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Games

Sequels We'd All Like To See 514

Voodoo Extreme has a feature up that's a wishlist for future sequels. They run down some great game franchises that have been off the board for a little while, and wonder out loud about the possibility of new installments. Besides the usual suspects for lists like this (StarCraft, TIE Fighter, Descent, Ultima), they touch on some cult favorites that are ... less likely to show up in modern gaming. From the article: "Planescape Torment 2: The Poop -- Loved by many a forumgoer is Planescape Torment, a Dungeons & Dragons-themed RPG set in the other planes of existence. It was a dark game with evil undertones, but also lighthearted and funny at times. Just think Baldur's Gate with an M rating. The Scoop -- Odds of a sequel are equal to or greater than Elvis coming home on the mothership." Any oldies you'd like to see back on modern systems? While I really like many of the ideas listed here, the LucasArts classics Grim Fandango and Maniac Mansion are the ones I'd most like to see rehashed.
Security

Journal Journal: Your Kids Could be Exposing Your Files on the Net

Your kids could be exposing all of your confidential computer files to the entire world. WFXT (Fox 25 TV in Boston) has a video report on kids unwisely changing the sharing options in many P2P software packages, often sharing the entire hard drive without their parent's knowledge. After that, they are just a simple search from trouble. As
Games

Submission + - Gaming your way to fitness

MC Jiggles writes: Is your former self a shadow of who you currently are? Ars Technica has an article on using video games to drop those pounds gained over the holidays. Using DDR 2 Extreme, Yourself Fitness, and EyeToy Kinetic on the PS2, the author managed to lose almost 20 pounds. 'Do these games make it easier to lose weight? Of course not; these two months took a lot of hard work, and I came close to quitting more than once. There is no "easy" way to get the pounds off. They do make it a little bit more enjoyable and put weight loss in a context that was more comfortable for me than a gym or a personal trainer.'
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Illegal Substances Subjected To Taxes

s31523 writes: "In the US, drugs are considered controlled substances, and the Drug Enforcement Agency has a schedule of the controlled substances. The scheduled list of drugs contain everything from pot to cough syrup. Even though many of these "scheduled" drugs are illegal to possess or sell, Time has an article on the state of Tennessee's "Unauthorized Substance Tax", which allows people to "anonymously" buy stamps for illicit drugs, which surprisingly has generated substantial revenue for the state (3.5 million since 2004). A judge recently declared the tax unconstitutional but the state is confident that this will be overturned and is continuing with the assessments."
Censorship

Submission + - How Game Raitings have Failed

twistedsymphony writes: "Thoughthead discusses the various ways the Software rating system has failed, why various state and local governments are going after the industry the way they are and offers some suggestions as to how they might fix their various problems.
The last major stumbling block the Video Game industry has to conquer is not only the most important towards getting the government off their back but also the biggest difference between the movie industry and the video game industry is enforcement. A rating system is useless unless it is actually adhered to, without that it's just noise.
"
Announcements

Submission + - UK Petition to Ban DRM Technologies

Neil H writes: "A little while ago I raised a petition to ban Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies on the new Number 10 petitions site. To date the petition has recieved 1,264 signatures, but the deadline (January 23rd) is fast approaching. As long as the petition gathers enough signatures all signees will recieve an email response, so if you live in the UK and dislike DRM please sign the petition!"
The Internet

Submission + - Internet downloading soon to be a crime

Elektroschock writes: "Toine Manders, an influential Dutch player in the European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee, told a Dutch Radio station that he wants 'downloading' to become a criminal offence. His slogan: 'Downloading is heling'. Toine Manders and his colleques currently discusses a Directive on criminal measures aimed at the Enforcement of intellectual property rights ('IPRED2')."
Internet Explorer

After 100M IE7 Downloads, Firefox Still Gaining 425

Kelson writes "Internet Explorer 7 hit the 100 million download mark last week. Yet in the three months it's been available, Firefox's market share has continued to grow. InformationWeek reports that nearly all of IE7's growth has been upgrades from IE6. People don't seem to be switching back to IE in significant numbers, prompting analysts to wonder: has Microsoft finally met its match?"
United States

Submission + - Reed Hundt: America in China's Shadow?

