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Comment: Re: .txt (Score 2) 200

by billDCat (#49695529) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Open Document Format?

Perhaps fine for Roman characters, not so fine if the document contains Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana, Hebrew, or any of the other character sets that don't play nice with "plain text" formats. For something that you would think would be pretty straight forward, plain text character handling is surprisingly maddening to work with.

Comment: Re:I consider that a pretty good analogy... (Score 1) 248

One challenge younger students have is that they have no idea what it's like to work as a professional. So they tend to be somewhat unfocused in their studies. They take classes because they are convenient to their schedule of sleeping in, or whatever, and don't focus on the classes that will get them the skills and knowledge they really need. Internships can help, but I consistently see that students coming to school after working tend to be much more focused and driven - and tend to perform better.

I went through my university's co-op program, which was the best thing I ever did in my university experience. I highly recommend trying out a job in your field of interest before graduating, it's a great tool to focus the rest of your schooling.

Comment: Re:Hand code or no code. (Score 1) 342

by billDCat (#40751859) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Value of Website Design Tools vs. Hand Coding?

I think it also had a "Fix HTML from Microsoft Word" option. Word should never have gotten an export to HTML option, although I imagine that the HTML output it created back then was likely not far off from what it must have looked like in the .doc file itself. If so, that would explain a few things.

Comment: Re:Hand code or no code. (Score 2) 342

by billDCat (#40751639) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Value of Website Design Tools vs. Hand Coding?

Ick, I stayed far, far away from that tool. I've worked with the markup that it's generated and it wasn't pretty. Then again, I've also worked with markup hand coded from people who weren't familiar with HTML/CSS best practices (even very recently), and it was equally painful to get the page to a level where I wouldn't cringe looking at the markup. Ultimately, whatever tool you use, it's no replacement for experience.

Comment: Re:Hand code or no code. (Score 3, Insightful) 342

by billDCat (#40751529) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Value of Website Design Tools vs. Hand Coding?

That's not been my experience with Dreamweaver for a long time, and I've been using it since version 3 in 1999. Back then it was one of the cleanest HTML editors out there and since then I think they've done a decent job of keeping it clean and keeping it from messing up markup you've added by hand. The issue that I see with how cruft is created in an HTML editor is from lack of familiarity with the raw HTML and CSS. For instance, if you just go ahead and start setting display properties on an element, it's going to put it inline or in a style embedded on that page. You have to at least know to set up an external stylesheet and how to link those styles to elements on that page to prevent that kind of cruft from forming. Also it makes a big difference to work in Dreamweaver's split code/design view, so that changes in one panel immediately show in the other. I've been coding by hand for a long time, but I still like having this view as it gives me confirmation that the page is structured the way I intended.

Comment: Proxy and case (Score 2) 260

by billDCat (#39027215) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Making a Tablet Run Only One Application?

A couple of options. One, you could probably bundle the files up into an app like one created using PhoneGap, which would make everything local. Two, you could set the proxy setting to point to a server that you control, that will direct you only to an internal web server that you control. Regardless of how you do it, you will need to physically block the power and home buttons, and for non-iPad tablets, any other button that might take you home like the back button with something like a lockable case. Seems silly to block the internet, though, considering how many people in that waiting room are going to be browsing with their iPhones anyways.

Comment: Re:Canon or Nikon (Score 1) 569

by billDCat (#38170910) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Camera For Getting Into Photography?

This is a simplification that is not always true. What you want is a sensor size that is properly matched to the lens. In SLRs, cheaper bodies have sensors that are smaller than the total image projected onto the focal plane, so that light through the lens is wasted. If the sensor size is properly matched to the lens, you will get the best quality.

Or you could say that with the sensor smaller than the projected image you get the benefit of some extra optical zoom. You're not going to see significant degradation just because some of the light coming in is not used, there are plenty of photons coming in to get a nice sharp image from a 1:1.6 sensor. Such a sensor is still large enough that it doesn't suffer from the signal to noise issues in the very small and very high density sensors that are in many point and shoot cameras, so you are probably going to get a less noisy image in a partial frame sensor in a DSLR than you might get in a 15MP point and shoot.

Comment: Re:Java still there (Score 2) 309

by billDCat (#37556202) Attached to: To Stop BEAST, Mozilla Developer Proposes Blocking Java Framework

Flash/Flex can handle complex applications just fine. Here are some examples of applications done with Flex:

In there is a timeline-based video editor, a calendaring/email/finance app, a task manager, and a photo editor. I've also seen a PowerPoint type presentation app, a Visio-type tool for creating object relationship charts, plus I've used it myself for creating a medical reporting application for diagnostic sensor data analysis. Flex can hold it's own very nicely against Java's capabilities, and I think it's easier to develop for and has a better experience installing and running on the client.

That said, we are currently trending away from using plugins at all, due to the mobile platform. More and more will be done with HTML/JavaScript/CSS, leaving plugin-based tools as more niche products for Web development. Flex however now compiles mobile applications, so I think we will see more life in that space.

Comment: Re:Java still there (Score 1) 309

by billDCat (#37555074) Attached to: To Stop BEAST, Mozilla Developer Proposes Blocking Java Framework

"Java is a much nicer development system than say Flash."

That's a pretty subjective statement. I would take doing development in Flash-based Flex development over Java any day. Flash Builder is a very nice development environment, and I would say that laying out a screen using Flex is a heck of a lot easier than using Spring layouts.

Comment: Re:Wow (Score 1) 397

by billDCat (#36479584) Attached to: Using Crowdsourcing To Identify Vancouver Rioters

Those giant TVs had been working very well, and were a big part of the success of the Olympics as well in that it contributed in a big way to the atmosphere of celebration, but in a safe way. No alcohol was allowed in, beer and wine stores were closed down, and it was designed as a family friendly atmosphere. The same rules were in place for every game shown during these playoffs. The night of the riot, I saw a clip at the end of the game of a whole bunch of beer bottles being thrown towards one of the TVs. Evidently the checking for alcohol got lax, and that became part of the flashpoint.

Comment: Re:Angry? (Score 2, Informative) 569

by billDCat (#33004070) Attached to: Why Designers Hate Crowdsourcing

"A "Brand" is something that requires a large scale organization to be effective."

Nonsense. A business with one single person still has a brand. Even if you have no logo, your name, your reputation, how you present yourself to customers, how you communicate, all form part of your brand identity. A brand does not equal a logo, the logo is simply a symbol that helps communicate elements of your brand identity. Many individual business people use Facebook, twitter, and blogging as a way to market themselves and contribute to that identity, sometimes very effectively.

Comment: Re:Competition is a good thing (Score 1) 1184

by billDCat (#32488280) Attached to: Apple Announces iPhone 4

You are better off with a better quality picture to start with, not more pixels. More pixels of a bad quality image downsampled still gives a bad quality image. In fact, increasing the density of a sensor reduces the size of the receptors, reducing the number of photons reaching the receptor and leading to noise and quality issues. It's especially apparent in the small sensors used in point and shoot cameras and in cell phone cameras. It is possible to actually make an image worse through nothing more than increasing the sensor density.


Son Sues Mother Over Facebook Posts 428

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-your-family-status dept.
Most kids hate having their parents join in on a discussion on Facebook, but one 16-year-old in Arkansas hates it so much he has filed suit against his mother, charging her with harassment. From the article: "An Arkadelphia mother is charged with harassment for making entries on her son's Facebook page. Denise New's 16-year-old son filed charges against her last month and requested a no-contact order after he claims she posted slanderous entries about him on the social networking site. New says she was just trying to monitor what he was posting." Seems like he could just unfriend her.
Role Playing (Games)

The City of Heroes Expansion & the Issues of User-Created Content 150

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-you-just-play-nice dept.
eldavojohn writes "Wired has a piece on the new City of Heroes content that is created by players — or rather the severe abuse of it. Namely, creating missions for the characters. The problem is that gamers game this system, even though Paragon City has tried to maintain a good risk/reward ratio for experience in these missions. Making the situation even worse is that people who architect highly-rated missions get architect awards, which are redeemable for prizes — almost ensuring experience farming missions. Eric Heimburg (lead engineer and producer of Asheron's Call and the upcoming Star Trek MMO) comments on this: 'It may seem sad that giving the players what they want is detrimental to the player's overall length of enjoyment of the game, but that's the truth. Once you reached that top of the hill, if there's nothing left to do or see, players are likely to move on. Length of enjoyment (equals) amount of money earned, so developers have a strong incentive to keep players from gaining power and levels too quickly.' Matt Miller (lead designer of CoH), addressed the community on this very topic. This is resulting in an unexplained ban/loss of experience if you are determined to be abusing the mission architect, causing an uproar in the community. Is user-generated content a dead end for an MMORPG?" Update: 05/20 20:27 GMT by T : Rather than lead engineer of Asheron's Call or the Star Trek MMO, a correction at Wired says rather that "Heimburg worked as Star Trek Online's systems designer at Perpetual Entertainment, prior to the game's transfer to Cryptic Studio."

Disclaimer: "These opinions are my own, though for a small fee they be yours too." -- Dave Haynie