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Comment: Good, but could have been Great. (Score 1) 732

by way2slo (#45364917) Attached to: Movie Review: <em>Ender's Game</em>

Acting wise: Butterfield was Great, pretty much carried the film. (which is good because he had to) Ford and Davis were Good. Kingsley and the rest of the cast were OK. There was not much room for character development outside of Ender, and even he felt rushed.

Plot wise: It was too fast. They easily could have spend another 15 minutes or so developing relationships or showing more Battle Room scenes. Spend time in Salamander showing how Ender thinks outside the box. Spend time in Rat showing how effective Ender's ideas are. Spend time in Dragon showing his command superiority. And there was no reason to tip their hand several times about the ending.

Visuals: They were Great, as expected. However, they were confusing in the Battle Room scenes as you clearly see kids getting "flashed" several times but it wasn't freezing them. You really could not tell if someone was "frozen" until they told you they were. If we have to be told, why have the special effects for it at all? The special effects teams should have done better there.

Direction: Hood messed-up the ending. Here, less subtlety was needed. We need to hear Ender and Bean say what they are thinking. And the observers were just standing there having discussions like it was half-time when they should have been going crazy like they just won the Super Bowl. And Ender should not have spiked the football and done a touchdown dance because Hood never had Ender doing those things before. It was out of character. Also out of character was when Ender became the dual-weilding, Battle Room Bad-A** after just one shooting lesson from Petra. Instead of that, Hood should have had Ender just talk to Petra while observing the battle, pointing out where Bonzo was tactically inept.

Comment: Re: Leave the AH in: (Score 1) 219

by way2slo (#44885677) Attached to: Auction Houses To Be Removed From <em>Diablo III</em>

Time = Money is not the only reason. And it is not simple. And it is a design flaw, though not directly evident.

MMO economies are very dynamic, more so than real life. I've read a few papers, grad students I believe, on trying to analyze MMO economics. One of the papers said most MMOs have issues with rampant inflation because they do not have enough money sinks. IRL, we all spend most of our income on Shelter, Food, Clothing, and Transportation. These are all vast money sinks, mostly due to maintenance of items or its use it and it's worthless nature. (food you have already eaten or clothing you have worn out) Basically, IRL we destroy wealth every day we live. At the same time we create wealth every day we live by performing a job whether it be producing something physical or performing a service. The difference is inflation (a net increase of money supply) or deflation (a net decrease of money supply). In the MMOs, wealth creation is as easy as finding a chest or slaying a mob. But the money sinks are few and far in between. The result is massive inflation which is the less worth a stack of gold coins has for a player because things cost more on the AH. The game designers built in the inflation, though they did not know they were doing it.

Another issue is a shift in the Supply/Demand principles as a byproduct of the wax and wane of the MMO player base over its life. Early game life sees high demand and low supply, mid life sees high demand and high supply, and late life sees low demand and high supply. Economic changes made to fix issues in one phase tend to cause issues in the following. For example, in early life the players complain that things are too expensive and they are constantly broke and cannot afford the best gear at the AH they want to buy. The devs respond by increasing the gold drop from mobs and chests. This fixes the issue until the game's mid life arrives, along with the rampant inflation they introduced. Supply catching up with demand should have brought prices back down, but the inflation prevented that from happening.

Probably the biggest economical issue with MMOs is that they break their in game economy deliberately. They sacrifice economical stability for fun. Let the player hack through the game and easily accumulate vast sums of money and fantastic gear in a few months of casual gaming time because that is what fun means on this MMO. It is not necessarily a bad thing as long as they do not try and pretend to care. Perhaps Blizzard has come to realize that it does not care about D3's economy and decided to stop pretending.

Comment: Re:Going against the /. grain (Score 1) 321

I agree. Just keep them as supporting characters. Luke & Leia are Jedi masters and give advice to the new main characters. Han , Chewie, & Lando are business partners and perhaps save the new characters once via some connections. However, along the way the plot kills a few of them to make things real.

Comment: Starship Troopers... (Score 1) 277

by way2slo (#41548779) Attached to: The Sci-fi Films To Look Forward To In 2013

Well yes they would call the book facist seeing as how it spend a good bit of time telling us how democracy was stupid. Then again, considering how democracy is faring in Europe and the US, perhaps we should all go read it and see how it relates to the current political crisis of "people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted... and get it, without toil, without sweat, without tears."

A faithful movie adaptation would have our stars debating political history in classrooms for most of the movie with intermittent combat sequences. In a word, boring. I think they did a good job with the movie. It's entertaining. "Medic!"

Comment: Re:ah, Ender's game (Score 1) 277

by way2slo (#41548403) Attached to: The Sci-fi Films To Look Forward To In 2013

That depends on where you post your wisdom.

The book describes a USENET system that is used by professional political analysts to debate issues and post opinion pieces, the best of which get selected to news media publication. Eventually they both get hired by national papers to write regular columns.

They were columnists, not bloggers. They cut their teeth on the professional level discussion boards, then started writing articles for legitimate news papers, and eventually became professional columnists for prominent new agencies.

They were smart enough to realize that the path to political clout was not though a blog or an amateur discussion site, but by acquiring real jobs as columnists for the best news sites. We can post political genius all day on our Facebook page or here on Slashdot and it will not get us anywhere. However, if instead we became professional columnists and worked hard to get a regular column on the WAPO or NYT and posted our wisdom there...the political powers will begin to materialize.

Comment: When they start out-lawing overhead (Score 3, Interesting) 630

by way2slo (#41352149) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When Does Time Tracking at Work Go Too Far?

Lots of companies force employees to track their time. Even salary employees who legally do not have to punch a clock to get paid. That's fine. It helps them for future estimates and proposals involving labor hours. It can be a very valuable tool.

