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Google

Google's Second-Class Citizens 320

theodp writes "Valleywag reports on a new caste system at Google, which will mean compulsory lunch breaks, two additional unpaid 15-minute breaks, limited OT, and e-clock punching for those reclassified as hourly workers starting April 1. Could be worse, though. Google also offers gigs through WorkforceLogic (the company that helped Microsoft deal with its pesky permatemps), which come with a guarantee of unemployment after one year. Guess that's what passes for the Best Employer in the US these days."
Games

Changing The World With Videogames 33

Will Wright gave the keynote address at the Texas SXSW event, showing off Spore to a packed crowd and offering up hopes that 'Toys' will change the world. His hope is that offerings like Spore might force kids to rethink their understandings of nature. Likewise, non-linear storytelling via 'branching' gaming is what he sees as the future of the medium. He cites the movie Groundhog Day as an example, a movie which told the same story over and over again but never did it the same way twice. "'I think if we can teach the computer to listen to the story that players are telling,' Wright said, a game could detect patterns of what the player wants, and adjust music, lighting, and other immersive elements to reflect the story that a player wants to play. He thinks this modeling would best be accomplished by networks that constantly mine and refine player information." Alice, of the Wonderland blog, helpfully provides extensive notes, and Kotaku has a video of the demo the attendees saw.

World of Warcraft - The Burning Crusade Review 329

It would be hard to argue that World of Warcraft hasn't been a huge success. Not only has it been a financial success in the MMO market, but it has introduced many new people to Massive gaming that might not have otherwise given it a shot. With their first expansion, The Burning Crusade, Blizzard has made huge advances in many areas of the game. Long-standing complaints have been addressed, and the structure of the popular title has been reinforced. The casual players have gotten a large injection of content that is both accessible and enjoyable to someone who doesn't have huge amounts of time to play. At the same time, hardcore players who thirst for new challenges on a daily basis have quite a bit of work ahead of them. This is not to say that The Burning Crusade (BC) doesn't have its pitfalls, but overall I get the feeling that this is closer to what Blizzard's World of Warcraft dream was meant to be. Read on for my opinions of this new round of addiction.

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