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Submission + - Can the Elite-like niche sustain a small scale product? (

Heliosphere1 writes: I'm the sole developer of an Elite-like indie game in development called Heliosphere: I made some demo videos to show what I have done so far. If someone wants to toss the original AVIs up on bittorrent, that's cool; I can post filehosting links separately. I recommend using fullscreen and "HD" mode on DM:

There is no staff or money behind this effort. I decided to take the last few years before I can retire to try something creative, and attempt to write a game. I'm just over one year into the project, so the road ahead is long. I'm trying to decide whether this is viable to pursue. I'm aware of about 4 or 5 other impressive efforts in this genre, all of which have more resources (programmers, sometimes artists and/or money, where anything more than 1 person and zero dollars can be defined as "a large project" from my POV).

On one hand, I think it's absurdly cool that this genre might stage a bit of a comeback, and also that the efforts are coming from indie developers, who in my opinion are keeping gaming alive in the face of various major studios who are crushing it. I hope at least some of those indie projects will see wild success. On the other, Elite-likes are a small niche: for every gamer interested in such games and who hasn't abandoned the PC as a gaming platform, there are a million who'd prefer Angry Farmville In Space. It's unclear to me whether this niche can sustain a lone developer with all the limitations and constraints that brings on what I can create. Unfortunately, I will need to make a living wage, as I am currently chewing through my retirement savings to create this. It's this, or a few more years at the grindstone.

I can answer questions about the project here, but cannot accept or read implementation ideas.

(And yes, it runs on Linux, as well as Windows).

[Editors: Sorry for the double submission: the first attempt appeared to disappear from the queue — not down voted, but just gone, after about 5 minutes, so I figured it didn't work.]

Comment Bravo, robfoo (Score 2, Insightful) 683

Let others smack you down, but with nearly 30 years of programming experience in numerous languages, I'm with you. Indented branching flow seems clean, stable and maintainable. I got dissed for a job i applied for because my code was designed this way instead of the "enlightened" way of throwing exceptions. Exceptions are ok, I guess, if everything is a C++ objects that self-destructs when it goes out of scope, but reality doesn't always work that way. In retrospect, I'm glad I'm not at that job.

Submission + - Picture scaling error in graphical softwares (

Eric Brasseur writes: "Every picture scaling software I could test makes a gross error: the gamma of the picture being scaled is not taken into account. This makes that for example a pixel that should be at 50% brightness can get only 22% brightness. Depending on the kind of picture, the damage can be quite important. I wrote a page to explain the whole:"

Submission + - Clear Channel: indie artists must waive royalties (

Theodora Michaels writes: "As part of Clear Channel's payola settlement with the FCC, the radio networks agreed to air 4,200 hours of local and independent music on their stations. Per the settlement, the broadcaster set up an online application for artists to submit their music for airplay on each of its stations. The application requires the artists to waive their right to digital performance royalties."

Submission + - Google Fights Back (

Cry0 writes: "In a move by Google to crack down on the abuse of its search engine by hackers, its implemented a new system that tracks searches and flags anything that may be considered bot usage or vulnrability scanning.

Hackers have begun to report that doing their normal searches on Google, and using Google's own inbuilt systems and parameters to make extremely specific searches has begin to flag Google's Error message.

We're sorry... ... but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now.

We'll restore your access as quickly as possible, so try again soon. In the meantime, if you suspect that your computer or network has been infected, you might want to run a virus checker or spyware remover to make sure that your systems are free of viruses and other spurious software.

We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope we'll see you again on Google.

This error message was triggered after using Google's Inurl: parameter to find links that contain specific properties, even tho the search itself was not being made by a bot, or any spyware, the user is then blocked for a fixed period of time from advancing their search.

The trouble comes when the people being blocked are not members of the hacker community, anyone with a good internet brain on their shoulders that wants to use Google's inbuilt query system to find a specific result will now run the risk of having their results blocked.

Some people see this as a move to far on Google's Part. only time will tell if this situation gets worse or better."


