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Slashback: Pong, Economics, Stability 176

Posted by timothy
from the live-from-kristoph's-in-east-el-paso dept.
Slashback with updates and clarifications from several previous stories -- read on below for updates on connecting continents, mechanical pong, Microsoft's ASP fix, and more.

That was fast. jsin writes "Microsoft has provided a patch for the ASP.NET exploit mentioned [on October 7th] on Slashdot, among other outlets. From the article: "To aid customers in protecting their ASP.NET applications, an HTTP module has been developed that implements canonicalization best practices. By applying this module to your web server, all ASP.NET applications on the server are protected against canoncalization problems known to Microsoft as of the publication date.""

Warring academics , never pretty. DAldredge writes with news of another side to the economic debate in academia over the plans of this year's two leading presidential candidates, pointing to this "statement Wednesday by 368 economists, including six Nobel laureates: Gary Becker, James Buchanan, Milton Friedman, Robert Lucas, Robert Mundell, and -- the winner of this year's Nobel Prize in Economics -- Edward C. Prescott. The economists warned that Sen. Kerry's policies 'would, over time, inhibit capital formation, depress productivity growth, and make the United States less competitive internationally. The end result would be lower U.S. employment and real wage growth.'"

The steel cage match with the members of the Harvard Business School opposed to Bush's economic policies has yet to be announced.

Hey Pal, would you please Pay? Daemon writes "eBay made an official announcement stating that they are stabilizing their Paypal services after a few days of problems: 'Most members are now able to log in to the PayPal site to access account information, use shipping functions, use PayPal debit cards, and pay for items online with no difficulty.'

Again, it seems there are still problems on the horizon (or hidden under?) since they say: 'Should you encounter any errors when attempting to log in or use different PayPal functions, please try again.' The full announcement can be viewed on their System Status Announcement Board."

Do please try this at home. adelayde writes "Here we have an article on a wireless IP link between Europe and Africa. It documents the full details about the 802.11b link between the two continents, traversing the Gibraltar Strait, as part of the Transacciones / Fadaiat project and with it placed within the geo-political context of immigration and freedom of movement. The announcement was originally posted to Slashdot in June 2004."

What I want to see is a mechanical Ping-Pong! yathosho writes "German magazine Spiegel Online has posted an interview with art-student Niklas Roy, creator of Pongmechanik, an electromechanical conversion of the classical game Pong."

(We mentioned this amazing looking device last month.)

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: Pong, Economics, Stability

Comments Filter:
  • PayPal woes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Swedish Guy (822192) <swedish.guy@gmail.com> on Thursday October 14, 2004 @08:04PM (#10530543)
    eBay made an official announcement stating that they are stabilizing their Paypal services after a few days of problems: 'Most members are now able to log in to the PayPal site to access account information, use shipping functions, use PayPal debit cards, and pay for items online with no difficulty.' Again, it seems there are still problems on the horizon (or hidden under?) since they say: 'Should you encounter any errors when attempting to log in or use different PayPal functions, please try again.' The full announcement can be viewed on their System Status Announcement Board."

    I can't help but wonder how many eBay transactions have ended in negative feedback for both sellers and buyers, how many transactions have simply been lost in the digital void, and what kind of responsibility (if any!) PayPal will take. I know I have had several PayPal payments recently that I'm not sure whether they have been sent, or if they've just been swallowed by the system, and would certainly like some sort of information from PayPal's side. I did receive one just a couple of hours ago, though, which seems to indicate that the PayPal system does indeed function somewhat normally now.

    • My gues: Nada. (Score:3, Informative)

      and what kind of responsibility (if any!) PayPal will take.

      Read their EULA. I'm expecting them to do their best to avoid any fiscal responsibility unless there's a massive user uprising. Nothing special about PayPal... it's just a side effect of being a corporation [thecorporation.com].

    • I had a payment pending with Jinx.com. After PayPal drew the funds from me, they never told Jinx about it (they apprently expect to get some sort of confirmation email or another). Luckily, when I contacted Jinx, they were able to look in to it and discover that I had indeed paid for my wares, so it looks like "no big deal", but is a bit irritating.

  • by Bequita (813032)
    Since when did /. start using M$ servers??
  • by aardwolf204 (630780) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @08:04PM (#10530550)
    I for one would like to welcome our full page slashback overlords.

