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Comment: Re:Tax breaks (Score 4, Informative) 255

by blagder (#33567174) Attached to: Microsoft To Issue Blanket License To NGOs

I think you are misinterpreting that paragraph; and thus not giving Microsoft their due credit.

It is saying that Microsoft already does run a ‘donation’ program to NGOs that likely does allow them tax deductions at no cost. But that’s not what this is. By instantly creating a license that any NGO can use for free; they cannot claim a deduction. For a deduction, they would have to get the NGO/journalist to go through specific channels so that they could document the ‘donation’. And that of course if why they want to move people to their donation program.

This is talked about in a bit more detail in the Microsoft blog entry that announced it. I would expect this to make it a bit more difficult to get NGOs to use their donation program since the motivation for jumping through the hooks is less.

This is a fantastic program and Microsoft should be commended for it. Even on Slashdot.

Now, getting deductions for software (or other IP) donations in general is ridiculous and something that governments should reconsider. Any business deduction where they can control the value of the donation by their pricing is somewhat shady. But this license does not seem to be taking advantage of that.

Medicine

What US Health Care Needs 584

Posted by kdawson
from the velluvial-matrix dept.
Medical doctor and writer Atul Gawande gave the commencement address recently at Stanford's School of Medicine. In it he lays out very precisely and in a nonpartisan way what is wrong with the institution of medical care in the US — why it is both so expensive and so ineffective at delivering quality care uniformly across the board. "Half a century ago, medicine was neither costly nor effective. Since then, however, science has... enumerated and identified... more than 13,600 diagnoses — 13,600 different ways our bodies can fail. And for each one we've discovered beneficial remedies... But those remedies now include more than six thousand drugs and four thousand medical and surgical procedures. Our job in medicine is to make sure that all of this capability is deployed, town by town, in the right way at the right time, without harm or waste of resources, for every person alive. And we're struggling. There is no industry in the world with 13,600 different service lines to deliver. ... And then there is the frightening federal debt we will face. By 2025, we will owe more money than our economy produces. One side says war spending is the problem, the other says it's the economic bailout plan. But take both away and you've made almost no difference. Our deficit problem — far and away — is the soaring and seemingly unstoppable cost of health care. ... Like politics, all medicine is local. Medicine requires the successful function of systems — of people and of technologies. Among our most profound difficulties is making them work together. If I want to give my patients the best care possible, not only must I do a good job, but a whole collection of diverse components must somehow mesh effectively. ... This will take science. It will take art. It will take innovation. It will take ambition. And it will take humility. But the fantastic thing is: This is what you get to do."
Role Playing (Games)

Genre Wars — the Downside of the RPG Takeover 248

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-gain-1912-experience dept.
Phaethon360 writes "From Bioshock and Modern Warfare 2 to even Team Fortress 2, RPG elements are creeping into game genres that we never imagined they would. This change for the most part has managed to subtly improve upon genres that needed new life, but there's a cost that hasn't been tallied by the majority of game developers. 'The simple act of removing mod tools, along with the much discussed dedicated server issue, has made [MW2] a bit of a joke among competitive players. Gone are the days of "promod," and the only option you have is to play it their way. If Infinity Ward are so insistent on improving the variety of our experiences, they don’t have to do it at the expense of the experience that many of us already love. It really is that simple. If they don’t want to provide a good "back to basics experience," they could at least continue to provide the tools that allow us to do that for ourselves.'"
Role Playing (Games)

Looking Back At Dungeons & Dragons 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the lightning-bolt dept.
An anonymous reader sends in a nostalgic piece about Dungeons & Dragons and the influence it's had on games and gamers for the past 36 years. Quoting: "Maybe there was something in the air during the early '70s. Maybe it was historically inevitable. But it seems way more than convenient coincidence that Gygax and Arneson got their first packet of rules for D&D out the door in 1974, the same year Nolan Bushnell managed to cobble together a little arcade machine called Pong. We've never had fun quite the same way since. Looking back, these two events set today's world of gaming into motion — the Romulus and Remus of modern game civilization. For the rest of forever, we would sit around and argue whether games should let us do more or tell us better stories."

Comment: Re:Percentage? (Score 1) 333

by blagder (#29672857) Attached to: Google Finds DRAM Errors More Common Than Believed

Huh? ECC should be able to _correct_ (and thus prevent) single-bit errors. If it is a double bit error then it will only detect the error (preventing them from passing through undetected). And I believe that when a line has more than 2 bits corrupted then that may not be detected by ECC in all cases. Since the probability of single-bit errors is massively higher than double-bit errors, ECC does help correct errors; preventing them from affecting the end user.

Games

Bethesda Speaks On Gamebryo Engine, Final Fallout 3 DLC 101

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-and-better dept.
PsxMeUP writes "Game Observer conducted an interview with Ashley Cheng, Production Director at Bethesda. He answered questions about the Gamebryo engine, why they prefer it over other engines and the advantages it presented while making Fallout 3. Cheng also talks a bit about what inspired their designers while making Fallout 3 and what is in store for the PS3. Apparently, much of the team has read Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which inspired the look and story of Fallout 3. Bethesda, according to Cheng, will never create a game like Final Fantasy because the Gamebryo engine is better at handling 'open ended worlds ripe for exploration.'" Meanwhile, Bethesda's Jeff Gardiner spoke recently about the game's fifth and final DLC release, Mothership Zeta, which finds players aboard an alien spaceship in orbit. He said, "The player will have a handful of tasty alien technologies to play with. There are new fire arms and melee weapons, which will comprise the most powerful weaponry in the game."

Waste not, get your budget cut next year.

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