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Comment: Re:Eh... (Score 2) 67

by CastrTroy (#49817801) Attached to: LEGO Launches a Minecraft Competitor On Steam

The fact it runs on pretty much any computer really helped its popularity too

I don't know where you get this from. I have seen many computers where it doesn't run, or it fails to run well. For a game with quite simplistic graphics, it sure does take a powerful machine to run it. Sure it runs on Linux, OSX, and Windows, but it requires quite a lot of resources on any of those machines. I've seen Minecraft clones that run much faster than the official Minecraft, despite the fact that the game creator obviously put very little effort into the game. Which means that it's not as fun to play, but ultimately on some of my computers its the only choice I have, as the official Minecraft is extremely slow and unplayable.

Comment: Re:No multiplayer? No competition (Score 3, Informative) 67

by CastrTroy (#49817761) Attached to: LEGO Launches a Minecraft Competitor On Steam

I don't know about that. My kids love Minecraft, and they've never played it online. They sometimes play pocket Minecraft on their iPods against/with each other locally, but that's only a small part of their total playing time. I agree that multiplayer has been a huge part of what made it popular, but I don't think it was necessary to the success of the game.

What I think would really kill Minecraft would be to have a game that doesn't suck resources and require a super compute to run. It's kind of sad that Minecraft Pocket runs fine on my 4 year old Android 2.3 phone, but that the full version requires a beefy desktop to run well. Especially now that the pocket version has infinite worlds, and almost all the other features of the desktop version. Also, if they could get an actual supported method for writing mods so that things wouldn't have to be fixed every time they released a new version. Those two changes would make a huge difference and make the game a lot more enjoyable for everyone.

Comment: Re:Like Sourceforge? (Score 1) 77

If the first one was accepted, it would have been filled with complaints about "how is this news?", along with a bunch of ranting and raving about how the editors don't know how to do their job. I don't see what we gained from having this story posted on slashdot. Most people who come here probably already know that Sourceforge is a hive of scum and villainy, and has been on most of our ignore lists for quite some time.

Comment: Re:No thanks. (Score 3, Interesting) 84

by CastrTroy (#49816867) Attached to: The Artificial Pancreas For Diabetics Is Nearly Here

My understanding is that there isn't a direct relation between what's being read from the sensor and what is actually in the blood. The glucose sensor just senses the amount of glucose in the blood. So if it gives a reading of x, and then gives a dose of y units of insulin to counteract, it doesn't know that you're going to start running in 1 minute which will decrease the glucose levels further than it expected to based on the amount of insulin delivered. So, now you're going to be low on glucose. The only way to do that is to add glucose to the blood. Assuming this system does this, it can bring the blood sugar back up. However, it also doesn't know about the chocolate bar you just ingested which will again add glucose to your system in the near future.

For a system like this to work, it has to make constant tiny adjustments to your insulin and glucose levels to ensure that it always remains in a certain safe zone. Scott Hanselman did a pretty good write-up a few years back. It's really kind of depressing when you look into the current state of affairs. The diabetes industry seems to be more concerned with making money than actually solving people's problems.

Comment: Re:'Doze mode...? (Score 1) 83

Which is quite a coincidence, because my new Windows phone is actually quite good at not draining the battery when I'm not doing anything. The other day I was still at 95% battery by the end of the day because I was too busy to use my phone. My old Android phone on the other hand would easily go through 25-50% of it's battery in a day, even if I didn't use it for much. Most of the time I would plug it in at the office because if I didn't, it would be below 20% by the end of the day.

Comment: Re:Doesn't get it (Score 2) 306

I don't think you can fix this problem by trying to teach more people how to program. Making students take math classes every year hasn't helped solve the problem of not having enough mathematicians. High level math is just something that is beyond the cognitive capabilities of most people. I'm not ashamed to admit that it's above my cognitive capability.

Programming, and more specifically, actual software development, as opposed to just being able to write a few simple functions like one would use in Excel, is also something that I believe to be outside the ability of a large percentage of the population. You can try to teach programming to everybody, and that may bring the number of programmers up a bit and salaries may go down a little bit, but it's not going to solve the fundamental problem which is that most people will never be able to write software.

Comment: Re:No kid should be forced to code ... (Score 1) 306

I think the difference is that writing is an important skill to have even if you aren't going to be writing novels. My life would be so much easier if people writing emails could just compose a few simple sentences that are easy to understand.

Programming on the other hand doesn't seem to be all that useful unless you want to actually write computer programs. And I say that as somebody who is a programmer. It's definitely not something that everybody needs to know how to do. There's so many other skills that students are lacking in. Trying to add another subject which will only help a tiny fraction of students seems like a bad idea.

Comment: Re:And all 9 Android/MIDI users were happy (Score 1) 106

by CastrTroy (#49793803) Attached to: Android M To Embrace USB Type-C and MIDI

I think that MIDI support in and of itself is fine, but Android has so many other things that would be useful to so many more people. How about mounting network drives so that you can access them in every application. How about integrating Google Drive so that applications can access files without the application developer having to write code specifically to handle it?

Comment: Re:And who's going to pay for it? (Score 1) 272

Not as far as I'm concerned. The last space race meant we just build very large things that already existed. We basically built really big rockets. Rockets have been around for centuries. We also used computers for navigating the rockets. But computers advanced on their own without the need for the space race to really push them. We developed some pretty interesting materials and technologies to make the rockets lighter, and to make sure they didn't burn up on re-entry. But we didn't actually come up with any solutions that made it significantly easier to lift mass out of earth's gravity well. It still requires huge amounts of energy (and therefore money) to lift things into space.

Comment: Re:And who's going to pay for it? (Score 1) 272

You're still looking at a very long time to turn around and come back. Apollo 13 was only a 5 day mission, and their oxygen system problems happened 56 hours into the mission. They were only 15 hours from the moon when they encountered problems. Turning around was a relatively simple thing to do in this case. When your turn around point is 5 months away and something goes wrong, you have to have the materials on board to fix it. You don't have the option of just aborting the mission early and coming back home.

Comment: Re:Not sure why this article was written (Score 2) 93

by CastrTroy (#49793195) Attached to: Cloud Boom Drives Sales Boom For Physical Servers

What it really means is that it makes many have access to servers that never had them before. Before all these cloud servers showed up, if I wanted to have a place to backup my files to, I would buy another hard drive or backup to DVD. Which means I bought 0 servers. Now with cloud storage services, I just back my stuff up to the cloud. I'm using a certain percentage of a server.

A lot of things that require servers just didn't used to get done, because it wasn't feasible to buy your own personal server for yourself if you aren't going to utilize a significant portion of its resources. But with cloud services, even if you only need 1% of a server, you can still do that task because it's now possible to buy very small pieces of processing and network time.

Comment: Re:And who's going to pay for it? (Score 4, Informative) 272

This is what people don't seem to get. Even getting people to Mars is a much bigger task than just launching a single rocket. The round trip time for a Mars mission is around 2 years. You have to send everything you need along for the ride. All the food that the astronauts need to eat on the ride will need to be brought along with them. I've seen some numbers (can't find the link now), that even a single Mars mission would require 30 launches of supplies from the earth. There's also no ability to bail out like they did with Apollo 13. Once they are on their way there, there is no possibility of turning around. Even when you get there, you have to wait about 6 months for the planets to get into the right alignment for the trip home.

Comment: Re:Uber not worth $41 billion ... (Score 1) 107

by CastrTroy (#49768861) Attached to: Tech Bubble? What Tech Bubble?

Tastes are very subjective. I know people who think Pepsi tastes a lot better. I'd personally rather drink root beer, cream soda, or ginger ale given the option. Coke has a much bigger mind share than Pepsi. It had a 13 year lead on Pepsi. That's a huge gap to make up, Even if they have had over 100 years to do it. They really only started to catch on during the great depression by marketing themselves as a cheaper alternative. That may have gotten them a few more sales, but it isn't a good place to be situating yourself when the market gets good again. People will want to go back to "the real thing". Coke isn't what it used to be either. They don't use real sugar anymore and most people say you can tell the difference between Mexican or Passover Coke compared to the stuff they generally sell in the US. But people still prefer it over smaller companies that do use real sugar.

Comment: Re:Wireless charging (Score 2) 41

by CastrTroy (#49767971) Attached to: Daimler and Qualcomm To Develop In-Car Tech, Wireless Charging

If you really want to charge quickly, you aren't going to beat a cable. Just like if you actually want fast network access, you should plug in an ethernet cable. In car wireless charging would be "good enough" if it provided enough power to use your phone as a bluetooth streaming or navigation system without draining the battery. As long as the battery is maintaining a constant charge when using the phone for normal in-car functions, it doesn't really need to be able to top off the battery quickly.

My phone has been off the charger since last night at 10 PM (it's now 10 AM, so 12 hours), and it's still at 100% charge. Because I didn't need to use it for much. Sent a few text messages, read some emails, basic stuff really. It's only when I start using it for stuff like browsing the web, watching youtube videos, or doing active navigation (GPS logging doesn't seem to do much to the battery) that the battery starts to deplete significantly. A lot of that usage comes in the car when I'm using it as a GPS, or listening to bluetooth audio streamed from the web. If I could just stop my phone battery from depleting when I'm actively using it certain scenarios, I could probably go close to a week without actually needing to plug it into a wall.

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