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Comment Re:I don't understand. (Score 1) 277

Also, it wasn't until the early 60s that the earliest photocopiers appeared, courtesy of Haloid Xerox corporation, and a good decade after that before most people could usually get access to them for personal use.

That brought about a change in thinking. Prior, unless a print shop was going to get involved, you only really thought about making copies at the time of creation - via carbon paper, or mimeographs. People weren't used to the idea of creating copies of something after the fact.

The writing habits of authors and people like Roddenberry were already well developed. Today we think nothing of 'backing things up', but at the time it must have been a strange idea to them.

Comment Re:Given a choice in the 70's (Score 1) 277

Ahhh. David H Ahl's 101 BASIC games - those were written on a mainframe I believe, and required a little bit (not much usually) of work just to translate to the BASIC dialects found on the common machines of the time (Commodore PET, Apple ][, TRS-80, Atari). The Atari BASIC was the hardest of the bunch because it's string handling differed the most (not being based on the Dartmouth/Microsoft BASIC interpreters of the time)

For real fun, I remember at about age 14, taking a commercial game- Starbase Hyperion - that was written in Atari BASIC, but had a few 'anti-hack' measures, and undoing them to make it readable when listed (like coming up with meaningful names for all the variables - they were in a table that had been replaced with control characters).

Comment Re:Nothing unusual about CP/M (Score 2) 277

As I recall, it was common for the CPU in machines of that era to interact heavily with the Floppy Controller during the I/O process: listening for the sync hole (a real hole in the floppy), driving the stepper motor, transferring bytes, intra-sector timings, stop/start bits, etc. All of which could be further impacted by the system clocks and even the memory wait states used in that particular machine.

There were many early "homebuilt" CP/M machine from sources like HeathKit, Northstar, etc, so there could have been quite a few variants in terms of the actual magnetic data on the disk.

For some real fun, look up how the CompuColor II (circa 1979) controlled it's floppy disks -- it used a serial IO chip in developer/debug mode to save on having a dedicated floppy controller chip.

Comment Let me translate this for you... (Score 3, Interesting) 30

As someone who has made games for over 20 years, including mobile, and was responsible for a game in Steam's top 100 played over 10 years after it's initial release... let me translate this press release for you...

"We want a revenue stream sustained for 10 years without us having to constantly develop new games and enter into the lottery that is mobile games today.... ... We also want it to never rain during the daytime, or when we are out and about."

Having worked on some hugely popular titles let me just say that I've learned that despite all you do, you don't control your audience. You're in the entertainment business, no matter how good an entertainment product you have, and no matter how much marketing you are doing, you are not making something that is truly necessary in your customer's lives.

So if your players get bored, don't have as much time to spare, popular fads change, new fads sweep the popular conscience, technologies or platforms change, they don't have the money to spare, they want something new and more novel, or whatever... then life moves on and so do your players.

The idea suggested by the headline - that a game's life cycle will be longer just because a developer deems it should be, is ludicrous.

Digging into the press release, though, that's not what they are saying. They are saying they will design their games, technically and gameplay, with a long lifespan in mind. That means growing and evolving content - new levels, new content, new stories, etc. Ongoing active development, much like a long running TV show - never completely wrapping things up and always leaving the door open for what comes next.

Doing that means keeping a development team active for the duration.. which in reality is going to be for as long the game sustains a certain revenue level. If not, the game goes into "sunset" mode. Lots of mobile games are already doing this entire strategy.

Heck, I worked on an iOS game doing just that 3 years ago. It requires that your game develop a large enough *paying* player base early on, and that you sustain their interest enough to keep the IAPs coming, and do it on a regular and consistent enough basis. The whole whale vs non-payer thing comes into play, as well as newer, shinier competition. That means they will pull out all the (Skinner boxes, social groups/teams, etc) stops to keep players hooked and interested.

Great if you can do it, but there is no magic formula or guarantee that you will succeed, or for as long as you want to.

Graphics

Valve Sponsors Work To Greatly Speed-Up Linux OpenGL Game Load Times 202

An anonymous reader writes "Valve Software has sponsored some interesting improvements developed by LunarG for the Mesa OpenGL library on Linux for deferred and threaded GLSL shader compilation. What these changes mean for users of the open-source Linux graphics drivers when running their favorite games is that OpenGL games now load a lot faster. As an example, the time from starting Dota 2 until the time actually being within the game is reduced by about 20 seconds on an Intel system. While Direct3D has offered similar functionality for a while, OpenGL has not, which has given it a bad reputation with regard to game load times until all shaders are compiled and cached — fortunately it's now addressed for OpenGL if using the Mesa Linux graphics drivers on a supported game."

Submission + - Slashdot creates beta site users express theirs dislike (slashdot.org) 4

who_stole_my_kidneys writes: Slashdot started redirecting users in February to its newly revamped webpage and received a huge backlash from users. The majority of comments dislike the new site while some do offer solutions to make it better. The question is will Slashdot force the unwanted change on its users that clearly do not want change?

Submission + - Once Slashdot beta has been foisted upon me, what site should I use instead? 2

somenickname writes: As a long time Slashdot reader, I'm wondering what website to transition to once the beta goes live. The new beta interface seems very well suited to tablets/phones but, it ignores the fact that the user base is, as one would expect, nerds sitting in front of very large LCD monitors and wasting their employers time. It's entirely possible that the browser ID information gathered by the site has indicated that they get far more hits on mobile devices where the new interface is reasonable but, I feel that no one has analyzed the browser ID (and screen resolution) against comments modded +5. I think you will find that most +5 comments are coming from devices (real fucking computers) that the new interface does not support well. Without an interface that invites the kind of users that post +5 comments, Slashdot is just a ho-hum news aggregation site that allows comments. So, my question is, once the beta is the default, where should Slashdot users go to?

Submission + - Slashdot beta sucks 9

An anonymous reader writes: Maybe some of the slashdot team should start listening to its users, most of which hate the new user interface. Thanks for ruining something that wasn't broken.

Submission + - Judge orders professor removed from no-fly list (seattletimes.com) 1

Okian Warrior writes: In a followup to Slashdot's previous article, a federal judge has ordered Rahinah Ibrahim removed from the U.S. government's no-fly list.

Rahinah Ibrahim eventually won the no-fly list ruling after her daughter, a US citizen, was prevented from returning to the country to testify at the trial.

Here's hoping this is the first of many successful challenges to the no-fly list.

Comment I'm glad I'm not an atractive woman. (Score 4, Interesting) 336

because no one would misuse this tech to act creepy.

True story:

Back around 1989 I was maintaining a minicomputer system for a small chain of Auto Body Shops near Ft. Worth Texas. I got to know a lot about how the business works and made friends with some of the VERY blue collar guys who sanded, welded, painted and whatnot.

At that time the body shop had dedicated terminal that could dial up the Texas DMV database and retrieve the registration info for a given license plate. On at least two separate occasions I observed one of the shop guys using the terminal to get the name and address of a car they observed that was driven by an attractive woman. Nothing creepy or potentially dangerous there? Yeah.

Maybe we should study CCTV operators in England to make sure that attractive women, or any other category of people, aren't being watched more closely than everyone else.

Comment Re:They don't go outside (Score 3, Insightful) 635

When I was a teen, one of the main functions of driving (and borrowing my parent's car) was to go be with my friends, hanging out or whatever. Otherwise I was stuck at home by myself.

My own kids are constantly texting, emailing, playing online with, or using other means to interact with their friends without physical proximity. They can do it from anywhere they have wireless connectivity, even when traveling out of town.

Again, back when I was a teen, we had a single land line telephone. If it wasn't in use, It was possible to call and just talk to one of my friends at a time, provided they were home, their line wasn't busy, and they were willing to be tethered by a cord to the phone's location in the house.

Comment A couple questions (Score 1) 187

Just a couple questions come to mind:

First: What is the purpose of keeping the information? If it's just to have a record for your own sake of what and when and how much, do you even need to scan the statement or receipt or keep the original? or can having all the info imported into a money manager be enough?

I've been using Quicken for over a decade (still using Quicken 2000 actually as later versions are bloaty) to keep all my financial history in detail. For answering questions like "When did I buy that Belkin KVM switch so I can see if the warranty period has expired" searching the register is good enough as I add enough info the memos. In this example (real one from just a week ago), finding the information easily was enough, and it's to my advantage to have all the individual statements and detail items combined into larger account histories rather than parse an archive tree full of pdf/ocr files (FWIW: even this old version of quicken lets me attach scans of receipts to entries)

Second Question: In what cases is the Original Paper required as opposed to a scan? If you need to show an original statement, receipt or other document to prove some thing or get something approved, do you know when an electronic copy or reproduction is as acceptable as the original? I don't think this is an area with consistent clear cut answers yet because of its newness.

Let's take an admittedly unlikely example. You have a house but have moved to take a job out of state, and you're trying to sell the house. Some scumbag squatter moves in and tries submitting false documents to claim ownership. All the documents relating to purchase and any mortgages have been scanned and shredded. Will the courts, police, banks, city and county offices etc. give you any trouble because they are not signed originals? What if the scumbag claims you fabricated the documents (like he did) and his are the originals? What if some entities accept a scan and others don't?

I've implemented a hybrid system where different documents get scanned / destroyed at different times. I have a single card-file cabinet (Filing cabinet with half-height drawers). Paper copies of everything from the current year and previous year are kept in a drawer. At the end of each year, I take all the documents from year-1, shred most of them (assuming any need for them has past), and put the ones I deem most critical in a small box to archive.

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The computer can't tell you the emotional story. It can give you the exact mathematical design, but what's missing is the eyebrows. - Frank Zappa

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