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Comment MMORPG revival (Score 4, Interesting) 106

As a former avid City of Heroes player, I wish that someone would do this for shuttered MMORPGs. There are so many, and unlike single-player games that will at least run on old hardware and/or OSes, shuttered MMORPGs are completely inaccessible by any means. (Well, other than server emulators, for the very, VERY few that are lucky enough to have them.)

A while back, I wrote an email to GoG basically telling them that I wish they'd consider approaching some of the publishers of shuttered MMORPGs and offering to host them, either buying the rights to the games outright or licensing them, and charging $10 or $15 per month for access to everything (or offer cheaper plans for limited access to one or some games). Because the playerbase of many of these games would be a lot smaller than the new flashy hotness MMORPGs, it probably wouldn't take that much in the way of hardware, and if they could negotiate access to the source code, they might even be able to rewrite parts of the game to run more efficiently or even release updates. I got back a response that boiled down to, "Thanks, but we're not going to do that."

I still think it's a market that's ripe, and someone at some point will exploit that and make a killing off of it.

Hmm... Anyone got some negotiating skills that could pair with my technical skills to get this done?

Comment Re: Good Summary Until... (Score 1) 258

Yep, the unstructured garage situation is a much better example than the poorly marked highway with missing markings or potential conduction areas. The sudden lack of GPS and maps is highly contrived anyway (!), and these conditions can be coped with fairly easily by analyzing traffic if other cars are around, staying on the right half of unmarked roads (dynamically calculating virtual lanes, something the software does anyway), recognizing obstacles and objects in motion around construction sites. These are all highly predictable situation that engineers can more or less easily integrate into their models, so to raise them as top level concerns seems very naive, especially for a supposed expert in the field.

Comment Re: Last quarter mile navigation (Score 1) 258

I've been thinking about that problem too. A good example would be unstructured situations, such as spill over event parking on lawns or gravel lots. Given existing cars cars already there certain pattern formation algorithms can be applied, such as continue this or that line of cars. Otherwise things get even trickier and some spacial user interface will have to let the passenger point out in an overhead view where exactly to place the car and in what orientation. None of these are unsolvable problems per se, but a lot of research is still ahead for sensible user interface and car interaction paradigms that can be elevated to standardized levels across makes so one can hop from one car to another and still operate it reliably. Perhaps even in completely autonomous vehicles such as the ones Google is experimenting with a fallback controller of some sort will always be needed.

Interesting times, for sure, and I'm glad I'm getting to live through them.

Comment Re:"TV series" (Score 1) 438

I think it loses the ability to call itself a "TV series" when it refuses to air over a conventional method for getting television into your home... Just sayin'.

How come? Consider the source of the word "television," tele meaning from a distance, and vision being to view something. The show is still being presented to a large audience over a great geographic distance, you're still viewing something remotely from where it's produced. Only the technology behind it has changed, moving from radio frequencies over the air to radio frequencies over a coaxial cable, and now to pulses of light over fiber.

Yes, but the model up until now has mostly been either free (OTA) or paying for an entire service (cable, minus the odd premium channels). This is streaming, which inherently limits the available quality to whatever CBS feels like providing and whatever your available bandwidth can handle; with ATSC OTA there's little reason to made content look worse on purpose, though cable/satellite is a mixed bag (cue up the stories of Comcast squeezing more and more channels into smaller space).

I love Trek, but I hope this flops so CBS will know their service is lame.

In what way is it "lame"? Shows cost money to produce, and that money has to come from somewhere. Consider that a lot of scripted prime time shows cost in the $3-4 million range to produce. You'd need 3-4 million people to chip in a buck to cover the cost of a show, but consider how many shows CBS is running and how many shows people watch. Scorpion, The Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, NCIS and its two spin-offs, Blue Bloods, The Good Wife, Code Black, CSI and CSI: Cyber, Extant, Limitless, Hawaii Five-O, Madam Secretary, Elementary, The Mentalist, Mom, The Odd Couple, Person of Interest, Stalker, Supergirl, Life in Pieces, Criminal Minds, and the pending Angel from Hell, plus a few more. That's a lot of money, and considering that ads on the web don't snatch nearly the same kind of value as ads from OTA/MSO grab they have to make up the deficit somewhere.

So that's $6/mo to cover the production of more than twenty five different scripted television shows (not to mention the cost of licensing NCAA games, game shows, news programs, and reality shows). Assuming an average run of 25 episodes per season for each show, and a 12 month run, that's 12 per episode that CBS is getting to cover the cost of production of everything, advertising/promotion, and bandwidth for streaming. Even if you only watch three shows, you're paying 96 per episode which is cheaper than the going rate on iTunes, Amazon Prime or Google Play.

The money they make off of television advertising (OTA/cable) is pretty big, IIRC. Also, FWIW, CBS made a profit of $1.4 billion last year... hardly sounds like they're hurting. I guess what I'm getting at is... they appear to be forcing people into a specific service using a name brand they know will get at least some people to bite. You have a loyal fanbase, why potentially ruin that by forcing them on to your platform? To make it so you have to pay for it AND can't skip ads?

Comment Re:"TV series" (Score 0) 438

Yeah, I haven't had cable in 12 years or so. It's been a combination of OTA television (local news, some prime time television now that they're mostly off the reality television bender they were on for ten years) and torrenting. If I'm going to pay $15 a month for something as limited as what CBS is offering, it better be advertising free.

Comment "TV series" (Score 4, Insightful) 438

I think it loses the ability to call itself a "TV series" when it refuses to air over a conventional method for getting television into your home... Just sayin'. I love Trek, but I hope this flops so CBS will know their service is lame. (But if it flops, CBS will likely blame Trek and keep pushing ahead with the service anyways).

Comment Re:In other news.... (Score 1) 500

Well, except that:

  • Not 100% of a product's or service's cost is human resources, and even the cost that is HR isn't 100% salary.
  • Prices tend to be somewhat sticky. Sure, you could pass on some of the labor costs directly to customers, but your competitor will take a lower profit margin to increase volume by stealing your customers. (Which, funny enough, is how Gravity got into business to start with.)
  • Even if you pass that cost on, it will likely only be after months or even a year or more, meaning that in the interim, the lag directly benefits those at the bottom,
  • I don't see anywhere that the company's skilled labor was making the company's minimum wage. I'd be surprised if they aren't making considerably more.
  • If the only reason you got a degree was to make more money, then you probably deserve whatever hardship you have coming to you. Personally, I got a degree so that I could get a job doing something I wanted to do, not because what I majored in commanded the highest salary.
  • And congratulations, now you know how millions of people feel who got degrees or otherwise invested in vocational training or certifications in stuff that was hot at the time, but has since cooled down. I know a lot of IT people today who are living on beans because what all of the experts thought would be an unending fountain of money quickly turned into an offshoring nightmare, stranding hundreds of thousands of IT professionals in unemployment lines.
  • If you read a bit about Dan and Gravity, you'll find out that he's paying for the raises out of his own salary, which he cut from around $1 million per year to the minimum $70k per year minimum. He has promised not to pass ANY costs for the raises he's giving out to customers. That's a guy who values his company more than yachts, private airplanes, and other trappings of wealth.

In short, the argument you're making is the same one that has been made since a minimum wage was created, that it doesn't do any good because prices just go up to account for it. But every time the minimum wage is raised, prices have never gone up an equal amount. (Likewise, not raising the minimum wage has never caused prices to not go up.) So what you're saying is a gross oversimplification of the reality of the situation that causes your final conclusion to be wrong.

Comment Re:Remove casing from a Wallmart clock - get invit (Score 2, Insightful) 621

There are certain things you don't do....If you're muslim, you don't bring anything to school that can be mistaken for a bomb... if you're anybody you don't bring anything to school that can be mistaken for a bomb really, but especially if you're muslim.

it shouldn't matter yada yada yada, but it does.

Thank you for your recipe for how to ensure that systemic prejudices remain in place, that the world never changes for the better.

To be blunt, this is the same attitude a bunch of white people had in the 1950s and 1960s when they said, "If you're black, you don't vote. You don't sit in the front of the bus. You don't eat at lunch counters. It shouldn't matter yada yada yada, but it does."

Is Ahmed some sort of boy genius? Eh, I doubt it, but the simple fact is that NO ONE, Muslim or otherwise, should have to just sit back and tolerate endemic racism. And if it were my kid that you were telling that that's just "the world we live in," well, you and I would have a problem. Maybe you were a liberal, but if you think that this is okay, that it's Ahmed who should have to change, then it is most emphatically not the left that's moving away from you.

Comment Re:Your point is simple; the language is tortured. (Score 1) 1291

Okay, fine. I think we should redistribute wealth from the top to the bottom. There, I said it. I honestly wasn't aware that my comment made it unclear that I support that idea.

But I say it with two qualifications:

1) More importantly, I think we should redistribute income from the top to the bottom, and

2) I'm not proposing that we redistribute wealth equally or anything like that, a common strawman. I simply think that the system that has been rigged for at least the past three decades should be rebalanced so that, for example, CEOs are making a few dozen to a hundred times the salary of average non-management workers at a company instead of thousands of times the salary. I think that companies should be penalized for moving jobs out-of-country. I DEFINITELY think that the minimum wage needs to be raised and pegged to the cost of living so that we don't have to address the issue every few years. I think that the capital gains tax rate should be pegged to the top marginal income tax rate so that no one ever has to pay a higher tax rate because they make their money by working instead of making money from having money.

In short, I think that the harder and smarter you work, the more you should enjoy the fruits of your labor and productivity. But I think that you should reach a point of diminishing returns so that as you prosper, you're directly helping to provide others the opportunity and environment in which they can prosper also.

I've always said that I'm not jealous of those who are wealthy. If my company's CEO is making a billion dollars a year, more power to him or her. But then if they start laying off people, moving jobs overseas, freezing raises, cutting benefits, undermining worker's rights, lobbying congress to pass anti-worker legislation, etc. so that they can make just a little bit more, then we're going to have a problem.

Comment Re:The phrase 'consumer economy' seems a little si (Score 2) 1291

This is oversimplified to the point of being incorrect. Your flaw is thinking that $1 corresponds to some unit of effort. In reality, $1 corresponds to some unit of productivity, whether it's you, a robot, some technological innovation, a new business process, or whatever.

Currently when companies realize gains in productivity, all of the additional money either gets paid out to the people at the top or reinvested in the company, which essentially pays it out to the investors. The employees get little or none of it, which is why the past three decades productivity has been skyrocketing and we've experienced an average of around 3.5% growth per year, but real wages have been stagnant.

One of the premises of a UBI is to ensure that some of that 3.5% growth ends up in the hands of the people who are working longer, harder hours, taking on multiple jobs to make ends meet, and actually creating the productivity gains that companies are benefiting from but not passing down.

Comment Assembly (Score 2) 429

As languages further abstract away the underlying hardware, it's helpful to understand how it all works. Especially if you've never had to step into an assembly language debugger. The most likely (and probably relevant) architecture would be x86/x86-64, followed closely by some variation of ARM. IA64 isn't relevant, but if you read up on a little bit of it (there was a series of articles on Raymond Chen's blog a few weeks back), you'll learn about an interesting take on a processor architecture (which offloaded much of the optimization work to the compiler; it was also heavily slanted towards parallel processing unlike x86).