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Google

"Necessary Complexity" in Online Games 95

Massively is running a story about Google's short-lived virtual environment, Lively. The article examines why Lively shut down so quickly, and how its simplicity and its attempts at user-friendliness did more harm than good. Quoting: "The idea here is that any interactive system has a certain amount of complexity, usually involving the number and type of tasks which can be performed. Obviously, it is detrimental if the interaction interface is more complicated than it needs to be. That just makes things harder. What's a little less obvious is that reducing the complexity of the interaction interface too far makes things harder as well. Either it makes it hard to perform the tasks, or it reduces the number of tasks which can be performed. ... ideally the interaction interface needs to be of an order of complexity that is coupled to the order of complexity of the number and type of possible tasks. If it rises above that or falls below that, performing tasks becomes harder. Performing tasks with an oversimplified interaction-interface is like trying to make coffee with one hand tied behind your back. Overcomplicating it is like trying to instruct five people to build a shed, when none of you have any language in common."
Government

Submission + - Army Buys Macs to beef up security

agent_blue writes: The Army is integrating macs into their IT network to thwart hack attempts. the Mac platform, they argue Mac are more secure because there are less attacks against macs than there is against windows based systems. Story Here
Security

Submission + - Researchers Intervene in Vulnerability Auction

An anonymous reader writes: Last week, Slashdot carried a discussion about Internet startup WabiSabiLabi that was launching an eBay style auction site for software vulnerabilities. According to a Washington Post story, some in the research community have worked out two of the five vulnerabilities currently for sale in the auction. From the story: "Zampariolo confirmed that one of the vulnerabilities publicly reported by researchers indeed was the exact same as a flaw being auctioned on the site — a bug in an add-on component of an open source e-mail application called "SquirrelMail" — and that it had since been patched by the vendor. However, he said the site is preparing to start an auction on a new flaw found in the newest, patched version of SquirrelMail. The company is touting both incidents as an example of how their service will serve to make software users safer in the long run."

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