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Comment Re:NES vs. DOS (Score 1) 52 52

It's funny you mention Civilization and SNES in the same sentence. I rented that game for SNES and then rented two more weekends in a row. I was quite obsessed with it and had never even heard of it before. After returning to it to the store the last time I bought Civilization 2 (a new release at the time) for Windows which started a whole new obsession. You might even say Civilization for SNES was my "gateway drug" converting me from a console gamer to a PC gamer. I don't think Command and Conquer, Warcraft 1&2, Star Control 2, Ultima 6-8, Wing Commander, and/or X-wing and Tie Fighter came out for SNES, you may be thinking of Sega CD, Turbo (PC Engine to some) Graphix CD (Turbo Duo, whatever) and/or 3DO.

Doom, Out of this World and Flashback did come out for SNES (and I thought they were quite fantastic). Although Doom without multi-player is kind of pointless.

Comment Re:Film! (Score 1) 169 169

If you're going to put an Raspberry Pi in there, you might as well put a small cheap LCD on it just in case they don't have HDMI.. There are some pretty cheap options, and they they'll hopefully only have to apply power (include the AC adapter).

This may be a problem, UNIX Time has some known issues with variable size. You must either use a 32-bit version capable of handling Dates higher than 2038, or you must use a 64 bit version that's able to do it right.

Well the whole OS refuse to boot because it can't go past 2038? If it's just playing a video who cares if it's showing the wrong time? I mean I assume a coin battery or whatever would be keeping the system time alive (I haven't purchased a Pi yet) would be dead by then (and you would probably remove it for storage for 100 years anyway) so when the device booted it would presumably show the default epoch time (which for Unix at least I think is January 1st 1970). If you're just watching a video I can't think of a reason why you would need or care if the system time was correct. Or maybe I missed your point entirely.

Comment Re:It's wrong already! (Score 2) 267 267

The Force is an energy field in all living things. It separates us, penetrates us and binds us together. If energy can neither be created or destroyed but merely transferred, why would one think it can be "awakened" or gone to sleep?? C'mon JJ, don't let us down!

Well if I can put on my "nerd glasses" for a second I think I have a theory on that. I mean assuming that Clone Wars cartoon show is still "canon" and hasn't been relegated to the "legends" category (like the expanded universe books/etc. And yes, I watched the whole clone wars series. Nerd.). Clone Wars (the one with 22 minute episodes, got canceled with some open story arcs) had some episodes about the dark side taking over, but out of the this imbalance in the yin/yang relationship resulting in a new generation of force wielders would come about (foreshadowing Luke in other words). There were some really strange episodes in that series. Hard to believe it was for kids.

Anyway I think it ties in with that sort of thing. After all, as the story goes the Jedi were effectively extinct by episode 4. The one admiral (whatever) on the death star called it a some old religion and Luke/Han had never even heard of it. So in the sense that the "chosen one" of Luke Skywalker will be rebooting the entire concept of the Jedi order from scratch and it will go from Vader and the emperor being the primary people left doing anything force-related to Luke's new concepts/re-founding of the light side...I'd say it's actually an intriguing/accurate title. Seems like it's a better title than "the light awakens". That doesn't any more sense than "the force awakens"


Of course, if you want to read too much into it you could say this move is really passing the baton on to a new cast of characters. I mean how much running around/falling/jumping/whatever that original cast do, anyway? I would have expected them to be in this movie about as much as Obi Wan was in episode 4. If you look at it that way it could mean it's "30 years later" (as in, decades after Return of the Jedi) and a generation of new light-side Jedi are taking over. So the force is "awake" in that sense. Lots of new Jedi, lots of new people using the force. I haven't read anything about the new movie, I have no idea if this is remotely accurate.

Comment Re:Theory is flawed (Score 1) 485 485

I'm getting tired of people using Democracy and Republic interchangeably. And I hope hope you'll believe me davydagger when i say I'm genuinely not trying to troll you so forgive me if I'm inferring more from your post than I should be.

The two terms don't mean the same thing. The US was not created to be a Democracy (and Rome was never a Democracy). Democracies have tendency to degrade into tyrannies is the main reason. As soon as a populace realizes they can vote themselves lots of free money along with that famous "51% can be pee on the cornflakes of 49% of the population" line it's just a slow downward spiral (I believe this is not irreversible though. Nothing is set in stone or inevitable). I don't know who said that originally. Republics are a different thing. They're supposed to have safeguards to prevent or at least slow the slide into tyranny.

I happen to live in California where the flag specifically states Republic in no uncertain terms (by which I mean the flag has the words "CALIFORNIA REPUBLIC in big bold letters). As in elect representatives and they do the government running part full time. In a democracy 100% of population would vote on 100% of the matters affecting the population. How long would that last?

Here's the part of the US constitution, if you're wondering. The entirety of Article 4 is actually really short. The Constitution is an amazingly brilliant document.

Article 4, Section 4

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

You'll note it doesn't what kind of republic the states must be. Louisanna for instance is based on the "Napoleonic Code" while the rest are based on british common law.

Also, the house was supposed to be "for the people" as in something happens (like a terrorist attack) and your average citizen talks to their representative which causes the house to pass a bill "in the heat of the moment". The Senators on the other hand, not nearly as much worried about an upcoming election, can take a slower approach. The idea being the bill either won't get through the senate or at least a more moderate version will eventually emerge. I don't know if that's really the way it's working for us right now. Would the Patriot Act be more radical if not for that house/senate balance? No idea. Point is, that was the idea.

Comment Theory is flawed (Score 5, Insightful) 485 485

I disagree with the thesis that silicon valley is in some way "swinging" toward the Republican party. It's more like the writing was on the wall which way the wind was blowing this midterm and the only way to have any influence or say on policy in Washington is via contributions. As in contributed == friend, didn't contribute == not friend. That's all it is. In 8 years (or whatever) when it's swinging the other direction again money will be flowing back the other direction. It's nothing more or less than that. Be on the good side of the people in power. It's the only way to get anything done. A lot of businesses actually contribute to both parties every election cycle, even if one is more heavily contributed to than the other. Just want to be on the good side for the next wind change.

Comment Hosts file solution? (Score 1, Flamebait) 230 230

Maybe I'm missing some thing here but it seems like a edit to a local hosts file could resolve this.

Generically, for instance, if the ads injected were coming from ads.comcast.net one could simply add a line to the hosts file: ads.comcast.net

Wouldn't this prevent the ads from loading to begin with? I mean sure it's a little more difficult on phones and tablets but regular PCs it should be at all difficult to make this edit.

Since I'm apparently in a generous mood, for windows users, open an "administrator command prompt" and paste in the following line. You should be able to save the changes. If not the you might have take off the read-only flag. Sorry, it's been a while since I set it up on a fresh install.

notepad c:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts

Or do like a real geek and pipe all network traffic coming in to windows through a (properly configured) pfSense virtual machine.

Comment Re:ASUS RT-N16 (Score 1) 427 427

I was hoping someone would mention the RT-N16 as it's currently my favorite router. I have run tomato, openwrt and actually I bought a second one that just came with DD-WRT already installed (even the PDF manual for download didn't have DD-WRT screenshots or mention in anyway). I like the N16 because it can run all the hose firmwares and it as two USB ports right next to each other as I could run a laptop hard drive in an enclose off of USB directly (which was a lot more important when 128 gig thumb drives were a lot more than $40 as they are now).

Comment Re:One switch to rule them all? (Score 1) 681 681

You didn't really answer the question of "what would you have them do". All they have to do is travel back in time to when they were designing their doc format and make it more open? That the new *X formats are so easily opened in other solutions like OpenOffice seems more like a compliment: the whole point of the new formats was to create an open standard that was not vendor-locked. Until time travel is possible that seems like the only/best solution to your complaint of proprietary formatting.

Comment Re:One switch to rule them all? (Score 1) 681 681

As far as I know MS was forced to adapt a more open standard of office document. As a commercial entity it's literally their job to continue working on newer versions. What would you have them do? Do a complete re-write of office 2003 and send it to all existing owners for free? That's reasonable? It makes perfect sense to me to put in the new format in the latest version and make it the default for that version. The complaint I do have is Windows default of hiding file extensions and non-useful errors when a user does try to open a DOCX file (although that would be fixed with a patch and apparently most users don't patch Windows/Office anyway).

Comment Re:One switch to rule them all? (Score 1) 681 681

Not to say it would be any easier but there is a "2007 compatibility pack" so that office 2003 can read the new formats (xlsx, docx, pptx, etc). As far as I know said pack doesn't come in through windows update so the users would have to track down the package and install it (I think office 2k3 needs its own service 3 for to work as well). Add to that windows annoying habit of hiding file extensions by default and...well lets just say it's a mess (I install the compatibility pack at work several times a month). I don't blame MS for leaving docx as the default for 2007 and later though since that is the best way to make the new "open" format the default/industry standard. Guess it just depends how long non-updated office 2003 holds out. Which I assume will be much longer than XP. For read-only there's always the various Office "viewers" if the compatibility pack is too much.

Comment Re:Write your name with a pen? (Score 1) 82 82

I have only just heard of this app so I haven't actually tried it yet. With that in mind I bet you could figure out some hack to make it appear in the pic as if you had written your name when if fact it is just a bit of photography trickery. Something in the physical world to create the illusion in other words. Of course if that were the case I guess people would go to book stores and do this to get free/cheap ebooks. Nobody do that. It was just idea to avoid physically writing in beloved books.

Comment Existing map editors (Score 1) 254 254

So I, like many people, want to make my own game. Outside of MATLAB, Visual Basic, and LabVIEW I have no real programming experience. I initially started with Ruby, but after doing my homework decided that if I ever wanted to progress to a game that required some power, I would basically need to learn some form of C anyway. Further digging has led me to C#. The other parts of game design and theory I have covered: I have ~8 years of CAD modeling experience including Maya and Blender; I have a semiprofessional sound studio, an idie album on iTunes, and am adept at creating sound effects/music in a wide variety of programs; I'm familiar with the setbacks and frustration involved with game development — I beta tested DotA for 9ish years; I already have my game idea down on paper (RTS), including growth tables, unit types, unit states, story-lines, etc. I've been planning this out for a year or two; I will be doing this on my own time, by myself, and am prepared for it to take a couple years to finish

I don't have any gaming programming experience and a lot less programming experience than you do already.

You mentioned a lot of details but failed to mention if you'll be targeting a particular platform. For instance: will you release you game for sale/free? Is a mobile version ever a possibility? Will you release it for the "Windows Store"? Steam? Both? Neither? Is this just a hobbie no one else will ever see? A resume bullet point?

Anyway, speaking not as somebody who has done what your describing but merely as someone who did a lot of research into it I would say go to steam and filter the game list to only "Strategy - RTS" genre and start looking at the ones with both an extensive map editors/mod creator and a fairly large community. Try a few out. Pick a favorite. Make sure it's something you can stick with because it will be consuming thousands of hours of your life. This will probably work better if it's a game you're not that familiar with. Thus your learning the game creation bit along side the actual editor/scripting/programming end of it.

Then at least get a version of your game up and going/playable. After creating the most polished version of your laid out game in your engine of choice if you still want to build an engine from scratch with it...well best of luck to you.

Comment xampp? (Score 1) 281 281

"I'm doing some volunteering for a street kids charity in Senegal, West Africa, and they need a new database to store all their information for the kids, and to help the funding organizations like UNICEF. The charity staff have a few computers running Windows 7. Being a die-hard OSS geek I'm more inclined to knock up a MySQL backend with a Django (or similar) front-end and run the whole thing from a reliable VPS. But it needs to be understandable by the non-geeks in the charity — there is no IT expertise here. Is there anything that can allow me to design and edit databases, tables, and forms but doesn't require an MS license?"

I'm not nearly the expert as all the other experts here so maybe someone will explain why this is bad idea. If the database is really small enough it could be handled locally with something like MS Access that it may as well be something that be handled with a SQL front end in HTML to add/edit/delete/view the database details. And for this I personally would use XAMPP portable for windows (no installation required instance of apache/mysql/php).

Store it on dropbox (probably symbolic link that folder back to c:\xampp), setup a a robocopy script to syncronize that directory to a thumb drive (etc) every night at midnight or whatever. For something really fancy create a script to compress the directory to zip file with 7-zip every day/week/month/whatever. Perfect. Done. This way you could move the whole thing to a different PC quite easily, a support person could remotely install and login to that dropbox to synchronize over the whole XAMPP installation for troubleshooting, it's backed up, the world seems flush the MySQL people...and XAMPP is mostly or entirely open source stuff/free-as-in-beer. Other than the initial front end work it seems like the easiest/fastest way to get this all done based on the stated requirements.

"Well hello there Charlie Brown, you blockhead." -- Lucy Van Pelt