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Comment: Re:Tesla (Score 4, Informative) 394

by twistedsymphony (#46569189) Attached to: Is the Tesla Model S Pedal Placement A Safety Hazard?
That's not really an intentional "feature" in Automatics... it just happens to be a design quirk created by Torque Converters... Since there is no physical 100% disconnect between the engine and transmission (like there is in a stick-shift with the clutch depressed) the car generates enough torque at idle that, unless you're physically braking the car, the torque "seepage" through the converter will result in your car creeping forward.

Comment: Re:No, bad (Score 1) 159

by twistedsymphony (#45278895) Attached to: Car Hackers Mess With Speedometers, Odometers, Alarms and Locks
This isn't "news", people have been hacking around with that stuff since there have been computers controlling the engines in cars (which has been around since the 70s). The only thing that makes this news is that hackers recently had a bright idea to make a Bluetooth dongle for remote control.

Since the start of the OBDII Standard (which was a requirement starting for 1996 model years) There have been companies that have sold devices that let you plug into the computer and modify it's parameters, disabling emissions warnings and changing fuel and timing maps, or "recalibrating" the gauge readouts, among other things. This isn't some niche thing either... this has become the foundation of the whole aftermarket tuning industry. A single model car will have several companies offering competing products.

Honestly, adding additional security is a bad thing, as it is now there are enough roadblocks preventing you from having control over the software that's in your car (to actually make those changes to the computer you essentially have to reverse engineer the communication and modification protocols, hence why a single programming devices only works on specific model cars)... For all intents and purposes your new car is jailbroken, adding additional security would lock it down and take that control out of the hands of consumers.

Comment: Re:I think they plan to compete on the premium end (Score 2) 348

There are some distinct differences between Value's situation and the examples you provided.

1. All three of those successful consoles from outsider were price competitive within the existing market. If you look at the literal pile of failure consoles throughout history they were all substantially more expensive, and so far what we know about the Steam machine says it will be substantially more expensive.

2. All three of those successful consoles from outsiders were presented as a singular hardware model by a single manufacturer there was no significant hardware differences from one model NES to the next or one Xbox to the next, Valve is planning on developing more of a spec and opening hardware development and marketing up to multiple hardware manufactures... a strategy used by several consoles in the past (most notably the 3DO) to great failure.

3. All three of those successful consoles from outsiders launched with a strong list of exclusive titles that you couldn't get on any other platform. Valve finds themselves in the situation where anything developed for the Steam Machine will also be available on PC, without the machine, this inherently makes their hardware less valuable as there's literally NOTHING it can play that couldn't also be played on a PC or elsewhere.

In general the three factors that historically have contributed to a successful console (by a new entrant into the market or otherwise) has been price competitiveness, and desirable exclusive games, as well as a desirable feature set (such as the PS2's DVD player or the Wii's waggle controls, or the 360/PS3's ability to play games in HD). So far the Steam Machine seems to be missing the mark on most points.

Then again, the iPod looked like a turd on paper when it was released and that thing sold like gang-busters so who knows, stranger things have happened.

Comment: Re:Smart move (Score 4, Insightful) 457

by twistedsymphony (#44381695) Attached to: After a User Dies, Apple Warns Against Counterfeit Chargers
Didn't apple recently change their proprietary connector design around the release of the iPhone 5? and doesn't that new design remove support for raw audio/video through their proprietary port?

The old iPhone connector was excusable for the reasons you've stated... the new one has no excuse to not conform to the new standard aside from Apple wanting to further bleed their customers of money.

Comment: Re:That doesn't fix anything (Score 5, Insightful) 581

The problem isn't with used sales, the problem is that they're changing from a product model to a license model that requires authentication. Just because the publisher are given control over how the license works doesn't solve the problem of when the authentication servers eventually shut down giving you a nice collection of coasters.

As someone who still owns and occasionally plays many of the games bought new in the late 80s early 90s this bothers me... I have no interest in buying games with an expiration date.

Comment: Wrong Joystick! (Score 1) 106

by twistedsymphony (#43917477) Attached to: Retro Gaming With Raspberry Pi
Sorry but as an Arcade Nerd I have to point out that an 8-way joystick as used in the article is the wrong joystick to use. Most classic arcade games from the 80s used 4 or 2 way joysticks... If you want an authentic Pac Man or Donkey Kong experience you need a 4-way joystick, not an 8 way. Heck even the example game in the article (Joust) used a 2-way in the original arcade cabinet... It wasn't until the late 80s/ early 90s that most games started to use 8-way sticks... Games like Street Fighter 2, Mortal Kombat, or Ninja Turtles.

One would assume that if you care enough about the gameplay experience to build a custom joystick then you should also care that you're using the right type of joystick. There are companies that make sticks that are switchable between 4 and 8 way, those are great if you want to play both 80s and 90s era games, but if you're only interested in one era or another, pick the stick that's most appropriate for that.

Comment: Re:Archer? (Score 5, Interesting) 236

by twistedsymphony (#43376331) Attached to: Microsoft Apologizes For Cavalier 'Always-Online' DRM Tweets
I'm a game collector myself, I've bought 3 Xbox 360 consoles and over 150 games on that platform this generation. I will also buy exactly ZERO if the always on DRM is implemented.

For me the biggest problem is the the fact that the games have a finite time after which they will not work. The servers will not be available forever and if I'm spending money on game I want to know that I'll still be able to play them 10 years, 20 years or even further in the future. I have games that I bought in the late 80s and early 90s that I still play, it stands to reason that if I buy games next generation I will want to play them again in the distant future, but that's not going to happen if "Always on" becomes a reality. Given a long enough time frame my having an internet connection is more guaranteed than MS supporting their server for the remainder of my lifespan.

This doesn't even take into consideration people like my friends who serve in the military, and play games in their down time despite not having access to broadband while deployed, or those friends who lost their jobs due to the economy and had to cancel their internet and TV service but kept their gaming consoles as a meager source of entertainment in an otherwise shitty period in their life.

Microsoft earned the lions share of my gaming budget the last two generations and if I were to receive similar gaming experiences in the next generation I have no problem continuing to spend money that way, but if they required an internet connection I will not be giving them any money what-so-ever. I have no interest in purchasing games with an expiration date.

Comment: Solidworks (Score 4, Interesting) 218

by twistedsymphony (#43193081) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best 3-D Design Software?
Since your goal is 3D printing or CNC machinging I would say you definitly want a "Solid Modeler" type package. I prefer SolidWorks personally, In my experience it's the defacto among small to medium sized manufacturing shops that keep up with the times, Pro-Engineer is popular too. AutoCAD seems pretty popular among shops that are a little behind the times.

Larger companies (Auto and Aerospace manufacturers) tend to use packages such as Catia, but that's way overkill (and way out of budget) for 3D printing and the like, it's more suited to massive assemblies with thousands or millions of components. Solidworks isn't without it's faults but I find the interface fairly intuitive once you learn the basics and it's perfect for small-scale stuff. I've used it many times to design small components and assemblies for car and computer projects among other things. Most professional software solid-modeling packages can export to whatever format you'll need for your 3D printer, CNC software, or whatever it is that your manufacturer requires.

You want a solid-modeler like Solidworks/Pro-E/Catia/etc because they're all designed with dimensional accuracy in mind. Surface modelers are generally used for 3D graphics production and have a higher concentration on making things look good than being dimensionally accurate. It's like the difference between MS Word and Adobe Photoshop... if you want to write a book, Word is probably the better software, but if you're designing a poster, Photoshop is probably the better choice... both create "documents" but they have very different uses... similarly if you need a 3D design software for manufacturing or real world production you want Solidworks, but if you wanted to make a 3D move or game Maya would be a better choice.

Comment: Re:Prices will come down? Hah! (Score 1) 393

by twistedsymphony (#42943865) Attached to: The End Is Near for GameStop
A Perfect Example of that is the game buying/download service available right now on the Xbox Live Marketplace and Playstation Store.... That new $60 game at GameStop can be downloaded to your console for... $60, you know because they didn't have to press the physical media, manufacture the case and print the manual, or ship that to a store and sell it at wholesale price, that savings was passed onto you... no wait, it went right into the pockets of the game makers... and that's a game that you bought that you can't resell so the fact that you've guaranteed there will be no re-sale on the used market means they reduced the cost right? nope... again they still charge full price.

But what about 3 months later when you can buy the game in the store for $25 instead of $60? ... oh well that game is still $60 if you want to download it. You know it's more expensive because of the convenience right.

