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Games

Review Scores the "Least Important Factor" When Buying Games 169

A recent report from a games industry analyst suggests that among a number of factors leading to the purchase of a video game — such as price, graphics and word of mouth — the game's aggregated review score is the least important measure. Analyst Doug Creutz said, "We believe that while Metacritic scores may be correlated to game quality and word of mouth, and thus somewhat predictive of title performance, they are unlikely in and of themselves to drive or undermine the success of a game. We note this, in part, because of persistent rumors that some game developers have been jawboning game reviewers into giving their games higher critical review scores. We believe the publishers are better served by spending their time on the development process than by 'grade-grubbing' after the fact."

Comment The bold new face of science fiction! (Score 5, Funny) 829

1. Scientists are evil scheming power hungry liars that screw everything up.
2. Politicians are selfless and caring human beings who will gladly give up their lives for you.
3. Thirty year old gamers living with their mom are solving for the Grand Unified Theory by playing Warcraft 18 hours a day.

Well, at least they didn't leave out the patronization.

*sigh* to me it feels like the era of good science fiction is over.

Comment Story missed the point.. (Score 2, Insightful) 354

Since I actually bothered to read more than just the first link - Looks like he had already done research on plasma actuation, after which he decided to work on a government project using this technology, which seems to have cancerously made everything on the topic classified, and he honestly didn't feel this the right thing to happen. The contracts were probably worded such that this was the case (what is right versus how to hide as much information as possible, even if previously not used for military applications), so he was tried on this basis.

I'm surprised to see slashdoters' knee jerk reactions to this story. There's obviously a lot of technical details here that are missed.

The Media

Are Newspapers Doomed? 338

Ponca City, We love you writes "James Surowiecki has an interesting article in the New Yorker that crystalizes the problems facing print newspapers today and explains why we may soon be seeing more major newspapers filing for bankruptcy, as the Tribune Company did last week. 'There's no mystery as to the source of all the trouble: advertising revenue has dried up,' writes Surowiecki, but the 'peculiar fact about the current crisis is that even as big papers have become less profitable they've arguably become more popular,' with the blogosphere piggybacking on traditional journalism's content. Surowiecki imagines many possible futures for newspapers, from becoming foundation-run nonprofits to relying on reader donations to deep-pocketed patrons. 'For a while now, readers have had the best of both worlds: all the benefits of the old, high-profit regime — intensive reporting, experienced editors, and so on — and the low costs of the new one. But that situation can't last. Soon enough, we're going to start getting what we pay for, and we may find out just how little that is.'"
The Almighty Buck

Computer Models and the Global Economic Crash 361

Anti-Globalism passes along a review in Ars of some recent speculation on the role of interconnected computer models in the global economic crash. "If Ritholtz, Taleb, Mandelbrot, and the rest of the computer modeling and financial engineering naysayers are correct about the big picture, then we really are arguably in the midst a bona fide computer crash. Not an individual computer crash, of course, but a computer crash in the sense of Sun Microsystems' erstwhile marketing slogan, 'the network is the computer.' That is, we have all of these machines in different sectors of the economy, and we've networked all of them together either directly (via an actual network) or indirectly (by using the collective 'output' of machines in one sector as input for the machines in another sector), and like any other computer system the whole thing hums along nicely... up until the point when it doesn't."
Google

Google Was 3 Hours Away From DOJ Antitrust Charges 221

turnkeylinux writes "Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. called off their joint advertising agreement just three hours before the Department of Justice planned to file antitrust charges to block the pact, according to the lawyer who would have been lead counsel for the government. 'We were going to file the complaint at a certain time during the day,' says Litvack, who rejoins Hogan & Hartson today. 'We told them we were going to file the complaint at that time of day. Three hours before, they told us they were abandoning the agreement.'"
Medicine

Diet of Fast Food and Candy May Cause Alzheimer's 224

lurking_giant sends along a Reuters report on research out of Sweden indicating that a diet rich in fat, sugar, and cholesterol could increase the risk of Alzheimer's, at least in mice. "'On examining the brains of these mice, we found a chemical change not unlike that found in the Alzheimer brain,' [said] Susanne Akterin, a researcher at the Karolinska Institutet's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center... 'We now suspect that a high intake of fat and cholesterol in combination with genetic factors... can adversely affect several brain substances, which can be a contributory factor in the development of Alzheimer's.' ... These mice showed chemical changes in their brains, indicating an abnormal build-up of the protein tau as well as signs that cholesterol in food reduced levels of another protein called Arc involved in memory storage."
Microsoft

