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Comment: Re:To hell with taxis... (Score 1) 295

by ThePyro (#48600819) Attached to: French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber
Prices that low hardly seem sustainable to me. Of that $14.50, Uber takes 20% immediately (correct me if I'm wrong, just Google'd it). Ten miles of fuel plus wear and tear on your vehicle will probably cost another $4 in this case. The driver ought to have commercial insurance (and if he doesn't then it's not sustainable), so we gotta subtract another... what, $1? I'm pulling that one out of the air TBH.

That leaves $6.60 for the driver. A reasonable time estimate might be 40 minutes for a 10 mile trip, given that traffic might be lousy and you gotta drive to your next fare. Maybe 30 minutes if everything goes smoothly. So unless your down time between fares is less than 10 minutes you'll be making less than minimum wage.

Can any commercial drives give more accurate estimates?

Comment: Re:"Server Stack"? (Score 1) 525

by ThePyro (#48370381) Attached to: Microsoft To Open Source<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET and Take It Cross-Platform
Sounds like it. The article says that this announcement applies to .NET Core, not the entire .NET framework. The .NET Core does not include WPF or WinForms at this time. Maybe they'll get there eventually...

The wording is a little confusing, though. They use the term ".NET Core Framework", which I assume refers to something less encompassing than the entire .NET framework, but honestly I can't tell for sure.

Comment: Re:Max RAM? (Score 1) 353

by ThePyro (#46655863) Attached to: An SSD for Your Current Computer May Save the Cost of a New One (Video)

Not entirely true. If your motherboard has dual-channel support then you'll definitely get a performance improvement (though maybe not a noticeable one outside of gaming) when you upgrade from 1 stick to 2 sticks of RAM, even if you can't use the extra capacity. Plenty of systems ship with only 1 stick installed.

Comment: Re:+1, Flamebait (Score 4, Interesting) 364

Despite his nigh-infinite power and goodness, there are a number of themes that can make a good Superman story interesting:

1) Superman can't save everyone. His character can be forced to make difficult decisions about how and where to apply his efforts, knowing that he can't be everywhere at once. I don't recall this plot device being used much in the movie. Yeah, there are lots of civilians getting killed, but that doesn't even seem to phase our hero. I don't recall any critical decision moments.

2) Superman can't save everyone, again. Despite his powers, there are some things he just can't fix. As the recent Wired review mentioned, this is why Jonathan Kent usually dies from a heart attack - that's something that Superman's powers cannot help. The movie doesn't pick up on this theme at all.

3) Superman may be _good_, but he doesn't have to be omniscient. Well-meaning application of his powers can result in unintended consequences, and his character can be forced to play clean up and also show a does of humility.

There are plenty of others. The character has spawned multiple television and comic book series, after all.

I didn't really enjoy this latest portrayal of Superman; it feels like the writers didn't understand his "good" nature and how to properly create _interesting_ conflict. An hour of Superman employing brute force (the one thing that he has no problem with) is just not compelling.

Comment: Re:What about this. (Score 1) 1059

by ThePyro (#42514717) Attached to: Congressman Introduces Bill To Ban Minting of Trillion-Dollar Coin

Unfortunately even if the military budget were cut to $0 we would still have a half-trillion dollar deficit. The elephants in the room are the Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits that have already been promised to people, and which already total nearly 70% of federal tax revenues. Health care costs continue to rise faster than economic activity, and the number of beneficiaries of the programs will soon jump higher as more baby boomers retire. Unless we plan on spending 100% of federal tax revenues on these programs (which won't work for very long) something must be done to bring costs in line.

Comment: Re:Industrial terrorism (Score 1) 341

by ThePyro (#41753063) Attached to: Boeing's CHAMP Missile Uses Radio Waves To Remotely Disable PCs

Welcome to the age of industrial terrorism.

The article was pretty light on details. I wonder what the range is on this thing? Industrial terrorism could definitely be a concern.

The description makes it sound like the weapon is just a directed microwave gun, and missile part is only required to deliver the gun into range. If that's the case, what's to stop a group of terrorists from deploying such a weapon anywhere they like? Rent a hotel room near a target, construct the weapon, fire it out the window to silently disable electronics, and then escape while workers are still scrambling to figure out why all the PCs just went dark.

Heck, you might even be able to mount such a weapon in a van or truck; slide the door open for half a second to fire (nearly silent, of course) and then speed away before anyone even realizes what just happened.

Comment: Re:remarkable (Score 3, Insightful) 754

by ThePyro (#34448406) Attached to: Rear-View Cameras On Cars Could Become Mandatory In the US

Seriously useful tip: your car has a nice, wide rearview mirror to let you see what's behind you. Adjust your side mirrors to show you your blind spots. I've done this for over a decade.

The proposed back-up cameras are not supposed to take the place of existing mirrors. Rather, they are installed closer to the ground so that you can see what's behind you at a lower level than what's typically visible with the rear-view mirror (ie small children).

