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Should the Gov't Pay For Injured Man's Wii? 222

An anonymous reader writes "Politicians in the Australian state of Victoria are currently locked in a debate about whether an injured man should be able to claim the cost of a Nintendo Wii for rehabilitation purposes under worker's compensation. The man's doctor apparently recommended he use the Wii Fit exercise device, but both insurance companies and the government itself have blocked the payment and have now ridiculed the idea as paying for video games. But with the Wii Fit increasingly being used for rehabilitation purposes internationally, does the man have a fair case?"

Aussie Attorney General Says Gamers Are Scarier Than Biker Gangs 409

Sasayaki writes "South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson claims, in an interview with Good Game, that gamers were more of a threat to his family than biker gangs. This is the man who has been the biggest opponent to Australia receiving an R18+ rating for video games and who has the power to veto any such law introducing it."
PC Games (Games)

Future Ubisoft Games To Require Constant Internet Access 497

Following up on our discussion yesterday of annoying game distribution platforms, Ubisoft has announced the details of their Online Services Platform, which they will use to distribute and administer future PC game releases. The platform will require internet access in order to play installed games, saved games will be stored remotely, and the game you're playing will even pause and try to reconnect if your connection is lost during play. Quoting Rock, Paper, Shotgun: "This seems like such a bizarre, bewildering backward step. Of course we haven't experienced it yet, but based on Ubi’s own description of the system so many concerns arise. Yes, certainly, most people have the internet all the time on their PCs. But not all people. So already a percentage of the audience is lost. Then comes those who own gaming laptops, who now will not be able to play games on trains, buses, in the park, or anywhere they may not be able to find a WiFi connection (something that’s rarely free in the UK, of course – fancy paying the £10/hour in the airport to play your Ubisoft game?). Then there's the day your internet is down, and the engineers can’t come out to fix it until tomorrow. No game for you. Or any of the dozens of other situations when the internet is not available to a player. But further, there are people who do not wish to let a publisher know their private gaming habits. People who do not wish to report in to a company they’ve no affiliation with, nor accountability to, whenever they play a game they’ve legally bought. People who don’t want their save data stored remotely. This new system renders all customers beholden to Ubisoft in perpetuity whenever they buy their games."
Social Networks

Game Distribution Platforms Becoming Annoyingly Common 349

The Escapist's Shamus Young recently posted an article complaining about the proliferation of distribution platforms and social networks for video games. None of the companies who make these are "quite sure how games will be sold and played ten years from now," he writes, "but they all know they want to be the ones running the community or selling the titles." Young continues, "Remember how these systems usually work: The program sets itself up to run when Windows starts, and it must be running if you want to play the game. If you follow this scheme to its logical conclusion, you'll see that the system tray of every gaming PC would eventually end up clogged with loaders, patchers, helpers, and monitors. Every publisher would have a program for serving up content, connecting players, managing digital licenses, performing patches, and (most importantly) selling stuff. Some people don't mind having 'just one more' program running in the background. But what happens when you have programs from Valve, Stardock, Activision, 2k Games, Take-Two, Codemasters, Microsoft, Eidos, and Ubisoft? Sure, you could disable them. But then when you fire the thing up to play a game, it will want to spend fifteen minutes patching itself and the game before it will let you in. And imagine how fun it would be juggling accounts for all of them."

New Super Mario Bros. Wii Tops 10 Million Sales 164

According to a report from Japanese publication Nikkei Net, Nintendo's New Super Mario Bros. Wii has now sold 10 million copies worldwide. The game needed only 45 days to pass the already impressive sales numbers of Super Mario Galaxy. Quoting Gamasutra: "NSMB Wii has sold 3 million units in Japan, where it launched on December 3; 3 million copies in Europe, where it launched November 20, and 4.5 million units in North America, where it launched November 15. Super Mario Galaxy has sold 4.1 million units in North America since 2007. The game's design hearkens back to the two-dimensional, side-scrolling style of earlier Mario titles ... The numbers would seem to suggest that these traits successfully generated more mass appeal for NSMB Wii than for the three-dimensional and far less familiar Super Mario Galaxy, which sent the plumber navigating more innovative spherical space environments."

Sharp Rise In Jailing of Online Journalists; Iran May Just Kill Them 233

bckspc writes "The Committee to Protect Journalists has published their annual census of journalists in prison. Of the 136 reporters in prison around the world on December 1, 'At least 68 bloggers, Web-based reporters, and online editors are imprisoned, constituting half of all journalists now in jail.' Print was next with 51 cases. Also, 'Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide, a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business.' China, Iran, Cuba, Eritrea, and Burma were the top 5 jailers of journalists." rmdstudio writes, too, with word that after the last few days' protest there, largely organized online, the government of Iran is considering the death penalty for bloggers and webmasters whose reports offend it.

Submission + - SPAM: Powerful New Tools for Managing Distributed Cache

Ksenya Harmelin writes: "ScaleOut Software Showcases Innovative Extensions for Scalable Distributed Caching

San Francisco, CA — June 2, 2009 — At the JavaOne Conference, ScaleOut Software today demonstrated innovative new extensions for its industry-leading distributed caching software product called ScaleOut StateServer®. With the release of version 4.1, ScaleOut Software further raises the bar for distributed caching by adding an object browser that lets users visually browse the contents of a distributed cache. This new capability gives developers and administrators a powerful new tool for managing a distributed cache. Version 4.1 also adds powerful and flexible support for integrating a distributed cache with a backing store, such as a database server or file system. These new features, combined with unique, Java-based "map/reduce" capabilities for grid computing, further extend ScaleOut Software's leadership for its enterprise-class, distributed caching products.

  "Our customers continue to deepen their reliance on distributed caching to scale the performance of their mission-critical applications," said Dr. William L. Bain, founder and CEO of ScaleOut Software. "Our company's history has been that of identifying and delivering new caching technology to meet our customers' needs. We have added important new features for our Java customers which enable ScaleOut StateServer to further address these evolving needs with the most comprehensive, powerful, and best supported distributed caching platform possible."

Being able to view and manage objects stored in a distributed cache provides important insights into cache usage. The new ScaleOut StateServer Object Browser (Beta) gives developers and administrators a unique new tool for viewing the contents of the cache, showing the metadata for individual Java objects, and performing a number of management operations, such as querying the cache and clearing its contents. The object browser's capabilities dramatically increase the user's visibility into the contents of a distributed cache.

ScaleOut StateServer also now includes comprehensive support for automatically storing and retrieving cached objects from a backing store, such as a database server or file system. New Java APIs provide both synchronous "read through" and "write through" access to a backing store, as well as periodic, asynchronous "refresh ahead" and "write behind" access policies. To keep deployment as simple as possible, the user enables these features programmatically instead of building separate configuration files. A rich set of capabilities lets the user choose the appropriate policy for keeping the distributed cache in sync with a backing store to maximize application performance and minimize the load on the backing store.

Further deepening support for Java, ScaleOut StateServer's Grid Computing edition now includes unique Java APIs for performing data-parallel map/reduce computations on cached data. Called "parallel method invocation" (PMI), these APIs enable application developers to quickly and easily create data-parallel applications that automatically take advantage of the distributed cache's load-balancer to provide both multi-server and multi-core speedup. Recent tests on a key computational challenge in financial services have demonstrated PMI's value in shortening development cycles while delivering very high performance and efficient network usage.

About ScaleOut StateServer

ScaleOut StateServer provides distributed, in-memory caching for server farms and compute grids to boost application performance and offload database servers. Now in its fourth major release, ScaleOut StateServer has proven its ability to accelerate application performance every day on hundreds of production server farms across a wide range of industries including financial services, ecommerce, and many others. Its patented technology for scaling performance and replicating data enables it to deliver scalable access to cached data while maintaining high availability in case of server failures. Tests have shown that ScaleOut StateServer's performance quickly outpaces database servers as the load on a server farm grows. By using ScaleOut StateServer's distributed, in-memory cache for application data storage, developers can maintain fast response times while their server farm grows to handle increasing workloads.

While many Java-based distributed caching solutions are implemented solely for a single operating system, SOSS runs with native performance on Solaris, Linux, and Windows using a combination of Java and C within its implementation. These operating systems can be seamlessly intermixed within a single caching farm, and SOSS runs at native performance under all operating systems. Carefully-tuned multithreaded Java IO is used to produce robust, high-speed network access. With Hotspot enabled, network performance matches that of equivalent C++ and .NET code down to the microsecond level.

ScaleOut StateServer provides powerful Java, .NET, and C/C++ APIs for caching application data in a single, uniformly accessible, distributed cache and supports mixed platform/language operations. It implements comprehensive distributed caching semantics, including distributed locking, object timeouts, and automatic memory reclamation. In addition, it offers a unique, scalable event handling mechanism which automatically distributes the event handling load across the server farm and reliably delivers events even if a server outage occurs.
The ScaleOut GeoServer Option uses data replication to extend distributed caching across multiple, geographically distributed data centers so that they can share fast-changing workloads and be fully protected against site-wide failures. GeoServer's capabilities help IT managers meet the stringent performance and uptime needs of high-end Web sites and other mission-critical applications.

About ScaleOut Software, Inc.

ScaleOut Software develops software products that provide scalable, highly available caching for workload data in server farms and compute grids. It has offices in Bellevue Washington and Beaverton, Oregon. The company was founded by Dr. William L. Bain, whose previous company, Valence Research, developed and distributed Web load-balancing software that was acquired by Microsoft Corporation and is now called Network Load Balancing within the Windows Server operating system.

For more information, contact David Brinker at daveb@scaleoutsoftware.com or visit [spam URL stripped]. ScaleOut Software, Inc. 10900 NE 4th Street, Suite 2300, Bellevue, WA 98004, T: 503-643-3422.


Link to Original Source

Submission + - Antarctic ice is growing, not melting away 2

schwit1 writes: A report from The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research says that Antarctic ice is growing, not melting away.

Ice core drilling in the fast ice off Australia's Davis Station in East Antarctica by the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-Operative Research Centre shows that last year, the ice had a maximum thickness of 1.89m, its densest in 10 years. The average thickness of the ice at Davis since the 1950s is 1.67m.

A paper to be published soon by the British Antarctic Survey in the journal Geophysical Research Letters is expected to confirm that over the past 30 years, the area of sea ice around the continent has expanded.

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