Published by : admin
Apr 28 , 2020 / By :

Two completely different programs from two completely different time-periods will be making their online-debut on Apple's iTunes Music Service this month. The new show is ABC Family's "Kyle XY." The distribution of this show is unique because ABC is making the first four episodes available before they run on cable. While an awesome idea, the show's premise sounds a little odd: HangZhou Night Net

the series, which follows the journey of Kyle (Matt Dallas), a mysterious teenage savant who is devoid of such human instinctive behavior as anger, joy and love, and the family who found him

The episodes will be made available after July 27th, 2006 and will sell for the standard price of US$1.99 a piece. Showing up this week, however, is Æon Flux. Not the motion picture you may have seen in theaters recently, but the original 16-episode cartoon series that ran on MTV's Liquid Television back in the early nineties:

Leather-bound and lethal, Æon Flux—secret agent, saboteur—engages in a never-ending battle of wills with her nemesis/love, Trevor Goodchild. And what she may lack in morals and warmth, she more than makes up for with cat-like reflexes and ammunition. This director's cut of the groundbreaking MTV series is a mind-blowing combination of killer comic-book-style animation, complex plots and themes, and action-driven narrative.

Æon Flux was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid (even though, at the time, I didn't understand most of it). 15 years later, I seem to have gained a renewed appreciation for the series. While each show is US$1.99, if you plan on shell ing out for the whole season (the only way you can get the first 6 episodes) like me, you'll only end up spending a respectable US$24.00.

Apr 28 , 2020 / By :

One of the more frustrating things about being an early adopter is the fact that you know there's a higher-than-normal chance you'll get bad hardware. You're buying one of the first batches, no one knows how the system will work after being played for hours on end, and you need it right now! You can spend more money on a replacement plan, you can use your credit card to get the warranty extended, or you can just hope you can fix it yourself if something goes wrong. HangZhou Night Net

Benji from our very own Ars Technica forums has a 360 that suffered the blinking red lights of death and decided to rip the console apart and get to the bottom of things. In what follows, we present his story and instructions:

NOTE: Please note this process involves dismantling your 360, which will void any and all warranties you may or may not have. My warranty was up, and I had not purchased an extended warranty. (I'm a cheap bastard.)

This applies to 360 suffering from the "three red lights of death," or red lights from three o'clock to twelve o'clock around the power button. This means "General Hardware Failure" and does not point to any one specific item. My 360 would boot into the dashboard without any trouble, but once you started a game, it would only run a few seconds. I suspected the dashboard would not give the system much of a workout, but games would, so a heat problem was an avenue to be explored.

There are ways to get a more specific trouble code out of the 360 when this happens. I'm not going to get into that now, but this link will tell you how to get the additional code and how to interpret that. I was unable get the secondary error code because my 360's troubles were very erratic. Sometimes it would let me play for a few minutes and then freeze up. Sometimes it wouldn't even get past the intro screen during bootup without freezing. Sometimes it wouldn't boot at all and give me the three red lights, but not every time.

I discovered the GPU chip on my 360 possibly had some sort of thermal interface material (TIM) failure. I compared mine to how another one looked over at Anandtech and discovered mine was indeed different. Mine had some sort of metallic silver cover over the heatsink paste on the heatsink, and very little if any paste actually came into contact with the GPU die itself.

Note: Some TIMs are designed to have a cover over the paste. I personally have never seen one, so at least to me they are rare. (I've been building PCs since 1996.) Your experience may vary. What I found on my 360's GPU could actually be a fully functional TIM in theory, but mine seemed to be experiencing overheating issues.

With the troubleshooting gears turning in my head, it made sense that the GPU might be overheating. I thought I would replace the TIM with some Arctic Silver, and see what happens. So far, this repair has worked for my 360. I've been racking up as much play time as possible, so far 2+ hours, and no lockups whatsoever. This is the most it has let me play in two weeks. Before, I couldn't play 2 minutes without it locking up, much less an hour.

Please consider your options before opening your 360 up. If you feel like you are pretty handy fixing computers, handling sensitive hardware, and working with basic tools, you should be fine.

Now let's get down to business.

Tools you'll need:

A thin hex head L-shaped wrench OR a probe tool of some sort.
1 T-8 Torx screwdriver
1 T-10 Torx screwdriver
Plastic scraper tool or pocket knife
Arctic Silver or other brand high quality heat sink paste
1 Brillo steel wool pad
Cleaning supplies

I'm not going to detail how to get the 360 apart, you can follow instructions on how to do that here. You'll need to get the motherboard out of the metal cage, and pop off the heatsinks from both the CPU and GPU.

