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Comment: Re:Misleading Summary... (Score 1) 237

by MadAndy (#46857499) Attached to: Erik Meijer: The Curse of the Excluded Middle
Agreed. I've been working in this industry for 25 years, even actively like functional programming, but monads still blow my fragile little mind.

A few years back I came across an plain-english explanation of them that made perfect sense, and boy am I annoyed that I didn't bookmark it. I might try to beat my head against the issue again at some point. If anyone thinks they might know where a good description is please post a link :-)

Comment: Re:Time to shut down the WTO (Score 1) 327

by MadAndy (#45242523) Attached to: Antigua Looks Closer To Legal "Piracy" of US-Copyrighted Works
The U.S. voluntarily signed a treaty that is enforced by those 'foreign bankers'. The treaty involves obligations on those that signed it, some of which the U.S. is breaking by having this local law in place. The other parties to the treaty are honouring their obligations, yet the U.S. is not. Surely some punishment is in order?

Comment: Re:Use libraries, not frameworks (Score 1) 227

by MadAndy (#45216683) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Choose Frameworks That Will Survive?
Frameworks tend to define the structure of your application, and if you attempt to use two different frameworks together in the same project they'll generally not play nicely together. The problem with frameworks is that when the one you're using is out of date it's hard to switch to a new one because they'll conflict.

Libraries attempt to enhance the power of the underlying platform, but don't impose as much structure on your project. As a result you can mix them or introduce them to existing projects. For example, I was able to introduce jQuery to clean up and enhance an existing old-style web site, without significantly changing its architecture.

I was in the same situation as the article poster a few years ago. I had to create a new interactive website, and had a tough choice to make: Flash or HTML? Flash was still strong, and the only website that really demonstrated what I needed could be done was Google Maps. But I wasn't keen on the vendor lock-in and the nature of the Flash plug in. I went with HTML and the then-immature jQuery. I knew the web wasn't going away soon, and jquery could be replaced if necessary. Fortunately I was lucky there and the choice has served me very well.

If it's not your core product, you can use a framework (and be prepared to live with the consequences). But if this IS your core product, so you need to invest in creating and maintaining your own framework. Your business depends on it so you need to be able to control it.

Comment: Streaming is the new torrenting (Score 1) 202

by MadAndy (#40732971) Attached to: Three-Strikes Copyright Law In NZ Halves Infringement
I live in NZ, and a quote I heard on the radio lately says it all: "streaming is the new torrenting". Instead of torrenting you connect to one of the indexing sites and simply stream what you want to watch. That's what we do now. Not only does it use less data allowance, but as far as I know it's actually legal too, as you're not offering a copy to anyone else.

About the only hassle is the stupid ads, and some of the sites stream data to you too slowly to watch in real time. We've gotten in the habit of kicking those off at night and running hobocopy to copy the stream files from Temp inside my profile folder. Then VLC plays 'em whenever I like :)

And music? There are indexing sites for that too. We really did try to go legit there, but with all the region restrictions and limited catalog rubbish it was such a pain in the ass. The indexing sites have it all...
Networking

OnLive Latency Tested 204

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-the-case-of-ping-v.-pong dept.
The Digital Foundry blog has done an analysis of recently launched cloud gaming service OnLive, measuring latency across several different games. Quoting: "In a best-case scenario, we counted 10 frames delay between button and response on-screen, giving a 150ms latency once the display's contribution to the measurement was removed. Unreal Tournament III worked pretty well in sustaining that response during gameplay. However, other tests were not so consistent, with DiRT 2 weighing in at 167ms-200ms while Assassin's Creed II operated at a wide range of between 150ms-216ms. ... OnLive says that the system works within 1000 miles of its datacenters on any broadband connection and recommends 5mbps or better. We gave OnLive the best possible ISP service we could find: Verizon FiOS, offering a direct fiber optic connection to the home. Latency was also reduced still further simply due to the masses of bandwidth FiOS offers compared to bog standard ADSL: in our case, 25mbps."

Comment: This headline is silly (Score 4, Informative) 298

by MadAndy (#32573074) Attached to: Knuth Got It Wrong
Knuth's stuff assumes everything is RAM-resident - as long as you don't violate that what he wrote is as valid as ever. I'm quite certain that he'll have different suggestions for tasks involving storing data on disk. Even though the disk writes are implicit because the OS is doing them, they're still there, just as they would be had he coded them explicitly. So of course you're going to get poor performance using a RAM-resident algorithm for a disk-resident application.

The RAM resident stuff is still useful, both at a lower level, but also for those of us creating applications that can live entirely in memory. A web site I did recently is careful to ensure that the entire primary data set can fit in memory, and for that site everything he wrote is still perfectly valid.

In fact, for very high performing websites you try to ensure that at least most of your requests come from memory rather than disk, which makes Knuth's stuff more important than ever. If you can't do it in RAM then you'd better have a lot of spindles!

Games

Ubisoft's Constant Net Connection DRM Confirmed 631

Posted by Soulskill
from the enjoy-getting-flamed-by-the-entire-internet dept.
A few weeks ago we discussed news of Ubisoft's DRM plans for future games, which reportedly went so far as to require a constant net connection, terminating your game if you get disconnected for any reason. Well, it's here; upon playing review copies of the PC version of Assassin's Creed 2 and Settlers VII, PCGamer found the DRM just as annoying as you might expect. Quoting: "If you get disconnected while playing, you're booted out of the game. All your progress since the last checkpoint or savegame is lost, and your only options are to quit to Windows or wait until you're reconnected. The game first starts the Ubisoft Game Launcher, which checks for updates. If you try to launch the game when you're not online, you hit an error message right away. So I tried a different test: start the game while online, play a little, then unplug my net cable. This is the same as what happens if your net connection drops momentarily, your router is rebooted, or the game loses its connection to Ubisoft's 'Master servers.' The game stopped, and I was dumped back to a menu screen — all my progress since it last autosaved was lost."
The Military

H.A.W.X. Brings New Perspective To Tom Clancy Series 27

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-is-your-captain-speaking dept.
This week saw the addition of aerial combat game H.A.W.X. to the Tom Clancy franchise by Ubisoft. Shane Bierwith, brand manager of the project, sat down with Student Life to discuss the game and some of their developmental decisions. "... we have four-person jump-in/jump-out co-op, which is a first for the air combat category. As far as competitive multiplayer is concerned, we have eight-person Team Deathmatch. It's a really fresh take on multiplayer in-air combat. As you level up and get kills in succession, you'll have access to support units, which range from electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) — you'll shock the other planes out of the sky — to altitude limits." Eurogamer's evaluation of the game calls it fun, but also "a victim of the high standards set by the other titles in the Clancy franchise." IGN says it's "very close to being a great game," but criticizes the combat and the mission design.

Comment: I've done it (Score 1) 503

by MadAndy (#26543739) Attached to: Can a Small Business Migrate Smoothly To OpenOffice.org v3?
... course I'm just one guy, but I'm always dealing with people sending me documents.

I upgraded machines, and my new box already happened to have OO on it, so I gave it a go before deciding to buy a new copy of office.

OO 2.4 and now 3 has performed well for me in the past year - I've yet to have a document a client has sent fail to open. On the odd occasion it looked odd, I used the free word/excel viewer to open the documents (which confirmed they were broken - it looked odd there too). Note I only really deal with Word and Excel documents.

Really, it'll just depend on whether there are any specific must-haves for you in Office - for me there were none.

Hardware

The Best Gaming PC Money Can Buy 360

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the don't-we-post-this-every-few-months dept.
SlappingOysters writes "Gameplayer has gone live with their best PC hardware configurations for Q1 2009. They've broken it into three tiers depending on the investor's budget. And while the prices are regional, it is comparative across the globe. The site has also detailed the 10 Hottest PC Games of 2009 to unveil the software on the horizon which may seduce gamers into an upgrade."
Software

+ - Flash Player 9 Gets H.264 Support->

Submitted by
ReadWriteWeb
ReadWriteWeb writes "Adobe announced today the latest version of its near ubiquitous Web video software, Adobe Flash Player 9. It's codenamed Moviestar, because it includes H.264 standard video support — the same standard deployed in Blu-Ray and HD-DVD high definition video players. In other words, the quality of video has been substantially improved from the previous version of Flash Player 9. Also added to the mix is High Efficiency AAC (HE-AAC) audio support and "hardware accelerated, multi-core enhanced full screen video playback".

Adobe claims that these advancements will extend their leadership position in web video "by enabling the delivery of HD television quality and premium audio content"."

Link to Original Source
Space

+ - Aerogel Hailed As New Wonder Material-> 1

Submitted by
Twinbee
Twinbee writes "The amazing properties of the space-age material aerogel have been known for some time, but only now is it beginning to be manufactured for widespread use. Highlights of the news article include resistance from a blowtorch at more than 1,300C, and how "6mm of aerogel was left almost unscathed by a direct dynamite blast". Perhaps the most obvious use for the 'super-sponge' like material is for insulation, whether we're talking about mountain boots, house insulation, or any winter wear.

Quote: "However, it has failed to convince the fashion world. Hugo Boss created a line of winter jackets out of the material but had to withdraw them after complaints that they were too hot.""

Link to Original Source
Censorship

+ - Attorney sues website over his online rating->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is reporting that a local attorney is suing legal startup Avvo.com over a rating that was algorithmically assigned. The story touches over the controversy of computers grading humans. Such practices are not new: the New York Times earlier this year reported on Google using algorithms to determine applicant suitability. But what happens when you don't like the result? Can a computer program be considered defamatory?"
Link to Original Source

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