Step in the time machine as the Ars OpenForum talks retro gaming

Remember Altered Beast?

One advantage of playing video games in 2012 is that users can take their pick across genre, platform (hear our recent podcast on PCs versus consoles), solo games, MMOs, and more. With many decades of games behind them, players can now also select games based on era. Many find retro titles highly replayable, even if they are played on a ROM or are downloaded online. If you grew up playing Space Invaders, Joust, or Altered Beast, you can still get your fill at any time.

Recently in the Ars OpenForum, fngurrier kicked off a thread aptly named “Retro gaming” in order to see what vintage titles Ars readers are playing. If you’re looking for a list of games highlighting the obvious choices like Ms. Pac-Man, Ocarina of Time, or Sonic, you won’t find it here.  Some of the games discussed are going to surprise you, and others will jog your memories of youth because they are so familiar, so fun. We posted some selected video clips from some of these titles below as we discover what OpenForum members are saying.

Papaspider’s definitely a fan of the 1980s titles: “Anywho, I’ve been playing a lot of Spy Hunter (1983) lately. Oil slicking those damn switchblades never gets old.”

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Google Maps for iOS may violate European data protection law

Not everyone was euphoric when Google Maps for iOS showed up earlier this week. Take the Independent Centre for Privacy Protection in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany for instance. Computerworld spoke to the organization’s deputy privacy and information commissioner, Marit Hansen, who expressed concerns about the app’s location data sharing. By having this option switched on by default, Hansen says, it violates European data protection law.

When downloading the Google Maps iOS app, users are initially met with location data sharing information. “Anonymous location data will be collected by Google’s location service and sent to Google, and may be stored on your device,” users are warned. And, as Hansen notes, Google has already made the decision to agree for you. Simply “accept & continue” without another glance, right?

Hansen’s main gripe is that Google’s use of “anonymous” is misleading. “All available information points to having linkable identifiers per user,” she told Computerworld. Hansen added this would allow Google to track several location entries, thus leading to her assumption that Google’s “anonymous location data” would be considered “personal data” under the European law.

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Some Democrats call for action on gun control after Connecticut shootings

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A day after the Connecticut elementary school massacre, a senior congressional Democrat on Saturday called on U.S. lawmakers to pass sweeping new gun control measures including banning assault weapons and high-capacity clips, saying, “Politics be damned.”

The hackathon about hacking meat

Developers and engineers who participate in hackathons are familiar with the rules. An organizer brings programmers together to work on either an existing or new problem for a mutually agreed upon amount of time, usually 48 to 72 hours. In that time, developers might break up into teams or work alone. But once they have understood the challenge presented to them, they sequester themselves to write code. After hours of sleeplessness and caffeine overdoses, the teams present a demo. These showcase working prototypes, rudimentary applications, or higher-fidelity interfaces on occasion. On the other side of this marathon of coding, developers walk out exhausted. But often, they leave with code that can solve a problem.

So what happens when this playbook is directed at something offbeat—like meat production and sustainability? Last week, we found out. Several entrepreneurs, food advocates, meat producers, and developers got together in New York City for the Hack//Meat event. The challenges facing the meat industry and its consumers are vast: food safety, reducing methane emissions, improving meat quality, and helping both industrial and small local farmers among others. And all went according to plan: the hackathon model delivered unexpected results when applied to these problems.

The event brought six challenges from various figures in the industry. For fans of cutesy puns, these six organizations were labeled the “steakholders” and their roles resembled those of traditional clients (at least at first). The group included the Vermont Processing Group, Applegate Farms, Consumers Union, Food & Water Watch, Grace Communications, and the Environmental Working group. Representatives from each worked with three self-selected developer teams for 48 hours.

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Tax evasion costs Greece 5 pct of GDP : EU tax chief

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece could generate budget revenues amounting to 5 percent of national output annually if it reforms tax collection and clamps down on tax cheats, the European Union’s tax chief told a Greek newspaper.

How can I get feedback as a junior developer?

This Q&A is part of a weekly series of posts highlighting common questions encountered by technophiles and answered by users at Stack Exchange, a free, community-powered network of 80+ Q&A sites.

Oliver Hyde Asks:

I am currently working for a two person company, as the solo primary developer. My boss gets the clients, mocks up some png design templates and hands them over to me.

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Redesigned and Expanded Third Street Promenade Apple Store Opens in Santa Monica, CA

Apple has opened its new Third Street Promenade Apple Store in Santa Monica, CA. The store has the same design as the new Palo Alto location, with a slightly smaller implementation as the Upper West Side store in Manhattan.

Apple’s old Third Street Promenade location was one of the early Apple Stores and was an extremely popular location that was almost always crowded to capacity. The new store should allow considerably more foot traffic.

Apple proposed the new store to the Santa Monica planning commission more than a year ago, with the new building gaining approval without so much as a discussion.

Thanks David!