MS Says Windows 7 Will Run DirectX 10 On the CPU 503

arcticstoat writes "In what could be seen as an easy answer to the Vista-capable debacle, Microsoft has introduced a 'fully conformant software rasterizer' called WARP (Windows Advanced Rasterization Platform) 10, which does away with the need for a dedicated hardware 3D accelerator altogether. Microsoft says that WARP 10 will support all the features and precision requirements of Direct3D 10 and 10.1, as well as up to 8x multi-sampled anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering and all optional texture formats. The minimum CPU spec needed is just 800MHz, and it doesn't even need MMX or SSE, although it will work much quicker on multi-core CPUs with SSE 4.1. Of course, software rendering on a single desktop CPU isn't going to be able to compete with decent dedicated 3D graphics cards when it comes to high-end games, but Microsoft has released some interesting benchmarks that show the system to be quicker than Intel's current integrated DirectX 10 graphics. Running Crysis at 800 x 600 with the lowest quality settings, an eight-core Core i7 system managed an average frame rate of 7.36fps, compared with 5.17fps from Intel's DirectX 10 integrated graphics."
Space

Excluding Intelligent Design Principles From the Search For Alien Life 308

KIdPanda writes "Prompted by pictures of man-made structures in the Utah desert, a SETI astronomer explains the sometimes-ambiguous difference between seeing the hand of God, alien intelligence, or nature. 'In my photographs, Shostak's SETI-trained eye — standing in for a pattern-crunching computer program — searched for an unexpected increase in visual order (or, in thermodynamic terms, a decrease in entropy caused by the rebellion of life against universal decay). A road or a tended field is mathematically simpler than a mountainous jumble or naturally varied vegetation. ... But there's an obvious problem: nothing is simpler than a sweep of blue sky, or the inky blackness of space. If simplicity is the benchmark, space itself is evidence of design."
Displays

Asus Launches Touchscreen Eee Desktop 157

Barence writes "Asus has launched an Eee-branded 15.6" touchscreen desktop PC as a budget rival to HP's TouchSmart. Available for pre-order now on Play.com for £399.99 ($749), it shares much of the same specification as the Eee PC, but with a larger 160GB hard disk. Interestingly, it's listed as coming with XP installed, so we'd guess Asus will be using some sort of proprietary touchscreen interface — yet the image on the site clearly shows Linux on the screen, which may be a better bet for an easy-to-use touch system."
Transportation

Plug-In Hybrids Aren't Coming, They're Here 495

Wired is running a story about the small but vocal, and growing, number of people who aren't waiting for automakers to deliver plug-in hybrids. They're shelling out big money to have already thrifty cars converted into full-on plug-in hybrids capable of triple-digit fuel economy. "The conversions aren't cheap, and top-of-the-line kits with lithium-ion batteries can set you back as much as $35,000. Even a kit with lead-acid batteries — the type under the hood of the car you drive now — starts at five grand. That explains why most converted plug-ins are in the motor pools of places like Southern California Edison... No more than 150 or so belong to people like [extreme skiing champion Alison] Gannett, who had her $30,000 Ford Escape converted in December. Yes, that's right. The conversion cost more than the truck."

Comment Re:The update was to 2.0.2 (Score 4, Informative) 423

2.0.1 was the last update 2.0.2 is the most recent. And for the record my first gen iPhone works fine. The update fixed the slow typing bug and the battery drain bug. I don't know yet if it fixed the shuffle my home screen icons bug. True I wish Apple would give a complete change log. It sure would make it easier for us to give them feedback about those bugs if we knew what they were.

Well let me prefix this with "I love my iPhone 3G, but..." *cough* yeah right..

Apple doesn't want feedback. It's a privilege to use their products, if you don't like it, you know where to take it.

The audiobook reader speed adjustment is *STILL* broken on my 5G iPod, I haven't dared to try on my iPhone 3G. Apple will never fix it. I'm afraid the same applies for many bugs on the iPhone.

And no, I still have the slow keyboard bug with 2.0.2, except now my contacts list of 60 is unresponsive for up to 30 seconds after launching it. Excellent!!

Privacy

Bill To Outlaw Genetic Discrimination In US 353

fatduck sends us a brief note from New Scientist about the overwhelming passage in the US House of Representatives of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. As written, the bill would prohibit insurance companies from charging higher rates, and employers from discriminating in hiring, based on the results of genetic tests. A Boston Globe editorial notes that the bill has been held up in the Senate by the action of a single senator, who has an (outdated) objection based on his anti-abortion stance. President Bush has said he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

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