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Submission + - Android data stealing App downloaded by millions (

wisebabo writes: Wallpaper utility (that presents purloined copyrighted material) "quietly collects personal information such as SIM card numbers, text messages, subscriber identification, and voicemail passwords. The data is then sent to, a site that hails from Shenzen, China."

Unlike some previous flame baiting stories, this one surely is "news for nerds, stuff that matters".

Comment Re:The new game is the old game (Score 1) 422

But at the same time, the tabletop games industry is also evolving in ways that conventional gaming isn't. The fact that outside of a few core lines (DnD, WoD), pretty much every major range has gotten hammered and bled white. A lot of smaller companies have folded and disappeared, and some "universes" have ceased publishing, but just as many small companies have reoriented their business and are still pushing new, creative products. Online retail has worked to supplant many smaller run games and keep them functional when distributors refuse to carry them. Online also allows smaller communities to organize and help sustain themselves. I know (not personally) of several small-time game "designers" and writers who are using POD and 3d prototyping to give their muses form in a commercially viable way. Not enough for them to live off, but enough for them to have pride in the fact that the stuff they made is out there and "they made it".

Sadly the bar needed for computer games to accomplish the same is brutally higher. Tabletop has the luxury of using comparatively static deliverables: Dice (already mass produced), printed and bound books (ditto), and normal table space. The depth of creativity seen depends entirely on how they wish to present their product. Clean line-art, home done diagrams and perhaps a nice 3d image for the cover can be done with surprisingly little resources that bankrupt few, and can often be done by a single person. Marketing, if done, can often be sustained merely by being involved with the community on a few websites, posting snippets of information and eliciting play tests and kibitzing.

Barring something along the lines of Tarn Adams' "Dwarf Fortress" (in my opinion, probably one of the most impressive tour de forces in game design, and an avowed decision to play the red queen's race for graphics), any game has at a core four big "hats" that must be worn. Someone must have an overall vision for how the game goes, how things should happen and with what words. Someone must be able to code and create this game, IE doing the actualization of the vision. Another person must create the appearance, graphics and sounds. Finally, someone must pitch (less charitable people would say pimp) the game to the populace. Any one of these tasks can become a full 12 hour a day job. Having one person by themselves wearing two of them is brutal, and accomplishing all four by oneself is virtually murder.

The final fact that shields classic tabletop from the same eventual fate is the nature of the deliverables themselves. A computer game must have all three elements delivered at once; vision, implementation, and appearance. They must all work together, or the product will fail. The tabletop can go into impressive depths on each of these points without killing itself entirely in any one way. Games Workshop excels at artistic vision and actual appearance; their implementation in my opinion is flawed, but that does not deter a large amount of fans. Avalanche Games has impressive implementation and appearance for their products, but being historical game producers their "vision" is hamstrung by historical fact. Ad Astra Games makes products that have clear vision and amazing implementation, but given cost constraints their appearance is considerably lower on the scale than other, larger producers.

In each of these cases, products can stand on two of the three legs safely, and enjoy commercial success in a pool just as crammed full of jaded consumers as video/computer games, competing for a crazy quilt of niches and markets. Games gutted for their laughable rules still get bought for art. Games with art done by physics students get bought due to excellent rules, and games that have no implementation or appearance are still bought for the ideas they impart. A computer game that has terrible graphics (but is strong in the other points) is derided as being ugly and a point of ridicule. Ones with no vision are laughed at for being cookie-cutter money grabs, and ones that have terrible implementation are dismal failures across the board.

TL;DR Lower barriers to entry allow people to create table top games that can reach the market and possibly become a hit without sacrificing themselves on a producer's altar.

Comment Re:Shame (Score 1) 270

Admittedly this was back-of-napkin math, but it additionally helps that I live in Soviet Canuckistan, so we buy our fuel by the litre :P

But then even if I strip my argument down, hit the theatre on cheap Tuesday, walk to the nearest theatre (which isn't too far), and just get a popcorn, I'm still paying more to see a crap movie than to play EVE for a month. Even moreso, I switched my subscription to be charged every six months, which offers a lower per-month cost. I'm effectively paying for the cost of -renting- a movie and buying some microwave popcorn and a 2 litre of coke. Economically, EVE (and any MMO at this math) is incredibly good entertainment for your dollar

Comment Re:Shame (Score 1) 270

If you're talking about entertainment justification, it's not overly hard to do. I think of the cost of playing EVE as being about the same as seeing one hollywood "blockbuster" per month. 15$ USD for the game subscription essentially boils down to the cost of a ticket at a good first-rank theater, popcorn, drink, and gas going back and forth.

