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Comment Games already made with grants? (Score 1) 58

Okay, I know that there are some video games that have originated in other nations that were made partially with government grants. The problem is that I can't find any citations! Anyone remember some of these?

My mind is saying Syberia and The Longest Journey were partially funded by grants from Norway and Canada but I can't find citations. I'm pretty sure that France also has a grant for video game development.

Comment Re:the more attention you give morons... (Score 1) 574

Sounds like a plan! Of course, he also has to disconnect his house from all electricity, remove all batteries from his house, disconnect the telephone, remove refrigeration, heat, water pumps and computers.

I guess the tin-foil might block the cellphone, radio and television radiation, not to mention signals from sattelites!

Then he has to block all light from the sun and somehow figure out how to change basic universal constants so that he's no longer able to be affected by the earths electro-magnetic field.

Wait! I just thought of a billion dollar business plan! Selling pre-made tinfoil clothing to morons! Look for our spring line of swimwear and bikinis!

Comment Re:Still Wondering (Score 4, Interesting) 58

The answer to that is yes and no.

Maybe I can shed some light on this, having played the original beta and also when it was live on GameTap.

It depends on what you mean by MMO. No, it's not WoW. It's more of a graphical chat-room. All of "Ages beyond Myst" is here. (Ages beyond Myst is the original beta live game, altered for offline play and with a couple of ages that Cyan finished before canceling the beta.) Almost certainly there will be some added content from when the game was available under GameTap. (At least most of the files are included in the download).

When the game was actually live, there were monthly events put on by Cyan staff. These included plot and storyline events, opening of new areas, multi-user puzzles to unlock new content and from time to time, new clothing for avatars. These almost certainly will not happen in the foreseeable future.

The big draw, however, were user created events. There were regular meet-and-greets, poetry nights, dance parties and heek competitions (Similar to rock-paper-scissors but with up to 5 players.) There were D'ni language classes, tours of Bahro glyphs and paintings and discussion groups, especially about in game history and working translations of D'ni scripts and books.

Cyan released several new ages during the course of their run on GameTap. Some of the puzzles were altered to make them only solvable in groups or with at least two people. There were also at least ten other ages in various stages of development as well as quite a few fan created ages that are still being worked on.

So, if you are looking for fighting, leveling, auction houses and monsters, this probably isn't the game for you. If you like adventure games, long discussions, thought puzzles and linguistics, this might be something you would like to try. Don't expect any official updates, new content or bug fixes in the foreseeable future. Supposedly, the source code will be released. There are quite a few very capable coders and programmers in the Uru community so there is the possibility of fan created patches and updates before to long.

It's free. If you don't like it, that's fine. If you do, maybe I'll see you at the next poetry slam or Guild of Archivists meeting. Also, think about dropping a donation on Cyan. The more money and support they get, the more likely we will see real progress.

Comment LCD Touchpad (Score 1) 344

You know, if thing is already a capacitive screen, you might as well make it an LCD as well. Yes I know he demonstrated that you can't see it without your hands being in the way but I'm imagining a iPod-esque scroll wheel that can be moved around and let you roll through open windows. Or how about audio/video controls of cover art flow.

Heck, for the people concerned about precision, make it a graphics tablet as well so you can use a stylus to draw. With the LCD multi-touch you could drop controls and a color wheel on there. Even setting/controls that change every time you switch to a different application. When you put more than one finger on it, it could revert back to the basic multi-touch pad.

Comment Form over function (Score 1) 418

I figure it will be sort of like the netbook war of today. Manufactures will realize that there isn't much of a way to get faster so they will start concentrating on design, reliability and lifespan. It will probably be a golden age in computing.

I'm just waiting for a peta-hertz computer with a 500 exabyte hard-drive able to do universe simulations in real time that will fit in my pocket, go 100 years on a charge and be indestructible.

Comment Back to college? (Score 1) 1354

Depending on how old you are, this might be creepy or not. Keep in mind, the later in the evening the classes are, the older the students.

You know, as a geek, you probably have a degree of some kind. As such, you would probably be more than welcome back at university. Apply for enrollment at your local place of higher learning and pick up some interesting classes. If you spin it right, you might even be able to get your employer to pay for it.

