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Comment Re:Another reason we're stuck on this blue planet (Score 3, Insightful) 505

Seriously? "Stumble upon" science? Man, I'm glad you had no authority in the Apollo program.

The idea is that you don't wait for these technologies to serendipitously come along, you go research and find them. Maybe your success will be limited, but in the process, you will probably stumble upon things that will be useful in other fields. In this day and age when we're approaching ecological disasters and energy crises, I think that a lot of the technology researched in working on a manned mission to Mars would be very useful in other fields.

Comment Re:Price (Score 1) 430

So, much like the USA then.

You know, whenever I see someone quip how corrupt the US government is, I secretly wish that they could live for a year or two in a place where the government really is corrupt. Methinks they'd come back and never flippantly make such a comment again.

Comment Re:If we're going to survive long term (Score 1) 352

I'm not smarter than Samuel Clements or Shakespeare, or Isaac Newton, but I know how to work a computer better than any of them.

To be fair, no on is smarter than Isaac Newton, with the possible exception of Archimedes. Both of those dudes were off the charts. Any idiot can figure out a computer. Most people even after years of study could never come close to figuring out from scratch the stuff that Isaac Newton and Archimedes did. I'm convinced that if we could go back in time right before each's death, bring them to today, and give them a few extra years, either one could probably cure cancer or solve some of the weirdest questions we have in physics today. (After they got over the whole "Rela-- what? And what's so quantum about mechanics again?" thing.)

To me, intelligence isn't what you know, but your practical capacity and willingness to learn and discover new things.

Comment Hobbyist sites (Score 1) 141

Exactly. I run several hobbyist sites for gaming and such. I don't run ads, I don't charge for it, it's just for fun for games I play. The free version of Google Apps was absolutely perfect for us as a free alternative to paying for hosting our own e-mail services. Plus, everyone was pretty much familiar with the Gmail interface. I've set up several gaming "guilds" with basic sites and e-mail addresses.

Back when you could have up to 50 or so accounts, this was absolutely perfect. When they reduced it to 10, that put a serious dent in our ability to host all but the smallest of our guilds. Now that it's zero, well, I suppose I'll be finding and alternate solution because I simply cannot afford $50 per user per year for something that's just a hobby.

I don't understand why Google doesn't come up with some happy medium. For example, have a more limited free tier, something that allows you to manage 50 or 100 free e-mail accounts and calendars (with Google ads on them) with access to Gtalk, a total of 100 Google Docs (or 10 MB or some other limitation), and a few pages. If you want all of the full suite of hosting services, access to discussion groups, metrics, advertising, a larger site layout, etc. then you charge the $50 per user per year.

As it is, might get Google a few more paying customers, but more likely than not, it will just drive a lot of people away from Google and to another service. That's too bad, because I'd really like to continue using Google for these groups I set up.

Comment Re:True, but... (Score 1) 290

I don't have time to respond to trolls, but I'll just point this out. From my OP above:

The average City of Heroes launch day veteran has probably spend between $1,500 and $2,000 on this game, many much more.

And then from your post:

The average launch day veteran actually probably spent a lot more than that.

That's the average launch day veteran, not the average player veteran - now you're starting to move the goal posts away from your original statement.

Yeah. Moving those goalposts... I'll read the rest of your post some other time, but if this is how it starts, I'm not feeling very encouraged that it will provide much insight.

Comment Re:True, but... (Score 1) 290

- $15 per month for 8 years, 2 months = $1,470. Plus around $120 to $150 for the initial purchase and major expansions, and that puts you around $1,590 to $1,620 just for owning the game with one account. The average launch day veteran actually probably spent a lot more than that. Count in around an additional $40 or so for collector's editions, $100 for various add-on packs, $100 to $200 for microtransactions, and it's easily upwards of $2,000. If someone has two accounts, double all of that. If someone paid airfare and hotel costs to attend a convention or Player Summit, that could easily add between $500 and $1,000 almost at a minimum. Multiple trips, multiple outlays of cash. Run a fan site? Hosting costs, domain name registration, etc. could easily run up a few hundred bucks more. The average launch day veteran spent $1,500 to $2,000 on the game. A few might have spent less if they paid by the year and didn't buy any expansions or add-on packs. A few might be in the neighborhood of $10,000. So whatever math you're using, you're way off.

