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Comment Re:So... what ARE those needs and preferences? (Score 0) 432

"Hardcore" is perhaps the wrong word. But I was referring to the "Triple-A" titles, the ones with storylines and high production values, as opposed to "casual" games which require a lot less investment (monetary, temporal, and emotional). Wasn't referring to violence or fantasy setting or whatnot. I would categorize The Wind Waker as a hardcore game.

And while those games might have female fans, they're a vanishingly small percentage of players. That's where the mystery lies. I don't know a single woman who has played Assassin's Creed, but I know dozens who play Angry Birds. So the question is, how would you make a game like AssCreed more appealing to those lost 49 percent or so of the market? Having a female protagonist in there would do squat for sales, I believe. It would still be men buying it, playing it, and enjoying it. Look at Tomb Raider. I think it's all down to what culture says you can or can't do.
Angry Birds - ok.
Assassin's Creed - for kids and manboys.

I don't agree with it. Neither do these fangirls of which you speak. But we're not representative of society in general, and it's society in general which needs to change if women are going to start playing "Triple-A" games.

Comment So... what ARE those needs and preferences? (Score 2) 432

I really don't think adding a playable female lead character to everything is the answer. I'm a man and I have very little in common with the usual muscle-bound he-man videogame protagonists. You can play as a female in plenty of games (WoW and Mass Effect, for instance) but the overwhelming majority of players are still men. So I want to know what the article thinks those mythical "needs and preferences" are for female gamers. From the available data I'd say they're actually pretty well catered for - only we call them "casual gamers". Browser games, smartphone puzzle games, word games, etc - they're all at 50% or more female gamers.

This discussion seems to crop up every now and then and the question needs to be rephrased - why don't females play "hardcore" games? What is it about them that makes them inherently male? Me, I don't think it's about what your avatar looks like or how story-driven the game is. I think it's all down to culture. Same culture that tells us videogames are for 13 year old boys. All we need is for games to be great, immersive, well done, and for the shift to happen. It's gonna be slow, though.

Comment And it gets worse (Score 2, Informative) 286

This is actually an EU directive, to be implemented by every member state. Governments need to store at least 6 months of logs. Costs to be borne by individual ISP:s. So if any brits were looking to the mainland for escape from this idiocy, think again. By the way, the man responsible for the creation of this law is one Thomas Bodström, former Swedish Minister for Justice. He's moving to the USA. Please make sure he doesn't get to hold any public office...

Keeping Time with a Mercury Atom 153

Roland Piquepaille writes "The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced that a new experimental atomic clock based on a single mercury atom is now at least five times more precise than NIST-F1, the U.S. standard clock. This mercury atomic clock 'would neither gain nor lose a second in about 400 million years' while it would take 'only' 70 million years to NIST-F1, based on a 'fountain' of cesium atoms, to gain or lose a second. But even if this new kind of optical atomic clock is more accurate than cesium microwave clocks, it will take a while before such a design can be accepted as an international standard. A ZDNet summary contains pictures and more details about the world's most precise clock."

Microsoft to Support ODF via Plug-In 269

Apache4857 writes "It appears that Microsoft has finally caved. BetaNews is reporting that Microsoft is sponsoring an open source project to enable conversion between Open XML in Office 2007 and OpenDocument formats. The project, hosted on, made its initial release today. The Word 2007 conversion utility is expected to ship ship by the end of 2006, and similarly conversion utilities for Excel and PowerPoint are expected early next year." See the announcement in Brian Jones' blog (Jones is the Microsoft program manager responsible for Office file formats).

Social Networking From Your Cell 143

A small startup VCEL (Virtual Communication Expression & Lifestyle) has unveiled a new social networking service for cell phones. All you need to do to keep in contact with your friends 24/7 is to create a profile with their website, download a Java application for your cell phone (more than 20 models are supported already), and send an invitation to your buddies. Here we go: you can exchange comments, pictures, plan on activities together, etc. You'd have the same control over your profile either from phone or from web browser. They have a nice Java applet for your page, so you can leave your buddies a voice message right from your computer and so on.

Mark Shuttleworth Proposes Delaying next Ubuntu 382

Beuno writes "Mark Shuttleworth has proposed on the ubuntu-art mailing list to postpone the 'Dapper Drake' release by 6 weeks. He lays out the reasons pretty clearly: the delay should make the release a more user-friendly distro. He has also called up a community meeting in April 14th on IRC for community input. Is it really worth delaying the release for more then a month just to polish it out a little bit?" Commentary on this also available from the Tectonic site.

Comment Re:I love it! (Score 1) 293

Yes, that level of profit is automatically bad! A capitalist society is supposed to provide the cheapest possible alternative for the consumer, because if - and this is the case in Sweden - the current players are gouging their customers, the market can easily be won by a leaner and meaner newcomer until profits are down to as low as they can realistically go. If that's not happening and the incumbents are still turning good profits, you have a clear indication something's wrong: in the example of Sweden's power market you have an oligopoly strangling competition by raising the barriers to entry so they can squeeze more out of consumers. Nothing to do with "realistic" pricing there, just good old-fashioned collusion.

"Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows." -- Robert G. Ingersoll