Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment The Perfect Teammate? Good luck with that. (Score 1) 374

The problem is that people have fun playing with different types of people. For me, the underlying issue is that team-based games are frequently ruined by the constant issue of joining a team with a group of people who I'd rather be playing against than playing with.

Players rating other players based on fun is a good idea, IMHO. I'd rather they match teams based on such metrics (similar to how Netflix or Pandora decide what you may prefer in their offerrings), than to see a price incentive. Combining this with a system that matches teams for competitive play would help the fun factor immensely (particularly if you're an old fart like me with molasses reflexes).

Besides, Valve games, being episodic, have the price-to-fun ratio built in already to some extent (don't like it, don't buy the next episode). The initial cost is still prohibitive in some cases, and sale prices for old games help this somewhat (common on Steam).

Comment Re:For most, system admin is a total waste of time (Score 1) 645

I sense and share in your frustration. I think the problem isn't that everyone is doing a crap job; rather, the problem is that it only takes a single person doing a crap job to bring a perfectly good machine down. Considering how many people have their code running on any given machine, it isn't surprising that crap gets on there.

Also, I think there's another hidden issue that comes into play, that being the task of designing a really intuitive API is also not easy. Abstraction is inherently imperfect and carries a subjective penalty in that the audience is teased into assuming they fully understand something they do not (or else there'd be no need for abstraction of course). The deeper down the rabbit hole this goes with higher and higher level abstractions, the more these penalties are manifested.

There's hope though... Resilient systems are not only possible, they've been built in many forms. While they may never be perfect, one should hope that they will eventually get out of the way.

Submission + - Netflix deal expands instant watch catalog ( 1

SloppyElvis writes: Netflix Inc. has announced a deal, reportedly worth $1 billion, to bulk up its increasingly popular Internet streaming service with Hollywood blockbusters such as "Star Trek," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "The Godfather."

"What's exciting here is it really reaffirms that the Internet is a serious delivery channel," said analyst Colin Dixon, a senior partner for the research firm the Diffusion Group. Netflix has really been the catalyzing force on the market and it has illustrated very graphically that consumers are very comfortable consuming quality content directly from the Internet and in some respects, it's their preferred medium."

Read more: here

Submission + - US Supreme Court Rules Against NFL Monopolies 1

SloppyElvis writes: The [US] Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the National Football League over its exclusive contract with an apparel maker in one of the most important sports law cases in decades.
In a 9-0 decision Monday, the justices said the league can be considered 32 separate teams, not a single business.

What remains to be seen is how this ruling may effect the EA Sports exclusive contract for the Madden series of video games.

Comment Secure == Predicting the Future (Score 1) 225

Besides this being a very nice piece or work in Computer Science, it appears the point of this study is that in order for a software device to be considered "secure", it needs to stand up to exploits that have yet to be discovered at the time of release. This is, of course, seemingly impossible to do since undiscovered exploits are, well, undiscovered.

Return-oriented programming defeats security measures like DEP, but there are other measures that may be effective against attacks of this sort, such as Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) and Stack-Smashing Protection (SSP). Of course, these measures weren't yet invented when the voting machines were created according to the very best security practices of the time. The lesson is there can be no guarantee that employing the very best security measures we know today will stand up for the lifetime of a device. Very interesting implications...

Comment Games That Children Play (Score 1) 160

I suggest you ask some children in your target audience what games they like to play (not strictly video games, all games). You might also take a walk down to the toy store and see what's there. Here are a few timeless examples that translate well in the video game medium:

  • Dolls / House / Pretend / Stuffed Animals (The Sims, Webkinz, Nintendogs)
  • Tag, Cops and Robbers, kill-the-guy-with-the-ball (FPS & Action genres)
  • GI Joe, Transformers, Pokemon, Bakugan (WOW & fantasy)
  • Blocks / Trains / Legos / Sandbox (Civilization, RTS)
  • Sports (should be obvious)
  • Kick The Can / Ghost in the Graveyard (stealth)
  • Puzzles / Mysteries / Riddles (another obvious one)
  • Coloring / Painting / Singing / Play-Doh (art and music composition games)
  • Dancing (rhythm games)
  • Stories / Reading (adventure)

...and all of these are of course more fun to play with friends and family.

All of these activities have intrinsic educational value. For science, I suspect Puzzle games would perhaps best develop problem-solving, experimentation, and observational skills. Just remember to make it fun.

Comment Re:To be used in court cases how? (Score 1) 438

Interesting points...

I have to think that for matters of the law, the ability to "choose" or "free will" or not is not what is in question, but it is the "intention" of the person who committed the crime. The person who ate cereal intended to do so, just as the person who stabbed puppies. If it was not an accidental puppy stabbing, then they are morally culpable, whether they *could* have chosen otherwise or not. There is a subtle difference between "choice" and "intent", and both are all but impossible to judge of another person, but intent fits better with general moral beliefs that accidents are less evil than wrongdoings done on purpose.

On the other hand, if there truly is no free will, then the courts will do whatever they are programmed to do with the puppy stabbers regardless of what we discuss as "options"... that's kind of a depressing thought. *sigh*

Comment Re:Searched Google for ya' (Score 1) 480

Thought about this on the way home... I work in medical software, and HIPAA is not something to be taken lightly...

Consider this hypothetical situation... Di$neyCo's latest summer blockbuster High School Music Video bombs on reports of the lead actress Miss Starlet recieving an abortion at your client's clinic. Information was obtained through a violation of HIPAA. Miss Starlet's multi-million dollar contract for High School Music Video 2 was terminated. Now, Di$neyCo has an army of lawyers seeking damages for the bomb, Miss Starlet is represented pro bono by Publicity-Seeking-Leather-Fringe-Wearing-Super-Lawyer, the Physician has the finances to hire on a top personal lawyer, the Phyician's liability insurance carrier has several law firms hired on to divert liability, and Google has a legal army re-stating Google's "we don't claim compliance" statements. That leaves you in a serious predicament.

Companies that claim compliance have a number of things you probably don't have:

  1. A legal team
  2. A full time Regulatory and Compliance staff
  3. A Quality Management System that complies with the Code of Federal Regulations
  4. A documentation trail that proves the companies product was designed and engineered according to the Quality System
  5. Insurance against liability damages
  6. The ability to raise large amounts of money for legal defense

You'd be well advised to hire a lawyer to protect you against such a situation.

Comment Re:making progress (Score 1) 432

For starters, why is everything gray.

Three reasons:

  1. Generic minimalist designs have broader appeal
  2. Keeping the majority of the UI neutral affords using color for emphasis/focal points where appropriate
  3. Some third thing

Slashdot Top Deals

Nothing makes a person more productive than the last minute.