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Comment Boneheaded and with straightforward solutions (Score 1) 698

This is so boneheaded it beggars belief. The straightforward solution is to require the UEFI variable filesystem (or whatever it is called these days) to be mounted read-only, and require (UNIX anyway, but something analogous ought to work for Windows too) an application to do a "mount -o remount,rw" to do whatever it needs to do, then do a "mount -o remount,ro" when it's finished. Not as nice as having UEFI not be seriously broken, but workable, and there's not much of an excuse for things like systemd, openrc, etc. implementing this where appropriate (and for any UEFI crap that can brick a system, this is appropriate).

Applications don't like it? Tough, patch the damn things. Requireing firmware to be exposed to harm like this on any operating system is unacceptable.

Comment Indisious MegaBloks (Score 4, Informative) 165

MegaBloks makes generic bricks that are nominally compatible with LEGO bricks. But in practice, they are built to lower quality standards and tend to attach much more poorly. As small number of MegaBloks in a collection of LEGO bricks can cause a lot of havoc and result in LEGO models that keep falling apart.

Yes, and even worse, in my experience, MegaBloks are dimensionally unstable over a decade or less, Legos are stable for at least 4 decades.

About 10 years ago I gave my nephews a set of MegaBloks and patted myself on the back because I had given an enormous set of "Legos" for so cheap. When new, they worked just as well as Legos. My nephews have long-since outgrown those MegaBloks but my own kids were visiting recently and we dragged them out. They do not stay together at all now.

I still have the real Legos which I had as a kid in the 1970's, and they hold together just like new.

So you might think you are getting a deal with MegaBloks, but not so much, if you plan on them lasting.

Comment Coming to a Headline Near You (Score 2) 232

Waiting for all the morons to blame cannabis.

API: Dozens of school children were murdered by a deranged gunman in YourCity, USA earlier today. Governor Dumbshit (R|D) deplored the loss of life, but reminding voters that "at least we can rest easy in the knowledge that the gunman's second amendment right to bear arms was in no way abridged." Early reports that the bullets contained cannabis, and that medical marijuana lies at the heart of the tragedy, have been debunked, although Governor Dumbshit (D|R) has promised voters a thorough investigation "to get to the real facts." After wiping drool from his chin, the Governor went on to say, "If cannabis bullets weren't responsible for the loss of life, then why did investigators feel the need to deny cannabis was involved? Clearly, where there's smoke, there's cannabis."

Comment Re:I don't understand. (Score 1) 277

Also, it wasn't until the early 60s that the earliest photocopiers appeared, courtesy of Haloid Xerox corporation, and a good decade after that before most people could usually get access to them for personal use.

That brought about a change in thinking. Prior, unless a print shop was going to get involved, you only really thought about making copies at the time of creation - via carbon paper, or mimeographs. People weren't used to the idea of creating copies of something after the fact.

The writing habits of authors and people like Roddenberry were already well developed. Today we think nothing of 'backing things up', but at the time it must have been a strange idea to them.

Comment Re:Given a choice in the 70's (Score 1) 277

Ahhh. David H Ahl's 101 BASIC games - those were written on a mainframe I believe, and required a little bit (not much usually) of work just to translate to the BASIC dialects found on the common machines of the time (Commodore PET, Apple ][, TRS-80, Atari). The Atari BASIC was the hardest of the bunch because it's string handling differed the most (not being based on the Dartmouth/Microsoft BASIC interpreters of the time)

For real fun, I remember at about age 14, taking a commercial game- Starbase Hyperion - that was written in Atari BASIC, but had a few 'anti-hack' measures, and undoing them to make it readable when listed (like coming up with meaningful names for all the variables - they were in a table that had been replaced with control characters).

Comment Re:Nothing unusual about CP/M (Score 2) 277

As I recall, it was common for the CPU in machines of that era to interact heavily with the Floppy Controller during the I/O process: listening for the sync hole (a real hole in the floppy), driving the stepper motor, transferring bytes, intra-sector timings, stop/start bits, etc. All of which could be further impacted by the system clocks and even the memory wait states used in that particular machine.

There were many early "homebuilt" CP/M machine from sources like HeathKit, Northstar, etc, so there could have been quite a few variants in terms of the actual magnetic data on the disk.

For some real fun, look up how the CompuColor II (circa 1979) controlled it's floppy disks -- it used a serial IO chip in developer/debug mode to save on having a dedicated floppy controller chip.

Comment Backroom Deals (Score 2) 143

from the ./ summary:

the Obama administration canceled amid strong local and state opposition to it.

from the Wall Street Journal:

The Reid-Obama Bargain: Harry shut down the Senate because Barack shut down the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada... Mr. Reid’s admirers seem to think Mr. Reid is their champion, but the reason he has carried so much water for Mr. Obama isn’t liberal ideals. It’s the result of a crude political bargain in which Mr. Reid agreed to do the President’s dirty work on Capitol Hill if Mr. Obama blocked the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

Comment If DHS were not idiots... (Score 4, Insightful) 77

A friend who is an amateur pilot pointed this out to me a few years ago: There is a huge surplus of cheap pilot labor because passenger airline pilot jobs require a minimum of 1,200 hours of flight time for certification. All of those would-be passenger airline pilots are trying to accumulate that much flying time on someone else's dime, meaning any flying job where the pilot does not pay for his own aircraft, maintenance and fuel.

Military drones are super expensive and have different requirements than are needed for border patrol, requirements such as long loiter times, capability for long-range missions, extreme stealth to evade sophisticated radar , offensive capabilities, high fuel efficiency, etc. Any conventional aircraft would be just fine for the job of border patrol. If DHS hired pilots to fly conventional aircraft retrofitted with cameras instead of purchasing and maintaining state-of-the art military drones they would save an enormous amount, get far greater coverage, and help out all those pilots looking for flight hours.

   

Comment Let me translate this for you... (Score 3, Interesting) 30

As someone who has made games for over 20 years, including mobile, and was responsible for a game in Steam's top 100 played over 10 years after it's initial release... let me translate this press release for you...

"We want a revenue stream sustained for 10 years without us having to constantly develop new games and enter into the lottery that is mobile games today.... ... We also want it to never rain during the daytime, or when we are out and about."

Having worked on some hugely popular titles let me just say that I've learned that despite all you do, you don't control your audience. You're in the entertainment business, no matter how good an entertainment product you have, and no matter how much marketing you are doing, you are not making something that is truly necessary in your customer's lives.

So if your players get bored, don't have as much time to spare, popular fads change, new fads sweep the popular conscience, technologies or platforms change, they don't have the money to spare, they want something new and more novel, or whatever... then life moves on and so do your players.

The idea suggested by the headline - that a game's life cycle will be longer just because a developer deems it should be, is ludicrous.

Digging into the press release, though, that's not what they are saying. They are saying they will design their games, technically and gameplay, with a long lifespan in mind. That means growing and evolving content - new levels, new content, new stories, etc. Ongoing active development, much like a long running TV show - never completely wrapping things up and always leaving the door open for what comes next.

Doing that means keeping a development team active for the duration.. which in reality is going to be for as long the game sustains a certain revenue level. If not, the game goes into "sunset" mode. Lots of mobile games are already doing this entire strategy.

Heck, I worked on an iOS game doing just that 3 years ago. It requires that your game develop a large enough *paying* player base early on, and that you sustain their interest enough to keep the IAPs coming, and do it on a regular and consistent enough basis. The whole whale vs non-payer thing comes into play, as well as newer, shinier competition. That means they will pull out all the (Skinner boxes, social groups/teams, etc) stops to keep players hooked and interested.

Great if you can do it, but there is no magic formula or guarantee that you will succeed, or for as long as you want to.

Comment Hollywood vs. Reality (Score 1) 245

You listen to some people and you get the idea that the business world is run by Gordon Geckos, that Hollywood caricatures of capitalist villains are the reality and the norm and that the greedy bastards who would do anything to take one dollar more control corporate America.

Then a person who is really like that actually shows up, and only then, by comparison, do we realize again that the others are not. Every few years some of these guys climb out from Hell to remind us of that. It is Martin Shkreli taking over from Enron accountants, Bernard Madoff and John Corzine.

Comment North Carolina Town Too Stupid to Live (Score 1) 760

The citizens of Woodland, N.C. have spoken loud and clear: They don't want none of them highfalutin brain cells in their good town. They scare off the kids. "All the young people are going to move out," warned Bobby Mann, a local resident concerned about the future of his burg. Worse, Mann said, brain cells suck up all the intelligence from everyone else. Another resident -- a retired science teacher, no less -- expressed concern that a proposed school would block education, and prevent nearby kids from growing up. Jane Mann then went on to add that there seemed to have been a lot of cancer deaths in the area, and that no one could tell her brain cells didn't cause cancer. "I want information," Mann said. "Enough is enough."

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