An anonymous reader writes "This article has a very interesting description of the algorithms behind the ghosts in Pac-Man. I had no idea about most of this information, but that's probably because it's difficult to study the ghosts when I die every 30 seconds. Quoting: 'The ghosts are always in one of three possible modes: Chase, Scatter, or Frightened. The "normal" mode with the ghosts pursuing Pac-Man is Chase, and this is the one that they spend most of their time in. While in Chase mode, all of the ghosts use Pac-Man's position as a factor in selecting their target tile, though it is more significant to some ghosts than others. In Scatter mode, each ghost has a fixed target tile, each of which is located just outside a different corner of the maze. This causes the four ghosts to disperse to the corners whenever they are in this mode. Frightened mode is unique because the ghosts do not have a specific target tile while in this mode. Instead, they pseudorandomly decide which turns to make at every intersection.'"
theodp writes "Think outside the box? Nah, think outside the bun. Ted Dziuba argues there's a programming lesson to be learned from observing how Taco Bell manages to pull down $1.9 billion by mixing-and-matching roughly eight ingredients: 'The more I write code and design systems, the more I understand that many times, you can achieve the desired functionality simply with clever reconfigurations of the basic Unix tool set. After all, functionality is an asset, but code is a liability. This is the opposite of a trend of nonsense called DevOps, where system administrators start writing unit tests and other things to help the developers warm up to them — Taco Bell Programming is about developers knowing enough about Ops (and Unix in general) so that they don't overthink things, and arrive at simple, scalable solutions.'"
Lucas123 writes "The US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an 87-page report (PDF) on the results of a months-long investigation into the May 6 'flash crash' that sent the Dow tumbling almost 1,000 points in a half hour. The Commissions are holding a single trading firm's automated trade execution platform responsible for the crash, saying it dumped 75,000 sell orders into the Chicago Mercantile Exchange over a period of minutes causing an already volatile market to come crashing down. The SEC has already enacted some quick rules to pause trading if a stock price should rise or fall by 10% in a five minute period, but the regulators said they expect the results of the investigation to prompt additional rules limiting the functions of automated computer trading systems."
An anonymous reader writes "Just a day after adding a new game and a handful of promotions, GOG.com, a seller of classic games in a DRM-free format, has closed shop, leaving only a sparse placeholder page and a mention on Twitter that 'sometimes it's really hard being DRM-free... hard to keep things the way they are and keep management and publishers happy.' The site mentions that games purchased in the past will become accessible for downloading within the week, but there is no word on how long this will continue to be possible." The announcement on the site's front page says, in part, "This doesn't mean the idea behind GOG.com is gone forever. We're closing down the service and putting this era behind us as new challenges await."
netbuzz writes "Having brought his open-source work and family to the United States from Finland some time ago, Linus Torvalds has marked an important personal milestone by attaining US citizenship. A casual remark on the Linux kernel mailing list about registering to vote led to the community being in on the news. Torvalds has acknowledged being a bit of a procrastinator on this move, writing in a 2008 blog post: 'Yeah, yeah, we should probably have done the citizenship thing a long time ago, since we've been here long enough (and two of the kids are US citizens by virtue of being born here), but anybody who has had dealings with the INS will likely want to avoid any more of them, and maybe things have gotten better with a new name and changes, but nothing has really made me feel like I really need that paperwork headache again.' In that post he also expresses dislike for the American style of politics in which he will now be able to participate directly."
An anonymous reader writes "Reports are coming in that the Information Commissioner's Office has started investigating FIFA, the world football governing body, over allegations that details of thousands of World Cup fans' — including their passport data — were accessed by one or more members of staff and then sold on the black market. It is alleged that the details of more than 35,000 English fans — who visited Germany for the 2006 World Cup — had their passport and allied data sold to ticket touts for marketing purposes."
Stoobalou writes "The people behind VLC, quite probably the most useful media player available right now, have submitted an iPod version to the Apple software police. VLC — which is rightfully famous for having a go at playing just about any kind of audio or video file you care to throw at it — should appear some time next week, if it makes it through the often unfathomable approval process implemented by Apple. The Open Source Video Lan Client has been tweaked to run on the iPod by software developer Applidium."
cgriffin21 writes "T-Mobile Thursday finally confirmed what it's been hinting at for a while: The HTC G2, T-Mobile's HSPA+ successor to the HTC G1, is on the way. It'll be an Android 2.2 phone and run on T-Mobile's HSPA+ data network, which while not a 4G network offers what T-Mobile is calling 4G-like speeds up to 21 Mbps. T-Mobile hasn't confirmed pricing or exact availability but said it would open the G2 to presales for existing customers at the end of September."
An anonymous reader writes "Earlier this year Apple caused major upset among developers by updating the iPhone developer program license with clause 3.3.1. It basically stopped the use of cross-platform compilers, meaning Adobe Flash could not be used to develop an app for the App Store. The move also put into doubt which other development platforms could be used and generally caused a lot of confusion. Apple has just significantly relaxed that policy and allowed for the use of development tools, as long as 'the resulting apps do not download any code.'"
theodp writes "In response to a complaint, Rackspace has shut down the websites of the Dove World Outreach Center, a small 50-member church which has received national and international criticism for a planned book burning of the Quran on the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. The center 'violated the hate-speech provision of our acceptable-use policy,' explained Rackspace spokesman Dan Goodgame. 'This is not a constitutional issue. This is a contract issue,' said Goodgame, who added he did not know how long it had hosted the church's sites. Not quite the same thing, but would Kurt Westergaard's cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad also violate Rackspace's AUP? How about Christopher Hitchens' Slate articles? Could articles from one-time Rackspace poster child The Onion pass muster?"