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Comments

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Intel Drops Gamasutra Sponsorship Over Controversial Editorials

DingerX Re:Dear Intel (724 comments)

Marketing works on the principle that those jerks share, if not the same zip code, at least the same corporate culture as engineering. And the turnaround between when they observed the situation, when they made a decision and when we got to see the effects of that decision is several years shorter than engineering. So, yeah, I stand by what I say, and, hell, I'll add: I do not own stocks in any electronics hardware company, but I feel that shareholders should examine the performance of Intel in this case and see it as a predictor of where the company will be in four years.

In any case, if their marketing guy is a such a rube as to be roped in by this, is it absurd to imagine that their 2018 CPU will be powered by an E-Cat?

Alright, to finish things off, here's what someone who actually paid his dues, going out in a blaze of glory for pointing out Games Journalist Corruption, has to say.

I know, nobody's reading this. Well, hopefully someone at Intel is; and if you are, here's another post by that editor so horribly offensive because of her gurl parts that you publicly sided with a lynch mob. This one is on ethics, a word, to judge by their recent actions, so unfamiliar to your colleagues, that I wouldn't be surprised if the SEC levied historical fines against your company.

about three weeks ago
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Intel Drops Gamasutra Sponsorship Over Controversial Editorials

DingerX Re:Dear Intel (724 comments)

Yeah, screw Intel. If those morons can't see that this is not a fight where they can associate their brand with either side and win, then they obviously can't make decent engineering decisions either. And it counts as taking sides to pull their ads in reaction to editorials about an internet hitmob masking misogyny behind a self-righteous insistence of "ethics". Yeah, sure, it doesn't bother these same people that games journalists get flown across the world by big games companies, put up in a hotel and presented their game with complete tech support. These guys aren't the ones vociferously complaining when their favorite reviewers give a game 9/10, even when the stupid-ass DRM code means that nobody can play it for a week after release. But, sure, some angry dude claims his ex slept with a journalist, who didn't cover the game, or some woman dares to point out the way in which games we all love make women uncomfortable, and suddenly, the press is corrupt for shoving feminism down peoples' throats.
So, screw Intel. Or, to use the language they clearly prefer, assrape and teabag those assholes.

about three weeks ago
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Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him?

DingerX Re:Complex question. Simple answer (363 comments)

Uhh... Europe? I know quite a few humanities Ph.D.s who are teaching in high schools out here.

Seriously, when I was in a public HS, we had high school teachers with Ph.D.s, in the STEM classes (well, okay, not the TE part). In the humanities, we had people with M.S. in education, and no clue what's going on. You want to know why history sucks in High School? The teachers were those students who got straight Cs in history at the university and an education degree.

about a month and a half ago
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Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him?

DingerX Complex question. Simple answer (363 comments)

If you made computer science a mandatory subject, and then required that the students be taught to type in, line-by-line, the source code for libreoffice, then what was taught in the course would not be incorrect. It wouldn't be computer science either.

The counterargument here is that "Big HIstory" focuses on a grand narrative without approaching the methodologies used to construct such narratives. Historians try to teach methods, and specifically ways to approach texts and to construct arguments from them about the past; they try to get students to look at histories not as "correct" or "incorrect" (although they can also be that), but rather as someone's attempt at interpreting the data in a way relevant to us.

The fact that most High School history classes suck and feature some nutcase rattling on about pet theories and spewing lists of crap for students to memorize has nothing to do with what history teachers want, and everything to do with the fact that "Coach of a High School Sports Team" is not a full-time job, and most schools have more coaches than gym teachers. So they gotta teach something, and that education degree means they can teach whatever they want; a Ph.D. in history is not so flexible, and (thanks to union rules) costs cash-strapped schools more money to hire.

about a month and a half ago
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Windows 8.1 Update Crippling PCs With BSOD, Microsoft Suggests You Roll Back

DingerX Re:Wait until SP1/SP2 before buying ? (304 comments)

They don't do SPs any more. Calling them "Mandatory Updates" allows them to get around any promises they made regarding SPs. Oh yeah, and this update? I'm not affected, since my machine is still unable to install the mandatory update.
WTG Microsoft. You should be glad that platforms are not part of your core mission.

about 2 months ago
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New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture

DingerX Re:Wha? (204 comments)

Yeah, "Flatten the structure" means, at some level, have fewer bosses responsible for more employees. "Increasing communication" means having more bosses responsible for fewer employees. Doing both together means firing the people the CEO's entourage doesn't like.

reduce time it takes to get things done by having fewer people involved in each decision; = fire people.

quantify outcomes for products and use that data to predict future trends; =If it doesn't sell in the first quarter, kill it. Predict the market by abandoning lethargic products and jumping on the winner. You know, like how the massive Kinect 1.0 sales led to the dominance of the XBone. On the other side, when PlaysForSure fails, replace it with the Zune Store, when that fails, replace it with the next. Then fire the whole team, except for the useless ones. Put them on the next iteration of Windows Phone.

and increasing investment for employee training and development. =hire more of the consultants who write buzzkill press releases. Note it didn't say "increase our emphasis on employee training and development" or "find new ways to enrich our employees' skills and competencies", but rather "increasing investment for" -- "buy new things with this ostensible goal".

about 3 months ago
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Apple Says Many Users 'Bought an Android Phone By Mistake'

DingerX Re:It true !!!! (711 comments)

Context? Nobody watches in context. If he makes two "light digs" at Android, that's your story. Apple just went from the "industry leader", telling people what they want, to the "industry reactor", telling them what they don't want. It doesn't matter whether it's only a few seconds of a keynote, or whether it's true or not, it fits the narrative.

