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Comment Re:Perhaps it's about translations? (Score 1) 165

No, it's not about translations (Source: I'm a NetHack fork developer who's somewhat involved in this DevTeam revival thing).

Translations of games like NetHack are inherently hard. You can't use the standard approaches as the program assembles the sentences out of several parts and usually, e.g. with gettext, you translate whole sentences. But here, we have dynamic sentences where this approach can't work.

For my German translation NetHack-De, I used internally latin-1 (so I could continue to use the char* strings) and for the output transformed the text into ASCII, latin-1, or utf-8 (depending on configuration).

Comment Fonts missing in action (Score 1) 165

First off, UTF-32 is least likely to cause bugs, since all chars are the same length and thus possible to determine memory usage simply by multiplying char count by 4.

The memory usage of UTF-8 is also at most char count multiplied by 4. The 5- and 6-byte sequences were declared invalid when Unicode was restricted to have no character above U+10FFFF.

Submission + - Alpha Centauri to Bend Starlight for Planet Hunt ( 1

astroengine writes: In October 2014 and again February 2016 Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to our Solar System, will pass in front of two distant stars allowing astronomers a rare opportunity to use Einstein's General Relativity to potentially detect hidden exoplanets around the binary star system. As Alpha Centauri blocks the distant starlight from our perspective, the gravitational field will bend the distant light to create a microlensing event. The transient brightening can then be analyzed and the gravitational presence of any worlds may be revealed. The research, announced Monday at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Indianapolis, has been submitted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal.

Comment Re:Roguelikes (Score 1) 951

I'm not asking for a flame war as much as trying to shame the dev team out of hiding!

Others have tried and failed (e.g. SporkHack was partly forked from Vanilla for this effect and this year several fork developer posted an April Fools' joke on RGRN about considering their fork the successor to NetHack and changing its name to "NetHack").

No reaction by the DevTeam. It's highly unlikely that the DevTeam will ever release another version (the development has already slowed down before 3.4.3), so you are stuck with the old version or forks or other roguelikes.

Comment Roguelikes (Score 4, Interesting) 951

Vanilla NetHack hasn't had a release since 2003 but there have been several forks of it, one I did myself (look at my sig).

Considering the "far better roguelikes" that's something just asking for a flame war but I guess he thinks about ToME4 or Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

ToME4's root go back a long time, originally an Angband variant but the 4th version separated completely from that heritage and created vast amounts of original content that makes Skyrim look like a coffee-break activity.

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is sort of an Anti-NetHack, trying to avoid many of the design mistake NetHack had. Like the needs for spoilers, that different races play the same in the long run, grinding, or that the game doesn't stay challenging after a certain point.

DCSS and ToME4 are big games but in the last years there has been a trend to develop smaller roguelikes. Like DoomRL which is exactly what its title says or roguelikes for mobile devices like 100Rogues and POWDER.


Submission + - Ask Slashdot: High-tech ways to manage your own library at home? 1

DeptofDepartments writes: With Kindles and ebooks on everyone's lips (sc. hands) nowadays, this might come as a surprise to some, but besides being a techie, I have also amassed quite a collection of actual books (mostly hardcover and first editions) in my personal library. I have always been reluctant to lend them out and the collection has grown so large now that it has become difficult to keep track of all of them.

This is why I am looking for a modern solution to implement some professional-yet-still-home-sized library management. Ideally, this should include some cool features like RFID tags or NFC for keeping track of the books, finding and checking them out quickly, if I decide to lent one.

One problem seems to be the short lifetime of RFID tags (only 5-10 years). Given that many books will probably only be read or checked out once or twice in this period at best, the administrative effort seems very large.
I have also been largely unsuccessful in finding tags or solutions that go beyond the cheap 5 to 20 item "starter kits", yet still remain affordable and below the industrial scale.

Also, what would be suitable and affordable readers/writers for the tags in this context?

Finally, as many of the books are old folios or fairly precious first editions, everything must be non-destructive and should be removable without damage to the books if need be.

(Note: Scanning ISBN's with a hand-held barcode scanner is not an option, as many books are old (pre-ISBN) or special editions).

Software-wise, I would like to have a nice and modern-looking, easy-to-use software that can interface with the hardware side as described above. I do not necessarily need multi-user or networking capabilities at this point.

I hope the CSI (Combined Slashdot Intelligence) has some helpful ideas and pointers for me on this!

Comment Better late than never? (Score 1) 173

I don't have high hopes that Braben can repeat the success of Elite. He's been talking about it for years, with small hints here and there but nothing has come from it.

So I'm mildly anxious that this time it will be for real.

But OTOH I don't expect it to be a big succes. In the best case it will be something along the lines of the recent XCOM remake and I would be quite content with such a game.


Submission + - "Beaming" technology allows for remote human/rat communications (

cylonlover writes: The EU Commission’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) is working on a “beaming” telepresence system that is designed to allow users to virtually experience being in a remote location by seeing, hearing and even feeling that location through the sensory inputs of a robot located there. That robot, in turn, would relay the user’s speech and movements to the people at that location. Now, two of the CORDIS partners have put an interesting slant on the technology – they’ve used it to let people interact with rats.

Submission + - Porn Pirate Ordered to Pay 1.5 Million Dollars 1

bs0d3 writes: A court in Illinois has ordered a man who lives in Virginia 1.5 million in damages after the man was unable to appear in court. The defendant was a paying customer who used to watch porn on their site, and then upload it to bittorrent after. The porn company says they were able to identify him through their custom encryption software. Every time the Defendant downloaded a copy of a copyrighted video from Plaintiff's website, it inserts an encrypted code that is only assigned to Defendant. In this case, the encrypted code for Defendant is: "xvyynuxl". The uploaded shared copied uniquely identified the customer whos account was used to view the porn. According to attorney Blair Chintella, the defendant may be able to challenge the ruling by arguing that there was some jurisdictional defect in the lawsuit.

Comment Re:Eclipse is better if you are a beginner (Score 1) 586

I don't think our philosophies differ that much. You didn't you would code and then immediately jump into debugger. You said "as soon as I feel like I understand what the code is supposed" so you already have thought about the code.

I've seen programmers trying to debug code by randomly and unsystematically putting breakpoints, hoping to getting a clue what the code does wrong, without even trying to think first. Shotgun debugging at its worst. If they don't have a clear model in their mind of what the code is supposed to do how can they deduce valid conclusions that can be proven or disproven?

Comment Re:Eclipse is better if you are a beginner (Score 1) 586

Also: Memory protection leads to sloppy programmers. Bad habits should be punished.

Because of this sentence I'm not sure if your whole post is ironic or not. I'll treat it as non ironic.

Part of the learning process is not only in solving the exact thing you want to do. When you do the research needed to solve your problem you tend to get a lot of information that isn't related to the problem at hand but helps you understand the language and how to avoid related problems.

Yes, you tend to get a lot of information that is not related to the problem you're having but if you are a beginner but that doesn't mean that you also understand that information and keep it in mind for later reference. Because you just don't know the language and its problems yet!

If you're starting out in a new language (even if you already know programming in other languages) it is certainly not always obvious what code leads to unmaintainable code. Learning a language is always exploring unknown territory and exploring is much easier if you can do it in small steps and for that instant feedback is way better. You will always be using some sort of reference and tutorial for exploring it and if those tutorials recommend bad languages features or habits (and let's be honest, every language has these) then it's the fault of that learning material.

Comment Re:Eclipse is better if you are a beginner (Score 1) 586

That may be, but tools made "for beginners" are bad tools. Not what you want when you're no longer a beginner. Then you want the beginner-stuff out of your way, so it doesn't waste your time.

I didn't say Eclipse is made "for beginners". IMO Eclipse works well enough OOTB even for advanced programmers, it stays out of your way most of the time.

But yes, if you want to become a really good programmer, you should expand your view beyond one single IDE. At least switching between Eclipse and Vim. :-)

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