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Preserving Virtual Worlds 122

The Opposable Thumbs blog has an interview with Jerome McDonough of the University of Illinois, who is involved with the Preserving Virtual Worlds project. The goal of the project is to recognize video games as cultural artifacts and to make sure they're accessible by future generations. Here McDonough talks about some of the technical difficulties in doing so: "Take, for example, Star Raiders on the Atari 2600. If you're going to preserve this, you've got a couple of problems. The first is that it is on a cartridge that is designed to work on a particular system that is no longer manufactured. And as long as you've got a hardware dependency there, you're really not going to be able to preserve this material very long. What we have been looking at is how feasible is it for things that fundamentally all have some level of hardware dependency there — even Doom has dependencies on DLLs with an operating system, and on particular chipsets and architectures for playing. How do you take that and turn it into something that isn't as dependent on a particular physical piece of hardware. And to do that, you need information about that platform. You need technical specifications that allow you to basically reproduce a virtualization that may enable you to run the software in its original form in the future. So what we're trying to do is preserve not only the games, but preserve the knowledge that you would need to create a virtualization platform to play the game."

Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Protein ... and Now Fat 210

ral writes "The human tongue can taste more than sweet, sour, salty, bitter and protein. Researchers have added fat to that list. Dr. Russell Keast, an exercise and nutrition sciences professor at Deakin University in Melbourne, told Slashfood, 'This makes logical sense. We have sweet to identify carbohydrate/sugars, and umami to identify protein/amino acids, so we could expect a taste to identify the other macronutrient: fat.' In the Deakin study, which appears in the latest issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, Dr. Keast and his team gave a group of 33 people fatty acids found in common foods, mixed in with nonfat milk to disguise the telltale fat texture. All 33 could detect the fatty acids to at least a small degree."

Comment Re:Amazon S3 (Score 1) 411

One major caveat to this: storing data on S3 is not compatible with many types of compliance standards (PCI, SOX, HIPAA, etc.) If your business is required to have any particular types of compliance, either because the government requires it of you or your partners do, make sure you are storing the data offline. That's about the only way to do it and still meet compliance measures.

I also love the idea of using S3 for storage; just keep in mind that depending on the type of data you are storing it may not be the appropriate choice.

The Courts

Submission + - Electric Slide Creator Backs Off In EFF Victory (

chameleon_skin writes: Richard Silver, purported creator of the Electric Slide, has backed down from his earlier assertion that under the DMCA videos of the dance he supposedly created cannot be shown on YouTube without his explicit permission. In the face of an EFF lawsuit, Mr. Silver agreed in the settlement to release the rights to the dance under the Creative Commons License. Put on your dance shoes and fire up your video cameras!

Submission + - CBS buys London-based LAST.FM for $280M

AXYZ Mobile writes: "CBS just purchased social music site for £140m or $280m, making this the largest-ever UK "Web 2.0" acquisition, reports BBC News. CBS has become the latest media giant to scoop up a social networking Web site. The expectation is that members will be able to post CBS video clips to the site, and that CBS will take advantage of the new digital distribution outlet to entice ad buyers."

Submission + - Google announces "Gears" -- run web apps o

SlinkySausage writes: "Ajax might be the speediest way to deliver applications to your browser, but it basically sucks the second you don't have a stable web connection (think planes, trains, automobiles, and many wireless internet connections). This morning at Developer Day 2007 Sydney, Google announced Google Gears: a new browser technology to make web apps like Gmail run without an internet connection. Gears is a downloadable framework that runs in all the major browsers for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X to allow web apps and uses SQlite on the desktop in conjunction with Google Base in the cloud. Is this the beginning of the end for the Windows and Office duopoly?"

Submission + - Sanity Returns to the US Patent System

chameleon_skin writes: In its most important ruling on patent law in years, the Supreme Court has taken a stand on the crippling effects that obvious patents are having on innovation in the United States. From the article:

If the combination results from nothing more than "ordinary innovation" and "does no more than yield predictable results," the court said in a unanimous opinion, it is not entitled to the exclusive rights that patent protection conveys. "Were it otherwise," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in the opinion, "patents might stifle, rather than promote, the progress of useful arts."

This judgement changes the standard needed to overturn a patent from "clear and convincing" evidence to simply "a preponderance" of evidence.

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"Would I turn on the gas if my pal Mugsy were in there?" "You might, rabbit, you might!" -- Looney Tunes, Bugs and Thugs (1954, Friz Freleng)