    I think I speak for all of us when I say thank you for bringing back slashback.
  • About the dupe (Score:2, Informative)

    If anyone missed the few minutes when the dupe was running rampant, then you probably won't know what the next 100 or so comments are referring to. So here's a screenshot [terpy.net].
  • by Timesprout (579035) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @08:09PM (#10530588)
    Can you please not post dupe stories so fast. Normally for dupes I like to have a quick scan of the original to pilfer some highly moderated comments as part of my on going karma whoring policy. Obviously this is process is made much more difficult by you posting the dupes in such quick succession.

    Please allow at least a day between dupes co I hate having to make up my own posts.
  • by fireduck (197000) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @08:10PM (#10530598)
    shouldn't the link be to the actual letter [nationalreview.com]; rather than an analysis by a former assistant of VP Cheney?

    And who cares. A quick google search turned up a poll [economist.com] conducted by The Economist, where academics gave just the opposite opinion: low marks for Bush and high marks for Kerry.
    • by The Pim (140414) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @08:20PM (#10530645)
      The article [economist.com] that goes with the poll.
      • I found both the letter and the Economist article disturbingly lacking in information, but they were opposites. I saw lots of names, but few specific details in the letter, as it mostly used vague assertions and tried to back them with a few numbers. The Economist article had lots of details, but no names, relying on the source of the names to provide it with backing.

        Both come across as about equally useless to me.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          The Economist generally does not use bylines, on theory that content is more important than who wrote it.
          • My issue isn't with the lack of a byline, to which I rarely pay much attention anyway. My issue is that there seems to be no identification whatsoever on who responded to the survey, or where they're from. I can look up the credentials of, say, Charles Baird of CSU Hayward or James Gatti of Univ of Vermont, and then decide whether to trust them. I can't look up the credentials of unnamed, unsourced economists who replied to a survey.
      • by js7a (579872) <james@b o v ik.org> on Thursday October 14, 2004 @08:56PM (#10530862) Homepage Journal
        As somone whose sig [bovik.org] deals entirely with economics, I feel that the Republicans are only pretending to debate in order to continue their merciless subjegation of the lower class.

        My Slashdot journal contains many additional details, including a recent letter from 160+ business professionals and academics.

        The facts are clear: Democrats get a four percent GDP bonus. Therefore Kerry is more likely to be able to balance the budget than either of them, even if they were saying the exact same things.

        • What is the average lag time between economic policy changes and those changes having an effect?

          Please provide sources.
          • Usually, when the government announces a policy, the markets react to it often on the same day and usually within a week. See any financial news sources' articles on daily market performance.

            Do you have any sources to the contrary?

      • Kerry's economic policies are so stupid, even George Bush can figure out they're bad for America. Kerry wants to increase social spending in every catagory, including defense and homeland security (not traditional places for Democrats to increase spending), cut the defecit in half, and only increase taxes on those making $200K. Unless theres a huge economic boom around the corner, or another bubble, Kerry will not be able to keep all his promises.
        • by A nonymous Coward (7548) * on Thursday October 14, 2004 @11:33PM (#10531990)
          I suppose you think it easy to laugh at the idea of Kerry keeping any political promises, but at least it's just hypothetical, whereas with the incumbent, you can see right out in public view what promises have been kept ...
          • states rights (unless it's something he doesn't like, such as medical marijuana and gay marriage)
          • fiscal conservative (from $325B surplus to $425B deficit in one term)
          • no nation building (but installing half-assed puppets is ok)
          • less government (except for fraudulently described government prescription boondoggles)
          • distrust of Big Brother (unless he gets to be the Big Brother and call it PATRIOT USA)

          So you see it isn't just potential presidents who make promises. The main difference is that whereas Kerry might not keep his promises, Bush has definitely broken his.

          The moral is to always throw out the incumbent. Once incumbents realize that there is no point in campaigning for a second term, some of the chicanery to buy votes might just be replaced by honest corruption.
    • by mc6809e (214243) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @08:38PM (#10530764)
      And who cares. A quick google search turned up a poll conducted by The Economist, where academics gave just the opposite opinion: low marks for Bush and high marks for Kerry.

