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Comments

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Ask Slashdot: How Do You View the Wall Street Protests?

Artifex33 Re:What is the goal? (1799 comments)

Why use the government to take their property away? Just go do it yourself. That would still be moral, right?

more than 2 years ago
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Need a Receipt On Taxes? The Federal Tax Receipt

Artifex33 Rule of Thumb (642 comments)

Whenever the government takes your money, you're not getting your money's worth.

more than 3 years ago
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Apple's Secret Weapon To Win the Tablet Wars

Artifex33 Re:Reality.... (716 comments)

I've decided against an Android phone or tablet several times based on the fragmentation and confusion of the ecosystem. The feature confusion barrier is too difficult to surmount. Will this play all the iOS games that I enjoy? Whose app store do I use? Is a storefront for that available on the device? Will I have to rebuy all my apps (ans: yep). Am I going to feel like the device is obsolete three months after I buy it? Will it run the right OS version? Am I getting locked into one app store? Am I going to have to root it to feel like I'm getting everything I paid for? If so, how easy is that to do? Is it the pain in the ass that maintaining a jailbroken iphone is?

All that, plus rebuying all my apps roots my feet to the ground of Apple's walled garden. I just don't have to worry about any of that if I just stick with iOS. I'd love to broaden my view of the mobile space with an Android device, maybe with a rooted Nook Color (I love my Nook B&W), but it's a headache, for all the reasons above, and I shouldn't have to buy into a headache.

more than 3 years ago
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X Prize $30 Million Robot Race To the Moon Is On

Artifex33 Re:Lunar Lander (189 comments)

I'm sure that even a quantum-cryptographically received photo would not be enough for the foil-hats. They'll just bend their world-view to fit like a Catholic explaining bible unicorns.

more than 3 years ago
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X Prize $30 Million Robot Race To the Moon Is On

Artifex33 Come on, Carmack! (189 comments)

Armadillo Aerospace, this means YOU.

more than 3 years ago
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The Abdication of the HTML Standard

Artifex33 HTML has always been a living standard (298 comments)

HTML and other web-related specs have never been truly written in stone, as the author seems to want. XMLHttpRequest, and innerHTML were functionalities written outside the spec and then later added to their respective spec documents. How many of us, as developers, have had a Business Requirements documenter interrupt our day to ask for details on how the system currently works so that they can go back and write the Requirements Specification docs to match? This back-asswards process is so common in my experience that I have come to empathize with those who believe that Req. Specs are essentially useless. They're a form of procedural ass-covering by businesspeople who want to be able to point at a document when something goes wrong.

The idea that the HTML spec from the WHATWG is functioning in the same manner is neither unexpected nor worrisome to me. I'm glad that they're acknowledging that it's code shippers who are truly defining the HTML world for us developers on a day-to-day basis. We don't worry about "what version of HTML does your site support", but instead worry about "which functionality does your site support"?

The real shift that's occurred in the code is that we're now (if we're doing as we're supposed to be doing) testing for client functionality instead of browser version, and certainly not for HTML version. Your site either supports the <video> tag or it doesn't. It either supports WebWorkers or it doesn't.

While I think it's an egregious error to omit Microsoft from the WHATWG, as they, more than anyone, could use some ears to the ground for following real-world standards, I think that having industry leaders all around a table, discussing a technology direction that will provide the next steps for HTML is a good thing.

Really, who else would the author have take over? It's implicit in his voiced distrust of private companies that he'd rather hand this off to some kind of governmental agency, or at least give it some kind of oversight powers. As to that: I don't want to give the future of HTML and the web to the same people who came up with the US Income Tax system--the poster-child for bureaucratic gobbledygook.

more than 3 years ago
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When DLC Goes Wrong

Artifex33 Gold standard for DLC (261 comments)

Team Fortress from Valve is what I see as the gold standard for DLC. The game updates significantly and frequently through Steam, adding features and fun without an iota of effort (or money!) on the part of the player. The Orange Box was the first digital game I bought, and it's one of the few that I've played regularly for over a year.

Valve's made me into a loyal customer with that single purchase. How could a property like Call of Duty benefit if they were to do something similar? Would it torpedo their scattergun title release business plan, or would more people (like me) actually consider buying another one if they knew the game would age like whiskey?

more than 3 years ago
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When DLC Goes Wrong

Artifex33 Re:Fuck you, developers. (261 comments)

Sounds like software development is the same all over. Usually, it starts with bad requirements from people who don't understand (or have an inkling of) what they want, so they produce something nebulous that they send to development to get them started on *something*, while the requirements department figures out as they go.

That's why people with decisive creative drive are so important, regardless of the type of software project you're working on.

more than 3 years ago
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Bethesda Criticized Over Buggy Releases

Artifex33 Re:My experiences of Fallout: New Vegas bugs (397 comments)

I think you've stated the reasons to preorder pretty clearly: bonus stuff, and not having to wait in line. I usually preorder stuff through steam, do the preloading and start playing when I get the chance afterwards. I haven't bought a physical copy of a game in ages. I agree that the bonus preorder in-game items are usually things to ignore on your first play-through. Mass Effect 2's overpowered armors (that obscured your character's face--a big no-no for a story driven game), and Fallout NV's various weapons and armor come to mind. They nerf the beginning struggles of the game experience, something I certainly don't want.

more than 3 years ago
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Bethesda Criticized Over Buggy Releases

Artifex33 Re:My experiences of Fallout: New Vegas bugs (397 comments)

I think you're overlooking the fact that preorders are a huge segment of the user base. We, the preorderers, have no ability to weigh bugginess into our purchasing decision. I suppose everyone could stop preordering, but the chances of that are extremely slim. Think of any AAA title, its fans, and trying to convince one of them to not preorder. Riiiight.

I've worked in software development for too many years to be so intolerant of game defects. There are always realities that impinge a developer's ability to deliver a bug-free product. Some moronic business person could look at a spreadsheet and declare a release date, regardless of the state of the product. That happens all too frequently. It hurts the end product, how its received by the public, and the developer's and publisher's reputations. However, it does provide that all-important first-month income. Sometimes the developers work their asses off, know the product isn't ready for release, and have to watch like a father sending his 18-year-old off to war as the product is thrown to the wolves by management.

Is this bad? Yeah. Should this happen with a responsible developer and publisher? No.

Is there a solution? It depends on the product. When you're in late-stage development and your product is bug-ridden (assuming your Q.A. department is skilled enough to find the bugs!), you can either: delay your release date, or keep your current date and shrink the scope of your product so that you can finish it in time.

I'm sure the dev team from F:NV had that discussion at some point. I'm assuming their Q.A. department (of ~300 people, I've heard), recognized the product was shaky. F:NV would have been very difficult to scope back, I think. The nature of sandbox games with such broad and varied quest trees means you can put yourself in a position where a major branch may have a serious problem early on, and you have to excise the entire thing, cutting out huge swaths of content. I think that would have cut to the core of what makes the Fallout games so great. Some of the defects I've heard with F:NV have sounded like engine issues, though, which should have put them as priority one, and affected the whole game. *shrug* Who knows what happened there. I wonder if Obsidian might have had some limitations placed on how they could mess with the core engine, even if it was to fix defects.

The other choice, to delay release, was probably not in the cards for them. Release in October means being under the Xmas tree for a lot of folks. Delay that a month, and you position yourself poorly against all the other AAA titles. It's also easy for that month to turn into two, or three. Business doesn't like to hear things like that, so they likely got stuck with a firm release date.

I'd love to hear a post-mortem from the developers.

In all, I'm enjoying the game thoroughly. I just updated my nvidia drivers, so we'll see if that takes care of the frame rate drop in places like Gamorrah and The Thorn.

more than 3 years ago
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Google Instant Announced

Artifex33 Re:Yeah it's crap. (408 comments)

Agreed. I pray they don't force-feed this to my iPhone.

about 4 years ago
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Hawking Picks Physics Over God For Big Bang

Artifex33 Re:The true believer (1328 comments)

Again, I'm not saying scientists can't have religious beliefs. I'm just saying those beliefs have to be flexible enough to allow them to push the boundaries of their world view.

about 4 years ago
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Hawking Picks Physics Over God For Big Bang

Artifex33 Re:The true believer (1328 comments)

I wasn't implying that to make scientific discoveries, you can't believe in God. What I am saying is that you have to be willing to push back the boundaries of the divine domain.

If, instead, you are rigid in your belief that the immutable secrets of the universe were figured out by a bunch of guys who had to be conquered by the Romans in order to get running water, you might be happier in a monastery than in a lab.

about 4 years ago
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Hawking Picks Physics Over God For Big Bang

Artifex33 Re:The true believer (1328 comments)

The problem is that people use religion to fill the void of what science does not know. If science was never allowed to encroach on religion's territory, all scientific progress would stop. We'd still believe the planets and sun orbited the earth in perfect circles.

about 4 years ago
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Web-Based Private File Storage?

Artifex33 How about a NAS? (467 comments)

You could buy one of the simple Network Access Storage machines that sits on your home network. Most of them have a dynamic DNS service that comes with the purchase so that you can access your stored files from anywhere over https.

Evernote might be another good choice. You can store and access just about anything, and edit it on your phone with android or iOS.

more than 4 years ago
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Google CEO Schmidt Predicts End of Online Anonymity

Artifex33 Re:Fuck the doomed (591 comments)

It's one of the natures of advancing society for its educated to become more and more specialized in knowledge. To expect everyone to maintain the technical facility to maintain anonymous internet identities is just as ludicrous as it is for anyone who doesn't know how to raise and reap their own crops to starve.

more than 4 years ago
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Barnes and Noble Bookstore Chain Put In Play

Artifex33 eBooks for adults, maybe (414 comments)

I think critical mass will come when there is a cheap and colorful device that can capture the childrens' market. Right now, there is no way I would hand a $140 device to my 9-year-old to carry around and read with. It would be lost within days, long before he could break it.

The current B&W displays of the eInk readers don't catch his interest, anyway. He and I have checked out the Nook in stores, and he just shrugs and wants to head to the kids' section to browse. I can tell by watching him that it's a very personal, sensory experience to him. I can't see that transferring to a device right now. Apple is closest with the iPad, but the idea of handing that fragile and expensive tablet to my son is ludicrous. He'd be more interested in what games it played, play until he got bored, then would put it down and go grab his copy of Artemis Fowl.

I think it will take quite a while to convince parents and kids to switch over.

more than 4 years ago
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Barnes and Noble Bookstore Chain Put In Play

Artifex33 Re:We live in a multimedia word (414 comments)

I'm in the same boat. Our home is humming with electronic media, but my 9-year-old is hooked on Rick Riordan's books. He carries one everywhere. I think kids realize there's no substitute for diving into the mind of a character through reading.

more than 4 years ago
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Framerates Matter

Artifex33 Controller lag is the biggest problem (521 comments)

The real problem with low framerate is controller lag. I had a copy of Unreal Tournament 3 for my PS3, which had the amazing distinction of allowing you to use a compatible keyboard and mouse combo instead of the regular sixaxis controller. As a die-hard FPS gamer who had been resisting an expensive PC upgrade, this was welcome.

Unreal Tournament 3 for the PS3 is pegged at 30 FPS. The result when used with a kb+mouse was horrible controller lag. It was as if the view angle attached to the mouse was on rubber band that would stretch during a quick mouse move and then snap back into position.

When I tried the sixaxis, the controller lag wasn't noticable at all. My best guess at this was because the joystick-controlled view had a finite acceleration, rather than from any hardware lag. The keyboard, mouse and the sixaxis were all bluetooth connected. Using the same mouse on a PC game playing Quakelive showed no signs of lag. The sixaxis just isn't capable of the whiplash movements that a mouse is, so it couldn't show the same responsiveness issue.

The kb+mouse combo was still an advantage, but for a PC gamer, it was crippling to adjust to the laggy feel.

I'll have to try out some of the PC games that end up in the sub-30 FPS range to see if I can reproduce the same feel.

more than 4 years ago

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