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Comment Re:Maybe (Score 5, Informative) 225

I've done some work with both PhysX and the things that AMD is pushing for. I try to keep with the Physics Abstraction Layer, which lets me plug in whatever physics engine as the backend, which gives a pretty damn good apples-to-apples performance metric. Personally, my ultimate choice of physics engine is the one which exhibits the best performance. My experience may differ from others, but I generally get the best performance from PhysX on with an nVidia GPU and BulletPhysics with an AMD GPU. Sometimes, the software version of PhysX outstrips the competition, but I have never seen anything beat PhysX in performance with GPU acceleration turned on. And with PAL, it is easy to check if there is GPU support on the machine and swap in the physics engine with the best performance (PAL is awesome).

Here's the thing: GPU-accelerated physics are just plain faster. Why? Because collision detection is a highly parallelizable problem. Guess what hardware we have that can help? The GPU. Another great part of using the GPU is that it frees the CPU to do more random crap (like AI or parsing the horribly slow scripting language).

AMD is working on both BulletPhysics and Havok so they can do GPU acceleration. But I have a feeling that PhysX performance will remain faster for a while: PhysX was designed to natively run on the GPU (technically, a GPU-like device), while these other libraries are not. Furthermore, nVidia has quite a head start in performance tuning, optimization and simple experience. In five years, that shouldn't matter, but I'm just saying that it will take a while.

So here is my message to AMD: If you want people to use your stuff, make something that works and let me test it out in my applications. You've released a demo of Havok with GPU acceleration. PhysX has been and continues to work with GPU acceleration on nVidia GPUs and will frequently outperform the software implementation. I'm all for open alternatives, but in this case, the open alternatives aren't good enough.

Comment Re:i'm a little clueless here (Score 3, Interesting) 224

One idea would be to use the many available cloud services like EC2, Google App Engine and Azure. The IP blocks those services come in are going to remain fairly regular, but they are so common that it might not be acceptable for a site to block everything from (and whatever EC2 and Azure live on). It is still blockable, though, so it probably would have been better for them (from a technical standpoint) if they hadn't announced their existence and these sites had been slowly indexed by their service before anybody knew what was happening.

Another (better) idea would be to use a service like Tor. Sure, their latency is going to skyrocket, but that's not a big deal since interactivity isn't a primary concern of an indexing service. It's still blockable, if infringing site admins block Tor nodes. This may or may not be doable, as I would imagine many users of said infringing sites use anonymizing networks for their normal traffic.

Sure, either of the solutions I've come up with in five minutes can be circumvented, but the idea isn't to totally eliminate piracy, its to make it inconvenient enough to make getting the legitimate version easier.


Scientists Discover Booze That Won't Give You a Hangover Screenshot-sm 334

Kwang-il Kwon and Hye Gwang Jeong of Chungnam National University have discovered that drinking alcohol with oxygen bubbles added leads to fewer hangovers and a shorter sobering up time. People drinking the bubbly booze sobered up 20-30 minutes faster and had less severe and fewer hangovers than people who drank the non-fizzy stuff. Kwon said: "The oxygen-enriched alcohol beverage reduces plasma alcohol concentrations faster than a normal dissolved-oxygen alcohol beverage does. This could provide both clinical and real-life significance. The oxygen-enriched alcohol beverage would allow individuals to become sober faster, and reduce the side effects of acetaldehyde without a significant difference in alcohol's effects. Furthermore, the reduced time to a lower BAC may reduce alcohol-related accidents."

Comment Re:Advantages? (Score 1) 255

These guys make a decent point: 10GUI. The keyboard is a pretty nice thing -- we can express quite a wide range of things to the computer. The mouse, however, sucks. An entire hand and we're limited to a position on the screen and binary "clicks." I use an 11-button mouse to help with this, but most applications are not built to support such interaction, so I'm limited to setting them for global commands (back center is reveal, left and swipe is change desktop), save for some special cases (which is pretty lame). The overall theory is that once you establish a better system of interaction with the computer, your everyday tasks become easier. Ultimately, it would be best if we just wired our brains into the computer, but until that is practical, we'll have to work with what we have.

Comment Re:New to open GL (Score 1) 46

Don't learn OpenGL, learn graphics and software engineering first. Assuming you want to learn OpenGL for games, I would recommend David Eberly's 3D Game Engine Design . It is extremely comprehensive and presents an incredibly well-designed engine, WildMagic (which has inspired many other engines, like jMonkey), for which you are given the full source on CD. If you're not looking for games, then you probably don't need to know the latest OpenGL stuff, because scientific visualization usually doesn't require it. And if you DO need the latest stuff from OpenGL, you're probably not actually doing graphics and you probably shouldn't use OpenGL, but CUDA or some other platform (CUDA = awesome).

In any case, you need to know that OpenGL is just a specification, so you rely on other multiplatform libraries like GLUT, GLFW or SDL. I would personally recommend SDL, since it is awesome. GLFW is nice, easier to use than SDL, but harder to tweak the small things for performance. GLUT development died many years ago, so don't use it.


Fatal Explosion At Russian Hydroelectric Dam 336

stadium writes "An oil-filled transformer exploded at the Sayano-Shushenskaya power plant in Siberia, destroying three turbines and bringing down the ceiling of the turbine hall, which then violently flooded. The dam itself did not sustain any damage. It is unclear how many people were killed, but with 12 confirmed deaths and as many as 64 still missing (all presumed dead), this is a serious incident. The huge transformer had enough oil in it to produce a three-mile-long oil spill slowly moving downriver. BBC News reports with three separate videos. The dam produces a quarter of the total energy of RusHydro (whose stock thus took a steep dive at London Stock Exchange) and also feeds the world's largest aluminum smelter. The damages will take years to repair."

Beamed Space Solar Power Plant To Open In 2016? 512

Eric_S writes "Anybody who managed to get a decent city going in Sim City 2000 remembers the microwave power plant; now it seems like a real-world equivalent might be coming up on the horizon. The Pacific Gas and Electricity Company, per this 'interview' with the CEO of Solaren on their affiliated site, announced PG&E's plans to buy 200MW of base-load power from a Solaren beamed space solar power plant by 2016." I wish the skeptic in me would be quiet.

Submission + - Google not losing $1.65M/day on YouTube after all (

secmartin writes: "A report by Credit Suisse released earlier this year claimed that Google was losing up to $1.65M per day on YouTube. This was widely considered to be a huge overestimate; now a new report by research firm RampRate provides a better estimate that takes into account that 73% of Google's traffic flows via peering agreements, leading to a more realistic figure of $477k/day.

What both analysts appear to be missing it the fact that Google is working hard to create a completely transit-free IPv6 network; as Google puts it in their IPv6 FAQ:

To qualify for Google over IPv6, your network must have good IPv6 connectivity to Google. Multiple direct interconnections are preferred, but a direct peering with multiple backup routes through transit or multiple reliable transit connections may be acceptable.

What do you think? Do these new figures sound more realistic, and would it be a good or a bad thing if Google didn't have to pay for their internet bandwidth at all?"

Comment Document Locator from ColumbiaSoft (Score 1) 438

The company I work for uses a system called Document Locator. It is a Windows-shell integrated document management system. Basically, if you took Subversion and gave yourself extremely fine-grained control of repositories, folders and the like. It scales decently, too -- we have millions of documents spread across 25 major repositories, many of which include AutoCAD, Bentley Microstation, Smartplant 3D and other sizable files. The system is also fairly extensible, as we've built quite a few internal applications off of the DL system and there are plenty of third-party plug-ins available (a notable one being Brava, an application that allows adding QC and other markup to repository files). And if you don't want to be constrained to Windows, there is a web client available, which works decently. While it is not without its problems, the overall experience has been pretty good.

Full disclosure: My company is ColunbiaSoft's largest customer and, as such, we know a good deal of the development team.

Comment Re:Just read through the PDF (Score 5, Insightful) 88

Karma be damned, but the use of Windows in a secure system is nowhere near as bad as not sanitizing your inputs on any system. No platform can just make up for bad practice. FreeBSD will happily allow someone to guess 'PASSWORD' as the login password (from TFA: "Software configuration involves setting up a software system for one's particular uses, such as changing a factory-set default password of "PASSWORD" to one less easily guessed."). If you're using Oracle DB, MS SQL or MySQL, if you store passwords as plaintext instead of hashes and secure data in plaintext, you will run into problems (TFA: "...hackers had the ability to obtain more than 40,000 FAA user IDs, passwords, and other information used to control a portion of the FAA mission-support network."). Microsoft may not patch in a timely manner, but it doesn't matter what platform you're running if you don't apply the patches (TFA: " with known vulnerabilities was not corrected in a timely manner by installing readily available security software patches released to the public by software vendors."). PHP, JSP, ASP, ASP.NET, Ruby, Perl or whatever, if you program poorly, you're going to have problems.

PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Duke Nukem ForNever?

Burdell writes: GameSpy is among sites reporting that 3D Realms is shutting its doors. Apparently, the pre-orders of Duke Nukem Forever were not enough to pay the bills.

Windows 7 Will Be Free For a Year 528

Barence writes "Microsoft is effectively giving away Windows 7 free for a year with the launch of the Release Candidate. The Release Candidate is now available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers, and will go on unlimited, general release on 5 May. The software will not expire until 1 June 2010, giving testers more than a year's free access to Windows 7. 'It's available to as many people who see fit to use it, although we wouldn't recommend it to just your average user,' John Curran, director of the Windows Client Group told PC Pro. 'We'd very strongly encourage anyone on the beta to move to the Release Candidate.'"
United States

Pentagon Cyber-Command In the Works 90

An anonymous reader sends word of a new cybersecurity project to defend US networks from attacks and strengthen the government's "offensive capabilities in cyberwarfare." Right now, the most likely candidate to lead the project is the Director of the NSA, Keith Alexander, who was quick to assert that the NSA itself wouldn't try to run the whole show (something they've been criticized for in the past). Quoting the Wall Street Journal: "Cyber defense is the Department of Homeland Security's responsibility, so the command would be charged with assisting that department's defense efforts. The relationship would be similar to the way Northern Command supports Homeland Security with rescue capabilities in natural disasters. The NSA, where much of the government's cybersecurity expertise is housed, established a similar relationship with Homeland Security through a cybersecurity initiative that the Bush administration began in its final year."
The Almighty Buck

Is Free Really the Future of Gaming? 230

TRNick writes "Is the future of gaming more or less free, perhaps funded by advertising or micropayments? A bunch of MMOs have pioneered the way, and now they are being followed by the likes of EA, Sony and id Software, each of which is offering some form of free gaming. But it's not just the big guys. TechRadar talks to a new generation of indie developers who are making names for themselves. 'I make most of my money from sponsors,' says one. 'We're all here because we love making games first and foremost,' says another. But can free games ever make enough money to fund the really ambitious, event games that get the headlines?" While paid games aren't likely to be on their way out any time soon, more and more developers and publishers are experimenting with cheaper pricing, and the results so far seem positive.

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre