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Drought Inspires a Boom In Pseudoscience, From Rain Machines To 'Water Witches'

Daetrin On the first reading.... (126 comments)

"A dowser is less effective than a geologist and bears, at the minimum, a higher opportunity cost over the average (of instances of people searching for water with a dowser instead of a geologist)."

Wait, a dowser is less effective than bears, at the minimum? What kind of low bar do bears set? Where does one go to hire a bear to find water and how do they go about it?

2 hours ago
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

Daetrin Re:When was the last time (954 comments)

Sorry, but decisions about what version control software we use are made by Management. I'm not entirely sure they're even human, much less in possession of either a male or female gender.

8 hours ago
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Daetrin The slow blade penetrates the shield (615 comments)

http://www.vox.com/2014/8/27/6...

As someone else put it, Putin is aspiring to be a Dune character. Or more prosaically, he's learned a lot from watching US corporations and the US government manipulate the news cycle. Do something that will outrage the public, wait for the new furor, pull back a little, wait for the news to move on to some other subject, and try again.

9 hours ago
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

Daetrin Re:*Dons asbestos suit* (954 comments)

"Fuck women! :)"

Why yes, i do like to fuck women! And seeing as how i'm not into rape (for personal and ethical reasons as well as legal ones) i've found the best way to get women to want to fuck me in return is to treat them like respectable human beings. As such i listen to what they have to say, generally believe them unless i have some specific reason not to, and am appalled when other people choose not to treat them like respectable human beings.

(And just for the record, i certainly believe i would treat women in the same manner even if i didn't want to fuck them, but it's always nice when the practical aligns with the moral.)

9 hours ago
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The 2014 Hugo Awards

Daetrin Re:The Problem with the Hugos (180 comments)

I'm curious, which past Hugo winners did you think were pretentious?

2013 - Redshirts - John Scalzi: Not the best in the field, I wanted Blackout or Captain Vorpatril's Alliance to win, but i'm not sure what was pretentious about it.
2012 - Among Others - Jo Walton: I didn't think this one was pretentious. Just kind of boring and pandering. Should have gone to Leviathan Wakes or Deadline.
2011 - Blackout/All Clear - Connie Willis: Again, doesn't seem pretentious, but i've been disappointed with all the Connie Willis i've read since To Say Nothing of the Dog and Bellwether. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Cryoburn, and Feed were all better than this.
2010 - Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl and China Mieville's The City & the City: I had some serious concerns about the economics underlying the Windup Girl but thought it was otherwise okay. I've never really gotten people's fascination with China Mieville's works however. But neither seemed especially pretentious to me. Robert J Sawyer's Wake really should have won.
2009 - The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman: Okay, this year just sucked. I failed to inherit whatever gene it is that makes so many people like Neil Gaiman, nor have i yet found anything to like about Cory Doctorow or Charles Stross yet. I used to like Neal Stephenson, but his more recent work is just too... i dunno. And i haven't actually read Scalzi's Zoe's Tale yet because i just get annoyed by "let's tell the same story from a different perspective" books.
2008 - The Yiddish Policeman's Union - Michael Chabon: This was before i started going to WorldCon/voting in Hugos, and the only one i've read from that year so far is Scalzi's The Last Colony. Which was okay, but not something i'd have voted on myself. (I tend not to be a big fan of books from the middle of a long series for Hugo consideration in general.)
2007 - Rainbows End - Vernor Vinge: This on the other hand was a great year. I totally agree with the winner, but Naomi Novik's His Majesty's Dragon and Michael Flynn's Eifelheim were both great as well (though admitedly it took me a little while to get into Eifelheim.)
2006 - Spin - Robert Charles Wilson: I think John Scalzi's Old Man's War gave Spin a run for its money, but i don't think this was a poor choice.
2005 - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke: Okay, i liked the book, but my opinion of it suffered from over-hype. I also thought at the time she seemed like a one-hit wonder, and i'm not sure if i should be sad or gloating about being (so far) correct. I haven't read The Algebraist yet, but in retrospect it's kind of sad Ian M Banks didn't win this year.
2004 - Paladin of Sould - Lois McMaster Bujold: Not her best book, but it was pretty good and it was definitely better than the other contenders that i've read, so this seems fine to me.

So that's ten years of Hugos. There are definitely some authors whose appeal i don't get, or at least haven't gotten yet (Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Charles Stross, Cory Doctorow) but none of them really jump out at me as pretentious.

So what is it about them that bothers you?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

9 hours ago
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

Daetrin Re:When was the last time (954 comments)

"When was the last time some woman wrote a single line of code ?"

Hmm, let's see *checks SVN logs*

Okay, i'm not sure who's currently using the "Tester" or "Build" accounts at our company, but the last line of code written by someone who was definitely a woman was checked in at 12:34 AM, about 8 hours ago. (Hey, it's still pretty early in the morning right now, _i_ haven't written any code yet, much less checked it in.)

Of course i can look around the office and see a lot of other women who _might_ be writing code right now. Or they might be reading slashdot at work like me *cough*

10 hours ago
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

Daetrin Re: Her work (954 comments)

Really? She insulted a whole gender? I'm male, and last i checked she hadn't said anything that insulted me. And that's aside from the whole point that death threats are an entirely different kettle of fish from just insults.

"I disagree with your argument, your points are stupid and you are an idiot" is not the same as "I am going to come over to to your house and rape you and kill you."

10 hours ago
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

Daetrin Re:*Dons asbestos suit* (954 comments)

I do not personally know of any specific corroboration of this event. However i personally know one female who has told me that she's seen harassment at her job in the game industry. A large number of other females that i don't personally know have reported being harassed either while working in the game industry or while playing games. (Not to mention in a lot of other situations not involving games at all.) A number of males have corroborated a number of those accusations. Joss Whedon was told he should kill himself because he retweeted Sarkeesian.

So either there's a massive conspiracy to create the appearance of problem where this is none, or women get harassed a lot, as do a lot of men that try to support them (though usually not to the same degree.) And the problem seems to be exacerbated when they try to get involved in gamer or geek culture. (Or at least i am more aware of it in that case.)

Which means that there's plenty of circumstantial evidence supporting her statement. I'm certainly willing to accept it at face value unless there's some hard evidence presented to disprove it.

10 hours ago
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Uber Has a Playbook For Sabotaging Lyft, Says Report

Daetrin Re:Same as it ever was (181 comments)

"If you catch the crest of the wave of the various "sharing economy" services that are popping up, like AirBnB or Uber, you will likely have a good experience. But as they grow and other pressures come to the fore, thus poisoning the well, it's time to get out and move on."

So if you get in early you'll get a good ride, but if you get in late you'll be taken for a ride?

yesterday
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The 2014 Hugo Awards

Daetrin Re:Sad Puppy Slate (180 comments)

So, just for the record, i happen to be a fan of both Scalzi and Baen books. There are also a number of series and books which i have enjoyed very much but which i have not nominated for the Hugos.

David Weber, Jack Campbell/John G Hemry, Elizabeth Moon, Taylor Anderson, Jack McDevitt, Lynn Flewelling, Mercedes Lackey. All write stuff that's great fun. All of them are at least moderately popular and at least some are massively popular. But in my opinion none of them have written anything that i would consider "Best". I feel that a book has to be "impressive" in some way other than just being enjoyable in order to be "Best"

And judging by the Hugo results of this and other years it seems that most of the people who vote on the Hugos agree with me. Even though i said in another post that the Hugos (and all other artistic awards) are a popularity contest, and continue to stand behind that, that doesn't mean people will just vote for whoever takes up the most space on their shelves. (Though looking at 2012 in particular i have to admit that apparently a lot of the voters seem to think that pandering is impressive *cough*)

Are you honestly saying Transformers: Age of Extinction deserves to win the Oscar for Best Film just because it made a billion dollars? I personally quite liked the Underworld movies, they were a lot of fun, but there's not a one of them i would nominate for Best Film (in either the Hugos or the Oscars if i had any say in the matter.)

So yes, i could believe Correia might sell more books than Scalzi (although a quick check of Amazon sales rank does not seem to back that up) but selling a lot of books neither guarantees nor justifies a Hugo. I expect that Weber outsells both Correia and Scalzi put together (though i've admittedly done absolutely zero research on that) but he's never even been nominated, which i don't really think is a scandal.

As far as the people who attend WorldCon, i'm not sure if i confirm your preconceptions by being someone who likes Scalzi and (sometimes) goes to WorldCon, or if i confound them by being someone who like Baen and (sometimes) goes to WorldCon. However i will say that the reason why i started going to WorldCon was because the authors who i follow online kept talking about it. Obviously the fact that Correia promoted WorldCon/the Hugos on his blog had an impact. If all he'd said was "you should go to WorldCon and you should vote for my books in the Hugos" without dragging Vox Day and others into it i don't think anyone would have complained. So perhaps if more of the people who feel excluded did that instead of complaining about biases then the results would be a little more in line with what they think is popular?

As for Toni Weisskopf, i see that he was part of the slate. I didn't actually get around to that category, so i can not personally attest to the quality of work of either him or any of the other contenders. However it is unsurprising to note that about half as many people voted in "Best Editor" as in "Best Novel" (honestly, it surprises me a little that it got even that many) so it was even more susceptible to influence by block voting.

First, 140 people votes for No Award for #1, which seems rather high. Almost 10% of the voters thought _none_ of them deserved a Hugo.

The difference between Ginjer and Toni before the instant run-off was only 25 votes (384 vs 359), or less than 2% of the total vote.

Unsurprisingly that didn't change much after No Award was eliminated, but in the third pass Ginjer picked up about twice as many votes as Toni, and almost three times as many in the fourth pass. (Notably, Liz picked up as many votes in passes 3 & 4 as both Ginjer and Toni combined but wasn't able to overcome the initial deficit. But given that it's not surprising that she came in second.)

So in short there was a minority, the largest of the initial minorities but still a minority that put Toni first. All the other minorities tended to rank Toni fairly low.

Something kind of similar happened with the Wheel of Time for the "Best Novel" category. It wasn't on the Sad Puppy Slate but it was another case where there were accusations of block voting. (Disclaimer: i quite liked Wheel of Time, at least at the start, and i believe i ranked it #3.) It came in second in the run for #1. And then it came in second in the run for #2. And for #3. Despite having the second highest number of #1 votes it ended up coming in 4th in the overall running.

I can't say for sure whether those results were because either Toni Weisskopf or the Wheel of Time was "hated" by anyone (what's a SJW anyways?) but everything looks pretty normal for an instant run-off voting system. I'm not sure why you say it's a "fucked up voting system." The results from instant run-offs aren't always obvious at first glance, and it's well known that no voting system is perfect, but the results are certainly a lot better than the kind of thing that happens with "regular" non-run-off voting.

about a week ago
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The 2014 Hugo Awards

Daetrin Re:Sad Puppy Slate (180 comments)

Yes, they are. Anyone who thinks otherwise hasn't been paying attention. The Nebula awards are a popularity contest as judged by people in the industry (authors and possibly editors and publishers as well, i forget the specifics,) while the Hugo awards are a popularity contest as judged by the public.

In theory in both contests the popularity is supposed to be based on the quality of the work. That rule is probably more closely observed for the Nebulas than the Hugos, but in both cases it is impossible to eliminate all personal biases.

I voted in the Hugos and personally found the Vox Day work to be junk, while the other works from the "Sad Puppy Slate" were decent, though not anything i would have considered worth nominating myself. Obviously i agree with the results, but obviously i am also biased like every other human being.

So yes, the Hugos are a popularity contest, as are the Nebulas, the Oscars, the Grammys, and every other reward for artistic achievement that you can think of.

about a week ago
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The 2014 Hugo Awards

Daetrin Sad Puppy Slate (180 comments)

"Largely unsuccessful" is a bit of an understatement. Those who follow such things have been rejoicing that the "Sad Puppy Slate" ended up last in all the author categories, and that the novella by Vox Day, the guy with very... questionable political and personal views, actually ended up below "No Award". I think it's interesting that despite the outcries and rage and threats about "No Awarding" the entire slate, the only nominee to actually meet such a fate was the one that almost everyone agreed was literarily a piece of garbage.

One does have to wonder how the "Sad Puppy Slate" would have done if it hadn't weighed itself down with a nominee that was simultaneously so objectionable and so poorly written.

http://whatever.scalzi.com/201...
http://whatever.scalzi.com/201...

about a week ago
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Humans Need Not Apply: a Video About the Robot Revolution and Jobs

Daetrin Re:perhaps it isn't technology (304 comments)

No one is claiming that recent unemployment is due to mass robotic replacements. It's something that's about to start happening soon when the stuff that's currently in the research pipeline hits the market.

Restaurants may not have replaced their employees with robots yet, but it's coming: http://money.cnn.com/2014/05/2...

about two weeks ago
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WHO Declares Ebola Outbreak An International Emergency

Daetrin Re:Rigged statistics. (183 comments)

I'm certainly not an epidemiologist, but i'm pretty sure there are fairly strong selective pressures for viruses and bacteria to become less deadly as they spread. In fact there is _some_ evidence that this is already taking place.

As you say, the death rate is normally between 50 and 90%, but obviously that's comparing different outbreaks, not an average of all infections from Ebola ever. Some past outbreaks have been at the 90% rate but current reports seem to indicate that the death rate for this outbreak is around 60%. It doesn't seem to me that that's a coincidence. Killing anyone you infect quickly and bloodily is not a great long term survival strategy. If a disease kills 90% of the people it infects in a week and there's a mutation that only kills 80% of the people and takes two weeks, that mutation is going to spread a lot more effectively.

To speak in an anthropomorphic way, every disease "wants" to become the next common cold or flu. Almost everyone catches it sooner or later, but very few of the hosts die statistically speaking.

about three weeks ago
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Nevada Construction Project Could Be Tesla/Panasonic Gigafactory

Daetrin Re:Headline trifecta (81 comments)

I have long suspected that Elon Musk is trying to provoke other companies into competing with him, exactly because he thinks that what he is doing is important beyond just making some money.

Just out of curiosity, have you ever read Michael Flynn's Firestar series? There are so many little bits from there that reminded me of SpaceX at when i reread it recently. Though apparently it's not just SpaceX, but everything Elon Musk is involved with.

about a month ago
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Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

Daetrin Re:Great... (582 comments)

You can say a lot of things about the negative side of modern nations becoming so invested in the global economy, but there's a good side to those countries not wanting to disrupt that economy by getting into wars. It's the fact that those countries start less wars. There's pretty good evidence that Russia has been less aggressive in the Ukraine than they were originally planning because after Crimea the sanctions issued by other countries have already had a significant effect on their economy. (Russia's Growth Was Already Slowing - Then Came Crimea, Russian government admits economy in crisis as Ukraine weighs, Sanctions Will Work, All Right. Just Ask the Oligarchs)

If Russia's economy had been better to begin with they probably wouldn't have started this whole mess, and personally i think that would be a good thing, even if it prompted Russian ultra-nationalists to complain about the government selling out to corporate interests.

about 1 month ago
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Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists

Daetrin Re:Do Slashdot editors actually edit? (227 comments)

Yeah, but i'm just talking about myself. I'm pretty lazy and don't do most of those other intensive purposes. Of the intensive stuff i do at least 90% of it is on an exercise machine.

So for all intents and purposes i use an exercise machine for all intensive purposes.

about a month ago
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Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists

Daetrin Re:Do Slashdot editors actually edit? (227 comments)

"For all intents and purposes" has been down-grammaticised into "for all intensive purposes". The latter has no actual meaning.

That is untrue! For all intensive purposes i use an exercise machine!

about a month ago
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Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

Daetrin Re:Why fly over a war zone? (752 comments)

You're correct, i misspoke. I should have said that to a lay-person, such as myself and most of the other people reading the news reports, the distinction between a fighter and a ground attack craft are pretty hazy, especially in relation to determining the difference between the two by sight.

And you may think that you wrote nothing that suggested a helicopter, but you said it was a "ground attack craft" that was "pretty much defenceless against fighters, unless it can keep low enough to evade them by jinking." That made me think of a helicopter hiding behind a hill, popping up to hit some ground targets and then ducking back down again. So you said something that to you clearly indicated a plane that attacks things on the ground, and i heard "helicopter," which just demonstrates the difficulty of explaining these things briefly without going into detail. When the reporters said "fighter" i expect that most readers got a more accurate vision of what the craft actually looks like than i was initially getting from your description.

Sure it would be nice if everyone could be educated about everything, and if the nature of the craft that was shot down was key to what was going on in the area then yes, the reporters should have been more detailed in their descriptions and explanations.

However it doesn't really matter in this context whether it was a fighter or a bomber or a ground attack craft or whatever. I don't believe the reporters were trying to hide anything or that anyone is confused about the nature of its mission. It was a thing that flies and kills people, it was flying over there and killing people (or at least trying to) because there's a war on over there. However it go shot down, demonstrating that the other side has both the ability and the intent to shoot down things that fly. That's what is relevant to this particular story.

The fact that you want to add more details and educate everyone about stuff that was left out or glossed over in the reports is fine. Describing reporters using shorthand when talking about non-essential details as an attempt to cover up the killing of "Ukrainian citizens" just sounds like a paranoid conspiracy theory.

about a month ago

Submissions

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T-Mobile Merging With MetroPCS

Daetrin Daetrin writes  |  about 2 years ago

Daetrin (576516) writes "Last year T-Mobile tried to merge with AT&T but the deal was blocked by the FCC. Now T-Mobile and MetroPCS have agreed to merge in a $1.5 billion deal. There doesn't seem to be much concern that the FCC will disagree with this deal, perhaps because the two companies combined will have a user base of 42.5 million, which will still be smaller than the #3 player Sprint Nextel's 56.4 million. Because the two companies have similar spectrum holdings T-Mobile claims the merger will allow them to offer better coverage. They also say they will continue to offer a range of both on and off-contract plans."
Link to Original Source
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Stardock Games Now On Steam

Daetrin Daetrin writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Daetrin (576516) writes "Seven months ago the sale of Impulse to GameStop was announced. Today Sins of a Solar Empire has been released on Steam with more Stardock games on the way. The games will also be coming to other digital distribution channels as well. Until now Stardock had kept quiet about any legal conditions attached to the sale of Impulse, so this is great news to those interested in Stardock's games but who aren't too fond of GameStop."
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Talk Like a Pirate Day Music

Daetrin Daetrin writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Daetrin (576516) writes "[Note to editors: Yes, i'm submitting this a day early, just to make sure you have time to see it.] Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day, and some people like to Sing Like a Pirate as well! You may already be aware of the Talk Like a Pirate music page which has a selection of songs including the official anthem by Tom Smith. More recently the Celtic musician Marc Gunn, under the pseudonym "Captain Black Jack Murphy" has produced an album of pirate music titled "Pogue Mahone Means Kiss My Arse!" and made free copies available. He encourages everyone to support piracy by copying the album and sharing it with their friends. Of course if you like what you hear you should donate at that page or buy some of his other music. This is how many Slashdotters say music ought to be done, so how well will it work in practice? (Beware though, these are (mostly) real sea shanties and drinking songs performed acoustically. If you prefer heavily produced music from the modern labels this is not for you! Also, a couple of the songs are definitely NSFW.)"
Link to Original Source
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Nintendo slashes profit forecast and 3DS price

