Daily News Brief: UK Recruits Spies with Video Games!


Are Violent Video Games Good for Kids?

Are video games as bad as vote-seeking politicians portend? Not according to Marc Prensky , author of Don't Bother Me Mom - I'm Learning , who contends that children who play video games, even violent ones, hold distinct advantages over those who don't. Marc points out Civ IV as an education in Western history, and that skills obtained in managing a large online guild can be applied in the real world. Marc also finds benefit in more gory titles, finding depth in " the strategy, figuring out the rules, the environment and the ethical situation. "

Spy Games, er, Gamers

In other gaming news, today's finger-twitching youth could be tomorrow's modern day James Bond. That's what UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is banking on, which is UK's surveillance brance of their intelligence service. Looking for " computer-savvy, technologically able, quick thinking " candidates, the GCHQ has turned to in-game advertising to attract a new breed of recruits. But if you live in the UK, don't go donning your Austin Powers garb just yet; the GCHQ's main work involves email and phone cal interception and decryption, and not the Hollywood spy games you may have seen on TV.

AMD Continues to Slide

While earlier this week Intel reported record revunue numbers for the third quarter, AMD continues to fall on hard times. In reporting their Q3 earnings, AMD disclosed a $396 million net loss , despite an 18 percent increase over Q2. It's been a tough year altogether for AMD, who logged losses in every quarter, piled up debt as part of its ATI acquisition, and watched as three high ranking executives chose to jump ship since last July. Hoping to stop the bleeding, AMD will release the highly anticipated Phenom line this December.

Apple Gets Hip to Third Party Support

In a surprise move following Apple's bricking of iPhones that had unauthorized unlocking software installed, Steve Jobs posted an open letter in support of third party applications. Jobs noted they " plan to have an SDK in developers' hands in February, " but first must figure out how to provide an advanced and open platform without subjecting owners to malware infestation and privacy attacks. Jobs cited Nokia's implementation as a possible solution, which requires third party apps to have a digital signature traceable to a known developer.

Microsoft to Relieve Bloat

Users switching from XP to Vista for the first time may notice their system suddenly feels bloaty, but what other recourse is there to get DX10 compliant? If it's any consolation, Microsoft's revamping their approach for Windows 7 , the next major OS set to debut sometime in 2010. Using a bare-bones version of the Windows kernel, WinMin, as it's dubbed, will serve as the basis for all future OS releases, and has already been demonstrated to run on just 25MB of data. Now if only Microsoft could trim some of the fat off the price tag...

The Patriot Act

No, not that one, but the New England Patriots. Love 'em or hate 'em, this editor's favorite football team is steamrolling to their fourth Super Bowl ring in seven years, but I'll save the gloating for January. Today's headline has to do with the Patriots' dispute with StubHub, the online ticket service and eBay subsidiary. Incensed over marked up ticket prices (tickets with a face value of $125 were spotted selliing for $1,300.05 last year), the Patriots won a lawsuit against StubHub, who as a result had to fork over 13,000 names of both sellers and buyers that violated the Patriots' rules for internet ticket sales. Nauseating as the markups may be, it's the privacy concerns that have users concerned about the verdict.

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