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Patents

Patent Markings May Spell Trouble For Activision 82

Posted by Soulskill
from the almost-rocket-docket dept.
eldavojohn writes "If you pick up your copy of Guitar Hero and read the literature, you'll notice it says 'patent pending' and cites a number of patents. A group alleges no such patent pends nor are some of the patents applicable. If a judge finds Activision guilty of misleading the public in this manner, they could become liable for up to $500 per product sold under false patent marking. The patents in question seem to be legitimately Guitar Hero-oriented, and little is to be found about the mysterious group. The final piece of the puzzle puts the filing in Texas Northern District Court, which might be close enough to Texas Eastern District Court to write this off as a new kind of 'false patent marking troll' targeting big fish with deep coffers."
Earth

Breaking the Squid Barrier 126

Posted by timothy
from the calimari-for-the-5000 dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Dr. Steve O'Shea of Auckland, New Zealand is attempting to break the record for keeping deep sea squid alive in captivity, with the goal of being able to raise a giant squid one day. Right now, he's raising the broad squid, sepioteuthis australis, from egg masses found in seaweed. This is a lot harder than it sounds, because the squid he's studying grow rapidly and eat only live prey, making it hard for them to keep the squid from becoming prey themselves. If his research works out, you might one day be able to visit an aquarium and see giant squid."
Social Networks

Game Distribution Platforms Becoming Annoyingly Common 349

Posted by Soulskill
from the looking-at-you-games-for-windows-live dept.
The Escapist's Shamus Young recently posted an article complaining about the proliferation of distribution platforms and social networks for video games. None of the companies who make these are "quite sure how games will be sold and played ten years from now," he writes, "but they all know they want to be the ones running the community or selling the titles." Young continues, "Remember how these systems usually work: The program sets itself up to run when Windows starts, and it must be running if you want to play the game. If you follow this scheme to its logical conclusion, you'll see that the system tray of every gaming PC would eventually end up clogged with loaders, patchers, helpers, and monitors. Every publisher would have a program for serving up content, connecting players, managing digital licenses, performing patches, and (most importantly) selling stuff. Some people don't mind having 'just one more' program running in the background. But what happens when you have programs from Valve, Stardock, Activision, 2k Games, Take-Two, Codemasters, Microsoft, Eidos, and Ubisoft? Sure, you could disable them. But then when you fire the thing up to play a game, it will want to spend fifteen minutes patching itself and the game before it will let you in. And imagine how fun it would be juggling accounts for all of them."
Software

Drupal's Dries Buytaert On Drupal 7 55

Posted by Soulskill
from the on-the-horizon dept.
itwbennett writes "The Drupal community has been working on Drupal 7 for two years, and there are 'hundreds of changes' to show for it, says Drupal creator Dries Buytaert in an interview with ITworld's Esther Schindler on the occasion of Drupal 7 going into Alpha test this week. Most notable for end users are 'some massive usability improvements,' says Buytaert, while site builders will see the greatest changes in the Drupal Content Construction Kit (CCK), which has been moved into the Drupal core. But one thing that hasn't changed is the not-so-easy upgrade path. 'The upgrade path for a Drupal site has never been really easy, to be honest,' Buytaert says. 'We do break backwards compatibility. It's a little bit painful because it requires all of the contributed modules — and there's 4,000-5,000 of them — to make changes.' But Buytaert doesn't think that's all bad. 'Innovation is key. Backwards compatibility limits innovation,' Buytaert contends. 'The rule we have is: We'll break the API if it makes a better API, and if it allows good innovation and progress to be made. Also: The second rule is that we'll never break people's data. We'll always provide an upgrade path for the data.'"
The Internet

Contributors Leaving Wikipedia In Record Numbers 632

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the three-phases-of-web-sites dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "CNET reports that the volunteers who create Wikipedia's pages, check facts and adapt the site are abandoning Wikipedia in unprecedented numbers, with tens of thousands of editors going 'dead' — no longer actively contributing and updating the site — a trend many experts believe could threaten Wikipedia's future. In the first three months of 2009, the English-language version of Wikipedia suffered a net loss of 49,000 contributors, compared with a loss of about 4,900 during the same period in 2008. 'If you don't have enough people to take care of the project it could vanish quickly,' says Felipe Ortega at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, who created a computer system to analyze the editing history of more than three million active Wikipedia contributors in ten different languages. 'We're not in that situation yet. But eventually, if the negative trends follow, we could be in that situation.' Contributors are becoming disenchanted with the process of adding to the site, which is becoming increasingly difficult says Andrew Dalby, author of The World and Wikipedia: How We are Editing Reality and a regular editor of the site. 'There is an increase of bureaucracy and rules. Wikipedia grew because of the lack of rules. That has been forgotten. The rules are regarded as irritating and useless by many contributors.' Arguments over various articles have also taken their toll. 'Many people are getting burnt out when they have to debate about the contents of certain articles again and again,' adds Ortega."

That does not compute.

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