Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Why merge? (Score 2) 59

by Dutch Gun (#49502097) Attached to: DOJ Could Nix Comcast-Time Warner Merger

A rejection of the deal would be a blow to Comcast, which has sought to gain valuable cable assets in major U.S. cities including New York and Los Angeles, where Time Warner Cable is dominant. Expanding Comcast’s broadband Internet and video footprint would help it better compete with satellite, Web and telecommunications competitors that have taken hundreds of thousands of TV subscribers from the Philadelphia-based company in recent years.

Or, Comcast, you could stop treating your customers like poop you scrape off your sole and instead offer competitive and innovative services at a reasonable price. Maybe then your customers wouldn't flee from you at the first opportunity they get. Just a thought.

Comment: Re:Accepting a story from Florian Meuller? (Score 1) 108

They're not doing it out of a sense of freedom or charity, so forgive me if I don't swoon with joy...

If that's the bar you're setting, no business will ever live up to those expectations. You're absolutely correct that this is simply a pragmatic strategy, made to help secure their place in an era where Windows no longer is the dominant platform. I'm completely fine with that. I don't expect Microsoft to suddenly turn into nice guys. I do expect them to act consistently with their own interests, and right now, that means accepting that they need to embrace a cross-platform development strategy. That's good news for those who enjoy using .NET on Windows platforms, and would like to port that code to other platforms as well.

As a general rule, it's not unreasonable for a for-profit business to also embrace open source strategies. Isn't that what open advocates have been saying for years? Haven't many other companies demonstrated this in practice? The only reason it's so strange is that this is Microsoft, which has historically been the antithesis of open source. Still, a good business strategy is a good business strategy regardless of who it comes from. Frankly, I'm amazing that MS has had such a turn-around in attitude in such a short time, and I suspect it has a chance to prevent them from languishing as a Windows-only vendor as many felt they would, with the inevitable decline and stagnation that would entail.

Comment: Re:Oh god please no. (Score 3, Insightful) 189

by Dutch Gun (#49484029) Attached to: The Car That Knows When You'll Get In an Accident Before You Do

She's going to do that anyhow. Just last week, I saw a local story about a guy who lost control of his car while using his smartphone, and naturally, killed someone else and injured several more in their car instead of offing himself. Personally, I know I'm a good and safe driver (no tickets or accidents in decades), but I have very little confidence in others' driving. I want other people to have these systems in their cars, because it's more likely to save my life than the idiot that's busy tapping away on their phone while on the freeway.

I'm not sure if the camera pointed back at the driver is going to catch on, because I think people will be a bit uncomfortable having their car continuously watching them, but I think the outward-facing systems are going to be standard equipment in fairly short order. These are all just slow, incremental changes towards self-driving cars. We'll eventually be giving up more and more manual control of our cars, and as a result, driving is going to become safer and safer.

Comment: Re:Just get rid of democracy instead (Score 1) 320

by Dutch Gun (#49483469) Attached to: Gyro-Copter Lands On West Lawn of US Capitol, Pilot Arrested

Nowadays, when someone says "democracy", it's highly likely they're simply referring to the over-arching type of government in which power is vested in the citizenry. This happens to include republics like the US, as well as "pure democracies", in which every citizen takes part in the governing process, and many other variations as well, like the UK's constitutional monarchy.

Note that historically, the term "democracy" has often been used to refer to "direct democracy". This was certainly true in the times and writings of the US founding fathers. Nowadays, the reverse is probably true. If you want to get stupidly technical or pedantic, the US could probably be considered a "hybrid", because while we clearly utilize a republic for most of our governing machinery, over half our states also have ballot initiatives, which are a form of direct democracy.

I think it's perfectly fine to call the US a "democracy", so long as we recognize that we're obviously using the umbrella term and not a "direct democracy".

Comment: Re:title is wrong (Score 1) 237

by Dutch Gun (#49477183) Attached to: Chess Grandmaster Used iPhone To Cheat During Tournament

FIDE regulations actually allow for the revocation of titles in cases of cheating. They absolutely should revoke his grandmaster status. Leaving it intact, even with a footnote, is insulting to anyone who earned that title legitimately. Why leave the official title intact if he's banned for life anyhow?

Comment: Re:What's the lesson in all this? (Score 4, Insightful) 131

by Dutch Gun (#49475503) Attached to: How Mission Creep Killed a Gaming Studio

I was working for a videogame company that essentially went under because Microsoft canceled our next anticipated contract. This was one of two businesses to drop out from under me during my career. I've had a couple of cancelled projects as well, which are also somewhat disheartening. One was, oddly enough, also at Microsoft while working as a contractor. They put together an entire team before someone crunched the numbers and realized that the licensing for the game we were working on was so expensive, the project would likely not make any money. Seriously, no one did this before they actually hired an entire dev team? I spent about a week doing nothing while waiting for a computer to show up, and then worked for about a week. Then the project was cancelled. The project manager felt pretty bad about that, so kept me on for another few weeks as a makeshift "severance", as well as buying me and the other contract programmer an Xbox and a few games to go with it, which was pretty nice of him.

This sort of thing happens all the time in this industry. I suppose you just sort of have to roll with the punches with that sort of thing. Fortunately, after you've got a few years under your belt, it's not too difficult to find another job, especially if you're willing to relocate. I'm fairly lucky that way, being in an area with plenty of great companies to choose from.

I wish all the displaced devs at that company the best of luck. I've definitely been there, and know it's not a lot of fun to suddenly find yourself searching for a new job. Fortunately, studios are always anxious to grab experienced development talent, so hopefully they'll all land on their feet.

Comment: Re:Developers, Developer, Developers (Score 3, Interesting) 125

I completely agree with everything you've written... if you're a .net programmer, you're fine. But if you're a C programmer sitting directly on top of Win32, you're screwed

Lots of cutting-edge applications are still written in C or C++ and directly use the Windows API (it's not called Win32 anymore). In fact, I'd go so far as to say the majority of large commercial applications you can think of are native apps: Photoshop, Microsoft Office, most videogames, web browsers, media players, etc, etc. Nearly all the new APIs released with new versions of Windows are available to native applications. There's no reason a company has to abandon their legacy C codebase if they don't want to. BTW, the "way forward" for C developers is called C++, and it's conveniently backwards compatible with your C codebase.

The major reason one would consider switching to .NET from native code is productivity, not new functionality. The .NET APIs are much easier to use than the much older Windows APIs, and the languages .NET supports like C# are far easier to use as well. You don't even have to completely abandon your C or C++ code either. It's pretty simple to write interop layers to communicate between C# and C, and have done so many times at work.

Comment: Re:Game of Thrones (Score 2) 104

by Dutch Gun (#49472695) Attached to: In New Zealand, a Legal Battle Looms Over Streaming TV

Note that in the story people are using a VPN to bypass country restriction. If they were just torrenting the content without wishing to pay for it, they wouldn't need to worry about this.

I could easily torrent the media content I regularly watch, but I find it a lot easier to simply subscribe to a few streaming services, most of which cost less than eight or nine dollars a month. If a service is convenient and affordable, many people will use it, for practical reasons and/or the fact that they recognize that doing so supports the creators of the content they wish to see.

Obviously, there's always going to be some people that will never pay for it.

Whoever dies with the most toys wins.