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Ballmer Speaks on His Solo Act 196

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "In his first one-on-one interview since Bill Gates's retirement announcement, Steve Ballmer tells the Wall Street Journal he is bullish on Microsoft's investments in online services, and he dismisses as 'random malarkey' the idea that Microsoft is having trouble hiring and keeping the kind of brilliant employees that have always been the company's competitive weapon. Here's Ballmer on Gates's departure: 'As co-leaders of the business, I could allow Bill to be the full-time champion of innovation. And [now] with me really being the guy who's here every day running the place, I must be the champion of innovation.' And on competing with Google: 'We're going to compete. We're going to be in the online business. We are going to have a core around online. We're going to be excellent. That, I would tell people, to count on...'"

Comment Re:One Word... (Score 2, Interesting) 379

At the end of Metal Gear Solid 3, you have to kill one of the main characters (trying to keep this spoiler-free), and, instead of a cut scene, the game forces the player (i.e. you) to pull the trigger manually. Likewise, at the end of Shadow of the Colossus, you have control but you cannot prevent the inevitable from happening. The inevitability and lack of control is what makes it tragic (see every tragedy written for the last 3000 years). Games provide an interesting medium for this, since the gamer has a great deal of control throughout the game. When real control is taken away and the gamer is forced to do something they don't want to do (and they can't go back), it enhances the emotional response. Just look at how many rumors and hacks sprung up to resurrect Aeris in FFVII.

Metal Gear Solid 3 is a great example of this, since you can play the entire game without killing anyone, and it still forces you to carry out the execution at the end. Compare to a similar scene in Metal Gear Solid 1 when Snake battles Sniper Wolf and he does a similar execution in a cut scene. The scene in MGS3 is much more poignant because the player is forced to be a part of the action.

To sum up, yeah, games (good ones) can make you cry.

Build Your Own Java Performance Profiling Tool 153

An anonymous reader writes "IBM DeveloperWorks has an interesting look at creating a custom profiler using Java 5 and AOP. From the article: 'Profiling is a technique for measuring where software programs consume resources, including CPU time and memory. This article provides a list of best-of-breed features you might look for in an ideal profiler and explains why aspect-oriented techniques are well suited to achieving some of those features. It also introduces you to the JDK 5.0 agent interface and walks you through the steps of using it to build your own aspect-oriented profiler.'"

Caller ID Spoofing Becomes Easy 168

objekt writes "According to an article in USA Today, Caller ID spoofing has become much easier in the last few years. Millions of people have Internet telephone equipment that can be set to make any number appear on a Caller ID system. And several websites have sprung up to provide Caller ID spoofing services, eliminating the need for any special hardware. For instance, Spoofcard.com sells a virtual 'calling card' for $10 that provides 60 minutes of talk time. The user dials a toll-free number, then keys in the destination number and the Caller ID number to display. The service also provides optional voice scrambling, to make the caller sound like someone of the opposite sex."

"Life begins when you can spend your spare time programming instead of watching television." -- Cal Keegan