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Comment: Re:Squeezing the supply (Score 1) 674

by headonfire (#42009539) Attached to: Hostess To Close; No More Twinkies

From what I've heard, it's less "larger slice of a smaller pie" and more that they didn't want 8% pay cuts and 20% health care cost increases while executive compensation skyrocketed, in a company with a recent history of contract violations, multiple bankruptcies and chain of six incompetent, looting CEOs in under a decade.

It seems to me that once the workers got fed up with the perpetual mismanagement and looting of a company being dragged down and called a strike, the executives saw the perfect opportunity to cash in one last time and blame the unions for it.

Medicine

Bad Science Writer Talks About the Placebo Effect *NSFW* 131

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-want-to-believe dept.
The Guardian newspaper's Bad Science columnist Dr. Ben Goldacre does a stand-up routine about medicine, the placebo effect, and the mysteries of the human body at Nerdstock. From a scientific standpoint, I can't accurately say how funny it is because I was told it was great before I saw it.

Comment: Re:both are good (Score 1) 362

by headonfire (#33052510) Attached to: Too Much Multiplayer In Today's Games?

I thought I replied to this already, but maybe I forgot to hit submit. Anyways, I picked it up on the steam sale too. It took me a few levels to get into it, but now I fairly enjoy it and have put enough time to get up to the mid-20 level. It's a really good example of a game that can integrate solo and multiplayer almost seamlessly, and the developers really deserve some kudos for that.

Comment: Re:both are good (Score 1) 362

by headonfire (#33052438) Attached to: Too Much Multiplayer In Today's Games?

Yes, I have played it. I've played, and own, all of the games that I mentioned.

Clearly our opinions on BS2 differ, and that's ok. I'm glad that you liked it more than me. I wasn't cynical about its release; I was really looking forward to it and hoping it would be more than I felt I got.

I personally felt that the solo game while technically as nice as the first didn't really bring anything that excited me terrifically. Some of the scenery was nice with more deep-sea pretty stuff going on, but otherwise it felt like the main character was just a re-skinned version of the first game.

It did have some pretty cool points - and it's not a bad game at all, don't get me wrong - but it just didn't bring the excitement that the first one did. Rapture just didn't have the same punch in round 2 for me, I guess.

I almost wish I'd bought the collector's edition just for the cool stuff that came with it. If I could've bought a pack in-store of just the posters and whatnot *without* the game I probably would've, even. (I'm sure I could ebay for it or something if I really felt like it, but I'm not going to.)

And the multiplayer, as I said, felt cheap to me like a blatant fan-service that didn't provide any depth to the experience, just... well, deathmatch, which I can play in a billion other games and have exactly the same experience - only better, because there are other games really built around that style of play rather than shoving that style of play into a world that in my opinion gained little to nothing from it.

But by all means don't let my opinions keep you from playing it - it's a game, and if you enjoy it keep rocking it. That's what it's there for!

Comment: Re:VHF/UHF are mainly line of sight (Score 1) 376

by headonfire (#33039220) Attached to: Amateur Radio In the Backcountry?

Those phenomenon are far from the norm, though, and, in context, hardly worth mentioning to the OP. They're essentially technicalities that won't serve him practically, which is what it sounds like he's looking for.

Ducting is the only "real" exception to line of sight and is highly dependent on solar and geomagnetic conditions and is not at all reliable or regular communications. I've witnessed some incredible 2 meter ducting, though. A couple hundred miles on 5 watts out, though for a brief period of time during the summer in the midwest across the plains.

Otherwise, knife's edge is just an angular bending of the signal and reflection is like a mirror - both sides still have to be able to see the "mirror" to communicate, and the "mirror" in this case is entirely dependent on random circumstance of location.

These aren't really viable or applicable to this guy's needs. If he wanted to play with radio as a hobby and not as a tool then he could have a lot of fun experimenting, but that (sadly, in my opinion, but i'm a little biased, it being a hobby of mine!) isn't the case here.

Comment: Re:Co-op. (Score 1) 362

by headonfire (#33038514) Attached to: Too Much Multiplayer In Today's Games?

that's true, and cooperative multiplayer is something I particularly like to see. I don't always want to play against people - sometimes it's just way more fun to be non competitive and help each other out.

Deathspank, a recent XBLA game, is mainly single player but someone else can pick up a second controller and run around killing stuff as a generic dopey wizard. No character choice, no inventory, you can't complete quests or interact with items, just use various attacks and healing spells. Just a helping hand.

It wasn't even a necessary feature, but definitely a nice one - my girlfriend (shhh, or i'll lose my gamer cred, right) had a lot of fun playing the main game and I'd occasionally join in and help out in some of the battles she had problems with, or we'd just hang out on the couch and run around level grinding. Limited multiplayer was a nice kick in a title like that, if the game mechanics allow it. And Deathspank = pretty much just kill everything, so it worked great.

Comment: both are good (Score 4, Insightful) 362

by headonfire (#33037718) Attached to: Too Much Multiplayer In Today's Games?

Personally I like both qualities, depending on the game. A game that I can pick up any time and play solo is probably going to get more attention from me in general, but having the option of multiplayer is good, too. It really depends on the game - it definitely shouldn't be shoehorned in, but at the same time, it can be a fun bonus feature in an otherwise solo game.

Prototype comes to mind - a primarily solo game that game would've been a riot if i could bring in a buddy or two with all that superpowered and disembowel-ly fun to spread some chaos on the unsuspecting city, but it did hold up well as single player only - all the focus was on the solo campaign with no distractions of deathmatches or arenas or any junk like that shoehorned in. It just comes down to making a decision on the type of game you want to produce and to make sure that you do it right all around. I play Borderlands solo pretty regularly, for example, but I could be playing with friends any time and it would be a relatively seamless experience. Putting multiplayer into Bioshock 2, however, I thought was a horrific waste - it just doesn't "fit" the game, the environment, the atmosphere. It seems like it cheapens the experience. Gamers aren't right about what they want all the time, and this was one of those times. (I don't know what invisible horde it was that was clamoring for multi in bioshock 2, but thanks a lot guys. that's time and money they could've put into making the single player game actually better than the first.)

What more can be said? Multiplayer and single player both have their places. I played Fallout 3 and loved it, very much a solo game. On the other hand I play Team Fortress 2 like a maniac, and conceptually it's the very core of multiplayer.

Comment: Re:VHF/UHF are mainly line of sight (Score 2) 376

by headonfire (#33018830) Attached to: Amateur Radio In the Backcountry?

"Line of sight" is not a myth. It is fact. You're talking about using a repeater. If there is a repeater, you need line of sight to hear and speak with it. That's how life above 30 MHz is. Period.

(Barring the exception of ~50Mhz when solar and ionospheric conditions are good, both of which are quite variable, and currently both pretty bad. Not reliable for emergency communications, but good enough for a hobbyist to play with.)

VHF/UHF do *not* work well in mountainous, densely forested regions, anyplace there are things between stations. That's physics, son.
Even inside large skyscraper buildings, there can even be problems with law enforcement handheld radios on different floors and outside on the ground, not to mention between units outside with all those tall stone and metal structures around them. There are things in place to fix that, but the problem had to be taken into account.

So, essentially what you've suggested is that he rely on the potential existence of somebody else's hardware somewhere in the mountains with known bad terrain using a possibly inappropriate technology.

Nice one.

Otherwise, I say the OP should check this comment out: http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1731206&cid=33015672 [slashdot.org] . Consider carrying a current repeater map/directory of the area and a quad-band handheld, recognize that he may have to climb to a high point to use it, hope that somebody is listening, and realise that if he breaks a leg at the bottom of a valley he'd better have that SPOT locator handy because that radio probably isn't getting out anywhere. And don't chuck out that cell phone, either - amateur radio is no replacement for it.

And yeah, I'm a licensed operator. I enjoy my hobby and encourage others to join in, but it does require a learning curve that's a bit more than buying a shiny thing from a guy in a turtleneck. Learning to implement the right technology for the right situation is part of that, I think.

Comment: gentlemen (Score 2, Insightful) 182

Well, I think it works like this. If vendors as a group want to encourage more "responsible disclosure", they need to operate in such a way that they take potential vulnerabilities seriously, and I don't just mean in a "we're taking this very seriously" kind of way, but more of a "we have a dedicated, knowledgable staff member/team to look into situations like this" sort of thing. If they decide it's not an issue after all, then any responsibility you have to the vendor is over regarding that issue. If they're not willing to even consider it as an issue after you've made a good faith effort to let them know how much of a problem you think it is, any responsibility you have to the vendor is over regarding that issue.

In short, a gentleman's agreement only works if both parties are gentlemen.

Comment: Re:Lack of redundancy (Score 1) 407

by headonfire (#29937749) Attached to: What Happened To the Bay Bridge?

Yeah, there are other routes, sure.

I went on a little drive to see how bad it was: it took me, ohhhh, about... six hours total to get into san francisco via the golden gate, head south, get to and cross the san mateo bridge back east across the bay then back up north of the ggate where I started.

Four of those hours were spent in bridge traffic. I left home at about 1:30pm and got back around 7:30pm.

In short, the bay bridge is a really big deal. Not having it is a nightmare.

Slashdot.org

Slashdot Keybindings, Dynamic Stories 220

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the we're-still-here dept.
We've been working hard on the new dynamic Slashdot project (logged in users can enable this by enabling the beta index in their user preferences). I just wanted to quickly mention that there are keybindings on the index. The WASD and VI movement keys do stuff that we like, and the faq has the complete list. Also, if you are using Firefox or have Index2 beta enabled, you can click 'More' in the footer at the end of the page to load the next block of stories in-line without a page refresh. We're experimenting now with page sizes to balance load times against the likelihood that you'll click. More features will be coming soon, but the main thing on our agenda now is optimization. The beta index2 is sloooow and that's gotta change. We're aiming for 2 major optimizations this week (CSS Sprites, and removing an old YUI library) that I'm hoping will put the beta page render time into the "Sane" time frame (which, in case you are wondering, is several seconds faster than that "Insane" time frame we're currently seeing).

Comment: EasyPeasy (Score 1) 466

by headonfire (#26972473) Attached to: Which Distro For an Eee PC?

For what it's worth, I put eee-ubuntu (which has now been renamed to "EasyPeasy", I guess) on my asus 900 and it runs pretty well. From the other options I looked at, none really seemed any better; and EP had the advantage of having a very easy install.

This may have changed in the past 4-5 months but so far it's best option I've found, particularly for something that worked out of the box pretty much from the get-go (barring a one-line change to fstab to get the SDcard slot working, and that might be fixed now, I dunno).

It's funny.  Laugh.

Second Penny Arcade Game Due Out This Week 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the long-titles dept.
Hothead Games has announced that the second episode of the Penny Arcade: On the Rain-slick Precipice of Darkness series is coming out this Wednesday, and they've released a trailer showing off some of the gameplay. ACG has an interview with Hothead's Joel DeYoung discussing the series and explaining some of the decision-making that went into its development. The game will launch for Linux, Mac, PC, and Xbox Live, with a PS3 version coming later. Feedback from players of the first game in the series inspired a $5 decrease in price this time around.
Google

+ - Gmail users missing everything in their accounts

Submitted by BrianOfMN
BrianOfMN (826974) writes "Beginning with a report dated December 19 on Google Groups, dozens of Gmail users are reporting that everything in their Inbox, Sent Mail, Contacts, and other folders, is gone. Some users are reporting that there is a message indicating that this is a result of an attack, while some users have had their account settings changed to forward all their email to a different email address. Many of the users had their browser open to Gmail before they noticed their items missing and got script errors, and many of themwere using Firefox 2. Has Gmail been hacked?"

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