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Games

Pirates as a Marketplace 214

John Riccitiello, the CEO of Electronic Arts, made some revealing comments in an interview with Kotaku about how the company's attitudes are shifting with regard to software piracy. Quoting: "Some of the people buying this DLC are not people who bought the game in a new shrink-wrapped box. That could be seen as a dark cloud, a mass of gamers who play a game without contributing a penny to EA. But around that cloud Riccitiello identified a silver lining: 'There's a sizable pirate market and a sizable second sale market and we want to try to generate revenue in that marketplace,' he said, pointing to DLC as a way to do it. The EA boss would prefer people bought their games, of course. 'I don't think anybody should pirate anything,' he said. 'I believe in the artistry of the people who build [the games industry.] I profoundly believe that. And when you steal from us, you steal from them. Having said that, there's a lot of people who do.' So encourage those pirates to pay for something, he figures. Riccitiello explained that EA's download services aren't perfect at distinguishing between used copies of games and pirated copies. As a result, he suggested, EA sells DLC to both communities of gamers. And that's how a pirate can turn into a paying customer."
Bug

Saboteur Launch Plagued By Problems With ATI Cards 230

An anonymous reader writes "So far, there are over 35 pages of people posting about why EA released Pandemic Studios' final game, Saboteur, to first the EU on December 4th and then, after knowing full well it did not work properly, to the Americas on December 8th. They have been promising to work on a patch that is apparently now in the QA stage of testing. It is not a small bug; rather, if you have an ATI video card and either Windows 7 or Windows Vista, the majority (90%) of users have the game crash after the title screen. Since the marketshare for ATI is nearly equal to that of Nvidia, and the ATI logo is adorning the front page of the Saboteur website, it seems like quite a large mistake to release the game in its current state."
Graphics

DX11 Tested Against DX9 With Dirt 2 Demo 201

MojoKid writes "The PC demo for Codemasters' upcoming DirectX 11 racing title, Dirt 2, has just hit the web and is available for download. Dirt 2 is a highly-anticipated racing sim that also happens to feature leading-edge graphic effects. In addition to a DirectX 9 code path, Dirt 2 also utilizes a number of DirectX 11 features, like hardware-tessellated dynamic water, an animated crowd and dynamic cloth effects, in addition to DirectCompute 11-accelerated high-definition ambient occlusion (HADO), full floating-point high dynamic range (HDR) lighting, and full-screen resolution post processing. Performance-wise, DX11 didn't take its toll as much as you'd expect this early on in its adoption cycle." Bit-tech also took a look at the graphical differences, arriving at this conclusion: "You'd need a seriously keen eye and brown paper envelope full of cash from one of the creators of Dirt 2 to notice any real difference between textures in the two versions of DirectX."

Comment Re:PC, huh? (Score 1) 262

There are larger uses of the term that do end up with the limitations you're talking about and I'm all for calling that out, but I do think there is a place in culture to choose to use new definitions for groups/ideas/whatever that try to peel away hurtful histories that make free and open discussion more difficult, specifically for the historically denigrated groups/ideas.

Having an unpopular opinion is not un-PC, even when it's crazy racist or bigotted. We have words that define those things already. PC is simply about acknowledging that language has history and there are times, if for nothing else than for expediency, when certain terms have to be collectively chosen which allow people to reference things without immediate negative connotations. Now, my PC definition may not be what you were talking about at all, but I wanted to point out there is a concept of PC that does not limit what you can talk about it. Its intention is merely to create a framework whereby everyone feels comfortable participating. I would call this Democratically Correct rather than political, as its intention is to give access to every individual to a larger discourse, but Political is fine. This too can be taken too far and I'm the first one to point that out 'cause my language choices are not always unoffensive to everyone (I'll say fuck as much as I like god damn it!). Stll, where there is an extremely sensitive subject, I am more than willing to at least attempt to find the terms that no group involved will be instantly put-off by so that everyone can access the ideas.

Now this has nothing to do with college kids or any kids making fun of each other, so I'll shut up now.

Comment Re:green tech (Score 1) 54

It seems to me that apart from the headline the only objectionable sentence is this:

The key to this new battery turned out to be an often bothersome green algae known as Cladophora.

The rest of TFA is speculative and, to my mind anyway, worth the 30 seconds it took to read. Without this one definitive sentence claiming this as more than a new thread to follow, it's just a piece about a potential new avenue into cellulose batteries.

While I definitely agree that bold claims do hurt their industries with unreal expectations, I know I usually am more forgiving than I would be to large industries like pharma or oil. It's not a fair or educated position, but I often attribute that kind of overzealousness in these articles to optimism and enthusiasm, whereas if it's a press release from a huge corp. I see it as manipulative and marketed. That's probably an unfair ideological position and I try to stay aware that I have that bias, but I don't feel I'm totally out to lunch feeling that way in general.

I always appreciate it when people point out these discrepancies, but I think there is a legitimate reason why it occurs. We should make note where it happens, but I don't feel like getting angry at the people who may have overstated how far along they are in achieving some of these goals. If it takes an outlook that makes them feel they're closer than they are to keep plugging away so they, or the scientists after them finally do make a breakthrough, I'm more than willing to tolerate the fact they tend to minimize the difficulties between where they currently are and where they claim they are heading.

Earth

Submission + - Algae Could Be the Key to Ultra-Thin Batteries (inhabitat.com)

MikeChino writes: Algae is often touted as the next big thing in biofuels, but the slimy stuff could also be the key to paper-thin biodegradable batteries according to researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden. Uppsala researcher Maria Stromme and her team has found that the smelly algae species that clumps on beaches, known as Cladophora, can also be used to make a type of cellulose that has 100 times the surface area of cellulose found in paper. That means it can hold enough conducting polymers to effectively recharge and hold electricity for long amounts of time. Eventually, the bio batteries could compete with commercial lithium-ion batteries.

Comment Re:Does anyone really believe the scores ? (Score 2, Interesting) 169

My answer to this is it's time to re-think your scale. Absolutely everything that goes sub 6 on your current scale should get an automatic 0. 0 means too far below industry standards to be considered a viable option. After that re-orient your 6-10 on a 1-10 scale. Nobody reading reviews gives a crap about the differences between a current 1 and a current 4. they are both equally unbuyable products and I see no reason for a reviewer to differentiate between them. However, there are lots of reasons to make small distinctions between a 6, a 6.5, and a 7 and I'd much rather have those difference given more weight so they exist on a 3-6 or 3-7 plane. It's all the little things reviewers know about that would help people make decisions. Are there other similar titles that do it better? Graphics subtleties, small control issues, bugs etc...

Now it's frustrating because if you're the only one using a scale like this your reviews sound incredibly harsh, but to me there's no reason to give a spectrum at the bottom of the scale where the threshold for even considering buying it is way more like 4-5 at the lowest. To me a 1 should be the generic genre game that super fanboys will play and enjoy, but if you don't play like 20 games of the same style every year, then buy a different one. Then work your way up from there. There's no reason anything lower on the scale deserves it's own spot. It shouldn't be paid for under any circumstances and the fact that people can make games even worse than it doesn't mean the've accomplished anything either.
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."
Businesses

EA Shuts Down Pandemic Studios, Cuts 200 Jobs 161

lbalbalba writes "Electronic Arts is shutting down its Westwood-based game developer Pandemic Studios just two years after acquiring it, putting nearly 200 people out of work. 'The struggling video game publisher informed employees Tuesday morning that it was closing the studio as part of a recently announced plan to eliminate 1,500 jobs, or 16% of its global workforce. Pandemic has about 220 employees, but an EA spokesman said that a core team, estimated by two people close to the studio to be about 25, will be integrated into the publisher's other Los Angeles studio, in Playa Vista.' An ex-developer for Pandemic attributed the studio's struggles to poor decisions from the management."

Comment Or the school did. (Score 2, Insightful) 643

The school’s IT director took a shine to the challenge. Long story short: Using the time-frame of the comments, our website location and the IP addresses in the WordPress e-mail, he tracked it back to a specific computer. The headmaster confronted the employee, who resigned on the spot.

Why do people assume the teacher quit because he thought he'd get fired? If I had a boss come to me at the end of the day and say the IT department has spent all day stalking someone who anonymously used the word "p*ssy" as a joke about eating and now it's been discovered that I am the culprit with any kind of incriminating tone I would quit too.

Comment Re:Common cause of termination in bad startups (Score 1) 1006

I think there's a very strange attitude towards FOSS with some business managers or small business owners. I have mentioned these alternatives to people (it's not my job, but you meet people in these situations) who complain about the cost of upgrading windows software and always encountered a weird resistance. They don't usually say flat out no, but they always hedge around it so you get the idea they aren't the slightest bit interested. I think it's about a fear for their image (at least that's the only way I can make sense of it). They're imagining having to call a client and ask for a word document saved in some weird format, basically outing them as too cheap for "professional" applications. Maybe that's not it, but it's certainly the impression I've gotten over the years whenever I try to broach the subject. IMO saving a couple grand (at least, the larger the company the larger the savings) annually on readily available free software without any concerns for piracy makes such incredible sense for so many small business, it's really a shame people aren't willing to do the hour or two of research finding out about the alternatives and getting rid of their own misperceptions.

Comment Re:A simple solution (Score 1) 383

Having a place for comments is good. If it's moderated effectively that's even better. Turning your comments into a significant portion of your on-air broadcasts for a news network is terrible. The only reason is if you're too lazy to generate content, or your trying to pump up your website's traffic. Either way it's not worthy of being on the air, CNN knows it, but does it anyway 'cause they're working on revenue generation, not news delivery. If there was a once a week, heavily edited and researched half-hour show finding the most insightful stuff posted on their comments, that might be an interesting show, but using the comments section in every news story for a "here's what you have to say" moment is beyond atrocious.

Comment Re:Gosh! (Score 1) 398

Totally on point. Obviously, a move like this leads /. to assume the worst of the police, and that's fine, but now it's on the Swedish police to present a case showing why they went after tpb for child porn. If it's being used for that and tpb is doing nothing to stop it, then by all means, byebye tpb and good riddance. However, they are innocent until proven guilty (I'm just assuming that's true in Sweden as well) and this does reek of a misuse of power. Hopefully, we'll get to find out in the end, but I'm guessing it'll all be rumors and some jokey tpb posted correspondence.

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