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Comment: Re:um (Score 5, Informative) 288

by thesandtiger (#46822623) Attached to: 'The Door Problem' of Game Design

This article isn't for actual software engineers, but "idea guys" who think making games is easy and don't actually understand what goes into real game design.

I know a ton of people like that - they have an idea for some awesome next level stuff, but it's only a very vague idea with a few neat things in there, without any of the actual work that is needed to turn it into a game design, let alone a spec, let alone a game. Seriously, everyone I know who is a gamer and not an engineer is constantly babbling about how games should do X or Y or Z or whatever, but when you ask them questions about how any of it would actually work, they wave their hands and say it isn't important because the IDEA that they took a whole 30 seconds coming up with and articulating is somehow the hard part.

The idea is the easy part - I can toss out hundreds of ideas for games that would be amazing. Turning that amazing idea into anything resembling a useful thing is another kettle of fish entirely.

Comment: Re:This would go over so well on IT (Score 5, Interesting) 312

by thesandtiger (#46778529) Attached to: Switching From Sitting To Standing At Your Desk

I do development and I work a standing desk (and for a couple of years did a walking desk when I worked at home). I'm actually vastly more comfortable not just at work now but in the rest of my life since switching:

- issues I had with sciatica went away
- I am in better shape/have more endurance & energy
- I sleep better
- I used to feel like shit if I went on a 10 hour coding binge (sluggish and exhausted) but now I just feel pretty much normal

It's only uncomfortable at first, but once you figure out good shoes to wear, good anti-fatigue mats to use and good posture it's much MUCH more comfortable (at least in my experience) and makes your non-work life better as well.

At my office we have 5 people in our engineering team (some IT, some developers) who use standing desks and a few more who are considering making the switch. The oldest stander is me (42) so it's not just something 20-somethings can do.

Comment: Re:Well it makes sense (Score 1) 797

I completely understand your points, but let me offer a few things:

Shit like this happens to people every single day. Often vastly worse; I volunteered with an organization that sought clemency for people who were wrongly convicted and imprisoned (and in the US that means being subjected to some truly horrific shit). Yet, by and large, despite being completely fucked over by the system and having had years - sometimes decades - of their lives taken away, despite being tortured by beatings, rapes, solitary confinement, these people didn't lose their shit and go on a killing spree. They kept their shit together. My point here is that people get fucked over and there are ways of dealing with it, and sometimes things get handled and sometimes they don't, and you need to move along and get past it.

But, as you say, that takes perspective. Which gets me to my next point: The kid himself may not have perspective, but his parents sure as hell should. Or some other adult. Someone should have sat him down and explained that he was right, the people in power were assholes, and that while he probably is plenty pissed about how it all went down, in the grand scheme of things it's just a run in with assholes, and he's better than that. It is the job of parents not just to teach kids how to not be assholes, but how to deal with the fact that assholes exist and they will try to fuck up your life.

I definitely agree that dealing with bullying needs to be handled better not just because it's the right thing, but because it's an immediate safety issue and letting it keep going perpetuates a culture that accepts it. The problem is that school administrators are short sighted in this country (actually, pretty much everyone involved in public education in this country is extremely short sighted), and they want to maintain control with a minimum amount of hassle.

Comment: Standing/Walking desk (Score 1) 312

by thesandtiger (#46778329) Attached to: Switching From Sitting To Standing At Your Desk

When I switched from working in an office to working from home for a couple of years, I went to a standing desk and then to a treadmill/walking desk.

Took me about 3 days to get used to standing all the time - as in, able to do it without feeling too much pain in my feet at the end of the day.

The walking desk took about a week to get used to, at first I could only read emails etc. while walking, but after I got used to things I was able to do 4MPH indefinitely while doing basic stuff, and about 2.5MPH while doing stuff that required a bit more precision with a mouse etc. Put it at a 5% incline and it's not a bad workout. My best day was 20 miles.

I wound up losing some weight - 10 lbs. - which wasn't strictly necessary but wasn't a bad thing. My productivity took a hit at the beginning but got back to normal after the first couple of weeks. My energy level went up dramatically after the first month and my general sense of well-being was much improved. Even better, issues I was having with sciatica went away and I would sleep much better.

At my current job I am at a standing desk all day and while it's not nearly as active as my walking desk, it's still working for me.

Some research suggests that it isn't that much better for you (or at all better for you) than a sitting desk, but my personal experience defies that; I'd recommend trying it for a month - commit to it - and see how it works for you.

