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Comment Speaking as an Idea Person... (Score 1) 217

Bear with me and hear me out, here: there's something to be said for someone whose capability is in coming up with eventful, useful ideas. When you're down in the minutiae, it can be hard to understand the context of your design and the importance of the decisions you've made up that that point. A good "idea person" shouldn't be some stand-alone guru, they're someone who takes inspiration off of others around them and who knows how to use the expertise of others around them to polish better ideas. This process means that most of the ideas you have are going to be crap. Simple fact, if you've thought of it, chances are there's a reason why someone else hasn't done it yet. There's benefit in realizing why this might be and what you may be able to do differently. Regardless, ideas are a dime a dozen and that means that you have to constantly be trying new ones and seeing if there's even one worth keeping. The problem you run into as an "ideas person", when you're really working at it, is that your ideas require more skills than you can, individually, develop. Yes, we need to learn to program to understand what we're working with, but there's no way we can dedicate the time to be an excellent programmer and still cover all the other fields that need to be covered. If that were the case, we'd have to specialize in three or four different fields just to be viable. The tradeoff is that we have to become at least functional in multiple areas with enough knowledge to know that in any given room, we're always the apprentices. We only exist to try and communicate where the other methods and wider perspectives may exist to improve the overall project.

Comment Practical Considerations (Score 1) 1086

One: if you want to look at what divides high-powered innovation, look no farther than the ability for those who are designing systems to understand high-level mathematics. There are all kinds of solutions out there to be applied in creative ways, but the problem is often in how to even comprehend the information that exists out there (relatively) freely in academic papers and demonstrations. Two: if you wonder what use math is, you probably need more of it. The interesting part of a mathematics education is that it teaches you the respect of its application. I never understood just how important linear algebra is until I had to start playing with it. Now, I realize just how much of the massive data flood we wade through is filtered and explained through such powerful methods. I've got an extensive mathematics education in my engineering degree and I never have had a good reason to regret a minute of it (after the initial gnashing of teeth, of course).

Comment Cherry-Picking Trash (Score 1) 197

While the high graphics, large publishers have put out a lot of Medal Of Brotherhood Honor Warfare + Zombies lately, it's obvious that there were quite a few things overlooked: Bioware's Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises have been incredibly aggressive in developing new storyline approaches, Bastion reinvented the case of narration in a game, Uncharted was compared to playing a movie, and lets not get started into the Portal properties...

The point of sequels coming out instead of new IP is actually a side-effect from developing fantastic storylines. People want to continue the stories and worlds they've visited, and is that a bad thing?

Comment Re:Hmmm (Score 1) 299

It seems like a plausible enough explanation and strategy. Have you actually considered *telling* them? Most companies do tend to have a feedback section for such thoughts. They can sometimes be surprisingly well-viewed.

Comment Re:Blame the Real Money Auction House: Pick a side (Score 1) 518

Maybe the problem is their 15% fee. Would any fee be reasonable, though? At a point, they're trying to make money and there's a reasonable point for them being able to profit a reasonable amount from trade of equipment in their game, especially if they're the ones providing the clearinghouse. Maybe they should take their 10% like God.

Comment Re:Blame the Real Money Auction House: Pick a side (Score 3, Interesting) 518

We constantly hear complaints about companies and their inability to deal with the grey market over item resale. Like it or not, they're building digital economies and that means real value is being dealt with. Valve hired an economist for a reason and, likewise, Blizzard has taken a very bold step in their RMAH. Many have praised 2nd Life for its embrace of digital/real value and have talked about it being a model for serious later material, but, honestly, we're still collectively wary if someone actually wants to try it for themselves. The real point to be made is that the "pay to win" model exists regardless of the game itself and the game developer's intentions. As long as you can trade items between players, you create economic incentive to game the system. If you've ever talked a friend in real life into trading you material in-game, you've done the exact same thing, but only with social capital. All that Blizzard has done is bring it out into the light and try and address the mechanic that is in place and clean up the system so that there is a clear standard rather than murky side-dealing.

Comment Re:Power law not usefully predictive in this case (Score 2) 164

This is exactly what I thought in this case. I immediately thought back to The Black Swan (Taleb's book, not the movie). There's a long discussion involving power laws. What most people don't realize about power laws is that a decimal of difference has quite a large effect. Besides, with comments about preventing these sort of things by allocating resources in advance to fit this power law you have to wonder if these authors understand the implications of sampling error. Even if this fits, it is a fairly small sample of one murderer. You would have to compare with other ones to see if there are any similarities and you would fall into validation issues for anyone who *doesn't* follow the same impetus for their murders. All in all, it serves to be something interesting but its quite useless for their stated application of prevention; if it's useful for anything, it's useful for analysis and understanding.

Comment Idea (Score 4, Interesting) 59

Something has been rattling around my head in recent days on this topic and now I think it's a proper time to let it out.

The amount of information you're trying to free is entirely staggering and consists, largely, of tables of numbers. These numbers are incredibly significant, but people generally can't see them.

After you free all of this information and make it available to the public (as it should be), then what? What do you expect for the public to do with these numbers? Tables of information are not nearly as useful as graphs. This data needs to be seen, but, more importantly, it needs to be understood.

Do you have any ideas for how to disseminate this information? Perhaps a team-up with someone like's Hans Rosling might be particularly valuable for all of us.


Submission + - Kindle Fire and Nook 'Upgrades' Kill Root Access (

jfruhlinger writes: "The Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble Nook tablets are similar enough and close enough together in price that they ought to be fighting market share and one-upping each other in terms of features they offer users. But the latest OS upgrades to both gadgets claims to be an 'upgrade' while actually taking functionality away: both remove the ability to root the device."

Submission + - Microsoft and Nokia mulling to bid on RIM jointly ( 1

CSHARP123 writes: WSJ's anonymous sources indicates that MS and Nokia casually considered to bid on Research in Motion Ltd (RIM). The talks outcome is not clear. The Journal suggests that this wasn't anything more than a simple idea that came up at one of the regular meetings between senior executives from all three companies — perhaps it could have even been just a casual talk—but one wonders how does Microsoft and Nokia executives think to profit on this take over. May be RIM provides a good backdoor entry for MS in the enterprise space for its Windows Phone 7. Recently, Amazon was also considering to bid on RIM. It is interesting to see who will gobble up RIM.

Comment Re:A Couple of IT Stories (Score 1) 960

You didn't finish your story. How long did the new director take to fix the Mac printing issue? How much equipment did he have to buy? If those multi-function printers that they purchased from [big brand A] only supported one protocol that only worked with one machine, then it's a bit more involved than simply checking a few options.

Having worked in a similar position, it can be incredibly hard managing hundreds of computers with different requirements. When one supplier decides that they're not going to support the new OS iteration fast enough, the IT department gets to pick up the slack and everyone hurts.

I see very little proof here beyond that snarky responses beget snarky responses and the system stays broken.

Comment The Nature of the Beast (Score 1) 960

Part of the problem, as well, is that IT is an incredibly demanding job. You have to try and fix machines that are always finding new ways to break. Users are rarely supportive and, with great regularity, directly oppose any attempt to change things to increase stability. They frequently don't want to change a small behavior of theirs that would make their lives much easier, such as allowing their machine to backup once a week, or even once a month.

When your day-in-day-out job is to deal with the angriest person in the building, you tend to either have an emotional breakdown or you ice-over, harden up, and learn to bring a healthy level of disdain with you. It's about survival. Trying to actively be everyone's friend gets you beaten pretty badly in the field. You can't give everyone what they want.

Finally, because of policies, you have the be the bad guy. You can't simply choose not to enforce the policies. Someone higher up the chain makes those decisions for one reason or another, and even if they are good decisions for overall policy, there are bound to be problems that arise. Because policy will always be in need of update and will never completely respond to the needs of users, you, the IT monkey, becomes the lightning rod for every ounce of ire that cannot be directed at the policy.

Everyone expects that IT seems to either magically know exactly what's going on at all times, or that they're know-nothing lower primates. The truth is they're working stiffs like anyone else and that their job revolves entirely around dealing with the problems that noone else really wants to touch.

It's janitorial work w/ computers and added stress.

I took a fish head to the movies and I didn't have to pay. -- Fish Heads, Saturday Night Live, 1977.