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Comment Re:$4,337 from a multi-billion dollar company? (Score 1) 177

Hm, that number doesn't look like an accident to me :-) Seems more like G's way of creatively rewarding people -- that is a decent chunk of change (although I'm not sure how much work was required to find it) and it's a nice little in-joke/recognition of the nature of both the work and the bug-finder :-)

It's too bad they couldn't pay out 7|-|4|\||5 ;-)

Comment Re:Wheel of Bug Chasers! (Score 1) 177

The incentive of money destroys nearly any type of creative work (e.g., bug finding, vulnerability testing, etc). The lower Google keeps the $$ reward for the bug, the more likely they are to get people who are in it for the experience, professionalism, notoriety, or satisfaction of bug finding ... not the money itself. I bet Google would prefer to have the former type of people on their 'payroll' as they will likely be more loyal, find bugs deeper in the code, and overall contribute more to the project than someone who sees it as a paycheck.


Treading the Fuzzy Line Between Game Cloning and Theft 235

eldavojohn writes "Ars analyzes some knockoffs and near-knockoffs in the gaming world that led to problems with the original developers. Jenova Chen, creator of Flower and flOw, discusses how he feels about the clones made of his games. Chen reveals his true feelings about the takedown of Aquatica (a flOw knockoff): 'What bothers me the most is that because of my own overreaction, I might have created a lot of inconvenience to the creator of Aquatica and interrupted his game-making. He is clearly talented, and certainly a fan of flOw. I hope he can continue creating video games, but with his own design.' The article also notes the apparent similarities between Zynga's Cafe World and Playfish's Restaurant City (the two most popular Facebook games). Is that cloning or theft? Should clones be welcomed or abhorred?"

Comment Richard Garriott's take on carbon offsets (Score 2, Interesting) 279

Richard G blasted into space last year, and to offset the tons of jet fuel his spaceship burned, he purchased some carbon offsets. At a talk in Austin earlier this year, he made what I thought was an interesting point: carbon offsets might not work as effectively as planned, but they help get you in the habit of doing something about the problem. When/if we discover a better way, then you've already got the habit formed -- you just switch it to whatever this new method might be.

I'm sure there are some flaws in that but it was an interesting take I hadn't heard before.

The Almighty Buck

EA Flip-Flops On Battlefield: Heroes Pricing, Fans Angry 221

An anonymous reader writes "Ben Kuchera from Ars Technica is reporting that EA/DICE has substantially changed the game model of Battlefield: Heroes, increasing the cost of weapons in Valor Points (the in-game currency that you earn by playing) to levels that even hardcore players cannot afford, and making them available in BattleFunds (the in-game currency that you buy with real money). Other consumables in the game, such as bandages to heal the players, suffered the same fate, turning the game into a subscription or pay-to-play model if players want to remain competitive. This goes against the creators' earlier stated objectives of not providing combat advantage to paying customers. Ben Cousins, from EA/DICE, argued, 'We also frankly wanted to make buying Battlefunds more appealing. We have wages to pay here in the Heroes team and in order to keep a team large enough to make new free content like maps and other game features we need to increase the amount of BF that people buy. Battlefield Heroes is a business at the end of the day and for a company like EA who recently laid off 16% of their workforce, we need to keep an eye on the accounts and make sure we are doing our bit for the company.' The official forums discussion thread is full of angry responses from upset users, who feel this change is a betrayal of the original stated objectives of the game."
First Person Shooters (Games)

Infinity Ward Fights Against Modern Warfare 2 Cheaters 203

Faithbleed writes "IW's Robert Bowling reports on his twitter account that Infinity Ward is giving 2,500 Modern Warfare 2 cheaters the boot. The news comes as the war between IW and MW2's fans rages over the decision to go with IWnet hosting instead of dedicated servers. Unhappy players were quick to come up with hacks that would allow their own servers and various other changes." Despite the dedicated-server complaints, Modern Warfare 2 has sold ridiculously well.

Comment Re:Um, I'm doubtful (Score 1) 362

Yes, people care about money, especially if they want to start (or have) a family. But If you compete on salary alone, other companies can easily match or exceed what you offer, turning your retention efforts into a commodity process, a race-to-the-top if you will.

What you want to offer is a work environment that the employee can't get anywhere else. That doesn't necessarily involve expensive toys and free stuff all the time. There is a third option -- a sustained, long-term effort at making the work environment fun, challenging, and personally rewarding to each employee. It means creating and maintaining a culture around those aspects. It means hiring only the best so people feel like they are working with smart people all day. It means providing career growth paths no matter what the position.

It's really tough, but when a company does it right, it really works. It certainly isn't free, but if you have this in place, it is much easier to retain employees than with salary alone, especially in these economic times.


Streaming March Madness On Linux? 120

neersign writes "March Madness is here and is streaming all of the games over the internet for free. The downside is they are using Microsoft technologies to do so. The standard player lists Windows XP/Vista, IE6, and WMP 9 as the base requirements. The High Quality Video Player requires Silverlight 2. So my question is: how would a Linux user be able to work around these requirements and watch the games?"

Beatles Rock Band Game Coming In September 55

An anonymous reader writes with news that The Beatles: Rock Band has gotten a release date: Sept. 9th. Today's announcement also included details about the contents of the game. Quoting Kotaku: "The Beatles: Rock Band will allow fans to pick up the guitar, bass, mic or drums and 'experience The Beatles extraordinary catalog of music through gameplay that takes players on a journey through the legacy and evolution of the band's legendary career,' according to the release. The game will also have a limited number of new hardware offerings modeled after instruments used by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr throughout their career."
The Internet

How the US Lost Its China Complaint On IP 167

An anonymous reader writes "The World Trade Organization yesterday released its much-anticipated decision involving a US complaint against China over its protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. The US quickly proclaimed victory, with newspaper headlines trumpeting the WTO panel's requirement that China reform elements of its intellectual property laws. Yet the reality is somewhat different. As Michael Geist notes, the US lost badly on key issues such as border measures and criminal IP enforcement, with the international trade body upholding the validity of China's laws."

Interclue and What Going Proprietary Can Do 149 (which shares a corporate overlord with Slashdot) has an interesting look at what going proprietary can mean for your overall effectiveness. Using Firefox extension "Interclue" as the object lesson, the piece looks at both the engineering and social difficulties surrounding the project. "Even more significantly, the efforts to commercialize only detract from the software itself. The basic idea behind Interclue would make for a handy Web utility, but seems too slight to build a business around. The effort to do so only leads to complications that do nothing to enhance the basic utility, and to pleas for donations that can only annoy. The result is that, if your position on free software doesn't lead you to avoid Interclue, the efforts to monetize it almost certainly will."

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