Once you get the GPU heatsink removed, look at the thermal pad on the bottom of it. Does it have a rectangular metallic silver cover on it? This is how mine looked. I suspect this thermal pad is insufficient for the amount of heat generated by the GPU.

NOTE: If yours DOES NOT have this metallic silver cover, your hardware faults might lie somewhere else. However, since you're this far already, keep going. Better cooling for your 360 would never hurt.

Scrape off the thermal pad from both the aluminum GPU heatsink and the copper CPU heatsink. I used a Brillo steel wool pad for this, and it worked great. It even polished the bottom of the heatsinks a little bit. If you get the heatsinks wet, make sure you dry them thoroughly before reinstalling.

Now clean the remaining thermal paste from the GPU and CPU. My CPU had the most paste on it, so it took the longest. I used small pieces of a paper towel slightly dampened with 409 and it worked fair. You may have a better method of removing thermal paste from a CPU, so use your judgment here.

Once clean, apply your thermal paste to the CPU and GPU dies. Don't apply too much, just enough to cover the entire die.

Now reinstall the heatsinks, put the 360 back together, and enjoy.

I would be VERY interested in hearing from others in my situation. No warranty options, and willing to pull off their GPU heatsink to see if they have the silver pad on the heatsink like I did. If you do, PLEASE email me: bspradlin AT gmail DOT com.

Additional details including some pictures are available in the original forum thread.

Apr 28 , 2020 / By :

Science has come to grips with where HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, originated. Similarities with known simian equivalents (termed SIV) indicate where it came from, and the bloody butchery of wild primates makes for an easy conclusion about how it made it to humans. That knowledge, however, has produced a more significant question: why does HIV hit humans so much harder than SIV affects our fellow primates, who live for years unaffected by SIV infections. A couple of recent papers may provide a bit more perspective on this. HangZhou Night Net

An astute reader in Tokyo pointed me to an interesting article that's been accepted for publication in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The paper focuses on a small protein called theta-defensin, specifically the potential human version, called Retrocyclin-1. This gene is part of the innate immunity system, which is present in a far broader array of species than the antibody-based system most of us are familiar with. It relies on a large number of proteins that inhibit viral and bacterial infection through an equally large number of mechanisms.

Previous studies had shown that Retrocyclin-1 could inhibit HIV infection of cultured cells. The new studies in this paper show that it does that by preventing the virus from ever entering the cell, specifically by inhibiting a change in the shape of a protein on the HIV surface that's critical for the fusion of the virus and the cell membrane. Why isn't Retroyclin-1 helping with HIV infections then? In part, it's because the human copy of the gene has a mutation in it that prevents the production of Retrocyclin-1 (note that I called it the "potential human version" above). The situation is more complex than that, though, as there's not a one-to-one correspondence between the severity of HIV/SIV infection and the production of theta-defensins. Gorillas and chimps carry the same mutation as humans, and don't get severely ill. Meanwhile, the Rhesus Macaque, where theta-defensins were first identified, can be infected with HIV in a laboratory setting.

The second example looks at a protein from the HIV genome called NEF. In most of the SIV family, one of NEF's activities is to shut off expression of a receptor (called TCR) in the T-cells that HIV/SIV infects. When this happens, the T-cells are much less prone to dying, and the virus gets to stay in its host cell for longer. The researchers found that the HIV NEF protein cannot shut down TCR expression. The continued presence of TCR causes enhanced death of T-cells, and their loss brings on the full AIDS symptoms. Once again, this sounds very promising until you start to look at our primate relatives. the chimp version of SIV (SIVcpz) also has a NEF that can't shut down the receptor, yet SIVcpz doesn't cause AIDS in chimps.

When you see confusing patterns of correlations like this, it can either mean that you're looking at the wrong things, or the system as a whole is complex, and depends on a confluence of the factors that include the ones you are looking at. Hopefully, it's the later, and work like this will ultimately lead to a greater understanding of why HIV is so deadly.

