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Comment: Stupidest thing I've ever seen (Score 1) 124

Before watching the video, I thought "Oh, the back end folds into the passenger compartment, so it takes up less space. I wonder how they'll prevent people from getting crushed?"

After watching the video I thought "Wait... The whole back part of the car is hollow, and just wraps around the passenger compartment!?"

What the hell is the point? They've made a car twice as long, that is completely unusable space. Just cut that part off, and put the big black wheels in the spot that the small casters are. There, now your car is ALWAYS half the size!

Comment: Game dev here (Score 2) 189

by CyberBill (#44598797) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Experiences Working At a High-Profile Game Studio?

I have worked at 3 game studios - Amaze Entertainment (now Griptonite), Sony Online Entertainment, and now Microsoft. I've worked on the PSP, PS3, PC, and Xbox One. I have worked on relatively short cycle year long games as the main programmer, I've written back end software for MMOs as a core-tech guy (mostly removed from the game) and as a part of the game team. I've worked on more MMO titles than most devs.

The closer you are to the game, the more hours you're going to work. SOE was particularly bad - I worked there for 6 years and only had a single real raise. The first two years was on a core tech team that was really awesome. My manager was super experienced, and we set time lines and expectations for raises, and he followed through. I learned a lot, and was making my way up. But then the team evaporated and I was put directly on a game team. I was promised bonuses that regularly fell through. "When we hit Alpha in June, you'll all get bonuses!" - Great! Oh... the game doesn't hit Alpha in June? Well, there goes June.. July... August... Game gets a facelift... Alpha the next year in June! Or July, or August. Get used to that. And promotions? Few and far between, and they always pull the "no promotions until we ship" card, which if you're working on a 6-year long dev cycle for an MMO doesn't make sense. I don't know of a single programmer who got a promotion while at SOE for the last 4 years when I was working there. At most places, if you're not directly on a team, you get a standard bonus at the end of the fiscal year - it's not huge, but it's pretty reliable. If you are on a game team, you get milestone bonuses instead, which get pushed around, and without fail they always claim that the parking lot will be filled with Ferrari's.

Management is usually bad. My last boss seemed bipolar about my performance. One month it was "Great! On track for a promotion at alpha!" to "We really expect you to put in 60 hours a week." When you're young and fresh into the industry, don't have a wife or kids, you can do 60 hours a week. But you're going to feel miserable doing it when you're trying to have a reasonable work/life balance, and with experience you'll realize that 60-hour weeks for a year is not sustainable. There was a month when I did 90+ hours every week to help a project ship on time - I didn't get a bonus, didn't get any time off, nothing, even though my manager for the project praised my work.

Of course, there is a reason I still work in games. The most passionate programmers are working in games. You get to do something you absolutely love, with really smart people, and make pretty good money doing it. At Microsoft I'm a bit more removed from the game team - which means I do my 40 and I go home. I think that you have to strive to find the balance that you want. I can't see myself ever trading my job for some boring programming position outside of games.

Comment: Re:Earth-like lights (Score 1) 90

by CyberBill (#42427693) Attached to: Odds Favor Discovery of Earth-Like Exoplanet in 2013

It doesn't make much of a difference to Kepler.

Kepler measures the light level over time, and uses the amount of obstructed time to make most of it's calculations. It does also use the total light output difference to determine the size of the planet (really the ratio of the size of the planet to the size of the star) - but the error bars are pretty big anyway, way more than the total light output of dark side of the Earth.

The only way that Kepler would miss the planet all together was if the alien civilization made their planet put out as much light as their star.... Not very likely. An advanced civilization might want to make their planet as bright as daylight all the time, but that would be much less bright than the star.

Comment: Remote Desktop (Score 3, Insightful) 386

by CyberBill (#40422963) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: No-Install Programming At Work?

Use a web-based (GoToMyPc.com?) or pre-installed remote administration app (Windows Remote Desktop? maybe VNC?) - or install RealVNC and use it's web app. Then control your home PC and run whatever IDE and language you prefer. I'd recommend Visual Studio Express and C# or C/C++, but that's just personal preference.

Comment: Re:I must be misunderstanding (Score 3, Insightful) 162

by CyberBill (#38287210) Attached to: Gas Powered Fuel Cell Could Help EV Range Anxiety

You're not comparing apples to apples.

First of all, you're ignoring the amount of energy required to import and refine the gasoline. I've heard estimates as high as 8kWh per gallon for refining. Most of the power plants in the country use coal, which doesn't have an energy intensive refining process.

Secondly, you're ignoring the fact that 40% of electric vehicle owners have solar panels. This negates that pesky coal power plant and its transmission deficiencies.

If you compare the efficiency of the vehicle itself, when you put electricity into an EV, it is 85%+ efficient. If you put gasoline into a car, it is 25% efficient (max). With a gasoline car, no matter what technology comes out, that vehicle will never be more than 25% efficient. With an EV, if you want to have a green car, you can buy solar panels and charge your car that way. Or you can live in an area with wind, solar, geothermal, or nuclear sources (Southern California) and offset pollution that way. Or you can join a program with your electricity provider, and pay a little extra, and get a higher percentage of your electricity from renewable sources.

Comment: Re:50 mile range may not be the end of the world (Score 3, Interesting) 344

by CyberBill (#36647874) Attached to: Toyota Scion IQ Electric Car To Launch In 2012

In California, you could buy this car and get $5,000 state and $7,500 federal tax credits - lowering the cost of the car by $12,500. The standard gas version of this car is looking to run ~$16,000... well equipped probably $20k. So long as this is in the same ballpark, you -could- be driving an EV for under $10k, and that is a steal for a brand new car.

Comment: Re:Watch for Hidden Warming (Score 3, Informative) 569

by CyberBill (#36442716) Attached to: Big Drop In Solar Activity Could Cool Earth

Local solar astronomer here - Current global warming trend is definitely not Sun driven. We went through a prolonged period of solar inactivity over the last 5 years and what do you know, temperatures kept going up. We also monitor the Sun in every conceivable wavelength and from multiple angles, so it would be pretty hard to have some significant amount of energy hitting us that we don't know about.

Comment: I wish he wouldn't have admitted it immediately (Score 4, Insightful) 112

by CyberBill (#34600698) Attached to: Exposing the Link Between Cell Phones and Fertility

This guy should have let the "honeypot" article sit around and see what happens first, rather than having the explanation article AND have it be posted on slashdot. Doing this interferes with the experiment by making it less likely to be picked up - anyone who reads the slashdot article (or the article it links to) first will not believe and propagate the honeypot article.

Comment: Re:Attempt at justifying religion again? (Score 3, Informative) 277

by CyberBill (#34519392) Attached to: A Lost Civilization Beneath the Persian Gulf?

There was not a single female ("Eve") alive at that time, there were at least thousands of females, and those females were all reproducing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve

This image explains it pretty well:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MatrilinealAncestor.PNG

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