Ars Technica

Educational building blocks: how Minecraft is used in classrooms

"With its open-ended nature and robust creation tools, Minecraft has been used to create some amazing things. And as one teacher learned, those very same elements that make the game so compelling also make it a great educational tool.

Google bestows 1Gbps fiber network on Kansas City

"Kansas City, Kansas will have a new Internet provider next year, one that operates a 1Gbps fiber-to-the-home network, provides "open access" to any ISP wanting to use the pipes, and charges fees in line with current rates for much slower connections. That new Internet provider? Google.

World Backup Day: what are you doing to make sure you're covered?

"When you rolled out of bed this morning, did your thoughts turn to preserving your data in the case of hardware failure? If so, you either work with databases or you remembered that today, March 31, is World Backup Day. In fact, it's the first World Backup Day. The concept emerged from our sister site, reddit, where one intrepid redditor suggested the idea a week ago, and the reddit community quickly jumped onboard.

The Drobo FS in-depth, Part 1: what it is, how it works

"I have a buddy named Matt who's a digital pack-rat. He's the guy you call when you need a movie or a TV show, because chances are he's got it. Among the finer things in his collection is the entire multi-decade run of "Dr. Who," including lots of rare black and white Hartnell stuff. He's long since reached the point where he could put his collection on random play and die of old age before he sees a repeat.

State of the PC 2011: an Ars Technica Quarterly Report

"The PC industry is tightly coupled to and utterly reliant upon the world of semiconductors. As Moore’s Law grants ever more transistors, hardware progresses, becoming more advanced and more integrated. This has accustomed the whole world to an astonishing pace of innovation. The PC ecosystem always seems to be in a state of transition, moving from the old to the new and more efficient. 2011 is a year on the threshold and in the midst of many major changes—more so than in years past.

The politics of metered billing in Canada

"Metered broadband billing has become a volatile regulatory question in Canada. It has also become a political issue, with that country's Conservative, Liberal, and New Democratic parties taking stands on the question of whether big telcos like Bell Canada can sell wholesale network access to smaller ISPs via a metered or usage-based-billing (UBB) system.

Battlefield 3 first footage: the humans move like humans

"EA's Battlefield 3 event was everything wonderful and terrible about gaming journalism. I waited in line, herded like a cow until I put on a name tag, was shown the open bar, and was handed a piece of meat on a stick to eat until the game was shown. The crush of crowd was fantastic; EA seemed to have underestimated the amount of people who would be interested in the game.

Canister lets you add water (or bodily fluids) to recharge batteries

"SiGNa Chemistry Inc. is launching a hydrogen-producing cartridge, the mobile-H2™, that will work with a portable, pocket-sized fuel cell charger to provide instant power for cell phones and other mobile devices. You simply add water to the cartridge, and the device will charge depleted batteries on the go. For further convenience, any water will do (even waste water). Unlike solar battery chargers, you don’t need to worry about getting enough sunlight. According to its press materials, these cartridges provide a steady level of power from beginning to end."

3DS launches in Japan: handheld sells out, already hacked

"Dedicated portable gaming devices may have some stiff competition these days, but that hasn't stopped Nintendo from launching the 3DS in Japan. With less than half a million units for sale and a somewhat paltry launch line-up, how did the handheld fare? Quite well, actually.

Thunderbolt smokes USB, FireWire with 10Gbps throughput

"Intel has finally launched its new peripheral interconnect technology—formerly codenamed "Light Peak"—now branded "Thunderbolt." Developed in cooperation with Apple, which introduced Thunderbolt on its newest MacBook Pro laptops on Thursday morning, the new interconnect is designed to bring workstation-class I/O throughput to mobile workflows as well as serve as a next-generation connector for peripherals, including displays, storage, and video and audio devices..."

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