arcticstoat writes "First-person shooter godfather and OpenGL stickler John Carmack has revealed that he now prefers Direct3D to OpenGL, saying that 'inertia' is the main reason why id Software has stuck by the cross-platform 3D graphics API for years. In a recent interview, the co-founder of id Software said, 'I actually think that Direct3D is a rather better API today.' He added, 'Microsoft had the courage to continue making significant incompatible changes to improve the API, while OpenGL has been held back by compatibility concerns. Direct3D handles multi-threading better, and newer versions manage state better.'"
theodp writes "The first rule of data centers is: don't talk about data centers. Still, the NY Times Magazine manages to take its readers on a nice backstage tour of internet data centers, convincing Microsoft and others to let them sneak a peek inside some of the mega-centers that make up today's cloud. And if it's been a while since you software types stepped inside a real-life computing facility, there's an accompanying data-center-porn slideshow that'll give you an idea where your e-mail, photos, videos, music, searches, and other online services that you take for granted these days come from." Reader coondoggie sends in a related story about a government plan to spend $50 million on improving data center technology.
GamePolitics reports that "Germany's 16 Interior Ministers have banded together to ask the Bundestag (Germany's equivalent of Parliament) to ban the production and distribution of violent video games. Moreover, the ministers hope to see this accomplished before Germany's new elections take place on September 27th." Violent games became a national issue in Germany earlier this year after Far Cry 2 was scapegoated for a shooting. Germany-based game developer Crytek could be forced to move or outsource if the ban goes through. Spiegel Online has the original story (Google translation).
Anonymusing writes "In spoken Chinese, 'grass-mud horse' sounds virtually identical to an obscenity (hint: it begins with "mother-") — and as a cartoon character, it has become an amazing phenomenon. Meant as a subversive attack on censors, the alpaca-like mythical creature has led to a cuddly stuffed animal — selling over 180,000 in a few weeks — and a wildly popular YouTube video with children's voices singing words that are either completely benign or incredibly offensive, depending on how you listen." Update: 03/13 09:29 GMT by T : Since this story was set up, the originally linked video seems to have been pulled. Searching YouTube reveals that there are some alternatives available, at least for now.
David Gerard writes "The Microsoft Certified Partner model is: an MCP buys contracts from Microsoft and sells them to businesses as a three-year timed contract, payable in annual installments. Iceland's economy has collapsed, so 1500 businesses have gone bankrupt and aren't paying the fees any more. But Microsoft has told the MCPs: 'Our deal was with you, not them. Pay up.' The MCPs that don't go bankrupt in turn are moving headlong to Free Software, taking most of the country with them. (Warning: link contains strong language and vivid imagery.)"
foxxo writes "I'm a library worker, so I get lots of questions about our collection when I'm out in the stacks. I'd love to be able to access our online catalog and give patrons more comprehensive guidance without directing them to the reference desk. What options are available for a portable device with Wi-Fi connectivity, full-featured Web browsing, and (most importantly) no cellphone-style activation and service fees? Size is important, too; I need something I can carry in my pocket, not a micro-notebook with full keyboard. (And I am a library worker, so low cost is key!)" One device that sounds interesting in this category is the GiiNii Movit (not yet released, but shown off at CES). What can you recommend that's out there now?
KingofGnG writes "There is some uncertainty on which will be the one, between Sony Optiarc and Lite-On, to market the first drive of such kind, but the fact is that DVD burners will once again exceed the maximum write speed limit going from 22x to 24x. Both companies will release the new optical drives between March and May, and though in practice the speed difference isn't amazing at all, the new breakthrough shows that firms continue to invest in a technology with a surprisingly long life."
arcticstoat writes with a snippet from bit-tech.com; musician Matthew Applegate "plans on assembling a virtual orchestra of 20 retired relics of computing at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park. The choice of venue will even allow Applegate to feature the infamous Colossus Mark 2 computer in the event, which was used for code-breaking in World War II and was recently reconstructed at Bletchley Park in 2007. ... A wide selection of computing fossils be used in Applegate's final musical presentation, which is called 'Obsolete?' This includes the Elliot 803 (a 1960s machine with 4KB of memory), the aforementioned Colossus Mark 2, a Bunsviga adding machine (pictured) and a punch card machine. As well as this, there are also some machines that will look nostalgically familiar to kids who grew up with the home computer generation, including a BBC Micro, an Atari 800XL, a Dragon 32 and an Amstrad CPC464." The article's list of the members of this "orchestra" makes an interesting checklist of computer hardware history.
secmartin writes "Dan Bernstein has just admitted that a security issue has been found in the djbdns software, one of most popular alternatives for the BIND nameserver. As part of the djbdns security guarantee, $1000 will be paid to Matthew Dempsky, the researcher that found the bug. The bug allows a nameserver running djbdns to be poisoned using just a single packet. Other researchers have found a separate issue that allows dnscache, the DNS cache that is also part of the djbdns package, to be poisoned within just 18 minutes when using the default configuration. Anyone using djbdns is strongly encouraged to patch their servers immediately." Reader emad contributes a link to the djbdns mailing list post containing both a patch and a sample exploit, and adds: "In the words of Dan Kaminsky (of recent DNS security fame): 'However, Dempsky's bug in djb's tinydns is way more surprising, if only because ... holy crap, he pulled an exploitable scenario out of THAT?!'"
magacious writes "Friday marked a year to the day since Microsoft launched Windows Server 2008, but did it have quite the impact the so-called software giant expected, or did it make more of a little squeak than a big bang? Before its arrival on 27 February 2008, it had been five long years since the release of the last major version of Windows Server. In a world that was moving on from simple client/server applications, and with server clouds on the horizon, Windows Server 2003 was looking long in the tooth. After a year of 'Vista' bashing, Microsoft needed its server project to be well received, just to relieve some pressure. After all, this time last year, the panacea of a well-received Windows 7 was still a long way off. So came the new approach: Windows Server 2008."
Ben Burtt was robbed of his overly deserved Oscars for the sound on Wall-E, and Heath Ledger's Joker unsurprisingly got a posthumous statue, but the big winner for the night was Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire with Picture, Director, Song, and five others. Go ahead movie nerds: talk amongst yourself.
Nancy Atkinson writes "A new company, Space Energy, Inc., says they have developed what they call a 'rock-solid business platform' and they should be able to provide commercially available space based solar power within a decade. 'Although it's a very grandiose vision, it makes total sense,' Space Energy's Peter Sage told Universe Today. 'We're focused on the fact that this is an inevitable technology and someone is going to do it. Right now we're the best shot. We're also focused on the fact that, according to every scenario we've analyzed, the world needs space based solar power, and it needs it soon, as well as the up-scaling of just about every other source of renewable energy that we can get our hands on.'"
Joe MacDonald writes "The earliest UNIX shell I encountered was the Bourne shell on a SPARCStation 2 at my university. As with many students of my generation, prior to that nearly all of my exposure to command line interfaces was some variant of DOS. I was quite proficient with the primitive scripting language that was available on such platforms but I immediately felt far out of my depth in this new environment. The commands seemed arcane, possibly dangerous, and almost immediately I regretted stepping into this unfamiliar wilderness without some sort of guide." Read below for the rest of Joe's thoughts.
$luggo writes "Curious about MS Fix It, I recently went hunting in the MS knowledge base for articles that provide the new EZ-button. After locating on few, I decided to click the button to download the Microsoft Installer package containing the executable and/or files that automatically enable the DVD Library feature in Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate — on my XP Media Center. 'Surely, MS will use some scripting, HTTP User-Agent sniffing, or even Genuine Windows validation to verify that I am running Vista,' I thought. It did not and I canceled the download when I received the prompt to save the file. So, I wonder: is there a Fix-it for Fix it? Because I can easily imagine someone doing what I did without scrolling to the bottom of the KB article and verifying that the article applies to their OS/version. This is a great example poor design. Why not simply use the download approach that other articles / fixes / service packs use, whereby the user must select the appropriate OS?"