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Journal: Jack Thompson is evil 1

Journal by fishdan

Jack Thompson is currently on Fox News blaming video games for the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

Jack said that it would be impossible to carry out a massacre of this proportion without training, and that he was sure when they examined the shooters computer, that "training" program like GTA would be find.

Is this about as evil as it gets -- as soon as there is a tragedy, you use it to promote your cause? I know there's no debate on /. about how wrong JT is. My question is, how can you counter that? I'm emailing Fox News, but I doubt they'll be interested in what I have to say

User Journal

Journal: Have You Heard The Good News? 1

Journal by fishdan

This Sunday, many Christians of varying denominations will be doing something that will surprise many /. readers. They will hold special services celebrating Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Their purpose? Refuting creationism, which claims the biblical account of creation is literally true, and which is increasingly being promoted under the guise of "intelligent design".

"For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science," says Michael Zimmerman, founder of Evolution Sunday and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University in Indianapolis. In the Clergy Letters, Zimmerman goes on to state: "Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts."

I'm not Christian, but I think I might attend one of the services (listed on the first link) near my house to show my support for rational religion.

Slashdot.org

Journal: Caching? 1

Journal by fishdan
I've seen (as has everyone else) about a million sites go down under the weight of the slashdot effect. Is there some reason why we don't post the links for the stories as coral cached links? I know the sites might want the traffic, but most of them can't handle it, and the good ones will retain their customers anyway. Isn't it time to stop destroying the web one site at a time?
User Journal

Journal: Online Gambling Not Banned Yet! 237

Journal by fishdan
For the moment, the rush to legislate the ban on online gambling has been slowed. Senator John Warner, (R) from Virginia, has refused to allow the banning of online gambling to be tacked on to an upcoming defense bill. Opponents of online gambling were hoping to tack their measure on to a bill that "must pass" but will apprently be forced to delay. Congress recesses in one week, giving only a few days left if this measure is to be passed before the November 7th elections.
User Journal

Journal: Coming To Your Monitor: College Football!

Journal by fishdan
In a move that would seem to make complete sense, College Football conferences that have no pre-existing television contracts with a major network, are now looking to broadcast their own games over the internet. The Big Sky Conference signed a three-year contract with Sportscast Network (SCN) of Salt Lake City to video stream league football, volleyball and men's and women's basketball games on the Internet.

Last year, CBSSportsline showed every game in the first 3 rounds of March Madness online for free (as in beer). Response was overwhelming, and yet the internet did not buckle

``This is the future,'' Big Sky Commissioner Doug Fullerton said. ``The fan will decide what they are going to watch and when they are going to watch it.''

User Journal

Journal: Is the home desktop going away? 2

Journal by fishdan

The below is my response to

http://redmondmag.com/columns/article.asp?EditorialsID=1245

Hey Barney,

I use all 3 major operating systems. XP (3.0ghz w/HT, 1g ram, etc...) at home for gaming, OS X on a 12" (all I've ever needed) PowerBook during my 35 min train ride to/from work, and FC 3(RedHat) with KDE (just switched from Gnome this week) at work(2.8ghz, 1g RAM etc). My firewall machine is an old 233 running RedHat 9 w/128m RAM, My mythtv box is FC4, My wife's machine is XP. My webserver (http://www.sportsdot.org) is FC2.

Firstly, Linux and Mac aren't trying because your magazine doesn't have the right audience, and I don't mean this in an insulting way. I think that most of the people who read your magazine (self described as "The independent voice of the Microsoft IT community") are in the "Cult of Microsoft." There are also cults of Apple and Linux for sure. And all of those people are difficult to reach with rational argument, and usually unwilling to spend a month using another OS to really appreciate it. There's no doubt that very few hardcore Linux users are aware of how stable XP really is and how good terminal services is now. I would say equally few Windows users understand how much their experience can be changed by changing/configuring window managers, or how good Mplayer or OpenOffice really is. And Macnatics won't even be in a room with either OS.

IMHO the home desktop is in it's last hurrah. Gaming is going away from the desktop, consoles look to be on the verge of dominating that space. Who's going to win that space is a completely different discussion, but props to MSFT on the 360. Email is moving to more portable devices. Web Browsing...well, I still do a lot of it from my home desktop, but now I do about 15% from my myth box in my home theater -- up 15% from last year. And quite frankly, you don't need much of an OS (or computer) to browse the web. Microsoft's big push to the MediaCenter PC is their realization of the demise of the home desktop. I think for the home the future is interactive embedded devices, all connected wirelessly. And you'll finally see Bill Joy's statement of "The Network is the Computer" realized, as with the advent of AJAX, rich applications move to the web. In 5 years I'm pretty sure that "Quicken Online" (or something like it) will be 10x more popular than Quicken on the desktop. Sites like http://www.writely.com have such a huge advantage over Word, that I wonder what tasks are left for the home desktop.

I recognize my home network/home theater set up is much more complicated than what most people have, and I am much more sophisticated than most users, but EVERYONE who has been in my house has asked me if they could set up something like that up. My response is "Would you consider putting a hardwood floor in yourself? If you would, I think that for a similar level of work, investment in learning how to do it and $$$, you can have a home network and a home media center (lowercase). Don't think that it's easy as pie, but anyone who wants to can do it. And it become simpler every week. I recently helped a friend install knoppmyth...turns out, even though he had used Linux before, he did not need my help, except for me bringing over the CD -- he was recording TV in 2 hours. In fact he just sent me a 30 second clip from the Daily Show. For full disclosure, I have to mention he did his digital editing on his windows desktop.

That's the market Linux is exceptionally competetive in -- the computer that the average person doesn't even know is a computer. On a device that sells for less than $200, having the OS be free is a huge boon to the manufacturer -- even if the MS license were only $5/unit (and I have no idea how much it actually is) that's over 5% profit loss, which can crush a business in volume. I guarantee you everyone in the U.S. has used a Linux powered computer and been completely unaware of it, whether as a touch screen somewhere, or in a high end cash register, or in a small router in their house.

As for the desktop -- you said "...none of the companies selling (or giving away) this stuff really seem to care about desktops and laptops..." I'm assuming you're baseing this statement on the fact that they are not overly interested in interviewing with you or in traditional PR or advertizing, but neither Linux nor Mac advertize in that way. They both work on the principle -- "if you build it, they will come". Linux companies and Apple are focused on exactly that -- building a better mousetrap -- or in their case, the best operating system they can. The operating systems advertize themselves (although Mac also gets alot of advertizing from the Ipod too). If you look at the number of institutions (schools, municipal and state governments, etc) that have committed to open source, it does seem that people are becoming more aware of other options.

I don't think the Linux and Mac people are not trying to compete in the desktop space-- I think there method of competing is not through advertizing, but through constantly improving. I can tell you as someone who uses all 3 every day -- each has it's place. I would never try to play games on Linux box (though I've done it once or twice) -- the Windows experience is vastly superior. I would never try to write/debug intensive code on my windows box (though I've done it once or twice), the Linux experience is vastly superior. And I'd never try to travel with a laptop that wasn't OS X. The Powerbooks are so fantastic, I'm not likely to ever go back to anything else.

Sorry for the long letter -- hope there's some opinions in there you'll find worthwhile.

Dan

User Journal

Journal: Conterfiet Hardware

Journal by fishdan
With the love most /.ers have of sites like Pricewatch, Froogle, TechBargains and others of their ilk, there is a caveat emptor that people need to be aware of. According to PC World, more and more counterfeit hardware is coming to market each year. From the article:

...batteries aren't the only tech item that counterfeiters love. In October 2004, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Anchorage, Alaska, seized 20,000 suspected fake Memorex USB memory key thumb drives from Asia. And last year, Miami officials seized 900 allegedly phony laptops valued at $700,000.

"Maybe it's a laptop, an MP3 player, or a component like a DVD drive--anything in the digital world can be counterfeited," says Therese Randazzo, a U.S. Customs Service counterfeiting expert.

User Journal

Journal: Xtian Video Games about to Explode

Journal by fishdan
After all the hype about the evils of video games you just knew that there would be some people some people are trying to reverse the trend.

From the article:

N'Lightning Software CEO Ralph Bagley believes half of the video game crowd is Christian. His company was the first of about 100 Christian game developers to invest in the creation of PC games. Its first title, "Catechumen," cost $830,000 to develop and has sold about 80,000 copies worldwide since its 2001 release, according to the company. The second game, "Ominous Horizons," cost $1 million to create and has sold more than 50,000 copies, he said.

"Fifteen years ago, the Christian music world looked like Christian games today," Bagley said. "It wasn't until the Christian music companies came together as a group and focused on quality that they were able to achieve success."

User Journal

Journal: Plug Pulled on Virtual Baseball Game

Journal by fishdan
Sportsdot has the scoop on the Northern League reneging on it's earlier commitment to replace 2 Innings of a real baseball game with 2 innings played on an X-box. The Kansas City T-Bones were going to play first two innings of the July 16th game against the Schaumburg Flyers virtually. Now however Northern League Commisioner Mike Stone has ended the "Fantasy Baseball" dreams of two Xboxers, by reversing himself, and declaring that the stunt would "not be in the best interest of the league."
PC Games (Games)

Journal: Video Vixen Competition

Journal by fishdan
For the past three weeks a panel of "celebrity" judges (including Joy Giovanni and Jake Bromstein) has been reviewing the "babes of video games" for G4's new special, Videogame Vixens. Users also got to pick their favorites using the Vixenrater--a photogallery, interactive poll and blog all rolled into one site. The top performers in each category are now moving on to the final round, shown today on G4 at 10:30 pm ET / 7:30 pm PT, when the "2005 Videogame Vixen of the Year" will be crowned. I'm looking forward to the interview stage myself.
User Journal

Journal: Caveat Emptor

Journal by fishdan

The Chicago Tribune is running a story about a study that the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania is releasing a today that shows that "sixty-four percent of American adults do not know that it is legal for online stores to charge different people different prices at the same time of day for the same product."

From the article:

"Amazon.com outraged some customers in September 2000 after one buyer deleted the electronic tags on his computer that identified him as a regular customer and noticed the price of a DVD changed from $26.24 to $22.74. The company said it was the result of a random price test and offered to refund buyers who paid the higher prices."

User Journal

Journal: My last submitted Story

Journal by fishdan
As reported over on Sportsdot, the 2005 RoboCup US Open wrapped up today in Atlanta, Georgia. The American entry from the University of Texas fell 2-0 in robot soccer to the powerhouse German squad, the MicroSoft HellHounds.

After the match, the German robot dogs were programmed to flex their metal biceps. With the time to devote to development and the financial backing of a company like Microsoft, the German entries are much more polished then their American counterparts at the moment. Last month at the RoboCup German Open, the Germans dominated nearly every category.

Slashdot has covered Robocup in previous years too

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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