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Comment: Over-Simplification (Score 1) 463

by Spike15 (#28610607) Attached to: The Dilemma of Level vs. Skill In MMOs

That it boils down to "knowing how to move" and/or "knowing when to hit your buttons" is a vast over-simplification of finesse in video games, and can really be applied to anything. I mean, if you say that these two are not examples of "skill", then what is an example of skill? I am an IT professional, you could simplify my job to "knowing where to click the mouse" or "knowing where to plug in the cables" and say that my job is not therefore "skilled".

Level-based advancement is fine-and-dandy -- it's a heuristic thrown in your way for several reasons -- but the fact-of-the-matter is, is that most MMORPGs have a level cap. Once you've leveled so far you cannot level any further and therefore this level-based advantage you once had over other players becomes moot, and it's all about skill (or gear). To say that games like FPSes and RTSes have a higher "skill cap" is largely inaccurate, they just rely on different skills and, in many [read: most] cases, are divorced from RPG-exclusive concepts such as "gear".

Comment: Re:Oh, the humanity! (Score 3, Insightful) 118

by Spike15 (#28575481) Attached to: Seattle Data Center Outage Disrupts E-Commerce

Or (gasp!) make change without a computron! I wonder if they even train that in grocery stores anymore...scary, indeed.

I think the bigger issue in this case would be manually looking up the price for every single item. We tend to simplify selling things manually in this way (manually processing credit card transactions, making change manually, etc.), when really when really the biggest problem is being without the UPC system.

Comment: Re:Out to Battle.net, back in to next seat over (Score 1) 737

by Spike15 (#28555577) Attached to: Blizzard Confirms No LAN Support For <em>Starcraft 2</em>

a LOT of home routers

Home routers are crap. If you want anything even remotely resembling fidelity out of your internet connection, you have to get away from that garbage real quick.

I have two internet connections, ADSL and DOCSIS. One feeds the people upstairs, and one feeds me down here. Both are on the same network, on different subnets. Internal connectivity between the two of them at 1gbps, separate external connections. Each one of them has their own Windows Server 2003 box running ISA Server 2006.

Nothing gives me problems. I can ping my external IPs with less than 1ms latency.

Stop:

A. Bitching

B. Being so cheap

Sure what Blizzard is doing is wrong / disadvantageous, but your poor hardware isn't a valid reason to complain about it.

Comment: Re:Confusing Comparison: RTS vs RPG (Score 1) 737

by Spike15 (#28555561) Attached to: Blizzard Confirms No LAN Support For <em>Starcraft 2</em>

With maybe 256k of upload...

I'm in no way advocating what Blizzard is doing (I heartily disagree, and this is strongly discouraging me from buying a game I probably wasn't going to buy in the first place), but if you have only 256kbps of upload, you need to re-think your ISP / internet connection. Personally I have 2mbps upload. Just last night I have 2 buddies for a LAN party of sorts -- we were raiding on WoW. We were all playing WoW, and one of my local Windows Server 2003 boxes was hosting the ventrilo server for the whole raid. Everything ran fine...no hiccups all night (we were on for 8+ hours too)...and everything was funneled through my 25mbps down, 2mbps up DOCSIS connection.

Comment: Re:ARE YOU LISTENING, MICROSOFT? (Score 5, Interesting) 538

by Spike15 (#28537557) Attached to: One Year Later, "Dead" XP Still Going Strong

32bit is a dead end. How much RAM would you stuff into your computers if your OS and applications could use it. The price of RAM is through the floor and nobody buys the stuff because more than 3GB is completely useless in a typical Windows PC due to architecture limitations.

Someone mod this man UP.

What he speaks is 100% the truth. 32-bit is at an end and it's only lazy program and [especially] driver developers that are keeping us using it. Vista 64-bit functions almost transparently running 32-bit applications -- I've never had a problem -- it's only drivers that it gets stuck up on (not everyone is coding 64-bit drivers). Over the lifespan of Vista, however, I've seen that problem slowly decline (been using 64-bit Vista since the day it went gold), and now (with Windows 7) I think it's time that they went 64-bit ONLY.

I see Microsoft embracing 64-bit fully internally. Forefront TMG is 64-bit ONLY, and Server 2008 R2 is going to be 64-bit only also.

Comment: Re:My Story with XP/Vista (Score 2, Insightful) 538

by Spike15 (#28537529) Attached to: One Year Later, "Dead" XP Still Going Strong

To be honest, I felt the same way switching over from XP to Vista, but I didn't eschew the experience -- I was open to new things.

Now I find a similar experience going back from Vista to XP, and to be honest, it was worth it. Especially now that Windows 7 is here. The Vista UI was nascent, the 7 UI is the full-blown Vista UI. I feel much more productive using the 7 UI, not because of any big feature, but because of a dozen small thing. The ability to have all the windows but one fade to glass in a crowded environment is a god-send, allowing you to check certain windows without actually bringing them to the front or selecting them, the ability to mouse over the taskbar and have an instant live preview of the windows you're mousing over. The way that program integrate with their historical files list in the start menu. I administer a home network with an Active Directory and several servers, and it's impossible to judge how much time this feature has saved me with RDP. All the RDPs that I use frequently are right there...I can access them with two clicks.

The ability to have all files indexed, and search them instantly, was another feature that was majorly overlooked by many people, and yet it's something I use everyday. You can even use the Start Menu search field as if it were the Run dialog, saving you further time. Rather than clicking the Start button, and then Run, and then typing your command, you can simply hit Start and start typing your command. It's just more efficient.

Vista was slow on older hardware, I'll admit that, but if you had semi-modern hardware it ran decently, and if you were on the bleeding edge you actually saw performance gains over XP. It was Microsoft's bold way of casting off the old and fully embracing the new. In 7 they're re-optimized, and the OS runs like a dream on all hardware.

From what I can tell Vista was like a less severe ME. ME was a tragic operating system, I'll be the first to admit it, and while Vista isn't tragic, it is certainly nothing compared to its successor. But something has to pave the way. ME introduced concepts that we take totally for granted now, like Plug And Play, the intuitive and easy-to-use network stack that we loved in 2k and XP, and the removal of real-mode DOS. I feel that while Vista is nothing like the total failure of ME (I maintain that it was a good OS...so sue me), it did somewhat of the same thing for 7 as ME did for 2k and XP. What I see in 7 is that Microsoft has taken all the good from Vista, along with all the feedback they've received over these ~3 years, and made the best operating system that they've made so far.

I remember when XP came out, there were some pretty hellish issues, but thanks to the segue that is Vista, most of the compatibility problems have been overcome, and the driver base is there, ready. I see 7 sealing the coffin of x86 and bringing us into a fully 64-bit world, as well as bringing us a newer, more efficient UI. Sure, it's shiny, but that's a total aside. If you look past the fact that it's shiny and sexy, you'll notice that it's also sleek and functional.

But the M$-haters will always hate on M$. It's just the way of the world.

Comment: Re:My first experience with Vista (Score 1, Interesting) 538

by Spike15 (#28537357) Attached to: One Year Later, "Dead" XP Still Going Strong

Anyone who touts User Account Control as a downside to Vista is certifiably dumb.

First off, if it annoys you that much, you can disable it.

Second, the reason it asks you for permission to continue at "anything but the simplest tasks" is a defense mechanism. It allows you oversight into the internal workings of your operating system. In XP you'd double-click something -- give it permission to run -- and after that it could totally ravage your operating system if it felt like it (assuming that you had the privileges to ravage the operating system yourself, something most home users have as they are local admins).

In Vista, when you give that same program permission to run, Vista sees that it's trying to ravage the operating system, and gives you a pop-up, informing you of what the program is requesting permission to do, and allowing you, with this new knowledge, to allow or deny continued action.

Additionally, the User Account pop-ups offer a convenient way for administrators to allow users to perform tasks normally exclusive to administrators. Rather than logging the user out and logging in as themselves, or exiting the program, using "Run As..." and then entering their credentials, the administrator can simply enter their username and password into the UAC pop-up, and thus allow the process to continue under the pretense of the currently logged in user.

To complain about UAC and say that, that was your reason for switching away from Vista shows that either you don't understand the concept of configuring an operating system to meet your specific usage needs, that you don't understand a good operating system security measure, that you are stupid, or that you were biased going in, and were looking for the very simplest thing to tout as the reason Vista is bad.

Personally I used Vista from the time that it went gold, to the time that the Windows 7 RC came out. I couldn't've been happier. I gamed, I power-used, I tinkered...100% satisfied with Vista.

Comment: Re:You cannot use viruses/bugs as an example of co (Score 1) 691

by Spike15 (#28535435) Attached to: The Hidden Cost of Using Microsoft Software

"People" is a pretty vast generalization. I, personally, do not fear Microsoft Update, in fact I trust it entirely. In my experience (and I know people here will disagree) Microsoft has been on top of trying their best to keep their operating system secure. Most large vulnerabilities that make it out into the wild and terrorize people have been patched LONG BEFORE.

Conficker was first observed in the wild in November 2008. Its vulnerability was patched in October 2008. Had the entire world been on top of their Windows Updates Conficker would've been a non-issue. Instead we have this biggest worm infection since SQL Slammer.

Oh, and speaking of the infamous SQL Slammer, it, too was patched before it was first exploited on a wide scale. SIX MONTHS BEFORE to be exact. People have said that SQL Slammer's effects were somewhat similar to the effects of the Code Red Worm...

So since we're talking about the Code Red Worm of 200, which exploited IIS, why don't we mention that much like Conficker, a patch had been available the month before the widespread exploitation took place?

Geez, my distrust for Microsoft Updates is swelling just talking about all this proactive patching they've done, and how it could've averted such cyber-tragedies IF ONLY PEOPLE USED IT...

Comment: Re:You cannot use viruses/bugs as an example of co (Score 1) 691

by Spike15 (#28535359) Attached to: The Hidden Cost of Using Microsoft Software

While what you say is true of large changes, like, for example, Internet Explorer 6, I have very, very rarely (I would say "never") seen it be true for a small security update.

I know for a fact that large software updates, such as version changes or service packs, can break compatibility. Recently the big talk of my office has been which departments of the company we can push to IE7, and which must stay with IE6 because the web-based apps that they use break with IE7. But we don't have any "DON'T PUSH KB######!!!!" I have personally rolled out many PCs and when I do the Windows Updates for them after they boot up, I put everything on them except Internet Explorer 7/8, and they run fine.

However, I recognize your point. Our IT budget here is quite generous, and we're allowed to remain pretty state-of-the-art, with very robust software and hardware solutions. However, this is a story about a Conficker infestation rolling out EIGHT MONTHS after the patch that nullified Conficker's attack vector was released. When Conficker was discovered 7 months ago, or even when it was making headlines only "a few" months ago, why didn't these people say "jeez, MAYBE we should test that ONE security update?" and then do it?

Comment: Re:Sadly, I don't agree. (Score 0) 691

by Spike15 (#28534137) Attached to: The Hidden Cost of Using Microsoft Software

That is no longer true. Windows Vista & 7 both default to a limited user, not admin. I've been using Linux for my OS for 8 or so years, but you gotta give credit where credit is due.

I was going to point this out, but any mention of "Vista" and some positive trait causes the anti-M$ masses to start foaming at the mouth and quickly lose coherency, and I wanted to avoid that.

Personally I used Windows Vista from the time it went Gold to the time the Windows 7 RC came out, and never regretted the switch from XP to Vista. In the same way, I've never regretted the switch from Vista to 7. Microsoft has been on a "roll" of late, in my opinion. Everything they're pumping out seems to be of the highest quality. I say this not only with relation to 7, but also having taken a look at Server `08, Forefront TMG, Silverlight...

Attempting to remain somewhat apropos here, UAC is also a really excellent innovation, allowing even Administrators to keep themselves somewhat in-line. Sure, it takes a bit more of a trained eye than just getting user privileges and not being able to elevate yourself, but having to hit "Continue" whenever something tries to do something that could be construed as malicious sure makes you think. The way they've trimmed UAC back in 7 is also a godsend -- taking a fundamentally good idea and making it better (the irritation factor of Windows Vista UAC always overrode the fact that it was fundamentally a good idea). It's also exceptional in AD shops, because you (as a Domain Admin / Local Admin), can allow users to perform admin-only tasks without circuitous methods, like exiting and using "Run As..." or just logging the user off and logging in as yourself.

Comment: Re:You cannot use viruses/bugs as an example of co (Score 1) 691

by Spike15 (#28533933) Attached to: The Hidden Cost of Using Microsoft Software

This is totally offtopic, cost is the only thing this is about, not why that cost exists.

Of course that is what it is about on a fundamental level, but you have to look deeper into the problem(s). For example, why was this problem experienced? The answer is, is that it's because the IT staff obviously were not on top of the maintenance of the computers. Rolling out Windows Updates is not a difficult task, computers can be set to do it themselves, or you can use a centralized roll-out system like WSUS.

This is relevant because the exploit that Conficker takes advantage of was patched by Microsoft in October 2008. The first variant of Conficker was not even discovered until November 2008, so any IT shop that stayed on top of their updates should've never even experienced a window-of-opportunity to be infected.

The moral of the story here is that bad IT practices lead to costly mistakes. This is true under Linux or Windows or any other OS, and therefore this is a bad example, and that's why discussion of the reasons for the cost existing are relevant, since the reasons that the cost exists negates any argument against Microsoft stemming from this particular "example".

Comment: Re:Sadly, I don't agree. (Score 3, Insightful) 691

by Spike15 (#28533807) Attached to: The Hidden Cost of Using Microsoft Software

This is also the same reason that you don't see as many windows problems in a corporate environment: Because the users aren't administrators.

I recently switched my entire home network over to AD, and started making people actual AD accounts that are not local admins on their machines, and the number of problems that they're having has gone WAY down. Sure, they have to ask me whenever they want to do something like install software, but for the most part their system configurations are fairly stable -- they just do the same tasks day after day, they're not highly dynamic users who like to experiment with new and exciting software / hardware like I am -- besides, them having to call me insures that I have a certain degree of oversight as to what goes onto their computer, allowing me not only to support them better later on (since I know exactly what happened to their PC), but also allows me to preempt problematic software etc.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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