Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment N1500 / VCR came out same year, wasn't skip field (Score 1) 92

To be fair, most "portable" video recording systems in the early 70's were skip frame.

I remember reading about the Cartrivision, and being willing to cut the limitations described some slack on the basis that it came out in 1972, which is *very* early on in terms of domestic videocassette recorders.

That was, until I'd remembered that the Philips N1500 also came out in 1972 and didn't have a lot of those limitations. It was the first model to support their flop "Video Cassette Recording (VCR)" format. In particular, it doesn't appear to have been skip frame. In fact, from what I've read, the N1500 appears to have been far closer in design and execution to later video formats like VHS and Betamax.

That's not to say it was perfect- apparently there were problems with the design of the reel-on-reel tape mechanism and feed, and later formats increased tape efficiency by removing the need for a guard band, amongst other improvements. Still, it looks to have been more advanced than Cartrivision.

Not only does the current article itself mention the N1500, but reading it more closely it actually makes basically the same points I made above about its technical superiority and closer resemblance to later machines!

In Cartrivision's defence, the OP's comment that it had "no rewind" is incorrect; the "no rewind" only applied to rental tapes used in domestic recorders; i.e. it was an anti-feature designed to ensure once-only viewing, but didn't apply to regular tapes.

Comment Re:Betteridge's law of headlines (Score 1) 264

According to Betteridge's law of headlines: No.

Yawn... years later, there are still oh-so-clever people kneejerk yelling "Betteridge" in response to every headline phrased as a question, not understanding what the original point of Betteridge's law actually was.

Hint; this isn't it, it's a (probably) legitimate question, and even if it was a crap attempt to kick-start a discussion by phrasing it in that form, it's still not an example of Betteridge.

Comment Awiiaboo? No thanks... (Score 1) 70

On the flip side, there are less serious gamers like myself (*) who might consider the buying the 3DS, but would be put off by the fact that to access certain hidden features- or, more seriously, advantages- in games *that you'd already paid for*, you then had to shell out more for these figures which you have no interest in, nor space in your house for.

If some people like that- good for them. But personally, if I'm expected to buy into this sort of thing to get full use out of a 3DS, I'm not even going to bother.

Probably Nintendo have done their sums and research and estimated that they'll make more from tying their consoles to the Amiibo than they'll lose. Maybe they got those sums right, and maybe they didn't- but even if they did, it's possibly not the 100% win that you think it is.

(*) Or rather, people who are *only* interested in the games- casually or otherwise. There are probably many "serious" gamers who have no interest in collecting "Sailor Moon" Happy Meal toys with embedded RFIDs either.

Comment Re:Who owns it? (Score 1) 46

I have a page where I put up a bunch of info about my experiments and memories of my Commodore systems. In the years that page has existed, the ownership of the C= logo/name/etc changed hands FIVE TIMES!

It's not just that, it's that- as far as I can tell- the rights to Commodore's various products and brands have not only been split up, but also sublicensed over the years to the point of being a confusing mess.

The company (*) that made the "Commodore 64x" around four years ago- you remember, the PC in a case that at least *looked* like a C64- also released the "Amiga 1000", "2000" and "3000". These had sod all to do with the original Amigas of those names. In fact they weren't even computers in their own right, but just home theatre PC cases, spuriously claiming to be "revivals" of the originals.

What makes this more stupid is that, at the same time, other companies were still making- under license- "real" Amigas. When I say "real", I mean they support the current version of the AmigaOS- also produced under license!- even though they aren't remotely low-level compatible with the original Amigas. (In fact, the only reason for having AmigaOS run on that overpriced, underpowered custom hardware, rather than commodity PCs seems to be as a means to subsidise AmigaOS via the very small- but incredibly diehard- remaining userbase).

Of course, these are two different things- the HTPC "Amiga" was an utterly second-rate, shameless attempt to exploit the nostalgia market with something that didn't even look like an Amiga, whereas the AmigaOne et al is aimed at the rabid diehards who are still using AmigaOS almost 20 years after it died as a mainstream proposition. But the point is that they were happy to whore out the Amiga name for two entirely different "Amigas" at the same time.

And then there's the fact that AmigaOS itself was the subject of a legal dispute. Or the fact that the current Amiga Inc. (the apparent owner/licensee of the Amiga rights) notably *isn't* the same company as the "Commodore" that owns the rights to *that* brand.

This isn't remotely complete, and doesn't even touch on the passing around and splitting of the rights in the wake of Commodore's demise. (Nostalgia-related exploitation of the brand goes back as far 1998- just four years after Commodore's demise- when the "Commodore 64" name was used on a crappy low-powered web PC). The point is that the rights are all over the place and have been whored out all over the shop.

It hardly matters if this latest b******t attempt to slap a "Commodore Pet" badge on a mediocre Android smartphone and claim it as a revival of the Pet (even though it was to come with Vic 20 and C64- not Pet!- emulators that any Android device could run) is "officially" endorsed or not. It's all crap, who gives a toss anyway?

(*) "Commodore USA", who were themselves just a company that had licensed the "Commodore" name from the rights holders and are now no more.

Comment Re:Almost (Score 5, Insightful) 263

Please excuse this off-topic queue-jumping reply to your comment, but there are times when someone makes a very insightful observation that really, really should have gone in a more prominent position.

Sneak preview; three virtually identical questions of the form "How Much [language x] Should You Know For an Entry-Level [language x] Job?" going to the Dice website and "submitted" by the same Slashdot employee in just over two weeks.

Bonus; OP linked above correctly predicted this week's story and even got the language right.

That's almost funny, except that it isn't. Admittedly, Slashdot has been "going down the tubes" almost since it launched, but this is particularly crap.

Comment Re:Did I call it or did I call it? (Score 5, Insightful) 263

Er.... yeah. Indeed you did. I missed those, but this is utterly, utterly blatant now that it's been pointed out; this should have been posted higher- it's one of the few cases I'd forgive posting as an offtopic "reply" to an early comment in order to increase its prominence.

Here are the stories in question:-

How Much C++ Should You Know For an Entry-Level C++ Job? (May 27 2015)

How Much JavaScript Do You Need To Know For an Entry-Level Job? (4 June 2015)

Note the a gap of eight days between the stories in both cases. Note that the three stories were submitted respectively by Nerval's Lobster, Nerval's Lobster and, er... Nerval's Lobster. Who happens to work for Slashdot.

Not that I'm suggesting that the fact Slashdot is now owned by the IT and engineering careers website Dice has anything to do with it being used to push out formulaic and self-serving "submissions" like this. *cough*

Seriously, this makes even the old Slashdot "whoops, a stupid editor 'accidentally' posted the same good-for-attracting-pageviews-and-discussion story twice just as it fell off the front page" cynicism look good.

Comment Re:ZOMG (Score 1) 260

To be fair, the entire complaint of the author was that now he would have a fourth music service. In this case, the actual solution is, in fact, to not buy it.

I read the implied criticism as being that he'd have to subscribe to yet another service to get whatever content was exclusive to that one (as already happens with many video streaming services).

I didn't get the impression from his tone that he was actually moaning about being forced (as in, absolutely no choice in the matter) to buy Apple's service.

Even if Apple's streaming was just a poxy generic service with no exclusives, though, he'd still have the right to slag it off on that basis! :-)

Comment Re:ZOMG (Score 1) 260

Did you even bother RTFS?

Yes, I did. That sounds like what the author was getting at.

Bullshit and utter nonsense. In a capitalist system, anyone can sell anything they want (within the confines of legality) and the market will determine whether that was a reasonable idea or not.

Yes, and part of the mechanism that determines this involves the free exchange of information and opinion on a given product. Whether or not people own it or not.

That was the point. What did you *still* not understand after having it explained three times?

As I *already* explained, it's an illogical and defensive extrapolation; why would someone having the right to freely sell something imply that someone else didn't have the right to share their opinion on it, regardless of whether they own or intend owning it?!

Yet people- yourself included- seem to act as if this is somehow an attack on the "free" market. It isn't; quite the opposite, as I said, the free market requires freedom of information to operate efficiently.

Go and reread what I said; you had it explained to you and you still made the same stupid mistake of assuming that "free market -> no freedom of speech to criticise" (which is what it boils down to). I'm not rehashing what I said a fourth time.


