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Comment It's the upcoming cuts, not the recession (Score 5, Insightful) 393

The issue here isn't that there's iPhone apps being developed during a recession, it's that money is being invested in a duplication of services when the government is looking to slash spending by up to 40% across the board. When we're looking at a devastation of public services, it's hard to condone spending intended to benefit a minority of Britons with access to a luxury device.
Games

Why Are There No Popular Ultima Online-Like MMOs? 480

eldavojohn writes "I have a slightly older friend who played through the glory days of Ultima Online. Yes, their servers are still up and running, but he often waxes nostalgic about certain gameplay functions of UO that he misses. I must say that these aspects make me smile and wonder what it would be like to play in such a world — things like housing, thieving and looting that you don't see in the most popular massively multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft. So, I've followed him through a few games, including Darkfall and now Mortal Online. And these (seemingly European developed) games are constantly fading into obscurity and never catching hold. We constantly move from one to the next. Does anyone know of a popular three-dimensional game that has UO-like rules and gameplay? Perhaps one that UO players gravitated to after leaving UO? If you think that the very things that have been removed (housing and thieving would be two good topics) caused WoW to become the most popular MMO, why is that? Do UO rules not translate well to a true 3D environment? Are people incapable of planning for corpse looting? Are players really that inept that developers don't want to leave us in control of risk analysis? I'm familiar with the Bartle Test but if anyone could point me to more resources as to why Killer-oriented games have faded out of popularity, I'd be interested."
Role Playing (Games)

Genre Wars — the Downside of the RPG Takeover 248

Phaethon360 writes "From Bioshock and Modern Warfare 2 to even Team Fortress 2, RPG elements are creeping into game genres that we never imagined they would. This change for the most part has managed to subtly improve upon genres that needed new life, but there's a cost that hasn't been tallied by the majority of game developers. 'The simple act of removing mod tools, along with the much discussed dedicated server issue, has made [MW2] a bit of a joke among competitive players. Gone are the days of "promod," and the only option you have is to play it their way. If Infinity Ward are so insistent on improving the variety of our experiences, they don’t have to do it at the expense of the experience that many of us already love. It really is that simple. If they don’t want to provide a good "back to basics experience," they could at least continue to provide the tools that allow us to do that for ourselves.'"
Businesses

EA Shuts Down Pandemic Studios, Cuts 200 Jobs 161

lbalbalba writes "Electronic Arts is shutting down its Westwood-based game developer Pandemic Studios just two years after acquiring it, putting nearly 200 people out of work. 'The struggling video game publisher informed employees Tuesday morning that it was closing the studio as part of a recently announced plan to eliminate 1,500 jobs, or 16% of its global workforce. Pandemic has about 220 employees, but an EA spokesman said that a core team, estimated by two people close to the studio to be about 25, will be integrated into the publisher's other Los Angeles studio, in Playa Vista.' An ex-developer for Pandemic attributed the studio's struggles to poor decisions from the management."

Comment Re:Why? (Score 2, Informative) 658

Compare that to the other religions. To the best of my knowledge, there is no super-secret ultra-eyes-only version of the Bible that only the elite Christians get to read. There is no "not for the viewing of non-believers" version of the Qu'ran that only the most devout Muslims get to read. But there are secret Scientology documents which explain core beliefs of Scientology that the general rank and file of the CoS do not have access to.

Unfortunately, it's a bit more complicated than that. Esotericism is, at least historically, a common religious practice. Gnosticism, Mormonism, at least a few Buddhist sects, and arguably the Masonic tradition all spring to mind. All of these have the idea that there are truths which should not be made available to the uninitiated, as they are not prepared to receive them correctly.

So this is the complicated problem: there are no really good grounds for condemning Scientology as a religion. The problems arise, rather, from the Church of Scientology as an institution. Letting aside the heavy-handed tactics used to recruit new members and to protect the Church, the fees charged for initiation seem to shift the practice from esotericism to exploitation. It's worth pointing out that very few people have objections to the Free Zone, emphasizing that the primary objection to the Church of Scientology is fundamentally organizational, rather than religious per se.

The Courts

Submission + - Julie Amero granted new trial (courant.com)

Dynamoo writes: "As previously covered on Slashdot, Connecticut teacher Julie Amero was facing the possibility of a 40 year jail term because of a spyware infection on a school computer.

