Wired is running a feature about how a growing number of game developers are abandoning jobs at major publishers and studios and taking their experience to the indie scene instead. Quoting: "They’re veterans of the triple-A game biz with decades of experience behind them. They’ve worked for the biggest companies and had a hand in some of the industry’s biggest blockbusters. They could work on anything, but they’ve found creative fulfillment splitting off into a tiny crew and doing their own thing. They’re using everything they’ve learned working on big-budget epics and applying it to small, downloadable games. The good news for gamers is that, as the industry’s top talents depart the big studios and go into business for themselves, players are being treated to a new class of indie game. They’re smaller and carry cheaper price tags, but they’re produced by industry veterans instead of thrown together by B teams and interns. Most importantly, unlike big-budget games that need to appeal to the lowest common denominator to turn a profit, these indie gems reveal the undiluted creative vision of their makers."
Have a nice day indeed, since it still uses a Flash object for sounds.
ElusiveJoe writes "Google, along with a group of DNS and content providers, hopes to alter the DNS protocol. Currently, a DNS request can be sent to a recursive DNS server, which would send out requests to other DNS servers from its own IP address, thus acting somewhat similar to a proxy server. The proposed modification would allow authoritative nameservers to expose your IP address (instead of an address of your ISP's DNS server, for example) in order to 'load balance traffic and send users to a nearby server.' Or it would allow any interested party to look at your DNS requests. Or it would send a user from Iran or Libya to a 'domain name doesn't exist' server."
destinyland writes "AI researcher Jurgen Schmidhuber says his main scientific ambition 'is to build an optimal scientist, then retire.' The Cognitive Robotics professor has worked on problems including artificial ants and even robots that are taught how to tie shoelaces using reinforcement learning, but he believes algorithms can be written that allow the programming of curiosity itself. 'Curiosity is the desire to create or discover more non-random, non-arbitrary, regular data that is novel and surprising...' He's already created art using algorithmic information theory, and can describe the simple algorithmic principle that underlies subjective beauty, creativity, and curiosity itself. And he ultimately addresses the possibility that the entire Universe, including everyone in it, is in principle computable by a completely deterministic computer program."
Following up on our discussion yesterday of annoying game distribution platforms, Ubisoft has announced the details of their Online Services Platform, which they will use to distribute and administer future PC game releases. The platform will require internet access in order to play installed games, saved games will be stored remotely, and the game you're playing will even pause and try to reconnect if your connection is lost during play. Quoting Rock, Paper, Shotgun: "This seems like such a bizarre, bewildering backward step. Of course we haven't experienced it yet, but based on Ubi’s own description of the system so many concerns arise. Yes, certainly, most people have the internet all the time on their PCs. But not all people. So already a percentage of the audience is lost. Then comes those who own gaming laptops, who now will not be able to play games on trains, buses, in the park, or anywhere they may not be able to find a WiFi connection (something that’s rarely free in the UK, of course – fancy paying the £10/hour in the airport to play your Ubisoft game?). Then there's the day your internet is down, and the engineers can’t come out to fix it until tomorrow. No game for you. Or any of the dozens of other situations when the internet is not available to a player. But further, there are people who do not wish to let a publisher know their private gaming habits. People who do not wish to report in to a company they’ve no affiliation with, nor accountability to, whenever they play a game they’ve legally bought. People who don’t want their save data stored remotely. This new system renders all customers beholden to Ubisoft in perpetuity whenever they buy their games."
An anonymous reader writes to tell us that Bach Technology has rolled out an updated MP3 file format in a bid to combat music piracy. Dubbed "MusicDNA," the new format offers embedded "updatable premium content" like lyrics, videos, news updates, and album artwork. "Using the new technology, music labels and bands will be able to send updates to the music files – with tour dates, interviews or updates to social networking pages – while illegally-downloaded files remain static. ... No major labels have signed up to use MusicDNA so far, but British record company Beggars Group and US label Tommy Boy are both on board. However, the files are likely to be more expensive than MP3 files – according to the BBC – and will have to compete with Apple's iTunes LP, which already provides additional content such as bonus tracks, lyrics and video interviews."
gbjbaanb writes "The BBC has been granted provisional approval to introduce copy protection for Freeview HD after they resubmitted an amended plan. Quoting from Ofcom's statement: 'In view of the fuller submission provided by the BBC, Ofcom is currently minded to approve its request for a multiplex license amendment subject to consultation responses, on the basis that in principle, content management is a justified objective which ensures that the broadest range of HD content is made available to citizens and consumers.' However, it's not too late yet — you can submit your comment and tell them you'd like to be able to record broadcast HD TV. I'm sure the 'content providers' will continue to sell content to the BBC, ITV, etc., if this is not implemented. They'll still take our license fee money (or advertising) and sell us the content, but refuse to let us record or copy it, hoping we'll go out and buy the DVD/Blu-ray as well."
HangingChad writes "Gary Lyndaker talks about Janine Wedel's Shadow Elite; about how our information infrastructure is increasingly being sold off to the low bidder. Contracting in state and federal government is rampant, leaving more and more of our nation's vital information in the hands of contractors, many of whom have their own agenda and set of rules. From the article: 'Over 25 years, as an information systems developer, manager, and administrator in both state and private organizations, I have increasingly come to the conclusion that we are putting our state's operations at risk and compromising the trust of the people of our state by outsourcing core government functions.' I've seen the same thing in my years in government IT, ironically much of it as a contractor. My opinion is this is a dangerous trend that needs to be reversed. We're being fleeced while being put at risk."
bonch writes "Following in YouTube's footsteps, Vimeo has now introduced its own beta HTML5 video player, and like YouTube, it uses H.264 and requires Safari, Chrome, or ChromeFrame. The new player doesn't suffer the rebuffering problems of the Flash version when clicking around in the video's timeline, and it also loads faster. HTML5 could finally be gaining some real momentum."
adeelarshad82 writes "Bowing to pressure from the EU, Microsoft said it would discard all data collected via its Bing search engine after six months. (Microsoft's announcement contains a timeline for what data gets anonymized or deleted when.) Until now, the software giant has retained the data for 18 months. Over the past two years, however, Internet companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google have made efforts to reduce the amount of time that information is stored. Microsoft's policies will remain the same, but now, the company will delete the IP address and other info after six months. Back in December 2008, Microsoft said it would reduce its retention time to six months, but only if its rivals followed suit. At the time, Yahoo anonymized its data after 13 months, and Google did the same after 9 months. A week later, Yahoo cut that time down to three months, but Google said its decisions are not conditioned on what competitors do."
snydeq sends along a provocative piece from Infoworld, arguing that the conventional wisdom on how IT should be run is all wrong. "Bob Lewis dispels the familiar litany that 'IT should be run as a business,' instead offering insights into what he is calling a 'guerilla movement' to reject conventional 'IT wisdom' and industry punditry in favor of what experience tells you will work in real organizations. 'When IT is a business, selling to its "internal customers," its principal product is software that "meets requirements." This all but ensures a less-than-optimal solution, lack of business ownership, and poor acceptance of the results,' Lewis writes. 'The alternatives begin with a radically different model of the relationship between IT and the rest of the business — that IT must be integrated into the heart of the enterprise, and everyone in IT must collaborate as a peer with those in the business who need what they do.' To do otherwise is a sure sign of numbered days for IT, according to Lewis. After all, the standard 'run IT as a business' model had its origins in the IT outsourcing industry, 'which has a vested interest in encouraging internal IT to eliminate everything that makes it more attractive than outside service providers.'"
MojoKid writes "NVIDIA has decided to disclose more information regarding their next generation GF100 GPU architecture today. Also known as Fermi, the GF100 GPU features 512 CUDA cores, 16 geometry units, 4 raster units, 64 texture units, 48 ROPs, and a 384-bit GDDR5 memory interface. If you're keeping count, the older GT200 features 240 CUDA cores, 42 ROPs, and 60 texture units, but the geometry and raster units, as they are implemented in GF100, are not present in the GT200 GPU. The GT200 also features a wider 512-bit memory interface, but the need for such a wide interface is somewhat negated in GF100 due to the fact that it uses GDDR5 memory which effectively offers double the bandwidth of GDDR3, clock for clock. Reportedly, the GF100 will also offer 8x the peak double-precision compute performance as its predecessor, 10x faster context switching, and new anti-aliasing modes."
at_slashdot writes "The Perl CPAN Testers have been suffering issues accessing their sites, databases and mirrors. According to a posting on the CPAN Testers' blog, the CPAN Testers' server has been being aggressively scanned by '20-30 bots every few seconds' in what they call 'a dedicated denial of service attack'; these bots 'completely ignore the rules specified in robots.txt.'" From the Heise story linked above: "The bots were identified by their IP addresses, including 65.55.207.x, 65.55.107.x and 65.55.106.x, as coming from Microsoft."
An anonymous reader writes "A British man was arrested under anti-terrorism legislation for making a bomb joke on Twitter. Paul Chambers, 26, was arrested under the provisions of the Terrorism Act (2006). His crime? Frustrated at grounded flights over inclement weather, he made a joke bomb threat on the social networking site Twitter."