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Submission + - Blizzard Eliminating Privacy on Battle.Net Forums (

Goatbert writes: Today Activision-Blizzard announced that in addition to the current (and controversial) implementation of their RealID social network for World of Warcraft and StarCraft 2, going forward all posts to the official Blizzard/SC2/World of Warcraft forums will display the posters First and Last Name. Handles or nicknames of any sort will not be allowed.

Comment Re:Shell context menu for folder you are in? (Score 1) 222

I'm not using 7even (or Fista), but I do "have" a 2008 Server that I often RD into, and the one thing that irritates me incredibly (even more than UAC) is that I have no idea how to pop up the shell context menu for the folder I'm currently in.

In XP and earlier Windows, you'd just right-click on the folder icon on the top left of the window.

In Fista and above, that just pops up the standard useless menu with move/restore/minimize/maximize, just as when you right-click on the title bar.

Google is not helpful at all. The best I could get is an addition of "Open command prompt here" through shift+rightclick, but that's not what I want.

Please help me out here if you've figured it out... I often use that context menu to fire up 7-zip, or grep, or a duplicate copy of Win Explorer, or other things, and every time I have to do something on that server, I want to scream.

Right clicking on it in the folders list to the left (under Favorite Links)works for me

Comment Re:Anecdote... (Score 1) 551

We have this where I work. You can get up to $5200 a year toward school, but once you are done taking the money they expect you to stick around for 1 year or they want their money back (unless you get let go, then the money was free). Pretty sweet deal even if it doesn't pay for 100% of my schooling.

Comment Re:Audacious. (Score 4, Insightful) 435

I find Microsoft's willingness to squeeze for storage interesting in two respects: One, it suggests a very high level of optimism about their position in the market. Two, it suggests that they don't much care about, or aren't making much money from, downloadable offerings for the Xbox(or that they view those offerings as being extremely compelling and likely to drive consumer behavior).

See, I think the exact opposite.

I think they see downloadable offerings as almost their entire future, and I think this activity is not centered around squeezing people for storage, but about maintaining control over storage options, to make sure every storage option has DRM support deep in their bones.

Microsoft does want everyone to have humungous hard drives. They just want to make sure that those hard drives are theirs, so they can build DRM into the storage at multiple levels, to prevent piracy of the downloaded content. Otherwise the level of piracy might approach that on the PC, and, well, better to go out of business than to tolerate that.

Role Playing (Games)

Age of Conan Dev Talks Problems, Future Plans 83

Jørgen Tharaldsen, Funcom's product director, recently spoke about some of the problems with Age of Conan and how they are planning to make the game better. "I think it's okay to say that we simply didn't deliver as good as we should have on all the launch features." He goes on to talk about how they're working on improvements to the PvP system, tradeskills, and class balance. Tharaldsen also spoke with Strategy Informer about the development of the Xbox 360 version of the game, which he said was "not our key priority as there are a massive amount of PC gamers already playing the game, and we rightly have the focus on them."

Submission + - GIMP 2 for Photographers

Jon Allen writes: "Gimp 2 for Photographers
Book review by Jon Allen (JJ)
Book homepage:

A glance through any photography magazine will confirm that Adobe Photoshop is the accepted standard image editing software, offering almost unparalleled power and conrol over your images. However, costing more than many DSLR cameras, for non-professionals it can be a very hard purchase to justify (and of course for Linux users this is a moot point, as Photoshop is not available for their platform).

Luckily, the free software community has provided us with an alternative. The GIMP, or Gnu Image Manipulation Program, offers a huge amount of the power of Photoshop but is available at no cost. Additionally GIMP is cross-platform, available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Unix.

The one downside to using GIMP is that most magazines and photography books use Photoshop in their articles and tutorials, so if you do choose GIMP there's a bit more of a learning curve. Now once you're used to GIMP you'll find that many of Photoshop's features have equivalents, albeit with a different user interface, but getting that inital level of experience and familiarity with the software can be rather difficult. The GIMP does come with a manual, but it is really more of a reference guide and while very comprehensive it is not particuarly friendly for new users.

GIMP 2 for Photographers aims to rectify this.

Written clearly from a photographer's point of view (the author is a photographer who also teaches image editing), this book takes a task-oriented approach, looking at the types of editing operations that a photographer would require and then showing how to perform each task in the GIMP.

Rather helpfully, the GIMP software (for Windows, Mac, and Linux) is included on the book's accompanying CD. This means that you can follow each tutorial using the exact same version of software as the author, which really helps to build confidence that you're doing everything right.

I already have GIMP installed on OS X, so to test out the instructions in the book I performed an installation from the CD on a clean Microsoft Windows XP machine.

The exact filenames of the installation packages on the CD differ slightly from those in the accompanying README file, but the instructions in the book do list the correct files and after following this procedure the installation went without a hitch. The setup files do not ask any overly 'techy' questions, so it literally took less than 5 minutes to set up a fully working system.

As well as the GIMP application, the CD also includes all of the sample images used in the book, and for each editing tutorial the "final" image is provided so you can check your own work against the expected result.

Even more usefully, the CD contains an electronic copy of the complete book as a PDF file, so you can keep it on your laptop as a reference guide, invaluable when editing images on location (or on holiday!).

I'd have to say that this is without a doubt the most useful CD I've ever recieved with a book. Providing the applications and example files is good, giving readers instant gratification without needing to deal with downloads and websites (which may well have changed after the book went to press). But including the complete book on the CD as well is nothing short of a masterstroke, and something I'd love to see other publishers adopt.

So, the CD gets full marks but what about the book itself?

After showing how to install the software, the author takes us through basic GIMP operations — opening and saving files, cropping, resizing images, and printing. Once these basics are out of the way, the book moves on to a series of examples based on "real-life" image editing scenarios.

These examples are very well chosen, both in the fact that the vast majority of the technques shown are genuinely useful, but also in the way that they are ordered. Each example introduces a new feature of the software, building up your knowledge as you work through the book. By the end you can expect to be skilled not only in "standard" editing — adjusting colour balance, fixing red-eye, removing dust spots, and so on — but also in compositing, perspective correction, lighting and shadow effects, and building panoramic images.

Between the examples there is a good amount of more "reference" type material, with detailed descriptions of the various menus, toolbars, and dialogs you will encounter while using the software. Combined with lots of well-labelled screenshots this strikes a very good balance, ensuring that even after going through all the tutorials you'll still get value from the book as something to refer back to.

Overall the quality of the writing and general production standard is very high indeed. There are some points where it is noticable that the book was originally published in German, but this never becomes a stumbling block to the reader's understanding. Most importantly though, the author employs the "show, don't tell" philosophy throughout which is key to successful teaching.

In conclusion, I would have no hesitation in recommending GIMP 2 for Photographers to anyone with more than a passing interest in improving their photos. And even if you already use image editing software, the book is well worth a read — I have been using GIMP for several years and still learned a great deal. The accompanying CD is the icing on the cake, making GIMP 2 for Photographers a simply essential purchase."

Submission + - One Man's Programming Journey (

ChessKnught writes: "I still remember the day I got hooked on software development. I was 12 years old, in 7th grade, and we had a visitor come in and demonstrate a simple "Guess My Number" program that he had written on his TI-99. Such a basic concept, but I was hooked..."

Submission + - 10 Reasons it doesn't pay to be "The Computer ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: has an article discussing 10 Reasons it doesn't pay to be "The Computer Guy." Reasons vary from the declining cost of computers to some less obvious but still valid points. The article begins with a familiar scene: a group of strangers take immediate interest in you after mentioning you work with computers.

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When it is incorrect, it is, at least *authoritatively* incorrect. -- Hitchiker's Guide To The Galaxy