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Games

Haptic Gaming Vest Simulates Punches, Shots, Stabbing 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the thumpity-thump-thump dept.
An anonymous reader writes "IEEE Spectrum reports that University of Pennsylvania researchers have developed a Tactile Gaming Vest that smacks and vibrates as players get shot in a game based on Half-Life 2. Four solenoid actuators in the chest and shoulders in front and two solenoids in the back give you the feeling of a simulated gunshot. In addition, vibrating eccentric-mass motors clustered against the shoulder blades make you feel a slashing effect as you get stabbed from behind. If this kind of vest could be linked to a movie while you watch it, the experience would be that much more exciting. Or as one of the creators put it, 'every time Bruce Willis gets shot, you feel it.'"
Technology (Apple)

+ - Live Chat during MWSF Keynote 9am P.T.->

Submitted by
Chris
Chris writes "Last year, a wild party of rabid Apple fans, enthusiasts and curious joined webChattr's inaugural launch during the 2008 MWSF Steve Jobs Keynote. Leading up to 9am, both "stevenote" and "stevenotechat" rooms had up to 200 simultaneous chattrs.

In the past year, webChattr's grown as a favored chat destination and chat platform by many enthusiastic iPhone, iPod Touch and Web users, as well as site owners.

This year will be Apple's last MacWorld appearance and the keynote address will be delivered by Phil Schiller. webChattr will once again be hosting a live chat at 9am Pacific Time during the 2009 MacWorld San Francisco Keynote Address.

Those 2 chat rooms will be accessible in an interface optimized for iPhone (even slow EDGE/3G connectivity) and iPod Touch users, as well as all desktop Web Browsers. Web Site operators will also be able to include a custom-sized chat widget of the event on any web page, available thru Widgetbox."

Link to Original Source
Music

Why Starting a Legal Online Music Vendor Is Tough 214

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
Hodejo1 writes "Former MP3.com CEO Michael Robertson offers commentary at The Register saying any attempts to build a sanctioned digital music site today is doomed from the outset. 'The internet companies I talk to don't mind giving some direct benefit to music companies. What torpedoes that possibility is the big financial requests from labels for "past infringement," plus a hefty fee for future usage. Any company agreeing to these demands is signing their own financial death sentence. The root cause is not the labels — chances are if you were running a label you would make the same demands, since the law permits it."
Google

Some Developers Leaving Google For Microsoft 685

Posted by kdawson
from the turning-tide-or-momentary-reversal dept.
recoiledsnake writes "We have heard about lots of talented developers jumping ship from Microsoft to Google, but is the trend beginning to turn? Dare Obasanjo (a Microsoft employee) writes about a few high-profile people picking Microsoft over Google — either making the jump directly, or choosing Microsoft after receiving offers at both. Sergey Solyanik is back to Microsoft and he primarily gripes about the culture and lack of career development at Google. He writes, 'Everything is pretty much run by [engineering] — PMs and testers are conspicuously absent from the process. Google as an organization is not geared — culturally — to delivering enterprise class reliability to its user applications.' Danny Thorpe, who was the key architect of Google Gears, is back at Microsoft for his second stint working on developer technologies related to Windows Live."
Social Networks

A Cautionary Tale of Open Source Social Technologies 330

Posted by kdawson
from the careful-what-you-let-go-viral dept.
eweekhickins writes "The 'country' drop-down menu on one organization's donations pages omits Israel as a country and includes 'Palestine.' Among other things, this means that Israelis can't donate to the organization from these pages; it also presents the risk of a PR nightmare for the organization. This EWeek story cautions that while basic Web 2.0 technologies combined with open source can be incredibly powerful and productive, they can also lead to disastrous results for an organization that isn't paying close enough attention."
Software

Pidgin Controversy Triggers Fork 1104

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-gotta-bit-kidding-me dept.
paleshadows writes "Pidgin, the premier multi-protocol instant messaging client, has been forked. This is the result of a heated, emotional, and very interesting debate over a controversial new feature: As of version 2.4, the ability to manually resize the text input area has been removed; instead, it automatically resizes depending on how much is typed. It turns out that this feature, along with the uncompromising unwillingness of the developers to provide an option to turn it off, annoys the bejesus of very many users. One comment made by a Professor that teaches "Collaboration in an Open Source World" argued that 'It's easy to see why open source developers could develop dogmas. [...] The most dangerous dogma is the one exhibited here: the God feature. "One technological solution can meet every possible user-desired variation of a feature." [...] You [the developers] are ignoring the fan base with a dedication to your convictions that is alarmingly evident to even the most unobservant of followers, and as such, you are demonstrating that you no longer deserve to be in the position of servicing the needs of your user base.'" Does anyone besides me find this utterly ridiculous?
Science

Brain Study Calls Free Will Into Question 733

Posted by kdawson
from the choose-wisely-young-jedi dept.
siddster notes an account up at Wired of research indicating that brain scanners can see your decisions before you make them. "In a study published Sunday in Nature Neuroscience, researchers using brain scanners could predict people's decisions seven seconds before the test subjects were even aware of making them... Caveats remain, holding open the door for free will... The experiment may not reflect the mental dynamics of other, more complicated decisions... Also, the predictions were not completely accurate. Maybe free will enters at the last moment, allowing a person to override an unpalatable subconscious decision."
Businesses

The Dead Sea Effect In the IT Workplace 396

Posted by kdawson
from the cream-evaporates-to-mix-a-metaphor dept.
Alien54 notes a blog posting by old hand Bruce F. Webster on the current state of affairs in hiring in IT, focusing on what he calls the Dead Sea Effect. "Many large IT shops... work like the Dead Sea. New hires are brought in as management deems it necessary. Their qualifications... will tend to vary quite a bit, depending upon current needs, employee departure, the personnel budget, and the general hiring ability of those doing the hiring. All things being equal, the general competency of the IT department should have roughly the same distribution as the incoming hires. Instead, what happens is that the more talented and effective IT engineers are the ones most likely to leave -- to evaporate, if you will. They are the ones least likely to put up with the frequent stupidities and workplace problems that plague large organizations; they are also the ones most likely to have other opportunities that they can readily move to. What tends to remain behind is the 'residue' -- the least talented and effective IT engineers."
Cellphones

iPhone's Development Limitations Could Hurt It In the Long Run 452

Posted by Soulskill
from the my-way-or-the-iway dept.
ZDOne writes "Apple might have finally come around to allowing third party developers to create applications for the iPhone, but only up to a point. ZDNet UK claims Apple is leaving itself vulnerable to the competition and to a loss of lustre by blocking background tasks on the device. The author notes, 'Perhaps it doesn't trust application designers or users very much. Perhaps it wants the best software for itself, where it can limit what it can do in order not to upset its telco friends. Whatever the reason, it reflects badly on Apple. The iPhone is not an iPod; it's a smartphone connecting to a universe of fast-changing data on behalf of innovation-hungry users. The sooner it stops pretending to be a 1981 IBM PC, the better it will be for everyone.'"
Portables

MacBook Air First To Be Compromised In Hacking Contest 493

Posted by Soulskill
from the potential-reality-tv-show dept.
Multiple readers have written to let us know that the MacBook Air was the first laptop to fall in the CanSecWest hacking contest. The successful hijacking took place only two minutes into the second day of the competition, after the rules had been relaxed to allow the visiting of websites and opening of emails. The TippingPoint blog reveals that the vulnerability was located within Safari, but they won't release specific details until Apple has had a chance to correct the problem. The winner, Charlie Miller, gets to keep the laptop and $10,000. We covered the contest last year, and the results were similar.

Microsoft or Apple - Who Is the Faster Patcher? 252

Posted by Zonk
from the go-speed-patcher-gooo dept.
Amy Bennett writes "And the answer is... Microsoft. Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology analyzed 658 high-risk and medium-risk vulnerabilities affecting Microsoft products and 738 affecting Apple. They measured how many times over the past six years the two vendors were able to have a patch available on the day a vulnerability became publicly known, which they call the 0-day patch rate. What they found: 'Apple was below 20 [unpatched vulnerabilities at disclosure] consistently before 2005,' said Stefan Frei, one of the researchers involved in the study. 'Since then, they are very often above. So if you have Apple and compare it to Microsoft, the number of unpatched vulnerabilities are higher at Apple.'"
Television

South Park To Be Available Online Free and Legal 277

Posted by Zonk
from the i-like-the-crazy-future dept.
garnetlion writes "South Park is coming online, free and legal. My brief research has not indicated if it will use DRM, require some silly Windows-only software or be otherwise substandard. According to a Wired blog article, 'Parker and Stone said they were inspired to start the site when they got 'really sick of having to download our own show illegally all the time. So we gave ourselves a legal alternative.'" In this regard South Park joins fellow Comedy Central notable The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, whose archive was made freely available online late last year.
Cellphones

Cellphones Leapfrog Poor Infrastructure in Mali 102

Posted by Zonk
from the twenty-first-century-meets-the-seventeenth dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "CBC News has up an article by Peace Corps volunteer Heidi Vogt, a woman who served in the small village of Gono in Mali five years ago and remembers letters dictated and hand-carried by donkey cart or bicycle to the next town. Vogt recently returned to see the changes that cellphone communications have made in a village that still doesn't have electricity or decent drinking water. 'Gono's elders say the phones can keep them in touch with their village diaspora,' writes Vogt. 'Villagers depend on far-off relatives to send money in time of crisis — if someone is sick, if a house has caught fire, if there's been too little or too much rain and the harvest is poor. There's a new sense of connection to a larger world. In a village where most people can't read or write, they can now communicate directly with far-off relatives.'"
Censorship

Internet Censorship's First Death Sentence? 475

Posted by Zonk
from the that's-a-bit-harsh-i-think dept.
mrogers writes "A journalism student in Afghanistan has been sentenced to death by a Sharia court for downloading and sharing a report criticizing the treatment of women in some Islamic countries. The student was accused of blasphemy and tried without representation. According to Reporters Without Borders, sixty people are currently in jail worldwide for criticizing governments online, fifty of them in China, but this may be the first time someone has been sentenced to death for using the internet. Internet censorship is on the rise worldwide, according to The OpenNet Initiative."
Bug

Failed Avionics a Possible Cause of BA038 Crash 369

Posted by Soulskill
from the we-will-be-landing-shortly dept.
Muhammar writes "As you may have heard by now, both engines of the Boeing 777 aircraft flight BA038 suddenly cut off without warning at very low altitude and low speed during autopilot-assisted landing at Heathrow. A prompt reaction of the pilots prevented the stall and saved all lives aboard. The crash landing short of the runway tore off the landing gear on impact, and the fuselage plowed a long, deep gouge in the grass. With the investigation ongoing, the available information points to an electronic control problem as the most likely cause of the sudden engine power loss."

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