posted about 8 hours ago on ars technica
During an IAmA on reddit last week, actor Nichelle Nichols—known to many as Communications Officer Lt. Uhura on the original Star Trek—revealed she's preparing to fly on an official NASA mission at the age of 82. She won't be going into space, however. The television pioneer will instead work with the SOFIA mission, NASA's initiative involving the world's largest airborne observatory. "SOFIA does not, sadly, fly into space," Nichols told fans during the online Q&A. "It's an airborne observatory, a massive telescope mounted inside a 747 flying as high as is possible. I was on a similar flight, the first airborne observatory, back in 1977. It's an amazing experience, you get a totally different perspective than from Earth. I do hope someone gets some great pictures." Nichols later clarified on celebrity fundraising site starpower.co that her previous airborne observatory experience was the Keiper Airborne Observatory, "which I also had the honor being able to fly on and even operate the equipment!" She hinted that she's working with NASA to see if there's a way to allow "VIP fans supporting the great causes" on starpower.co to share in the event with her. According to Nichols, the flight will take place in September. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 13 hours ago on ars technica
On July 17, a smiling and seemingly harmless robot named HitchBOT set out to accomplish its dream—roadtripping across America through the kindness of strangers. The little fellow comes from a Canadian research team made up of students and professors at McMaster, Ryerson, and the University of Toronto, and in 2014 it managed to make a similar trek across Canada and parts of Europe.  The whole goal, according to the team, was simple: "to see whether robots could trust humans." Tragically, about two weeks later, little HitchBOT learned a rough life lesson. According to the Associated Press, the bot met its demise in Philadelphia, home of sports fans who notoriously have thrown batteries at opposing players or snowballs at Santa Claus. At the time of this article, the specifics of what happened to HitchBOT remain unknown. Its creators are attempting to investigate, and HitchBOT's official site states details should be made available on August 5. "The creators were sent an image of the vandalized robot Saturday but cannot track its location because the battery is dead," the Associated Press reported. "They said they don’t know who destroyed it or why. But co-creator Frauke Zeller said many children who adored the robot are now heartbroken." Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 14 hours ago on ars technica
We know that genes play a role in how well children do in school, but there are gaps in our knowledge: is this the same for different topics in school? And can this be explained largely by intelligence, or do other genetic factors contribute? A recent paper in Nature Scientific Reports conducted a large-scale study on twins and unrelated people, finding that genes contribute to success in the full range of subjects from maths to art—and that the genetic influence stuck around even after they factored out the effects of intelligence. Other genetic, inherited traits might include mental health, personality, or motivation. Twin studies are used widely in behavioural genetics, because they remain one of the best methods we have to tease apart the effects of genes and environment. Both identical twins and non-identical twins share an environment, but identical twins have a more similar genome than their non-identical counterparts. If identical twins show greater similarity in some regard—like school results—than non-identical twins, we can infer that genes are responsible for some of the variation on that behaviour. Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 15 hours ago on ars technica
Since late 2009, Steam's regular platform-wide sales have been a major attention grabber for the downloadable game service, causing gamers to hide their wallets and developers to (presumably) see massive bumps in the sales of their work. But just how much of a sales improvement can a developer expect by being featured as part of one of these sales? That's the latest question we set out to answer using data from the Steam Gauge project, which estimates game sales based on a random sample of public user profiles. Unsurprisingly, we found games that received featured placement during the 11 days of this year's Steam Summer Sale generally saw a sizable increase in sales compared to the pre-sale period. However, it was a bit of a shocker that larger discounts didn't always correlate with larger sales increases, and the reduced sale prices often meant games brought in seemingly less overall revenue during the sale period. What do we mean by "sale"? To start, we should clarify what games we're looking at specifically when we talk about games "featured" in the Steam Summer Sale. After all, practically every developer on Steam these days tries to jump on the sale bandwagon with some sort of self-imposed discount during the event. According to price trackers, nearly 4,400 of the over 5,700 games listed on Steam saw a price reduction during the 11 days of this year's sale (June 11 through 21). Read 23 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 15 hours ago on ars technica
The investigation of two journalists on the German digital rights news site Netzpolitik.org for alleged treason was halted Friday by Germany's prosecutor general, Harald Range, following widespread protests by the media and politicians. The Guardian reports that Range said he was pausing inquiries "for the good of press and media freedom" and that he would "await the results of an internal investigation into whether the journalists from the news platform netzpolitik.org had quoted from a classified intelligence report before deciding how to proceed." The head of German intelligence services, Hans-Georg Maassen, still defended the idea of bringing criminal charges against the site's writers. He told the German weekly Bild am Sonntag "to continue the fight against extremism and terrorism…it was necessary to guard against the publication of documents classified as confidential or secret." As Ars reported last Thursday, Netzpolitik.org published two leaked documents earlier this year detailing plans to expand surveillance of social networks by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, of which Maassen is president. Initially, the investigation was believed to be into whoever was responsible for the leaks, but the search was widened last week to include two Netzpolitik.org journalists: Markus Beckedahl, the site's editor-in-chief, and Andre Meister. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 16 hours ago on ars technica
It's widely agreed that a truly competitive market can spark innovation and price competition, both of which should end up benefitting society at large. But there are some places where markets are an awkward fit, and electricity production is one of them. In the developed world, we effectively view having electricity as a human right, something required to fully participate in society. And the production of electricity comes with some rather large externalities, costs that are borne by society as a whole, like the health impacts of burning coal. Nevertheless, in the US, we've generally tried to open up utilities to competition, under the view that it should help lower prices for consumers. While deregulation may have had that effect, it also seems to have generated infuriating behavior, the pinnacle of which was Enron's illegal manipulation of California's market, which led to widespread energy shortages. I'm reminded of this because I recently came across an article that's almost equally infuriating, although in a different way. It concerns FirstEnergy Corp., an Ohio-based utility. Back in 2008, FirstEnergy was a big proponent of deregulation. During the same time, it bet big on coal and nuclear, figuring that two sources of electricity with relatively stable prices would stand it in good stead. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 18 hours ago on ars technica
At the end of May, my wife and I received a note from Comcast explaining that we had been getting undercharged for our cable service—and to expect that to stop pretty darn quick. This note set in motion a course of events that would lead to my trip last week to Comcast's Baltimore customer service center to turn in our cable boxes once and for all and cut the cable cord. Well, sort of. But I'll get to that in a minute. The move by HBO to break free of cable and offer its programming streamed over the internet certainly played a role in my wife's ascent to the termination of our consumer relationship with Comcast. But it was just one of a number of evolutionary changes in our viewing habits that had all but assured the cable box's demise. When my wife was recovering from surgery just over two years ago, the Ars staff gave her a Roku box to keep her entertained while on home bedrest. We had an Apple TV as well (the first generation), but it hadn't been used for much other than streaming iTunes to our living room. And then when the XBox One arrived last year, it broke things open a bit more. Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Ars Technica rides a SoloWheel. Video shot by Will Lemke of Propadata Films, edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link) SEATTLE—"You know you're in a sandal factory, right?" Luna Sandals founder "Barefoot" Ted McDonald said in a small retail room on a recent sunny day. The room is covered in photos of himself jogging, hiking, and exploring various exotic locales, and from there, he led me around the corner to a modest assembly and boxing room. At that time, the shop had no other customers, which I noticed because McDonald was moving around indoors by gliding on an electric, one-wheeled apparatus known as the SoloWheel. McDonald has become a bug-eyed advocate—and official salesperson—for the device, and he made a point to ride it around as we talked, presumably to prove just how nimble and precise his motion can be on such hardware. It was effective—he could whip around and stop on a dime in impressive fashion—but in cities like Seattle, however, such advocacy isn't even so necessary. The single-wheeled devices, with no handles and two tiny flaps to stand on, have already started to become fixtures in hilly tech cities where people are buying into their efficient, glide-next-to-pedestrians style of movement. ars.AD.queue.push(["xrailTop", {sz:"300x251", kws:["bottom"], collapse: true}]);Where McDonald comes in is to encourage people to buy the models designed and manufactured by SoloWheel inventor and patent holder Shane Chen, as opposed to "around 150 knockoffs from Beijing," as McDonald described them. His sales pitch wasn't timid. This is a man who is obsessed with human motion, seemingly born from his experience as a marathon jogger (some of his stories were chronicled in the athletic-freaks-of-nature nonfiction book Born To Run), and his sales pitch vacillated from its technology and its efficiency to how it emulates the "runner's high" feeling he is obsessed with. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 1 day ago on ars technica
The world is largely colorless because the in-game developers couldn't agree on what color to make anything. Seriously. 8 more images in gallery .related-stories { display: none !important; } There are surprisingly few video games about the process of making video games. Critically acclaimed movies like Argo and The Artist dramatize the work of Hollywood. Authors often love nothing more than writing about the struggles of fictional authors. But games have been slow to take that self-referential look at their own creation. This is slowly beginning to change. In recent years, we've seen titles like Hack 'n' Slash and Code Hero turn the tedium and minutiae of computer programming into an actual game mechanic. We've also seen Game Dev Tycoon and Game Dev Story look at the making of games through a light-hearted business lens. The Magic Circle takes a bit from both camps, telling a fictional story of a troubled game's development from within that troubled, fictional game itself. Even writing about The Magic Circle requires getting incredibly meta from the get-go. The game you play, The Magic Circle, is presented as the alpha, test version of "The Magic Circle," a massively multiplayer fantasy world that's been in development for over a decade by the time you get to it. The game-within-a-game is in incredibly rough shape, despite the development time, full of blocky, colorless graphics, placeholders where epic quests should go, animations controlled like puppets by human guides, and "puzzles" that are an insult to the name. After a quick ten-minute trip through that alpha world, you dive in again in "Pro" mode and start to learn how the game-within-the-game got to this sorry state. The "live testbed" world you play in is overseen by members of the development team, who take the form of giant, unblinking eyes that float through the world and observe your actions. They're omnipotent gods here, but they're also flawed and fractured human beings in the real world, evidenced by the sounds of them squabbling through headsets while they monitor the test. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 2 days ago on ars technica
The pilot of the drone shot down Sunday evening over a Kentucky property has now come forward with video provided to Ars, seemingly showing that the drone wasn’t nearly as close as the property owner made it out to be. However, the federal legal standard for how far into the air a person’s private property extends remains in dispute. According to the telemetry provided by David Boggs, the drone pilot, his aircraft was only in flight for barely two minutes before it was shot down. The data also shows that it was well over 200 feet above the ground before the fatal shots fired by William Merideth. David Boggs provided this video to Ars, which he describes as his "statement." (video link) Boggs told Ars that this was the maiden voyage of his DJI Phantom 3, and that his intentions were not to snoop on anyone—his aim was simply to fly over a vacationing friend’s property, a few doors away from Merideth’s property in Hillview, Kentucky, south of Louisville. Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 2 days ago on ars technica
It's hard to imagine a game as defiantly old-fashioned as Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse being released without the help of crowdfunding. While it bears the sharp high-definition visuals and steep production values of a modern game, you could just as easily imagine playing it under a veil of blocky pixels and low-fi voice acting. Most publishers wouldn't even give it a chance. Today's adventure game is less point-and-click, and more interactive story; the challenge of esoteric, abstract-thinking puzzles dumbed down in favour of a more accessible narrative. This isn't always a bad thing of course: just look at the likes of Telltale Games' brilliant The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead. But the Kickstarter successes of Broken Sword 5 and Double Fine Adventure in 2012 showed that there's a small, but dedicated group out there that crave the challenging puzzles and quirky dialogue of a late-'80s and early-'90s adventure game. It's thanks to the likes of Kickstarter, Apple's App Store, and the openness of the PC platform, that these games can find a home. For Charles Cecil MBE, famed developer and creator of the Broken Sword series, it was specifically Kickstarter and Apple's App Store that were the catalyst for reviving his company Revolution Software. iOS remasters of classic point-and-click games like Beneath a Steel Sky and Broken Sword sold well on the App Store, and set the company on a path towards its Kickstarter success with Broken Sword 5, a game that brought in nearly $800,000 (£500,000) and attracted over 14,000 backers. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 2 days ago on ars technica
Mt. Gox head Mark Karpelès was arrested by Japanese police on Saturday, more than a year after the exchange folded amidst the loss of 650,000 bitcoins.Karpelès hasn't been formally charged but "police are alleging that he manipulated the company’s computer system to inflate its assets," The Wall Street Journal reported. "Japanese media aired footage of Mr. Karpelès being led by police officers from his apartment before 7 a.m. Saturday," the Journal report said. "An official familiar with the investigation said authorities allege that Mr. Karpelès manipulated the balance of a company account and used it to counter orders from customers. Some of the coins that he said were lost may not have existed, the official said." Karpelès, a 30-year-old from France, "is suspected of having accessed the exchange's computer system to falsify data on its outstanding balance," the BBC wrote. The exchange "claimed it was caused by a bug but it later filed for bankruptcy." Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 2 days ago on ars technica
NBC has released a 2014 slide from a secret NSA Threat Operations Center (NTOC) briefing—a map that shows the locations of "every single successful computer intrusion" by Chinese state-sponsored hackers over a five-year period. More than 600 US businesses and institutions were breached during that period. The slide was provided to NBC by an unnamed "intelligence source," who said the briefing "highlighted China's interest in Google and defense contractors like Lockheed Martin, and in air traffic control systems... [and] catalogued the documents and data Chinese government hackers have exfiltrated," the network reported. The report suggests that the NSA has been tracking Chinese cyber-attacks for years and that its own network surveillance of China gives the agency the ability to correlate those attacks with specific sources. The briefing shown to NBC listed locations for the sources of each of the "exploitations and attacks," NBC reported. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 2 days ago on ars technica
Windows 8 was the first Windows to include a Store, along with a pair of new apps: Music and Video. While those apps had some nice features, they were both designed for the hard sell, better suited to being storefronts than media players. Windows 8.1 shook up the store and included brand new Music and Video apps. Store features weren't gone, but they were no longer the priority. Windows 10 shakes up the store again. The Music and Video apps have shed the Xbox branding that they used in Windows 8 and are now "Groove Music" and "Movies and TV." If we thought the effort to sell was a little too overwhelming in the Windows 8 apps, the Windows 10 ones swing too far in the other direction. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 2 days ago on ars technica
After giving the world's gay community quite possibly its most iconic studly-man image in decades, the Russian government has since gone on a legislative and regulatory tear against all things gay. This week, the controversial "gay propaganda" bill that President Vladimir Putin signed into law in 2013 was linked to an apparent effort by a Russian agency to discover pro-gay communications on social networks, especially those that include emoji and emoticons with same-sex kisses and family images with two dads or two moms. The Russian-newspaper story was reported in the United States by Vocativ on Wednesday. It explained that the country's Roskomnadzor media-watchdog agency reached out to a pro-government youth activism group, known as Young Guard of United Russia, and asked its members to essentially snitch on anybody whose social media posts broke the country's Article 6.13.1 law, which forbids, among other things, "propaganda of homosexuality among minors." According to the original Russian report, the uncovered letter sent to this activism group by Roskomnadzor Deputy Head Konstantin Vladimirovich Marchenko contained specific guidances about emoji on Facebook, along with his concerns that "most" social media users are minors—even though a cursory glance at not-so-concrete surveys reveals that most Russian social media users are not minors and are therefore not under the purview of the law in question. We, like Vocativ, also wonder whether Marchenko's request made any mention of the eggplant emoji in this regard. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 2 days ago on ars technica
Friends! Arsians! Lend me your ears—and your resumes because we are a-hiring! Ars is looking to hire on a tech reviewer and gadgetologist to join our butt-kicking gadget review team. Perks of the job include being able to argue about Android in-person with Ron Amadeo, hear wisdom from Andrew Cunningham's Reviews Cat, touch Peter Bright's glorious beard, and maybe even down some Soylent shots with me in a well-ventilated location. We need someone who's sharp, tech-savvy, personable, and who doesn't mind appearing on camera, since you're going to see a lot more video on Ars in the near future. There are two catches: first, this is not an entry-level job. We need someone who's been in the reviewing game before, at least a bit, and we need to see some writing samples. Second: you have to be in the New York City area, no exceptions. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 3 days ago on ars technica
