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Government

US Spies Use Custom Video Games for Training 148

Wired reports that the US Defense Intelligence Agency has just acquired three PC-based video games which they will use to train the next wave of analysts. The games are short, but they have branching story lines that change depending on how a trainee reacts to various problems. Quoting: "'It is clear that our new workforce is very comfortable with this approach,' says Bruce Bennett, chief of the analysis-training branch at the DIA's Joint Military Intelligence Training Center. Wired.com had an opportunity to play all three games, Rapid Onset, Vital Passage and Sudden Thrust. The titles may conjure images of blitzkrieg, but the games themselves are actually a surprisingly clever and occasionally surreal blend of education, humor and intellectual challenge, aimed at teaching the player how to think."
Sci-Fi

Trekkie Sues Christie's for Fraudulent Props 286

Token_Internet_Girl passed us a link to an MSNBC article on a very disappointed Star Trek fan. Mr. Moustakis of NJ bought a poker visor he thought was worn by Data in Next Generation at a Christie's auction for some $6,000. When he brought it to a convention to have it signed, actor Brent Spiner explained that he'd already sold the well-known visor in a personal sale; like Senator Vreenak, Moustakis had been given a fake. "Christie's spokesman Rik Pike stood behind the authenticity of the auction and said the disgruntled buyer's case had no merit. The lawsuit, filed in state court in Manhattan, demands millions of dollars in punitive damages and a refund for the visor and two other items Moustakis bought at the 2006 auction."
Software

Submission + - On Demand, On The Fly FLV Transcoding of Library

erpbridge writes: "While recently doing a consulting job for a local college, I was asked an interesting question. They have a backend archive of videos, ranging from training to classroom instruction videos, in AVI format using DIVX codec, with an average size of about 400MB. They can easily make these videos available on campus, but for commuting students accessing from home this is not feasible. The idea is to setup a Youtube/DailyMotion style site with Flash videos. As these are to be allowed to students only, it is not feasible to upload these to a commercial site such as Youtube or DailyMotion. They don't want to transcode the entire library to ASF for Windows Media Server, and double storage capacity (same goes for transcoding all videos to FLV). They also want to keep the originals available to students onsite, as they are higher quality than any FLV will be. Instead, click a video, the backend server performs an on-the-fly FLV transcoding on demand, and the user gets the video. The temporary videos would then be cleaned up later by a collection process running on a regular basis. Has anyone seen a solution that would let a web user do this sort of on demand, on the fly FLV transcoding?"
Linux Business

Submission + - Desktop Linux: does anyone care? (zdnet.com.au)

ramboando writes: There's been a lot of fanfare about Linux replacing Windows on desktops but we've yet to see all but a few vendors offer Linux as a pre-installed option. Dell offers Ubuntu, but only in the US, and Acer notebooks are being pre-installed with Ubuntu it on Singapore. Initially they decided not to sell it in the UK, but have now flip-floped on their decision and said it will be made available.

ZDNet Australia talked to several manufacturers, and industry experts to find out how long we'll have to wait.

Biotech

What is Your Favorite Way to Make Coffee? 592

markov_chain asks: "For a while I've been making coffee using home-ground whole beans and a standard drip maker. I settled on this method for its simplicity and good taste, even after trying numerous other methods (such as the French press, gravity percolators, and pressure percolators), each coupled with either pre-ground or whole beans. So far, the fresh ground beans are the only factor that made a significant difference in taste. However, when I recently spotted a a site that vaguely extols freshness, I began to wonder how much the freshness of the beans themselves affects the quality. Normally I thought the whole beans would retain the quality far longer, due to less surface area exposed to air, but clearly there still must be a decline; worse yet, it is difficult to gauge that decline since the sellers usually do not advertise the age of the beans. I would now like to pose a few questions. What is your preferred coffee-making method, and how does it compare to other methods you've tried? What are your favorite beans?"
Wireless Networking

The Assassination of Wi-Fi 258

justelite writes "John C. Dvorak from PC Magazine has up an article looking at the new strategy of American cell-phone-service companies. From article: 'There is mounting evidence that the cellular service companies are going to do whatever they can to kill Wi-Fi. After all, it is a huge long-term threat to them. We've seen that the route to success in America today is via public gullibility and general ignorance. And these cell-phone-service companies are no dummies.'"

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