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Which Game Series Would You Reboot? 1120

Franchise reboots are all the rage these days in Hollywood, and the trend is starting to creep into the games industry as well. The Guardian's games blog is running a story discussing a few examples and pondering likely candidates for future reboots. Quoting: "If anything, the concept of the reboot makes more sense in the videogame sector than it does in movies. For a start, games are complex entities, with each new iteration in a familiar series adding many, many hours of fresh narrative content. Entering, say, the Zelda, Resident Evil, Half-Life, Dragon Quest or Metal Gear worlds at this stage must be massively intimidating — even if the developers go to great lengths to make each entry work as a singular, self-contained entity within the canon. Also, videogames are going through a paradigm shift in terms of popular appeal at the moment. The faithful audience of young males has been joined by new demographics brought in by the Wii, PC casual games, and now the iPhone. Many of these people may be vaguely aware of long-running game brands, but won't have a clue about the key characters, sign post events and basic gameplay mechanisms." So, which series (or individual title) would you like to see rebooted?

Security Certificate Warnings Don't Work 432

angry tapir writes "In a laboratory experiment, researchers found that between 55 percent and 100 percent of participants ignored certificate security warnings, depending on which browser they were using (different browsers use different language to warn their users). The researchers first conducted an online survey of more than 400 Web surfers, to learn what they thought about certificate warnings. They then brought 100 people into a lab and studied how they surf the Web. They found that people often had a mixed-up understanding of certificate warnings. For example, many thought they could ignore the messages when visiting a site they trust, but that they should be more wary at less-trustworthy sites."

Bing Users' Click-Through Rate 55% Higher Than Google Users' 268

An anonymous reader writes "Techcrunch is running a story that shows some pretty significant differences in the clicking habits of users of Yahoo, Google, and Bing. As it turns out, folks who arrive at websites via Bing are 55% more likely to click on an ad than if they arrived from Google (data based on the Chitika network). Essentially, people who use Bing are far more susceptible to advertising. Bing has acquired a decent market share in such a short time, but could it just be that they've reaped the low hanging fruit of those particularly persuaded by advertising? When their huge marketing campaign winds down, what kind of staying power will it have?"

IBM Seeks Patent On Digital Witch Hunts 136

theodp writes "Should Mark Zuckerberg want to identify a snitching Facebook employee, Elon Musk wish to set a trap for loose-lipped Tesla employees, or Steve Jobs want to 'play Asteroid,' they'll be happy to know that a new IBM 'invention' makes it easier than ever to be paranoid. In a newly-disclosed patent application for Embedding a Unique Serial Number into the Content of an Email for Tracking Information Dispersion (phew!), Big Blue describes how it's automated the creation of Canary Traps with patent-pending software that makes ever-so-slight changes to e-mail wording to allow you to spy on the unsuspecting recipients of your e-mail."

iPhone 3Gs Encryption Cracked In Two Minutes 179

An anonymous reader writes "In a Wired news article, iPhone Forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski explains how the much-touted hardware encryption of the iPhone 3Gs is but a farce, and demonstrates how both the passcode and backup encryption can be bypassed in about two minutes. Zdziarski also goes on to say that all data on the iPhone — including deleted data — is automatically decrypted by the iPhone when it's copied, allowing hackers and law enforcement agencies alike access the device's raw disk as if no encryption were present. A second demonstration features the recovery of the iPhone's entire disk while the device is still passcode-locked. According to a similar article in Ars Technica, Zdziarski describes the iPhone's hardware encryption by saying it's 'like putting privacy glass on half your shower door.' With the iPhone being sold into 20% of Fortune-100s and into the military, just how worried should we be with such shoddy security?"

Microsoft Exec Says, "You'll Miss Vista" Screenshot-sm 273

Oracle Goddess writes "'Years from now, when you've moved on to Windows 7, you'll look back at Windows Vista fondly. You'll remember its fabulous attributes, not its flaws.' That's the opinion of Steve Guggenheimer, vice president of the OEM division at Microsoft. 'I think people will look back on Vista after the Windows 7 release and realize that there were actually a bunch of good things there,' Guggenheimer said in a recent interview. 'So it'll actually be interesting to see in two years what the perception is of Vista.' A dissenting opinion comes from Bob Nitrio, president of system builder Ranvest Associates, doesn't believe organizations that skipped Vista will ever regret their decision. 'I don't think for a second that people are suddenly going to love Windows 7 so much that they will experience deep pangs of regret for not having adopted Vista,' said Nitrio. If I had to bet, I'd go with Bob's take on it." My first thought was, Steve meant Windows 7 is designed to be virtually unusable as payback for all the complaints about Vista, but I might be biased.

Microsoft Agrees To EU Browser Ballot Screen 438

An anonymous reader sends in coverage from Ars Technica of Microsoft's capitulation to the EU, after European regulators requested that Redmond bundle multiple browsers on new PCs. "Microsoft has decided that the last thing it needs in this economy is some combination of the following: fines, legal bills, and a delay of Windows 7. It has offered to adopt the European Union's preferred solution for browser competition: a browser selector screen at startup."
The Internet

UK ISP Disconnects Customers For File Sharing 311

think_nix writes "Karoo, an ISP in Hull, in the UK, is disconnecting subscribers without warning if they file-share, or are even suspected of file-sharing. Karoo is the only ISP in the area. Copyright owners are working with the ISP helping them identify and report suspected filesharers using their services. In order to get service restored, subscribers have to go to Karoo's office and sign a form admitting guilt and promising not to do it again. The article states that some subscribers have had their access cut off for more than two years." Update: 07/24 16:29 GMT by KD : The Register is reporting that Karoo has relented and has changed its policy. A spokesman said: "It is evident that we have been exceeding the expectation of copyright owners..."