The discovery that it was possible to isolate graphene, a single-atom thick sheet of carbon, has opened the door to the development of a variety of atomically thin materials, many with distinctive properties. But developing devices using these 2D materials is challenging. A lot of the traditional techniques for manipulating their behavior either don't work or require that the 2D material be linked to bulkier, three-dimensional hardware. Now, some researchers may have taken a tiny step toward developing a device that's entirely one atom thick. They've managed to create a key electrical junction, used in devices like diodes and transistors, from two different 2D materials. The border between these materials is atomically sharp, and the sheets themselves are only a few hundred picometers deep. The device in question is called a p-n junction. It's formed at the boundary between (wait for it) p-type semiconductors and n-type semiconductors. The p-type tends to have "holes" that are missing an electron, while the n-type is characterized by an excess of electrons. Normally, these are formed by "doping," or adding small numbers of other atoms to a crystal of silicon. They're key components of diodes, transistors, LEDs, and photovoltaic cells, so being able to produce them is critical to pretty much all of modern electronics. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 3 days ago on ars technica
Facebook has made significant progress in a project to build solar-powered drones that can deliver Internet connectivity using lasers, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced yesterday. "I'm excited to announce we’ve completed construction of our first full scale aircraft, Aquila, as part of our Internet.org effort," Zuckerberg wrote. "Aquila is a solar powered unmanned plane that beams down Internet connectivity from the sky. It has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but weighs less than a car and can stay in the air for months at a time. We've also made a breakthrough in laser communications technology. We've successfully tested a new laser that can transmit data at 10 gigabits per second. That's ten times faster than any previous system, and it can accurately connect with a point the size of a dime from more than 10 miles away."Obviously, that 10Gbps would be shared among multiple users, but it could connect a lot of people to the Internet. Facebook's Internet.org project aims to bring Internet service to parts of the world where people have little or no access. Today, Facebook is working with mobile operators to provide free access to parts of the Web on low-end phones. But that won't be enough, Zuckerberg wrote. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 3 days ago on ars technica
The US Supreme Court is being asked to resolve once and for all whether the authorities need a court warrant under the Fourth Amendment to obtain a suspect's cell-site location data records. The case the justices were asked to review Friday concerns a Florida man who got a life term for several robberies in a 2012 case built with his mobile phone's location data the police obtained without a warrant. The case has big privacy implications for anybody who carries a mobile phone. According to the government, that device may be tracked at will without the Fourth Amendment's probable cause standard being met. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 3 days ago on ars technica
ars.AD.queue.push(["xrailTop", {sz:"300x251", kws:["bottom"], collapse: true}]);A whole bunch of people are going to upgrade to Windows 10. Not everyone. But when you offer free Windows via a nag message delivered to over 80 percent of the user base, you’re going to attract people who wouldn’t have driven to MicroCenter to buy an upgrade DVD. Especially if you bought an eligible PC in Windows 7’s heyday, you will probably be installing the new OS on five- or six-year-old hardware that has long since been forgotten about by the company that sold it to you. Or maybe you bought something during the post-Chromebook era, where Windows PCs dipped back into netbook territory in their quest for a low price tag. We installed Windows 10 on a few of these kinds of systems to see what you can expect, at least if you’re comparing a clean install to a clean install. Current users of both Windows 7 and Windows 8 should expect to recover a few gigabytes of drive space, a few megabytes of system RAM, and a few precious seconds of boot time. Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 3 days ago on ars technica
Newegg is famous for fighting patent trolls, and the company is currently trying to win fees from several cases where it has won or the troll has given up. In one of those cases, Newegg fought a non-practicing entity called Pragmatus Telecom, which dropped its case against Newegg before discovery was complete. Newegg asked for attorneys fees but was rejected by the Delaware district court, which found that Newegg wasn't the "prevailing party"—in other words, it hadn't really won the case at all, so it couldn't be granted fees. Today the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned (PDF) that order, meaning Newegg will get a second shot at collecting fees. While the order is nonprecedential, the chance of defendants being awarded fees is changing the economics of the patent-trolling business. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 3 days ago on ars technica
