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Comment: Two objections from an Asian person (Score 1) 357

by Nebu (#27068851) Attached to: Outliers, The Story Of Success

I am Asian.

Chapter 3 is far and away the most interesting in the book. It sets forth the so-called 10,000 hour rule, and in its course, shows why Bill Gates and the Beatles succeeded for essentially the same reason. Gladwell begins by noting that musical geniuses such as Mozart, and chess grandmasters, both achieved their status after about 10 years. 10 years is roughly how long it takes to put in 10,000 hours of hard practice. 10,000 hours is the magic number of greatness.

I used to be really good at DDR. In Konami's official Internet Ranking, I placed 10th place in North America, and 98th place World Wide. I hit my peak after about 2 years of practice.

I'm a bit past the 10th year of practice now (I started playing around 1997-1998), and I'm nowhere near my previous level. I can't even claim to be within the top 10 of my province anymore, let alone all of North America.

The fact that Asian languages in many cases use of shorter and more logical words for numbers confers a strong early advantage which, like the age advantage in the hockey player example, snowball significantly over time.

I really don't know what the author is referring to here. I think the system used by most western cultures is the best numbering system I know. You can judge the magnitude of a number based on the number of digits it contains. You can't do that with roman numerals, and you can't do that with Asian numbering systems. Hopefully I won't need to convince you that the system used by the Romans was terrible.

In Asian languages 234 is written as äOEç(TM)¾äåå, or literally translated: "[2][100][3][10][4]". Doesn't this seem reminiscent of the Roman system? "CCXXXIV"? The real innovation with the western system was that the position of a digit gave its magnitude. 234 = 2 * 10^2 + 3 * 10^1 + 4 * 10^0. This is what made it so much easier to work with over the Roman system, where you basically had some rules about adding and subtracting digits together (C means 100, so CC means 100 + 100; IV means 5 - 1 = 4). The Asian system is similar to the roman system, but uses multiplicate and addition (äOE means 2 and ç(TM)¾ means 100, so äOEç(TM)¾ means 200; ç(TM)¾äOE means 100 + 2).

Comment: Re:Duh? (Score 1) 273

by Nebu (#27068245) Attached to: MediaSentry & RIAA Expert Under Attack

(In physics we preferred the term "not going to happen" as opposed to "impossible".)

Well, we do use "impossible" for stuff which actually is impossible. I don't often hear "not going to happen"; instead, around here, it's "VLP" for "Very Low Probability" or "negligible probability" (and it's debatable about which of the two is lower probability than the other). We don't use "NP" for "Negligible Probability" because a lot of the people in my circle of geeks are also comp-sci people, and "NP" already has a meaning.

Comment: Re:Duh? (Score 1) 273

by Nebu (#27068181) Attached to: MediaSentry & RIAA Expert Under Attack

Most big printers can do Post Script, and PS is a turing complete language, so in theory there is nothing preventing you from making a PS file-sharing program to run on the printers.

I don't know much about Post-Script, but if there is no API for networking in the language, that might sort of kill any attempt to write a file-sharing program in that language.

People tend to forget that Turing-Complete only means that it can run any program that could be run on a Turing Machine. While TMs are powerful, recall that TMs don't have keyboard, mcie, screens, speakers, network cards, CD drives, etc. so there are many programs that you are running on your computer right now which, in fact, cannot be implemented on a Turing Machine.

That's why the "Turing-Complete" argument typically used when talking about algorithms, rather than complete programs.

Comment: Re:Why are they attacking him? (Score 1) 273

by Nebu (#27068043) Attached to: MediaSentry & RIAA Expert Under Attack

Lessig's book lists four reasons for piracy, and how each could affect sales. It's an excellent read.

I googled for it and it's at http://www.sslug.dk/~chlor/lessig/freeculture/ but it's kinda long. Can you list what the 4 reasons are, or at least on which of the 200 pages we can find those 4 reasons?

Comment: Re:Why are they attacking him? (Score 1) 273

by Nebu (#27067993) Attached to: MediaSentry & RIAA Expert Under Attack

I don't think I've ever seen a music torrent complete in less time than it would take me to rip a CD and grab the track listing from CDDB.

You can queue up multiple CDs to download before going to bed. You can't queue up multiple CDs to rip (unless you got multiple CD drives, or a robot arm to load the CDs for you).

Regardless, there are probably about ten people alive who have "pirated" music simply to avoid ripping it from a CD they already own.

I torrented music I already owned a couple years ago after a harddrive crash. Why didn't I have a backup of my mp3s? 'Cause I knew I could easily get it again via torrents, and in the worst case, I still got the original CDs anyway.

(Actually some of the mp3s I lost are songs I composed myself, and I didn't have a backup of those, so they're "gone forever" and I'm really kicking myself for that.)

Comment: Re:Why are they attacking him? (Score 1) 273

by Nebu (#27067807) Attached to: MediaSentry & RIAA Expert Under Attack

Ahem, isn't any digital format, including CD "lossy" to some extent?

No. "Lossy" here has a very specific meaning. It refers to, when compressing data, throwing away or modifying some of the data to make it more easily compressible.

I'll give several examples of "data loss" which are not lossy. Some of them may sound facetious, but my intent is really to highlight how many different points "data loss" can occur, even beyond simply using a digital format.

If someone plays a guitar into a microphone, and the microphone is crappy and "loses some data", we usually don't use the term "lossy" here, because we were not compressing data (we were recording data). If your speakers are crappy and can't reproduce the sounds of the guitar accurately, again we usually don't use the term "lossy". If your hearing is kind of crappy, and you're sitting in the same room as the guitarist, who's playing live, and you don't hear every single subtle nuance in his playing, we're losing data, but we don't use the term "lossy". If the guitarist is unskilled, and he has this concept of how the song should sound in his mind, but his fingers don't play it quite the way he imagined it, we're losing data, but we don't call it lossy.

Also note that if the original artist is composing everything digitally via software, and not using any recording equipment at all, then it's quite possible to use digital formats and have zero loss of information.

And if you have a really hardcore artist who directly creates a .mp3 file using a hex editor, then it's plausible that the resulting file contains EXACTLY the sound the artist envisioned, and so you could say that you have a "lossless mp3 recording", though most people wouldn't know what you meant by that and you'd have to explain how the file was created.

Comment: Re:How to interest politicians without wads of cas (Score 1) 273

by Nebu (#27067699) Attached to: MediaSentry & RIAA Expert Under Attack

We have to show them that we can produce art of the same, or better, quality without the protections of traditional copyright. We need to show them that copyright is unnecessary or harmful. We already have a decent start on this: artists are increasingly releasing their work to be shared freely, a significant portion of the software market is dominated by GPL or BSD licensed software, and people everywhere are making and distributing content on sites like YouTube. We've not quite reached parity yet with the traditional media; but it's close.

Note that the only reason GPL works is because of copyright, though. By default, you're not allowed to use other people's code (due to copyright violation). GPL grants you the right to use certain code as long as you follow certain restrictions (e.g. that you release your own code under GPL as well).

If copyright is eliminated entirely, then GPL will "fail" in the sense that people could then take the source code posted on the internet, and use it without complying to the GPL, and there'd be no way to sue them for doing so.

(And just to show that I'm trying to clarify something here, and not just doing a strawman argument -- nor arguing with you at all, for that matter, -- I'll explicitly highlight the fact that there's another possibility that I'm not bothering to address, which is that we don't eliminate copyright altogether, but simply "fix it somehow" so that GPL still works, but everything that makes copyright sucks disappears.)

Comment: Re:I can find work somewhere else (Score 1) 681

by Nebu (#27066389) Attached to: Should Job Seekers Tell Employers To Quit Snooping?

My opinion is that if a place won't hire me over petty personal stuff, I don't need to work for them that badly.

My opinion is that if I was born into a poor family and the job market sucks, then you DO need to work for them badly, even if they do petty personal stuff, or hell, even if they do outright illegal stuff like pay beneath minimum wage or not declare their income for tax purposes.

Comment: Re:Meh (Score 2, Insightful) 104

by Nebu (#27065801) Attached to: Building a Successful "Open" Game World

Interesting stories and characters are important, but they must be balanced by varied and entertaining gameplay. The lack of either will be a limiting factor in how many people return to play once the primary plot is completed.

Neither of the factor is a must for a game to be a success. World of Warcraft for example. It has no story, weak characters and gameplay which been obsolete for about 10 years. Halo is another example.

The "Warcraft" and "Halo" worlds are actually pretty well fleshed out with lots of detail, so I don't think these are the best examples for "successful games with no story".

Better examples, IMHO, include: Tetris, Dance Dance Revolution, Rock Band, most flight sims and racing games.

Comment: Re:Open worlds are still limited by plots though.. (Score 1) 104

by Nebu (#27065759) Attached to: Building a Successful "Open" Game World

Fallout III actually had a more correct approach to giving the player a true open world choice in that the entire landscape was available to be explored the moment you exile yourself from the vault. And every sidequest and other task is available to be completed as the player's own judgment and they can go in any direction and order. You can even choose your character's name, gender, race, and some facial features.

Choosing your name, gender, race and some facial features isn't really that impressive in terms of "truly open world", IMHO.

What bugged me about Fallout 3 is how many of what are supposed to be "roleplaying perks" did not actually do much for roleplaying at all. I'm talking about the "Kid at heart" and "Seducer/Seductress" perks (not sure if that's the exact name, I'm reciting this from memory). The opportunity to use these perks were extremely rare, and even then only for "one-off" situations. Never actually molded the full story.

Plus the "Karma" system in Fallout 3 removed any and all moral ambiguity. They specifically showed which actions were "good" and which were "bad". There were no dilemma to go through, no self-examination or personal growth.

Comment: Re:Idee fixe of first person (Score 3, Interesting) 104

by Nebu (#27065635) Attached to: Building a Successful "Open" Game World

Space Quest, Maniac Mansion, King's Quest, etc were quite "open" games in the sense that players were encouraged to try anything they could think of to solve puzzles.

Just my personal opinion here, but any game in which, when you try the "wrong" thing, kills you off and presents "Gee, I sure hope you have an earlier save" message box, doesn't really encourage you to try anything you can think of.

"Companions of Xanth" was a bit better in this regard in that they made custom responses to even the most absurd actions (e.g. "Talk to table" yields "Sorry, the table has taken a vow of silence.") and while a lot of things did kill you in Xanth, instead of the normal dialog with only "Quit", "New Game", "Load", there was also an "undo last action" button, so dying by experimentation became a lot less painful and a lot more fun.

The "Monkey Islands" series was even better (in this particular metric of "encourage players to try everything"), because there was no way to die from trying things. I believe the series had 4 games, and there was only 1 game you could die in, and even then it was only via inaction (don't do anything for 10 real-life minutes), rather than from experimentation.

Comment: Re:Why? Why? WHYWHYWHYWHY??? (Score 1) 188

by Nebu (#27060455) Attached to: Collaborative Map-Reduce In the Browser

If the user leaves before a task completes, you don't have anything to reduce.

Google's implementation of MapReduce already takes this into account. Haven't you heard of how they just have a bunch of vanilla x86 networked together, and when one of them fails, they just throw it away plug in a new one.

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