Stories by Author

I know all you darn kids today are getting your gaming fix on consoles, smartphones and Facebook, but for those of us who prefer to play with a mouse and keyboard, usually on a hand-built rig, the PC will always be where we go to game. If you do play on the PC, there's one publisher name that is universally reviled: Ubisoft. And why? It's not that the publisher's games suck. Far from it. Ubisoft is at the helm of a commanding library, from its own Assassin's Creed series to the titles offered by German studios Blue Byte Software and Related Designs, which include much-loved franchises such as The Settlers and Anno, respectively. Those last two are both revered, long-standing series. They're great games, and there's one reason no one's playing them on the PC. That's Ubisoft.
Some sad news: Ars Technica Senior Gaming Editor Kyle Orland reports that Nintendo Power is getting ready to shutter its pages forever. If Orland's source is correct — and a wealth of evidence suggests he is — Nintendo Power will start winding down toward a final issue after 24 years of asking everyone to join the gosh-dang Fun Club already.
Started in 2003 by Carnegie Mellon University (an institution that's no slouch in the world of robotics), the Robot Hall of Fame considers robots from fiction and reality, and includes names such as Honda's seminal ASIMO, Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, C-3PO and R2-D2, HAL 9000, Unimate (considered to be the first industrial robot) and more. 18 robots are currently honored by RHoF, and now CMU wants to add four more, pulling from a group of a dozen 'bots sorted into four categories. In our gallery below, we've collected all the nominees up for the honor. Want to vote? Find all the pertinent data right here, meatform.
Engineers and staff from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, including plenty of the folks responsible for landing the Curiosity rover safely on Mars, took to Reddit to answer any and all questions about the Mars Science Laboratory mission. Well, they tried to answer — the session exploded and right now has over 7,000 comments. Here, we've collected 10 questions and answers we felt stand out from the bunch. The questions from Redditors and answers from the team at JPL are presented unedited.
In a small way, the Roomba represents the dream of putting a robot in every home. Now if it cooked, did your laundry and brought you a beer, it'd be perfect. iRobot's brand new 600 series doesn't do any of that (yet), but the lovable little vac-bot is getting a grip of upgrades without all the added cost.
Curiosity trumped the impossible using an experimental mishmash of technology, but one of NASA's innovative test beds — which performed admirably in previous tethered flights — experienced a spectacular failure today. Morpheus doesn't look like its going to walk away from this one.
Elon Musk, who helped launch PayPal, Tesla Motors and most recently SpaceX, is pretty dang serious about getting our asses to Mars. Before Curiosity, colonies on Mars were knocked back to the 2030s — or beyond, even. Now? We may only have to wait "12 to 15 years."
Stupid, crazy USB peripherals just haven't been all that interesting since the USB Humping Dog hit the scene. That was the exact moment when USB junk just couldn't get more ridiculous. Well, Butta, Crisp, Tato and Ry Ry are here to say that the future of USB peripherals isn't about being ridiculous; it's about cute, clever design.