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Comment: Re:Kickstarter campaign to fix the overlord proble (Score 1) 124 124

And then what? Slashdot needs money on a regular basis.

Slashdot would need a way of getting enough people to pay to sustain itself, and that seems tricky. The audience is tech savvy with adblock and other places like reddit offer more value and still have trouble earning money.

Comment: Disappointing (Score 4, Informative) 104 104

What I thought from the description is that a neural network was taught how to play Magic and somehow generated new cards by trying to play with them. Think for instance of a program that tries to come up with a new chess piece by coming up with a movement pattern, playing games with that piece and trying to figure out whether it'd be useful or interesting to play with.

This on the other hand looks like something like a markov chain generator. Amusing nonsense that can give humans fun ideas.

Comment: Re:Fuck 'em (Score 0) 422 422

Sure, it's a net win. The assets will be sold, and the employees will be paid their severance package. They also get paid for unused vacation days, and after the vacation days are over they also get paid unemployment benefits.

You seem to be suggesting that failing to pay what is owed to some (and maybe more than the initially laid off people if they would have run out of money later anyway) would somehow have been better.

Comment: Re:I don't really buy it (Score 1) 422 422

The most likely reason why they got sued and lost is because they screwed up something related to the layoffs.

My impression is that in Europe people are generally less litigious than in America, but the employment laws have big, sharp teeth and it's very unwise for employers to try to ignore them.

Comment: I don't really buy it (Score 2) 422 422

If that was it, they didn't have much left to live. Sure, if you ignore laws and costs, you can make a business profitable that otherwise wouldn't be, but you don't get to ignore what you owe.

Now I'm not familiar with the laws in France, but in general I expect this was something like not paying a severance package, or not giving adequate advance notice. Those things are part of doing business and any employer should know about them. You can't just pretend they don't apply to your company.

Comment: Re:Attempting with existing title was a mistake (Score 3, Insightful) 239 239

Steam has to handle payments, deal with the mod authors, do some kind of policing and support (minimal as it might be), host the mods on their servers, and somebody had to develop the functionality to support this.

30% might be excessive, but as far as Steam taking a cut at all it does make sense.

Comment: Re:Rent seeking all the way down. (Score 1) 239 239

The Microsoft assets used are minimal? Look at Wine and how much work it took to get to a point where it can be halfway useful. You know why that is? Because the things that Windows provides to the application are far from minimal.

A game might not care much about the Windows UI, but many years of work went into making the Windows kernel and DirectX into what they are today. Those are not simple bits of code.

Comment: Re:Attempting with existing title was a mistake (Score 2, Interesting) 239 239

Steam taking a cut is fair enough.

Bethesda already got paid for those textures and so on when I bought Skyrim. I see no reason why they should get 45% of something they didn't have any hand in developing, they don't host, and they don't provide any support for.

Comment: Re:They didn't grab the opportunity (Score 5, Insightful) 359 359

Invitations were a mistake in the first place.

It works for email because any email provider interoperates with any other. Having an account on gmail when nobody else does doesn't create any problems for the user.

On the other hand the very point of social media is that everybody you know is there. Being alone on something like Google+ is completely pointless. Such a service should be grown in the completely opposite way of the "have people invite each other" idea, using any excuse possible to get people to sign up.

Comment: Re:Never trust them again (Score 1) 127 127

I understand the idea, yes. But:

1. Most of the time, it doesn't work. Let's face it, at least 95% of the people looking to buy a laptop don't understand this issue. A good amount of people doesn't care about spying either, because they think they have anything to hide, or because the US government is doing it so it must be good, or because the US government doing it makes it impossible to avoid anyway, or for a myriad other reasons. I think Lenovo would have to be in a very weak state for this to do them under.

2. If it worked, it wouldn't be a good thing anyway. The laptop business is a very expensive to enter and competitive one. If people ran a company out of business every time it displeased them enough, despite trying to rectify their mistake, nobody would want to enter the market. Who would want to risk their money in such a way? So the market would eventually stabilize with 2 or 3 remaining companies which are too big to bankrupt, or who people won't boycott because there's too much inertia and not enough alternatives.

If the market settled for instance on Dell and Apple, boycotting one would require rebuilding your entire infrastructure and way of doing things. This won't happen, so if such a situation is reached they can basically do whatever they want.

If we want a consumer friendly environment we need plenty of competition, and this means that bankrupting a company should be the absolute last resort.

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin

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