Gadgets


The impact of Megaupload's shutdown on other file hosting sites is spreading. Just as FileSonic recently disabled file sharing, presumably to avoid prosecution for enabling illegal distribution of copyrighted material, the site FileServe has now done the same.

A reddit user pointed out the change earlier today. Attempting to download a file uploaded by another FileServe user results in a message that reads, "FileServe can only be used to download and retrieve files that you have uploaded personally. If this file belongs to you, please login to download it directly from your file manager."

While RapidShare claims not to be concerned about prosecution, as it has procedures in place to take down infringing content under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the actions of FileSonic and FileServe suggest the sites' makers aren't as confident in their own legal compliance. Fortunately, both sites are allowing users to continue downloading their own content. With Megaupload, even people who used the service to store and distribute content they created themselves have lost access to their files due to the criminal case and takedown of the entire site.

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As a professional journalist and software development hobbyist, I generally spend between eight and eighteen hours a day using a computer. This effectively keeps me chained to my desk most of the day, and sometimes late into the night. To combat the physical discomfort of prolonged computer use, I reinvented my home office environment with a focus on ergonomics.

The first thing I did was purchase a better chair—that's easily the most significant thing that you can do to make your office life better. After that, I started to look at desks. Last year, I became intrigued by the idea of a standing desk—a surface that is high enough to accommodate working from a standing position. Further research into the subject convinced me to buy a height-adjustable desk that can elevate to a standing position. After using it for most of the year, I doubt I'll ever want to go back to sitting all day.

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Junk apps have been on the rise in the App Store, with some developers hoping to cash in on popular searches by offering "cheat" apps that ostensibly help you conquer the game you're really searching for. I noticed this myself recently when I went looking for Words With Friends. Developer Marco Arment dug a little bit deeper and believes these apps may be crossing into some legal gray areas. The good news, however, is that there's something that both developers and users can do about it.

Arment pointed out that many of these apps use icons, application names, and in some cases, other artwork that could constitute copyright or trademark violations. We found dozens of apps that use icons and logos for iPhone games like Words With Friends, Angry Birds, We Rule, and The Sims, as well as apps that purport to offer cheats for console games like Super Mario Bros Wii, Mario Kart, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Modern Warfare 2.

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With the Nintendo DSi XL landing in the offices of the gaming press this week, Nintendo saw fit to announce its newest product in its portable line: the Nintendo 3DS. The company gave limited details via a press release in Japan; we know the system will use two screens, won't require any sort of special glasses, and will be backwards compatible with current DS and DSi games.

The system will be released before the end of the fiscal year, which means the latest we'll see it in Japan is next March. The system is expected to make an appearance at this year's E3, and we'll surely be given more information before then. For now, Nintendo has yet to release any images of the system, or how games will look, or be played.

So how will the 3D effect be displayed? We posted a video of a downloadable game that's out now in Japan that uses head tracking to simulate a 3D image, and since then we've had time to try the game on a friend's Japanese DSi during GDC. By tracking the motion of the system in relation to your eyes, you seem to be able to peer "into" the picture by turning the system this way and that. It's a surprisingly effective effect, and some iteration of this system may be used in the 3DS.

Nintendo has a history of announcing hardware upgrades and features that may seem silly at first glance before going on to become huge success. Many scoffed at the idea of the Nintendo Wii, until lines to play the system at its first E3 showing stretched around the convention. 3D is fresh in the minds of consumers after the success of Avatar, and 3D-capable televisions are expected to make a splash at retail this year. A portable system that works with all your old games and won't require glasses? It could be the right product at the right time.

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