      It's important to point out two things about the results:

      1) They only polled academic economists. There are plenty of economists working in the private sector that weren't polled.

      2) Many economists didn't even bother to respond. Why? It's entirely possible that economists with political hostilities towards Bush were more likely to respond to the poll than other economists thus skewing the results.

      • by fireduck (197000) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @09:10PM (#10530945)
        I absolutely agree that the Economist letter isn't the be all and end all of the discussion (I did notice it was informal and had a fairly low response rate). But the idea that Bush has 360 economists on his side is laughable. No where in the letter does it say the 360 endorse Bush's plan. Chances are many would be against it as well. (or you could easily turn up just as many different economists who are against it)

        My point was that no matter what one side says, within 30 seconds one can find a somewhat credible opposing view using google.
      • They asked 100 academics. The amount responding was about half, and many didn't answer all the questions. Compare that to several hundred recognized leaders in the field of economics.

        There was clearly bias in the answers. For while a large majority thought Bush's plan was better on social security when asked specifically about it, when asked which was better in an either or, they said Kerry was better on it.

        Not to mention "Would you rather work for Bush or Kerry?" 81% Kerry. People, when government acade
    • I remember that Economist article and poll. You have to remember that the article itself says that it was an informal poll and that there was probably some bias. More importantly, though, the letter was signed by 368 economists; in contrast, the Economist poll was completed by only 56 economics professors, some of which did not even answer every question.

      You can't seriously say that the Economist poll is as representative of economists' views of Bush's/Kerry's economic plans as the letter. The Economist
      • by Cryogenes (324121) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @09:13PM (#10530957)
        On the other hand, the Economist at least did a poll. The letter presented here was probably written by someone in the White House, and then the White House tried to get as many economists as possible to sign it. There is no indication how many economists were asked to sign and refused.
      • I remember that Economist article and poll. You have to remember that the article itself says that it was an informal poll and that there was probably some bias. More importantly, though, the letter was signed by 368 economists; in contrast, the Economist poll was completed by only 56 economics professors, some of which did not even answer every question.

        The Economist straw poll was done by randomly selecting the authors from economics journals. You are correct that it may not be representative of econo

        • However, your argument that 364 self-selected economists is more representative than a survey of 56 (sort-of) randomly selected ones is just idiotic.

          Um, I never said the letter was more representative than the survey. I said that you can't say that the survey was as representative as the letter (given the small, probably biased sample). Whether the letter is actually statistically representative of economists is a different question. My only point is that whatever the survey and the letter are worth in
    • Gee, what gave it away, this bit?
      "It is no secret that John Kerry wants America's foreign policy to be more like that of Germany and France. But perhaps even more disturbing..."
      Sloppy linking at its sloppiest.
    • Here's my take on the whole poll issue: For every PhD there is an equal and opposite PhD.
    • Luckily Kerry would face a Republican majority in the House and Senate, so he will not get what he wants. Bush on the other hand has suceeded at more deficit spending that any other president in history. Some would argue that Reagan's genius was deficit spending, which hand-tied a democratic president from social spending even twelve years after Reagan left office.
  • Uhhhh... (Score:2, Funny)

    by disbaldman (804041)
    Who cares about dupes? Who HASN'T made a mistake in their life?!
    • Re:Uhhhh... (Score:3, Funny)

      by _xeno_ (155264)
      Who HASN'T made a mistake in their life?!

      <easy-shot>George W. Bush</easy-shot>

    • Re:Uhhhh... (Score:2, Funny)

      by d3ity (800597)
      But this is slashdot, this is entirley diffrent. Like for instance, when someone at NASA installs a washer backwards, and stuff blows up, wasting billions of dollars and killing several astronauts. Who HASN'T made a mistake in thier life. With Slashdot, thousands of geeks may feel emasculated by not having anything to say about a said topic, simply because they already said it. So I suppose its akin to wasting billions of dollars and killing people.
    • Re:Uhhhh... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)
      Making a mistake is one thing, making the same mistake over and over again is something typically saved for those with a learning disability. Which doesn't make you a bad person, but, you know, get help.
  • by RealAlaskan (576404) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @08:15PM (#10530618) Homepage Journal
    ... "statement Wednesday by 368 economists, including six Nobel laureates: Gary Becker, James Buchanan, Milton Friedman, Robert Lucas, Robert Mundell, and -- the winner of this year's Nobel Prize in Economics -- Edward C. Prescott. ... warned that Sen. Kerry's policies 'would, over time, inhibit capital formation, depress productivity growth, and make the United States less competitive internationally. The end result would be lower U.S. employment and real wage growth.'"

    That's some pretty heavy artillery. Becker, Buchanan, Mundel, Friedman, Prescott ... if those guys agree on something, there's probably fire behind the smoke.

    It's no surprise to hear that from Friedman, but some of the others on that list aren't so consistantly against government involvement in the economy. Here is the statement itself [nationalreview.com], with a list of the folks who signed it. There are a few names I recognize, but the noticable thing is these guys are from all over.

    Quote of the letter itself, since it's likely to get /.ed.:

    To whom it may concern:

    We, the undersigned, strongly oppose key aspects of the economic agenda that John Kerry has offered in his bid for the U.S. presidency.

    John Kerry says he "is committed to balancing the budget," but he has proposed additional spending that some analysts have estimated could cost as much as $226.1 billion annually ($2.261 trillion over ten years). He promises to "end corporate welfare as we know it" by implementing the "McCain-Kerry commission on corporate welfare," but he also proposes to provide additional "tax credits and subsidies to manufacturers" that meet his criteria.

    Entitlement reform is the most important fiscal challenge facing the country, yet Kerry's approach has been to deny that any fix is needed. Indeed, Kerry criticized the recent Medicare expansion for not being large enough.

    John Kerry has proposed tax increases that threaten to sap the economy's vitality and reduce long-term growth. Specifically, Kerry proposes to "restore the top two [income] tax rates to their levels under President Clinton." He would also, among other things, "restore the capital gains and dividend rates for families making over $200,000 on income earned above $200,000 to their levels under President Clinton." Kerry's stated desire to balance the budget and to boost federal spending substantially would almost certainly require far higher and broader tax increases than he has proposed.

    John Kerry boasts that his economic policies will lead to the creation of 10 million jobs in his first term as president. As Martin Sullivan wrote last April in the strictly non-partisan Tax Notes, no one "has presented any analysis to relate the Kerry plan to the creation of 1 million jobs, much less 10 million jobs." In fact, we believe Kerry's proposals would, over time, inhibit capital formation, depress productivity growth, and make the United States less competitive internationally. The end result would be lower U.S. employment and real wage growth.

    John Kerry has expressed a general reluctance to reduce trade barriers. He has promised, if elected, to "review existing trade agreements." He vows not to "sign any new trade agreements until the review is complete and its recommendations [are] put in place." That's a prescription for political gridlock. Given the widespread benefits of unfettered trade, Kerry's trade policies would harm U.S. producers and consumers alike.

    All in all, John Kerry favors economic policies that, if implemented, would lead to bigger and more intrusive government and a lower standard of living for the American people.

    Note : Affiliations are provided for identification purposes only. The organizations listed below should in no way be considered as endorsing the views of the individual.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    So Kerry's economic plan is bad. Big news, so's his foreign policy plan.

    The question is: are his plans better than Bush's. I'd rather vote for a candidate who will cause problems we CAN solve later than for a candidate who'll cause problems so bad we may NEVER be able to solve them!

    Statements of absolute worth are useless in discussing policy. You must always compare it to the policy it's REPLACING.
  • I have a feeling (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Peyna (14792) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @08:34PM (#10530732) Homepage
    that you could probably also find just as many economists willing to sign something in favor of Kerry's policies, and that several of them would be high profile influential people in the field.

    Nothing to see here, move along.
    • by TheSync (5291)
      I wouldn't say that...

      I'd say that you could also find 300 qualified economists who are against both Bush's and Kerry's policies.

      For example, Bush has torpedoed his own free trade plans with hikes on imported steel, shrimp, and bras.

      Plus economists know that Bush did not do a tax cut. By raising the deficit through higher spending, he actually raised taxes, but just not in this year.
    • How can the parent get modded insightful for a post so lacking in facts, yet completely filled with speculation (as well as some wishful thinking, I bet)? Stupid moderators.
      • I have no doubt that you could find 300 experts in any of the issues at debate in the presidential election and get them to sign an open letter stating that one of the candidates is right or wrong, and find just as many for the opposing side.

        Is it really that hard for people to see this? It's not that difficult to find 300 professors in the same field that will sign something supporting one candidate over the other, (or attacking the policies of the other).

        In short, I would take this open letter with a g
    • by DAldredge (2353)
      You can. It is in the politics section of /.

      See they gave the pro kerry article its own story yet the bush one gets put into a slashback. I may be just that the editors don't like me (random IP bans, total removal of my ability to mod) but it doesn't look like the politics section of /. is as fair as they said it would be.
    • Let's Play Ball (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The-Bus (138060)
      Two things I want to mention about this:

      First is the saying that if you ask all the economists to lay down on the ground and point towards north you would find a pile of people pointing in all different directions.

      The second (more serious) statement is regarding the Hawley-Smoot Act [wikipedia.org] which is Wiki'd to say:

      Another factor contributing to the Great Depression was America's position in international trade. Protectionist impulses would drive nations to protect domestic production against competition from fo

    • Then we should see that coming soon, right? Fact is, it doesn't get any more "heavy hitter" laden than this one. As a prior poster mentioned some of these guys are not exactly anti-government types.

      Even the poll mentioned earlier made to be pro-Kerry says Bush has better trade policies than Kerry.

      Either way, they are both big government candidates. These guys are just saying which one is presenting a bigger big government "plan".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, 2004 @08:46PM (#10530808)
    ..but I can't vote for Bush after the Iraq war. I'd rather live in poverty than give Bush another term.

    Though when it comes to health care I'm almost ready to hand it over to some big socialist system because the private system sure isn't working for the average Joe (malpractice suits, big powerful drug companies that are more interested in expensive *treatments* rather than *cures*, and more interested in money-makers like Viagra, and more interested in paying money for TV ads than research and development.. if a person is sick, they'll need medicine, why on earth *advertise*, it's not like people choose on their own.. yada yada)

    It's not like Bush is going to take government out of our lives, he'll just put it in a different place.

    We're all screwed, that's all it comes down to. If it wasn't for the war I would just stay home on election day. Or maybe vote for the Libertarian guy. Same difference either way.
    • What we have now in the U.S. is NOT a private health-care system. It's a facist - meaning state-run under the guise of nominal private ownership - system. Basically, it's Socialist, but everyone pretends that the entities are still privately owned. Put another way, the entities can do whatever they want, as long as it's what the government tells them.

      The current state of the health care industry is the inevitable result of our movement toward Socialism. Saying we need to Socialize the industry is exactly t
      • obviously coming from somebody who has never lived in, or been to, a country with a socialized health care system. I was in england for 6 months last year and the US' helath care system is *night and day* compared to what they have over there - socialized health care. We don't have a "facist" health care system - ours is private with strict regulations.
        • Frankly at this point I'll take even a crappy socialized system over no health insurance. If I get sick right now I'm screwed.

          For that matter whenever anyone proposes any sort of insurance reform or subsidies in this country why does every single critic automaticly assume it means a system like the NHS in the UK?

          First of all there are any number of ways of doing health care reform from having everything private including insurance companies but with subsidies for lower income folks (Australia), to a mix o
      • by servognome (738846) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @09:42PM (#10531173)
        You're confusing socialism with regulation. The health care industry can do what ever they want, unless the goverment says otherwise. And they can get away with alot, like treatment refusals and having english majors decide the best treatment option. The healthcare industry is still beholdent to private stockholders, they just have to work within the confines of goverment regulation that tries to protect patients.
        What you may be referring to is Medicare where the goverment says "we pay x for y treatment" and the hospital has to accept that. This is no different from what health insurance companies do.
        • And they can get away with alot, like treatment refusals and having english majors decide the best treatment option.

          And then promptly get sued for malpractice.

