Today, Microsoft launched the New Xbox Experience for Xbox Live. The list of new features includes the streaming of TV shows and movies through Netflix, the ability to install games to the HDD, an avatar system, and the Community Games platform. The launch itself was shaky at first, but most issues have been smoothed out. Sony-owned Columbia Pictures immediately pulled their movie selection, though it may return when a licensing deal gets worked out. Halo 3 developer Bungie pointed out that not all games will run faster when installed to a HDD because of the way the games already interact with the drive.
Barence writes "You may be aware of Donald Knuth, the creator of TeX and author of The Art of Computer Programming, who used to post checks to anyone who spotted an error in one of his books — one hexadecimal dollar, or $2.56. No one cashed them though. This blogger has two of them proudly on his wall, but the sad news is that modern day bank fraud has put a stop to Knuth's much-loved way of keeping his books free of errors." (Here's Knuth's own post about the sad change.)
The number of days that an old, crusty Perl developer can laugh at another language are few and far between.
Thank you, PHP.
Thank you, PHP.
Khyber writes in with a story from Montana, where residents of Missoula County voted in a referendum intended to advise county law-enforcement types to treat marijuana offenses as low-profile. The referendum would not have changed any laws, but was advisory only. After voters approved it, county commissioners overturned it by a 2-to-1 vote. They were swayed by the argument of the county attorney, who had a "gut feeling" that Missoula's electorate had misinterpreted the ballot language. The move has resulted in a flood of disaffection among voters, especially young voters. "Is there even a point to voting any more if the will of the people can so easily be subverted by two people?" one voter posted on a comment blog.
An anonymous reader writes "Writing local Web applications can be quick, easy, and efficient for solving specific Intranet problems. Learn why a Web browser is sometimes a better interface than a GUI application and why experienced Web developers find themselves struggling to learn a GUI toolkit, and descover that a simple CGI script would serve their needs perfectly well, if not better."
Patrick Robib, a blogger who wrote his own blogging engine called Forest Blog recently noticed that none other than the MPAA was using his work, and had completely violated his linkware license by removing all links back to the Forest Blog site, not crediting him in any way. The MPAA blog was using the Forest Blog software, but had completely stripped off his name, and links back to his site. He only found about it accidentally when he happened to visit the MPAA site.
Gamasutra reports on pricing for PS3 games in Japan, where some titles may rise as high as (equivalently) $75. From the article: "Japanese game prices can vary considerably across even a single format, depending on the title. Higher profile games, such as the recent Nintendo DS title Final Fantasy III, are often sold at an increased price. Similarly, Xbox 360 titles Dead Rising and Lost Planet will be priced at ¥8,379 ($72) when they are released — ¥1,000 to ¥2,000 ($9 to $17) more than usual. Tecmo's Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 will be sold at an even more excessive ¥9,240 ($79)."
Billosaur writes "From Yahoo News comes this tidbit about a couple who got a very shocking phone call. Henry and Roma Gerbus received a phone call from a man named Ed claiming he had purchased their old hard drive at a flea market. They had previously taken their computer to Best Buy to have the hard drive replaced and were told that the store would destroy it. Now it has turned up at a flea market, still containing their personal information, such as bank account numbers and Social Security numbers. The Gerbus' are a little perplexed and are very worried about identity theft."
Alec T asks: "Seeing how E3 is fast approaching, I was wondering where Slashdot readers go for their E3 fix? Gamespot, IGN and 1UP all provide free low quality streams and downloads, however we are reduced to having to pay to access high quality trailers and press conference screenings. Why is this? Is there a site out there which caters to our high definition needs? If bandwidth is such a concern, maybe BitTorrent would be the best distribution method, particularly for the console press conferences?"
deviantphil writes "About 80 Improv Everywhere agents invaded their local Best Buy store wearing blue shirts and Khakis. Eventually they were asked to leave, but not before capturing some great photos and video." From the article: "Security guards and managers started talking to each other frantically on their walkie-talkies and headsets. 'Thomas Crown Affair! Thomas Crown Affair!,' one employee shouted. They were worried that were using our fake uniforms to stage some type of elaborate heist. 'I want every available employee out on the floor RIGHT NOW!'" Their inspired cellphone symphony from this February is also well worth checking out.
capt turnpike writes "According to eWEEK.com, there's an internal debate going on at Sun whether to open-source Java. (Insert typical response: "It's about time!") Company spokespersons have no official comment, as might be expected, but perhaps we could hear confirmation or denial as early as May 16, at the JavaOne conference. One commentator said, "Sun should endorse PHP and go one step forward and make sure the 'P' languages run great on the JVM [Java virtual machine] by open-sourcing Java." Would this move Java up the desirability scale in your eyes? Could this be a way to help improve what's lacking in Java?"
An anonymous reader writes "TrekStor, a German manufacturer of MP3 players has developed the world's most expensive MP3 player. This unique custom-made portable player is based on TrekStor's i.Beat organix mp3 player, and has one GB of memory, 25 hour battery life, supports MP3, WMA, WAV, ASF, OGG audio files, and is cast in 18 carat gold with 63 diamonds (one carat)."
realtorperson writes "Why, at least the Apple users, love Apple? According to a recent article, the pure and simple reason is customer service and overall experience. The author writes, 'When Apple competitors are focused on cost reduction to increase profitability, Apple is investing resources to enhance its relationship with its customers. To me, that's impressive. Unfortunately, there are too many companies in the market that could care less about their customers, but Apple is determined and committed in delivering the experience and not just the product. It's regrettably amusing that Apple competitors are working hastily to develop iPod clones to reap in success, but what many of them fail to comprehend is that it's not necessarily the iPod that makes Apple successful, but rather its customer service.'"