Master your own narrative or be a victim of other's. Isn't that the lesson here?

I know, you can't hear me over the thumping base of your Beats headphones.

about 5 months ago
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EVE Online's Space Economy Currently Worth $18 Million

DingerX Re:18 *M*illions dollars ? that's it ? (88 comments)

I got from it that he was just referring to liquidity, not to the total value of assets.

about 5 months ago
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IE Drops To Single-Digit Market Share

DingerX If by "middle of the pack" you mean "back" (390 comments)

You know, if you look at their performance numbers, as well as those for reliability, standards compliance and memory footprint, they come in second-to-last, with Opera last; of course, when you compare IE to the chromium-based Opera Next, and not plain Opera, then IE still is 2x worse than the others.

about 9 months ago
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HP Brings Back Windows 7 'By Popular Demand' As Buyers Shun Windows 8

DingerX Interface also sucks on a touch screen (513 comments)

Here's what I don't get: When I work with a phone or a tablet, I usually hold the screen at a certain distance, so that all the information displayed therein is on a fixed arc of vision. When I work on a PC, I sit in front of a screen. That screen may be big and far, or small and close, but, generally, it occupies more of my vision than a mobile screen does. It is therefore more tiring to scan items displayed all over the screen, which is why interface design (before Windows 8 screwed things up) put list-information and menus in part of the screen. To spray it across the whole screen is fatiguing. But Microsoft never understood that people have screens that are physical sizes and not fixed arrays of pixels. Hell, Windows 8.1 gives me a great choice on my 13.3" full-HD touchscreen: either have Windows do a crappy scaling job to make the screen look like a blurry 720p screen, or render everything properly, but at a resolution where the interface's touch points are smaller than the accuracy of anyone's fingers.

Windows 8.1 has some great things: it's really fast, for one. But Metro sucks, the touch-screen implementation sucks, and all that useless corporate "change for change's sake" sucks. Building software is different from selling clothes (or building hardware). Interfaces don't have "fashions", and retraining operators every three years makes your product less relevant than having them be dependent on your idiom since forever. Just ask Adobe.

about 9 months ago
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PC Shipments In 2013 See the Worst Yearly Decline In History

DingerX Re:Have you seen the PCs they're selling these day (564 comments)

Speaking as someone who just bought a Haswell convertible, the only problem is Windows 8. I've got a touchscreen convertible with an SSD and eight hours of battery life, and I don't want that horrible abortion of an OS.

Okay, it turns out that you're right. I don't understand the convertibles thing either. Why would you want to do that with Windows? The best, by far coolest, reason I've found is that I can have a laptop where the keyboard isn't attached to the screen, so I don't kill my back, and the screen can be put in profile mode, so I can work on full pages. Good grief, this fad is the sorriest excuse for something hip since the baby boomers started the SUV craze ("Finally, a car I don't have to lean down to enter").

Yes, for a Tablet, I use a Tablet (and with a 7.7" AMOLED screen, like they used to make back in the old days); for a desktop, I use a desktop (with a Model -May God Continue to Bless America- M keyboard, and an embarassment of screens. But for something portable, I've got this convertible monstrosity.

Why?

Well, a low-velocity body-computer bag-ground impact wiped out my Windows 7 netbook. That's why I buy 'em cheap. And, Windows 8 wiped out any cheap Windows 7 netbooks. That's why the drop off. Sure, I HAD to buy a portable computer. Otherwise, why the hell would I spend money on that abomination unto the Lord known as Windows 8 (or 8.1 -- "8+ iterations and we still haven't figured out that pixels don't correspond directly to use visibility").

about 9 months ago
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PC Shipments In 2013 See the Worst Yearly Decline In History

DingerX Re:Theories? (564 comments)

Alpha: Windows 8/8.1. Seriously, all you need is one person in your immediate network to get it, and you do not want to buy a PC with that on it.

about 9 months ago
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Bitcoin Miners Bundled With PUPs In Legitimate Applications Backed By EULA

DingerX Re:The really strange thing about this: (194 comments)

Who cares? If your freebie gets 100k installs, and only 1000 of them still work, you can probably count on $500/day, recoup your dev costs and make some money faster than you can say "Unconscionable".

