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Programming

+ - Book Review: "USB: The Universal Serial Bus"->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Have you ever wondered exactly what happens when you plug a USB device into one of those ports on your PC? How does the computer know that it is a keyboard, mouse, external hard drive, or camera? How does the computer know if it is a low-, full-, high-, or super-speed device? What is the difference anyway?

Sure, I can let the latest operating system do the work for me, but what if the platform I am targeting is very low on resources and I must write the drivers myself? How do I even attempt to read that file from my pen-drive, capture that picture from my USB camera, or even grab a key from this keyboard? Maybe like many others, I just want to do it myself anyway. Remember when we use to take dad’s drill apart to see how it worked?

These questions were asked many years ago when the first USB controllers were starting to show. What kind of controllers were used and how do I access them. Another mystery, the idea of how I could plug a mouse into the port and the computer would know what it was without ever installing a driver.

All of these questions inspired the book, “USB: The Universal Serial Bus”. Within the pages of this book, the author explains the ins and outs (pun intended) and how to communicate with an attached device, starting with programming the PCI(e) interface.

Once a controller is found and identified, the process to reset and start the controller, creating a USB stack, and finally sending and receiving packets from attached devices, is explained.

This book also has many examples, with detailed diagrams, of many different types of control, interrupt, and bulk delivery devices. Along with the body of text are side-notes, or tidbits if you will, quirks, errors, and less documented items about the USB, a brief history, code examples, and many tables and figures to explain the process from connection to an operational ready to use device.

The text is written so that the reader needs very little knowledge of operating system programming and shows how to accomplish the task at hand with no outside help. In other words, it is not dependent on any existing operating systems. The only operating system dependency is the ability to view the files on the included disc, and if the example code is executed, the ability boot the included FreeDOS (http://www.freedos.org/) floppy disk image.

What? I can hear it already, “who has a floppy disk drive?” The advantage we have today is the ability to emulate whole operating systems. When the author was doing research for the book, he wrote a majority of the core USB code within the Bochs emulator (http://bochs.sourceforge.net/). The current code, thanks to others that have helped, will emulate the needed floppy drive, but more importantly, will emulate a UHCI controller interface along with the new xHCI Super Speed controller interface and a few attached devices. Of course it is not perfect, but it does do a fine job for those needing to use an emulator for their work.

In conclusion, if you ever wanted to work with the bare-bones USB hardware, for work or play, the text within this book will get you started, and started fairly quickly. It is easy to follow, shows step-by-step procedures to get a working USB stack in all four major controller interfaces, the UHCI, OHCI, EHCI, and the new Super Speed xHCI controller.

For more information, please visit

                http://myweb.cableone.net/benlunt/The_Universal_Serial_Bus.htm

or visit your online retail book store."

Link to Original Source
DRM

+ - Blizzard in trouble over Diablo III DRM->

Submitted by The_Myth
The_Myth (84113) writes "Blizzard appears to be under investigation in Korea, France and Germany over Diablo III requiring an "always connected" internet connection to play. The limitations on being unable to onsell or return Diablo III and the lack of capacity on Battle.Net have caught the attention of consumer advocacy groups who are preparing for potential class action lawsuits. Who knew that piracy could potentially cost a game publisher less than legal settlements?"
Link to Original Source
Microsoft

+ - Microsoft Unvailes New Ipad Challenging Tablet ->

Submitted by SchrodingerZ
SchrodingerZ (2576405) writes "Microsoft today unveiled its newest piece of technology; The Surface Tablet, a tablet computer meant to challenge the popular Ipad computers created by Apple. The company showed off a tablet that is about the same weight and thickness as an iPad, with a 10.6-inch screen. "The device has a built-in “kickstand” that allows it to be propped up for watching movies, and a thin detachable cover that will serve double duty as a keyboard." The tablet will run a version of Microsoft 8 with the intention of companion hardware being used for innovations on the product. The presentation of the new tablet was to the way in which Apple traditionally opens a new product; giving the media only a few days notice and withholding the exact location of the announcement until only hours before presenting. The announcement thus far has not affected Microsoft stock."
Link to Original Source
The Almighty Buck

When DLC Goes Wrong 261

Posted by Soulskill
from the horse-armor dept.
kube00 writes "Poorly done downloadable content is one of a gamer's worst nightmares right now. Where a publisher stands to make some money, gamers get screwed. Whether it's the overpriced extra maps/costumes DLC, on-the-disc-at-launch DLC, or DLC that is nothing more than a remake of other content, no game is safe from bad DLC. That includes Modern Warfare 2, Bioshock 2, Uncharted 2 and a host of many other popular games. Is there a chance to fix this system?"
The Almighty Buck

EVE Player Loses $1,200 Worth of Game Time In-Game 620

Posted by Soulskill
from the sorry-about-your-luck dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Massively.com has reported that an EVE Online player recently lost over $1,200 worth of in-game items during a pirate attack. The player in question was carrying 74 PLEX in their ship's cargo hold — in-game 'Pilot's License Extensions' that award 30 days of EVE Online time when used on your account. When the ship was blown up by another player, all 74 PLEX were destroyed in the resulting blast, costing $1,200 worth of damage, or over 6 years of EVE subscription time, however you prefer to count it. Ow."
Games

Too Much Multiplayer In Today's Games? 362

Posted by Soulskill
from the nobody-needed-to-frag-each-other-while-stomping-koopas dept.
hornedrat writes "Gamepro discusses the idea that modern games put too much emphasis on multiplayer, and that players aren't as concerned about it as developers think. 'The current environment encourages developers to unnecessarily toss multiplayer into their games without caring about it — or even considering whether anyone will bother playing it. It’s like they're checking an invisible quota box that demands multiplayer's inclusion.' Personally I agree that too much emphasis is placed on competitive multiplayer. I play online, but only with my brother in games that allow co-operative modes, like Rainbow Six: Vegas and ARMA 2. 'My point isn't that developers shouldn't try and conquer Halo or Call of Duty. We'd never have any progress in this industry if developers didn't compete. Game companies, however, should think carefully about what they want their games to be, and more important, gamers should consider what they want. If a developer wants to eclipse Halo, then by all means, pour that effort into a multiplayer mode that's different.' I would be interested to know how many gamers really care about the multiplayer components of the games they buy."
Movies

Why Are Video Game Movies So Awful? 385

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-just-uwe dept.
An article at CNN discusses why big screen interpretations of video games, even successful ones, often fail to succeed at the box office. Quoting: "The problem with successfully adapting video games into hit Hollywood spin-offs may lie in the way in which stories for both mediums are designed and implemented. Game makers chasing the dream of playing George Lucas or Steven Spielberg will always strive to coax human emotion and convincing drama from increasingly photorealistic virtual elements. The Hollywood machine, in its endless chase for big bucks, can't help but exploit the latest hit interactive outing, often failing to realize it's often a specific gameplay mechanic, psychological meme or technical feature that makes the title so compelling. Both sides may very well continue to look down in disdain on the work that the opposite is doing, which can doom any collaborative efforts. But where the two roads truly diverge is in the way stories are fundamentally told. Films offer a single, linear tale that's open to individual interpretation, whereas games are meant to be experienced differently and in a multitude of ways by every player." On a related note, reader OrangeMonkey11 points out that an 8-minute short has showed up online that appears part of a pitch for a potential Mortal Kombat reboot movie. Hit the link below to take a look.
Role Playing (Games)

Dungeon Siege III Being Developed by Obsidian 84

Posted by Soulskill
from the hack-and-slash dept.
Square Enix has announced that it will be publishing Dungeon Siege III, which is in development at Obsidian Entertainment, makers of Alpha Protocol, Neverwinter Nights 2, and the as yet unfinished Fallout: New Vegas. Obsidian will be receiving input from Gas Powered Games, the developer behind the first two installments in the Dungeon Siege series. No release date has been set, but the game is planned for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, and it will include a co-op mode.
PHP

SolarPHP 1.0 Released 125

Posted by timothy
from the something-new-under-the-sun dept.
HvitRavn writes "SolarPHP 1.0 stable was released by Paul M. Jones today. SolarPHP is an application framework and library, and is a serious contender alongside Zend Framework, Symphony, and similar frameworks. SolarPHP has in the recent years been the cause of heated debate in the PHP community due to provocative benchmark results posted on Paul M. Jones' blog."
Image

PhD Candidate Talks About the Physics of Space Battles 361

Posted by samzenpus
from the load-photon-torpedoes dept.
darthvader100 writes "Gizmodo has run an article with some predictions on what future space battles will be like. The author brings up several theories on propulsion (and orbits), weapons (explosives, kinetic and laser), and design. Sounds like the ideal shape for spaceships will be spherical, like the one in the Hitchhiker's Guide movie."
Education

Computer Games and Traditional CS Courses 173

Posted by Soulskill
from the terrible-terrible-games dept.
drroman22 writes "Schools are working to put real-world relevance into computer science education by integrating video game development into traditional CS courses. Quoting: 'Many CS educators recognized and took advantage of younger generations' familiarity and interests for computer video games and integrate related contents into their introductory programming courses. Because these are the first courses students encounter, they build excitement and enthusiasm for our discipline. ... Much of this work reported resounding successes with drastically increased enrollments and student successes. Based on these results, it is well recognized that integrating computer gaming into CS1 and CS2 (CS1/2) courses, the first programming courses students encounter, is a promising strategy for recruiting and retaining potential students." While a focus on games may help stir interest, it seems as though game development studios are as yet unimpressed by most game-related college courses. To those who have taken such courses or considered hiring those who have: what has your experience been?
Censorship

Left 4 Dead 2 Banned In Australia 215

Posted by Soulskill
from the scary-zombies dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification, Left 4 Dead 2's content exceeds that allowable for an MA15+ rating. Any such game is rated as Refused Classification, effectively banning it. From the report: 'The game contains realistic, frenetic, and unrelenting violence which is inflicted upon "the Infected" who are living humans infected with a rabies-like virus that causes them to act violently. The player can choose from a variety of weapons including pistols, shotguns, machine guns, and sniper rifles. However, it is the use of the "melee" weapons such as the crowbar, axe, chainsaw and Samurai sword which inflict the most damage. These close-in attacks cause copious amounts of blood spray and splatter, decapitations and limb dismemberment as well as locational damage where contact is made to the enemy which may reveal skeletal bits and gore.'"

Comment: While UO is not Archetype based it keeps niche (Score 3, Insightful) 40

I left UO to play SWG as in the Original days SWG was UO:2 with the Star Wars IP. UO's greatest strength was that you could change your class. Its not like WOW where a Mage is a Mage is a Mage. You could mix parts of the Mage skill set with that of the warrior and with the pet handler and create your own combination. Sure there were cookie cutter builds but by the time you changed your character to that build a new cookie cutter build had gained popularity. People became good at PVP not by changing their skills every two weeks but learning to master the skills that they had chosen to learn for best effect. IMO while UO stays away from Archetype based characters it will maintain its niche.

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