Daetrin Daetrin writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Daetrin (576516) writes "Nintendo has announced a large loss for the first quarter of the year and lowered its annual profit forecast. In the three months prior to June 30th Nintendo lost 25.5 billion yen ($328 million) and the forecast is being reduced about 80%, from 110 billion yen ($1.4 billion) to 20 billion yen ($257 million.) Nintendo is blaming poor sales of the 3DS and is responding by announcing a price cut from $250 to $170 on August 12. In order to mollify early adopters of the system Nintendo also announced that anyone who has logged into the Nintendo eShop before the price cut will receive 10 free NES games and 10 free GBA games. The GBA games won't be available until later in the year, but Nintendo claims they will be exclusive to the "3DS Ambassadors" and will not be available for purchase on the store in the future."
Link to Original Source
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Asus Transformer Now Supports Game Controllers

Daetrin Daetrin writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Daetrin (576516) writes "E3 may not have started yet but there's already video game news from over the weekend. Asus has just released an update to add native support for game controllers to the Eee Pad Transformer, and it supports PS3 as well as 360 controllers. Engadget has a video showing the controllers in action. This is great news for fans of emulation on Android, even if you get emulators from an alternate source now."
Link to Original Source
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GameStop buys Impulse from Stradock

Daetrin Daetrin writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Daetrin (576516) writes "It was announced thursday that Stardock has sold Impulse, the digital game store, to GameStop. And no, it wasn't an early April Fools' joke. Stardock founder Brad Wardell gave an interview to Joystiq talking about the sale and the reasons behind it. GameStop also announced their acquisition of SpawnLabs, a game streaming company. It seems that GameStop is looking to challenge Steam, or at least avoid being cut out of the digital distribution business entirely."
Link to Original Source
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Google Debuts Dataing Site

Daetrin Daetrin writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Daetrin (576516) writes "Have you seen the Google Romance page yet? Particularly the tour? I'm not going to bother writing up a real summary since i'm not creative enough to come up the the right Tweaks, but i'm sure you could find some fun ways to use them while talking about Google's attempt to help us find love/contextualize romance/sell ads :)"
Link to Original Source
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Google's Gingerbread Man Has Arrived

Daetrin Daetrin writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Daetrin (576516) writes "Last weekend Google received the next statue in the sweets-themed series that commemorates the major updates of the Android OS. In the past this has meant that the release of the next SDK was right around the corner. However this time there's some doubt as to what the version number will actually be. Many sites (including Slashdot) have assumed that "Gingerbread" was synonymous with "3.0", but now there's some evidence that everyone may have jumped the gun and the next version will actually be 2.3."
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OCRemix no longer accepting new songs

Daetrin Daetrin writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Daetrin (576516) writes "The video game music remix site, Overclocked Remix has just announced the "OverClocked ReMixanator," which allows you to choose from among the most commonly remixed songs and apply your own preferred settings to have it produce a custom remix that is perfect for you! Unfortunately this means that human contributions are no longer necessary, and from this point on song submissions are no longer being accepted and all album projects have been canceled."
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Daetrin Daetrin writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Daetrin (576516) writes "Square-Enix has just held a press conference announcing the development of Dragon Quest 9: Defender of the Stars. The continuation of one of the most popular and influential series in Japan was no surprise, but in the past Dragon Quest has always been released on the most popular console of the day so many were surprised when it was revealed that the newest iteration will be on Nintendo's DS rather than the PS2 or a "next generation" console. Level 5 will be handling the actual development one again but there will be some big changes to the formula. The new game will be an action RPG instead of turn-based and up to four players will be able to play at once."

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