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OS X

Apple Patches Massive Holes In OS X 246

Trailrunner7 writes with this snippet from ThreatPost: "Apple's first Mac OS X security update for 2010 is out, providing cover for at least 12 serious vulnerabilities. The update, rated critical, plugs security holes that could lead to code execution vulnerabilities if a Mac user is tricked into opening audio files or surfing to a rigged Web site." Hit the link for a list of the highlights among these fixes.

Submission + - Amazon Cloud Adds Hosted MySQL (amazon.com)

1sockchuck writes: Amazon Web Services has added a relational database service to host MySQL databases in the cloud, and is also dropping prices on its Amazon EC2 compute service by as much as 15 percent. Amazon says the new service lets users focus on development rather than maintenance, but it will probably be bad news for startups offering database services built atop Amazon's cloud. Cloud Avenue warns that Amazon RDS should serve as "a warning bell for the companies that build their entire business on Amazon ecosystem. ... They are just one announcement away from complete destruction." Data Center Knowledge has a roundup of analysis and commentary on Amazon RDS and its impact on the cloud ecosystem.
Windows

Submission + - Is not having Windows skills a blemish on a resume 2

antifoidulus writes: After spending the past 6 years practically Windows free, I have become accustomed to how advanced other operating systems(such as Linux and OS X) are compared to Windows. Whenever I use Windows I am shocked and frustrated with how primitive it is, for example no NFS or SSH out of the box, an insanely stupid file structure etc. I would prefer to never have to touch the thing again, but I do like being employed. Is not having any Windows experience on your resume a problem nowadays? How do you handle the inevitable questions about not using the World's Worst Operating System? Should I just have to suck it up and learn how to deal with it?

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Moving away from the IT field?

irving47 writes: With the economy the way it is, it's a little iffy to even think about switching careers completely, but lately, I've gotten more and more fed up with trying to keep up with the technical demands of companies or customers that are financially and even verbally unappreciative. While I might be good at it, and the money adequate, I'm curious to hear from slashdotters that have gone cold-turkey from their IT/Networking careers to something once foreign to them. How did you deal with the income difference, if any? Do you find yourself dealing with people more, and if so, how do you feel about it?
Real Time Strategy (Games)

Command & Conquer MMO a Possibility? 159

TheProphet92 sends along a speculative piece about the future of EA's popular RTS franchise, writing: "EA's real-time strategy games don't have the luxury of extensive funding the way some other franchises do. EA has been milking their game engines for all they're worth and then some. They have been using various versions of the 'Sage' engine for the past half-dozen or so RTS games, and they need money to make a new one. Perhaps an MMO is the way to go for EA, using none other than their famous Command & Conquer franchise."
Games

BioShock 2 Multiplayer Details Revealed 19

2K Games has revealed information about the multiplayer portion of BioShock 2, which will be developed by Digital Extremes. Multiplayer will be a prequel story that takes place prior to Rapture's fall, where "players assume the role of a Plasmid test subject for Sinclair Solutions, a premier provider of Plasmids and Tonics in the underwater city of Rapture that was first explored in the original BioShock." The press release says players will gain experience points which they can spend to gain access to "new Weapons, Plasmids and Tonics that can be used to create hundreds of different combinations, allowing players to develop a unique character that caters to their playing style." It will also expand on the BioShock story.
Games

Peter Molyneux On Developmental Experimentation 55

Gamasutra reports on a talk given at GDC by Peter Molyneux, founder of Lionhead Studios and designer of games such as Black & White and Fable. Molyneux discussed some of the experimentation that went into the development of their various games. Quoting: "After his overview of the process, Molyneux demonstrated a number of actual experiments. He began by showing an early version of Fable II's dog, which he himself designed and which ended up factoring heavily into the full game. 'This is probably one of the most valuable experiments we ever did,' he said. Using the original Fable engine, the team asked itself, 'Why don't we think how the dog can actually move and be a companion to the player?' They decided to focus on exploring what a dog would do, rather than try to slot a canine into existing typical video game companion tasks. This led to the mechanic of the dog running out in front of the player, rather than beside or behind the player as most game AI companions are positioned, which had a huge impact on the dog's role."
Windows

