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Comment: New levels each session is misguided (Score 1) 114

by Spittoon (#31973894) Attached to: IEEE Introduces Mario Level-Generation Competition

It would be a mistake to deliver new levels each session to the gamer. Part of the reason Mario is fun is that you can practice the level, learn all of its secrets, and maximize your score and efficiency in playing it the whole way through unscathed. Subsequently demonstrating your expertise to friends and acquaintances is another layer of the fun, and then on top of that being able to discuss the intricacies of a level and reveal new techniques and details to each other is the icing on the cake.

Generating random levels, if they're fun levels, would be a great achievement. But any game that implements this would need to allow for saving of the level and sharing of the level so that the elements I list above can still be part of the overall experience.

Comment: Oddly toned post (Score 2, Insightful) 447

by Spittoon (#31384448) Attached to: Why Paying For Code Doesn't Mean You Own It
Normally /. is all "I paid for [media file] so I own it and can do what I want with it" in opposition to the copyright holders who are like "No, you just licensed it, we own it and can take it back or prevent you from copying it if we want".

Here, are we to feel that the people who paid for the code don't own it and can't do what they want with it? Are developers acting the part of the MPAA now?

Lots of the responses are like "you own what you contractually purchased, according to said contract", which is cool 'cause that's what I think should be the case.

But the tone of the original post is Weird.

Comment: Amazon stopped selling ALL Macmillan? Even print? (Score 1) 297

by Spittoon (#30963530) Attached to: Amazon Pulls Book Publisher's Listings; Ebook Wars Underway?
As far as I can tell, Apple's iBooks store is electronic only. So the claim, regarding Macmillan, that "They have somewhere to run. And credibly." is not true.

Where is Macmillan going to make up the revenue from sales of print books that they'll forfeit by not being on the Amazon store? Unless the third-party sellers are expected to make up the difference, in which case Amazon's move hasn't accomplished anything punitive at all and is an empty gesture.

Comment: Non-renewing certs are worthless (Score 4, Insightful) 245

by Spittoon (#30908816) Attached to: CompTIA Reneges, Reconsiders on Lifetime Certifications
If the certifying authority doesn't require renewals, or some sort of ongoing training in order to stay certified, then the hiring managers will/should start requiring it. "When did you get your certification? What have you done since then to maintain your current knowledge of the field?" IT isn't like Ancient Literature. What you know today will likely be obsolete tomorrow, and any body that wants to certify qualifications in such a changing environment needs to take that into account. Sounds like they wanted to realize that, but people who just wanted a meaningless cert on their CV wouldn't let them do it.

Comment: Re:Gritty realism? (Score 1) 122

by Spittoon (#29358533) Attached to: The Magicians
I didn't think the references to other works was a cop-out-- I liked that stuff. But I sure did think the book was a major f-ing drag. It seemed like the whole point of the book was that negative people inevitably ruin everything and there's nothing anybody can do about it. I had similar issues with his brother's book "Soon I Will Be Invincible"-- nobody learned anything or changed through the whole book. They share a kind of cynical, depressive mindset and it permeates the worlds they've created in their novels. Ugh. I would have loved this book if it had any balance to it. You can't have things all one way or the other, and have a really great novel. Everything needs a ray of hope. Now, if Grossman comes back with a sequel and the second act starts a climb back out of the abyss, then that would be really cool.

Comment: I'm already paying a recurring fee (Score 1) 348

by Spittoon (#29315595) Attached to: Doctorow On What Cloud Computing Is Really For
I have to buy new hardware when a)I run out of space or b)hardware dies. And just like clouds, the more data I have the more I have to pay-- the more hardware you have the more frequently you have to replace it or upgrade it. You're never going to get away from this, you're only going to shift it around. It's a law of the universe. Clouds just make things a lot simpler to deal with, and much more stable . Cory Doctorow will basically say whatever gets him a lot of press. He's a blogger looking for the next big hit. This kind of precludes him from taking a sophisticated, long-term view of any particular subject that he's writing about for pay. You've gotta look elsewhere, either in academia or by weighing the commercial evaluations against each other, to really learn what cloud computing is going to mean for the world.

Comment: App Store promotion isn't the solution (Score 1) 149

by Spittoon (#28705041) Attached to: Staying Afloat In a Sea of iPhone Apps

Increasingly the App Store will become more like Amazon, with it's billions of items for sale. It will contain references from one product to another, it will contain suggestions based on the user's preferences and purchase history, but overall the App Store will cease to be the only way people market their apps.

Remember all the other ways there are to make sure people are aware of your iphone app. The larger developers, and the larger clients (like Barnes and Noble and State Farm) already know this and market their apps through their traditional channels-- television ads, posters in stores. Everyone is going to have to do this, and the little guy is going to have to get on board.

I think you'll see consortiums of iPhone app developers forming, pooling their marketing muscle, joining together to make "labels" of like-minded people or tools of the same ilk.

But eventually, just getting your app into the Top 25 and having a 99-cent sale isn't going to cut it. There will simply be too many apps for that kind of ploy to work. And thank god for that-- I'm a consumer; I don't want the App Store to have a limited number of apps in it. For one thing, who's going to pick and choose what apps are good enough? Apple? They have a hard enough time just enforcing their current rules without making subjective quality judgements. Best to let the market decide, I think, even if that means the deepest marketing pockets will get the most attention. There will always be "underground" places where little-known apps are talked about, and there will be people who seek them out. This is how the jailbreaking communities survive-- both for iPhone and stuff like the Wii or Xbox.

Comment: Re:In a word... (Score 1) 1385

by Spittoon (#27616251) Attached to: Obama Proposes High-Speed Rail System For the US

Are the stairs like, behind a door and in a non-corporately-furnished area (concrete floor, like a stairwell meant for fire safety)?

That's often a deterrent-- out of sight, out of mind, and if they're ugly then there's even less chance they'll get used.

Put the stairs next to the elevator and carpet them, like nice hotel lobbies do sometimes, and more people will use them.

If you make the things that are good for us/the planet really nice, more people will use them. Too often it's "Use this car that's too small and gets terrible performance, because it's good for the planet!" That's never going to be a successful motivator.

Comment: Re:Why not both? (Score 2, Informative) 503

by Spittoon (#26536427) Attached to: Can a Small Business Migrate Smoothly To OpenOffice.org v3?

So those people who depend on weird MS Office features never give the documents they create to anyone else to view?

Seems like that's the real issue-- whether or not you create documents using edge features, you will occasionally be called upon to view one.

At the point where OO.o lets the user down to the extent that she can't get the information she needs (as opposed to a little big of rendering oddity), she'll abandon ship real fast out of sheer self-preservation.

You can't dictate which features in Office to use. So if *anybody* in your company is using a different office suite, there will be problems with translation eventually. Following Murphy's law, it will be when you're trying to demonstrate the validity of your business case to the CEO.

Microsoft

Obama's "ZuneGate" 608

Posted by kdawson
from the et-tu-barack dept.
theodp writes "Barack Obama supporters were left shaking their heads after a report surfaced that the president-elect was using a Zune at the gym instead of an iPod. So why would Mac-user Obama be Zune-ing out? Could be one of those special-edition preloaded Zunes that Microsoft bestowed on Democratic National Convention attendees, suggests TechFlash, nixing the idea that the soon-to-be Leader of the Free World would waste time loading Parallels or Boot Camp in OS X just to use a Zune."
Microsoft

+ - Microsoft admits benefitting from Windows piracy

Submitted by
Clever7Devil
Clever7Devil writes "An article from Information Week here covers an interesting speech given by Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes:

From the article:

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else," Raikes said. ...
"We understand that in the long run the fundamental asset is the installed base of people who are using our products," Raikes said. "What you hope to do over time is convert them to licensing the software."

Not that we haven't known this all along, but it's nice to hear it from the horse's mouth."
Programming

+ - Teaching children to write software?

Submitted by
Desmond Elliott
Desmond Elliott writes "I recently worked on a piece of software for an undergraduate course which involved me writing a Sudoku game using the GWT. My youngest sister (9 years old) was fascinated to know how I had done it and seems quite keen to want to know more. I know that some people say that children and fickle at that age but I'm keen to let her have the resources that she needs to learn more about programming if she wants to. Does anybody know about any good resources for children to learn more about Java?"

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