Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Submission + - Is a Comp/Sci Degree a Waste of Time?

NMZNMZNMZ writes: "I've been programming since middle school and it is one of my favorite hobbies. I currently write small, freeware games and game engines in my spare time; in fact, I enjoy programming game engines more than playing games themselves. For years and to this day, I've wanted a job programming at a fun games studio (Bungie, Blizzard, and Ensemble Studios are at the top of my list). In addition to acting as a fun hobby, making my own game engines has taught me more about programming than any university course I've taken so far. I'm in my second year of college and I have yet to learn anything actually useful.

I have heard from many people that a degree will make getting a job easier and result in higher pay, but I've also heard that games companies don't care about degrees so much as actual game projects that the applicant has been a part of. Would writing a well-coded and functional game engine be more productive than spending 4 years and thousands of dollars at a university?

Keeping in mind my goal of working at a games studio, am I wasting my time pursuing a degree in Computer Science?"
The Media

Submission + - Congress Creates Copyright Cops (

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes: "Not satisfied with pitiful potential penalties of $150,000 for infringing upon a $0.99 song, Congress is proposing new copyright cops in the "PRO IP" Act of 2007, specifically the creation of the Office of the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative (USIPER). They also feel that the authorities need the authority to seize any computers used for infringement and to send copyright cops abroad to help other countries enforce US laws. MPAA boss Dan Glickman praised the bill saying that, "films left costs foreign and domestic distributors, retailers and others $18 billion a year," though Ars points out that it allegedly costs the studios only $6 billion. However, even with the support of most of the top members of the House Judiciary Committee, the bill may require more work before it passes: USIPER needs a cooler acronym that doesn't sound like a combination of usurper and Lucifer."

Submission + - Microsoft Santa-bot Deactivated for Obscene Chats (

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has disabled its NorthPole Live! Santa IM bot after media reports of obscenities:

After declining the writer's repeated invitations to eat pizza, a frustrated Santa burst out with, "You want me to eat what?!? It's fun to talk about oral sex, but I want to chat about something else." Microsoft said it was not aware that the Santa code included the foul language but insisted the company did not suspect an employee prank. On Wednesday, Microsoft's Santa-bot appeared to be online in one reporter's Messenger contact list, but did not respond to her messages.


Submission + - Microsoft's OOXML claims its first scalp! (

The Open Sourcerer writes: "In what is an astonishingly outspoken report, Martin Bryan, Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 WG1 has given insight into the total mess that Microsoft/ECMA has caused during their scandalous, underhand and unremitting attempts to get — what is a very poorly written specification — approved as an ISO standard. "The disparity of rules for PAS, Fast-Track and ISO committee generated standards is fast making ISO a laughing stock in IT circles. The days of open standards development are fast disappearing. Instead we are getting "standardization by corporation", something I have been fighting against for the 20 years I have served on ISO committees. I am glad to be retiring before the situation becomes impossible. I wish my colleagues every success for their future efforts, which I sincerely hope will not prove to be as wasted as I fear they could be." The Open Sourcerer"

Submission + - Phenom TLB fix reduces performance significantly

theraindog writes: "AMD has released a BIOS fix that addresses the TLB erratum plaguing its Phenom processors, and independent testing has confirmed that it carries a significant performance hit. The fix most notably affects memory subsystem performance, constraining bandwidth and increasing access latencies. This translates to application performance drops of between 4% and 57%, with the latter coming in Firefox. AMD had originally claimed that the performance hit associated with the fix would only be around 10%. What's worse, AMD has asked motherboard makers to enable this fix by default, and not to offer a BIOS option to disable it."
The Internet

Submission + - New Gmail users accounts disabled 11:30p EST

dzd-n-confused writes: At about 11:30pm yesterday Gmail locked out the accounts of new users that signed up in the last month maybe more. Everybody affected gets a message like this " Sign in to Gmail with your Google Account Sorry, your account has been disabled. For more information about Google Accounts, please consult our Help Center at " It appears accounts more that a few months old are not affected. The accounts are no longer able to receive messages either, they just bounce back saying no such user. This is the link to one of the threads in the Gmail Groups
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Microsoft Censors... Its own Naughty Santa

CajunArson writes: The Register has a story about a rather naughty Santa. It appears that the seemingly nice holiday service provided via Windows Live Messenger took on a mind of it's own. When the AI version of Santa Claus began to talk dirty to underage children, it appears that the ghost of Microsoft management present decided to sent AI Claus packing back to the digital north pole.

Submission + - Greatest Widget Toolkit for C/C++

Twinbee writes: "I'm a C/C++ programmer looking to expand into the world of the GUI. The ideal widget toolkit should be cross-platform, but adhere to the native widgets where possible. It should also be simple to use with the shortest code possible, yet flexible and mature to suit large-scale projects. Finally, the applications should all run like greased lightning and have decent WYSIWYG GUI editors if possible.

After a cursory look, it would seem there are so many; wxWidgets, Ultimate++, JUCE, GTK, QT, V, Fox, Lgi, WTL, ZooLib, and SmartWin. After experiencing some of the horrors with the Win32 API, which of these are worth trying out?"

Submission + - Ubuntu 7.10 released

tijsvd writes: The latest releases of Ubuntu for desktop and server are available today for download. This release brings together the best of free and open source software delivered on a stable, easy to use and learn platform. Read the press releases or download it now.

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