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Comment: Re:Hitchhiker's Guide (Score 1) 732

by oakbox (#45354047) Attached to: Movie Review: <em>Ender's Game</em>

-- You're quite right though, there's no escaping the fact that he wasn't really Herbert's baron.

But when I saw the movie, Lynch's Dune, my reaction to Baron Harkonnen was visceral and emotional. Lynch did a fantastic job of communicating in just a few scenes how morally bankrupt and, not to put too fine a point on it, Eveeell, the Baron was. THAT was totally consistent with Herbert's books, the Harkonnen name was still a shorthand for degeneracy thousands of years later.

For me it was the movie and then the books. The tone and feeling of the books made it to the screen in Lynch's version. These were totally absent from the modern movie versions (I was so pissed at it, I started yelling at the screen after 5 minutes and had to stop watching after 10).

The sonic doo-hickey was a movie shorthand for Paul's (via his mother and superior trainers) martial skill. Plus, it looked good.

I don't fault Lynch, he did a good job of converting a very dense book to the screen and delivering enough emotional impact that I read the books and am still talking about them 25 years later.

Comment: Re:Depends on your goals (Score 2) 239

by oakbox (#40499963) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Defines Good Developer Culture?

+1
Culture DOES vary from company to company, department to department. A culture is defined by a bunch of things: what behaviors are rewarded, relationship between employees and managers, relationship between employees, where is the focus (outside innovation and productivity or inside atmosphere and procedures?). There is no single 'correct' culture for developers, it really comes down to what kind of culture the developer wants to work in. Some developers want innovation and creativity to be the focus, some want to have structure and order. Some developers enjoy work because they like their coworkers, some are competitive and are in it for the recognition and rewards.

I work for a psychological test development company and we have done a lot of research on this very topic. Success is based on the "fit" between the person and the position. There is no one-size-fits-all position, just as there is no one type of developer.

- Richard

Comment: a bit misleading (Score 4, Informative) 225

by oakbox (#40464465) Attached to: Robot Hand Beats You At Rock, Paper, Scissors 100% of the Time

Being faster? That's just cheating. On reading the headline, I thought they had developed an algorithm that predicted your next move, which would have been much more impressive. You DO get a ~40% improved chance of winning with this strategy:

When your opponent loses, his next move will be to beat whatever your move was on that round.

move 1) opp: rock you: paper # opponent loses to paper, so his next move will be to win over paper
move 2) opp: scissors you: rock # opponent loses to rock, so his next move will be to win over rock
move 3) opp: paper you: scissors # opponent loses to scissors, so his next move will be to win over scissors
etc.

It's self-reinforcing because after losing several throws in a row, opp becomes frustrated and less analytical, making it harder for them to see the pattern they are developing. :)

But that isn't absolute prediction, that's just playing on your opponent's human instinct. The robot hand isn't predicting anything.

Comment: Re:i actually LIKE Ubuntu (Score 1) 1348

by oakbox (#33945130) Attached to: Desktop Linux Is Dead

i wonder what you plug into your computer....

:-)

o Sony Bloggie
o Nokia N96 - and it was able to connect to the internet through that phone with no additional installed anything in the Netherlands
o Wife's iPhone
o a drawer full of mp3/mp4 players and cameras

I didn't catch the repeated 'plug into' theme until after I had posted.

