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Comment Limited Use (Score 5, Interesting) 178

These experiments are not as useful nor controlled as you may think. Let me break down into some experiment design principles here:

#1 You can only generalize to the population studied

--Thus your demographics will be that of a more computer savvy user, with leisure time. This is NOT a representative sample of a normal population. When using regression methods you will get a homogenous result only from 'game performers'. These experiments are not valid unless you can prove that there is no purposeful difference between this population and the general population.

--It still can provide interesting insights, but any quantified data must be taken with a grain of salt

--The population may have one net effect, but perhaps a different type of agent/actor would have an OPPOSITE or equalizing effect (games are an artificial setting)

#2 Process defined by agency

--Here the markets are designed by an all-seeing game developer. I don't know about you, but many MMO's I have participated in had lackluster markets due to poor UI or the mere fact that it is a new market.

--Product innovations are limited or non existent, and users cannot refine markets based on their experiences. These days the most interesting economic studies are looking at PROCESS which is understood much less than outcome. Neo-classical economic theory does a great job at explaining outcome, but is horrid at process. That is why many market failures are not forecasted, but instead studied post-mortem.

The Almighty Buck

Learning About Real-World Economies Through Game Economies 178

Reuters has a report about research being done on the in-game economies of MMOs like EverQuest II and World of Warcraft to better understand much larger economic situations in the real world. The games are used as case studies where researchers can do controlled experiments that they couldn't necessarily attempt if real money or goods were involved. "After studying 314 million transactions within the fantasy world of Norrath in EverQuest II, including trading in-game goods like armor, shields, leather, herbs and food, the researchers were able to calculate the GDP of one of the game servers (the back-end computer that hosts thousands of players in one world). As more people opened accounts and flocked to Norrath, spending money on new items, researchers saw inflation spike more than 50 percent in five months. 'We have seen that kind of volatility during times of war and in developing nations in the real world,' said [Dmitri Williams, assistant professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication]. 'Our own economy has turned out to be less stable than we'd all assumed.'"

Submission + - Android app sales utterly failing 1

cerberusss writes: "Mobile development company Larva Labs reports on the sales of their game apps for the Google backed Android market, an alternative for Apple's App Store. And the reports are pretty bad. In a piece called Android Market Sales, Are Those Tears or is it Raining in Here?, they ask themselves:

The Apple App Store is worth $200M monthly, whereas the Android market is worth a paltry $5M. As sad as that comparison may be, from our experience the total is probably much lower. We know from experience that below position 25 on the top selling games the earnings drop off to almost zero. To back that up a bit, we're going to release our latest Android sales data.


Submission + - Microsoft: Upgrade Messenger or else (

CWmike writes: "Microsoft will force an upgrade on users of its Windows Live Messenger IM software in September to plug a hole the company introduced when a programmer added an extra character to a code library: an extra "&" symbol to be exact. Starting in mid-September, users of Messenger 8.1 and 8.5 will be required to upgrade to Messenger 14.0.8089 if they want to use Microsoft's instant messaging service, the company announced in a blog posted late last week. Last week, Microsoft revised the security advisory for the ATL vulnerabilities to add a section on Messenger. In the alert's FAQ, the company made clear that the upgrade was mandatory. "If you do not accept the upgrade, you may not be allowed access to Windows Live Messenger service," the advisory read."

Comment Re:Obvious (Score 4, Insightful) 389

This reminds me of the classic prisoner's dilemna and nash equilibrium. Clearly if they all cooperate they could create a common platform that would allow people to use software across their hardware platforms. But those who do not participate and get exclusive titles, would then be at an advantage. People might buy their 'one extra' console just to get those exclusive titles. It is silly, but that is a peak in the mind of a video gamepublishing exec.

Submission + - US Customs Can Confiscate Laptops Without Cause (

Mattazuma writes: "Under new rules released today, the US Customs service can confiscate electronic devices and media without cause. They are looking for files related to terrorism, child pornography and (of course) copyright and trademark violations. But don't worry, they'll try to give your laptop back within 30 days.

If I was leaving the country with a laptop, I'd make sure all of the data is backed up before I left the country.

Over 1000 laptops or other electronic devices were confiscated last year under the old rules."


Submission + - Nvidia predicts 570x GPU performance boost (

Gianna Borgnine writes: "Nvidia is predicting that GPU performance is going to increase a whopping 570-fold in the next six years. According to TG Daily, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang made the prediction at this year's Hot Chips symposium. Huang claimed that while the performance of GPU silicon is heading for a monumental increase in the next six years — making it 570 times faster than the products available today — CPU technology will find itself lagging behind, increasing to a mere 3 times current performance levels. "Huang also discussed a number of 'real-world' GPU applications, including energy exploration, interactive ray tracing and CGI simulations.""

Submission + - Big, beautiful boxes from computer history (

Slatterz writes: We might sometimes complain about the limitations of today's technology, but there's nothing seeing photos of a 27Kg hard drive with a capacity of 5MB to put things into perspective. PC Authority has toured the Computer History Museum in California, and has posted these fascinating photos, including monster 27Kg and 60Kg drives, and a SAGE air-defense system. Each SAGE housed an A/N FSQ-7 computer, which had around 60,000 vacuum tubes. IBM constructed the hardware, and each computer occupied a huge amount of space. From its completion in 1954 it analysed radar data in real-time, to provide a complete picture of US Airspace during the cold war. Other interesting photos and trivia include some giant early IBM disc platters, and pics of a curvaceous Cray-1 supercomputer, built in 1972. It was the fastest machine in the world until 1977 and an icon for decades. It cost a mere $6 million, and could perform at 160MFLOPS — which your phone can now comfortably manage.

Submission + - Cheating, freeloading and slacking bacteria (

SilverNose writes: Human societies have always had their slackers. It seems that being a slacker is actually an evolutionary strategy that pays off in the short run, as you can spend more time and energy breeding, instead of contributing to society. Byte Size Biology reports that the same principle probably holds for bacteria. In one study, researchers have have created "slacker mutants" who did not contribute to building a biofilm (a bacterial community defense mechanism). These slackers proliferated in a community composed mostly of non-slackers. In another study, researchers used a cellular automaton to simulate bacterial communities harboring different kinds of slackers: from the "Lame" who does not contribute but asks everyone else to, or the "Liar" who appears to contribute, but doesn't really. Both research groups concluded that, to a limit, slacking is a good evolutionary strategy, and that bacterial communities may harbor quite a few different slackers.

Submission + - How the Web Series 'The Guild' Stays Successful (

ChronoDragon writes: The Wall Street Journal points out that it is possible to make a successful web series without the backing of a studio. With the release of a music video, Do you Wanna Date My Avatar, and the start of Season of 3, the web series The Guild is ready for even more success. The Guild, created by Felicia Day (Doctor Horrible), is a low budget comedy series about a group of MMORPG gamers and their interactions both online and off. While there are a lot of references that will be instantly recognized by gamers, the show is still very accessible to non-gamers.

Submission + - Students' Scheduling Errors May Last Days 2

Hugh Pickens writes: "The Washington Post reports that thousands of high school students in Prince George's County missed a third day of classes Wednesday, and school officials said it could take more than a week to sort out the chaos caused by a computerized class-scheduling system as students were placed in gyms, auditoriums, cafeterias, libraries and classes they didn't want or need at high schools across the county and their parents' fury over the logistical nightmare rose. "The school year comes up the same time every year," said Carolyn Oliver, the mother of a 16-year-old senior who spent Wednesday in the senior lounge at Bowie High School. "When I heard they didn't have schedules, I was like, 'What have they been doing all summer?' " When school opened Monday, about 8,000 high school students had no class schedules and were sent to wait in holding spaces while administrators tried to sort things out. By Tuesday evening, that number was down to 4,000. As of noon Wednesday, 3,400 of the school district's 41,000 high school students had no class schedules, officials said. Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said that some schools didn't realize there was a problem with schedules until school started and that the trouble was exacerbated by difficulties with SchoolMax, a $4.1 million computer system introduced last school year. SchoolMax went online in Prince George's a year ago to help the county track students' grades, attendance and discipline data. Last year, the program crashed at least four times and was plagued by errors that led to botched schedules, an overcount of students and mistakes on report cards. Jessica Pinkney, a junior, said she was moved to the cafeteria Wednesday morning after two days in the gymnasium because the cafeteria had air conditioning. "We just sit and do nothing," says Pinkney. "But I'm meeting new people, so it's getting more interesting.""
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - The orange goo that could save your laptop (

Barence writes: "A British company has patented what can only be described as an orange goo that could save your laptop or iPod after a nasty fall. The amazing material is soft and malleable like putty, but the substance becomes solid instantly after impact. You can punch your fist into a ball of the material sitting on a desk and not feel a thing, according to the staff at PC Pro who have been testing the material, called 3do. It's being used by the military, the US downhill ski team, and motorcycle clothing manufacturers to provide impact protection in the event of a crash. However, it's also appearing in protective cases for laptops and MP3 players."

Submission + - Wi-Fi encryption cracked in 60 seconds (

carusoj writes: "Computer scientists in Japan say they've developed a way to break the WPA encryption system used in wireless routers in about one minute. Last November, security researchers first showed how WPA could be broken, but the Japanese researchers have taken the attack to a new level. The earlier attack worked on a smaller range of WPA devices and took between 12 and 15 minutes to work. Both attacks work only on WPA systems that use the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) algorithm. They do not work on newer WPA 2 devices or on WPA systems that use the stronger Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm."
The Internet

Submission + - Cdn Govt Caught Altering Copyright Submissions

An anonymous reader writes: The Canadian government is currently running a major consultation on copyright. Thousands of Canadians have spoken out, but it now appears that the government may be altering some of the submissions. People using an online tool are finding that their submissions are treated as form letters, even if they customize and create their own letter.

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