          The healthcare industry is still beholdent to private stockholders

          No, they're beholdent to themselves. Believe it or not, the healthcare industry is not an oligarchy, ruled only by big business and profit. To claim that the entire industry is owned by stockholders is just ignorant.

          they just have to work within the confines of goverment

          • And then promptly get sued for malpractice.
            No there is an MD who rubber stamps everything... err reviews. Sometimes it's decisions as to course of action other times it's decisions as to treat or don't treat, at least in the insurance company "doctor's" opinion.
            Believe it or not, the healthcare industry is not an oligarchy, ruled only by big business and profit.
            And to claim there is no profit motive is also ignorant. I'm talking about the industry as a whole, health insurance, hospitals, medical supp
  • Pong Mechanik (Score:4, Interesting)

    by euxneks (516538) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @08:51PM (#10530837)
    The documentary on the website was very informative and interesting. He doesn't use any ICs or computer chips.. It's all relay switches! _very_ cool.. There is also a bit of toungue in cheek in the documentary making it very interesting.
  • by JanusFury (452699) <kevin.gadd@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday October 14, 2004 @09:07PM (#10530933) Homepage Journal
    Hey, Microsoft provided the source for the patch, along with the binary? Perhaps this heralds a new age of full-disclosure and openness, with Linux and Windows users walking hand-in-hand towards a freer, safer new world?

    No, probably not.
  • Um... hello? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Guppy06 (410832) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @09:15PM (#10530971)
    "The steel cage match with the members of the Harvard Business School opposed to Bush's economic policies has yet to be announced."

    You know, they could both be right. Neither group seems to say X is better than Y, just that X sucks.

    Justification to vote third-party if I ever saw it...
  • Bushitonomics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @09:54PM (#10531283) Homepage Journal
    "The end result would be lower U.S. employment and real wage growth."

    Gee, that sounds like what we have had under Bush, with no signs of letup (except for Halliburton). Bush was blessed with the shortest, shallowest "recession" in history, ending in November 2001 *after 9/11/2001*. The economy that Clinton managed into unprecedented wealth generation was also benefited from the Clinton/Rubin/Reich "soft landing", despite the enthusaistic pessimism of the Milton Friedman school of economic bandits signing this attack on Kerry. Bush got a ripe economy for robbing, and a mediagenic excuse for his failure.

    There is more than one economy in America. Most of us have been stuck in the longest "recovery" malaise in our memory, possibly ever - it's not over yet. Some lucky few, many of them rich enough to employ economists like Friedman and his Chicago ilk, have feasted on record corporate profits that keep the contrived Wall Street Dow Jones Industrial Average barely stable to avoid discrediting the entire system. The economists signing this propaganda know on which side their bread is buttered. And they know Kerry represents real changes in the management of their corporate welfare system. So they're manufacturing FUD as fast as they can: their only saleable product.
    • The recession that we theoretically came out of after 9/11, was only bolstered by the auto-makers' huge deals. W/o those, the economy was still in the crapper.

      -bZj
  • by Grond (15515) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @10:22PM (#10531505) Homepage
    (note: I'm not a native german speaker, but this is probably better than the fish would do.)

    "Table tennis from the computer Stone-age"

    A Berlin art student has reverse-engineered the classic videogame 'Pong' as an electro-mechanical device. He spent hundreds of hours assembling the monstrosity, that realistically pings and pongs via two wood blocks. In an interview with Spiegel Online the builder, Niklas Roy, explains was motivated him to do it.

    Spiegel Online: How did you come up with the idea to build such a curious toy?

    Roy: I wanted to react against what's happening these days in the games and film special effects industries. There virtual realities are made which copy the real world. My goal was to turn the tables and transport a virtual world into reality.

    Spiegel Online: How much work is inside this big box?

    Roy: A whole lot. From the idea to the finished machine took about a year. In total the project took about 900 hours of work.

    Spiegel Online: Why of all things did you pick this Ping-Pong game?

    Roy: Because it's a symbol. It's one of the first computergames, and definitely the first commercially successful one. And it's a virtual world that's calculated by a computer in real time. Although it's an imitation tennis game, it's nevertheless immediately recognizable as a video game. At the same time it's simplicity was well suited to my purposes.

    Spiegel Online: Did you buy (new) all the parts from which you built it?

    Roy: Yes, everything but the telephone relays. Those are from an Internet auction. I got them from an auction of a 50s telephone system. The parts together cost about 2500 Euros.

    Spiegel Online: Where is the game now?

