J-Georg writes "In Estonia's Tallinn University of Technology, all electronic devices — like notebooks, tablets and smartphones — are now banned in lectures held by the Institute of Public Administration. The restriction, which according to the institute aims to reduce factors interfering with academic work, came as a surprise to most of the university-goers. Moreover, it came just a day before the country's Ministry of Education announced a plan that by 2020 all textbooks and other literature would be turned into e-books and in eight years students are expected to start using computers and tablets to access study materials."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
First time accepted submitter Joe_Dragon writes "The composer of the Survivor hit Eye of the Tiger has sued Newt Gingrich to stop the Republican presidential candidate from using the Rocky III anthem at campaign events. The lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court in Chicago by Rude Music Inc., the Palatine-based music publishing company owned by Frank Sullivan, who, with Jim Peterik, composed the song and copyrighted it in 1982. The lawsuit states that as early as 2009, Gingrich has entered rallies and public events to the pulsing guitar riffs of the song. In a lengthy section of the five-page complaint, Rude's attorneys point out that Gingrich is well aware of copyright laws, noting he is listed as author or co-author of more than 40 published works and has earned between $500,000 to $1 million from Gingrich Productions, a company that sells his written work, documentaries and audio books. It also notes Gingrich's criticism of the 'Stop Online Piracy Act' during a recent debate in South Carolina, where Gingrich suggested the law was unnecessary because 'We have a patent office, we have copyright law. If a company finds it has genuinely been infringed upon, it has the right to sue.' The suit asks for an injunction to prevent Gingrich from using the song, as well as damages and attorneys' fees to be determined by the court."
A few weeks back, you asked gaming-world academic and game designer Ian Bogost questions from the business, philosophical, and aesthetic sides of gaming; below, find his responses. Thanks, Ian!
Hugh Pickens writes "The Guardian reports that Apple's image is taking a dive after revelations in the NY Times about working conditions in the factories of some of its network of Chinese suppliers and the dreaded word 'boycott' has started to appear in media coverage of Apple's activities. 'Should consumers boycott Apple?' asked a column in the Los Angeles Times as it recounted details of the bad PR fallout amid detailed allegations that workers at Foxconn suffered in conditions that resembled a modern version of bonded labor, working obscenely long shifts in unhealthy conditions with few of the labor rights that workers in the west would take for granted." Read on, below.
An anonymous reader writes "The ZX81 Museum was set-up to preserve and showcase a private collection of original Sinclair branded ZX81 hardware, software and literature. The museum has since expanded to include ZX81 software from other publishers of the time and a variety of other ZX81 peripherals and reference books. The collection dates from 1981 to 1983 and features the complete Sinclair-branded software series. The activities of the museum are regularly reported via Twitter, along with updates from the ever growing ZX81 fanbase. There is even a YouTube channel for the diehard 8-bit fans out there, of which there seems to be many!" This was one of the first computers I ever used; I suspect it's still buried in some deep stratum in my dad's basement. As is often the case, the old advertisements are great.
ktetch-pirate writes "If the SOPA/PIPA blackouts were a wakeup call to many people, then the U.S. Pirate Party has released a book that might help explain some of the issues. The book covers issues such as Corporate Personhood, the 4th Amendment, the history of copyright, and how DRM laws are made. There are even cartoons from Nina Paley throughout to add a bit of humor. DRM-free eBook versions are available to download from the book's site, or you can buy a paperback edition from Amazon for ten bucks." The book is under the CC BY-NC-SA, and features essays from the likes of Lawrence Lessig and Rick Falkvinge.
An anonymous reader writes "I'm interested in converting 2D video to Stereoscopic 3D video — the Red/Cyan Anaglyph type in particular (to ensure compatibility with cardboard Anaglyph glasses). Here's my questions: Which software(s) or algorithms can currently do this, and do it well? Also, are there any 3D TVs on the market that have a high quality 2D-to-3D realtime conversion function in them? And finally, if I were to try and roll my own 2D-to-3D conversion algorithm, where should I start? Which books, websites, blogs or papers should I look at?" I'd never even thought about this as a possibility; now I see there are some tutorials available; if you've done it, though, what sort of results did you get? And any tips for those using Linux?
You asked Carl Malamud about his experiences and hopes in the gargantuan project he's undertaken to prod the U.S. government into scanning archived documents, and to make public access (rather than availability only through special dispensation) the default for newly created, timely government data. (Malamud points out that if you have comments on what the government should be focusing on preserving, and how they should go about it, the National Archives would like to read them.) Below find answers with a mix of heartening and disheartening information about how the vast project is progressing.
redletterdave writes "At the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Apple announced on Thursday it would update its iBooks platform to include textbook capabilities and also added a new platform called iBooks Author, which lets anyone easily create and publish their own e-books. Apple's senior VP of marketing, Phil Schiller, introduced iBooks 2, which has a new textbook experience for the iPad. The books themselves display larger images, and searching content is made significantly easier: all users need to do is tap on a word and they are taken straight to an appropriate glossary or index section in the back of the book. Navigating pages and searching is also easy and fluid, and at the end of each chapter is a full review with questions and pictures. If you want the answers to the questions, all you need to do is tap the question to get instant feedback. Apple also launched the iBooks Author app, which lets anyone easily create any kind of textbook and publish it to the iBookstore, and the new iTunes U platform, which helps teachers and students communicate better, and even send each other materials and notes created with iBooks Author. All of the apps are free, and available for any and all students, from K-12 to major universities."
bonch writes "Apple is expected to announce e-book creation and social interaction tools at their January 19 media event taking place in New York, the heart of the publishing industry. Along with expanded interactivity features such as test-taking, the event is expected to showcase an ePub 3-compatible 'Garageband for e-books' to address the lack of simple digital publishing tools. Steve Jobs reportedly considered textbook publishing to be 'an $8 billion a year industry ripe for digital destruction' and was directly involved with Apple's efforts in this area until his death."
bs0d3 writes "The music industry has initiated a lawsuit against the Irish government for not having blocking laws on the books; on the theory that if blocking laws were in place then filesharing would go away. On Tuesday the music industry issued a plenary summons against the Irish government which is the first step towards making this litigation possible. This all began in October 2010 (EMI v. UPC), when an Irish judge ruled that Irish law did not permit an order to be made against an ISP requiring blocking of websites. Recently several ISPs across the European Union have been ordered by courts to block thepiratebay.org through legal maneuvers."
An anonymous reader writes "The Toronto Review of Books claims that the majority of digital books are awful because major publishers are handing over the design work to programmers, not artists and editors. This results in the 'typographical horrors' typical of so many eBooks, and hundreds of 'lackluster' iPad adaptations. 'Programmers are suddenly being given free reign to design books,' the article laments. 'Most publishers don't care about the iPad or eBooks very much... which may be an aesthetic rejection based on the publisher's historical reverence for the printed page.' Don't we deserve better eBooks?"
bcrowell writes "Although former Governor Schwarzenegger's free digital textbook initiative for K-12 education was a failure, state senator Darrell Steinberg has a new idea for the state-subsidized publication of college textbooks (details in the PDF links at the bottom). Newspaper editorials seem positive. It will be interesting to see if this works any better at the college level than it did for K-12, where textbook selection has traditionally been very bureaucratic. This is also different from Schwarzenegger's FDTI because Steinberg proposes spending state money to help create the books. The K-12 version suffered from legal uncertainty about the Williams case, which requires equal access to books for all students — many of whom might not have computers at home. At the symposium where the results of the FDTI's first round were announced, it became apparent that the only businesses interested in participating actively were not the publishers but computer manufacturers like Dell and Apple, who wanted to sell lots of hardware to schools."