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Comment: Practical Considerations (Score 1) 1086

by hardwarejunkie9 (#40938605) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many of You Actually Use Math?
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

by hardwarejunkie9 (#40698925) Attached to: The Decline of Fiction In Video Games
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:Blame the Real Money Auction House: Pick a side (Score 1) 518

by hardwarejunkie9 (#40533755) Attached to: Linux Users Banned From <em>Diablo III</em> Servers
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

by hardwarejunkie9 (#40528005) Attached to: Linux Users Banned From <em>Diablo III</em> Servers
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

by hardwarejunkie9 (#38724334) Attached to: Statisticians Uncover the Mathematics of a Serial Killer
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

by hardwarejunkie9 (#38588298) Attached to: Ask Carl Malamud About Shedding Light On Government Data
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 gapminder.org's Hans Rosling might be particularly valuable for all of us.


+ - Kindle Fire and Nook 'Upgrades' Kill Root Access->

Submitted by
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."
Link to Original Source

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

Submitted by CSHARP123
CSHARP123 (904951) 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."
Link to Original Source

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

by hardwarejunkie9 (#38244890) Attached to: Why Everyone Hates the IT Department
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

by hardwarejunkie9 (#38244798) Attached to: Why Everyone Hates the IT Department
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.

Comment: Re:Don't ask Slashdot, Ask Ed Felten (Score 2) 517

by hardwarejunkie9 (#38244604) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: To Hack Or Not To Hack?
Bruce Sterling is also an excellent choice to contact, as he strongly supports the view of fixing broken systems. Also: for shame all of you who immediately move to the illegality argument itself. It's also been illegal before to make copies of your own music, but I don't think that stopped any of you. The case here is that OP got him/herself into a problem where they're no longer in legal territory and are wondering how to remain in ethical territory. The response to "do nothing" runs counter to everything I know about true hacker ethic. If you find a problem, fix it. To go back and hide in your hole and hope noone comes after you may be the most legally advisable (I am not a lawyer) but it's certainly not the most ethical. Don't ask OP to compromise themselves in favor of supporting a poorly written law.

Time-sharing is the junk-mail part of the computer business. -- H.R.J. Grosch (attributed)