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Classic Games (Games)

Hank Chien Reclaims Donkey Kong High Score 122

An anonymous reader writes "If you can say anything about Hank Chien, it's that he evidently doesn't take defeat very well. Sure, he knew not so deep down that his Donkey Kong World Record score wouldn't last forever, but he couldn't have foreseen that it would have been toppled so quickly. Twice, even. But he also knew that more Kong competition would be coming his way; namely Richie Knucklez Kong-Off in March. So Hank had something to prove, and prove he did. Scoring a massive 1,068,000 points in less than three hours, Hank has officially reclaimed the high score in Nintendo’s 1981 arcade classic."
The Courts

Man Sues Rockstar Saying GTA:SA Is Based On His Life 124

dotarray writes "From the article: 'Rockstar Games are no strangers to legal action, but it doesn't come stranger than this. An American model, Michael Washington (known as "Shagg") is suing the publisher — as well as parent company Take Two Interactive — because they based Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on his life.'" It's a good thing Washington never learned the infinite ammo cheat.
XBox (Games)

Early Kinect Games Kill Buyers' Access To Xbox Live 111

Stoobalou writes "Microsoft's Kinect motion controller isn't due to ship until November 4th, but one retailer has jumped the gun, leaving a number of gamers with a bit of a quandary. The un-named distributor has sent what Microsoft describes as 'a very small number' of Kinect systems to lucky buyers who might not consider themselves quite so lucky if they try to use the device and its bundled games. Installing the games will require a firmware upgrade, which is nothing out of the ordinary, but in this case the upgrade hasn't yet been released. Attempting to install the non-existent update seems to fool the console into thinking you are trying to play a pirated game and locks the user out of Microsoft's Xbox Live on-line service."

Comment Re:6 milliseconds! Wheee!!! (Score 1) 352

Why are you measuring web speed in computer time instead of human time? It doesn't matter if it takes 200ms or 170ms to render the page. What matters is how long it takes the person visiting the page to complete the task or obtain the information. Going to gmail, clicking on a subject line and having Ajax load the content is much faster for me the reader, even if the browser could have loaded a plain HTML page faster.

Comment Speed is irrelevant without correctness (Score 1) 352

It doesn't make any sense at all to boast about speed while the software is still in Beta. If you don't need to be correct, you could complete the javascript benchmark in 1ms by just executing a no-op for each action. Once Firefox 4 has demonstrated the ability to execute all the javascript correctly, then I'll be interested in the benchmark scores.

Idle

Physicists Discover Universal "Wet-Dog Shake" Rule 97

Dog owners can sleep easy tonight because physicists have discovered how rapidly a wet dog should oscillate its body to dry its fur. Presumably, dogs already know. From the article: "Today we have an answer thanks to the pioneering work of Andrew Dickerson at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and a few buddies. But more than that, their work generates an interesting new conundrum about the nature of shaken fur dynamics. Dickerson and co filmed a number of dogs shaking their fur and used the images to measure the period of oscillation of the dogs' skin. For a labrador retriever, this turns out to be 4.3 Hz."
Image

China's Nine-Day Traffic Jam Tops 62 Miles 198

A traffic jam on the Beijing-Tibet expressway has now entered its ninth day and has grown to over 62 miles in length. This mother-of-all delays has even spawned its own micro-economy of local merchants selling water and food at inflated prices to stranded drivers. Can you imagine how infuriating it must be to see someone leave their blinker on for 9 days?
First Person Shooters (Games)

Gamer Plays Doom For the First Time 362

sfraggle writes "Kotaku has an interesting review of Doom (the original!) by Stephen Totilo, a gamer and FPS player who, until a few days ago, had gone through the game's 17-year history without playing it. He describes some of his first impressions, the surprises that he encountered, and how the game compares to modern FPSes. Quoting: 'Virtual shotgun armed, I was finally going to play Doom for real. A second later, I understood the allure the video game weapon has had. In Doom the shotgun feels mighty, at least partially I believe because they make first-timers like me wait for it. The creators make us sweat until we have it in hand. But once we have the shotgun, its big shots and its slow, fetishized reload are the floored-accelerator-pedal stuff of macho fantasy. The shotgun is, in all senses, instant puberty, which is to say, delicately, that to obtain it is to have the assumed added potency that a boy believes a man possesses vis a vis a world on which he'd like to have some impact. The shotgun is the punch in the face the once-scrawny boy on the beach gives the bully when he returns a muscled linebacker.'"
Moon

Why NASA's New Video Game Misses the Point 205

longacre writes "Erik Sofge trudges through NASA's latest free video game, which he finds tedious, uninspiring and misguided. Quoting: 'Moonbase Alpha is a demo, of sorts, for NASA's more ambitious upcoming game, Astronaut: Moon, Mars & Beyond, which will feature more destinations, and hopefully less welding. The European Space Agency is developing a similar game, set on the Jovian Moon, Europa. But Moonbase Alpha proves that as a recruiting campaign, or even as an educational tool, the astronaut simulation game is a lost cause. Unless NASA plans to veer into science fiction and populate its virtual moons, asteroids and planets with hostile species, it's hard to imagine why anyone would want to suffer through another minute of pretending to weld power cables back into place, while thousands of miles away, the most advanced explorers ever built are hurtling toward asteroids and dwarf planets and into the heart of the sun. Even if it was possible to build an astronaut game that's both exciting and realistic, why bother? It will be more than a decade before humans even attempt another trip outside of Earth's orbit. If NASA wants to inspire the next generation of astronauts and engineers, its games should focus on the real winners of the space race — the robots.'"

Comment Re:Bring tha hate, bring tha noise! (Score 1) 514

"The more devices there are out in the population, the more enticing it is for developers to develop for them."

Wrong wrong wrong.
    I don't want to develop my software and have to test it on 30 different phones. I want to develop for a single phone that has gigantic market share.
    It's a phone remember. Getting good performance from a device that necessarily has quite limited CPU and GPU power means that you will need a lot of optimizations to ensure quality. I don't want to have test on a big pile of devices, and I don't want bad reviews because my software performed poorly on one particular device.
    As a consumer, yes I want choice. As a developer, it's much easier to make good software for a single OS + hardware combination.

It's funny.  Laugh.

Tracking the Harm Games Do 118

Every so often, video games are accused of causing all sorts of negative behavior in children, teens, and adults. These accusations are typically predicated on statistics that sound much more damning than they actually are. In that vein, gaming website Rock, Paper, Shotgun did their own tongue-in-cheek statistical analysis, complete with pretty charts and graphs. Quoting: "As part of my research I thought to compare the sales of each GTA game with what the divorce rate must have been when each came out. As you can see each new GTA game has been directly correlated with an increase in divorces. ... An often ignored statistic (and you have to ask why it’s being ignored by the games media, don’t you?) is the sheer volume of PC games being released. We’ve all noticed the British population is abandoning the church, turning instead toward shopping, DVDs and knife crime. But few have thought to check for a connection between PC sales and the numbers of people attending their local Church Of England church on a Sunday. When you look at the data there’s little doubt left that as the publishers continue to release more and more PC games each year, our nation’s faith is being increasingly eroded. And at what cost? If only a graph could tell us that."
Education

NAMCO Takes Down Student Pac-man Project 218

An anonymous reader writes "The core of how people first learn to do stuff — programming, music, writing, etc. — is to imitate others. It's one of the best ways to learn. Apparently a bunch of students using MIT's educational Scratch programming language understand this. But not everyone else does. NAMCO Bandai sent a takedown notice to MIT because some kids had recreated Pac-man with Scratch. The NAMCO letter is pretty condescending as well, noting that it understands the educational purpose of Scratch, but 'part of their education should include concern for the intellectual property of others.'"
Cellphones

Porting Lemmings In 36 Hours 154

An anonymous reader writes "Aaron Ardiri challenged himself to port his classic PalmOS version of Lemmings to the iPhone, Palm Pre, Mac, and Windows. The porting was done using his own dev environment, which creates native C versions of the game. He liveblogged the whole thing, and finished after only 36 hours with an iPhone version and a Palm Pre version awaiting submission, and free versions for Windows and Mac available on his site."
Linux Business

Hemisphere Games Reveals Osmos Linux Sales Numbers 131

An anonymous reader writes "Hemisphere Games analyzes the sales numbers for their Linux port of Osmos and ask themselves, 'Is it worth porting games to Linux?' The short, simple answer is 'yes.' Breakdown and details in the post." A few other interesting details: the port took them about two man-months of work, the day they released for Linux was their single best sales day ever, and they got a surprising amount of interest from Russia and Eastern Europe. Their data only reflects sales through their website, and they make the point that "the lack of a strong Linux portal makes it a much less 'competitive' OS for commercial development." Hopefully someday the rumored Steam Linux client will help to solve that.

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