales Tactics Cookbook
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it deptartment:
Dmitry Dulepov writes "Magento is a very popular open source e-commerce platform. It was created by the company named Varien in 2007. Varien worked with osCommerce but it did not suit Varien's expanding requirements. After writing more and more changes to osCommerce, Varien finally wrote its own e-commerce software from scratch. It took Varien seven months in 2007 to publish the first public version of Magento." Read on for the rest of Dmitry's review.

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iOS Update May Tackle iPhone 4's Antenna Problems
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's this-is-your-apple-a-day deptartment:
DJRumpy was one of several readers to point out rumors that Apple will soon be deploying an update to iOS 4 to combat the iPhone 4 antenna problems we discussed last week. This could be good news for users of the 1.7 million iPhone 4s purchased during the first three days of its release. (And no, Daily Mail, Steve didn't announce a recall, though there's speculation that this problem could be a boon for Android.) An anonymous reader notes an analysis of a teardown of the phone, which found that its parts collectively cost about $188, with the most expensive part — the LCD screen — costing $28.50 by itself. In other Apple news, Germany has demanded that the company "immediately make clear" what data it collects from customers, and what use it makes of that data (perhaps spurred by Google's Wi-Fi sniffing debacle).

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Tattoos For the Math and Science Geek
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 09:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's whats-wrong-with-a-slashdot deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "I've been thinking of getting a sleeve of math and science tattoos for quite a while now. With the money saved up, the only question remaining is, what equations/ideas should I get? I know for certain that I'm going to include some of Maxwell's equations, and definitely Ohm's Law. So, if you were going to put a tribute to the great math and science minds on your body forever, which ones would you choose?"

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Believing You Are Very Good Or Evil Boosts Your Physical Capabilities
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 08:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's strength-of-heart deptartment:
Research by Kurt Gray, a doctoral student in psychology at Harvard, shows that a person's capacity for willpower and physical endurance increases if they perceive themselves as good or evil. "Evil" acts in particular give a person a large boost in physical strength. From the article: “'People perceive those who do good and evil to have more efficacy, more willpower, and less sensitivity to discomfort,' Gray said. 'By perceiving themselves as good or evil, people embody these perceptions, actually becoming more capable of physical endurance.' Gray’s findings run counter to the notion that only those blessed with heightened willpower or self-control are capable of heroism, suggesting instead that simply attempting heroic deeds can confer personal power."

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Google Bringing HTML5 To Gmail
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 08:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's oh-good-ymore-animation deptartment:
angry tapir writes "In keeping with Google's enthusiasm for the emerging HTML5 standard, many upcoming features of the company's Gmail Web-based e-mail service will be rendered in HTML5. One feature that the Gmail design team is now working on is the ability to drag files from the desktop into the browser. Gmail will also make use of HTML5's database standards. Currently the e-mail service uses Google Gears to store mail for offline reading, but over time that will migrate to the HTML5 standards."

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Supreme's Throw Out Bilski Patent
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 08:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's well-isn't-that-special deptartment:
ciaran_o_riordan writes "The US Supreme Court has finally decided the Bilski case! 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?."

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Facebook Usage Hits 16 Billion Minutes a Day
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 07:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's thats-a-lotta-waste deptartment:
1sockchuck writes "Facebook's 400 million users spend more than 16 billion minutes on the site every day, and view 1 million photos every second. That's prompted massive growth in the social network's infrastructure, which now encompasses more than 60,000 servers. Facebook's Tom Cook discussed how the company's operations team manages that growth in a presentation last week at the O"Reilly Velocity conference (video). The next day at Structure 2010, Facebook VP of operations Jonathan Heiliger said server and chip makers have 'come a long way' in supporting cloud platforms since he bashed them last year."

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Need a Friend? Rent One Online
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you-get-what-you-pay-for deptartment:
crimeandpunishment writes "Housewives, college students, and others are working for a website that charges users an hourly rate for their companionship. No, it's not an escort service....at least it's not one 'with benefits.' It's a site called rentafriend.com, that's trying to carve out a niche in the 'everything's available online' business world. The seven-month-old site, patterned after hugely successful sites in Asia, has nearly 2,000 members who pay either a monthly or yearly fee to check out the pictures and profiles of more than 160,000 potential pals." I thought Craigslist had already cornered the market on renting a friend for an hour or two.