- oakbox

Comment: i actually LIKE Ubuntu (Score 2, Informative) 1348

by oakbox (#33936586) Attached to: Desktop Linux Is Dead

I prefer Linux to Windows and OS X. Everything I plug into my computer just works or the software to make it work is just a few clicks away. The interface is pretty and both my new laptop and older desktop are still snappy and reactive after years of service (Windows just tends to get slower and slower, even with a reinstall). The whole mac needs to be replaced seemingly every 6 months because Apple came out with a new whiz-bang piece of hardeware. I need to reboot the windows computers in my office often because they are constantly losing the thread and locking up or forgetting where the USB mouse is or flipping the keyboard layout setting to 'UK' for no apparent reason whenever a user's back is turned. The Macs do strange and mysterious things with files and are (I'll say it out loud) NOT intuitive at all.
In the last month in a relatively hertergenous environment, I have spent roughly 95% of my user support time on windows and mac issues. It's not because my users don't know what they are doing, it's just that the os they are using is failing them.
Even esoteric and weird things I plug into my laptop are recognized by Ubuntu. This isn't 'It just works'. This is 'It works really well and intuitively'.
The prospect of programming on an Ipad is laughable and while toting a netbook to a user convention is more reasonable that lugging around a laptop, I would go blind in a week and develop severe spinal injuries if I was forced to do actual work on one of them.
Laptops and desktops will go away when computers can read our minds. Until that happens, I will keep using and recommending Ubuntu, because it works really well and intuitively.

- oakbox

Space

Nearby Star Forecast To Skirt Solar System 135

Posted by Soulskill
from the we're-doomed dept.
PipianJ writes "A recent preprint posted on arXiv by Vadim Bobylev presents some startling new numbers about a future close pass of one of our stellar neighbors. Based on studies of the Hipparcos catalog, Bobylev suggests that the nearby orange dwarf Gliese 710 has an 86% chance of skirting the outer bounds of the Solar System and the hypothesized Oort Cloud in the next 1.5 million years. As the Oort Cloud is thought to be the source of many long-period comets, the gravitational effects of Gliese's passing could send a shower of comets into the inner Solar System, threatening Earth. This news about Gliese 710 isn't exactly new, but it's one of the first times the probability of this near-miss has been quantified."
Earth

Officials Sue Couple Who Removed Their Lawn 819

Posted by kdawson
from the revenge-of-the-lawn dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that Orange County officials are locked in a legal battle with a couple accused of violating city ordinances for replacing the grass on their lawn with wood chips and drought-tolerant plants, reducing their water usage from 299,221 gallons in 2007 to 58,348 gallons in 2009. The dispute began two years ago, when Quan and Angelina Ha tore out the grass in their front yard. In drought-plagued Southern California, the couple said, the lush grass had been soaking up tens of thousands of gallons of water — and hundreds of dollars — each year. 'We've got a newborn, so we want to start worrying about her future,' said Quan Ha, an information technology manager for Kelley Blue Book. But city officials told the Has they were violating several city laws that require that 40% of residential yards to be landscaped predominantly with live plants. Last summer, the couple tried to appease the city by building a fence around the yard and planting drought-tolerant greenery — lavender, rosemary, horsetail, and pittosporum, among others. But according to the city, their landscaping still did not comply with city standards. At the end of January, the Has received a letter saying they had been charged with a misdemeanor violation and must appear in court. The couple could face a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for their grass-free, eco-friendly landscaping scheme. 'It's just funny that we pay our taxes to the city and the city is now prosecuting us with our own money,' says Quan Ha."
The Almighty Buck

America's Army Games Cost $33 Million Over 10 Years 192

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-tax-dollars-at-play dept.
Responding to a Freedom Of Information Act request, the US government has revealed the operating costs of the America's Army game series over the past decade. The total bill comes to $32.8 million, with yearly costs varying from $1.3 million to $5.6 million. "While operating America's Army 3 does involve ongoing expenses, paying the game's original development team isn't one of them. Days after the game launched in June, representatives with the Army confirmed that ties were severed with the Emeryville, California-based team behind the project, and future development efforts were being consolidated at the America's Army program office at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. A decade after its initial foray into the world of gaming, the Army doesn't appear to be withdrawing from the industry anytime soon. In denying other aspects of the FOIA request, the Army stated 'disclosure of this information is likely to cause substantial harm to the Department of the Army's competitive position in the gaming industry.'"
Science

Programmable Quantum Computer Created 132

Posted by Soulskill
from the four-out-of-five-ain't-bad dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A team at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) used berylium ions, lasers and electrodes to develop a quantum system that performed 160 randomly chosen routines. Other quantum systems to date have only been able to perform single, prescribed tasks. Other researchers say the system could be scaled up. 'The researchers ran each program 900 times. On average, the quantum computer operated accurately 79 percent of the time, the team reported in their paper.'"

What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind. -- Thomas Hewitt Key, 1799-1875

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