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Comment: Re:One word. (Score 4, Insightful) 249

by Aminion (#28076131) Attached to: What Made Those Old, 2D Platformers So Great?
Nostalgia, indeed. I would, however, like to suggest that by lacking in the graphics department, old games were more immersive because you had to use your own imagination more and not rely on the developers' extended imagination. It's basically one of the main points that Scott Mccloud emphasizes in Understanding Comics and I think the idea translated well to computer games. On the other hand, modern games usually have superior audio and graphics design, and more sophisticated storytelling, all key elements of great games.
Microsoft

Microsoft Launches IT Superhero Comic 285

Posted by Zonk
from the humor-doesn't-come-from-the-comic dept.
willdavid writes "Paul McDougall reports in InformationWeek on Microsoft's new online comic. The Heroes Happen Here comic strips are being created by Jordan Gorfinkel, a former DC Comics editor who helped revitalize the Batman series. 'Tech workers who in the middle of the night fix a downed server or take on a computer virus don't really have extraordinary powers. It just seems that way. But a new comic book has debuted in which IT pros literally are superheroes. The daily Web comic, called Heroes Happen Here, features tech savvy crime fighters like Lord Firewall, who "stands between chaos and order" and says things like "begone vermin!"'" And because it's never easy, in order to read the archives of the comic you're going to need to install Microsoft's Silverlight.
Software

+ - Diebold's e-voting software found vulnerable again

Submitted by
Futurepower(R)
Futurepower(R) writes "A new report commissioned by the Florida Department of State says, 'A flaw in the optical scan software, for example, enables a hacker to introduce an unofficial memory card into an active terminal before the polls open, according to the report. "This memory card can be preprogrammed to redistribute votes cast for selected candidates on that terminal, including swapping the votes for two candidates," it states.'

Reading that quote from a technically knowledgeable university researcher in a TechNewsWorld article, you might think that changes will be made. But the non-technical press sometimes reports e-voting vulnerabilities very differently.

For example, in this Associated Press article in a business publication, the non-technical press accepts a response from a 'spokeswoman' that changes the subject to 'voting system reliability', which includes hardware and other failures that don't affect the vote count. Sample quote from an article titled, Voting Machine Companies Attack Review, 'Voting system reliability is something we're always working at improving,' said Michelle Shafer, a Sequoia spokeswoman. 'Security is never finished.'"
Businesses

Are Unfinished Products Now the Norm? 111

Posted by Cliff
from the not-ready-for-prime-time dept.
Paul asks: "Long ago when digital synthesizers first became commonly available, I recall a reviewer lamenting how he was getting more and more products to test whose software was unfinished and buggy and would require updates and fixes (this, before the internet allowed easy downloads, would have meant a journey to a specialist repair center). The review also commented how this common problem with computer software was spreading (this was before Windows 95 was out), and asked if it was going to become the norm. These days it seems ubiquitous, with PDAs, digital cameras, PVRs and all manner of complex goods needing after-market firmware fixes often simply to make them have the features promised in the adverts, let alone add enhancements. Are we seeing this spread beyond computers and computer-based products; jokes apart, will we be booting our cars up and installing flash updates every week to prevent computer viruses getting into the control systems? Can anyone comment on any recent purchases where they've been badly let down by missing features, or are still waiting for promised updates even whilst a new model is now on the shelves? How can we make the manufacturers take better responsibility? Apart from reading every review possible before making a purchase, what strategy do you have, or propose, for not being caught out?"
Books

DRM Causes Piracy 413

Posted by kdawson
from the obvious-when-you-think-about-it dept.
igorsk recommends an essay by Eric Flint, editor at Baen Publishing and an author himself, over at Baen's online SF magazine, Baen Universe. In it Flint argues that, far from curbing piracy of copyrighted materials, DRM actually causes it. Quoting: "Electronic copyright infringement is something that can only become an 'economic epidemic' under certain conditions. Any one of the following: 1) The products they want... are hard to find, and thus valuable. 2) The products they want are high-priced, so there's a fair amount of money to be saved by stealing them. 3) The legal products come with so many added-on nuisances that the illegal version is better to begin with. Those are the three conditions that will create widespread electronic copyright infringement, especially in combination. Why? Because they're the same three general conditions that create all large-scale smuggling enterprises. And... Guess what? It's precisely those three conditions that DRM creates in the first place. So far from being an impediment to so-called 'online piracy,' it's DRM itself that keeps fueling it and driving it forward."
Printer

New Technology Could Lead To 3D Printers 62

Posted by kdawson
from the chemical-origami dept.
nomoreself writes "PhysicsWeb reports that a team of scientists in Jerusalem has come up with a method for creating self-assembling 3-dimensional models from a single sheet of paper. The 'chemical origami' is created by etching a pattern of monomer onto the paper and then heating it. The chemical's reaction to the heat causes bends of varying degree in the paper, molding the sheet into the patterned model. A professor in the US with no apparent ties to the study says in the article that the technique could be used to create self-assembling prototypes, or even a printer that prints 3D objects."
Privacy

Pendulum Swinging Toward Privacy 72

Posted by kdawson
from the watch-that-swing dept.
netbuzz writes "The New York Times reports this morning on a gathering movement to remove Social Security numbers from online public records. While justifiable, given the reality of and concerns about identity theft, it also doesn't take much to imagine how such concerns will be abused by public officials who are strapped for cash and/or ethically challenged."
Businesses

+ - Study contradicts RIAA on cause of CD sales drop

Submitted by IBuyManyCd
IBuyManyCd (666) writes "A new research paper (PDF) published in the Journal of Political Economy contradicts the RIAA claim that illegal downloading is the main reason for the 25% drop in CD sales.
A quick overview of the article is presented on the University of Chicago Press site: Downloads are not the primary reason for the decline in music sales. "Researchers from Harvard and Kansas find that impact of P2P sharing on U.S. music sales is "statistically indistinguishable from zero".
The overview also quotes:
"We match an extensive sample of downloads to U.S. sales for a large number of albums", write Felix Oberholzer-Gee (Harvard University) and Koleman Strumpf (University of Kansas). "While file sharers downloaded billions of files in 2002, the consequences for the industry amounted to no more than 0.7% of sales."
The author compiled data on nearly 50,000 music downloads of popular songs (on pop charts) and across eleven genre from 2 major P2P servers. They then compared these with the same pop chart songs CD sales, "it is striking to see that more than 60% of the songs in our sample are never downloaded".
This underlines what many online users have lived first hand. If an album is good enough, reaching the pop chart, it will gladly be bought by fans."
Music

+ - Gizmodo Declares March "Boycott The RIAA"

Submitted by
Ryan Draga
Ryan Draga writes "Tech Bloggers, Gizmodo, are declaring March "Boycott the RIAA Month"

From the article: "The RIAA has the power to shift public policy and to alter the direction of technology and the Internet for one reason and one reason alone: it's totally loaded. Without their millions of dollars to throw at lawyers, the RIAA is toothless. They get their money from us, the consumers, and if we don't like the way they're behaving, we can let them know with our wallets.""
Security

+ - Dealing with Security Bugs: A Primer

Submitted by
CowboyRobot
CowboyRobot writes "ACM Queue's current issue on Open Source Security includes a short article by Eric Allman of Sendmail on how to handle security bugs in your code. "Patch with full disclosure. Particularly popular in the open source world (where releasing a patch is tantamount to full disclosure anyway), this involves opening the kimono and exposing everything, including a detailed description of the problem and how the exploit works... Generally speaking, it is easier to find bugs in open source code, and hence the pressure to release quickly may be higher.""
Google

+ - YouTube set to filter content

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Computer world reports that Google is racing to head off a media industry backlash over its video Web site YouTube and will soon offer antipiracy technologies to help all copyright holders thwart unauthorized video sharing. But YouTube has also said the process of identifying copyrighted material is not automated and requires the cooperation of media company partners."

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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