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Games

Submission + - Cow Clicker: The Essence of Facebook Games (bogost.com)

mjn writes: "Game designer and academic Ian Bogost announces Cow Clicker, a Facebook game implementing the mechanics of the Facebook-games genre stripped to their core. You get a cow, which you can click on every six hours. You earn additional clicks if your friends in your pasture also click. You can buy premium cows with 'mooney', and also use your mooney to buy more clicks. You can buy mooney with real dollars, or earn some free bonus mooney if you spam up your feed with Cow Clicker activity. A satire of Facebook games, but actually as genuine a game as the non-satirical games are. And people actually play it, perhaps confirming Bogost's view that the genre of games is largely just "brain hacks that exploit human psychology in order to make money", which continue to work even when the users are openly told what's going on."
The Courts

Submission + - U. Mich. Student Wants Safenet Prosecuted (blogspot.com)

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "An anonymous University of Michigan student targeted by the RIAA as a 'John Doe', is asking for the RIAA's investigator, Safenet (formerly MediaSentry), to be prosecuted criminally for a pattern of felonies in Michigan. Known to Michigan's Department of Labor and Economic Growth — the agency regulating private investigators in that state — only as 'Case Number 162983070', the student has pointed out that the law has been clear in Michigan for years that computer forensics activities of the type practiced by Safenet require an investigator's license. This follows the submissions by other 'John Does' establishing that Safenet's changing and inconsistent excuses fail to justify its conduct, and that Michigan's legislature and governor have backed the agency's position that an investigator's license was required."
Security

Submission + - How secure are your stored browser passwords? (google.com)

mauriceh writes: "I recently installed the Google Chrome beta. After the installation, I went to some of my fave sites which require a login. Chrome happily knew and used my logins and passwords. WTF?? Where did it get THOSE from? Oh, yeah, from my Firefox 3.01 installation.. sure. WTF!! I have a Master Password installed on Firefox. So, just how secure ARE our stored passwords? Apparently NOT secure at all! The Chrome installer happily grabbed all of them. The exploit here is obvious. Want to own someones logins? With access to their PC, simply install Chrome. Copy the Chrome install directory to a USB stick I just tested it. Works dandy."
Government

Submission + - Leave Your Laptop At Home When Entering the US (nytimes.com) 4

rah1420 writes: "According to a recent sidebar in the NY Times, a couple of federal appeals courts have upheld the right of the government to inspect the hard drive contents of any hard drive entering the US. So make sure you leave the pr0n at home. And your finances. And your personal correspondence. And your notes and contact list (if you're a reporter.) For my part, I am buying another hard disk. I'll just install Ubuntu and Firefox and use that if I have to travel abroad."
Music

Submission + - The Death of High Fidelity 1

Ponca City, We Love You writes: "Rolling Stone has an interesting story on how record producers alter the way they mix albums to compensate for the limitations of MP3 sound. Much of the information left out during MP3 compression is at the very high and low ends, which is why some MP3s sound flat. Without enough low end, "you don't get the punch anymore. It decreases the punch of the kick drum and how the speaker gets pushed when the guitarist plays a power chord." The inner ear automatically compresses blasts of high volume to protect itself, so we associate compression with loudness and human brains have evolved to pay particular attention to loud noises, so compressed sounds initially seem more exciting. But the effect doesn't last. After a few minutes, constant loudness grows fatiguing to the brain. Though few listeners realize this consciously, many feel an urge to skip to another song. "We're conforming to the way machines pay music. It's robots' choice. It used to be ladies' choice — now it's robots' choice," says Steely Dan frontman Donald Fagen."
The Courts

Submission + - Tanya Andersen Brings Class Action Against RIAA

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Ever since the RIAA's litigation campaign began in 2003, many people have been suggesting a class action against the RIAA. Tanya Andersen, in Oregon, has taken them up on it. The RIAA's case against this disabled single mother, Atlantic v. Andersen, has received attention in the past, for her counterclaims against the RIAA including claims under Oregon's RICO statute, the RIAA's hounding of her young daughter for a face to face deposition, the RIAA's eventual dropping of the case "with prejudice", and her lawsuit against the RIAA for malicious prosecution, captioned Andersen v. Atlantic. Now she's turned that lawsuit into a class action. The amended complaint seeking class action status (pdf) sues for negligence, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, federal and state RICO, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, trespass, invasion of privacy, libel and slander, deceptive business practices, misuse of copyright law, and civil conspiracy."
Sci-Fi

Submission + - Israeli researchers say 'time travel possible' (vnunet.com) 2

linuxuser3.14 writes: "Isreali scientists, have decided it is possible to travel through time.

From the article:

Israeli researchers today published research detailing how a time machine could, theoretically, be created. According to the boffins at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, the theory could allow future generations to travel into the past.

"In order to travel back in time, the spacetime structure must be engineered appropriately," said Professor Amos Ori of the Technion's Faculty of Physics."

Handhelds

Submission + - China copies iPhone; makes it even better (popsci.com)

An anonymous reader writes: China duplicates a lot of well know products; now they are duplicating the iPhone. Yet apparently they are making it better. From the article "The miniOne looked just like Apple's iPhone, down to the slick no-button interface. But it was more. It ran popular mobile software that the iPhone wouldn't. It worked with nearly every worldwide cellphone carrier, not just AT&T, and not only in the U.S. It promised to cost half as much as the iPhone and be available to 10 times as many consumers." The cloned iPhone uses a Linux-based system. "The cloners hire a team of between 20 and 40 engineers to begin decoding the circuit boards. At the same time, coders start to develop an operating system for the phone with a similar feature set. (The typical cloner either uses off-the-shelf code, writes something entirely new, or modifies a publicly available Linux-based system.) "

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