- First of all, you'd have to be pretty dense to have so many people claiming first-hand and second-hand knowledge of these negotiations and yet still believe that they didn't happen. You sound like the idiotic birthers who still don't believe that Obama was born in Hawaii in that there is no standard of "proof" that you will accept as real. Second of all, I defy you to explain why millions are required to be ponied up to acquire the game. Frankly, you sound like an NCsoft shill, given that they put out a statement halfway through October saying that they had "exhausted all options" in selling the game. Um... Really? I have a 5-year-old Honda Accord that I'll sell you for $100,000. It's even in pretty good shape. What? You don't want to buy it? Well, I guess I've exhausted all options in trying to sell my car then, and it's really your fault for not ponying up the arbitrarily hugely inflated price I pulled out of my ass. No, actually I call it being damned greedy and disingenuous, and completely disrespectful of people making good faith offers and screwing over your customers.

- I'm not even going to dignify the claim that the game wasn't making money or stable with a response. It's already been addressed by the Korea Times article and thoroughly debunked in other venues. Again, you either don't know what you're talking about or you're deliberately misrepresenting facts to troll.

I take it you're one of the forum trolls that was naysaying the crap every step of the way? Because you're spouting their party/propaganda line almost word-for-word, and you clearly either have no clue what you're talking about, or worse, you do and you're deliberately misrepresenting the truth to troll people.

Etc... etc... indeed.

As for the "tempest in a teapot," it's gotten national attention from several high-profile names, made virtually all gaming journalism sites of note, even hit the radar of mainstream news organizations like CNN and CNBC, and now there's a blisteringly negative article about them plastered on the front page of the Money section of one of the largest Korean news sites right in their own back yard. I'm not sure how much publicity you consider something to have needed getting before you consider it more than a "tempest in a teapot," but to most people, that's a pretty damn significant uproar, especially given the topic at hand.

Comment True, but... (Score 5, Insightful) 290

This is true, we always knew that the game would shut down at some point. However...

The MMO genre of game is especially conducive to getting people to invest enormous amounts of time, effort, and money into the product. The average City of Heroes launch day veteran has probably spend between $1,500 and $2,000 on this game, many much more. And many have spent thousands of hours playing--not just mashing buttons, but coming up with creative stories, even contributing to user-generated content areas such as the Mission Architect system that allowed players to create their own custom enemies, contacts, mission objectives, dialog, etc. In other words, what NCsoft doesn't realize is that at this point, we have just as much stake in the game as they do (some would argue more), yet they hold the ultimate authority to unilaterally declare, "Okay, game over, we're going to destroy years of your effort and a large monetary investment." Not because the game wasn't making money--it was--but because they're undergoing a corporate "realignment".

Not only that, but in the process, they laid off over 80 employees at Paragon Studios, the Mountain View, California development studio that built and maintained City of Heroes. Before the shutdown announcement, a group of employees and investors tried to acquire the IP from NCsoft to keep the game running, but NCsoft wouldn't sell it. After the shutdown announcement, thanks to the SaveCoH movement, another attempt was made, but again, NCsoft wouldn't play ball, even releasing a statement that they had "exhausted all options" in trying to sell the game. Excuse me? Exhausted all options? They hold the IP. Now that the shutdown has come and gone and the community has largely dispersed, practically speaking, it's worth zero. It's impossible for them to have "exausted all options" unless and until the ink is dried on the page transferring the game and its IP to another company or organization that can run it.

Not only that, but this isn't the first time that NCsoft has done this. This is the fifth game in as many years. Auto Assault. Exteel. Dungeon Runners. Tabula Rasa. Now City of Heroes. Clearly to me, the company is an MMO killer. The players of City of Heroes aren't the first group of people to have their hard work and investment destroyed, and apparently, NCsoft doesn't really care very much that it's systematically destroying communities and the output of people's creative expression. As a gamer, why the hell would I ever want to buy a game like Guild Wars 2 or any of NCsoft's other games? Answer: I wouldn't, and they won't be seeing any money from me again.

So does NCsoft have the legal right to shut down City of Heroes, lay off everyone at Paragon Studios, and carry on as if nothing happened even though the company's own investor relations statements indicate that the game was steadily profitable and it had the overwhelming support of its development staff and management? Sure, no one is disputing that. However, I do firmly believe that NCsoft, and MMO game companies in particular, have an ethical obligation to do everything they can to plan for a game's sunset ahead of time and be willing to release the game property to another company or third-party organization willing to take over running it if one is willing to (which, in this case, there were multiple parties interested in doing so). To not do so shows an immense amount of disrespect for your customers, and you run the risk of generating the negative publicity and outcry such as the one NCsoft is facing right now.

Submission + - City of Heros Sunset, NCsoft Paying the Price

KingSkippus writes: At midnight Pacific on Saturday, December 1, NCsoft shut down the City of Heroes servers for the final time. Since announcing the closure, a group of players has been working hard to revive the game by getting attention from the gaming press, recognition from celebrities such as Sean Astin, Neil Gaiman, and Felicia Day, and assistance from fantasy author Mercedes Lackey. Meanwhile, NCsoft has been drawing negative publicity, including a scathing article about the shutdown from local news site The Korea Times noting that the game was earning $2.76 million per quarter and that "it is hard to comprehend what NCsoft means when they say they closed it for strategic reasons." NCsoft's stock price has fallen over 43% since the announcement in August, almost 30% below it's previous 52-week low, right when investors were counting on the success of the recently launched Guild Wars 2 to help boost the company.

Comment Re:materials... (Score 1) 519

The charges leveled are probably simply to hold him on till they dig through his life.

Personally, I think that the charges leveled have little to do with this guy; they are to teach everyone else a lesson: Don't do this, or we'll make your life mighty inconvenient. They don't want people with wires and fuses hanging off of them constantly trying to get through airports because they think it's clever or funny, causing massive logjams in security so that the people who just want to get from point A to point B can go their merry way.

It's the same reason why if you joke about, "It's not like I have a BOMB in my briefcase!", they'll haul your ass off to jail. Not because they actually believe that you have a bomb in your briefcase, but because if someone actually does think that someone has a bomb, they want that person treated with the utmost of seriousness.

I don't like the situation the way it is, and I'm sure that there could be more sanity around the whole issue, but I also think that what they do is not completely without merit and I do kinda understand where they're coming from. People shouldn't engage in assholery with people who are responsible for protecting the security and lives of others. Most sane people wouldn't pull out a realistic-looking toy gun, point it at a police officer, and laugh and say, "Ha ha! I'm just kidding! No need to get all upset about a simple joke..." But then we have people who think it's perfectly fine to engage in such tomfoolery with TSA agents.

Comment The vast explosive materials conspiracy (Score 5, Interesting) 519

I hear that there's a vast conspiracy to load up every airplane that flies with a highly flammable and explosive material, that sometimes this material even makes up the bulk of the weight of the aircraft in flight. It's everywhere on the plane and people doesn't even realize it, even stored in vast quantities inside the wings of most commercial airliners. The rumor I heard, and I know this sounds a bit outlandish, is that it's even pumped into the engines, where it's actually very common for it to cause small explosions that most people don't even realize or think about.

The thought of it scared me so much that I decided that I would only drive places in my car instead.

Comment Re:"first time plagiarist" (Score 1) 519

Did you see the part where it says, "First time accepted submitter mbeckman writes..."?

I suppose that mbeckman could be a buddy of Timothy, who greenlit the article for him to make him feel good on his first try. But I find a much simpler explanation much more plausible: Timothy was probably browsing the submissions and saw mbeckman's first and greenlit it because at the time he was browsing, he didn't see whoever57's. I know it's not as conspiracy theorish, but there you are.

Really though, is this a thing now? Grousing because you don't get your article greenlit on Slashdot? I've had several that I thought should have been and weren't, even things that got greenlit later with what I thought was an inferior write-up. I've also had some that were greenlit. I had probably three or four that I thought were really good turned down before I got my first one greenlit. After that, I didn't care so much. If I submit something and it gets greenlit, great; if not, oh well. I like Slashdot, but I don't particularly need it to validate my self-worth.

Comment As a Georgian... (Score 1) 1163

As a Georgian, I'm sorry we're on that list. If it goes through, I'll do my best to make sure that Atlanta (which is actually a bit more liberal than the podunk villages out in the sticks where most of these people live) promptly secedes from the New Confederacy and rejoins the Union. We'll be like the Andorra or Lesotho of the South. Please don't burn down my house when Civil War II starts, I really like my stuff...

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