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Businesses

Treading the Fuzzy Line Between Game Cloning and Theft 235

eldavojohn writes "Ars analyzes some knockoffs and near-knockoffs in the gaming world that led to problems with the original developers. Jenova Chen, creator of Flower and flOw, discusses how he feels about the clones made of his games. Chen reveals his true feelings about the takedown of Aquatica (a flOw knockoff): 'What bothers me the most is that because of my own overreaction, I might have created a lot of inconvenience to the creator of Aquatica and interrupted his game-making. He is clearly talented, and certainly a fan of flOw. I hope he can continue creating video games, but with his own design.' The article also notes the apparent similarities between Zynga's Cafe World and Playfish's Restaurant City (the two most popular Facebook games). Is that cloning or theft? Should clones be welcomed or abhorred?"
Businesses

What Can I Expect As an IT Intern? 325

p3np8p3r writes "I'm in college and working towards my Bachelors in Computer Science. Last year I passed both my CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications and now have been offered (via a staffing company) a full-time Internship at a wireless lab of a major laptop manufacturer. The pay is going to be around $8 an hour full-time but that is not my primary motivator. I'm considering this significant decrease in pay from my previous (non-IT) job to be counterbalanced by what valuable knowledge I may gain both in the technical aspects and industry insight while I finish school. This field is all new to me and I don't personally know anyone who has worked in it before who will give me their honest opinions on it. Although I know circumstances differ greatly, in general, what can I expect as an IT Intern? What have been your experiences?"

Comment Re:Schadenfreude (Score 1) 241

Lived here since 1989, sometimes you do see them with MP's and shotguns. Like when there was a raid on an Apartment complex near where I live - about 30 cops, heavy artillery, vests and dogs never found out what actually happened - or on patrol in the vicinity of some of the embassies (Turkey, for example).

But the worst thing about german cops is the fact that they get to carry guns, but hardly ever get to actually fire them (something about cost cutting and the cost of ammo and range time). It turns out that they average something like 1 or 2 range days a year. I shoot more than that when I'm on vacation, and I can't hit the broadside of a barn. Every once in a while you hear about an arrest involving the use of a police sidearm. Usually ends up with someone other than the criminal being shot. I.e. the guy who stabbed the egyptian woman in a courtroom in Dresden earlier this year - the cop shot her husband instead of the killer. Or the cop who discharged her gun in the middle of the very crowed Nürnberg train station at rush hour while in pursuit of a suspect (no one was hurt). Or the two cops who shot each other during a traffic stop gone bad, because they positioned themselves on either side of the car, at the front window and then opened fire on the driver.

There are more stories, but the general theme is when you hear about a cop using his gun in germany, it tends to include some mention of which person or object - other than the suspect - was wounded or damaged.

Comment Re:Simple question (Score 1) 151

yeah, that'll work. I can just see the conversations between the Vendors and the CIOs...

V: We have this new DRM that will protect your content from unauthorized access.
C: Really? How's that work?
V: We use the new <suspiciously vague but vaguely exciting technology name> technology!
C: Cool! And this is all free, right?
V:...
V: Actually, it will cost <fantastically high number> of <appropriate currency>...
C: ...
V: And we will of course have to update everything, and redesign most of your existing infrastructure over the course of the next <unfeasibly long period of time> ...
C: ...
V: It's really cool, though! It's got <suspiciously vague but vaguely exciting technology name> technology!
C: Oh. Then, No.
V: ...
C: Ok, moving right along, let's talk about that exciting new Word Version Licensing program...

Comment "Wear Sunscreen" (Score 1) 260

chances are you are never going to be able to do this again, and in the short term the security threats that your audience will be exposed to will be different, new and completely oblivious to the prophylaxis and methods you describe today.

So just tell 'em to wear sunscreen, 'cause that's always a good idea...

Comment Re:Something needs to be done as today's system is (Score 1) 296

Dude, you are a loon. And a selfish one, to boot. On the other hand, perhaps you're simply ignorant or disoriented, in which case I sincerely hope this rant helps a little...

Healthcare in the US is a tragedy, and your attitude is tantamount to sociopathy. Part of being a member of a community is being willing to sacrifice a little for those farther to the left side of the income/opportunity bell curve - even those who get there willfully.

"Socialized" healthcare and insurance just works. I live in Germany, and am privately insured. My wife isn't, she is covered by the "public option" - one of several dozen privately run group insurance "co-op's" that are strictly regulated by the government. My wife is also a long-term HIV survivor. All together, her drugs alone amount to about 65k Euros a year - and she has been taking them in one cocktail or another for the last 20 years. She is unemployed, by choice, as her doctors told her that the stress of a regular job could dramatically affect the quality of her life, not to mention the duration - and the unpredictability of her symptoms and the side effects of her drugs made working regular hours intractable for her and her employer. The government (and my taxes) also help out here by providing a minimal disability pension, based on the income she earned before becoming unable to work.

If she wants to, she can switch to any of the other public option co-ops tomorrow. Or I could take her onto my private plan. Tell me how exactly the system would take care of her in the States? Personally, I am thankful that I never had to find out. My last brush with the American health care system showed me that.

A few years ago, my wife and I were in Las Vegas on vacation. She had a sudden attack of pleurisy - which pretty much seemed like a heart attack when it happened in the middle of a show at the Wynn. The result was 24 hours in a Vegas hospital, a couple of really expensive aspirin, a couple of liters of saline and glucose, a clear bill of health and a bill for about $24000. This probably would have been a serious financial blow for anybody who was as surprised by it as we were. Fortunately, I'm not covered by a US insurance plan. I (not my wife, me) have a travel health plan (also private) from my credit card company. It's part of the 35 Euro annual fee I pay. I called them (1 call) and they took care of the rest. Worked a deal with the hospital, paid the bill and let me know everything was ok. They even dealt with the hospital when they contacted me directly and tried to squeeze me for the difference (about $8000) between the initial bill and the settled amount. The whole deal cost me about 20 Euros in long distance mobile charges for the initial call - which they also offered to reimburse. No hassle, no new restrictions, no new premiums.

I pay a load of taxes, part of which goes to help defray the cost of regulating the health care industry in Germany, as does part of my medical insurance premium. I have absolutely no problem with that. The "public option" insurance scheme includes government regulation that keeps all players in the industry in line. Services require approval (if they are not emergencies) beyond a certain baseline, but are generally covered. This also applies to my private insurer. The fees hospitals, pharmacies and doctors can charge are regulated as well, as are the awards in malpractice cases. If I want additional coverage (e.g. orthodontia), I can purchase it privately - as can my wife - at reasonable rates.

Of course there are a minority of tragic, exceptional cases where treatment is of poor quality, withheld for extended periods, or unavailable - but nowhere near the number (46 million uninsured?!) that surely occur daily in the US. I have yet to hear of RAM (Remote Area Medial Volunteer Corps) setting up shop in a German soccer arena to provide basic services to regular citizens.

Be very happy and consider yourself fortunate. Pray (you are in that demographic, I'll bet) that you never are in a situation where your wonderful insurance provider sees fit to decide that you are a liability or you become unemployed and unable to pay the outrageous premiums they surely collect from you and your employer.

Or simply wake up and try to help get the system in the US reformed.

Government

HR 3200 Considered As Software 296

bfwebster writes "Independent of one's personal opinions regarding the desirability and forms of government-mandated health care reform, there exists the question of how well HR 3200 (or any other legislation) will actually achieve that end and what the unintended (or even intended) consequences may be. There are striking similarities between crafting software and creating legislation, including risks and pitfalls — except that those risks and pitfalls are greater in legislation. I've written an article (first of a three-part series) examining those parallels and how these apply to HR 3200."
Medicine

Adjustable-Focus Glasses Can Replace Bifocals 220

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that inventor Stephen Kurtin has developed glasses with a mechanically adjustable focus that he believes can free nearly two billion people around the world from bifocals, trifocals and progressive lenses. Kurtin has spent almost 20 years on his quest to create a better pair of spectacles for people who suffer from presbyopia — the condition that affects almost everyone over the age of 40 as they progressively lose the ability to focus on close objects. The glasses have a tiny adjustable slider on the bridge of the frame that makes it possible to focus alternately on the page of a book, a computer screen, or a mountain range in the distance. 'For more than 140 years, adjustable focus has been recognized as the Holy Grail for presbyopes,' says Kurtin. 'It's a blazingly difficult problem.' Each 'lens' is actually a set of two lenses, one flexible and one firm. The flexible lens (near the eye) has a transparent, distensible membrane attached to a clear rigid surface. The pocket between them holds a small quantity of crystal-clear fluid. As you move the slider on the bridge, it pushes the fluid and alters the shape of the flexible lens."

Comment Re:others trying to force their morales on us (Score 2, Interesting) 284

let's make it even more fun. Suppose that, as is actually the case, liver donation doesn't necessarily have to be fatal - you can in fact donate a part of your liver to someone in need of one, and it will grow in them if everything works out right. So, who is immoral in the situation where the posited homeless guy makes a deal with the posited CEO to sell him a chunk of his liver? Homeless guy? CEO? Some idiot(s) proclaiming the the sanctity of the abdominal cavity? hmmm...

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