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The Sims 3 To Mesh With Social Networks 25

Electronic Arts has released a good bit of information about the online aspects of The Sims 3, which is due for release in early June. The game will have downloadable content available on launch day that includes a second, separate town called Riverview. They'll also be revamping the game's website to allow the sharing of content and integration with social media. In addition, EA mentioned that the game will make use of micro-transactions, which players can use to buy things like furniture, clothing, and other items.

Senator Arlen Specter Becomes a Democrat 1124

Akido37 was one of many readers letting us know that US Sen. Arlen Specter has changed parties to become a Democrat. This gives the Democrats 59 seats in the Senate, and 60 if and when Al Franken gets seated from Minnesota. However, Specter said in his announcement that he will not be an automatic 60th vote for breaking Republican filibusters. While the senator's move seems to have surprised many Republicans, it is understandable to moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, who said, "You haven't certainly heard warm encouraging words of how they [Republicans] view moderates. Either you are with us or against us." Specter noted that in his home state of Pennsylvania, 200,000 formerly Republican voters switched party allegiance last year.

Exploring the Current State of Beta Testing 82

Karen Hertzberg writes "Since the earliest days of MMO gaming, beta testing has played a pivotal role in the success or failure of our persistent worlds. We've come a long way since the initial tests of Ultima Online and The Realm, but what role do our current beta tests play in the potential outcomes of unreleased titles? To answer this question, Ten Ton Hammer turned to current and former beta decision makers at Cryptic Studios, NetDevil, Sony Online Entertainment, Funcom, and Mythic Entertainment. Some of their answers — and the information they reveal — may surprise you."

Comment Misread (Score 1) 111

When I first saw the post, I though it said how Facebook RUINS its LAMP stack.

I think that has to do with my experience with the apps and how often things timeout in that regard. It's a little frustrating and I'm sure it has nothing to do with the guys at Facebook, but it is interesting to find how that third-party experience affects my subconscious.

Comment What is there to watch anymore? (Score 2, Insightful) 798

I haven't watched much of Sci Fi in a while. I used to watch Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, but they're done. I would have continued watching Battlestar Galactica, but it kept jumping around, so now I'm waiting and just getting it on DVD.

Nothing else had really jumped out at me lately. But then again, ever since the whole Farscape fiasco, it's been clear that the management doesn't have a clue how to run a channel that is targeted towards a particular interest group and then use that for better advertising prices.

The more this crap goes on, the more likely I am to stop watching a lot of TV and just buy stuff on DVD or watch it on the Internet.

Comment Re:Cost of fighting global warming is worse than G (Score 1) 1061

As a libertarian, I'd be more inclined to simply sue you for polluting.

Just because it is 41 does not mean that an average temp for January indicates a lack of global warming. You look like someone who knows little about the weather and are mathematically ignorant.

To make a realistic argument, you have to look at the data, the source of the data, etc. A real analysis would be nice. I'm currently in a place where some winters are colder than others. Sometimes we get snow only once, and other times we get dumped on. Back in 1994, we hit around 20 below Fahrenheit.

Yeah, the medication issue sucks, but it's not just the laws, but the laziness of pharmaceutical companies. I take a ton of meds, and they piss me off too.

Comment Time to plan for a different location for retiring (Score 1) 1061

So, again, as much as I never wanted to live in FL for the hurricanes, it's going to be interesting.

The problem with trying to find the right place to live within the concept of global warming is that while the average global temperature goes up, the temperature swings in some places should increase. Summers may well be hotter and winters cooler.

Since I want to live in Scotland, my concern is regarding any shift to the Gulf Stream and the effects that would have.

Comment Not surprised (Score 1) 369

Belkin is one of those companies that managed to piss me off years ago. They offshored their customer service and then provided crap equipment.

I lost well over $50 on Belkin hardware for which they never reimbursed me after I sent the defective crap back.

So, like most companies with no ethics, I'm not surprised they'd pay people to write reviews that are worthless.


Submission + - Rolling my own parental controls in Linux

ZekeSMZ writes: It's been a year since I made the switch from windows to Ubuntu, and I can safely say I'm never going back. One of the best things I've done is to set up an Edubuntu system for my kids — ages 4 and 2. With applications such as Supertux, TuxPaint, G Compris, Stellarium and even Kolf, they amuse themselves for hours with the machine and can't damage it like they can a Windows box.

Now that my 4 year old is learning to read and type, I'd like to set up some form of parental controls on my network. I consider myself a moderately competant Linux user, but I do not have anything approaching the skills of the talented sysadmins I've worked with over the years. So, I'd like to reach out to the Slashdot community for advice on how to lock down my network so that they won't accidentally bump into the seedier side of the web.

What are the best firewall apps to use for internal filtering? Do (or could) any of them support pro-active whitelisting, where I could get an email with a blocked URL that my kids tried to visit, and in response — I set up a rule to allow or deny access to the URL. This is a fairly mainstream feature of various parental control software out there, how could a similar solution be set up in Linux?

I'm going to assume that my kids are smarter than me and will one day figure out how to own the network. You get bonus points if you can give pointers on setting up a dual system, one that they can hack, and one that is running in the background in silent or stealth mode to monitor activity. My intent here is not to be big brother, but rather a responsible parent.

Submission + - Timewarner DNS Hijacking

Exstatica writes: "It looks like Timewarner is taking botnets into their own hands. They've hijacked dns for a few irc servers. The latests being,, and all part of EFNet. Using the lookup returns an ip for what looks to be a script that forces the user into a channel and issues a set of commands to clean the drones. There have been different reports of other irc networks being hijacked and other dns servers involved. Is this the right way to handle this? Is hijacking DNS illegal?"

Submission + - Nearly 900K US Troops health care records exposed

blueser writes: Military Times reports that "personal health care records of nearly 900,000 troops, family members and other government employees stored on a private defense contractor's nonsecure computer server were exposed to compromise". Exposed information includes social security numbers, names, addresses and coded health data. The contractor has been aware of the data breach since May 29, when USAFE notified them about an insecure data transmission. The Petangon and FBI have already been involved, and the contractor is already notifying those that have been affected.

Submission + - Oil (or Not) in Your Future ( 1

mdsolar writes: "Over at The Oil Drum there is an interesting discussion going on about a report released (in draft form) by the National Petroleum Council. The report is a response to questions from Secretary of Energy Bodman about the ability of oil companies to meet projected demand for oil (at a reasonable price). The report seems to say that this cannot be done and recommends that the government 1) force conservation through efficiency regulations, 2) shift to other energy sources, 3) reduce regulation on drilling in the US, 4) use US power to force open markets in oil, 5) pay for the education of engineers in the oil field, allow retiring workers to consult without tax penalties and raise H1-B quotas and 6) pay the oil industry to accept carbon dioxide from coal use for sequestration.

The discusion at The Oil Drum is finding that the report is fudging on the peak oil issue while at the same time predicting a greatly increased oil supply mainly from the Middle East using new technologies and discoveries. My own acerbic take on the report findings can be found here."


Submission + - White House Says Hill Can't Pursue Contempt Cases (

rook2pawn writes: Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority yesterday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege. The Moderate Voice asks "what is Congress remedy? Increasingly, Bush administration actions appear to be actually provocative aimed at throwing the matter into court. Could it be because George Bush now has more friends on the Supreme Court who believe in a stronger executive and will back him in the end? If they back him, the United States traditional definition of checks and balances may have to be heavily revised."

Submission + - Which Google Should Congress Believe? 1

theodp writes: "In Congressional testimony last month, Google's VP of People Operations told the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration that, due to limits on the number of H-1B visas, Google is regularly unable to pursue highly qualified candidates. But as Google stock tumbled in after hours trading Wednesday, Google's CEO blamed disappointing profits on a hiring binge and promised Wall Street analysts that the company would keep a careful eye on headcount in the future. So which Google should Congress believe?"

Philosophy: A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing. -- Ambrose Bierce