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Comment: Re:Bad News for USD (Score 2) 519

by esaulgd (#35846512) Attached to: Local Currencies To Replace Dollar For 5 Countries' Dealings

One day, the dollar won't even be accepted in half the countries of the world. "Your green money is no good here, white man - go exchange it for real money, then we'll barter!"

To the surprise of many tourists, this has always been the case in Japan. Yes, you can use your dollars to buy yen at banks and exchange centers, but try to use USD at any regular store and you'll get that reaction pretty much verbatim.

Comment: Re:The cost of nuclear (Score 2) 280

by esaulgd (#35701168) Attached to: Crack In Fukushima Structure May Be Leaking Radiation
I don't know about that. The Japanese are already very focused on the "we" over the "me"; they are quite efficient and frugal. The average Japanese makes personal sacrifices that would be unthinkable for Americans: living in tiny homes, relying exclusively on public transportation (or bikes), rigorous classification of garbage... Yet the actual reduction in energy usage is not that large. Not to mention that lifestyle choices are determined by both infrastructure and societal factors, both of which take decades to change. It's not like Americans can "buckle up" and their energy problems will be solved, or even significantly improved, tomorrow.

Comment: Re:displays are terrible keyboards (Score 1) 159

by esaulgd (#35642202) Attached to: Cylindrical Rolltop Laptops
You clearly have never seen any actual Japanese/Chinese using computers. The current system is actually a godsend, because they don't need to recall every detail of the thousands of characters that make up the language to write it correctly. Using a keyboard and good IME software enables them to write much faster, more accurately and with cleaner type than would ever be possible by hand. In fact, the keyboard method is so good that nowadays most young Japanese have trouble writing less common words by hand, due to the lack of practice.
Classic Games (Games)

Super Mario Bros. 3 Level Design Lessons 95

Posted by Soulskill
from the double-whistle-to-victory dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Significant Bits about how the early level design in Super Mario Bros. 3 gradually introduced players to the game without needing something as blatant and obtrusive as a tutorial: "Super Mario Bros. 3 contains many obvious design lessons that are also present in other games, e.g., the gradual layering of complexity that allows players to master a specific mechanic. What surprised me during my playthrough, though, was how some of these lessons were completely optional. The game doesn't have any forced hand-holding, and it isn't afraid of the player simply exploring it at his own pace (even if it means circumventing chunks of the experience)."

Comment: “History is about to be rewritten"?? (Score 5, Insightful) 130

by esaulgd (#33826280) Attached to: The Inside Story of Microsoft's 'Project Natal'
From TFA:
“Since the dawn of time, humanity’s long journey has led us to countless discoveries, Yet with each leap forward for civilisation, more people have been left behind. But our quest has taken us to a completely new horizon. History is about to be rewritten. This time human beings will be at the centre -- and the machines will be the ones that adapt. After five million years of evolution, is it possible that the future of humanity is humanity itself?”

That the article repeats verbatim such a quote from Microsoft's presentation without even a slight nod to the gross self-aggrandization clued me to the fact that the whole piece is yet another corporate advertisement disguised as news.

I mean, in addition to the whole story starting with an emergency meeting on mid 2007 about the need to "reimagine a new direction for the Xbox" yet failing to point out it was all due to the runaway success of the Wii. It actually sticks out like a sore thumb to see these VPs panicking about something that the article refuses to acknowledge exists.

Comment: Asian players (Score 1) 164

by esaulgd (#33260720) Attached to: Monetizing Free-To-Play Gaming Models
What happens with many F2P games in Asia is the division of users into paying and non-paying categories. As a free user, you simply can't compete with the paying users and do not attempt to. But you can become a mid-level player and get away with lots of stuff without paying a dime, which is part of the fun. It's like being a startup making a living among the corporate giants.

Comment: Re:Missing dimension: number of players (Score 1) 164

by esaulgd (#33260224) Attached to: Monetizing Free-To-Play Gaming Models
Aren't WoW players deluding themselves? You can already buy yourself an advantage at the endgame (or any other stage) through unauthorized Real Money Trading.
All online games where transfer of resources (either in-game or out-of-game, by handing over login info) is possible are being monetized by one party or another.

Comment: So wrong it's fun to read (Score 1, Interesting) 435

by esaulgd (#33186190) Attached to: The 'Net Generation' Isn't
Marc Prensky: "Digital Natives" are more skilled with digital techonologies than previous generations and these technologies are naturally integrated within their lives.
The media: "Digital Natives" are Internet-obsessed cyborgs that communicate exclusively with people they've never met via 140-character messages.
This study: The concept of "Digital Natives" is wrong. They are merely more skilled with digital techonologies than previous generations and these technologies are naturally integrated within their lives.

For someone who's actually familiar with Prenky's writing, it is pretty funny to see the article trying to disprove the notion of "Digital Natives" (or the "net generation") by basically giving textbook examples of the concept. I wonder which kind of editor allows contradicting statements such as "Young people have basically no interest in Web 2.0" and "An impressive 15% of young people have uploaded videos to YouTube" to appear in the same article.
If anything the authors disproved their own misconceptions and wild exaggerations about how young people actually interact with digital technology.

Comment: Re:And yet- (Score 0) 828

by esaulgd (#33093306) Attached to: What's Wrong With the American University System

Japan has many 2ndary schools, but any Japanese person will tell you that only 3 count; Tokyo, Todai, and a third whose name escapes me. If you are a Japanese citizen of means and you can't get your child into one of those three, that's when you consider sending your child to Harvard, Yale, Oxford, etc.

I have a Master's Degree from Tokyo University and the bullshit-per-word quotient of this post is staggering. First, you refer to universities as "2ndary schools". Second, "Todai" means "TOkyo DAIgaku" = "Tokyo University". Third, while Tokyo U is regarded as #1 unquestionably, there are at least 4 other universities on the top tier, namely Kyoto U, Waseda, Keio and Tohoku, and probably a couple more. Fourth, to get into these universities you really have to be an excellent student: your parents being "citizens of means" (whatever that is) has no bearing on the equation. Finally, in Japan only the educational elite goes overseas: if you could get into, say, Yale, it means you could have gone to a top school in Japan as well.

Comment: Modding (Score 0) 704

by esaulgd (#32385866) Attached to: How To Get a Game-Obsessed Teenager Into Coding?
For the very reasons you mentioned, it's going to be pretty hard to get straight into coding. Give him access to highly moddable games, where he can see results with relatively little effort. Even if he doesn't progress into programming, it will set off his creative fires (provided he *has* a creative spark at all).

Also, you can't "get a teenager" into anything. The best you can do is show him the door; he has to walk through it. Do this badly, and you'll turn him off something he could have been genuinely interested in by himself in a couple years.

Finally, you should get the kid's parents a copy of Marc Prensky's "Don't bother me Mom, I'm learning!" so they know gaming is not the complete waste of time they assume it is.

Comment: Re:No, the government shouldn't pay. (Score 0) 222

by esaulgd (#32070946) Attached to: Should the Gov't Pay For Injured Man's Wii?

Because the man can do the same exercises without the Wii, without the game.
Wii Fit is like a cheap personal trainer/motivator.
The same thing can be accomplished by handing the man a pamphlet, except Wii Fit motivates better.

Not true. First, the balance board gives you advice on your balance and posture while you do the exercises. Second, the level of instruction would be comparable, if anything, to an interactive and customizable video, not a pamphlet. Third, the game provides immediate tracking and feedback, which are instrumental for learning new skills and routines. You may call the last point "extra motivation", but that's like not giving someone a calculator because they can do math by hand.

"Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines." -- Bertrand Russell

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