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How To Sell a Video Game Idea? 351

fobsta writes "Do any Slashdotters have experience of selling video game ideas? I'm an artist who has programmed a rough-as-nails demo and animated a trailer to explain my concept. Obviously I think it's fun, it shows promise, and my friends think it's cool. Who should I pitch the idea to? Existing video games companies, venture capitalists, or what about those dentists who financed the Amiga? Are they still around? I've had a previous idea hijacked, and received no reward for it whatsoever; how can I prevent this happening again?"

Understanding Privacy 164

privacyprof writes "Slashdot readers familiar with Professor Daniel J. Solove's essay, 'I've Got Nothing to Hide and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy,' might be interested in his new book, Understanding Privacy, which develops many of the ideas in that essay. As rapidly changing technology makes information increasingly available, there has been a great struggle to define privacy, with many conceding that the task is virtually impossible. The book argues there are multiple forms of privacy, related to one another by 'family resemblances.' It explains the framework for understanding privacy which was briefly discussed in the 'Nothing to Hide' essay. The book covers the framework in greater depth and explores how it applies to a wide array of privacy issues, such as data mining, surveillance, data security, and consumer privacy. Chapter 1 is available for free download."

Researchers Simplify Quantum Cryptography 106

Stony Stevenson writes "Quantum cryptography, the most secure method of transmitting data, has taken a step closer to mainstream viability with a technique that simplifies the distribution of keys. Researchers at NIST claim that the new 'quantum key distribution' method minimizes the required number of detectors, the most costly components in quantum crypto. Four single-photon detectors are usually required (these cost $20K to $50K each) to send and decode cryptography keys. In the new method, the researchers designed an optical component that reduces the required number of detectors to two. (The article mentions that in later refinements to the published work, they have reduced the requirement to one detector.) The researchers concede that their minimum-detector arrangement cuts transmission rates but point out that the system still works at broadband speeds."

Ghostly Ring Found Circling Dead Star 207

Roland Piquepaille writes "An international team of scientists has found a strange ring around a dead star by using images taken by NASA's Spitzer space telescope. This star, called SGR 1900+14, belongs to a class of objects known as magnetars. According to NASA, a magnetar is 'a highly magnetized neutron star and the remnant of a brilliant supernova explosion signaling the death throes of a massive star.' So far, about a dozen magnetars have been found. An amazing thing about these stellar objects is their magnetic field. One of the researchers said that 'magnetars possess magnetic fields a million billion times stronger than the magnetic field of the Earth.'

Adobe Flash Zero-Day Attack Underway 246

Robellus writes "Security researchers have found evidence of a previously unknown Adobe Flash vulnerability being exploited in the wild. The zero-day flaw has been added to the Chinese version of the MPack exploit kit and there are signs that the exploits are being injected into third-party sites to redirect targets to malware-laden servers. From the article: 'Continued investigation reveals this issue is fairly widespread. Malicious code is being injected into other third-party domains (approximately 20,000 web pages) most likely through SQL-injection attacks. The code then redirects users to sites hosting malicious Flash files exploiting this issue.'"

Ancestry Surprises From New Genetics Analysis Method 223

An anonymous reader commends a recently published study involving a new way to analyze genetic variation in human populations (full article published in PLOS Genetics): "[S]cientists from Ireland, the UK and the US analysed 2,540 genetic markers in the DNA of almost 1,000 people from around the world whose genetic material had been collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project. The results include a number of surprises... the Yakut people of northern Siberia were found to have received a significant genetic contribution from the population of the Orkney Islands, which lie off the coast of Scotland... there must have been a period of gene flow from northern Europe to east Asia. The study also shed light on the peopling of the Americas, as the results suggest that the native populations of north and south America have different origins."

BioShock Movie To Be Made By Universal 157

azuredrake writes "Gamasutra reports that Universal Pictures has just announced a completion of licensing negotiations to bring the game BioShock to the silver screen. For those unfamiliar with the property, it was the much-lauded Game of the Year contender, praised for its storyline which emerged through gameplay, not just cutscenes. The director for the project is to be Gore Verbinski, who proved himself on the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, and the current writer for the screenplay is John Logan, who is recently known for the also-creepy Sweeny Todd."

The Worst Workspaces In Tech 209

nicholas.m.carlson writes help you feel better about your hovel. Vallywag recently compiled a list of the top ten places to work, but the resulting submissions and exploration also provided them with an interesting look at some of the worst places to work. "What makes them so bad? Some offend with exposed fluorescent lights, gray cubicles and a dystopian corporate sheen. But others, with their pseudo-hip graffiti, kindergarten toys and plastic decorations — all in a desperate attempt to seem 'Internet-y' — come off even worse."

Google's Shareholders Vote Against Human Rights 376

yo_cruyff notes a Computerworld article on Google's recent annual shareholder meeting, which was dominated by argument over the company's human rights policies. Google's shareholders, on advice from their board, have voted down two proposals on Thursday that would have compelled Google to change its policies. "Google [has been] coming under fire for operating a version of its search engine that complies with China's censorship rules. Google argues that it's better for it to have a presence in the country and to offer people some information, rather than for it not to be active in China at all... [S]hareholders and rights groups including Amnesty International... continue to push Google to improve its policies in countries known for human rights abuses and limits on freedom of speech... Sergey Brin, cofounder and president of technology for Google, abstained from voting on either of the proposals. 'I agreed with the spirit of these proposals,' Brin said. But he said he didn't fully support them as they were written, and so did not want to vote for them."

Windows XP SP3 Creating Havoc 742

ozmanjusri writes "According to Information Week, within hours of its wide availability Windows XP SP3 had drawn hundreds of complaints from users who claim the update is wreaking havoc on their computers. One user said in a Microsoft newsgroup: 'I downloaded and installed [the SP3] package for IT Professionals and Developers on one of my computers. Now I can't get the computer to boot. I don't think Microsoft should have made this a critical update.' Other sites including IT Wire are also reporting problems, which include include random reboots or the inability to boot at all." Note that XP3 won't install on systems running beta IE8; and after a successful SP3 install users will no longer be able to downgrade from IE7 to IE6.

Galaxy Sans Dark Matter 92

ChromaticDragon writes "Astronomers have crunched some numbers on a galaxy to discover that its rotation can be fully explained by the gravity of the observable matter — in effect, this galaxy seems to lack dark matter. This shouldn't come as a total surprise given that one of the stronger observations of Dark Matter was the Bullet Cluster where supposedly a good deal of Dark Matter and good old fashion regular matter had separated."

Robotic Telescope Installed on Antarctica Plateau 128

Reservoir Hill writes "Antarctica claims some of the best astronomical sky conditions in the world — devoid of clouds with steady air that makes for clear viewing. The very best conditions unfortunately lie deep in the interior on a high-altitude plateau called Dome A. With an elevation of up to 4,093m, it's known as the most unapproachable point in the earth's southernmost region. Now astronomers in a Chinese scientific expedition have set up an experimental observatory at Dome A after lugging their equipment across Antarctica with the help of Australia and the US. The observatory will hunt for alien planets, while also measuring the observing conditions at the site to see if it is worth trying to build bigger observatories there. The observatory is automated, pointing its telescopes on its own while astronomers monitor its progress from other locations around the world via satellite link. PLATO is powered by a gas generator, and has a 4000-litre tank of jet fuel to keep it running through the winter. The observatory will search for planets around other stars using an array of four 14.5-centimetre telescopes called the Chinese Small Telescope Array (CSTAR). Astronomers hope to return in 2009 with new instruments, including the Antarctica Schmidt Telescopes (AST-3), a trio of telescopes with 0.5-metre mirrors, which will be more sensitive to planets than CSTAR."

2008 Turing Award Winners Announced 66

The Association for Computing Machinery has announced the 2008 Turing Award Winners. Edmund M. Clarke, Allen Emerson, and Joseph Sifakis received the award for their work on an automated method for finding design errors in computer hardware and software. "Model Checking is a type of "formal verification" that analyzes the logic underlying a design, much as a mathematician uses a proof to determine that a theorem is correct. Far from hit or miss, Model Checking considers every possible state of a hardware or software design and determines if it is consistent with the designer's specifications. Clarke and Emerson originated the idea of Model Checking at Harvard in 1981. They developed a theoretical technique for determining whether an abstract model of a hardware or software design satisfies a formal specification, given as a formula in Temporal Logic, a notation for describing possible sequences of events. Moreover, when the system fails the specification, it could identify a counterexample to show the source of the problem. Numerous model checking systems have been implemented, such as Spin at Bell Labs."

The Dungeons and Dragons Fourth Edition Preview Books 378

It's a big year for tabletop gamers. In just a few months the first books for the Fourth Edition of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) will be released by publisher Wizards of the Coast (WotC). The last major update to the game rules was released in 1999, and sparked interest in D&D not seen since the early 80s. To attempt to answer some of the biggest questions about this newest edition, WotC has learned from mistakes made in 99', and is previewing their game updates with a pair of softcover books. Called "Races and Classes" and "Worlds and Monsters", the two titles cover everything from character creation to the new default world's pantheon. More importantly, it includes a large amount of commentary from the designers about why things are going to be as they are. In short: they're must-haves for hardcore D&D fans. Read on for my impressions of these highly entertaining (and vastly overpriced) chapbooks.

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