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Comment: Re:LibreOffice (Score 3, Interesting) 273

by Patch86 (#46781553) Attached to: Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What?

Debatable, but I would bet the long-term money on LibreOffice. Why? Licensing. LO is under the LGPL, while OO is under the APL. LO is able to reuse any OO code that they like, nicking any cool new features Apache develop. OO cannot- the LGPL will not allow it. So if OO develop any cool new features or improvements, they'll turn up in LO one release later. If LO develop any cool features or improvements of their own, it remains an LO exclusive.

Space

Pluto May Have Deep Seas and Ancient Tectonic Faults 47

Posted by samzenpus
from the mi-go-beach dept.
astroengine (1577233) writes "In July 2015 we get our first close look at the dwarf planet Pluto and its moon, Charon — a fact that has scientists hypothesizing more than ever about what we might see there. One of the latest ideas put forward is that perhaps the collision that likely formed Pluto and Charon heated the interior of Pluto enough to give it an internal liquid water ocean, which also gave the small world a short-lived plate tectonics system, like that of Earth."

Comment: Re:Simple math (Score 1) 245

by Patch86 (#46739131) Attached to: PC Gaming Alive and Dominant

Cost of a PC monitor = the cost of a TV to use with a console. Do you count the cost of the £500 TV in your lounge when you count the cost of your PS4? In my case, I've had the same two monitors (dual screen) hooked up to my PC for around than 10 years now- and one of them was free second hand in the first place. My lounge TV, on the other hand, I chose specifically and spent good money on not so long ago.

Cost of a router applies equally to both console and PC. Both of them need to connect to the internet, and both of them will have the same "advantage" in reduced latencies, if you're so inclined.

So the cost of my PC which could be fairly compared to a console would be- the PC itself and all internals came to around £500. The mouse was £50, but it is getting towards 10 years old now (was a good Logitech MX518, and is still going strong). The headphones were about £7.50. I own a joystick, and although I hardly use it I'll include the cost- it was around £25, bought in an offer along with X-Wing Alliance back in 2000 or so (Microsoft Sidewinder, still works perfectly). Keyboard came bundled free with the PC case (as did a decent mouse which I don't use). So total cost- perhaps £580 or so, ignoring the fact that several peripherals have survived multiple PCs.

More expensive than a console with a single controller, sure. But not exactly breaking the flipping bank.

Comment: Re:With Linux Support! (Score 1) 85

by Patch86 (#46738915) Attached to: <em>Civilization: Beyond Earth</em> Announced

People say that Slashdot has fallen a long way...but that's just sad. A thread about a AAA game which is being released on Linux- with no mention in TFS, nor the chosen TFA, and only a tiny comment batch discussing it.

Even Reddit managed better coverage of the fact this is a Linux game than Slashdot. If I was just relying on Slashdot for my news, I wouldn't even have known this WAS a Linux game.

PC Games (Games)

Civilization: Beyond Earth Announced 85

Posted by Soulskill
from the montezuma-takes-over-the-universe dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today at PAX East, Firaxis announced Civilization: Beyond Earth. It's a new Civ game inspired by their sci-fi strategy classic Alpha Centauri. Beyond Earth is currently planned to launch this year on the PC. According to Game Informer: 'Beyond Earth presents an opportunity for Firaxis to throw off the shackles of human history and give players the chance to sculpt their own destinies. Civilization games typically have a set endpoint at humanities modern age, but Beyond Earth has given Firaxis the opportunity and the challenge of creating a greater sense of freedom. ... The five different victory conditions that represent that next major event in human history are tied to the new technology web. At the start of the game, players will choose leaders and factions (no longer bundled with one another) and choose colonists and equipment to settle the land. Once descending from orbit, the technology web allows players to move in a number of directions.'"

Comment: Re:I would love to see this poll resurface... (Score 1) 202

by Patch86 (#46628499) Attached to: How interested are you in Virtual Reality tech?

