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+ - Google Break-up Plan Emerges From Brussels

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "The European parliament is poised to call for a break-up of Google, in one of the most brazen assaults so far on the technology group's power. The gambit increases the political pressure on the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, to take a tougher line on Google, either in its antitrust investigation into the company or through the introduction of laws to curb its reach. A draft motion seen by the Financial Times says that "unbundling [of] search engines from other commercial services" should be considered as a potential solution to Google's dominance. It has the backing of the parliament's two main political blocs, the European People's Party and the Socialists."

Comment: Re:Who adheres to them? (Score 1) 474

So, does that mean those games are badly written, or that the next gen consoles are underpowered crap?

Both. I have a fairly modest build PC that severely outperforms either of the next-gen consoles. Granted the PC cost about 3 times as much as a console, but for having the added productivity benefit it was an investment rather than a money sink. That said, this debacle really exposes the shitty programmers that Ubisoft must have. Getting a PC game right is difficult just by the fact that there's such a wide range of hardware configurations that could create a support nightmare, so in this a rocky release can be a point. Once the bugs have been identified, ironed out, and fully patched, it should be able to run near perfect on most systems meeting recommended specs (imho, 3 months after release should be enough time to be able to fix issues on edge case hardware issues). But consoles are stationary targets where the performance is known and static from device to device across the same platform. With consoles, if your game will not run stable on a static platform by the time you're wanting to release the game: #1 you have no clue what you're doing; #2 You need to delay the release date until you learn wtf you're doing wrong with #1.

As a developer for a console, one should physically have the platform available to test on; have a spec sheet from the manufacturer outlining the details of what every single console of that model is capable of in terms of raw CPU clock speed, RAM space, VidRAM space, Video clock speed, along with guidelines on the minimum and recommended resources that need to be free for the system OS to keep the system stable; and one needs to perform their own benchmarks on the system to find out optimal performance levels as well as peak performance levels. Finally, if one extensively tests on the actual hardware and finds that it's not running anywhere close to optimally, the developers have done fucked up somewhere. It does not matter one iota if the console is underpowered. It's a given that they're going to be and blaming the fixed and stationary target that is a console platform is nothing but a strawman to distract away from the fact that the developers don't know what in the hell they're doing.

+ - Microsoft losing the schools to iPads and Chromebooks

Submitted by dkatana
dkatana (2761029) writes "Microsoft licensing scheme, high cost of support and difficult management of devices are the key factors making schools drop Windows for better alternatives as iPads and Chromebooks.

Google is making a dent on education with Chromebooks. The internet giant has been promoting the use of Chrome OS with specific tools for schools to manage the devices, their apps and users. Its Chromebooks for Education program is helping schools deploy large numbers of devices with an easy management system.

While Google is successful with Chromebooks as school laptops the clear winner on tablets is Apple. iPads are a the preferred platform for schools deploying tablets as digital learning devices."

Comment: Re:Desparate Microsoft pulls a "Sun Microsystems" (Score 4, Interesting) 525

Don't think I'm defending Microsoft here because I am old enough to remember Microsoft at its worst and still have the deep seated hatred of Gates and Balmer era MS. Hell, anti-trust BS aside I still hate them for what they did to my MechWarrior franchise alone! However, under the new leadership that seems to be taking the company towards an era of Glasnost and Perestroika, the hatred is given pause as I wait for the next dick move that may never come. At the very least, Microsoft has moved into a position that is no more or less "evil" than Google (yes, do no evil no longer applies here) or Apple. Given this, I wonder how many people here truly rationally hate MS anymore as opposed to hatred through nostalgia (like me) or hatred through "it's the way we do things around here" syndrome. As a developer that uses MS products and support in his profession, and develops Linux, Android, and Arduino apps as a hobby, I still prefer the current open source way of doing things over the MS way... but as far as the hatred? It cannot be said yet that Microsoft is the same company it was in the Balmer days. They at least *look* like they're moving towards a path that looks similar to the one Sun Microsystems was beating through.

Comment: Re:Can I give it back during the summer? (Score 1) 148

by RavenLrD20k (#48367363) Attached to: Germans Can Get Free Heating From the Cloud
That was the idea of having the generator in the loop in the first place as it would reduce the electrical cost of running the server cluster. I'm not expecting that it would be entirely self-sufficient, but it should at least be able to mitigate some of the costs and possibly easily be converted into backup power if the mains go down by adding a broiler to the system that would feed the extra heat needed to ramp up electricity production in that contingency.

Comment: Re:Can I give it back during the summer? (Score 1) 148

by RavenLrD20k (#48363277) Attached to: Germans Can Get Free Heating From the Cloud

Still need hot water don't you? Unless you're an office space too small to hold a restroom...but then why would you have a data-center cornered off? Granted, the idea is American Centrist from me being located in North America; but also by living in the Southern USA I can understand the desire to not add to the heat of the air. The best response I have to that is that maybe by the time I can start building this dream, adsorption chillers may be a viable solution. Aside from hope-tech, it's a design hole that I admit I personally haven't the solution for yet that may limit this plan for cooler climates at the moment.

