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Classic Games (Games)

The Return of (Old) PC Graphic Adventures 93

KingofGnG writes "Though they belong to a genre already considered defunct and inadequate for the mainstream video game market, adventure games have a glorious past, a past that deserves to be remembered, and, of course, replayed. At the center of a good part of this effort of collective memory, there is ScummVM, the virtual machine which acts like an interface between the feelings and the puzzles from the good old times and the modern operating systems. As already highlighted before, the ScummVM target has grown immensely over time, going from the simple support of the 'classic' adventure games par excellence published by Lucasfilm/Lucasarts, to a range that includes virtually any single puzzle-solving game developed from the beginning of time up to the advent of the (Windows) NT platform. The last video game engine added to ScummVM within the past few days is Groovie, created by the software house Trilobyte for its first title released in 1993, The 7th Guest ."
The Internet

Submission + - Linux and Mac to get BBC iPlayer downloads (cnet.co.uk)

Jonas writes: It may have taken them forever, but the Beeb is officially bringing BBC iPlayer downloads to Linux and Macs. The technology will be powered by Adobe's AIR platform, though will still be wrapped in the DRM present in Windows downloads. The iPlayer has seen massive improvements since its initial launch, including the move to Flash instead of streaming Windows Media Video, and the utilisation of the H.264 codec to make streaming a more attractive option. Downloads are also now available specifically for portable devices, including Nokia phones and Archos handhelds, and there's talk of the entire back catalogues of current shows becoming permanently available for download.

Comment Suggestion (Score 1) 2

Try asking this same question in a more newbie friendly environment, such as www.linuxquestions.org.

The folk on slashdot are generally very clued up, but if this gets onto the main /. site you'll get all sorts of discussion about why Gimp is good afterall, and the actual useful answers to your question will get lost in the fuzz.

I know that there are programs that do exactly what you need because I've seen them, but I don't know them by name, nor well enough to make a recommendation.

Anyway, just a suggestion. I hope you get your question answered, but I do feel that /. is probably the wrong place to ask. :-)

All the best!


Submission + - Transparent Cockpit Removes Car Blind Spots

Ponca City, We love you writes: "Solid features such as dashboard and doors can conceal road hazards such as other vehicles and pedestrians but now engineers have come up with a way to make the car's solid features disappear from the driver's point of view. A pair of stereo cameras mounted on the passenger-side wing mirror capture scenery usually hidden from the driver by the dashboard and the solid parts of doors while a headset worn by the driver projects the cameras' output onto the solid features, displaying a clear view of what hides behind them as if they were transparent. "These sort of systems have been talked about for years, but this the best example of its kind that I've seen so far," says Andrew Parkes, who performs behavoural studies on drivers at the Transport Research Laboratory in the UK. Letting the driver see usually hidden hazards is better than alarm systems that can be hard to interpret, says Parkes, "but there's a long way to go before deciding whether it would be beneficial in practice.""

Submission + - A Star That Bursts, Blinks and Disappears (spacefellowship.com)

Matt_dk writes: "Astronomers are reporting on a strange case where one of the littlest of stars "twinkled" with gamma rays, X-rays, and light — and then vanished.

The story began on June 6, 2007. That's when a spike of gamma-rays lasting less than five seconds washed over NASA's Swift satellite. But this high-energy flash wasn't a gamma-ray burst — the birth cry of a black hole far across the universe. It was something much closer to home."

Internet Explorer

Submission + - SPAM: IE8's 'Porn Mode' Leaks Data

narramissic writes: "The InPrivate Browsing feature built into the second beta version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 is designed to delete a user's browsing history and other personal data that is gathered and stored during regular browsing sessions. The feature is commonly referred to as 'porn mode' for its ability to hide which websites have been visited from nosy spouses or employers. To prevent login details, online orders and other sensitive information from leaking out, the privacy feature prevents the browser from storing any cookies and refrains from storing the browsing history in the Windows registry. But don't depend on it to keep your secrets safe. 'The privacy option in this beta is mainly cosmetic,' says forensic IT expert Christian Prickaerts."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Company Sells Open-Source Software As Its Own (zabbix.com) 4

teknopurge writes: "After using the software for years I was shocked to find that one of my favorite open-source projects, Zabbix, had its code stolen, rebranded and sold for profit as Firescope. Touting thier product as "revolutionary", Firescope has apparently copied the Zabbix repository and themed the interface without adhering to the GPL that Zabbix is distributed with. Is this not the worst fear of every open source project?"