Adding "PERIOD" in BIG CAPITAL LETTERS doesn't make your argument any stronger.

Whining about whether such a product or service should be allowed to exist misses the point that it's not up to you whether they should be allowed to exist or not.

Don't get the impression that anyone was denying this; rather they were criticising it. *You* were the one who jumped to this conclusion, presumably because you assume that (valid) criticism of a product is an attack on the free market- even though it's quite the opposite- and defensively start making assumptions about what people were actually saying.

If you don't like it, buy something else.

That doesn't negate anyone's right to criticise the product. But we're going round in circles here.

Comment Re:ZOMG (Score 2) 260

Nobody is actually forcing you to participate in any new service, are they?

Nobody claimed that they were, though if Apple have exclusives through their service, people still may miss out if they're not using it.

That aside, your implication that any criticism of the service is invalid because people aren't being forced to buy it is the same argumentative fallacy that crops up here over and over again.

Comment Re:Vinyl (Score 3, Funny) 260

I used to immerse my turntable in water, well almost, recording the record on real to real tape

I just used to think about doing that, I never actually did it. I guess you could say I did it on imaginary to imaginary tape. ;-P

Real to imaginary tape was quite easy too (but with little benefit), but I never figured out how to do it the other way around.

Comment Re:Meh (Score 1) 830

Britain does that too. They call it the 'metric pound'.

I live in Britain and I've never heard 500g called a "metric pound" nor just "pound". Probably because the imperial pound (454g) is still in quite common use and different enough that it'd be an issue. (*)

OTOH, the term "metric tonne" is quite common and only slightly different from the imperial (long) ton. Which, of course, isn't the same as the American (i.e. "short") ton that *does* vary quite a bit from the other two. That brings me on to something else... the traditional units that Americans use aren't even the same worldwide (e.g. the American pint is around 20% smaller than the UK one, fluid ounces are also different), i.e. the Americans' so-called "English" units aren't the same as the imperial ones used in England- or the rest of the UK- any more!

FWIW, pigs will fly before the Americans go decimal. Not my problem for the most part- I'm not planning on living there- but I do find it ironic that the Americans chose a sensibly decimal currency instead of adopting the "pounds shillings and pence" system (used in Britain before 1971) like they did with weights.

Though decimalisation only happened around five years before I was born, growing up in the 1980s, any remnants of that system I encountered (and hearing about it from my parents) seemed bizarre, confusing and anachronistic even then, like something from another age more like 100 years previous.

Admittedly, when you're 8 years old, anything even a few years before your time seems old, but while I understand most of the "LSD" money now, it still seems like something from another era, alien to me.

Anyway... I'm surprised that Americans didn't reject that Euro-socialist godless commie decimal system for their money and adopt LSD. How about it? Twelve pennies in a shilling, twenty shillings to the pound (240 pennies to the pound), guineas (one pound and one shilling), and coins like florins (two shillings), 2/6 (two-and-six, i.e. two shillings and sixpence), tanner (half a shilling), blah blah blah....

It was called "LSD" because you had to be *on* LSD to understand it. ;-)

So... since you all love your bizarre, non-decimal "English but no longer used in England" measurements so much, I'm sure you'll love Pounds, Shillings and Pence. And farthings. And thrupenny bits. (^_^)

(*) Ironically, according to Wikipedia, they do use that term elsewhere in Europe.

Comment Re:4? (Score 1) 229

So...you were into computer games at the time when the original Fallout was released?

Not really; I don't recall having heard about it at that time because I didn't have a PC then (*). IIRC, it's one of those games whose name popped up often enough over the years that I recognise its name as a famous computer game- if little else- and am surprised that the OP isn't.

(*) Owned and gamed on an Amiga until circa 1996, by which point that machine was no longer mainstream and I was out of touch. (Hadn't played Doom then, have still never played Quake). Bought a Playstation in late 1997 and sold it a year later after realising it wasn't fun (for me); though I had a few PS mags, I don't recall hearing about Fallout there, probably because it was never a PS game. Bought a PC in early 1998, but while I owned a few games for it over the next few years (all very cheap), I hardly played them and didn't follow the gaming scene at all.

A sine curve goes off to infinity, or at least the end of the blackboard. -- Prof. Steiner