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Comment: Re:Quote from the article (Score 4, Insightful) 92

by Dutch Gun (#47574895) Attached to: Unesco Probing Star Wars Filming In Ireland

"We can't tell what the filming of Star Wars on the site will do to the wildlife."

I'm pretty sure I can tell you. Not a fucking thing. Nature is not so fragile that a film crew will destroy an ecosystem just by walking around and filming a few scenes. They're under restrictions on what they can do (i.e. they're not going to be blowing up the island), and they've got an ecologist on the set at all times. This is all about a local jackass getting his nose in a snit.

Stephen Newton, a seabirds expert with Birdwatch Ireland, said he could not get onto the island to check the important colony.

Mr Newton said he was asked by the film producers only days before shooting was to begin if he would help them with an impact assessment to secure permits for filming.

He refused, arguing it would take several weeks to assess, as many of the species breed underground or in rocky crevices where it would be difficult to see what damage is being done.

Are you kidding me? Several weeks for an impact assessment? Does that strike anyone else as a bit over the top?

Likely translation: He tried to shake the movie company down for a few weeks worth of work rather than a day or two, and they told him to piss off, then contacted someone more reasonably inclined. They obviously got the permits, meaning that someone was able to do the work in just a few days. And why the hell should he be allowed on the island after what he tried to pull? The fact that he's blabbing to the press and causing trouble for them now shows they were probably right to snub him.

Comment: Re:Not Getting Paid (Score 1) 79

by Dutch Gun (#47574705) Attached to: Crytek USA Collapses, Sells Game IP To Other Developers

Videogame development houses are not like most places, especially not the smaller, more tightly knit development houses. I suppose nowadays you'd probably call them "indie" shops. Back then, they were just called "very small game studios". Most places you go to work because you want a paycheck. Videogame developers, for the most part, go to work because they want to make cool games, and the paycheck is an important yet ultimately secondary concern. If they were more interested in the paycheck, there are lots of places you can go work a must less stressful 8 to 5 job for more money than in the videogame industry (well, certainly for programmers, at least).

I was with a very small game studio when it lost the next big project it had lined up. We were small enough that we didn't have a backup plan of any sort, unfortunately, and after about half a year or so without any projects being landed, the company inevitably ran low on funds, and employees had to go on half pay. During my time there, I became friends with my fellow employees and got along great with my bosses, who were really good to their employees and genuinely nice people. I stayed on for another couple of months, but I eventually had to look after my own financial needs, and let them know I when started searching for another job. We parted on good terms, and several months later, the company folded.

Game development teams go through a lot together, often working under very stressful conditions on very demanding products, and developers are often loathe to break up a really good team. Additionally, finding a new job is, of course, a very stressful thing. Sometimes it's just developers not wanting to face reality, or hoping things improve. I can only speak for myself, but I stayed as long as I could on half pay because I really loved working at that company. It was really as simple as that. Had we managed to land one of the deals we were desperately trying to get, who knows how things might have turned out. It seemed worth trying at the time, and I don't regret it.

Comment: Re:So... (Score 1) 93

by Dutch Gun (#47573351) Attached to: Chinese Government Probes Microsoft For Breaches of Monopoly Law

I perhaps worded it poorly, as I didn't mean to imply the EU judgement was necessarily without merit. Rather, I'm simply implying that the Chinese government may have been looking at the end result of Microsoft's and Google's cases (i.e. paying large fines to the EU), and could have seen that as a lucrative opportunity, either economically, politically, or both.

Comment: Re:So... (Score 5, Insightful) 93

by Dutch Gun (#47572565) Attached to: Chinese Government Probes Microsoft For Breaches of Monopoly Law

I'll bet the Chinese government took a page from the EU and figured out it could levy whatever the hell sort of fines it wants against these tech giants, and they'll probably just eat it as a part of the cost of doing business. That is, so long as they don't fine them more than it's worthwhile to do business there, because of course, said company would simply say "screw you" and leave. They figured that a charge of "Microsoft is a monopoly!" would work just fine, since that's been bandied about in the West so much already. You watch - I wouldn't be surprised if MS is going to get a nice, hefty fine levied against them, but probably not so much that they'll contemplate pulling out of China's market completely. Nothing like a government-sponsored extortion racket.

The other possibility is, like the linked article implies, that this is part of the government's push for technological self-reliance, and a move to start pushing their own operating systems and squeeze MS out of the picture. We've seen that with Google pretty clearly already. Or, maybe it's a bit of both - a way to squeeze a bit more cash out of the tech giants before eventually pushing them out altogether.

Hard to say, really. China is a mystery wrapped in an enigma to most westerners like myself.

Comment: Re:Too many apps, too much appcrap (Score 1) 213

by Dutch Gun (#47570183) Attached to: Is the App Store Broken?

All I see is a natural settling of the app bubble. This is a good thing. It just means the market is maturing. The alternative is a hard crash, like when the dot-com bubble popped, and no one wants that.

The author all but admits that app development was seen as a get-rich-quick scheme, and acknowledges the market is maturing, but falters when it comes time to face reality. Removing "top sales" lists or curtailing frivolous app development would be a bandaid. It would inconvenience users in a ham-handed attempt to "spread the wealth" - exactly the wrong approach to take, since users would simply lash out at the app store developers for doing that.

What's the solution? Probably the same as it's always been: work hard, create a great product, sell it for a fair price, market it in a unique and clever way, and hope for the best. If an app developer goes under, it just demonstrates that wasn't exactly beating a door down for their app. It's harsh, but that's how markets work. App stores could better solve the problem by developing algorithms to show more relevant products based on purchasing and browsing history, but honestly, you can't rely on anyone else to sell your app for you.

Launching a startup has always been immensely risky. The notion that app developers should somehow be immune from normal market realities is laughable.

Comment: Re:Is Jackson arguing against diversity? (Score 1) 438

by Dutch Gun (#47569767) Attached to: Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

It seems he's basically arguing that there's a correlation (and therefore maybe causality) between being diverse and not leading the market.

Makes sense. Companies intent on "diversifying their workforce" are probably too focused on politics or appearances rather than paying attention to their products and customers.

Comment: Re:There's no talent shortage (Score 1) 438

by Dutch Gun (#47569533) Attached to: Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

If they're laying off mostly non-programmers (i.e. "overhead"), but are still hiring for programming positions, then this would make sense. If not, then it's pretty inexcusable. In either case, someone should have known that at the very least, this would end up looking really bad for them.

Regardless, the fact that the e-mail describing the layoffs actually used the word "synergies" three times told me all I needed to know about the new CEO. Someone in touch with today's culture would never have used that word unless he was mocking another company for using it. Even when using business buzzwords, Microsoft is still about five years behind the times.

Comment: Re:Trailer not HFR? (Score 1) 149

by Dutch Gun (#47569029) Attached to: The Hobbit: the Battle of Five Armies Trailer Released

I was actually going to make the comparison between "warm" vinyl sounds vs CDs (I'm not sure what SCAD is though), as well as tube amplifiers versus digital, but I thought it would distract from the point I was trying to make. Plus, the post was already getting long. But yeah, I think both of those are somewhat appropriate comparisons.

Comment: Re:Not looking good (Score 4, Insightful) 149

by Dutch Gun (#47564181) Attached to: The Hobbit: the Battle of Five Armies Trailer Released

Read LoTR's description of Tom Bombadil again, an equally powerful but rather loony figure in his own right, and tell me that Tolkien couldn't have imagined Radagast the way he was depicted (admittedly probably without the bird shit).

Frodo and Sam stood as if enchanted. The wind puffed out. The leaves hung silently again on stiff branches. There was another burst of song, and then suddenly, hopping and dancing along the path, there appeared above the reeds an old battered hat with a tall crown and a long blue feather stuck in the band. With another hop and a bound there came into view a man, or so it seemed. At any rate he was too large and heavy for a hobbit, if not quite tall enough for one of the Big People, though he made noise enough for one, stumping along with great yellow boots on his thick legs, and charging through grass and rushes like a cow going down to drink. He had a blue coat and a long brown beard; his eyes were blue and bright, and his face was red as a ripe apple, but creased into a hundred wrinkles of laughter. In his hands he carried on a large leaf as on a tray a small pile of white water-lilies.

A bit silly-looking for one of the most powerful entities in Middle-Earth, no? Somewhat frivolous-minded, too. The Council of the Ring considers Bombadil as a safekeeper:

‘No,’ said Gandalf, ‘not willingly. He might [take the ring], if all the free folk of the world begged him, but he would not understand the need. And if he were given the Ring, he would soon forget it, or most likely throw it away. Such things have no hold on his mind. He would be a most unsafe guardian; and that alone is answer enough.’ ‘But in any case,’ said Glorfindel, ‘to send the Ring to him would only postpone the day of evil. He is far away. We could not now take it back to him, unguessed, unmarked by any spy. And even if we could, soon or late the Lord of the Rings would learn of its hiding place and would bend all his power towards it. Could that power be defied by Bombadil alone? I think not. I think that in the end, if all else is conquered, Bombadil will fall, Last as he was First; and then Night will come.’
 

Why should Radagast have necessarily been a clone of Gandalf or Saruman? Tom comes across as halfway insane or a goofball, dressed like a clown and constantly breaking into song. Gandalf also speaks of him as ancient and powerful, but one who, if they gave him the ring, would literally forget about it. Jackson's take on Radagast was, I think, similar to Bombadil, one who concerned himself more with nature than the goings-on in the world of wizards, men, elves, and dwarves.

Comment: Re:Trailer not HFR? (Score 3, Insightful) 149

by Dutch Gun (#47563319) Attached to: The Hobbit: the Battle of Five Armies Trailer Released

Believe me, 48FPS is not the future. Or if it is, then there is a long way to go in setting it up and filming it properly.

It probably is, but I'm guessing our generation will have a really hard time accepting it. Our minds have been conditioned to think of 24 FPS displays as "cinematic" and higher FPS (30 or higher) at "cheaper", because for years the TV images we've seen *have* looked much "cheaper". It's an association that I don't think we can easily rationalize our way out of. Why do you think videogames have gone so far as to artificially render fake film grain or lens flare artifacts? That's a completely illogical thing to do except for the pleasant association people have with the look of traditional movie media.

Simply put, I think the high frame rate and high fidelity end up causing a negative association in our minds. It's not that it really looks worse - we're just not used to it looking quite so sharp and fluid, and it just doesn't feel "cinematic" to us. At least, that's the conclusion I've come to. Honestly, nothing else makes much sense to me, because otherwise, we're always pushing to make the picture better, more realistic, etc. After all, you can't really blame increased frame rate for making a movie set look more "fake", right? Film has always been a "high resolution" experience, after all.

Or, put another way, I think film technology just fell into the uncanny valley for some people, where it looks so close to reality that their brains are rebelling a bit and causing distractions, which leads to a poor viewing experience.

Comment: Re:Wrong device (Score 1) 539

That's sort of like ranting how the PC is vastly superior to the gaming console, and how the mouse is clearly the superlative input device compared to the gamepad because of its precision. All very true, but you're neglecting the *convenience* factor. It's incredibly convenient to have an all-in-one predesigned, prepackaged computer made for playing games that you just plug into your TV. Likewise, it's incredibly convenient for your phone to be able to act as a mobile computer without actually needing to lug around a laptop everywhere you go.

Despite ddt's comments being marked as "Troll" (sheesh, touchy about our phones much?), he actually has a point. In general, a phone is a pretty poor substitute for a full size physical keyboard. There are exceptions of course (users who text each other all day, or authors who write entire books on their phones), but I'd imagine the most common use cases for smartphones actually don't include a whole lot of typing. Phones and tablets excel at consuming content, not creating it. As such, a physical keyboard is, to some degree, working against the strengths of the smartphone - being as lightweight as possible relative to screen size and optimally designed for consuming content.

I think that's why you don't see a lot of physical keyboards anymore. Even if someone prefers the feel of a physical keyboard, does it really matter if the most common use case only requires them to swipe on the screen or speak commands the vast majority of the time as opposed to touch typing? More to the point, are they willing to sacrifice features and bulk for that keyboard? A few might, but most won't. At least, so goes the thinking of people who manufacture the things, I'd imagine.

Comment: Re:Not surprised (Score 3, Informative) 144

How many reasons would you like? F-Droid has about a thousand apps to the Play store's 1.2 million. You have to install it through side channels. Relatively few in the mainstream have heard of it. None of the apps that people's friends or favorite websites are talking about are available on it. A quick peek at some of the new apps listed on the front page reveal these potential blockbusters:

* A guessing game: try to guess a number between 1 and 100 in under eight tries
* A ROT-13 encoder/decoder
* An ASCII/Hex/Ocal/Binary converter
* Swimming distance calculator
* TI graphing calculator emulator (no ROMs included)

It surprises you that people aren't flocking to this in droves? Look, nothing against F-Droid. It's cool that people are doing this, but let's keep our expectations grounded in reality.

Comment: Re:Useless Internet (Score 1) 84

by Dutch Gun (#47546529) Attached to: Off the Florida Coast, Astronauts Train For Asteroid Mission

sex is a physical need, how is this addressed for astronauts?

First, I'm afraid I can personally guarantee you that sex is NOT actually a physical need. Second, they're already astronauts, for heaven's sake! Do their sex lives really need enhancement? Fighter pilots and astronauts impress girls. Videogame programmers impress geeks. What was I thinking, damnit?

Comment: Re:I know you're trying to be funny, but... (Score 4, Insightful) 719

by Dutch Gun (#47545531) Attached to: Linus Torvalds: "GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken"

Here's how a REAL professional behaves. The CEO of Boeing told analysis that he makes his employees "cower", and actually thought that would be a funny joke. Everyone knew that Steve Jobs was something of an asshole. So is Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. A lot of the most famous and effective military leaders were real sons of bitches as well. Patton comes to mind, as does his long-time rival, Monty. Norman Schwarzkopf was known for his fiery temper, which gave him the nickname "Stormin' Norman".

Most professional communities are rather pragmatic, and ultimately rewards *success* above all else, unless you cross over a very big line, like doing something illegal, or embarrassing your company to such a degree that it has a negative effect on business (e.g. Patton slapping a soldier). There may something about those personality types that are driven to succeed. It's not universal, of course. Pete Carrol, the head coach of last year's Superbowl winning Seattle Seahawks, is known for being a very nice and laid-back guy, and doesn't fit the typical mode of the "screamer" type coaches we've all seen.

Look, I'm not going to defend Torvold's rants. I think they're childish as well, but let's not kid ourselves. These sort of rants and worse happen all the time in "professional" environments. Would it be great if people were universally nicer to each other? Sure. But when getting a job done, is being nice or being competent more important?

At least he hasn't tossed any chairs around that we know of.

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