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Zen Coding 175

Download Squad has a quick review, with video, of Zen Coding (Google Code project page here), an extremely well-thought-out accelerator for anyone who codes HTML. Its syntax is CSS-like. Zen Coding has been around for a while — here's its author Sergey Chikuyonok's introduction in Smashing Magazine from last November — and it has now picked up support for more than a dozen editing environments, including Notepad++ and TextMate.

Roger Ebert On Why Video Games Can Never Be Art 733

Roger Ebert has long held the opinion that video games are not and can never be considered an art form. After having this opinion challenged in a TED talk last year, Ebert has now taken the opportunity to thoughtfully respond and explain why he maintains this belief. Quoting: "One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite an immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film. Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them. She quotes Robert McKee's definition of good writing as 'being motivated by a desire to touch the audience.' This is not a useful definition, because a great deal of bad writing is also motivated by the same desire. I might argue that the novels of Cormac McCarthy are so motivated, and Nicholas Sparks would argue that his novels are so motivated. But when I say McCarthy is 'better' than Sparks and that his novels are artworks, that is a subjective judgment, made on the basis of my taste (which I would argue is better than the taste of anyone who prefers Sparks)."

Innocent Until Predicted Guilty 430

theodp writes "Gizmodo has an angry piece on IBM helping Florida to predict how delinquent your child's going to be. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has decided to start using IBM predictive analytics software to help them determine which of the 85,000 kids who enter their system each year poses the biggest future threat. From IBM's sales pitch: 'Predictive analytics gives government organizations worldwide a highly-sophisticated and intelligent source to create safer communities by identifying, predicting, responding to and preventing criminal activities. It gives the criminal justice system the ability to draw upon the wealth of data available to detect patterns, make reliable projections and then take the appropriate action in real time to combat crime and protect citizens.'"

How Many Hours a Week Can You Program? 547

An anonymous reader writes "How many hours a week should a full-time programmer program? Trying to program anywhere near 40 wears me out. On a good week, I can do 20. Often, it is around 10 or 15. I'm talking about your programming session at the console, typing — including, of course, stopping and thinking for a minute, but not meetings, reading programming books, notes, specifications, etc., which by comparison feel like lunch breaks. I rarely get called to meetings (which is good) but that means to keep my brain from overheating I spend several hours a week surfing the web (usually reading tech news but also a few stops on Facebook, email, etc.). I should add that I am interrupted a few times per day. Me and another guy maintain an intranet site of a couple dozen web apps for an IT department, so we work on a few different things: phone calls, bug fixes, feature adds, as well as writing new web apps from the ground up, all in a day's work. And I know that wears a person out more than if they had just one project to work on. I wonder if programming is like mental sprinting, not walking, so you can only do it in bursts. Am I normal or stealing?"
First Person Shooters (Games)

Tremulous Switching To Xbox Live, Exclusively 43

An anonymous reader writes "Darklegion Development and Microsoft have apparently been working on a new version of Tremulous for the Xbox 360. Timbor, project founder and a main developer of Tremulous, said this in a recent announcement: 'What does this mean for you? You will now be able to play Tremulous on Xbox Live with thousands of other gamers, earning achievements and showing off your gaming skill. In the best interest of maintaining a steady and secure Tremulous playerbase, Tremulous is going to be exclusively available for Xbox Live. Existing infrastructure will no longer receive official support. Players who have already been playing for at least three months can apply for a €5/$7 coupon as a show of our appreciation of your enthusiasm so far! What does this mean for the community? Hopefully nothing! While the production of Tremulous switches from its current open source development to a closed source environment handled by the very capable and experienced Microsoft engineers, the efforts of the community will still be valued. In this collaboration we have made it very clear that the Tremulous community is very important to the game, and Microsoft agrees with us on this point. We are confident that this move will not stifle the creative output of the community.'"

High Fructose Corn Syrup Causes Bigger Weight Gain In Rats 542

krou writes "In an experiment conducted by a Princeton University team, 'Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.' Long-term consumption also 'led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides.' Psychology professor Bart Hoebel commented that 'When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight.'"

Blind Soldier Uses Tongue To "See" 107

Zen found this story about a blind soldier using a lollypop-sized tongue sensor to 'see.' The system actually enables him to walk and read unaided. The guy says, "It feels like licking a nine-volt battery or like popping candy. The camera sends signals down onto the lollypop and onto your tongue, you can then determine what they mean and transfer it to shapes."
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - EU Considering Regulating Sale of Violent Games (

Spamicles writes: "European Union justice ministers met today in order to discuss the regulation of sales of violent video games to minors. Europeans were riled up last year when a German gunman shot several people before taking his life at a secondary school. A European Union Commissioner is taking advantage of the shootings last year called for stricter regulations in the video game industry. A motion introduced last month calls for legislators to "put in place all necessary measures to ban the sale of particularly violent and cruel video games.""

Submission + - Startup charity releases everything as open source (

David Kellam writes: "A Global Obligation is a startup charity founded by two tech entrepreneurs. It aims to provide universal primary education by 2015 in line with the Millennium Development Goals. In so doing, it will only accept $1 donations and the entire system from blueprints to lesson plans will be created, modified and shared as open source and open content.

A Global Obligation seeks to revolutionalise the way charities administer themselves through an ultra-low-cost online-only approach. It aims to raise awareness of charities and the problem of education in the developing world and plans to eliminate duplication of effort by open-sourcing everything it does.

Please support us!"


Submission + - Easy ways of protecting your laptop from theft?

Inquétude Mobile writes: "Surprisingly few notebook vendors boast security as a feature, and some of those who do dare mentioning a fingerprint reader who works only after loading a Windows driver. Kensington locks are laughable, BIOS passwords only last as long as an easily accessible battery. Full-disk encryption on a laptop kills the battery and severely affects an already limited transfer rate (I'm talking about two 120GB hard-drives packed with large files in a $1000 Fujitsu notebook here). My best bet so far has been a simple and stupid method: #1 insert some code in the MBR that says "you are being watched, beware" then simply hang, and #2 keep the actual boot loader on an USB memory/watch (search ThinkGeek) that stays on my wrist. While this method is portable to almost anything (had to come up with something positive about it), can you Slashdotters suggest another that does not incur a huge performance penalty / impossibility of data recovery / incompatibility with some operating system and is not targeted to a NSA employee?"

Submission + - Flickr censorship also in Germany (

perreira writes: "Flickr is now censoring all pictures which are marked as "moderate" or "restricted" for users in Germany, Singapore and elsewhere. The censorship in germany might have been caused by pictures appearing on flickr containing Nazi-symbols which are illegal in germany. But the filter is going too far and censoring stuff which is perfectly legal to view. Discussion is happening here: — 157600347681500/"

Submission + - computer failures disrupt East Coast air traffic

jcgam69 writes: A cascading computer failure in the nation's air-traffic control system caused severe flight delays and some cancellations along the East Coast yesterday. A computer system in Atlanta that processes pilots' flight plans and sends them to air-traffic controllers failed early yesterday, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Diane Spitaliere said. In response, the agency rerouted the system's functions to another computer in Salt Lake City, which overloaded under the increased volume of data, magnifying the problem.

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