SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – “What EA and Maxis have done with SimCity is attempt a year-long PR assault to suggest that the online-only nature of SimCity is designed to offer enhancements for gamers,” writes John Walker. “This is simply not true. It’s utter rubbish. It’s a backward step for a format that seemed to be managing for years to offer single player and multiplayer options for games without the universe cracking in two. The idea that multiplayer-only is an enhancement is such an obvious piece of newspeak, such a ridiculous untruth, that we can only loudly and furiously react against it if we’re to not see it incredulously accepted as fact. I do worry it’s maybe already too late.”
As Walker also points out, we used to be up in arms over having to enter a code each time we installed a single-player game (something unheard of when I was first playing PC games, lo these many years ago) but now it’s the norm. We type in our 15, 20, 25 digits and move along people, nothing to see here. It’s mostly an annoyance, but it can be worse. If we lose the code, for instance, and then have to reinstall.
Or when a service like Origin won’t recognize all your Dragon Age DLC even though it shows up in your BioWare account, and keeps telling you to sign in with an account associated with the DLC even though…you are.
So now the norm will be always-online games that, at some point, like dying stars, will flicker out and fade…and your license will expire. Maybe the servers will all be rosy tomorrow, chugging away for city-simulators everywhere, but that doesn’t mean the underlying problem will vanish.
“To see anyone defending EA and Maxis for the state of SimCity, even were it in perfect working order on launch, depresses me to my core,” Walker continues. “This self-flagellation-as-skincare notion, where gamers loudly and proudly defend the destruction of their own rights as consumers, is an Orwellian perversity.”
I’ve defended Diablo III for other reasons—the game itself isn’t as bad as it’s so often made out to be—but the always-online DRM is painful. It hurts performance, locks people out of their own single-player game during maintenance, and serves no purpose that benefits consumers whatsoever. Quite the contrary.
As Walker notes: “Ignore the utter nonsense about how some of its computations are server-side. What complete rot. As if our PCs are incapable of running the game. I’m sure some of the computations are server side! But they damned well don’t need to be, as all of gaming ever has ably proven.”
Basically, though, I just want you to go read Walker’s entire righteous rant, because this stuff can’t be said enough and is rarely said so well. The game is, as he puts it, “inherently broken” whether or not EA and Maxis get the servers right.
Of course, it’s all a huge uphill battle. Most people who play games don’t spend time thinking about DRM or always-online requirements or the various other ways that games don’t live up to their potential and industry practices hurt the gaming experience.
On the other hand, from what I can tell very few people are actually letting EA off the hook this time, and who knows who these few drive-by commenters really are? Unless I’m missing some big editorials claiming all this SimCity outrage is sound and fury, signifying nothing…. Has the “entitled gamer” been evoked yet? Have we summoned that effigy down the mountain to burn or has it been spared this time around?-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- According to an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report, 68.9% of children live in the same household as their parents at the age of 14, well below the Western average of 84%.
Only Belgium, Latvia and Estonia fare worse than Britain in the list of countries where both a child's father and mother live together.
Social-justice campaigners say the figures reveal an "appalling epidemic of family breakdown".
The UK stands in contrast to most other west European countries with Finland on top at 95.2%, Germany at 82%, Italy at 92.1%, Spain at 91.5% and France at 79.5%. The US also had a higher number of children living with both parents, at 70.7%.
The figures, which relate to 2007, the most recent comparable period, come on the back of Scottish research about children affected by separation. Growing Up in Scotland (GUS) is an ongoing study launched in 2005 to chart the experiences of 14,000 children and their families.
In results released last year, it found that one in 10 children in Scotland sees their parents split up by the time they are five. The children are affected not just by the separation itself, but by its impact on their mother, according to researchers.
It showed parents appear most likely to separate in the first two years after a child is born, and points out that separation can leave the mother poorer, or suffering poor mental health.
Christian Guy, managing director at the Centre for Social Justice said: "Timid politicians are becoming numb to Britain's sky-high family breakdown rates. Yet, as these OECD figures show, broken families are not some inevitable feature of modern society or 'social progress'.
"All kinds of transformational help can be offered to parents and couples when they come under life's pressures," he added.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — I’ve never really been a fan of tapping a “Like” button on Facebook. Mostly because it doesn’t always mean that I like something. I use that button as a way to say “hey I looked at this and it meant something”, but maybe I use Facebook incorrectly. Today, The Next Web surfaced what seems to be a test on Twitter, with the labels of “like” and “star” instead of the word “favorite” when it comes to tweets.
I’m not really digging it, but take a look:— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Ok, so it’s not a huge deal and it’s not a test that’s reaching all users as of yet, but it’s a direction that I’m not sure that Twitter should go towards. The word “like” just makes users think too much before using the button, plus it could change the meaning and usage of the button moving forward in the future. I’m sure Twitter is thinking about all of these things, that’s why the company seems to be testing this in a limited fashion.
Twitter has no comment on it at the moment, so I won’t dive into a rabbit hole here, companies test things all of the time. An A-B test helps big networks decide what’s good and what’s not, and it’s probably a case of Twitter just interested in seeing if a change of language moves the needle on engagement. See this post from May about experimentation on Twitter:
In order to offer you the simplest and most engaging Twitter experience, we frequently test hundreds of variations of new features and designs with small groups of users. We test everything from subtle tweaks in the language of our sign-up pages and removing the search box from our homepage to big shifts in navigation elements. These experiments help us understand what experiences people like best or use most often. When an experiment ends, we study the results and roll out the most successful variation to everyone as soon as we can.
Having said that, I like the word favorite, but not as much as I like “star.” To me, Star means bookmark, which is a general term that means I want to save something for later, or say that I really dug what was said. The word like locks me in…as I could “like” something that I really “hate.” Testing doesn’t lie, but I really hope that the test on “like” fails, because that’s Facebook’s game, and I’m not really a fan of it.
Facebook started adding other actions through Open Graph, so perhaps this is a sign that Twitter might be heading in that direction, too. Google went the opposite direction with +1 on Google+. Could we see a “watch” button for videos, or “view” for photos on Twitter? It would be interesting to see.
I still see “Favorite” on Twitter’s site, and I’m ok with that.:— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) —There is actually a medical condition called broken heart syndrome, or stress cardiomyopathy, that is the result of suffering extreme stress, such as the loss of a loved one or the ending of a romantic relationship. When suffering from this condition, people experience chest pains and think they are having a heart attack.
When the heart reacts to a surge of stress hormones, such as cortisol, this can cause symptoms. Your heart gets bigger temporarily and can't pump as efficiently. The heart contractions may be more forceful than normal. Symptoms of this condition include general weakness, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath and chest pain, all of which mimic the symptoms of a heart attack.
The official medical term for broken heart syndrome is stress-induced cardiomyopathy or apical ballooning syndrome. This condition can be treated and usually remedies itself within a week.
When It Happens
This condition is preceded by news that is disturbing, such as a bad medical diagnosis, loss of money, abuse, news of a death, fear of performing in public, an infection, major surgery, an asthma attack, a car accident or even a surprise party. A tremendous emotional shock can result in sudden and reversible heart failure that is not a classic heart attack. When a person is shocked or stress, it can lead to an outpouring of catecholamines, such as noradrenaline and adrenaline -- also known as norepinephrine and epinephrine -- into the blood stream along with small proteins and broken-down products that are emitted by the excited nervous system. These chemicals are toxic, temporarily, to the heart and stun the heart muscles. This produces symptoms that are very much like a heart attack. Doctors think these chemicals may cause the coronary arteries to spasm or cause calcium overload that results in temporary dysfunction.
Why Does This Happen
The medical community isn't sure what causes broken heart syndrome, although adrenaline may be the culprit. A big dose of adrenaline is capable of temporarily damaging a heart. The constriction of large or small arteries to the heart also may contribute to this syndrome. This condition also can result in a buildup of fluid in your lungs, which is called pulmonary edema, disruptions in your heartbeat and a heartbeat that is too slow or too fast.
The Good News
Fortunately, in broken heart syndrome, the arteries are not blocked because of fatty buildup that results in atherosclerosis and can cause a heart attack, although blood flow in the heart's arteries may be reduced during an attack. This condition isn't normally fatal nor does it result in irreversible muscle damage. Recovery is quick.
Someone suffering from a broken heart also may experience depression, ennui, lethargy, loss of appetite and may sleep too much or not enough.
By : Cindi Pearce — www.shafaqna.com/english/