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Comment Re:People Really Do That? (Score 3, Insightful) 111

CanHasDIY: [People Really Do That?] ... and by "do that," I mean let their employer take control of their personal lives? WTF is wrong with them?

That's the "cultural thing" that they were talking about. Somewhere in the past thirty years or so, along with the stagnation of wages, the collapse of the "middle class," the inexorable creep forward of prices for things like food, housing, and health care, and the antiquation of the notion that workers have rights, it became a buyer's labor market. Most people fear that if they don't toe the line and do what their bosses tell them to, it'd be far too easy to dismiss them (i.e. fire their worthless slacker asses) and hire someone with a more respectful, helpful attitude (i.e. sycophant).

And in an era where most people live from paycheck to paycheck and either lack the gumption (or worse, the salary) to save up for emergencies, that fear is a sensible one.

Comment Followed by a CSB (Score 3, Insightful) 274

coffeechica: The concept of needing laptops at all for good education is questionable, I think.

The concept of needing anything/em> for a good education is questionable. The computer is a tool which is capable of good (through assisting the teaching of subjects), evil (distracting the students or supplanting the teacher), or pointlessness.

First, the tool has to be assessed, to see if it's suitable to assist in the teaching of a subject. The computer can be mighty flexible, and beside running Excel to actually do the accounting, it can present information, quiz students on topics being learned, and even make corrections based on incorrect answers. (And yes, I include properly done Powerpoint under the heading "present information." LibreOffice's Presentation tool qualifies too.)

Second, the tool may need to be tweaked to work for a specific purpose. The last two, quizzing and correcting, ride on the assumption that somewhere behind the scenes, someone in the school's employ is using a relatively simple scripting tool (LiveCode comes to mind) to create the lessons, and to further present on correct techniques when wrong answers are given.

Third, the tool has to be accepted and understood by the teacher. A tool unused is meaningless, but a tool misapplied can do more harm than good.

And fourth, the tool has to be accepted and used correctly by the students. Same principle as above: if they don't know how to get the information out of it, they won't larn nuffin'. A sweet UI and finely honed educational software stand no chance against a blithering idiot.

My mother taught learning disabled preschoolers. I watched with some horror as she sent one student after another back for "computer time" unattended, and they kind of puttered around with it. The worst was what I dub a "click-monster"—he might as well have been blindfolded and firing a machine-gun the way he was clicking. It was like recess, but nothing was being exercised except index finger and wrist.

With a little time, expense, and staff education, the computer can be a fantastic tool for teaching and learning. I can appreciate that without that time and expense, the tool isn't nearly as useful.

Comment Re:Biting off more than they can chew I fear (Score 1) 273

erroneus: At some point, someone will challenge the legality of this practice of blocking legal recourse. The fact of the matter is, the legal system is government and is in place to help guarantee peaceful resolution of disputes between parties.

That depends entirely on who's controlling the government during that cycle, and who that government decides needs the greater protection, doesn't it?

What we're seeing these days is a continued skewing of rights and privileges away from employees and "small" customers, toward employers and "large" customers. I'm surprised it hasn't trickled into the userspace sooner, frankly.

Comment Re:Quad Core In a Tablet/Phone? (Score 3, Interesting) 123

rsmith-mac: what on earth are you going to do with 4 CPUs when you can only interact with 1 program at a time?

This assumes that iOS will only ever allow you to interact with one program at a time. This also assumes that iOS doesn't do so already—ever play music while working with another app? It's a question of controls, and finding ways to work with multiple programs that works for the users.

If I were doing it, I'd consider a "half-screen" mode where you can have two apps open, one on each side of the screen. But that's worse than Apple-armchairing, that's UX-armchairing. *shudder*

Comment Yes, another one. And likely more after that. (Score 1) 55

That's right. We have enough social services already. But they—the marketers and salesmen who want more channels to push their product through in order to make a sale—won't rest until you can't spit in your online social space (so to speak) without hitting an advertisement. And if this means creating more social spaces then so be it: Let a thousand cheesy Facebook-knockoffs bloom!

Because we are groaning under social internet overload, there's a good chance that those newer services won't be looked at, much less taken seriously.

That said, there is one thing Sony has going for them in this case: it's a community social network. It's a PSN thing, so it's safe to say that everyone going there, if they choose to, has common ground: more desire to play multiplayer games than they have real-life friends with PS3s. In the modern "social overload" network, that kind of commonality is a necessary ingredient to building a community online.

Comment Okay, this is just sad. (Score 2) 339

I have no doubt that Hollywood will lose its taste for the cash cow it's currently grinding into hamburger (note: not the mixed metaphor that it sounds like). But fretting over The Next Big Thing, simply because a clear winner hasn't emerged yet? That's pathetic.

For one thing, take a look at the movie listings. There's currently a lot more out there beside the "superhero" movie. Some of it is older genres, some of it is niche new stuff that someone felt was good to throw against the wall, just to see if it stuck. If the superhero genre can be said to be "dominating," it's only because they're making more money, not because they're filling every theater and pushing the ordinary genres off the screen.

Second, when their star finally does fade, who's to say it'll do so completely? Like I said, a lot of older genres are still being explored. Who's to say we won't get a satisfying drip of interesting empowered individual films in the future?

And third, it's entirely possible that the reason that the superhero film has dominated Hollywood's rather Asperger's-like focus is that the Next Big Thing hasn't come along yet. I have every confidence that when it does, filmmakers will jump upon it with both feet and kick the Current Big Thing to the curb.

Comment The Life Cycle of Non-Apple Products (Score 0, Flamebait) 136

TheyTookOurJobs: While I completely believe Apple is paranoid enough to believe that everyone is stealing their generic unappealing design,

I don't know if you'd noticed or not, but a lot of people really do try to steal Apple's designs, or at least their thunder. It's the step between (5) observe with mounting horror and a hint of awakening greed how well the Apple product is doing in its newly impacted niche and (7) boast proudly that Apple's not the only one to have a design in that niche.

Incidentally, (4) is "complain how generic and obvious the Apple product is, and decry how it can't possibly amount to anything in its selected niche." Whether (4) is an honest reaction or a premeditated defense against claims of (6) is left as an exercise for the reader, and probably best judged on a case-by-case basis.

Comment It's the Message, Not the Medium (Score 1) 58

Oh, you joke.

Nethack, as itself? Almost certainly not. Nethack, reskinned to immerse the player in an artistic or cultural situation? With a sufficient advertising budget to convince people to actually play it? That might pass and, depending on the situation or scenario you present, it might even be worthwhile.

As a further example, remember that any game which would be suitable for this grant doesn't even necessarily have to be playable, just evocative. Consider the innocuous-seeming board game Train , which was pretty much designed to make you want to stop playing most of the way through the first time and never to try it again. That one didn't just hit its mark, it kicked it in the kielbasa. To its detriment, some people failed to realize that the board game was villifying the original event, and instead chose to hate on the board game for celebrating it.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 58

Stormy Dragon: Given the deficit problem we already have, why should we be spending money to produce a good that is already being produced in massive quantities, particularly a good that only the well off (who can afford high end PC's or expensive gaming equipment and subscription) will be able to take advantage of?

There's a little more to it than just shoveling money at video game companies. Down below I posted a one-sentence paragraph from the article. Here are the ones from right before and right after that one:

TFA: There is a new emphasis on innovation, as well as strengthening creativity through access to the arts.

We’re encouraging media projects that enhance public knowledge and understanding of the arts through multi-platform or transmedia means.

This is, I gather, supposed to be art with a purpose, and that purpose is to raise awareness in some capacity, be it appreciation of other artistic media or social issues. For that reason, I consider this a good thing, even though I can't take advantage of it myself.

Beside the issue I raised below, they're looking for "innovation" in whatever game comes out, and I find it hard to believe they're experienced enough or equipped to judge games in that capacity. If Zynga gets into this grant business, I could advocate nuking the plan from orbit, just to be on the safe side.

Comment Pretty Narrow Target (Score 1) 58

Given the terms of the grant, I see them having trouble finding appropriate projects to fund. For that reason, I can't help worrying that this all could go down poorly.

On the one hand, sure, they're going to give these grants to smaller, actual "indie" development groups. But on the other hand...

TFA: In order to reach the widest possible audience, priority will be given to projects that include substantive public engagement strategies, including well articulated social media strategies.

If I'm reading this right, they're looking for indie developers that are set up with good PR and exposure. There aren't that many of those, are there?

Comment Re:Regarding MACDefender (Score 1) 202

MACDefender requires that you agree to install it. It's not able to infect your Mac without your knowledge and consent.
AND : Just drop it in the trash bin to get rid of it. Hassle free. Click and drag. That's it.

I know of no malware that (a) would give up so easily or (b) would not take the opportunity once it got the first privileges to run with them as far as they could.

Drag it to the trash? If it doesn't rewrite .bashrc to start a process to make sure it's installed and running when the system starts up, then it's not a proper malware. If anything, it should throw up more alerts when it detects a disruption and claim that something the user did has caused a configuration error—contact the mothership with credit card in hand to download the full version that will actually protect (snicker!) you.

The problem is the same with any other malware: once it gets its hooks into the system and a whiff of legitimacy, it should be all over the place.

Fortunately, it doesn't have to crack MacOS's security when the user either forgets to lock it down in the first place or opens the mac up specifically to let the malware in.

And the vector is the same: why crack the operating system when the user is so much more accommodating?

Comment The One That Lets You Keep Your Data (Score 1) 262

I had an idea which I thought at the time was novel. I haven't worked out all the kinks in it yet, but if it could be made to work, I think it could be awesome.

It starts with a home server, web-facing and firewalled against casual intrusion. You keep your data on that in some standard configuration which lets outside companies tap into and add value to the data of everyone who registers their servers with that company.

Example: Photo-sharing on a social network. You'd have your pictures on your home computer in a given format that the outside system could read. You'd register your server with flickronlylessskeezy.com, and users on that system could see your pictures, comment on them, etc. The second logical step would be to register your home server to hold the lists of friends and comments.

Advantages: The data would stay on your computer. You control who does and doesn't access it by registering and deregistering outside services and controlling privileges, and if the service goes down, all that's lost is an accessor method; your data is still in your control. And if some organization decides they absolutely need to take down some incriminating or inconvenient data, an attack on a single server will take care of it without damaging the service for everyone else (beyond not seeing that special data).

Disadvantages: It does require either static IP addresses or tracking back through dynamic IPs, and more than a little computer knowledge on the part of the user, including database management, although with some very specialized software, there might be ways to make this user-friendly. It would also benefit greatly from decent connection speeds and ISPs who don't throttle "power users" (which right now is damn near none of them). And some companies which get in on this might want to stifle competition by using non-standard or proprietary data formats, which means if the service goes down your data is stuck in a black box which you can't open.


Well, once those problems are cleared, anyway, I think it could work. Thoughts?

Comment How To Read the Memos to Get Something Out Of Them (Score 1) 101

All right, let's see. "Entrenched", "sales", "player engagement" those line up well, we're off to a good start. "Hours of _____" isn't even on the board, while "online play" is, and that looks promising. "DLC" doesn't help any. "Quality" and its variations isn't on the grid, but perhaps it should be. Oh, good, "innovation" and "curve" are both there in good places. "Services" isn't on the grid either, but "community" is, and —ooh, hang on!

"Sales", "player engagement", "online play", "innovation", and "staying power!" Yes! BINGO! What do I win?

Comment Concerned about future PSP2 developments (Score 2) 267

I admit, I'm concerned about this product.

I mean, look at when the PS3 came out. It had a number of connectivity features like a memory card slot, and a lot of promise for future development. And as it matured and newer versions of the console were released, those features were progressively taken out and kicked to the curb in order to provide a more simplistic, a lesser, a (dare I say it?) downgraded user experience. Similarly, things like the Other OS option were taken out of the menus, further limiting this box as either a game player, a lobster trap for your purchased music and movies, or if all those fail, a doorstop. A very large doorstop, at that—you could use it to prop open the garage.

I have reservations about the PSP2. Has Sony included enough bells and whistles in this device that, a year or two down the road, they can yank the popular features willy-nilly and still have something that's viable in the marketplace?

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