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Comment "Atomic Batteries to power" scores double... (Score 1) 701 701

I voted for this, as it's the first one that I thought of before seeing the lists, and it's actually a geek double: not only was it coined for the Adam West "Batman" series, but it also pops up as part of the cockpit pre-launch sequence for the fighters in "Wing Cmmander III".

I remember having a grin a mile wide the first time I saw that in the game...

Comment Iron Man's HUD GUI & Snake Plissken's glider (Score 1) 74 74

It's been a while since I watched it, but I recall that one of the DVD extras for the first "Iron Man" movie is on the GUI design of the HUDs for the suits. The designers apparently thought quite a bit about the specific HCI issues that might arise for such a usage situation (essentially like a fighter plane, but with more stuff), and so there are nested menus that radiate out from the lower left when the user's attention focuses on that part of the display, without obscuring the full field of view, etc.

The different GUI colour schemes used between the various suits was also considered, although narrative clarity and style were (sensibly) prioritized above functionality in this respect, I think.


Potentially wandering off topic (but sticking with fictional movie aircraft instrumentation):

One of my favourite special effects stories is that back when "Escape from New York" was being made, it was too difficult/expensive to do the computerized 3D wire-frame rendering of Manhattan digitally that was to be displayed on Snake Plissken's glider, so they just made black miniature models of the buildings with gridlines painted on them, and then "flew" a camera over them to get the footage that ended up being displayed on the screen. Back in those days, practical effects based on painted wood were still cheaper than CGI!

See (e.g.) http://www.theefnylapage.com/e...

Comment My dog chased dinosaurs... (Score 1) 199 199

Yup, I've seen this as well.

We had a King Charles spaniel that used to jump up at the screen and bark whenever there was horse racing (flat racing) on the TV.

Even funnier, though, was that he was a *big* fan of "Walking With Dinosaurs" - he used to get very aggressive, bark, & try to face down the dinosaurs on the TV. I always thought that it was a real testament to the computer animation on that show that it could trick him into thinking they were realistically moving animals.

Comment Re:Lets Speculate (Score 3, Informative) 82 82

A touch control with buttons can work quite well.

I have a Garmin sports watch that has the usual complement of buttons, but also makes use of the round bezel (not the screen, mind) in a similar way to a 5th-generation iPod: sliding the finger one way scrolls down the menus, sliding it the other scrolls up. Touching it in two places simultaneously toggles the backlight. It locks/unlocks by pressing two of the buttons together, so accidental selections are avoided. It works rather well, actually.

Comment Re:DRM itself isn't bad (Score 1) 433 433

Thanks for taking the time to post a reasoned response to my (admittedly rather flippant) comment. I understand the points you're trying to make, but I've heard these arguments before, and with the greatest respect, I think that they're fundamentally flawed.

I do actually mostly just buy the DVDs, as I prefer the flexibility. I also mostly buy games on disk.

Online streaming-based services like Netflix are not much good for people who (for example) frequently travel internationally, as I do. Such services impose artificial regional limitations of the Internet on geopolitical and financial grounds, not technical ones, so I can't watch the videos I'm entitled to whenever I travel (see also: regional coding). I do have an Amazon Prime account (opened for the savings on shipping costs, but it also means I get access to video streaming), and it'd be a lot more useful to me without any DRM or regional controls.

If I wanted to actually buy videos from these services, I'd end up paying more than just renting them, and I'd still effectively lose them when the authentication servers get switched off. I ran into exactly this sort of problem with a few iTunes music tracks & apps that I bought online back in the day (iTunes in the early days being the textbook example of "DRM done right"). I bought them online, moved to another country, and ran afoul of the DRM.

If I do buy any such things online these days, I now have to very carefully weigh up the fact that in most cases, even if I can travel and use them in some sort of offline mode on a suitably registered device, I'm really just loaning them until someone else suddenly decides that I can't have them any more. Such a consideration has significantly cooled my enthusiasm for any such strings-attached "purchases". I'm not saying I'd never buy games online, but to be honest, I'm much more inclined to spend money on online games purchases *without* DRM. And from a content owner's perspective, that's a win-win: they score both a sale and popularity points with me as a customer, and they don't have to license or operate a DRM system.

Here's the biggest flaw in your argument for DRM, though: it doesn't work.* I could make the oft-repeated point that it's effectively attempting to enforce encryption/obfuscation while still having to supply the key to the very person that is to be prevented from accessing the material, but I think the empirical evidence argument is even more compelling: illicit copies of the content are already everywhere.

I could still watch/burn/distribute from DVDs/Blu-Rays, but I don't do that, because I can afford the disks and think that the producers of the media should get paid for their work. However, because of that honesty, I'm subjected to the stupidity of attempts to impose DRM on the disks (plus annoying nonsense like unskippable menus, self-defeating FBI warnings, etc.). And to add insult to injury, as a legitimate customer, I'm paying more for the inclusion of this nonsense. If I weren't so honest, I could just download the content illegally, and wouldn't have to deal with the DRM at all. I think it's pretty well accepted at this point that DRM-related annoyances like these drive some people to illegal downloading of a copy of the product that is not DRM-encumbered. Making the legitimate customers jump through more hoops than the illegal downloaders is clearly not a sensible way to run a business.

And to answer the question about providing some insurance to the content owners that their stuff won't be illegally copied? In light of my above points, I totally agree that it makes a difference in terms of making the deals between Netflix, et al. and the content owners happen. However, I'd instead argue that DRM is just the snake-oil used by Netflix et al. to loosen the grip of the content owners enough to persuade them to sign their contracts (see Apple and their since-abandoned iTunes Music Store DRM). Netflix, Apple et al. have to be seen to offer DRM as a token gesture to the content owners, but that doesn't mean they're naive enough to believe it'll actually stop illegal copying.

TL;DR: If the Steam, Netflix, etc. model works for you, then great. If the content owning companies genuinely don't want their stuff to be seen by a large number of the rest of us, then that's fine too: they're welcome to stick it behind a paywall which people like me are then free to ignore. However, DRM is a limiting technology, not an enabling one, and consequently has no place being baked into HTML.

* At least, without getting really draconian in terms of baking it in to the silicon, and I'm not buying into any device that does that...

Real programmers don't bring brown-bag lunches. If the vending machine doesn't sell it, they don't eat it. Vending machines don't sell quiche.