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The Almighty Buck

Do Video Games Cost Too Much? 763

Valve's Gabe Newell gave the keynote address at this year's Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain (DICE) Summit about the cost of games, the effect of piracy, and how to reach new players. Valve undertook an experiment recently to test how price affected the sales of their popular survival-horror FPS, Left 4 Dead. They Reduced the price by 50% on Steam, which "resulted in a 3000% increase in sales of the game, posting overall sales that beat the title's original launch performance." They also tested various other price drops over the holidays, seeing spikes in sales that corresponded well to the size of the discount. This will undoubtedly add to the speculation that game prices have risen too high for the current economic climate. G4TV ran a live blog of Newell's presentation, providing a few more details.

Was Standardizing On JavaScript a Mistake? 525

snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister questions the wisdom of standardizing on a single language in the wake of the ECMA Committee's decision to abandon ECMAScript 4 in favor of the much less ambitious ECMAScript 3.1, stunting the future of JavaScript. Had the work continued, McAllister argues, it could have ushered in an era of large-scale application development that would ensure the browser's ability to meet our evolving needs in the years ahead. 'The more I hear about the ongoing efforts to revise the leading Web standards, the less convinced I am that we're approaching Web-based applications the right way,' McAllister writes. 'If anything, the more we talk about building large-scale Web applications, the more we should recognize that a single style of programming will never suit every job.' McAllister's simple truth: JavaScript will never be good for everything — especially as the Web continues to evolve beyond its original vision. His solution? 'Rather than shoehorning more and more functionality into the browser itself, maybe it's time we separated the UI from the underlying client-side logic. Let the browser handle the View. Let the Controller exist somewhere else, independent of the presentation layer.'"
The Internet

Is Today's Web Still 'the Web'? 312

snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister raises questions regarding the transforming nature of the Web now that Tim Berners-Lee's early vision has been supplanted by today's much more complex model. AJAX, Google Web Toolkit, Flash and Silverlight all have McAllister asking, 'Is [the Web] still the Web if you can't navigate directly to specific content? Is it still the Web if the content can't be indexed and searched? Is it still the Web if you can only view the application on certain clients or devices? Is it still the Web if you can't view source?' Such questions bely a much bigger question for Web developers, McAllister writes. If today's RIAs no longer resemble the 'Web,' then should we be shoehorning these apps into the Web's infrastructure, or is the problem that the client platforms simply aren't evolving fast enough to meet our needs?" If the point of 'The Web' is to allow direct links between any 2 points, is today's web something entirely different?

Do Women Write Better Code? 847

JCWDenton writes "The senior vice-president of engineering for computer-database company Ingres-and one of Silicon Valley's highest-ranking female programmers-insists that men and women write code differently. Women are more touchy-feely and considerate of those who will use the code later, she says. They'll intersperse their code ... with helpful comments and directions, explaining why they wrote the lines the way they did and exactly how they did it. The code becomes a type of 'roadmap' for others who might want to alter it or add to it later, says McGrattan, a native of Ireland who has been with Ingres since 1992. Men, on the other hand, have no such pretenses. Often, 'they try to show how clever they are by writing very cryptic code,' she tells the Business Technology Blog. 'They try to obfuscate things in the code,' and don't leave clear directions for people using it later. "

Is Google Making Us Stupid? 636

mjasay writes "Is Google making us stupid? Following a growing body of research within neuroscience, Carr argues that as we use the Web 'we inevitably begin to take on the qualities of those technologies.' This sounds great: Who wouldn't want to have the 'recall' capacity of Google? But, as Carr writes: 'The Internet promises to have particularly far-reaching effects on cognition. ... The Internet, an immeasurably powerful computing system, is subsuming most of our other intellectual technologies. It's becoming our map and our clock, our printing press and our typewriter, our calculator and our telephone, and our radio and TV. When the Net absorbs a medium, that medium is recreated in the Net's image.' In other words, as we 'go online' in increasing numbers and to an increasing degree, are we losing our ability to think coherently and deeply, preferring instead to process byte-sized information quickly, regurgitate 140-character 'tweets,' and skim thought? Is the concern overblown, or are we becoming the Web that we created?"
The Internet

.Asia Internet Domain Launched 203

eldavojohn writes "Expect to see sites ending in .asia pop up soon, as ICANN has allowed DotAsia to recently open bidding on the new domain. A DotAsia representative is quoted as saying, 'Our research has found that Asia is one of the most searched-for terms and by having a .asia website, your ranking on Google or Yahoo will become much higher.' Is there really a need for more top level domains?"

Microsoft Should Abandon Vista? 1119

mr_mischief writes "An editorial written by Don Reisinger over at CNet's takes Microsoft to task for the outright failure of Vista. He suggests that Vista may be the downfall of the company as, despite years in development, Vista was delivered to market too early. His suggestion? Support those who are running it, but otherwise ditch Vista and move on. 'Never before have I seen such an abysmal start to an operating system release. For almost a year, people have been adopting Vista and becoming incensed by how poorly it operates. Not only does it cost too much, it requires more to run than XP, there is still poor driver support ... With Mac OS X hot on its tail, Vista is simply not capable of competing at an OS level with some of the best software around. If Microsoft continues down this path, it will be Vista that will bring the software giant to its knees--not Bill Gates' departure.'"

The Morality of Web Advertisement Blocking 974

An anonymous reader writes "There has been some recent coverage of the over-hyped boycott of Firefox, in response to the rising popularity of the Adblock Plus Firefox extension. A recent editorial on CNET looks into the issue, and explores the moral and legal issues involved in client-side web advertisement blocking. Whereas TiVo users freeload on the relatively fixed broadcasting costs paid by TV networks, users of web ad-blocking technology are actively denying website owners revenue that would otherwise go to pay for the bandwidth costs of serving up those web pages. If the website designer has to pay for bits each time you view their website without viewing their banner ads, are you engaged in theft? Is this right? "

Does Going Digital Mean Missing Music? 751

arlanTLDR writes "The Seattle PI is running a story about how the MP3 format is the sign of a musical apocalypse. Apparently, many top music producers are 'howling' over the fact that files in a compressed format contain 'less than 10 percent of the original music on the CDs.' Is this just sensationalist FUD, or is there something to the assertion that listening to an MP3 is like hearing music 'through a screen door?'" The article mentions that the iPod and its cheap earbuds bear some of the responsibility for rendering this degradation in sound quality less objectionable.

Are 80 Columns Enough? 763

ThinkGeek writes "Dating back to the venerable DEC VT100, the 80 column terminal has served us well for over 25 years. Even now, many open source projects and common conventions require lines of code and documentation to fit on that terminal. I am not alone, judging by code I've seen in and out of the open source world, in finding that number insufficient for coding, much less more verbose writing. Given that modern graphical displays (and all popular editors) are capable of far more, is it time we came up with a new standard-sized terminal? If so, what should the new standard be?"

Is Windows Vista in Trouble? 879

Ken Erfourth writes "The is running a story about what they consider two powerful indications that Vista is failing in the marketplace. One, Dell has reintroduced PCs running Windows XP on its website due to customer demand. Two, Microsoft is conducting a worldwide firesale on a bundle of Microsoft Office 2007/WindowsXP Starter Edition. According to, at least, these are signs of serious problems selling Vista. Are we seeing the stumbling of the Microsoft Juggernaught with the slow adoption of Windows Vista?"

Is The Term Paper Dead? 444

Reader gyges writes in to tell us that the Washington Post has picked up a piece he wrote about cut-and-paste plagiarism: "Plagiarism today is heavily invested with morality surrounding intellectual honesty. That is laudable. But truly distinguishing plagiarism is a matter of intent. Did I mean to copy, was it accidental (a trick of memory), was it polygenesis[?] ... Young people today are simply too far ahead of anything schools might do to curb their recycling efforts. Beyond simply selling used term papers online, Web sites such as allow students to post specific questions and pay for answers." The author argues that in the era we're entering, schools need to rely far less on term papers in assessing students.

Is Assembly Programming Still Relevant, Today? 676

intelinsight asks: "Consider the following question given the current software development needs, and also the claims of the Assembly lovers for it being a language that gives one insights of the internal working of a computer. How relevant or useful is it to learn Assembly programming language in the current era? "

We're here to give you a computer, not a religion. - attributed to Bob Pariseau, at the introduction of the Amiga