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SCOTUS Nominee Kagan on Free Speech Issues
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 05:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's she's-a-shoe-in-anyway deptartment:
DesScorp submitted one of a few stories I've seen about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, who's confirmation hearings are supposed to start to day (despite being a formality given that she has the votes pretty much locked up). "SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan hasn't left much of a paper trail during her legal career, which may make gauging her ideas and opinions somewhat difficult. But there are some positions she has made clear statements on, among them, pornography and "hate speech". In a 1993 University of Chicago seminar on the subject, Kagan argued that the government wasn't doing enough about the spread of porn or hate speech. She argued that new approaches were needed to fight their spread, as well as taking a fresh look at old approaches, such as obscenity laws. Kagan included herself among""those of us who favor some form of pornography and hate speech regulation" and told participants that "a great deal can be done very usefully" to crack down on such evils."

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ACTA Is Backta, New Round of Talks Start Today
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 05:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's forgive-me-rhyming-gods deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement resume today in Lucerne, Switzerland with the ninth round of talks. The Toronto Star highlights the mounting opposition to the deal from developing world countries such as India and China, while Michael Geist has posted a video of a recent lecture that provides background on the agreement and where things currently stand."

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VP8 Codec Coming To FFmpeg
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 04:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's small-fast deptartment:
Jim Buzbee writes "Interested in Google's VP8 codec? Well, so were the FFmpeg guys, so they went ahead and wrote their own native decoder in only 1400 lines of unique code. They were able to keep the line-count low by relying on heavy reuse from the existing H.264 codebase."

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Best Phone For a Wi-Fi-Only Location?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 12:31 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's cutting-the-tower deptartment:
bendodge writes "I am planning on heading to a university in a remote area with very poor cellular service (the only signal is spotty Verizon voice, no data). However, the entire campus is thoroughly blanketed in Wi-Fi. I am trying to find the best and most economical 'Wi-Fi phone' or else hack one together. Belkin/Netgear sell what is essentially a portable Skype device for $180. These folks recommend outfitting an iPod Touch with a mic and VoIP apps. I am looking for something that can make and receive calls to and from landlines with incoming call notification. What experiences have Slashdot readers had and what would you recommend?"

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UK Video Game Tax Cuts Sabotaged?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-wonder-if-it-rhymes-with-shmactivision deptartment:
ninjacheeseburger writes "Develop recently published an article claiming that the UK government was put under pressure by one of the biggest game companies in the world to cancel planned tax breaks for video game developers. This company had apparently viewed game tax relief as a measure that would have given the UK an unfair advantage over other nations."

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Kahn Academy Delivers 100,000 Lectures Daily
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 08:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's soup-to-nuts-to-linear-algebra deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "Working from the comfort of his home, Salman Kahn has made available over fifteen hundred mini-lectures to educate the world. Subjects range from math and physics to finance, biology, and current economics. Kahn Academy amounts to little more than a YouTube channel and one very, very devoted man. He is trying to provide education in the way he wished he had been taught. With over 100,000 video views a day, the man is definitely making a measurable difference for many students young and old. In his FAQ he explains how he knows he is being effective. What will probably ensure his popularity (and provide a legacy surpassing that of the most highly-paid educators) is that everything is licensed under Creative Commons 3.0. He only needs his time, a $200 Camtasia Recorder, an $80 Wacom Bamboo Tablet, and a free copy of SmoothDraw3. While the lecturing may not be quite up to the Feynman level, it's a great augmenter for advanced learners, and a lifeline for those without much access to learning resources."

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Verizon Charged Marine's Widow an Early Termination Fee
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 08:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's literal-charges deptartment:
In a decision that was reversed as soon as someone with half-a-brain in their PR department learned about it, Verizon charged a widow a $350 early termination fee. After the death of her marine husband, Michaela Brummund decided to move back to her home town to be with her family. Verizon doesn't offer any coverage in the small town so Michaela tried to cancel her contract, only to be hit with an early termination fee. From the article: "'I called them to cancel. I told them the situation with my husband. I even said I would provide a death certificate,' Michaela said. Despite the circumstances, Verizon is imposing a $350 early termination fee."

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Porting Lemmings In 36 Hours
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 07:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's first-in-line deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Aaron Ardiri challenged himself to port his classic PalmOS version of Lemmings to the iPhone, Palm Pre, Mac and Windows. The porting was done using his own dev environment, which creates native C versions of the game. He liveblogged the whole thing, and finished after only 36 hours with an iPhone version and a Palm Pre version awaiting submission, and free versions for Windows and Mac available on his site."

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