Comment: Re:Can I give it back during the summer? (Score 1) 148

by RavenLrD20k (#48362097) Attached to: Germans Can Get Free Heating From the Cloud

I've yet the capital to build a prototype since the dream server alone would cost about 140k to build, but my theory goes like this: Cold water line runs through copper lines to wick away the heat from the procs. The hot water/ steam gets pushed through a steam turbine generator before it hits a relay junction where an electronic valve will either direct the still hot water/steam through the heating system or to a large hot water tank that would provide hot water for the building. The same tank would also recycle any unused water back through the lines to get reheated as it cooled.

Through this system, there would be an elevated cost for water consumption, mitigated by it being a partially closed system that recycles as much water as doesn't get used, and help with a reduction in electric and heating costs as opposed to the costs associated with operating the server and cooling in a system that does not make use of the waste heat. With this plan, one thing I haven't solved (though, in implementation this may solve itself...if I ever get the ability to) is how to get the water temperature suitably high to boil and create steam while maintaining a safe operating temperature for the 48 processors.

Comment: Re:People buy stuff without understanding is... (Score 2) 321

Because you can plow your computer into a sidewalk full of pedestrians. Totally great analogy, that.

Unwitting user clicks on a cute link that installs malware on the system to turn it into a zombie for a botnet. Unwitting user's system is now participating in an attack that drains hundreds of millions of $$$ from the bank accounts of tens of millions of people that now have lost all their life savings (somewhat similar in outcome to the damage caused by driving on a NYC sidewalk)... all because they followed the cute instead of paying attention what they were doing and following the rules of the Internet superhighway. I'd say the analogy is fairly apt.

Comment: Re:Pretty cool (Score 5, Interesting) 267

by RavenLrD20k (#48334365) Attached to: 'Star Wars: Episode VII' Gets a Name

The reason I lump all three prequels into the "suck" category is the fact that Anakin Skywalker as portrayed by Christensen completely breaks continuity from Darth Vader as he was in the original trilogy. The prequels would be fair movies on their own if they didn't break that continuity of character that needed to flow into the story of the original trilogy (plot holes not withstanding). Vader was brooding, analytical, calculating, and intolerant. Granted the expanded universe books have been declared null and void to the discussion of the movies, but if I remember right, those books have said that the brooding and calculating traits were with Anakin from the beginning when he was found by the Jedi; which contributed to his being consistently alienated from the Jedi Order. Looking at the portrayal in the prequels (regardless of this is to be blamed on Christensen or the writers), that Anakin was whiny, impatient, reckless, and thoughtless right up to the moment he burned. Essentially, Anakin had the complete emotionally opposite core personality from Vader. People's core personality won't change like that unless they suffered major brain injury (not something that was indicated when he burned in the fire pits).

Another part of the prequels that broke the Anakin story for me was the whole messiah complex that was going on. On one hand, I can see the irony of inserting that into the story. "He's the one who will restore balance to the Force." Well, he did. He increased the weight on the Dark Side to counteract the complacency of a Light Side that had been suffering from having too much power for too long. But it's also something that contributed to breaking the character continuity. Vader would have come from a child who was bullied by everyone, and set up to fail often (nurturing his intolerance for the failure of others). Someone who was berated every time he opened his mouth (becoming a man who only speaks when absolutely necessary). Someone who was chastised for putting a voice to his pain (emotional expression is nullified). Someone perpetually on the outside of society's cliques (perpetually the loner). Someone who's survival and success depended on his ability to quickly create a strategy of subversion and the balls to act on it. Anakin was none of this. He was the entitled brat that always wanted more, never shut up about how he was supposedly wronged, always sought acceptance of others, and never came up with a plan of action on his own. Whenever he was bullied he was always rescued, beginning with Qui-Gon rescuing him from Watto and ending with Palpatine rescuing him from the fire pits.

Think back to the prequels: Anakin was a capable fighter, but he always got into a situation he needed to be saved from...and there was ALWAYS someone there to pick him up and kept him from absolutely failing. When did we ever see Vader needing to be saved from a situation? Hell, when did Vader ever truly lose control of a situation? Maintaining situational control is not something an entitled brat ever learns to do. When they start losing control of a situation, self-control will go out of the window and there wouldn't be any regrouping to recalculate, only perpetual knee-jerk reactions. Those with an entitlement complex don't adapt well to adversity. Those who are constantly beaten down, however, do; and Vader's success is through his ability to quickly formulate and act on a new plan.

tl;dr version using chess piece powers as reference: Prequel Anakin was a pawn that does not offer a logical character path to have grown into Vader's Queen to Palpatine's King.

+ - Robot makes people feel like a ghost is nearby-> 1

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "In 2006, cognitive neuroscientist Olaf Blanke of the University of Geneva in Switzerland was testing a patient’s brain functions before her epilepsy surgery when he noticed something strange. Every time he electrically stimulated the region of her brain responsible for integrating different sensory signals from the body, the patient would look back behind her back as if a person was there, even when she knew full well that no one was actually present. Now, with the help of robots, Blanke and colleagues have not only found a neurological explanation for this illusion, but also tricked healthy people into sensing “ghosts,” they report online today in Current Biology. The study could help explain why schizophrenia patients sometimes hallucinate that aliens control their movements."
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You can't take damsel here now.