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Comment Hmmm. (Score 1) 95

My day job is a web comic. All of my story notes live largely in Evernote. I mostly try to avoid doing lengthy sagas that need to really worry about continuity.

I believe Marvel and DC employ archivists; part of their job is to be a resource on continuity. Part of the job of a comic's editor is also to catch continuity glitches.

Comment Re:Just (Score 2) 163

Millions of people bought Guitar Hero and Rock Band to enjoy a fantasy of being a rock star. I don't think anyone bought these games expecting to actually learn how to play music.

Have you learnt to become a space marine from playing Quake? Have you learnt to rule a nation by playing Civilization? Have you learnt to draw graffiti by playing Jet Set Radio? Have you learnt to be a hand-to-hand combat master playing Street Fighter?

Unless a game is explicitly designed as a teaching device, you are not likely to learn anything more than a vague caricature of the skills involved in the activity it simulates. Nobody expects to learn any activity based on a video game. But somehow, people constantly criticize Guitar Hero and Rock Band for this.

Why do you think anyone expects these games to teach them to play a real instrument?

Comment I already do. (Score 0) 382

I pay money to Metafilter - a mandatory $5 account creation fee, and now a buck or two every month since they added an option to do this. This goes in part to their fabulous team of moderators.

I also donate my time to helping to moderate a webcomics forum, because I want to have a nice place to talk about making those.

It's not so much that trolls are paywalled out, it's that there is a definite culture in place in these places that is anti-troll, with enough people wandering around the site with 'keep things civil' in the back of their mind. Sometimes a mod has to step in and delete a few posts that are turning into personal attacks, and politely remind everyone to please chill out and remember that there's humans on the other side of the screen. It works. I have had civil discussions with people who passionately believe the opposite of my views, and we have kept it polite, because both sides know they're in a forum that expects certain behavior, and that stepping outside of those bounds gets posts or accounts deleted.

(Neither of these places has a real names only policy, by the way; MeFi even has a modest cultural expectation of elaborate usernames that are unique to the site.)

Comment Re:Winamp is still the best player around! (Score 1) 188

I think iTunes has all of those things you want nowadays, actually. At least for me on my Mac. It seems to kinda suck on other platforms because it has to drag a whole lot of the Quicktime infrastructure it relies on for playing music along with it, and becomes kind of big and unwieldy.

I get system notifications of playing tracks if I want 'em.

It's got plugins. I don't know how extensive they are, mostly I just have a handful of visualizers, and I think I've got a couple music format plugins somewhere in there too. (I've spent like $100 on various visualizers over the years, right now I'm really liking Aeon.)

I'm not sure what "excellent media library" or "the ability to play straight from the library" entails. I can double-click on a track in the iTunes window and it plays it, it manages all my folders and tags for me and makes it easy to dig out the actual files when I want to, I can sort in all kinds of ways.

Does Winamp do "smart playlists"? Because that's iTunes' killer feature, IMHO. It spends the vast majority of its time in a playlist of "stuff I haven't played in the last 5 weeks, or skipped in the last 10". Keeps my vast collection constantly rotating.

Comment Re:Islam would be a virus that trashes systems (Score 1) 392

No, a virus would be hard-line fundamentalists, who the US elevated to power in the Middle East because they would originally be more amenable to doing our bidding in terms of who got the oil. The same virus can work in Christianity, and is pretty widespread. Or maybe the virus aggressively amoral capitalism, which has a really depressingly powerful synergy with fundamentalists. But perhaps I'm stretching the metaphor to far.

Islam, in this metaphor, might be described as another OS entirely that was implemented on top of Judaism; there's quite a few stories in the Bible that also show up in the Qur'an. Much of the Bible happens in the Middle East.

Comment Re:why ? (Score 1) 392

It's frontpage-worthy because it's by Charlie Stross, who used to be a programmer, and writes science fiction that a lot of nerds enjoy. Multiple Hugo awards and all that.

And the point of this lengthy metaphor is given in the second paragraph: "Over the beer, the conversation turned—for no sane reason—to computer operating systems. There being some non-technical folks at the table, I then had to cough up a metaphor to contextualize the relationship between Mac OS X and UNIX..." It gives them something of the flavor of how all these Unices are related, yet at odds with each other over various points of dogma that're incomprehensible to the layman.

Comment iPad. And some time showing him how to use it. (Score 1) 370

I just gave my 70-something mother my old iPad2 and fifty bucks on the app store. She's loving it.

I'm hanging out at her place for a week or so as a Christmasish kind of thing, so I've been available to answer her questions and tell her how to do basic stuff. We'll probably go get her a cover with a keyboard in it before I go - she's a touch-typist so she kinda hates the screen keyboard.

Admittedly she's fairly tech-savvy for an old lady - her vcr has never blinked 12:00, she's got an aging Windows laptop that she does stuff on - but if your father's still mostly got it together, you should be able to teach him a lot about how to use it and have an excuse to hang out with him. Don't show him how to do stuff, tell him how to do stuff while you're sitting next to him, and be patient. Then grin happily once he gets it and spends a whole day doing nothing but playing Fairway Solitaire or something.

Hell, I had a good time sitting next to my mom this morning playing a hidden object/adventure game based on A Christmas Carol with her. The iPad mostly stayed in her lap, with me poking at it now and then for some of the kinds of puzzles I'm a lot better at than she is.

Comment Re:Resale, rental, input, pricing, exclusives (Score 2) 161


hauling your computer into the same room as the tv, then back out when you want to get work done
setting up a selection of games mostly designed for play with keyboard/mouse to work with a controller
having a big computer with a noisy fan sitting there in the living room

The Steambox is, admittedly, designed to attack all these points, so maybe soon it will be the year of PC Gaming In The Living Room.

Comment Portability improvement (Score 1) 224

> The 54Wh battery looks it improves the portability a bit.

A bit? A lot. I went from a late 2010 13" Air to a 2013 13" Air, and it's amazing. I basically don't worry about battery life any more. At all. Charges in an hour or so, goes all damn day. I don't know what the performance is like for heavy 3D games, but I can take it out to the park and sit in the shade on a bright sunny day, with the display fighting a lot of ambient light for a couple of hours of drawing, and still have tons of power left.

Comment The last link is bogus. (Score 1) 88

I've done a Kickstarter and watched quite a few Kickstarters. One thing I have learnt is that you should NEVER trust Kicktraq's projections in the first week or so; it is ALWAYS overestimating by a hell of a lot. It doesn't matter if you're a little campaign with a goal of $2400 or a big one with a goal of $700,000. You will get a tiny fraction of what Kicktraq estimates in the first few days.

Comment oh great another web app (Score 1) 205

Wonder if there'll ever be native clients for anything besides Android. I'm not even going to begin to think of touching this until there are - I really love that Evernote isn't stuck in my browser.

Also, yeah, not sure I trust Google to not abandon this like they did Reader or Wave. And not so hot on importing two and a half years of notes into Google, either.

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