DiamondGeezer writes "Most slashdotters would agree that with the ever rising cost of higher education and the ever-present need to keep ourselves ahead of the game, the game-changer might well be the free massively online education courses now being rolled out.
With that in mind, I'd like to suggest a 2013 challenge for as many Slashdotters as possible to enrol in at least one free online course and report on the results back to the providers.
Some courses have had mixed reviews (for example this one got a pasting) but the only way these massively online courses will improve and go mainstream (and maybe get real-world accreditation to boot) is to take courses and provide large amounts of feedback — oh, and learn of course.
We could call it "The Slashdot MMO learning challenge". Cost: nothing but time which you would normally be frittering away playing WoW or Eve or something. There are no dragons to slay or grand space battles to conquer for virtual resources, but there is a future universe of education to be found.
The War Z was promoted as an open-world massively multi-player game that challenged gamers to survive in a many different zombie-infested virtual environments. In addition, said developer Hammerpoint, up to 100 players would be able to join each server and gamers would be able to draw up friends lists, rent their own private servers and improve game characters via a sophisticated skill tree....Complaints began appearing on chat forums on Steam and on social media site Reddit. Players vented their feelings about an update that changed re-spawn times from one hour to four hours when their character was killed. Players could resurrect instantly if they paid using an in-game currency that can only be bought using real money.
The furore led Valve to halt sales of the game and offer refunds. In addition, Hammerpoint changed the way the game was described on Steam to be more accurate and issued a statement to address "questions and concerns".
There were also complaints about servers only allowing 50 players at a time when promised "up to 100" and other promised features not be available from Day 1. I guess that a lot of the furore was really about the idea that War Z was a rip-off of the Day Z Arma II mod which has a million players and that "War Z" developer Hammerpoint's real focus was making money though micropayments and tilting the playing field towards paying customers." Link to Original Source
DiamondGeezer writes "Let's use the Slashdot effect for good!
It is now more than seven weeks since Alan Johnson, a BBC correspondent stationed in Gaza City, was abducted. I thought it would be good for Slashdotters who own websites and/or weblogs to put a simple button on their sites to remind everyone that Alan is still in captivity for reasons unknown, and to show support for all journalists in dangerous places who are brave enough to be there reporting for us.
"Windows Vista includes an extensive reworking of core OS elements in order to provide content protection for so-called "premium content", typically HD data from Blu-Ray and HD-DVD sources. Providing this protection incurs considerable costs in terms of system performance, system stability, technical support overhead, and hardware and software cost. These issues affect not only users of Vista but the entire PC industry, since the effects of the protection measures extend to cover all hardware and software that will ever come into contact with Vista, even if it's not used directly with Vista (for example hardware in a Macintosh computer or on a Linux server). This document analyses the cost involved in Vista's content protection, and the collateral damage that this incurs throughout the computer industry"
Lesson: If you want your graphics to be of the highest quality, your digital imaging to be top notch, then don't use Vista because it will degrade them in order to protect premium content and there's nothing you can do about it (other than go to OSX or Linux).