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Comment: Re:No way (Score 1) 250

by mstrebe (#32094706) Attached to: Best Way To Sell a Game Concept?

Concur. You can't--cannot--sell a game concept, so get "the intent to sell the concept" out of your head. There is no market for "concepts" in any endeavor (a screenplay is not an idea--it's a screenplay), only markets for working products.

1) Learn to program, write the game, then sell it.

2) Make a shitload of money doing something you're actually good at, hire developers, get the game written, then sell it.

3) Talk about how you had the idea for MachineGirlZombieGoldNakedPalaceAttack VII twenty years ago, but sadly lacked the skillz to get the billz.

Good luck

Comment: Code maintenance is an intractable problem (Score 1) 477

by mstrebe (#30346636) Attached to: Defining Useful Coding Practices?

Exceptional programmers write code. They can't--can not--be paid to maintain the code of other people. They leave. They find other opportunities where their prowess and ability to think in code is appreciated.

Mediocre programmers take any job they can get. They pore over the cryptic codex's of their thoughtful predecessors like acolytes transcribing the utterances of prophets. Their most important talent is that they stay.

Code maintenance, therefore, is a non-starter. Architects and Engineers build buildings, and plumbers maintain them. Plumbers can fix a leak, but it'll take a while and everything will have gotten wet. They certainly can't re-engineer a chilled water delivery system to meet new building code requirements or calculate the pipe required to handle superheated steam.

Extending the purpose or function of an application isn't "maintenance". It's re-design. It takes engineers, not plumbers.

There's no amount of dumbing down that stupid can't be baffled by, but harnessing your Arabians to oxcarts will guarantee that your software never ships in the first place.

I find it surprising that this isn't obvious to anyone who knows a decent programmer.

Comment: Re:Where's the... (Score 1) 507

by mstrebe (#29983518) Attached to: Murderer With "Aggression Genes" Gets Reduced Sentence

Absolutely not. The purpose of prison is not to rehabilitate, it is to separate. The three strikes law, however immoral you consider it to be, is primarily responsible for the 70% reduction in violent crime between 1980 and 2009. As it turns out, keeping people who are likely to re-offend in prison dramatically reduces crime.

Unfair? Sure, but only to people who have a proven inability to play well with others. Random victimization is unfair to everyone.

Comment: What works and what doesn't (Score 1) 409

by mstrebe (#29878813) Attached to: What is the Current State of Home Automation?

Disclaimer: I am the author of INSTEON: Smarthomes for everyone.

There are basically only three "Do it yourself" home automation systems on the market that are advertised as such:

X10, which is basically obsolete due to its lack of reliability features and speed
INSTEON, which is essentially X10 except faster and with reliability features like retry and confirmation built in
Z-Wave, which is wireless

Other systems like Lutron and UPB require custom installers and are not appropriate for DIY.

I went with INSTEON in my home. I have every light in the house automated, and because we were building we were able to save some money on the electrical wiring by not including any three-way or outdoor switches--those functions are all handled by the smarthome system. Our total cost for a 6000 sq.ft. home was about $5000 including an optional central controller called an ISY-99 that provides programmability beyond just linking lights to switches.

What we got for the money boils down basically to convenient path lighting and remote control. Everything can be controlled by a native iPhone app, I can shut off all lights in the house with a wall switch in the bedroom, and we have the kids lights programmed to dim and then shut off with their bedtimes, and prevent them from coming back on unless we "unlock" the lights with a keypad in the livingroom. at 1:00 a.m. a script shuts off every light in the house ensuring that nothing is ever left on. Motion sensors turn on lights automatically as people move throughout the house if it's after dark.

For lighting, the savings from before I had the system programmed in electrical costs is about $100/mo, but I have a $400 month electrical bill and pay .31 cents per kW beyond 2kW, so unless you live in a high-rate electricity area you won't save this much on lights alone.

We also save about $250 per month during the summer months by not using the A/C when the temp is below 85 outside with automated windows that open and close on their own based on the inside and outside temperature. This is all handled by the home automation protocol. When we use the AC, our power bill is between $600..$700 per month. By automating with the windows, we've been able to cut AC use to about three weeks per year total without sacrificing comfort.

Anyway, just my specific use case. I wouldn't expect to see these kinds of savings unless you live somewhere like Southern California. I went with INSTEON because it was reliable in my tests and cost less than anything but X10. I looked into Z-Wave, but it didn't seem as flexible, there were not nearly as many types of devices available, and it cost about double what INSTEON cost.

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