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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.

Submission + - Would Bernie Sanders gut NASA spending if he became president? Probably (examiner.com)

MarkWhittington writes: With Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent socialist from Vermont, packing in huge crowds during his early August west coast swing, the idea that he might have a shot at the Democratic nomination has gone from the realm of fantasy to that of distinct possibility. This fact is especially true since the presumptive Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, continues to slip in the polls and faces numerous ethical and legal woes.

Sanders’ surge means that interest is merited about his views on particular issues. One case in point is his attitude toward the space program and NASA spending. The answer is not very encouraging for those people who value space exploration.

Submission + - When Will Your Hard Drive Fail? (itworld.com)

jfruh writes: Tech writer Andy Patrizio suffered his most catastrophic hard drive failure in 25 years of computing recently, which prompted him to delve into the questions of which hard drives fail and when. One intriguing theory behind some failure rates involve a crisis in the industry that arose from the massive 2011 floods in Thailand, home to the global hard drive industry.

Submission + - When to doubt a scientific consensus (stream.org)

An anonymous reader writes: This is a beautifully written and thoughtful analysis of the state of climate science, and why intelligent and educated citizens should continue to remain skeptical of the claims coming from the global warming activist community (which now includes the Pope).

He gives a dozen different reasons for remaining skeptical of the claims of the global warming community, based both on the science as well as how they sell their position. Number 10 — "When [the claimed consensus] it is being used to justify dramatic political or economic policies" — is probably the most important:

Imagine hundreds of world leaders and nongovernmental organizations, science groups, and United Nations functionaries gathered for a meeting heralded as the most important conference since World War II, in which "the future of the world is being decided." These officials seem to agree that institutions of "global governance" need to be established to reorder the world economy and massively restrict energy resources. Large numbers of them applaud wildly when socialist dictators denounce capitalism. Strange philosophical and metaphysical activism surrounds the gathering. And we are told by our president that all of this is based, not on fiction, but on science — that is, a scientific consensus that human activities, particularly greenhouse gas emissions, are leading to catastrophic climate change.

We don't have to imagine that scenario, of course. It happened in Copenhagen, in December 2009. It will happen again in Paris, in December 2015.

Now, none of this disproves the hypothesis of catastrophic, human induced climate change. But it does describe an atmosphere that would be highly conducive to misrepresentation. And at the very least, when policy consequences, which claim to be based on science, are so profound, the evidence ought to be rock solid. "Extraordinary claims," the late Carl Sagan often said, "require extraordinary evidence." When the megaphones of consensus insist that there's no time, that we have to move, MOVE, MOVE!, you have a right to be suspicious.


Submission + - The US Navy's Warfare Systems Command Just Paid Millions to Stay on Windows XP (itworld.com) 1

itwbennett writes: 'The Navy relies on a number of legacy applications and programs that are reliant on legacy Windows products,' said Steven Davis, a spokesman for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego. And that reliance on obsolete technology is costing taxpayers a pretty penny. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, which runs the Navy’s communications and information networks, signed a $9.1 million contract earlier this month for continued access to security patches for Windows XP, Office 2003, Exchange 2003 and Windows Server 2003.

Submission + - AMD Flaunts Fiji-based Radeon R9 Fury X, 'Project Quantum', Radeon 300 Series (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: AMD hosted an event today for the tech press to announce new graphics solutions ranging from the bottom to the top ($99 on up to $649). First up is the new range of R7 300 Series cards that is aimed squarely at gamers that AMD says are typically running at 1080p. For gamers that want a little bit more power, there's the new R9 300 Series (just think of them as R9 280s with higher clocks and 8GB of memory). Finally, AMD delivered today with the official announcement of its Fiji graphics cards that feature onboard High Bandwidth Memory (HBM), offering 3x the performance-per-watt of GDDR5. Fiji has 1.5x the performance-per-watt of the R9 290X, and was built with a focus on 4K gaming. The chip itself features 4096 stream processor and is comprised of 8.9 billion transistors. It has a graphics core clock of 1050MHz and is rated at an astonishing 8.6 TFLOPs. And thanks to its lower power consumption through the use of HBM and efficiency in its GPU design, there will be plenty of overhead for overclocking. Fiji will initially be available in two variants: the Radeon R9 Fury (air cooled) and the Radeon R9 Fury X (water-cooled). The Radeon R9 Fury will go on sale July 14 for $549 while the Radeon Fury X (1.5x performance-per-watt of a Radeon R9 290X) will be available June 24 for $649. Finally, AMD also took the opportunity to showcase its "Project Quantum," which is a small form-factor PC that manages to cram in not one, but two Fiji GPUs. The processor, GPUs, and all other hardware is incorporated into the bottom of the chassis, while the cooling solution is integrated into the top of the case.
Displays

Ask Slashdot: Affordable Large HD/UHD/4K "Stupid" Screens? 330

New submitter LOGINS SUC (713291) writes Truly in the first-world problems category, I've been looking for large format (>55") HD/UHD screens for home entertainment. In light of the recent Samsung big-brother monitoring and advertisement injection concerns, does any reputable manufacturer still make "stupid" TVs? I don't want to pay for all the WiFi, apps, cameras, or microphones. I don't need it to have speakers. And at this point, I don't even care if it has the TV receiver functionality. All this stuff leads to vendor lock-in or is well on the path to obsolescence by the time I purchase the device. I prefer all of this non-visual functionality be handled by devices better suited to the purpose and I don't want to pay for screens including these widgets I have no intention of ever using, at all.

I've searched all the normal retail outlets. If I find anything, they are wildly expensive. "Computer monitors" fit the bill but are almost all 55") LCDs in the sub-$3,000 range anymore? Are projectors the last bastion of visual purity for home entertainment?

Comment Briefing is just too obvious (Score 1) 2

I fly on average about twice a week so I have the whole safety briefing just about memorized. So while I mostly tune out because of that, I think the majority of people just tune out because a lot of the information is too obvious and most is repeated later in the flight (e.g. "The fasten safety belt indicator light has been activated. For your safety, please ensure your safety belt is security fastened and do not wander about the cabin.") It's been about ten years that I can recall a movie theater reminding me during the previews to locate the nearest exit in case of a fire. Honestly, I'd rather see the safety briefing go away and just make everyone refer to the printed handout already in front of every passenger - like with my car.

Until recently (with in-dash navigation systems warning screens) the auto industry has gotten by with using the supplemental car manuals to cover all the safety items with 98% of car owners never reading it cover to cover. I just pray the day never comes that before I drive my car, I have to watch a three-minute video on the in-dash navigation screen how to fasten my seat belt, what to do if the air bag deployment system goes off, and how there are many car model choices and Toyota thanks me for my continued loyalty and hopes that I'll drive again with them real soon. Great for catching bank robbers driving away, but horrible for escaping chainsaw maniacs and zombie hordes.

Comment Some further detail (Score 2) 132

My parents were very good friends with the victim and his wife. His death had a large impact on his family and those that knew him. His death occurred only a few months ago. He was in otherwise good health until recently. Doctor's suspected something neurological but only diagnosed him with probable CJD *after* exploratory brain surgery. Needless to say, the entire hospital and staff were exposed; which prompted immediate attention from state and federal health officials. I'm actually surprised that news of this incident hasn't been publicized until now.

The family does believe that he contracted the disease during his out of the country travels, and *not* in Texas. As a previous poster mentioned, CJD is a tragic way to go. To the family, it was a sudden shock and a rapid deterioration with absolutely no hope for recovery. I have great admiration for his wife who stood by his side the entire time as she stood by and cared for him until the end.

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."

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