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Comment Re:It's true (Score 2) 266

Pixar was unique in Silicon Valley companies in that we had deadlines that could not move. The film had to be in theaters before Christmas, etc. I'd see employees families come to Pixar to have dinner with them. I took the technical director training but decided to stay in studio tools, first because Pixar needed better software more than they needed another TD, and second because of the crazy hours.

Comment Re:King Graham has fallen so far! =( (Score 2) 93

To clarify, at one point Sierra tried to create their own online gaming network. This was *NOT* an internet-based network, but something you could connect to directly via dialup with a POTS modem. This later on became the ImagiNation network, which was purchased by AT&T.

https://blog.codinghorror.com/...

As I understand it, the facilities originally created for this (since upgraded to support DSL service) were repurposed by the people involved into an ISP. All of this is based in the old Sierra headquarters in Oakhurst. It's funny, because what was originally "On-Line Systems", with no networking component, later became "Sierra On-Line". This became "Sierra Entertainment", which then attempted to create an on-line network, which later became an ISP. Therefore SierraTel is now more "on-line" than "On-Line Systems" ever was.

Comment King Graham has fallen so far! =( (Score 3, Informative) 93

For those not in the know, this company is the heir to Sierra On-Line/Sierra Entertainment/Yosemite Entertainment in Oakhurst, CA. They created King's Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, et al. After the studio joined Codemasters they remained in Oakhurst until at some point it became an ISP. I'm not sure if any of the original folk are still there.

Relevant Wikipedia Entry

(The Sierra name lives on as a trademark of Activision, but in name only. The hallowed halls of that great studio are now an ISP.)

Comment ALGOL-W (Score 1) 629

I played with Basic in high school but did my first undergrad stuff in ALGOL-W. As an undergrad I messed with Pascal, Fortran and PL/I. One of my profs at the time was an author of the ALGOL 68 report, thought BCPL was cool and that C (a relatively new language at the time) was a mental disorder. He gave us an assignment in APL once. I guess I'm showing my age.

Now I do 99% of my work in C. My boss and I agree to disagree on scripting languages. I like Python. He thinks Python is ridiculous and insists on Perl for production work.

...laura

Comment People have workflows. (Score 4, Informative) 388

They invest the time and the learning to master a workflow. They expect a payoff from this investment in their ability to use these workflows to achieve other ends. When you mess with a workflow, you negate that investment. They have to spend time learning and mastering a workflow all over again before they can apply it toward their actual goals.

Nobody uses software "to be using software" or "for a good experience." They use it to get things done. If they have to spend two weeks mastering a new workflow then your improvements had better deliver a multiple of that value in return, or they're going to come back with "that's cool, but it would trip me up for all of my muscle and click memory to be invalidated."

People aren't averse to improvements. They're averse to evolutionary improvements that cost more to the user in practice (time invested and mistakes avoided) than they deliver on the other end. "Small tweaks" often fall into this category. Some dev moves a button to a more "logical" placement and for the next two weeks, the users lose five or ten seconds every single time they need to use it because their absent minded clicking—absent-minded because they're focusing on what they're really trying to accomplish, not on 'using the software'—keeps ending up in the wrong place vs. what they're accustomed to.

Dev says "BUT IT'S BETTER." User experience is actually that of being irritated and not getting things done as efficiently as usual, so their response is "IN PRACTICE, IN THE CURRENT CONTEXT OF MY LIFE, NO IT'S NOT."

Comment Re: The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

If you look in the FEMA site, they say that they provide gramts to perform repairs not covered by insurance. And no, they don't do a needs test. Now, the typical rich person does not let their insurance lapse just so that they can get a FEMA grant. Because such a grant is no sure thing. They also point out that SBA loans are the main source of assistance following a disaster. You get a break on interest, but you have to pay them back.

Comment Re:Its pretty important... (Score 1) 307

I'm actually pretty impossible to please in this department. I would like to see yet still more indication that the problem is well understood. Predictions that are precise to 15 digits, and that unlike all other scientific endeavors don't need to be "corrected" post hoc would do most of it for me.

But that's the thing: it is very well understood, and scientists have made many predictions that are panning out. No one's ever going to say "the earth will get x.xxxxxxx% warmer on this date". Predictions are in the form of "we believe the atmosphere will get between x and y% warmer, with a confidence of z". And they've been accurate as stated. Any claims to the contrary are radical restatements of history.

Comment Re: The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

I understand your point about view land being desirable even though it's a flood risk. I live a mile or so from the Hayward fault. But I have California's risk pool earthquake insurance. The government wouldn't be paying me except from a fund that I've already paid into. I imagine that the government does pay some rich people in similar situations, but as far as I'm aware disaster funds go to the States from the federal government and should not in general become a form of rich people's welfare. Maybe you can find some direct evidence to show me that would make the situation more clear.

Comment Re:The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

What you are observing is economics. As a city or town population grows, the best land becomes unavailable and those who arrive later or have less funds available must settle for less desirable land. Thus many cities have been extended using landfill which liquifies as the San Francisco Marina District did in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, or floods. Risks may not be disclosed by developers, or may be discounted by authorities as the risks of global warming are today.

Efforts to protect people who might otherwise buy such land or to mitigate the risks are often labeled as government over-reach or nanny state.

Comment Re:Its pretty important... (Score 1) 307

Question: what would it take to get you to admit that measurably rising sea levels due to climate change is causing problems? We're losing goddamn Louisiana to it. Literally everyone who studies this stuff for a living agrees with this. No one seriously doubts it. But you'd rather blame some river hacking for literally submerging Louisiana.

What are you going to blame when we lose Florida? Is there a convenient river there to point the finger at? What ungodly amount of river water is flowing through the Solomon Islands that's causing them to disappear7?

Comment Re:Sponsors? (Score 2) 223

How can an artificial sweetener that is not absorbed by the body, like sucralose, have any physical effect, unless the brain hates being tricked and is getting even.

Nailed it. From Wash U med school:

The elevated insulin response could be a good thing, she pointed out, because it shows the person is able to make enough insulin to deal with spiking glucose levels. But it also might be bad because when people routinely secrete more insulin, they can become resistant to its effects, a path that leads to type 2 diabetes.

Basically, the part of your digestive tract that identifies incoming sugar and triggers an insulin release can't tell the difference between sugar and sweeteners. That's not a shocker: if our taste buds can be tricked, it's not crazy to imagine that our sugar-detecting circuits are also fallible. When your body is continually flooded with elevated insulin, it becomes resistant to it. Another term for insulin resistance is type 2 (adult onset) diabetes.

Comment Re:The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

Oh, of course they were caused by misguided engineering efforts. Everything from the Army Corps of Engineers to Smoky Bear goes under that heading. The most basic problem is the fact that we locate cities next to resources and transportation, which means water, without realizing where the 400-year flood plane is. Etc. We have learned something since then.

Our problem, today, is fixing these things. Which is blocked by folks who don't believe in anthropogenic climate change, or even cause and effect at all. They don't, for the most part, register Democratic.

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