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Comment Re:If you're not going to read your forum ... (Score 5, Interesting) 221

While you get an idea of what the people who post in the forum like by reading it, it's not necessarily the best choice overall. The people who post on gaming forums are going to be a self-selected subset amounting to a couple of percent of the total player base, tops. This means they're going to have opinions that may not reflect everyone who plays the game. Most notably they're going to be more hardcore than average.

There is no war game, simulation or RPG mechanic so utterly baroque that someone won't decry streamlining it as 'dumbing down' the game. Inevitably that someone posts on the developer's forum. People got unbelievably pissed off when Dungeons and Dragons got rid of THAC0 and made higher armor classes better. All THAC0 did was complicate the rules set and give newcomers one more reason not to play past their first game. D&D 4e among many other things eliminated enemies that drain levels on touch since permanently weakening a PC sucks, it disproportionately hits melee classes, and it brings the game to a halt as you recalculate everything every time someone gets hit.

Ultimately, designing a game is a different skill set from playing the same game. Players can give an idea of what they personally liked and disliked, but as a rule have a pretty terrible idea of what's possible and what's balanced. Designers who forget that are begging for trouble.

Comment Re:Sorry, I can't possibly get upset about this (Score 1) 406

Because cell phones generally already have support circuitry built into the CPU which prevents you from changing the OS. The public key is loaded into the PROM at manufacturing time and absent the private key, you're not going to put a new OS on the phone. The Droid X 'killswitch' most likely works that way so when someone replaces a critical signed file, the bootloader just screeches to a halt. This sounds like someone added a recovery partition with the original signed files so it just grabs the files from there and tries to boot again. If the recovery partition's files aren't correctly signed, the phone's a brick. I'd give maybe a week or two before someone gets the brilliant idea to overwrite the recovery partition with unsigned files and we get a story about how the G2 has its own 'killswitch'.

Comment Re:Wasn't Windows 95 and 98 built from the ground (Score 2, Insightful) 106

That's the problem with any software that's not running on bare iron. A C program running on Linux is still limited in the exact same way that managed code is. It's just that the OS imposes those limitations with SIGSEGV rather than simply not deallocating referenced memory. If it really did let you do whatever you want that the hardware allows, that'd be a tremendous security hole.

Comment Re:Design patterns (Score 1) 396

I wouldn't put it in terms of a specific poster given that I haven't seen their code to judge it in the first place and one of the points of GoF is that the patterns are really just techniques that get reinvented over and over and over by people to solve common broad classes of problems. For a lot of programmers, learning big-O notation was really just formalizing an intuition we've had about the speed of nested loops. Education gave us a firmer grasp of what it really means as well as a vocabulary to express it to others.

However I've noticed that there's a contingent of self-taught programmers who learn some Turing complete subset of a procedural language plus some amusing anecdotes about systems programming from over 30 years ago and have therefore attained the status of Programming God. They're the only ones able to see through the perfumed lies of all those college educated frauds with their "event handlers" and "callbacks" and who understand the timeless elegance of a 50,000 line while(1) loop. In short they're so incompetent it hurts and they can't even tell it due to their inability to comprehend just how bad they are.

Comment Re:Do no evil, eh? (Score 1) 271

You can't anycast TCP, so this is a big boon for companies with lots of servers all over the world. The downsides involve bizarre cases with repressive governments that rule over their DNS servers with an iron fist but leave everything else alone because that would be wrong. China already blocks websites and monitors everyone in their country, so adding this really just offers them a less effective way to go about it. Companies wanting to use this to undermine their users' privacy can just look at the actual connections as well. Making sky-is-falling predictions about this just convinces people that these sorts of concerns are always misplaced when the truth of the matter is that this is innocuous even if there are other proposals out there that do have great potential for abuse.

Comment Re:128 Bit Architecture = cloud computing (Score 1) 581

Ideally an OS should be able to mediate access to resources and provide sufficient isolation on its lonesome rather than needing to add more layers in the form of virtual machines to do its job. In the same vein, an OS should be able to provide a uniform interface for accessing the resources available even if they're physically not on the same box. Distributed single level storage would be the logical conclusion, and in a couple of decades a large server farm might start getting uncomfortably close to the 64-bit limit if everything on it shared a single physical address space.

Comment Re:Nobody needs more than 640K of RAM (Score 3, Informative) 756

That's what PAE is. To the process, the address space is just one huge flat expanse from 00000000 to 7FFFFFFF. (or BFFFFFFF if the OS is configured that way and the software understands it) To the OS, the processes are allocated RAM in 4 kB pages which are mapped to their corresponding hardware frames in RAM via the page table. When the process accesses an address, the low 12 bits determine where within the page it should read, while the high 20 bits determine the entry in the page table. That entry has the hardware address which it then accesses. PAE allows the hardware address to be larger than 20 bits so that the OS can address more than 32 bits of physical memory transparently to the individual processes.

The Internet

The Perils of Pop Philosophy 484

ThousandStars tips a new piece by Julian Sanchez, the guy who, in case you missed it, brought us a succinct definition of the one-way hash argument (of the type often employed in the US culture wars). This one is about the dangers of a certain kind of oversimplifying, as practiced routinely by journalists and bloggers. "This brings us around to some of my longstanding ambivalence about blogging and journalism more generally. On the one hand, while it's probably not enormously important whether most people have a handle on the mind-body problem, a democracy can't make ethics and political philosophy the exclusive province of cloistered academics. On the other hand, I look at the online public sphere and too often tend to find myself thinking: 'Discourse at this level can't possibly accomplish anything beyond giving people some simulation of justification for what they wanted to believe in the first place.' This is, needless to say, not a problem limited to philosophy."
Operating Systems

First Look At VMware's vSphere "Cloud OS" 86

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Paul Venezia takes VMware's purported 'cloud OS,' vSphere 4, for a test drive. The bottom line: 'VMware vSphere 4.0 touches on almost every aspect of managing a virtual infrastructure, from ESX host provisioning to virtual network management to backup and recovery of virtual machines. Time will tell whether these features are as solid as they need to be in this release, but their presence is a substantial step forward for virtual environments.' Among the features Venezia finds particularly worthwhile is vSphere's Fault Tolerance: 'In a nutshell, this allows you to run the same VM in tandem across two hardware nodes, but with only one instance actually visible to the network. You can think of it as OS-agnostic clustering. Should a hardware failure take out the primary instance, the secondary instance will assume normal operations instantly, without requiring a VMotion.'"

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