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Comment Re:Best Wishes ! (Score 2) 322

I'd love to see a single UI that works across 4" phones and 7" tablets with gorilla glass, and 13" laptops and 10" convertibles with membrane keyboards, and 24" desktops with 101-keyboards, and 60" XBox Ones with controllers but I'm not holding my breath.

There are many benefits of a unified OS. If Xbox, Windows desktop, and Windows tablet all run under a single, unified OS, security updates can be pushed to all simultaneously, you can significantly reduce the amount of labor required to support all three, and developing cross-platform becomes much easier.

Buy why, oh why, do we need a unified OS? Desktop, Phone, Tablet, and TV all require different UI's. With Linux, we have essentially, a unified OS with different window/desktop managers and systems running on top. Why can't Windows be the same? You start your phone, Xbox, desktop, or whatever else, and the Windows kernel loads, and then it launches explorer.exe, xbox.exe, mobile.exe, or what have you, after that. It seems to me that it would be a lot easier to deal with a unified Windows like that. Such an approach would be future-proofing the OS, too, because when we inevitably get a new user environment in the future that Microsoft may want to expand to (e.g., automobiles), Microsoft can keep the core OS but just add a new window manager tailored for the specific environment. With our current approach, if Microsoft wanted to expand into automobiles, they'd have design a single, unified OS that works well enough for phone, tablet, car, tv, desktop, and laptop. Ridiculous!

Comment Re:no.no.no (Score 1) 478

"Without being able to look up the mapping from the database, the three words don't seem to be useful."

Exactly, consumer!

Yes, that's precisely the point. They are trying to sell you "one word'.

They do this by picking the words first and not allocating them to a location until you click "share". If you don't like the words, you can "share" them while pointing to a location you don't like. Then, you get another set of words.

You can go to their website right now, find any random obscure place, then get another computer and go to that exact same obscure place. You'll get the same address. Yes, the words are random, but no, they are not made up on the fly. I don't know where you got that from.

As the article mentions, they divided up the world into "57 trillion 3m x 3m squares." Each square corresponds to a latitude and longitude. When you click on a place on the map, it queries the nearest square and gives you that 3word address.

Comment Re:We're making this all up anyway (Score 3, Insightful) 533

And we can only hope that it ends with a revolution.

Something that most Americans fail to realize is that 99% of the time, revolution is a very, very bad thing. The American Revolution is an extreme anomaly. It is one of only a very small handful of revolutions that didn't end with decades living under the iron fist of a tyrannical government. Most revolutions create power vacuums, and power vacuums are almost always filled by a great strongman. Another US revolution would not only be catastrophically bloody, but, like all other revolutions, it would almost invariably be followed by decades of dictatorship. Revolution is not required for even great change. See: Taiwan, or even Great Britain.

Comment Re:Is this post a troll? (Score 1) 285

Internet speed is pretty fucking fast here.

Compared to what?

Last I heard, Internet connection speeds are significantly behind the curve in large parts of the US. Still, better than Australia, but not quite "pretty fucking fast" territory! :)

He said he lives in NYC. I live in Memphis, TN, and despite the fact that we're the poorest metro in the country, all the businesses are leaving, and the infrastructure is dilapidated to the point of comedy, I can get 100 mbps from Comcast, if I want to pay for it.

I assume that someone from Australia is coming to the US to be in a city, so if that's the case, the speed really isn't that bad.

Comment Re:No, Europe had 50 TFLOPS, 1/5th the USA (Score 3, Interesting) 161

Try this: Why European forecasters saw Sandy’s path first

The ECMWF, for example, utilizes an IBM system capable of over 600 teraflops that ranks among the most powerful in the world, and it's used specifically for medium-range models. That, fundamentally, is the reason their model frequently outperforms the American one. The US National Weather Service’s modeling center runs a diversity of short-, medium-, and long-term models, all on a much smaller supercomputer. The National Weather Service has to do more with less.

Comment Re:Maybe I'm crazy (Score 1) 128

Not all privatization is bad. The government is having issues performing its duties, and a private company comes and says it can launch better satellites for less than it would take for the government to put them up there. They would like the government to, instead of spending hundreds of millions launching their own, spend tens of millions buying their product.

To me, this seems very analogous to SpaceX, which most of us here on Slashdot are fans of. NASA was having problems--both financially and in planning--a next-generation vehicle to transport goods into orbit. Now a whole host of companies are competing for NASA contracts to do just that, and for cheaper than NASA was capable of doing in-house. The lower-cost private alternatives allow NASA to allocate funds elsewhere.

Not all privatization is bad. It's working fairly well for certain parts of our space program. Launching satellites is something private companies have been doing for decades, now, so it doesn't seem unreasonable to assume that they could take the reigns here, too. In fact, much of our current scientific data is collected by private companies on contract from big science consortiums. For example, if I want a geomagnetic survey done of an area, I pay a company to fly an instrumented airplane around and collect the data for me.

Comment Re:How else... (Score 4, Interesting) 260

I'm not a big fan of guns being easily available to all, but in my opinion guns have more practical/reasonable uses than high powered handheld lasers.

Yes you can use those lasers to point at stuff in the sky. And get yourself in big trouble if an aircraft happens to be in the area. I say use a lighted extendable stick instead.

With guns, you can't shoot continuously for minutes. With lasers you can. If you pick the right scenario (everyone looking at the same area) you can blind a lot of people.

Couldn't a high powered laser be used as a defensive device? If someone tries to rob you, you could blind them, perhaps irreparably. Though a bit macabre, in many cases that might be a better option than simply killing them with a gun (let it be known, though, that if someone broke into my house and I had a laser and a gun... I'd grab the gun).

Comment Office-only comment section (Score 2) 659

So have a little comment section for the medical records. Those comments are for that office only. Those comments do not get transferred to another doctor. Only the official diagnoses and medical records get transferred to other offices. If a doctor wants to write down details for himself and suspects that you have mental instability, that's fine. That's for their eyes only. But if they want to communicate that to other doctors, they should use proper terminology, they should explain why they think that the patient has mental issues, and all of that should be in the medical records in a proper form.

If we're making the argument that doctors want privacy because they write stuff that they don't want the patient to know which may be offensive to the patient, then I will make the argument that professionals should not be in the business of gossiping about their patients to other professionals. A doctor should have confidence in their own diagnosis, thus there should not be any embarrassment on the part of the doctor about what they diagnose. If they need to communicate that diagnosis to another office, it should be done professionally. "Patient probably fucked up from drugs" is not a professional diagnosis that should be transferred to another professional.

Comment Re:The cheese has moved (Score 1) 403

This is simply not at all the reality I see. The kids that are happy enough with Temple Run are the same kids that'd be happy enough to play Ball in the yard with friends.

I still see a huge number of kids playing with their Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS's in stores and restaurants. They're usually not play Nintendogs, either.

Comment Re:Hope no one hacks our entire Air Force one day (Score 5, Informative) 622

IRAN can barely make a coffee maker...

IRAN can certainly make coffee makers.... but it can barely make a company that can be profitable by designing and manufacturing coffee makers.

IRAN is capable of a great deal. It is home to some of the best civil engineers in the world (though fortunately for us, most of them immigrate to the US, given the opportunity). It is no less capable than any other second-tier developed country. Consider that its Human Development Index is similar to that Eastern Europe or Turkey. It's certainly not an OECD advaned economy, but it's not The Congo, either.

Iran's government is overly oppressive, but authoritarianism doesn't preclude economy success (see: China). Iran's economy is mainly held back by an incompetent and inefficient government that cares more about how women dress and face than it does its economic prosperity. The biggest mistake anyone could do, though, is to underestimate them. Never underestimate your adversaries. That's Sun Tzu 101. Some highly-advanced machinery is out of their reach, and certainly they have no environment for world-class companies to form, but the technology and sophistication that their best scientists and engineers can achieve in a well-funded laboratory is a different story.

Comment Re:Not Even Close (Score 2) 403

Anyone have any guesses as to what new feature the Sony or Microsoft offerings could come up with to lockout the Wii U? I mean, there's no new disc standard or input device idea that I'm missing, is there? That'd be the only case where the Wii U would be in trouble -- if there was some new feature X like VR goggles that a consumer just had to have at all costs.

I honestly can't imagine, right now, how the next Xbox is going to be that substantially different from the PS4. And frankly, the Xbox 360 and PS3 aren't all that different, either. They've become different over time, but from the get-go they were both similarly-powered, championed online-play, and were basically both competing for exclusive contracts with the Big Studios for the Big Games. Nintendo decided to stay out of this rivalry of the giants and go in a different direction. It worked for them.

This coming generation, Nintendo was forced to release the Wii U early because the Wii died an early death. Also, early release worked for Microsoft, so who knows, it might work for Nintendo, too. The PS4 looks to be focused on 1) power, 2) social interaction, and 3) downloading games. Frankly, this is the same direction that Microsoft has been going for the past several years, and I would be shocked if the next Xbox didn't focus on the exact same thing. Of course both systems will be different, and of course the implementation of social interaction and downloadable games will be different--and there's a lot of room for innovation in those implementations--but at the end of the day, the PS4 vs. Xbox 720 battle is going to be much like the PS3 vs. Xbox 360 battle. Microsoft and Sony are going to throw all the money they can at it, they're going to battle with everything they have, and we're going to keep going down the path we're on now--bigger blockbusters, bigger studios, and the death of smaller studios and innovative games that can't compete. The gaming industry seems to be following a similar path as Hollywood in recent years, in this regard.

Nintendo has chosen, once again, to side-step this battle and go for something different. Being different is always a gamble, but when it pays, it pays big. Nintendo has been stating for a couple years that they're worried about the developer. They stated that with the Wii vs. the other consoles, with the DS vs. PSP, and now with the Wii U vs. the other next-gen consoles. They're worried about how many development studios have gone bankrupt (big and small), they're worried about how even the big studios are just one failed blockbuster away from catastrophe, and they're worried about casual games on mobile devices dumbing down the gaming experience and forcing companies that used to make fun, enthralling, and deep games to make simple $2 games--disposable games where you buy them, play them, uninstall them, and move on.

It is for this reason that Nintendo has focused on indie developers for the Wii U. Virtually every indie developer that's working with Nintendo to develop and release their games on the Wii U is ecstatic about the experience. They have total control over their game, the cost of their game, sales, and everything. Nintendo is even actively seeking out indie devs who have made cool PC games and inviting them to develop on the Wii U.

As systems become more powerful and the big companies and blockbuster games in the gaming industry converge, we will begin to see explosive growth in cheap, downloadable indie games. Prior to this generation, we've seen a massive shift in small studios and innovate games to the portable consoles. This is because the portable consoles are cheaper to develop for. In this coming generation, I strongly believe that we're going to see the the industry go through enormous change. Most studios will die off except for those big development studios that make big blockbusters and can afford massive development costs, massive publishing costs, and massive advertising costs. Think like how we only have a few major studios in Hollywood publishing most of the movies. On the flip side, we're going to see a huge rise in independent game developers. Though their only choices until now have been Nintendo DS (cheap), Xbox Live (cheaper), or PC (free), they will have even more choices this next-gen as downloading indie games in the Nintendo eShop or XBox Live Marketplace will become the norm. Sony concerns me in this area, though, as their press conference completely ignored indie gaming. They focused on big budget titles and explosions and downloading those titles. Microsoft, with their PC roots, knows about developers, and I don't think we're going to see the same from them come E3. I think you're going to see Microsoft come out and embrace the indie development community at E3 and encourage it. Microsoft is still exercising more control over their marketplace, though, whereas Nintendo is going all-in. I suppose if you think about it, we're going to have three systems next-generation: 1) Wii U which completely encourages indie development and uses it as a big selling point, 2) PS4 which is the system of blockbuster hits and power, and 3) the Xbox 720 which lies somewhere in between.

Anyways, I guess I don't know where I'm going with this rant, but this is how I see the next-generation playing out, to answer your question.

Comment ALL consoles suck... (Score 3, Insightful) 403

ALL consoles suck their first year or year and a half. If you're lucky, a console will launch with a fantastic game or two, and then games for the system will stagnate for a year or year and a half. ALL consoles follow this trend. The Nintendo DS did this. The Nintendo Wii did this. The Xbox 360 did this. The Playstation 3's games problem lasted for years. Going back as far as I remember, to the NES, we had this problem. The latest system to do this was the Nintendo 3DS. Now the 3DS is taking off like a rocket, and we all see that reports of the system's death were greatly exaggerated.

The Nintendo Wii U did not have a stellar launch lineup. This is not exceptional. Most systems have crappy launch lineups, and all systems suffer from a year or a year and a half of game drought. I do no claim to predict the future success of the Wii U, but I can tell you that tales of a console's death prior to its 2nd year birthday are almost always uncalled for.

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