As noted in Wired yesterday, tragedy in chaos writes, "Senator and Presidential-hopeful John McCain has managed to get a new bill signed into law, in the hope of ridding online social networks of the sexual predation of children. The 'Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2008,' as it is called, calls for a database to be made in which all registered sexual offenders must also register their e-mail addresses so that MySpace, Facebook, etc. can run current and hopeful users through it, and eliminate access to the offenders. Though a noble goal, this is not very well thought out in methodology. They are asking known criminals to be honest, and are expecting them not to utilize any of the free and readily available e-mail services that exist so as to circumvent the system. There is also a potential for the crafty sex offender to possibly cause false positives by just registering an address that does not belong to them, thereby drawing in innocent bystanders."
MTV's Multiplayer blog has a list of nine videogame concepts we should be 'leaving behind', left to rot in the now-passed year of 2007. From the countdown clocks to Halo 3, their snarky list leaves no stone unturned: "The Phrase 'Next-Gen' - Ladies and gentlemen, 'next-gen' is now. Everyone from PR firms to development studios are still using this phrase. Please, I beg of you, stop using "next-gen" until the PS4, Xbox 4000, and the Nintendo Super Wii are slated for release. Those consoles will officially be 'next-gen.' The PS3, Wii, and 360 are the current generation of games. Now is the time to accept it."
Ars Technica notes, from Nintendo's Fall conference earlier this week, the news that Mario Kart for the Wii is slated for Spring of next year. The game is said to involve bikes for the first time: "It is unclear whether the bikes will be mostly an aesthetic effect or if the control mechanics will differ between karts and bikes. Mario Kart: Double Dash featured a collection of different carts with different statistics, but control was more or less the same across the board ... Despite accusations that Nintendo had nothing to offer the hardcore gamer in terms of announcements at the show, the latest incarnation of the classic kart-racing series was looking sharp in its debut."
An anonymous reader noted a nice piece discussing 12 laws bloggers need to know which includes explanations of matters including domain name trademarks, deep linking, fair use of thumbnails and so on. It's worth a read for most anyone who puts words on this here interweb.
Zoolander writes "Christopher Tolkien has completed the last book of J.R.R. Tolkien from notes left from his father." The ultimate question is how much of a quality difference will there be; for instance the difference between Dune and Dune: House Atriedes is a pretty big gap. But in my experience, Christopher Tolkien has always taken a good, cautious approach when it comes to his father's work so here's to hoping.
superdan2k writes "When Nintendo brought the Wii to market, one of their stated goals was to get people who didn't normally play video games using their console. Based on an article from the AP, it seems they've made some headway in capturing the senior citizen market. With the Wii's price point, and it being a good way to get people engaged in physical exercise, it's easy to envision it catching on with other retirement homes beyond the one mentioned in the article."
Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "Intel has developed a prototype chip with the equivalent of 80 electronic brains, the latest sign of a design shift sweeping the semiconductor industry, the Wall Street Journal reports. The teraflop chip draws just 62 watts of power. From the article: 'Some jobs, like identifying and processing images, are ideal for multibrained machines. Video-security systems might quickly scan and pick out a face in a crowd, for example, or a PC might automatically create video highlights of a single player in a football game, said Justin Rattner, Intel's chief technology officer. Mr. Rattner said cameras on future videogame systems could track users' motions — eliminating the need for the kind of hand-held controller offered with Nintendo Co.'s Wii console. Realistic three-dimensional models of users could be transferred into videogames, or programs like a digital dance lesson. "Then you could put the model for your partner in there," Mr. Rattner says. "If you step on their toes, it's not a big deal." '"
PetManimal writes "Computerworld reports that gamers who have installed Vista are reporting problems with first person-shooter titles such as CounterStrike, Half-Life 2, Doom 3 and F.E.A.R. (users have compiled lists of games with Vista issues here). The complaints, which have turned up on gamers' forums, cite crashes and low FPS rates. The problems, not surprisingly, relate to graphics hardware and software:
"Experts blame still-flaky software drivers, Vista's complexity and a dearth of new video cards optimized for Vista's new rendering technology, DirectX 10. That's despite promises from Microsoft that Vista is backwards-compatible with XP's graphic engine, DirectX 9, and that it will support existing games. Meanwhile, games written to take advantage of DirectX 10 have been slow to emerge. And one Nvidia executive predicts that gamers may not routinely see games optimized for DirectX 10 until mid-2008.
giampy writes "New Scientist is reporting that Kodak has filed a patent for edible RFID tags. "The tags would be covered with soft gelatin that takes a while to dissolve in the stomach. After swallowing a tag a patient need only sit next to a radio source and receiver". They claim that these tags could be embedded in pills and used to monitor a person digestive system, among other things."
An anonymous reader writes "Two months after Muslix64 initially publicized his method for getting AACS keys, a user on Doom9 has found the processing key, which is able to decrypt all disks for both formats released thus far. The exploit can even be reused for future keys. This will allow the creation of a one-click backup utility and is a major blow against DRM."
Several readers wrote in about AMD's entry into the 65-nm manufacturing generation. The company introduced four chips to be manufactured with 65-nm process in the first quarter of 2007 to replace existing 90-nm chips in their lineup. AMD is playing up the power economy of its line, claiming that even its existing 90-nm parts consume less than 50% the power of Intel's Core 2 Duo, averaged over a typical day's usage, while the new 65-nm chips will be even stingier with power. Next stop, 45-nm. The article says that AMD has a goal of catching up within 18 months to Intel's lead on the way to 45-nm technology.
ScentCone writes "North Korea says that it has conducted its first nuclear weapons test and 'brought happiness to its people.' Japan and China earlier issued an unusual joint statement saying that such a test would be 'unacceptable.' As of 11:10PM EST, the USGS says that it has not detected any unusual seismic activity on the Korean peninsula in the last 48 hours." From the article: "The North said last week it would conduct a test, sparking regional concern and frantic diplomatic efforts aimed at dissuading Pyongyang from such a move. North Korea has long claimed to have nuclear weapons, but had never before performed a known test to prove its arsenal. The nuclear test was conducted at 10:36 a.m. (0136 GMT) in Hwaderi near Kilju city, Yonhap reported, citing defense officials." Update: 10/09 05:50 GMT by J : The U.S. Geological Survey reports a 4.2 magnitude quake; South Korean news is reporting a 3.58 magnitude event; the White House apparently confirms a nuclear test.
The Nintendo conference seemed to be the perfect opposite of Sony's conference yesterday. It was polished, the presenters were poised, and the demos conveyed exactly the message they were aiming for. Notable info includes 27 playable Wii titles on the E3 floor, a speaker in the Wii controller, a StarFox title for the DS, and a confirmation of motion sensor in the nunchuck attachment. There will be two versions of Twilight Princess (one for Wii, one for GC) and they'll both be out on Wii launch day. Launch is slated for Q4 of this year. The presenters kept the launch price and date under wraps as the tone of the event was inspiration, not information. The number of playable games available this week confirms their commitment to a launch date this year, and the hilarious tennis game played onstage by the Nintendo honchos and the contest winner made their 'playing = believing' slogan really hit home. More flash than substance, but a solid presentation overall
Sony's conference offered up reassurance that a number of their titles will be playable at this year's E3. The controller will sense movement, allowing the player to move an onscreen avatar 'naturally'. They also released the system's launch details. The North American PS3 launch will occur on Nov. 17th, 2006. The 20GB HDD version will retail for $499, and the 60GB HDD version will go for $599. They promise 4 million launch units by December 31st. Update: 05/09 03:57 GMT by Z : Apparently, not only does the $499 system have a smaller harddrive, but it has fewer features as well.