Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.


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: Re:Blackberry (Score 1) 423

by sd4f (#49184879) Attached to: Microsoft Convinced That Windows 10 Will Be Its Smartphone Breakthrough
The sad thing is, the official office apps are probably the worst ones to use. Word does some ridiculous scaling which wraps text, making it impossible to actually view a document as it was intended, meanwhile excel has an extremely reduced function set, to the point that any spreadsheet with some more useful formulas will no longer work.

Comment: Re:Blackberry (Score 1) 423

by sd4f (#49184857) Attached to: Microsoft Convinced That Windows 10 Will Be Its Smartphone Breakthrough

I'd say it's a just too late. The Windows phone timeline is rocky, to say the least. While I like the OS, people who entered with WP7 got sold the dump, meanwhile, with WP8, there were some really good features, but the OS had severe limitations. Most of them got fixed with WP8.1, but they then got rid of some of the best features, and changed other things which really didn't need changing.

I think that if MS is happy to persist, the best windows phone can hope for is always going to be distant third. I say that as a rather happy user of it. The problem was, they were way too late to the party, and they brought too little. Where the other platforms had already sorted out most of their issues and were working on new tech and polish, MS still had to bring in rudimentary functions.

That's what I reckon, for what it's worth. The platform may be able to gain some market share, but if it does, it will be a slow hard grind.


Why We Should Stop Hiding File-Name Extensions 560

Posted by timothy
from the text-rules dept.
An anonymous reader writes 14 years after the Anna Kournikova virus took advantage of users' ignorance about file-name extensions in order to wreak worldwide havoc, virus writers and hackers are still taking advantage of the tendency of popular consumer operating systems to hide file-name extensions: Windows users still need to activate extension visibility manually – even though email-transmitted viruses depend most on less savvy users who will never do this. Additionally applications on even the latest versions of Apple's OSX operating system still require the user to 'opt in' to including a file-name extension during an initial save. In looking at some of the eccentricities of the modern user experience, this article argues that it might be time to admit that users need to understand, embrace and responsibly use the only plain-text, obvious indicator of what a file actually is.

NVIDIA Fixes Old Compiz Bug 51

Posted by timothy
from the mayan-long-count dept.
jones_supa writes NVIDIA has fixed a long-standing issue in the Ubuntu Unity desktop by patching Compiz. When opening the window of a new application, it would go black or become transparent on NVIDIA hardware. There have been bug reports dating back to Ubuntu 12.10 times. The problem was caused by Compiz, which had some leftover code from a port. An NVIDIA developer posted on Launchpad and said the NVIDIA team has been looking at this issue, and they also proposed a patch. "Our interpretation of the specification is that creating two GLX pixmaps pointing at the same drawable is not allowed, because it can lead to poorly defined behavior if the properties of both GLX drawables don't match. Our driver prevents this, but Compiz appears to try to do this," wrote NVIDIA's Arthur Huillet. The Compiz patch has been accepted upstream.

Games Workshop At 40: How They Brought D&D To Britain 64

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-not-over-the-hill dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Following on the fortieth anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons last year, another formative influence on modern gaming is celebrating its fortieth birthday: Games Workshop. Playing at the World covers the story of how the founders, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson (not the other Steve Jackson), started out as subscribers to the 1960s British gaming zine Albion playing Diplomacy by mail and (in Ian's case) publishing silly cartoons. When Albion folded at the beginning of 1975, Livingstone and Jackson formed Games Workshop with its own zine Owl & Weasel as a way to bring "progressive games" (as in "progressive rock") to the UK. Shortly thereafter, when they discovered Dungeons & Dragons, fantasy and role-playing games became their focus. After Owl & Weasel grew up into White Dwarf in 1977, its famous "Fiend Factory" column ended up populating the D&D Fiend Folio. And in the 1980s, of course, they brought us Warhammer and their retail stories brought stylish miniatures to many a needful gamer. Happy birthday to Games Workshop!

One Astronomer's Quest To Reinstate Pluto As a Planet 190

Posted by Soulskill
from the emotional-investment-in-nouns dept.
sarahnaomi writes: Most of us grew up believing that tiny, distant Pluto was the outermost planet in our solar system. Then, one day, the scientific powers that be decreed that it wasn't. But it seems the matter is far from settled. David Weintraub—who describes Pluto's exile as a stunt organized by a "very small clique of Pluto-haters"—would have the dwarf world rejoin the ranks of our Solar System's fully-fledged planets today. But solid evidence that Pluto deserves the title may come in July, when NASA's New Horizons spacecraft slingshots around the icy rock and sends us back a detailed picture of its composition. Pluto's planethood was revoked by majority vote on the final day of the 2006 IAU conference. Over 2,500 astronomers attended the meeting throughout the week, but only 394 votes ultimately decided Pluto's fate: 237 in favor of demoting the planet and 157 against.

Comment: Re:You are free to have killer robots (Score 1) 318

by sd4f (#49132947) Attached to: Only Twice Have Nations Banned a Weapon Before It Was Used; They May Do It Again

Somehow militaries across the world have enforced the policy of not using frangible bullets and blinding lasers. However, more recently snipers have been watering it down at the peripheries by using hollow point match projectiles. While they technically are hollow points, they aren't the same as what most people think are hollow points, in that they are done so because they are consistent and accurate, and aren't designed with terminal ballistics in mind.

Furthermore, frangible projectiles are still manufactured, for hunting, and blinding lazers do exist.

So I'm not sure what you're saying, because I get the feeling that in both those instances, there isn't really any sort of countering technology that could minimise or mitigate against the effects of those weapons.

Comment: Re:You are free to have killer robots (Score 1) 318

This is probably why 'they' would want it banned; purely because it's a weapon that they can't guarantee control over, or can't guarantee that they can counter this technology. So it would make sense to use diplomacy to try to make sure no one uses it.

Comment: MS Translator (Score 1) 60

MS's translator is generally good, I like using it on my phone, the camera translation is a particularly nice feature, but the one language which I'm constantly having to go to google for translations is latin. Why won't they add it in? For a lot of educated disciplines, science, law, latin is a used, and sometimes it's helpful for some decent translating.

Comment: Re:Scores, yes. Reviews, no. (Score 1) 135

by sd4f (#49033957) Attached to: Are Review Scores Pointless?

A big part of the problem recently is that 'consuming opinions' means that you are getting all the internal bias of the reviewer, warts and all. That means if they get all antsy about not having a playable female character, then the game is toast. If the game has been criticised by Anita Sarkeesian (or will be) then it's awful. If it doesn't cater to alphabet soup people, then it's sucking up to the privileged white males and therefore bad.

So when you have opinions, all you end up with is the game 'media' pushing drivel such as depression quest and gone home. While review scores have plenty of problems, it also allows the consumer to also compare review sites. With a subjective opinion piece, where you have plenty of writers who make a point of not being objective, it just becomes a piece on what's bothering the writer this week.

People like totalbiscuit have proven that you can review games, and still be objective and fair. So while reviews are intrinsically an opinion, some are far more valid than others, and most of these game sites, are best forgotten about.

Comment: Re:Meta scores and user's meta scores (Score 1) 135

by sd4f (#49033759) Attached to: Are Review Scores Pointless?

I'm of a similar opinion. Score aggregation is a far more reliable method of determining the quality of a game, very quickly. It's not perfect, but it works rather nicely for me.

The problem that has been happening is the stupid score of 7/10, which demonstrates the stupid offset that game reviewers have been applying to their scores. 7/10 is more or less the average game, and anything below is usually crap (or niche) and anything above is ok. The dumbest thing about it is scores 0-5 essentially are varying levels of garbage. I think some review sites have copped flack over this, as it's rather ridiculous. There has also been pressure to get good reviews, otherwise reviewers get dropped out of the "club", and won't get free review copies, access to people for interviews or taken to junkets.

So while I don't always look at individual scores, because, especially now, they tend to be meaningless on their own, aggregating them makes heaps of sense, that is until many review sites stop providing scores to aggregate. This is what I think it's about. A lot of review sites are being attacked on a couple of fronts, there's the people who don't bother with them, and then there's 'let's plays' on youtube. I guess these websites try to make out that it's their writing which should be consumed. The problem with this is that with the gradual push for yellow journalism in gaming media, it means that they can't be scrutinesed for piling on games that don't fit in with their world view, like polygon did with bayonetta 2. I don't read eurogamer anyway, so it's no problem for me.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun