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Submission + - Microsoft releases specs for binary formats (msdn.com) 2

skolima writes: "In response to requests for even easier access to the Binary Formats, Microsoft has agreed to remove any intermediate steps necessary to get the documentation, and will post it and make it directly available for a direct download on the Microsoft web site. Microsoft will also make the Binary Formats subject to its Open Specification Promise by February 15, 2008.
And they will even an Open Source converter implementation. Woot?"


Submission + - Ray tracing for gaming explored (pcper.com) 3

Vigile writes: "Ray tracing is still thought of as the 'holy grail' for real-time imagery but because of the intense amount of calculations required it has been plagued with long frame render times. This might soon change, at least according to an article from Daniel Pohl, a researcher at Intel. With upcoming many-core processors like Intel's Larrabee he believes that real-time ray tracing for games is much closer than originally thought thanks in large part to the efficiency it allows with spatial partitioning and reflections when compared to current rasterization techniques. Titles like Valve's Portal are analyzed to see how they could benefit from ray tracing technology and the article on PC Perspective concludes with the difficulties combing the two rendering techniques as well as a video of the technology in action."

Submission + - Devs admit: WordPress 2.3 Secretly Spying on Users 1

Marilyn Miller writes: Popular open-source blogging engine WordPress has been upgraded to 2.3 — with some unexpected nasties in the mix. As of version 2.3, WordPress now periodically (every 12 hours) sends personally-identifying information (blog name & URI) to the mothership, along with an alarming amount of information including $_SERVER dumps, a list of installed plugins, and your current PHP/MySQL settings. Most unfortunately, it does not provide _any_ way of disabling this functionality, and WordPress does not have any privacy policy protecting this information. In a 100-message thread about the issue, lead developer Matt Mullenweg defends his actions and staunchly refuses to add an opt-in interface, telling users to "fork WordPress" if they aren't willing to put up with this behavior.

Feed Techdirt: Shocking: Patent Examiners Against Patent Reform That Tries To Fix Patent Examin (techdirt.com)

This ought to come as no surprise at all. A group that supposedly represents patent examiners has come out against the latest attempt at patent reform. As we've made clear, the attempt at patent reform certainly has some major problems, but those don't seem to be the focus of the complaint. Instead, the document seems to be a combination of patent examiners claiming "it's not our fault!" for approving all sorts of awful patents along with a plea to hire more patent examiners. This is wrong on both accounts -- though, perhaps you can blame others (the USPTO and the courts, for instance) for pushing patent examiners to approve patents that had no business being approved. As for the old myth that hiring more patent examiners will fix the problem, that's been thoroughly debunked. Patent examiners simply don't scale at the same pace as innovation. The problem isn't that we need more examiners, but that too many people have lost sight of the real purpose of the patent system: to create incentives for innovation. It is not, as many people now assume, to give full ownership of an idea to the first person to claim it. The sooner people recognize the real purpose of the patent system, the faster we'll get rid of the problems the current patent system creates in hindering innovation.

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