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Comment Re:Kick them in the ding ding (Score 2) 129

No, their first priority is protection of their own IP which they must defend vigorously. Any unofficial "blessing" or slack with that takedown can be used as a chink in their case to retain the IP at a later legal engagement. Rather unlikely, but the law is not filled with many absolute certainties.

I'm certain that the first comment from Blizzard (and not their lawyers) to him was "We apologize for the takedown, but we have to cover our bases. Now, please tell us more about your project. We're a bit curious..." Once actual intent is discovered and identified, I'm willing to bet that they've extended a formal notice of approval to allow him to continue work, and posting videos in the future. Mark my words, in a few days that video will be back up on youtube.

Comment Re:As a matter of fact, you can (Score 1) 181

Pretty much this.

Unfortunately, for the past... thirty years or so the basic view of a LOT of shareholders, a view that became steadily more and more common, was that they wanted a positive return each year, each quarter, etc. The boards that existed could see this tide rising steadily, as other boards that failed to deliver were eventually turfed out by shareholders and their proxies who DID want more returns. This then gave pressure to the boards to deliver on these results. Note that this means the boards are beholden to their shareholders. IE the Board has the (non-legal) obligation to follow the shareholder's majority goals. Failure to do so can result in the board being wiped clean (Note that in many companies boards are elected as a slate IE all or nothing).

Nobody likes losing a job, especially one with six figures attached to it, means that most boards will then work towards giving the shareholders what they want. So, one gets cost cutting and other charming crap. That being said, it's pretty much impossible to sue for a failure to generate profits, so long as there is an honest intention generate them (now there's a legal loophole for ya!).

One good thing at least, is that a lot of companies have recognized that chasing the ever-growing stock value (which is what shareholders want after all) is bad for long term business, and have begun working to persuade shareholders to take a longer, more strategic view. Some corps are leveraging this with environmental concerns, or economic stability, but it is happening.

Comment Re:Forward thinkers (Score 3, Funny) 506

This I can top. My local store has us pay for bags (voluntarily, mind you) by ringing in a PLU code. Only five cents per plastic bag. Pretty common fare around here. Anyhow, so I tell it I grabbed one plastic bag, and then it asks me if I wanted a bag for it. Which would then mean I'd have to plug in another PLU code, and then it would ask me for ANOTHER bag... and so on and so on....

Comment Re:like the people that buy NY lotto tickets? (Score 3, Informative) 319

I can't say how it is down in the States, but I know in Canada the way that scratch tickets work is that they have a bar code on the back, and a serial number hidden under the scratch portion. In order to validate the ticket, the retailer scans the bar code, and then looks for the serial number. The bar code is just a digital representation of the serial number, EXCEPT for the last three digits. The retailer plugs in the last three digits, and then the validator talks to the lotto central server and spits back a result of "Legit win", "Already redeemed" or "Not a Winner".

If Canada does it this way, I'd be surprised if a lot of the US lotto organizations don't either.

Comment Re:New headline (Score 1) 620

The player who actually created the PLEXes got exactly what they wanted. If they had wanted game time instead of ingame currency, they would have created the PLEX, and then immediately used it. Or even more likely, just used the game time code to add play time to their account without even creating a PLEX in the first place.

Comment Re:New headline (Score 2, Informative) 620

Nice Try, but no.

The way PLEXes work is that a player buys a gametime code from an authorized online retailer. The player then docks up at a station, and enters the code into a menu. This converts the codes into PLEXs (two PLEX per code). These PLEXes can then be put it onto the market and sold like other items

Now, in this situation all these PLEXes were purchased from multiple sellers in Jita (THE trade hub in EVE). The pilot then decided to move them out of Jita on a small, poorly defended and very weak ship. By all accounts the pilot had bought them in order to move them elsewhere and sell them at a considerable markup and make profit. Unfortunately, some hostiles were waiting outside of the undock point at the Jita space station (not uncommon). They saw a hostile target undock, and they engaged. Boom.

You may notice that the player(s) who actually created the PLEXes were compensated. They made ISK from their sales. The person who bought them however... just did something astronomically stupid.

Comment Re:unintentionally? (Score 1) 414

The decision against Schmeiser was partially reversed and effectively nullified on appeal. See Schmeiser's web site.

That's interesting, except for the fact that the Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court in the land. You cannot appeal such a decision anymore than you can appeal one made by the Supreme Justices of the United States. True, the victory was not total (damages were not extensive) but Schmeiser was still found guilty.

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto_Canada_Inc._v._Schmeiser#Judgment

Comment Re:Permit help enforce safety... (Score 1) 650

... and keep your insurance in force. If said pool on the cheap leaked or burst, flooding your own house or the neighbour's, then the insurance adjuster can look to see if it was a properly installed pool. If it wasn't, then that would be pretty good grounds to have your coverage refused. That would then potentially leave you on the hook for paying any damages that would be your fault. Of course, you could try to sue the pool builder, but I'll wager he'll be quite long gone.

Building inspectors, on this note, will be conducting rounds every now and again to monitor compliance in any case. Google just allows them to do it faster, and with less environmental damage. That means conceivably, the inspectors can look at more serious issues like possibly unsafe decks and wiring. It's also interesting to note that this has been used elsewhere. I recall seeing an article last fall in the local newspaper about how Greek inspectors were doing the same. There, you not only have to have a permit, but there's a yearly tax as well. They looked at a certian suburb of Athens (middle-upper class area) and figured there were about 200 or so legally registered pools. They then did a look through Google Earth, and discovered 1700 pools in the same suburb.

Comment Re:what (Score 1) 234

I'm a business major, about to graduate with a BBA in Accounting, and the calculator is by no means a crutch. It is a tool to let me do a LOT of tedious, repetitive math far more accurately and quickly than by hand.

You CAN calculate out a mortgage, depreciation on assets, or a compounded investment portfolio by hand. Each period is only a few basic math steps. You just have to recalculate each period, write down a value, and do it over and over again. Care to estimate how many mistakes you might make just with writing and re-reading or entering numbers? Would you like your mortgage consultant to do that for you? And bill you for that time?

Didn't think so. A calculator automates the tedious parts of my profession so that I can work better. It does the math, but I have to understand HOW it does it, how the variables affect the results, and how to interpret it. Push coming to shove, I could do it by hand. But reality just makes it much easier to use a calculator to crunch out the raw data.

That's what I was taught in University. We do it by hand to understand how our tools work, and then we do it via calculator or Excel to do something usable with it. Understand the basics, and then leverage the power of something that's better at it. You don't slam a carpenter for using a table saw when he could use a handsaw do you? The value of his work isn't what does the cutting, it's the knowledge he has to pick the right tool to give you the result that you want. Why should the usage of a calculator be any different?

Technology

Submission + - Vodafone launches solar-powered mobile phone (digitizor.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Telecom major Vodafone Essar has launched eco-friendly solar charging handset in India.
Since electricity is not yet readily available in many parts of rural India, even mobile phone charging is a big problem there. With this new phone Vodafone is planning to extend its user base to include those people.
Vodafone says that the phone do not need to be exposed to direct sunlight. It can charge from the ambient light. The phone is expected to cost Rs. 1300 (aprox. $32).

Submission + - Android data stealing App downloaded by millions (venturebeat.com)

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 www.imnet.us, 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.

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