krou writes "Caster Semenya won the 800m at the World Athletics Championship in blistering style, leaving her competitors in the dust, but she has been thrown into the midst of a scandal amidst claims that she's not really a woman. According to the many press reports, she's believed to shave, is flat chested, has a very masculine physique, previously preferred playing physical games with boys, and shunned traditional female activities and clothing. Questions about her gender have dogged her entire career. Previously, acceptance that she is a women relied on simple inspection of female genitals. But now the IAAF claim that they want to conduct further tests to see if 'she may have a rare medical condition that gives her an unfair advantage.' An IAAF spokesmen noted that 'The [testing] process was started after Semenya made her startling breakthroughs — a 25-second improvement at 1500m and eight seconds at 800m, just some weeks ago.' I'm curious what the Slashdot community thinks: what can be considered proof of someone being male or female? Is it simply a case of having the right genitals, or are there other criteria that should be used? Is the IAAF right in claiming that someone should be prevented from competing because they have a rare medical or genetic advantage?"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
jamie pointed out a really impressive creation from the LittleBigPlanet beta. The game allows the creation of puzzles from a collection of simple objects and tools. A player called upsilandre used 610 magnetic switches, 500 wires, 430 pistons, and a variety of other objects to create a functioning calculator that will do decimal/binary conversions as well as addition and subtraction. The creation does well to illustrate the potential for amazing creativity in level design. Another user recently designed a level to play the Final Fantasy X theme song. LittleBigPlanet is almost finished and set to be released later this month, though the controls may be refined in a future patch. We recently discussed a student level-design event at the Parsons New School for Design and Technology.
AgentPaper writes "Three years ago we discussed an open source brewing project in which a Danish brewer made his beer recipes available for public consumption and alteration. The concept has taken off, first with the 'Free Beer Project' in Denmark and now with Flying Dog's 'Collaborator' Doppelbock in the US, which was created via input from home brewers across the world. One version of the Collaborator is commercially brewed and available for purchase (and is darned tasty), but you can download the same recipe and labels, brew it yourself, and submit your mods back to the project."
Iddo Genuth writes to mention that MIT researchers have made their first pass at bringing the common yellow post-it note into the digital age. Using a combination of artificial intelligence, RFID, and ink recognition, the team hopes to make the digital version as ubiquitous as possible. "The Quickie application not only allows users to browse their notes, but also lets users search for specific information or keywords. Using a freely available commonsense knowledge engine and computational AI techniques, the software processes the written text and determines the relevant context of the notes, categorizing them appropriately. "The system uses its understanding of the user's intentions, content, and the context of the notes to provide the user with reminders, alerts, messages, and just-in-time information" - said the inventors. Additionally, each Quickie carries a unique RFID tag, so that it can be easily located around the house or office. Therefore, users can be sure never to lose a bookmarked book or any other object marked with a Quickie."
eldavojohn writes "I found a brief blog by Marc Fleury on something that seems to almost be an oxymoron — what you need to legally protect in Open Source Software. The short of it is that you should trademark your name and brand it. Which might explain Xen's stance on the use of the brand 'Xen'. Another short blog notes that you should also maintain control of your distribution channels. Fleury also states this interesting tidbit on protecting intellectual property in OSS, 'Short of filing patents, there isn't much you can do in OSS. Let's face it the IP is there for everyone to see. If you are in a mode where a lot of the value is the code itself then open sourcing under GPL or equivalent reciprocal license may be a good choice for you. At least you will make sure that ISV's that re-use your license get in contact with you and many of them will pursue dual-licensing, a strategy that is known to work to monetize an OSS user base (mySQL).' Is there anything else you should take measures to protect in open source software? Is it possible to maintain control of a project under the GPL or are you constantly faced with forks?"
First, Gypsy2012 writes with a highly critical security flaw involving both Firefox 2.0 and Internet Explorer, which could allow a malicious attacker to gain remote control of a user's system. It exploits the "firefoxurl://" URI handler. ... Next, reader dsinc sends word that the beta for Firefox 3 has slipped by 6 weeks. The new target date is September 18 at the earliest. The article wonders whether the final release will slip into 2008. ... Finally, reader jktowns points out new anti-phishing features in the latest nightly build of Firefox 3. One of them was added into the code base by the guy who developed the LocationBar2 extension.
Several notes about Google and privacy. First, Lucas123 informs us that Google's global privacy counsel blogged about an improvement in Google's data-retention policies: the company plans to anonymize data it stores about users after 18 months — a slight improvement on the "18 to 24 months" of the previous policy. This move may have come as a response to pressure from European regulators. Next, Spamicles sends in word that an EFF attorney has been photographed by Google's Street View. The funny thing is, this isn't the first time it's happened. Finally, word from reader tamar that if you choose to share a video from Google Video to another social network like MySpace, your username and password get sent over http in plaintext, rather than the more secure https.
kooky45 asks: "In an effort to make our lives easier and more entertaining, technology designers pack more and more features into electronic devices, but often they're more nuisance than they're worth. An earlier article on LEDs discussed some of these. Another example is my Nokia 6320i mobile phone which has a back lit screen that drains the battery life at an alarming rate. When the phone is not in use the back light is off; if the battery starts to run low, it gives me regular warnings by beeping and turning the back light on! What other examples of designer stupidity have you seen?"
Some of you are tired of the blizzard of coverage the iPhone is getting, so this roundup of iPhone stories is running off the main page. First off, EMIce points out what seems to be plenty of prior art (as well as a booming research scene) on the multi-touch interface that Steve Jobs demo'ed, boasting of having "filed for over 200 patents." FastCompany has a profile of NYU researcher Jefferson Han and his killer demo of a multi-touch interface at TED. Next, Toreo asesino writes in with Microsoft's Steve Ballmer's take on the iPhone; the Microsoft CEO doesn't sound very impressed. And finally, an anonymous reader notes CNet's article on why the iPhone, once it's in the hands of consumers, may be the most muggable item of consumer electronics ever.
"Welcome, welcome, to the biggest show in town. For today only the Carnival of Gamers appears on your front lawn, and we've got quite a show for you. So, hurry up and step right inside, check out the booths and maybe win your lady a stuffed bear!" Today, Slashdot Games is hosting 'The Carnival of Gamers', a roving blog event that collects together some blog entries on gaming written during the previous month. The entries are all self-submitted, and cover everything from the legalities of online currency to the state of videogame reviews. This is a great opportunity to check out some sites you may not have had the chance to read before, and expand your thinking on gaming in society today. Think of it as a large quickies entry, grab your coin purse, and step inside.
Holidays are always interesting times of the year in MMOGs, as development teams gear up for live events that change the face of the typical worlds we play in. Everquest 2's Holiday is in full swing, with the Frostfell event. Aggro me has a review for the curious. Planetside is featuring Holiday headgear, and Ultima Online offers up goodie packs with trees and presents. Azeroth's Feast of the Winter Veil has snowballs, lost reindeer, and once again has players selling cookies for outrageous prices on the Auction House. Ahh...the holiday spirit. City of Heroes/City of Villains is going all out this year (possibly to make up for the lack of a Halloween event this year). Heroes and Villains both have their own version of the event, with a mysterious Gamester entering the arena for some general holiday mischief. Finally, Final Fantasy XI not only has the Traditional Starlight Celebration, thanks to the Moogles, but just had a massive patch that's (as always) causing some stir in the player community. Happy New Year to all, be you Carebears, Gankers, or Forum Trolls! Update: 12/27 20:31 GMT by Z : Some users pointed out that I neglected to mention Red Moon Rising, Eve's new expansion, and the Guild Wars Holiday event. I promise, folks, it has nothing to do with malice. Some game events just catch my eye more readily than others, so thanks for keeping things Holiday cheery!
More movement on the massive scale. WoW Players should be aware that Patch 1.7 was released today. It's a big one, with a new raid instance, Hunter changes, and the inclusion of a new type of server (Roleplaying PVP) available. Get downloading. City of Heroes has seen Issue 5's Release, with a new zone, new power sets, and a big tweak to the Blaster archetype. Late last week a whole bunch of new City of Villains Beta invites went out, and Gamespot has a rundown on the upcoming stand-alone sequel. Major changes are afoot in Everquest II's Producer Letter, with changes to combat, classes, items, NPCs, buffs, crafting, and grouping. Is it even the same game? On a final non-commercial note, CNet has news that the Second Life virtual world is now free to enter, with the Linden Dollars economy expected to prop up the costs associated with running it. Interesting. From that article: "Currently, Rosedale said, "Second Life" has 45,000 members and is growing at about 10 percent a month. There are now more than 16,000 acres of owned land in the virtual world, and new land sells for about $129. Users must pay a fee of about $25 a month to maintain their land. Thus, Linden Lab is earning about $400,000 a month without ever factoring in membership fees." Update: 09/14 05:50 GMT by Z : Cutriss rightly points out that I overlooked the interesting Ballista Royale update to FFXI. Additionally, a new patch for Dark Age of Camelot was released today, and the main site revamped for the upcoming expansion.
This summer it seems like Massive games are the only good news going, and this week has been busy. R. Spencer writes "1UP explores MMO addiction and, in true confessional style, opens the floor to heavy users and recovered junkies. It's especially interesting how much the mechanisms of MMO addiction have in common with other forms of addiction. The primary source of addiction nowadays seems to be World of Warcraft. If you're jonesing right now, you might want to check out this Guide to the Creation of the Scarlet Monastery on the official site. Additionally, Mogg writes "For new players, GamerGod has a up part one of a guide to the game World of Warcraft." This is Tobold's first writerly foray at the new site. Luck to him. For something a little different, 1up explores the world of Sociolotron...a Sex MMOG. Speaking of sex, SOE has been busy lately. The end to the Quest for Antonia search is almost here. They've put up new details on future EQ2 content, and announced a dramatic downsizing of The Matrix Online. See, when no one plays, you don't need as many servers. The new content mob is rearing his head all over with Secrets of the Syren in the works on Star Wars Galaxies, CoH Issue 5 coming up soon, and screenshots from the next Guild Wars update available. MMORPG.com continues to put out interesting editorials, with a look at the stories in Massive Games. Finally, the highly respectable Nick Yee has published a new edition of The Daedalus Project. The seminal source of MMOG statistics on the web has articles on participation in games at the level cap, introductions to the genre, and the stress of loot. As always, participation in the survey helps ensure future issues have good data.
You want quickies, I want to tell you about MMOGs. The Star Trek Online MMOG is moving forward with a new site for the Paramount online world. So far it is light on the details, but they assure us they'll have more in the near future. I probably don't need to tell you, but World of Warcraft rolled out a new patch earlier this week, adding in a high level raid dungeon and making it easier to get into the Battlegrounds. My guildies were having trouble getting past the first room in Blackwing's Lair last night, so my assumption is that Blizz has really come up with something special here. Speaking of fantasy MMOGs, the Everquest II Desert of Flames expansion pack is fast approaching, and both IGN and Gamespot have news and movies from the sandy, hot, new area. City of Villains will be opening up into Beta later this year, and to whet your appetite Voodoo Extreme has a bevy of CoV screens. Finally, Final Fantasy XI is adding in some interesting new stuff in the next couple of patches. A title selector, a summonable buddy, and changes to experience acquisition are all in the pipeline for the popular MMOG.
Jody Goldberg writes "A recent study of analytic quality, and responsiveness to problems strongly preferred Gnumeric in place of MS Excel. With new problems popping up in Office XP the case for spreadsheet users to migrate is only getting stronger. In some related Gnumeric quickies, a new stable version 1.2.6 was released, and Open has done an interview with the Maintainer."
An anonymous reader writes "Steve Jobs' $78 million Apple income tops Fortune magazine's list of CEOs whose companies lagged behind the S&P 500 performance last year. The number 'reflects the value of five million restricted shares Jobs got this year in exchange for 27.5 million underwater options.'" markomarko writes "Well, despite Charlie White making all us Mac users eat crow over his comparison of render times between a dual 1.25 GHz Power Mac and a Dell 3.06 GHz P4, it seems that that Dave Nagel has given us a reason to take another look at the Mac. His article shows how After Effects render speeds can be doubled with the Mac, by using both CPUs."
There are a few new product announcements recently: MATLAB for Mac OS X is available; fink for 10.2 is available for testing; Intuit has announced QuickBooks for Mac OS X; and PowerLogix has announced even more upgrades, including dual processor upgrades. And one user notes, "I wonder if the /. effect could drain the batteries of this Newton quickly?"
In celebration of the release of AotC, here are a bunch of random SW stories that have fluttered through our bin: Tim Drage has made a Lego Star Wars movie, POds sent us a fan film Fan Film (quicktime. Bah). Here is a comic to share and enjoy. iamchaos noted that the next Matrix Trailer will be showing with Clones. nellardo sent in a fine tribute to darth maul. Anyone want a Star Wars Axe? Zack sent us a great collection of SW Characters you won't see as much as you might want to. wiredog sent us some spoilers, the Skywalker family tree and how Anakin becomes Vader. peter_gzowski sent in an essay by Ebert where he gives it 2 of 4 stars, and discusses the digital filming. Finally ant sent us a bizarre tale of some guys who got the brilliant idea to build a life-size Millenium Falcon. So there it is folks. I have tickets for a 12:01 showing in Ann Arbor and I'll be getting in line in just a few short hours.
It's been a long time coming, so lets start off the quickies with some acts of senseless damage. Old Wolf sent us a link to a bunch of pictures of someone Defrosting a Freezer in the best way ever, and an anonymous reader sent in a site that shows what happens if you put a CD in Microwave. Don't use AOL CDs., send them to this lady who collects them (from gr8fulnded). On to the sex! An anonymous reader submitted a story about the Robot Pet Vibrator which is I guess AIBO gone wrong. elkm discovered Computerized Contraception. And with all this digital doin' it going on, its good know that MITs Erotic Computation Group is here to research it (thanks Chris Moon) The world is full of strangeness, but little of it is as scary as MissNachos's link to the Hello Kitty laptop, srini's link to the Single Pixel Webcam, and aneanti's link to a collection of the strangest canned foods you'll ever see. Finally, since it is the holidays, check out mrv's link to LED Christmas Lights which sure beats the hell out of finding the broken bulb.
BIGJIMSLATE writes: "Maybe these should be considered quickies due to the number of them, but they're all Star Wars. *Warning* There may be spoilers here for some of you, so read at your own risk. Anyways, here I go." Read on below for an interesting, eclectic (not to say, oh, I dunno, "obsessive") pile of links. Sheesh, the next one won't even be out for a while!