Artificial Brain '10 Years Away' 539

SpuriousLogic writes "A detailed, functional artificial human brain can be built within the next 10 years, a leading scientist has claimed. Henry Markram, director of the Blue Brain Project, has already built elements of a rat brain. He told the TED global conference in Oxford that a synthetic human brain would be of particular use finding treatments for mental illnesses. Around two billion people are thought to suffer some kind of brain impairment, he said. 'It is not impossible to build a human brain and we can do it in 10 years,' he said."

Researchers Use Salmon DNA To Make LED Lightbulbs 66

Al writes "Researchers from the University of Connecticut have created a new light-emitting material by doping spun strands of salmon DNA with fluorescent dyes. The material, which is robust because DNA is such a strong polymer, absorbs energy from ultraviolet light and gives off different colors depending on the amounts of dye it contains. A team led by chemistry professor Gregory Sotzing created the new material by mixing salmon DNA with two types of dye, then pumping the solution from a fine needle while a voltage is applied between the needle tip and a grounded copper plate covered with a glass slide. As the liquid jet comes out, it dries and forms long nanofibers that are deposited on the glass slide as a mat. The researchers then spin this nanofiber mat directly on the surface of an ultraviolet LED to make a white-light emitter. The color-tunable DNA material relies on an energy-transfer mechanism between two different fluorescent dyes, and the DNA keeps the dye molecules separated at a distance of 2 to 10 nanometers from each other."
GNU is Not Unix

Microsoft Makes Second GPLv2 Release 218

angry tapir writes "Microsoft has made its second release under the General Public License in two days with software for Moodle, an 'open-source course management system that teachers use to create online learning Web sites for their classes[, which] has about 30 million users in 207 countries.' It comes on the heels of Redmond contributing drivers to the Linux community. No reports as yet on dropping temperatures in hell."

Ireland Criminalizes Blasphemy Screenshot-sm 1376

An anonymous reader writes "Another European country clamps down on free speech. From the article: 'It does seem bizarre that, in 2009, a modern European nation would seek to shield religious belief from criticism — yet that is what is happening in Ireland right now. In repealing the 1961 Defamation Act, the Irish government sought to expunge the worst excesses of Ireland's draconian laws restricting free speech, but in the process it has ended up making offending religious belief a criminal offence. Aside from a 25,000 fine (reduced from the 100,000 originally sought by the government), the new Defamation Act gives the authorities the power to stage raids on publishers: the courts may now issue a warrant authorising the police to enter, using "reasonable force," premises where they have grounds for believing there are copies of "blasphemous statements."'"

Company Denies Its Robots Feed On the Dead Screenshot-sm 154

Back in January we covered the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot, or EATR. The EATR gets its energy by "engaging in biologically-inspired, organism-like energy-harvesting behavior which is the equivalent of eating. It can find, ingest, and extract energy from biomass in the environment ..." So many news outlets picked up the story and ran it with titles alluding to the robot "eating flesh" or even "eating corpses" that a company spokesperson put out a press release saying, "This robot is strictly vegetarian." The statement says in part, "RTI's patent pending robotic system will be able to find, ingest and extract energy from biomass in the environment. Despite the far-reaching reports that this includes 'human bodies,' the public can be assured that the engine Cyclone has developed to power the EATR runs on fuel no scarier than twigs, grass clippings and wood chips — small, plant-based items for which RTI's robotic technology is designed to forage. Desecration of the dead is a war crime under Article 15 of the Geneva Conventions, and is certainly not something sanctioned by DARPA, Cyclone or RTI."

New Firefox Vulnerability Revealed 250

Not long after Firefox 3.5.1 was released to address a security issue, a new exploit has been found and a proof of concept has been posted. "The vulnerability is a remote stack-based buffer-overflow, triggered by sending an overly long string of Unicode data to the document.write method. If exploited, the resulting overflow could lead to code execution, or if the exploit attempts fail, a denial-of-service scenario." It's recommended that Firefox users disable Javascript until the issue is patched, though add-ons like NoScript should do the trick as well (unless a site on your whitelist becomes compromised).

Update: 07/20 00:09 GMT by KD : An anonymous reader informs us that the Mozilla security blog is indicating that this vulnerability is not exploitable; denial of service is as bad as it gets.
The Internet

Kazaa To Return As a Legal Subscription Service 133

suraj.sun sends in this excerpt from CNet: "One of the most recognizable brands in the history of illegal downloading is due to officially resurface, perhaps as early as next week, sources close to the company told CNET News. Only this time the name Kazaa will be part of a legal music service. Altnet and parent company Brilliant Digital Entertainment attached the Kazaa brand to a subscription service that will offer songs and ringtones from all four of the major recording companies. For the past few months, a beta version has been available. The company tried recently to ratchet up expectations with a series of vague, and what some considered misguided, press releases. The site will open with over 1 million tracks." The NYTimes has a related story about how the music industry is trying to convert casual pirates by offering more convenient new services.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.