Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: Re:NES vs. DOS (Score 1) 52 52

Seems funny when I think about games on DOS vs. NES. Most of the time, NES games seemed much better.

Around that time, the PC was rather simplistic and not designed for gaming. Graphics were usually EGA (or worse, CGA), and didn't have any sprite support that other systems in that area liked to use. Sound was a cheap internal speaker that was more annoying, especially with lack of volume control.

It took until the 386/486 era before PCs started becoming strong, but developers around that time still needed to think about less powerful systems as opposed to knowing that each system could at least handle a minimum quality of graphics.

Once PCs became modern - VESA, Soundcards, and breaking 1MB barrier, consoles were mostly in catchup. It took until 2000 before game consoles had an internal hard drive.

At the time, NES didn't seem very limited. IT had plenty of great games that played quite well.

Also around that time, programmers were much more skilled at optimization tricks - and didn't have to worry about the operating system.

Comment: Re:Google should revert that decission (Score 2) 208 208

But the assholes at the Mozilla Foundation won't implement it because they prefer shitty insecure APIs like NPAPI.

If you're worried about security, then it's a better idea to worry about automatically executing anything that comes down the pipe (for example, a rogue Javascript ad that redirects you to a "please update java" page) as opposed to the mechanism at which it automatically executes (as one sandbox break gives easy access to the whole system.)

That's a lesson learned from the pre-1995 virus era. If you don't automatically execute whatever is in your floppy drive (the default setting for BIOS), you don't get infected.

Comment: Coding approach (Score 1) 200 200

I'd like to store the documents in a standard open format that will allow easy search, compression, rendering, etc. Which open document format is the best?

Are you writing the search/compression/render capability from scratch, or are you using a library to handle that job for you?

If you're handling more than one document type, then go for a library. I don't have a recommendation myself, but I'm sure you can find them on a search.

Also, don't worry about compression, as modern .odf/.docx is already compressed with something compatible with PKZIP.

Comment: Re:overturn murder conviction? (Score 1) 141 141

There are menial unskilled jobs they can do upon release.

Some prisoners get sex-offender treatment, and were subject to much more restrictions. They're not likely to even get unskilled jobs, because "children congregate bearby".

City ordinances sometimes are the cause of this, and they'are also known to create sex offender colonies.

Comment: Re:Yes, Please!!! (Score 1) 161 161

For 99% of the applications out there, there's no reason not to do it in the browser if you're starting from scratch today.

One major reason - if the browser fails, it takes out everything running under it. Failure can be as simple as a crash, to a javascript exploit that interferes with the browser, or the browser needing a few minutes just to crunch memory bloat.

Although browsers have since gotten better, I still don't trust the browser to resume where I last left off - the best I can do is force firefox to crash, and when it resumes, it gives a list of windows that I could potentially restore.

Comment: Re:Yes, I agree, but no shortage of stupid GUI (Score 1) 564 564

Why does it group all the windows of one application into one button

This is why.

Of course, part of the problem ifs that I'm using an "everything" computer. Then having to do some other task or wait on an existing one since it's nowhere near complete and has to be done later. Then these windows build up.

If they weren't group, I'd be hunting through 82 buttons, which has the same effect as having to click twice.

Comment: Re: Why Educational Technology Has Failed Schools (Score 1) 198 198

Ending compulsory schooling? Good luck with that! Surely nothing could go wrong with that!

Demands to end compulsory schooling is actually one of many random demands due to people not being sure how to fix the problem. If you feel the approach is incorrect, then you should suggest a better demand (such as exempting a small portion from compulsory education).

For the same reason we don't let children take any important decision for themselves before they're 18... They lack critical thinking skills, foresight and maturity to make them.

They are still more than capable of telling if something is completely dysfunctional. Yet, they're completely unable to fix it because "they lack critical thinking skills, foresight and maturity to make important decisions" and therefore shouldn't be allowed to do so.

Got a student taking basic math despite having already mastered it? Nope, got to finish basic math first.

do things to satisfy their immediate gratification, which would probably mean playing a glorious amount of video games.

Technically, those teenagers are better off. Immediate gratification is better than short-term pain that should have led to long-term fulfillment but actually didn't.

Comment: Missing chess rules (Score 2) 204 204

From the readme:

-you don't get under-promotion ;
    -you don't get "en passant" pawn capture ;
    -you don't get castling (queen or king side) ;

Underpromotion may be understandable, maybe en-passant since it doesn't come up that oftean, but castling makes a ton of games unplayable.

Also, purists consider anything that implements these three rules to be a better record than something that omits three rules.

Comment: Re:The Deliberate Dumbing Down of Education (Score 4, Informative) 169 169

Charlotte Iserbyt is calling it a probable Soviet KGB conspiracy... which tends to damage her credibility. See

Despite this, she's still accurate when saying that the education system is in decay, as it shouldn't be that expensive to teach basic reading, writing and computation.

Comment: Delicate electronics (Score 4, Interesting) 840 840

claims that the under 40s expect everything to 'just work' and have no idea what to do when things go wrong

I have a Samsung computer monitor that isn't properly detected if I use the DVI cable, although the VGA cable works fine. This prevents Mac OS from detecting the monitor, and confuses Windows. (The technical details: it's not transmitting EDID over the DVI connection.)

The quick fix for Windows worked for a while, but a driver update changed how things work and would be constantly confused by that monitor. The proper fix requires opening the monitor, using a multimeter to find what's wrong with the DVI connector, and fixing or replacing it. This is not something you can do on a weekend, as opposed to fixing a larger appliance.

The problem isn't around knowledge, but that it requires equipment not expected to be in a normal home. A house can have tools available to fix large mechanical objects, but not extremely delicate electronics that require an electron scanning microscope to properly fix. The repair costs for devices usually indicate that the whole device has gone bad as opposed to an easily swapped component, meaning the manufacturers also have trouble getting things to work as well.

Comment: Re:Omega? (Score 1) 186 186

Omega was actually up to 0.90, but that version was rare as the official distribution channel wasn't trying to give it out.

It wasn't a popular roguelike as it was a little buggy... first version I encountered was for the Amiga, which caused the town guards to attack you if you joined the paladin's guild.

Comment: Re:C is very relevant in 2014, (Score 1) 641 641

In C/C++, the null pointer can do anything from crashing the application to crashing the system (e.g. MS-DOS), sometimes with a time delay you don't know about until it's too late. Once the problem occurs, there's nothing you can do about it (aside from system-specific functions) and your app crashes.

In Java, null pointers throw an exception rather than attempting to fiddle with whatever is at that memory location. It's not a memory management bug, as it prevents issues before they start. And in the event the null pointer happens without warning, you can easily use a catch statement at a certain point, and try to get the application back to a normal state (if desired).

Comment: Re:C is very relevant in 2014, (Score 1) 641 641

Because bug-free automatic memory management is silly, who would want that?

Actually, it's still possible to have some bugs if you improperly use auto_ptr and shared_ptr, etc, but it's still much better than the classic method of allocation.

To be bug free, it has to be on-par with something like Java, where you can't break memory management no matter how hard you tried. This won't happen as long as there's the need to deal with raw pointers or if you have to dodge misaccessing elements (e.g. bounds checks...)

"It's harder to shoot yourself in the foot with C++, but if you do, you blow your whole leg off."

The UNIX philosophy basically involves giving you enough rope to hang yourself. And then a couple of feet more, just to be sure.