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Comment The real problem with FB games (Score 5, Insightful) 96

Most (almost all) FB games are not actually games. They are a series of clicks with no challenge, no particular set of strategy, no real difference between levels. There exist no actual gameplay elements. I say this as someone who has played everything from MMOGs to NetHack clones to Text-Based Adventures (Zork and the like) to Flash style games (N - Way of the Ninja) to artsy games (Braid) to Triple-A shooters (Halo 3) and more (a tribute to a life well spent).

If Facebook games offered some gameplay (which some do, ie Bejewelled, Desktop Defender) and not just a blatant and sickening attempt to grab eyeballs and personal information, it would be harder for me to hate them and their creators.

1-in-1,000 Chance of Asteroid Impact In ... 2182? 326

astroengine writes "Sure, we're looking 172 years into the future, but an international collaboration of scientists have developed two mathematical models to help predict when a potentially hazardous asteroid (or PHA) may hit us, not in this century, but the next. The rationale is that to stand any hope in deflecting a civilization-ending or extinction-level impact, we need as much time as possible to deal with the threatening space rock. (Asteroid deflection can be a time-consuming venture, after all.) Enter '(101955) 1999 RQ36' — an Apollo class, Earth-crossing, 500 meter-wide space rock. The prediction is that 1999 RQ36 has a 1-in-1,000 chance of hitting us in the future, and according to one of the study's scientists, María Eugenia Sansaturio, half of those odds fall squarely on the year 2182."
It's funny.  Laugh.

ESRB Exposes Emails of Gamers Who Filed Privacy Complaints 75

simrook writes, "Many people filed privacy complaints with the ESRB over Blizzard's recent (and afterward recanted) move to require the display of users' real life names on Blizzard's official forums. 961 of those complainants had their email addresses exposed in the ESRB's response." The response itself didn't go into the organization's thoughts on Blizzard's plan, but they explained to the Opposable Thumbs blog that anonymity isn't a huge concern to them, as long as users are given the opportunity to opt out. "The role of the ESRB Privacy Online program is to make sure that member websites—those that display our seal on their pages — are compliant with an increasingly complex series of privacy protection laws and are offering a secure space for users to interact and do business online. ... But online privacy protection doesn't necessarily mean the same thing as anonymity. It's about making sure that websites collecting personal information from users are doing so not only in accordance with federal regulations but also with best practices for protecting individuals' personal information online."
The Internet

WiBE Shared Hotspot Pitched For Rural Broadband in UK 51

justice4all writes "A British company claims to have solved the problem of delivering a reliable broadband connection to people in rural communities. Deltenna has developed a small, self-installable gadget called the WiBE (Wireless Broadband Enabler) that uses the 3G mobile network to create a 2Mbps web hotspot. The device sounds similar in concept to devices like Novatel's MiFi, but Deltenna claims it works even in places where a 3G mobile phone wouldn't register a signal. The WiBE has five times the range of a 3G dongle, and can deliver 30 times data throughput compared to a 3G USB modem dongle, Deltenna believes."
The Internet

Adobe Founders On Flash and Internet Standards 515

An anonymous reader points out an 18-month-old interview with the founders of Adobe (and creators of PostScript) Charles Geschke and John Warnock, and highlights three interesting quotes from the book Masterminds of Programming that seem very timely now. "'It is so frustrating that this many years later we're still in an environment where someone says if you really want this to work you have to use Firefox. The whole point of the universality of the Web would be to not have those kind of distinctions, but we're still living with them. It's always fascinating to see how long it takes for certain pieces of historical antiquity to die away. The more you put them in the browsers you've codified them as eternal, and that's stupid. ... With Flash what we're trying to do is both beef it up and make it robust enough so that at least you can get one language that's platform-independent and will move from platform to platform without hitting you every time you turn around with different semantics. ... You can see why, to a certain extent, Apple and Microsoft view that as a challenge because they would like you to buy into their implementation of how the seamless integration with the Web goes. What we're saying is it really shouldn't matter. That cloud ought to be accessible by anybody's computer and through any sort of information sitting out on the Web."