Myself, I think I get a lot more entertainment out of EVE than I would going to see one movie in the theater a month

Comment Re:Who exactly is fighting back? (Score 1) 641

This isn't that surprising - the reason the similarities are so striking is because the oil companies are hiring the exact same people the tobacco industry used.

I have to wonder though - wouldn't the oil companies know that their propaganda artists are the same ones who failed the tobacco lobby?

They aren't being hired in order to kill the global warming issue (that won't work) they're just working on getting enough FUD out there, murky enough water for them to get through their tenure as CEO and retire with an awesome severance package. It costs a company let's say 10 million a year to hire these guys and run their operations (number pulled from thin air), whereas for them to recognize the issue and go with the flow would mean billions of billions of dollars to realign their company. Any sane CEO looking out for his own rear will go pay the little bit to stall and leave someone else with the problem.

The only question is how long they can keep tossing the potato before it ends up being too hot and gets dropped in a lap

Comment Re:India is not known for its workmanship.... (Score 1) 352

And what, twenty years ago you could say the same thing about China, probably even moreso. India has massive problems, yes. But they are problems that can be addressed, even better, dealt with in a manner far more farmilliar to western firms than in China. Twenty years ago, Chinese goods were invariably described as crap. Nowadays, the description varies from "meh, it's alright" to "they made that in China?". It all depends on which company is doing the manufacturing and how closely they watch their suppliers.

As for sweatshops, a large reason you've seen them dissapear to an extent in China and other countries is not government crackdowns (any country that has large amounts of sweatshops is invariably one that will not do more than token raids and legal pressure) but from the companies employing said labor because the public outcry about using said labor can be business-killing.

Give India the same capital and time that China got, and I'm certian that we'll see the at the least the same selection of quality. But with far more positive social benefits for India.


NHS Should Stop Funding Homeopathy, Says Parliamentary Committee 507

An anonymous reader writes "Homeopathic remedies work no better than placebos, and so should no longer be paid for by the UK National Health Service, a committee of British members of parliament has concluded. In preparing its report, the committee, which scrutinizes the evidence behind government policies, took evidence from scientists and homeopaths, and reviewed numerous reports and scientific investigations into homeopathy. It found no evidence that such treatments work beyond providing a placebo effect." Updated 201025 19:40 GMT by timothy: This recommendation has some people up in arms.

Comment Re:EvE Online? (Score 5, Informative) 480

I'm always amazed about how ignorant people are about the system.

Yes, you do have a timed learning system, but you crucially forget that the time scales logarithmically but the bonuses are linear. You can spend a quarter the time skilling and achieve over 90% of the same performance as someone who's skilled for years. That last 10% can easily be made up by skill, some planning, or a friend.

The second thing is the obsession with T2 ships being OMGPWNZRS. You can credibly fight with a basic T1 frigate or cruiser for much lower cost and time investment. Hell, you can even make it a profitable proposition with some planning. Lost your ship? No matter, the insurance payout is more than the cost to buy and fit it! Can't do that with T2 in the least. T2 ships are specialized beasts. They do one thing and do it well, but at a penalty at doing anything else, and at a much, MUCH higher cost. You know what the most popular frigate is to go out and kick ass? It's the Rifter, a basic T1 frigate that you can be flying in less than three hours. With bad attributes.

Thirdly, guess what, there is only a fininte amount of skills that can help with anything. Myself, I have almost 70m skillpoints. Ooh I should be a combat monster. But I'm not. Most of it is industrial skills for manufacturing. Want to fly and make others die? You can have a character that can whomp me in less than six months by yourself. Fly with a friend and you can be in that same postion in perhaps a month.

But hey, what do I know about this anyways? I'm just a manufacturer....

Comment Re:Prices (Score 1) 538

Seconded on that. I buy hardcover Sci-Fi novels (certianly not mainstream like a Dan Brown novel), and regular price on them is around 38-40 CDN. And yet somehow, I can get a good fraction off that book if I have a club card. If I order it ONLINE (something that strips out the regular brick and mortar costs of sales and distribution) I can regularily save 40% or more from that price. And somehow the publishers and major bookstores aren't going out of business as a result. And just to really drive a nail in this coffin, one can always go to Baen's and see how they run a publishing house that somehow dosen't manage to implode...

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