Vista's Security Rendered Completely Useless 415

scribbles89 sends in a story that originally ran in SearchSecurity; it sounds like it could be a game-changer. "While this may seem like any standard security hole, other researchers say that the work is a major breakthrough and there is very little that Microsoft can do to fix the problems. These attacks work differently than other security exploits, as they aren't based on any new Windows vulnerabilities, but instead take advantage of the way Microsoft chose to guard Vista's fundamental architecture. According to Dino Dai Zovi..., 'the genius of this is that it's completely reusable. They have attacks that let them load chosen content to a chosen location with chosen permissions. That's completely game over.'" Update: 08/08 14:23 GMT by KD : Changed the link, as the story first linked had been lifted without attribution.

Comment Re:Money (Score 5, Informative) 298

I'll give 10:1 odds that Futuremark simply compiled their benchmark with Intel's C++ compiler.

I wrote a detailed explanation back in 2005 about how the Intel C++ compiler generates separate code paths for memory operations to make AMD processors appear significantly slower, and how you can trick the compiled code into believing your AMD processor is an Intel one to see incredibly increased performance. See this article for additional details.

The Courts

Submission + - SPAM: Spam King pulls prison vanishing act

coondoggie writes: "Seems the Spam King is also an escape artist. Eddie Davidson this week just walked away from a federal prison camp in Colorado where he had been serving 21 months for his massive spamming activities. THE FBI is now looking for Davidson who was also to pay $714,139 in restitution to the IRS. As part of the restitution, Davidson agreed to forfeit property he purchased, including gold coins (which the IRS is selling today), with the ill gotten proceeds of his offense, the Department of Justice said. At the time of sentencing the judge ordered Davidson to report to a facility designated by the Bureau of Prisons on May 27, 2008. Davidson had made well over $3.5 million, court papers show. [spam URL stripped]"
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Why Microsoft Is Chasing Yahoo 245

latif writes "Microsoft has been chasing Yahoo for quite a while now. Most people think that it all started with Microsoft's acquisition bid for Yahoo, but this is not so. It is well-known that Microsoft and Yahoo have been negotiating since at least May of 2006, and may have been negotiating since 2003. I have done a thorough analysis utilizing information made public over the past five years and my analysis suggests that most people are completely wrong about what Microsoft wants from Yahoo."

Comment Believe it or not, you asked for it (Score 5, Informative) 263

Our company has had to set up some email filtering and archiving. Why?

A receptionist for our company was fired for sending out bulk pornographic email, including video. He has done it for months. He's suing us, because he claims he was fired because he is gay. We only have a few of those emails that he send on backup because our backup only goes so far, will it be enough to not have to pay him big bucks and rehire him?

An accountant was fired for gross incompetance. She fouled up our main systems, needed her password reset with the Feds at $100 a pop several times a month, etc. Finally, she comes in and demands to work 30 hours but still get 40 hours pay. She was fired after a public tantrum. She is suing us, because she is black and claims racial discrimination. We need a LOT of documentation to back up our claims that she wasn't a good employee, because she can just say we don't have enough black people, and that can be considered proof of discrimination by itself.

We are heavily regulated about customer information. If someone emails out another persons personal information outside the company, and it makes the news, we all suffer. We have to monitor for that too.

We have to take preventative measures to block bad language from coming in and going out. We can get sued because an employee called a customer a f*cker in an email, or because someone saw a dirty joke on someone else's screen (sexual harassment).

Laws were written up to protect the "little guy", so now we have to prove to government agencies that we have made accurate hiring and firing decisions. We have to support our claims, and take preventive action, because there are so many ways that we can get screwed by employees I can't even count them.

This week we had to let someone go because they came up short by $750. We had two people dedicated to figuring out what happened for two days. We spent a lot on money and time, and we are looking forward to the inevitable lawsuit. We have email to back it all up, and because of procedures we have in place, the emails are professional and straightforward, instead of causal and possibly derogatory. It took us a while to get here, but yes, this is what you asked for. By increasing our risk through lawsuits and regulatory compliance, we have to manage that risk by monitoring our employees.

Go swear to your friends at home.

Comment Also a matter of rewards, I guess (Score 5, Interesting) 478

It's also a matter of

A) rewards. If you're going to put 10x more work into something, then you'd expect the rewards to be worth it. That doesn't mean only salaries (though that sure helps too), but also stuff like overall job quality, social recognition of your efforts, etc. I'd say that in the west, for various reasons and to various degrees, all of those gradually declined.

