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Comment Re:Structural Unemployment for Middle Men (Score 1) 443

What they're talking about here is the use of Steam as a copy-protection system, which is completely integrated into a game, including the retail "disk" version. When one installs it from a disk, it first prompts you to either log into steam or make a steam account, and then it installs the purchased game into the Steam folder and activates it on your steam account. The first games to do this were official retail release of Valve games, but since then, many other games have implemented it due to the various advantages of using Steam in your game (good copy protection, Achievements/stats tracking integration, ease of updating, multiplayer server browser, etc). What they're trying to say, essentially, is that these "other" retail games are promoting their competitors, and they don't like it.

Comment Re:But in-game ads will always affect gameplay (Score 1) 119

In recent years, this restriction has been relaxed. The Forza Motorsport series in particular has been putting a lot of pressure on companies to allow realistic damage modelling. In Forza Motorsport 2, one could turn on simulation damage to the vehicles that modeled performance problems that would be created by, say, bumping into a wall, even though the visual damage was limited.

In Forza 3, they're also introducing rollover for the cars, which was previously prohibited by licensors, and are introducing even more realistic damage modeling (comes out this fall)

From this article:

Damage modeling for the cars, all of the cars, is also carefully detailed. And in Forza 3, all 400 cars now include the ability to completely roll over in a race, something no racing game has ever tried before, Greenawalt said. Getting permission from the 50 manufacturers for this unheard of level of damage modeling was a matter of talking to each individually. "We go to a manufacturer and say we're a sim and as a sim, cars roll over," Greenawalt said.

So I think car manufacturers are getting somewhat more lenient with these things because they know that fans want to play a racing simulation. And with Forza, at least, if some manufacturer really insists on not having the damage modeling, they just get to not be in the game, and I think most know that would be terrible publicity with all their competitors in there.


Content-Aware Image Resizing 174

An anonymous reader writes "At the SIGGRAPH 2007 conference in San Diego, two Israeli professors, Shai Avidan and Ariel Shamir, have demonstrated a new method to shrink images. The method is called 'Seam Carving for Content-Aware Image Resizing' (PDF paper here) and it figures out which parts of an image are less significant. This makes it possible to change the aspect ratio of an image without making the content look skewed or stretched out. There is a video demonstration up on YouTube."

Submission + - Texas Instruments doesn't know Avogadro's Number?

lpq writes: Was watching Monk last night and some kid wrote Avogadro's number (or something that looked like it) on a blackboard. They wrote 6.0221415 * 10^23. Today I was trying to remember the extra digits (only carried around 3 digits of accuracy in brain...not a constant I need alot or alot of precision of, usually.

I remembered my Texas Instruments Solar calculator had it as a programmed in constant. All sources I've seen have the exponent as 23, but the number part varies a bit, source to source. The farthest "off" from the others is the one on my TI-36X calculator. Some values I've found:
(all scaled by 10^23, lowest to highest)

6.022 131 67 Texas Instruments (built-in to calculator):
6.022 141 5 Monk TV show (USA Network)
6.022 141 79 NIST (website)
6.022 141 79 Wikipedia Same as NIST
6.022 142 5 Google
6.022 257 Lapeer County, MI (" l")

So why all the different answers? Has the value of Av's Num been fluctuating lately like the price of gold or the stock market? Are the other answers "older, accepted values?"

Google is "close" — if they had left it at 7 digits (6.033142) I would have thought it a rounding of the NIST value, but throwing in that 7th decimal place shoots that idea out of the water.

Seems like Lapeer County is most off from everyone else (varying by .00035), being on the high side, but a _CALCULATOR_ company?

TI getting their programmed in constants, "WRONG"?!? What faith should I have in any of their other constants or their formulae and calculations? They seem to be low by ".000 010 12", or to put things in obfuscating perspective:
1.012 x 10^18 or about 1 quintillion?

Is it common for calculator manufacturers to have such different values? Haven't checked other constants — maybe they are better, but it seems "concerning" (if I needed more precise constants, my calculator could be very misleading). It reminded me of the Pentium math bug where it returned the wrong answer on some calculations. We just accept these things as "right" or "correct".
Is quality control dropping? (Calculator made in China). Is it a "foreign-made" quality issue?

