The Making of a 1980s Dungeons & Dragons Module
D&D 5e brings back a lot of the crap I didn't like from 3.x, ignores positive changes made to the game in 4e (powers, tactical battle with miniatures, skill challenges) and introduces a couple of new things: higher prices for books, missing information on how to handle certain situations (for instance: poison), and advantage/disadvantage. All summed up, it's got me saying "meh". The fact that the core rulebooks cost $50 each instead of $20-$30 makes them out of the price range of what 12 year-olds can afford (the age when I started playing AD&D). It seems to me that WotC really fucked up this release, not having the PHB, DMG, and MM ready at the same time. Yes the new books are gorgeous, but have you ever had to use them for building a character or referencing information mid-game? I give it a C.
I respectfully disagree. I started with 1st edition AD&D but lost interest once 2e came around. I once had a look at 4e, and found it completely baffling. I recently got back into D&D with a group of other middle-aged folk, and we initially using the 1e rules. When the 5e playtests came out, we switched to that, because we found that the new rules evoked the feel of AD&D, but are well-designed and coherent. I have all of the 5e rulebooks now, and I personally feel that these rules are like 1e but with all of the stuff that I would have houseruled anyway.
Regarding cost, anyone can download the "Basic" Rules for free:
The main difference between the Basic Rules and the hardcopies is that Basic is limited to the four classic D&D classes: Fighter, Cleric, Rogue, Mage. Otherwise, the Basic Rules are completely functional, and you can play solely with these.
Ask Slashdot: Seamonkey vs. Firefox — Any Takers?
I rather liked the original Windows installs of Phoenix too. You just unzipped it to whereever you wanted it. Want to uninstall it? Delete the directory. That was it. Nicely minimal. Wish more applications were like that.
You can get a "portable" version of Firefox that is packaged in a single folder from PortableApps.com
Canada's Supreme Court ruling scraps fee for downloading music
Supreme Court of Canada Stands Up For Fair Dealing in Stunning Sweep of Cases
These decisions also strongly affirms a right of "fair dealing", especially in the context of education.
Canadian Supreme Court Rules Linking Is Not Defamation
This is implied by the separate but concurring judgment. The Chief Justice writes: "In sum, in our view, a hyperlink should constitute publication if, read contextually, the text that includes the hyperlink constitutes adoption or endorsement of the specific content it links to." Crookes v Newton (2011 SCC 47) at paragraph 50.
In Canada, Criminal Libel Charges Laid For Criticizing Police
Sorry, IAAL in Canada, and I can't let your comment go without a reply. The libel laws between the US and Canada are very different. In Canada, there are several defences against libel: justification (ie "truth", the most difficult defence to prove), absolute or qualified privilege (ie communications in a confidential setting), fair comment (ie honestly held opinion in good faith), and the new defence of "responsible communication on matters of public interest" (ie. "responsible journalism").
The last defence of "responsible communication on matters of public interest" was created in 2009 by the Supreme Court of Canada in Grant v Torstar 2009 SCC 61. That case was actually covered in Slashdot: Landmark Canadian Hyperlink Case Goes to Supreme Court.
Read of that case if you are interested in defamation law (but seek legal advice if you have a problem). It explains the legal tests for all of the defences. Since the defence of "responsible communications in matters of public interest" does not exist in US law, it means that American journalists and bloggers have a higher risk of liability for defamation than their Canadian counterparts. So which country has stronger freedom of expression?
Landmark Canadian Hyperlink Case Goes To Supreme Court
Neither should you underestimate the technological sophistication of the Supreme Court of Canada ("SCC"). This is the same court that recently, in R. v. Morelli, overturned a warrant for child pornography on the basis that the contents of an internet browser cache does not constitute possession.
This court also, 4 months ago, decided in Grant v. Torstar Corp. to create a new defence against defamation of "responsible communication on matters of public interest". This new defence allows citizens (including bloggers as well as traditional journalists) to publish critical statements that may not necessarily be true, but are made in good faith towards the public interest. If this defence existed in the UK, then the British Chiropractic Association would not have been able to sue Dr. Simon Singh for scientifically doubting chiropractic claims of success.
A few years ago, the SCC issued a decision in CCH v. Upper Law Society of Canada, that clarified the "fair dealing" defence in Canadian copyright law. That case dismissed an allegation that merely placing a photocopier in a library was an inducement to copyright infringement.
Finally, the SCC itself has incorporated technology into its proceedings. The work flow is paperless; documents must be filed digitally. The court is outfitted with terminals at every station, and the documents are viewed on screens. Selected hearings are broadcast over the internet.
Yes, IAAL, and a GNU/Linux user to boot. It bugs me when people automatically assume that lawyers are technologically inept.
Canada's Top Court Quashes Child Porn Warrant
Forgot to put this in my original post: link to R. v. Morelli webcast, so you don't have to RTFA, you can watch it!
Canada's Top Court Quashes Child Porn Warrant
If you ever get a chance to visit the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario, you will see just how tech-savvy it really is. All documents must be filed electronically. Every station in the court (judges, clerks, lawyers and reporting media) has an embedded computer to manage the digital case materials. There are large-screen monitors for the public gallery to follow along.
The SCC broadcasts select hearings over the web. The court's decisions are all published and searchable on the internet.
Slashdot readers would also be interested in the 2004 case CCH v Law Society of Upper Canada, which considered the concept of "fair dealing" under Canada's Copyright Act.
Mafia Wars CEO Brags About Scamming Users
I remember being allowed to walk the street at nights with friends, now I see parents driving their kids everywhere because of the evil pedophiles.
I remember going camping for a week with three friends when we were 13 - packing our own stuff (food, etc), catching the train for four hours, walking an hour or so to the camp site, and staying there for a week. No cell phones and with no way to be contacted at all. I suspect the parents would be thrown in jail today...
I had to reply. I went camping with 6 other boys when I was 12; we lived in a Winnebago for a week in a trailer park. We also roamed around and played at other kid's houses after dark in our neighbourhood, without constant parental surveillance. You're right: I'm afraid about letting my 10 year old daughter do the same things, not because she'll get into trouble, but because other adults will report me to child services.
Zombies As American Zeitgeist Proxies
It's not just your friend who has spotted that fascist subtext to mainstream superheroes like Batman. Other writers have explored this issue in Planetary, The Authority, The Boys (especially the Boys), Watchmen, and Superman: Red Son.
Why Charles Stross Hates Star Trek
Look for the Serenity flyover cameo in the BSG 2003 mini-series, when Laura Roslin is in the doctor's office.
Firefox Plugin Liberates Paywalled Court Records
Kudos to the people who came up with this idea. Now if we only had a free way to search case law.
For Canadians, you can use CanLii (Canadian Legal Information Institute) to research case law for free. The courts and tribunals in most provinces post their decisions online, as well. In British Columbia, the courts have been uploading their decisions to their website since 1996.
Hitler's Stealth Fighter
I'm reading Guns, Germs & Steel right now, and I have a completely different take on it. He expressly applies ideas from biological evolutionary theory to socialeconomic and cultural history. His thesis seems to be that history proceeded the way it did because of "accidents" in geography, climate and access to natural resources, rather than through inherent genetic, ethnic or cultural differences.
Ontario Court Wrong About IP Addresses, Too
That's why I suggested that you'd have the best of both worlds if the judges presented their argument first to experts in court, who were testifying under oath. This would present a opportunity for experts to spot any factual errors or what they consider to be logical mis-steps that the judge can then take into consideration. At the same time, because the experts are testifying under oath, they can't lie outright to try and trick the judge into basing their ruling on wrong information.
Expert evidence is often used in many different trials, for many different issues. However, the law in Canada requires that judges do not abdicate their decision-making authority to the experts. The proper role of the expert is to provide information to the judge that is outside of the judge's own area of expertise. On any given trial, there will usually be two experts (one for each side) who have completely contradictory opinions. It is the judge's job to weigh each expert's opinion against the rest of the evidence as a whole.
Thanks for bringing attention to this Ontario case. I raises a lot of interesting issues. I hope it is limited to criminal matters, and is not extended to civil ones. There was another Canadian case a few years ago where some RIAA-type outfit was demanding subscriber information from an ISP, and the judge held there that the subscriber information should not be disclosed.
Exchange Comes To Linux As OpenChange
Exchange 2007 deprecated the Outlook Web Access protocol that Evolution depended on for interoperability. As another Linux user in an Exchange corporate environment, I am anxiously awaiting the day that the Evolution MAPI plugin (which depends on the Samba4 and Openchange libraries) is functional. I've been compiling the development code for the last month, and it's been hit and miss. If anyone is interested: Evolution MAPI tarballs released and the Openchange Evolution MAPI blog.
Canonical Close To $30M Critical Mass; Should Microsoft Worry?
I wonder how hard it would be to make it possible to do links in a browser that install packages. Of course, you would need the appropriate messages and user interaction, but, say you could have an instruction page that says: Install [Apache] [PHP5] [MySQL]. The user clicks on Apache in their browser, it opens a package manager, and prompts them to confirm they actually want to install it.
It's been done; Klik is your answer. From the Wikipedia article:
klik does not "install" software in the traditional sense (i.e., it does not put files all over the place in the system). It uses one .cmg file per application. Each one is self-contained: it includes all libraries the application depends on and that are not part of the base system. In this regard, it is similar to "application virtualization". One can klik a file even if they are not a superuser, or they are using a live CD.
klik is integrated with web browsers on the user's computer. Users download and install software by typing a URL beginning with klik://. This downloads a klik "recipe" file, which is used to generate the .cmg file. In this way, one recipe can be used to supply packages to a wide variety of platforms.
Chu's Final Breakthrough Before Taking Office
... I'll bet Chu will be thinking that physics is a piece of cake compared to governing the US.
Groklaw Shifts Gears, Now Stressing Preservation
While it's novelty may have faded, this is hardly a "post-Groklaw" web now. "Post-SCO", maybe. Groklaw is still one of the best sites for litigation analysis that I have seen (and yes, IAAL). While the SCO wars may have created Groklaw, Groklaw has covered other "intellectual property" issues such as the ODF/OOXML disputes.
2009, Year of the Linux Delusion
The author says that Linux doesn't have all the available plugins to enjoy the web. What plugins is he talking about? The most commonly used plugin is Flash and it has been available for a while.
Not only that, but Adobe has released a Flash 64-bit plugin for Linux (alpha), and not for Windows. I'm using it right now.
Great Games To Put On a Free PC?
If you like Urban Terror, you'll also like True Combat Elite, a spec-ops/terrorist tactical shooter based on the Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory engine. The pace is slower, with the emphasis on stealth. Aiming is by iron-sights or scopes only; there are no crosshairs.
On the subject of freeware, open source and Free games, I wonder why no one checks Wikipedia:
wrecked has no journal entries.