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Comment: Cost = Labor, not tech (Score 1) 83

by MikeTheGreat (#49378911) Attached to: No Film At 11: the Case For the Less-Video-Is-More MOOC

The cost of producing a large amount of well-thought out, cohesive, modular, high-visual-quality video is in the labor, not the cost of the tech. What the professor is saying is that she doesn't have the time to write 200 hours of script (or even write out 200 hours worth of detailed notes), record the 200 hours (which'll take more than that to record - no-one can do 200 hours of high-quality video on the first take), go back and edit stuff (even just cutting out uhms & ahs takes long than you think - step 1 will be to re-watch the 200 hours of video to find them :) ), etc, etc.

The $100,000 figure struck me as being weird, as well, but the professor's point is that producing 10 hours of video for each of 20 lessons in addition to all the other course materials is way, way too much to just demand that someone do.

Besides, for stuff like this you mostly want a good book anyways. Something that you can read a short paragraph of, stop and think about for a bit, come back and re-read in order to make sure that you got it, read another paragraph the same way, maybe work through a problem or two. Videos of this would be nice, but they're window-dressing around the main event.

Comment: Microsoft Spartan? (Score 5, Interesting) 317

by MikeTheGreat (#49277771) Attached to: Microsoft Is Killing Off the Internet Explorer Brand

Isn't this how the XBox became the XBox? They released the code name of their internal project, people kept using the name, and then they just stuck with it?

On the one hand "Microsoft Spartan" doesn't seem corporate enough. On the other hand it'll fit right in with Firefox & Chrome, which also have non-descriptive names that are pan-inoffensive yet interesting...

Comment: Single Service, or open/data-portable? (Score 1) 150

by MikeTheGreat (#49200911) Attached to: The Abandoned Google Project Memorial Page

Reading this my first thought was "What if that single-service company goes out of business?" Is it really any different for a single-focus company to go out of business than for a Google (etc) product to be discontinued?

I loved Google Reader too, and was happy to be able to move over to Feedly pretty easily because Reader allowed me to export my data.

Maybe what we really want is not companies that have a single focus, but rather companies that allow us to move our data/patronage elsewhere?


What Would Minecraft 2 Look Like Under Microsoft? 208

Posted by timothy
from the hypthetical-or-not dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft spent billions purchasing Mojang, the studio behind the game Minecraft, and while it's unlikely to start work on a sequel anytime soon, rather than continue development of the game, it's worth considering what a Minecraft 2 will look like. After all, as a public company with revenues to justify, it doesn't seem beyond unreasonable a few years down the line, especially since a Minecraft-like game was one of the stand-out tech demos shown for the software giant's HoloLens augmented reality headset. As the author points out, Microsoft will have to tread carefully, tackling issues like whether greater graphical fidelity is actually what players will want ever — and whether to continue to support Minecraft on PlayStation."

Comment: I love /. clickbait (Score 4, Funny) 553

by MikeTheGreat (#48814851) Attached to: SystemD Gains New Networking Features

Y'know, for all it's flaws, warts, and Dice-y-ness, I think it's a good sign that the clickbait here is stuff about systemd.
Seriously - on other websites they'll drive up pageviews by posting something like "This just in: politicians you disagree with are EVIL!! EEEEEEVIIIIIL!".

What whips up the /. crowd into a frothy frenzy?
Systemd :)

Comment: Re:I don't get "smartphones are too expensive" (Score 1) 150

by MikeTheGreat (#48739693) Attached to: Microsoft Unveils Nokia 215, a $29 Phone With Internet Access

Fifteen years ago people paid $1,000 or more out of pocket just to connect a desktop to the Internet.

Wait, what??? 15 years ago is 2000 - where did you live (and what service did you get) that you actually paid $1,000 to get online? Even if you wanted to buy a new network card, pay someone to install it, buy the modem/cable modem/etc and pay someone to install that I still can't believe it would cost $1,000.

(Are you including the cost of the desktop itself in that price? That would make a lot more sense....)

Comment: Why is this posted here? (Score 1) 386

by MikeTheGreat (#48697187) Attached to: The One Mistake Google Keeps Making

C'mon - /. loves Google, and when talking to a bunch of engineers/IT/software types the last thing you want to lead with is "Your awesome idea isn't sale-able"

My top two guesses are:
1) This is /. click-bait: watch as we all pile on and argue with the summary!
2) This was mass-posted to a bunch of sites by a service. Maybe not the exact same article everywhere, but someone wants people to think that Google isn't all that, and has paid someone else to post stuff promoting that view

What does everyone else think?

Comment: Re:Clarify this sentence, please? (Score 1) 82

by MikeTheGreat (#48551573) Attached to: Book Review: Spam Nation

Exactly! There's no 'quandary' here - the price difference is entirely intentional. In order for there to be a quandary there needs to be some uncertainty on someone's part.

(The book review author doesn't really spell out what the quandary is - the companies may not know exactly what they're going to do but if that's the quandary then it needs to be spelled out, rather than left to the reader to guess at)

Comment: Clarify this sentence, please? (Score 1) 82

by MikeTheGreat (#48550163) Attached to: Book Review: Spam Nation

Should the reality be that the unauthorized pharmaceuticals are effective, then the pharmaceutical industry would be placed in a quandary.

What quandary would that be? That they'd face (illegal) competition?

A quandary is a situation where you're confused about what to do. Facing cheaper competition doesn't seem like it would be confusing. Difficult or challenging, yes. Terrifying, possibly. But not so much confusing.

If the pharmaceutical industry had the choice of either selling lots and lots of drugs (through the spammers) at a discount that might put them in a quandary. Should they risk being found out (and potentially have everyone buy the cheap stuff (thus reducing their overall revenue and profit)) or should they NOT sell their product through the black market, thus passing on the money they could get from that. That's a situation where it's not really clear what the best thing to do is.

Interesting book, sounds like. And thank you for the review - I've got it on hold at my local public library now!

Comment: Re:Chronic offenders without a record? (Score 1) 218

by MikeTheGreat (#48525117) Attached to: 'Moneyball' Approach Reduces Crime In New York City

So the idea is that there are records in the system about them, but the phrase "criminal record" means specifically that they've been arrested, tried, and found guilty?

That makes sense, but seems like it could/should be phrased better. Maybe something like 9,000 chronic offenders (PDF), virtually all of whom have criminal conviction records.

There's a house in our neighborhood that kinda goes in this category. The residents are low-level ne'er-do-well types. They run a bicycle theft ring but haven't been caught (they're very good about filing ID numbers off bikes, for example), they dabbled in cooking meth, they've hosted a squatter encampment in their backyard, etc, etc. Part of the reason they're such a problem is that they never *quite* get arrested so they're chronically causing more problems.

The main thing that's relevant to this thread is that the article made it sound like they were using lots of 'Big Data' to figure out what to do, but then threw in stuff like "uncooperative witnesses" or "record-free chronic offenders" which both sounded a lot like "people we put on the list just because". I'm glad that the problem was in my understanding, not that they really were doing arbitrary stuff.

Comment: Re:This is quite different from existing systems. (Score 1) 110

by MikeTheGreat (#48501183) Attached to: Armies of Helper Robots Keep Amazon's Warehouses Running Smoothly

This system ([...]) has fascinating challenges all of it's own, mainly related to traffic control, safety, and where to put the shelves after you are done. (A fixed location is very inefficient, but neither do you want to stick the shelf in the first available space.)

Without actually stopping to look up any details I'm going to say the following: It seems like the memory-management algorithms that operating systems use ought to at least shed some light on this problem. It seems like a lot of the same problems are present in both situations: you can move 'pages' of product into and out of the processing units (i.e., people in the factory, CPUs/cores in a computer), you want to keep frequently-used shelves/pages nearby (as opposed to out in the slower-than-cache RAM), etc, etc.

I guess the major difference is that the factory can arbitrarily re-order the sequence in which it accesses the shelves in order to ensure high efficiency. (Obviously there are limits so that you make your delivery deadlines, but if you wanted to put off packing a particular box for several hours it's probably fine).

(I wonder if the 'longest-common-substring' algorithms are useful here - "For the 15 minutes we're going to pack just boxes that have a Frozen DVD, Barbie , GI Joe Tank as a 'common core' that people then add an item or two on to)" )

Computers will not be perfected until they can compute how much more than the estimate the job will cost.