An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Significant Bits about how the early level design in Super Mario Bros. 3 gradually introduced players to the game without needing something as blatant and obtrusive as a tutorial: "Super Mario Bros. 3 contains many obvious design lessons that are also present in other games, e.g., the gradual layering of complexity that allows players to master a specific mechanic. What surprised me during my playthrough, though, was how some of these lessons were completely optional. The game doesn't have any forced hand-holding, and it isn't afraid of the player simply exploring it at his own pace (even if it means circumventing chunks of the experience)."
dotancohen (1015143) writes "Oracle today announced the release of VirtualBox 4.0, only two weeks after the first 4.0 beta. It seems snappy, and has lots of features, despite controversy over which components are open source and which aren't. Oracle seems to be doing all right with their Sun acquisitions!"
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An anonymous reader writes "We have a few physical servers running VMWare Server with a mix of windows and linux VMs, but just got two new machines and had the idea to move to a more efficient/manageable platform. So far the free ESXi is hard to use with the management tool being Windows only, cloning not being supported through the GUI, and the web interface having next to no functionality. I've been looking at ProxMox and ConVirt but would like to know if the slashdot crowd had advice or experience with either of these or could suggest a better way for somebody who's capable with linux but not intimately familiar with virtualization."
Try searching for restaurants in a certain area. They put yelp review averages inline with the regular results.
Squiff writes to mention that despite being based on the Open Handset Alliance's Android platform and using several open source components, HTC are effectively refusing to release the source for the GPL parts of their "Hero" Phone code, saying that they are "waiting for their developers to provide it." It has been called an "object of lust," it's beating the iPhone for awards, and it seems to be the first Android phone that really is "the phone to have," to hear some people tell it. It has also just become available in the US after a June release in Europe.
CWmike writes "Google is promoting a payment system to the newspaper industry that would let Web surfers pay a small amount for individual news stories, an idea that could help publishers struggling with the impact of the Internet. The plans were revealed in a document Google submitted to the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), which had solicited ideas for how to monetize content online, a task some publishers have had difficulty with. 'The idea is to allow viable payments of a penny to several dollars by aggregating purchases across merchants,' Google said in the document. Google said it had no specific products to announce yet."
Diabolus Advocatus alerts us to an article Cory Doctorow has up on guardian.co.uk, addressing what cloud computing really means for the average consumer: "The tech press is full of people who want to tell you how completely awesome life is going to be when everything moves to 'the cloud' — that is, when all your important storage, processing and other needs are handled by vast, professionally managed data-centers. Here's something you won't see mentioned, though: the main attraction of the cloud to investors and entrepreneurs is the idea of making money from you, on a recurring, perpetual basis, for something you currently get for a flat rate or for free without having to give up the money or privacy that cloud companies hope to leverage into fortunes."
JO_DIE_THE_STAR_F*** writes "Jesse Vincent managed to get Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope running on the Kindle 2. The new functionality was presented in a talk at OSCON 2009."
igrigorik writes "First the Netflix challenge was won with the help of ensemble techniques, and now the GitHub challenge is over, and more than half of the top entries are also based on ensembles. Good knowledge of statistics, psychology and algorithms is still crucial, but the ensemble technique alone has the potential to make the collaborative filtering space a lot more, well, collaborative! Here's a look at the basic theory behind ensembles, how they shaped the results of the GitHub challenge, and how this pattern can be used in the future."
Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that a treasured piece at the Dutch national museum — a supposed moon rock from the first manned lunar landing given to former Prime Minister Willem Drees during a goodwill tour by the three Apollo-11 astronauts shortly after their moon mission in 1969 — has been revealed as nothing more than petrified wood, curators say. A jagged fist-size stone with reddish tints, it was mounted and placed above a plaque that said, 'With the compliments of the Ambassador of the United States of America... to commemorate the visit to The Netherlands of the Apollo-11 astronauts.' The plaque does not specify that the rock came from the moon's surface. Researchers from Amsterdam's Free University said they could see at a glance the rock was probably not from the moon. They followed the initial appraisal up with extensive testing. 'It's a nondescript, pretty-much-worthless stone,' wrote Geologist Frank Beunk in an article published by the museum. Beunk says the rock, which the museum at one point insured for more than half a million dollars, was worth no more than $70. The 'rock' had originally been been vetted through a phone call to NASA. As the US Embassy in the Hague said it was investigating the matter, the Rijksmuseum says it will keep the piece as a curiosity."
Ant writes "John Scalzi's AMC blog shows a short guide to the most epic FAILs in Star Wars design — 'I'll come right out and say it: Star Wars has a badly-designed universe; so poorly-designed, in fact, that one can say that a significant goal of all those Star Wars novels is to rationalize and mitigate the bad design choices of the movies. Need examples? Here's ten ...'"
Today, the Black Mesa Team released an impressive trailer for their remake of Half-Life . The remake is a total-conversion mod for Half-Life 2, bringing the updated graphics and AI of the Source engine to the original game. The team has been dropping hints lately that the project, which began in 2004, is almost done, and the trailer confirms that it will be out in 2009. They also recently announced that they've "dropped Counter-Strike: Source as a requirement for Black Mesa, and from now on, the only thing you'll need to play the mod is a Steam account with any Source engine game installed! Black Mesa is now running completely off of our own content and base Source shared content, and we felt the vastly increased user base more then [sic] justified creating all the extra assets needed to make this switch."
Valve announced yesterday that their extension of Steam, called Steam Cloud, will launch later this week with the Left 4 Dead demo. Steam Cloud is "a set of services for Steam that stores application data online and allows user experiences to be consistent from any PC." We discussed an early announcement for it back in May. Valve adds that "Steam Cloud will be available to all publishers and developers using Steam, free of charge, and Valve will add Cloud support to its back catalog of Steam games. Cloud services are compatible with games purchased via Steam, at retail, and other digital outlets."
cyberpead writes "With GCC 4 comes a new optimization framework (and new intermediate code representation), new target and language support, and a variety of new attributes and options. Get to know the major new features and their benefits in this article."
An anonymous reader writes "Ending off the X Developer Summit this year, Matthew Tippett handed off ATI's GPU specifications to David Airlie on a CD (as reported by Daniel Stone). However, the specifications are also now available on the Internet! At http://www.x.org/docs/AMD/ is the location of the documentation where you can freely download the files. Right now there is the RV630 Register Reference Guide and M56 Register Reference Guide. The RV630 Reference Guide is 434 pages long while the M56 Guide is 460 pages. Expect more documentation (and 3D specifications) to arrive shortly. The new open-source R500/600 driver will be released early next week. More information to come soon. Tell us what you think. For more information, read our ATI/AMD's New Open-Source Strategy Explained article."
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