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Comment Re:First... (Score 1) 167

I don't know for sure, but I don't think that Weis & Hickman own the copyright on Dragonlance. I know that both were employed by TSR when the books were written for TSR. Since they were published by TSR while Weis and Hickman were employed by TSR they'd be considered 'Works for Hire'. Which means that TSR -> WotC -> Hasbro owns the copyright on the Dragonlance novels and world.

There may have been a supplemental agreement that gave them ownership of Dragonlance, but if that doesn't exist that Hasbro owns it and they can do whatever they want with it.

Comment Re:"Other types of electromagnetic radiation" (Score 1) 529

This actually happened to my father when he was into HAM radio. It was back in the day when you assembled your own equipment. He put up the monopole antenna/tower first, and ran the coax back to the house. Industry Canada (or whatever it was called) came by about 2 weeks later with complaints about him causing people's TVs to go out and they had to inspect his equipment.

They did so, found it only half assembled, and the coax from the Antenna sitting bare without even the connector put on it yet. The inspectors rolled their eyes and filed the complaint as groundless by NIMBY people and left.

Its definitely the sight of the antennas that cause the bulk of the issue.

Comment Re:Summary is rather misleading (Score 4, Interesting) 193

You're assuming that that the games are all strictly a high level language like C, C++ or C#. A lot of game programmers will drop down to assembly to do some things as fast as possible. When I was in the industry I had to do that a few times, never for the xbox360 though so it may not be as big of an issue.

Game programmers also use a lot of intrinsics that are basically C macros around assembly calls. And these are very tied to the CPU architecture. They also do a lot of things based on cache line sizes. Making sure that structures or multiples of structures fit inside cache lines. Or play around with using a structure of arrays instead of an array of structures, or visa-versa it all depends on what turns out to be faster on the architecture, or CPU multi-threaded loading, or the cosmic rays hitting the box at the time. If a game team has a good set of optimizers on it they'll beat anything a compiler will do, and it will tie the performance of the game to the CPU and ensure you can't just recompile. Recompile will just throw error after error.

The CPU architecture is completely different. Pipeline depths, branch prediction, it uses SSE for its vector unit instead of the one in the xbox360. And that's all fairly custom code almost in the assembly level to force the use of the vector units. The GPU is different though I think they were both AMD GPUs so it shouldn't be too bad for the code to run on it, and it should be using Direct Draw 9.0c as the API so it shouldn't matter what the GPU is.

Microsoft also loves to change their APIs between SDKs, something compiling for June 2010 may not compile in June 2012. The only thing they guarantee is that something compiled on June 2010 of the XDK will run on June 2012 version of the flash. And only on the production boxes. I remember a few times where older games compiled for launch did not run on the latest flash on the dev kits. The dev kit flash was filled with lots of things to make development easy, so they stripped out deprecated functionality. They also stripped out the deprecated functionality to ensure that people didn't use it, because game developers would find a way to get at it if they really needed to, if it was in the flash they'd find it.

Also MS may only have source code for Microsoft Studios' games. They don't have the source code for any of the third party games. When submitting for certification and publishing all they cared about for the xbox360 was the ISO image. They may not even have the source code from their own studios available. Especially from the early games, the Xbox360 has been around longer than most companies store data. The company I worked for only kept the source code around for 5 years. That would put the earliest game to have published in 2010. They may not go back this far for their compatibility but it does cut out the earliest games.

I think they've finally got a Xbox360 PPC emulator that is fast enough to emulate what the xbox360 could do without dropping too much in the way of performance. And that wasn't ready at the launch of the Xbone.

Comment Re:Do It, it worked in AZ (Score 2) 886

It really depends on who you ask. When I sent out a novel of editing, it used the rules you stated, but the editor came back and said its no longer proper English, and that I should change all of those pronouns where the gender was not specified to they, them, and their.

The one the editor complained the most about was that the crew on the space ship I was writing for referred to the ship as 'she' and 'her'. I personally thought the object was stupid and rejected that change. Especially since there are reasons for calling a ship by the female pronouns. Historical reasons may be nullified by political correctness, but spiritual reasons not so much. Especially since the female pronouns refer to the soul of a ship as any sailor will tell you, and if you treat 'her' right 'she'll' see you home safe.

I sometimes feel like a stick in the mud and I realize that language evolves all the time. To me it will always he, him or his unless you know its female. They, them and their is plural.

Comment Re:Why not have devices get their time from GPS? (Score 2) 166

This works nicely for self driving cars which need GPS anyway. I have no idea why self driving cars were listed. And for the times that it can't get a GPS signal the internal clock shouldn't drift that much. Unless the self driving car is 100% underground it should be able to find a GPS signal to time sync to often enough.

Things inside a building might be harder. But there are things that take a GPS signal and put a NTP server on the network. All you need is on of these and you're fine for the local network. I used these 10 years ago when working on base stations, and they provided a very stable 10 MHz reference clock too. And they're not that expensive, I was looking for one for home because I'm a little anal about time some days.

