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Submission + - Don't Be Evil: How Google Screwed Our Startup (

An anonymous reader writes: After nearly a year of trying to fix things diplomatically behind the scenes it's time to go public with the story of how Google screwed our startup out of $40,000 in earned ad revenue and then systematically ignored us for almost a year.

Balancing Choice With Irreversible Consequences In Games 352

The Moving Pixels blog has an article about the delicate balance within video games between giving players meaningful choices and consequences that cannot necessarily be changed if the player doesn't like her choice afterward. Quoting: "One of my more visceral experiences in gaming came recently while playing Mass Effect 2, in which a series of events led me to believe that I'd just indirectly murdered most of my crew. When the cutscenes ended, I was rocking in my chair, eyes wide, heart pounding, and as control was given over to me once more, I did the only thing that I thought was reasonable to do: I reset the game. This, of course, only led to the revelation that the event was preordained and the inference that (by BioWare's logic) a high degree of magical charisma and blue-colored decision making meant that I could get everything back to normal. ... Charitably, I could say BioWare at least did a good job of conditioning my expectations in such a way that the game could garner this response, but the fact remains: when confronted with a consequence that I couldn't handle, my immediate player's response was to stop and get a do-over. Inevitability was only something that I could accept once it was directly shown to me."
The Almighty Buck

Boy Finds £2.5M Gold Locket With Metal Detector 169

Instead of bottle caps and ridicule from his peers, 3-year-old James Hyatt found a locket worth millions with his metal detector. James and his dad found the gold locket last May in Essex. Since then the 500-year-old treasure has been appraised at around £2.5million. From the article: "James’s father Jason, 34, said: ‘My son is one of the luckiest people ever. If we go to the doctors he’ll put his hand down the side of the sofa and pull out a tenner.’"

Make-A-Wish Builds A Millennium Falcon Fort For Boy 94

Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and a production crew from Little Mountain Productions, a 9-year-old is getting the best fort ever. The crew is making him a Star Wars-themed fort with a gigantic Millennium Falcon with solar-powered LED interior and exterior lighting to sit on top. No word on how fast it can make the Kessel run, but lets hope the kid gets a long trip.

Comment It's the back-end that will kill you. (Score 1) 229

The problem comes from the aggregation of the data by Google and what info can be gleaned from it.

I have an android phone - wanna bet that it uses the name of my access point (via google) to better identify my location?

And that's just the SSID. Why did Google never say they were collecting SSID info to start with?

I don't think this was an accidental add-on, if they are collecting the data, they are going to use it.

Comment Re:Got it (Score 1) 381

These bandwith caps actually have little or nothing to do with file sharing.

It's just another attempt by the Cable and Satellite companies to slow down online video.
Bell is an ISP and also a Satellite provider. Online video eats away at their satellite business.

Same is true of cable companies.


Secret Service Runs At "Six Sixes" Availability 248

PCM2 writes "ABC News is reporting that the US Secret Service is in dire need of server upgrades. 'Currently, 42 mission-oriented applications run on a 1980s IBM mainframe with a 68 percent performance reliability rating,' says one leaked memo. That finding was the result of an NSA study commissioned by the Secret Service to evaluate the severity of their computer problems. Curiously, upgrades to the Service's computers are being championed by Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who says he's had 'concern for a while' about the issue."

New USPTO Test Could Limit Software-Based Patents 123

bizwriter writes "The high tech industry has been waiting for a Supreme Court decision in the Bilski case to decide fundamental questions, like when you can patent software. But there's a new test from the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (PDF) that just became precedential, meaning that it offers new grounds on which the US Patent and Trademark Office can deny patents on machines that use mathematical algorithms."

Comment Follow your passion (Score 5, Informative) 592

Over the long haul, following your passion is the way to go.

I have been at a similar crossroads, and went the management route. I am currently re-eavluating that decision since I get much more joy out of being hands-on and much less joy out of the routine administrivia that comes with being a manager.

If you get more joy out of managing than you do as a tech, then that's likely the way you should go.

Role Playing (Games)

Mythic Shutting Down 63 Warhammer Servers 137

Gamasutra reports that Mythic Entertainment is consolidating a number of their Warhammer Online servers to keep population levels within an acceptable range. 43 servers are set to close in North America and Oceania, and 20 more in Europe. Mythic posted details of the character transfers at the game's website. CEO Mark Jacobs also made a "State of the Game" post, highlighting the live expansion that's currently underway, as well as the changes and updates they have planned for the near future.

Researchers Snag 60 TB of Everquest 2 Behavioral Data 66

A group of researchers who went from game developer to game developer looking to acquire data for studying online social interaction got more than they bargained for. Sony Online Entertainment keeps extensive server logs of everything that happens within Everquest 2. When the researchers asked if there was anything they could look at, SOE was happy to share the entire EQ2 database — upwards of 60 TB — for their perusal. In addition to basic gender and age queries — who interacted with whom, and when — the scientists are also trying to find ways to track more subjective characteristics, such as performance, trust, and expertise. "To get estimates of them, the team is experimenting with trying to track physical proximity and direct interactions, such as when characters share experience from an in-game victory. To give a concrete example of the data's utility, Srivastava described how he could explore the phenomenon of customer churn, something that's significant for any sort of subscription-based service, like cell phones or cable TV. With the full dataset, the team can now track how individual customers dropping out of the game influenced others who they typically played or interacted with. Using this data, the spreading rate and influence factor could then be calculated, providing hard measures to work with."
Update: 2/18 at 21:04 by SS: Sony contacted us to set the record straight about the shared information. All information that could identify players was removed from the data given to the researchers. Chat logs were not shared at all. Read on for SOE's full statement.

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long