Comment: Re:Nerd Fantasy Extrodinaire: Ingame Scripting Age (Score 4, Interesting) 113

by ThePyro (#33910328) Attached to: <em>StarCraft</em> AI Competition Results
Have a look at the Spring Engine if you haven't already. There are a variety of RTS games, including some high-quality variants of Total Annihilation, which use the Spring Engine and allow for all sorts of client-side scripting through Lua. There are a variety of client-side lua "gadgets" that players have written already. You can move your units into custom formations by drawing lines or squiggles with the mouse; there are widgets to automate using air transports to ferry units between factories and rally points; there are even widgets to automatically alert the player when certain dangerous units are spotted. IIRC, someone was even working on a script for kiting with long-range units.

Comment: Re:DO NOT WILLINGLY SUBMIT YOUR DNA!!! (Score 1) 468

by ThePyro (#32267808) Attached to: UC Berkeley Asking Incoming Students For DNA

I imagine a scenario like the following:

Twenty years down the road, a close acquaintance of yours is murdered.

Fortunately, the police find some DNA at the scene! Unfortunately it's yours.

Fortunately that DNA sample you submitted to Berkeley was confidential! Unfortunately, a quick scan of the good 'ol police DNA database finds it anyway. Wonder how that happened?

Fortunately your name isn't associated with the sample! Unfortunately, since the victim didn't know anyone else who attended Berkeley, that's enough for the police to get a warrant for an official DNA sample.

Fortunately you didn't actually commit this crime, and mundane reasons easily explain the presence of your DNA! Unfortunately, someone once heard you say that you really didn't like the victim very much, and that statement combined with your DNA is enough for the brain-dead jury to convict you.


Game Endings Going Out of Style? 190

Posted by Soulskill
from the to-be-continued dept.
An article in the Guardian asks whether the focus of modern games has shifted away from having a clear-cut ending and toward indefinite entertainment instead. With the rise of achievements, frequent content updates and open-ended worlds, it seems like publishers and developers are doing everything they can to help this trend. Quoting: "Particularly before the advent of 'saving,' the completion of even a simple game could take huge amounts of patience, effort and time. The ending, like those last pages of a book, was a key reason why we started playing in the first place. Sure, multiplayer and arcade style games still had their place, but fond 8, 16 and 32-bit memories consist more of completion and satisfaction than particular levels or tricky moments. Over the past few years, however, the idea of a game as simply something to 'finish' has shifted somewhat. For starters, the availability of downloadable content means no story need ever end, as long as the makers think there's a paying audience. Also, the ubiquity of broadband means multiplayer gaming is now the standard, not the exception it once was. There is no real 'finish' to most MMORPGs."

NYT's "Games To Avoid" an Ironic, Perfect Gamer Wish List 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-or-less dept.
MojoKid writes "From October to December, the advertising departments of a thousand companies exhort children to beg, cajole, and guilt-trip their parents for all manner of inappropriate digital entertainment. As supposedly informed gatekeepers, we sadly earthbound Santas are reduced to scouring the back pages of gaming review sites and magazines, trying to evaluate whether the tot at home is ready for Big Bird's Egg Hunt or Bayonetta. Luckily, The New York Times is here to help. In a recent article provokingly titled 'Ten Games to Cross off Your Child's Gift List,' the NYT names its list of big bads — the video games so foul, so gruesome, so perverse that we'd recommend you buy them immediately — for yourself. Alternatively, if you need gift ideas for the surly, pale teenager in your home whose body contains more plastic then your average d20, this is the newspaper clipping to stuff in your pocket. In other words, if you need a list like this to understand what games to not stuff little Johnny's stocking with this holiday season, you've got larger issues you should concern yourself with. We'd suggest picking up an auto-shotty and taking a few rounds against the horde — it's a wonderful stress relief and you're probably going to need it."

Comment: Re:DRM in a calculator? (Score 1) 463

by ThePyro (#29493049) Attached to: TI vs Calculator Hackers

Standardized tests are another reason TI might want complete control over the operating system. If the operating system can be modified then sneaky students could hide all sorts of cheats inside the operating system. Forcing students to clear the memory of their calculators would no longer be sufficient to prevent cheating since information embedded in the OS would not be cleared.

Comment: Re:DRM in a calculator? (Score 2, Insightful) 463

by ThePyro (#29492979) Attached to: TI vs Calculator Hackers

One of the reasons that TI signs things is to provide a form of copy protection for the 3rd-party applications which are sold via the online store. The calculator operating system will not run a flash application for which it does not currently have a license. The operating system binary is signed so that you can't tamper with it in order to disable the copy-protection. A modified operating system could potentially run flash applications without a license.

As far as user-created software goes, TI doesn't really care what you run on the calculator. It's only non-free flash apps that concern them.

Make it right before you make it faster.