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Space

Geomagnetic Storm In Progress 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the sky-is-falling dept.
shogun writes "The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports a strong geomagnetic storm is in progress. The shuttle, ISS and GPS systems may be affected." They think this storm was caused by a weak solar flare on April 3rd. As you may expect, this has caused some unusually impressive northern lights since it started. What you may not expect is a photograph from Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi aboard the International Space Station showing the aurora from orbit. He apparently tweets a lot of pictures from space. He and his crewmates have taken over 100,000 pictures since coming aboard the ISS.
Businesses

Former Exec Says Electronic Arts "Is In the Wrong Business" 180

Posted by Soulskill
from the inspiring-internet-outrage-is-a-bad-business-model dept.
Mitch Lasky was the executive vice president of Mobile and Online at Electronic Arts until leaving the publisher to work at an investment firm. He now has some harsh things to say about how EA has been run over the past several years, in particular criticizing the decisions of CEO John Riccitiello. Quoting: "EA is in the wrong business, with the wrong cost structure and the wrong team, but somehow they seem to think that it is going to be a smooth, two-year transition from packaged goods to digital. Think again. ... by far the greatest failure of Riccitiello's strategy has been the EA Games division. JR bet his tenure on EA's ability to 'grow their way through the transition' to digital/online with hit packaged goods titles. They honestly believed that they had a decade to make this transition (I think it's more like 2-3 years). Since the recurring-revenue sports titles were already 'booked' (i.e., fully accounted for in the Wall Street estimates) it fell to EA Games to make hits that could move the needle. It's been a very ugly scene, indeed. From Spore, to Dead Space, to Mirror's Edge, to Need for Speed: Undercover, it's been one expensive commercial disappointment for EA Games after another. Not to mention the shut-down of Pandemic, half of the justification for EA's $850MM acquisition of Bioware-Pandemic. And don't think that Dante's Inferno, or Knights of the Old Republic, is going to make it all better. It's a bankrupt strategy."
Idle

Canadian Blood Services Promotes Pseudoscience 219

Posted by samzenpus
from the type-A-negative-personality dept.
trianglecat writes "The not-for-profit agency Canadian Blood Services has a section of their website based on the Japanese cultural belief of ketsueki-gata, which claims that a person's blood group determines or predicts their personality type. Disappointing for a self-proclaimed 'science-based' organization. The Ottawa Skeptics, based in the nation's capital, appear to be taking some action."
Games

The Psychology of Achievement In Playing Games 80

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-you-don't-get-points-for-reading-this dept.
A post on Pixel Poppers looks at the psychological underpinnings of the types of challenges offered by different game genres, and the effect those challenges have on determining which players find the games entertaining. Quoting: "To progress in an action game, the player has to improve, which is by no means guaranteed — but to progress in an RPG, the characters have to improve, which is inevitable. ... It turns out there are two different ways people respond to challenges. Some people see them as opportunities to perform — to demonstrate their talent or intellect. Others see them as opportunities to master — to improve their skill or knowledge. Say you take a person with a performance orientation ('Paul') and a person with a mastery orientation ('Matt'). Give them each an easy puzzle, and they will both do well. Paul will complete it quickly and smile proudly at how well he performed. Matt will complete it quickly and be satisfied that he has mastered the skill involved. Now give them each a difficult puzzle. Paul will jump in gamely, but it will soon become clear he cannot overcome it as impressively as he did the last one. The opportunity to show off has disappeared, and Paul will lose interest and give up. Matt, on the other hand, when stymied, will push harder. His early failure means there's still something to be learned here, and he will persevere until he does so and solves the puzzle."
Social Networks

The Sims 3 To Mesh With Social Networks 25

Posted by Soulskill
from the linked-sim-book-space dept.
Electronic Arts has released a good bit of information about the online aspects of The Sims 3, which is due for release in early June. The game will have downloadable content available on launch day that includes a second, separate town called Riverview. They'll also be revamping the game's website to allow the sharing of content and integration with social media. In addition, EA mentioned that the game will make use of micro-transactions, which players can use to buy things like furniture, clothing, and other items.
Networking

Using Linux To Make a Slow, Awful WAN Connection 110

Posted by timothy
from the too-bad-to-be-true dept.
Julie188 writes "This is a brilliant little Linux trick from Windows fanboy Tyson Kopczynski. He wanted to test a new Windows 7 feature called Branch Cache, which caches remote data on the local machine to reduce traffic on a stressed out WAN connection. But how to fake a crappy WAN? Linux. 'The command that I executed (tc) made use of Linux Traffic Control (a kernel thing) which allows me to easily interject 100ms latency on eth1. Boff, Bonk, Pow, Plop, Kapow, swa-a-p, whamm, zzzzzwap, bam ... instant WAN crappiness,' he writes."
Image

Robot Love Goes Bad 101

Posted by samzenpus
from the become-my-robot-bride dept.
hundredrabh writes "Ever had a super needy girlfriend that demanded all your love and attention and would freak whenever you would leave her alone? Irritating, right? Now imagine the same situation, only with an asexual third-generation humanoid robot with 100kg arms. Such was the torture subjected upon Japanese researchers recently when their most advanced robot, capable of simulating human emotions, ditched its puppy love programming and switched over into stalker mode. Eventually the researchers had to decommission the robot, with a hope of bringing it back to life again."
Music

Warner Music Playing Hardball With Rock Band 86

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-green dept.
We recently discussed the fight brewing between the music industry and the popular music games, such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero, over the licensing fees paid for songs used within the games. Well, Warner has stepped things up and denied access to future songs without a payment increase. "Once the already-agreed-upon music runs out in the Summer however, the two companies will have to hammer out a new deal that's amenable to both. If MTV Games ends up giving Warner a larger slice of the pie, you have to think that the rest of the labels will begin asking for the same cut." The Rock Band games have seen a steady stream of DLC additions to their song libraries, the most recent being Stevie Ray Vaughan's Texas Flood album. Activision has been busily working on new Guitar Hero content as well, revealing details for Guitar Hero Greatest Hits, which is due out in June. Ben Heck (of Xbox 360 laptop fame) has just put together a breath controller for Guitar Hero World Tour's bass drum, for those unable or unwilling to use the standard pedal.
PC Games (Games)

Fallout 3 DLC and Games For Windows Live Woes 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the isn't-exclusivity-fun dept.
oceanclub writes with news that the Operation Anchorage downloadable content for Fallout 3 has been released. Rock, Paper, Shotgun details the extensive difficulties encountered by users of Games for Windows Live while trying to locate and install the new content. This is the first in a series of three DLC releases, and they are exclusive to the PC and Xbox 360. The last, Broken Steel, will allow players to continue within the game once the main story is finished. Unfortunately, Bethesda apparently doesn't plan to patch that ability into the PS3 version.
Hardware Hacking

DIY USB Servo-Guided Water Gun 66

Posted by timothy
from the seasonally-inappropriate dept.
An anonymous reader writes "What better way is there to learn something than by making your own DIY gadget? Here's a new video showing how to use a common hobby servo, in conjunction with a small water pump, to create a USB controlled water gun! You can use your keyboard to aim and fire at an unsuspecting passerby. Both fun and educational, this project looks like a great DIY weekend project for any IT guy, wanting to make sure people think twice before asking a stupid question!"
Image

Thieves Take the Cake 91

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-eat-it dept.
Two very hungry German couriers ate a fruit cake destined for a German newspaper and in its place mailed a box of credit card data. The data including names, addresses and card transactions ended up at the Frankfurter Rundschau daily. The mix-up triggered an alarm, and police advised credit card customers with Landesbank Berlin to check their accounts for inconsistencies. Fruitcake must be different in Germany for people to want to use it as something other than a paperweight.

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