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PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Why do games still have levels? (blogspot.com) 1

a.d.venturer writes: "Elite, the Metroid series, Dungeon Siege, God of War I and II, Half-Life (but not Half-Life 2), Shadow of the Colossus, the Grand Theft Auto series; some of the best games ever (and Dungeon Siege) have done away with the level mechanic and created uninterrupted game spaces devoid of loading screens and artificial breaks between periods of play. Much like cut scenes, level loads are anathema to enjoyment of game play, and a throwback to the era of the Vic-20 and Commodore 64 when games were stored on cassette tapes, and memory was measured in kilobytes. So in this era of multi-megabyte and gigabyte memory and fast access storage devices why do we continue to have games that are dominated by the level structure, be they commercial (Portal, Team Fortress 2), independent (Darwinia) and amateur (Nethack, Angband)? Why do games still have levels?"
Operating Systems

Submission + - Rev. Al Sharpton to Campaign for Linux (sillylug.com)

Snarky Comment Withheld writes: "Rev. Al Sharpton has said that he will now campaign in favor of Linux, because he views it as a way to help end the "digital divide." In his own words, "Corporate America has to learn that it needs to support everyone in America, and not just those who can afford to spend $400 on Microsoft Office. By supporting free software, we can keep hope alive in America.""
Announcements

Submission + - Text Compressor 1% Away From AI Threshold (google.com)

Baldrson writes: "Alexander Ratushnyak compressed the first 100,000,000 bytes of Wikipedia to a record-small 16,481,655 bytes (including decompression program) thereby, not only winning the second payout of The Hutter Prize for Compression of Human Knowledge but, bringing text compression within 1% of the threshold for artificial intelligence. Achieving 1.319 bits per character, this makes the next winner of the Hutter Prize likely to reach the threshold of human performance (between 0.6 and 1.3 bits per character) estimated by the founder of information theory, Claude Shannon and confirmed by Cover and King in 1978 using text prediction gambling. When the Hutter Prize started, less than a year ago, the best performance was 1.466 bits per character. Alexander Ratushnyak's open-sourced GPL program is called paq8hp12."
Biotech

Submission + - Nicotine is the new wonder drug. (wired.com)

Fantastic Lad writes: Smoking may be bad for you, but Researchers and biotech companies are quietly developing pharmaceuticals that are decidedly good for brains, bowels, blood vessels and even immune systems — and they're inspired by tobacco's active ingredient: nicotine. Nicotine acts on the acetylcholine receptors in the brain, stimulating and regulating the release of a slew of brain chemicals, including seratonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Now drugs derived from nicotine and the research on nicotine receptors are in clinical trials for everything from helping to heal wounds, to depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, anger management and anxiety. Smoking will kill you, but also keep you in good health? Another story about nicotine warding off Parkison's disease here seems to agree. -Who knew?
Announcements

Submission + - Warcraft designs quest for 10-year-old with cancer

destinyland writes: "Blizzard Entertainment is creating a new quest in World of Warcraft for a 10-year-old boy who's fighting brain cancer. The boy's father said the 7-hour visit was the first time he'd seen "contentment and peace" on his son's face — and the second time was when he read warm emails he'd received from Warcraft players online. The Make-a-Wish Foundation arranged the 7-hour meeting with the game's lead designer, who will implement the boy's quest in four weeks. (Players search for a dog modelled after the boy's own pet.) And an online fund was just established if you also want to make a contribution to the boy's medical quest."
Security

Submission + - The difference between script kiddies and hackers?

Anonymous Coward writes: "I know Wikipedia has definitions for both terms, but I want the Slashdot community's opinion: What is the difference between a so-called "script kiddie" and a bona fide "hacker?" It seems that if you crack wifi using readily available tools, you're a script kiddie. If you use the Metasploit framework, you're a script kiddie. At what skill level or accomplishment can one truly be called a hacker?"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Jack-in-the-Box Sued Over An(g)us Beef Ads

theodp writes: "CKE Restaurants has filed a lawsuit to stop Jack-in-the-Box from running TV ads that suggest Carl's Jr. and Hardee's use cow anus to make Angus beef hamburgers. In one ad, executives laugh hysterically at the word Angus. In another, the Jack-in-the-Box mascot is asked to point to a diagram of a cow and show where Angus meat comes from. 'We talked about but stopped short of doing a spot on [McDonald's] Angus Pounder,' said the ads' director."
Microsoft

Submission + - Ballmer: Google and Yahoo aren't Netscape

thefickler writes: During a recent whirlwind visit to Australia, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer defended Microsoft's online strategy, saying that while there is some possibility that the Internet market could overheat, the current situation is very different to the dot.com bubble of the 1990s.

"I say that for a lot of reasons this is different to competing against Netscape ... the simplest one is that Google and Yahoo have real revenues. Netscape never did," he said.

With insight like that no wonder Ballmer's in the top job!
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft's ODF Add-in Found Lacking

Send Bug Reports Here writes: "In all the fuss over open standards, with Microsoft touting its OOXML in favor of the ISO standard ODF, Microsoft eventually changed its tune to say that there's room in the market for both formats and created an add-in to import ODF files into Word. But just how "committed to interoperability" were they? Of the 12 major features that comprise what most people think of as standard Windows and Office integration, Microsoft's extension supports zero of them. You can't double click ODFs to open them, you can't select ODF via the "save as" dialog, and you have to save new documents as something else before you can convert them to an ODF. In fact, when you open an ODF, it automatically converts it to an OOXML DOCX file, and you have to use the ODF menu (not any of the save menus) to convert it back when you're done. Apparently, some see compatibility as a one-way street."
The Media

Submission + - Fans Driving CBS Execs Nuts

LupeSpywalper writes: Fans of the recently cancelled TV show Jericho have been organizing a powerful front against CBS. They demand nothing less than full retreat. The fan troops fight with weapons like online petitions, YouTube campaigns, message boards, wallet voting, ad campaigns and... nuts!
The scale of this fan uprising is fueled by sympathetic messages from the show's actors and increasing media attention.
Does CBS have the balls to cover up the nuts?
Censorship

Submission + - Electronic Frontier Foundation Sues Uri Geller

reversible physicist writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has sued spoon-bender Uri Geller for using "baseless copyright claims" to silence critics who question his paranormal powers. Brian Sapient posted on YouTube a 14-minute excerpt from the 1993 PBS NOVA program "Secrets of the Psychics," in which magician James Randi says Geller's spoon-bending feats were simple tricks. YouTube took down the video after Geller complained — his lawyers claim that 10 seconds of the video are owned by Geller. A shorter excerpt is still up on YouTube.
Sci-Fi

Submission + - SF Author Harlan Ellison sues Fantagraphics

Dr. Strangefate writes: Renowned SF author Harlan Ellison has filed suit against comics publisher Fantagraphics, best known for publishing underground comics and The Comics Journal. Ellison alleges that Fantagraphics has misappropriated his name and defamed him. Fantagraphics is attempting to make this a first amendment issue. The irony is that Ellison has a long support of freedom of the press and anti-censorship issues and now seems to be engaging in (arguably) the same thing!
Businesses

Submission + - Work really can make you ill

An anonymous reader writes: http://www.daniweb.com/blogs/entry1449.html A new report confirms what we all knew: going to work can make you sick. Poor understanding of computing ergonomics are responsible for millions of workers suffering bad desk health as a result of sick office syndrome, reckon monitor manufacturers ViewSonic.

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