Australian Cops Seize Ecstasy Shipment Hidden inside PS2

October 14, 2008 -

Opening up your game console usually voids the warranty - especially if you then proceed to stuff it with illegal substances.

As reported by the Courier Mail, police in Australia have arrested three men after finding 3,400 ecstasy tablets concealed inside a PlayStation 2 that was shipped to their residence in Surfers Paradise.

Don't expect to see these guys hanging ten anytime soon. The maximum penalty is life in prison and/or an $825,000 fine.

53 comments

Report: Can't Play PS3 Games with Military Friends in Iraq & Afghanistan

October 14, 2008 -

We don't have much detail on this one, but a brief story on MaxConsole indicates that gamers in the U.S. are unable to use the PlayStation Network to play PS3 games online with friends and relatives serving with military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan:

A writer over at Sony Insider is asking Sony why he cannot play PS3 games over the PSN with his friends who are serving abroad the United States military.

 

According to the report: If you have a friend who lives in a different country, then its likely you will not be able to add them as a friend on your PS3. The reason why is that if you register your PS3 in a specific country, your Playstation Network is limited to that region. So, if my friend from the United States registers his/her Playstation 3 while they are on tour in Iraq/Afghanistan, then I will never be able to add them as long as I’m a US resident.

 

The writer says it is time Sony removed the restrictions of the Playstation Network and made it truly global.

The original post is not showing up at Sony Insider. It's unclear whether it was removed for some reason. MaxConsole does mention a work-around:

There is a workaround, but it is weak - if you purchased your PS3 in the USA, registered it there, and then brought it to another country you can still play your friends.

GP: It's ironic that this situation has become an issue, especially since the SOCOM commercial at left suggests that U.S. gamers could play via PS2 with overseas military gamers.

10 comments

African Press: Obama Gets it Wrong, Brownback Gets it Right on Congo Coltan and the "PlayStation War"

July 28, 2008 -

A few weeks back GamePolitics covered the so-called PlayStation War raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The issue revolves around Congo's supply of the mineral coltan, used in PlayStation 2's and many other consumer electronic devices.

In the latest development, a press release issued by the Panafrican Press Association charges that U.S. presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama just doesn't get it when it comes to the relationship between coltan and the ongoing conflict in Congo. Claiming that Obama has mistakenly portrayed the strife as ethnic, the PPA writes:

Statements... attributed to Obama, explains in part why there is such silence around the tragic situation in the Congo. The conflict is unfortunately and wrongly presented as ethnic bloodletting. The ethnic rationale... plays into long-held stereotypes that Africans are interminably trapped in "tribal bloodletting," hence, nothing can be done...

 

The central reason for the nearly six million dead in the Congo since 1996 is not "ethnic strife" but rather the scramble for Congo's enormous treasure trove of diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, coltan, tin, timber and more...

 

Beneficiaries of Congo's resource war include foreign corporations and consumers... Coltan is a key mineral that drives the conflict in the Congo and is found in our cell phones, laptop computers, digital cameras, video game consoles and many other devices. Congo has anywhere from 64% - 80% of the world's reserve of coltan.
 

GP: We were surprised to learn that conservative Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) is taking an active interest in the Congo coltan situation. Indeed, however, Brownback and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the Conflict Coltan and Casserite Act in the Senate on May 23rd. Of the legislative proposal, Brownback said:

We are witnessing a grave humanitarian crisis in Congo, and we must act now to put an end to the death and suffering. Everyday, Americans use products that have been manufactured using inhumanely mined minerals. The legislation introduced by Senator Durbin and I will bring accountability and transparency to the supply chain of minerals used in the manufacturing of many electronic devices.

Sen. Durbin added:

Without knowing it, tens of millions of people in the United States may be putting money in the pockets of some of the worst human rights violators in the world, simply by using a cell phone or laptop computer. We ought to do all we can to make sure that the products we use and the minerals we import, in no way support those who violate human rights abroad.

 

Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

July 11, 2008 -

The PlayStation 2's requirement for a rare metal in its manufacturing process helped fuel a bloody, decade-long conflict in Africa's Democratic Republic of Congo, according to an investigative report on Toward Freedom.

The site alleges that demand for coltan by Sony and other personal electronics manufacturers led Rwandan troops and Western companies to exploit the people and mineral resources of Congo, with children often forced to work in mines.

Oona King, a former member of the British Parliament, told Toward Freedom:

Kids in Congo were being sent down mines to die so that kids in Europe and America could kill imaginary aliens in their living rooms. 

So, what is coltan? From the report:

After it is refined, coltan becomes a bluish-gray powder called tantalum... [which] has one significant use: to satisfy the West’s insatiable appetite for personal technology. Tantalum is used to make cell phones, laptops and other electronics made, for example, by SONY, a multi-billion dollar multinational based in Japan that manufactures the iconic PlayStation...

Researcher David Barouski commented:

[The] PlayStation 2 launch... was a big part of the huge increase in demand for coltan...  SONY and other companies like it, have the benefit of plausible deniability because the coltan ore trades hands so many times from when it is mined to when SONY gets a processed product, that a company often has no idea where the original coltan ore came from, and frankly don’t care to know. But statistical analysis shows it to be nearly inconceivable that SONY made all its PlayStations without using Congolese coltan.

A Sony rep told Toward Freedom that the company now takes steps to ensure that it does not use coltan illegally obtained from Congo in its manufacturing processes.

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MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoAh yes, because by building something nice they were just asking for people to come push them out. Consequences are protested all the time when other people are implementing them.04/17/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew Wilsonok than they should not protest when the consequences of that choice occur.04/17/2014 - 1:06pm
NeenekoIf people want tall buildings, plenty of other cities with them. Part of freedom and markets is communities deciding what they do and do not want built in their collective space.04/17/2014 - 12:55pm
Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
 

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