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Comment: ICYMI: Frontline's Secret State of North Korea (Score 5, Informative) 62

by eldavojohn (#49171137) Attached to: Inside the North Korean Data Smuggling Movement
This exact same topic was covered in Frontline's special on North Korea over a year ago. Their point of contact was Jiro Ishimaru of Asiapress who was sneaker netting USBs over the border. They even took a video of people trying to watch on a tiny screen and having to shut everything down whenever they heard someone outside.

The documentary also touched on humanitarian issues as much as it could using a secret camera. Sad stuff. Great thing to watch. Occasionally you can catch it streaming on Netflix but it seems to not be available right now.

Comment: Re:Human Nature (Score 1) 115

is such that certain crimes are so grave that they transcend the realm of due process and require summary execution.

The whole point of due process is to ensure that yes, this is indeed the guilty party to be punished. Historically, the witch hunt was one popular alternative.

Comment: Burst Forth, Publish Your Policy Report! (Score 5, Insightful) 213

If you look at this list, the majority of these problems are man-made. Other than a super volcano and an asteroid impact, the solution seems pretty simple. We must abandon all technology and kill all but a small percentage of the population. And those that are left must live in isolated groups. That way there will not be a world wide disease outbreak.

Yep, that's the only option. There's nothing between doing nothing and that option. It's all we have. And if anyone starts to talk about mitigation strategies, planning ahead of time or devoting a single cent of taxpayer money toward preparing for it, we are just all going to have a meltdown and throw a tantrum with teabags on our hats. Thank god we have these strawman arguments for what these ivory tower Oxford elitists are telling us to do: eliminate the human race to protect the human race. I cannot believe they would actually come to that conclusion but there it is, right in the article. Those environmentalists will have us starving in mud huts by the end of the month if we just sit by and let this academic report go unabated and without criticism!

*tortured sigh*

+ - Something Resembling "The Wheel of Time" Aired Last Night on FXX->

Submitted by eldavojohn
eldavojohn (898314) writes "If you didn't partake in the DDOS attack on Dragonmount as fans tried to figure out just what the %&#% was going on last night, you should probably prepare yourself for Billy Zane filled disappointment and watch a curious pilot covering the prologue of "Eye of the World" by Robert Jordan that apparently aired around 01:30 AM Eastern time on FXX. The reviews of said pilot are unkind and appear to contain question marks all the way down starting with Jordan's Widow disavowing its authorization. The world of film and TV development is a confusing one but it appears that NBC initially bought options to turn it into a mini series which were then optioned by Universal/Red Eagle Entertainment in conjunction with Red Eagle Games to do a coordinated release. Red Eagle games announced a combined effort with Jet Set games and around 2012 began releasing information on an "Aiel War" project to target mobile gaming platforms. But that appeared to die with its failed kickstarter attempt. It is suspected that Red Eagle Entertainment is behind the odd FXX airing last night. Was this an eleventh hour "use it or lose it" move by Red Eagle Entertainment without Universal's knowledge? In any case, it was a secretive, odd, low-budget, disappointing start to The Wheel of Time in film."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Ain't freedom a bitch... (Score 3, Interesting) 551

by causality (#49013015) Attached to: RMS Objects To Support For LLVM's Debugger In GNU Emacs's Gud.el

The current maintainer has said he will apply the patches anyway so it's really a non issue. None of that seems to be mentioned in the summary at least.

That part IS mentioned in the summary

The Emacs maintainer has called the statements irrelevant and won't affect their decision to merge the LLDB support.

You can be sure Stallman is miffed. Publicly calling his input irrelevant on code he wrote is one step away from calling him irrelevant.

Whenever you relieve yourself of a responsibility by giving it to someone else, you accept that that person is not you and may not make the same decisions that you would make. If Stallman is to be blamed for anything, it should be in the form of Stallman blaming himself for choosing a maintainer who does not more closely share his views.

Now that persuasion has failed, I suppose he could fork it.

Comment: Re:Ain't freedom a bitch... (Score 1) 551

by causality (#49012981) Attached to: RMS Objects To Support For LLVM's Debugger In GNU Emacs's Gud.el

He's presenting and supporting a position that he holds. He's not flaming anybody, he is participating in a rational public debate about something that he helped to start, which seems entirely fair. He chose not to keep maintaining emacs day to day, and so that is his role; to say what he thinks the people running it now should do.

What you're doing, though, is just to flame him... for speaking his mind... while trying to accuse him of being against the speaking of minds.

It should be very easy to form a rational basis for views contrary to his. Unfortunately you abandon the attempt right at the start, and resort instead of a basket of logical fallacies. His views are at an extreme end, it shouldn't be hard at all to be both contrary and reasonable.

It seems like every time there is a discussion that remotely touches on the subject of freedom, someone in some form or another has to rehash this same discussion. The subject matter changes, the circumstances change, the exact pseudo-logic has a few variations, and it's articulated with varying degrees of skill, but at heart it's really the same discussion.

Comment: Re:Ain't freedom a bitch... (Score 4, Interesting) 551

by causality (#49012861) Attached to: RMS Objects To Support For LLVM's Debugger In GNU Emacs's Gud.el

Excellent point, open and free but only in the way he sees freedom... We are talking about the man who is insisting to call Linux, GNU/Linux and likes to flame people for speaking up their minds, with different world visions...

So he tries to persuade people to agree with him, perhaps passionately, perhaps vehemently, maybe even not so nicely ... but (to my knowledge) he has never used force or fraud to coerce people into behaving the way he thinks they should. That sounds perfectly freedom-loving to me. I'm really not seeing the problem here.

If your opinion of the guy is correct, then his methods will cause fewer people to listen to him and he will thereby undermine his own efforts. This means such a situation would be self-correcting. I've never heard of RMS using force or threat of force to make you call it "GNU/Linux". The degree of power he has over you is determined entirely by how much you decide to listen to him*. The ability to recognize this is generally called perspective.

It's as though some people have an entitlement mentality, a manner in which they are self-centered. It leads to them feeling like they've been wronged or mistreated somehow when they discover that someone doesn't agree with them, won't support or otherwise validate them (probably the part that really bothers you), and speaks against them.

* I started to add "and use his software", but then I realized that's not true - you could use Emacs with the LLVM debugger ... or not, whether anyone else likes it or not, because the GPL and LLDB's NCSA license are compatible. RMS deliberately chose a license allowing this to happen. Did you fail to recognize the significance of that? That freedom means people might do things with which he disagrees does not remove his right to disagree. Are you suggesting it should? If not, what exactly are you trying to say, if you are not in fact expressing another entitlement mentality?

+ - Book Review: Core HTML5 2D Game Programming->

Submitted by eldavojohn
eldavojohn (898314) writes "Core HTML5 2D Game Programming details a journey through creating Snail Bait in well defined steps. This simple two dimensional platform game works as a great starting point for anyone interested in making their very first game targeting many desktop and mobile platforms. This incremental process is expertly segmented into logical lessons with the only prerequisite being fluency in JavaScript. One of the most attractive aspects of this book is that the core concepts of this book don’t rely on some flavor of the week JavaScript library or framework.

author David Geary
pages 615 pages
publisher Prentice Hall
rating 9/10
reviewer eldavojohn
ISBN 9780133564242
summary An exercise in 2D game development and mechanics in HTML5 and JavaScript.

First, this book isn't for people who do not recognize HTML5 and JavaScript as a valid development platform for games. I know you’re out there, you can stop reading here and move on to the next article. This book isn't for you. If you have no programming experience this book is likely not for you either. This book dives into concepts faster than Geary’s last book on game development in Canvas. You should also be familiar with JavaScript if you want to effortlessly start on this book. Throughout the book, Geary utilizes object’s JavaScript prototypes to add functions, uses anonymous functions and refers to common programming patterns.

It is worth repeating that the implementation in this book does not rely on a framework or library that could change or go defunct. The game runs entirely on code covered in the book accessing W3C standard specifications like requestAnimationFrame(). As long as JavaScript interpreters don’t change core things like timing control, this book should be relevant to developers for years to come.

The reason this book gets a nine is it accomplishes everything it sets out to do and Geary does a great job dividing up task after incremental task of setting sprite sheets and backgrounds into motion. The reason it doesn't get a ten is that I was personally disappointed with the the author devoting little time to physics and their simulations.

The book is laid out to enable its use as two kinds of resources: cover to cover and chapter specific topics. Reading this straight through, there were only a few times where it felt like I was needlessly being reminded of where I had already read about tangential topics. On the plus side if you ever want to see how Snail Bait implemented something like sound, you need only spend time on the chapter devoted to sound sprites. One mild annoyance I had with the text was that the author seems to always refer to Snail Bait as “Snail Bait” which leads to a Ralph Wiggum-like aversion to pronouns or saying “the game” instead occasionally. It might only be me but it can become tiresome to read “Snail Bait” five or six times on the same page.

You can read a sample chapter here that shows how to implement sprite behaviors.

The first two chapters of the book focus on a set of basic guidelines to follow when doing game development in HTML5 and JavaScript — like keeping certain UI display elements in CSS instead of rendering them as paths or objects in the Canvas. Geary also covers the very absolute simplest concepts of how graphics are going to be displayed and how the background is going to move. He also spends time in Chapter Two showing how to best set up the development environment. It is demonstrated how shortening your cycle of deployment saves you tons of time and the author does a great job on letting you know what tools to use to debug throughout the whole text.

The third chapter delves into draw and rendering graphics in the canvas as well as introducing the reader to the game loop. It spends a good amount of time explaining the use of animation frame control in a browser to keep animations running smoothly. It also begins the auditing of frame rates so that the game can respond to and display things normalized at the rate the user is experiencing them. It also touches on how parallax can be employed to show things closer up moving faster than those further back in the background. This illusion of depth has long been popular and is even finding its way into scrolling on blogs and I wish that Geary would have spent more time on this perhaps in a later chapter but offer the reader more on how to do multiple levels of depth.

The next chapter tackles the core infrastructure of Snail Bait and discusses at length encapsulation of certain functionalities (instead of globals) in the source code as well as Snail Bait’s 2300 line prototype. It bothers me that one file is 2300 lines and I wish there was a better way to do this but as a learning tool, it works even if it is daunting to scroll through. The book adds some helpful pointers about how utterly confusing the “this” keyword can be in JavaScript. Chapter Four really sets the pace for the rest of the book by introducing the use of event listeners and illustrating how the game loop is going to continually be extrapolated.

The next three chapters cover the use of loading screens, sprites and their behaviors. Snail Bait uses all its graphics from an open source game (Replica Island). But if you were to design your own graphics for your game, these chapters do a great job of showing how to construct sprite sheets and how to use tools to construct metadata in the code so that the sprites are usable by the sprite artists. Using the flyweight pattern, Geary sets the stage for more complex behaviors and actions to come in the following chapters.

The next three chapters cover time, stopwatches and their effects on motions and behaviors within the game. The author starts and works from linear motion to non-linear motion and then using transducer functions to affect the time system. The game now has bouncing coins, a jumping player and Geary does a good job of showing the reader how to emulate behaviors in the code.

Naturally what follows next is collision detection and gravity. The collision detection strategies were adequate but I wish that there was more depth at least referenced in the text. This isn't a simple problem and I did like how Geary referenced back to chapter two’s profile and showed how collision detection performance as you implement and refine and optimize your algorithm. The nice thing about this book is that it often tackles problems with a general solution in the code (runner/sprite collision) and then provides the edge case solutions.

In the fourteenth chapter, the author tackles something that has long been a plague in HTML5 games: sound and music. The author doesn't sugarcoat this citing the long history of problems the vendors have had trying to support this in browsers. There’s a great explanation of how to create and handle “sound sprites” (similar to sprite sheets) so that there is only one download for background music and one download for audio sprites.

Next Geary covers the problem of multiple viewport sizes with a focus on mobile devices. Of course this is one of the biggest issues with mobile gaming today. The chapter is lengthy and deals with the many intricacies of scaling, sizing and touch events. This chapter is long but the highly detailed support of multiple platforms and resolutions is a justified discussion point.

In sixteen, the reader gets a treatment of utilizing sprites and their artists to simulate sparks and smoking holes. The book calls this chapter “particle systems” but I don’t think that’s a very good title as the code isn't actually dealing with things at the particle level. Instead this chapter focuses on using sprites to simulate those behaviors via animation. This is completely necessary on a computation inexpensive platform but it is misleading to call these particle systems.

Now that the game looks and functions appropriately, the book covers UI elements like player scores and player lives. The auditing of these metrics are covered in the code as well as warnings when the game begins to run to slowly. It also covers the ‘edge’ condition of winning in the game and the routine that is followed when the user wins the game.

The next chapter introduces the concept of a developer backdoor so that the reader can manually speed up or slow down the game while playing it or even test special cases of the runner sprite interacting with other elements. It’s a useful trick for debugging and playing around but does devote a lot of time to the specialized UI like the speed slider and other things that won’t (or rather shouldn't) be seen by a common player.

Chapter nineteen really felt out of place and very inadequate on important details. It’s a blind rush through using node.js and socket.io to implement server side high scores. The way it’s implemented would make it trivial for someone to submit a high score of MAX_INT or whatever to the server. The metrics reporting is done in a manner that (in my opinion) breaks from long established logging structure one would be familiar with. While it covers important things to record from your users in order to tweak your game, the inadequacy of discussions about shortcomings makes it feel out of place in this text. It's a topic of great depth and I have no problem with an author touching on something briefly in one chapter — this chapter does lack the warnings and caveats found in other chapters though.

Contrary to the previous chapter, the final chapter is a fast application of the entire book’s principles applied to a new game (Bodega’s Revenge). Geary gives a final run through showing how the lengthy prior discussions quickly translate to a new set of sprite sheets and game rules. If this book is ever expanded, I think it would be great to include additional chapters like this although I would pick a more distinct and popular two dimensional game format like a tower defense game or a bejeweled knockoff.

Overall, Core HTML5 2D Game Programming is a great book for a JavaScript developer looking to dabble in game development. You can purchase Core HTML5 2D Game Programming from barnesandnoble.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews (sci-fi included) — to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page. If you'd like to see what books we have available from our review library please let us know."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:its not about the ring, its just a lesson. (Score 4, Insightful) 591

by causality (#48958437) Attached to: Texas Boy Suspended For "Threatening" Classmate With the One Ring

the school is teaching the kid that threats have consequences.

Credible threats have consequences. Threatening to magically make someone magically vanish lacks credibility.

and a pretty good lesson

"Good" lessons have a point to them. Teaching kids to fear imaginary threats does not.

There is one good lesson they're teaching this boy: those with authority are not to be trusted.

Comment: Re:Now using TOR after WH threats to invade homes (Score 1) 282

by causality (#48937501) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

Name calling is not shunning or shaming. It is attaching the person and not the argument and therefore has no place on civil discourse.

By the way, now that I re-read this during a spare moment and once again think about it, I can again respond to you in what I hope to be a worthy way, yet this time focus on a different dimension of the thing at hand.

I would ask you to consider, simply, this other and possibly alien point of view: the "name-calling" types are simply enacting the lower (or if you like, "gutter") form of an idea that is nonetheless technically true. The name-callers are merely those who recognize this but also have a need to make you look worse in order that they know better, or otherwise focus on what they think is wrong with you, with little or no serious constructive suggestion concerning what precisely is wrong with your view and how better to regard the situation. Liike the thinking individuals, they see what the problem is; otherwise, they lack the clarity and objectivity to identify the problem and suggest a sensible solution. By contrast, they're simply bitching. But even those people are correctly identifying that somethng is amiss. They're just the least clever and easiest to ridicule among those who all arrive at the same conclusion.

Comment: Re:Now using TOR after WH threats to invade homes (Score 1) 282

by causality (#48931289) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

Today, all one needs to do is say the government wants it and many will assume it is bad. It is the flip side of the same coin.

That's because there is a limit to how many times they can lie to people, blatantly and without remorse, before the people stop trusting them. My grandparents grew up during a time when this went on, like it does today, but not nearly as much and was not well known (consider Hoover's FBI, or the involuntary radiation exposure experiments carried out against black people, or the use of the CIA to overthrow democratically elected foreign leaders). They saw it as a matter of honor or duty to have trust and faith in the republic and the leaders its processes have put there. That's been shattered and won't be repaired any time soon.

In the personal realm, most people become suspicious of everything someone says after the very first confirmed deliberate deception. The amazing part is that government is given so many chances, that people are so impressed with official symbols and pomp and circumstance that they would ever believe known liars who have never faced any serious consequences for their deceptions.

Comment: Re:Now using TOR after WH threats to invade homes (Score 1) 282

by causality (#48929977) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

And how does one find those targets in the first place if they have no connection with known targets? How does one find the group to infiltrate? The point is that there are many new cells that are popping up that have no connection what so ever with known terrorists. How do you find those new cells?

The idea is that limiting police powers in order to safeguard freedoms (and with them, the balance of power between the individual and the government) is acknowledged as making the job of police harder. The polices' job being harder does, in fact, mean that some number of criminals will go free some of the time, criminals who otherwise would have been caught and prosecuted. This is why absolute security is the antithesis of absolute freedom, so the question then is how to balance the two. When you safeguard liberty as your first priority and assign a lower priority to the effectiveness of law enforcement, you understand that you are taking a higher risk that you yourself will be harmed by a criminal that law enforcement could have stopped.

That's why freedom is not for cowards. The problems you worry about are well known to people who understand and value freedom. They choose freedom anyway. They also realize that the danger with which you're so concerned has been overstated. You're much more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist, and any factual inquiry into that based on facts would lead you to the same conclusion. Incidentally, you're also more likely to be injured by lightning. In the last 100 years, many, many more people were killed by their own governments than by any foreign enemy, so the credibility of this danger has been well established. Limited, transparent government is a time-tested manner of managing this danger.

As an aside, if terrorism is truly such a great problem and we want to reduce it in a real and effective manner, we should also stop giving excuses to the people who hate us. It's much easier for an enemy to justify their position, raise their troops' morale, and recruit new members into their brand of exteremism when they can point to concrete acts of ruthless domination the USA has actually committed. Law enforcement would certainly be more effective if its list of potential suspects could be reduced, facilitating a more focused approach on those that remain.

Anyway, the real spirit of freedom, the more value-based, individual, and courageous part that you and so many others keep failing to even recognize, let alone try to understand, is that those who understand freedom realize that a few more guilty men may go free. They consider that a small price to pay, an exchange of a finite quantity that numbers can describe in order go gain something priceless and worthwhile. It's yet another instance of failing to comprehend a viewpoint because you do not personally share it, therefore you get sidetracked by related but irrelevant issues because you have no idea how to articulate a meaningful response to it.

Comment: Re:Now using TOR after WH threats to invade homes (Score 1) 282

by causality (#48929619) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

Berating me is doing nothing to change my mind. I do not respond well to bullies.

Actually, the social shunning/shaming of those who advocate positions that are detrimental to society does serve a useful and positive function. Consider the way most people would respond to someone who openly advocates racism, for example. The response such a person receives would not be a pleasant one and really would discourage them. This is a good thing and it's a service to everyone else.

The only difference between racist views and pro-authoritarian views is the method by which they damage society for everyone else. Honestly the idea that your safety is in terrible danger from terrorism, and that giving up freedom and privacy is an acceptable solution, is a form of cowardice. It enables tyranny and those who advocate it are enablers. It's also inconsistent with reality: you're more likely to be injured by lightning than by terrorists, and you're very much more likely to be harmed by police or other members of your own government than any terrorist. If you were truly interested in your safety you would religiously monitor weather reports and you would advocate that the federal government be reduced in size and power.

Meanwhile, it's a fact of life that not all opinions are equally valid. Some, like yours, are rooted in ignorance and cowardice and have proven extremely dangerous each time they are put into practice, as an honest reading of history would reveal to you. Yes, the USA is not the first nation to use the idea of a foreign threat as an excuse to curtail civil liberties. The delusional among us seem to believe that it does happen to be the very first nation that will do this without causing a complete disaster (which has always taken the form of a totalitarian government under which human life is without value). Neither an understanding of history nor of human nature could possibly support this delusion.

I'd like to leave you with two quotations that this conversation reminds me of. You see, we (collectively) keep rehashing these same old debates not realizing that great effort has already been poured into thinking about what are not new issues. The first is from C. S. Lewis:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

The other is a dialog between Hermann Goring, a leading member of the Nazi Party, and a man named Gilbert, during an interview conduced in Goering's prison cell during the Nuremburg trials, on April 18, 1946:

-----

Goring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

----

Something I hope you will consider.

Comment: No. (Score 5, Insightful) 228

by eldavojohn (#48923389) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

To be fair to Zuckerberg and Facebook, the company must obey the law of any country in which it operates.

No. He came out in support of a universal maxim and then went back to his board who showed him X dollars of income they get by operating in Turkey. Just like the revenue lost when Google left mainland China. Instead of sacrificing that revenue to some other social network in Turkey run by cowards, he became a coward himself in the name of money. It is an affront to the deaths and memory of the Charlie Hebdo editors. His refusal could have worked as leverage for social change in Turkey but now it will not.

So no, your statement isn't fair to Zuckerberg and his company and the platinum backscratcher he gets to keep with "TURKEY" inscribed on it. Fuck that greedy bastard and his petty meaningless lip service.

All the evidence concerning the universe has not yet been collected, so there's still hope.

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