Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Estimates are fine if.... (Score 1) 308

by mark-t (#49147141) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

... the functional requirements are clear, and do not change during the development lifecycle.

Except what usually happens is that a feature change will come along *AFTER* the design phase has already started, or else the requirements weren't unambiguous enough in the first place. Oh... and in the real world, at least in my experience, a developer isn't often in the position of being able to say "we can't do that", unless the developer is also very amenable to finding a different employer in the extremely near future.

This usually puts the programmer in the position of having to be a sort of prognosticator, and anticipating what the most likely types of design changes are going to be while doing development, and designing software that will be robust enough to accommodate such changes with only a modest increase in time spent, without losing any work on design that has already been completed. Sometimes, particularly with an experienced programmer, or one who really knows the people who are likely to make design change requests, and so may be able to predict what they are liable to really want beyond what was stated in the functional requirements documentation, this kind of forecasting is within the grasp of a human being to accomplish But it's never easy.

Comment: Re:Get ready for metered service (Score 1) 574

by mark-t (#49146675) Attached to: FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

I kind of picked that up.... my point is that a land-line telephone doesn't ordinarily have any "per use' charges in addition to the flat rate unless you are making long-distance calls.... and even then, at least for residential lines, you can often get plans that allow unlimited long distance at a rate that is quite attractive if one is in the position of making many of those calls in a month.

So sure... while there's precedent for utilities being metered from water, power, and gas... there's also no lack of precedent for utilities being flat-rate, such as telephone... or cable, for that matter.

Comment: Re:Easy of porting over is the key (Score 1) 169

by mark-t (#49145087) Attached to: The State of Linux Gaming In the SteamOS Era
Having the Unity editor work under Linux was, at least as of about this time last year, by far the most popularly requested feature enhancement... outweighing the number of user votes for just that one feature by almost an order of magnitude more than the next most requested feature for Unity.... and still the developers do not care.

So clearly, it's not hurting Unity any that they aren't porting the editor to Linux.... Considering the price of their software compared to the average game, I highly doubt it would cost game companies as much as you suggest.

That's not to say that the company couldn't make that money from a linux game, but that's also not to say that the company wouldn't have made that much anyways from windows or mac version sales simply because a linux port wasn't available... since most gamers tend to have one of those systems at home anyways.

Comment: Re:Get ready for metered service (Score 1) 574

by mark-t (#49141225) Attached to: FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules
In my lifetime, there has never been a per minute cost of using a land-line phone in any region that I have ever lived, except for long distance calls, which I only very rarely make. I used to have per-minute billing on my cell phone, but have moved to a flat-rate fee per month on that as well, and have unlimited local calling, 24/7... just like the land line.

Comment: Re:Easy of porting over is the key (Score 1) 169

by mark-t (#49140251) Attached to: The State of Linux Gaming In the SteamOS Era

It only makes sense that they would only be available for those OSs since they are well defined and popular platforms

The exact same rationality can be applied to the games themselves.

My point being that if it is worth the effort to even create an export to linux facility, then it should also be worth the effort for the editor itself to run under linux. How is requiring Windows or a Mac to run the editor on what is supposed to be a development platform any better than requiring Windows or Mac to run the game in the first place?

If they can't set an example themselves that shows that supplying a Linux port for a product is worthwhile, then why the hell should I ever take them seriously about porting a game to Linux anyways?

Comment: Re:Why does an AI need to be "saved" (Score 1) 467

by mark-t (#49139463) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion
Reasonably, it wouldn't.... even giving the religion in question the benefit of the doubt, a human soul is supposedly immortal, but there is no possible way for a machine soul, if it could even exist in the first place, to ever be so. If we knew how to take some aspect of our immortal essence to become the soul of the robot, then sure. But we don't... heck, a lot of people aren't even sure they even have a soul in the first place, so how the heck would we ever propose to give a robot one that would be equally immortal?

Comment: Re:Easy of porting over is the key (Score 1) 169

by mark-t (#49138633) Attached to: The State of Linux Gaming In the SteamOS Era
Most big studios don't care about linux because it's too small of a market to waste any amount of time doing any QA on it... and shipping a title for a platform when it doesn't actually work on that platform, or has issues that nobody ever even bothered to check because they don't want to spend any time on QA for the platform is worse for the company's PR than not shipping the title for that platform in the first place.

Comment: Re:E Ink vs LCD/OLED (Score 1) 251

by mark-t (#49130785) Attached to: The Case Against E-readers -- Why Digital Natives Prefer Reading On Paper

Not all of the illustrations in the books that I read are necessarily full page, but most of the books that I read usually make at least a modest use of color to convey additional information that would not be anywhere remotely as clear if everything were in shades of grey... hell, even Stroustrup makes use of color to a limited extent, making browsing through the text for particular information that might not happen to be specifically indexed many times easier. Not every page is splashed with color, obviously, but where and when color is used, it is important that the information is being conveyed.

Of course... it's much easier to dismiss a demographic as being unimportant than it is to consider their points as having any merit, so your remark is actually entirely understandable... and probably the viewpoint that ereader manufacturers have as well.

I stand by what I said above, however... if somebody makes a practical and at least reasonably affordable full color ereader with a fast enough screen update time that it is viable to implement an interactive user-interface that is both intuitive and does not have any perceptible delay between action and visual response, I'll be all over it like tide on dirty laundry.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (10) Sorry, but that's too useful.