However, all too often management begins to use these time tracking systems to try and shift overhead expenses to something billable to a customer. You walk in and read e-mails on billing guidance on how regular staff meetings, training, and even fire drills are billable to customers. Then another e-mail on billing guidance informs you that the normal overhead related billing is now forbidden unless given explicit authorization (that you will never get). Essentially, they are lying to themselves, that they have zero overhead when running their business. That nothing ever goes wrong and no one has to wait for anything.

But the one thing they forget is that by charging their customers for everything, they are charging them too much for services. The business is now vulnerable to any other business that can provide the same service and not charge their overhead to the customer.

Comment: directional layers (Score 1) 381

by way2slo (#40999633) Attached to: Could Flying Cars Actually Be On Their Way?

A while back, a friend an I talked about this and we had a pretty neat solution for problem 4.

The problem is preventing collisions while still allowing freedom of navigation. We came up with a system where at a certain altitude you must travel in a certain direction and at a certain speed. (We assumed that take-off and landing would be done at something resembling an airport where a control system of some sort would manage transitioning down from a certain altitude.) As you increase altitude, your direction yaws right and your speed increases. (speed being a target speed you should be flying at) Basically, like cars travel on roads that are directional lines with assigned speeds, flying cars travel on roads that are directional layers with assigned altitudes and speeds.

GPS, transponders, and mapping software aid the drivers. GPS units can plan routes between destinations and coordinate the proper altitude and airspeed to the autopilot. Transponders transmit vin, altitude, airspeed, position, and heading to traffic around it to allow them to make adjustments to avoid collisions (all within the altitude-airspeed-direction framework). Mapping software can tell the GPS where there are Restricted Airspaces like airports, cities, or tall mountains so the GPS can route around it. The tricky part is anticipating possible collisions, but with transponder info it should be much easier to calculate.

Comment: I could stand a bit more... (Score 1) 303

by way2slo (#40830739) Attached to: Peter Jackson Announces Third Hobbit Movie

Q: "How much of Middle Earth would you like to see on film?"

A: As much as they can. The Silmarillion would make a great TV series.

As for The Hobbit. I had thought that two films at 3 hours a piece would be just enough to tell the bulk of the story. (starting the journey and a couple of the incidents up to Mirkwood along with the white council and some Dol Guldor scenes in the first film then Mirkwood, Dale, and Erebor and wraping up Dol Guldor in the second) But I had thought they would have to skimp on the Dol Guldor action to make it fit.
With 3 films to work with, you can cut them down to 2 and a half hours each and have an extra hour and a half to tell more about the White Council and Dol Guldor. I'm OK with this.

Comment: Knuckleball Pitcher here.... (Score 1) 87

by way2slo (#40398849) Attached to: The Physics of the Knuckleball

Knuckel-balls are not as simple as "a tube .... that follows a smooth curve." That is a wobbling knuckle-ball, and is generally what people think of. This is usually the first pitch knuckle-ball, does not really move much but you can control it better to get that first strike. But if that is all you have got, then you are going to hit around a bit. That is not the strike-out knuckle-ball. By making minor changes in the grip, you can produce more movement that can cause it to dive, cut-in, and break-away. One of the guys that taught me had a knuckle-ball that he could snake in almost at will, much more movement than the smooth curved tube. If first broke slightly left to appear to be wide of the strike zone but then broke hard right to fall back in for a strike. The problem is that good hitters can anticipate it after seeing it a few times.

A good Knuckle-ball has a slight rotation. Somewhere between half a turn and a turn and a half on it's way to the plate. This slow rotation slightly changes how the seam are presented to the high pressure area in the front thereby changing the disruption of the airflow around the ball. Just like an airfoil will cause low pressure on the top of a wing creating lift and moving the plane up, these changing disruptions cause temporary low pressure areas on the ball and cause a small amount of "lift" in a vectored direction from the center of the mass of the baseball. If these happen rapidly and evenly over the front surface, you get the wobbling knuckle-ball like he describes. If they appear mostly on one side, it will move in that direction. With practice, you can begin to throw the wobbler when you want a strike and a hard breaking knuckler when you want to get them to chase a pitch out of the zone by slightly changing your grip and orientation.

As an aside, and interesting read is The Physics of Baseball by Robert Adair
(Though, I have to disagree with his opinion on the effect of ball rotation on a batted ball. If I remember correctly, he states that the effect is negligible. IMO and experience, I believe it is noticeable and sometimes determines fair/foul as some batted balls hook much more than others.)

Comment: Re:Gort from 1951's "The Day the Earth Stood Still (Score 2) 608

by way2slo (#39808921) Attached to: Who Is Your Favorite Fictional Robot or Android?

Agreed. '51 Gort's first appearance in the movie is a classic "Oh SNAP!" moment in cinema. That and the fact that he has no lines, but does all his talking with his death/disintegration beam and karate-chop-action. Oh yeah, and "There's no limit to what Gort could do. He could destroy the Earth."

Comment: YMMV (Score 1) 183

by way2slo (#39643959) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: The Very Best Paper Airplane?

The "Best" is going to greatly depend on lots of things including, but not limited to, how well you folded it, throw it, paper type, relative humidity, altitude, etc.

That said, I ran across this a few years ago:
It requires very accurate folding, but if done right with the right kind of paper and flown in good conditions it can be impressive. The airfoil turns some of the drag into lift and stability. The two guys that patented the airfoil wrote a book about it some years ago.

Also, there is a difference between making a plane for record distance and making a plane for record time aloft. The former needs minimal drag while the latter needs maximum lift.

I'm a Lisp variable -- bind me!