Feed + - Ars Technica: Feature: Ars reviews the iPad 2: big performance gains in a slimmer package (arstechnica.com)

Apple's original iPad has taken off to levels none of us anticipated when it was launched one year ago. Though it has very recently gotten some competition in the tablet space, the iPad still dominates the market and mindshareof new tablet buyers. After having sold 15 million units in nine months last year, Apple has now refined its design with the introduction of the iPad 2.

What, exactly, is new about the iPad 2 that differentiates it from the previous model? That's what we're here to tell you. We reviewed the 16GB WiFi-only iPadsame as the model we used for our original iPad review last yearand for aesthetic purposes, we chose black over white. (What can we say? We like a good visual screen pop.) So, on with the show.

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Submission + - Operation Hope Wins Buckminster Fuller Challenge (bfi.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Operation Hope wins the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge for demonstrating the restoration of barren desert back to lush grassland by INCREASING the number of grazing livestock. Could grazing cattle actually be a solution to, instead of being a cause of, the climate crisis?

Submission + - Cisco Smartnet (tredent.com)

Rusty Crosby writes: "knowing it’s not worth the big expense? Knowing you’re paying to much for what you get? Tired of watching your other IT projects get pushed to the side because your budget was wiped out by your annual SMARTnet maintenance renewal? Hey I get it.

Trying to protect your current Cisco infrastructure assets while also getting other projects done is tough. Sometimes it feels like a it’s easier to just not renew the contract and risk the chance that a device may fail so you can use those IT funds more wisely. Unfortunately, that’s like driving without car insurance. It can be VERY costly if you get into trouble.

You are not alone

Thousands of other IT professionals are dealing with this very problem. In 2005, when the recession first hit we saw many of our customers deciding not to renew their Cisco Smartnet maintenance due to the high cost of Cisco’s contracts and budget cuts."

Feed + - Techdirt: HP And RIM Produce Similar Device... Don't Freak Out (techdirt.com)

ChurchHatesTucker points us to a recent story about how RIM's Playbook tablet device and interface looks incredibly similar to HP's TouchPad tablet device interface (using WebOS), but rather than get all freaked out about "copying," the two companies seem to handle this maturely, noting that it's just the nature of innovation. HP's initial response more or less suggests that RIM copied HP, but uses it as an opportunity to position itself as a leader in the space, rather than a follower:

From HP:

"It's a fast innovation cycle and a fast imitation cycle in this market, so we just know that we have the creative engine here to continue to build on what we have, and we'll keep innovating, we'll keep honing and those guys hopefully will continue to see the value in it and keep following us by about a year."

RIM (Blackberry) responds.

"Well, when you’re trying to optimize user experience that juggles multitasking, multiple apps open at once and on a small screen, you’re going to get people landing on similar kinds of designs."
Notice no legal threats. No claims of intellectual property violations. Some might claim this is a "non-story," but in an age when the default so often seems to break out the lawyers, cease-and-desists and threats (if not outright lawsuits), it's nice to see a response like this. In some ways it's more of a story, since it seems so rare.

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Submission + - Pripiat, Ukraine - Chernobyl Accident Photos Today (russiaversususa.com)

fedor23 writes: In the zone of radiation of Pripyat, of northern Ukraine, Kiev Oblast, near the border with Belarus. It's population had been around 50,000 prior to the Chernobyl accident. Today, the only residents are deer and wolves along with a solitary guard.

Prypyat used to be proud for being home to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers. But something happened on 26 April 1986

It took three days before all permanent residents of Chernobyl and the Zone of radiation were evacuated due to unsafe levels of radioactivity. People from around the Soviet Union were forced to come and work here in order to liquidate the danger and evacuate the residents. Many of the workers died or had serious illness from radiation.

Let the story be told by these pictures taken, 20 years later after the accident.


Submission + - Japan Faces Potential Nuclear Catastrophe 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The NY Times reports that Japan’s nuclear crisis is on the verge of catastrophe after an explosion at one crippled reactor damaged its crucial steel containment structure and a fire at another reactor spewed large amounts of radioactive material into the air causing most of the 800 workers at the Daiichi facility to leave to avoid exposure to unhealthy levels of radiation at the plant and leaving only 50 workers at the plant to pump seawater into three reactors and fight the fire at the fourth reactor. Prime Minister Naoto Kan briefly addressed the nation on television pleading for calm as engineers struggled to bring the damaged reactors under control but said that radiation had spread from the crippled reactors and there was “a very high risk” of further leakages. The problem at the fourth reactor had not been reported before but according to officials, a fire broke out at that reactor where spent nuclear fuel was being stored. “No. 4 is currently burning, and we assume radiation is being released. We are trying to put out the fire and cool down the reactor,” said chief government spokesman Yukio Edano. “There were no fuel rods in the reactor, but spent fuel rods are inside.” While Japanese officials made no comparisons to past accidents, the release of an unknown quantity of radioactive gases and particles — all signs that the reactor cores were damaged from at least partial melting of fuel — added considerable tension to the effort to cool the reactors. “It’s way past Three Mile Island already,” says Frank von Hippel, a physicist and professor at Princeton. “The biggest risk now is that the core really melts down and you have a steam explosion.”"

Feed + - Engadget: T-Mobile Sidekick 4G from Samsung announced, coming 'later this spring' (engadget.com)

Sure, Danger's servers are going away, but the Sidekick brand belongs to T-Mobile -- and that particular component of the teen-friendly smartphone ecosystem pioneer isn't going anywhere. Of course, the carrier's been saying for a couple months now that it'd be relaunching Sidekick on Android, but they're making the device very official today with the unveiling of the Samsung-sourced Sidekick 4G. Though it lacks a swiveling display, T-Mobile is quick to note that the phone's got a "pop-tilt" mechanism that should still be pretty unique in the market -- and this is the first Sidekick with a touchscreen (3.5 inch WVGA, to be exact). The Android 2.2-based unit has a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, 3 megapixel primary cam, and a pretty fierce-looking user interface (dare we say a tad Kin-like?) that comes loaded with a couple Samsung staples -- Samsung Media Hub, notably -- along with Qik video calling, DriveSmart texting-while-driving lockout functionality, and Sidekick Group Text and Cloud Text, which together form some manner of cross-platform messaging tool. Pricing and availability are a little murky at this point, but we can expect it "later this spring" in your choice of black or "pearl magenta." Follow the break for the full press release.

Continue reading T-Mobile Sidekick 4G from Samsung announced, coming 'later this spring'

T-Mobile Sidekick 4G from Samsung announced, coming 'later this spring' originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 15 Mar 2011 00:01:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Feed + - Google News Sci Tech: Internet Explorer 9 Released to Web at SXSW - PC Magazine (google.com)


Internet Explorer 9 Released to Web at SXSW
PC Magazine
AUSTIN, Tex.—On Monday evening at the hip SXSW festival, Microsoft announced the availability of its new Web browser, Internet Explorer 9. Presiding at the launch was Corporate Vice President of Internet Explorer Dean Hachamovitch, ...
Internet Explorer 9 is Microsoft's Hope for Battling Chrome, FirefoxeWeek
Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 aims to lure back browser defectorSeattle Times
Microsoft releasing new Internet Explorer 9 browserAFP
BetaNews-ABC News-Mashable
all 364 news articles

Feed + - Google News Sci Tech: Apple iPad 2: 10 Reasons Customers Pounced on It - eWeek (google.com)

Globe and Mail

Apple iPad 2: 10 Reasons Customers Pounced on It
Apple's iPad 2 has sold almost 1 million units, according to some analysts. But what made the device such a success? Read on to find out. When the iPad 2 launched March 11, just about everyone knew the tablet would sell extremely well. ...
The iPad 2 lives up to some of the hypeLos Angeles Times
Some Apple Stores To Open Early On Tuesday For iPad 2 RestockSlashGear
Mysteries of the IPad 2 LinePCWorld
PhoneDog-BusinessWeek-Apple Insider
all 886 news articles

