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Wikipedia

Wikipedia and the History of Gaming 240

Posted by Soulskill
from the citation-needed dept.
Wired is running a story about Wikipedia's tremendous contribution to documenting the history of video games, and why it shouldn't necessarily be relied upon. Quoting: "Wikipedia requires reliable, third-party sources for content to stick, and most of the sites that covered MUDs throughout the ’80s were user-generated, heavily specialized or buried deep within forums, user groups and newsletters. Despite their mammoth influence on the current gaming landscape, their insular communities were rarely explored by a nascent games journalist crowd. ... while cataloging gaming history is a vitally important move for this culture or art form, and Wikipedia makes a very valiant contribution, the site can’t be held accountable as the singular destination for gaming archeology. But as it’s often treated as one, due care must be paid to the site to ensure that its recollection doesn’t become clouded or irresponsible, and to ensure its coalition of editors and administrators are not using its stringent rule set to sweep anything as vitally relevant as MUDS under the rug of history."
Earth

German Airports Use Bees To Monitor Air Quality 44

Posted by samzenpus
from the smog-honey dept.
The Düsseldorf International Airport and seven other airports in Germany have come up with a unique way of monitoring air quality; they use bees. The airports test the bees' honey twice a year for toxins, and batches that turn up clean are bottled and given away. From the article: "Assessing environmental health using bees as 'terrestrial bioindicators' is a fairly new undertaking, said Jamie Ellis, assistant professor of entomology at the Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory, University of Florida in Gainesville. 'We all believe it can be done, but translating the results into real-world solutions or answers may be a little premature.' Still, similar work with insects to gauge water quality has long been successful."
Image

The "King of All Computer Mice" Finally Ships 207

Posted by samzenpus
from the there's-a-button-for-that dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The much-anticipated, much-mocked 18-button joystick mouse from WarMouse is now shipping. The press release features an impressive set of user quotes from game designer Chris Taylor, new SFWA president John Scalzi, and a doctor who runs a medical software company. Crazy or not, it's obviously more than just a gaming mouse."
Games

Do Gamers Want Simpler Games? 462

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'd-say-no-but-i-used-to-love-frogger dept.
A recent GamePro article sums up a lesson that developers and publishers have been slowly learning over the last few years: gamers don't want as much from games as they say they do. Quoting: "Conventional gaming wisdom thus far has been 'bigger, better, MORE!' It's something affirmed by the vocal minority on forums, and by the vast majority of critics that praise games for ambition and scale. The problem is, in reality its almost completely wrong. ... How do we know this? Because an increasing number of games incorporate telemetry systems that track our every action. They measure the time we play, they watch where we get stuck, and they broadcast our behavior back to the people that make the games so they can tune the experience accordingly. Every studio I've spoken to that does this, to a fault, says that many of the games they've released are far too big and far too hard for most players' behavior. As a general rule, less than five percent of a game's audience plays a title through to completion. I've had several studios tell me that their general observation is that 'more than 90 percent' of a game's audience will play it for 'just four or five hours.'"
United States

Who's Controlling Our Vital Information Systems? 116

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
HangingChad writes "Gary Lyndaker talks about Janine Wedel's Shadow Elite; about how our information infrastructure is increasingly being sold off to the low bidder. Contracting in state and federal government is rampant, leaving more and more of our nation's vital information in the hands of contractors, many of whom have their own agenda and set of rules. From the article: 'Over 25 years, as an information systems developer, manager, and administrator in both state and private organizations, I have increasingly come to the conclusion that we are putting our state's operations at risk and compromising the trust of the people of our state by outsourcing core government functions.' I've seen the same thing in my years in government IT, ironically much of it as a contractor. My opinion is this is a dangerous trend that needs to be reversed. We're being fleeced while being put at risk."

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