An anonymous reader writes "Chris Testa recently presented at TAPR Digital Communications Conference and annouced his development work on a hand-held software defined radio. Running uClinux on an ARM Corex-M3 coupled to a Flash-based FPGA, it will be capable of receiving and transmitting from 100MHz to 1GHz. Designed to be low power, Chris has designed the radio primarily with the Amateur 2m and 70cm bands in mind. Currently in early prototyping stage, Chris intends to release the design under the TAPR Open Hardware License."
cathyreisenwitz writes "The 2012 bankruptcy of Rhode Island-based video-game developer 38 Studios isn't just a sad tale of a start-up tech company falling victim to the vagaries of a rough economy. It is a completely predictable story of crony capitalism, featuring star-struck legislators and the hubris of a larger-than-life athlete completely unprepared to compete in business." Reason makes no bones about its view of this kind of public-private "partnership."
Nerval's Lobster writes "When Canonical whipped back the curtain from its upcoming Ubuntu for smartphones, it set off a flurry of blogosphere speculation about the open-source operating system's chances on the open market. But which company would actually build such a device? Apple and Research In Motion and Nokia are all out of the running, for very obvious reasons. Motorola, as a subsidiary of Google, is also unlikely to leap on the Ubuntu bandwagon. While Hewlett-Packard has flirted with smartphones in the past, most notably after its Palm acquisition, the company doesn't seem too focused on that segment at the moment. That leaves manufacturers such as HTC, which currently offer devices running either Google Android or Windows Phone. But given Android's popularity, it might prove difficult for Canonical to convince these manufacturers to do more than release a token Ubuntu device—especially if Google and Microsoft apply counter-pressure."
New submitter asola writes with this cool piece of small (ha!) news from Liliputing: "This Freescale i.MX6-quad based stick will officially support Ubuntu in addition to Android. This is a first among the newfangled category of ARM-based stick PCs. This Ubuntu may very well have the hw accelerated Gstreamer plugins created by Freescale for the i.MX6 so full HD video playing will be available under Ubuntu as well."
DavidGilbert99 writes with this excerpt from IB Times: "The Sandy Hook shooting once again raised the debate about how much power violent videogames wield over teenagers. Following proclamations from the National Rifle Association and the establishment of a study by the National Academy of Sciences to investigate the psychological effects of violent games on children, a group in Connecticut is now having its say Southington, a town 30 miles from where the shooting took place, is offering gift tokens in exchange for violent videogames, as well as other violent media such as DVDs or videos. The group, called SouthingtonSOS, said in a statement: 'There is ample evidence that violent video games, along with violent media of all kinds, including TV and movies portraying story after story showing a continuous stream of violence and killing, has contributed to increasing aggressiveness, fear, anxiety and is desensitizing our children to acts of violence including bullying.'" And Yes, they plan to destroy the traded-in games. (Note: Beware the obnoxious auto-playing video ad with sound; adjust volume accordingly.)
First time accepted submitter Bent Spoke writes "In a bit of delicious irony, Microsoft laments Google is not playing fair by excluding access to meta-data on YouTube, preventing the development of the kind of powerful app readily available on Android. From the article: 'In a blog post on Wednesday, Microsoft VP and deputy general counsel Dave Heiner said the software giant has spent two years trying to get a first-class YouTube app running on Windows Phone, but to no avail, thanks to the Chocolate Factory's stonewalling. "YouTube apps on the Android and Apple platforms were two of the most downloaded mobile applications in 2012, according to recent news reports," Heiner wrote. "Yet Google still refuses to allow Windows Phone users to have the same access to YouTube that Android and Apple customers enjoy."'"
Last year a group of UK teachers started working on a Creative Commons licensed teaching manual for the Raspberry Pi. That work has produced the Raspberry Pi Education Manual which is available at the Pi Store or here as a PDF. From Raspberry Pi: "The manual is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 unported licence, which is a complicated way of saying that it’s free for you to download, copy, adapt and use – you just can’t sell it. You’ll find chapters here on Scratch, Python, interfacing, and the command line. There’s a group at Oracle which is currently working with us on a faster Java virtual machine (JVM) for the Pi, and once that work’s done, chapters on Greenfoot and Geogebra will also be made available – we hope that’ll be very soon."
Nate the greatest writes "Do you like to tweet or share links to interesting news articles? According to a coalition of Irish newspapers, that makes you a pirate. The National Newspapers of Ireland has adopted a new policy. Any website which links to one of the 15 NNI member newspapers will have to pay a minimum of 300 Euros, with the license fee going up if you post more links. Note that this is not a fee to post an excerpt or some punitive measure for the copying of an entire article. No, the NNI wants to charge for links alone. It's almost as if this organization has no idea how the web works. Or maybe they have found an elaborate way to commit suicide."
jrepin writes with an excerpt from an an article at OSNews musing on the virtues of those "ugly" old interfaces that were common before Apple's Aqua drove everyone to use visual gloss for its own sake: "Thom Holwerda tends to believe that the best interfaces have already been made. Behaviourally, CDE is the best and most consistent interface ever made. It looked like ass, but it always did exactly as you told it to, and it never did anything unexpected. When it comes to looks, however, the gold standard comes from an entirely different corner — Apple's Platinum and QNX's PhotonUI. Between all the transparency, flat-because-it's-hip, and stitched leather violence of the past few years, one specific KDE theme stood alone in bringing the best of '90s UI design into the 21st century, and updating it to give everything else a run for its money. This is an ode to Christoph Feck's Skulpture."
Today Canonical announced Ubuntu for phones. The new operating system is designed to provide easier access to apps and content than is provided by current mobile OSes. They do this by relying on swipe gestures from the edges of the phone's screen. "Every edge of the phone is used, letting you move faster between apps, settings and content. A short swipe from the left edge of the screen is all it takes to reveal your favourite apps. Page either left or right from the home screen to see the content you use most. A full left-to-right swipe reveals a screen showing all your open apps, while a swipe from the right brings you instantly to the last app you were using. ... A swipe from the right edge takes you back to the last app you were using; another swipe takes you back to the app you used before that. It’s natural to keep many apps open at once, which is why Ubuntu was designed for multi-tasking. ... Swiping up from the bottom edge of the phone reveals app controls." The Ubuntu phone OS is built to work well on low-powered devices. Canonical will be at CES next week working on raising interest from manufacturers. As far as software goes, they have this to say: "Web apps are first class citizens on Ubuntu, with APIs that provide deep integration into the interface. HTML5 apps written for other platforms can be adapted to Ubuntu with ease, and we’re targeting standard cross-platform web app development frameworks like PhoneGap to make Ubuntu ‘just work’ for apps that use them." (In the attached video, the phone OS discussion starts at about 6:37.)
A growing number of colleges are providing graduating students tools to improve their online image. The services arrange for positive results on search engine inquiries by pushing your party pictures, and other snapshots of your lapsed judgement off the first page. Syracuse, Rochester and Johns Hopkins are among the schools that are offering such services free of charge. From the article: "Samantha Grossman wasn't always thrilled with the impression that emerged when people Googled her name. 'It wasn't anything too horrible,' she said. 'I just have a common name. There would be pictures, college partying pictures, that weren't of me, things I wouldn't want associated with me.' So before she graduated from Syracuse University last spring, the school provided her with a tool that allowed her to put her best Web foot forward. Now when people Google her, they go straight to a positive image — professional photo, cum laude degree and credentials — that she credits with helping her land a digital advertising job in New York."
When the local movie theater in Oakhurst, California went out of business, residents were stuck without a way to watch films on the big screen without driving for at least an hour beforehand. Now, three men are trying to resurrect the theater with one major change: instead of relying solely on ticket sales, their business model revolves around subscriptions. From the article: 'They ran models of Nelson's subscription-based theater idea, showing that to break even they would need 3,000 people, or 15% of the mountain communities, to sign up. For $19.95 per month, a member would be able to see each movie one time and buy individual tickets for friends. Non-members could buy a $16 day pass. While researching the theater business, Nelson learned that studios are transitioning to digital distribution. Thousands of independent theaters that couldn't afford equipment upgrades have closed over the last 10 years, according to industry experts. Hundreds of others — which, like the Met, still show print films — remain on the brink. The subscription business model could pay for the new equipment.'
An anonymous reader writes "According to data from the American Automobile Association, the average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. was higher in 2012 than in any year before it. Nationwide, gas averaged $3.60/gallon, up from $3.51/gallon in 2011. 'The states with the most expensive annual averages for 2012 included Hawaii ($4.31), Alaska ($4.09), California ($4.03), New York ($3.90) and Connecticut ($3.90). The states with the least-expensive annual averages included South Carolina ($3.35), Missouri ($3.38), Mississippi ($3.39), Tennessee ($3.40) and Oklahoma ($3.41). The highest daily statewide average of the year was $4.67 in Calif. on Oct. 9, while the lowest daily statewide average was $2.91 a gallon in South Carolina on July 3.' Bloomberg reports that fuel consumption is down 3.6% compared to last year, while U.S. oil production reached almost 7 million barrels a day recently, a level that hasn't been reached since 1993. AAA predicts gas prices will be cheaper in 2013."
An anonymous reader sends word that the Russian Space industry will be getting a big boost over the next eight years. Prime Minister Medvedev has approved $68.71 billion in space-related funding from 2013 to 2020. That's a huge increase from the $3.3 billion spent annually in 2010 and 2011. The increased funding is one of several efforts to restoring Russia's slowly fading spaceflight capabilities. "The failure of a workhorse Proton rocket after launch in August caused the multimillion-dollar loss of an Indonesian and a Russian satellite. A similar problem caused the loss of a $265 million communications satellite last year. Medvedev criticized the state of the industry in August, saying problems were costing Russia prestige and money." Medvedev said, "The program will enable our country to effectively participate in forward-looking projects, such as the International Space Station, the study of the Moon, Mars and other celestial bodies in the solar system."
dgharmon sends this news from the Atlantic Wire: "After a years-long legal battle, federal prosecutors in Belgium now believe their investigation is complete enough to charge the Church of Scientology and its leaders as a criminal organization on charges of extortion, fraud, privacy breaches, and the illegal practice of medicine. ... Multiple reports and the group's legal history point to one key factor here: The Belgian government won't charge Scientology for being a cult — authorities are focusing on prosecuting it as a criminal organization. Which is a new twist, as most of the group's many court battles over the years have focused on establishing its legitimacy as a religion. ... The Church of Scientology houses its European headquarters in Brussels, so a ban in Belgium could be crippling to the group — and authorities there seem to know it."