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Businesses

Former Exec Says Electronic Arts "Is In the Wrong Business" 180

Mitch Lasky was the executive vice president of Mobile and Online at Electronic Arts until leaving the publisher to work at an investment firm. He now has some harsh things to say about how EA has been run over the past several years, in particular criticizing the decisions of CEO John Riccitiello. Quoting: "EA is in the wrong business, with the wrong cost structure and the wrong team, but somehow they seem to think that it is going to be a smooth, two-year transition from packaged goods to digital. Think again. ... by far the greatest failure of Riccitiello's strategy has been the EA Games division. JR bet his tenure on EA's ability to 'grow their way through the transition' to digital/online with hit packaged goods titles. They honestly believed that they had a decade to make this transition (I think it's more like 2-3 years). Since the recurring-revenue sports titles were already 'booked' (i.e., fully accounted for in the Wall Street estimates) it fell to EA Games to make hits that could move the needle. It's been a very ugly scene, indeed. From Spore, to Dead Space, to Mirror's Edge, to Need for Speed: Undercover, it's been one expensive commercial disappointment for EA Games after another. Not to mention the shut-down of Pandemic, half of the justification for EA's $850MM acquisition of Bioware-Pandemic. And don't think that Dante's Inferno, or Knights of the Old Republic, is going to make it all better. It's a bankrupt strategy."
Linux

Ubuntu "Memberships" Questioned 210

mxh83 writes "Apparently if you have 'sustained' and 'significant' contributions to Ubuntu, you can become a 'Ubuntu Member' and get some freebies. 'While there is no precise period that we look for, it is rare for applications to be accepted from people contributing for less than 6 months. It is vital to be well prepared for the meeting. You need to convince the membership board that you have contributed to Ubuntu.' Have they thought this incentive through? What about recognition for smaller contributors? And who judged what is a 'significant' contribution to a community project?" Update: 01/06 20:33 GMT by S : Changed the title to reflect the fact that Ubuntu memberships have actually been around for a few years now.

Comment Ion Infused (Score 4, Funny) 323

What is up with the names?! Ion infused?? Definition of Infused: An infusion is the outcome of steeping plants with a desired flavour in water or oil. Defenition of an Ion: An ion is an atom or molecule where the total number of electrons is not equal to the total number of protons. Right...

So, saying they get their ions from a sensible source, such as salt, and use a plant with salt on it, such as seaweed, then what we actually have is a laptop that has been dipped in seaweed oil? No wonder people don't trust major companies any more... all this sounds very fishy.

Censorship

Sharp Rise In Jailing of Online Journalists; Iran May Just Kill Them 233

bckspc writes "The Committee to Protect Journalists has published their annual census of journalists in prison. Of the 136 reporters in prison around the world on December 1, 'At least 68 bloggers, Web-based reporters, and online editors are imprisoned, constituting half of all journalists now in jail.' Print was next with 51 cases. Also, 'Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide, a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business.' China, Iran, Cuba, Eritrea, and Burma were the top 5 jailers of journalists." rmdstudio writes, too, with word that after the last few days' protest there, largely organized online, the government of Iran is considering the death penalty for bloggers and webmasters whose reports offend it.
Space

Submission + - Chinese Rocket Pioneer Died at 98 (xinhuanet.com)

hackingbear writes: Dr. Tsien Hsue-shen, also known as the Father of Chinese Rocketry, died at 98 in Beijing. (Announcement in Chinese by Xinhua News Agency.) During the 1940s Tsien was one of the founders of Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. During the red scare of the 1950s the United States government accused Tsien of having communist sympathies. Tsien and his family were wrongfully imprisoned. Undersecretary of the Navy Dan Kimball tried to keep Tsien in the U.S. commenting "It was the stupidest thing this country ever did...he was no more a Communist than I was and we forced him to go." The Chinese government later exchanged him with American POWs captured in Korean War. Tsien deliberately left his research papers behind when he left the United States. He later kicked start the Chinese missile and rocket program, which has successfully developed products ranging from ICBMs to manned spacecraft. Tsien was also invited to visit the US after the normalization of Sino-US relationship. But he refused the invitation because the US government only offered a compensation without apology for his detainment. He has received numerous state honors in China before his death.
Security

Cyber-criminal Left In Charge of Prison Computer Network 389

samzenpus writes "A 27-year-old man serving six years for stealing £6.5million using forged credit cards over the internet was recruited to help write code needed for the installation of an internal prison TV station. He was left unguarded with unfettered access to the system and produced results that anyone but prison officials could have guessed. He installed a series of passwords on all the machines, shutting down the entire prison computer system. A prison source said, 'It's unbelievable that a criminal convicted of cyber-crime was allowed uncontrolled access to the hard drive. He set up such an elaborate array of passwords it took a specialist company to get it working.'"
The Almighty Buck

Learning About Real-World Economies Through Game Economies 178

Reuters has a report about research being done on the in-game economies of MMOs like EverQuest II and World of Warcraft to better understand much larger economic situations in the real world. The games are used as case studies where researchers can do controlled experiments that they couldn't necessarily attempt if real money or goods were involved. "After studying 314 million transactions within the fantasy world of Norrath in EverQuest II, including trading in-game goods like armor, shields, leather, herbs and food, the researchers were able to calculate the GDP of one of the game servers (the back-end computer that hosts thousands of players in one world). As more people opened accounts and flocked to Norrath, spending money on new items, researchers saw inflation spike more than 50 percent in five months. 'We have seen that kind of volatility during times of war and in developing nations in the real world,' said [Dmitri Williams, assistant professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication]. 'Our own economy has turned out to be less stable than we'd all assumed.'"
First Person Shooters (Games)

Early Look At EVE Creators' DUST 514 81

CCP Games, the developer behind space MMORPG EVE Online, made waves in August when they announced DUST 514, a console MMOFPS which will tie into the EVE universe. Eurogamer is now running a preview of the new MMO, providing more information on how it will work and the way in which it will interact with EVE and its players. Quoting: "... battles take place on dynamic battlefields about 5 kilometers across. Unlike EVE itself, there will be a cap to the number of players per battle — CCP is 'still playing with numbers' (and presumably watching the development of 256-player MAG with interest), but assures us that this will not be less than 64 players. There will be a command structure, with infantry and squadron leaders on each side led by a player-commander on board the hulking Mobile Command Center airship. The commander will effectively be playing a real-time strategy game with living units, and will have an RTS-style view of the battlefield. He'll be dependent on the situational awareness of infantry players to clear the fog of war. He'll also be the target, with the ultimate aim of a battle — after several, varying sub-objectives — being to destroy the opposing side's MCC."
Moon

LCROSS Team Changes Target Crater For Impact 39

Matt_dk sends word that NASA has chosen a new target crater into which to crash the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission vehicles. "The decision means that when NASA's LCROSS probe and its spent Centaur rocket stage slam into the moon on Oct. 9, they will crash into the large crater Cabeus, and not the nearby (and smaller) Cabeus A crater that was previously targeted. ... The data suggests the new target Cabeus has a concentration of hydrogen — an indication of possible water ice — that's higher than anywhere else at the lunar south pole. ... A small valley etched into the otherwise tall crater ridge of Cabeus should allow sunlight to shine on the ejecta cloud kicked up when LCROSS and its Centaur rocket stage crash into the moon in successive impacts."
Google

Microsoft Says Google Chrome Frame Makes IE Less Secure 459

Mark writes "The release of Google Chrome Frame, a new open source plugin that injects Chrome's renderer and JavaScript engine into Microsoft's browser, earlier this week had many web developers happily dancing long through the night. Finally, someone had found a way to get Internet Explorer users up to speed on the Web. Microsoft, on the other hand, is warning IE users that it does not recommend installing the plugin. What does the company have against the plugin? It makes Internet Explorer less secure. 'With Internet Explorer 8, we made significant advancements and updates to make the browser safer for our customers,' a Microsoft spokesperson told Ars. 'Given the security issues with plugins in general and Google Chrome in particular, Google Chrome Frame running as a plugin has doubled the attack area for malware and malicious scripts. This is not a risk we would recommend our friends and families take.'"

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