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Comment Re:it was just too long (Score 1) 173

The only part of the movies where I thought they captured that was in the opening scenes of the first Hobbit, where the dwarves come in one at a time, and then start singing while they clean the kitchen. So lighthearted and fun.

Yep, that scene was pretty well done.

To me, The Hobbit's flaws were just a magnification of flaws that already existed in the LOTR movies:
- Everything looked fake
- The pacing was always off. Either rushing through moments that should be awe inspiring, or dragging out moments that either shouldn't exist (because PJ invented them), or were boring filler (eternal battle scenes, interpersonal relationship drama).
- Trying to make everything epic. What ruined the soundtrack in LOTR (and The Hobbit), for me, was the fact that it never shut up. Not every scene requires grand accompaniment.

There was never a focus on doing these movies right. It was always about doing them big.

Comment Re:Companies don't get it.... (Score 2) 474

Agile: A form of development co-opted by management and companies to micro manage you at every possibility, without actually establishing any direction. Yes, I know this is not how it is supposed to work, but after being in many companies doing it, it is all too often done this way. Everyone gets creative about 'what they did yesterday', and 'what they will do today', yet we still don't have a clear direction on 'what the heck we are doing'. That gets frustrating.

I'm with you on every point except your agile comments. Yes many companies get it very wrong, but many companies get waterfall just as wrong. For me, coming from a massively waterfall environment to an agile environment has dropped my stress level considerably. Here is how agile (Scrum, specifically) is supposed to benefit you:

  • Gives you clear short-term (one sprint) goals.
  • Divides work (backlog items, tasks) into manageable chunks.
  • Offloads vague, stressful long-term goals to the Product Owner. They are responsible for measuring velocity, and planning accordingly. They are responsible for cutting features in order to make a deadline.
  • You commit to two weeks worth of work. The work is not committed on your behalf, and you can and should refuse unrealistic goals for each sprint.
  • Gets management out of your face. Want to know my status? Attend the standup meeting. Want to know our status? Look at the burndown chart, or ask the Product Owner.
  • Allows room for input on and interpretation of requirements. "Acceptance criteria" bullet lists are intended to give you just enough requirement detail, but not so much that stakeholders are attempting to be engineers.

If you have been using Scrum, it sounds to me like your group is in desperate need of retraining. You need an effective Scrum Master, an effective Product Owner, and team members who understand Scrum.

Comment Re:You're opening the door to your competitors... (Score 1) 294

Exactly. Not only are existing competitors like Amazon catching up, everybody and their dog seems to be starting their own streaming service. That means more competition for content licenses, and less buying power for Netflix. This is also why every streaming service, including Netflix, is trying to build up original content libraries. They may not want to be just another streaming channel, but I think they realize there's no other choice. So they'll try to be the best at that.

Comment Re:Equality (Score 1) 490

Both genders should have the same opportunities. They don't necessarily have the same interests.

However misguided, I think people are just trying to reduce the pressure everyone puts on young girls to pick interests that fit into their stereotype. It's a goal you can only chip away at. There's no way to quickly rewire all of our cultural tendencies. Maybe girl-focused STEM toys are a bad idea, maybe not. You could argue that they bridge the gap between what we traditionally pressure girls to play with and what we traditionally pressure boys to play with. Maybe that's progress.

What we really need is an evil mad scientist to use robots to raise human babies in isolation, and observe which toys / roles they gravitate toward over the years.

Comment Re:flat as a pancake: invasion pending (Score 1) 236

The problem is, it seems companies are letting designers do the job of the UI experts.

"UI expert", "designer", "UX"... it's all the same. There are people who are in charge of the interface. Call them whatever you want. People in these comments are inventing a boogeyman and attempting to give him a name.

In answer to a few of the concerns brought up in these comments:

  • The problem with not trying something new with UI designs is that new challenges don't get addressed, and as a result the experience of using a computer gets worse as time goes on. And even more importantly, why would we ever assume things are perfect? They've never been perfect. Windows 7 is not perfect. It's just familiar to those of us who already know how to use computers. And you know what? We are exactly the people who are best equipped to handle radical UI changes, because we've been around the block a time or two. I know half you guys probably still do word processing from a command line, but believe it or not that kind of stuff is a wee bit intimidating to new users. I doubt many people miss having the WordPerfect paper stencil flapped over their keyboards at all times.
  • Sometimes tearing something down and rebuilding it from scratch is the only way to see a path forward. Yes early designs are going to suck. Yes Windows 8 metro sucks. But at least they are trying something! They were faced with a brand new class of devices upon which they had no foothold whatsoever, so yes of course they are going to try to unify their operating system (including the UI) as much as possible in order to bridge the gap for their existing user base.
  • Flat icons are merely a trend. No one is saying they are better. Since the beginning of GUIs technology has been inhibiting designers' attempts at skeuomorphism, so they really went nuts with it once adequate technology finally arrived. The current trend is just a rebound after people grew tired of the art style.

Let people try new ideas. Don't be such negative Nancy know-it-alls.

Comment Re:*Grabs a bowl of popcorn* (Score 1) 385

I really like your observations, and I agree with the main part of it: It's better to follow your interests and commit yourself to excellence than it is to follow the money. That said, don't assume that you'd be any happier. More fulfilled in that one particular area, certainly. One thing I don't like about Hollywood is the constant preaching that "following your dreams" is the ultimate point in life. It's not. Don't let yourself be suckered into what ifs and regrets.

I also wonder why we allow society to limit us so much. You have probably retained most of what you knew back then. You have money to pay the bills. Why not pick up where you left off? What's stopping you? Get into academics.

Comment Aureal Vortex 2 (Score 2, Insightful) 82

Interactive 3D sound was incredible on my sound card with a Vortex 2 chipset back around 1999. After their acquisition by Creative Labs I've heard very little good 3D sound. Is it really that uncommon, or am I just numb? Seems odd that we're still trying to get this figured out.

Comment Re:Utilities (Score 2) 210

They live in a fantasy land where those tools are a key differentiator for their product. As if Granny is impressed by all this when making her purchase. What other explanation can there be? They really think their stuff raises eyebrows.

Comment Re:This could be very useful (Score 1) 71

Lots of great internet stuff requires "being there". Live chats. Live events. Game streaming. It's nothing new and in the right circumstance it works.

The weakest part of YouTube has got to be the comments. They are silent, and they are usually stupid or old or both. Now imagine joining a voice chat (or even text) channel with others sharing a common interest, watching something simulcasted and talking about it in real time, with a person or a mechanism designated to queue up videos. That has possibilities. These don't have to be people you know.

There are already ways to do this, of course. The trick is creating an interface that makes it easy enough for the idea to gain traction.

Every cloud has a silver lining; you should have sold it, and bought titanium.