Depends where you draw the positive/negative lines on the crappy poll answers. I'm reading it as "Keep it away from me"/"Not terribly interested"/"I'll evaluate it when they're out" as being negative (the last one because it's essentially "not enthusiastic yet"), and that equals 50%. Positive answers are "Looks amazing"/"I'm interested", which are only 30%. The remainder are "Vaporware"/"What year is this"- which are more negative than positive, although for different reasons.

If you put the "I'll evaluate it" one in the positive camp, that still only brings positive and negative to level pegging. And I'm of the opposite opinion to you in terms of what being pre-release does to these things. Your view is that people are positive about it without having seen the product, and their enthusiasm will go up when they've got something in front of them. I see it the other way around- that getting excited by hype is easy, and a lot of people's enthusiasm will wane when they see it in action- not to imply that it won't be good, but that it won't be good enough in reality to justify the expense and hassle. Just like 3D.

But you're right, I am jaded by novelty toys- they never live up to expectations. But I've got no control over anything- I'm just a guy writing things on the internet. We can wait and see what happens when it happens.

Comment: Re:If any slightest illness was ever even *suspect (Score 1) 440

by Patch86 (#46628465) Attached to: Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

I used to have relatives who owned a pig farm. Boiling the slops was a standard part of their routine.

They actually used to have arrangements with all of the local pubs and restaurants, which every day would collect all of the plate scrapings, left overs and kitchen offcuts into slop buckets. Every morning my uncle would go around collecting the slop buckets and take them back to the farm, where they would all be emptied into a big vat and boiled for a number of hours. The end result would be a mushy stuff with the texture and smell of vomit, but which would be sterile of any nasties that could harm the pigs. The pigs loved the stuff. Filthy buggers.

Chucking a few jars of peanut putter into the mix every day would have been easy enough.

Of course that wouldn't even be strictly necessary, seeing as the manufacturer of the peanut butter seems to be swearing blind that the product is uncontaminated and fit for human consumption. If the farmer were happy with this, they could go nuts and just feed it straight to the pigs.

Comment: Re:If any slightest illness was ever even *suspect (Score 2) 440

by Patch86 (#46619019) Attached to: Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

Then sell it as livestock feed. Pigs eat far worse than peanut butter. Boil it up along with the rest of the slops to kill off any salmonella, and it'll be perfectly safe (if disgusting, from a human point of view).

Still a waste of perfectly good human food, but at least it's better than burying it with the trash.

Comment: Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (Score 1) 440

by Patch86 (#46619009) Attached to: Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

Seems like it would have been easy enough for their lawyers to draw up a contract to fix this. One which says "Costco is returning full ownership of this product to the manufacturer and is absolved of all responsibility for it's future uses". Then the manufacturer would have been free to resell it (or donate it), and would be fully liable for any risks. It sounds like the supplier is in some financial difficulty, so would have welcomed the chance to relabel and sell it on to a different retailer. Seeing as Costco weren't willing to pay for it, I don't see what objection they should have to that- and it's not like that decision would have any impact on their competition (i.e., it's not like their competitors would have to do without peanut butter if this shipment gets destroyed).

Sounds like corporate apathy to me. It's simply easiest for Costco to destroy a batch that they aren't willing to sell, and they have no motivation to do anything else.

Comment: Re:I would love to see this poll resurface... (Score 1) 202

by Patch86 (#46618979) Attached to: How interested are you in Virtual Reality tech?

There were people like you last time 3D started it's resurgence. You don't hear many 3D cheerleaders these days- the fad is now on its way back out again.

VR just doesn't interest me, in the same way as3D didn't- it's not that I actively hate the idea of it, it just doesn't excite me at all while at the same time it has all sorts of drawbacks (i.e., VR means having to buy and wear an expensive and cumbersome headset). Some people obviously are enthusiastic about it, but it will be interesting to see how the numbers pan out. This survey (unscientific as it is) seems to confirm that the majority of people are take-it-or-leave-it. Maybe we'll all be wowed when we actually have one of these things strapped to our face, but I doubt it.

Comment: Re:Space travel (Score 1) 357

by Patch86 (#46604893) Attached to: Gunshot Victims To Be Part of "Suspended Animation" Trials

"Travelling fast" is one thing, "travelling fast in such a way as to successfully arrive in orbit of a planet light-years away without missing and getting lost in space" is another, and "travelling fast in such a way as to rendezvous with an impossibly tiny ship halfway into the interstellar void launched centuries ago, slow down enough to dock with it, drastically reconfigure it mid-flight, then speed back up again and still arrive in orbit of a planet light-years away" is still yet a third thing.

Basically- doing that would be REALLY hard.

Comment: Re:Actually (Score 1) 72

by Patch86 (#46597867) Attached to: Taxis By Algorithm: Streamlining City Transport With Graph Theory

You've sort of hit on the problem and solution. What we need is something that is not called a "taxi" for this. Rather than taking the existing taxi system and adding ride sharing, we should supplement taxis with a new form of public transport based on this system. The new system would be somewhere between a bus and a taxi- a medium sized public vehicle (perhaps "minibus" size), but which would be summoned on demand and travel to your chosen destination like a taxi rather than travelling a fixed schedule like a bus.

This would solve both of the obvious problems- the first being that people who order taxis expect a private vehicle taking the shortest trip possiblem and the second being that existing taxi drivers and firms don't have a pricing system that could cope with this sort of change.

If you made the vehicles sufficiently sexy and space aged (rather than just using regular old minibuses), you could easily sell it as "the mass transit of the future". Since the vehicle wouldn't be expected to take huge numbers of people at a time (only really two or three small parties at once), you could make the insides suitably comfortable on a standard van frame.

Comment: Re: Lets divert some military funds (Score 1) 292

by Patch86 (#46546203) Attached to: Back To the Moon &mdash; In Four Years

Russian reactions to US and EU threats has nothing to do with NATO troop numbers, and everything to do with willingness to use it. NATO still has a military which is overwhelmingly powerful compared to Russia's- NATO accounts for something like 60% of the entire planet's military spending, while Russia would be lucky to top 5%.

All that means nothing if you're not willing to engage. And Russia has NATO by the gas pipes. The US would be far more usefully engaged directing some of that military budget to solving that economic conundrum than buying another fighter jet which might never so much as take off in anger.

Comment: Re:Yeah, too bad there's no real reason to do so.. (Score 1) 292

by Patch86 (#46544331) Attached to: Back To the Moon &mdash; In Four Years

Unless I'm much mistaken, helium-3 is useful only for nuclear fusion. As controllable cold fusion is *still* "40 years away", and as hot fusion (aka nuclear warheads) are still banned in space under international law (and of unproven use as a propulsion method anyway), then there's still no reason to go to the moon (yet).

IF we ever get cold fusion working, and IF the method of cold fusion we get working could usefully use helium-3, and IF mining the stuff from the moon is cheaper than making use of earth-bound sources, then it might start to look like a good idea.

Comment: Re:Lets divert some military funds (Score 4, Insightful) 292

by Patch86 (#46544169) Attached to: Back To the Moon &mdash; In Four Years

The US military budget is the same as the next 10 biggest national military budgets put together. Yes, that includes China- and 9 more. Put together. And that's forgetting the fact that the US military isn't just the military of the US- it includes all of the NATO forces (which is fully 5 of the top 10 spenders, and 23 other non-top-10 members), as well as functionally close allies like Japan and South Korea (numbers 5 and 12 in the "top spending" rankings).

The US would be in no great danger if it lopped 5% off of it's military budget. You could cut the budget in half and it would still be larger than numbers 2 and 3 (China and Russia) put together. Again, not even counting NATO.

To put figures on it- the Apollo programme was estimated to have costed $109 billion in 2010 dollar (accounting for inflation). That's for the full 15 year or so programme. The US was estimated to have spent $682 billion in 2013 on the military. So to pay for the entire Apollo programme all over again, you would only need to divert roughly 1.2% of the annual military budget each year.

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold

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