Feed + - Google News Sci Tech: AT&T confirms plan to begin broadband data caps - Los Angeles Times (google.com)

USA Today

AT&T confirms plan to begin broadband data caps
Los Angeles Times
AT&T broadband customers will soon be charged a fee if they go over a new limit for data usage. By Wailin Wong AT&T Inc. confirmed that starting May 2 it will impose a monthly data cap of 150 gigabytes on users of its DSL broadband service. ...
AT&T Caps Monthly Traffic for DSL SubscribersABC News
AT&T Web Customers Face Data CapWall Street Journal
AT&T Imposing 150GB Data Cap for DSL Customers Starting May 2PC Magazine
Cleveland Leader-Dslreports-Ars Technica
all 250 news articles

Submission + - Unity 3D Game Development by Example Review (techcores.com)

tjasko writes: "We all know game development isn't easy, that's a straight fact. But with tools out there like the popular Unity 3D, it can real speed up the work of the developers by just using 3D frameworks. Unity 3D has been acclaimed for it's fame with it's easy-to-learn JavaScript scripting abilities along with so many other advanced features that are extremely easy to use.

Packt Publishing's recent book, Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginners Guide, has bee known for it's amazing run-down of the Unity 3D way of doing things. Let's dive starting into the full blown review!

Basic Rundown

Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginners Guide is just like it says, by example. These two words is crucial throughout the entire book. Not only does the book teach you loads of things, it's all with nice, heavily explained examples!

Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginners Guide begins with just a general overview of the tools and controls in Unity. After that, the book describes what's possible to create on a one-man team and other 3D gaming projects that you'll just have to fancy until possible. Throughout all of the different projects, you'll work in both the 2D and 3D world. One misconception is that Unity 3D only supports the 3D world. In retrospect, you can of course use 2D also; just don't use that third axis!

Whether you want to learn about meshes, lighting, or even physics, Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginners Guide will teach you it.

What the Book Covers

I really need to give an applause at Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginners Guide for the variety of content included in just this tiny 364 page book. It's not made to teach you the advanced sections of Unity 3D, but instead, it's really more to get you familiar on how the tools work; hence the beginner's guide part in the title.

Let’s see what Unity 3D Game Development by Example covers; let's list them below!

Introduction to Unity 3D
Installation of Unity 3D
What can you build using Unity 3D
Overview of Unity 3D
Working in the 3D world of Unity
Learning about different resources Unity 3D can import and read
Physics engine
Particle engine
Sound engine
Help resources
Coding in JavaScript for Unity Scripts
Advanced areas like quaternions, mipmapping, and prefrabs
And more!

Nothing is too advanced, and in fact, a good portion of the stuff you'll be working with can be found in a 2D game also! It might sound like a little, but it's actually quite a bit to learn.

My Thoughts on the Book


I really have to say, Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginners Guide has been one of the best books I've ever read about 3D game development with Unity 3D. It's not everything that the book covers, it's also the language the author uses too. Some parts of the book, quite frankly, is extremely funny. During several points when I was reading, I needed to set the book down for a good laugh it's just that good! It was very entertaining to read and the best part is, you're learning too! Now why can't everything be like that?

The author of Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginners Guide, Ryan Henson Creighton, did a fantastic job of the overall layout of the book. I'm for sure no beginner at game development, but I have to say, this book is perfect if you want to take on the challenge of game development. Don't fear the 3D world; the author makes it much easier than it sounds to work with, which in all honestly, I loved! He doesn't rush any parts of the book and it's written in a way for easy reference in the future if you need it to be.

One excellent aspect of Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginners Guide has to be the reusability of the code. In most books like this, the author create a new project every single chapter. Instead, in this book, some code is reused to save time (and possibly money in the real-world) while reading. You might find the a bit cheesy at first if you're not a developer, but this is one great thing to cheap. In essence, developers are lazy and they want to get things done as quickly as possible. By copying this code, I really believe the reader is learning this important part of development along the way.

It's not only the fact of the Unity 3D topics covered in this book, It's also the real-world aspect of it. In Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginners Guide, the author guides you through many projects on how to build a progress bar or even a countdown timer. The author even explains on how to export your game to different platforms. Unity 3D is multiplatform and supports a bunch of them too! It would be a shame if the author didn't cover such an important feature of Unity 3D! This goes back to the "developers are lazy" aspect. We want to save time and by having a system to export our game to so many platforms saves us a ton of work to do. I'm so glad that Ryan decided to teach that aspect throughout the book.

Explaining the Code

When approaching a new programming language, especially if it's your first time, you might be a bit confused throughout different sections. This is normal and Ryan really fixes that problem extremely quickly. In Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginners Guide, you don't need to worry about these stressors. The author writes his code in a way that's easy to read, filled with comments, and explains them as you go throughout the chapter. That's what I want to see in every programming book!

Not only explaining the code is a bit obstacle for most beginning programmers, it's the fact of knowing where to look to explain that code. In a variety of sections throughout Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginners Guide, Ryan does a great job with referring you to different websites to read and stare your eyes upon. In programming, it's also a "learn it on your own" type of style. You can experiment, mess up, and learn from those mistakes. A book can't teach you everything and the author did one amazing job at giving you extra reference information to work with.

The Advanced Topics

When most things get tricky in the 3D world, like quaternions, beginning programs often times feel complexed. The author does a great job with prevented this from happening. If he's using some advanced function in the code, he'll explain it in a way that's easy to understand but not confusing at the same time. When working in the 3D world, things can get very complex. With Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginners Guide, you don't need to worry about it; leave it up the author to describe to you in the most simplest way possible! I really loved the fact of Ryan giving you just enough information so you understand it, but not enough to confuse you.

Should you buy this book?

When reading any type of programming book, you sometimes have the feeling somewhat understand what you’re doing but not really. This will not happen in Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginners Guide. Because it’s more lenient towards beginning Unity starters, it'll explain every line of code for you. Just like learning a new language, practice is key. I've found in several instances of facts being repeats and I thought to myself, wow, this is great! If the author is using something that was covered in previous chapters, you could go back and refer to that one topic easily. The repetition helped my and I'm sure it'll help you. If you're wondering why that code is there, you can simply look it up and move on!

Unity 3D Game Development by Example really grasps the concept of you’re not going to be creating an five star game and you need to start out small instead. For the major questions you have, those will be answered while reading the book instead of learning how to create the next big hit game.

If you like goals and checklists, you’ll really enjoy this book! The author at the beginning of every chapter mentions what will be finished during that chapter and at the end, he marks off the goals completed and to continue onwards to the next chapter. It’ll help you know where to start when creating your first Unity 3D game and planning what you’ll do until you complete said game. Having a game plan is important in development.

Final Thoughts

Even though I’m no beginner at game development, but somewhat of a novice at the 3D world, I enjoyed reading this Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginners Guide. The language that is used throughout the book made me attached to it and with the feeling of to read more. It not too in depth but at the same time gives you enough information to get the what you need to get done and why you did it that way.

If you’re looking learn game development with Unity 3D, I highly recommend this book. If you’re scared at all of the coding aspect, please don’t be. I can already see as a programmer myself that Ryan spent a god deal of time writing the book so it'll make sense to the ones who are just learning programming for their first time. He doesn’t assume that you have any prior knowledge at all and because of that, you’ll feel like Unity 3D Game Development by Example was basically made for you.

In the end, I have to give a thumbs up to Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginners Guide. It’s fun and rather easy to read, planned out well in a way that guides a beginner programmer very efficiently, and at the end, you will have enough knowledge to make your own game!

I was extremely impressed by Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginners Guide. With all the information provided, I felt as if I learned more that I could than that was possible before. I enjoyed this book so much, that if any developers mentions to start learning Unity 3D, I'll point my finger towards this exact book!

For more information on Unity 3D Game Development by Example, feel free to check out the Packt Publishing website for the book below:


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