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Comment: Hmmm .... (Score 2) 52

by gstoddart (#47917097) Attached to: WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

So, does Boeing's offering exist now? Has Boeing been working on a launch vehicle.

I've seen lots of stuff about what SpaceX is doing, but not a lot about Boeing on the space front these days.

So, is this something which actually exists and is being tested? Or is this vapor ware?

I half expect to hear that SpaceX has people up waving out the windows before Boeing gets something there.

Comment: Re:Online only gives the illusion of accomplishmen (Score 1) 186

by gstoddart (#47916849) Attached to: The Growing Illusion of Single Player Gaming

LOL ... as with anything else, one person's "feature" is another person's PITA.

Which is why I think TFA is kinda pointless ... for the poster, solo play feels empty. For those of us who don't like multiplayer, it seems like a waste of time.

Group A will never convince Group B they're missing anything of value, because the groups value different things.

I know I'm shocked.

Of course, if game publishers lose the plot and forget that not everybody does want multiplayer play, they'll basically lose the segment of the market which doesn't play those titles.

Comment: Re:Online only gives the illusion of accomplishmen (Score 2) 186

by gstoddart (#47916615) Attached to: The Growing Illusion of Single Player Gaming

The problem with non-online only games, is that you can't prove that you accomplished anything in it, since it is so much easier to cheat.

And to whom, exactly, do I need to prove anything?

I play video games to relax, unwind, and kill a few hours. It's recreation. I'ts diversion. It's play.

I neither crave nor care about how other people feel about my success (or suck) at video games.

If I want any of those things, I'll play a round of golf with my friends. And, even then, I don't care about their score versus mine. Because that too is recreation and I'm under no illusions I'll ever be any good.

So, if you need to measure yourself against people who have 12 hours a day to play that game, by all means, go ahead. But for many of us, that's the last thing we care about in video games. In fact, that's exactly why we don't play on-line games.

Not all of us care about competition. For some of us, the play is the rewarding part, no matter how good or bad we are at it.

Comment: Re: Escapism (Score 2) 186

by gstoddart (#47916401) Attached to: The Growing Illusion of Single Player Gaming

Skyrim had a story?

Sure it does.

But you know the really great thing about Skyrim? You can pretty much ignore the story and just wander about on your own and play it how you like.

You're not constrained by a linear story, you can go anywhere at anytime, and you can do things however you like. There's no set sequence to it.

The world is huge and immersive, and you can go pretty much anywhere you like. Every now and then you decide to advance one of the story lines. Or not. You can play for 30 minutes, or you can geek out for 4 or 5 hours. You can put it down for a few weeks and come back to it.

And then you could start from the beginning and play in a completely different way, as a character who uses entirely different tactics and fighting styles.

For me, Skyrim is pretty much an awesome game, simply because I can play it in a way that appeals to me -- and which would probably not be very fun for other people.

But with the vast amount of wiki pages describing everything, the ability to focus on leveling up or making better gear, gold farm, or just go around and collect things to upgrade and sell ... for me Skyrim is just a big giant world I can wander around and play it as I please.

But, as an old fart who started getting his ass kicked on games like MDK on the PS2, I got tired of getting stuck on a level I couldn't get past only to give up on the game and never play it again ... it's the open-ended nature of Skyrim which really appeals to me.

But I'm certainly in no hurry to actually follow the rest of the main plot line. I'll get there eventually, but for now I'm content to play it how I like, level up my character, collect stuff, and see more and more of the world they've built.

Comment: They'll lose an audience ... (Score 1) 186

by gstoddart (#47916235) Attached to: The Growing Illusion of Single Player Gaming

These days, it's different: many games are marketed under the illusion of being single-player, when their focus has shifted to an almost mandatory multiplayer mode.

They may not care, because the on-going gouging for multi-player is probably quite lucrative.

But I will not play any form of on-line or multi-player game, unless it all happens in the same room. I want to be able to pick up a game when I have time to kill, and play for a while ... be that an hour or several hours.

Multi-player games have no appeal to me whatsoever, and my XBox 360 hasn't been connected to a network in a very long time and won't ever be again. The first time I saw ads in the games was the last time the XBox saw the network, because I realized that on-line gaming was to give them even more money.

When microsoft said the XBone needed to always be connected to the internet they lost a potential customer. No way I'll own it now. And, at this point, I've lost track if that's even the case or not, Microsoft has flip-flopped so many times.

Give me a title like Skyrim, or Portal, or even a Tiger Woods golf game. But when the day comes there are no console games which I can play entirely offline, I will no longer own a console. It's as simple as that.

I'm old, I'm slow, and I lack the mad skills to play against other people. That pretty much sucks all the fun out of a video game for me, and I'm not paying extra for the privilege of getting my ass handed to me by a smarmy 10 year old.

They may not be as aware of people who play offline games, and the people who do may not generate the on-going revenue. But I'm betting there's a lot of people who don't play on-line games, and they have no way of knowing just how much those get played.

So, for the gaming companies ... ignore the offline, single player market at your peril.

Comment: What now? (Score 4, Insightful) 122

by gstoddart (#47911895) Attached to: The FCC Net Neutrality Comment Deadline Has Arrived: What Now?

