Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Google

The Ambiguity of "Open" and VP8 Vs. H.264 493

An anonymous reader writes "With all the talk about WebM and H.264, how the move might be a step backwards for openness, and Google's intention to add 'plugins' for IE9 and Safari to support WebM, this article attempts to clear misconceptions about the VP8 and H.264 codecs and how browsers render video. Firefox, Opera and Google rely on their own media frameworks to decode video, whereas IE9 and Safari will hand over video processing to the operating system (Windows Media Player or QuickTime), the need for the web to establish a baseline codec for encoding videos, and how the Flash player is proprietary, but implementation and usage remain royalty free."
Earth

Gas Wants To Kill the Wind 479

RABarnes writes "Scientific American has posted an article about the political efforts of natural gas and electric utilities to limit the growth of wind-generated electricity. Although several of the points raised by the utilities and carbon-based generators are valid, the basic driver behind their efforts is that wind-generation has now successfully penetrated the wholesale electricity market. Wind was okay until it became a meaningful competitor to the carbon dioxide-producing entities. Among the valid points raised by the carbon-based generators are concerns about how the cost of electricity transmission are allocated and how power quality can be improved (wind generation — from individual sites — is hopelessly variable). But there are fixes for all of the concerns raised by the carbon-based entities and in almost all cases they have been on the other side of the question in the past."
Power

MIT Produces Electricity Using Thermopower Waves 157

MikeChino writes "MIT scientists have discovered a never-before-known phenomenon wherein carbon nanotubes can be used to harness energy from 'thermopower waves.' To do this they coated the nanotubes with a reactive fuel and then lit one end, causing a fast-moving thermal wave to speed down the length of the tube. The heat from the fuel rises to a temperature of 3,000 kelvins, and can speed along the tube 10,000 times faster than the normal spread of this chemical reaction. The heat also pushes electrons down the tube, which creates a substantial electrical current. The system can output energy (in proportion to its weight) about 100x greater than an equivalent weight lithium-ion battery, and according to MIT the discovery 'opens up a new area of energy research, which is rare.'"
AMD

Game Devs Only Use PhysX For the Money, Says AMD 225

arcticstoat writes "AMD has just aimed a shot at Nvidia's PhysX technology, saying that most game developers only implement GPU-accelerated PhysX for the money. AMD's Richard Huddy explained that 'Nvidia creates a marketing deal with a title, and then as part of that marketing deal, they have the right to go in and implement PhysX in the game.' However, he adds that 'the problem with that is obviously that the game developer doesn't actually want it. They're not doing it because they want it; they're doing it because they're paid to do it. So we have a rather artificial situation at the moment where you see PhysX in games, but it isn't because the game developer wants it in there.' AMD is pushing open standards such as OpenCL and DirectCompute as alternatives to PhysX, as these APIs can run on both AMD and Nvidia GPUs. AMD also announced today that it will be giving away free versions of Pixelux's DMM2 physics engine, which now includes Bullet Physics, to some game developers."
Businesses

How Infighting Hampers Innovation At Microsoft 450

Garabito writes "Dick Brass, former vice-president at Microsoft, published an op-ed in The New York Times, where he states that 'Microsoft has become a clumsy, uncompetitive innovator' and how 'it has lost share in Web browsers, high-end laptops and smartphones.' He attributes this situation to the lack of a true system for innovation at Microsoft. Some former employees argue that Microsoft has a system to thwart innovation. He tells how promising and innovative technologies like ClearType and the original TabletPC concept become crippled and sabotaged internally, by groups and divisions that felt threatened by them."
Wii

Does the Wii Provide A "Watered-Down" Game Experience? 582

CNet is running a story inspired by comments from Ubisoft's Ben Mattes about how the Wii affects game development. When asked why there was no Wii version of Prince of Persia, Mattes said, "The reality is that from a technical standpoint, the Wii cannot do what we wanted the game to do. The AI of Elika was highly advanced and required a lot of processing power; the world size and dynamic loading, the draw distance, the number of polygons in the characters... If we had done a Wii version, it would have been toned down, probably linear; it wouldn't have been an open-world game, and so it would have been a very different experience." The article goes on to look at a number of Wii games that are stripped-down versions of their Xbox 360 or PS3 counterparts. Of course, part of the Wii's drawing power is that it's much simpler than the other systems, and has brought casual gaming to millions more people than it would have otherwise. The question remains, as Kotaku points out, whether the Wii's audience will persist after the other systems match its casual-gaming capabilities.

Slashdot Top Deals

The end of labor is to gain leisure.

Working...