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Comment: Re:Why all the Safari/Apple hate ?... (Score 1) 304 304

Web developer here. Safari really does lag behind the other major browsers in terms of what it can do. At my job we're essentially keeping it on semi-support (ie. we're treating even the most modern version of Safari like it's IE9) because it's not exactly uncommon that CSS that works unprefixed in every other browser still requires a prefix in Safari - and maybe an older version of the syntax. Or it isn't supported at all. JS-wise the same applies: Every once in a while we come across thigs that everyone but Safari can do these days and then we have to add polyfills that make the site heavier.

Safari has a decent user interface (although its developer tools feel a bit clunky) and the integration with iOS Simulator is a godsend for mobile development. But that doesn't change the fact that Safari has fallen behind in terms of getting standards adopted. That's why I'm happy that Safari has only a minor market share - having first-class support for all the other major desktop browsers and half a dozen mobile ones is already enough work.

Comment: Re:Wow gorgeous (Score 2) 301 301

Which is why one of the first things I'll do with Windows 10 will be to install a patch that fixes uxtheme.dll. The Microsoft-provided version in every Windows so far had this persistent bug where it can't see third-party themes, which is annoying and something Microsoft really ought to fix themselves instead of relying on external programmers to pick up the slack.

Comment: Re:Can I swap the d-pad & left joysticks? (Score 1) 99 99

Depends on what you're doing with your gamepad. For console gamers, sure, because analog sticks are the only precise directional input device available. On a PC, however, things look different and analog sticks are much less important as most of what they do is better done with a mouse.

As a PC gamer I have three main uses for a gamepad: Platformers and brawlers (where the D-pad is much superior due to its responsiveness and ease of use) and shooters (where the D-pad performs reasonably well and the analog stick only sometimes offers a real benefit). That means that the D-pad is usually the directional input device of choice.

The X360 pads have the D-pad in an awkward position for use as the main input device - because it's not supposed to be used like that. Unfortunately, that makes them sub-optimal for my use case, which is why I went for Logitech instead. Their F310/F710 series is pretty much an X360 pad with PSX-style analog sticks. The focus on the D-pad is very much appreciated, even if the design of the D-pad itself could be more ergonomic.

Again, though, it all depends on the use case. I can see how a console gamer would prefer to have the analog stick more easily accessible than the D-pad. Of course this does work in favor of the GP's post: Having those parts swappable would make the controller more attractive to a wider audience.

Comment: Re:Especially odd... (Score 1) 186 186

Skype has one killer feature for me: Working feedback suppression. With Skype I can use my notebook's built-in speakers and microphone and there is no feedback at all. With every other VoIP program I've used so far, be it Jitsi, TeamSpeak or Tox, I have to wear a headset or the conversation drowns in feedback. TeamSpeak at least tries but its implementation is clumsy (simply turning off the audio stream if it thinks feedback might happen) and unreliable.

Now, I could of course just wear a headset. Unfortunately, I need to be aware of ambient sounds so a stereo headset is out of the question and a quality mono headset that doesn't fall apart from moderate use will set me back by far more than I'm willing to spend.

So I stick with Skype despite all the warts. Because no other gratis software offers working feedback suppression. (Of course if someone added Skype-level feedback supression to Tox I'd switch in a heartbeat.)

Comment: Re:PC is the only one that counts (Score 1) 204 204

Well, I'm a sucker for gameplay that guides the player without shoving them around. FO3 has a very natural flow from the first dungeon to the first town (introducing completely new players to the concepts of looting and trading) and from there to an obvious but well-integrated tutorial quest for the most important game mechanics. And apart from that dungeon all of it is optional, altough the intended progression is the most likely. Still, it's not like the game is forcing you to go to Megaton; it just happens to be nearby and you probably want to trade.

You could say that FONV's beginning does less hand-holding but that doesn't mean it doesn't make you go in a certain direction. For instance, when I first played the game I was so ambivalent towards the main quest that my first impulse was to say "screw that stolen delivery; I'm going to Vegas!" and then get repeatedly killed by cazadores while trying to make my way northeast. I only did what the designers wanted me to do after I had realized that doing what I actually wanted to do would be a very tough luck-based mission.

That's where I see the quality difference in the games' designs: FO3 makes sure that the interests of the designers and the players align closely. You want to go to Megaton. You want to talk to Moira. The tutorial quest sounds like easy money so new players are interested in doing it. Skipping Megaton entirely and going straight for DC is dangerous but reasonably possible. FONV, on the other hand, relies on hordes of deathclaws and cazadores to ensure that the player moves in the right direction if they don't like the utterly generic beginning of the main plot.

That's one thing that negatively affected my opinion of FONV: It makes you go in the intended direction not by making that direction particularly attractive but by just plainly walling every other direction off with tough enemies. That kinds breaks the immersion once you realize it.

FONV's beginning could've been more interesting if the designers had made sure to get the player interested in the right things. For instance, there could've been a short part before the intro where the player walks along some road not part of the game world proper, loots a corpse and shoots a couple dogs or something. Then the ambush happens (getting the player more involved than an intro sequence not connected to anything) and after the player wakes up in the doctor's house their inventory is empty and they are informed that the robot had carried all their stuff all the way to Primm for some reason. Now the player is interested in going to Primm because, main quest or not, "my stuff is there" is always a good reason to go somewhere. Especially if you have the equipment DLCs installed and want that grenade launcher back...

Comment: Re:PC is the only one that counts (Score 2) 204 204

To be perfectly honest I actually think FO3 is more fun than FONV. A lot of that stems from the fact that FO3's initial stages are brilliantly designed while FONV's are... just kinda there.

FO3 starts off with a tutorial-slash-character-creation that actually gives you a couple snapshots of life in a vault while simultaneously getting you invested in the story. You've interacted with your dad enough for him to be an actual character so you can actually care about him running off. You get a feeling of just how much turmoil the vault is in. Thne, once you're out of the vault you immediately see the first town, which is very welcome because you have no money and a lot of vendor trash. So you go to the merchant and are immediately offered a discretionary extended tutorial in the form of the Wasteland Survival Guide quest. This tutorial, in turn, makes you travel to a variety of places, both making future exploration easier and getting you involved in further sidequests.
In essence, the game leads you towards learning its mechanics and getting involved in sidequests by means of well-crafted gameplay. You can skip much of that but for a first-time player it's easily found and feels very natural.

FONV, on the other hand... You get a generic cutscene of some people shooting you in the head. Then you wake up and have a chat with a doctor in an admittedly well-made character generation sequence. After he kicks you out the door you're just kinda there, with a storyline of "someone took some MacGuffin from you and you want it back so you can finish your job and get paid what's likely to be a pittance compared to what you're going to randomly loot throughout the game". Progression from there consists of either asking some person if they'll give you a basic tutorial or just walking off in the one direction that isn't infested with deathclaws and cazadores. There's still no investment in the main storyline and the whole thing feels very constructed and artificial.

Now, the DLCs are where FONV shines. They are actually well-written, entertaining and heads and shoulders above FO3's, even if Honest Hearts bugged out on me, causing everyone in the valley to hate me and turning the entire thing into a brainless run and gun romp. Old World Blues more than made up for that, though. The main game, however, is kind of uninteresting to the point where I have no idea if I ever followed the main quest beyond going to Primm.

I guess in the end FONV has the better writing and characters but FO3 is better at motivating me to actually do something. And in the end I value gameplay over writing.

Comment: Re:Web developers know they'll be attacked (Score 1) 225 225

I'm not saying that Ruby and Python are highly secure systems. I'm saying that Ruby and Python web devs are smarter than PHP web devs. They less frequently get ideas like "let's use MD5 for our password hashes in 2015" or "I don't see the problem with opening a new MySQL connection every time I want something from the database". The main reason for that is that web development in Python and Ruby is more difficult than in PHP unless you have a bit of programming experience. Fewer completely green developers mean fewer rookie mistakes.

As for HTML: Yes, although those are most often boundary cases where HTML has to interact with other languages - and where the theoretical pure HTML webdev should talk to the people who use those other languages. In practice, of course, nobody uses HTML alone and thus most webdev do have to deal with JS and server-side security matters. The language itself is pretty safe, it's ecosystem isn't.

Comment: Re:Web developers know they'll be attacked (Score 1) 225 225

Well, those writing just straight HTML don't need to know much about security because that's not HTML's job. As for the PHP monkeys: It depends. Does the monkey use words like "Suhosin" and refuse to use a PHP older than 5.5 because that's when bcrypt became part of the standard library? Then there's a chance they actually do care about security. On the other hand, if they talk about writing WordPress plugins there's a fair chance they've given up Visual Basic development because they weren't smart enough for that.

It's a bit better with other languages; people who do their web development in Python or Ruby are usually a bit smarter than PHP monkeys (though not neccessarily smart enough to leave web development for pastures with bigger paychecks).

Disclaimer: I am a former PHP monkey. And what I said about WordPress plugin developers was far too kind.

Comment: Re:Teddy Ruxpin wasn't considered creepy (Score 1) 102 102

If I remember correctly the "Teddy Ruxpin is creepy" meme stems from the fact that a Ruxpin on dying batteries would, well, sound exactly like any tape recorder on dying batteries: Wobbly and slowed down (and correspondingly pitched down). Also, the motions wouldn't work right because the motors wouldn't get enough power. I guess that might've creeped out a child or two.

Comment: Re: Not forced... (Score 1) 302 302

Honestly, if you can't afford a driver's license you can't afford a car, either. While you can get cars for a few hundred bucks those will probably only last you until your next inspection, not to mention that you still have to pay insurance on the thing. Prices for reasonable used cars will probably start somewhere around 2,500 to 3,000 EUR.

As for the insurance: The details depend on many, many factors but as a ballpark figure you can expect about 400-500 EUR per year for that, too. You'll also need gasoline or diesel, which come at about 1.40 EUR/l (~ 5.94 USD/gallon) or 1.20 EUR/l (~ 5.08 USD/gallon), respectively*.

Honestly, poor people will probably just go for a regional ticket, which usually covers trains, trams and buses. Vastly more economical** and Germany has very solid public transport in all but the most rural places.

* Current prices near where I live. You might save up to 20 ct/l by refueling at a better time than nine o'clock in the evening but it's still not exactly cheap.
** The local transport association offers a twelve month ticket for the entire area (8,800; ~ 3,400 sq.mi) for about 200 EUR or for less if you don't need the entire area. That's less than half of what a car's insurance alone would cost. If you do need to take a long-distance trip you can get good prices (about 80 EUR to get across Germany without having to resort to local trains) by ordering well ahead of time and taking trains or buses at less-congested times.

Comment: Re:I'm shocked ... (Score 1) 249 249

Look, policing is a hard, dangerous, often thankless job, and you have to understand that not everybody who wants to do it is qualified. When you hand an unqualified person a badge and a gun, they don't suddenly become qualified -- in fact, they become a liability to police everywhere.

It seems that a good solution would be to make sure that people who get badges are qualified. Make police officer a trained profession with standardized requirements. If becoming a police officer required three years of schooling, training and taking standardized tests you'd weed out some of the deadbeats and end up with police officers who have a decent understanding of both the law they're supposed to enforce and of how to enforce it without holding everyone they meet at gunpoint. With time it might turn turn policemen from people who everyone else instinctively fears and distrusts into actually respected members of society again.

It would also cut down on nonsense like putting Steven Segal in a tank and letting him drive into someone's living room. It's cute if a celebrity wants to tag along and watch but law enforcement is not a theme park and deputizing people who know nothing about law enforcement for shits and giggles should not happen.

Comment: Re: Not forced... (Score 1) 302 302

Please educate me if I am wrong, but I understand that in most European nations, acquiring a license means you actually have to demonstrate skill with maneuvering the vehicle and it's not nearly so easy. The failure rate for license applicants is significantly higher, and since driving means we're talking life and limb, that sounds quite reasonable. If you have only driven in Europe you might even find my descriptions difficult to believe, but I promise you I see this and worse every day.

In Germany things are much more stringent (and expensive I'd wager) but ultimately a lot depends on whether it's your first license or you have gotten another one in the last couple years (eg. I got a 125cc motorcycle license and then a car license shorty after, which had changed requirements).

First you are required to first take a certain number of theoretical lessons (I think about two dozen for a car license if you don't have a previous license), followed by a standardized theoretical exam (multiple choice) where each wrong answer nets you negative points, ranging from two points for things like being mistaken about whether to shift up or down when driving up a hill to five points for anything that impacts the safety of others.

The modalities for the test vary. If you don't have a previous license you get thirty questions and fail if you get more than ten points. If you do have a previous license you only get twenty questions but fail at more than six points. Oh, and the test is more or less randomized (random selection of a set of standardized sheets) so you won't see the same questions again if you retake it. You do, however, get a stack of training sheets which work like the test sheets so you have ample opportunity to test yourself beforehand.

After the theoretical exam you have to take practical lessons. Like with the theoretical exams the exact number and details vary with the kind of license you're trying to get and whether you've gotten another license shortly before but you can expect probably at least a dozen driving sessions plus a few special conditions sessions like driving at night, driving on the highway, semi-long distance drives over regional roads etc.

Te actual practical exam involves both your driving teacher and an independent tester and boils down to driving around and submitting to their every whim for a while, preceded by a few questions of the "what does that lever do" variety. While a minor mistake might not cost you the license you will immediately fail if, for any reason, the teacher steps on the secondary brake installed on their side of the car.

Everything is billed and the tests don't come cheap, which is another incentive to learn your stuff. Examples for total costs for a car license I can offer are 2,500 EUR (2002, no retakes, slightly lowered lesson count) and 4,000 EUR (2015, one theoretical retake, all lessons required). Of course it can go even higher if you're really bad at cars.

Add to that things like mandatory first aid courses and you've got... roads that are still full of idiots but at least they're somewhat competent idiots who know what they're doing wrong. And who have the neccessary medical qualification to roll up to the site of an accident, freeze up in terror and let the 112 operator handle the rest (for the record, the law doesn't allow you to flat-out ignore an unattended accident site). But at some point they've heard of the term "recovery position" so that's at least something.

The first myth of management is that it exists. The second myth of management is that success equals skill. -- Robert Heller