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After 2 Years of Development, LTSP 5.2 Is Out 79

The Linux Terminal Server Project has for years been simplifying the task of time-sharing a Linux system by means of X terminals (including repurposed low-end PCs). Now, stgraber writes "After almost two years or work and 994 commits later made by only 14 contributors, the LTSP team is proud to announce that the Linux Terminal Server Project released LTSP 5.2 on Wednesday the 17th of February. As the LTSP team wanted this release to be some kind of a reference point in LTSP's history, LDM (LTSP Display Manager) 2.1 and LTSPfs 0.6 were released on the same day. Packages for LTSP 5.2, LDM 2.1 and LTSPfs 0.6 are already in Ubuntu Lucid and a backport for Karmic is available. For other distributions, packages should be available very soon. And the upstream code is, as always, available on Launchpad."

Comment worth = $ / (enjoyment x hours) (Score 1) 188

value = $ / (enjoyment x hours)
I believe this would be the correct formula to determine what a game's worth, as only $/h is really a wrong metric for a something we don't enjoy.
But this leads to the real question: How can we measure how much we enjoy a game? We can replay a game and enjoy it the same the second time or just be bored as it gets repetitive. In the same way, we may not really enjoy level grinding because mechanics get repetitive during the first pass.

After many readings and discussions, my definition of "enjoyment of a game" is trying to find patterns in a game and establishing a strategy. The human brain is apparently good at this and "provides satisfaction" when finding a specific pattern. As long as I'm trying different things and as I'm not stuck in a local maxima I'm enjoying something because of the impression of improvement. For this reason, there are repetitive tasks that are classified as fun (like RPG level grinding) as long as there are patterns to be found (like finding the most efficien levelling path).
But it's not always directly related to pattern finding as much as "self improvement". A musical rhythm game has a duration of fun, as long as I have a feeling of improvement. So I had a lot of fun during the 2 first passes as I was getting better, but then started having similar scores for trying again, and it got less fun. So the net value would be cost/(2*game time).
As a counter example, in a racing game, there are less patterns to be found and less self improvement; yes, you can buy new/faster cars ingame but play the same level in the same conditions and you won't necessarily get better. That I would evaluate as (cost*2)/(game time).

The above examples are obviously totally arbitrary and I intentionally do not mention any game name as the values are different between individuals (unless you have the exact same learning rate as I do). But I hope it helps some of you clarify your metric of what's a game worth.

Comment What are you trying to achieve (Score 1) 634

If I go back to when I started programming, my first goal was to create a game. It didn't matter at the time whether I was using some proprietary stuff like VisualBasic or older language like c or pascal. I had a goal in mind, which was to be able to control a simple sprite through a grid and I wanted to do it the simplest way that was possible. I still think the topic of first language is about motivation. You want to do something like you see. You don't necessarily want to learn a bunch of abstract design concepts like OO, design patterns. I needed something trivial and visual, yet extensible enough to allow me to add features I thought cool. VB was an awesome opportunity at the time as I could use drag and drop to manipulate objects and even though I was only manipulating widgets in a simple way, it allowed me to do all I required, even the more complex project ideas that followed.

If I look at today's alternatives, I see squeak that does right that, backed by the great smalltalk language. It is simple and visual, yet offers great flexibility. If I had Squeak as a choice when I started, that's probably what I would have chosen.

But it's all about motivation. Someone needs something of interest to work on and use the right tool for it. Programming is an art. You paint for yourself. And you learn to like painting. Then you try other styles: abstract, sceneries, portraits. And once you master enough your technique you can think about painting for others.


Man Teaches the Art of the Excuse Note 4

High school teacher Frank McCourt had received dozens of excuse notes from students over the years, most of them forgeries. One day while looking at the pile of obvious fakes, and thinking about how much the kids complained about writing even short essays, he had an epiphany. Why not teach the art of the excuse note? "This is the first class to study the art of the excuse note — the first class, ever, to practice writing them. You're so lucky to have a teacher like me who has taken your best writing and turned it into a subject worthy of study," he said to the class. Frank's classes have written a wide range of notes including ones from Adam and Eve to god, and historical figures. Frank was even commended by the school superintendent for his innovative idea. "That kid writing an excuse note for Judas. Brilliant. I just want to shake your hand. There might be a letter in your file attesting to your energetic and imaginative teaching. Thank you," he said.

Man Catches Fire After Being Tasered 13

An anonymous Coward writes "West Australian Police tasered a man while arresting him for sniffing petrol, and managed to set fire to him in the process. Details seem to be scanty so far, but I trust the audience here to do the maths as to whether the ignition source was the taser itself."

Submission + - Default Passwords Blamed in $55M PBX Hacks (

An anonymous reader writes: The Washington Post is reporting that the U.S. Justice Department has indicted three residents of the Philippines for breaking into more than 2,500 corporate PBX systems in the United States and abroad. The government says the hackers sold access to those systems to operators of call centers in Italy, which allegedly made 12 million minutes of unauthorized phone calls through the system, valued at more than $55 million. The DOJ's action coincides with an announcement from Italian authorities today of the arrest of five men there who are suspected of funneling the profits from those call centers to terrorist groups in Southeast Asia.

Submission + - 30 years of the spreadsheet (

nk497 writes: "It's been 30 years since the spreadsheet was first developed, in the form of VisiCalc. It was first announced in an ad in Byte Magazine with the tag line: "How did you ever do without it?" In June 1979, it was shown off at a trade show to an audience of two. VisiCalc became popular because it was a business-friendly program that didn't require programming skills. Despite VisiCalc selling hundreds of thousands of copies, and the idea eventually spawning the Excel we all know and love to hate, the developers didn't make a fortune off their idea, as they never did patent it."

Submission + - First Look: Microsoft Silverlight 3 (

snydeq writes: "InfoWorld's Martin Heller finds Silverlight 3 gaining ground on Adobe Flash, Flex, and AIR in all the areas where Silverlight 2 had lagged. No longer do developers need to build desktop WPF apps based loosely on corresponding Silverlight RIAs, as Silverlight 3 adds the ability to install Silverlight apps on the desktop, update them in place, detect Net connectivity state changes, and store data locally and securely. Moreover, solid Expression Blend 3 and Visual Studio 2010 betas provide developers with much improved tools to create Silverlight RIAs. 'I do not expect many Adobe shops to give up their Flash, Flex, and AIR for Silverlight 3. I do expect many Microsoft shops to do more RIAs with Silverlight now that it's more capable and to create lightweight browser/desktop Silverlight 3 applications where they might have fashioned heavier-weight Windows Forms or WPF client applications,' Heller says."

Submission + - A light-powered toothbrush?

Roland Piquepaille writes: "Would you like to use a light-powered toothbrush which needs no toothpaste and no batteries? It's already available in Japan and North America and it costs about $30. Its rod contains titanium dioxide that generates a plaque-removing electrochemical reaction. This 'solar' toothbrush of the future 'works by releasing electrons that then react with the saliva in the mouth and help to breakdown plaque.' It just needs some light — so you'll be able to wash your teeth in your garden or on your balcony. And as it has no batteries, this is a very eco-friendly device. It is currently tested today by 120 students at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, but it's already available online. But read more additional references and to see how the light-powered Soladey toothbrush works."

Submission + - SPAM: French gov't plans to disconnect content pirates

alphadogg writes: The French government has a plan for cutting music and film piracy on the Internet: cut off the pirates' Internet access.The penalty is part of a range of measures to deal with the unauthorized copying of music and video online proposed by the French Ministry of Culture including watermarking content, tracking surfers' activities, and creating a registry of those accused by copyright holders of piracy."We can't accept for much longer that artists be deprived of the fruits of their work," one government official said.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - CS Games: rank your coding skills

LinuxRulz writes: "For those of you who are still at university, rejoice, for the 2008 edition Computer Science games website is now open for registrations. For those who haven't heard of the event, the CS Games are a North American inter-university computer science related competition with challenges in debugging, ai development, scripting, team programming, algorithms and more. Last year's event attracted more than 300 participants from 30 universities. If you want to value your knowledge and make your university stand out, this is your chance!"

Submission + - Using Google to crack MD5 passwords. ( 2

stern writes: "A security researcher at Cambridge, trying to figure out the password used by somebody who had hacked his website, ran a dictionary through the encryption hash function. No dice. Then he pasted the hacker's encrypted password into Google, and Shazzam — the all-knowing Google delivered his answer. Conclusion? Use no password any other human being is ever likely to use for any purpose, I think."

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