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Comment Re:Idiot (Score 1) 309

Actually, one of the cheapest forms of energy storage is plain compressed air. You use your excess energy generated while the wind blows or the sun shines to power machinery to compress air, and then when the sun goes down or the wind slows you release the air slowly and use it to power a turbine and generate electricity. It's relatively expensive to set up, but your maintenance costs for renewable energy source equipment maintenance plus compressed air equipment maintenance is still lower than maintenance costs for fossil fuel equipment maintenance plus the fuel itself.

Comment Re:Really? Then what are the HDDs for? (Score 1) 374

True. Plus you get access to Sony's show Powers, which I think is not available elsewhere except for purchase.

Actually, while I'm rambling - whenever I am shopping for two products, if they are more or less equivalent I tend to favor the less wealthy company because I think keeping competitors in the market benefits everyone (except shareholders of the wealthier company). My kids were leaning towards the Xbox One, but I'm inclined to go PS4 despite the fact that current holiday specials favor the Xbox One because last year Microsoft had 12 billion US in profit and Sony lost 1 billion US in net income.

Comment Re:This is the only answer that matters (Score 1) 374

I disagree that Steam OS is more intimidating. If it boots right into Steam Big Screen (or whatever it's called) then it will be as familiar as using another console. Windows may be more familiar in general, but it will be awkward to use in your living room.

Again, Steam OS gives the console experience - buy right from the web store. With DRM free games that's better for you the buyer and respects your freedom, but you have to manage the install files yourself and so forth. With the Steam web store, you just click and it installs for you. When you get to your next machine, as soon as you set up your Steam account it does the same.

I have maybe 70 games on Steam, most purchased through Humble Bundle. But again, aside from about twenty hours of Starcraft 2 when the mood struck me this summer I haven't played any other games in over a year.

Comment Re:This is the only answer that matters (Score 1) 374

I think there might be a segment of the market that would buy a Steam OS machine but would either be too intimidated by technology to buy a separate copy of Windows 10 to install or too cheap to spend the extra $120. There are probably also at least some people who want a free software operating system but will tolerate Steam, but I doubt there are many.

Comment Re:Really? Then what are the HDDs for? (Score 1) 374

Yeah, you pay a lot for convenience. And for example on the PS3 you have to subscribe to Sony's "Playstation Plus" service to get game software updates to run on a schedule. If you're not a subscriber - and I am not - then it informs you of a required update the next time you launch the game and you have to wait. That's a real pain, but I'm not willing to pay Sony $60 per year to solve a headache they created to get $60.

But again, my kids want multiplayer so it looks like the next purchase is going to fatten the pockets of some player. Dammit.

Comment Re:This is the only answer that matters (Score 1) 374

I understand your point with respect to the Nvidia drivers. I use AMD GPUs on Linux, even though the performance is horrendous, because the open source radeon drivers are better than the open source nouveau drivers. But I can do that because I don't do seriously graphics intensive gaming or CUDA or anything similar. If I did, I would not accept the performance hit that my free software drivers involved.

In terms of gaming, I want the free software options to be the ones everyone plays. But I'm not looking at this for me - I don't game enough to care. I'm looking at this for the average console user. For them, I think Steam OS is somewhat attractive and the selection from Humble Bundle and is not. A free software option they ignore and a proprietary but not DRM-encumbered option they ignore are both trumped by DRM on a free software operating system that they might actually use.

Comment Re: Really? (Score 1) 374

I think the rough handling and dirty environment can wreck the disks themselves. But the console is fine. I don't know anything with respect to PS2 longevity and brown outs and power spikes.

Now that I think about it, I think I got my Playstation 2 in 2003, over three years after the console launched. Maybe the first few production runs had lower quality.

Comment Re:This is the only answer that matters (Score 1) 374

Good point. I should have been clearer: I consider using a free software operating system more important than using free software applications on top of it. So in my view, while Steam OS is not optimal I still consider it a huge step forward from gaming on Windows, OS X, iOS, or consoles. As you said, I don't count the FreeBSD base of the PS4 because Sony does not re-release the source code.

But yes, to me the ideal would be for the whole stack top to bottom to be free software, including the games themselves. On the rare occasions I play any games, I play free software stuff. But my sons (unlike their dad) are obsessed with the NFL and the only games with legal names and likenesses of their favorite players is the Madden NFL series. And for other games, the graphics of Starcraft 2, Call of Duty: (whatever), WWE Superstars, and the other games they like blow away the free software alternatives. Most puzzling of all, when I show them Nethack they just don't get at the beautiful @ and fancy d they start with. Go figure.

Comment Re:Really? Then what are the HDDs for? (Score 1) 374

We do have a Playstation 3, and I got into the habit of buying the games from the Sony web store. That way there's no possibility the disk loading times can slow game play and your kids don't tear the living room apart three times in two hours hunting for the next game disk they want to use.

You do pay higher prices for the games bought that way, though.

Comment Re:This is the only answer that matters (Score 1) 374

Nice! I didn't realize setting up multi-seat for Linux was so straightforward. I've seen a demo of a single Fedora setup with some USB and Bluetooth gadgets so that six or eight people could use a GUI, keyboard, monitor and mouse at the same time for productivity and web browsing. But a two setup for gaming is pretty cool. I also appreciate kidtimer. I wrote a very primitive bash script on my kids' machines that just runs every three minutes by cron and powers the box off if it's between 9 PM and 6 AM.

Comment Re:Not Linux (Score 1) 374

The problem isn't fundamental to the Linux kernel, the problem is because the device drivers for Nvidia and AMD video cards on Linux are inferior to the ones on Windows, and the implementation of the OpenGL API on Linux isn't as efficient as the one on Windows, and game development companies put more effort into optimizing their games for Windows because most of their customers run Windows.

But the result is as you described, and that won't change soon.

Comment Re:Gran Turismo (Score 1) 374

I agree that picking a console on price is foolish, especially when so many good PC games are cheap or free.

But if your kid wants to play Gran Turismo, or Super Smash Bros., or Madden NFL 16, then you need to get a console and no PC gaming system is an acceptable substitute.

Comment Re:This is the only answer that matters (Score 1) 374

Sorry I don't have mod points today.

I'd say the kids' social considerations come first (if the whole reason he wants the console is to play Call of Duty: Black Ops 9492 with his buddy Jim, and Jim has an Xbox One, then that's the console), and game choices comes second. Graphics and such come third.

I tried to talk my kids into a Steam Machine, but their friends are all on Playstation 4 or Xbox One or both, they don't know anyone that plays Team Fortress 2, or DOTA 2, or Counter Strike. The game they want most is Madden NFL 16, which is not on Steam and nothing like it is on Steam (except maybe Blood Bowl 2, but that's Windows-only anyway). So if I make them follow my FSF-aligned beliefs, I'm just going to alienate them from me and from the ideas of the FSF. So I'm going to put on my hypocrite pants and get a console in a few weeks.

Then it becomes a question of whether I hate patent-wielding, FUD-spreading, monopoly tactics, proprietary operating system Microsoft more than I hate insecure customer data, insecure company servers, kings of DRM and bad rootkit DRM Sony. I think I dislike Microsoft more, despite all of their recent open source software and attached patent grants. Yay Playstation.

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department