Yeah, there is that. A EULA that crypto-tries to say "in exchange, you agree for us to take over your computer and use it to crank out money" is no good.

about a year ago
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Could We "Wikify" Scholarly Canons?

DingerX Re:Wikimedia != Wikipedia (63 comments)

SEP is great, and it has the advantage that, as a freely-accessible encyclopedia, it's where everyone goes first.

But TFA formulates the problem conflating encyclopedic work with scholarly research and open access:

When academics have been asked why they do not contribute to Wikipedia, or why they do not make their data more easily available, or why they continue to avoid new âoeopen accessâ publication venues, one of the most common explanations is âoenot enough timeâ [7,8]. Academic hiring, tenure, and grant review boards preference most strongly the publication of scholarly results in prestigious outlets. In the sciences these are journals such as Nature and Science, and in the humanities a book published by a selective university publisher [7]. By communicating through such media, an academic can be sure that his or her peers will see (or at least, should have seen) the researcherâ(TM)s contribution. By contrast, contributions to Wikipedia, or to writing popular blog posts, generally accord no academic recognition to a contributor. This may help to explain why, for those without access to institutional journal subscriptions, the claims of todayâ(TM)s academics may at times appear as trustworthy as those of the pre-Enlightenment alchemists.

The "researcher's contribution" is not generally an encyclopedia chapter. Academic recognition distinguishes between advancing the field and serving society by communicating the current state of the field. Both are necessary and rewarded activities, but they are evaluated separately. "Open Access" journals are fair game because they form part of the problem TFA formulates as solvable via Scholarpedia.

about a year ago
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Could We "Wikify" Scholarly Canons?

DingerX Re:Wait a Generation (63 comments)

Well, I don't know what part of history you're in, but such a group of neanderthals sound like nineteenth-century Americans. Then again, by your beery name, you could be classical or heaven forfend, 'Renaissance'. No matter. I'd put the matter a little differently: most humanities professors stop studying broadly about the time they get a job. I mean, hell, I'm too busy publishing and running a journal that I don't have time to dedicate to most other things. So that means that, on the whole, their image of the field is fossilized at that moment (and maybe updated by a few fancy theoretical buzzwords).

I'm co-editing a (mostly) closed-access journal that's fairly highly rated in my little field. In many places, scholars are scored according to where they publish, so an article with us is worth (for performance review) four articles elsewhere. That's obscene, and the huge part of the problem is a systemic belief in the "quantification of academic outcomes"; you can't easily answer the question "Is this person good?", so you answer the question "How many articles in INT1-ranked journals did she publish?". The predictable results are: bloating of INT1-ranked journals, increase in number of INT1-ranked journals, and reorientation of scholarship aimed at what those journals are interested in. You can see the same argument, mutatis mutandis with impact factors: if you select from intelligent agents based on a measurement that has some correlation with performance, those agents will perform to the measurement, weakening the future correlation.

While professors may not care about which way the wind is blowing, academic publishers do. So our publisher recognizes that the winds are blowing open access (indeed, many European funding bodies require OA publication when possible), and offers an open-access option. They see the writing on the wall, and the copies of their works on the Russian websites, and the people at conferences with removable hard drives. As academics, scholarly work is the very air we breathe, it is a necessity, and as a group we find an inequality in access to such work more unjust than people making questionably-authorized copies of copyrighted works for their own research. Open Access, like Open Source, is a great idea, and one that can lead to great riches. The challenge lies in transferring the costs of the work: it is in the interests of academic institutions to support OA publications with material and labor, but there aren't many institutions that are willing to hire people to work exclusively on the heavy lifting behind such publications.

Finally, TFA is a scholarly-sounding advertisement for Scholarpedia. As an historian, I don't see how a wiki can function for scholarly work. Put another way, the wiki model is built on assumptions concerning human knowledge that makes it inappropriate for the humanities; TFA furthers these assumptions. The major assumption is that, since we base our knowledge on the field on the work of predecessors, we build upon that knowledge incrementally. One of the major traits of the Social Sciences and Humanities, however, is that we constantly reflect upon the nature of our discipline and, in building upon knowledge, restructure the foundations of the discipline. That means that our criteria for meaningfulness and even truth are constantly changing. So, even when I set out to do something that lends itself to an encyclopedia-style article (which happens occasionally, but not most of the time), I review as much historical data as I can and work through the reconstructions of my predecessors. Inevitably, I can't build on them so much as rewrite them, and I can't rewrite them in a series of edits, but I have to make a single narrative that is my own. Most of the time, however, I'm not writing encyclopedia entries. Encyclopedia entries are not for producing historical arguments, but for guiding readers to those arguments. There isn't a single vision of the discipline, and there isn't even a privileged voice that would express a consensus of the various approaches and interpretations.

about a year ago
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German Government Warns Windows 8 Is an Unacceptable Security Risk

DingerX And the follow-up article (373 comments)

Where the BSI takes issue with their reporting.

Of course, with the extent now clear of the US government's use of US IT companies to maintain American political and economic advantages, if you were running a non-US-based company or a non-US-governmental organization, you'd want to do as much critical business with non-American hardware, software and services as possible.

about a year ago
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Gaming Roots: MUD and the Birth of MMOs

DingerX Re:MUD, PLATO and the dawn of MMORPGs (99 comments)

Obviously, the dude has never played Moria either. Maybe the thing was obvious, but it was also present. It's like saying multiplayer flight sims didn't have their origin in PLATO's Airfight. Yes, the concept was obvious, but every implementation was inspired by the predecessors. And before 1978, the only implementations out there were server-and-terminal. MP was easy(ish).

about a year ago
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Do Developers Need Free Perks To Thrive?

DingerX Re:The signaling aspect is more important (524 comments)

It's a fundamental aspect of human psychology. If the owner of the house you're in provides something for free, then you have a host-guest relationship. If not, then you have a mercenary one. This holds from airlines to assembly lines. Guess which approach is more effective at getting people to do what you want?

about a year and a half ago
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17-Year-Old Girl Wins Boston TV API Programming Contest

DingerX Re:Sexism (117 comments)

Well, Ms. Lemere, congratulations on your achievement. Like every other achievement in your life where you beat a bunch of boys, you will immediately hear that you only got where you are because you're a girl. After all, the odds are only 1-in-80 that you'll get mentioned for such a competition, and when, roughly 1.25% of the time, you do it mentioned, it will be purely on the basis of discrimination that you are a girl. Heaven forfend that you get an award 1 out of every 15 times. Then, people won't point to the fact that four out of every five of your four sisters were discouraged from competing and so only the most insanely dedicated remained, but rather to your lack of award-appropriate genitalia.

May you continue to enjoy, in every aspect of your life, such blatant and obvious discrimination in your favor.
Wouldn't that be nice for a change?

about a year and a half ago
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Earth's Core Far Hotter Than Thought

DingerX Diamond Anvil Cell != Earth Core (189 comments)

So basically, you heat up a small sample and put it under extreme pressures, and measure the electrical conductivity until it resembles the earth. Of course, there's a massive temperature gradient from the lab-temperature edge of the sample and the superhot center. And maybe the sample's gonna be at different temperatures as well, developing grain boundaries in the sample, and maybe those grain boundaries will serve as circuits around the superhot center of the sample.

I'm no expert on these things, but even I know that Diamond-Anvil Cells are terrible tech, and have been terrible tech for the last quarter-century. Yeah, they're inherently flawed, but an unskilled operator can further come up with "surprising" results.

Amusing aside: this is a French study. The synthetic diamonds in DACs eventually break, so last time I checked (over a decade ago -- again, I'm no expert), in the French system they are classified as office supplies instead of lab equipment. So the study authors didn't have many shots to get to the test conditions right either.

about a year and a half ago

Submissions

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DingerX DingerX writes  |  more than 7 years ago

DingerX (847589) writes "I'm loving this Zune thing. Only a couple times a season does a consumer electronic launch end in such a tragic mess of champagne, blood and flailing body parts. As far as catastrophes go, the Zune has to work for mindshare: I mean, we've got the PS3, both Blue-Ray and HD-DVD, and increasingly cool videos of Li-Ion fires. But the Zune had a really great launch: before the band could stop playing, the Zune had slipped to the deep, leaving its only trace a few bubbles that would intermittently breach the surface, where one strained to hear their flaccid popping sound under the cackles of bystanders and ill-wishers. Now CNN assures me that Apple fans are clamoring for an iPod phone, and as I wonder "gee, didn't they try that last year?", the Zune story suddenly sounds familiar. Is the Zune the much-heralded second coming of the ROKR?
The Zune really was the device you wanted to hate, and it didn't disappoint:

1) Clunky Interface
2) Incompatible not only with Linux and Macs, but apparently Windows as well
3) Bad DRM that doesn't work with Microsoft's other bad DRM.
4) Neutered Wi-Fi.

In management speak for years to come, "Zune" will become a verb, "To Zunify", which will mean "To cripple a cool idea by pandering to interests aligned against the client".

Still, Zune's destiny could be part of some evil, sinister plan. The probable case is just the one I outlined above. Now here's a possible case, just for giggles:

THE MICROSOFT ROKR

Remember that ROKR thing? It was the rumored "Big Project" that kept industry folks guessing and speculating, until it was released with a whimper. Interesting idea: Motorola putting an Apple-cobranded media player on a cellphone and letting it use ITMS. But yeah, it bombed. There are plenty of reasons why it bombed: Cell phones and Media Players recharge and discharge their batteries according to different patterns; people really didn't want to listen to music on their cellphone any. But the important reason the ROKR failed is that it got Zunified before-the-fact.
The good folks who gave us the ROKR weren't just Motorola and Apple: they were working with the cellphone service providers, who notoriously see cellular phones in terms of revenue generation, and confirm/reject mobile phone features based on whether they can charge extra for it. So the ROKR comes out with an artificial 100-song limit, and restrictions on how you can get songs onto the thing. It bombs.

But the conspiracy theorists loved it. They claimed that, by developing a cellphone, Apple was gaining much needed experience in the cellphone field that will help with v. 2.0 (without Motorola). Or, better yet, that by "buying an interest" in the field, they were preventing competitors from going that route: after all, with Apple developing and fielding a Cellphone Media Player, it was no longer an "untapped market" for over-the-horizon threats. At the very least, Apple was hedging their bets.

But, well, what really happened?
The release day for the ROKR, Apple upstaged the Motorola device with their new hat for Malibu Stacy: the iPod Nano (or shuffle, or both, I forget). Motorola managed a hit with their RAZR, and their second generation ROKR (E2) has removed the ITMS support, and the Zunification of the 100-song limit. Apple was able to use the ROKR as a screen to hide what they were really up to; once launched, the ROKR's failure ensured that manufacturers would view Cellphone MP3 players as a niche market. Motorola used the ROKR E1 fiasco to overcome vendor resistance to features that would make the phone actually useful.

So what's my conspiracy theory for the Zune?

The Zune gives the old (and increasingly irrelevant) content companies everything they've asked for:
"HARD" DRM = it won't work even with Microsoft DRM, so owners have to buy a new copy of stuff.
A music store with a variable price structure. Totally sweet -- now you can charge more for some songs. The RIAA has been looking to do this for years.
A "swapping" feature that turns the threat of music sharing into sales: and just to make sure it's not abused, everything gets DRM'd. As a side benefit, those rogue musicians who release their stuff for free won't have an advantage over the oligopoly.

So up and down the list, Microsoft has given the recording industry everything they've asked for. The result? A spectacular failure that leaves everyone scratching their heads and wondering why.

But now think of what the Zune could have been: a cool device that would work on your wireless network, allowing you to stream music across your house, pull tracks off your NAS, endlessly copy podcasts, pointless YouTube videos and yes, even music. What would happen? The RIAA would decry the obvious and willful attempt to destroy its business and civilization in general, and slap a lawsuit on Microsoft that would make the whole Rio thing look tame.
But what if they did everything the RIAA asked, and it failed?
Well, then they'd have a whole stack of marketing surveys, product reviews and slashdot gossip pointing out what a stupid idea it was. As Motorola managed to lift the 100-song limit in v. 2.0, will Microsoft be able to say, "we tried it your way, and it didn't work", and then pull out the stops on the WiFi and wrest pricing control from the record companies?
What about other products? In the hardware world, the CE folks are in a tight spot: content producers are putting the squeeze on for increasingly improbable and expensive devices that largely serve to augment consumer hostility and decrease sales. As probably the largest content producer and content enabler in the world, Microsoft is feeling it at both ends: they really, really want the wipe out "Schoolyard Piracy", but at the same time they're looking at implementing DRM schemes that can only limit their market share: counterintuitively, DRM makes piracy more attractive by decreasing the value of the legitimate product.
So the Zune actually helps matters: it gives Microsoft some fairly convincing arguments why it is a bad idea to implement all that annoying DRM crap the music and movie people want to see. Whereas pre-Zune, they had little response to the Oligopolies' accusations of "facilitating thievery"; now they can make arguments based on "what the consumers want".

But it's a conspiracy theory. We all know what really happened. A cool idea developed down the ranks about schoolyard sharing, Microsoft hedged its bets, and they developed the darn thing. Then upper-mid management screwed the pooch by making sure "no egos got bruised", and the thing matched Microsoft's rapidly changing content protection policy. The very notion of "schoolyard sharing" is so antithetical to a traditional software house that there was no chance a Wi-Fi Media Player from Microsoft would work."

Journals

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F-22 Navigation Glitch: "It worked fine in the lab"

DingerX DingerX writes  |  more than 7 years ago IFENs aren't the only computer system you can crash in flight, evidently. The shiny-new F-22 raptor arrived in Okinawa this weekend, the first overseas deployment for the USAF's most advanced and most expensive fighter. The arrival was a week late, due to a software glitch that at the time was unspecified, but required all six F-22s to turn back.
A week later, a purportedly unclassified document is making the rounds of the internet that suggests that inadequate testing of navigational software resulting in a bug bringing down all but the most basic flight controls of all aircraft.

Subject: F-22 AEF Deployment

Date: 12 Feb 07

To: CC

Info: CV, DS

Narrative:


1. A 1st Fighter Wing AEF 6-ship (Petro 91) departed Hickam AFB enroute to AEF location on 10 Feb. Approximately 4 hours into the mission and coincidental with crossing over the International Date Line, all six aircraft experienced a significant avionics failure including:

Both GINS 1 and 2 Fail

FLCS Degrade

Radar Fail

Fuel Degrade

Loss of all attitude references

Loss of Flight Path marker

Loss of all navigation aides (TACAN, ILS, Computed, etc.)

Loss of all heading indications

2. Aircraft communications were available via backup radio only. Only navigation available was via cockpit airspeed and altitude indications (both deemed accurate). All other aircraft systems, to include engines, electrical system and air refueling, were nominal.

3. Flight Lead, Lt Col Tolliver, initiated via the tanker a CONFERENCE HOTEL (CH) call with LM Aero. All CH team recommended workarounds (avionics restarts, date and time resets, etc.) did not resolve the problem.

4. Lt Col Tolliver assessed pressing to the AEF location but decided to turn back and return to Hickam. He also directed the second deployment cell, a 2-ship approximately one hour behind him, to return to Hickam. NOTE: This 2-ship never crossed the International Date Line.

5. Enroute back to Hickam, after crossing back over the International Date Line, avionics restarts were unsuccessfully attempted.

6. All aircraft successfully recovered at Hickam, shut down (cold iron), restarted engines and all avionics malfunctions cleared.

7. An F-22 Crisis Management Team (CMT) has convened. Two telecoms (1300 and 1700 EST) were conducted on 11 Feb. Participants included F-22 Program Office, LM, Boeing, NG and A8F personnel.

8. The F-22 Program is working 24/7 to resolve this issue. Both F-22 avionics integration labs (RAIL and AIL) have successfully duplicated the problem. The problem resides within the GINS software when the aircraft transitions between East/West Longitude. NOTE: Most RAIL and AIL testing simulate GINS inputs and past testing discovered no issues with over flying the Dateline or Poles. It took testing this weekend using actual GINS hardware and software to duplicate this problem.

9. A fix for this software problem has been developed at NG and currently is being evaluated in the RAIL. We should find out at our 1300 CMT telecom today if this fix works.

10. This fix will require an OFP update to be loaded on the aircraft. Currently no IMIS OFP loading support is on-site at Hickam. 1 FW IMIS was previously deployed to AEF location.

11. F-22 Program currently expects software fix, OFP loading hardware and LM support team in place at Hickam by mid-week. Aircraft possibly will be able to depart Hickam for their AEF location by the end of the week.

12. Updates to this issue will be provided as additional information becomes available.

Translation: The navigational system (Global Positioning Inertial Navigation Systems (GINS)) had never been physically tested crossing the date line, but only on simulated real-world inputs. When it crossed the date line for the first time, it crashed, as did the backup, bringing down with it all navigational systems and much of the aircraft's instrumentation, leaving them with backup systems reminiscent of a Cessna 172 (without the navigational stack).

What sort of software engineering is that, where the failure of a one element can bring down the whole avionics suite?

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The Microsoft ROKR

DingerX DingerX writes  |  more than 7 years ago I'm loving this Zune thing. Only a couple times a season does a consumer electronic launch end in such a tragic mess of champagne, blood and flailing body parts. As far as catastrophes go, the Zune has to work for mindshare: I mean, we've got the PS3, both Blue-Ray and HD-DVD, and increasingly cool videos of Li-Ion fires. But the Zune had a really great launch: before the band could stop playing, the Zune had slipped to the deep, leaving its only trace a few bubbles that would intermittently breach the surface, where one strained to hear their flaccid popping sound under the cackles of bystanders and ill-wishers. Now CNN assures me that Apple fans are clamoring for an iPod phone, and as I wonder "gee, didn't they try that last year?", the Zune story suddenly sounds familiar. Is the Zune the much-heralded second coming of the ROKR?
The Zune really was the device you wanted to hate, and it didn't disappoint:

1) Clunky Interface
2) Incompatible not only with Linux and Macs, but apparently Windows as well
3) Bad DRM that doesn't work with Microsoft's other bad DRM.
4) Neutered Wi-Fi.

In management speak for years to come, "Zune" will become a verb, "To Zunify", which will mean "To cripple a cool idea by pandering to interests aligned against the client".

Still, Zune's destiny could be part of some evil, sinister plan. The probable case is just the one I outlined above. Now here's a possible case, just for giggles:

THE MICROSOFT ROKR

Remember that ROKR thing? It was the rumored "Big Project" that kept industry folks guessing and speculating, until it was released with a whimper. Interesting idea: Motorola putting an Apple-cobranded media player on a cellphone and letting it use ITMS. But yeah, it bombed. There are plenty of reasons why it bombed: Cell phones and Media Players recharge and discharge their batteries according to different patterns; people really didn't want to listen to music on their cellphone any. But the important reason the ROKR failed is that it got Zunified before-the-fact.
The good folks who gave us the ROKR weren't just Motorola and Apple: they were working with the cellphone service providers, who notoriously see cellular phones in terms of revenue generation, and confirm/reject mobile phone features based on whether they can charge extra for it. So the ROKR comes out with an artificial 100-song limit, and restrictions on how you can get songs onto the thing. It bombs.

