An anonymous reader writes "How far would a Star Wars fan go to preserve a relic from the iconic film series? One devoted fan traveled to Tunisia to rescue Luke Skywalker's boyhood home, also known as The Lars Homestead, as seen in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. On a trip to Tunisia in 2010, Belgian traveler Mark Dermul came upon the modest dome-shaped hut that George Lucas built in the mid-1970s to serve as Luke Skywalker's home. The structure was falling apart when Dermul found it, so he hatched a scheme to restore it. After two years and a lot of cement and plaster, Luke's house is looking better than ever."
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New submitter UtucXul points out that Richard Stallman has penned a lengthy response to NPR intern Emily White for her post on the organization's site about how she failed to pay for a significant amount of recorded music, acquiring it instead through Kazaa, friends, and CDs owned by the radio station at which she was employed. (We previously discussed musician David Lowery's response; quite different from RMS's, as you might expect.) Stallman wrote, "Copying and sharing recordings was not a mistake, let alone wrong, because sharing is good. It's good to share musical recordings with friends and family; it's good for a radio station to share recordings with the staff, and it's good when strangers share through peer-to-peer networks. The wrong is in the repressive laws that try to block or punish sharing. Sharing ought to be legalized; in the mean time, please do not act ashamed of having shared — that would validate those repressive laws that claim that it is wrong. You did make a mistake when you chose Kazaa as the method of sharing. Kazaa mistreated you (and all its users) by requiring you to run a non-free program on your computer. ... However, that was in the past. It's more important to consider what you're doing now, which includes other mistakes. You're not alone — many others make them too, and that adds up to a big problem for society. The root mistake is treating a marketing buzzword, 'the cloud,' as if it meant something concrete. That term refers to so many things (different ways of using the Internet) that it really has no meaning at all. Marketing uses that term to lead people's attention away from the important questions about any given use of the network, such as, 'What companies would I depend on if I did this, and how? What trouble could they cause me, if they wanted to shaft me, or simply thought that a change in policies would gain them more money?'"
CIStud writes "A U.S. District Court in Massachusetts has ruled that iPod, iPad and iPhone speakers docks do not infringe on a patent owned by Bose Corp. for digital audio conversion. The ruling in the case of Bose vs. small dock speaker makers SDI, DPI, Imation and others reportedly was a test case that would have set precedent for potential patent infringement by other manufacturers... and even Apple... according to the defendant's legal team. At issue: Is an iPhone, iPad or iPod a 'computer.' The judge says they aren't."
Comic-Con 2012 got underway yesterday, and some interesting bits of news have been filtering out. Digital comic sales boomed over the past year — something to be expected given the trend with ebooks and newspapers. But oddly, print comic sales are up as well, to the tune of 18%. At a Firefly panel, Joss Whedon spoke briefly about how the series would have ended if he could have done it on his own terms. "I don’t think I would have killed anybody," he said. TV shows are a strong theme this year, which much discussion around The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. All in all, about 80 television programs are represented at Comic-Con. The show is also highlighting the recent trend away from strict superhero stories. "Image Comics is indeed banking on 'superhero-ed out' readers, not only with Kirkman's The Walking Dead, (Kirkman has been called the 'unofficial mayor of Comic-Con') but with books like the spy-fi The Activity. The title's second issue, out next week, was co-plotted with actual Navy SEALs."
judgecorp writes "4G services could interfere with terrestrial TV in the UK, so the government plans to offer one free filter for every household affected by the issue. The analysis suggests that 2.3 million households could be affected, but many of those have cable or satellite TV, so the plan might only need a million filters (each household only gets one, even if they have many TVs)."
MrSeb writes "Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are busy working on a type of 3D display capable of presenting a 3D image without eye gear. What you've been presented with at your local cinema (with 3D glasses) or on your Nintendo 3DS console (with your naked eye) pales in comparison to what these guys and gals are trying to develop: a truly immersive 3D experience, not unlike a hologram, that changes perspective as you move around. The project is called High Rank 3D (HR3D). To begin with, HR3D involved a sandwich of two LCD displays, and advanced algorithms for generating top and bottom images that change with varying perspectives. With literally hundreds of perspectives needed to accommodate a moving viewer, maintaining a realistic 3D illusion would require a display with a 1,000Hz refresh rate. To get around this issue, the MIT team introduced a third LCD screen to the mix. This third layer brings the refresh rate requirement down to a much more manageable 360Hz — almost within range of commercially produced LCD panels."
An anonymous reader writes "Quick submission for all us Canadians: looks like the Supreme Court finally decided to rule on various copyright issues. No more fees to 'preview' a song. Another of these rule changes could save our schools a lot of money: no more fees required to photocopy material for students."
Reader Thom Stark (thomst) writes with a pointed review of this year's Americanized version of (awesome) Japanese TV show "Sasuke." "I've been a fan of the program the G4 channel calls "Ninja Warrior" since I first encountered it in mid-2005. For those who are unfamiliar with the show, it's a re-edited-for-American-TV version of a Japanese show called "Sasuke," with often-snarky English commentary and graphics overlaid on the Japanese original. "Ninja Warrior" is a fast-paced, wildly-entertaining program in which 100 contestants of varying skill levels pit themselves against a 4-stage obstacle course that grows ever more fiendishly difficult with each passing season. There've been 27 such seasons to date, and the most current incarnation has become so incredibly taxing that Batman himself would have trouble completing it. Now G4 has teamed up with its corporate parent, NBCUniversal, to bring the world's toughest obstacle course to America, and the resulting show, "American Ninja Warrior" turns out to be distinctly inferior to its Japanese progenitor. The final broadcast in a series that has run for six previous weekly installments appeared on July 9, with segments on both G4 and NBC, and I thought it was fitting that I mark the occasion with a critique of what I believe to be "American Ninja Warrior"'s fatal philosophical and production missteps, and contrast them with the original pitch-perfect product." (Read on below.)
bs0d3 writes "Aereo, a company that offers live broadcast TV via the internet to New York City residents, has won a preliminary injunction hearing. A federal judge has rejected a bid by major U.S. broadcasters to stop Aereo from rebroadcasting some of their programming over the Internet. District Judge Alison Nathan said that while the broadcasters have shown that they faced irreparable financial damage if the venture were allowed to continue, Aereo also showed it would face severe harm if the requested preliminary injunction were granted. The full injunction denial ruling can be found here."
An anonymous reader writes "DirecTV has dropped all of Viacom's channels. This includes channels such as MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon. The drop is reported to be over a carrier fee dispute. It appears programming content can magically disappear from satellite, too, and not just from streaming services. Viacom said it was 'because contract talks with DirecTV had “reached an impasse.” DirecTV, in turn, said in a statement that it had offered Viacom “increased fees for their networks going forward; we just can’t afford the extreme increases they are asking for.”' I guess pirating and physical media is the only way to make sure the content we pay for doesn't disappear."
An anonymous reader writes "A new cracking contest to cryptanalyse a William Gibson poem. The electronic poem ('Agrippa') was written back in 1992 and self-encrypts after being displayed once. The person who successfully cracks the encryption will win a copy of every published Gibson book." The poem/program binary was recovered in 2008, but it looks like no one has managed (bothered?) to crack the code.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In one of the myriad BitTorrent downloading cases against individuals, one plaintiff's law firm thought they'd be clever and insert a 'negligence' claim, saying that the defendant was negligent in failing to supervise his roommate's use of his WiFi access. Defendant moved to dismiss the negligence claim on the ground that it was preempted by the Copyright Act, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed an amicus curiae brief (PDF) agreeing with him. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan agreed, and dismissed the complaint, holding that the 'negligence' claim was preempted by the Copyright Act."
MojoKid writes "Samsung has some great news for Galaxy SIII smartphone owners. As it turns out, your mobile device isn't at risk of overheating to the point where it catches on fire and burns through its casing, as a forum member at Boards.ie claimed was the case with his Galaxy SIII a couple of weeks ago. [Note: And has since retracted.] Fire Investigations UK (FIUK), an independent third-party organization, assisted Samsung with looking into the matter, and here's what they concluded: 'The energy source responsible for generating the heat has been determined as external to the device... the device was not responsible for the cause of the fire,' FIUK said in a statement. 'The only way it was possible to produce damage similar to the damage recorded within the owner's damaged device was to place the devices or component parts within a domestic microwave.'"
First time accepted submitter fotoguzzi writes "Garden State Fireworks is investigating how the entire Fourth of July show was launched after a signal was sent to the barges that would set the timing for the rest of the show after the introduction. Can anyone suggest how such a trivial step could go so disastrously wrong?" It's not the first time such a thing has happened, either.
judgecorp writes "21-year old computer science student Philip Matesanz is ignoring a 'cease and desist' order from Google over his site YouTube-mp3.org, which rips audio tracks from videos hosted on YouTube. Instead, he has launched a public campaign against Google, arguing that German law allows what he is doing. Matesanz has an online petition."