from the concrete-galoshes dept.
sympleko writes "Zynga has the lion's share of traffic in Facebook applications, and Mafia Wars is one of their most popular social games. Collapsing under the weight of over 26 million users, Zynga has been scrambling to thwart hard-core gamers who reverse-engineer URLs or script the game to optimize their enjoyment. Many of the workarounds have annoyed users who were accustomed to various game features, and even worse, the hastily-deployed changes have resulted in many players losing access to the game, in-game prizes, or statistics. Fed up with a software company seemingly bent on discouraging people from enjoying their product, a number of tagged players have organized a boycott of all Zynga games. The first 24-hour boycott on Sunday 12/13 resulted in an 11% decline in Daily Active Users, and an emergency thread on Zynga's forums (from which most of the flames were deleted). The current boycott, extending Wednesday through Sunday is being supported by a 428K strong Facebook group. At issue is the social contract between software companies and their devoted user base, as well as the nefarioustactics Zynga has used to raise cash."
Tim Danhamn writes: SmartPlanet.com, a green-focussed Web site, has put up an article about the best way to recycle your old tech, including local recycling centers and reusing old technology in other ways. I'm about to upgrade to a new PC and I have a lot of old radios, MP3 players and other electronic goods lying around the house. The article though is mostly about solutions in the UK, so I want to know what the best way to recycle old tech in the US is?
An anonymous reader writes: Ubuntu is extremely popular on the desktop, but it's made comparatively little progress on servers. That's about to change. Dell is expected to announce in the first quarter of 2008 that it has certified Ubuntu Linux for its server lines.
For now, Dell will direct customers who get pre-installed Ubuntu Linux on its servers to Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, and the Ubuntu community for support.
omeomi writes: "I recently set up a script that emails URL's with unique id's to users of a mailing list that I maintain. When users click on the URL in their email, they are directed to a private page on my website, and their username and IP address is logged. However, I noticed that when the user is a Gmail user, their IP address is always followed by a Googlebot-IP address (confirmed with whois). It appears that the Googlebot follows Gmail users when they click on links in their emails. I wonder, what does it do with this information? Is it used only for Gmail-advertising, or are these pages that I've intended to be private and unique being indexed by Google? Has anybody else experienced this?"
bpc123 writes: "WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission's Internet Access Task Force yesterday issued its report on broadband competition policy. Entitled "Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy," it follows the agency's two-day public workshop in February 2007 on broadband competition issues.
FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras said in the agency news release, "This report recommends that policy makers proceed with caution in the evolving, dynamic industry of broadband Internet access, which generally is moving toward more — not less — competition. In the absence of significant market failure or demonstrated consumer harm, policy makers should be particularly hesitant to enact new regulation in this area."
anti-globalism writes: "Despite his lack of political and mainstream media mention, according to Technorati, "Ron Paul" is one of the web's most searched-for terms. But the Ron Paul frenzy seems to have sprung from the internet itself. Paul's libertarian message he is against big government, the war, and pretty much anything that costs taxpayers money has attracted a group of anti-establishment, tech-savvy supporters who have taken everyone by surprise.
jcatcw writes: Computerworld's review of the best Web apps covers the latest crop of online software packages. Gliffy is a flowchart and diagram application that works exactly like Microsoft Visio. ThinkFree supports word processing, spreadsheets and online presentations but distinguishes itself by offering a spell checker and custom dictionaries. What they like about YouSendIt — more than other options such as DropSend.com and MailBigFile.com — is that it actually works. GrandCentral is an intuitive and Web-enabled alternative to fixed mobile convergence — allowing you to use one unified phone number for work, home and cell phone. Xdrive.com has a service called Web Backup that offers control over online backups.
An anonymous reader writes: In the past, I didn't see the point of ripping a DVD because they were already pretty compact. But that's changing now that I've got several pocket-sized things for displaying video. Even my DVD player from Philips plays Divx and MPEG4s. This mainstream NY Times article (reg. required) notes that there are more and more reasons for legitimate movie owners to move their copy like keeping "sticky little fingers off DVDs". Many want to download videos from YouTube, reformat them, and take them along in their video iPod. Will the proliferation of options and needs going to put more pressure on studios to let users move their copies from machine to machine? Will the gadget manufacturers take the lead?
Altery writes: The FTC has issued a report on broadband competition in which the Commission argues that there is no evidence that Net Neutrality laws are needed. Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras said that legislators should "proceed with caution" in addressing the issue, adding that there are more questions than answers right now about what will and won't harm consumers. Still, the report made it clear that the FTC is on the lookout for abuse, but generally the report is a big win for the telecoms.
eldavojohn writes: "An interesting research project has led to a new kind of AI. It hinges on social networks tied together by popular websites, the discussions they have and the meta data in the form of tags that labels sites. The research is kind of all over the place, looking at this from both a problems solving and internet search engine viewpoint. Will we see social networks powering next generation artificially intelligent agents & search engines?"
coondoggie writes: "A presentation scheduled for Black Hat USA 2007 that promised to undermine chip-based desktop and laptop security has been suddenly withdrawn without explanation. The briefing, "TPMkit: Breaking the Legend of [Trusted Computing Group's Trusted Platform Module] and Vista (BitLocker)," promised to show how computer security based on trusted platform module (TPM) hardware could be circumvented. "We will be demonstrating how to break TPM," Nitin and Vipin Kumar said in their abstract for their talk that was posted on the Black Hat Web site but was removed overnight Monday.
NSTipster writes: Scientists believe that rolled-up sheets of carbon could store hydrogen with unprecedented efficiency and without extremely low temperatures or high pressures. Computer simulations, performed by a team in Greece, reveal that adding impurities to rolled-up carbon sheets should improve their ability soak up hydrogen, potentially overcoming one of the biggest problems facing the hydrogen fuel economy — how to store and transport it easily and safely.