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Comment: Please make the controllers game agnostic (Score 1) 157

by enjar (#49149559) Attached to: Can the Guitar Games Market Be Resurrected?

I recall having a great time with these types of games with friends. They were kind of like karaoke without the singing part. The later editions with more options for setting difficultly per player (IIRC) made it even more fun since you could have some people who were more experienced being given more of a challenge while a newbie or less coordinated person could play at a lower difficulty level and still have fun.

The room full of crap that sat around was not fantastic, though. We live in a smaller house at one point, had the drum setup and a couple guitars. The drums were hard to store, got in the way and just sucked except when you were using them.

I'd probably be interested in picking up something like this if I could get a controller that would work with any arbitrary game, as I'm going to guess that there are going to be fun songs on both games. My kids always loved the guitars and they got some appreciation for non-kid music since the track selections were pretty decent. I'd also appreciate if they would bring the songs from earlier games forward, too.

In terms of being agnostic, it would be nice to bring your fake guitar to your friend's house and play whatever they had, irrespective of if it were Rock Band/Guitar Hero or Playstation/XBox. I'd bet overall they could move more copies rather than try and keep it siloed. I'd hope Activision would see at least part of that with their success with Skylanders -- you don't have skylanders for each platform, you can take them to your friend's house and play on any console.

Comment: Not a place where competing is a winning strategy (Score 1) 186

by enjar (#49115813) Attached to: Google Teams Up With 3 Wireless Carriers To Combat Apple Pay

What black magic happens when I use my credit card? Damned if I know. Magic happens, money comes out of my account and I get stuff. I don't care what incantation is encoded in the stripe, which manufacturer made the card reading machine or what communications technology is behind the scenes. It doesn't matter, because the business taking my money wants my money and I want the stuff.

Similarly, when I plug something into the wall I don't care who made the plug and the wires that provide the power. I don't even care where the power comes from. I just expect it to power up what I plugged into it.

If I can just wave my phone at something and money gets exchanged, then fine. But if I need to know too much about it, I'm just going to use my credit card or cash.

Evidently in other parts of the world they are exchanging money in rural villages with text messages on low-end dumb phones. Why must the first world get vendor lock-in bullshit to exchange money using a phone?

Comment: Apple - $3B on crappy headphones. $19B on WhatsApp (Score 0) 55

by enjar (#48620843) Attached to: The Joys and Hype of Hadoop

Apple bought out Beats for $3B and change. They make middling, overpriced headphones that come in a variety of colors. Facebook dropped $19B on an app that sends messages. Facebook dropped $1B on a company that makes Polaroids on your smartphone.

$2B of investments into multiple companies that are working on a technology platform that provides methods for sifting though vast amounts of certain types of business data, running on low-cost, commodity hardware and backed by an open source project seems positively rational in comparison. I recall similar "hype" regarding companies like RedHat, who were working to commercialize Open Source projects. Sure, some of them are going to eventually fold or shut down (or get bought out), but that's part of the risk of investing. I'd imagine that one of them will become successful at offering a very saleable product that is successful.

Hadoop is only on v2, and still has unpolished bits and weirdness. But there's a burgeoning collection of add-ons and tools, and there are plenty of people who are using it successfully in production. I recall other open source projects that went through similar growing pains and weirdness, but eventually matured very nicely.

Comment: Re:What? (Score 1) 440

by enjar (#48609431) Attached to: Federal Court Nixes Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance

The article mentions that the house was in rural Washington. It's entirely possible that the neighbor's house was quite a distance away. My in-laws live in rural western New York on 10 acres of land. They are largely surrounded by farms and forest. It's very common for people to be out shooting guns, especially in hunting season. It's not unusual to hear guns going off, or see people in hunting attire walking along the road or in a field with a firearm. I've also lived in the southern and western US and similar behavior happens there.

I live in a suburban area of Massachusetts now, and this would NOT be common here at all, since the population density here is considerably higher than a rural area, to the point hunting is not allowed in the town limits because there is no place in town where you would be far enough from a dwelling to discharge a firearm safely. There are some shooting ranges in the town but they are very self-contained. If I would go closer to the city of Boston things just get more densely packed, and people would not be shooting guns for entertainment in public.

Comment: Re:this is ridiculous (Score 1) 440

by enjar (#48609319) Attached to: Federal Court Nixes Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance

The cop in in a car is a little more obvious than a camera mounted on a pole. Depending on the size of the equipment (think: GoPro that's a small enough to hold in your hand), it could be effectively invisible, especially when compared against a Crown Vic with police markings, lights and a siren. Since it's evidently a rural location, even a unmarked car parked on the side of the road for a month would be rather obvious.

Comment: Re:There are many more good questions now (Score 1) 241

by enjar (#48584941) Attached to: Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

I'm not saying that all corporate IT is dysfunctional, just that you can't pull the "Oz sitting behind the curtain and terrify the locals with your awesomeness" crap any longer. You need to have real answers to the very legitimate questions that are brought in by the commoditization and democratization of technology.

Comment: Re:I don't care what the user has at home (Score 1) 241

by enjar (#48584883) Attached to: Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

the real reason to have a job; results. Not to say that every policy is reasonable ... let's not get out of hand about what having a job really means.

I did pass up a job opportunity when I discovered that everything was proprietary, everything was locked down and it was all "policy". It honestly sounded like getting the simplest things done were going to be a nightmare of request forms, meetings, etc. It's hard to get results when you aren't granted some level of autonomy as a professional, and being able to try things out and prototype.

