Yeah. It's a subscription fee to be able to use Netflix. That's a bummer, but it is what it is. And honestly, in bits and pieces, it could still pan out for a nice al la carte service. Xbx, Netflix, and throw in TV service w/DVR, and heck, that's probably way cheaper than Verizon/Comcast. But maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part.
Steve Jobs took a dig at XBOX Live today during the WWDC. "In just 9 months we have 50 million Game Center users. To put that into perspective Xbox Live has been around for about eight years and they have around 30 million users." It's not the same. A one time purchase of Angry birds doesn't compare to a subscribing, active user of XBOX live. For all of Microsoft's missteps and gaffs (and there have been plenty), XBOX live seems to be the one thing they got right. It's a great UI, and it has some great content from outside providers (Netflix, ESPN). Make my XBOX a DVR and stream quality TV through it, and I don't need much else for my entertainment needs. If we could just upgrade the blasted XBOX360 hardware, and get better QA, I'd be good to go.
No, not necessarily. A polygraph is not required for a Top Secret security clearance, not even a TS/SCI. If you work for the FBI, CIA, NSA,DIA, or work in the Whitehouse, you will need what's called a Full Scope polygraph, or a polygraph that is a combination of two polygraphs usually administered separately. The CI poly is for actual counter intel - "Are you a spy?" type questions. The other test is called a Life Style poly, and up until 15 years ago, you could ask if someone was Gay, or engaged in 'deviant' behaviors. It's since changed to be more PC, but it's still unpleasant. Other things that can require a polygraph are certain defense contracts, where the customer stipulates that to have access to the data, you must pass either a CI, or a life style poly, or both. Outside of those situations, you are not required to have a poly to have a TS.
NNUfergs writes with news that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group has acquired Turbine Inc., creators of Lord of the Rings Online, Asheron's Call, and Dungeons & Dragons Online. Terms were not disclosed, but the Boston Globe claims the price was somewhere around $160 million. "Warner Bros. Interactive has bought a number of game development houses in recent years, in a bid to become a major power in video gaming. In 2007, the company purchased TT Games, a British firm that develops family-friendly products like Lego Star Wars and Lego Batman. In 2009, Warner Bros. bought the assets of bankrupt Chicago game company Midway, maker of the popular Mortal Kombat games. And earlier this year, it acquired a majority stake in Rocksteady Studios, another British developer, which created the hit game Batman: Arkham Asylum. ... Acquiring Turbine will give Warner Bros. total control over all future video games based on author J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved Lord of the Rings novels. Turbine holds an exclusive license to make an Internet-based game based on the books, while last year, Warner Bros. won a license to make non-Internet-based Tolkien video games."
MojoKid writes "With all of the iPad buzz stirring up the tech world over the past couple of weeks, Chrome OS has almost been forgotten. Though Google has yet to officially release the netbook-centric operating system to the public, the company continues to keep details flowing about their forthcoming lightweight operating system. In their own response to all the recent tablet fanfare, Google decided to release some teaser shots and a demo video of the Chrome OS running on a concept tablet device. The Chromium team suggests that a screen of 5" to 10" is optimal for enjoying Chrome OS and of course tablets, netbooks and MIDs all fit that size class rather well. Couple a streamlined Google-based OS with NVIDIA's Tegra 2 processor in a design like this and the iPad could have serious competition."
Oh man, me too. hi5.
It's not over yet for Spirit! Still, should the unfortunate happen, I'll pour out a bottle of Ye Olde Fortran in memoriam.
I'd like to see a director's cut when this goes to DVD. I know Cameron had an extremely rich back story, and most of it didn't make the cut to get into the movie, since it weighed in at 2 hours 40 minutes long. I also think it would help flesh out a story that was somewhat bland. Ah, who am I kidding? I wanna see more bad-ass CGI explosions. Screw the plot, bring on the blue alien sex.
As the February release date for Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain nears, several publications have gotten a chance for some hands-on time with the game and seem to be intrigued by what they saw. Quoting the Opposable Thumbs blog: "The game grabs you during the quiet moments where nothing 'happens.' When you look at a picture your child drew. When you're questioning someone about a crime. When you're trying to figure out how to react to a violent situation. The preview we were sent put me in different situations as I played a small handful of characters, and each one provided a few tiny moments that were surprising in terms of storytelling or subtlety." Eurogamer's previewer had a similar reaction: "To my great delight as well — Heavy Rain isn't a mature game because it has unhappy families and moody lighting, it's a mature game because it anticipates an adult response from the player and is prepared to receive it."
swsuehr writes "The Book of Xen: A Practical Guide for the System Administrator provides an excellent resource for learning about Xen virtualization. I frequently need to create test environments for examples that appear in various books and magazine articles (in the interest of full disclosure, I've never written for the publisher of this book). In the days before virtualization that meant finding and piecing together hardware. Like many readers, I've been using virtualization in one form or another for several years, including Xen. This book would've saved hours searching around the web looking for tidbits of information and sifting through what works and doesn't work in setting up Xen environments. The authors have done the sifting for me within the ~250 pages of the book. But far beyond, the authors also convey their experience with Xen using walkthroughs, tips, and recommendations for Xen in the real world." Read on for the rest of Steve's review.
I've used XOHM, the Spring WiMax service in Baltimore. I tested it at 3 mbps down, 1.5 up, and you can buy in daily blocks if you don't use it every day (like, 10 a day I think). I stream my Netflix with it, and it's pretty fast, haven't tried any gaming with it though. The monthly service is way cheaper than what Comcast is offering. Sucks to be in Portland.
I think the current cyber security guy quit for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the NSA - he also couldn't get much support from his own team in DHS. For those who actually swim in those waters, everyone major three letter government agency has their own 'cyber taskforce'. And they'll be dammned if they're going to share or collaborate any of their work with others - just mention the word 'cyber', and congress will start dumping a ton of funding on you. You start taking that away, and suddenly things get personal - now you're talking cash, and you always want more funding. It's also aggravated by mission creep - suddenly another three letter agency adopts a mission similar to yours, but this is YOUR mission, you're the experts, everyone else can go hang. Most agencies will not bow to another no matter how the executive office structures it, plain and simple. While I think that the executive office taking the lead role is probably a sound move, a part of me wonders if it's just more bureaucratic shuffling that achieves nothing.
scionite0 sends us to Rolling Stone for an in-depth article on Wal-Mart and the music business. Wal-Mart is the largest music retailer selling "an estimated one out of every five major-label albums" in the US. Wal-Mart willingly loses money selling CDs for less than $10 in order to draw customers into the store, but they are tired of taking a loss on CDs. The mega-retailer is telling the major record labels to lower the price of CDs or risk losing retail space to DVDs and video games. (Scroll to the bottom of the article for a breakdown of where exactly the money goes on a $15.99 album sale.) "[A Wal-Mart spokesman said:] 'The record industry needs to refine their business models, because the consumer is the ultimate arbitrator. And the consumer feels music isn't properly priced.' [While music executives are quoted:] 'While Wal-Mart represents nearly twenty percent of major-label music sales, music represents only about two percent of Wal-Mart's total sales. If they got out of selling music, it would mean nothing to them. This keeps me awake at night.' [And another:] 'Wal-Mart has no long-term care for an individual artist or marketing plan, unlike the specialty stores, which were a real business partner. At Wal-Mart, we're a commodity and have to fight for shelf space like Colgate fights for shelf space.'"