We went for example from a culture which put its intellectual elites on pedestals, to a culture where being technically illiterate or even outright stupid, is cool and fashionable. In fact, if you show any intelectual interests or aptitudes, it's kinda mean of you and insensitive to your below-average neighbours/classmates/etc.

In programming alone we went from being those wizards doing high tech stuff, to being outright disconsidered. Nowadays for the average outsider it's not "I don't know how to do the things he does", it's more like "I have a life, I don't have time for that crap" or "yeah, the neighbour's 12 year old can do that kind of stuff." The idea from the 90's that you can just retrain an unemployed pizza-delivery-guy or burger flipper off the street, and he'll be just as good as those snotty CS and engineering graduates anyway, also didn't do much for recognition. It was hammered in everyone's head that you _are_ no better than him, and he could have had your job too if only he could be arsed to take one of those two-week java courses.

Now not all countries are at the same point, and not all went in that direction as fast, but that was the general direction all went slowly.

That's one reason to put in the extra effort, that went down the drain right there. For a lot of people that criterion is now actually a disincentive, since all that extra effort might actually _lower_ their prestige in the community instead of raising it.

B) Rampant age-ism also doesn't help. Back then, sure, I was young, I thought I'd never get old. When 15 years is your entire life so far, and you probably remember only 10, living another 45 years to 60 seems like a bloody eternity. No point worrying about something _that_ far in the future. Now I see perfectly competent programmers pushed aside or into a corner, because some PHB learned the mantra that only the smart young kids are any good.

If I had a kid, I'd tell him to stay well away of that field. Chances are you _will_ live to _at_ _least_ your 40's, even if you chain-smoke and get to twice your idea weight and go alcoholic too. If you want a job where you start being discriminated against as early as the 30's, heck, go into prostitution or porn instead. (And considering some bosses I've occasionally seen, prostitution might even be the more dignified job.)

C) It's also a matter of, well, excitement.

In all science or engineering domains, there was a time where it looked like there's so much interesting stuff to do or discover, and only the sky is the limit. (Or in aerospace not even the sky.)

In programming, for example, when I looked at some primitive games or programs on the old ZX-81 or later ZX-Spectrum, I thought, "I can do better." Often I actually could. Heck, I could even paint my own sprites by hand, although I'm no graphics artist, and they still looked good enough at that resolution.

Nowadays, if I look at a modern game, well, there's just not the same sensation. Duly noted, nowadays about half can be modded, so you can still tempt someone to programming that way. But for a while even that wasn't the case.

Ok, so that's only games, but the same applies to any other programming domain. At some point you could have been the guy who created the next big language, wrote the OS for some underpowered mini, or did the next great maths thing with a computer, or designed the next computer itself, or whatever. Nowadays you'll be a cog in a 20-people team writing the front-end to some database app.

Or if we move away from programming, as I was saying, the same applies to any other engineering domain. At one point we had the people designing car engines be the gods of engineering, and making breakthroughs left and right, while nowadays it's a team of peons applying formulas and tweaking the injection pressures. Chances are that the designer making it visually appealing, or the marketer coming up with the ad campaign for that car, actually make a bigger difference to that car than any of the guys who worked on the engine.

It all just doesn't have the same ring to it, ya know. "If you learn and work hard, you too could be a faceless, unimportant, expendable, replaceable worker at a glorified assembly line" isn't quite as motivational as "You too could make the next big thing."

I suppose it's inevitable, and I certainly don't propose to remain frozen in the past. But then let's not wonder if people aren't as motivated to get a degree in it any more.

Submission + - SPAM: Carl Icahn Takes on Yahoo Board 1

narramissic writes: "In a letter distributed this morning to the press and addressed to Yahoo's board Chairman Roy Bostock, Carl Icahn charges the board with acting irrationally and losing the faith of shareholders and Microsoft and announces he is nominating 10 candidates to replace all incumbent directors at the company's shareholders meeting in July. The move, rumored since earlier this week, is intended to ultimately reignite merger negotiations between Yahoo and Microsoft.

'It is quite obvious that Microsoft's bid of $33 per share is a superior alternative to Yahoo's prospects on a standalone basis. I am perplexed by the board's actions. It is irresponsible to hide behind management's more than overly optimistic financial forecasts,' Icahn wrote.

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