Comment: How icky. (Score 5, Insightful) 797

Is anyone else creeped out by how hopeful some of the posters here seem to be about the possibility of the kid "going Columbine"?

I get it that many slashdotters feel they were abused by bullies when they were kids, but the fact is pretty much every kid ever has been picked on (and has bullied another kid) at some time in their childhood. Yeah, it sucks, and yeah, the authorities here should absolutely be taken out of positions where they can commit future injustices like this, but in no way, shape or form should revenge fantasies like "going Columbine" be casually thrown about as if yeah, that's something reasonable.

Yeah, it sucks that some of you were horribly treated when you were young, but get the fuck over it already. If you still get overwraught to the point where you fantasize about killing people at shit that happened 10 years ago on a playground, you have problems and you need to address them.

Comment: Re:The real lesson (Score 1) 673

by thesandtiger (#46733435) Attached to: Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

No, thinking otherwise is being informed. You really should educate yourself on the issue, if you're remotely intellectually honest.

Go down to any poverty law center and ask for some information on bias in police interactions, on bias in charging, bail and sentencing.

You're being literally prejudiced in your beliefs, I'm saying you should get some facts and make an assessment there. If you think being armed with facts is "gullible and stupid" then you're not capable of having a reasoned discussion.

Comment: Re:The real lesson (Score 1) 673

by thesandtiger (#46720857) Attached to: Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

You're absolutely right. We're far from equal.

Women make 4.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs despite being about 50% of the workforce.

Women make up 20% of the Senate, despite being about 50% of the population. Women make up 18.9% of the House of Representatives despite being about 50% of the population.

And don't get me started on race! Black men are vastly more likely to have an interaction with police, be arrested, held on higher bail, convicted more frequently and given longer sentences than white men when all other factors (socioeconomic and past criminal record) are accounted for. Estimates are that blacks make up a little over 13% of the US population but just over 40% of the prison population, and have sentences averaging more than 20% longer. Crimes that were predominantly seen as a "black" thing - like possession of crack cocaine - were given disproportionately higher sentences than possession of regular cocaine. Even for drugs that are in common use across races, black users of marijuana are vastly more likely to do jail time than white users of marijuana.

And that's just scratching the surface and going after easily obtainable numbers that took me 30 seconds to Google. There's inequality all over the place, and I'm really glad you agree with me that the US's claims of equality are horseshit. Being aware of the problem is the first step towards fixing it.

Also, you're more than welcome to start up a United Caucasian College Fund with all the exact same rights and protections the United Negro College Fund has as long as you follow all the exact same rules and regulations required by law. You'll probably have a lot of people rolling their eyes and calling you a doofus for doing it, but hey, knock yourself out.

Comment: Re:The real lesson (Score 2) 673

by thesandtiger (#46712977) Attached to: Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

Which is funny in a sad kind of way, because it leads to programs like this one. It's the circle of life, fueled by the angst of misogynists*.

There's a lot to criticize about the implementation of this program, but dipshits like the one we're talking about make it clear why some facets of the program have an appeal.

*Referring to the asshole we're referring to and his "women are tricky" as the misogynist.

Comment: Re:Pay good money to get there, but be bad at it? (Score 1) 253

by thesandtiger (#46344905) Attached to: Blizzard To Sell Level 90 <em>WoW</em> Characters For $60

Not so much, actually.

Most people leveling do it alone or maybe in a small group. No need to think about 90% of the abilities a class has while doing that because the leveling content needs to be tuned to people who are novices. Most people don't want - despite playing an MMO - to be forced to play with other people in a group at all times in order to level, so you can't touch this leveling content.

Most people leveling don't even set foot in a dungeon in WoW. A dungeon being fundamentally different than world questing, and yet still not requiring a player to be very good with their class or understand their class.

A tiny percentage of players set foot in a raid EVER, let alone while leveling - even with new things like a very content-tourist mode like the Looking for Raid feature that was added. Raid mechanics are fundamentally different than dungeons or world questing, so really, require you to play your class in a very different way than you would have experienced while leveling; abilities that seem pointless while leveling suddenly make sense to use, and patterns that made sense while leveling suddenly become counter to survival.

What IS true is that, if you want to raid you need to learn how to play your class. But, I don't think 20-100 hours of doing things that bear no real relation to how you will end up playing your class is the way to do it. Personally, I think the idea of having proving grounds (which they kind of do now) wherein the player is hand held by NPCs and given tons of feedback on how to play their specific class, what abilities to use and why, in game, would be the way to go.

