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Comment: Re:It was pretty cool in its day (Score 2) 170

by DrXym (#47499703) Attached to: The Almost Forgotten Story of the Amiga 2000
Most demos and games would use vsync as their timer so theoretically they would cycle at 25/30hz regardless of CPU. Probably the biggest compatibility issue were demos and games that made bad assumptions about the memory architecture (e.g. the amount of fast/slow memory), or the addressable space (e.g. using the top 8 bits of registers for something else), or use self modifying code or some other trick which would consequently fail hard on a later CPU.

The bigger failing IMO was that all the software hitting the custom hardware made it increasingly difficult for the platform to support higher resolutions, pixel bit depths and stuff like virtual memory. It was left to 3rd parties to provide a solution but by that point it was already too late.

Comment: Re:Why isn't the U.S. doing things like this? (Score 2) 153

by DrXym (#47493343) Attached to: Japan To Offer $20,000 Subsidy For Fuel-Cell Cars
The point since it eludes you is that governments have overarching policy objectives and subsidies are one way they can steer individuals and the market to reach them. In the case of Japan, I expect they are highly desirous of lowering their dependency of foreign oil and so they're stimulating interest and demand in alternatives.

Comment: Re:Apple has 'done nothing'??? (Score 1) 135

by DrXym (#47485599) Attached to: Google To Stop Describing Games With In-App Purchases As 'Free'
Free apps with in-app purchases show that fact right under the 'Buy' button. And a simple setting controls whether in-app purchases are allowed at all, require approval, or can go through automatically (default is require approval). And iOS 8 has the proxy stuff for family accounts (parental approval for everything if you want). Not really. An app could be genuinely free and the in-app purchase permission might be to sell extra content, or some enable some additional functionality, e.g. maybe a word processor sells you a font pack, or a book reader sells you a book, or a game lets you upgrade to remove ads.

There is no way to tell these sort of apps apart from some scummy Skinner box which hits you up for cash after you're sufficiently hooked.

Comment: All kind of obvious (Score 1) 154

VR would be best suited to games where you remain seated, mostly look forward, mostly travel in a straight line and the game controls map onto equivalent virtual controls. Something like a race car, plane or space ship.

I suppose a FPS would be possible providing the person can remain seated but there are obvious control issues to figure out. For example if I look around for real, e.g. turn my head to look over my shoulder, what does that mean in a game where I'm lying prone staring down an iron sight at the time? Or if I'm standing in the game and I I look right in real life and then click aim - does my virtual counterpart assume some ludicrous pose to accommodate my action, or does it reorient itself facing forward while my real self is still looking over to the right? How does it reset the camera afterwards? It could prove messy and just serve to increase the chance of disorientation.

On the plus side, I guess VR could pull of a very realistic FPS Saving Private Ryan game where the people puke their guts up on the virtual landing craft and stand a good chance of serious injury when they storm the beaches.

Comment: I have a Miix 2 11.6" (Score 2) 123

It's a really good device packing an i5 CPU, lots of storage and quite a bit cheaper than a comparable Surface 3 (e.g. the price includes a decent keyboard attachment).

I think some of the smaller Miix and similar devices are less useful for some clear reasons:

  1. Metro doesn't have as many apps as it should. The situation is getting better it must be said but it's nowhere near as comparable to Android / iPad. This in itself must be a major reason people are turned off these devices
  2. The screen is too small to use as a desktop and the form factor is all wrong. Yeah you could poke away with a stylus or something but most desktop apps are designed for and expect a keyboard and mouse. These tablets should really come with a keyboard and stand.
  3. They don't have much performance or storage. They're packed with some low power atom processor and the 32GB is half eaten up with Windows OS and crapware.
  4. The cost similar to Android devices like the Nexus 7 which come with better screens, more apps and are better designed for that size
  5. Windows 8 has gotten a bad rap although 8.1 with the service update is actually quite good (except for the missing start menu)

I think Windows tablet / hybrids or 10, 11 or 12 sizes are far more viable, particularly for people who have to actually do work on the go but appreciate being able to flip their sideways and use them as a tablet for some mindless browsing or whatever.

Comment: Re:No (Score 1) 180

by DrXym (#47423345) Attached to: Will Google's Dart Language Replace Javascript? (Video)
Well JS sucks as a language to develop in so there is a benefit in developing in something else even if it ends up being machine generated into JS. However... it would be far more useful for browsers to support a low level bitcode (e.g. LLVM) with a set of APIs that tie into the gui, web, threading, local storage etc. than another high level language. Google has something already suitable for the job - PNaCl, but it should be standardized and simplified so any browser can implement it.

Dart could compile to bitcode and then it would execute at near native speeds. Even stuff like asm.js that is an optimized usecase for machine generated js is still a workaround of the fundamental issue - the lack of a lower level alternative.

Comment: The answer is called LLVM (Score 1) 69

by DrXym (#47375235) Attached to: ARM Launches Juno Reference Platform For 64-bit Android Developers
Instead of expecting developers to support some new architecture, Google, Intel and ARM need to knock heads and implement LLVM as an alternative. Then devs largely DON'T CARE what the backend is - they compile their native code to LLVM bitcode and let the system figure out how to convert it to native instructions. Conversion could even happen in the cloud so the user just downloads an apk which just happens to contain the native binary necessary for their specified device.

The weird thing is Google already support this for Renderscript, but not the NDK where it would be most useful. Encourage people to compile to LLVM and new architectures becomes much less of an issue.

Comment: A waste of time (Score 1) 126

by DrXym (#47329673) Attached to: Google Demos Modular Phone That (Almost) Actually Works
Yeah it's modular and a few years from now they'll upgrade the bus or tweak the dimensions or bump the battery requirements and now that modular phone is as obsolete as all the rest. Or worse, future modules are gimped to conform to the old standard and include circuitry to step down in some way. Either way users get a device which costs more and doesn't deliver something tangibly better.

A method of solution is perfect if we can forsee from the start, and even prove, that following that method we shall attain our aim. -- Leibnitz

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