braindrainbahrain writes "Coincidence or conspiracy? Two new science fiction magazines have just been announced and they are both being published by more serious science publications. New Scientist magazine has announced the publication of Arc, 'A new digital magazine about the future.' Arc features such articles as 'The best time travel movie ever made' and 'The future of science fiction, games, galleries — and futurism.' They are advertising new fact and fiction from the likes of Maragret Atwood and Alastair Reynold. The MIT Technology Review has announced the TRSF, dubbed 'the first installment of a to-be-annual "hard" SF collection.' Some authors: Joe Haldeman and Cory Doctorow. As an interesting note, both publications will be printed on paper for the first ('collectable') issue only; all forthcoming ones will be e-books."
waderoush writes "You can forget all the talk about 'smart' and 'connected' TVs: nobody, not even Apple, has come up with an interface that's easy to use from 10 feet away. And you can drastically curtail your hopes that Roku, Boxee, Netflix, and other providers of free or cheap 'over the top' Internet TV service will take over the world: the cable and satellite companies and the content owners have mounted savvy and effective counterstrikes. But there's another technology that really will disrupt the TV industry: tablet computing. The iPad, in particular, is the first 'second screen' device that's good enough to be the first screen. This Xconomy column argues that in the near future, the big-screen TV will turn into a dumb terminal, and your tablet — with its easy-to-use touch interface and its 'appified' approach to organizing content — will literally be running the show in your living room." Using a tablet as a giant remote seems like a good idea, and a natural extension of iPhone and Android apps that already provide media-center control. Maybe I'm too easily satisfied, but the 10-foot interface doesn't seem as hopeless as presented here; TiVo, Apple, and others been doing a pretty good job of that for the past decade.
First time accepted submitter dylan_k writes "In the 1990s and early 2000s, there was a lot of buzz about ideas like 'hypertext literature' and 'electronic literature.' Nowadays, it's easier to create those things than ever before, and there are plenty of digital texts but it just doesn't seem like authors are writing any new 'hypertext' literature these days. Why?"
DeviceGuru writes "It's looking like 2012 will be a watershed year for cord-cutters wanting to replace expensive cable TV services with low-cost gadgets that stream movies and TV shows from the Internet via free, subscription, and pay-per-view services. Accordingly, this DeviceGuru smackdown pits five popular streaming media player devices against each other. The smackdown compares Roku, Google TV, Apple TV, the Boxee Box, and Netgear's NeoTV, tabulating their key features, functions, specs, supported multimedia formats, and other characteristics, and listing the main advantages and disadvantages of each device. Then, it provides a summary chart that attempts to quantify the whole thing, so you (theoretically) can pick the best one based on what characteristics are most important to you. Of course, the market's evolving so quickly that the entire process will need to be redone in 6 months, but what else is new."
An anonymous reader writes "In this chat with the originator of the light-saber in Star Wars and the Nostromo in Alien, director Roger Christian argues that the Academy Awards needs a special category for 'best science-fiction film.' It's a thorny subject, since such a new category would inevitably either get lumped in with fantasy/horror or further 'ghetto-ise' the genre. But with 2001 and Avatar snubbed for best picture, among many others over the years, does ANY sci-fi film ever have a shot at Best Picture?"
An anonymous reader writes "George Lucas claims there was 'a 50/50 chance' Indiana Jones could survive the atomic blast in Legend of the Crystal Skull by hiding inside a refrigerator. Dr. David Shechner subjects this claim to rigorous peer review, and his findings are not good news for people looking to hide from nukes in appliances."
First time accepted submitter Nick Fel writes "As the UK nears the end of a lengthy digital TV switch-over, the sale of the analogue TV spectrum for 4G mobile phones will disrupt digital TV in almost a million homes. Affected homes will be issued with a filter or required to upgrade to satellite or cable, and in extreme cases may be granted funding to find their own solution."
New submitter SpockLogic writes "The Telegraphs has a tongue in cheek essay in praise of eternal copyright by the founder of an online games company. Quoting: 'Imagine you're a new parent at 30 years old and you've just published a bestselling new novel. Under the current system, if you lived to 70 years old and your descendants all had children at the age of 30, the copyright in your book – and thus the proceeds – would provide for your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. But what, I ask, about your great-great-great-grandchildren? What do they get? How can our laws be so heartless as to deny them the benefit of your hard work in the name of some do-gooding concept as the "public good," simply because they were born a mere century and a half after the book was written? After all, when you wrote your book, it sprung from your mind fully-formed, without requiring any inspiration from other creative works – you owe nothing at all to the public. And what would the public do with your book, even if they had it? Most likely, they'd just make it worse.'"
redletterdave writes "Samsung Electronics announced Monday that it will spin off its LCD business division to launch a new entity, provisionally called Samsung Display Co., set to go live on April 1, 2012. The new business will launch with about $668 million in capital, but Samsung plans to invest about $5.8 billion in 2012 to develop better displays. The move, which now awaits shareholder approval, has been rumored for months since Samsung's LCD business announced operating losses of $666 million in 2011, citing sluggish TV sales. The company's spin-off display business may eventually merge with Samsung Mobile Display, which makes the company's organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels that are currently in high demand."
An anonymous reader writes "The pair of documentarians behind An Honest Man — The Story of the Amazing James Randi will not only talk to the likes of like Adam Savage, Bill Nye, Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Penn and Teller about the life of the famous magician/skeptic, but they'll also follow Randi's latest operation as he assembles 'an Ocean's Eleven-type team for a carefully orchestrated exposure of a fraudulent religious organization.'"
Phurge pointed out a story about a man with a fleet of remote control toys and a lot of patience. "Excavating a basement using professional machinery is nothing new but doing it with radio controlled (RC) scaled models is something unheard of. Welcome to the little big world of Joe, from Saskatchewan, Canada. For the past 7 years, Joe has been digging out his basement at an average annual rate of 8 to 9 cubic feet using nothing more than RC tractors and trucks. And we're talking about the whole nine yards here — he starts by transporting the excavator on an RC truck to the basement, unloads it, digs and uses other trucks to transfer the dirt up to the ground through a spiral ramp! He even has a miniature rock crusher! 'I feel quite fortunate to have stumbled onto this basement excavation idea, it's been a great past time to date dreaming up new ideas to tackle different projects along the way,' Joe wrote on the Scale4x4rc forums where he also posted pictures and videos of his feat."
First time accepted submitter Hotawa Hawk-eye writes "Tor Books has announced that the release date for the final volume in the Wheel of Time series of books, A Memory Of Light, will be January 8, 2013. [Barring a Mayan apocalypse, of course.] The fantasy series, started by Robert Jordan and continued by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan's death, will span 15 books and over 10,000 pages."
First time accepted submitter M.Nunez writes "Just 30 minutes after Whitney Houston died, Sony Music raised the price of Houston's greatest hits album, 'Ultimate Collection,' on iTunes and Amazon. Many technologists, including chairman of the NY Tech Meetup Andrew Rasiej, suggests that Sony should be boycotted for the move. In a tweet, Rasiej wrote, 'Geez Sony raised price on Whitney Houston's music 30 min after death was announced. #FAIL...We should boycott Sony.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Recognizing Steve Jobs's immense contribution to music, he was the recipient of the Grammy Trustees Award at the Grammy's this past Sunday. The award is handed out annually to 'individuals who, during their careers in music, have made significant contributions, other than performance, to the field of recording.'" Eddy Cue, head of iTunes, accepted the Grammy in place of Jobs.
Grumbleduke writes "From Dajaz1 (a site that is no stranger to unjustified copyright takedowns) we learn that the popular R&B website rnbxclusive.com (warning: threatening message on site) has allegedly been seized by the Serious Organized Crime Agency, a UK law enforcement agency, and its operators arrested on fraud charges. Not only does the replacement message contain a number of factually dubious claims, it also shows the visitor's IP address, browser and operating system, and threatens to track and monitor them. At a time when copyright lobby groups are strongly pushing for even greater powers through laws such as SOPA and ACTA, one is left wondering why they think they need them, when police can shut down websites such as this at will."