My guess, the FCC chair will do whatever his former employers tell him to do so that he can guarantee when he's done pretending to be the regulator he can go back to his cushy lobbying job.

Does anybody really believe they're going to do anything not endorsed by the cable, wireless and content cartels?

Having that guy in there is pretty much the definition of regulatory capture.

Comment: Re:A good slice of luck. (Score 5, Insightful) 35

by gstoddart (#47909375) Attached to: European Space Agency Picks Site For First Comet Landing In November

However, "a good slice of luck" doesn't belong at news about arguably the recent highest engineering achievements of humanity.

Why not? It's an honest assessment of the task at hand.

According to TFA:

Esa says it will be a one-shot opportunity. Events will be taking place so far away that real-time radio control will be impossible.

Instead, the process will have to be fully automated with the final commands uploaded to Rosetta and Philae several days in advance.

So, basically you plan as much as possible, do everything you can ... and then when it happens, you're in the dark, and it either will or won't have worked. But you'll have had to send everything a few days in advance, and you'll be sitting and hoping when it really happens.

I think it's at least honest and open about the real challenges. Because when you have to rely on the automated stuff working 100% perfectly, and you have no chance to correct anything, you still are coming down to luck.

Would you rather they acted like there was no luck involved in this?

This isn't parallel parking your car. This, as you say, is some of the most complex engineering around. And the people doing it are under no illusions that they have it completely under control.

I have no problem with them pointing out how just how hard this is. If it works, they're rock stars. If it fails, then they've at least been up-front about the limitations of what they're able to do.

Comment: Re:A good slice of luck. (Score 3, Insightful) 35

by gstoddart (#47909271) Attached to: European Space Agency Picks Site For First Comet Landing In November

I think it's a recognition that what they're doing is incredibly hard, and you can plan all you want, but there's still going to be stuff which isn't within your control.

We're talking about setting something down on a spinning body which is really far away, and which there is likely a very long delay in any of your controls.

As much as we like to think space stuff is pretty commonplace, it's not exactly a small undertaking to try to do this.

I'm betting the people who oversee this know damned well the risks, and are trying to manage the public perception of it ... because if it goes wrong you're going to get tons of people saying "Yarg! I could have done better".

Comment: Every time a patent gets invalidated (Score 4, Insightful) 109

by gstoddart (#47892545) Attached to: Software Patents Are Crumbling, Thanks To the Supreme Court

Every time a patent gets invalidated ... a developer gets their wings. :-P

There may be some things which truly are inventions, but so many software patents come down to "a system and methodology for doing something which has been done in the real world for decades, but on a computer". And then someone comes along and patents the exact same thing on a tablet. And on a cell phone. And soon, on an iWatch.

There's no net-new invention, just an implementation of something which has been seen before.

Comment: Re:nice (Score 1) 35

by gstoddart (#47892267) Attached to: HP Buys Cloud Provider, Gets Marten Mickos To Head Its Cloud Division

Since HP is apparently paying every tech news site include Slashdot not to mention their recent court ruling, I'll just leave this here:

Dude, what are you talking about?

It was on the frigging front page this morning, ZDNet, and a bunch of other places have covered it.

If you're gonna claim some kind of conspiracy theory, at least go with one that's plausible.

Comment: LOL ... (Score 4, Funny) 35

by gstoddart (#47892137) Attached to: HP Buys Cloud Provider, Gets Marten Mickos To Head Its Cloud Division

Maybe he can show HP how to do URLs instead of the gibberish ones they've been using for years.

Because I get the distinct impression that the URLs like "" are caused by HP not really knowing how to do it.

Seriously, what the heck is h20565.www2????

Either this is a technology failure, or HP has been trying very hard to ensure that nobody could possibly find their documentation.

Comment: Re:How about (Score 2) 208

by gstoddart (#47892057) Attached to: Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

There's a strong chance these people are staffing a call centre that is hired by the true scammers and are following a script

Have you heard these calls before? Have you seen transcripts?

There is no conceivable way you could be doing that scam without knowing you're lying. They're asking for access to your computer, and showing you stuff they'd be able to see on their own computer. If any of these people believe they're doing magical cold-call tech support, they're so incredibly stupid as to deserve contempt.

There are some things, like the idiots I get calling to clean my ducts, who could possibly not know it's purely a scam ... but I still have no sympathy for them. I don't have sympathy for so called "legitimate" cold callers either -- because I've had several charities who despite being told to stop calling simply call back the next day.

For the people doing this specific computer tech support scam, by the time someone has taught you how to do it, you can't not know it's a scam.

Comment: Re:Nature (Score 2, Informative) 113

by gstoddart (#47891857) Attached to: Liquid Sponges Extract Hydrogen From Water

Call me a cynic, but wouldn't nature of done

Call me a cynic, but shouldn't you have learned the difference between "of" and "have" by now?

The contraction " 've" (should've) is not the same as "of", and never has been.

*sigh* My grade school English teacher would be laughing at me right now. Now get off my damned lawn!!

Most people will listen to your unreasonable demands, if you'll consider their unacceptable offer.