Try languages. French, Spanish and Italian are useful and will get you interacting with people. They also work really well to pad out a resume. You will be AMAZED at how many women you will find in non computer/physics/engineering classes. Another good one is ballroom dancing. Comparative literature classes are mostly big discussion groups with a preset theme that any good geek can research. Try some of the phys-ed classes. Fencing is fun and can add to your geek cred. Some schools offer SCUBA diving courses. Art or painting classes are fun.

Of course, with enrollment you also have a free or cheap gym membership. Gyms are not good places to meet women. It's considered a social faux pas. However, it is a good place to meet people to be friends with. There's also usually a student union building with pool tables, bowling alleys and games.

Comment Re:Why... (Score 1) 468

No, in order to make money, you have to appeal to as wide a demographic as possible. This means insulting as few people as possible, writing so that anyone can understand and making it as familiar as possible to as many people as possible.

You can make a lot of money this way but your writing turns out to be bland, insipid and about as complex as "Run Dog, Run". Take "The Da Vinci Code". As a work of literature, it sucks. It's poorly written, with two-dimensional characters and a plot that has been rehashed many times before. Yet it sold millions because of wide appeal and marketing.

Most well written books appeal to a very small niche market. Yes, once a book becomes a "Classic", everyone reads it. However, most people won't venture outside their comfort zone of their preferred genre unless Oprah recommends it, it sells 15 million copies, gets turned into a movie.... or unless it's free.

That's part of what libraries do and honestly I don't think it's going to hurt sales to give away free e-books. If it's good enough, people will buy a dead-tree version. If it's crap they won't be out any money. I love the Baen Free Books project. They have shown that books sell better if they are given away for free. If I don't like a book, I'm not out anything. However, I'm much more likely to say to a friend "It wasn't for me but you might like it". As a result of Baen, I've discovered several new authors and bought in excess of 100 dead tree books that I wouldn't have otherwise. I figure that's a huge profit for them.

Comment RAID 1 (Score 5, Interesting) 393

I actually had the same problem. I've got my entire 1,000+ Movie DVD and 400+ Television collection ripped to hard drive for use as streaming media to a media PC. I've been working on it for about 4 years now.

I ended up buying and setting up a bare-bones computers with RAID capabilities. Get a big tower with plenty of cooling. I originally used your same method. I purchased hard drives and external hard drive enclosures. This was cheaper than building pre-made drives. I especially like Vantec enclosures. However, I had a couple of drives go bad over the years. After some experimentation, I found that underpowered drives tend to loose data.

Now, I use the aforementioned RAID 1 solution. Originally I used 400gb drives but now I'm up to purchasing 1-TB drives. I've only had 1 drive go bad in the last 3 years and it was easily replaced with no loss of data. You could probably use Raid 5 just as easily, but my first setup didn't support it so I defaulted to Raid 1. The extra controller cars also used to be cheaper for RAID 1 but the costs have since equalized.

For the moment, I would advise against the 2TB drives. Many have serious slowdown problems and the cost/storage ratio is to high. 1.5tb drives are looking better and better.

Just remember good cooling! This may be the most important factor. Hot hard drives last a MUCH shorter time. I REALLY like Thermatake icage bays. They change 3-5.25" bays into 3-3.5" hard drive bays and have a really nice 120x120 fan on them to keep the drives cool.

If you buy a hard drive a month you can get some enormous storage capacity really quickly without breaking the bank. I'm up to 8TB right now. (16TB of drives).

Comment Re:The Realm! (Score 1) 82

You know, I e-mailed the new owners twice about old account reactivation but never got a reply. Not even a "No, that's not possible."

I still feel nostalgic once in awhile and if I had ANY type of encouragement from the current owners, I would probably join up again. Ah well.

Comment Re:The Realm! (Score 2, Informative) 82

Sadly, it's not as dirty as it sounds.

The wrath was one of the rarest (early) swords in the game. You could enchant them with certain spells to increase strength and damage. However, the enchant spell had a chance of destroying the sword. I believe that a four enchant sword (4-banger) had a 80% chance of destroying the sword. For a time it was possible to get 5 enchants on a sword but the chance of getting 5 enchants was between 2% and 5%.