Also keep in mind with the unemployment numbers where they are, anyone isn't going to have much of a problem filling a vacancy. The problem is going to be when the job market frees up again or when that hire gains enough experience, are they going to be out the door to somewhere with less administrative crap and bureaucratic oversight, taking their experience and institutional knowledge with them? In my office, it can easily take 3-6 months to being a new person up to speed to where they can start contributing -- not because they are an idiot but because they need to learn the codebase, the tools, the review process, the bug system, who does what, who knows what, etc. After they learn all that they become a lot more valuable, and after they have been doing it a few years, they are really valuable because of the human connections they make -- in addition to technical knowledge.

Comment: There are many more good questions now (Score 2) 241

by enjar (#48584513) Attached to: Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

Back in the days of dial up modems, green screen terminals and WordPerfect, there were not as many questions and difficulties because there were just so few valid answers. As technology grew to answer those questions, of course it became more difficult to manage simply because things got better. I recall connecting to some places at 300 baud -- when you can watch text download in real-time, of course you want a faster connection. With green screens and non WYSIWIG computing, you wondered why it was such a pain in the ass to get a document to look right and why the computer couldn't just show you what it would look like so you could not have to waste reams of paper.

Nowadays, when you can get a decently fast Internet connection that delivers realtime HD video for less than a hundred bucks a month, is it so weird to ask why bandwidth is limited at work? When many providers will give you gigabytes (or unlimited -- services like CrashPlan) storage space for free for something around $10/month, is it odd to ask why there is a storage quota measured in megabytes? When you see commercial websites that regularly update their UI, why is it so weird that people want to know why no effort is being expended to update some godawful internal tool that hasn't been touched in more than a decade?

Of course, there can be valid answers to the above -- your industry may have reporting requirements, retention requirements, backup requirements, regulatory requirements and/or a grab bag of other things (reliability, testing, etc) that make your costs for providing services very high, and the change process rather onerous. But it doesn't make the questions wrong, you just can't say "we are IT and we control" any more -- you likely need to be more well versed in your industry, or be able to communicate clearly why you still have legacy systems or how much an upgrade would cost, or how much a decent storage array and backup system costs to run.

A lot of these changes also show that IT is fairly well integrated into our daily lives, and it's no longer a "mystery" to a lot of people -- which is good because it opens the opportunity for better partnerships with company departments to do cool stuff. Rather than sit around waiting for someone to suggest a project, why not get out there and ask the departments in your organization what you can do to help them be better? Projects that are co-sponsored by departments that make the money or make the product you sell are much more likely to get funded, and far more likely to be recognized as "strategic" and "revenue positive".

Comment: Re:This isn't really surprising at all (Score 1) 176

by enjar (#48576689) Attached to: U.S. Passenger Vehicle Fleet Dirtier After 2008 Recession

Home repairs and children ... we also similar money drains in our house.

My dad was definitely of the "paid for is great" persuasion, our family cars were driven well past the 150K mark ... which was something of an achievement for automobiles made in the 80's. Not impossible to do by any means, but today's autos can really sail by the 150K mark a lot easier than their 80's counterparts.

It seems 3 years would be an awful time to trade in, you take an enormous hit the first year and then you likely just paid it off. You could pretty easily take it another 5-7 years with just basic maintenance, and likely no payment. Shove 5-7 years of payments into the bank and you'll likely have enough to pay for for two of the same car at the end of it.

Comment: This isn't really surprising at all (Score 4, Insightful) 176

by enjar (#48575927) Attached to: U.S. Passenger Vehicle Fleet Dirtier After 2008 Recession

My wife and I were both laid off within a week of each other during the tech bubble bursting in 2001. That was a real wake-up call to do things differently with respect to money and spending. She was lucky and got another job two weeks after being laid off, it took me seven months. During that time, we really cut back on a lot of stuff and really started watching the money coming in and out. When the economy was on the mend and our positions seemed pretty secure, we replaced our old cars when new ones -- mine in 2002 and hers in 2007. I'm still driving the 2002 (it just clicked over 200K miles) and hers is still ticking along fine at 120K. Both vehicles have a few cosmetic problems (scrapes, dents, etc -- general aging, nothing horrible), but are still reliable and have been fully paid off for years. We have cash in the bank to procure replacements when they need to be replaced. As long as they are reliable and safe, there's no real compelling reason to get new ones. Even when we have to sink some money into a repair (maintenance doesn't really count -- you'd have to do that on a newer vehicle, too), the money spent on repair is generally far less than the X number of months since we had to repair something if we had a car payment. I'm also reasonably handy so I can do a lot of the work myself, which keeps the cost down -- when the windshield washer motor went out recently, I was able to replace it for under $20, no paying a mechanic $80/hr plus $20 for the part. I do turn big jobs over to the mechanic (like the timing belt), but routine stuff I can do.

When the car starts having serious trouble (e.g. electrical faults, won't start reliably, etc), a major component goes (e.g. engine/transmission) or if it becomes unsafe to drive (corrosion -- we live in the rust belt, although rust isn't nearly as bad as it used to be), we'll get a replacement. But until then I'm fine putting money away and letting it work for me and driving the thing as far as I can without having to spend the money on a replacement.

So we soldier on with our 13 year old car and 8 year old car, that would have been rust bucket jalopies when I was a kid, but due to better technology they are still quite viable as reliable transportation.

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead