A recent article at Bitmob sought to tackle the question of whether games could carry political meaning, arguing the negative since "The money, the media representation, and the general shadow of 'triviality' will always trail the word 'game,' because that is what makes it open to all markets." An opposing viewpoint has been posted by Lee Bradley, who says, "Perhaps the most profound shift in the games industry in the last few years has been the explosion of co-op. Not only are developers dedicating more and more time to providing co-op experiences in their games, they are also finding new ways of exploring the dynamic within it. ... Even in games where the co-operative element of co-op is less pronounced, the ideology is the same; you are not on your own anymore, you are part of a team. What's more, that team is more than likely multi-cultural and/or multi-gender. ... Now, this isn't to say that the lone white-guy hero has been eradicated. Far from it; the bald, white space-marine is one of the most over-used characters in modern gaming. But it increasingly rare that they are lone heroes. A shift towards team-based, co-op featured games is undeniable. In this way, mainstream video games, even those seemingly void of political statement, are implicitly political. While for the most part they are not designed to tackle political issues head-on, or carry overt political messages, they do reflect the values and the popular ideology of the culture in which they were created."
maximus1 writes "NetChoice, a trade group that identifies and fights threats aimed at online communities and e-commerce, released iAWFUL, a list of America's 10 worst legislative and regulatory proposals targeted at the Internet. At the top of the list is a Maine law that would require e-commerce sites to get parental approval before collecting minors' personal information. According to the NetChoice site, 'lawmakers approved the measure despite the fact that Web sites have no means to confirm such consent, and would be effectively forced to stop providing valuable services like college information, test prep services, and class rings.' Coming in second on the iAWFUL list is a city ordinance that would hit Internet users with an extra tax on hotel rooms. Scheduled to take effect in September, the new tax is aimed at consumers who use the Internet to bargain hunt for expensive NYC hotel rooms."
mjasay writes "Craigslist's Jeremy Zawodny reviews the progress of MySQL as a project, and discovers that through third-party forks and enhancements like Drizzle and OurDelta 'you can get a "better" MySQL than the one Sun/MySQL gives you today. For free.' Is this a good thing? On one hand it demonstrates the strong community around MySQL, but on the other, it could make it harder for Sun to fund core development on MySQL by diverting potential revenue from the core database project. Is this the fate of successful open-source companies? To become so successful as a community that they can't eke out a return as a company? If so, could anyone blame MySQL/Sun for creating its own proprietary fork in order to afford further core development?"
jamie found this blog post up on the HeliOS Project, which brings Linux to school kids in Austin, TX. It makes very clear some of the obstacles that free software faces in the classroom. It seems a teacher came upon a student demonstrating Linux to other kids and handing out LiveCDs. The teacher confiscated the CDs and wrote an angry email to HeliOS's founder, Ken Starks: "Mr. Starks, I am sure you strongly believe in what you are doing but I cannot either support your efforts or allow them to happen in my classroom. At this point, I am not sure what you are doing is legal. No software is free and spreading that misconception is harmful. ... This is a world where Windows runs on virtually every computer and putting on a carnival show for an operating system is not helping these children at all. I am sure if you contacted Microsoft, they would be more than happy to supply you with copies of an older version of Windows and that way, your computers would actually be of service to those receiving them..." Starks pens an eloquent reply, which contains a factoid I have not seen mentioned before: "The fact that you seem to believe that Microsoft is the end all and be-all is actually funny in a sad sort of way. Then again, being a good NEA member, you would spout the Union line. Microsoft has pumped tens of millions of dollars into your union. Of course you are going to 'recommend' Microsoft Windows."
stinkymountain writes "Writer John Brandon spent two days at Microsoft Research Labs in Redmond and got an inside look at some pretty interesting projects under development, including a robotic receptionist, a new type of touch screen for people with fat fingers, and an electronic table that allows multiple people to collaborate in real time. Brandon also talks about some of these research projects on this NPR podcast."
stoolpigeon writes "MySQL is frequently touted as the world's most widely used relational database management system. Many of the best known web applications and web sites use MySQL as their data repository. The popularity of MySQL has continued to grow while at the same time many were concerned by the lack of many features considered essential to a 'real' rdbms. Such naysayers have done little to impede the growth or development of MySQL. The first edition of MySQL in a Nutshell, published in 2005, gave users a handy reference to using MySQL. The second edition, published in 2008, covers many new features that MySQL fans proudly proclaim as an answer to all those critics clamoring for a better-rounded rdbms." Read below for the rest of JR's review.
For trips less than 250 miles, it's just not worth the hassle of getting to a major rail hub, parking your car (or taking transit and transfering), waiting to board the train, arriving at your destination with no ground transport and having to rent a car, etc.. It's easier to just jump in your car and drive there. Cheaper, too. As another reply to your post pointed out, it depends where you live - if I live close to a major rail hub, and my destination is also close the destination hub, then I don't need to rent a car. Compare that to traveling from inside a city to an airport. You have to figure about an hour and $100 on each side.
An anonymous reader writes "Phoronix has up an article looking at the release of X Server 1.4.1. This maintenance release for X.Org, which the open-source operating systems depend upon for living in a graphically rich world, comes more than 200 days late and it doesn't even clear the BugZilla release blocker bug. A further indication of problems is that the next major release of X.Org was scheduled to be released in February... then May... and now it's missing with no sign of when a release will occur. There are still more than three dozen outstanding bugs. Also, the forthcoming release (X.Org 7.4) will ship with a slimmer set of features than what was initially planned."
TaeKwonDood writes "Automated machines have been around for decades. They have basically been dumb devices that do simple assembly tasks. But RepRap takes that a step further because, instead of assembling pre-fabricated parts, it creates 3-D objects by printing them — squirting molten plastic in layers — and then building them up as the plastic solidifies. It works on coat hooks, door handles and now it can even make working copies ... of itself. The miracle of additive fabrication, coming soon to a robotic overlord near you."
eldavojohn writes "In a split (4-3) decision, a Virginia court has upheld the verdict against the spam king making it clear that spam is not protected by the U.S. Constitution's first amendment or even its interstate commerce clause. 'Prosecutors presented evidence of 53,000 illegal e-mails Jaynes sent over three days in July 2003. But authorities believe he was responsible for spewing 10 million e-mails a day in an enterprise that grossed up to $750,000 per month. Jaynes was charged in Virginia because the e-mails went through an AOL server in Loudoun County, where America Online is based. '"
Ian Lamont writes "The IDG News Service is reporting that US and Canadian authorities have made more than 400 seizures of counterfeit Cisco hardware from China in an ongoing investigation that started in 2005. The most recent seizure was last Friday in Toronto, where the RCMP charged two people and a company with distributing large quantities of counterfeit network components to companies in the US through the Internet. The RCMP seized approximately 1,600 pieces of counterfeit network hardware with an estimated value of $2 million, says the report. According to another source, bogus Cisco gear from China typically includes network modules, WAN interface cards, gigabit interface converters, and less expensive routers."
iamlucky13 writes "A minor academic debate among astronomers is the final fate of the earth. As the sun ages and enters the red giant stage of its life, it will heat up, making the earth inhospitable. It will also expand, driven by helium fusion so that its outer layers reach past the earth's current orbit. Previously it had been believed that the sun would lose enough mass to allow earth to escape to a more distant orbit, lifeless but intact. However, new calculations, which take into account tidal forces and drag from mass shed by the sun, suggest that the earth will have sufficiently slowed in that time to be dragged down to its utter destruction in 7.6 billion years. "
jcatcw writes "Health care software vendor McKesson Provider Technologies is focusing on ways to cut IT costs for customers, including hospitals and medical offices. The cure is moving many of McKesson's medical software applications to Linux, which can then be used on less expensive commodity hardware instead of expensive mainframes. A deal with Red Hat allows McKesson to offer its software in a top-to-bottom package for mission-critical hospital IT systems."
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?"