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Comment Re:OK. Next? (Score 2) 588

Can you install your own OS on your DVD player?

Of course. That's how it became a DVD player. Until I installed the OS and the DVD app, it was just a computer and an optical drive. It's the installation of software (which definitely does include the OS) which breathes life into the otherwise useless hardware.

Comment Re:Help an old guy understand this (Score 5, Funny) 398

> l
Gimli the Dwarf (Necromancer)
Strider the Human (Greater Necromancer)
Legolas the Elf (Necromancer)
>'hey guys, are you all ready?
You say, "hey guys, are you all ready?"
Gimli says, "y"
Legolas says, "wait, I think Frodo is coming"
> s
Pirate Cave
You are in a pirate cave. There are various pirate props here. The only exit is to the north.
Sauron the Maiar (Greater Necromancer).
Saruman the Istari (Necromancer) (blocking the north exit).
Grishnakh the Orc (Lesser Sorcerer).
Magic helmet.
Balrog the Balrog (Greater Necromancer).
Ugluk the Orc (Lesser Sorcerer).
Balrog says, "I see them on who, so there's a chance they might attack today"
>ooc oh shit, meant to type 'lead s'
You say (ooc), "oh shit, meant to type 'lead s'"
> n
The exit is blocked.
Strider shouts, "aren't we coming with you?"
Ugluk takes Magic helmet.
Legolas shouts, "wait"
Sauron grapples you!
Sauron says "what do we have here?"
> n
The exit is blocked.
You can't move while grappled.
> kill sauron
You attack Sauron!
Sauron attacks you!
> shout help!
You shout, "help!"
Saruman laughs.
Balrog blocks the north exit.
Gimli shouts "Are you coming back or should we wait?"
Ugluk wears Magic helmet.
Grishnahk attacks you!
Legolas arrives.
Legolas says "come back north, we're not ready"
You hit Sauron hard!
Ugluk attacks you!
Legolas tries to move north but is blocked by Saruman.
Azog arrives.
Strider arrives.
Bilbo arrives.
Strider says, "did you mean to lead us?"
Shagrat arrives.
Frodo arrives.
Sauron shouts "lag!"

Comment Help an old guy understand this (Score 0) 398

So there's a MUD which has PK. Someone accidentally separated from the party he was leading, and found himself in a room with a different party, which consisted of enemies. Instead of running away, he decided to fight, and he shouted for help. The whole MUD heard the shout. Then instead of just his party coming, nearly every player on the MUD ran to that one room, picked a side, and attacked someone. Does that about sum it up?

What a story!

Comment Re:An old saying. (Score 1) 443

*I* think the point is that Congress (and presidents) created this problem.

We have a law that people walking on the grass will be killed. Someone walks on the grass. They are killed. You complain about the cop?!

This isn't DoJ's fault. They're supposed to be ruthless scumbags in the service of the evil policies that we demand. We want people to be hurt, and they do this for us.

If you don't like it, change your instructions. Maybe people ought to start voting instead of signing petitions. Every election day, 99% of us say we want an authoritarian central government. And so that's what we have. Scientists should investigate the possibility that there's a relationship between who we vote for, and the laws we have.

Comment desensitization (Score 1) 1130

But this is as likely a desensitization exercise

I really like this explanation. For all the amazingly stupid bullshit I've been hearing the last month about America having a "gun culture," we are actually far below average in our exposure to this stuff. I'm pretty sure most Americans get a little freaked out whenever they see machine guns outside of movie screens.

There are many possible agendas which would benefit from changing that (let's create the "gun culture" the media keeps telling us we already have), and you have suggested one very plausible one. I can think of some others, too, though yours is better.

Comment Tricks COUNT (Score 1) 150

Pop quiz: what's the most popular desktop OS?

Followup question: did you throw up in your mouth a little, at using the word "popular" to describe that OS' marketshare? That's not really an honest way of describe a default "choice," or a "choice" that people are railroaded into thanks to network effects, kicking and screaming, and yet it is technically accurate.

No matter how Google+ got its users, it has them.

Comment You'll still have it; you'll just pay more (Score 1) 219

I really need my high-end desktop computer to do my job. How long until something will happen to this market segment will disappear as well?

Nobody is saying that it will disappear. What they're predicting is that this segment will get smaller. And because of that, some manufacturers will pull out.

We have been lucky over the last two or three decades (especially the last two) in that everyone (Joe Schmoe) needs a computer much like yours and mine. The resulting economy-of-scale allowed many manufacturers to participate, and caused prices to plummet, so that where as a "good" computer used to cost $3000, today it costs around $800 (give or take, depending on how you define "good").

In the future, though, they're saying Joe Schmoe isn't going to buy a computer like yours and mine. He's going to buy something totally different. When someone makes a new low-power ARM-based board which serves Joe's market, you and I get little or nothing in scale-coattail-riding. The manufacturers that we buy from, aren't getting a piece of Joe's action.

So your future "good" computer might cost $1600 instead of $800, your "kick-ass" computer will cost $4000 instead of the $2000 that it costs today, and your "super-kickass" computer will cost .. well, actually that one won't change much because we already don't get much economy-of-scale from Joe since he never buys SMP boxes anyway. It'll be back-to-the-80s, in that your machine will identify you as being a niche user. Someone will see your bedroom or desk and immediately think "nerd." Just like they did in 1983, but didn't in 1993 or 2003, years when your computer was like everyone else's, if I may overgeneralize a little.

Comment "must-have content" == assuming Netflix CAN'T lose (Score 1) 292

(Before I get started, a side question: Are we sure the "costs" we're talking about here, aren't negative? CDNs increase efficiency. If I were an ISP, maybe I would be happy that a hundred of my customers all accessing the same stream, only hit my upstream connections once instead of a hundred times.)

The key words in TFA are "must-have content." The premise is that many people must be Netflix customers and this is unavoidable. It's assumed, out of the gate, that Netflix can't lose. Nothing bad can possibly happen to Netflix and customers cannot say no to them.

Given that, of couse they can abuse their absolutely unassailable position. If nobody can say no to Netflix, then raising the price of ISPs is really just the tip of the iceberg; we're all going to have to name our first born childen "Netflix" too, and buy Netflix-branded cars and let Netflix VPs have special privileges with our brides. After all, we can't say no to Netflix's demands, right?

Just as a pointless exercise, though, let's imagine the unimaginable. What if customers can say no, and do? What if people see the "your ISP doesn't work with Netflix" message and decide "oh well, time to cancel Netflix." What happens then?

That aside, yes, I actually do know Netflix has muscle. I know many people who subscribe to Netflix, though I'm not one of them. Whether people can say no to Netflix or not, I admit that many won't, just like they don't say no to Microsoft and Apple. It's a world of shit out there, and I won't say it's not.

I am very interested in exactly how the Net Neutrality rules prohibit ISPs from charging customers extra for access to a particular server on their own internal network (the Netflix CDN), since AFAIK the neutrality rules only prohibit discrimination against people who access the outside. Normally it is allowed for ISPs to charge extra, for extra services. That's why I save money by not subscribing to my ISP's TV and telephone service. They're prohibited from charging me less? They're prohibited from charging other customers more, for access to the TV and VoIP servers? Are you sure about that?

I think the CDN node makes the ISPs more than a "gatekeeper" or network provider; they're file server providers. If there really is a bug in the rules that keeps them from charging the machine's users (and only that machine's users) for its costs (just like how my ISP currently charges its TV-over-IP users for their TV-over-IP servers' costs (plus an amazing shitload of markup)), then the FCC can change the rules again. Bugs are fixable.

Comment Re:Finally (Score 1) 224

That's the conundrum of all "IP." You sometimes get occasional exceptions (some old people have bought Sgt Pepper on multiple mediums) but they really are exceptions. How many times have you listened to your favorite album, which you only paid once for? A thousand so far, until later this week when it becomes a thousand and one.

On the bright side, even though people only pay once, you only had to spend the time to create it, once. Don't feel bad for John Lennon if you only paid him once for Sgt Pepper. Over all those decades when you weren't paying him, he wasn't working on making the recording again, either. He was banging Jodie Foster, instead. (No wait, I think I got my entertainer history up. Which was the Beatle who shot Reagan? Huh? Who is Mike Muir?)

Anyway. The WotC guys can take pride in the great job they did on 3.5. Surely they have been up to something else since all those years ago, hopefully not involving yet another superfluous set of core rules for a FRPG.

Comment I can speak silently (Score 1) 325

It's a horrible unfair law, yadda yadda.

Quit thinking about law when you ought to be thinking about power. In this situation, you have a government so bullshit that it can make a law against insulting someone. In that context, it is ridiculous, whenever they decide to act against someone, to get bogged down in technicalities about whether their chosen victim obeyed or violated the law. What they wrote doesn't matter; the ACTUAL LAW is: "stay on my good side." Their chosen victim violated that law.

The real problem isn't the stupid law; it's that they would, and can and did, have such a stupid law. Once you say "stupid laws are ok" then it doesn't make sense to complain about stupid laws; "stupid laws are ok" is what you ought to be complaining about.

That aside, back in rules-lawyer mode... I can insult someone by not saying anything against them, whether by backhanded complement or conspicuous omission. I can communicate a word without speaking that word. I can point at a person without saying their name or aiming my finger.

Whenever you say "he who must not be named," it can cause Voldemort or Demogorgon to be summoned (depending on context. That's the power of magic. ;-)

Comment You solved it! (Score 1) 1862

Wait a minute, you're onto something.

If you lay off enough teachers, then school will cease to be an attractive place for childen to congregate (no reason to go there, since there are no teachers to provide education service), and the targets will distribute differently. This could create a serious logistic problems for people who are trying to plan a massacre.

As tech-heads, we look at the distribution problem and try to solve it. The most efficient way to handle distributed targets is with distributed attack, so this results in a fleet of killbots, each of which needs only one or two bullets. The nut still gets his massacre, the government gets their limited magazine powertrip without significant public resistance, the taxpayers get freed of the monocle-wearing Porche-driving teachers getting fat on their paychecks, the children get to die in their homes surrounded by their loving homeschooling families instead of alone-in-a-crowd in a terrorized schoolroom stampede, and we get the killbot spinoff tech (as well as the initial enjoyment of designing them). Everybody wins!

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