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Comment Re:Avoid a psychiatric diagnosis at all costs (Score 4, Insightful) 784

This is basically the opposite of good advice, and none of it conforms to any experience I've ever had, or that anyone I know has had. I have a psychiatric diagnosis or two, and I've gotten treatment, and you know what? It's made my life a heck of a lot better actually getting some help. I've never had a doctor try to somehow disregard physical illnesses based on this, either.

The thing with "treatments" in scare quotes is a pretty strong indication that you're not merely unaware of the state of the art in the field, but actively avoiding any risk of being contaminated by actual information about it. And I guess if you wanna be that way on your own dime, that's your business, but when you start telling other people they should avoid basic health care services because you're afraid of them, that's sorta harmful to other people.

Comment Re:Creationism = religion, not science. At all. (Score 1) 710

That's a fairly good summary.

What's odd is that I meet an occasional person who diligently doesn't collect stamps, has books full of no-stamps, and spends a lot of time telling other people how much fun it is to not collect stamps. And who, in fact, puts more time into it than I usually put into my hobbies.

Comment Re:Impressions... (Score 1) 555

Replying to my own post because a thing happened in Rift: In the last three or four days, there's been a sudden influx of GMs showing up in channels and actually doing stuff. Some of the high-profile trolls have discovered to their dismay that suddenly the GMs are willing to push buttons that were previously mostly theoretical.

So I'm suddenly a lot more interested in it.

Comment Re:Impressions... (Score 1) 555

It is truly amazing how much clue they don't have. UI in Lua is not an unheard-of choice, and some games have done quite well with that and produced robust and secure interfaces, with clear limits to their APIs. Apparently, FF14 is not one of them.

Comment Only that's not what "common sense" is. (Score 1) 152

Common sense is nothing at all to do with "learning things without being specifically taught". Common sense normally means "having roughly the expected set of intuitions", which includes a fair amount of instinct (which, by definition, you don't "learn"), and also a lot of stuff that actually is taught. Meanwhile, whole categories of learning and theorizing are not at all "common sense".

This is why absent-minded professors are a trope; because people can be quite good at learning things without being taught them, inferring, and so on... and still not remember to bring an umbrella when it looks like rain.

Comment Impressions... (Score 2) 555

Rift: By far my favorite of the games. I don't play it, though, because they've basically abandoned even the pretense of enforcing any of their rules. Wanna tell everyone that "abbos" are basically monkeys and ought to be gassed? Talk about how you want to rape someone's kids? Spend your evenings making jokes about how much you hate gays? Go to the designated RP server just to stalk RPers around and harass them? Right now, Rift is your best choice. Particularly mystifying, because in basically every other category, Rift's devs strike me as among the most passionate and skilled in the field, and also some of the most engaged with their customer base. Except on this one thing. Unfortunately, social interaction is the biggest thing by far about MMOs for me. And yes, I'm aware that every game has some of that. What's different is that in Rift, the same person can be using the same character to do this for, quite literally, over a year without them being told to stop. One person I know once got into an argument and told another player he was going to rape them with a knife; he did get contacted by a GM, who apparently suggested that maybe he should tone it down a bit. F2P model is, thus far, surprisingly non-abusive. In particular, if you want to just play the game without ever paying a penny, that's actually viable. Performance not nearly as good as it should be, but they're actively working on it; until recently, the bulk of the game's rendering engine was not multicore-friendly.

FF14 ARR: The parts that are good are amazing. But in other respects, they have taken incompetence to a whole new level. It took them ages to solve the VERY challenging problem that their spam filter wouldn't notice that you were sending 2-3 messages a second to a channel as long as each message varied by a few characters, for instance. Rumor has it that they've had exploits which allowed malicious users to, for instance, sell a stack of 99 cheap items to a vendor, but inform the game that they had sold very expensive items. Or instantly level themselves to the level cap by handing in a single quest. Probably mostly fixed by now, but that these things were wrong in a game which is already a re-release from a company with prior experience is insane. On the other hand, very pretty, very atmospheric, good storytelling. But it is a Final Fantasy game; it is literally a few minutes from when you create your character to the first time you are able to move, and even then you simply aren't allowed turn around and walk the other way until you've talked to your quest giver. No, really. And yet, it's pretty fun. Sub-only. Performance is pretty decent, although the previous release was apparently bad. Special mention for the very deep and full-featured crafting system, which I personally find to be the most fun part of it.

