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Comment Re:Oh wow (Score 1) 175

Sorry - I had (and indeed still have) a Spectrum 48K+ and while it was a great games machine (as well as a classic starting point for the would-be programmer) it was pretty terrible as a productivity machine.

The keyboard was useless for typing; the printer connectivity was via a towering expansion module that was positioned an inch away from the top-row of the keyboard and would crash the machine if it got knocked; there was no decent floppy drive available in the early years and the Microdrives combined tiny capacity (85K) with comical levels of reliability; the screen was very low resolution 256x192 (better than a C64 mind you) and had the attribute overlay issue; the nail in the coffin was a CPU that made Vu-3D unbelievably slow, even when rendering the most simplistic of scenes. At least a year of my childhood was wasted waiting for the Speccy to wheeze its way through simple, monochrome, images that contained fewer pixels than modern application icons.

The big thing about MacPaint was that it integrated with the other applications on the machine. You could draw something in paint and use it in MacWrite. There was no such facility on the Spectrum; you could not draw an image in Art Studio and paste it in to Tasword. The Speccy was the best home computer of the early eighties, but a player in the home office market it was not.

Comment Re:Very sad (Score 3, Insightful) 334

The UK national ID card scheme was all about Fighting Terrorism

I always found this strange as we'd been fighting terrorism for some decades before the ID card scheme was started and had managed without them. This is especially impressive as for most of those decades the terrorists were well funded, well organised, well equipped professionals that came within a hair's breadth of killing the Prime Minister and cabinet. Modern day "terrorists" are nothing but a random assortment of malcontent God botherers and yet they will, apparently, destroy British society if not tamed with the leash of identity cards.

Comment Re:uh? Maybe I'm missing something..... (Score 3, Informative) 307

But maybe I'm missing something here.....

Yes you are. This is not a "storage system to be used as a filesystem" it's an implementation of the Amazon S3 interface that provides remote, redundant key/value storage (where the value in this case is a bucket of bytes). There's nothing to stop you implementing a file system on top of it; but the API provided by Google is at a lower level than that. Which is a good thing as a standard file system is not necessarily the best way to use this kind of storage.

Comment Re:Crazy Australians. (Score 1) 275

This is why even very democratic countries aren't fully blown, all power to the majority, democracies. Democracy is not necessarily compatible with liberty and when conflict between the two arises you need something to ensures that liberty wins. Otherwise you've nothing better than mob rule, which isn't much fun if you're not part of the current ruling mob.

Comment Re:wow... (Score 1) 541

It should be required by law that ownership of and licenses and access to any digitally bought DRM protected items must be transferable. Period.

Why? I like the second hand market as much as the next man (who doesn't sell new games for a living). I've got countless second hand games consoles and games; a collection that is unlikely to be extended beyond the current generation of machines due to non-transferable DRM. However, that doesn't give me the right to dictate to games publishers how they should sell their product. As long as the non-transferability of the content is made clear at the point of sale, it's the publisher's prerogative.

You are not buying a modern video game. You are buying a license to play the game for a limited time and in accordance with whatever restrictions the publisher has placed upon you at the time of purchase. If you do not agree with this, don't purchase the game. The ability to play Assassins Creed 2 is not a human right. I won't be buying it for the PC because the cost of suffering the DRM outweighs any potential fun I'd have playing the game. I will be buying more Valve games off Steam because the downsides of the DRM (primarily the non-transferability) are outweighed by the convenience of Stream and the games' potential entertainment value.

The ultimate sanction of a consumer is not to consume. If enough people are discouraged from buying games because of DRM, the DRM will either change to something less odious or disappear completely when the publishers go bankrupt. Ubisoft can't force you to buy their games and you do not have the right to force Ubisoft to sell to you on your terms alone. If DRM offends you so heinously, limit your entertainment purchases to non-DRM, or even non-copyrighted, works; they do exist and their publishers could use your custom.

Comment Re:Game programming made me leave! (Score 1) 173

It's been a few years since I did my CS degree; but shouldn't the first year or so be taken up with the fundamentals of Computer Science: algorithms and many exciting forms of mathematics? The remaining years are then filled with yet more maths, along with specialist applications (compiler design/optimisation, hardware, operating system design, etc) and the occasional bit of coding.

Having a "Games Programming" section of the syllabus seems strange on its own, putting it in the first half of the first years is insane. How did they introduce it? "This is an opportunity for you to put in to practice all of the theory we haven't taught you yet".

Comment Re:the pollen factor (Score 5, Insightful) 427

I think a fairer system is that Monsanto (or whoever) pay to replace the farmers stock with non-GM modified seed of the farmer's choice and provide remuneration for the lost yield. If the farmer refuses, then the patent holder can break out the lawyers and commence legal action.

That way the patents are protected and the incentive to develop new GM technology remains; but third parties are not punished for something that isn't their fault. It also provides an incentive for patent holders to be careful about how their product is dispersed: contaminating a large commercial farm could prove very costly.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 616

We are an inferior species who have taken advantage of the Earth, hurt it, and not even cared.

Inferior compared to what? We are the paragon of animals, the only one that's broken out of purely evolution driven behaviour and the only one capable of reasoning, planning and communicating beyond the most primitive of levels. That we expend resources maintaining species in existence that are of no use to us is an example of how special we are; no other species in the universe as we know it would do such a thing or even possess the ability to consider such an action.

The Earth is a lump on inanimate matter: it cannot be hurt or taken advantage of. It is not concious, it does not feel and it's only of any value because we need it to survive. I'm in favour of protecting the environment insofar as it's for the benefit of mankind. If any other species stands in the way of our survival we should not hesitate to treat it in the same way as the smallpox virus: isolate, study and destroy.

Comment Re:I pity them (Score 2, Insightful) 174

Sadly that form of existence, called "living your life in a walking daze", is the state of nearly all people in this society.

Everyone is asleep but me!

I don't think it's actually life anymore. You are just a material that gets used up. A human resource.

Anymore? As opposed to a utopian time when all men were free and lived only for themselves? Never existed outside of wishful thinking and revisionist history.

Comment Re:Poor Title (Score 1) 829

If only I had mod points. Your first two points are something everyone who's worried about China's purchasing of US debt should learn and understand. That and the fact that less than 30% of US public debt is owned by foreign investors, of which China owns less than a quarter. This is about equivalent to the combined Japanese and British holdings; yet we don't see hysterical pronouncements about how the Japs/Brits have America by the balls.

Comment Re:GPL Grey Area (Score 1) 313

Nintendo has gone from being the only reasonable company in the industry

Nintendo stopped being a reasonable company (from the consumer and third party publisher point of view) in the mid-80's when they achieved dominance of the US video game market. Their strong arming of retailers and software developers, monopolistic price inflation and profligate litigation were second to none. Nintendo only became a "reasonable" company when Sony usurped them at the top table; something that only happened because of the colossal hubris that surrounded everything Nintendo did.

All successful (and many unsuccessful) console manufacturers are as ruthless, controlling and manipulative as their market share allows them to be. As someone who remembers a time before the Playstation the idea that Nintendo is happy, cuddly, friend of the gamer is utterly laughable.

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