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Comment Re:quality? (Score 3, Informative) 567

I've switched back to Debian from Ubuntu recently, too. "Sidegrading" from 9.10 to Debian squeeze while keeping all your application configs (and your entire homedir) intact is an absolute breeze:

Although there were a few snags during installation:

Comment Re:What a difference 2000 years makes! (Score 2, Insightful) 511

You haven't really researched this a lot, otherwise you wouldn't say that. Check out Operation Clambake ( Usually, religions aren't all about money and mind control. Scientology is:

"The Church of Scientology is a vicious and dangerous cult that masquerades as a religion. Its purpose is to make money. It practices a variety of mind-control techniques on people lured into its midst to gain control over their money and their lives. Its aim is to take from them every penny that they have and can ever borrow and to also enslave them to further its wicked ends." (cited from

Comment Re:Metamorofthis (Score 1) 257

Switzerland is the same, you have to ask permission of every person visible in the picture.

The federal data protection officer pointed this out to Google, then Google said "oh, but we're blurring everyone's faces", and the officer said "alright, fair enough". The problem is that their algorithm doesn't catch everyone's faces (even though Google had promised that), so the data protection officer is now pissed.

Comment Re:Try the Asian model for free for first-hand inf (Score 1) 256

Then you'd be happy to hear that Runes of Magic requires neither purchase nor grinding :)

Also, the items for sale there are convenience items. They are both truly useful and not required to complete the game. You should really try out the game before forming an opinion, chances are you'd even like it.

If you want a more difficult WoW, you probably need to go back to old-school games like Shards of Dalaya. It needs good coordination, strategy, planning and all that, but the downside is that you are forced to find a group (as early as level 6) because you simply won't survive without a balanced group of roles. It all has advantages and disadvantages, I don't think they'll ever succeed at making a game design that is easy but challenging, group-friendly but solo-friendly etc. There are many opposites that players want to have BOTH of, and that won't work.

I don't see the potential for impulse buying as a problem at all. You play the game for a week, you think "bah, I'd like to travel faster", so you buy a few transport runes or rent a horse. Horses are cheap to rent with pure in-game currency too, by the way. After a week you find out that you won't have time to play much in the next three weeks, so you won't be spending any money on the game either. With a subscription-based game, you'd still be paying money.

For people like me with our three hours a week game time, free RMT-based games are perfect and subscription-based games would be a waste of money, since I'm paying for time I can't use anyhow.

But seriously, download RoM, play it for a month. Then form an opinion. I see many people who are so opposed to the idea of trying an RMT game that they keep repeating mantras they've heard from some people who tried some OTHER RMT-based game -- every game is different, and you have to try them first-hand to really have an opinion that counts.

Comment Try the Asian model for free for first-hand info (Score 3, Insightful) 256

Most Americans (at least judging by American MMO bloggers' postings) don't really like the concept of MMOs running on RMTs, but if you want a preview of the Asian style of MMO, try Runes of Magic. You'll notice that most Asian games come with a lot more convenience features than you'd find in e.g. WoW, where basic things turn into a chore. In RoM you have auto-walk, auto-find-NPC, your quest journal's important words are linked directly to an auto-walk path to the monster/person you need to find, there are many methods of instant or fast transport, free player housing from level 1, permanent mount available for purchase from level 1 etc.

If you can for one second swallow your hate of mouse-based walking (there's WASD too, for chrissakes) and RMTs, you'll see that a game doesn't become stupidly easy just because it is convenient to play.

You can find some of that in Perfect World and Jade Dynasty or any of the Aeria games as well, but I wouldn't recommend those. Runes of Magic is very well-adapted to the Western audience. Many other Asian MMOs are endless grindfests, because it seems that people there don't mind grinding to achieve things in a game. Radiant Arcana (as the original Runes of Magic is called in China/Taiwan/Japan/Korea) is a much more grindy game than Runes, since Frogster figured that Western players don't have the patience for a grindfest. I think they may be right.

So before someone writes an article about Eastern vs. Western-style MMOs, they should perhaps look at deeper game design elements rather than just imply "oh wow, mouse control is so you can smoke with your other hand". Also, I think the author of TFA didn't even notice that Aion's Western version had a lot of grind removed and is faster to play than the original. If he thinks the leveling curve is bad here, he should play the Korean one.

Someone get a Taiwanese, a Korean, a Japanese, a British and an American game journalist to work on an article, that way they'd talk to each other and debunk some of the myths :P

Comment Heading levels -- OpenOffice does it better (Score 2, Informative) 843

I like how the original author had to add proper headings and subheadings to their Word documents after copy/pasting them into MediaWiki. This probably means they didn't use proper heading levels in the original document (Why? A technical writer should surely do this?). OpenOffice Writer is more in-your-face about that, or at least it seems that way. That still doesn't prevent the occasional idiot simply boldfacing a bit of text and manually changing the font size on every single "heading" they create, but at least the proper way is more visible.

Extra bonus, copy/paste from OpenOffice Writer to one of the JavaScript-based GUI editors in e.g. MediaWiki preserves those titles automatically. Also, there's scripts to export to MoinMoin if that's your kind of wiki.

Add two points for FOSS?

Comment No data from the big players (Score 1) 157

The article lists only Three Rings and hints at what some other operators make, but it completely skipped the big names in the industry. Frogster and Runewaker (Runes of Magic), Aeria Games (Luminary, Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine and a dozen other MMOs), Nexon (Mabinogi), Ankama (Dofus) and all the others. Where's Barunson, NCSoft (the Korean version) and gPotato? These companies usually localize multiple games from Asia (or France in the case of Ankama) and then launch them as free-to-plays in Europe and the USA. Aeria reported several million players on a bunch of their games, and Frogster reports over a million RoM players in Europe.

If the figures Three Rings gives can be applied to these games as well and 10% of the players pay, there could be several hundred thousand a year in each game. And that's just for operating and translating. In their home countries, these games likely do even better since Asia doesn't like subscription-based MMOs.

Also, there's been discussions about F2P and subscription pricing and the cultural differences between MMO markets these last few months in the MMO blogs. Read Tesh, Wolfshead and Chris F.

It's nice to see real numbers in an article, but it would have been more interesting to get numbers from the heavyweights.

Comment Still enough people who don't get it (Score 1) 1077

There are still enough people who don't get it and will try to rape a programming language/framework into their language no matter how hard it struggles against it.

Proof, a bunch of Ruby on Rails projects I know are written in German. "But hold on," you ask, "doesn't Rails pluralize things using English pluralization rules? And isn't that one of the killer features anyway?"

Well, you're right. So the program ends up being in German with English pluralization and English flow control statements. It's a joy to maintain and extend.

And has anyone mentioned all the localized variations of Visual Basic yet? There is hell. About heaven, I'm not sure.

The Courts

BusinessWeek Takes On the RIAA 241

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "BusinessWeek magazine has gone medieval on the RIAA, recounting in grisly detail the cruel ordeal to which the RIAA has subjected a completely innocent defendant, Tanya Andersen of Oregon. Nobody can read the story and come to any other conclusion than that the RIAA and its lawyers are total jerks. Of course we've been reading about Atlantic v. Andersen on and on my blog, and discussing it here, but there's something extra special about a mainstream publication like Business Week really letting them have it."

Details On Windows XP SP3 Leaked 140

crazyeyes notes the leak of 7 pages of secret Microsoft information on the upcoming Service Pack for Windows XP. Quoting: "We were the first to break the news on the release of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and the final RTM schedule of Windows XP Service Pack 3. Now, we will be the first to release the full details on Microsoft's Windows XP Service Pack 3, which as we know will be available for manual update on April 29, 2008."

Macs Gaining a Bigger Role In Enterprise 383

rev_media tips a short article up at InfoWorld giving some numbers on the increasing Mac presence in businesses. "We're seeing more requests outside of creative services to switch to Macs from PCs," notes the operations manager for a global advertising conglomerate. They "now [support] 2,500 Macs across the US — nearly a quarter of all... US PCs." Another straw in the wind: "Security firm Kapersky Labs has already created a Mac version of its anti-virus software for release should Mac growth continue (and the Mac thus [find] itself prey to more hackers)."

"Life begins when you can spend your spare time programming instead of watching television." -- Cal Keegan