So, if you played a lot and were high level, you could find 2-3 Wraths a month on average. Then, you could burn through about 20 to 50 of them to get a 5 enchant sword.

Comment Re:The Realm! (Score 1) 82

Just as a bit of Nostalgia from me, I played the beta of the Realm when it went to 2.0 and again when it went to 3.0.

Since I was one of only about 250 in the initial beta of Realm 3.0, I ran a website with information. (Mystro's Realm for anyone that remembers.) The programmers spent LONG shift for about two weeks with constant updates and fixes. It was one of the only beta tests that I've been involved with that there was almost instant response to fix bugs. We would find things that would crash the client or server and submit them and the programmers would fix them, pushing patches about once an hour from 8:00 a.m. to about 10:00 p.m.

It was a fun experience.

Comment Re:Text from Google cache (Score 2, Interesting) 433

Okay, Robotics I knew came from Sci-Fi.

"Positronic" came from Asimov.
"Waldo" came from a story by Heinlein where a disabled man uses machines to do his work.
"Grok" is Heinlein tool, though not popular vernacular.
"Frak and Frell" from Battlestar Galactica
"Gorrum" from Firefly.
"Shazbot" from Mork and Mindy. Not sure if this counts, but it's about an alien.
"Airlock" is from E.E. Smith.
"Phaser" is from Gene Roddenberry.

Then there are a lot of compound words that first were combined in Sci-fi. Transhuman, xenobiology, virboknife, visiphone, psychohistory, etc...

Comment Re:Very tempted to get this (Score 1) 451

I have to agree. I've got a HP Ipaq hx4700. It's got a 4" screen, full color, about 16 hours of battery life while reading books.

I've got a 16gb CF card and keep about 150 books loaded at a time. I also keep several movies, 5 gig of MP3's and several TV shows on it. Screen real estate means I have to press the page turn button quite often but page transitions are almost noticeably fast and I've got a dedicated page down button.

I bought it as a PDA but I now use it almost exclusively for ebook reading.

Gotta love

They have a free book library and I buy a lot of books from their webservice store as well. I really enjoy mobipocket as a book reader.

And now, HP has the new 210/201's out. Close to the same thing but cheaper, more battery power, brighter screen and not accepts HDSD cards. When and if my current iPaq breaks I will defiantly buy another. (I bought it launch week in late 2004 and it's never died.)

Comment Re:Better worded question would be... (Score 2, Interesting) 354

Hmm. My last job was as a Audio/Video manager at a major resort. I'm salaried. I'm supposed to put in 8 hours a day but my worst was during a 2 week MAJOR international tech conference. I put in 185+ hours in two weeks, actually in suit and tie.

My worst day was during those two hell weeks. I spent 38 hours actually awake and on my feet dealing with problems. Luckily, I was smart and got a free hotel room to crash, shower and take naps. I also got room service for free day or night. It SUCKED but I got a major bonus and the next month off with pay. When you bring in a couple million net in 2 weeks you can get some good perks.

Currently, I'm salaried, 45 hours a week. I never have to do overtime. It's paradise.

I actually work about 6 hours of the 9 I'm scheduled a day. The rest is reading, lunch surfing the web or talking to people.

Comment Re:RIP Micron (Score 5, Informative) 137

Living in Boise, ID, maybe I can shed some light on this.

MPC has been steadily going downhill for a couple of years. I didn't work for MPC, but I had several customers who did. The gossip from them is a tale of outsourcing gone bad. MPC used to assemble PC's here in Idaho. A couple years ago, they outsourced most of the manufacturing overseas. Instead of building a new factory here, they built in China. All went well for awhile, then the quality started to slip. Companies stopped ordering. There wasn't enough money left to bring the manufacturing back to the states. Finally, the high oil prices of last year destroyed the profit margin they were making by outsourcing the manufacturing.

They have been in a death spiral ever since. They hoped to fix it by declaring Chapter 11 a couple months ago but that obviously didn't work.

Please be aware that all my information is third hand and may not reflect other peoples experiences.

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