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Comment Re:Book Burning? (Score 1) 515

Not sure why my original comment came out as AC, but.....

So you admit they are becoming viable.

Whilst I've never been a Flash evangelist, as a web designer, I have been interested in getting the best results to the widest audience. I now use things like jQuery for most of the things that I would once have used Flash for, but it has taken a long time for there to be a viable alternative. Not so very long ago we were limited to animated GIFs or Flash.

Or they'd just have waited a long time.

I still really like the vector drawing tools in Flash, and will do some things in it over Illustrator, often for designs that will never go on the web and end up being printed. I gather this is down to its SmartSketch heritage, although I didn't use it that long ago! I don't think sites like the ones I mentioned would have existed without those tools, even if SVG, HTML5, JavaScript, ActiveX or whatever had been around to deliver low-bandwidth vector animation to a wide audience. There would not doubt have been some sort of alternative, but Flash created it's own style.

Unless someone writes an automatic conversion tool. In any case, I'm not sure how relevant it is. If I only have to use Flash for stuff from the 90s, that's fine with me. It's still a marked improvement.

If Apple took Gnash and did what they did with Webkit to make Safari (I realise this will probably never happen!), and made something that didn't crash, and supported Flash up to, say, version 8, I wouldn't have any problem with their battle against Adobe for future control.

But there is still a huge amount of internet history in Flash files from a time when Flash was the only way to deliver certain things.

This information is not stored on some inaccessible obsolete disks that can't be read any more, its out there on the internet, and only becoming inaccessible because of companies being dicks.

Are we supposed to just forget about all that information and pretend it never happened?

The Internet

FTC Could Gain Enforcement Power Over Internet 134

Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that under a little-known provision in financial overhaul legislation before Congress the Federal Trade Commission could become a more powerful watchdog for Internet users with the power to to issue rules on a fast track and impose civil penalties on companies that hurt consumers. 'If we had a deterrent, a bigger stick to fine malefactors, that would be helpful,' says FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, who has argued in favor of bolstering his agency's enforcement ability. This power would stand in stark contrast to a besieged FCC, whose ability to oversee broadband providers has been cast into doubt after a federal court ruled last month that the agency lacked the ability to punish Comcast for violating open-Internet guidelines. The provision to strengthen the FTC is in the regulatory overhaul legislation passed by the House, and although it is absent from the legislation before the Senate, some observers expect the measure to be included when the House and Senate versions are combined."

Game Endings Going Out of Style? 190

An article in the Guardian asks whether the focus of modern games has shifted away from having a clear-cut ending and toward indefinite entertainment instead. With the rise of achievements, frequent content updates and open-ended worlds, it seems like publishers and developers are doing everything they can to help this trend. Quoting: "Particularly before the advent of 'saving,' the completion of even a simple game could take huge amounts of patience, effort and time. The ending, like those last pages of a book, was a key reason why we started playing in the first place. Sure, multiplayer and arcade style games still had their place, but fond 8, 16 and 32-bit memories consist more of completion and satisfaction than particular levels or tricky moments. Over the past few years, however, the idea of a game as simply something to 'finish' has shifted somewhat. For starters, the availability of downloadable content means no story need ever end, as long as the makers think there's a paying audience. Also, the ubiquity of broadband means multiplayer gaming is now the standard, not the exception it once was. There is no real 'finish' to most MMORPGs."

Why Programmers Need To Learn Statistics 572

David Gerard writes "Zed Shaw writes an impassioned plea to programmers: Programmers Need To Learn Statistics Or I Will Kill Them All. Quoting: 'I go insane when I hear programmers talking about statistics like they know s*** when it's clearly obvious they do not. I've been studying it for years and years and still don't think I know anything. ... I have taken a bunch of math classes, studied statistics in grad school, learned the R language, and read tons of books on the subject. Despite all of this I'm not at all confident in my understanding of such a vast topic. What I can do is apply the techniques to common problems I encounter at work. My favorite problem to attack with the statistics wolverine is performance measurement and tuning. All of this leads to a curse since none of my colleagues have any clue about what they don't understand. I'll propose a measurement technique and they'll scoff at it. I try to show them how to properly graph a run chart and they're indignant. I question their metrics and they try to back it up with lame attempts at statistical reasoning. I really can't blame them since they were probably told in college that logic and reason are superior to evidence and observation.'"
XBox (Games)

Inside the New Xbox Experience 50

Eurogamer has an in-depth look at the new Xbox Experience, which is coming on November 19th. They discuss the new interface and features, and their reaction is generally positive, citing graphical improvements, smooth file management, and better chat functionality. "The Guide is also your access point to the new Party system, where you can gather eight of your friends together in a voice-chat channel and move the group between games. You don't even have to be doing the same thing: you can just chat along regardless. And because it's a service layer, it automatically works with all your existing games. Gears of War treats it like it's always been there. Instead of inviting a player, you invite the group; instead of ending a session and having to reassemble for another, you stay together. You can open it up to friends or set it to be invite-only, and while it's one of NXE's quieter additions, it's also its most authoritative statement: this is Microsoft saying, 'We figured we might need to do something like this, so we made sure we could.'"

Submission + - First Evidence of Another Universe? 2

blamanj writes: Three months ago, astronomers announced the discovery of a large hole at the edge of our universe. Now, Dr. Laura Mersini-Houghton thinks she knows what that means. (Subscription req'd at New Scientist site, there's also an overview here.) According to string theory, there are many universes besides our own. Her team says that smaller universes are positioned at the edge of our universe, and because of gravitational interactions, they can be observed, and they're willing to make a prediction. The recently discovered void is in the northern hemisphere. They contend another one will be found in the southern hemisphere.

Submission + - Bush wristwatch gets stolen

Ddalex writes: "If you had any doubts why Albanians welcomed Bush so warmly, here is definitive proof they are actually seeing him as a target. In this video, if you look closely between 0:54 and 0:58 time marks, you'll see how someone from the crowd actually stoles Bush's wristwatch :)"

Submission + - Who gets the unfinished software?

zaunuz writes: What happends to unfinished software, mainly consisting of bits and pieces of perl-code, if the company you wrote it for goes bankrupt? This might be the case where i currently work. For the past year i have been in charge of a fairly big project, but due to poor economical planning higher up in the system, it is quite possible that the company will die before me and my team are finished. If this happends, we would like to continue the project on our own, since it is fairly close to completion, and it would suck to just scrap what we've invested so many hours and cups of coffee into. The creditors are most likely to be the new owners of the code, however, do the creditors care about unfinished code? Afterall, first they'd have to understand what it does. After they've done that, they'd have to finish it themselves. Has anyone else experienced a similar situation?

Submission + - An insight into AMD's new linux driver development (

Cowards Anonymous writes: "It's no secret that ATI Technologies has had a rough time in the past delivering display drivers that met the expectations of their customers. When ATI started out producing a FireGL and Radeon Linux driver they for some time were greatly behind NVIDIA's feature-rich driver.

The early ATI Linux driver had lacked essential functionality such as PCI Express and x86_64 architecture support and was also affected by stability and performance problems — not to mention a great deal of bugs.

Things are looking better though, as the article explains."

United States

Submission + - No Climate Change Consensus Among Top Scientists (

Lawrence Person writes: "When Financial Post reporter Lawrence Solomon started interviewing top scientists who dissented from the global warming orthodoxy, he "accepted the prevailing view that scientists overwhelmingly believe that climate change threatens the planet. I doubted only claims that the dissenters were either kooks on the margins of science or sell-outs in the pockets of the oil companies...Now, after profiling more than 20 deniers, I do not know when I will stop — the list of distinguished scientists who question the IPCC grows daily, as does the number of emails I receive, many from scientists who express gratitude for my series. Somewhere along the way, I stopped believing that a scientific consensus exists on climate change. Certainly there is no consensus at the very top echelons of scientists — the ranks from which I have been drawing my subjects — and certainly there is no consensus among astrophysicists and other solar scientists, several of whom I have profiled. If anything, the majority view among these subsets of the scientific community may run in the opposite direction. Not only do most of my interviewees either discount or disparage the conventional wisdom as represented by the IPCC, many say their peers generally consider it to have little or no credibility. In one case, a top scientist told me that, to his knowledge, no respected scientist in his field accepts the IPCC position.""

Submission + - Blind radio ham fears his world will soon be quiet

An anonymous reader writes: UK radio ham, Robin Wood (G4UDK) has been BLIND for 16 years and now fears that he will soon 'live in a very quiet world' after being threatened with an ASBO (anti-social behaviour order) by Redditch Bourough Council following alleged compliants from neighbours of interfance to WLAN, mobiles, freeview boxes and even telephone landlines! This is despite the fact that as Robin himself clearly stated in this ITV news report that he MOSTLY just uses his ariels to LISTEN and only transmits with them between 04:30am and 07:30am!

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