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Submission + - Bulgaria Blocks BitTorrent Site, Citizens Protest

An anonymous reader writes: The Bulgarian Interior Ministry has ordered all ISP's to block access to Arenabg.com, Bulgaria's largest BitTorrent site. Bulgarian citizens are not pleased with this course of action and intend to make a public protest on March 22nd in support of torrent site administrators who they believe are being unfairly treated.

Submission + - S Korea works on ethical code for robots

jonkster writes: reported by ABC in Australia

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200703/s18660 01.htm

From Story:

South Korea is drawing up a code of ethics to stop humans misusing robots or vice versa, officials say.

The Government plans this year to issue a "Robot Ethics Charter" for manufacturers and users, which will also cover ethical standards to be programmed into robots, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy says.

A five-member task force including experts, futurists and a science fiction writer began work last November.

"The Government plans to set ethical guidelines concerning the roles and functions of robots as robots are expected to develop strong intelligence in the near future," the Ministry said in a statement.
Operating Systems

Submission + - Microsoft responds to DOT ban on Vista, Office, IE

roscoetoon writes: What's Microsoft's response to the DOT's charges? A corporate spokeswoman sent this statement, via e-mail: (caution: microbrain double-speak ahead) ... "We respect the customer's decision. As with any of our other Federal customers, it's our job to help DOT maximize the value of its Enterprise Agreement through the adoption of our technology. We are engaged with large, strategic customers across government at every level, and are working closely with them on these products through their participation in our Technical Adoption Programs."...

From the blog of Mary Jo Foley: http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=301

NASA Fires Astronaut 323

davidwr writes "In an unprecedented move for an unprecedented situation, NASA has fired now-former astronaut Lisa Nowack. She is facing charges of attempted kidnapping related to an incident earlier this year. Ms. Nowack is a Navy officer and remains so."
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Casual game marketing trends

Kevin Doel writes: "At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, professionals from the video game industry are learning and sharing the newest techniques for creating and marketing successful PC, console and mobile games. For developers of casual games that are commonly downloaded and played on a PC, many are exploring creative new distribution models, shifting away from relying on some of the old ways that have been used to market games online.
      The casual games business has grown rapidly over the past few years, built on the foundation of the try-before-you-buy model, followed by RealArcade's software client model, or the popular subscription-based model of Big Fish Games, Shockwave and RealArcade's GamePass. The true catalyst for growth of this industry has been the try-before-you-buy model that made it easy and risk-free to sample games before you were required to enter your credit card information.
      Today, many game developers are aiming to reach a wider audience by turning to new websites that lure bargain hunters in with good deals. After all, in a world with thousands of competing game titles, getting gamers' attention is the top priority and one of the surest ways to get attention is by offering significant savings.
      A few of the key new companies that have developed innovative new concepts for marketing casual games are PlayOn Arcade and its one-cent a minute play, Giveaway of the Day and its freebies, Kongregate and its YouTube-style member contribution format, and Game du Jour and its "one-deal-a-day."
      Philippe Piernot, founder and CEO of Silicon Valley-based Game du Jour, is busy this week at GDC evangelizing about his vision for "one game, one day, one incredible deal."
      "For the past few years, the casual PC games industry has rocketed — driven not by hard-core gamers but primarily by 'grown-ups' who are looking for quick escapes when they get a break from work or kids," said Dr. Piernot. "By attracting bargain-minded consumers with steep discounts on the games that so many people enjoy, our 'one deal a day' model will lead us to become one of the leading online game retailers."
      The company just launched in December, following in the footsteps of Woot.com, the big fish among "one deal a day sites." There are a number of these types of daily bargain sites springing up, offering anything from software to golf clubs to electronic gadgets, all at amazing discounts.
      While the company aims to be best known for its daily deals, Game du Jour is at its core a marketing partner to game developers, giving those companies the opportunity for a rush of sales and heightened brand exposure during their products' 24-hour lifecycle at GameDuJour.com.
      "Game du Jour is launching at the right time and in the right industry," said Niels Bauer, president of Niels Bauer Games and developer of Empires & Dungeons, a game that has been featured at GameDuJour.com. "Consumers are scanning for the Internet's best deals while clamoring for the hottest downloadable games. Game du Jour 'scratches both itches' and we're excited to be a part of such an exciting development in the PC games industry.""
Role Playing (Games)

The Evolution of RPGs, Storytelling 64

Sessions held yesterday and today touched on the future of games and story in this new generation of games. Yesterday Microsoft held a panel with RPG veterans Hironobu Sakaguchi (currently working on Blue Planet), Peter Molyneux(Fable 2), and Dr. Ray Muzkya(Mass Effect). Between the three of them, these well known designers offered a view of the next step in RPGs. Sakaguchi in particular was vocal about his love of online RPGs, and there was some talk of differing player experiences the content-heavy titles genre. Meanwhile, on the heels of Phil Harrison's keynote, Warren Spector took the stage in a conference room to discuss next-gen storytelling. His biggest complaint was the linear nature of games today, and the sameness of experiences. Different talks, with insightful and similar conclusions.

Submission + - Microsoft Encourages Use of Vista Cracks

Vulva R. Thompson, P writes: Yeah, yeah, another Vista story. But this one has a twist. After reinstalling Vista Home, the user wasn't able to activate with the key he purchased so he called the activation line: "The Customer Service Manager told me that I could either borrow an XP Home disk from a friend (isn't that software piracy ??) or look online for one of the many Vista Activation cracks to bypass Vista Activation completely...Well, I followed his instructions." Full story here: http://www.overclockers.com/articles1416/

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