Thanks for any insights on why things are so odd....

Submission + - Skype-Linux reads /etc/passwd and firefox profile! (

mrcgran writes: "Users of Skype for Linux have just found out that it reads the files /etc/passwd, firefox profile, plugins, addons, etc, and many other unnecessary files in /etc. This fact was originally discovered by using AppArmor, but others have confirmed this fact using strace on versions and What is going on? This probably shows how important it is to use AppArmor in any closed-source application in Linux to restrict any undue access to your files."

Submission + - Unix Admin's Unit of Production? 4

RailGunSally writes: I am a (strictly technical) member of a large *NIX systems admin team at a Fortune 150. Our new IT Management Overlord is a hardcore beancounter from Hell. We in the trenches have been tasked with providing "metrics" on absolutely everything from system utilization to paperclip recycling. Of course, measuring productivity is right up there at the top of the list. We're stumped as to a definition of the basic unit of productivity for a *nix admin. There is a school of thought in our group that holds that if the PHBs are simple enough to want to operate purely from pie charts and spreadsheets, then we should just graph some output from /dev/random and have done with it. I personally love the idea, but I feel the need for due diligence, so I put the question to the Slashdotters: How does one reasonably quantify admin productivity?

Submission + - Vista Windows Genuine Advantage(WGA) is down ( 1

z3razerviper writes: "It appears that Vista's Windows Genuine Advantage seems to be down causing all sorts of problems for Vista users trying to download patches for their shiny OS. Oddly enough things get much less shiny when WGA disables Aero and other features once it decides your copy of Vista is invalid. Microsoft WGA Vista Forum:"

Submission + - Content-aware image resizing ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: At the SIGGRAPH 2007 conference in San Diego two Israeli professors, Shai Avidan and Ariel Shamir, have demonstrated a new method to shrink images. The method called 'Seam Carving for Content-Aware Image Resizing' figures out which parts of an image are less significant. This makes it possible to change the aspect-ratio of an image without making the content look skewed or stretched out. Watch the demonstration. A pdf paper can be found here.
The Internet

Submission + - Did Microsoft Buy Netcraft? (

jeevesbond writes: "Linux Journal has a story noting the discrepancies between the Web server surveys from Netcraft and Security Space.

While Netcraft says Apache represents 51% market share and rapidly shrinking, Security Space puts Apache at 74% and growing! Netcraft says Microsoft IIS has 34% market share and is rapidly growing, Security Space pegs Microsoft IIS at 20% market share, as it continues to shrink.


Submission + - Ape-Human split moved back by millions of years (

E++99 writes: "Up until now, scientific consensus has place the divergence of man from ape five to six million years ago (based on "genetic distances"). But newly discovered fossils in Ethiopia place the divergence at least twice as far back. They also largely put to rest any doubts that both man and modern apes both originally emerged in Africa. From the article:

The trail in the hunt for physical evidence of our human ancestors goes cold some six or seven million years ago. Orrorin — discovered in Kenya in 2000 and nicknamed "Millennium Man" although its sex remains unknown — goes back 5.8 to 6.1 million years, while Sahelanthropus, found a year later in Chad, is considered by most experts to extend the human family tree another one million years into the past. Beyond that, however, fossils of early humans from the Miocene period, 23 to five million years ago, disappear. Fossils of early apes especially during the critical period of 14 to eight million years ago were virtually non-existant — until now. "We know nothing about how the human line actually emerged from apes," the authors of the paper noted. But the new fossils, dubbed "Chororapithecus abyssinicus" by the team of Japanese and Ethiopian paleoanthropologists who found them, place the early ancestors of the modern day gorilla 10 to 10.5 million years in the past, suggesting that the human-ape split occurred before that.
The scientists leading the team that found the fossils — Gen Suwa of the University of Tokyo, and Ethiopian paleontologists Berhane Asfaw and Yonas Beyene — calculated that the human-orangutan split "could easily have been as old as 20 million years."
Owen Lovejoy of Kent State University in Ohio... described the fossils as "a critically important discovery," a view echoed by several other scientists who had read the paper or seen the artifacts.
"This is a major breakthrough in our understanding of the origin of humanity," Yohannes Haile-Selassie, a physical anthropologist at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, told AFP.

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