Comment May not have to worry about taxes (Score 4, Interesting) 734

While working in Canada I had a boss who was a US citizen, but he had been born in Canada to US married parents. He had the tax id for his parents to claim him as a dependent till 18. But he did not have a SSN number. He refused to work in the states because he didn't want to get a SSN number and thus have to pay taxes for the rest of his life, but he was still a US citizen.

I have no clue if that was legal or not. And I have no idea if this matches your circumstances, but it may be something you want to look into. See if they will be forced to pay taxes even if they don't have an SSN number just the tax id (which is different for children, or so I've been told).

Comment Re:Jerri (Score 1) 533

I was talking to my wife about this a while ago. The problem is that the western countries won't commit to the timeline. It will take at least 3-4 generations of occupation for it to come to fruition. You need Great-Grandpa who was the die hard extremist to be dead not to influence the kids. You might even need Grandpa to be gone too.

Once there are jobs, once there is education, once there are 'good times' then you need to hold it long enough for the people doing the preaching about the 'evils of the west' to no-longer be relevant and no-one to have direct remembrance of them. Each succeeding generation will come to realize that they have more to live for then their virgins in heaven.

The US had to deal with the same problem with Japan after WWII. Before and during WWII Japan was very megalomaniac and that had to change. How long did it take for them to come back into the world community as a productive partner? It was at least the seventies, and in my mind it was the eighties when they really came back as a full economic partner. And they had a big advantage, they had a cultural leader (the Emperor) who wanted to push Japan in that direction, and it still took 30-40 years to do it.

I don't know of a cultural leader that is in the Middle-East who wants to push them into a productive member of the world. Instead they have people at the top who like being at the top and screw the people who aren't. There is a huge gap between rich and poor, leaving the poor without much hope, and nothing left to live for which is why they're willing to become suicide bombers.

It'll take 60-100 years of near lock down there, and building up the education and economy to fix it. We don't have the political leaders in the west who would be willing to make such a time consuming and costly commitment that in the long run will build an economic competitor.

Instead they want peace in the middle east, but no economic competitor. They can't have both for long before we start the cycle again.

Comment Re:GOTO is a crutch for bad programmers (Score 1) 677

if you're doing an init function you should match it with a deinit function.


int initFunc() {
if (!AquireResource1()) return deinitFunc(TERM_1);
if (!AquireResource2()) return deinitFunc(TERM_2);
if (!AquireResource3()) return deinitFunc(TERM_3);
return 0;

int deinitFunc(state = TERM_ALL) // Cheating with C++
        switch (state)
                case TERM_ALL:
                case TERM_3:
                        Cleanup3(); // lint intentional pass-through
                case TERM_2:
                        Cleanup2(); // lint intentional pass-through
                case TERM_1:
                        Cleanup1(); // lint intentional pass-through
        return -1;

I personally prefer the gotos but some people don't. I had to do the above pattern for something with a 24 step initialization process. Not all steps allocated resources of course but all of them could fail. The lead programmer hated gotos, so I had to do it that way. Which was also beneficial because I no longer needed to create a separate deinit function. To me it looks the same as gotos, *shrug* but to each their own.

I have used gotos in other cases. Mainly in driver development. I had something like 10 us between transmissions on a SPI bus and was trying to shrink that down. I replaced a continue with a goto and it saved me 90 ns. Made the code look horrible and ripped the goto out again to look for other ways to solve the problems. But sometimes when your optimizing and fighting for ns gotos are what's needed.

Comment Re:Fine, if (Score 1) 286

United is actually taking the monitors out, in favor of an app you have to download onto your tablet and wifi for their entertainment systems (if you had a PC then you could just hook right up to wifi and use the entertainment system). I think it was United but the disasters of Chicago and weather had me switching from American to United to US Airways during that trip. They were giving a trial run on the flight I was on, but I bet they'll go for out on it because it means they don't have to pay for the screens and don't have to worry about the bulky screens getting in the way of packing more cattle....passengers in the plane.

Comment Re:Boys are naturally curious... (Score 4, Interesting) 608

Very interesting, thanks for sharing. There were a few problems I had with the video.

It did make the guys who professed that biology had nothing to do with it look a bit like closed minded idiots, but that was mostly their own fault. With the two that were shown the studies contrasting their views starting to call the studies weak, and almost name calling.

The video alluded to many studies that proved that biology had something to do with it, but only really went into details with two of them, and those looked to be one off studies. If they had been repeated by other scientists then I would give them more weight.

The video was a bit bias in its selection on who to present. The 'biology has nothing to do with it' looked to be young and barely out of post grad and wanting to make a name for themselves. They also seemed defensive and emotionally invested in their views. The ones on the other side of the debate were older, and looking to be more established. This gave the 'there's a biological link' a more credible appearance.

Personally I'm with the guy who said that you can't ignore biology and you can't ignore culture. That's also known as the grey fallacy, but when you're trying to find the root cause of something like this you can't cut out one side of the argument, even if its bee proven wrong. You have to continue to prove it wrong with hard facts and understanding, and each time you do you promote more understanding of what the issue is.

The video was also nice in that it pointed out, it was only the scientists form the culture is everything camp that discounted the biological portion of it. The scientists from the biology is important camp didn't say that culture wasn't important.

Comment Re:I want slower for cheaper (Score 2) 88

oh I'd love 10 mbs. I'm stuck with only one provider where I live. No cable, just CenturyLink DSL. I have the fastest service they offer in this area, a whole 7 mbs. And I get to pay $70 a month for it too. When I called up customer service about it, they seemed shocked that we only got 7 mbs for that amount, and then he looked at what was offered in the area, and apologized because that's all they have. I have a 70 ms ping to the speed test servers. Shows you how bad it is when they don't even care about faking speed test because there's no competition in this area.

What's frustrating is that a half mile west there's Cox. A half mile north there's cox. A have mile south there's cox, and a half mile east cox has partial coverage to northern half of the area. Just this one little area of new construction doesn't have Cox, and when I asked them when they'd get to it, they didn't know. I know cable sucks, and is a shared service, but its better than my 7-70-70 service (mbs, ping, price).

It takes about 30 seconds for my wife to load her facebook page, and her other pages. I don't really know why it could be so shitty. We have to unplug the modem at least once a week because it seems to die on us, and we seem to change IP addresses every 2-3 days. When both of our computers started downloading the latest round of windows patches it literally killed my wife's google talk page.

Day One With the Brand New Oculus Rift DK2: the Good, the Ugly and the Games 48

muterobert (2927951) writes Paul James goes hands on with one of the first next-gen Oculus Rifts in the wild: "After much hacking (and some kind developer linkage) I stepped into a DK2 enabled version of Technolust and lost myself utterly! The stunning attention to detail, neon on black really lets the OLED panel shine here. In fact, this experience was the closest I think I've ever some to presence in virtual reality thus far. Leaning in to check the myriad retro objects, gawking at the lighting and just generally being blown away by the experience. This game was fabulous on the DK1, it's utterly compelling now."

Comment Re:A virtuous Perl programmer (Score 2) 192

</p><p>I'm always amazed at what non-programmers are impressed by. Code up some major application, and... Why doesn't it have this feature? Why does it have that workflow? What kind of colorblind dyslexic idiot designed this UI? But whip up a simple script to automate some repetitive, routine task and you're a genius!</p></quote>

I'm always surprised at this as well. I had two things I was known for at my previous company. One that I was proud of, a software library that was used across the entire company, across multiple teams (20 project teams), built up a community around, supported and upgraded for 6 years. This was mainly on my own time, but I kept getting requests from other teams to help with integration (which I needed my time authorized for). I kept getting complaints about the library, people wanting to change the flows, wanting to add features in, wanting it to be more light weight, wanting it to be more heavy weight and do more, etc. The library was actually designed with maintenance and long term support in mind.

The other project, was something that automated a process I thought was stupid. Basically something that took multiple true type fonts, merged them together, and then based on all the localization strings it stripped out all the unused fonts to save on RAM. I threw that together when I was home sick from work with a 103 degree fever during flu season. It was only suppose to live till the end of the current project I was on (2 months). You can imagine how crappy the code was, it barely worked, it barely did what it had to do.

Guess which one I got more praise and recognition for? Not the properly designed project that affected our customers and revenue flow, but the code vomit (almost literally) project that made people's life in the company easier. Because of the second project I became known as one of the company's expert on true type fonts, and even had the company lawyers call me to talk about licensing of the fonts we used (as if I knew that). And I still had to support that tool 5 years after I wrote it, because it somehow leaked out of the original project which had been shipped and closed down. Just for the record I consider my knowledge on fonts to be slightly above average, but when you consider the average is 'a font is what you select in Word' its not much, no way is that considered an expert in any other area.

Comment Re:This (Score 1) 138

There is a PIC32 I/O expansion board (DM320002) that you can hook the PIC32MX starter kit to that will bring out the JTAG port to a standard header. Unfortunately that's a pricy board too that might be a bit too expensive for some people.

But it does bring out all the pins you'd want. SPI, UART, I2C, Digital I/O etc. And if you're going to be doing some pretty intensive stuff beyond what the starter kit gives you (3 buttons, and 3 LEDs) you'd probably want to pick one of those up as well. What I like about it is it has a 9 volt input jack so I don't have to power the starter kit off my PC.

The JTAG is left off the starter kit, since it is a starter kit, and they don't want to make it expensive. There isn't really any space on the board to put a JTAG port without expanding the area, and if you want one thing, others will want others, and yet others, and then its no longer a starter kit, but a full development kit. Which is why there's that I/O expansion board to handle the 132 pin connector that's on the bottom of the starter kit.

I took a fish head to the movies and I didn't have to pay. -- Fish Heads, Saturday Night Live, 1977.