Submission + - Internet Explorer 8 can be removed from Windows 7

Bryant writes: "The latest leaked build (7048) of Windows 7 allows users to remove Internet Explorer 8 (steps included). Given that this change was added after Beta 1, the odds of this persisting into Windows 7 RC or even RTM are pretty high. Granted, this only removes iexplore.exe and reconfigures Windows not to complain, but it's a step in the right direction for those who believe in the ultimate in free choice. The remaining IE8 components and dependencies only exist to let IE-dependent Windows components run without problems."
PC Games (Games)

Windows 7 Gaming Performance Tested 179

Timmus writes "Gamers holding onto Windows XP may not have to fear sluggish performance when Windows 7 debuts. While Windows Vista's gaming performance was pretty spotty at launch, the Windows 7 beta build seems to handle most games well. Firingsquad has tested the Windows 7 beta against Windows XP SP3 and Vista SP1 on midrange and high-end gaming PCs across 7 different games. While the beta stumbles in a couple of cases, overall it performs within a few percentage points of Windows XP, actually outrunning XP in multiple benchmarks."
Networking

Active Directory Comes To Linux With Samba 4 276

Da Massive writes in with another possible answer to a recent Ask Slashdot about FOSS replacements for Microsoft AD server. "Enterprise networks now have an alternative choice to Microsoft Active Directory (AD) servers, with the open source Samba project aiming for feature parity with the forthcoming release of version 4, according to Canberra-based Samba developer Andrew Bartlett. Speaking at this year's linux.conf.au Linux and open source conference in Hobart, Bartlett said Samba 4 is aiming to be a replacement for AD by providing a free software implementation of Microsoft's custom protocols. Because AD is 'far more than LDAP and Kerberos,' Bartlett said, Samba 4 is not only about developing with Microsoft's customization of those protocols, it is also about moving the project beyond just providing an NT 4 compatible domain manager."
Medicine

Strategy Games Improve Cognitive Functions In Older Adults 64

Researchers at the University of Illinois have completed a study about using video games to stimulate cognitive function in adults over 60 years old. The scientists selected a strategy game — because of its scope and the variety of different tasks involved — and trained a group of subjects on how to play. The gamers then scored better than a control group on a number of cognitive tests. Quoting: "The tests included measures of their ability to switch between tasks, their short-term visual memory, their reasoning skills and their working memory, which is the ability to hold two or more pieces of information in memory and use the information as needed. There were also tests of the subjects' verbal recall, their ability to inhibit certain responses and their ability to identify an object that had been rotated to a greater or lesser degree from its original position. The researchers found that training on the video game did improve the participants' performance on a number of these tests. As a group, the gamers became significantly better — and faster — at switching between tasks compared with the comparison group. Their working memory, as reflected in the tests, also was significantly improved. Their reasoning ability was enhanced. To a lesser extent, their short-term memory of visual cues was better than that of their peers, as was their ability to identify rotated objects."
The Almighty Buck

Game Industry Optimistic About Surviving Economic Crisis 52

CNet is running a story about how the gaming industry is looking at the recent economic troubles. Despite their status as luxury items, games and game systems have seen strong sales numbers in recent months, and that trend is expected to continue into the holiday season. Most companies are optimistic, despite the fact that many of their stock values have been hit hard and that analysts' views are divided on whether game-related purchases will be one of the first things cut from consumers' budgets. "'I do think that the video game industry is going to do reasonably well in this time of recession because video games are a pretty damned efficient use of time,' said Bridges. 'That said, the...industry has some other problems that it has been ignoring for awhile and that are creeping up on it.' Essentially, Bridges explained, he thinks that the dominance of giant publishers like EA and their general reliance on physical, in-the-box, units, can't hold up. Instead, he said, new tools, ubiquitous broadband and hungry independent developers are going to all combine to eat away at the continued supremacy of the $60 big-name title. And that could spell big trouble for the industry."
Image

The Science of the Lightsaber Screenshot-sm 197

Smartcowboy writes "Chances are that you have seen a lightsaber at one time or another, whether on the evening news or down at the local cantina. Therefore you know that a lightsaber is an amazing and versatile device that is able to cut through nearly anything in a matter of milliseconds. Have you ever wondered how these remarkable weapons work? Where does the energy come from, and how are they able to contain that energy in a rod-like column of glowing power? In this article, you will have a chance to look inside a lightsaber and discover the source of its incredible characteristics." I was sure the blade was made from the focused hate and disappointment of the last three movies.

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