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Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 479

I have a PhD in computer science ... along with about 15 years of prior software engineering experience. Moreover, I maintained my programming chops through grad school; I developed a couple toolkits and coded up all the programs, scripts, and makefiles I used to run my experiments while there. If anything, being an experienced programmer gave me a tremendous boost to my productivity while pursuing my degree. So, yes, I'm qualified as a software engineer --- among the many other things for which I'm now qualified thanks to my education.

Alas, times are tough, so I could easily see vying for a software engineering job should my current academic job hunt fail to bear fruit before my postdoc funding is exhausted.

Comment Re:Thanks for the advice (Score 1) 228

Right. This is attempt #3 for a reply. If this doesn't go through without /. eating it, I'm giving up. :P

The Delaware property is old farmland now managed by the Delaware Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club. There's plenty of room for the 1200 folks that show up, and it's in very rural area, so few neighbors. (However, there are one or two problem neighbors, hence the sound is dialed down after 2200.)

And regularly occurring events makes for easier planning and logistics. Kinda nice to plan ahead, especially if you have complex art pieces or little vacation time. Besides, you get a folks that show up each year, and it's kinda nice to have familiar faces. I doubt you'd get that for spontaneous events.

Irish pipes? Uilleann? FSM, those look impossible. Jeebus, looks like you need a PhD and a pilot's license to operate one of those.

I've got a set of big pipes, but also have some shuttles that I love love love to play. Unfortunately they're too quiet, if you can believe it. So I have on order a set of Scottish smallpipes which have the perfect volume for pubs. Loud enough to hear, but not overwhelming. That, and being cauld wind instruments might (hopefully) mitigate some of the dryness issues of Burning Man. (No worries about PDF as it's fairly humid.)

Comment The myth of drugs at burns (Score 1) 228

Though there is drug use at burns, that's not the point of those events. It's a collaborative space for makers and artists. I've been to several burns and the only "drug" I've consumed is alcohol, most of which was in the cooler I brought with me. And I didn't drink too much because that would otherwise interfere with playing music, which was one of the main reasons I went in the first place. :P

Comment Cheap, local alternatives to Burning Man (Score 3, Informative) 228

If you find Burning Man too expensive or inconvenient, but you're still interested in checking it out, then you might want to consider a local burn, instead. They're generally much, much smaller and more intimate.

Here's a list to get you started:

Comment There is a lot of Pennsic/burner overlap (Score 1) 228

I go to both burner events *and* Pennsic, and can readily relate that there is significant overlap between both. (E.g., the Batgirl I mentioned in a separate reply that is with Camp Justice League at Playa del Fuego is one of my Pennsic campmates; and at least three more of my Pennsic buddies also go to PDF and other burns.)

Comment Re:Normally... (Score 2) 228

I refuted the claim that *no one* that's a nerd would find this compelling because I provided a ready contradicting data point. I implied that I was likely not alone in this set, and admittedly that was an implication I should have made clearer.

To wit, given my experience, I've encountered many, many nerds of various flavors at burner events. One example is a guy that made an interactive art piece that he hacked up involving a Kinect, a projector, and image processing software that was a hit. There was also Camp Justice League where everyone spent the burn dressed as a superhero. I had a pal dressed as Bat Girl from that camp help me assemble my tent in terrible gusts -- because helping people is what super heroes do, dontcha know. And I would hope I needn't explain the connection between comic book hero cosplay and nerdom.

And, hell, I go to play bagpipes, which is about as nerdy a musical instrument as the accordion or sousaphone.

Comment Thanks for the advice (Score 5, Informative) 228

I've only been to a regional burn, Playa del Fuego, but I realize that's but a shadow of the real thing. (I think of it it as a training camp.) Given the expense and distance of Burning Man, one might look to going to a local regional burn first to get a flavor of the real deal. As a plus, you might befriend folks that are going to Burning Man and be able to camp with them.

Fortunately I'm already going to heed part of your advice when I do go. I've got a slot available to me with the Irish pub, The Dusty Swan. Seems they're a little short on bagpipers, and I'm all too happy to fulfill that role. And I met the proprietor of The Dusty Swan at Playa del Fuego, so there ya go.

Comment Truly a sad day (Score 1) 1521

As my user number attests, I've been on board /. from nigh near the beginning. I may not read /. with the near obsessive frequency I did in the 90s, but I still poke my nose in now and again for news. I also had the pleasure of meeting you and Hemos at the 1999 Lokihack, which you both judged. I remembered coming away from Marietta more impressed by how sharp and gee golly nice you guys were. I knew then, more than ever, that /. was in good hands. I think I might even have saved some of your original /. business cards.

(The tragic irony is that I learned about your resignation via twitter, and not from checking ./ itself. Oy.)

So very sorry that you're leaving, but I well understand that occasionally one needs to hit the ole magic reset on life, to move on to a new, fresh chapter. We can only keep on the same trajectory for so long before burn out saps the will to live. So, all the best on starting your next chapter; if the previous one is an indicator, it'll be a doozy.


Mark Coletti
(User 367)

Comment Adaptive game AI (Score 1) 404

As pointed out below, the easy way to dynamically adapt game play is to add or subtract game elements as needed. However, it may be more interesting to allow the game AI to adapt -- instead of adding or subtracting objects have the AI continue to learn during game play. That is, for some games the AI learns "offline" -- it may be trained using many runs in a headless simulation mode; once the game is shipped the AI's knowledge doesn't change since learning is "turned off." But if learning can still happen during normal game play, then adaption will happen implicitly.

Of course that sounds really simple, but may actually be a bear to implement. For example, learning has associated overhead which might have an impact on game performance. (Which is normally why it would be done offline during development.) And if the AI is fairly simple to begin with then it might not make sense to have it learn during normal game play.

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