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Comment: PC party games (or lack thereof) (Score 1) 139

by tepples (#47581491) Attached to: Nintendo Posts Yet Another Loss, Despite Mario Kart 8
But between when the PC didn't die and about 2009, how many people had gaming PCs in the living room where more than one player could comfortably fit around the monitor? How well would something like Mario Party or Smash Bros. (with different characters obviously) have done on PC? I know you're an advocate of living room PCs, but until very recently, not enough major publishers of local-multiplayer games seem to have got the hint.

Comment: Control limits (Score 1) 139

by tepples (#47581439) Attached to: Nintendo Posts Yet Another Loss, Despite Mario Kart 8

If you just want to see what is there, you have to wade through pages of flappy bird clones, runners, and all the other crap just to see anything interesting.

I'm inclined to believe that runners like these are an artifact of the lack of directional control and discrete trigger buttons. Virtual gamepads don't work so well because the player can't feel where his thumbs are relative to the on-screen buttons. (I tried the free version of Pixeline and the Jungle Treasure and was disappointed with its control until I used a Bluetooth keyboard.) If the player is concentrating on the action in the middle, then the only control gestures that work are taps, tilts, and swipes, and those gestures are more suited to runners like Splashy Fish and Canabalt than to platformers with any sense of exploration.

Comment: Re:Does anyone still believe anything they say (Score 1) 60

by meta-monkey (#47581401) Attached to: The CIA Does Las Vegas

He's named some names. Those five innocent American muslims who were spied on, at least one of them illegally. And according to Greenwald there's "more to come."

The general pattern the Snowden leaks have taken is to put something out, let people be outraged, then wait for the PTB to lie "Well, we might have done bad thing X, but we haven't done terrible worse thing Y!" And then release the evidence that they also did terrible thing Y. So my guess is they release evidence that the NSA was illegally spying on innocent Americans, but people will say "Oh, well that's all right because TEH MOOSLEMS!" And then they'll drop the next story, which is that in addition to mulsims, they spied on...I wonder. My guess is Occupy leaders. And then people will say, "Well, they're dissident troublemakers!" And then it'll turn out they were listening to phone calls from congressmen, too.

Just wait. There's more to come...

Comment: Re:We need a better "press" 4 collective sensemaki (Score 2) 60

by meta-monkey (#47581333) Attached to: The CIA Does Las Vegas

"Abundance for all" is unlikely. However, "guaranteed subsistence for all" is easily doable. We have more empty, foreclosed on homes than we have homeless people. We're paying farmers not to grow food while people go hungry. We insist everyone have a job in order to have access to food and shelter, yet there are not enough jobs for everyone to do, and a large portion of the jobs we do have are make-work. There is enough for everyone's basic needs to be met but resources are poorly distributed.

Over the last 40 years per capita GDP in the US doubled but real median income has fallen. The American worker is the most productive motherfucker on the planet. They're generating twice as much wealth as they were 40 years ago, and yet they are keeping less of it. Where did that wealth go? If it didn't go to the workers, the only other place it can go is to the owners. The system is designed to concentrate wealth at the top and it's done a very good job of that.

I'm not advocating for a forced redistribution of wealth. I don't know what the answer is. But the problem is pretty easy to spot.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous (Score 1) 60

by drinkypoo (#47581217) Attached to: The CIA Does Las Vegas

But when they're owned by 5 media companies, all of which are in turn owned by rich media barons, they tend to walk the party line.

We got there because of decades of people systematically giving their money to the most sensational press, which enabled them to become more powerful. It's not something that just happened.

I think that there probably oughta be a law that you can't knowingly tell an outright lie and call it news, but even that seems to be a minority view, which is just another symptom of the same damned need for entertainment.

Comment: Re:Continued (dodging Slashdot filter) (Score 1) 139

by meta-monkey (#47580967) Attached to: Nintendo Posts Yet Another Loss, Despite Mario Kart 8

As game designers, Nintendo is absolutely willing to be creative and take risks. As a business, they are absolutely not. I did some consulting work for them last summer as they were trying to roll out a new ERP system and data warehouse. Their corporate culture was...unfortunate. Everything was very top-down controlled with every little thing you wanted to do, tiny change you wanted to make, had to be presented with Word documents and screenshots and impact cases and blah blah blah that had to go through four levels of higher-up approval. And they claimed to be doing Agile development! This was their third attempt to get this system off the ground and it failed, too. It could have succeeded, it was almost ready, but Japan corporate refused because it wasn't already perfect. Of course it's impossible to be perfect when the requirements are constantly changing.

Like I said, third attempt, with their third set of contractors. It's kind of like going on a date with a girl and she keeps talking about how shitty her last boyfriend was, and the failed relationship before that and before that and at some point you have to say, "You know what all these relationship horror stories have in common? You." That was the impression I got of Nintendo's corporate culture (from my tiny cube at the bottom of the pile as a coder, subcontracted by the subcontractor of one of the subcontractors subcontracted by the contractor).

Point is, I don't see them making any grand sweeping changes to their business strategy. Game design? Console design? Yes. Business strategy? Nooooo ho ho ho.

Comment: Re:Six identifiable bullet points (Score 1) 129

by tepples (#47580895) Attached to: PHP Finally Getting a Formal Specification

No way to turn off the language's loosely-typed comparisons.

I disagree with the first point, for obvious reasons.

True, there's a strict counterpart to ==, namely ===. But what's the strict counterpart to < or switch?

PHP allows the server operator to change program semantics in ways that are annoying to work around, such as not allowing a shared hosting subscriber to turn off "magic quotes" or not following HTTP redirects in libcurl.

[This] is not a language issue.

In PHP, if you write a program, how can you be sure that it will work as intended with whatever combination of php.ini settings happens to be in effect on the server on which you deploy the program? For example, if I use the LightOpenID library to authenticate users on a server that has open_basedir set, attempts to authenticate users coming from Yahoo! will fail because Yahoo! implements OpenID with an HTTP redirect and for some inscrutable reason, libcurl refuses to follow HTTP redirects if open_basedir is set.

PHP versions change the semantics of existing programs in ways that encourage shared hosting providers to continue to offer only outdated versions of PHP, making it impossible for web application developers to take advantage of new features.

[This] would need some clarification as it's completely unsupported.

With the MySQLi extension, the only way to bind a variable number of arguments to a prepared statement is by passing an array of references to the statement's bind_param() method using call_user_func_array(). The way this has to be done changed in PHP 5.4, as described in the PHP manual's page about call_user_func_array() . The only workaround I can find for the difference in behavior between PHP 5.3, which is still supported on RHEL 6, and PHP 5.4 and later is to port the entire application to use a library that doesn't use call_user_func_array() in the first place, such as replacing all use of MySQLi with PDO. This can be a pain for a large application. For more information, see Breaking changes in PHP 5.3 and Breaking changes in PHP 5.4. Other languages have managed minor version changes better.

Parse errors and undefined function errors are fatal rather than throwing an exception that the caller can catch.

[This] doesn't make sense to me. How many languages throw an exception on a parse error?

I want to be able to do try { include_once("some_file.php"); } catch (SyntaxError $e) { ... } or try { some_function(); } catch (NameError $e) { ... } both of which Python supports. Likewise, Java's class loader throws an exception when it can't load a class.

Further, he seems to hate the fact that PHP doesn't have MORE fatal errors.

Then let him use the warning-to-ErrorException snippet in the manual to turn warnings into exceptions that can be caught or left unhandled as needed.

I'm convinced that he'd complain, as he did in other cases, if a parse error *wasn't* fatal.

If a parse error threw an exception, this would satisfy both him (who wants things to be fatal by default) and me (who wants things to be not-fatal by choice).

Comment: Re:Sensationalism at its worst (Score 1) 70

by meta-monkey (#47580835) Attached to: NASA Tests Microwave Space Drive

The big problem I have with their "test" is that they did it at atmospheric pressure. So, they're supposing the force is pushing off quantum vacuum virtual plasma. That's one possibility. The other possibility is it's pushing off THE FREAKING AIR IN THE CHAMBER.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to see a reactionless drive. A reactionless drive could get us to the stars. But it generally involves violating conservation of momentum, and that's unlikely.

Comment: Ridiculous (Score 3, Insightful) 60

by drinkypoo (#47580601) Attached to: The CIA Does Las Vegas

Journalists like Conor Friedersdorf have suggested that one explanation for this is that the public is "informed by a press

Balderdash. There is not a press. What is this, communism, comrade? We have many presses. The problem is that the public follows the sensational ones instead of the informative. We The People have the government, and thus the press, which we deserve.

Comment: Re:Have you actually been to China? (Score 1) 105

by drinkypoo (#47580587) Attached to: Chinese Government Probes Microsoft For Breaches of Monopoly Law

You didnt just say China had these elements you, very stupidly, supported the claim that China's economy is based on slave labour.

But it in fact is; it's not all obvious. Being forced to work is slavery even if you get paid, because you're not choosing the terms of your employment. It's like being raped and then having your rapist throw you a few currency units.

Comment: Re:Reynolds number (Score 1) 164

by TeknoHog (#47580259) Attached to: Quiet Cooling With a Copper Foam Heatsink

The theory is that the exhaust air from the CPU heatsink spreads out to parts that are more heat-tolerant but still need active cooling, such as the voltage regulators. A VRM that can operate at 100C without trouble can be cooled just fine with a slow flow of 50C exhaust air from the CPU cooling system.

Thanks for pointing this out, I haven't always considered it, though I've noticed the idea on various places, such as GPUs. I also recall the instructions in a passive chipset heatsink that it's supposed to have a CPU fan nearby to work properly.

In practice, people have found that a front-to-back airflow, preferably ducted, is quieter and more effective than a mix of back-to-front, blow-down, and turbulent airflows. It does, however, require actual engineering work, rather than just attaching a bunch of fans to everything.

Agreed. The "bunch of fans" approach is really annoying, and you still see it in quite high-end applications such as Bitcoin mining ASICs. People should remember that it's the airflow that cools things, not the fans themselves -- it's not how many fans you have, it's how you use them ;)

Comment: Re:The bashing is sometimes justified... (Score 1) 105

by slew (#47579557) Attached to: Countries Don't Own Their Internet Domains, ICANN Says

if we can't trust society to act fairly under full disclosure, then selective disclosure is the only alternative to protect the disadvantaged.

Who exactly is disadvantaged? The person that may or may not act for their own personal self interest w/o full disclosure about another person or the person that conceals some information about themselves to prevent other people from acting in their own personal self interests?

Of course the 64-thousand dollar question is who exactly has the right to decide what information is personal enough to withhold? Certainly not the person (because they would withhold all negative information about themselves). Some faceless entity? We can see how that works out on things like internet dating sites (I'm thinking about the recent OkCupid fiasco)...

We can throw out examples ad-nauseum. What about hiring a caregiver for a child that unbeknownst to you is a binge drinker and tends to break speed limits? Is being a binge drinker or a speeder a matter of privacy (it probably isn't a legal issue)? What if the child was your kid and you needed your caregiver for transport between school and home? Maybe that person shouldn't be a caregiver anyhow? How about those folks that have AIDS and are deliberately reckless about spreading it around? How about that privacy in that case?

You can always find specific examples for both side of this argument, but what is the principles to decide? It's arbitrary and capricious to anyone stuck on the wrong side of the line, but clearly the only "pure" strategy is full disclosure, and exceptions should only be made to that on a case-by-case basis (if at all).

Take the first person that filed the lawsuit in Spain against Google linking to an article about being evicted from his home. I'm sure a future landlord of his might have found this relevant information even though he found it embarrassing... It's only the fact of some arbitrary determination that this information was no longer relevant to any future landlords that it was required to be removed. That's a real scalable principle... NOT!

Comment: Re:VMS is dead; long live WNT (Score 1) 124

by hey! (#47579519) Attached to: HP Gives OpenVMS New Life and Path To X86 Port

Implementation makes a difference. Early versions of NT were quite good, but unpopular because you needed 16MB of RAM (if I recall correctly) to run them in an era when a high end personal computer shipped with 4MB of RAM. Over the years they tried to hold the line, at one point getting the minimum down to 12MB of RAM, but perhaps not coincidentally stability got really bad.

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan