By Soulskill from Slashdot's two-for-the-price-of-two department
New submitter junkrig writes "After a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, Jordan Weisman, creator of Shadowrun, has returned to bring the series back to the screen as Shadowrun Returns; an old-school, turn-based tactical RPG. Their successful initial fundraising (over $1.8 million) allowed them to commit to developing a native Linux version of the game. A second team, working closely with Weisman, now hopes to bring a similar, turn-based Shadowrun game to life: Shadowrun Online. To be built with the Unity 4 engine, Shadowrun Online will be massively multiplayer and have native Linux support from the start — assuming, of course, they manage to fund their project. Both games are expected for release in 2013."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's make-sure-it's-al-dente department
An anonymous reader writes "An article at Ars recaps a discussion from Stack Overflow about a software engineer who had the misfortune to inherit 200k lines of 'spaghetti code' cobbled together over the course of 10-20 years. A lengthy and detailed response walks through how best to proceed at development triage in the face of limited time and developer-power. From the article: 'Rigidity is (often) good. This is a controversial opinion, as rigidity is often seen as a force working against you. It's true for some phases of some projects. But once you see it as a structural support, a framework that takes away the guesswork, it greatly reduces the amount of wasted time and effort. Make it work for you, not against you. Rigidity = Process / Procedure. Software development needs good processes and procedures for exactly the same reasons that chemical plants or factories have manuals, procedures, drills, and emergency guidelines: preventing bad outcomes, increasing predictability, maximizing productivity... Rigidity comes in moderation, though!'"Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's a-particle-accelerator-for-every-hedge-fund department
An anonymous reader writes "In a new feature on the future of high-frequency trading, Wired suggests that neutrino-powered financial trading systems may be coming soon, which would enable extremely low-latency information to be transmitted directly through the center of the Earth between major financial exchanges. If finance becomes the killer app for neutrino communication technology, it may ultimately make Neutrino SETI feasible. Quoting: 'It is only a matter of time, perhaps a few decades, says Alexander Wissner-Gross, a Harvard physicist, before some hedge fund decides it needs a particle accelerator to generate neutrinos, and then everyone will want one. Yes, they travel slower than light, but they indisputably can tunnel through the earth, cutting thousands of miles off an intercontinental message. And just a few days before the Battle of the Quants, right before the bad news about faster-than-light neutrinos, researchers announced they had sent a message by neutrino from the Fermilab accelerator in Chicago to a detector a kilometer away. According to Dan Stancil of North Carolina State University, the signal traveled at "very close to" the speed of light. Unfortunately, the data rate was only about 0.1 bits per second, meaning it would be useless for much more than sending a yes/no signal. "With the right modulation scheme, this could be increased by at least one or two orders of magnitude," Stancil said, adding "I don’t know of a compelling commercial application." But we’ve all heard the (apocryphal) story that Thomas J. Watson of IBM predicted "a world market for maybe five computers."'"Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's paging-connor-macleod department
writes "Humans have pondered their mortality for millennia. Now the University of California at Riversdie reports that it has received a $5 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation that will fund research on aspects of immortality, including near-death experiences and the impact of belief in an afterlife on human behavior. 'People have been thinking about immortality throughout history. We have a deep human need to figure out what happens to us after death,' says John Martin Fischer, the principal investigator of The Immortality Project. 'No one has taken a comprehensive and sustained look at immortality that brings together the science, theology and philosophy.' Fischer says he going to investigate two different kinds of immortality. One is the possibility of living forever without dying. The main questions there are whether it's technologically plausible or feasible for us, either by biological enhancement such as those described by Ray Kurzweil, or by some combination of biological enhancement and uploading our minds onto computers in the future. Second would be to investigate the full range of questions about Judeo, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, and other Asian religions' conceptions of the afterlife to see if they're theologically and philosophically consistent. 'We'll look at near death experiences both in western cultures and throughout the world and really look at what they're all about and ask the question — do they indicate something about an afterlife or are they kind of just illusions that we're hardwired into?'"Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-that-the-industry-will-take-the-judge's-word-on-it department
Social bookmarking site myVidster was the target of a copyright infringement case because it allowed its users to embed videos from other sites on its pages. Some of the videos infringed upon various copyrights, and the plaintiff in the case was granted a preliminary injunction against myVidster in 2011. Now, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned the injunction, saying that merely embedding copyright-infringing videos hosted elsewhere does not necessarily contribute to the infringement
. Judge Posner wrote in the opinion
(PDF),"myVidster is giving web surfers addresses where they can find entertainment. By listing plays and giving the name and address of the theaters where they are being performed, the New Yorker is not performing them. It is not 'transmitting or communicating' them. ... Is myVidster doing anything different? ... myVidster doesn't touch the data stream, which flows directly from one computer to another, neither being owned or operated by myVidster."
