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Comment Re:Stupid system (Score 1) 175

If you are found to have filed the patent in bad faith (i.e. knowing that there was prior art) then this becomes wilful abuse of the patent system and the fine goes up to $100,000.

The problem with this one is that it discourages looking for prior art: People will notice that if you look for it, and find it, then you can't file, but if you don't look for it, then you can file and put the onus (except for the $10k in your previous point) on the PTO to find the prior art.

I'm not sure what a good solution would be. The goal is good: self-select inventions that aren't patentable so that the PTO can concentrate only on the ones that have merit, or seem like they have merit.

Comment Actually no. That's completely wrong. (Score 1) 114

> The implications of this competition are techniques for greatly increasing the replayability of games,
> since each gameplay session could present new levels to the player."

    Utterly incorrect. People have this conceptual idea that gameplay is about merely providing a framework in which people exercise their skills. It's utterly wrong and I'll demonstrate why.

    Back in the 80's, there was an air-combat game. Think it might've been F15-Strike Eagle... which included the concept of random missions in which you were sent out to hit one random air target and one random ground target for each mission.

    It was the most boring thing I've ever seen. One random target is the same as another. And it very quickly becomes a case of "Why bother?". There's no progression, no reward. It's just a way of playing the same thing over and over again.

    In the ensuing years, I've viewed a lot of games. And the one truism I've always found is that the length of the game and the amount of enjoyment I get out of it is directly related to the amount of information content the developers put into the game.

    This is why the various Sim games bored me rigid. They have no information content. They provide a sandbox, a set of rules and let you go. To a certain extent Civilisation suffers the same problem, although the campaigns mitigate this to a degree. That's all very well if you want to play around but most of the games I enjoy playing most contain unique scenarios and ideas put forward by the developers which contribute to the information content inherent in the game.

    Think of information content as the number of decisions and sets of consequences which the developers have explicitly coded for. For example, take a game like Uncharted 2. Say you have the possibility of collapsing a bridge as a gameplay goal. The game plays out with you either having collapsed the bridge or not. In the context of the story it could potentially shift between two opposite extremes, but in either case, the developers have explictly developed further decisions and consequences.

    Now I know that branching pathways have a finite limit, because the development effort is effectively the sum of all the branching pathways that decisions allow. But I'd argue that a finite set of pathways is vastly preferably to a bunch of decisions which have a totally arbitrary effect on the outcome.

    For example, in Civilisation, the exact placement of your home city has many potential possibilities, but to a large degree there's very few differences between them. Oh, the placement relative to resources and the coast is relevant, but on the whole it's a reaction to the randomness of the game. As such, it's exercising a skill, not giving you an opportunity to make meaningful decisions.

    I've played CIV and enjoyed it, but I can't play it more than once every six months or so. It's just not interesting to me to repeat the same fundamental operations over and over again. I prefer Fallout 3 or Dragon Age. Dragon Age has extraordinarily high information content which is why it provides entertainment for so long. Fallout 3 actually has low information content relative to Dragon Age. Random encounters aside, there's just not that much to do beyond exploring or following the main narrative. And that narrative is not long. You'll find that most of your time in Fallout 3 is spent digging through minutiae in various locations, not exploring the game itself.

    So the idea that you'll get extra replayability out of random generation of levels is completely false. You'll get a random experience which has no information content behind it. It'll be valueless except as a reaction test.

Comment Re:I don't see the issue... (Score 1) 313

So it's better to use more expensive methods, just to keep people employed?

In that case, I've got some broken windows that need fixing...

We could build a thousand schools with the money that goes into one battleship," Like hell -- if they canceled the battleship, they'd find something else to piss the money away on -- not one damned school would get built out of it.

So it's okay to piss money away, because they'd piss money away anyway? That's a rather poor argument.

Comment Re:Nokia moving to Open Source? (Score 1) 189

I certainly did not expect Nokia to be first to ship smartphones with a very compatible Linux distribution and root access out of the box.

Why not? Unlike a certain other American company, they have no history of trying to lock in their customers or dictate what their phones can or cannot do. This is the latest step. Until 2006, Nokia, as well as other phone manufacturers, had a proprietary 'Pop Port' interface on their phones, so you had to buy Nokia branded wired headsets, datacables etc. When MP3 playback became popular on phones, they were one of the first to switch to standard audio jacks and miniUSB (The N91 music phone started off with this feature).
The current generation also supports charging through USB.
If you look at the other hardware specs, all open hardware standards are supported- from microUSB memory cards to USB mass storage to media transfer protocol. Photos can be posted to any online service that supports RSS directly from the camera and gallery. The now discontinued LifeBlog application is a full fledged blogging client, again with XML RSS publishing support for all popular blogs.

Given their history of providing support for common standards and interoperability, it's hardly surprising they've chosen a Linux based open source OS for their next generation of smartphones.

Comment Re:Faster... (Score 1) 377

No, it works great on anything from Win95 (just follow the FAQ Guide) on up through Windows 7, but since it doesn't have XUL getting extensions to work that aren't installed by the developers is a royal PITA. Sure, there are sites out there that have recompiled stuff like No-script and other popular extensions, but it is a long complex affair to get them installed.

With CCF ME it already has ABP built in, and has a nice Safari/Chrome feel to it. Basically it comes down to the hardware. On pre DDR RAM machines I've found Kmeleon gives a nicer experience with a much more responsive UI, as well as much more conservative RAM usage. It also work VERY well from a thumbdrive, with fast starts and minimal writing. But like most Firefox users I'm a bit of an extension junkie (right now I have ABP,Distrust,Nightly Tester Tools,Downloadhelper,Download statusbar,FEBE,ForecastFox,Noscript, and iMacros) and trying to get all those working in Kmeleon is frankly more trouble than they are worth. So I simply use Kmeleon on my thumbstick and on my older machines like my Nettop, and save my extension madness with Firefox to more capable machines.

But if you haven't tried Kmeleon CCF ME, give it a go. No need to install, just unzip and use. And like I said it is GREAT for thumbdrives or less powerful machines like older desktops/laptops.

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This is clearly another case of too many mad scientists, and not enough hunchbacks.