Cryophallion writes "After many years of development, GIMP 2.8 is finally released. Among its features: the oft-desired single-window mode, layer groups, and many other massive improvements, including some of the GIMP UI team's work. This might be the release that helps make The GIMP a much more user friendly experience for newcomers, and has features that are rivaling those of certain exceptionally expensive commercial programs. While the porting of GEGL is still ongoing (and recently reported to have made massive advances made), this is a major step forward for one of the premier open source projects." Here are the official release notes.
New submitter sleiper writes "Today sees UK ISPs begin to block access for their subscribers to the Pirate Bay URL. Sky, Talk Talk, Virgin Media and O2 have already blocked access and the UK's biggest provider, BT, are currently reviewing their legal position. This access ban however has seen The Pirate Bay's traffic spike to 12 million more page views than their previous daily record. It seems obvious that a message is being sent, that this type of censorship is not the way forward. The Pirate Bay keeps on sailing.""
New submitter DerekduPreez writes "Microsoft has revealed that it will increase volume licencing prices in the UK by an average of 29 percent to adjust for the 'sustained currency differences between European countries'. UK businesses have until 1st July to place their orders under the current prices before the changes take effect. Microsoft claims that because of sustained differences between the British Pound and the Euro, price spikes are necessary to maintain consistency across the region. Microsoft also confirmed that it could not rule out future increases, as it will continue to monitor currency movements and may make further adjustments if there are large fluctuations."
CWmike writes "Mozilla is working on a revamp of Firefox to synchronize its various versions — desktop, tablet, phone and Windows 8 Metro — into a single visual style, according to documents posted by members of its user interface (UI) design team. The project, which does not have a name, and the earlier blending of Mozilla's mobile and desktop design groups, is meant to bring more coherence to the various versions of the open-source browser. 'One of our major goals for the year [is] getting Firefox to feel more like one product — more 'Firefoxy' — across all our platforms, desktop to tablet to phone,' Madhava Enro of the Mozilla UI design team, said in a post to his personal blog on Tuesday. Enro posted a slideshow he and others used the week before to present their proposals at a company get-together. According to the presentation, some UI elements will be shared across all Firefox editions, among them a lean toward 'softer texture' and smoother curves in the design."
judgecorp writes "Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is helping a UK government bid to make the results of Government funded research available freely online. The move taps into a popular protest at the restrictions which academic publishers place on the availability of research. From the article: 'Almost 11,000 researchers have signed up to a boycott of journals owned by the huge academic publisher Elsevier. Subscriptions to the thousands of research journals can cost a big university library millions of pounds each year – costs that have started to bite as budgets are squeezed. Harvard University, frustrated by the rising costs of journal subscriptions, recently encouraged its faculty members to make their research freely available through open access journals and to resign from publications that keep articles behind paywalls.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Germany's minister for science and education, Annette Schavan, faces allegations that substantial parts of her PhD thesis have been copied without proper attribution. According to the Wordpress blog that brought up the accusations(German), 56 out of 325 pages of her thesis contain instances of plagiarism. Schavan is the same minister who called an earlier instance of plagiarism by the former German defense minister to be 'embarrassing.'"
MrSeb writes "Back in the olden days, when WiFi and Bluetooth were just a glimmer in the eye of IEEE, another short-range wireless communications technology ruled supreme: Infrared Data Association, or IrDA for short. IrDA was awful; early versions were only capable of kilobit-per-second speeds, and only over a distance of a few feet. Trying to get my laptop and mobile phone to link up via IrDA was, to date, one of the worst tech experiences I've ever had. There's a lot to be said for light-based communications, though. For a start, visible (and invisible) light has a frequency of between 400 and 800THz (800 and 375nm), which is unlicensed spectrum worldwide. Second, in cases where you really don't want radio interference, such as hospitals, airplanes, and other sensitive environments, visible light communication (VLC), or free-space optical communication, is really rather desirable. Now researchers at the National Taipei University of Technology in Taiwan have transmitted data using lasers — not high-powered, laboratory-dwelling lasers; handheld, AAA-battery laser pointers. A red and green laser pointer were used, each transmitting a stream of data at 500Mbps, which is then multiplexed at the receiver for a grand total of 1Gbps."
angry tapir writes "Nokia has filed claims in the U.S. and Germany saying that products from HTC, Research In Motion (RIM) and ViewSonic infringe a number of the company's patents. Nokia has filed actions against all three companies in Mannheim's and Munich's respective regional courts. Nokia has also filed complaints against HTC before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), the Federal District Court of Delaware and the regional court in Düsseldorf. RIM will also have to dispatch its lawyers to Düsseldorf for a Nokia lawsuit filed there, while ViewSonic's legal team have to defend the company against a suit in Delaware."
itwbennett writes "The European Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday that the functionality of a computer program and the programming language it is written in cannot be protected by copyright. In its ruling on a case brought by SAS Institute against World Programming Limited (WPL), the court said that 'the purchaser of a license for a program is entitled, as a rule, to observe, study or test its functioning so as to determine the ideas and principles which underlie that program.'"
nachiketas writes "Oxford University researchers David Porter and Fujia Chen examine the structure of silkworm cocoons, which are extremely light and tough, with properties that could inspire advanced materials for use in protective helmets and light-weight armour. 'Silkworm cocoons have evolved a remarkable range of optimal structures and properties to protect moth pupae from many different natural threats,' Porter and Chen said in their paper. These structures are lightweight, strong and porous and therefore 'ideal for the development of bio-inspired composite materials.' Their research could lead to lightweight armour that dissipates rather than deflects the particular components of a blast that do the most damage to the human body — much like crumple zones in modern cars or sound-absorbing sonar tiles that make submarines harder to detect."
JeepFanatic writes "I've never been one to read comic books, but I've always enjoyed superheroes. My 3-year-old son is really into superheroes (especially Spider-man) and I thought it would be a fun thing to do together to start reading comics to him. Any suggestions on comics that would be more appropriate to start him out with?"
The Bad Astronomer writes "A star in a galaxy 2.7 billion light years away wandered too close to a supermassive black hole and suffered the ultimate fate: it was literally torn apart by the black hole's gravity. The event was seen as a flash of ultraviolet light flaring 350 times brighter than the galaxy itself, slowly fading over time. Astronomers were able to determine that some of the star's material was eaten by the black hole, and some flung off into space. Although rare, this is the second time such a thing has been seen; the other was just last year."
betterunixthanunix writes "The New York City Department of Education has issued rules covering student-teacher interactions on social networking websites. Following numerous inappropriate relationships between students and teachers that began on social networking sites, the rules prohibit teachers from communicating with students using their 'personal' accounts, and requires parental consent before students can participate in social networking for educational purposes. The rules also state that teachers have no expectation of privacy online, and that principals and other officials will inspect teachers' profiles. Oddly, the rules do not address communication involving cell phones, which the Department of Education's own investigations have shown to be even more problematic."
First time accepted submitter ElectronicHouseGrant writes "Freshman Derek Low rigged up his Berkeley dorm room with something he calls B.R.A.D., which is short for 'Berkeley Ridiculously Automated Dorm.' The room includes automated lighting, drapes, music, motion detection, and more. He can control everything through voice recognition, but a wireless remote, his iPhone and his iPad are also in on the control party. Derek started the install on February 4 and finished just a few days ago."
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Mozilla has taken a public stand against the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, saying that it has a 'broad and alarming reach' that 'infringes on our privacy.' That makes it the first major tech firm to speak out against CISPA. Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Oracle and Symantec are all included among the companies that support the bill, which passed the House late last month and is now being considered in the Senate. Google has so far declined to take a stand supporting or opposing the bill."