An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies have developed software that enables control of PC video games using the Microsoft Kinect sensor. Their toolkit, known as the Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST), emulates custom-configured keyboard controls triggered by body posture and specific gestures. This video shows a user playing the online game World of Warcraft using the Kinect. Potential applications of this technology include video games for motor rehabilitation after stroke and reducing childhood obesity through healthy gaming."
As the second Humble Indie Bundle flourishes, having taken in over $1.5 million in pay-what-you-want sales, the Opposable Thumbs blog has taken a look at indie game pricing in general, trying to determine how low price points and frequent sales affect their popularity in an ocean of $60 blockbusters. Quoting: "... in the short term these sales are a good thing. They bring in more sales, more revenue, and expand the reach of games that frequently have very little marketing support behind them, if any. For those games, getting on the front page of Steam is a huge boost, putting it in front of a huge audience of gamers. But what are the long-term effects? If most players are buying these games at a severely reduced price, how does that influence the perception of indie games at large? It's not an easy question to answer, especially considering how relatively new these sales are, making it difficult to judge their long-term effects. But it's clear they're somewhat of a double-edged sword. Exposure is good, but price erosion isn't. 'When it comes to perception, a deep discount gets people playing the game that [they] wouldn't play otherwise, and I think that has both positive and negative effects,' [2D Boy co-founder Ron Carmel] told Ars. 'The negative is that if I'm willing to pay $5 but not $20, I probably don't want to play that game very much, so maybe I'm not as excited about it after I play it and maybe I drive down the average appreciation of the game.'"
It works, you just have to try 10+ times. Or more.
theodp writes "It took nearly a decade, but Google has done a turnabout and is honoring Veterans Day with a special holiday design for its famous logo. Users who log onto Google's home page are greeted with three World War I-era helmets capping the letters 'o' and 'e' in Google's name. The decoration is a marked departure for the company, which has come under fire from veterans' groups for ignoring American holidays such as Veterans Day and Memorial Day since Google's inception in 1999."
Who says people were voting? It was a rather large discussion that settled on a no-consensus, which is how things tend to go when favorableness is spotty towards a solution.
MrCrassic alerts us to an Ars Technica roundup of various reports about Google's rumored gPhone, from CrunchGear, Engadget, and others. Business Week attempts to read into the silence of software developers (who are all, presumably, under NDA) to triangulate Google's plans. Both outlets agree that Google is probably developing its own Linux-based OS for the gPhone, and that it will be open to outside developers.
In anticipation of Halo 3's release later this month, EGM and the folks at 1up have been creating a veritable altar to the Halo deities over at the website. This edifice has tons of information on the two previous Halo games, commentary from numerous Halo-literate folks on the subject, as well as weightier articles like a preview of the co-op mode (four players, mind), a primer on the story if you've missed something, and a breakdown of the good and bad in Halo 3 . Yes, there are even some things they don't like about the game. From the co-op breakdown: "The Achievements offered tantalizing hints of the game's structure, features and techniques, a welcome morsel of information for the faithful to contemplate and speculate about. The co-op news was greeted with even more warmth, because it put to rest ill-founded rumors that Bungie was planning to deliver a half-completed game. On the contrary; up to four players will be able to take control of the Master Chief, the Arbiter and two Elite warriors, N'tho 'Sraom and Usze 'Taham. (Don't bother trying to pronounce their names; just appreciate the promise of joining up with three friends to conquer the game.) And somewhere in the middle, these two topics are connected by something even more intriguing. Halo's co-op game and its Gamerscore-grinding intersect at a point enigmatically referred to in the game's Achievements as the 'Meta-game.'"
An anonymous reader writes "International Humanitarian Law professor Ludwig Braeckeleer thinks so. In an article published yesterday in the Korean newspaper OhMyNews, he reveals a discovery he made while researching a story on the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland. It turns out that a Wikipedia administrator named SlimVirgin is actually Linda Mack, a woman who as a young graduate in the 1980s was hired by investigative reporter Pierre Salinger of ABC News to help with the investigation. Salinger later came to believe that Mack was actually working for Britain's MI5 on a mission to investigate the bombing and to infiltrate and monitor the news agency. Shortly after her Wikipedia identity was uncovered, many of her edits to articles related to the bombing were permanently removed from the database in an attempt to conceal her identity. This discovery comes only months after another Wikipedia admin was caught lying about his credentials to the press. What can Wikipedia do about those who would use it for their own purposes?"
mikemuch writes "ExtremeTech has a review and benchmarks of the Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 1TB Hard Drive, which ushers in the terabyte age. It performs well on HDTach and PCMark benchmarks, though not as speedily as professional-grade drives. It could be just the ticket for digital media junkies. 'One of the first issues to note is that you may not see an actual one terabyte capacity on your system. First, the formatted capacity is always less than the raw space available on the drive. Directory information and formatting data always take up some space. Second, the hard drive industry's definition of a megabyte differs from the rest of the PC business. One megabyte of hard drive space is 1,000,000 bytes: 10^6 bytes. Operating systems calculate one megabyte as 2^20 bytes, or 1,048,576 bytes. Once installed and set up, Hitachi's 1TB hard drive offers up an actual formatted capacity of about 935GB, as measured by the OS. That's still a lot of space, by anyone's definition.'" Update: 05/17 21:52 GMT by Z : Adding '^s' missing from article.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The battle over the "reliability" of the RIAA's expert witness, Dr. Doug Jacobson of Iowa State, continues, with the RIAA defending its expert by arguing that "everyone in his field proceeds the same way he did", to which the defendant responded by reminding the judges of the witness's own testimony that his "method" was invented by himself a year and a half ago, and has never been shared with, much less accepted by, anyone else in the "scientific community".... a prerequisite for admissibility of expert testimony in federal court under the Daubert case."
An anonymous reader writes "Real World Technologies has put together a comprehensive article that brings together everything which has been disclosed about AMD's upcoming Barcelona processor. The author goes through every stage of the CPU pipeline and makes a direct comparison with the rival Core 2 from Intel, and the previous generation K8. This piece also adds new information on many of the tricks used by AMD architects to wring out higher performance, especially previously undisclosed circuit level techniques used. The article ends with general predictions for the performance and economic impact of Barcelona.
surfingmarmot writes "An HBO executive has figured out the problem with DRM acceptance — it's the name. HBO's chief technology officer Bob Zitter now wants to refer to the technology as Digital Consumer Enablement. Because, you see, DRM actually helps consumers by getting more content into their hands. The company already has HD movies on demand ready to go, but is delaying them because of ownership concerns. Says Zitter, 'Digital Consumer Enablement would more accurately describe technology that allows consumers "to use content in ways they haven't before," such as enjoying TV shows and movies on portable video players like iPods. "I don't want to use the term DRM any longer," said Zitter, who added that content-protection technology could enable various new applications for cable operators.'"
An anonymous reader writes to tell us that this week at the JavaOne Conference, Sun debuted it's answer to the iPhone. While it is still months away from being a reality this phone is set to put them in direct competition with some of the top cellphone vendors. "Java Mobile FX is "a complete desktop-scale environment that puts the network in your hand," said Richard Green, executive vice president of Sun's software group, announcing the product in his keynote address. Sun ported the Savaje code to a Linux kernel and is expanding the applications programming interfaces and set of developer tools that will ship with it. It plans to make the code available on other platforms in the future. Sun has no licensees for Java Mobile FX yet. However, it is in conversations with carriers and handset makers now and hopes to see cellphones using the software ship in early 2008. "
Via Joystiq, the news at the Red vs. Blue site that the 100th episode will be their last. Despite the 04/01 posting date of the announcement, it looks like the reality is that there are only a handful of episodes of the Blood Gulch Chronicles left. "One hundred is a great number, and it seems like the perfect place to call it a show. I am sure you have some questions about our plans for the series and beyond. We will be talking about all of that in the weeks and months to come, but I want to use this time to thank all of you for nearly half a decade of support. For now, it's back to work. From the recent developments in the storyline, you may have noticed some loose ends coming together and we have a lot to wrap up in the last seven videos. We hope you will love them as much as the first seven or the middle seven or whatever it was that initially drew you to the world of Red vs Blue." It's always great to see a series go out on a high note, and one can only hope that the folks at RoosterTeeth plan to work on new projects in the future.
Miguel de Icaza writes "There's a great interview from Shacknews with Alex St. John, one of the earlier DirectX / gaming guys. He talks about almost losing his job going against Bill Gates, and talks a bit about the MS development & political process. 'You know why the X on the Xbox is a glowing green X? The original codename for Direct X was the Manhattan Project, because strategically it was an effort to displace Japanese game consoles with PCs and ultimately the Xbox. We called it the Manhattan Project because that was the codename for the program developing the nuclear bomb. We had a glowing radiation logo for the prototype for Direct X, and of course as soon as that got out and the press covered it, it caused a scandal.'"