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Social Networks

Texas County Will Use Twitter To Publish Drunk Drivers' Names 301

alphadogg contributes this snippet from Network World: "If you get busted for drunk driving in Montgomery County, Texas, this holiday season, your neighbors may hear about it on Twitter. That's because the local district attorney's office has decided to publish the names of those charged with driving while intoxicated between Christmas and New Year's Eve. County Vehicular Crimes Prosecutor Warren Diepraam came up with the idea as a way of discouraging residents from getting behind the wheel while drunk. 'It's not a magic bullet that's going to end DWIs, but it's something to make people think twice before they get behind the wheel of a car and drive while they're intoxicated,' he said."
Businesses

World of Goo Creators Try Pick-Your-Price Experiment 216

2D Boy, the independent game studio behind World of Goo, recently celebrated the game's one-year anniversary by offering it at whatever price buyers cared to pay. They've now released some sales statistics about how people responded to the opportunity. The average price during the sale was $2.03; the game normally retails for $20. According to a survey of why people paid what they did, 22.4% said it was all they could afford at the time, and 12.4% said they already owned World of Goo and were buying it for a different platform. (Yes, there is a Linux version.) Over 57,000 people took advantage of the offer, which was enough for 2D Boy to term it "a huge success." Interestingly, they also saw a significant increase in sales through Steam, and a smaller increase through Wiiware. They've decided to extend the experiment until October 25th.
News

Barack Obama Wins the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize 1721

Barack Obama has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The BBC opines: "In awarding President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian committee is honoring his intentions more than his achievements. After all he has been in office only just over eight months and he will presumably hope to serve eight years, so it is very early in his term to get this award. ... The committee does not make any secret of its approach. It states that he is being given the prize 'for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples.' This is of course an implied criticism of former US president George W Bush and the neo-conservatives, who were often accused of trying to change the world in their image." The Washington Post collects more reactions from around the world.
Businesses

Banking Via Twitter? 193

In the latest example of how just because you can do something doesn't mean you should, one credit union has decided to offer a new feature, dubbed "tweetMyMoney," that allows members to interact with their accounts via Twitter. Can't wait for the next version, "tweetSomeoneElsesMoney." "tweetMyMoney, available exclusively to Vantage members! With tweetMyMoney, you can monitor your account balance, deposits, withdrawals, holds and cleared checks with simple commands. And, you can even transfer funds within your account. It's all available on Twitter, 24/7!"
First Person Shooters (Games)

Wolfenstein Being Recalled In Germany 625

D1gital_Prob3 tips news that Activision's recently-released shooter, Wolfenstein, is being recalled in Germany due to the appearance of swastikas in the game. Such symbols are banned in Germany, and the German version of the game went through heavy editing to remove them. Apparently, they missed some. Activision said, "Although it is not a conspicuous element in the normal game ... we have decided to take this game immediately from the German market." Reader eldavojohn points out a review that has screenshot comparisons between the two versions of the game.
Censorship

TI vs. Calculator Hackers 463

Nyall writes "So a bunch of TI calculator programming enthusiasts got together to factor the keys Texas Instruments uses to sign the operating system binaries for the ti83+ (a z80 architecture) and the ti89/v200 (a 68k architecture) series of calculators. Now Texas Instruments is sending out DMCA notices to take them down."
Businesses

Casual Games Quickly Transforming the MMO Market 238

An anonymous reader writes "Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick disclosed that their forthcoming, unnamed MMOG will have 'a little more broad appeal' than its market-leading MMO World of Warcraft. This is adding to speculation that the game might be free to play, since such games now take more in digital revenue than any other genre. In his GDC Austin keynote today, Sony Online Entertainment president Jon Smedley said, 'As a company, we knew we had to evolve ... to expand [our] audience ... and to get a much wider female audience.' The article notes that SOE hasn't abandoned hardcore MMOs, but his talk focused on Free Realms, SOE's free-to-play MMO that has grown to 5 million users in 5 months. Marketed to kids, 51% of Free Realms gamers are under 13, with around 75% under 18, who pose a challenge to attract and retain. Since they only play for about 20 minutes per session and aren't focused on the mechanics of the game, SOE can get away with changes that are unfair to some players, as shown by a recent, oddly-handled item nerf in Free Realms."
Role Playing (Games)

BlizzCon Keynote — New WoW Expansion, Diablo 3 Details 316

BlizzCon kicked off this morning with a keynote address that brought some major announcements for some of their games. First, World of Warcraft's third expansion, Cataclysm, was officially revealed. It differs from the previous expansions in that they will not be creating an entirely new continent for players to explore. Instead, the two huge continents from the original game will be going through a literal cataclysm, causing some zones to be destroyed, new ones to become available, and existing ones to be entirely revamped. Big news came for Diablo III as well, with the announcement of the Monk class and a trailer showing how it plays. More details for both games as well as StarCraft II will undoubtedly become available over the next few days, but read on for more about what we already know. If you have any questions, don't forget to post them here.
Data Storage

Windows 7 Hard Drive and SSD Performance Analyzed 248

bigwophh writes "Despite the fact that Windows 7 is based on many of the same core elements as Vista, Microsoft claims it is a different sort of animal and that it should be looked at in a fresh, new light, especially in terms of performance. With that in mind, this article looks at how various types of disks perform under Windows 7, both the traditional platter-based variety and newer solid state disks. Disk performance between Vista and Win7 is compared using a hard drive and an SSD. SSD performance with and without TRIM enabled is tested. Application performance is also tested on a variety of drives. Looking at the performance data, it seems MS has succeeded in improving Windows 7 disk performance, particularly with regard to solid state drives."
Security

Man Arrested For Taking Photo of Open ATM 1232

net_shaman writes in with word of a Seattle man who was arrested for taking a photo of an ATM being serviced. "Today I was shopping at the downtown Seattle REI. I was about to buy a Thule hitch mount bike rack. They were out of the piece that locks the bike rack into the hitch. So I was in the customer service line to special order one. It was a long line and while I was waiting, I saw two of guys (employees of Loomis, as I later learned) refilling the ATM. I walked over and took a picture with my iPhone of them and more interestingly of the open ATM. I took the picture because I'm fascinated by the insides of things that we don't normally get to see. ... That was when Officer GE Abed (#6270) spun me around and put handcuffs on me."
Mars

Spirit Stuck In Soft Soil On Mars 160

cheros writes "NASA reports that the Spirit Mars lander is presently stuck in soft soil. The lander's wheels are halfway sunk into the soil and they are planning simulation tests to see if they can get it out again. I hope they can get it out of there because it's picking up enough new energy to operate; however, it only has 5 wheels left to get around on — one of the wheels hasn't been working for years. Fingers crossed."
AMD

A $99 Graphics Card Might Be All You Need 618

Vigile writes "With the release of AMD's latest budget graphics card, the Radeon HD 4770, the GPU giant is bringing a lot of technology to the table. The card sports the world's first 40nm GPU (beating out CPUs to a new process technology for the first time), GDDR5 memory, and 640 stream processors, all for under $100. What is even more interesting is that as PC gaming has evolved it appears that a $99 graphics card is all you really need to play the latest PC titles — as long as you are comfortable with a resolution of 1920x1200 or below. Since so few PC gamers have screens larger than that, could the world of high-end PC graphics simply go away?"
The Internet

Yahoo Pulls the Plug On GeoCities 427

Mike writes "It's official: Yahoo is pulling the plug, and GeoCities is dead. GeoCities had suffered a long and drawn-out battle with its health over the past decade. An antiquated service model and outdated technology are widely blamed for the struggle. An official cause of death, however, has yet to be determined. Awful, eye-punishing graphics, lack of relevancy, and 'lowest-common-denominator design' are believed to have contributed to its demise. GeoCities was 15 years old." There is doubtless a lot of funny and informative stuff on there that's worth saving (not just Jesux, which pudge has now migrated). If some of it belongs to you, perhaps you should move it sometime in the next few months. Update: 04/24 18:10 GMT by T : And if you know some GeoCities page owners who aren't especially computer savvy, you could point out to them how easy it is to slurp down their pages for re-hosting elsewhere.
Security

Google Voice Fixes Security Flaw, Almost 55

gardel writes "Google appears to have fixed a significant security hole in its two-week-old Voice calling service though some vulnerabilities remain. Until about 7pm PDT Tuesday, an unauthorized party could use a SIP device to spoof a phone number attached to a Google Voice account to call the Google Voice number, giviing the spoofer access to greetings and voicemail, and the ability to make outbound calls, including expensive international calls. Though spoofing via SIP is no longer possible, continued existence of some vulnerability was still apparent Tuesday night. Voxilla was able to set the caller ID of a PBX extension to a mobile number attached to Google Voice account and call in, using a business VoIP trunk, to gain access."
Privacy

Mississippi Passes Law To Ban Traffic Light Cameras 629

DaGoatSpanka writes with news that Mississippi Governer Haley Barbour signed a bill into law on Friday which instituted a ban on automated cameras that would snap pictures of motorists when they ran red lights. "The new law says the two cities that already have the cameras, Jackson and Columbus, must take them down by Oct. 1. Other cities and counties are banned from starting to use them." We've discussed situations in the past where cities looked at such cameras as "profit centers," and even tampered with their traffic light timing to catch more motorists. Now, in Mississippi, the contractors who installed the cameras are unhappy, since they received a cut of the ticket revenue generated by the cameras. However, lawmakers overwhelming voted to get rid of them (117-3 in the House, 42-9 in the Senate), because "the cameras were an invasion of privacy and their constituents thought they had been unfairly ticketed."

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