D&D Online: F2P model a little harsher than, say, Rift. However, a sufficiently patient player can probably unlock all the restricted content through in-game activity. Or just sub for a while. This game is not really D&D -- if you are familiar with the 3.5 rules, it will screw you up as much as it helps you. It is, however, the minmaxer paradise. This is a game which absolutely, unconditionally, rewards people who are good at thinking out how to make their numbers stack for best results. Very unusual mechanics in a number of ways; for instance, you don't get XP from killing mobs, only from achieving objectives. No automatic healing just from not being in combat, and if you aren't playing with difficulty turned down (there's settings for that), you can run out of resources trying to do a quest. Graphics are sort of unimpressive compared to a lot of other games. On the other hand, has a native mac client, which can matter if you have a mac or have friends who prefer the mac. Runs well on older hardware. Insane depth of character creation, and after you cap out, you can restart the character as anything else, only with small permanent bonuses. Which stack.

TSW: Buy-to-play. Lots of stuff you might want to spend money on, but mostly that's cosmetics, and you don't have to spend money to have fun. "Investigation" missions are a real highlight for some players, others hate them. Me, I loved them. A nice change from the quasi-medieval fantasy lineup; this is a game where you can shoot Cthulhu with a shotgun. Some interesting mechanical choices, not all of which work well, but some of which are pretty fun. Combat requires more movement and positioning than a lot of other MMOs. Also very focused on character-build options, but character builds are entirely temporary; you are expected to master everything on a single character.

WoW: Cartoonish or not, it's got art style, and sometimes writing. Has gradually gotten simplified over the years. Me, I don't touch anything Blizzard does anymore, because their insanely stupid positions on their "Real ID" idea convinced me that they are either stupid or malicious. I am aware that they have mostly finally fixed those problems, but their dismissive and insulting attitude towards complaints was a serious red flag for me. They waited for people to get hurt before fixing problems which had been clearly explained to them, and which frankly any ten-year-old could have pointed out, and they've never even admitted that the complainers might have had legitimate gripes. So I haven't touched it in years, and don't plan to.

GW2, Wildstar: I don't do business with ncsoft anymore, so I don't know. I've heard people say good things and bad things both about GW2, and Wildstar at least looks potentially interesting.

City of Titans: CoH spiritual successor, won't be around for quite a while, and honestly I'll be a bit surprised if they ever get anywhere, but if they do it might be the most interesting and fun, just from a game culture/design standpoint.

Comment power-cycle your whole house? (Score 0, Troll) 309

The entertainment system on the LH A340-300 I flew yesterday wasn't booting. We could see the Windows CE console boot sequence where it would hang. The pilot came on the loudspeaker and told us he had to power-cycle the entire aircraft. (I'm pretty sure he meant just the cabin power.) Several people said, "Makes sense if it's running Windows," and another asked, "They aren't using Windows in the cockpit, are they?"

(Once it did boot up, touch panel performance was poor, and video playback had a fair amount of stutter.)

Comment Re:Done at Google (Score 3, Informative) 177

I know a few people who encountered this at Google. They found that it was absolutely lethal to team morale, because by definition it was actively harmful to you to help other people who report to the same manager; people worked around this at least some by forming teams of people reporting to different managers. But basically, of the people I know who work at Google, roughly 0% think the HR and staffing policies are reasonable, and I know more than one person who is being massively underemployed because of an arbitrary checklist of things that they have to do before they can be moved into a role that would use their stellar skills.

This will be a bit garbled, because my memory is vague and I want to shuffle details to keep people from being identified, but basically, imagine that you have a usual progression of programming roles from entry-level to senior, say. And similarly for sysadmin, and so on. And you have someone who is currently working as a relatively entry-level sysadmin, who would be an excellent senior programmer. You can't move that person to the programmer job because they haven't met the checklist of items for mid-level sysadmin yet, therefore they can't be evaluated for a possible change in job responsibilities. So your options are (1) acquire some meaningless credentials to do with obsolete operating systems no one still cares about or (2) look for work elsewhere, but not (3) move to a job inside Google where you'd be incredibly valuable to the company.

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