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The Decline of Fiction In Video Games
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it-was-a-dark-and-stormy-night department:
Speaking to Eurogamer, art maestro (and visual design director of upcoming stealth/action game Dishonored) Victor Antonov put into words what many gamers have been feeling about the gaming industry of late:
"It's been a poor, poor five years for fiction in the video game industry. There have been too many sequels, and too many established IPs that have been ruling the market. And a lot of them are war games. And they're great projects and great entertainment, but there's a lack of variety today. So, when you step out of this established genre, people cannot grasp it, or the press tries to find a match. ... We were always waiting for the next generation of great worlds or great graphics. Well, great graphics came; the worlds that came with these graphics are not up to the level of the graphics. ... Games should sort of split up and specialize and assume that there's such a thing as genre, and they shouldn't try to please everybody at the same time and try to make easy, diluted projects. Let's go for intensity and quality."

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Details of Chinese Moon Rocket Emerge
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's chinese-moon-rocket-would-be-a-good-band-name department:
MarkWhittington writes "AmericaSpace has published the results of a study of Chinese rocket development by Charles Vick, a noted expert on the Russian and Chinese space programs who works for GlobalSecurity.org, using Chinese language sources. Of note are the developing concepts for a super heavy launch vehicle designated as the CZ9 or Long March 9, capable of taking Chinese astronauts to the moon and points beyond. 'Liang outlined several new Long March versions, virtually all of them testing elements that would eventually find their way into the Long March 9 that has 4 million lb. more of liftoff thrust than the 7.5 million lb. thrust NASA Saturn V. Forty-three years ago this week a Saturn V propelled the Apollo 11 astronauts to the first manned landing on the Moon on July 20, 1969.'"

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Trolling Al Qaeda... For Peace?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's forty-second-godwin-bridage department:
The Mister Purple writes "There is a small initiative underway to combat Islamic militant recruiting on the Internet... by trolling them. Quoting the article: 'The program, called Viral Peace, seeks to occupy the virtual space that extremists fill, one thread or Twitter exchange at a time. Shahed Amanullah, a senior technology adviser to the State Department and Viral Peace's creator, tells Danger Room he wants to use "logic, humor, satire, [and] religious arguments, not just to confront [extremists], but to undermine and demoralize them." Think of it as strategic trolling, in pursuit of geopolitical pwnage.' So, does this mean that I'm promoting peace when I post YouTube comments?"

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Windows 8 Release Date: October 26th
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-in-time-for-halloween department:
Several readers sent word that Microsoft has selected a release date for Windows 8: October 26th. Steven Sinofsky made the announcement today at the company's annual sales meeting. The new version of the operating system will be sent to manufacturers next month, giving them plenty of time to prepare for general availability.

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Facebook Loses Users, Satisfaction Higher at Google+
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's time-to-launch-facebook++ department:
benfrog writes "Facebook has lost what (by the standards of their userbase) is a modest number of users over the last six months, which is perhaps one of the causes of a fall in their stock price. In the meantime, a study shows that Google+ users are more satisfied with the site than Facebook users, who are (understandably) upset about the number of recent UI changes, the amount of advertising, and other elements, according to a statement accompanying the study. Figures also show dramatic growth in Google+ usage."

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Microsoft Introduces 'Napa' Toolset For Cloud App Model
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's makes-decent-wine department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "In keeping with Microsoft's 'all-in' strategy with regard to the cloud, Office 2013 incorporates a good deal of cloud functionality: SkyDrive is now the default storage selection for documents, for example, and users' work is synced between devices connected to the Web. In conjunction with that, Microsoft is now offering a 'Cloud App Model' that incorporates Web standards, meant for developers interested in building apps that bring functionality into Office and SharePoint. The toolset for building within this 'Cloud App Model' is codenamed 'Napa.' Among the potential uses: developers can build mail apps for Office, which add content and functionality to Outlook items based on activation rules, content apps for Excel, which add content and functionality to Excel documents, and task pane apps for Office, which add functionality to Excel and Word documents in a task pane adjacent to the document."

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Sale of IPv4 Addresses Hindering IPv6 Adoption
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can-we-blame-al-gore-for-this department:
hal9000(jr) writes "While IPv6 day was a successful marketing campaign, is anyone really moving to IPv6? On World Launch Day, Arbor Networks noted a peak of only .2% of IPv6 network traffic. It appears that IPv4 addresses are still valuable and are driving hosting acquisitions. Windows 8 will actually prefer IPv6 over IPv4. If you want IPv6, here's what to do about it."

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Apple Must Publicly Post That Samsung Did Not Copy iPad
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's wearing-a-sign-in-public department:
microcars writes "A judge in the U.K. has ordered Apple to post a notice on its website and in British newspapers alerting people to a ruling that Samsung Electronics Co. didn't copy designs for the iPad. This is the same Judge who ruled earlier that Samsung's Galaxy Tab was not as cool as Apple's iPad."

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CowboyNeal Reviews Alien Arena: Reloaded
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's time-to-play department:
CowboyNeal writes: "Last week I wrote about the fluid
nature of modern game development
and how that often impacts both
game reviews and purchases. Given the recent
announcement of the release of Alien Arena: Reloaded
, I
decided it warranted a fresh look, to see how the free shooter has aged. Read
on for the rest of my review of Alien Arena: Reloaded."


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Police Close Climategate Investigation
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's law-and-order-special-climatologists-unit department:
ananyo writes "The Norfolk Constabulary has closed its investigation into the November 2009 release of private emails between researchers at the Climatic Research Centre at the University of East Anglia in Norwich after failing to identify those responsible. Despite not being able to prosecute any offenders, the police have confirmed that the data breach 'was the result of a sophisticated and carefully orchestrated attack on the CRU's data files, carried out remotely via the internet.' The investigation has also cleared anyone working at or associated with UEA from involvement in the crime. The hacking resulted in the release of more than 1,000 emails and shook the public's trust in climate science, though independent investigations after the breach cleared the scientists of wrongdoing."

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Dell To Offer Ubuntu Laptops Again
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's dude-you're-gettin'-a-tux department:
An anonymous reader writes "TechCrunch reports that Dell will be officially re-entering the Linux laptop market. Beginning this fall, it will sell a 'developer edition' of one of its Ultrabooks that comes pre-loaded with Ubuntu 12.04. Dell first started offering computers with Linux installed in 2007, but they dropped the products in 2010. This spring, a skunkworks effort called Project Sputnik was announced, and now, after the completion of a short beta test, the Ubuntu laptops have been given a green light for commercial sale. Canonical has been working alongside Dell to help make this happen."

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Microsoft Files Patents for Virtual Game Controller
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 09:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's metro-version-of-catan-draws-ire department:
SmartAboutThings writes "A newly discovered patent shows that Microsoft might be interested in developing virtual controllers for tablets and smartphones. A while ago, it didn't quite make sense why Microsoft would need such a piece of technology, but with the announcement of their Surface tablet, it suddenly takes on a new perspective."

I think a few board games (Catan comes to mind) would be pretty playable on a moderately-sized, shared touch surface, with everyone's phone acting as their hand.

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Jolla Confirms MeeGo App Store Is Coming
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 09:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's another-contestant-enters department:
DavidGilbert99 writes "Jolla Mobile's MD, Jussi Hurmola has confirmed that its first smartphone will be backed up by an app store at launch later this year — pointing out that a version of Angry Birds is already available on MeeGo. And really, all you need to make an app store successful isAngry Birds right?"

The interview from which the article is sourced has more information on Jolla's general strategy, including their plans to become "a major player."

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Debian Derivative Optimized for the Raspbery Pi Released
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's officially-want-one department:
sfcrazy writes "The Raspberry Pi foundation has announced the release of the first SD card image based on the Raspbian distribution. The image will make it easier for Raspberry Pi users to switch from 'generic' Debian Squeeze to this 'optimized' image."

The new image is based on Wheezy and optimized for ARM with floating point instructions, and supersedes the Squeeze based soft float image. Benchmarks show much improvement in performance, and the updated software in Wheezy generally improves the usability of the Raspberry Pi.

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Slashdot's Rob Rozeboom Interviews D&D Designer Mike Mearls (video)
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 07:32 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's my-imaginary-friend-is-a-giant-lizard-that-breathes-fire department:
Mike Mearls is the Senior Manager for the Dungeons and Dragons Design Team. He's been with D&D publishers Wizards of the Coast (a subsidiary of Hasbro) since 2005, Before that he was a free-lance game writer and designer. In this conversation with Slashdot editor Rob "samzenpus" Rozeboom, he talks about changes in the latest version of D&D and how the company interacts with players. (We'll have some more chat with Mike next week, different wizard time, same wizard channel, so stay tuned.)

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Thomas Drake: You're Automatically Suspicious Until Proven Otherwise
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's CNCIS-IMF-plutonium-Albright-cybercash-insurgency department:
colinneagle writes "RT had a very interesting interview with former NSA official turned whistleblower Thomas A. Drake, who said, 'Security has effectively become the State religion; you don't question it. And if you question it, then your loyalty is questioned.' 'Speaking truth of power is very dangerous in today's world,' he added. The interviewer pointed out that investigative journalists are labeled as 'terrorist helpers' for trying to reveal the truth, to which Drake said the government's take is 'you go after the messenger because the last thing you want to do is deal with the message.'"

Network World also has a pretty good article on William Binney's keynote at HOPE 9, wherein he revealed some technical details and a bit more background on the NSA's domestic surveillance program. Unfortunately, neither audio or video of the talk are available yet.

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MIPS Technologies Porting Android 4.1 to MIPS Architecture
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 06:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's architecture-wars-round-five department:
angry tapir writes with news on Android getting support for a third architecture. From the article: "ARM rival MIPS is continuing its push to make a mark in low-cost tablets and quickly trying to bring Android 4.1 (Jellybean) to its processors. 'We are working aggressively on bringing Jelly Bean to MIPS, and expect that it will be available to our licensees very soon,' said Jen Bernier-Santarini, director of corporation communications at MIPS, in an email. Tablets with MIPS processors are largely low-cost and have found buyers mostly in developing countries. MIPS last week said a new tablet called Miumiu W1 from Chinese company Ramos would become available in a few months in India, Latin America and Europe. The tablet has a 7-inch screen, a MIPS processor running at 1GHz, front camera and a microSD slot for expandable storage."

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AT&T Introducing Verizon-Style Shared Data Plans
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's get-less-pay-more department:
zacharye writes with news of some exciting rate changes for folks on ATTWS. From the article: "AT&T on Wednesday announced the upcoming availability of new shared data plans. Following Verizon's lead, AT&T's new plans will allow subscribers to share data between family members and also between devices. Dubbed 'AT&T Mobile Share' plans, the new offerings start at $40 per month plus $45 per device for unlimited voice minutes and messaging and 1GB of data, and top out at $200 plus $30 per device for unlimited voice and texts plus 200GB of data..."

My favorite part is where you pay per-device and get nothing in return.

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Judge In Kim Dotcom Extradition Case Steps Down
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 05:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's pesky-ethics-standards department:
First time accepted submitter Kalriath writes "After calling the United States 'the enemy' at the NetHui conference last week (reported on Slashdot), Judge David Harvey has stepped down from the Dotcom case citing beliefs that the comments could reflect on his impartiality.

From the New Zealand Herald: 'An Internet law expert, Judge Harvey had been considered the perfect choice to hear arguments on whether Dotcom and his Megaupload colleagues should be extradited by the United States to face charges of criminal copyright violation. The district court's chief judge Jan-Marie Doogue said Judge Harvey had made the decision to step down from hearing the case. "He recognizes that remarks made in the context of a paper he delivered on copyright law at a recent Internet conference could reflect on his impartiality and that the appropriate response is for him to step down from the case."'"


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NSA Mimics Google, Angers Senate
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's don't-be-evil-just-doesn't-work-for-us department:
An anonymous reader writes "In a bizarre turn of events, the Senate would prefer that the DoD use software not written by the government for the government. Quoting: 'Like Google, the agency needed a way of storing and retrieving massive amounts of data across an army of servers, but it also needed extra tools for protecting all that data from prying eyes. They added 'cell level' software controls that could separate various classifications of data, ensuring that each user could only access the information they were authorized to access. It was a key part of the NSA’s effort to improve the security of its own networks. But the NSA also saw the database as something that could improve security across the federal government — and beyond. Last September, the agency open sourced its Google mimic, releasing the code as the Accumulo project. It’s a common open source story — except that the Senate Armed Services Committee wants to put the brakes on the project. In a bill recently introduced on Capitol Hill, the committee questions whether Accumulo runs afoul of a government policy that prevents federal agencies from building their own software when they have access to commercial alternatives. The bill could ban the Department of Defense from using the NSA’s database — and it could force the NSA to meld the project’s security tools with other open source projects that mimic Google’s BigTable.'"

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