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Comment: Re:ESPN (Score 1) 401

by almitydave (#47461859) Attached to: Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

Some feel there is a loss in quality vs OTA but depending on who you talk to it's not something people will notice.

Comcast subscriber here, and I can definitely tell in some programs. There are certain types of scenes that the compression algorithm doesn't handle well at low bitrates, notably when there's a lot of detail changing from frame to frame. I was watching "Planet Earth" and when it showed a large flock of birds taking flight, the TV looked like a checkerboard pattern of flickering grey squares. So it's usually ok, but often noticeable, and occasionally ugly. I may hook up our old rabbit ears for the OTA channels.

As for the customer service nightmare, I guess my experience has been anomalous, as I've never had a problem with them, even canceling TV service once or twice in the 6 years I've subscribed (TV+internet currently). I rarely have to call, though; service here in Chicago has been extremely reliable. It is very expensive, though.

Comment: Re:Not a duty of the Executive Branch (Score 1) 382

by almitydave (#47459605) Attached to: White House Punts On Petition To Allow Tesla Direct Sales

The White House should respond by providing links to state and federal representatives if they want the law changed.

Why? Can an organization like Tesla not find people smart enough to look them up? Are we not smart enough to know where to look? Or so disengaged we don't know which ones to write?

Apparently. GGP's whole point is that this petition proves that this is true, and people are asking the president to "do something" rather than using the appropriate channel - their representatives in the legislature (whichever is appropriate to the issue). In theory, enough constituents contacting their representatives will stir them to act; it practice it usually takes an organization with funding to have enough influence; either way, there's a method for the average Joe to amplify his voice and get heard.

Comment: Re:Not a duty of the Executive Branch (Score 1) 382

by almitydave (#47459055) Attached to: White House Punts On Petition To Allow Tesla Direct Sales

Exactly what I wanted to say. The White House should respond by providing links to state and federal representatives if they want the law changed.

Alternatively, people should pool their resources and form a lobbying group to have greater influence in changing the law. Kickstarter has proven the potential for crowdfunding; there should be a Kickstarter-type site for forming issue-specific political action committees, so people can more effectively lobby for the change that matters to them most. I think this is very much in line with the spirit of the republic, while offering an effective voice to groups of like-minded people.

Of course, there are already many groups lobbying on many issues, so maybe all that's needed is a comprehensive directory of PACs and lobbying orgs sorted by topic, so people can find one aligned with their ideologies. I just found a decent list here which focuses on tracking financial contributions, but has quite a lot of info.

Comment: Re:No "thought police"? What about "hate crimes"? (Score 1) 185

by almitydave (#47377951) Attached to: Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

Assault someone with a bat and go to jail for 5 years. Say, "I hate black people!" while doing it and go to jail for 15 years.

So yeah, we DO put people in jail for thoughts.

Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. Hate crime legislation DOES punish thoughts: we've decided that what you were thinking at the time of a crime somehow makes your crime worse than that of someone who wasn't thinking "hateful thoughts". If we hold to the principle that "the punishment must fit the crime," then hate crime laws seem to directly criminalize certain thoughts, which in the USA seems to come dangerously close to treading on the freedom of thought and expression protected by the first amendment, if not stomping all over it.

Comment: Re:Repeat after me... (Score 1) 534

More people need to get pissed at these "security" checks. I see it happening at more and more venues: football games, art museums, etc... At least the metal detectors in the courthouse came as a response to actual shootings. But come on, who is going to bother with a terrorist attack on the Duct Tape Museum of Greater Bumfuck? At some point the security measures cost more than what you're actually preventing.

To be fair, security checks at some football stadiums also came as a response to actual violence at said stadiums. See: Raiders fans.

Comment: Re:I-Novae Studios (Score 1) 100

by almitydave (#47325979) Attached to: Building the Infinite Digital Universe of <em>No Man's Sky</em>

My understanding is that they realized they needed to make money, so they shifted their dev efforts to completing a marketable game engine to get some income before completing their game idea. I really look forward to this game, and its more realistic scale. But I'm not holding my breath.

Comment: Re:What does "effectively infinite" mean? (Score 1) 100

by almitydave (#47325941) Attached to: Building the Infinite Digital Universe of <em>No Man's Sky</em>

"Infinite" means "without bound", so I take "effectively infinite" to mean you'll never encounter a boundary. You'll never run out of new space, every world will never be explored; it might as well be infinite because there's no discernible difference.

It couldn't be truly infinite, because at some point you're dealing with computers which have fixed-length integers, so your seed value space is actually finite; but 64-bit integers means that 7 billion players could each have their own unique million-star sky 2500 times over.

Comment: Re:OK, now do cities (Score 1) 100

by almitydave (#47325859) Attached to: Building the Infinite Digital Universe of <em>No Man's Sky</em>

I followed the development of Introversion with great interest, particularly the procedural city generation. I look forward to the day when someone writes the all-encompassing MMO that incorporates multiple game types in a single universe. It'll happen eventually, and one of the versions will probably even be worthwhile.

Comment: Re:Lazy summary writing, again (Score 1) 100

by almitydave (#47325831) Attached to: Building the Infinite Digital Universe of <em>No Man's Sky</em>

That differs from my understanding: I got the impression that once a player explored a world, the parameters for procedural generation on that world were fixed and uploaded (this is an MMO, whether or not the game designers want it to be thought of as such). That's why in the gameplay videos, you see onscreen tags identifying which player discovered a species or world.

I've worked on my own idea of a procedurally-generated universe, and the idea I've come up with is you generate a random list of stars and assign a seed value to each star. When a player visits the star, the details of the stellar system (which are only observable up close) are procedurally generated using that star's seed: planets, asteroid fields, etc. Anything you do to modify that system is saved so that the next time you go back, it's still there. In a multiplayer environment, any modifications or even the results of pseudo-random generation can be uploaded so other players see the same thing you see.

So it's random in the sense of "not determined ahead of time." The way stuff is generated in this game is the developers create prototypes that have traits that can be modified (see dev discussion of character creators with sliders in other games) in many ways, and when a world is first visited by a player, which animal prototypes are present and how they're modified is determined at that time. What the devs are doing by reviewing the results of this generation with bots and gifs is ensuring the range of parameters for pseudo-random generation is acceptable, i.e. you get results that look good. They're not setting the parameters for each planet you'll visit when you get your copy of the game.

The game universe is the same for everyone. The devs are generating it and when they are happy with the way it turns out, that version will be the one they release for everyone to play in.

The universe is the same for everyone because randomly-generated content is preserved online. The devs are not generating the entire universe, they're fine-tuning the parameters of their generators.

As far as I can tell, anyway. This could be really cool. I've also been following the development of I-Novae Studios' game engine, which aims for realism.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." - Bert Lantz

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