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Comment: Re: Just (Score 1) 128

by Dogtanian (#49151451) Attached to: Can the Guitar Games Market Be Resurrected?

Why not eat magic pills while running through a maze chased by ghosts?

It's called a rave.

A rave is running through a maze being chased by ghosts?!

Seriously, I'm assuming you were trying to rip off the now-famous Marcus Brigstocke joke, except you got lazy and didn't even bother to make sure that the (now mangled) version in your head made sense as a joke any more.

Or perhaps the joke is so overused and ingrained that retellings don't have to be correct or even make sense at this point... it's just an instinctive response that only requires the vague invocation of the two elements of pac man and raves that have somehow become funny because I heard a joke about that once but can't even be bothered repeating it correcty, etc. etc. etc.

Comment: For once, backwards compatibility is a BAD idea (Score 2) 155

by Simon Brooke (#49146463) Attached to: Microsoft's Goals For Their New Web Rendering Engine

The Web is in the mess it now is because Microsoft (and, to a lesser extent, Netscape, back in the day) has gone through so many iterations of deliberately trying to create subtly incompatible variants of HTML. Creating a browser which is backwards compatible with that mess simply perpetuates the mess. The new browser should simply refuse to render non-conforming legacy pages at all - that would force web site owners to clean up their act in short order.

Comment: Re: Cost savings (Score 1) 103

by JanneM (#49144065) Attached to: Argonne National Laboratory Shuts Down Online Ask a Scientist Program

It is ridiculous of course. It is also a common attitude among PI's toward their postdocs and students, especially in high-profile, high-pressure labs.

This letter from a PI to a worker made the rounds a few years ago. The PI claimed later it was a joke. It doesn't read like a joke, and the exact same attidude is not uncommon at all:

Comment: Re:Amateurish (Score 1) 484

by Dogtanian (#49141885) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

The thing that really hit me about the screenshot was how crowded it looks. The example is presenting information with a clear underlying structure (a file system) and a small number of actions I can take, and probably half the area of that window is empty space. And yet, my immediate reaction is that there's no clear structure to tell me where to look, and the design desperately needs more visual hierarchy and better use of whitespace. Of course, this is a recurring problem with the current trend for flat designs

I agree that the screenshot looks more complicated than it needs to, but I'm not sure it's a problem with the "flat" graphical style so much as the layout which (IMHO) looks like versions of Windows from the not-at-all-flat Vista onwards (and even XP to some extent until you turned some of the crap off).

The problems with the icons there are- if anything- that they've moved *away* from flat design which (done well) would- and should- have simplified them to their essential elements and made them recognisable at a distance (à la road signs, etc.).

But, as stated by others elsewhere, MS has always been about change for the sake of change, playing silly b*****s by introducing new technologies and ways of doing things that are discarded in the next version of Windows simply for the sake of being new, or at least for selling some "new" crap.

Comment: Re:Amateurish (Score 3, Insightful) 484

by Dogtanian (#49136699) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

Those icons look like someone's first pixel art experiments. It seems that Microsoft has fired all of its professional graphics artists.

The problem is that- in terms of style- either they can't make up their mind what they are, or they're trying to have it both ways.

They're neither sufficiently clean and flat to match the current style of graphic design (which they went for with Windows 8), but nor do they work particularly well as 3D or prettified icons, or any other style in their own right.

The end result is that they just look like horribly underdesigned versions of "old school" icon design circa XP to Windows 7. And some (e.g. the warning "!" triangle and error "X" circle) just look badly designed full stop.

The colours are also far too bright to be used in large, solid blocks like that. It's probably no coincidence that the "flat" trend in general was accompanied by the rising use of *slightly* less fully-saturated colour (see here for an example); not dull by any means, but more tolerable for solid blocks than (e.g.) #FF0000 red etc. (*)

I grew to hate the use of bland gradients of the previous design trend (early Web 2.0 and later) and the glossy 3D effect started to get overdone (and cheesy) when adopted by every man and his dog. So I'm a fan of the flat look when it works. The problem (which I figured out at the start of the trend) is that if it's not done well, it can easily come across as being simply underdesigned or crude, and as it becomes more widespread it's likely to become adopted by people who can't tell the difference.

(*) Mind you, that was also a trend elsewhere, e.g. in clothing.

Comment: Re:I live in the Netherlands (Score 1) 256

by JanneM (#49134991) Attached to: I ride a bike ...

I used to ride every day. But my place of work changed, so now I walk and take the train instead. Around home we generally walk as well, so my bike sits unused for months on end.

Walking is also good exercize of course, but it does limit the range of places to go. I should fix up the bike and start using it again come spring.

Comment: Re:Black Mirror (Score 5, Insightful) 251

by JanneM (#49134869) Attached to: 5 White Collar Jobs Robots Already Have Taken

Automation changes the source of production from workers to machines. And that separates the source of production from the source of consumption.

To put it simply, robots produce wealth but does not consume it. Humans consume wealth, but (in this possible future) can no longer produce it. Robots have owners of course, but even if you ignore what happens to the majority of people, a few extremely wealthy people can not possibly make up for the consumption shortfall. Ten-thousand people with 10k each vastly outconsume (by necessity) a single person worth 100M.

So, if the entities making wealth and those using wealth become separate, you need a way to transfer wealth from one to the other. If not, you will see a slow-moving economic collapse, as lack of demand and cost-cutting automation drive each other down.

A basic income, generated from a tax on production (transaction tax, energy tax, direct tax on machinery) is one way, and has the benefit of being simple, straightforward and having low administrative overhead.

Comment: Re:Sounds pretty awesome... (Score 2) 131

by JanneM (#49133731) Attached to: Developers Disclose Schematics For 50-1000 MHz Software-Defined Transceiver

That said, I spend several years of my life helping to get rid of the Morse Code test for radio hams, so that smart folks like you could just take technical tests to get the license.

I'm currently assembling a Softrock Ensemble receiver just to play with SDR. I'm starting to become interested in more than passive receiving â" but a major part of my curiousity is about Morse, not voice. I can talk to anybody over the net after all, while Morse code communication feels like a very different kind of thing.

Comment: Re:Politics? (Score 4, Insightful) 103

by JanneM (#49133663) Attached to: Argonne National Laboratory Shuts Down Online Ask a Scientist Program

[...] and rather than cutting the least important program, they cut the most visible program, in an attempt to get their funding restored.

Honestly, though, a qestion-answer service for school children probably does rank among the least important programs for a research lab. I very much doubt this is part of their written remit (as opposed to communicate their actual research to the public), and the people spending time at work answering the questions certainly get zero professional recognition for it.

It does sound like a very nice, fun service. And I do agree that this kind of outreach is important. But if this is not part of what their funders want them to do, then it should come as no surprise if it's among the first things to go when money becomes tight.

You want this kind of thing to continue? Make sure there's funding (and paid time) earmarked for doing it. In fact, that may be a good idea in general: add a small fraction (.1% or even less) to any research grant over a certain size for general science outreach. If it's part of your funding, that also removes the career obstacles toward doing outreach we too often have now.


Intel Updates NUC Mini PC Line With Broadwell-U, Tested and Benchmarked 59

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
MojoKid writes Intel recently released its latest generation of NUC small form factor systems, based on the company's new low-power Broadwell-U series processors. The primary advantages of Intel's 5th Generation Core Series Broadwell-U-based processors are better performance-per-watt, stronger integrated graphics, and a smaller footprint, all things that are perfectly suited to the company's NUC (Next Unit of Computing) products. The Intel NUC5i5RYK packs a Core i5-5250U processor with on-die Intel HD 6000 series graphics. The system also sports built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, M.2 SSD support, and a host of other features, all in a 115mm x 111mm x 32.7mm enclosure. Performance-wise the new 5th Gen Core Series-powered NUC benchmarks like a midrange notebook and is actually up for a bit of light-duty gaming, though it's probably more at home as a Home Theater PC, media streamer or kiosk desktop machine.

Comment: Re:amazing (Score 4, Interesting) 279

by JanneM (#49117441) Attached to: Intel Moving Forward With 10nm, Will Switch Away From Silicon For 7nm

I'm talking about the silicon chips doing the things that our brain can do, such as designing the next intel chip.

The major stumbling block isn't processor speed or capacity. It's that we don't know how to architect such a system in the first place.

And if you think about it, a lot of the "smart" things we want to automate really don't need anything like human-level or human-like intelligence. A car with the smarts of a mouse would do great as an autonomous vehicle. Real mice manage to navigate around a much more difficult, unpredictable and dangerous environment, using a far more complex and tricky locomotion system, after all.

Comment: 32X launches when Saturn already on the way?! (Score 2) 150

by Dogtanian (#49116113) Attached to: Is Sega the Next Atari?
Additional stupidity; I remembered that by the time the 32X was announced in the UK, the (entirely incompatible) Saturn was already due for launch in the near future. Worse, I recently found out that in Japan, they actually launched at almost the same time.

What was the point of that?! Who was going to buy the 32X knowing that it was a stop gap for something imminent/already here? Granted, the 32X was much cheaper at launch- which was apparently the justification- but anyone with half a brain would have known that it would die when (as all new consoles do) the Saturn came down in price enough that Joe Public would buy it instead of a half-baked piggy in the middle.

(And anyone who realised that should also have realised that the software companies would be thinking the same thing and not likely to waste their time supporting a dead-end console.)

The other problem with the 32X was that Sega had *already* released an "enhanced capabilities" add-on for the Mega Drive/Genesis, i.e. the Mega CD, which you already mentioned. So the 32X was, in effect, the third separate (incompatible) "format" built around the same console.

All that is stuff that should have been obviously stupid at the time; there were other factors that led to Sega's downfall (e.g. Sony playing the PlayStation launch very well) one could argue are easier to spot with hindsight, but those were on top of the obvious stupidity of having the half-baked 32X muddy the waters- and confuse the consumers and retailers- at the time of the Saturn launch.

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux