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Comment Four reasons to prefer discs (Score 1) 201

Perhaps sgt scrub prefers discs for one of at least four reasons:
  • Some people like to rent games before committing to a large purchase.
  • Some people like to buy used games, but I'll admit Steam sales reduce this need.
  • Some people are stuck on 5-10 GB/mo capped cellular or satellite Internet. That's not even enough to transfer a single dual-layer DVD (8 GB) along with the rest of the month's web browsing, and more and more AAA games have started to come on multiple DVDs.
  • Some deployed members of the armed forces go without Internet for several weeks at a time. Steam's not nearly as bad in this respect as Xbox One was initially announced to be, but it's still reported to expire receipt caches after about a month.

Comment Re: UEFI excludes too much (Score 1) 201

Valve does not have code signing turned on in SteamOS, so that doesn't even impact you at all.

But the user still has to find how to turn off Secure Boot in a given UEFI implementation's setup screen to get an OS without code signing to work. Is that easy on all UEFI implementations?

Comment To make HW mfrs' lives easier (Score 2) 201

This has not begun to explain why you need anything more than a stock distribution

It's to make the lives of set-top PC manufacturers easier. Instead of selling a naked PC and requiring end users to install an operating system, which will not work for the demographic that most often games on a TV, they can just ship SteamOS.

Comment Absolute vs. relative value (Score 1) 213

And if I don't know the absolute value of the bitcoins in euros

I don't see how that's an absolute value. The value of bitcoins relative to euros is 1 BTC = 649.50 EUR as of today, but the "absolute" value of 1 BTC depends on how you define the "absolute" value of the goods that 649.50 EUR will buy you.

Comment Knowing what a program means (Score 1) 287

That's still a case of the user not knowing what he means. When the user loads a program that contains bugs onto a machine, the user is in effect saying to execute the bugs. Part of the goal of the free software movement is making it possible for the user to know what he means, as binary-only software suffers from indeterminacy.

Comment Re:50-year-old movies (Score 1) 211

If a video game developer wants a wide audience for its work, it will program the engine to scale down scene complexity to suit whatever Bridge or Well the player might be using, so long as it isn't an ancient GMA (Graphics My Ass). It's like putting a 2013 movie out on both Blu-ray and DVD.

Comment Valve is subsidizing the OS (Score 1) 211

and finally the 'Microsoft tax'

The article is about the lack thereof, unless you're referring to some patent royalty.

Valve is gonna have is the same problem 3DO did.

But not quite so much because the other console makers have caught up in price. The first commercial Steambox will cost $500, the same as an Xbox One. Hopefully by then, Radeon drivers for SteamOS will have caught up.

but since Valve isn't making the hardware they're not _subsidizing_ the hardware.

If an operating system is a component of a computer system, then Valve is subsidizing development of this component.

Comment Is the pound better than the euro? (Score 1) 213

Who cares about the absolute value of any particular coin?

Anyopne speculating with them, I guess. And anyone using it as a payment system.

So is the U.S. dollar a hundred times "better" than the yen in some sense? Is the euro "better" than the dollar because 1 EUR is worth more than 1 USD? Is the pound "better" than the euro because 1 GBP is worth more than 1 EUR? What really matters to the users of a currency is the rate of change in exchange rates between two currencies over time, or between a currency and goods and services over time.

Comment Re:Notifications (Score 1) 324

That's similar to how Android is supposed to work. Google Cloud Messaging "allows 3rd-party application servers to send messages to their Android applications. An Android application on an Android device doesn't need to be running to receive messages. The system will wake up the Android application via Intent broadcast when the message arrives, as long as the application is set up with the proper broadcast receiver and permissions." But I see a few practical problems:
  • The device has to ship with Google Play Store. This rules out OUYA, Kindle Fire, and almost any 2.x device that isn't cellular (such as Archos 8th generation and several Chinese brands).
  • I will grant that I don't yet know about Android to know whether the the procedure for "set[ting] up with the proper broadcast receiver and permissions" survives a device reboot. Ideally, as I see it, an Android app that supports GCM should run only enough to set up the GCM receiver at startup.
  • A lot of applications are set up to poll servers operated by third parties that lack direct support for GCM. For example, an e-mail client might be communicating with an IMAP server that lacks GCM support. Or if the developer of such an application is expected to rent a server that polls the e-mail server on the user's behalf, how should the developer recover the cost of operating that server? And how comfortable will the user be with giving the user's e-mail password to the developer's server so that it can check the user's e-mail on the user's behalf?

Comment 50-year-old movies (Score 1) 211

Any game made before ~2009 will run just fine on an ivy bridge laptop.

Saying that just days before 2014. Rather like saying pretty much anything made in 2000 will run a game from 1995. ;)

People still enjoy 50-year-old movies. Why is a video game necessarily "expired milk" just because it's five years old?

Comment Automatic system requirements checking (Score 1) 211

But it is enough of a restriction that you have to be aware of your hardware limits when purchasing games.

Which is where an online store like Google Play Store or Steam has an advantage over box sales: it can check your machine against the system requirements and hide the Buy Now button.

Skyrim, incidentally, is not a very good example. It scales rather well to low-end hardware

Then games that scale better to low-end hardware will end up with more sales to people with low-end hardware. Ideally, the same game would be able to produce PS3-class graphics on an Intel system and PS4-class graphics on a stronger system.

Comment How widely deployed is x86-64 UEFI pre-2.2? (Score 1) 211

Secure boot was only recently added in v2.2.

And every (non-Apple) x86-64 PC and PC motherboard since the release of Windows 8 has shipped with Secure Boot.

10s if not 100s of millions of shipped systems predate that by many years such as every Intel Mac, Itanium systems from both Intel and HP, etc.

I thought Intel Macs were just EFI, not UEFI. And according to the FAQ, this distro is designed for x86-64, not Itanium. I understand Windows 7 Service Pack 1 for x86-64 supports UEFI, but did most Windows 7 PCs come with UEFI pre-2.2, or did they come with legacy BIOS?

Comment Secure Boot (Score 1) 211

One benefit to this is that people won't be trying to install this on an old piece of crap and then complaining it's slow.

But wouldn't it be harder to boot from USB on a UEFI system? Most UEFI systems that I'm aware of default to Secure Boot with Microsoft keys. On the other hand, I guess people smart enough for beta are smart enough to figure out how to go into UEFI configuration and turn off Secure Boot.

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