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Comment: Re:C# (Score 1) 648

by Gondola (#48856703) Attached to: Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

I personally like C# as a language and I use it for development, but I think Java is a more generalized language suitable for learning, even though I personally dislike parts of it. It's much more ubiquitous and easy to install and I think those aspects are essential for a learning platform.

Yes, with the addition of Mono, C# can run on other platforms, and Microsoft appears to be pushing to open source it completely. Once C# has an easily-installable runtime and SDK for all major platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux) I think it would make a great learning language. I've installed Mono SDKs on two different Linux platforms, and both were complex installations with lots of prerequisites.

Comment: I suggested this for finding a Starbound mob. (Score 1) 100

by Gondola (#47332935) Attached to: Building the Infinite Digital Universe of <em>No Man's Sky</em>

Starbound is a 2d side-scrolly infinite universe procedural game.

A couple weeks ago, I noticed a post by someone who had seen a randomly-generated mob of a specific type on a certain planet, taken it for a pet, and then subsequently lost all of his data, perhaps due to a patch, I forget. He wanted to find that exact pet again because he liked its looks, but in a very large (not technically infinite, but impossible to explore for one person before the heat death of the universe) game universe, the chances of him finding it again were very slim.

My suggestion was to write an AutoHotKey script and game mods to make the player invulnerable and run a ship on autopilot and explore the universe, then put that script into the cloud and run thousands of simultaneous copies. Then, post screenshots when mobs were found as Amazon Turk jobs to compare to the original screenshot of his lost pet.

Comment: Re:One of my earliest multiuser gaming experiences (Score 1) 146

by Gondola (#46714697) Attached to: Born To RUN: Dartmouth Throwing BASIC a 50th B-Day Party

It was a typo, of course. I've typed "darth"-something many more times than "dart"-something else in my life.

'80 was probably too early. I would have been single digits. It was probably more like '84-'85 maybe? I remember some people had personal channels they would use, like some dude named Greg hung out in channel 32 I think?

I guess it would be kind of weird and wrong to ask what your username was? I can't even remember mine for sure; it might have been Warewolph, or The Hoodlum. Both awful handles that I discarded soon afterwards.

Comment: One of my earliest multiuser gaming experiences. (Score 3, Insightful) 146

by Gondola (#46703867) Attached to: Born To RUN: Dartmouth Throwing BASIC a 50th B-Day Party

Back in the day, I knew people that could provide me with magic phone numbers that would allow me to dial anywhere in the world, for free. Imagine that, right? I was only like 13. Statute of limitations and all that. This was in the 80s I guess.

Anyway, I remember we used to somehow dial into a Darthmouth mainframe and from there we could do a couple things. They had some kind of multiuser Zork (or Zork-ish) text adventure that you could play. I tried it a couple times but I couldn't get into it at the time, even though I loved Infocom games.

The biggest appeal was getting into the chat system. There, we could chat with what I assume were Darthmouth college students. "JOIN XYZ" I think was the command from the main menu.

There was this cool VT display of who was in the chat, so you could tell how many people were there. I used to chat with these people all the time. It was great for a precocious 13 year old who couldn't talk with his peers because his vocabulary and worldview was greatly expanded from theirs. How unfortunate that my social skills were so backward at the same time.

The details are a bit foggy, but I'm sure with some conversation with some of the same folks who used to chat there, I could dredge up those memories. Anyone remember chatting on that system?

Comment: A few things no one else has mentioned yet. (Score 1) 531

by Gondola (#46381317) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Software Can You Not Live Without?

* Launchy: I switch from my sitting desk to a standing desk throughout the day. Instead of using a glitchy duplicate Start button, I use Launchy to run things. Now I don't use the Start button very often anymore, even when it's on the screen.

* Dual Monitor, for duplicate task bars. It's glitchy, though. Crashes a couple times a day, but at least it's not a destructive crash. I should write an AutoHotKey script to restart it when it crashes...

* AutoHotKey: There are a few things I use this for, and it really comes in handy to do those little things that make life easier, like cheating in Cookie Clicker. Actually, its primary use for me is to move all my windows from my 2-screen sitting desk layout to my 1-screen standing desk layout with a simple key combo. But, it comes in handy when I need to quickly automate any repetitive task.

* KeyNote NF: It's a hierarchical note-taking app like Evernote used to be. It's lightweight and intuitive to use, although I'm still looking for something that works with mobile and web that isn't heavy like Evernote is now.

* LICEcap for capturing GIFs easily, cleanly, with a small-ish file size. Better than GifCam, and GifCam is pretty great.

Comment: Free, small, accurate mapping data? (Score 1) 32

by Gondola (#44487857) Attached to: Using Zillow's Creative Commons Neighborhood Boundary Data For the U.S.

I've thought about creating a social game that integrates real world data for creating instant communities, but every mapping solution I've looked at requires you to host hundreds of gigabytes of image data, or purchase views after X number of free queries per month. As an independent developer, neither of those is practical for me.

Is there a truly free-as-in-beer map database that actually looks good at, say, a 10-mile radius zoom level that doesn't consume hundreds of gigabytes?

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn