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Comment Take the red pill, read Donnerjack (Score 1) 429

I saw Tron Legacy over the weekend and the plot had a lot of interesting little avenues that were just dead ends. The son of Dillinger does...nothing. Tron shows up for 5 minutes and does...basically nothing. They bring a program from the machine world into the human world and they do...nothing. If you want a good read from a great author that really expounds on a lot of interesting ideas predating the Matrix, Tron Legacy, and others, check out Roger Zelazny and Jane Linskold's Donnerjack. It does a great job of exploring the ideas of humans going into a virutal computer world, bringing a program back into the real world, having a child with that program and then the child being able to cross back and forth physically between worlds. As a bonus, the virtual gods are trying to take over the real world and Death gets cheated a couple of times. Lots of fun and a neat look at something that had to have influenced a lot of the writers making these flicks.

Comment Dungeons and Dragons Online works well (Score 1) 462

I don't know that Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO) really fits the description, but I've found the model to be very interesting. Basically, you can download the basic game for free and create two online characters from a limited number classes. If you want additional content, characters, bank slots, potions, etc, you can buy them at the online store. If you want to pay the monthly subscription fee to get it all, you can do that too. The game is pretty cool too. To give it a try, go to
PlayStation (Games)

Sony May Charge For PlayStation Network 212

In an interview with IGN, Sony's VP of marketing, Peter Dille, responded to a question about the PlayStation Network by saying that the company is considering charging for the service. He said, "It's been our philosophy not to charge for it from launch up until now, but Kaz recently went on the record as saying that's something we're looking at. I can confirm that as well. That's something that we're actively thinking about. What's the best way to approach that if we were to do that? You know, no announcements at this point in time, but it's something we're thinking about." This follows news of a customer survey from last month that listed possibilities for subscription-based PSN features.

Failed Games That Damaged Or Killed Their Companies 397

An anonymous reader writes "Develop has an excellent piece up profiling a bunch of average to awful titles that flopped so hard they harmed or sunk their studio or publisher. The list includes Haze, Enter The Matrix, Hellgate: London, Daikatana, Tabula Rasa, and — of course — Duke Nukem Forever. 'Daikatana was finally released in June 2000, over two and a half years late. Gamers weren't convinced the wait was worth it. A buggy game with sidekicks (touted as an innovation) who more often caused you hindrance than helped ... achieved an average rating of 53. By this time, Eidos is believed to have invested over $25 million in the studio. And they called it a day. Eidos closed the Dallas Ion Storm office in 2001.'"

Over 160 Tutorial Videos Created For Unreal Dev Kit 48

As a follow-up to Epic Games' release of a free version of the Unreal Engine last month, the company has now posted over 160 video tutorials which demonstrate the various uses of the Unreal Development Kit. Roughly 20 hours of footage were created by technical education company 3D Buzz, with topics ranging from user interface to game physics to cinematics.

Comment Give each other space and time (Score 1) 1146

After 20 years of being married to a non-geek, there are some things I remember going through that might be helpful.
  1. Stay employed, preferably both of you. That way you will have plenty of money to do what you want. We pooled our money instead of having separate accounts. Make sure you talk about this before you get married. If what you decided isn't working, don't be afraid to discuss a change. In the end, marriage ends up being more of a financial arrangement than a sex or passion thing. You will fight over money and the things you want to spend it on (or foolishly spent it on) more than anything else. Think about what major purchases you may make and have a plan. Absolutely do not sign anything you are not sure of. My wife really didn't like our house when we bought it but signed the papers to buy it anyway. Now she is stuck there and likes to let me hear about it once in a while. This has also happened with a couple of cars. You need to both agree that if you have any doubts about major purchases like this that you will not just sign it to please the other one because they like it so much.
  2. Set a spending limit and try to stick to it. We have a $50 rule. If it is over $50, you have to ask the other one if you can get it. This helps to avoid those huge fights over money.
  3. Make sure to go hang out with your friends. Her friends don't have to be yours, just make sure you have somewhere to go once in a while to hang out or play games or whatever. It is good to be away from each other once in a while. When I first started living with my wife and would go to play D&D with my buddies, she would literally cry at the door and tell me I loved them more than her. Just keep going and she will get used to it. It might take 10 years, but eventually she will understand.
  4. Remember that being married is like being on a can read the menu, but you can't eat. Don't cheat on your spouse. You will get caught. You will regret it. Most likely it will turn out to be the most expensive sex you've ever had.
  5. Don't try to do everything together. Don't take up knitting just to spend more time with her. Do you really want her taking up your hobbies and ruining your private time?
  6. Be nice to her mom.
  7. Help out around the house. Even if you are the only one working.
  8. Save your money, use the library. Don't go berserk collecting stuff you can access legally for free.
  9. Lastly, choose your battles. Do you really care what color the towels are? Unless it is something that is really important to you, don't make a mountain out of a mole hill.

Comment Re:the solution is .. (Score 4, Interesting) 91

While that sounds good, it really isn't a realistic or technically feasible. The grid was not originally designed to handle the huge amounts of electricity that are currently being transferred between entities. The power pools must have some way to manage the flow of electricity across the wires to keep the system from being overloaded and brought down. It is also necessary to monitor the flows to collect the tariffs that are charged.

For example, if Company A in Oklahoma City sells electricity to Company B in Des Moines, the power pools must be able to verify that there is capacity on the lines in between, whose lines the electricity will be travelling across so that they can maintain the stability of the grid, and collect the tariff paid to all the intervening transmission line owners. Without these systems being connected via computers, there is no way to accurately maintain and monitor the current system.

As the Northeast blackout of a few years ago pointed out, lack of visibility into these systems can result in a devastating cascade of blackouts. If the Chinese or Russions actually do have Trojan Horses planted in these systems, they could literally bring us to our knees and shut down the country. It is really not that far-fetched since many of the smaller electric companies are locally owned co-ops or run by small cities with little or no budgets for security infrastructure or staff. The NERC CIP standards are certainly a step in the the right direction, but require a huge investment in time and manpower many of these smaller companies can't really afford.

What it really comes down to in the end is continually increasing rates as customers demand reliability from their electricity provider. This reliability comes in the form of better computer controls of the electric system along with increases in the security around those systems. It is no longer feasible from a cost perspective to have a human being at each substation and switch gear with a walkie talkie. Utilities are trying to keep the rates down by automating the systems. Unfortunately, that introduces a new kind of risk. The risk that they are hacked, not only by the simple hacker, but by the nation state that views having a backdoor into our systems as a type of insurance in the event of war.

Comment CNN Terms of Service Are No Different (Score 1) 260

From the Terms link at the bottom of the CNN main page (check out the bold part for some interesting stuff):

By submitting material to any public area of CNN Interactive, Subscriber automatically grants, or warrants that the owner of such material has expressly granted CNN the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate and distribute such material (in whole or in part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or hereafter developed for the full term of any copyright that may exist in such material. Subscriber also permits any other Subscriber to access, view, store or reproduce the material for that Subscriber's personal use. Subscriber hereby grants CNN the right to edit, copy, publish and distribute any material made available on CNN Interactive by Subscriber.

and with regards to changing their terms:

CNN shall have the right at any time to change or modify the terms and conditions applicable to Subscriber's use of CNN Interactive, or any part thereof, or to impose new conditions, including, but not limited to, adding fees and charges for use. Such changes, modifications, additions or deletions shall be effective immediately upon notice thereof, which may be given by means including, but not limited to, posting on CNN Interactive, or by electronic or conventional mail, or by any other means by which Subscriber obtains notice thereof. Any use of CNN Interactive by Subscriber after such notice shall be deemed to constitute acceptance by Subscriber of such changes, modifications or additions.

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