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Comment: Re:Ummm... (Score 4, Interesting) 289

by smackenzie (#32842240) Attached to: The Proton Just Got Smaller
"Oh, welcome back to Citibank, Mr. Smith. Your portfolio indicates that all of your investments are 4% down, but we think the difference is so infinitesimal small that it might defy belief that you cared."

"Hi Ms. Smith. Your cancer cell growth has increased 4%, but we think the difference is so infinitesimal that it might defy belief that you cared."

"Little Timmy scored an 86.6 (grade B) instead of 90 (grade A), but we think the difference is so infinitesimal small that it might defy belief that he cared."

Comment: Why lament? (Score 1) 245

by smackenzie (#31468116) Attached to: Programming the Commodore 64: the Definitive Guide
Why "lament the decline of that kind of deep knowing?" Shouldn't we just encourage teens, students, hobbyists, computer science majors (e.g., anyone with an interest in this kind of thing) to get out there and buy a C64 or a kit or an open source game machine or an embedded device or any of the other numerous projects in which we could pursue "deep knowing"?

Frankly, it's a great time to be interested in computers: absurd amounts of power for cheap, _along with_ easy access (thank you Internet) to kits, information, software, books, older devices, embedded devices, game devices, community help, etc.

It doesn't have to be either or.

Comment: Silly, Infantile Discussion (Score 4, Insightful) 870

by smackenzie (#30571074) Attached to: Anti-Technology Themes in James Cameron's <em>Avatar</em>
Since the beginning of time:

* Look, fire! Now I can keep my family warm and safe.
* Look, fire! Now I can go burn down the hut of my annoying neighbors.

* Look, trigonometry! Now I can build bridges.
* Look, trigonometry! Now I can launch projectiles at those bridges.

* Look, printing press! Now I can communicate broadly.
* Look, printing press! Now I can subjugate broadly.

* Look, nuclear technology! Now I can radiate cancer and use PET scans.
* Look, nuclear technology! Now I can blow cities up...

etc.

Comment: I reserve judgement -- let's see the results. (Score 1) 278

by smackenzie (#29138007) Attached to: First American Internet Addiction Treatment Center
Sure, this crowd is going to push back a lot. And it's prime material for jokes. But, in short, a lot of web addicts have underlying problems of which excessive use of the internet is really a symptom. People get legitimately addicted to all kinds of things, and the internet happens to be a completely ubiquitous, invasive entity... so I'll be curious to see if this group is capable of weeding through this primary symptom with an eye towards lower-level issues.

At the most extreme end of the spectrum -- and sometimes that's all an addiction is, normal behavior taking to an extreme -- they'll have to deal with people who might use the internet to escape all human interaction, who always use pornography in lieu of meaningful relationships, who have trouble separating fantasy violence from real life situations in which violence has consequences, who have general-category neurological issues like autism, aspergers syndrome, etc.

On one hand, in light of this, a kayak trip is a joke. On the other hand, sometimes these things are all it take to get people thinking about bigger issues, especially if they can be directed to long-term, more appropriately fine-tuned help.

Comment: The Art of Game Design (Score 2, Informative) 324

by smackenzie (#28559301) Attached to: What Are the Best First Steps For Becoming a Game Designer?
You'll get a lot of decent answers, and I won't try to duplicate any of them here. My addition: amidst many mediocre books about Game Design, there are a couple that really stand out. The first one to come to mind is "The Art of Game Design":

http://www.amazon.com/Art-Game-Design-book-lenses/dp/0123694965

While you are perfecting everyone else's good suggestions, give this one a read...

Comment: 24/7 Gym or Think Opposite (Score 1) 865

by smackenzie (#28548033) Attached to: Staying In Shape vs. a Busy IT Job Schedule?
I understand this predicament all too well. And working out substantially is critical to your mental and physical well-being. Try asking yourself what you can do at the gym in order to save time at home (or the office). Here is what I recommend:

- Find a 24/7 gym, or at least a gym with very good hours. Preferably on the way to work.
- If, for example, you shower in the "morning", then don't shower at home. Wake up. Bring a change of clothes on way to work. Use gym. Shower / shave. Head to work.
- Do this for 2 or 3 of your work days per week. And work out on the 2 days that you get off. Obviously, this varies.
- Plan on working out for an hour or so.
- Bring the paper if you typically read this at home.
- Or bring journals, reading edification, potentially email on a smartphone, etc., -- anything that gains back a little time for you at work or home. - I'll leave the specifics (cardio, weights, stretching) up to the professionals.

I know it's obvious. But nothing is going to give you a good concentrated workout quite like 60 to 90 minutes at the gym. And since you shower there, you are discussing 4 to 6 hours / week... well worth it. I gained back about 1 hour of that time per week reading the paper in-between sets. And I do answer critical, quick emails on my iPhone. Yes, get up and walk around and stretch at work and all that, but it's going to be hard to come anywhere close to this regime using any off-the-cuff or "creative" solutions.

Comment: "Shrink!" It's the new Growth! (Score 2, Insightful) 806

by smackenzie (#28378233) Attached to: US Plans To Bulldoze 50 Shrinking Cities
A modest home in a lot of 7 abandoned (or un-sellable) homes is worth very little. But, if the home owners are willing to relocate, they could potentially own a similar home, closer to a "living" civilization, and bordering the nice new woods that has now been created out of all the empty districts. That home is worth a lot more.

It's obvious that the kind of home growth that we saw over the last ten years is not sustainable for any substantial amount of time. And it's a little ironic that many of the same construction companies that were thrown together to build the homes might transition into companies that are hired to tear down the very same homes... but, having said that, nothing makes me happier to think that we might rollback at least some of the ugly brown areas and return them to Nature.

Comment: Incremental "New" Machines (Score 5, Interesting) 326

by smackenzie (#28339163) Attached to: Ubisoft CEO Says Next Gen Consoles Closer Than We Think
Actually, what we are most likely going to see is incremental -- but significant! -- updates to the existing consoles. Updates that are large enough to be considered a "new release" but small enough not to be totally new architectures. We know, for example:

- Microsoft is planning an all-out marketing campaign + release schedule around Natal. It's not quite a new console roll-out, but Microsoft is treating it as such. Fully backwards compatible.

- Nintendo needs to get on the HD bandwagon, but doesn't necessarily need to push the envelope for HD gaming. Expect something that meets 720p criteria and is approximately [some smaller integer greater than 1 but less than 5]x as powerful as the Wii. Fully backwards compatible.

- Sony: not entirely clear. Open to suggestions. They have a PS3 slim in the works. No, not a new console. They released the PSP Go, dropping UMG support. That's interesting. The Cell is a pain-in-the-ass to develop for, but various shops are starting to get the hang of it. Maybe we will see a PS3, Mach II with 2 Cells, slim body and, of course, the now-mandatory motion tracking controllers.

The fact that future games are going to cost somewhere in the $60M ballpark is precisely why we will NOT see brand new architectures any time soon. No one, except maybe 1st party entities, is going to give up all of the applied dev resources to hop to an untested platform.

If you want to commence an interesting dialogue, I propose something like "What, exactly, constitutes a NEW console?"

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." -- Karl, as he stepped behind the computer to reboot it, during a FAT

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