hypnosec writes "It costs developers a total of $40,000 to release a single patch on Xbox Live, making it a difficult platform for smaller developers to grow on. This revelation was made by Tim Schafer of Double Fine Studios — which recently drew a lot of charitable donations as part of a campaign to create a contemporary point and click game. He went on to say that this is just too high a fee for smaller developers to pay, making it hard for them to do well on the platform. This makes sense, since requiring just one patch could massively cut into the profits for a company."
silentbrad writes "Canadians enjoy among the fastest, most widely available and least expensive broadband Internet in the developed world, says a report released Thursday. The report, based on the results of 52 million speed tests of broadband users across the G7 countries and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) membership, was produced by Montreal-based consulting firm Lemay Yates Associates Inc. on behalf of Rogers Communications Inc., the country's largest broadband service provider. It disputes the OECD's own report, published in July, that ranked Canada's high-speed Internet offerings significantly below those of other countries. The report comes days after the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission revealed a sharp jump in the number of complaints it has received regarding Internet traffic-management practices, or 'throttling' in recent months." And it's about to get a little better — reader ForgedArtificer points out that Rogers has promised to end all throttling over their network by the end of the year.
silentbrad writes "Online passes are a recent staple in staving off used sales. Limiting what used buyers can access is a protective measure for publishers, much to the chagrin of parts of the gaming community. Chris Kohler of Wired argues that the death of used games is inevitable, and passes are the first step toward something exactly like a native anti-used game something integrated into consoles. He notes, of course, that digital is the future of buying games, but in the meantime we may be looking at 'an interim period in which the disc as a delivery method is still around but ... becomes more like a PC game, which are sold with one-time-use keys that grant one owner a license to play the game on his machine.' Also at Kotaku, the source for the Wired article (which is the source for the IGN article)."
Voline writes "In a tweet early this morning, cybersecurity researcher Christopher Soghoian pointed to an internal memo of India's Military Intelligence that has been liberated by hackers and posted on the Net. The memo suggests that, "in exchange for the Indian market presence" mobile device manufacturers, including RIM, Nokia, and Apple (collectively defined in the document as "RINOA") have agreed to provide backdoor access on their devices. The Indian government then "utilized backdoors provided by RINOA" to intercept internal emails of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a U.S. government body with a mandate to monitor, investigate and report to Congress on 'the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship' between the U.S. and China. Manan Kakkar, an Indian blogger for ZDNet, has also picked up the story and writes that it may be the fruits of an earlier hack of Symantec. If Apple is providing governments with a backdoor to iOS, can we assume that they have also done so with Mac OS X?"
redletterdave writes "In mid-November, a hollow space ball fell from the sky and crashed into the earth in Namibia, the African nation situated above South Africa and west of Botswana and Zimbabwe. Authorities recovered the sphere in a grassy village north of Windhoek, the country's capital. The hollow ball, which appears to be made of 'two halves welded together,' has a rough surface, a 14-inch diameter and measures 43 inches around. The strange globe created a crater 13 inches deep and almost 12.5 feet wide, but was found almost 60 feet from the landing spot. Paul Ludik, the police forensics director investigating the case, says the dense ball weighs 13 pounds and is made of a 'metal alloy known to man.' NASA and the European Space Agency will both help investigate the strange occurrence."
YIAAL writes "After a multi-car pileup involving two school buses, the NTSB is urging states to ban all cellphones and personal electronic devices in cars, even hands-free phones. But on looking at the NTSB report, it appears that the big problem was a school bus driver who was following too closely, and another school bus driver who wasn't watching the road. Why is the NTSB targeting gadgets instead of bad drivers?"
Snaller writes "Tech News Today does what the name says — it's a podcast reporting on Tech news, Monday to Friday. They, like Slashdot, reported on the Megaupload vs. Universal copyright dispute. But during their coverage, they played a snippet of the music video and immediately Universal Music Group had the news podcast yanked from YouTube. Tech News Today has outlets other than YouTube, but should a music company have the right to have a news podcast removed on copyright grounds, when it's not even clear that said company has had any copyrights violated?"
New submitter Calibax writes "30 years ago, Bob Wallace and his partner came up with a product to help hikers, flood victims and others purify water. Wallace, now 88 years old, packs his product by hand in his garage, stores it in his backyard shed and sells it for $6.50. Recently, the DEA has been hassling him because his product uses crystalline iodine. He has been refused a license to purchase the iodine because it can be used in the production of crystal meth, and as a result he is now out of business. A DEA spokesman describes this as 'collateral damage' not resulting from DEA regulations but from the selfish actions of criminals."
An anonymous reader writes with news that Russia's Phobos-Grunt spacecraft has launched, taking the first step on its mission to travel to Phobos, the larger of Mars' two moons. When (and if — see below) it lands on Phobos, the probe will collect a soil sample and attempt to return it to Earth. "Russia’s Federal Space Agency said the craft separated successfully from the booster about 11 minutes later. ... The return vehicle is expected to carry up to 200 grams (7 ounces) of soil from Phobos back to Earth in August 2014. The $170 million endeavor would be Russia’s first interplanetary mission since Soviet times. A previous 1996 robotic mission to Mars ended in failure when the probe crashed in the Pacific following an engine failure." Unfortunately, there appears to have been a problem with the launch. Details are uncertain at this point, but the probe reportedly made it to orbit intact, and the mission is not necessarily ruined.
An anonymous reader writes "Fast Company takes a look at the Apple App Store and concludes that it's a casino where most developers are making tragic losses and a tiny few are striking it filthy rich. The article discusses a new book exposing the App Store millionaires, called 'Appillionaires,' which compares the psychological effects of a hit app on a programmer to a gambler's high. One millionaire programmer explains the intense feeling of being in the top-ten: 'The App Store had established some kind of intravenous connection to my body and was pumping me full of Apple-branded heroin.' But, the piece warns, the majority of developers fail to make any return on their app."
An anonymous reader writes "'An Auburn, ME school district spent more than $200,000 to outfit every one of its 250 kindergartners with [iPads], along with sturdy cases to protect them. School officials say they are the first public school district in the country to give every kindergartner an iPad. Mrs. McCarthy says the tools give her 19 students more immediate feedback and individual attention than she ever could.' Will this improve low test scores, or be another case where spending more money does not produce a better educational outcome?"
First time accepted submitter so.dan writes "Canadian copyright guru Michael Geist reports that the 'File sharing lawsuits involving the movie the Hurt Locker [that] have been big news in the United States for months... are coming to Canada as the Federal Court of Canada has paved the way for the identification of subscribers at Bell Canada, Cogeco, and Videotron who are alleged to have copied the movie.' This is the first I've ever heard of MAFIAA lawsuits beginning to succeed in Canada. The move seems to target larger ISPs. Are subscribers of smaller ISPs — who must lease their lines from the larger ones such as Bell — relatively protected from such invasions of privacy due to some sort of technical difficulty in determining the names of subscribers? (Please excuse my technical ignorance)."
An anonymous reader writes "After recently running a full-page ad in the WSJ saying, 'PC gaming is not dead,' Razer has now announced a new laptop, the Blade, for the express purpose of playing video games. Its most distinctive feature is what they call the 'Switchblade' UI, which is an area next to the keyboard that has a multi-touch LCD screen and 10 dynamic keys. The screen can receive and display information from games, and the keys can show unique icons particular to the game you're playing. The requisite hardware for a gaming laptop makes it weigh almost seven pounds, but it's less than an inch thick. Another distinctive feature is the price — at $2,800, they price a lot of gamers right out of the market. As the article says, 'It's a gamble, but an exciting one.'"
belmolis writes "Here in Canada we have an old-fashioned paper ballot voting system that by all accounts works very well. We get results quickly and without fraud. Nonetheless, Elections Canada wants to test on-line voting. From the article: 'The head of the agency in charge of federal elections says it's time to modernize Canada's elections, including testing online voting and ending a ban on publishing early election results.' Is it worth trying to fix a system that isn't broken?"