The judge in the case today ordered a new trial citing that the original evidence was flawed. This comes after a campaign by security experts and bloggers to have the earlier conviction overturned. It looks unlikely that Amero will actually be tried again, which looks like a great victory for common sense."

It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Computer case made from stuffed beaver

gotw writes: "Wow, someone has built a working PC inside a stuffed beaver! Quite macabre, oddly fascinating. Welcome to compubeaver. Gross. The creator gives a full photographic run-down of the creation process."
Links

Submission + - Public Toilets Database with Maps and Locations

William writes: "A publicly accessible database has been set up at www.publictoilets.org . You can search for public toilets in 19 countries and find out information that includes the address, Googlemaps and detailed information about the facility as well as geographic coordinates. A user can submit comments and enter new locations. There is a wiki, forum and mailing list linked from the main page of the database with information related to public toilets. It is hoped that public exposure to this resource will add to it's content and help expand coverage.

For more information contact:
wstan@publictoilets.org

or go to:

www.publictoilets.org"

Feed EU Court Calls Employee Computer Monitoring A Human Rights Violation, In Some Ca (techdirt.com)

The European Court for Human Rights has ruled in favor of a woman who sued the British government after her boss in her public-sector job monitored her personal phone calls and internet use while she was at work. While the decision does set some precedent that monitoring employees' personal communications, even if done on work time over work equipment, contravenes the EU's human-rights laws, it also makes it clear that it's only in certain circumstances. Basically, to avoid legal problems, an employer has to have a policy covering acceptable use of its systems and equipment, and that policy has to say that employees' communications could be monitored if it wants to spy on employees' communications. While it seems a little strong to call this a human-rights violation, and it would seem wise to err on the side of caution and assume your employer can or will monitor what goes across their networks, the court's decision doesn't seem unreasonable. If employers want to waste their time trying to find all that lost productivity by spying on their employees, some disclosure would probably be appreciated. If only all potential human-rights violators would be so courteous.
Input Devices

Submission + - Kensington Vo200 VoIP Mobile Phone Reviewed

joggeroftoday writes: CoolTechZone.com has published a review of Kensington's Vo200 VoIP Internet phone that stores in your notebook and turns into a mobile handset when you are taking calls. The review states, "The Vo200 is PCMIA slot compatible (and incompatible with ExpressCard slots), which essentially means that all you need to do is slide it in your notebook's PCMIA slot for storage and recharging. How cool is that? Another interesting thing that we really enjoyed working with was its handset mode (for private conversations) and speakerphone mode (for more transparent calls) with the swing of the base. It was fun to sit back, turn on the speakerphone mode and talk away.
Media (Apple)

Submission + - EMI's entire catalogue available DRM free

rohan972 writes: The Sydney Morning Herald reports: EMI Music has become the first of the big four record companies to break from the pack and make its entire catalogue available as downloads free of copy control measures.

The announcement to offer the unprotected format was made in London overnight by EMI Group CEO Eric Nicoli. He was joined by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who said his company's market-leading iTunes Store would also carry the new EMI tracks, marking the first time that DRM-free music would be offered to on iTunes.
Movies

Submission + - Good Science/Math Lectures online?

nitroamos writes: Every once in a while I find myself searching for a good science or math lecture online, a talk on the general interest level. Feynman was well known as an excellent lecturer, able to make non scientists understand him. However, there is relatively little available for viewing online. Examples of what I'm interested include Caltech Watson Lectures and Vega Science Trust. Are there any other websites people can recommend from their fields of interest?
Patents

Submission + - Control water with electricity

MattSparkes writes: "French researchers have discovered a new way to create super-hydrophobic surfaces, which could make completely electronic control of water possible. This could replace messy pumps and valves. By passing a voltage across a water droplet on the surface, it's shape can be deformed, and when the voltage is removed, it springs back into shape. Although the distortion is small, it should be enough to push droplets around by controlling the voltage between many different surface electrodes."
Quickies

Submission + - Monster squid caught in Antarctica

zakkie writes: "New Zealand fisherman have caught a massive 450 kg colossal squid fishing in the Antartic waters. This is by far the biggest yet found, measuring over 10 metres in length and weighing 450 kg. It has been taken back to New Zealand to be studied."
Google

Submission + - Google to charge for web apps

zakkie writes: "According to BBC News, Google is to start charging businesses for guaranteed availability and more features in the web apps like Gmail. The article suggests the timing is bad for Microsoft and their release of Office 2007, and is a "shot across their bows"."

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