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Comments

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The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

DeathToBill 184mph (195 comments)

Such fast. Very speed. Wow.

about 2 months ago
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Free Wi-Fi Coming To Atlanta's Airport

DeathToBill Hey, what? $5? (135 comments)

I can't remember the last time I was in an airport that didn't have free WiFi. But then I don't travel in the USA much.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Where's the Most Unusual Place You've Written a Program From?

DeathToBill Re:Wind Industry (310 comments)

God, but they look young in that.

about 4 months ago
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Apple Says Many Users 'Bought an Android Phone By Mistake'

DeathToBill Re:"By Mistake" (711 comments)

Was talking about the AC commenting, not Cook. Fool boy see me after class.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Where's the Most Unusual Place You've Written a Program From?

DeathToBill Wind Industry (310 comments)

1. From inside the base of a wind turbine tower in rural Inner Mongolia province, China. Or, alternatively, from a caravan in the middle of a forest in Eastern Finland in the middle of winter - minus 30 C outside.

2. While nearly frozen to death (see 1b).

3. Wrote a program from? Or wrote a program for? The latter is probably a Danish PLC which I will not name here. It has an in-house OS with an in-house executable format which is based on ELF, loosely enough that none of the standard ELF tools work on it. A serial console is the only debugging interface available. An actual debugger is out of the question. All debugging output is truncated to 20 characters. The thing has a 100MHz CPU and all floating-point math is done in software (no FPU). Its reaction to almost any programming error is to hard reboot (and "programming error" here includes calling printf with any but the most basic formatting string). Perhaps most frustratingly, when it hard reboots it claims to write a stack trace of the faulting code; about 4 times in 5, this is truncated to some extent, often to only the first function in the stack.

4. A Windows programme to drive EtherCAT IO modules from a standard Ethernet socket.

Do I win?

about 4 months ago
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Apple Says Many Users 'Bought an Android Phone By Mistake'

DeathToBill Re:"By Mistake" (711 comments)

Can you feel the self-awareness failure yet? Cook generalises about millions of users, but he's not the one at fault here; the commenter asks a question about one person (Cook) but apparently now he's "generalis[ing] about millions of people."

Fool boy, see me after class.

about 4 months ago
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Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

DeathToBill Re:From many points of data (772 comments)

This is getting nearly incoherent. Is there 'no gold standard measure of "scientific literacy"'? Or do you know how to do it correctly? You make both arguments in the above comment.

about 4 months ago
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Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

DeathToBill Re:From many points of data (772 comments)

No, you don't get to say, "That would seem to be an important factor in scientific literacy," in the face of the data - that's just assuming your conclusion. The point of the article is that this is not borne out - people who don't believe that evolution explains the development of species are nonetheless equally scientifically literate in all the other areas of science.

about 4 months ago
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Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

DeathToBill Re:From many points of data (772 comments)

Um, you've just ignored the data in front of you - the data collected shows no correlation between "someone's inclination to believe religion over science" (ie their position on the evolution v creationism debate) and scientific literacy. There is no value in that measurement - it has no predictive power of the scientific literacy.

about 4 months ago
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Flaws In Popular Solar Power Management Platform Could Crash the Grid

DeathToBill Re:Unit (90 comments)

Typical, isn't it?

about 4 months ago
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Oklahoma Botched an Execution With Untested Lethal Injection Drugs

DeathToBill Re:news for nerds? (1198 comments)

Yes, that's right, the science is the story here. /sarc

about 5 months ago
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Oklahoma Botched an Execution With Untested Lethal Injection Drugs

DeathToBill Re:Untested? (1198 comments)

I wondered about this. If being untested is a problem for methods of execution, how exactly are you ever going to have a usable method of execution?

I'm sure those opposed to the death penalty like it this way; methods of execution are not usable until they've been tested and they can't be tested because they're unconstitutional. Ergo, we can't execute anyone. But the same legalistic argument presented many times above applies to them, too; the constitution does not forbid capital punishment, only cruel and unusual punishment. If you want to get rid of capital punishment, you need to change the constitution, not try to game the legal system to get what you want without the due process of changing the constitution.

about 5 months ago
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How Concrete Contributed To the Downfall of the Roman Empire

DeathToBill Re:Rediculous (384 comments)

I have no idea what iron phosphate is, whether it is a stable compound or whether it occurs naturally. But yes, redness in stone is usually due to the presence of iron compounds.

about 5 months ago
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How Concrete Contributed To the Downfall of the Roman Empire

DeathToBill Re:And what will be our excuse? (384 comments)

Yes, Julius Caesar was the end of the Roman empire, I can see that.

Go read some history, then come back and try again.

about 5 months ago
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How Concrete Contributed To the Downfall of the Roman Empire

DeathToBill Re:Rediculous (384 comments)

What made the concrete rediculous is the concentration of iron phosphates in the limestone used as a raw material for the concrete. At least some of this survived into the finished concrete, lending it a reddish colour, especially when it got wet. Modern concrete is prepared by a different process that effectively removes the iron phosphates, meaning modern concrete is no longer rediculous.

Honestly, get a spelling checker.

about 5 months ago
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'The Door Problem' of Game Design

DeathToBill Re:Easy answers (305 comments)

Well, it seems others could read well enough to understand the argument. They've explained it in painful detail before I got a chance.

about 5 months ago
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'The Door Problem' of Game Design

DeathToBill Re:Easy answers (305 comments)

1. Learn to read.
2. Come back and try again.

about 5 months ago
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'The Door Problem' of Game Design

DeathToBill Easy answers (305 comments)

I'm not convinced by TFS. The answers are, roughly:

  1. 1. Are there doors in your game? Let's say for the moment there are.
  2. 2. Can the player open them? Yes. If you have doors in a 3D game and they don't behave like doors, you have failed.
  3. 3. Can the player open every door in the game? Yes. See point 2.
  4. 4. What tells a player a door is locked and will open, as opposed to a door that they will never open? It's a door. It opens.
  5. 5. What happens if there are two players? Doors behave the same for all players. It's a door. See point 2.
  6. 6. Does it only lock after both players pass through the door? See point 5.
  7. 7. What if the level is REALLY BIG and can't all exist at the same time? Then your technology is not good enough to implement your vision and one or the other needs to change. See point 2.

Am I the only one who finds arbitrary restrictions in games, either because the technology couldn't cope, or because the game designer knows how you want to play better than you do, or just because, really annoying? If there's a door there, it should open. If it won't open, there shouldn't be a door there. How hard is this? Putting a door there that's never going to open just frustrates the player and destroys the suspension of disbelief. It reminds them that they're not really in this world they can see, they're in some arbitrarily limited construct devised by a "product manager" at some company to try to screw a few bob out of them. Of course there need to be some limits on the world, because the technology isn't infinite; good game design should make those limits look natural so that the player never even notices that the limit is there.

Tomb Raider games are amazingly annoying - some things you can jump and grab, some things you can't. The only way to tell is to jump and try grabbing it. If it doesn't work, maybe you can't jump and grab that thing, or maybe you just didn't quite get it right. I know, I know, this is not the point of Tomb Raider games, Lara is, but still...

about 5 months ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

DeathToBill Re:Overseas comment (386 comments)

Well, as I said, you can do that calculation, and if they haven't got it right you can file a tax return. If you held two jobs in a year then you might well want to do that.

We have another good taxation innovation in the UK: donations to charities are tax exempt, but the money (usually) goes to the charity, not to the taxpayer. So if you've given £1000 to charity, the exchequer will give the charity another £250, so long as you sign a simple statement to go with the donation saying you're a taxpayer and have/will pay at least that much tax in the current year.

about 5 months ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

DeathToBill Overseas comment (386 comments)

I like the UK system - if you're an employee and you're happy with the tax your employer has withheld on your behalf, you don't have to do anything. You get a statement at the end of the year telling you how much you've been paid and how much tax has been withheld - if you think they've got it wrong, or you want to claim deductions, you file a tax return saying so.

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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USB Implementers Forum Will Not Play Nice With Open Hardware

DeathToBill DeathToBill writes  |  about a year ago

DeathToBill (601486) writes "Hack A Day reports on the attempts of open hardware hackers to obtain a vendor and product ID for their devices to be able to sell them as USB compliant: "A not for profit foundation [in this case Arachnid Labs] could buy a VID, give PIDs away to foundation members making open source hardware, and we would all live in a magical world of homebrew devices that are certified as USB compliant." The USB Implementers Forum, which controls the sale of PIDs, has lawyered up, responding to the effort with a cease and desist notice, requiring Arachnid Labs to stop "raising funds to purchase a unique USB VID" and "delete all references to the USB-IF, VIDs and PIDs for transfer, resale or sublicense from your website and other marketing materials." A slight over-reaction? Or dark conspiracy against open hardware? You decide!"
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Steve Ballmer to Retire

DeathToBill DeathToBill writes  |  1 year,27 days

DeathToBill (601486) writes "Has he pushed shareholders one step too far? The BBC is reporting that Steve Ballmer will retire as Microsoft CEO within the next 12 months. "The world's biggest software company has created a special committee to find a replacement. This committee includes Microsoft founder Bill Gates. In pre-market trading on Wall Street, Microsoft shares surged 8%." I've got my application in..."
Link to Original Source
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XBox One DRM-Free: A Defeat for Gamers?

DeathToBill DeathToBill writes  |  about a year ago

DeathToBill (601486) writes "Over at Gizmodo, Kyle Wagner argues that Microsoft's u-turn on DRM is bad for gamers. "Cheaper games. Easier sharing. The end of discs. The Xbox One would have been just fine despite the chorus of haters, would have been a better system for ignoring them. Microsoft losing its nerve on this isn't just disappointing for the features we lose. It's unfortunate because it shows just how heavy an anchor we can be." Of course, whether that 'always on' system would have stayed on when XBox Two arrived isn't specified. But, really, I can't imagine Microsoft doing that..."
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EA Pisses of Players. Again.

DeathToBill DeathToBill writes  |  about a year ago

DeathToBill (601486) writes "EA has done it again, the BBC reports. After EA took over operation of the online Scrabble brand, it introduced a "new and improved" version. Improvements include requiring manual refreshes to see other players' turns, irretrievably wiping players' game history and a switch to the Collins dictionary that has proved deeply unpopular with Scrabble fanatics. "EA was unavailable for comment.""
Link to Original Source
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Home-Brew Brain Computer Interface?

DeathToBill DeathToBill writes  |  about 6 years ago

DeathToBill (601486) writes "There have been a few articles here recently about some up-and-coming research on brain-computer interfaces. There are even some consumer-level products out such as the Neural Impulse Actuator (£80). For the average geek who wants to mess with this stuff, they all have problems, though; either they are closed-source, with Windows-only drivers and no API documentation, like the NIA, or they don't even quote prices on their webpage, assuming that if you have to ask then you can't afford it (like the g.USBamp). Or they are aimed at people who have 10+ years research experience in BCI (which I don't have). Do Slashdot readers know of any projects out there that bring brain-computer interfaces within reach of the geek-experimenter?"

Journals

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DeathToBill DeathToBill writes  |  more than 9 years ago I have a journal? Wow. I guess it's probably against my terms of employment to post in it...

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