Anonymous writes: In a Q&A posted at CIOInsight.com, former FCC chairman Reed Hundt (author of "In China's Shadow: The Crisis of American Entrepreneurship") says the U.S. has fallen behind in the global race for innovation. From the article:

CIO Insight: You paint a dire picture of the rivalry between Chinese and U.S. businesses. Are we in an economic war with China?
Hundt: It's a battle between groups of knights or chevaliers — thousands of American firms against thousands of Chinese-based firms. So if you worked in the textile industry, you would say, here are these 20 American firms, each battling their vigorous Chinese competition. Or if you're Cisco, you say, of course, my competition is Huawei.
And if you look at the strength that Chinese firms bring to the competition, it's significant. First of all, China is now at the same level as Japan in R&D spending, and soon will be almost at the level of the United States. Second, it's so much cheaper for Huawei to run its business than for Cisco, by a factor of ten times. And finally, China has extremely easy access to capital, and all their markets are wide open for competition, mostly because they're growing. Nothing is a mature market there. It's very vigorous domestic competition, much more vigorous than most of the American markets. There's much more of what Americans used to think America was.
Classic Games (Games)

Why Your SNES Turned Yellow 87

If, back in the day, you ever wondered why your old Super Nintendo tended to discolor, your curiosity will now be sated. Via Ars Technica's Opposable Thumbs blog, an article on the Vintage Computing and Gaming site which explains the mysteries of plastic discoloration. From the article: "Since ... different batches of plastics had ... different aging results ... then there must have been a difference of additives between them. Perhaps in one of the production runs of plastic, they didn't get the catalyst or flame retardant mixture quite right and more residues were left over in the top half's plastic batch, thus causing it to degrade more rapidly over time. And by the time Nintendo produced the later runs of Super Nintendos, they had perfected the manufacturing process of their plastic, meaning that those later models aren't as susceptible to oxidation as the earlier models are."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - the post-antibiotic apocalypse

lpq writes: "We are facing a future where there will be no antibiotics and hospital will be the last place to be if you want to avoid picking up a dangerous bacterial infection," he says. "In effect, cut your finger on Monday and you'll be dead by Friday if there's nothing to prevent it." — Richard James, Healthcare Center Director at Nottingham University comments on the increasing death count from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Increasing deaths coming from athletic centers, military, prisons and childrens' play-grounds from super-bugs. Sara Boseley reports.

Can drug companies be persuaded to engage in research for the public good and not just for the profit? If not, what are the alternatives? It looks like we are nearing the end of the golden-anti-biotic era. While new antibiotics may be "just around the corner", the pharmaceuticals much prefer to research "life-style" drugs that people will have to take for life, rather than an antibiotic regimen that someone might take for 14 days. Even with treatment, some of the new "Superbugs" infections have only a 50% survival rate in the "West" with modern drugs. This is in comparison in many countries in Africa where the mortality rate is 100%. It's much better to research drugs for people who are likely to live many years, but who will remain sick enough to need your product for life. It's the "ethical" form of addicting someone to your drugs for life...
The Internet

Submission + - Web Site Raises $25,000 For Darfur

jsburke writes: "Four hundred thousand numbers cover the The Darfur Wall. Each represents a victim of genocide in Darfur, Sudan. By donating $1 or more, you can turn a number from dark gray to brilliant white and honor one lost life. In its first two months, The Darfur Wall has raised over $25,000 from donors in 27 countries. 100% of the proceeds benefit four Darfur relief organizations: Doctors Without Borders, Save Darfur, Save the Children, and the Sudan Aid Fund."
XBox (Games)

Microsoft Readies 360 Launch For China 38

The Xbox 360 was launched in Hong Kong in November of 2005, but the system is not officially part of the Chinese gaming market. Microsoft aims to change that this year, pending approval from the Chinese government. Gamasutra has the details on the deal, which will receive intense scrutiny from the country's culture ministry. From the article: "Looking to China specifically, the report notes that Microsoft has begun working with Chinese internet service providers and computer manufactures regarding the impending launch, and also plans to hire personnel to handle sales activities concerning the Xbox 360 on the Chinese mainland, though a specific time frame for these future hires remains as unknown as the launch itself. Likewise, a price has yet to be confirmed for the console as well, though the Xbox 360 sells for HK$2,329 ($300) in Hong Kong."

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