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Comments

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Google To Require As Many As 20 of Its Apps Preinstalled On Android Devices

mr_mischief It's not forced bundling with the OS. (377 comments)

People aren't being forced to install the GMS to sell an Android phone. They are, however, being forced to install the entire GMS or none of it. There's no unbundling of just one or two apps and leaving the rest uninstalled. So if you want to sell an Android that has for example the GMail app or the Google+ app (or the Play Store app, which is the big clincher) then you have to install the others.

yesterday
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Google To Require As Many As 20 of Its Apps Preinstalled On Android Devices

mr_mischief Re:Google has 20 apps? (377 comments)

This is from my head, so I'm sorry if it's not complete or includes apps not considered part of the GMS suite.

Other than Gmail, Play Store, Youtube, and Maps I can think of:
Play Music, Play Books, Play Games, Play Movies & TV, Play Newsstand, Google search, Google voice search, Google Translate, the Chromecast app, Google+, Google Now, Drive, Chrome, Hangouts, and Google Wallet.

That's nineteen of the twenty I guess. I don't really use the movies/tv app or the newsstand app. The rest I do to some extent. I wonder if the separate Google Settings icon is considered part of the apps suite, or if maybe the Chromecast integration isn't.

Are the default clock, calendar, contacts, calculator, and SMS messaging app (that they keep trying to obsolete in favor of Hangouts) part of the suite?

Google as it turns out has a list of apps for Android and another for iOS in case you want their apps on Apple hardware. Some of those I didn't think to list above.

yesterday
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Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

mr_mischief It's about money and politics. (426 comments)

People trust scientists who aren't scared of losing their funding. They don't trust scientists who only receive funding according to a politician's agenda.

The solution to trustworthy scientists is to get politics out of research and research funding.

yesterday
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Microsoft Co-opts Ice Bucket Challenge Idea To Promote Coding In Latin America

mr_mischief ALS foundation invented the chain letter? (96 comments)

The one-year view of world history seems to those of us older than about twelve to be somewhat short-sighted.

yesterday
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

mr_mischief Re:These people are doing it to themselves (903 comments)

Part of TFS says it's a starter interlock and another says it interrupts the ignition system. Contrary to what some people think, these are two related and interconnected but very different things.

The starter system primes the ignition system with a solenoid and starter motor to bring the engine up from a non-running state and is not needed again until the engine has stopped and needs to be started again. The engine needs the ignition system for more than the initial startup. It's used to ignite the fuel/air mixture. The ignition system is needed the whole time the engine is running.

The NYT has this terrible sentence in TFA: "But before they can drive off the lot, many subprime borrowers like Ms. Bolender must have their car outfitted with a so-called starter interrupt device, which allows lenders to remotely disable the ignition." If they disable just the starter, that's different from disabling the ignition system. This is reporting of the sloppiest sort.

One of the device companies clearly states on their web site it is a starter interrupt device only [passtimeusa.com] and also that there is a 24-hour emergency driving feature in case there is an emergency.

What another company may be selling that's not listed in TFA beats me.

4 days ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

mr_mischief Re:Could be improved (903 comments)

Part of TFS says it's a starter interlock and another says it interrupts the ignition system. Contrary to what some people think, these are two related and interconnected but very different things.

The starter system primes the ignition system with a solenoid and starter motor to bring the engine up from a non-running state and is not needed again until the engine has stopped and needs to be started again. The engine needs the ignition system for more than the initial startup. It's used to ignite the fuel/air mixture. The ignition system is needed the whole time the engine is running.

The NYT has this terrible sentence in TFA: "But before they can drive off the lot, many subprime borrowers like Ms. Bolender must have their car outfitted with a so-called starter interrupt device, which allows lenders to remotely disable the ignition." If they disable just the starter, that's different from disabling the ignition system. This is reporting of the sloppiest sort.

One of the device companies clearly states on their web site it is a starter interrupt device only and also that there is a 24-hour emergency driving feature in case there is an emergency.

What another company may be selling that's not listed in TFA beats me.

 

4 days ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

mr_mischief Re:These people are doing it to themselves (903 comments)

Indeed. I live in Houston myself. I received a notice to vacate from my apartment leasing company for not paying rent. This was because while they took my check, deposited my check, and gave me a receipt for the check, they credited my check (with my name and address printed on the check, my apartment number also on the memo line, and my signature on the check) to someone else's ledger.

My girlfriend took the receipt (including a photocopy of the front of the check and the signature of their employee), the printout from my bank account showing the draft (including scans of the front and back of the check with their endorsement), a copy of the eviction notice, and a copy of the notice of amount due (because water is billed monthly besides the fixed rent) to the leasing office. They corrected my rent ledger, printed it out, and signed it. They also wrote an apology letter saying I was up to date and they were sorry for their mistake, and signed that.

Still, it took time out of my workday to get the paperwork together and emailed to my girlfriend. It took time out of her day, too. She was very upset until it was resolved. If an apartment complex can carelessly give a 3.5 year resident a notice to vacate in ten days posted on the door, I have no doubt a car dealership in the same town can push a button carelessly.

4 days ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

mr_mischief Re:Oh good (903 comments)

It encourages people to be more timely on payments if they don't lose their job or their life due to having the ignition cut out.

Doing this while the car is moving is unconscionable. Not having an emergency short-term override for emergencies is pretty close.

4 days ago
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Flurry of Scans Hint That Bash Vulnerability Could Already Be In the Wild

mr_mischief Re:When did we start naming bugs? (316 comments)

H1N1 is a specific strain of a family of viruses known as influenza. Ebola is caused by multiple virus strains, too, each with their own origin name. Ebola strains

4 days ago
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Flurry of Scans Hint That Bash Vulnerability Could Already Be In the Wild

mr_mischief Re:It's been in bash a while. (316 comments)

The system call in some languages will do that, and in some won't except under certain circumstances.

In Perl if you give system() a list it won't call the shell. If you give it a single scalar it will call the shell only if there are shell metacharacters in that scalar.

4 days ago
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Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

mr_mischief Re:Fine! (363 comments)

No. There were no boxes and lines when I was taught to add. We lined places up vertically. It's called column addition.

  32.5
+60.0
--------
  92.5

Number line addition, ten frame addition, etc. are different ways to teach addition.

5 days ago
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Rosetta Code Study Weighs In On the Programming Language Debate

mr_mischief "Scripting" langs are functional, OO, procedural (165 comments)

Simply because a language is billed as a "scripting" language (by which people tend to mean distributed as source code and partially compiled for each execution rather than compiled once and distributed as object code rather than actually used primarily to script other programs) doesn't mean there's no programming paradigm associated with them. They can support procedural, functional, actor-based, object-oriented, logical, dataflow, reactive, late binding, iteration, recursion, concurrency, and whatever other paradigms and methods people want. Some of them support mixing and matching even in the same program.

Languages that are typically fully compiled can even be run in an interpreter. C-- comes to mind. Often languages known for interpretation (actually most of which are partially compiled rather than interpreted line-by-line) have support for compiling at least portions of a program up front, too. Examples include the .pyc files of Python, luajit, Facebook's HHVM, Steelbank Common Lisp, and Reini Urban's work on perlcc.

People making claims about one type of language vs. another should really keep straight what types they are talking about.

about a week ago
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SkyOrbiter UAVs Could Fly For Years and Provide Global Internet Access

mr_mischief Facebook and Titan Aerospace (48 comments)

Simpsons did it! Oh, I mean there are other players in this same field. It'll be interesting to see who, if anyone, makes it to market.

about a week ago
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Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

mr_mischief Re:Two issues ... (294 comments)

When it comes to one's own habits it's better to be safe than sorry. After all it's pretty well known you won't be harmed from a lack of these sweeteners. I sure won't go spreading fear about it with this level of evidence, though.

about two weeks ago
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Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

mr_mischief Re:Two issues ... (294 comments)

I think getting an interesting result from a sample of seven people is enough to say a larger study should try to reproduce the experiment. It's not really big enough to stand on its own for anything more than that.

about two weeks ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

mr_mischief Re:US is next? (973 comments)

I would hold that all three of your choices are opinion, although #3 would be the consensus opinion. My disagreement here revolves around the random selection more than anything. If you said "average high school band student" that would be a stronger statement because of course both Mozart and Bach are far beyond average. When you say randomly selected there's the matter of pre-selection probability and post-selection actuality. Some high school band student may actually be better, although it's unlikely.

It would still be subjective until axioms about what makes a good composition and therefore a good composer are agreed upon. Most people, though, would agree. There are some things that are nearly universally agreed that come very close to the weright fact, but are still very widely held opinions.

Now, if you doctored the proposition just a bit to say "Either Mozart or Bach are considered by the vast majority of people to have been a better composer than any given high school band student" that's something upon which data could be collected and therefore factual.

about two weeks ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

mr_mischief Re:US is next? (973 comments)

Unfalsifiable in fact does not mean false. It also does not mean true. Unfalsifiable does mean unprovable and nonfactual. You can't have a fact unless it's falsifiable. That's part of the definition of a fact: even if it's true there's the possibility to attempt to show it is false.

Science is concerned with hypotheses (testable statements) and repeatable observations (empirical facts). If you can't test it repeatedly and observe it repeatedly then it's not science.

There's a big difference between "not scientific" and "anti-scientific".

You can disingenuously try to put whatever words you like into my mouth to build whatever strawman you like. I'm just tired of hearing the religious anti-science crowd and the science-minded folks baiting and presenting meaningless arguments back and forth. If someone's worldview is completely inconsistent with someone else's, that's no reason for them to try to make idiotic cross-boundary arguments adding noise to public fora.

about two weeks ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

mr_mischief Re:US is next? (973 comments)

Unfortunately many people have never learned to deal with cognitive dissonance very well. There have been great scientists who believed one thing as religious truth and who supported the objective evidence within a scientific model at the same time.

Allegory, fable, parable, subjective experience, and unobservable conjecture about spirits and deities is not anti-science or counter to science. The problem is when people try to conflate their by definition subjective, unobservable, untestable beliefs with what by definition must be objective, observable, and testable.

Religion and theology are informed by a wholly different part of philosophy than is science. Science assumes an acceptance of objectivism, which is anathema to most religions (in fact any religion with a supernatural explanation for anything). It's no wonder they are incompatible.

If someone wants to have faith in something, I have no issue with that. If they want everything proven to them, I have no problem with that. If they want to separate one form the other, I even have no problem with that. If, however, they want to bash science because it's not in accords with their scary invisible, inaudible, uncommunicative, unobservable supreme being in another existence then they need to step back and consider that their religion is not at all even germane to the discussion of science.

about two weeks ago
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Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

mr_mischief Re:This may be the way to escape from Comcast (418 comments)

I'm sure they would, too. But what's Comcast's complaint about Tor? How is a VPN any less anonymous once you're tunneled through their network to somewhere else and how is the traffic any less hidden?

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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White House petitioned to save those in hot cars

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  about 2 months ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "The White House, through the "We the People" petition site, has received a petition to allow civilians to proactively free children, the elderly, and animals stuck in hot cars and then contact authorities, as these situations are time-sensitive. The petition asks for a federal law granting people the right to do this uniformly across the country.

So far it has fewer than 1,000 signatures, but do we really need it to have more? Is there a jurisdiction in the US where breaking a window to save a human life is actually considered a crime by police and the courts? If so, what madness is that? Do Congress and the President really need to state in a statute that saving a life is justifiable grounds for what it basically minor property damage?

Is this a case of overly cautious people, overly litigious civil society, or overzealous enforcement of laws? How does it interact with good samaritan laws? What makes doing the right thing so hard?"
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Bill to ban sales of prepaid wireless without ID

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "The Washington Post headline reads: "New proposal would require identification to buy prepaid cellphones".

According to the Washington Post, "A bipartisan pair of Senate leaders have introduced a first-of-its-kind bill aimed at stopping terrorist suspects such as the would-be Times Square bomber from hiding their identities by using prepaid cellphones to plot their attacks." The proposal says the term of retention by the phone companies should last until eighteen months after deactivation.

At least The Post mentions some of the problems, which is better than many others covering the story. They cover the need for anonymous communications for battered spouses, whistleblowers, and others. They also note the concern that it could be a precursor to registered-only communications on the Internet.

Mobiledia quotes Chuck Schumer as, ""This proposal is overdue because for years terrorists, drug kingpins and gang members have stayed one step ahead of the law by using prepaid phones that are hard to trace," said Schumer. "There's no reason why it should still be this easy for terror plotters to cover their tracks."

Mobiledia goes on to compare freedoms about electronics in the US to, of all places, Thailand, Singapore, and Australia. "Several countries, including Australia, Germany, Japan, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland and Thailand, already require prepaid buyers to register their information."

According to Rueters, Republican John Conryn is quoted as, "A major lesson we've learned from the investigation and arrest of Faisal Shahzad is that we must require individuals purchasing a prepaid cell phone in this country to provide verified identifying information," Cornyn said (emphasis added by submitter to Slashdot).

Michael McAuliff of The New York Daily News editorializes, "We suspect most people will like this measure, but the phone companies, libertarians, and immigrant groups may not be pleased."

Is this really an important power of government, or is it just more grabbing of the privacy and security of normal Americans using a questionable rallying cry?"

Link to Original Source
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Google updates Chrome EULA

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  about 6 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "According to The Register and confirmed at Chrome's EULA page, the objectionable parts of Chrome's license as reported in Slashdot story Reading Google Chrome's Fine Print have been removed.

Rebecca Ward is the Senior Product Counsel for Google Chrome. When asked about the debacle and the public outcry, she said, "In order to keep things simple for our users, we try to use the same set of legal terms (our Universal Terms of Service) for many of our products. Sometimes, as in the case of Google Chrome, this means that the legal terms for a specific product may include terms that don't apply well to the use of that product. We are working quickly to remove language from Section 11 of the current Google Chrome terms of service. This change will apply retroactively to all users who have downloaded Google Chrome."

Matt Cutts over at Google called the license snafu, "clearly a mistake" and said he should have been "grateful to the people that pointed it out". He apologizes for his initial "strident" reaction in his blog."
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Washington Post labels Kennedy from Illinois

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "It's a common theme on Slashdot to point out sloppy reporting, especially around tech or science articles. I thought I'd point out this US political snafu from a paper that should know better — The Washington Post has Senator Ted Kennedy labeled as a Democrat from Illinois. Too bad he's from Massachusetts. Perhaps this sloppy reporting problem has as much to do with hurrying the stories as having no clue about what's being reported."
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Fallout 3 deemed unsuitable for sale in Australia

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "According to GameSpot, PC World, and PSX Extreme, the Office of Film and Literature Classification has refused to classify Bethesda's third installment to the venerable series.

Games apparently need to be classified with a rating to be legal for sale in Australia. The most adult-oriented classification for games is for material suitable for the age of 15 and over. That means the OFLC deems something in the game — rumored to be use of the drug morphine, although there are no details as to why on the OFLC site — is unsuitable for those under 15. There are higher classifications for other media."
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Switchgrass -- a biofuel source for the US?

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "SciAm reports that farmers and USDA scientists have tracked the energy inputs into a native perennial grass over a five-year period. They've also tracked the output, and they say there's a 540% surplus of energy harvested over what's put in by the farmers. It even grows on land that's not good enough farmland for raising food and fiber crops. The catch is that it requires cellulose to ethanol conversion, which unlike sugar to ethanol conversion is not yet a commercial concern in the US.

The DOE intends to help change the picture by partially funding six refineries for cellulosic biorefineries to the tune of $1.2 billion.

It certainly sounds better than ethanol from corn, but we'll have to wait to see if this is the fuel source of the near future in the US."
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Another Google cross-domain vulnerability fixed

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  about 7 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "The Register reports that a vulnerability allowed exploiting Google Docs to access information stored in users' GMail accounts. The bug is said to be fixed now. It was possible using proof-of-concept code to grab Gmail contact lists as witnessed by the reporters. The developer of the PoC says he could just as easily grab actual email messages or other user data on Google's servers until the hole was closed."
Link to Original Source
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CNet reporter calls for Microsoft to abandon Vista

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  about 7 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "As it's hard to miss the stories lately, all of us on /. are likely to know people are underwhelmed with Windows Vista. Well, Don Reisinger over at CNet's News.com is not quite just underwhelmed. He suggests that Vista may be the downfall of Microsoft because the company has really just missed the mark with the operating system. Despite years in development, Reisinger says Vista was delivered to market too early. He also says it's overpriced and plain doesn't work well enough for its users, among other complaints. His suggestion? Support those who are running it, but ditch Vista and move on."
Link to Original Source
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$199 Linux laptop

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mr_mischief writes "According to Hot Hardware's recent review, Asus is getting ready to unleash a $199 compact notbook running Linux. This is entirely different from this recent $150 Linux laptop story which many Slashdot readers believ to be a scam.

There's a dual-mode menu which offers a simple system for novice computer users, and a slightly more advanced version for others. It's not aimed squarely at the same market as the One Laptop Per Child project's XO, and is expected to be sold to end suers worldwide. It's targeted at new users who don't own a computer or at people who want a cheap, small laptop for basic tasks.

The reviewed version has a 7" screen and a cramped keyboard to match, but a 10" version is available for $100 more. It offers built-in wired and wireless networking,four USB 2.0 ports, and a three-hour battery life. The storage options are a bit cramped, as you only get 4 GB of onboard storage (8 GB on the $299 model) and no optical drive. As the review says, though, USB 2.0 can make up for that if you like, and the lack of moving drive parts makes the machine run dead quiet."

Link to Original Source
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mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "Got Firefox? Get it updated!

The Mozilla Foundation has released an important security update for Firefox 2.0 which fixes eight vulnerabilities (five of them rated critical) among other things.

Patches are also available for Firefox 1.5.0.x and Thunderbird 1.5.0.x as well.

See Secunia's advisory to find out more about security issues with memory corruption in the JavaScript and layout engines, a heap-based buffer overflow handling Windows bitmaps, a couple of arbitrary HTML/script vulnerabilities and what appear to be a couple of arbitrary native code vulnerabilities."
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mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "It turns out that circumcision, which some berate as a cruel and primitive practice while others say helps in cleanliness and disease control, may actually have a significant impact on the spread of certain diseases. In particular, the BBC is reporting a US National Institutes of Health study in whichthe practice cut HIV transmission rates from women to heterosexual men by about 50%.

While doctors understandably don't want to promote promiscuous sex and 50% is still too strong a chance of transmitting such a serious disease, the recommendation is that circumcision be part of a plan to combat the disease.

Although every disease is different, I wonder if it's clear enough to people that if one disease is slowed by this practice that it probably has some effect in slowing some other diseases as well."
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mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "EETimes reports Microsoft is working on standardizing a robotics platform and development for it. They want to make it easier to develop robots, starting with the IDE and development environment and continuing through specifying acceptable hardware, just like for PCs and Windows CE devices.

What's next, the MS directives of robotic behavior, including "Do not allow Microsoft to be harmed through your actions or inactions", and "Do not play music, movies, or games that are not from cartel-approved suppliers?""
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mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  about 8 years ago

mr_mischief (456295) writes "Microsoft has a bulletin about a vulnerability for something called Vector Markup Language. Security Focus has one too.

Vector Markup Language was a proposed web standard that was passed on by the standards bodies and which was both subsumed and superseded by Scalable Vector Graphics.

Despite VML being passed over and another alternative being made a standard, Microsoft implemented it anyway. In the implementation there is a security problem that MS says can allow an attacker total control of a target system.

If it's nonstandard, duplicating functionality offered by a standard, and they can't be bothered to do it right the first time, perhaps they shouldn't preinstall it on millions of computers around the world. How could Microsoft actually get enough of an edge from undercutting a fairly widely implemented standard with a dangerous implementation that it is financially worthwhile for them? Wouldn't be better for them in the long run to just implement the standard, or is there some huge installed base of VML somewhere that I'm just missing?"

Journals

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Is Acclaim really being forward-thinking with Top Secret?

mr_mischief mr_mischief writes  |  more than 7 years ago

I saw this message when I went to their site to look it over using Firefox 2.0.0.3:

Welcome to Acclaim!
We recommend viewing the Acclaim site
with Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0. You can
use other browsers but you may not receive
the full experience.

WTF? And they want to tell me they're a groundbreaking software house? Check out the groundbreaking work they're doing in your favorite browser and see what it says.

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