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Comment Re:This is a big deal (Score 2, Interesting) 57

Like I said, I don't have a problem with a simple delay. If Microsoft has the best system for developing content, and/or Harmonix got the best deal with them, fine, give them a limited(!) period of exclusivity. But here's what I have a problem with:

Tracks for the Rock Band Network will be made available later in the fall on the Xbox 360® video game entertainment system from Microsoft. Stand out tracks will follow on the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and Wii(TM) console. (press release)

I believe the community you were referring to is other song creators, not the public at large, and the wiki page's mention of peer review would tend to reinforce that. It seems reasonable to me that songs that are effectively in beta testing aren't publicly available. Rereading the press release with the peer review in mind, it's possible that by "stand out tracks" they meant "tracks that passed review", but that's not clearly spelled out in the press release, and the other platforms aren't mentioned at all on the wiki.

Comment This is a big deal (Score 2, Insightful) 57

This is a HUGE win for everyone: Harmonix the company, Rock Band the games, all of the musicians, and us as players. It's a blend of the iTunes music store and the iTunes app store, both of which were ground-breaking, genre-defining, and they both remain hugely profitable to everyone involved. This is going to let them build up their music library to be even bigger, and it was already large compared to Guitar Hero: World Tour's.

So far, both RB and GH:WT have been founded on songs sequenced by the game creators. While they've done a good job, and I can't really see another way to get started, it can never scale. There's so much music -- even when you limit the pool to music that can be fairly accurately portrayed by the combination of guitarist, bassist, drummer, and vocalist -- that this approach can only ever be a tiny, tiny drop in the bucket. Releasing the sequencing tools allows for crowd-sourcing, which scales very well indeed. There is going to be so much music available now that never was and never reasonably could be expected to have been made available via the old model.

I expect that indie musicians, and the savvier mainstream groups (I'm thinking of Radiohead here), will be the first ones in the door. If the record labels know anything about anything (which might be an unreasonable expectation), they'll eventually get in on this too.

I see two potential problems with this. One is that this could possibly limit their future expansion plans. Presumably there will be a Rock Band 3, and I would expect it to add features from RB: Beatles like multi-part harmonies. If songs are sequenced for RB2, will they be updated to take advantage of newly features in the future? It's very easy to imagine idiotic record labels getting all their stuff in once, with mediocre quality, and then never updating them. Harmonix is going to have to exercise its veto power a lot -- both to keep quality high, and to delay songs that really need upcoming improvements to be played the way they deserve to be.

The other problem I see is that the Wii and PS2/3 platforms are getting screwed. It'd be one thing if there were ONLY a delay between releasing on the Xbox and releasing on the other platforms -- that'd be ok. But releasing on the Xbox, and then maybe sometimes releasing on the other two, depending on some vaguely-defined metric? That's completely the wrong approach, and sounds like holdover thinking from the old way of doing things. Who's going to judge which tracks are eligible to be transferred to the other systems? At some level, that's always going to end up as judging the song, and more importantly imposing that judgment on the users (the paying customers!) of the other systems. I can't think of a valid reason to segregate the fanbase this way, and I think if they stick to this plan it will come back to bite them.

Still, based on the initial announcement... huge, HUGE win.

Comment Re:There's another advantage (Score 1) 412

Well, whatever humor might have been in my post has long since bled out, so I might as well finish it off.

You said that an advantage to distributed power generation is that "brownouts don't effect huge populations because power is local". Effect as a verb means "To make or bring about; to implement" [1]. How do you make or bring about a huge population? It seems to me that procreation is the most logical and straightforward means to that end.

Arguably, other approaches include relocation, either forced or voluntary. Forced relocation is a rather negative concept; at least for me, it's pretty strongly linked to other concepts such as "war crimes" or "internment". Voluntary relocation does make sense, and I suppose you could make a case that areas that are less affected by brownouts would be more attractive to potential residents, which would encourage people to move there. However, it seems less likely, because as I understand it, power reliability is not generally a factor people take into account while finding a home; it's just assumed.

Plus, "brownouts make neighborhoods unappealing" isn't as funny as "people have more sex when the power is out". But maybe that's just me.

Comment Re:There's another advantage (Score 1) 412

No offense, but I think you took that way too critically. Most of the time I let those sorts of mistakes go, because they don't get in the way of understanding too much. In this case, I thought that there was an interesting alternative interpretation based on you actually meaning to use the word "effect" instead of "affect", and so I posted. I wasn't finding fault with you as a person, or calling you stupid for making a mistake; I was just exploring what I thought was an amusing subtlety to what you wrote.

Comment Re:There's another advantage (Score 1) 412

Brownouts don't effect huge populations because power is local

I believe you meant to use the word "affect". It's possible you're grammar trolling, and that you are suggesting that people have more sex when the power is out. If that's true, this would indeed lead to larger populations (or effect them). Decentralized power generation would mean that the areas affected by electrical failures are smaller, which means fewer people having sex during brownouts. Assuming overpopulation is a problem, you're right, that would be a real advantage.

But I think you meant to use the word "affect" instead of "effect".


Submission + - NASA Names Exercise Equipment After Colbert

sirchuy writes: NASA was under a bit of pressure this month to name it's newest node of the International Space Station after Stephen Colbert when his fans, known as the Colbert Nation, swarmed onto NASA web site and voted for his name in an online poll. After considering the possibilities, it was announced on Colbert's show on Comedy Central that NASA will name the new node "Tranquility" and will instead place Colbert's name on a treadmill used by astronauts to keep in shape: the "Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill," or COLBERT.

Comment Re:Alternative Solution: Implement it Right? (Score 2, Interesting) 354

I've seen a solution in a few places that I think deserves to be picked up more widely. You've pointed out the two main styles, which are and The best solution seems to be to be a compromise between the two: the first link works, AND it ignores anything after the ID. You could give someone a link to any of the following:
And they'd all redirect to Everybody wins.

Comment Re:I didn't understand half of that (Score 5, Informative) 352

This story is rather incomprehensible to the rest of us. Could an EVE player explain some terms like sovereignty, ISK reserves, cyno-jammers and capfleet towers, please? Good thing that territorial control was explained...

The article also says

Once assured a place within GoonSwarm, Agamar proceeded to disband the Band of Brothers alliance using his director level access.

...but what powers does the director level access give you, exactly?

Sovereignty is a game mechanic which allows several other things to work. It's built by holding a solar system or constellation for a certain period of time, up to a month. Losing it means all of the things which rely on it to stop working (see below).

ISK is the currency in EVE (read gold). ISK reserves, therefore, would be money set aside for later - in this case I believe it was set aside for upkeep fees.

A cyno-jammer prevents cynosural fields from forming in the system. A cynosural field allows capital ships to move between systems, as capital ships are too large to use the stargates normal, smaller ships use. It's an important defensive structure - one of the main purposes of capital ships are to attack Player Operated Stations (POSs), which are used (among other things) to claim sovereignty.

"Capfleet tower" is a little ambiguous, but given the context I believe they're referring to the assembly arrays required to build capital ships. Due to their size, they can't be manufactured in the same places other ships are built - they require a special module, anchored at a POS (the hub of which is called a tower). The capital ship assembly array also requires sovereignty to work. Losing sovereignty means that all the capital ships that were being constructed have been put on hold. If sovereignty can be rebuilt, then those manufacturing jobs would resume, but that will be difficult because the systems are so hotly contested right now - it's likely that the assembly arrays will be attacked and destroyed.

A corporation director has very nearly all the abilities of a CEO - basically a guild leader with full access. Normally that means that one can expel other corporation members, directly manipulate the wallet (where all the corporation's money is kept), and so on. In this case, because the defector had director access in the executor corp (sort of the leader corporation of the alliance), he also had access to all the alliance management options - including kicking member corporations out of the alliance, and then closing the alliance.

I hope that helps clear things up.

Comment Re:High levels of radiation (Score 1) 161

Going along with that idea, I always though the transporter on Star Trek was the damn coolest thing in the world when I was a kid, until my father said "You know the principle behind it is that it copies you and destroys the original, correct?" Fuck. that. noise.

As I recall, Star Trek actually avoided ethical problems relating to that by saying that the transporter scanned you, dematerialized you, sent the atoms to the destination, and recombined them. That way they never (meaning rarely, when the writers felt like it) had to deal with copies or any of the other gray areas the copy-and-destory method brings.

Comment Re:Rinse and Repeat (Score 1) 230

Portland (at least in the US) means Portland, Oregon.

That is probably true - unless you live in Portland, Arkansas or Portland, Connecticut or Portland, Indiana or Portland, Maine or Portland, Michigan or Portland, Missouri or Portland, North Dakota or Portland, New York or Portland, Ohio or Portland, Pennsylvania or Portland, Tennessee or Portland, Texas. Other than that, Portland means Portland, Oregon

Actually, that's a common misconception. It's a little-known fact that those living in one of these other Portlands refer to their city by its full name, including state. Otherwise people get confused.

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Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell