Researchers are demonstrating revolutionary robotic techniques inspired by plants, featuring a 3D-printed ‘trunk’, ‘leaves’ that sense the environment and ‘roots’ that grow and change direction. via Artificial Intelligence News — ScienceDaily
Europol Predicts First Online Murder By End of This Year: An anonymous reader sends this story from The Stack: The world’s first “online murder” over an internet-connected device could happen by the end of this year, Europol has warned. Research carried out by the European Union’s law enforcement agency has found that governments are not equipped to fight the growing threat of “online murder,” as cyber criminals start to exploit internet technologies to target victims physically. The study, which was published last week, analyzed the possible physical dangers linked to cyber criminality and found that a rise in “injury and possible deaths” could be expected as computer hackers launch attacks on critical connected equipment. The assessment particularly referred to a report by IID, a U.S. security firm, which forecast that the world’s first murder via a “hacked internet-connected device” would happen by the end of 2014.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Eine Infografik zeigt, wie rasant sich Online Casinos entwickelt haben. Der relativ junge Markt musste viele Hürden nehmen, um sich das Vertrauen der Kunden zu erarbeiten. Außerdem ermöglicht der Fortschritt der Technologie in Sachen Mobile- und Social Gaming der Branche viele neue Möglichkeiten. via gulli:News
Paul Pope’s Battling Boy was one of the strongest YA comics of 2013; now he’s surpassed it with the sequel, The Rise of Aurora West. Paul Pope has graced us with some notes on Aurora West's creation story, along with a long, gripping excerpt, courtesy of publisher Firstsecond.
Read the rest via Boing Boing
Open Invention Network Grows Despite Patent Troll Death Knell: snydeq writes Membership in the Open Invention Network, a software community set up to protect Linux against patent aggressors, has grown dramatically in the past year just as the tide seems to be turning on patent trolls. “Why all this interest in OIN? It offers little protection against nonpracticing entities — patent trolls who are organizationally small companies, even if the threat they pose is expensive and large. But it does offer protection against an equally insidious threat: big trolls,” writes Simon Phipps. “The big corporations show up with their giant patent portfolios, threatening legal doom if royalties aren’t paid. Attaching royalties to product or service delivery is a serious issue for companies, reducing margins long-term — especially in business models where the monetization is separated from the product. But OIN neutralizes that strategy for those building with open source, as the big corporations in the network both license their patent portfolios in and commit not to litigate against the open source software in the Linux System Definition. The bigger it gets, the better it protects.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Cloud infrastructure services like Amazon EC2 have proven their worth with wild success. The ease of scaling up resources, spinning them up as and when needed and paying by unit of time has unleashed developer creativity, but virtualized environments are not widely considered as the place to run high performance applications and databases.
Cloud providers however have come a long way in their offerings and need a second review of their performance capabilities. After showing 1 Million TPS on Aerospike on bare metal servers, we decided to investigate cloud performance and in the process, bust the myth that cloud != high performance.
We examined a variety of Amazon instances and just discovered the recipe for processing 1 Million TPS in RAM on 1 Aerospike server on a single C3.8xlarge instance - for just $1.68/hr !!!
According to internetlivestats.com, there are 7.5k new tweets per second, 45k google searches per second and 2.3 Million emails sent per second. What would you build if you could process 1 Million database transactions per second for just $1.68/hr?
via High Scalability
In our first post we busted the myth that cloud != high performance and outlined the steps to 1 Million TPS (100% reads in RAM) on 1 Amazon EC2 instance for just $1.68/hr. In this post we evaluate the performance of 4 Amazon instances when running a 4 node Aerospike cluster in RAM with 5 different read/write workloads and show that the r3.2xlarge instance delivers the best price/performance.
Several reports have already documented the performance of distributed NoSQL databases on virtual and bare metal cloud infrastructures:
At MixRadio, we offer a free music streaming service that learns from listening habits to deliver people a personalised radio station, at the single touch of a button. MixRadio marries simplicity with an incredible level of personalization, for a mobile-first approach that will help everybody, not just the avid music fan, enjoy and discover new music. It’s as easy as turning on the radio, but you’re in control - just one touch of Play Me provides people with their own personal radio station.
The service also offers hundreds of hand-crafted expert and celebrity mixes categorised by genre and mood for each region. You can also create your own artist mix and mixes can be saved for offline listening during times without signal such as underground travel, as well as reducing data use and costs.
Our apps are currently available on Windows Phone, Windows 8, Nokia Asha phones and the web. We’ve spent years evolving a back-end that we’re incredibly proud of, despite being British! Here’s an overview of our back-end architecture.
James T. Kirk’s infamous gambit in Starfleet’s impossible to win Kobayashi Maru test was to redefine the problem into a challenge he could beat.
Interestingly, an article titled Shifts In Algorithm Design, says something like the same gambit is the modern method of solving algorithmic problems.
In the past:
I, Dick, recall the “good old days of theory.” When I first started working in theory—a sort of double meaning—I could only use deterministic methods. I needed to get the exact answer, no approximations. I had to solve the problem that I was given—no changing the problem.
In the good old days of theory, we got a problem, we worked on it, and sometimes we solved it. Nothing shifty, no changing the problem or modifying the goal.
Yao Yu has worked on Twitter’s Cache team since 2010. She recently gave a really great talk: Scaling Redis at Twitter. It’s about Redis of course, but it’s not just about Redis.
Yao has worked at Twitter for a few years. She’s seen some things. She’s watched the growth of the cache service at Twitter explode from it being used by just one project to nearly a hundred projects using it. That’s many thousands of machines, many clusters, and many terabytes of RAM.
It’s clear from her talk that’s she’s coming from a place of real personal experience and that shines through in the practical way she explores issues. It’s a talk well worth watching.
As you might expect, Twitter has a lot of cache.
Timeline Service for one datacenter using Hybrid List:
- ~40TB allocated heap
- ~30MM qps
- > 6,000 instances
Use of BTree in one datacenter:
- ~65TB allocated heap
- ~9MM qps
- >4,000 instances
You’ll learn more about BTree and Hybrid List later in the post.
A couple of points stood out:
- Redis is a brilliant idea because it takes underutilized resources on servers and turns them into valuable service.
- Twitter specialized Redis with two new data types that fit their use cases perfectly. So they got the performance they needed, but it locked them into an older code based and made it hard to merge in new features. I have to wonder, why use Redis for this sort of thing? Just create a timeline service using your own datastructures. Does Redis really add anything to the party?
- Summarize large chunks of log data on the node, using your local CPU power, before saturating the network.
- If you want something that’s high performance separate the fast path, which is the data path, away from the slow path, which is the command and control path.
- Twitter is moving towards a container environment with Mesos as the job scheduler. This is still a new approach so it’s interesting to hear about how it works. One issue is the Mesos wastage problem that stems from requirement to specify hard resource usage limits in a complicated runtime world.
- A central cluster manager is really important to keep a cluster in a state that’s easy to understand.
- The JVM is slow and C is fast. Their cache proxy layer is moving back to C/C++.
With that in mind, let’s learn more about how Redis is used at Twitter:
Three baseball umpires were sitting around a bar, talking about how they make calls on each pitch: First umpire: Some are balls and some are strikes, and I call them as they are. Second umpire: Some are balls and some are strikes, and I call them as I see ‘em. Third umpire: Some are balls and some are strikes, but they ain’t nothin’ until I call ‘em.
AT&T’s Global Network Operations Center
MLB’s Instant Replay Bunker
NHL’s Situation Room
It’s fun to look at how concepts we think of as belonging primarily to the domain of computer science play out in other fields. One intriguing example is how Instant Replay reflects and even helps shape the culture of a sport by how replay is implemented: decentralized or centralized.
Lucrative TV deals have pumped huge sums of money into professional sports. With so much money in play, sports have shifted from being pure entertainment to wanting to get things right. The price of making a bad call is just too high to let the human element decide the fate of titans.
Getting things right is also a much talked about subject in computer science. In CS the language of getting things right uses terms like transaction, rollback, quorum, optimistic replication, linearizability, synchronization, lock, eventually consistent, compensating transaction, and so on.
In sports to get things right referees use terms like flag, penalty, by rule, ruling stands, reset the clock, down and distance, line to gain, the whistle blew, ruling confirmed, and ruling overturned.
Though the vocabulary is different, the intent is much the same. Correctness.
Intent is not all tech and sports have in common. As technology evolves we are seeing sports change to take advantage of the new capabilities technology offers. And those changes should be familiar to anyone in software. Sports have gone from a completely decentralized system of officiating to where we now see the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL, all converging on some form of a centralized system.
The NHL were the innovators, starting their centralized instant replay system in 2011. It works something like this…officials sit in a war room located in Toronto that looks a lot like every network operations center ever built. Video feeds from all games flow into the room. When there is a controversy or an obvious review-worthy play, Toronto is contacted for a quick review and judgement on the correct call. Every sport will implement their own centralized replay system in their own way, but that’s the gist of it.
We’ve seen the exact same transformation as federated services like email have been replaced with centralized services like Twitter and Facebook. It turns out sports and computer science have some deeper similarities. What might those be?
At its heart, is gamification Pervasive User Centric Design? Is it the cross over between real and virtual worlds? via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs
In the F2P game market a lot of attention is paid to Day 1 retention, the fraction of players that return a day after install, and rightly so. In an age where it may cost $1 or more to acquire a player in the first place, focusing solely on day 1 rete via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs
The latest Ludum Dare passed me by but the helpful tweets of a little bird in the guise of Tom Francis directed me toward the highest rated submission, Superdimensional. He described Superdimensional as being “like the most stylish possible Flappy Bird”, specifying that the tweet was meant as a compliment. I expected some delicious visual […] via Rock, Paper, Shotgun
The collection of glassine heroin bags in Graham MacIndoe’s photos have been emptied of their product, removed from context and treated to professional studio lighting but are still total haunting.
The post The Dark, Ironic Branding Drug Dealers Use to Sell Heroin appeared first on WIRED.
The Future According To Stanislaw Lem: An anonymous reader writes “The Paris Review has an article about SF author Stanislaw Lem, explaining Lem’s outlook on the future and his expectations for technological advancement. Lem tended toward a view that technology would infect and eventually supplant biological evolution. But he also suggested an interesting explanation for why we haven’t detected alien civilizations: “Perhaps … they are so taken up with perfecting their own organisms that they’ve abandoned space exploration entirely. According to a similar hypothesis, such beings are invisible because technological ease has resulted in a ‘Second Stone Age’ of ‘universal illiteracy and idleness.’ When everyone’s needs are perfectly met, it ‘would be hard, indeed, to find one individual who would choose as his life’s work the signaling, on a cosmic scale, of how he was getting along.’ Rather than constructing Dyson Spheres, Lem suggests, advanced civilizations are more likely to spend their time getting high.”“
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Comiket is a yearly three-day dōjinshi fair held in Tokyo in which over half a million people gather to sell, buy and share a love for self-published works. That normally means manga comics, but also includes Japanese indie games which are often unavailable to buy anywhere else. A similarly yearly tradition is shmup developer Edelweiss‘s […] via Rock, Paper, Shotgun
This articles describes some of the challenges we are facing in order to convert our mobile platformer, Shadow Blade, into a respectable PC game in the same genre. via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs
Rewarding someone through playing comes in two types: Intrinsic and Extrinsic which require unique considerations and design. Today’s post examines these methods using the updates to Diablo 3 and Payday 2 as examples. via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs
Title : Super Momo Tarou Dentetsu
Publisher : Hudson Soft
Game Type : A Bit Special
Console : PCEngineHuCard
Price : £4.99
Tongue in cheek take on the Momo Tarou of Japanese folklore. The name refers to the train element of the game (‘den’ from train and ‘tetsu’ from iron) rather than the usual densetsu (‘legend’.)
via GenkiVideoGames.com - All New Arrivals
My thoughts & opinions on Mechanic Traps.
Mechanic Trap: A mechanic purposefully or accidentally designed to look beneficial to the player but doesnt provide appropriate benefit. via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs
Following an experience spending $100 on IAP content in Battlefield 4, I highlight shortcomings in the experience and propose methods that spending additional money inside the game could be improved. via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs
Firm says its ad product is an “unprecedented ‘eyes on’ communication medium.” via Ars Technica
“If you cause enough trouble, people will willingly give up their freedom for a more secure world.” — Dr. Arnim Zola
Since 2008’s Iron Man, the main-on-end title sequence has taken on a dual role for Marvel Studios films. Not only do these finely crafted pieces provide the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies with one final flourish of action and one last injection of branding, they also keep the audience glued to their seats until the all important post-credits coda rolls.
Sarofsky’s minimalist main-on-end titles for Captain America: The Winter Soldier exemplify the newfound function of the end credits. Perfectly distilling the essence of the Russo brothers’ action-packed potboiler, the sequence plays up familiar superhero iconography and pares down the themes and characters to their most basic elements. Stars and stripes, shields and skulls, gears and tentacles, a grand conspiracy unfolding as heroes and villains battle it out in silhouette. Given the morally complex and uncertain world in which the film operates, the stark black, white, and red palette of the sequence provides an unexpected, contrasting backdrop.
With nods to both the graphic stylings of title designer Saul Bass and the innovative work of Silver Age comic book artist Jim Steranko, the Winter Soldier title sequence is one of Marvel’s boldest efforts to date.
A discussion with Main Title Director ERIN SAROFSKY of Sarofsky Corp.
Give us a little background on yourself and your company.
I started out in 2001, right after I finished grad school at the Rochester Institute of Technology. I immediately landed at Digital Kitchen just as they opened up their Chicago office. I began as a designer and, over the course of many years, became a creative director.
In 2006, I moved to New York to work as a creative director at Superfad. It was a wonderful experience, but I missed Chicago. So in 2008, I decided to move back…
via Art of the Title
Sony announced that Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) would focus on creating FTP games. Ok great! We can expect more FTP games from Sony in the future, but whats this?! Capcom is entering the FTP market as well? via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs
A few people have asked me how I get the art in Catlateral Damage to look the way it does, so I wanted to give an overview of my workflow using Blender and Unity. via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs
An underrated importance of video games becoming mainstream was the standardization of control design and today’s post examines how this came to be with some lessons for new designers. via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs
making LUDOPHAGIC TIMEWAVE SOUND HYPERWHISTLE made me think of different things via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs
Microtransactions have become important marketing tools for both PC and mobile titles. However despite having the same purpose, there are unique considerations that must be taken into account based on the platform. via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs
What game monetization approaches are mobile game companies using, and which ones work? How can game makers strike a balance between annoying users and collecting some cash for their good work? via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs
For decades, branching conversation systems have been a powerful tool in game narrative. In part one of a series dedicated to the art of branching dialogue writing, we define terms and discuss what kinds of games benefit most from such systems. via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs
Good performance is critical specially for mobile devices.To give you some important techniques and info about making better performance we made this guide. via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs
I have learned one very important thing from Loop: all games should have an ambient rain slider in their sound options. I’ll be contacting our John to get it on his next list. It is that most tranquil, serene of things and matches this simple puzzle game marvellously. You move hexagonal pieces around until lines […] via Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Designing for possibility, not inevitability. An excellent story has been a fundamental part of many great video games, but are there more ways for developers to create stories in collaboration with players? via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs
Understanding Game Design requires both an abstract and literal thought process and today’s post examines these two and how you can use them when trying to create a game. via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs