Tag Archives: Steam
Things are looking good for a medical marijuana bill introduced in the New Hampshire legislature.
The Concord Monitor reports:
In advance of a hearing this week on a bill to legalize medical marijuana, a UNH-WMUR poll shows that 79 percent of New Hampshire adults support allowing doctors to recommend marijuana for patients suffering from serious illnesses. [emphasis added]
This year’s bill, H.B. 573, is similar to a medical marijuana measure that passed last year with bipartisan support. Unfortunately, it was vetoed by then-governor John Lynch. The recent election of Gov. Maggie Hassan, however, bodes well for the future of the latest bill. According to a report from the Associated Press earlier this month:
Four years ago when she was a state senator, Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan voted to override one of the vetoes, which legalized the use of marijuana with a doctor’s prescription. She still supports tightly controlled, medicinal use of marijuana, spokesman Marc Goldberg said.
A bill will reach Hassan, House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff of Concord believes.
More than a year and a half after it was first announced (Valve Time, remember?), Steam’s Big Picture mode has been released in beta. The primary purpose of it is to enable Steam users to easily navigate the program with a controller when it’s plugged into a television, and in that regard it is extremely successful. The question, however, is whether this is really all that impactful.
Big Picture mode is certainly useful, provided you have a workable setup. After opting into the beta (head to Steam’s Settings page to do so) and restarting Steam, a button in the upper-right corner appears. By clicking this or tapping the Guide button on an Xbox 360 controller, Big Picture mode launches and provides a controller-friendly way of navigating Steam’s core features: the store, game library, and community sections. Also included is a surprisingly decent browser, giving you quick and easy access to a browser on your TV screen that can be accessed even while playing a game.
The much-vaunted Steam Greenlight opened for business last week, and immediately there was a strong response. After only a day there were already 2.3 million votes registered for the 622 games submitted to the service, giving us a glimpse of the monumental task Steam’s approval team has been faced with in the past. A pair of problems also emerged pretty quickly.
Discoverability was a major issue — it’s more challenging than it should be to find the best Greenlight has to offer. The other problem is that not every submission has been a legitimate one. For days it wasn’t difficult to stumble upon listings for Half-Life 3, Left 4 Dead 3, or something equally fake but far more offensive, like WTC Plane Simulator. Users have been called upon to report submissions that don’t belong on Greenlight, but Valve has now implemented a more effective, albeit controversial, method for stopping these games from ever getting onto users’ screens: all submissions now require a $ 100 donation to the Child’s Play charity.
Over the past decade, Steam has gone from an optional piece of software used to deliver updates to Valve’s games to an annoying hindrance which prevented many from playing Half-Life 2 at launch to the one and only place to purchase PC games for many gamers. It’s been a remarkable transformation, particularly when considering just how significant of a portion of the digital PC games market it commands — Stardock, which operated competing digital distribution service Impulse, estimated Steam’s market share as being 70 percent in 2009. Steam has only grown in size since then, and while it now faces more competition from Origin, Amazon, and others, it remains the preeminent source of digital PC games. Beginning very soon, it will expand into a new market that will help to ensure its future growth even if Origin and company continue to become bigger players in the games space.
Valve announced today that the first pieces of non-gaming software will be released on Steam on September 5. No names were revealed; the closest we got to any degree of specificity was a line in the press release which reads, “The Software titles coming to Steam range from creativity to productivity.” That’s still awfully vague, so it looks as if we’ll be waiting a bit longer before finding out exactly what kind of programs you’ll be able to download alongside your copies of Audiosurf and Portal 2.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Two German entrepreneurs have devised a way for passive-aggressive citizens to blow off some steam – dial a telephone number and give the person on the other end a verbal lashing.
The swearing hotline, known as “Schimpf-los” (“swear away”) in German, has operators standing by seven days a week for frustrated individuals to jeer at and taunt using the most unsavory language they can muster.
“We don’t judge people who are angry,” said Ralf Schulte, who set up the hotline with his fellow media services provider Alexander Brandenburger.
“It happens. It’s natural. With us you can blow off steam no strings attached,” 41-year-old Schulte told Reuters.
The creators of the service found inspiration in their own stressful daily routines. The way Schulte sees it, he is doing people a favor by providing a release for pent-up aggravation and helping to avoid altercations in the workplace or at home.
“If you’re stressed out at work, you go home and your partner gets an earful,” he said. “Even though it’s not her fault.”
When callers are not creative in their cursing, or find themselves tongue-tied, operators on the hotline prod them with cheeky provocations like: “That’s the third time I’ve heard that today – is that all you’ve got?”
The service costs 1.49 euros per minute – a figure Schulte feels is completely justified. “For getting everything off your chest, it’s a bargain.”
(Reporting by Chris Cottrell; Editing by Stephen Brown)
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