"Hey, new paladin person in a tank role - I'm going to make that big guy over there very, very angry in a moment, and he can kill me but he won't hurt you as much, so I want you to press that flashing button on your screen - it's called a taunt - when he starts chasing me; it'll make him go after you, not me!" If you fail? "It's okay, fortunately we have people around who can make everything better when I get beaten to a pulp... Let's try this again..."

"Hey, priest type person in a healer role - I'm about to fight several small creatures that individually don't do much to me but hurt me slowly over time. Cast that spell that's flashing on me once every 10 seconds or so in order to throw a spell on me that will heal me up slowly over time."

"Hey, shooty damage type person, I'm going to beat up 4 things, but I want you to focus on hurting ONLY the one that is my primary target." "Hey, so these guys aren't stupid, they're going to try to hurt you - see that purple stuff on the floor over there? If it appears under you during the fight, MOVE AWAY FROM IT!"

Etc. and so on. Have people go through that, have it be so that a veteran player who is familiar with game mechanics could complete all the tasks in under an hour, but where a newbie player who knows nothing might wind up taking 10 hours or so to do the quests well enough, and you're good.

The problem WoW has - and most MMO's have - is that the designers assumed that other players would give solid feedback to people on their teams in dungeons and so on. Unfortunately, most people are assholes and not willing to take any time with newbies to straighten them out. Since the playerbase by and large won't help other people learn, there needs to be an in game process for it.

tl;dr: There needs to be a way to teach people how to play their class, but the current way of doing it (leveling) doesn't teach them anything that is actually relevant.

Comment: Re:How are they defining "gamer"? (Score 1) 320

by thesandtiger (#46285597) Attached to: E-Sports Gender Gap: 90+% Male

I agree with your idea that we're looking at the wrong populations, and actually would suggest that "e-sport" people aren't "gamers" but rather "people who play obsessively".

Look at the population of people who play a single game obsessively, then look at the population of people who play said game at the competitive level, and I'm sure any demographic gaps would disappear almost completely.

Comment: Re:True quote (Score 1) 292

by thesandtiger (#45833645) Attached to: A Year With Google Glass

If you honestly think the people who want to rob tourists need to see you using glass in order to know you're a tourist, you've probably never been more than 100 miles from where you were born, let alone a foreign country. Trust me, tourists are obvious, and you can ALWAYS figure out their economic status very easily without judging their headgear.

Only an absolute fucking idiot would steal a device that will destroy itself (except for functions related to calling the police to report itself stolen and help them locate it), and only an absolute fucking idiot would do that with a device that is expensive enough for the theft of it to be a major crime, and only an absolute fucking idiot would rob a tourist bringing the wrath of their local authorities down on them HARD. The only people who harm tourists aren't doing it for petty shit like robbing them of a (soon to be useless) item like glass.

Much more likely is someone will spot you in glass and think "Oh, look, an asshole."

Comment:, by a mile (Score 4, Insightful) 162

by thesandtiger (#45827925) Attached to: The Biggest Tech Mishap of 2013?

What's funny is that the person you are quoting barely even mentions the TECH mishap - he sums it up as "numerous huge IT errors" but then goes on a rant about things that have NOTHING to do with the fucked up launch of, but you want to claim that other people can't seem to separate their politics from their ability to assess the success or failure of a tech project. What the ever loving fuck does someone saying there will be doctor shortages, or a 2% tax, have to do with the website sucking? Nothing. Stop projecting your partisanship onto other people.

Personally I hate the ACA because it isn't single payer and all it will wind up doing is delaying actual healthcare reform in this country by decades while simultaneously keeping a useless industry alive. In any case, this story isn't about politics, it's about tech fuckups in 2013. So:

As an IT project, was an abortion. You had project management that was behaving in a fairly schizophrenic fashion (namely, political leadership who were battling over the ACA trying to repeal/defend it) leading to delays in starting implementation, you had incompetent contractors hired to put it out, you had incompetent developers building it (my god, the amount of pointless data streaming up and down was staggering, the front end code we could see was incompetent at best, the whole mess was completely non-performant) and then to top it off, as a post-mortem it seems that most were trying to assign blame and score political gotcha points and throwing up all kinds of irrelevant shit rather than just dealing with reality and trying to do a solid job implementing the law of the land.

I do agree there can be no doubt that is the absolute biggest fuck-up of the year.

Though my vote for worst tech issue of the year definitely goes to the NSA stuff - I'll take a thousand shitty websites over big brother any day.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]