    Roy: At the moment at my house. But it was exhibited at the 'Garage' festival in Stralsund this summer. Pongmechanick will probably be shown at the 'Viper' art festival in Basel and definitely at the hacker congress of the Chaos Computer Club in December in Berlin.

    Spiegel Online: Was were the greatest technical challenges?

    Roy: Without a doubt the mechanical parts. The whole thing consists of two parts: the relay controls and the mechanical display with collision detection. The mechanical part was the most complicated because it's naturally the most error-prone.

    Spiegel Online: You tried several approaches for the mechanics before it worked...

    Roy: In the beginning I wanted to set the moving parts on coasters and move them on carts. DC motors would've pulled the carts back and forth with strings. But it didn't work like I'd imagined. So I used chains instead of strings, and they move gliders instead of carts. The gliders simply slide along rails.

    Spiegel Online: You hear it when the ball hits the flipper. How was that solved technically?

    Roy: The original Pong had just two sounds: one high and one low beep. I wanted a one-to-one translation as much as possible. So I bought two wood blocks from a percussion store, one high and one low sounding. These are hit by electromagnets that came from door bells.

    Spiegel Online: Where did your affinity for computer games and tinkering with relays come from?

    Roy: Wenn you're 30 years old, like I am, then Pong is almost certainly the first video game that you played. And as a child I always tinkered a lot. I built an alarm system for my room and experimented with electricity. I always had a knack for it.

    Spiegel Online: Do you believe that mechanical games in general have a future?

    Roy: I can imagine that (note: I'm not a native speaker, but this is probably better than the fish would do.)

    "Table tennis from the computer Stone-age"

    A Berlin art student has reverse-engineered the classic videogame 'Pong' as an electro-mechanical device. He spent hundreds of hours assembling the monstrosity, that realistically pings and pongs via two wood blocks. In an interview with Spiegel Online the builder, Niklas Roy, explains was motivated hi
    • Flipperautomat = Pinball machine. And although I would have phrased a few things differently (for example, simply "unreliable" instead of "accident-prone"), all in all this is an excellent translation. And I *am* a German native speaker.
  • ASP.NET patch (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adolfojp (730818) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @10:37PM (#10531615)
    I'll be the first one to congratulate MS for promptly releasing the ASP.NET fix. I'll also congratulate them for admiting that: "Microsoft is working on a security update for this reported vulnerability". So, Its not a patch, nevertheless, it is a working temporary solution.

    If we criticize them for their flaws, we should praise them when they assume responsibility. Its only fair to be fair.

    Cheers,

    Adolfo
  • not fast enough (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @10:55PM (#10531738) Homepage Journal
    "That was fast."

    Don't they test this crap before they kick it out the door in Redmond? They've lowered expectations of their shabby, expensive (especially TCO) products so low that some of us are glad when a serious compromise takes Microsoft only weeks after public disclosure/pressure forces them to spend the time and money to debug. Can't they spend some of their tens of billions of dollars in profit on some of the unemployed
  • by martijnd (148684) on Friday October 15, 2004 @12:33AM (#10532270)
    The Economist [economist.com] , despite their name, not taking anything for granted, yearly asks a number of prominent economist their opinion on world affairs, and then advises that exactly the opposite will happen. So far they have been right two out of two times.

    Just remember:

    The First Law of Economists: For every economist, there exists an equal and opposite economist.
    The Second Law of Economists: They're both wrong.

  • I mean, if you want it to be mechanical, why not actually play tennis? Or at least table-tennis?
  • statement Wednesday by 368 economists, including six Nobel laureates:

    Well I do not doubt they have good economics: a swift kick of $50k into thier bank account will make most good economists see the value in saying anything.

    I was unable to compile the story as it was missing a required library: Pinch of salt.
  • by adam1234 (696497) on Friday October 15, 2004 @07:58AM (#10533886)
    Six of the economists in the letter protesting the Kerry economic plan are listed as members of the "Hoover Institution". Reminds you of the good old days of President Hoover and the economic havoc wreaked by FDR's policies.
  • Seems like we've reached record un-employment and negative real wage growth under the Bush administration quite well, maybe a change would be good. Also I think the econimist consider only what's good for the large corp's which is not nescessarily what is good for the country as a whole. If the large corp's had there way every last American job would be sent over seas or given to an H1-B etc.

    M

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