Apr 28 , 2020 / By :

I was able to catch up with Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination at the Columbus Center of Science and Industry, and it was a fun time. There wasn't much emphasis on the science end of things–it was mostly props and costumes from the Star Wars movies as well as one or two kiosks that talked about what technology we have today that comes close to matching what we've seen on the screen. If you walk in mostly expecting to see a lot of cool Star Wars stuff, you won't be disappointed. HangZhou Night Net

It's interesting to see how hobbled together most of the props for the original trilogy were. Under glass you can see how different bits of electronics where simply pieced together – there's a lot of chipped paint and recognizable items from the garage. Seeing a full sized Droideka from the new movie was pretty impressive though. It was a great design that was underused in the films. Ever notice how badass they were in Episode 1 and how quickly they just became more fodder in the later movies? There were a bunch of neat little details for the curious, such as Wookiee weapons, being able to see what's inside Darth Vader's helmet, and looking at the collection of prop lightsabers up close.

There's also a show about modern day robots, but the sound system was way too quiet for the amount of people they put into the theater. We were all straining to hear, and the information was too basic for adults, and too advanced for kids. The animatronic C3PO was pretty underwhelming, and the whole thing was barely worth waiting in line for. One of the better displays was a four minute planetarium presentation that played while you sat in a recreation of the Millenium Falcon's cockpit. The cockpit didn't have more than a passing resemblance to what we saw in the movie, but the show and sound effects were quite spiffy. I got a good sense of the dizzies, and the kids had a blast pretending they were in space. There were also a few interesting hands-on exhibits that explained how mag-lev works, and the kids got to put together their own R2D2 out of parts, but I was left wishing there was more education going on, given that this is what it's billed as.

Unsurprisingly, there was a souvenir and toy room at the end of the display, but I was able to get past without spending any of my money. It was pretty easy when they didn't have any new toys, just things you could buy at the Johnny's Toys down the street for a lot less money.

The whole thing was great if you're a Star Wars fan, and the exhibit travels around the country so seeing it shouldn't be an issue for many fans. If you actually wanted some science in with your fiction though, you're mostly out of luck.

Apr 28 , 2020 / By :

When you talk to many gamers about what the most important job is when developing a game, you'll get many answers. Few people will bring up game QA testing. HangZhou Night Net

It's an important job, though, and the testers have it tough: those poor folks who spend their days and nights locked in some basement trying to find all the ways they can break a product. Jump into every wall, play one level for twelve hours, play one part of one level for fourteen hours, this is the sort of thing you can expect. The hours are terrible, the pay is lousy, and no one will likely know who you are. You think the crunch time for developers is bad? Listen to this storyfrom a QA Lead.

At one company, I stepped into a vital role as the only senior tester, and my managers did everything to keep me on site and organising the test team. My boss bought me a hammock, which he installed while I was at lunch, that I would sleep in almost every night. When I complained about needing clean clothing they had the secretary buy me a new wardrobe. A cell phone was bought for me, to get a hold of me whereever I was, even in the bathroom; when I complained about not seeing my girlfriend in two weeks – I lived with her – they paid for a hotel room for us twice a week to see each other. I did this almost straight seven days a week for seven months… when it was done I spent three months decompressing from the ordeal.

While people often see testing games as a way to get into a more creative role in game development, the article has a lot to say on that topic, and most of it isn't positive. Most game testers I've talked to had the same reaction to the time they spent in the trenches: they have a sort of nostalgic longing for it, along with the realistic notion of never wanting to have to go through it again. They were thankful for the experience,and glad it's over. None of them are in game development anymore.

Many gamers think they'd like to take a crack at game testing, and for that reason conditions will probably never improve. There's a line of people wanting to do it, and if you land in a job that pays overtime, the paychecks can be impressive. You also get to feel like you're involved in making a game. Is it a grind?Of course, but like any boutique industry the amount of people willing to do it will alwaysoutstrip the number of positions. Game testing will probably remain gaming'sdark little secret for forseeeable future, but one thing is clear: it's not a job for the happy-go-lucky gamer. It's tough and often thankless.

Apr 28 , 2020 / By :

HD DVD launched a couple of months ago to modest fanfare: eight titles and a couple of US$500 players. The movies were priced at US$34.95 each—more expensive than a DVD and about the same price as rival Blu-ray discs (although some sites are running promotional pricing for the Blu-ray launch). Universal Home Studios, which is responsible for many of the first set of HD DVD titles, has decided to cut prices on all movies in that format to US$29.95. DVD/HD DVD hybrid discs will be US$34.95.HangZhou Night Net

The price cuts will take effect beginning August 8, when there should be a significantly higher number of HD DVD titles out. Naturally, the US$29.95 is a manufacturer suggested retail price, meaning that savvy shoppers should be able to find them cheaper than that.

Could HD DVD backers be worried about slow uptake already? It’s possible. Sony Blu-ray movies are selling for US$17.95 or US$23.45 wholesale. That leaves a lot of headroom for retailers to price them as they wish—Best Buy is selling preorders of "50 First Dates" on Blu-ray for US$29.99 while Amazon has it for US$19.99. Dropping HD DVD movie prices to US$29.99 will make them more competitive with Blu-ray on price.

It’s tempting to paint the move to cut prices as one of the opening volleys of an inevitable format war. After all, both Blu-ray and HD DVD are new and expensive technologies vying for the hearts and wallets of consumers. HD DVD has the hardware price advantage in spades, as you will have to pay twice the money for a Blu-ray player vs. an HD DVD player. If that amounted to the difference between US$150 for one and US$300 for another, that might not matter too much. In this case, we’re talking about a US$500 spread between the two, an amount that will make those who aren’t committed to living on the bleeding edge of technology think twice.

On the other hand, Blu-ray (which will begin shipping next week) has an edge on HD DVD: the PlayStation 3. Say what you will about the price or lack of HDMI support in the low-end model, the fact is that there are a lot of PlayStation fans out there that are going to buy the console regardless of price. As Sony has chosen to in effect include a US$200 Blu-ray player with each next-generation console, it will get Blu-ray into homes where it might not otherwise go.

Ultimately, it’s going to be a long time before a winner is declared. Price-sensitive shoppers are going to sit on the sidelines until the cost of the players starts to drop, and movie pricing will make little or no difference. DVD sales have dropped sharply in the past couple of years as movie fans have filled up their home libraries and realized that services like Netflix allow them to sate their DVD-watching jones for a relatively low monthly price. If HD DVD and Blu-ray movie rentals are widespread, few movie fans are going to rush to replace their DVD libraries with next-generation discs after dropping US$500-1,000 on a replacement for their DVD player.

When the dust clears, the winner will probably be the one that breaks through the magic US$299 barrier first—as long as there is a wide selection of movies available. That time (and price) looks to be a long way off, so calling a winner with only a handful of precincts reporting just isn’t possible.

Apr 28 , 2020 / By :

I downloaded the Office 2007 beta a couple of weeks back when it first became available to the general unwashed masses, and I must admit that the feature I was most eager to get my mouse on with was the new ribbon. For those of you that aren't aware, the ribbon is Microsoft's "update" to the standard "file, edit, view…" menu system that has graced the top of Microsoft Office products in the past, not to mention pretty much being an industry standard beyond Microsoft software. Here is Redmond's own description of the ribbon: HangZhou Night Net

The Ribbon replaces the current system of layered menus, toolbars, and task panes with a simpler system of interfaces optimized for efficiency and discoverability.

The question therein, dear reader, is whether we are indeed achieving optimized efficiency and discoverability (translation: "your friends won't bug you as often when using Word") when that mad cash is plunked down for Bill's newest productivity applications. Before diving in to that, however, let me say that, much like the new Windows Media Player 11 beta, Microsoft Word 2007 is pretty. Take a gander:

Word 2007 is easy on the eyes.

That blue background really helps one focus on the document in question, and there is an overall soft, "soothing" feel to the default appearance that has been missing from Microsoft's Office products. As for the ribbon itself, let's take a closer look at it as it appears in the "Home" section (or watch a video):

The ribbon offers a variety of options.

In essence, what the ribbon has done is allow "first tier" access to features and options that might otherwise be buried two, three, maybe even four or more steps down in the previous menu system. In my use so far this is definitely a plus. In addition, the ribbon's various categories and sections are organized very well and in a fashion that, for me anyway, is quite intuitive. The main categories also make sense. Instead of "file," or "view," the user now can choose from "home," "insert," "review," and more. For a seasoned power-user this may not seem like a big deal, but for your average user who just wants to get the job done and get off of the computer, I think this is a step forward. One more bit of love for the ribbon's feel: the soft yellow glowing transition effect as one mouses over different options is very nice and adds to that new, soothing Office feel.

I assume the main gripe from potential users at this point will be the amount of space the ribbon takes up. This didn't seem to be a problem in my testing. Granted, I am running at a resolution of 1280×1024 and therefore have more viewing space than others might. However, while the ribbon is larger than the old menu system, it truly doesn't seem to take up that much more UI real estate. In addition, the grey-blue color that Microsoft has chosen for the ribbon helps it fade into the background while one is focusing on the document at hand.

To tie it all together, while there may be flaws or poor design choices I haven't noticed yet, at first glance the ribbon seems like a nice improvement in Microsoft's newest iteration of their Office suite. If this is any indication of what we can expect from the rest of the new Office, it may indeed be well worth the upgrade when Office 2007 releases to businesses in October 2006 and consumers in January 2007.

Apr 28 , 2020 / By :

Since its debut a couple of years ago, the iTunes Music Store has shot to number one with a bullet. Whether you ascribe its success to Apple’s being the first to offer DRM consumers could live with, iTMS’ being tied exclusively to the iPod, the iTMS shopping experience, or a combination of the three, the fact remains that iTMS dominates the digital music download market.HangZhou Night Net

Recently, Apple has come under fire in Europe for not opening up its FairPlay DRM. However, the European Commission—the entity responsible for enforcing EU antitrust law—is reluctant to move against Apple’s domination of the music market. Citing the company’s emergence in a free and open market, EC director general of competition Philip Lowe thinks it is too early to force Apple’s hand:

"We wouldn’t at this stage regard this as an instance of major concern until we’ve seen further market developments," Lowe told reporters this week.

Some European nations feel differently. Earlier this month, the Norwegian government found that Apple’s FairPlay DRM was unreasonable. The finding came in response to a complaint filed early this year by the Consumer Council of Norway, alleging violations of Norway’s Marketing Control Act. Apple is now faced with a June 21 deadline to respond to the Consumer Ombudsman Erik Thon’s decision.

Apple dodged a bullet last month, when the French Senate weakened legislation passed by the lower house of Parliament. The law would have forced the company to make its FairPlay DRM scheme available to competitors so they could sell music capable of playing on portable devices other than the iPod.

The central issue is Apple’s practice of tying customers to its vertically-integrated music business by refusing to license its DRM. Some believe that isn’t playing fair, including Thon.

Thon cited Norwegian consumer law as saying contracts must be "fair and balanced," adding that the approach taken by Apple violated "basic consumer principles."

"We believe that it could be questioned (as) an infringement of rights. I have the right to use whatever I bought to what I want to use it for," he said.

Although the EU will apparently take a wait-and-see approach with the issue, member states are free to move at their own speed. France is mulling over yet another copyright bill that would require Apple to open up FairPlay, and other countries are moving in a similar direction. Apple may soon be faced with the unpleasant choice of having to license FairPlay or exit certain markets.

Apr 28 , 2020 / By :

The New York Times has a Sunday magazine section that I generally read on the subway over the course of the following week. Last weekend's edition had a general theme of debt, and among the articles was one that touched on a topic that seems surprisingly relevant to the practice and teaching of science. That topic is how the rising cost of a college education in the US is leaving an increasing number of students with a pile of debt when they complete their degrees. For students at public colleges, the median figure is now $16,000, while private school graduates wind up with a median of $20,000 in debt. Results from Google suggest that going on to medical school is likely to tack on about $100,000 more. Although the article is specific to the US, it does mention the Australian system, which requires repayment for college expenses based on income after graduation. It may also be informative for other countries, such as England, where students are just beginning to be asked to cover more of the cost of their education. HangZhou Night Net

The article is full of quotes from experts that point out that this level of debt is miniscule compared to the average lifetime salary gains from a college or advanced degree. But such average figures, of course, can hide the fact that some careers just don't make for such a good return on the investment. Science and teaching are almost certainly on the low side of that average, which is pumped up by those who go on to things like law and business school. The article directly addresses this in one case, that of the vanishing researchers with medical degrees. In the mid-'80s, there were over 23,000 of them. That number has now dropped to 15,000.

It's also noted that there may be a significant psychological component to the debt that's waiting for a college student's graduation. Princeton's experience with replacing loans with grants (something only the wealthiest schools could consider) was intended to open up the student body to the less wealthy, but it had the additional effect of opening up greater career choices to those graduating. In the absence of debt, far more students considered careers in public service, including teaching. This shouldn't be surprising, as student debt hits people at a critical time, where they have less fiscal experience and career certainty, and when they'd probably rather use their debt for items like a house or car.

Are student debts actually keeping college graduates from considering careers in teaching science or performing research? That article doesn't say, and I haven't been able to find any studies on the topic. But it does mention three programs for debt forgiveness in return for public service. One of them was for teachers in New York City (who get a housing allowance) and the second eliminates part of the debt of MDs who perform NIH-sponsored medical research. The existence of such programs suggests that there is at least some problem in these areas.

I'm going to wrap this up with my own personal take on this. Science has had ongoing issues with attracting a diverse group of practitioners, suggesting that potentially talented scientists never consider entering the field. If the burden of student debts dissuades people from pursing careers in science, this situation will only become exacerbated. One potential danger is that science will become a career choice available primarily for those who complete their education without debt: the wealthy. If this does occur, there is the risk that modern science could become something similar to its 19th century antecedents, when it was a career of choice that was exclusively performed by the rich.

Apr 28 , 2020 / By :

The video game industry and its ratings policy have been under scrutiny lately by the United States Congress, who accuse the industry of allowing mature games to be sold to minors and not being honest enough about the ratings games receive. In the latest round, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has issued a written statement (PDF) to the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. The document discusses the ESRB’s role in regulating the industry by providing ratings based on the game’s content. HangZhou Night Net

A short history of the ESRB might be in order. Back in the early days of the video game revolution, there were literally no rules or restrictions on what kind of content game producers could ship. That led to titles such as 1982’s Custer’s Revenge for the Atari 2600, where the objective was to run your naked cowboy through a hail of arrows and traps to get to and violate a tied and bound native woman.

Due partly to the glut of poorly-made games with questionable content, Atari collapsed in 1983, taking the nascent console video game industry with it. To ensure that this disaster would not repeat itself, Nintendo initiated the policy (backed up by a lockout chip) of requiring that all third-party games go through an approval process, a stance that became standard for the entire industry. However, there were still concerns that some video games were getting too violent and/or offensive for children. These concerns turned into a political firefight with Congressional hearings in 1992 over games such as Sega’s campy Night Trap and Midway’s Mortal Kombat (the latter of which had some blood and violence removed by Nintendo but not by rival Sega, who wound up selling more copies of the game as a result). These hearings led to the foundation of ESRB in 1994.

Despite the formation of the ESRB, video games continued to come under fire. The Columbine massacre in 1999 brought outcries against games like DOOM that the shooters apparently favored. (Bowling, however, remained controversy-free). More recently, a storm of controversy over the Hot Coffee mod for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas brought more political pressure on the ESRB. Board president Patricia E. Vance fought back against these criticisms:

In 30 days, the ESRB had thoroughly investigated a complex and unprecedented situation affecting one of the most popular video games ever released, had assessed the implications and scope of the content and its availability, changed its policies regarding disclosure requirements for locked-out content, and imposed prudent corrective actions on the publisher that effectively removed a top-selling product from the marketplace.

I submit that there is no other industry self-regulatory system willing or capable of imposing such swift and sweeping sanctions on its own members, which in this particular case resulted in the removal of a top-selling product from the market and a major loss of sales.

The ESRB president went on to defend the actions of the Board, and said that in the event of any future cases of publishers not being completely honest about the content of their games, the ESRB would be empowered to impose fines up to US$1 million for the most serious infractions, and even suspend rating services.

One point that Vance brought up was that it is silly to expect the ESRB to personally play through all the games that they assign ratings to. Instead, the procedure is that publishers assemble a representative video of game play and send this to the Board for review. When I worked at EA, I had the opportunity to compile such a tape for the PlayStation version of NBA Live 2001, and while it was an enjoyable break from my usual tasks, it took the better part of a day to ensure that everything was well-represented—and this was for a relatively simple game of basketball that wound up easily receiving its “E” rating.

Surely after the Hot Coffee debacle game publishers are going to be extremely careful that their ESRB videos contain any questionable content, even hidden content. New ESRB rules, in fact, make this mandatory. Indeed, the Federal Trade Commission already believes (PDF) that the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s rating system generally works well, although the issue of undisclosed content is a concern.

So will this defense help video games against attacks by politicians looking to score a few easy points? The ESRB is hoping that when combined with new public education campaigns such as the joint effort with Penny Arcade, it will keep the hot coffee out of the industry’s lap.