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Comment [OT] Spam factories (Score 4, Interesting) 63

Barbie dress up games

Looks like you need to clean up your computer and online browsing settings! (Unless you meant to post that link following your comment)

That was probably one of the manual-labor spam factories that seem to be sprouting like weeds recently -- they pay people to register on a forum, read the forum, and post comments (with spam links, of course) that make just enough sense to attract real readers' attention.

On the one hand, I guess it means that spam-detecting tech has advanced far enough that it's no longer very profitable to send out machine-generated spam. On the other hand, this makes it harder for us humans to tell the difference. (But then again, xkcd has a point too.)

Comment Re:Open Source? (Score 1) 217

Just for starters: (official repository, with post-Humble Bundle patches from several people)

(Not to say the others aren't undergoing development as well; Aquaria is just the only one of those four that really captured my interest.)

Comment Re:Cross-platform, but not cross-compiling (Score 1) 148

Interesting you should mention this; I've had the same problems you describe trying to get CMake to cross-compile, but with autotools, "--target=other-cpu" has generally worked fine in my experience (making it just about the only redeeming feature in that spaghetti mess of shell and m4 code). Admittedly I haven't tried building an entire Linux distribution, so maybe I just happened to choose packages that don't rely on running test programs, but IIRC autotools will explicitly disable the standard runtime tests when cross-compiling.

Comment The problem with CMake (Score 1) 148

is that it's got ugly syntax, effectively no cross-compiling support, and less-than-helpful documentation. And its generated Makefiles sometimes miss changes in header files, forcing you to "make clean".

But yeah, it's still a good alternative to autotools.

Comment Re:My question (Score 1) 226

From TFOpinion (page 33):

We note without surprise, therefore, that the Legislature of California, in making it unlawful for anyone but a law enforcement agency to "use an electronic tracking device to determine the location or movement of a person," specifically declared "electronic tracking of a person's location without that person's knowledge violates that person's reasonable expectation of privacy," and implicitly but necessarily thereby required a warrant for police use of a GPS, California Penal Code section 637.7, Stats. 1998 c. 449 (S.B. 1667) 2. Several other states have enacted legislation imposing civil and criminal penalties for the use of electronic tracking devices and expressly requiring exclusion of evidence produced by such a device unless obtained by the police acting pursuant to a warrant. See, e.g., Utah Code Ann. 77-23a-4, 77-23a-7, 77-23a-15.5; Minn Stat 626A.37, 626A.35; Fla Stat 934.06, 934.42; S.C. Code Ann 17-30- 140; Okla. Stat, tit 13, 176.6, 177.6; Haw. Rev. Stat 803-42, 803-44.7; 18 Pa. Cons. Stat 5761.

So if you're in one of those states, it looks like the answer is yes, it's illegal to plant a GPS tracker if you're not law enforcement (and sometimes even if you are law enforcement).

(And why does Slashdot still not support Unicode?)

Comment More of a progression, I think. (Score 1) 25

I wouldn't call it a generation "clash" so much as a "progression" from one generation to the next. As one who's been programming for a fair number of years, I certainly advocate knowing the details of what's going on at the lowest levels; if you're not familiar with how caches work, for example, you might have trouble figuring out why a loop over a 2-D array is running so slowly (answer: you have the loops inverted, so every array access is missing the cache). For those who have learned programming in more modern environments, I hope my column has been informative. But at the same time, if your target environment has the capability to take care of all the details for you, I see nothing wrong with taking advantage of that. If your PC can generate new kittens faster than STL kills them off, then by all means, blast those felines to bits. (: After all, that's the whole point of progression in computer technology -- to let the programmer focus more on the high-level problem and less on the low-level nuts and bolts.

Also, just in case it wasn't clear from the column, it was not at all my intent to criticize the original software. There are certainly things that I would have done differently, but in my own playthrough, the game ran nearly flawlessly in its target environment. Creating a complex piece of software like this is no small effort, and I have nothing but respect for Alec (Holowka, the developer) for completing his work to such a high caliber.

Comment Re:Potential Wii/console ports (Score 3, Interesting) 25

From the game's website, screenshots, and hardware requirements it seems possible that this game could be ported to the Wii. The simplistic control scheme (mouse only, keyboard can just be used for starting/exiting game) could easily have it work on pretty much any gamepad for any system. The technical hurdles the dev went through just to get it to the PSP (a platform of much less popularity than several others) suggests he possesses the resolution to get Aquaria on other systems.

Just for the record, this PSP port is totally unofficial -- I did it mainly for the challenge of porting (and because I enjoyed the heck out of the game). That said, judging from the Wii's specs, I don't think a Wii port would be too difficult as long as you don't have to copy textures into GPU RAM for drawing. The Linux port uses SDL and OpenGL, so if there's a functional SDL/GL port for the Wii, that could save a lot of time.

Comment It's protected (hopefully!) (Score 3, Informative) 25

I wasn't the one who posted the story, but I added a Coral Cache redirect for Slashdot referrers after the Wolfire column went live (just in case -- even though we all know Slashdotters never RTFA). People who actually want to clone the repository will presumably know not to use the Coral Cache URL, people who are just browsing shouldn't notice a difference, and hopefully my server will survive the onslaught. (:

Comment Hayabusa was a platform for testing new technology (Score 3, Insightful) 147

Of course things are going to go wrong. They in fact succeeded at their primary objective, which was to run the ion engines for 1,000 hours; everything beyond that is a bonus. If anything, the engineers involved ought to be praised for being able to work around all those problems and get the thing back to Earth.

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