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Comment Marathon and the Halo Series (Score 5, Informative) 105

As someone already noted, the Marathon series was made by Bungie.

By the time Bungie was bought by Microsoft, much of Halo's building blocks were done, a game originally designed for both Macs and PCs.

There's plenty of Marathon homages in the original Halo (haven't yet played 2 or 3 myself). First, look on Captain Keyes's uniform for the Marathon symbol at the game's starting adventure on the bridge. Just as you leave the captain, look on the bulletin board at the entrance: An ad there says "Colony Ship for Sale" (a reference to a Marathon game level). Cortana, the AI, is another name that parallels the name of another mystical sword, Durandal (Marathon's sassy AI). See for more.

Marathon was among the first (if not the first) FPS with multiplayer support (thanks to the Mac OS local networking) as well as establishing the convention of using the mouse for head-target movement. The concept of the Vidmaster (See ) (using the weakest weapon at the game's highest difficulty to completion) was a Marathon first.


Microwave Map of Entire Moon Revealed 82

Zothecula writes "The first complete microwave image of the Moon taken by Chinese lunar satellite Chang'E-1 has been revealed. Chang'E-1 is China's first scientific mission to explore planetary bodies beyond Earth and the on-board Lunar Microwave Radiometer has made it possible for the first time to globally map the Moon in microwave frequencies. Radar observations of the Moon are unable to provide thermal information, and microwave observations taken from Earth cannot reach the far side of the moon. So Chang'E-1's (CE-1) orbit was conducted at an altitude of 200km (124 miles) and allowed it to observe every location of the moon with a nadir view and at high spatial resolution."

Girls Bugged Teachers' Staff Room 227

A pair of enterprising Swedish schoolgirls ended up in court after they were caught bugging their teachers break room. The duo hoped they would hear discussions about upcoming tests and school work, allowing them to get better grades. It worked until one of them decided to brag about it on Facebook, and the authorities were called in. The girls were charged with trespassing and fined 2,000 kronor ($270) each in Stockholm District Court.

Comment Going it Apple TV-style...for now (Score 1) 397

Comcast's customer service has been good for me, but their costs, not so much.

With a $150/month bill, I turned off the TV side, turned in the receivers and bought a new flat-screen and an Apple TV, which I use through my Comcast internet to download content.

With the Apple TV I can itemize the few cable TV programs I watch, such as "No Reservations" from the Travel Channel and "Mythbusters." The iTunes Store lets me buy these shows as a season for the cost of 1/3 of a month's bill, rather than renting. Being able to buy or rent popular movies on the fly is a nice touch, too.

The Apple TV isn't a perfect solution. But I'm not a typical customer, so I know how and when to record or rip content from other sources as needed. I keep up with live stuff from my HD broadcast antenna. Strange to say, I've not missed national cable news.

For all else, I pull around the laptop and watch it from Hulu. If I really wanted, I'll connect my laptop to the HDTV with a DisplayPort to HDTV connector, straight into the TV.

The biggest problem in going this route is storage. Had to upgrade hard drives as the iTunes content rests on the ATV drive as well as the central laptop HD.

And yes, since the food is good, I like being "enslaved" to iTunes. But I'm more like Colonel Hogan, who only looks imprisoned and steps out of Stalag iTunes every so often for additional stuff.

Comment Some of you keep forgetting something... (Score 3, Insightful) 282

Flash wasn't built for mobile devices.

If you want it to suck cycles on your desktop or most laptops, that's not a problem, for your PC or Mac has them and electrical power to spare, generally.

But Flash sucks the electrical life out of mobile devices. This isn't theory, it's fact. Take your laptop off AC power and see it die after a few YouTube videos or Flash games.

I'm not against Flash. I'm against it on devices that must be reliable and are built with limited processor and electrical power.

Flash is the Web standard of .NET. It's sloppy. It's developer hasn't made great inroads to optimize it or secure it. It is flexible, but some of its features make little sense on a multi-touch screen. And only Adobe makes it.-

If Adobe wants to side with another platform for Flash AND make it work, great. But apparently Apple doesn't want to be Adobe's guinea pig and it has every reason not to.

Apple has already dealt before with competitors both inside and out who change their business plan and as a result, leave Apple twisting in the wind. It's good business practice not to let your business become overly dependent on others. Hell, Adobe was in that situation when Apple began to flounder. So why would Apple emulate Adobe in that regard?

As for Flash on the Android? Let's see it, then. What doesn't kill your phone only makes it stronger.

Perhaps Apple will have Billy Dee Williams in for some endorsements, standing over a person with a locked, overheated phone.

" Problem with your Droid? "

Comment Re:Enjoy 'em while you can, folks (Score 0, Flamebait) 57

I'm not anti-Obama. I'm anti-idiot. I'm black, and even *I* know he's an idiot for cutting the program in this way.

NASA is on my pedestal because people with short-sighted visions have given us *only* NASA to put there. Plenty of other presidents (both GOP and Democrat) could've started a stronger private industry initiative decades ago with a long-term vision of private space launches. They haven't.

If someone had the vision to push private industry harder *and* phase out NASA's sole ability to lift humans into space safely by now, I'd be all for that. So while Obama's had the cohones to push for privatized space travel, his approach is a baby-with-the-bathwater approach that leaves us in a much weaker position than having STS in place, even in its Apollo-era interim from 1975 to 1981.

Comment Re:Enjoy 'em while you can, folks (Score 1, Insightful) 57

I appreciate the pull of private industry to space.

But big suitcases of money from the government is not real cash, and you know it. Business works truly on real dollars from real funding. What the government calls funding, I call "venture capital."

And we all know what's happened before when people make bright ideas out of nothing from a business standpoint: The 2001 "dotcom" stock crash happened for a reason.

The point I'm making is to keep a space presence in place until it's replacement shows up. I almost don't care who makes it, as long as it's affordable and reliable and not the Russians (good space people in their own right, but we shouldn't be able to go to space on their behalf).

No president has ever cut the jugular to the space program like this. Some might argue that it's time had come. But, in so many ways, the current president lacks critical vision that risks the sight of what good comes from investing in the future, rather than merely concentrating on the (equally important) social issues. If the president had vision, he'd realize that the offshoots of the space program (such as mobile computers) have helped the poor as a result become less poor.

Comment Enjoy 'em while you can, folks (Score 0, Flamebait) 57

As many of you know, the 2011 U.S. Budget has killed all funding for the Constellation program, the replacement vehicles for the STS program.

The president wants to fund private enterprise to perform launches to low-Earth orbit.

Nice job, Mr. President. The only close-to-working manned flight capability is Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip Two. While this is an awesome setup, it's designed for recreational suborbital flights only.

Thanks, President Obama. It's forward to the past for us with a 1961 launch ability, where either we stick out our thumbs (towels not included) for a Soyuz lift, or we don't get to go to the multi-billion space station that we mostly own--or anywhere for that matter.

And let's not worry about the big frickin' rocks that occasionally could pummel us, and the space tech needed to even consider an option to stop that.

STS may have its warts, but it works. Fund one damned vehicle for 2 trips a year until private industry catches up. Is that so hard?

Comment You've a right to hack hardware you own... (Score 1) 507

...But do not expect the hardware/software's creator to give you carte blanche access to the resources to do it.

And heaven help you should you do what they fear you or others could do if your code has a serious bug; spam or interrupt the cell network or a local wifi network. The onslaught of Apple's lawyers, not to mention the FCC and other international communications regulators, would by a iPocalypse in itself.

Comment Uh, What Did She Say? (Score 1) 320

I followed along with the original article's premise, which was intriguing enough... ...Until she started to cite Dan Brown's horribly written book, "The Da Vinci Code," which purports itself to be a "sourced" novel.

Right. And Wikipedia's data cannot be wrong, and Oswald really acted alone.

Not that the writer has to be Christian or even a theologian, but mixing her research alongside (jaw-droppingly bad and easily refuted) fictional information (the "Priory of Sion" was made up in 1954 or so) just asks someone to call BS on her whole entire study.

That would be too bad, since she might have stumbled onto the first decent lead in the decoding riddle.


Submission + - Hands-on look at the BlackBerry Storm 2 (

Barence writes: PC Pro has had time to play with the new BlackBerry Storm 2, and came away impressed. The new touch system garners the most praise, doing away with the mechanical click screen of the original Storm — the new screen gives a kind of localised haptic feedback which "feels just like clicking a button". The phone, announced today, also includes Wi-Fi, BlackBerry OS 5 and increased storage, so it's looking an enticing prospect. After the disappointment of the Palm Pre, could this be the smartphone to beat?

Comment The first app for the "Apple Tablet"? (Score 1) 72

"Say you've got a victim of drowning. You need to probe inside to determine if water is present in the lungs, or if the victim died prior to immersion. And, say, you need to upload your results to your boss, the sheriff, the district attorney, and the press corps, all with one click.

"Yes, there's an app for that."

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