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Submission + - Kid Health Experts Attack Video Game Summer Camp (

Jack Action writes: The University of British Columbia runs a summer camp where kids get to play computer games for three hours a day. The camp organizers say it is "a good social opportunity for some kids who didn't fit into other programs."

However, health professionals declare they are "troubled" by the camp. A professor in UBC's department medicine says kids should be outside, and engaged in "unstructured play"; while the CEO of a NGO that monitors kids' health chimes in that they already spend too much time in front of screens and not exercising.

So what is it? Do the health experts have a point, or are they just criticizing something that they don't understand, or perhaps is not to their taste?

Comment Try War of Legends by Jagex (Score 1, Interesting) 106

If you are looking for a free to play browser rts, try War of Legends. The games is published by Jagex makers of Runescape, a company that generally treats its customers well.

War of Legends was also launched at the beginning of April, so I wonder if EA is forcing Lord of Ultima out the door to compete. It's tough to compete with Jagex in the browser game space though. After all, Runescape has something like 6 million players (5 million free, 1 million subscribers).

Comment Re:Real time browser games (Score 1) 106

Not being able to catch up to a veteran is one of the drawbacks of the single server for all players that Eve uses.

Don't know if Lord of Ultima will have more than one server; but competing games like Jagex's War of Legends have multiple servers, with new ones coming always online. If veteran players are dominating the old servers, you can just start up on one of the new.

Comment Re:Purpose (Score 1) 252

I've been using Slackware since '96, and I continue to use it in various capacities today. Installing Slackware and playing with it, writing programs for it, was seriously the best thing I ever did for my knowledge of computers and for Unix environments. I have skills that far surpass any of my co-workers or friends, and have often been the only one that could sort out issues with any sort of Unix environment.

I had the same experience, except with the computer science degree I was taking part time.

I ended up getting an A+ in the unix course (my other grades were usually in the B+/A-) range almost strictly from my prior knowledge gained from using Slackware day after day on my desktop.

I even got something like 105% on a midterm after the instructer had to curve it after most of the class bombed.


Submission + - Mass Stalking Organized On Facebook

Jack Action writes: "Police in Cambridge, Ontario are investigating a 700-hundred member Facebook group that was dedicated to harassing and posting humiliating photos of a black, apparently homeless woman. Called "Obeeba Sightings" (the name group administers gave to the woman), Facebook members called the woman racist and sexually explict names, and called for her to be run over by a car and put in a trash compactor. In their response to the incident, Cambridge police indicated Facebook cooperated fully with them in their investigation to the point of handing over IP addresses for all those involved in the group; at which point Facebook shut down the group. Police say it is the worst case of online harassment they have ever seen.

Recent research indicates Facebook is homogeneous even by the standards of the internet, and that members of social networks are more likely to "cyber-bully." Is this a sign that cyber-bulling will get worse as social networks make themselves more like-minded and exclusive? Should companies like Facebook be held responsible for the bad behaviour of their members? Or is this just the nature of distance and anonymity on the internet?"

Submission + - Big Boxes Squeezing Small Computer Stores

Jack Action writes: "Small computer stores, even those with a few locations are being squeezed by big boxes like Best Buy and Staples using PC's, especially notebooks, as loss leaders. According to the Globe and Mail, spending on computer products at small retailers in the Canadian market dropped in half over the last year, while at the same time jumping by 29% at big box stores. Elsewhere, even large chains like CompuServe and Circuit City are in trouble.

Small retailers in the Canadian market have had to make innovative changes to stay alive: slashing staff, paying for assembly by the piece, negotiating bulk orders from vendors, and emphasizing customs orders for the geek market — but still its a struggle. Is the loss of the local neighbourhood computer store the inevitable outcome of the market, or will something valuable be lost if they all go down the tubes?"

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