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Businesses

Game Prices — a Historical Perspective 225

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
The Opposable Thumbs blog scrutinizes the common wisdom that video games are too expensive, or that they're more expensive than they were in the past. They found that while in some cases the sticker price has increased, it generally hasn't outpaced inflation, making 2010 a cheaper time to be a gamer than the '80s and '90s. Quoting: "... we tracked down a press release putting the suggested retail price of both Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64 at $69.99. [Hal Halpin, president of the Entertainment Consumer's Association] says that the N64 launch game pricing only tells you part of the story. 'Yes, some N64 games retailed for as high as $80, but it was also the high end of a 60 to 80 dollar range,' he told Ars. 'Retailers had more flexibility with pricing back then — though they've consistently maintained that the Suggested Retail Price was/is just a guide. Adjusted for inflation, we're generally paying less now than we have historically. But to be fair, DLC isn't factored in.' He also points out all the different ways that we can now access games: you can buy a game used, rent a game, or play certain online games for free. There are multiple ways to sell your old console games, and the competition in the market causes prices to fall quickly."
Image

Terry Pratchett's Self-Made Meteorite Sword 188 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the x4-crit-modifier dept.
jamie writes "Fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett says he was so excited after being knighted by the Queen that he decided to make his own sword to equip himself for his new status... the author dug up 81kg of ore and smelted it in the grounds of his house, using a makeshift kiln built from clay and hay and fueled with damp sheep manure."
Graphics

Is StarCraft II Killing Graphics Cards? 422

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the wish-i-had-a-copy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "One of the more curious trends emerging from last week's StarCraft II launch is people alleging that the game kills graphics cards.The between-mission scenes onboard Jim Raynor's ship aren't framerate capped. These are fairly static scenes, and don't take much work for the graphics card to display them. Because of this, the card renders the scene as quickly as possible, which then taxes your graphics card as it works to its full potential. As the pipelines within your graphics card work overtime, the card will heat up and if it can't cope with that heat it will crash."
Displays

3M Says Its Multi-Touch System Means Almost No Lag 120

Posted by timothy
from the so-why-don'tcha-marry-it? dept.
jonniee writes "3M has rolled out a 22-inch digital display capable of 20-finger multi-touch input with less than 6 millisecond response time. The monitor incorporates 3M's Projected Capacitive Technology based on mutual capacitance operation theory. The result produces a silky smooth response that has almost no lag in execution."
Google

Google Builds a Native PDF Reader Into Chrome 285

Posted by kdawson
from the hugging-adobe-harder dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google's latest Chrome 6 Developer Update comes with a few subtle GUI changes, but there is also a major update under the hood. As its ties with Adobe quite apparently grow stronger, there is not just an integrated Flash player, but also a native PDF reader in the latest version of Chrome 6. Google says the native reader will allow users to interact with PDF files just like they do with regular HTML pages. The reader is included in Chrome versions (Chromium) 6.0.437.1 and higher, and you can use the feature after you have enabled it manually in the plug-ins menu. That is, of course, if you can keep Chrome 6 alive — Windows users have reported frequent crashes, and Google has temporarily suspended the update progress to find out what is going on." The Register has some more details on the PDF plugin and a link to Google's blog post about it.
Privacy

Facebook's Zuckerberg Says Forget Privacy 415

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the speak-for-yourself-not-your-users dept.
judgecorp writes "Privacy is no longer a social norm, according to the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. Speaking at the Crunchie awards in San Francisco, the entrepreneur said that expectations had changed, and people now default to sharing online, not privacy. It's all right for him, but does he mean it's ok for bodies like the UK government to monitor all citizens' Internet use?"
Science

LHC Reaches Record Energy 347

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the spinning-and-spinning dept.
toruonu writes "Yesterday evening the Large Hadron Collider at CERN for the first time accelerated protons in both directions of the ring to 1.18 TeV. Even though the 1 TeV barrier per beam was first broken a week ago, this marks the first time that the beam was in the machine in both directions at the same time, allowing possibly for collisions at a center of mass energy of 2.36 TeV. Although the test lasted mere minutes, it was enough to have detectors record the very first events at 2.36 TeV. LHC passes Tevatron (the particle collider at Fermilab that operates at 1.96 TeV) and becomes the highest energy particle collider in the world (so far it was effectively just the highest energy storage ring...)"
Google

Google CEO Says Privacy Worries Are For Wrongdoers 671

Posted by kdawson
from the get-over-it dept.
bonch writes "In a surprising statement to CNBC, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told reporter Maria Bartiromo, 'If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.' This will only fuel concerns about Google's behavior as it becomes an ever more powerful gatekeeper of information; though Google says it is aware of these concerns and has taken steps to be transparent to users about the information that is stored."
Input Devices

Giving Touch-Screen Buttons Depth and Height With Pneumatics 146

Posted by timothy
from the wait-for-pneumatic-spam dept.
blee37 writes "Researchers at Carnegie Mellon demonstrate 'popping out' touch screen buttons to become physical buttons using pneumatics. The idea is to combine the dynamic reconfigurability of touch screen buttons with the tactile feedback of real buttons. The technology could be applied where tactile feedback is currently lacking, such as in car navigation systems, ATMs, or cell phones."
The Military

The Jet Fighter Laser Cannon 464

Posted by kdawson
from the back-of-the-shark-calculation dept.
fahrbot-bot sends in a Register piece about DARPA issuing the penultimate contract for what is intended to be a jet-mounted laser cannon. The Reg outdoes itself in a BOTEC involving downsizing to shark scale. "The US military will shortly issue a brace of contracts for 'refrigerator sized' laser blaster cannons. One of the deals will see a full-power ground prototype built which will be the final stage prior to America's first raygun-equipped jet fighter. ... If it scales down far enough, this would seem to put handheld HELL-guns within an order of magnitude of the striking power offered by conventional small-arms. A 9mm pistol bullet has about 750 joules muzzle energy: a 5kg portable HELL-ray weapon would put out this much energy in a blast less than a second long. ... A dolphin can carry a human being weighing up to 100kg along for a ride. A thoroughbred shark in good training can surely match this. Thus, we seem to be looking at practicable head-[laser] output in the 20-kilowatt range."
Space

Two Earth-Sized Bodies With Oxygen-Rich Atmospheres 111

Posted by kdawson
from the mission-of-gravity dept.
tugfoigel writes "Astrophysicists at the University of Warwick and Kiel University have discovered two bodies the size of earth with oxygen-rich atmospheres — however, there is a disappointing snag for anyone looking for a potential home for alien life, or even a future home for ourselves. These are not planets, but are actually two unusual white dwarf stars." The objects, 220 and 400 light-years distant, are believed to be remnants of stars between 7 and 10 solar masses. Such stars, the largest that evolve to white dwarves, have been sought for years. If the stars were a little more massive they would collapse to neutron stars, or so the theory goes. Here is the paper on the arXiv.
Government

City Laws Only Available Via $200 License 411

Posted by kdawson
from the calling-doctor-malamud dept.
MrLint writes "The City of Schenectady has decided that their laws are copyrighted, and that you cannot know them without paying for an 'exclusive license' for $200. This is not a first — Oregon has claimed publishing of laws online is a copyright violation." This case is nuanced. The city has contracted with a private company to convert and encode its laws so they can be made available on the Web for free. While the company works on this project, it considers the electronic versions of the laws its property and offers a CD version, bundled with its software, for $200. The man who requested a copy of the laws plans to appeal.
News

LHC Shut Down Again — By Baguette-Dropping Bird 478

Posted by timothy
from the first-causes dept.
Philip K Dickhead writes "Is Douglas Adams scripting the saga of sorrows facing the LHC? These time-traveling Higgs-Boson particles certainly exhibit the sign of his absurd sense of humor! Perhaps it is the Universe itself, conspiring against the revelations intimated by the operation of CERN's Large Hadron Collider? This time, it is not falling cranes, cracked magnets, liquid helium leaks or even links to Al Qaeda, that have halted man's efforts to understand the meaning of life, the universe and everything. It now appears that the collider is hindered from an initial firing by a baguette, dropped by a passing bird: 'The bird dropped some bread on a section of outdoor machinery, eventually leading to significant overheating in parts of the accelerator. The LHC was not operational at the time of the incident, but the spike produced so much heat that had the beam been on, automatic failsafes would have shut down the machine.'"
The Military

Rise of the Robot Squadrons 245

Posted by timothy
from the nothing-can-go-wrong-nothing-can-go-can-go dept.
Velcroman1 writes 'Taking a cue from the Terminator films, the US Navy is developing unmanned drones that network together and operate in 'swarms.' Predator drones have proven one of the most effective — and most controversial — weapons in the military arsenal. And now, these unmanned aircraft are talking to each other. Until now, each drone was controlled remotely by a single person over a satellite link. A new tech, demoed last week by NAVAIR, adds brains to those drones and allows one person to control a small squadron of them in an intelligent, semiautonomous network.'

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