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Submission + - Emergency backup cellular phones

Tha_Big_Guy23 writes: After many years of faithful periodic service my emergency cell phone, a Motorola Star-Tac, has finally given up the ghost and no longer powers on. As a result I find myself looking for a replacement that just places phone calls. I have no need for any of the frills of a smart phone, a camera or anything else. I have a blackberry already as my primary phone and this one is to be used solely for emergencies only. The 911 only phones won't work as I may have need to place a call to AAA, or something of that nature. I do want to make sure that when I need it, it actually places a call. Can anyone out there suggest a replacement phone that will serve as an appropriate emergency backup phone?
First Person Shooters (Games)

Submission + - Which FPS game to choose for AI modding?

Fuzuli writes: I've always been fascinated with game development. Back in the days when things were simple, you could write simple games and share with friends without being embarrassed, or let's say you could do it without being embarrassed a lot, since graphics would be very simple anyway.
Today, all major games are huge pieces of work with millions of dollars of art work in them, and creating one that looks like them is impossible to do, if you are on your own. Modding offers lots of fun though, and as someone who is interested in AI in first person shooters, I am looking for the perfect fps for testing my ideas in game AI. I do not have a killer gaming machine, so I need a game that can run on moderately old hardware (Dell XPS m1530 laptop), and having access to free tools for development would be good. Which FPS games out there are suitable for modification, so that I can try experiment on various AI aspects of gaming?

The Struggle For Private Game Servers 125

A story at the BBC takes a look at the use of private game servers for games that tend not to allow them. While most gamers are happy to let companies like Blizzard and NCSoft administer the servers that host their MMORPGs, others want different rules, a cheaper way to play, or the technical challenge of setting up their own. A South African player called Hendrick put up his own WoW server because the game "wasn't available in the country at the time." A 21-year-old Swede created a server called Epilogue, which "had strict codes of conduct and rules, as well as a high degree of customized content (such as new currency, methods of earning experience, the ability to construct buildings and hire non-player characters, plus 'permanent' player death) unavailable in the retail version of the game." The game companies make an effort to quash these servers when they can, though it's frequently more trouble that it's worth. An NCSoft representative referenced the "growing menace" of IP theft, and a Blizzard spokesperson said,"We also have a responsibility to our players to ensure the integrity and reliability of their World of Warcraft gaming experience and that responsibility compels us to protect our rights."

Comment But will it allow native development?? (Score 1) 378

I've been reading about exciting devices that will be released with Android for quite some time now. I am a developer and I am more interested in the device as a developer than I am as an end user. iPhone has a lot of roadblocks for me, I need a Mac to develop on it, which is a huge cost for me at the moment. Apple's policy about publishing apps is another story which has been discussed a lot.
The problem is; even if Android is emphasizing openness, its development model seems to be "we know what is good for you". As far as I can see, there is no low level access to device for developers, and you are supposed to use Java, with some JNI capabilities for process intensive tasks. Native code can only be isolated chunks which still can't access device using C/C++.
This is most likely to ensure that code runs on all devices, but this is a choice that should be left to the developer, at least if you're claiming that your platform is open. If I decide to develop something on a particular phone, knowing that it may not work in the same way on other devices, this is my choice, and I should have this option.
For whatever reason I have, I want to have native apis for C/C++ and Android does not seem to offer this. Maybe my money is not that important, but for things like gaming, which will probably be huge on the iPhone quite soon, this will be a problem.


Crytek Giving Away CryEngine To UK Universities 67

GamesIndustry reports that German game developer Crytek will be making CryEngine, the game engine behind Far Cry and Aion, available to universities in the UK for free. They're doing so because they want new college grads to get hands-on experience with the technology that runs real games. Crytek's Karl Hilton said, "Universities are looking to foster creativity and send people out into the industry who have lots of ideas, but it's also about that practical hands-on training so that they know what the limitations are. It's very easy for students to come out of the academic world and not have a grasp on the realities of making a videogame. The more we can get involved with them and give them feedback and access to the tools involved, the more accurate the course will become in training people up."

Comment Irex digital reader (Score 2, Interesting) 503

I own one. Probably the largest screen size in any electronic reader. Lets you annotate, and can read any pdf, it is under your control.
I can easily read A4 pages with diagrams etc. For me, there is no alternative to this device. All other display technologies hurt my eyes if I read for hours, and I have to read for hours. Also there is no way on earth I can carry around all the docs I need all the time, and even a tablet pc is too thick to hold in your hands to read comfortably. Don't forget the heat problem too. Digital reader solves all of these problems.
The cons are: very expensive, buggy software, not so good battery life. No security, so I can't carry around critical docs in this.

I still have no doubt that this is the future of reading, but I'm afraid of Kindle type of products being the only option: where content and functionality is under strict control.


Celebrate Your Next Birthday At the Microsoft Store 301

theodp writes "Chuck E. Cheese, meet Bill H. Gates. A leaked PowerPoint posted at Gizmodo provides a glimpse of what Microsoft's retail shops may look like, noting that you'll even be able to pay to celebrate your birthday there. Some of the stores that were profiled for ideas were Nike, Nokia, Sony, Apple, and AT&T. Microsoft's take on the Genius Bar is the Answers Bar (aka Guru Bar, Windows Bar)."

Comment Will SWT and Swing ever merge in Eclipse? (Score 4, Interesting) 83

I have to build quite complex tools using GEF and GMF, and there are many cases where I'd like to have the power of Java2D, and reuse some of the great frameworks out there built on Swing.
More and more people are using AWT/SWT bridge, since SWT does not provide an underlying drawing framework as rich as Java2D.
Eclipse has great things like EMF, and the platform is number one choice for tooling, but when it comes to things like Bezier curves etc, Swing is much easier to use. So are we going to see more developer friendly versions of Eclipse where Swing is more available to us?

PlayStation (Games)

Activision CEO Warns Sony That the PS3 Needs a Price Cut 149

Bobby Kotick, President and CEO of Activision, one of the largest game companies in the world, has come out with a none-too-subtle warning to Sony that they need to seriously consider a price drop on the Playstation 3. Rumors have been circulating for months that such a drop was forthcoming, but Sony has staunchly denied that they had any plans to drop prices, Kotick said, "The PlayStation 3 is losing a bit of momentum and they don't make it easy for me to support the platform. It's expensive to develop for the console, and the Wii and the Xbox are just selling better. ... They have to cut the price, because if they don't, the attach rates [the number of games each console owner buys] are likely to slow. If we are being realistic, we might have to stop supporting Sony." While it's unlikely that Activision would follow through with such a threat, it definitely adds to the pressure Sony is feeling to lower the PS3's price. Sony issued a brief response which said nothing of consequence.

Comment pros and cons (Score 1) 382

if you are coming from a programming background, I assure you that you'll hate gui oriented tools like spss. if you have a slightly better understanding of probability and the notion of sampling, you'll find that the way r approaches data as a whole feels very nice for a developer.
in data analysis, you'll be transforming, filtering typecasting data. you'll be turning numbers into nominal values, you'll be sampling from complex distributions etc. writing code to do these lets you stay in complete control of what you're doing and at least for me looking at a function line by line is a much better way of seeing what I'm doing, instead of clicking on icons and selecting menu items in a particular order. the whole process is documented in code, and for me it is much easier to map the things I'm doing to statistics.
the downside of R is, as you start dealing with more and more data, things become a little bit harder since R takes all data into memory and processes it in memory. scaling into very large amounts of data is not easy, at least I can't afford as much ram as necessary (my data sets are really huge). the most important advantage of some commercial tools in my work is that they can treat data as a stream on disk, and even if it takes longer, it is possible to process huge amounts of data.
R forces you to think about what you are doing, instead of hiding behind spss and saying, well these are the results spss has given us, when we clicked these buttons and menus. my 2 cents of course.

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