Ubisoft recently revealed that their game sales have seen a 50% drop over the past quarter, blaming the overall market slowdown and piracy (particularly on the DS) for the low numbers. They also announced that four of their games, including Splinter Cell: Conviction and Red Steel 2, would be delayed until 2010. The company's CEO, Yves Guillemot, now says they are working on a new anti-piracy tool that should be ready by the end of 2009. He didn't offer any details about how it would be implemented.
1979 is an amazing song, not sure why Bill(y) is talking about computers now.... Wait a second, Gates who?
Hugh Pickens writes "Last week Gizmodo had a special celebration of 1979, the last year before a digital tsunami hit, that put Bill Gates in a nostalgic mood this week. Bill chimed in with his own memories of that seminal year when everything changed. 'In 1979, Microsoft had 13 employees, most of whom appear in that famous picture that provides indisputable proof that your average computer geek from the late 1970s was not exactly on the cutting edge of fashion,' wrote Gates. 'By the end of the year we'd doubled in size to 28 employees. Even though we were doing pretty well, I was still kind of terrified by the rapid pace of hiring and worried that the bottom could fall out at any time.' What made Gates feel a little more confident was that he began to sense that BASIC was on the verge of becoming the standard language for microcomputers. 'By the middle of 1979, BASIC was running on more than 200,000 Z-80 and 8080 machines and we were just releasing a new version for the 8086 16-bit microprocessor. As the numbers grew, we were starting to think beyond programming languages, too, and about the possibility of creating applications that would have real mass appeal to consumers.' Gates remembers that in 1979 there were only 100 different software products that had more than $100 M in annual sales and all of them were for mainframes. 'In April, the 8080 version of BASIC became the first software product built to run on microprocessors to win an ICP Million Dollar Award. Today, I would be surprised if the number of million-dollar applications isn't in the millions itself' writes Gates. 'More important, of course, is the fact that more than a billion people around the world use computers and digital technology as an integral part of their day-to-day lives. That's something that really started to take shape in 1979.'"
Back in February, the US Court of Appeals shot down a California law that banned the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. Shortly thereafter, State Senator Leland Yee petitioned the US Supreme Court to review the case. Now, along with California's Psychiatric and Psychological Associations, Yee has filed an amicus curiae brief with Court that elaborates on the reasoning behind the law. Within the brief (PDF) are some interesting quotes: "Parents can read a book, watch a movie or listen to a CD to discern if it is appropriate for their child. These violent video games, on the other hand, can contain up to 800 hours of footage with the most atrocious content often reserved for the highest levels and can be accessed only by advanced players after hours upon hours of progressive mastery. ... Notably, extended play has been observed to depress activity in the frontal cortex of the brain which controls executive thought and function, produces intentionality and the ability to plan sequences of action, and is the seat of self-reflection, discipline and self-control." The video game industry has filed its own amicus brief to dispute Yee's claims.
suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from Ars Technica: "The French Senate has once again approved a reworked version of the country's controversial 'three strikes' bill designed to appease the Constitutional Council. Instead of a state-appointed agency cutting off those accused of being repeat offenders, judges will have the final say over punishment. The approval comes exactly one month after the country's Constitutional Council ripped apart the previous version of the Création et Internet law. ... Not content to let the idea die, President Nicolas Sarkozy's administration reworked the law in hopes of making it amenable to the Council — instead of HADOPI deciding on its own to cut off users on the third strike, it will now report offenders to the courts. A judge can then choose to ban the user from the Internet, fine him or her 300,000 (according to the AFP), or hand over a two-year prison sentence."
Today is also Nerd Pride Day, but that's probably not a coincidence. Whichever hoopy frood thought of towel day should have been slapped with a Salmon of Doubt so that this never came to be!
Sounds like they don't want any hits anymore. Meanwhile, alternatives like the Piratebay, isohunt & torrentreator are likely beefing up their infrastructure to accomodate the increase in traffic. There has been speculation on dutch tech sites that they only did this to appease the dutch copyright vigilantes, so they are making a half-assed effort to filter some stuff out. Let's face it, a torrent site without any "illegal" (under dutch law, downloading music & movies is LEGAL!) content is about as useful as a 3-legged, dead dog. With a nasty case of fleas.
Dreen writes with this snippet from TorrentFreak: "Just a few days before their court appearance, Mininova, the largest BitTorrent site on the Internet, has started to filter content. The site is using a third-party content recognition system that will detect and remove torrent files that link to copyright-infringing files."
everything simply being where it should be in the user interface.
I think this sentence describes exactly my problem with this kind of "reporting". Not all users are created equal.
What one person perceives as "slick" or "polished" another user will describe as unnecessary or cluttered. Comparisons of relative slickness are therefor meaningless, especially if you don't provide any SCREENSHOTS, or you know...proof.
Michael writes "A new version of Nexuiz, a GPL-licensed, first-person shooter, has been released. There are over 3,000 changes in Nexuiz 2.5, including new maps, new game-modes, enhanced graphics, new audio, and other major changes. Phoronix has posted a preview of this Nexuiz 2.5 release, with screenshots showing the impressive graphics and how it has raised the bar for open-source gaming. Details about the Nexuiz project are available at SourceForge."
Michael Pyne sends in an article published at Reason Online 13 years ago, dismantling the entrenched myth that the Dvorak keyboard layout is a superior technology to QWERTY. The odd thing is that this 13-year-old article recaps research (refereed and published in a respected economics journal) 19 years ago. While we have discussed Dvorak many times over the years, I don't believe we have dug into this convincing-sounding refutation of the Dvorak mythology. The article is in the context of arguing against the conventional wisdom of "first mover advantage" — that the first product to market gains a large entrenchment benefit, such as VHS vs. Beta, MS-DOS vs. anything, etc. It's very much a pro-markets piece.
gzipped_tar sends in this excerpt from the Salt Lake Tribune: "The embattled SCO Group Inc. is proposing to auction off its core products and use proceeds to continue its controversial lawsuits over the alleged violations of its copyrights in Linux open-source software. The Lindon company has filed a new reorganization plan with the federal court in Delaware where it sought bankruptcy protection from creditors after an adverse ruling in the Linux litigation. If approved by a bankruptcy judge, the plan could mean SCO's server software and mobile products lines are owned by other parties while SCO itself remained largely to pursue the lawsuits under the leadership of CEO Darl McBride. 'One goal of this approach is to separate the legal defence of its intellectual property from its core product business,' McBride said in a letter to customers, partners and shareholders. Jeff Hunsaker, president and COO of The SCO Group, said the litigation had been distracting to the company's efforts to market its products. 'We believe there's value in these assets and in order for the business to move forward it's imperative we separate it from our legal claims and we allow our products business to move forward,' he said Friday."
kevind23 writes "Although Mac OS X and Linux have a small (but growing) market share, Jeff from Wolfire Games argues that supporting non-Windows platforms can lead to a huge increase in game sales. Using their popular game Lugaru as an example, he shows how less-popular platforms, or more specifically, their userbase can be a powerful advertising force. This can lead to a dramatic increase in popularity and exposure, which usually means a large boost in overall sales. The short article is an interesting read, especially for those working in game development and sales."
Photographer Duane Kerzic was standing on the public platform in New York's Penn Station, taking pictures of trains in hopes of winning the annual photo contest that Amtrak had been running since 2003. Amtrak police arrested him for refusing to delete the photos when asked, though they later charged him with trespassing. "Obviously, there is a lack of communication between Amtrak's marketing department, which promotes the annual contest, called Picture Our Trains, and its police department, which has a history of harassing photographers for photographing these same trains. Not much different than the JetBlue incident from earlier this year where JetBlue flight attendants had a woman arrested for refusing to delete a video she filmed in flight while the JetBlue marketing department hosted a contest encouraging passengers to take photos in flight." Kerzic's blog has an account of the arrest on Dec. 21 and the aftermath.