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Comment: Re:5e: Best D&D, MHO (Score 1) 203

by Saint Fnordius (#47755655) Attached to: Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

In mechanics terms, that is true, but when talking about characters they were referred to by their former careers: "ex marine", "former scout", "retired navy" and so on. And back then, that's what was most important to us nerds.

Now excuse me while I dig out my LBB version of Traveller, all those notes I wrote in high school and college about that and FASA's Star Trek RPG, and wallow in nostalgia!

Comment: Re:Munich - sort of like Detroit? (Score 2) 190

by Saint Fnordius (#47747285) Attached to: Munich Council Say Talk of LiMux Demise Is Greatly Exaggerated

I don't suppose you ever heard the term "Laptops and Lederhosen", have you? Munich is where most of the German IT industry is, and population and job growth are still outstripping the real estate market. In that respect, it's the anti-Detroit with its abandoned neighbourhoods.

Comment: Re:5e: Best D&D, MHO (Score 2) 203

by Saint Fnordius (#47710789) Attached to: Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

I started playing AD&D back in 1980, where the only systems available without a class system were the more obscure The Fantasy Trip and Champions. Tunnels and Trolls, RoleMaster, Arduin's Grimoire, Palladium, they all had classes, and Traveller had careers to generate your skill sets (and most famously, no rules for improving skills during play). GURPS didn't come out until 1986 or thereabouts, long after AD&D had been the FRPG of choice.

So I don't think you really know what you're talking about.

Comment: Re:They're nuts but right (Score 1) 1374

by Saint Fnordius (#46897883) Attached to: "Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention

Cars aren't typically used in life and death situations. Guns are. Changes the game, so to speak.

Actually, cars are used far, far more often in life-or-death situations. The big difference is that they have uses outside of those. Guns have little use outside of inflicting fatal damage to fauna (humans included), or target sports.

Comment: Re:Gun nuts (Score 1) 1374

by Saint Fnordius (#46897843) Attached to: "Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention

There is always a non-zero chance. If you are getting a gun for self-defence, though, this gun makes it harder to use it against yourself, or for someone to steal it. If someone wants that option, then let them have it.

Or to put it another way: just because you don't like iPhones doesn't mean you should be able to keep them off the market. Fnord.

Comment: Re:Rewarding the bullies... (Score 1) 798

Agreed. It is the convenience that makes guns so popular for when someone decides to go postal. They are readily available, and some might even say seductive. Something about a firearm also appeals to us, suggests all sorts of power at our fingertips.

Bombs have the appeal of the big destructive bang, but as you point out there is less certainty, and often more work involved than simply taking your dad's keys to his rifle locker. Poison seems to also be ruled out by the fact that it is too sneaky, doesn't make enough of a violent statement.

Comment: Re:It doesn't matter (Score 4, Interesting) 470

I am not entirely in agreement with you, as the apps that were launched from the Apple menu from 1984 up until System 7 were actually special apps that were allowed to run on top of the main app, back before the Apple could multitask. This is a holdover from the pre-hard drive days, when applications were not actually installed but lived on their own 3.5" disks. With System 7, Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9, you could manually add apps to the Apple menu but that was not a default. Some installers would do it for you, some not.

But yeah, Apple made it easier to create aliases, and was actually pretty good about following the original on HFS no matter where you moved or renamed it. They had a lot of better usability, but from 1990 to 1998 their OS development had stagnated, letting Microsoft catch up and even surpass them until Mac OS X managed to mature enough to make Classic Mac OS obsolete.

The Start menu emulation that you are referring to came from a popular third party system extension (remember those?) but was not part of Classic Mac OS. I cannot speak for NextStep, as I never used that. I was a Mac user when Apple was doomed, not a Next user.

Installing applications in one folder is the philosophy that won out, as we see in Mac OS X since it went on sale. There is even a further division that you have the root Applications folder, but also each user has an Applications folder —that no one really uses, but since it would hurt the few that do use it to remove it Apple has left it as it is.

But your closing point, I agree. Microsoft in (especially in the Ballmer era) was never really driven by the developers, but by the sales force. They did have lots of great developers (and still do), but programmers and engineers do not thrive in a Glengarry Glen Ross environment.

Comment: Re:My Anecdote Does Not Support Assertion (Score 1) 271

Ah, memories of my own pre-internet youth, where parents distrust any interactions their kids engage in that they don't fully understand. Back then it was this newfangled thing called Dungeons and Dragons, and it didn't take long for them to put out scary movies starring Tom Hanks to make our mothers think it was wrong.

And here's the thing you don't grasp: your son *is* interacting. He is using games as a medium to socialise. And those teens with their noses buried in their phones are socialising as well, but in their secret medium that you don't understand.

And that is the whole point: we have a burning desire to socialise, and at a certain age we want to socialise without Mum and Dad always peering over our shoulder and judging us. And if you try too hard, then you only give them some "outlaw chic", so that it becomes even more cool.

But if you are posting this on Slashdot, then you must have had some geek exposure to begin with. So are you merely blind to your own past and how your own parents thought you were being antisocial, or are you merely trolling the rest of us geeks?

Comment: Re:Good riddance to the pros (Score 1) 617

by Saint Fnordius (#44862909) Attached to: How Amateurs Destroyed the Professional Music Business

I think the issue here can be boiled down to the gatekeepers convincing the lottery winners that it's the other acts that are at fault. The rise of cheaper tools that work just as well as the expensive studios has lowered the bar to entry, and people no longer trust the studios as curators, preferring acts from their own circles.

This is also playing out in things like live venues, with smaller venues and clubs experiencing a revival of sorts. And like you inadvertently reveal, it's the punk mentality of making your own that is catching on again, and pissing off the pampered stars and their retinues.

Comment: Re:Who watches the watchers (Score 1) 223

by Saint Fnordius (#44606585) Attached to: Should Cops Wear Google Glass?

Copcams are part of the Google Glass experience, but what I think is overlooked is the HUD of Google Glass, with things like a Layar-style pin on the suspect being chased, or nav directions to a called-in emergency, info pulls from the db and so on. I can even imagine the software getting even better, and warning a cop off of saying anything that might jeopardise an investigation, automatically recording when jostled, things like that.

Charlie Stross wrote a good near-future story which dealt with this sort of ubiquitous glasses wearing in Halting State and Rule 34. I recommend both books.

Mirrors should reflect a little before throwing back images. -- Jean Cocteau