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Comment Diff Eq is supposed to be hard (Score 2) 656

It sounds like you're used to knowing everything already. Learning is not always easy. Spending three hours on a homework assignment is pretty common in a technical major. Think about how little time that really is and you'll see that it's not such a big deal. You will spend at least that long banging your head against new concepts at work, so you might as well get used to it now.

Differential equations in particular can be hard if you're weak on algebra and calculus. IMHO, the most important thing to master for undergrad math is algebra. You need to be able to rearrange equations in your head. Once you can do that, the calculus stuff isn't very hard. Might be worth dropping the class and taking a refresher algebra course. Another option is to check out a few other textbooks from your university library (yes, they have them). A different presentation can make things much more clear. For the same reason, you might also try asking other professors for help. Try the physics department; they may be better at the intuitive side. I didn't really understand how to use integrals (as opposed to solving them) until a physics professor explained it to me.

Comment Re:Why hate on Wii U? (Score 1) 84

People complain about Steam being DRM all the time. Here are some examples from the last Wii U story:

http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3493225&cid=43007183
http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3493225&cid=43007729
http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3493225&cid=43012915

That being said, Steam is very popular because it's very unobtrusive and almost never causes problems.

Comment Where this is coming from (Score 2) 351

Looking through the article and its links, it seems like this is a response to China, which is deploying MIRVs to counter US-deployed anti-ballistic missile systems. With the Agni-V's extended range, India will be able to strike every city in China. Both sides are also developing submarine-launched missiles, which should hopefully reduce the incentive for a first strike.

Comment Re:Why hate on Wii U? (Score 2) 84

Why all the Wii U hate?

It's not just Wii U hate. The console wars are as old as consoles themselves. Buying a console costs a lot of money and limits your choice of games, which is a big emotional investment. People like to defend their purchasing choices, and are often unpleasant about it. Aside from that, there are some specific factors relevant to the new generation and Slashdot in particular:

* Anti-Microsoft sentiment from Windows spills over onto the XBox.
* Anti-Sony sentiment from ongoing IP-related arguments spills over onto the PS3.
* Anything that involves DRM of any kind causes a fuss.
* Slashdot has a lot of gadget geeks who want to use game consoles for things other than gaming. They tend to overestimate the importance of non-gaming features.
* The Wii (and Wii U) are "casual" gaming platforms for "casual" gamers. The (somewhat artificial) distinction between "casual" and "hardcore" gamers is hugely controversial and bitterly fought over. This also comes into play when people bring up tablet and smartphone gaming.
* New consoles normally only have one or two good games on launch. Marketers have to sell the consoles by talking up the hardware and non-gaming features to their chosen target audience. This ties in with everything I already mentioned.
* The success or failure of a console is determined by whether third-party companies decide to support it. Perceived success is very important here. There's a lot of money on the line for the manufacturers and the people who paid top dollar for the new consoles.
* In previous generations, we all argued over which console was best. This time, we're arguing over which console is least bad.

In most generations, there's a clear winner in terms of sales and games. Most recently, the Wii won on sales by selling a ton of units to casual gamers while the PS3 and X360 split the hardcore market. The question today is, can the Wii U repeat that tactic? And can either the PS4 or X1 gain an advantage over the other? With similar hardware and lots of cross-platform games, the manufacturers are clearly hoping that non-gaming features will be a deciding factor. It's happened before -- the PS2's ability to play DVDs was a huge selling point -- but seems unlikely to happen again. As usual, it'll almost certainly come down to the games. If this console generation does poorly, we might see a resurgence of PC gaming.

Personal opinion: As someone who's been playing PC and console games since about 1990, I'm not very interested in the Wii U. Ever since the N64 Nintendo has mostly relied on their own games to push their platforms, and there's only so many times I can play Mario, Zelda, and Metroid before I get bored. And the foray into motion control is very gimmicky to me. I would like to see more PC-focused games. The biggest difference between consoles and PCs is the controls, and there's a lot you can do with a keyboard and mouse that just doesn't work on a gamepad.

Comment What would they come back to? (Score 4, Insightful) 260

Apple started off making computers (or maybe "integrated hardware/software experiences" is a better way to put it). After their comeback, they still made computers. Now their big thing is portable computers -- a big change, but still related to what they always did. Their focus is on design and UX expertise.

Yahoo started off making a hierarchical directory of web sites, then dove into the web portal craze of the late 1990s. After their comeback, they will ___________. Their focus is on ___________.

Fill in the blanks. It's not going to be what they did before, because nobody wants more hierarchical web directories and portals. They have a bunch of people still using their webmail, so that's one option. GMail wiped the floor with them before, but it's been getting clunky lately thanks to G+. Yahoo could try to recapture the clean simplicity of Google's early days. That would be a big challenge indeed -- as a portal company, the idea of leaving blank space on a web page is utterly alien to them.

It looks like they're producing independent news. That's an interesting option -- they could compete with the Huffington Post et al. Online news is still based strongly on newspapers, so there's room for someone to shake up the format.

This all seems like a stretch, though. Yahoo's name has little value, and their current expertise isn't very helpful. All they bring to the table is more money than a startup, but it probably won't be enough to save them. Then again, that's what I said about Apple too.

Comment Re:I look forward to hearing about why this will f (Score 1) 782

Those are decent specs for a gaming machine. Quad-core is standard (see Ivy Bridge and the upcoming Haswell for examples). Games released this month don't even recommend 8 GB of RAM, much less require it. 500 GB of hard drive space is plenty for games -- not so much for hoarding 1080p media, but it sounds like they're focused on streaming. Not sure what you mean about Blu-ray being obsolete, unless someone made a Violet-ray while I wasn't watching...

Comment Re:"austerity" (Score 1) 273

The point is, when the media cries "poverty", the average person doesn't think "car, house, microwave, satellite TV, computer, nice things of various sorts-see list" which are now more the norm than not. The average person thinks "falling-down tenement with leaky roof and no electric or plumbing and infested with rats and cockroaches" and the tenant-farmer shacks of the 1920s.

I'm not convinced that the "average person" thinks anything like that. In particular, you have to be pretty rural before (unreliable) electricity and (leaky, easily-broken) plumbing go away. The inclusion of microwaves and VCRs in the list is very odd. Microwaves cost maybe $50 new and can easily last for a decade. Microwave food is the epitome of a cheap meal -- think ramen noodles. Also, $5 will not buy a week's worth of decent nutrition in any city I've ever been to. (I mean normal nutrition, not fancy organic boutique stuff.) As for VCRs... can you even buy those in stores anymore? None of the upper middle class people I know still have VCRs. I strongly suspect you could use VCR ownership as an indicator of poverty, not wealth. That list was written in 2011! Why are they still talking about VCRs?

There are other oddities too. Air conditioning is not an extravagant luxury if you live in the southern US, and window units don't cost a fortune. They often come with apartments. Wide-screen plasma and LCD TVs have been the only kind sold for years, and are the only kind that can properly show even broadcast TV today. Only a third of poor people have one, but that's evidence of widespread luxury? (The rest of the study says big screen, but the actual survey data looks like they meant wide-screen.) You can get dial-up internet access for $10/month in some places. In short, the list you linked to is quite consistent with poor people having used, low-quality items, focusing on necessities with the higher-income people having a few small extras. It's certainly better than Sub-Saharan Africa, but that's a pretty low bar for the richest country in the world. I'm not even going to start on the massive double standard of telling poor people that they're not really poor while complaining about rich people being massively over-taxed.

Incidentally, the lead author on that list is also described as a sex education expert who promotes abstinence-only sex ed, which should tell you something about his intellectual honesty. (The Heritage Foundation backs him on that, by the way.) Skimming through the study, some of the measures look questionable. It wouldn't surprised me if they were cherry-picking data.

Comment Re:Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth... (Score 1) 297

Nintendo can use false matches to destroy people that make original videos without Nintendo images, sounds, etc., by funneling the revenue to them.

They could, but that would be silly. Nintendo sells video games. Why would they spend time and money trying to steal (less) money from indie movie makers? If they were going to muscle people out of a market, they go after indie games. Your idea is a conspiracy theory at best.

I'll admit they look English. They're marketer doublespeak, but they do look like grammatically correct English.

It's not doublespeak and it's rather awkward English. They very clearly a) stated their desire for people to continue sharing "Nintendo content" (meaning stuff they own), and b) contrasted this with "other entertainment companies". This is not ambiguous.

At best, all this "on-going push" will "ensure" is that people are chilled at the thought of uploading something with a sound or footage that will trip Content-ID and *wham* no revenue. They also haven't said how permanently they "have chosen not to block people using our intellectual property", so people who have uploaded videos, safe in the knowledge that they've "only" been Content-ID'd and neutered by Nintendo, could be awash in copyright strikes one or two golden-parachuted CEOs later.

If you want to make reliable money off of YouTube videos, maybe you should, I don't know, *actually make your own videos* instead of basing them entirely on someone else's work. I'm sure there are plenty of gray areas here, but this is not one of them. A Let's Play is a start-to-finish play through of a video game. It's not taking a few things from a game, it is (by design) taking everything from the game. Call me when Nintendo goes after the Angry Video Game Nerd.

Of course, it's not only the fault of the fine folks who brought us 10NES...

The purpose of the NES lockout chip was to avoid the quality control problems that killed the North American console gaming industry. There's a reason the American NES looks like a VCR.

Comment Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth... (Score 0, Troll) 297

(For those who don't know what this Let's Play thing is all about, it's where you add commentary to a playthrough of a game, either in speech or subtitles. It started on SomethingAwful several years ago. If you want a good example, check out the Jurassic Park: Tresspasser LP by ResearchIndicates, which is one of the best. Okay, helpful part's over, back to ranting.)

So a big media company discovers that people on YouTube are posting full-length video playthroughs of entire copyrighted works, but instead of immediately sending out takedowns, they decide to support it -- yes, actively *support* it:

In a statement, the firm said the move was part of an "on-going push to ensure Nintendo content is shared across social media". "We continually want our fans to enjoy sharing Nintendo content on YouTube," the company added. "That is why, unlike other entertainment companies, we have chosen not to block people using our intellectual property."

[emphasis mine]

And in exchange for totally legitimizing these flagrant acts of copyright violation (most of which are completely half-assed and not at all good advertisements for the games), all they want is the ad revenue from the videos. And you're telling us to *complain* about this?

What kind of whiny ungrateful shit-for-brains idiocy is this? Nintendo has every legal right to sue the bejeezus out of LPers, and they chose not to, using the same reasoning we've been using for the past fifteen years. *They gave us what we wanted*! Why are we not celebrating? Because all these whiners got out of making a video was fandom and ego gratification? Poor babies!

Also, "corporate gibberish"? It's three simple sentences that are logically connected to each other. Can we save the insults for where they're deserved? It's not like it's hard to find legitimate criticisms of our favorite multinational corporations.

Comment Full presentation (Score 5, Informative) 237

You can find the full slide set in PDF format here.

If I read this right, it really is a fully on-chip switching regulator, inductors and all. They already have a test chip that they used to power a ~90W Xeon E7330 for four hours while it ran Linpack. (Or a virus -- it says Linpack in the summary page.) Voltage ripple is less than 2mV. Peak efficiency per cell looks like ~76% at 8A. They claim hitting 82% would be easy, and there are "additional advancements that cannot be reported at this time" planned for the future.

The slides have bunch of other technical details about testability features, too, which is always neat to see.

Comment Re:Being a woman at RIT (Score 1) 117

I started at RIT in 2000 and graduated in 2006 and even by that point the ratio was a lot better. There were mixed-gender groups of freshmen walking around the dorm side, and they actually looked... happy?

Not sure it would be my first choice for college if I were a girl, but yay for her raising the value of our diplomas in any case.

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