However, the door is not shut on this issue: "Flava may be entitled to additional preliminary injunctive relief as well, if it can show, as it has not shown yet, that myVidster’s service really does contribute significantly to infringement of Flava’s copyrights." If myVidster was actively encouraging the sharing, hosting the videos itself, or profiting from their showing, the ruling likely would have been different.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hope-spacex-rocket-rides-are-cheap-by-then department
ananyo writes "In a feature that recalls Asimov's Foundation series and 'psychohistory', Nature profiles mathematician Peter Turchin, who says he can see meaningful cycles in history. Worryingly, Turchin predicts a wave of violence in the United States in 2020. Quoting from the piece: 'To Peter Turchin, who studies population dynamics at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, the appearance of three peaks of political instability at roughly 50-year intervals is not a coincidence. For the past 15 years, Turchin has been taking the mathematical techniques that once allowed him to track predator-prey cycles in forest ecosystems, and applying them to human history. He has analyzed historical records on economic activity, demographic trends and outbursts of violence in the United States, and has come to the conclusion that a new wave of internal strife is already on its way. The peak should occur in about 2020, he says, and will probably be at least as high as the one in around 1970. 'I hope it won't be as bad as 1870,' he adds."
We recently discussed similar research into predicting violence in the short term
.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's users-sometimes-do-know-what-they-want department
colinneagle writes "In an interview with Fortune a few years ago, Steve Jobs explained that Apple never does market research. Rather, they simply preoccupy themselves with creating great products. On Monday, Apple's Greg Joswiak — the company's VP of Product Marketing — submitted a declaration to the Court explaining why documents relating to Apple's market research and strategy should be sealed. Every month, Apple surveys iPhone buyers and Joswiak explains what Apple is able to glean from these surveys. And as you might expect, Apple conducts similar surveys with iPad buyers. Apple wants all of these tracking studies sealed. Joswiak explains that if a competitor were to find out what drives iPhone purchases — whether it be FaceTime, battery life, or Siri — it would serve as an unfair competitive edge to rival companies. Further, competitors, as it stands today, have to guess as to which demographics are most satisfied with Apple products."
A few other interesting facts have come out of the trial so far
; Apple spent $647 million advertising the iPhone in the U.S. from its launch through fiscal 2011, and they spent $457.2 million advertising the iPad from its launch up to the same point.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's doctor-was-its-mother department
writes "DefenseTech reports that Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Lyon, the director of operations for Air Combat Command, told the Pentagon press corps that a valve that inflates the Combat Edge upper pressure garment is the cause of hypoxia-like symptoms in pilots flying the F-22. The problem forced the service to ground the Air Force's most prized stealth fighter fleet for four months and led two Raptor pilots to tell the nation on CBS's 60 Minutes that they refused to fly the jet because the pilots feared for their lives. The vests help control the breathing of pilots in high G-force environments, inflating before pilots start to experience extreme G-force conditions. However Lyon explained that the valves caused the vests to inflate too early in an F-22 flight, causing pilots to hyperventilate in the cockpits. 'It's like putting a corset around your chest,' said Lyons. Eagle and Viper pilots stopped wearing the upper pressure garments in 2004 'because they were not giving us the contribution we thought they would,' said Lyon. F-22 pilots kept wearing them because they flew at higher altitudes and the vests protected the pilots from 'rapid decompression,' adding that F-22 pilots, many of whom flew the F-15 and F-16, didn't notice the vests had inflated early because of the layers of gear a pilot wears in flight. Such a simple answer to a problem that has eluded Air Force engineers and scientists for four years has left some Air Force pilots skeptical that the USAF has solved the problem. An F-16 pilot said the Air Force is either 'incompetent for missing this until now,' or 'dishonest and trying to sweep something under the rug.'"Read Replies (0)