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+ - Developer responsibility in mobile avalanche apps

Submitted by bashaw
bashaw (3409765) writes "What ethical responsibilities do software developers have in determining the role that mobile devices take in our lives? As performance increases, size decreases, and the only limitation is the software available, mobile devices have expanded into new areas of our lives for which they were not designed. This raises the ethical question of who decides what software is available, and therefore what role these devices should take.

I am a software developer at the Canadian Avalanche Centre. We recently issued a warning about mobile avalanche search applications that are marketed as avalanche rescue systems. Three smartphone applications are presenting themselves as economical alternatives to avalanche transceivers, the electronic device used by backcountry users to find buried companions in case of an avalanche. The applications are not an adequate replacement for an avalanche transceiver for many reasons , and we are concerned about the use of this software in lieu of a specifically-designed avalanche transceiver. When it is a question of public safety, does the onus fall on the developers, a government agency or the users themselves?"
Android

Sprint Pushes FPS NOVA With Firmware — and Users Can't Remove It 182

Posted by timothy
from the but-you-love-it dept.
theodp writes "If you could change the way wireless companies did things, what would you do?' asked Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. How about stopping the use of Sprint's firmware updates to download apps that aren't wanted and can't be removed, Dan? Sprint confirmed to CNET's Elinor Mills that those strange apps she was shocked to find on her Android phone — sci-fi shooter N.O.V.A. and Blockbuster — with a long list of permissions that couldn't be uninstalled had been sneakily downloaded onto her phone during a firmware update. 'Sprint does offer a variety of partner applications that are optimized for use on our wireless phones,' a Sprint representative explained in an e-mail. 'From time to time, we will provide new apps to our customers in conjunction with a software maintenance release. Also, Sprint, in conjunction with Google, is taking steps to develop a technical solution that would allow customers to remove any unwanted applications that have been preloaded or pushed in an over-the-air software update.'" Asking first would be a nice non-technical solution.

Comment: Re:Expedia wants to set rates. (Score 1) 279

by KidHash (#34745150) Attached to: Battle Escalates Between Airlines and Online Agents

Naturally the travel companies would prefer that people book through their own websites, because they don't have to pay the commission, which is typically around 10% of the price.

It's actually more like 30%, and at my hotel that means you're much less likely to get upgrades and freebies because our revenue is so much lower. Book direct for a lower rate and more perks!

Internet Explorer

Steam UI Update Beta Drops IE Rendering For WebKit 244

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-a-coincidence-with-battle.net-in-beta-too dept.
Citing massive growth in their user base ("25 million users, 1000+ games, 12 billion player minutes per month, and 75 billion Steam client minutes per month"), Valve unveiled a revamped UI for Steam on Tuesday, opening the beta test to anyone who wants to try it out. There are many changes, and an increased focus on social features: "Right from within your own game Library, you can now track which of your friends plays each game or invite them to play one with you. Before you've even bought a game, knowing whether your friends play it is one of the most useful pieces of information to have. So on the store homepage, there's a new listing of what your friends have bought or played lately." Tracking games and achievements have both gotten simpler, and Valve has dropped the Internet Explorer rendering engine in favor of WebKit. An enterprising user also found files that may indicate the existence of an OS X Steam client.
Games

Non-Violent, Cooperative Games? 329

Posted by Soulskill
from the play-that-myspace-game-to-befriend-monsters dept.
jandersen writes "While I generally don't play computer games, I do occasionally play games like Crossfire or The Mana World, because they have more of a story line and allow you to go at your own pace. What I don't care much about, though, is that they are still focused on killing monsters and amassing wealth, and it gets very tedious after a while. Are there really no games where the goal isn't so much about increasing your own power and defeating others, but where you instead grow by doing things that benefit others, where enemies shouldn't be killed out of hand, but befriended; where learning, teaching, research and social skills are more important than killing and conquering? Would people be interested in a game of that nature?"
It's funny.  Laugh.

US Army To Use MMOs For Turing Tests 55

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-tax-dollars-at-play dept.
Massively points out an article about new research projects for the US Army. One of the projects will evidently involve testing their AI capabilities in popular MMOs, including World of Warcraft and EVE Online. "They're working on creating 'photorealistic looking and acting human beings' that can think on their own, have emotions and talk in local slang. 'I actually interact with virtual humans in terms of asking them questions and they're responding,' Parmentola said. To test out the computer generated humans' 'humanity,' Parmentola and his researchers want to unleash some of their cyber Soldiers into so-called 'massively multi-player online games' such as World of Warcraft or Eve Online — games frequented by thousands of super-competitive human players in teams of virtual characters fighting battles that can last for days. 'We want to use the massively multi-player online game as an experimental laboratory to see if they're good enough to convince humans that they're actually human,' he said."

Duke Nukem Forever Due This Year? 251

Posted by Zonk
from the an-end-in-sight dept.
nz17 writes "Under the original deal, 3D Realms was to receive some $6 million from Take-Two to develop the title. Now the Texas-based developer will receive only $4,250 for the oft-delayed game when it is completed. Just the same, 3D Realms has a fairly large incentive to get Duke Nukem Forever done by the end of the year; Take-Two has offered the studio $500,000 in the form of a promissory note if the game sees commercial release by December 31, 2006."

You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the Titanic had paying customers.

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