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China To Tap Combustible Ice As New Energy Source 185

lilbridge writes "Huge reserves of "combustible ice" — frozen methane and water — have been discovered in the tundra of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in China. Estimates show that there is enough combustible ice to provide 90 years worth of energy for China. Burning the combustible ice may be a far better alternative than letting it just melt, releasing tons of methane into the air."
Role Playing (Games)

Final Fantasy I and II Are Coming To the iPhone and iPod Touch 142

jonasvdc tips an announcement by Square Enix that Final Fantasy I and Final Fantasy II are being developed for the iPhone and the iPod touch. The graphics and UI have been modified to look and run better on the touchscreen devices, but everything from Cecil to the classic Black Mage is clearly recognizable. The announcement did not include any information on a price or release date.

Disney Releases 3D Texture Mapper Source Code 83

dsavi writes "Ptex, Walt Disney Animation Studio's cutting-edge 3D texture mapping library which was first used on nearly every surface in the 2008 animated feature Bolt, was released under the BSD license on Friday. Quoting the announcement on 'We expect to follow Ptex with other open source projects that we hope the community will find beneficial. We will soon be launching a new Walt Disney Animation Studios Technology page under It will include links to our open source projects as will as a library of recent publications.' This looks good for open source 3D graphics."

NASA Uses AI Customer Service Robot In Second Life 45

Linguo writes "Fusing human psychology with an advanced artificial intelligence engine, MyCyberTwin's virtual humans are being used by organizations like NASA and National Australia Bank to improve their customer support levels. MyCyberTwin technology is designed to allow almost anyone to build a virtual, artificial human — called a CyberTwin — which can handle such tasks as personalized customer support, client sales or even entertainment and companionship. CyberTwins can take the form of a clone of yourself, or a representative of your company, and they can live in almost any digital environment, including Web sites, virtual worlds, blogs, social network pages and mobile phones."

Comment Thanks for all the feedback (Score 5, Interesting) 184

A couple points I might add:

- Until 9/30 most all of the CDs are $7 which includes a physical CD and 192K MP3 files loaded nicely and permanently into your locker.

- One poster complained you can't download the MP3 file without installing an application. That's inaccurate. You can download all the tracks individually directly from the locker - no application install required. Just click on the triangle in the flash UI and select "download".

- We do provide several different applications for your convenience all of which work on Linux as well as the other PC OSes. There's an Album Downloader which will with one click download any new purchases and load into iTunes or your fave media player. There's also Locker Sync 3.0 which will sync your entire music library from locker to PC. So lots of different options.

- Slashdotters might be interested in our API (see: My vision is all your music goes into your personal locker and then with a click can be streamed or synced to ANY device in the world. It's a very open view of the world and of your media. We have 100,000 lockers and a great list of devices coming by this holiday season all of which talk directly to a locker. We're even having a contest to spur developers for $10,000 to come up with new music devices/interfaces: See

-- MR

Comment Re:We use Perforce at work (Score 1) 538

We have used Perforce for a group of up to 75 developers, 30000+ files, across 3 geographic sites. Currently we do about a 1000 changes a year on 6 inter-related products. I can attest that it is very robust and is the best product we tried across a WAN. We have been very happy with it, especially since it was fairly affordable (compared to things like ClearCase and Continuus).

Perforce concentrates on doing one thing well - tracking of software changes. It is not intended to be a work tracking system, which some of the more expensive products provide. It does not provide a GUI (although, why would you ever want to leave emacs anyway?). We use it integrated with our own web-based work management system and did not have to adapt our practices to it. The merge capability is excellent.

It's weakness are tolerable and somewhat unobvious. We felt it important to be able to compare changes in aggregate releases for debugging and reporting purposes. We found no products that do this well. The bookkeeping for this is a little tedious in Perforce and somewhat prone to misreporting old changes from deleted files. The form-based interface can also be a little confusing for things like branching - I see no reason why this could not be simplified.

In looking at configuration management, I think you have to concentrate on some of the basic principals:

like always knowing what you have

like being able to monitor changes in the software

like the tool being an aide to getting work done, not a barrier

like the tool supporting your change process, not imposing it's own

It is very difficult to evaluate some these products (mainly due to pushy sales people). Perforce was easy to evaluate and worked well for us. Putting in Perforce (migrating from CVS) was easy. Don't be fooled by a fancy GUI.

Comment Re:Good argument for government intervention... (Score 1) 318

I agree with you. It's that way down here in Stafford too. DSL is shitty down here, and the cable service (Adelphia)is mediocre at best. As far as fining the companies, that doesn't do shit. I remember reading somewhere that Verizon incorporates fines into their operating costs. It's more profitable for them to pay the fines then to correct the violation. That sickens me. I'm not normally for government regulation of anything, but I would definitely agree that government regulation is in order here (NOT Tauzin-Dingell). If someone were to propose a bill that regulated the companies and didn't dick over the end user, I'd be all for it. Just my .02

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