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Role Playing (Games)

Submission + - Is 2007/2008 another golden age for RPGs? 2

Anthony Boyd writes: "First there was the foul-mouthed review, "Mask of the Betrayer — so good even the Codex likes it!" Then those same cynics at the RPG Codex almost immediately began gushing about The Witcher, a RPG based upon the novels by Andrzej Sapkowski. Couple that with upcoming role-playing games such as The Broken Hourglass (a throwback to Baldur's Gate style of gameplay) and The Age of Decadence, and we may be in a RPG renaissance. All of these games offer what has been lacking in recent years — choice and consequence. The storyline(s) branch out, and how you play your role actually matters. In addition, the games don't appear to be dumbed-down for mass audiences. They involve difficult battles and engaging intellectual dilemmas. Are these games flukes? Are they less than they seem? Or are they, as one reviewer put it, "a wake-up call for mainstream RPGs?""

Submission + - Starting to manage a development team

Kris writes: I'm a programmer and have been for the past 9 years — and for 3 of these years I've started a small media agency with two colleagues — a business advisor and a graphics designer, however in the past 12 months the business has expanded rapidly where now, as well as some outsourcing we've now got 2 more developers directly under me. Unfortunately I've never had any management experience — and I'm not really sure where to start.

Time planning etc. is fine as I've aways done this with my own workflow — however some of the softer skills and general people management I have a real problem with. Has anyone here been in a similar position where they've 'fallen into' a management position? And have some advice?

Submission + - EMI to remove DRM

jmo_jon writes: "EMI announces today that they are about to remove DRM from their music, and start selling it on itunes. Their press release can be found here. Not only that, it'll also be in AAC format."

Submission + - Dell Linux Support. Not.

biggahed writes: "You knew it wouldn't happen, but you tried hard to believe anyway.
"Although Dell is dancing around the idea of reintroducing Linux desktops and notebooks, the computer maker said it won't make a move until one of the competing flavors of Linux emerges as a business favorite. Dell now maintains that it doesn't want to pick one Linux distribution and alienate users with a preference for another." says Bolen.
So no, it doesn't run Linux. And won't, for the time being."

Submission + - PS3's backward incompatibility

JFMulder writes: According to, Sony has decided to remove the Emotion Engine (PS2's main CPU) from the new model PS3 launched in Europe next month in order to drive the cost down. According to the same article, the console will have limited backward compatibility with PS2 games at launch and a list of games will be made available. One can speculate that these cost savings won't be passed on to the consumer since Sony is trying to get the cost of the console down as much as possible to break even. One has to wonder why they haven't done that 2 months ago if Sony truly believes that backward compatibility is not 'that important'.

Submission + - Youtube Claims DMCA Covers Public Events

simon writes: "Does the DMCA prevent you from recording public events? Apparently so, as one West Australian Citizen Journalist find out last week when YouTube removed his public recordings of the Red Bull Air Race at the request of IMG Media. From the article: raises a much larger issue with respect to copyright. Are IMG Media, the people that organize the Red Bull Air Race, suggesting that they own the copyright to all free public displays of the Red Bull Air Race? What type of precedent would that set?

Submission + - When Good Intentions Meet Poor Research

dbthaw writes: "Professor Tim Wu of Columbia University Law School was recently cited in this InformationWeek article for his arguments about, amongst other things, interoperability among wireless carriers. (SeeTim Wu, "Wireless Net Neutrality: Cellular Carterfone and Consumer Choice in Mobile Broadband." (February 15, 2007).) The Wu's arguments describe a series of failures in the wireless telephony industry to promote innovation and maintain proprietary controls over their networks. (For Wu's full article, see here.)

In particular, Wu makes a lengthy comparies between rules promulgated by U.S. Federal caselaw and Federal Communications Commission decisions which prevented wireline telephone carriers from blocking "attachment" of devices they didn't manufacture or approve.

While there certainly are some notable parallels between these examples, Professor Wu's research overlooks a critical technical component. Interoperability between the devices of wireless carriers is not merely blocked by "proactive" choices made by wireless carriers. Rather, it is primarily a function of differing technologies. Verizon and AT&T Wireless, for example, use fundamentally different technologies for their wireless connectivity. In other words, for a device to operate on both networks — that device would have to be manufactured with two transceivers (I use this term broadly to encompass all the necessary codecs and processing hardware/software necessary each of CDMA and GSM technologies).

Conversely, for a manufacturer wishing to offer a new product, such as the example of Apple's iPhone discussed in the InformationWeek article, that manufacturer would have to make a technical investment in designing two different wireless transceivers for their device.

My comments should neither be taken as an attack on the recommendations of Professor Wu nor the many other points he discusses in his full report. Rather, I am attempting to point out a concern I have with how policy arguments about modern Information Technologies are constructed.

My concern is that potentially important arguments are defeated not on their policy merits, but rather because of a failure to properly understand the technologies. It would not require much time or research money to employ a talented undergraduate engineering student (something Columbia University certainly has in ample supply) to explain the fundamental technical differences between the operation of the Public Swtiched Telephone Network and the various wireless communications carriers. From this, Professor Wu's argument could be reworked to draw similar overall conclusions, without exposing them to easy targets for failure to properly understand technological implementation.

It is my hope that researchers like Professor Wu will consider these thoughts in their future writings, for the work they undertake is (in my opinion, at least) important, and should risk being dismissed as a whole for slight misunderstandings of technical concepts."

Submission + - Over 27% of Firefox patches come from volunteers

dolphinling writes: "Everyone knows the Mozilla Corporation makes a lot of money and employs a lot of people now. Google has full-time employees working on Firefox too, as do a number of other places. Yet despite that, in the six months up to Firefox 2 "27% of the patches to Firefox and Gecko and other key projects were submitted by key volunteers, [and] those patches represent 24% of changes made to the source code". What's more, those numbers only counted contributers with 50 patches or more, so the actual numbers are probably quite a bit higher. It's good to see that even as Mozilla does so well in the business world, it can still keep its ties to the community so strong."

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The means-and-ends moralists, or non-doers, always end up on their ends without any means. -- Saul Alinsky