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Comment: Re:don't tax alternative energy and transportation (Score 1) 516

by Zobeid (#48417107) Attached to: Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

Quote: "We have to transition to ~ 90% of the transport and energy in the economy to non-fossil, in a damn hurry (e.g. 2050)..."

You may believe that, and some others may believe that, but our society as a whole does not. If it did, we (globally) wouldn't still be planning and building brand new coal and gas fired power plants with an expected 40-year life span *after* they go into service.

Comment: Let's boycott the two-party system! (Score 1) 551

by Zobeid (#48326353) Attached to: In this year's US mid-term elections ...

I think next time around somebody should organize a boycott of the Republicrats. Vote for independents... libertarians... greens... cthulhu... whatever floats your boat as long as it's not a Republican or Democrat. It's the only way to get some real change.

Comment: Slam dunk bet! (Score 3, Interesting) 107

by Zobeid (#48326065) Attached to: Landfill Copies of Atari's 'E.T.' End Up On eBay

The E.T. game was a lesson in the folly of games based on movies. Sadly, it's a lesson many companies still haven't learned. There are still executives in the game industry who think the road to success is to license a big-name movie or other franchise and then sell a game based on it. And the key phrase there is "sell a game", without much thought given to actually creating the game, or what is going to make the game fun to play.

What makes a game fun and engaging is, primarily, the gameplay mechanism. Movies are non-interactive and have no gameplay mechanisms. Therefore, they have little of value to offer to a licensed game. Yes, you can take a generic, well-proven game mechanic and slap on a movie-colored coat of paint, but it means nothing. It may possibly turn out to be an OK game, but there's no reason to expect it to surpass games that were designed as their own properties from the outset. The reverse is more often true: a game concept originated by a game designers is more likely to produce a truly fun game, as compared with a movie concept that some programmers have been ordered to "turn into some kind of game that we can sell this Christmas".

Comment: Get rid of time changes and time zones! (Score 1) 613

by Zobeid (#48292961) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

I'd love to get rid of time changes and just have Standard Time all year, but we don't need to settle for that unimaginative answer. We now have the technology to do better.

When everybody's carrying around a smart phone -- effectively, a computer with a GPS -- then it should be easy to calculate the actual local time, solar time, any place on Earth. If you have local solar time, and you have GMT (Zulu time), then you have everything you need to coordinate the vast majority of human activity. Then time zones become redundant, and time changes would make even less sense than they already do now.

Comment: SCSI madness (Score 3, Interesting) 192

by Zobeid (#47498039) Attached to: The Almost Forgotten Story of the Amiga 2000

I had an A2000 which I soon put a used A2620 card into -- that was the 68020 accelerator which effectively quadrupled the speed of the system. (When was the last time you saw an upgrade card do that??) It was the same card Commodore used in the A2500. It was an amazing machine for its day, not only in terms of graphics and audio, but for sheer processing power.

The thing that always drove me up the wall was SCSI adaptors. They were always tricky to get working -- fiddling with dip switches and jumper pins on the drives, and terminating resistor packs -- and I never had one that worked for a long time. It seemed like there was a steady churn of companies putting an Amiga SCSI card on the market, then going out of business, then another company would take a whack at it. I think I burned through half a dozen completely different SCSI adapters.

Comment: Re:Wow, two whole cats. (Score 4, Informative) 40

Texas at one time had six native cat species: bobcat, mountain lion, ocelot, jaguar, jaguarundi and margay. Jaguars and margays have been gone for about a hundred years, and now ocelots and jaguarundis are rare, with just a few hanging on at the southern tip of the state. We'd really prefer not to give them up.

Comment: Re:Bad move (Score 1) 280

by Zobeid (#47045327) Attached to: Fusion Power By 2020? Researchers Say Yes and Turn To Crowdfunding.

> "natural financing source would be venture capital" . . . "they failed to convince anyone relevant"

I suspect most of those "relevant" people remember the whole Cold Fusion flap and have had it drilled into their heads that Fusion Is Bogus. Also, every time I even raise the subject of fusion in conversation, somebody retorts with the well-traveled saying that, "Fusion power is forty years away -- and always will be!", as if that was the definitive, final word on the subject.

For venture capital, the decision not to invest in fusion research -- any fusion research, by anyone -- is easy to make.

Comment: SNC Dream Chaser (Score 1) 74

by Zobeid (#46910621) Attached to: Boeing Unveils Cabin Design For Commercial Spaceliner

The article has no mention of any competing ships. Odd omission, isn't it?

The 2001 reference is particularly off-target here, since Boing are developing a mere capsule while SNC are developing a proper spaceplane. Their Dream Chaser will subject its occupants to much less G-forces during reentry, will have greater cross-range landing capability, and even has hybrid rocket engines on board for on-orbit maneuvering and other uses (such as flying the ship away safely if there's a booster failure). Plus, the Dream Chaser actually looks like a spaceship. What does Boeing have to counter that? Interior decorating!

Comment: Stone Age Starships (Score 1) 392

by Zobeid (#46666379) Attached to: How Many People Does It Take To Colonize Another Star System?

Are we still talking about physically packing specimens of homo sapiens in some kind of gross physical vessel and somehow propelling it across interstellar space? Seriously?? This is the 21st Century, man! It's been obvious for a while now -- several decades at least -- that there are far, far more efficient ways to colonize the galaxy.

By the time interstellar travel becomes feasible, in terms of both technology and resources, surely our AI technology, our robotics technology, our molecular synthesis and manufacturing technology, and our understanding of biology and genetics should be easily advanced enough to ship a manufactory to the destination star system and then FAX across everything and everyone else that is needed there. The explorers and colonists are most likely to be AIs and robots -- although there's nothing to prevent transmitting and synthesizing human beings as well, if it makes any kind of sense to do so. (A human being off planet Earth is like a fish out of water, unless and until we win the cosmic lottery and stumble onto Earth 2.)

I just... I don't know what people are thinking when they trot out these star travel ideas that sound like something from the 1960s. Star travel is an idea about the future. Why do so many people look at this with their minds stuck in the past?

Comment: Re:Build a Steam Box and release 1P games to it! (Score 1) 559

by Zobeid (#46023031) Attached to: How Can Nintendo Recover?

That's thinking outside the box. I like it. Nintendo should do it. But they won't. I might even say they "can't". It's a plan diametrically opposed to their entire corporate culture, their history, their way of thinking. It's hard enough for an individual to do a U-turn like that, but for a publicly held corporation with several thousand employees... They just can't.

Sometimes the old empire just has to fall, and new ones rise.

Comment: Re:Minecraft on iPads (Score 1) 559

by Zobeid (#46023001) Attached to: How Can Nintendo Recover?

quote: "Apple crushed Nintendo by creating iOS devices and opening up it's platform to indie devs for a minimal fee."

The irony cuts deep. Nintendo first exploded into success by locking down the NES and keeping out all the crap games that had clogged the Atari VCS/2600 market. It's not easy for a company to turn against the strategy that made them. Why did it work so well then, but is backfiring now?

Comment: Re:Yeah right. (Score 1) 564

by Zobeid (#45803137) Attached to: PC Makers Plan Rebellion Against Microsoft At CES

quote: "One big problem with netbooks was that people assumed that could MS Word, and when they found out they couldn't they returned the computer."

Did this actually happen or is it just an urban myth? (or Microsoft/Intel FUD?)

The way I remember things, there was a lot of buzz about a wave of ARM+Linux netbooks that were supposedly coming soon, and I wanted one, and none of them ever actually made it to market.

Comment: Re:Zero emission electric car (Score 1) 327

by Zobeid (#45248081) Attached to: 8 US States Pushing For 3.3 Million Electric Cars

You can hate that term all you want, but it's been widely used for decades, and the rest of us aren't going to change our terminology because you posted a comment on Slashdot. Better get used to it.

As for the whole "long tailpipe" argument against EVs, that's so ten years ago. Come back when you get caught up with the debate.

Comment: Re:This can't work (Score 1) 327

by Zobeid (#45248037) Attached to: 8 US States Pushing For 3.3 Million Electric Cars

I don't understand your maths. The article says they are aiming for 3.3 million vehicles. How did you arrive at 100 million?? That would be roughly a third of the cars in the USA! Nobody is expecting EVs to be adopted on that scale within that time frame.

As for the strain on the electrical grid... It may lead to some regional problems as the usage patterns change, but electric cars should not drastically increase the total national demand for electricity. Gasoline consumption will be reduced, and it takes a lot of electrical power to refine gasoline (especially as more low-grade crude continues to come onto the market).

The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow