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Comment: Re:How MMOs should be viewed (Score 4, Insightful) 132

by everphilski (#26120457) Attached to: How Gamers View Their MMOs
You're in a giant wheel inside a cage. You paid $50 for the wheel, and it costs you $15 a month to rent the cage it's in.

Yes, but it is a cheaper wheel than going to the bar every Friday night, or going out to a movie twice a month, or even going out to lunch with coworkers once a week ... if you enjoy it and do it in lieu of other social activities it is a great money saver. Especially once you have kids. Kiddies go to bed around 7 or 8, you have a few hours alone with your wife ... once you've "ground out" a few levels in the bedroom together it's fun to play a MMO together and grind out a few levels together in game. Also a good way to keep in touch with friends who live far away... when I moved from WI to AL, we all played Everquest, and it was probably the cheapest way to keep in touch besides IM...

In short it's something to do. I bounce between WoW and EQ (I love original EQ, but my wife loves WoW, heart gets split in two) and play probably 3-4 months out of the year in between dissertation research and other extra-work work.
Censorship

Australian Government Censorship 'Worse Than Iran' 516

Posted by timothy
from the but-the-people-there-are-so-nice dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Australian Government's plan to Censor the Internet is producing problems for ISPs, with filters causing speeds to drop by up to 86% and falsely blocking 10% of safe sites. The Government Minister in charge of the censorship plan, Conservative Stephen Conroy, has been accused of bullying ISP employees critical of his plan: 'If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd Labor Government is going to disagree.'" Read on for more, including an interesting approach to demonstrating the inevitable collision of automated censorship with common sense.
Politics

How Can Nerds Make a Difference In November? 950

Posted by kdawson
from the our-own-sweet-way dept.
Scott Aaronson offers an intriguing call for ideas on how nerds can supercharge the political process this year. He's clearly an Obama admirer and phrases his challenge this way: "What non-obvious things can nerds who are so inclined do to help the Democrats win in November?" But the question itself is not inherently partisan. The analogy Aaronson gives is to the Nadertrading idea in 2000 (which we discussed at the time). What's the Nadertrading for 2008? "The sorts of ideas I'm looking for are ones that (1) exploit nerds' nerdiness, (2) go outside the normal channels of influence, (3) increase nerds' effective voting power by several orders of magnitude, (4) are legal, (5) target critical swing states, and (6) can be done as a hobby."
It's funny.  Laugh.

"War On Terror" Board Game Confiscated In UK 598

Posted by kdawson
from the security-theater-as-low-comedy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The board game The War On Terror is a satirical game in which George Bush's 'Axis of Evil' is reduced to a spinner in the middle of the board, which determines which player is designated a terrorist state. That person then has to wear a balaclava (included in the box set) with the word 'Evil' stitched onto it. Kent police said they had confiscated the game because the balaclava 'could be used to conceal someone's identity or could be used in the course of a criminal act.' Balaclavas are freely sold all over the place in the area." Schneier has blogged this stupidity, of course.
Graphics

NVidia Reportedly Will Exit Chipset Business 173

Posted by kdawson
from the and-then-there-were-two dept.
xav_jones sends along a story from X bit Laboratories claiming that NVidia is ready to quit making chipsets. That story links one from DigiTimes, which reports that NVidia has denied that it's getting out of the business. "[NVidia] is about to quit chipset business, which automatically means that the company's much-hyped multi-GPU SLI technology is either in danger or re-considered. Moreover, several mainboard makers have already ceased making high-end NVidia-based mainboards. [NVidia has]... reportedly decided to quit core-logic business to concentrate on development of graphics processors and following failure to secure license to build and sell chipsets compatible with Intel Corp.'s microprocessors that use Quick-Path Interconnect bus."
Software

Software Price Gap Between the US and Europe 1003

Posted by timothy
from the we'll-trade-cheap-software-for-cheaper-cheese dept.
Kensai7 writes "A quick comparison between same versions of mainstream software sold in the USA and the EU markets show a big difference in the respective price tags. If you want to buy online, let's say, Adobe's Dreamweaver CS3, you'll have to pay $399 if you live in the States, but a whopping E570 (almost $900 in current exchange rates!) if you happen to buy it in Germany. Same story for Microsoft's newest products: Expression Web 2 in America costs only $299 new, but try that in Italy and they will probably ask you no less than E366 ($576!). How can such an abyssal difference be explained? I understand there are some added costs for the localized translated versions, but I also thought the Euro was supposed to be outbuying the dollar. Where's the catch?"
Cellphones

Pittsburgh Cancer Center Warns of Cell Phone Risks 555

Posted by timothy
from the stick-it-in-your-ear dept.
RevWaldo contributes a link to an AP story carried by Google, according to which "The head of a prominent cancer research institute issued an unprecedented warning to his faculty and staff Wednesday: Limit cell phone use because of the possible risk of cancer. The warning from Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, is contrary to numerous studies that don't find a link between cancer and cell phone use, and a public lack of worry by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration." RevWaldo continues: "One possible solution offered? 'Use a wireless headset.' No risk of EM exposure from one of them, no sirree!"
Books

World's Oldest Bible Going Online 1183

Posted by kdawson
from the what-the-web-is-good-for dept.
99luftballon writes "The British Museum is putting online the remaining fragments of the world's oldest Bible. The Codex Sinaiticus dates to the fourth century BCE and was discovered in the 19th century. Very few people have seen it due to its fragile state — that and the fact that parts of it are in collections scattered across the globe. It'll give scholars and those interested their first chance to take a look. However, I've got a feeling that some people won't be happy to see it online, since it makes no mention of the resurrection, which is a central part of Christian belief."On Thursday the Book of Psalms and the Gospel According to Mark will go live at the Codex Sinaiticus site. The plan is to have all the material up, with translations and commentaries, a year from now.
NASA

NASA May Hire Japanese Spacecraft For ISS Service Mission 87

Posted by timothy
from the gudgilla-power dept.
schliz writes "NASA is talking to Japan's space agency about using one of its spacecraft for servicing missions to the International Space Station, according to Japanese media reports. NASA has been considering various options to maintain its commitment to the Space Station after the Space Shuttle is retired from service in 2010. According to Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, 'unofficial negotiations' between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa) began in February."
Microsoft

The Truth About Last Year's Xbox 360 Recall 255

Posted by kdawson
from the value-for-the-money dept.
chrplace forwards an article in which Gartner's Brian Lewis offers his perspective on what led to last year's Xbox 360 recall. Lewis says it happened because Microsoft wanted to avoid an ASIC vendor. "Microsoft designed the graphic chip on its own, cut a traditional ASIC vendor out of the process, and went straight to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd., he explained. But in the end, by going cheap — hoping to save tens of millions of dollars in ASIC design costs, Microsoft ended up paying more than $1 billion for its Xbox 360 recall. To fix the problem, Microsoft went back to an unnamed ASIC vendor based in the United States and redesigned the chip, Lewis added. (Based on a previous report, the ASIC vendor is most likely the former ATI Technologies, now part of AMD.)"
Music

Games and Music, the New Book Burning 218

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the someone-needs-to-reread-fahrenheit-451 dept.
It seems that a Newport News, VA pastor finally got around to reading Fahrenheit 451 and has decided that it was a good idea. Despite several studies claiming the contrary, Rev. Richard Patrick is blaming violent video games and music for crimes that he say has affected 90% of his congregation in one way or another.
Programming

Google To Host Ajax Libraries 285

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the cache-once-cache-often dept.
ruphus13 writes "So, hosting and managing a ton of Ajax calls, even when working with mootools, dojo or scriptaculous, can be quite cumbersome, especially as they get updated, along with your code. In addition, several sites now use these libraries, and the end-user has to download the library each time. Google now will provide hosted versions of these libraries, so users can simply reference Google's hosted version. From the article, 'The thing is, what if multiple sites are using Prototype 1.6? Because browsers cache files according to their URL, there is no way for your browser to realize that it is downloading the same file multiple times. And thus, if you visit 30 sites that use Prototype, then your browser will download prototype.js 30 times. Today, Google announced a partial solution to this problem that seems obvious in retrospect: Google is now offering the "Google Ajax Libraries API," which allows sites to download five well-known Ajax libraries (Dojo, Prototype, Scriptaculous, Mootools, and jQuery) from Google. This will only work if many sites decide to use Google's copies of the JavaScript libraries; if only one site does so, then there will be no real speed improvement. There is, of course, something of a privacy violation here, in that Google will now be able to keep track of which users are entering various non-Google Web pages.' Will users adopt this, or is it easy enough to simply host an additional file?"
The Almighty Buck

How Does a Poor Economy Affect Tech Innovation? 302

Posted by kdawson
from the counter-cyclical-investing dept.
sshuber writes "It's no secret that the US and other parts of the world are currently having some economic problems. How is this affecting new technologies under development? With the large numbers of layoffs, are we seeing projects, such as things under R&D, that are being axed? Are companies playing it safe and sticking with what they know sells in lieu of pushing the envelope? Finally, how is this affecting the open source community, either positively or negatively?" A lot of open source work happens with the backing or at least the sufferance of corporations. Do laid-off tech workers contribute fewer cycles to open source projects, or more?
Communications

Large Web Host Urges Customers to Use Gmail 436

Posted by timothy
from the conceding-loss dept.
1sockchuck writes "LA hosting company DreamHost, which hosts more than 700,000 web sites, is encouraging its customers to use Google's Gmail for their e-mail, rather than the DreamHost mail servers. DreamHost is continuing to support all its existing e-mail offerings, but said in a blog post that email is "just not something people are looking for from us, and it's something the big free email providers like Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google can do better." DreamHost addresses a question about Google that has vexed many web hosting companies: is Google a useful partner, or a competitor that intends to make "traditional" web hosting companies obsolete? In this case, partnering with Google offers DreamHost a way to offload many of its trouble tickets, reducing the support overhead. Is Google starting to make web hosts less necessary?"

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