Computer scientists have devised an attack on the Tor privacy network that in certain cases allows them to deanonymize hidden service websites with 88 percent accuracy. Such hidden services allow people to host websites without end users or anyone else knowing the true IP address of the service. The deanonymization requires the adversary to control the Tor entry point for the computer hosting the hidden service. It also requires the attacker to have previously collected unique network characteristics that can serve as a fingerprint for that particular service. Tor officials say the requirements reduce the effectiveness of the attack. Still, the new research underscores the limits to anonymity on Tor, which journalists, activists, and criminals alike rely on to evade online surveillance and monitoring. "Our goal is to show that it is possible for a local passive adversary to deanonymize users with hidden service activities without the need to perform end-to-end traffic analysis," the researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Qatar Computing Research Institute wrote in a research paper. "We assume that the attacker is able to monitor the traffic between the user and the Tor network. The attacker’s goal is to identify that a user is either operating or connected to a hidden service. In addition, the attacker then aims to identify the hidden service associated with the user." Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 3 days ago on ars technica
Internet service providers yesterday filed a 95-page brief outlining their case that the Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules should be overturned. One of the central arguments is that the FCC cannot impose common carrier rules on Internet access because it can’t be defined as a “telecommunications” service under Title II of the Communications Act. The ISPs argued that Internet access must be treated as a more lightly regulated “information service” because it involves “computer processing.” “No matter how many computer-mediated features the FCC may sweep under the rug, the inescapable core of Internet access is a service that uses computer processing to enable consumers to ‘retrieve files from the World Wide Web, and browse their contents’ and, thus, ‘offers the ‘capability for... acquiring,... retrieving [and] utilizing... information.’ Under the straightforward statutory definition, an ‘offering’ of that ‘capability’ is an information service," the ISPs wrote. Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 3 days ago on ars technica
33 more images in gallery .related-stories { display: none !important; } During the 1980s and ‘90s, Sierra Entertainment’s adventure series King's Quest weaved a momentously important tapestry into the medium of interactive storytelling—one that I am more-or-less entirely unfamiliar with. My whole understanding of the series comes from some brief time with King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride, played when my aunt would bring her computer around to my grandparents' house for Christmas. What I remember from my brief exposure to those games is more of a general impression than any specific characters or story beats. The first part of Activision's reboot/reimagining/retelling works with that limited recall quite nicely, however. It tells the story of Graham, who Wikipedia explains is a returning protagonist from the first few games, as he first enters the kingdom of Daventry. A Knight to Remember, the first episode in this reboot’s five-piece season, is immediately striking. A cold open on the shot of our hero's wine-colored, cel-shaded cape gives way to a dip into a dragon-inhabited cave, with zero context for why—or really even what sort of game this is. While the original King's Quest games were point-and-click adventures—much like the LucasArts games that dominated my childhood—Activision's early shots of the game made it appear like something more action-oriented. I expected something like the Ron Gilbert directed effort, The Cave, which wrapped the same sort of irreverence as those old games in a puzzle platforming package. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 3 days ago on ars technica
Our listening test set-up back in Vegas, in the process of being draped out of view of both audience and test participants. Here, the expensive Vodka and not-expensive Cable Matters cables were swapped back and forth between the listening laptop, into which was plugged our Grado RS2e headphones. Lee Hutchinson Our cable adventure is coming to a close. First we took our two $340 AudioQuest Vodka Ethernet cables to Las Vegas and subjected one of them to a live listening test; listeners were unable to tell it apart from a $2.50 Ethernet cable of the same length. Then we took the cable we didn’t use on stage and gutted it, exposing its innards. We found an interesting mix of high craftsmanship (a thick polyethylene sheath, genuine S/FTP construction) and corner cutting (masking tape, unterminated shields). But listening tests and exploratory surgery would only get us so far. What we needed to cap things off was some actual for-real electrical analysis, and for that there was really only one place we could go: Kurt Denke and Blue Jeans Cable. To be sure, we could have rented a Fluke analyzer and done some tests ourselves, but Denke and his company have a sterling reputation in the (surprisingly deep) world of cables. Perhaps most famous for standing up to Monster Cable’s lawsuit threats by telling the bigger company to go jump in a lake, Denke and his company produce high-quality tested cables of all kinds—and he’ll also test out your cables to see exactly how well they perform. Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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