Comment: Re:I doubt it (Score 4, Insightful) 393

by twistedsymphony (#42943791) Attached to: The End Is Near for GameStop
Let me tell you a little story... I was a PC gamer for years... I eventually got tired of dropping over a grand ever other year to keep my PC up to date, then the headaches with the game I just bought not being compatible with my hardware, wasting sometimes hours getting things installed and setup well enough to make them playable... I loved fighting games and racing games and those were two areas where consoles really out-shined the PC market so I made the switch and I was happy. Graphics weren't as good but I loved the fact that I could just sit down on my couch after a long day at work and enjoy the games without any roadblocks... no installation, no configuration, no worries about compatibility, no worries about lack of hardware power.. just pure gaming without any noise.

I have a home theater setup now with a nice big 109 in screen, and my PC is a laptop which is quite convenient, it's also 3 years old and I only paid about $600 for it then and it's not even close to being obsolete for my needs. With Steam launching big picture mode there there having been a few PC only games I wanted to play in the last few years I decided... maybe the Home Theater Gaming PC is a reality now? I dropped the cash and built a machine the last few parts came in last week... I had the box in my office hooked up to a spare monitor, keyboard, and mouse that I had... I spent a few hours installing windows, running windows update, installing and signing up for steam among other things.... I was ready to use it so a hauled the machine down into my home theater room, removed some old equipment to make room and hooked up my sleek new Home Theater Gaming PC.

It booted up and everything seemed to be going well but once I was in windows the wireless keyboard and mouse wasn't being recognized... ok I unplugged and plugged back in the dongle, no use, I checked the batteries, they were good, checked the documentation, there's no special instructions other than to plug it in. So I ran and got my wired keyboard and mouse and had to sit 2ft from my giant projection screen on the floor trying to figure out why the wireless devices weren't working... For some reason windows was recognizing the wireless dongle as a mass storage device that had 0 space. I plugged the dongle into my laptop and it worked fine without any problems... so I know the device is fine, the problem is with the windows install/drivers on the new machine. after banging my head against this issue for about an hour not finding anyone with similar problems online and not being able to futz with the drivers to get the machine to recognize it properly I gave up on that... I had a wireless adapter to use an Xbox 360 controller on the machine so for the time being I would just use the wired keyboard and mouse to navigate windows and play with the controller once I was in the games.

Throughout dealing with the keyboard and mouse problems I realized that I wasn't getting any sound, I didn't have speakers hooked up when it was in my office so I hadn't thought about it. I needed HDMI sound output for my home theater setup and pouring through all the sound options I couldn't find anything to enable sound out via HDMI. I went to look at the graphics driver options when I realized that I had never installed the nVidia graphics driver and it was still using the generic windows video driver. I went to nVidia's website, downloaded the latest driver and installed. It wanted to reboot so I obliged. I see the bios screen, the then some info on the raid array, then the windows loading screen then my projector looses the video signal, then it finds the video signal but the screen is black... for about 5 seconds then it loses the signal again, and repeats this loop endlessly. I force shutdown by holding the power button wait a few seconds and reboot...same problem.... I force shut down again and reboot into safe mode... same problem

So after spending nearly a grand, spending a day building the thing and half a day banging my head against driver issues I've at the moment bought myself a really expensive brick. I shut it off again and turned on my console and was already playing a game in less time than it takes the new machine to boot up. When I have some more free time I'll unplug everything from the home theater setup and haul it back up to my office to troubleshoot it with a normal monitor and a less annoying seating position, and I'll probably have to spend even more money to buy another keyboard and mouse setup that might actually work... In the end though it reminded me why I stopped playing PC games in the first place.

I benefit from console gaming because I use gaming as a way to sit down, relax and unwind, and that's something that using a mobile device or a PC just doesn't do for me.

Comment: Re:so before Sandy Point, they were idiots? (Score 1) 528

by twistedsymphony (#42347807) Attached to: Makerbot Cracks Down On 3D-Printable Gun Parts
" it's a hell of a lot easier to kill 26 people in a short period of time with a gun than with a knife"

Knives don't seem to slow down the school stabbings in china the number of victims in most of those incidents is similar if not more than the gun attacks here.

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.]

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