Submission + - Palm Unveils Folio

CorinneI writes: "Here's something from Palm that's been five years in the making, according to founder Jeff Hawkins. The Foleo boasts a full-size keyboard, a 10.2-inch color screen, and has an SD card slot, VGA out, USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and more. Could this be the killer mobile e-mail machine we've been waiting for?"
United States

Submission + - ACLU sues Boeing subsidiary over torture cases

moderatorrater writes: The ACLU is suing a subsidiary of Boeing for helping the CIA abduct and torture people. From the article:

"Publicly available records demonstrate that Jeppesen facilitated more than 70 secret rendition flights over a four-year period to countries where it knew or reasonably should have known that detainees are routinely tortured or otherwise abused in contravention of universally accepted legal standards," the suit states.
The Internet

Submission + - FanFic Writers Rebel Against Hollywood Takeover

An anonymous reader writes: Flush w/ venture cap. funds, former Yahoo execs., together with the brother of Les Moonves (Chairman of CBS), thought they had a great idea — exploit one of the last great, untamed Internet territories of user-generated content: fanfiction. They decided to launch a site called which they hoped would become the MySpace of fanfiction. "Instead of creating the Myspace of fanfic since the launch two weeks ago," says Mary McNamara of MultiChannelnews, " sparked a white-hot Internet firestorm. The meltdown is a hard lesson in how not to conduct business on the Internet. But it's a firestorm of FanLib's own making because, in spite of the Yahoo pedigree (or maybe because of it), they plowed in like china shop bulls." Go here for her long, link-rich article/blog post. 30010013.html

Submission + - Famatech: Yet Another abusive Terms of Upgrade

An anonymous reader writes: Radmin 3.0, the world famous vaporware was finally released a few weeks ago. However, in order to get the first of a lifetime of free upgrades that were part of the deal (if you bought it around 2000) you must first give up your right to free upgrades. Check the agreement Here . Apparently this is becoming common, and companies realize that getting money by promising what they couldn't deliver wasn't such as good idea. Considering that they don't keep the end of the bargain, do the ripped-off users have an obligation to keep ours?

Submission + - IAMT, a Centrino backdoor?

An anonymous reader writes: Intel is heavily promoting what it calls "active management technology" (AMT) in the new chips as a major plus for system administrators and enterprise IT.
Understood to be a sub-operating system residing in the chip's firmware, AMT will allow administrators to both monitor or control individual machines independent of an operating system.

Additionally, AMT also features what Intel calls "IDE redirection" which will allow administrators to remotely enable, disable or format or configure individual drives and reload operating systems and software from remote locations, again independent of operating systems.
Both AMT and IDE control are enabled by a new network interface controller.
"We all know our [operating system] friends don't crash that often, but it does happen," Tucker said.
here's the link to the story

Submission + - A "finger length" test for Technophobia?

donak writes: "Linux World Australia has a story from PCWorld about a possible connection between testosterone and oestrogen in utero, and the ability of a person in either mathematics or language ... and also an indicator of possible technophobia 87&eid=-50

From the article:
"Testosterone has been linked to spatial skills and mathematical skills, [and] digit ratio has been linked to testosterone," said Brosnan, Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath. "So the question then was — does digit ratio relate to mathematical abilities?"

Scientists believe that high levels of exposure to the male hormone, testosterone, while a child develops in its mother's womb, promote the development of the areas of the brain which are often associated with spatial and mathematical skills.

Similarly, the female hormone oestrogen is thought to do the same in the areas of the brain which are often associated with verbal ability.

I always thought the "relationship of digits" _is_ mathematics ..."
The Internet

Submission + - Say no to traffic shaping

kash2000 writes: "UK based blog against Virgin Media and other ISP's who shape or throttle broadband downloads. broadband, virgin media, ISP, throttling, traffic management."

Submission + - The Straight Dope on Colony Collapse Disorder

friedo writes: "Slashdot has been covering the bizarre story of Colony Collapse Disorder — the mysterious disappearance of agricultural beehives all over North America. Now the Straight Dope has weighed in with the unsurprising conclusion that much of the panic is no more than simple media hype. "[T]there's no reason at this point to think European honey bees are going to be wiped out, now or ever. The die-offs so far appear to affect some beekeepers more than others, sometimes in the same area. That's one reason scientists are so puzzled, but it strongly suggests the losses may have something to do with how individual beekeepers are managing their bees. The "significant percentage" of failing hives is still a drop in the bucket when viewed against the global population of honey bees, and there are lots of beekeepers (even in the U.S., which appears hardest hit) who have not had, and may never have, significant losses of colonies. Plenty of honey bees remain to replace the ones that have died."

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