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Comment The movie sucked, even for fanboys/girls.. (Score 3, Insightful) 407

so get over it already. DC just has a lousy track records of making a universe of films with continuity that are, you know, well-scripted and fun to watch.

I also thought the new Star Trek was mediocre at best. I was looking for some of the wonder and excitement that the reboot brought to the screen (minus lens flare) and I got wonder alright -- I wandered into the movie and then I wandered out when it was over. No excitement for the villain, the plot overall, but there were at least a couple of funny moments.

Comment The Fight to Piracy? (Score 1) 331

Here is how you take the fight to piracy -- take some risks, make some NEW movies (get off the remake train), make some GOOD movies, with a plot and character development and, you know, things that make it interesting and make people want to discuss your movie in a general way -- not just "That sucked! I wasted $25 to see that piece of shit? I should have downloaded it instead..." Also, stop gouging theaters so that tickets are $8 to $15 a head and climbing rapidly. I know theaters gouge us, the movie goer, with popcorn, Coke, and candy but we can opt out of that. We can't opt out of the ticket if we want to see the movie. Unless, you know, we pirate it *yarrrr!*

So, that's how you fight piracy James. Not make the movie theater experience "unique" -- fucking make the movies unique so we'll want to go see them. See the Marvel Cinematic Universe for an example of this. Even the bad ones. Stop changing movies because YOU know better -- when the fans want to see The Killing Joke, make The Killing Joke and don't change the story around. When we want to see God Loves, Man Kills (X-Men storyline), don't change the story around -- just make the movie. If you need to pad it out a bit, that's fine, just don't change the fundamental story. When we want to see Ender's War, put in the scene where Ender kicks that asshat in the balls until he dies -- don't change it to soften it up. I mean, fuck, it isn't rocket science. If the money people in Hollywood don't want to fund you, the internet exists -- crowdfund that fan-wanted movie. Go rogue, do something unique, take a risk and stop kissing Hollywood's ass for permission to make a movie.

Comment Re:What about the Methane???? (Score 2) 84

The wells in that region produce mostly crude oil and natural gas. Crude oil is easy to store in tanks, put into tanker trucks, and otherwise get off the well site to the market in a variety of ways that you can use from day 1 of drilling the well. Natural gas must either go into a pipeline, be vented into the atmosphere, or be flared (burned) into the atmosphere. Pipelines can take years to catch up to drilling (not really due to regulation as others have pointed out, but rather due to rapid drilling for profitable oil outpacing thousands of miles of pipeline construction to sell much less profitable natural gas, along with lack of enforcement of regulations intended to restrict flaring to a certain time period after drilling a new well). So a lot of gas has to be vented or flared. Venting is considered worse than flaring for the atmosphere (because methane is a worse global warming gas than CO2 as you pointed out), so it all gets flared. Perhaps flaring burns the methane but not the ethane, or at least not all of it, which is why ethane is the problem we are focusing on here?

Comment You can probably afford hardware (Score 3, Insightful) 78

You should buy a something like a SBC (Pi or Arduino) and get a breadboard and some motion control chips and a a stepper motor. All of that together will cost about $60. (Breadboard maybe $10, chips maybe another $10, stepper motor maybe another $10, Raspberry Pi maybe $30). You could at least learn the basics of working with the chips and working with a motor.

Comment Re:I agree with Steve. (Score 1) 121

You are correct in many ways, but let's not forgot, a lot of people simply don't comprehend Windows 10 and its depth/reach.

Windows 10 already has 150+ million installs, Windows 10 is the "UWP" - Universal Windows Platform. With a single development methodology to target Phone, Xbox One, Windows 10 on Tablets and Windows 10 on desktop.

I think a lot of people are writing off "mobile" on the concepts set forth by Apple & Android without thinking "Universal" where win10 already has a sizeable market share that it seems *absurd* companies aren't trying to monopolize especially considering how easy it is to enter this market. in Windows 10 UWP an app isn't "mobile" its "connected" and it works across a huge and growing platform base.

Comment Re:Too little, too late (Score 5, Insightful) 262

The fact that they ship an improved version every year or so is NOT the issue here. Seriously if the new version is not a big enough improvement over the one you have, you don't need to buy it. You can keep your phone for 2 years, or 3 years, or however long you want. That is hardly "pushing it through the throats of customers". You have to have a major victim mentality to think that. I do agree though that shipping non-equivalent versions of the processor is a big deal. That's not okay.

Comment Re:Saw it last night in 3D (Score 3, Insightful) 242

The challenge is stranding someone alone on Mars. It's easy to envision the entire crew getting stuck there. Malfunction in the ascent vehicle would do that. If it had a sufficient electrical meltdown it could even justify the loss of contact with Earth. But getting five people safely off the surface, all of them convinced of the sixth crew member's death and unable to retrieve his body, was a writing challenge. What scenarios can you think of for one man being left alive, alone, and presumed dead on the surface of Mars?

Comment Gatekeeper (Score 4, Interesting) 66

If a user doesn't know how and can't figure out or google how to bypass Gatekeeper, they shouldn't be bypassing Gatekeeper. I'm a Mac developer and I work on a commercial application that uses a privileged helper tool which the app loads using SMJobBless and that tool is managed by launchd and executed as root. We are an identified developer and we sign our app as such. We don't distribute via the App Store and we are about to ship a new version that adds a kernel extension that I wrote. In recent versions of MacOS X, kernel extensions must be signed and they have to at least by signed by an identified developer who has applied for a kernel extension signing certificate. One of the scenarios that I pay attention to as far as security goes is that our daemon (aka "privileged helper tool") executes other processes and also controls the loading and unloading of our kernel extension. Most of those processes, and our kernel extension, are located in our application bundle. I wanted to avoid making dumb assumptions like that our application is running from a particular path, so the app communicates to the daemon via XPC and tells the daemon where the app bundle is located. The daemon doesn't just trust the app. It verifies that the app is code signed and that it is our app and that it hasn't been modified before it starts executing things or loading kernel extensions from inside the app bundle. I can easily imagine a scenario where an app could call our daemon and tell it some other location and cause us to execute malware if we didn't do this. Since I'm not a security expert, I constantly worry that someone will find a way to do this and I just hope we never become an attack vector. I do not want my product on Slashdot because of a security problem.

Comment Doing the Math (Score 1) 55

SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers about the first chapter of the book follow! (Because someone is likely to complain about that kind of thing.)

Has anyone actually done the math on this? We are not talking about a man being blown around in a windstorm, really. We are talking about equipment that NASA launched to Mars getting blown around in a windstorm. The ascent vehicle getting blown nearly over is a stretch, for sure, but perhaps the injury that befalls the protagonist is not. It was inflicted on him by a piece of metal that was thrown by the windstorm. I am not qualified to do the math, but I hope someone else here is.

While the protagonist and most likely the ascent vehicle are fairly heavy, presumably everything else that NASA spent rocket fuel to put on the surface of Mars is as light as it can possibly be to still do its job. It would not take much air density to pick up a piece of metal that has high surface area and small mass, like a thin piece of aluminum with a bend in it to make it rigid would be. It certainly could be whipped by the 150kph (42m/s) wind. Anything near that speed and it would not have a problem piercing a spacesuit or damaging a circuit board. Maybe it would not likely have enough energy to do both of those things and still seriously injure a human, but it is at least plausible from this high-level perspective.

So, who here has the knowledge and the energy to run the numbers on whether this is more than just plausible and actually possible? I wish I had the former because I certainly have the latter and enjoyed the book--the plot, the technical details, and the writing style--enough to want other people also to enjoy it. Maybe Randall Munroe will give it a shot, although it is a bit non-absurd for his usual taste.

By the way, let's give the author one deus ex machina point for how he solved the final problem that his characters faced. Does he get a negative deus ex machina point for how he created the first problem that they faced and thus balance it out or do both problems and solutions have positive valence when counting the dei ex machinis?

Comment Are the reviews useful? (Score 4, Insightful) 206

If I was planning to switch from Android to iOS, I would consider using an app like this. The question is, do the app itself work well for the use case it is advertised for? Does it actually move your data over to iOS? What data does it specifically move? What does it not move?

I don't care what kind of computers other people use. I write MacOS X software for a living. I chose MacOS X as a user and as a developer for a variety of reasons, but I recognize those reasons may no longer be current. I haven't used Windows since Vista - and my use of Vista was doing development on a cross platform Windows/Mac/Linux app I wrote. I have written software for iOS (before it was even called iOS) and some iPhone apps I've written have been commercially quite successful. I thought about writing software for Android, but I haven't because my understanding is that Android users don't (in general) spend money on apps. I don't like "freemium" apps. I prefer to charge up front or else have it free. These days, I'm really more interested in MacOS X software and Linux software.

That said, I don't care what phone you like. I am very glad there are multiple viable phone platforms. I think iOS is cool. I don't like having to ship software through the App Store. That said, I've certainly sold more through the App Store than I ever sold through other channels like Kagi.

Anyway, I'm disappointed that the conversation here isn't focused on whether the reviews are useful. That's what I would care about.
Programming

Buzz: a Novel Programming Language For Heterogeneous Robot Swarms 30

New submitter pRobotika writes: Designing the behavior of robot swarms is difficult; the larger the group, the more tricky it is to predict its dynamics and the causes of errors. Buzz is a new open-source programming language specifically for robot swarms. It's designed for ease of use and is inspired by well-known programming languages such as JavaScript, Python and Lua. Buzz also includes a number of constructs specifically designed for swarm-level development. The “swarm” construct allows a developer to split the robots into multiple groups and assign a specific task to each. Swarms can be created, disbanded, and modified dynamically. The “neighbors” construct captures an important concept in swarm systems: locality. In nature, individuals interact directly and only with nearby swarm-mates. Interactions include communication, obstacle avoidance or leader following. The neighbors construct provides functions to mimic these mechanisms.

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