How Bad Is the Gulf Coast Oil Spill? 913

Dasher42 writes "Claims are circulating on the Internet that the Coast Guard fears the Deepwater Horizon well has sprung two extra leaks, raising fears that all control over the release of oil at the site will be lost. The oil field, one of the largest ever discovered, could release 50,000 barrels a day into the ocean, with implications for marine life around the globe that are difficult to comprehend. So, considering that losing our oceanic life, with subsequent unraveling of our land-based ecosystems, is a far more possible apocalyptic scenario than a killer asteroid — what do we do about it?" Other readers have sent some interesting pictures of the spill. One set shows the Deepwater Horizon rig as it collapsed into the ocean. Others, from NASA, indicate that the spill's surface area now rivals that of Florida. The US government has indicated that it intends to require BP to foot the bill for the cleanup. And the Governator has just withdrawn support for drilling off the California coast.

Comment My current apt, End of 2006 (Score 1) 502

I never got cable/di$h setup when I moved into my current apartment. No motivation to do it really. I wouldn't have a land line if it wasn't part of my DSL package and I will take a strong look at fiber when/if it becomes available.
I started on a clunker laptop, got a tower, then a bigger monitor, then a nicer tower. (If there was a good place for it I would get a projector).
I spend a lot of time gaming with old timey radio on in the background. Its amazing how much broadcasting doesn't change (dl some Johnny Dollar, its pretty decent; also The Goon Show-see my sig).
From time to time I dl an anime series (dubs need not apply).
I'm not into sports, so that's not a deal breaker, I don't talk to anyone at work about TV shows (heaven preserve us from LOST fans [I do watch Lost, but I'm not a Believer (I was about to explain an episode to a coworker, but I cut it short and said a fat mexican blew up and old ship, and that was cool] ), so I can wait until the series is canceled and cooled off to enjoy it (Homicide, The Wire, etc).
Oh, and my family didn't own a TV until I was ~8, so not its probably not as ingrained.

Russian Hacker Selling 1.5M Facebook Accounts 193

Sir Codelot writes "A hacker who calls himself Kirllos has obtained and is now offering to sell 1.5 million Facebook IDs at astonishingly low prices — $25 per 1,000 IDs for users with fewer than 10 friends and $45 per 1,000 IDs for users with more than 10 friends. Looking at the numbers, Kirllos has stolen the IDs of one out of every 300 Facebook users. Quoting: 'VeriSign director of cyber intelligence Rick Howard told the New York Times that it appeared close to 700,000 had already been sold. Kirllos would have earned at least $25,000 from the scam. Howard told the newspaper that it was not apparent whether the accounts and passwords were legitimate, but a Russian underground hacking magazine reported it had tested some of Kirllos' previous samples and managed to get into people's accounts.'"

Hacking Big Brother With Help From Revlon 71

skids writes "All those futuristic full-face eyeliner jobs in dystopian cyberpunk fiction might not be that far off the mark. A New York University student spent his thesis time exploring computer vision technology (OpenCV) for ways in which one could confound first-stage algorithms that initially lock onto faces. Then he mixed in a bit of fashion sense to predict future geek chic. Now, whether you want to go for the coal-miner look just to stay out of the data mine, that's up to you."

Google Street View Logs Wi-Fi Networks, MAC Addresses 559

An anonymous reader points to this story at The Register that says "Google is collecting more than just images when they drive around for the Street View service. 'Google's roving Street View spycam may blur your face, but it's got your number. The Street View service is under fire in Germany for scanning private WLAN networks, and recording users' unique MAC (Media Access Control) addresses, as the car trundles along.' There's a choice quote at the end: 'Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said Internet users shouldn't worry about privacy unless they have something to hide.'"

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