But the conspiracy theorists loved it. They claimed that, by developing a cellphone, Apple was gaining much needed experience in the cellphone field that will help with v. 2.0 (without Motorola). Or, better yet, that by "buying an interest" in the field, they were preventing competitors from going that route: after all, with Apple developing and fielding a Cellphone Media Player, it was no longer an "untapped market" for over-the-horizon threats. At the very least, Apple was hedging their bets.

But, well, what really happened?
The release day for the ROKR, Apple upstaged the Motorola device with their new hat for Malibu Stacy: the iPod Nano (or shuffle, or both, I forget). Motorola managed a hit with their RAZR, and their second generation ROKR (E2) has removed the ITMS support, and the Zunification of the 100-song limit. Apple was able to use the ROKR as a screen to hide what they were really up to; once launched, the ROKR's failure ensured that manufacturers would view Cellphone MP3 players as a niche market. Motorola used the ROKR E1 fiasco to overcome vendor resistance to features that would make the phone actually useful.

So what's my conspiracy theory for the Zune?

The Zune gives the old (and increasingly irrelevant) content companies everything they've asked for:
"HARD" DRM = it won't work even with Microsoft DRM, so owners have to buy a new copy of stuff.
A music store with a variable price structure. Totally sweet -- now you can charge more for some songs. The RIAA has been looking to do this for years.
A "swapping" feature that turns the threat of music sharing into sales: and just to make sure it's not abused, everything gets DRM'd. As a side benefit, those rogue musicians who release their stuff for free won't have an advantage over the oligopoly.

So up and down the list, Microsoft has given the recording industry everything they've asked for. The result? A spectacular failure that leaves everyone scratching their heads and wondering why.

But now think of what the Zune could have been: a cool device that would work on your wireless network, allowing you to stream music across your house, pull tracks off your NAS, endlessly copy podcasts, pointless YouTube videos and yes, even music. What would happen? The RIAA would decry the obvious and willful attempt to destroy its business and civilization in general, and slap a lawsuit on Microsoft that would make the whole Rio thing look tame.
But what if they did everything the RIAA asked, and it failed?
Well, then they'd have a whole stack of marketing surveys, product reviews and slashdot gossip pointing out what a stupid idea it was. As Motorola managed to lift the 100-song limit in v. 2.0, will Microsoft be able to say, "we tried it your way, and it didn't work", and then pull out the stops on the WiFi and wrest pricing control from the record companies?
What about other products? In the hardware world, the CE folks are in a tight spot: content producers are putting the squeeze on for increasingly improbable and expensive devices that largely serve to augment consumer hostility and decrease sales. As probably the largest content producer and content enabler in the world, Microsoft is feeling it at both ends: they really, really want the wipe out "Schoolyard Piracy", but at the same time they're looking at implementing DRM schemes that can only limit their market share: counterintuitively, DRM makes piracy more attractive by decreasing the value of the legitimate product.
So the Zune actually helps matters: it gives Microsoft some fairly convincing arguments why it is a bad idea to implement all that annoying DRM crap the music and movie people want to see. Whereas pre-Zune, they had little response to the Oligopolies' accusations of "facilitating thievery"; now they can make arguments based on "what the consumers want".

But it's a conspiracy theory. We all know what really happened. A cool idea developed down the ranks about schoolyard sharing, Microsoft hedged its bets, and they developed the darn thing. Then upper-mid management screwed the pooch by making sure "no egos got bruised", and the thing matched Microsoft's rapidly changing content protection policy. The very notion of "schoolyard sharing" is so antithetical to a traditional software house that there was no chance a Wi-Fi Media Player from Microsoft would work.

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Crappy Hardware I've owned recently

DingerX DingerX writes  |  more than 9 years ago Just in the last couple of years, In no particular order:

4. Creative Sound Blaster LIVE!: Monopolies are great; monopolies mean you get to make money by raising the price and saving money on QA. What's the record for most years using creative products without a serious problem? My personal best is maybe 6.

3. The Masscool 520UI 5.25" enclosure. Yes, I looked at this before buying, but not close enough. The case looks good enough -- solid build quality, easy opening lid (with sliding locks), IE 1394 and USB 2.0 support -- in short, what you need.
Only when I take it home do I recognize the US plug at the end of the power supply -- no problem, most of my stuff is US-plugged; I got adapters. I plug it in, and wham! my first surprise. IT'S A DISCO BOX! They got translucent plastic on the sides. One side has two red LEDs, one two blue. First the red one is flashing. Then I connect the firewire to the computer, and the red one goes solid, the blue starts flashing. Then I try to format the damn thing. Yes, the blue one goes out for data transfer. Of course, the format fails. Now the thing is back to "xmas tree mode". Hell, even the power supply's LED is pulsing! I'm surprised they didn't put air dams, a spoiler and a big R-Type sticker on the damn thing! Okay, so wire the USB, and continue the format. Now try to access it. No good. Okay, sleep and deal in the morning. Try again. Now only the red light is flashing, the fan is spinning, but the HDD doesn't come up. Put in a spare HDD I have in my drawer. Okay, now both blue and red are flashing. My neighbors are now looking around for the cop car. Look again at power supply. You know, it's rated to 240 W, but that LED really shouldn't pulse like that; come to think of it, the fan shouldn't be pulsing either. Does anyone know what an inverter is these days? Let's try the PS from my Bytecc 3.5" 1394 enclosure.
[whine of fan achieving proper RPMs, lights stay solid on].
As I finish writing this rant, I pick up that PS, with the pulsing light, givb it a whack against the side of the table. OF COURSE THAT WORKS. I forgot the cardinal rule: electronics need tough love.

2. Siemens C-65 Mobile Phone: Another turd. Tiny keypad -- which is standard for the genre -- with a little 4-way pointing stick above the keypad, set among the softkeys. Right between the pointing stick and the keypad is a non-soft softkey: hold it down for a second, and it'll go to the send SMS feature. Tap it, and, well, it loads the web browser. After what feels like 30 seconds to a minute in which you can't use the phone, the web browser comes up. Now this handy little key works _anywhere_: dialing a number? WebBrowser. Entering a SMS? Forget that, time to download some porn buddy! Taking salacious pictures? No sir, webbrowser for you!
Okay, I'm not being fair. The C65 is worse than that. The firmware I had on the version sold to me featured sporadic hard crashes (=remove undersized and underpowered batter to continue) until I had to buy the proprietary USB Serial cable to reset it. Speaking of which, the computer software for this thing is among the worst in the business. Transaction based? Not on your life! Everything is synchronized with the phone. Want to delete a bunch of files? No problem. Let's just get the directory at 9600 baud. Now select the files you want to delete, waiting between each selection for the phone to acknowledge your selection. Now hit "delete", and wait while the phone marks those files for deletion, then deletes them.
What? You selected more than 6 files? I'm sorry, the computer got bored and decided the phone was no longer there. Unplug the USB cable; shut down all the software, reconnect, start the software, and wait up to two minutes for the phone to be recognized again (if at all). Now, repeat the same process, this time with fewer files. Then wait while it reloads the directory.
Another brilliant C65 design move: this is a candy bar phone, so it needs a keypad lock feature: you know, you put the thing somewhere loose, and a key or two might inadvertently get hit. Evidently, previous keypad locks were too complicated, requiring the user to enter in some sort of combination. Not the C65: just press the # key once and you're good to go. If you didn't get it, I'll spell it out: the feature they designed to prevent inadvertent key presses can be defeated by a single inadvertent key press. Hell, before that thing died, my pants made more phone calls from it than I did!
No, really, this was a great phone -- Siemens advertises it as a "MMS-allrounder", or something, but I was unable to get the MMS function to work in any way on two separate European networks in separate countries (one Vodafone, one TIM), attempting both automatic and manual configuration. Fortunately, the circuitboard/battery connection was genuinely crappy, and the power started to drop out at the most inconvenient times. After a week of this, it wouldn't stay on without constant supervision. I suppose I could file a warranty claim, but why? I've learned my lesson never to deal with Siemens again (or BenQ for that matter).

1. MSI TV @nywhere Master: On paper it sounds really cool: silicon tuner, so it changes channels really fast; CX23883 audio/video decoder, producing high quality video, a super-slim remote that's really cool. There's just two slight problems: A) No other retail, shareware or freeware/OS TV tuner program supports the proprietary tuner and audio. B) Intervideo wrote the bundled software, but apparently forgot to ensure it was stable. Sure you can watch TV on it, but if you hit spacebar, it starts PVR-on-demand that was never debugged, and it's time for the ATX "standing six count". You can get timeshifting to work elsewhere, but the Audio runs as a pass-through cable, out from the video card, into the sound card. Oh yeah, and the PVR software can only record audio or play back audio, not both. The MSI forums, and any other forums, are peppered with the wails of the damned who'd bought one of these turds. They may have fixed these problems, but I've already shipped my card to Hell, so the devil can be sure to have enough gorgeous nude models on hand to string anybody responsible for this product up by their genitalia and pull on their feet. In a sentence: interesting hardware, crippled by shitty firmware, and no QA.


--- (I don't link here, just figgered that it might turn up on a search or something and at least amuse someone, if not save them from buying junk) ---

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California Raisins

DingerX DingerX writes  |  more than 9 years ago Okay, so the story on Movie Games sucking caused a horrible flashback to what I consider to be the worst video game I ever encourntered.
It was summer 1991 (could have been 90, but pretty sure it was 91), and I was working my summer job (if you could call it that) doing beta and final testing for a house that contracted mostly to a whole range of gaming companies.

Somehow, I drew the unlucky straw that day, and I got saddled with this NES project -- the story was vague, the thing had been written and forgotten about for 18 months, or it was way overdue and the publisher had already given up on it -- anyway, the NES was on its way out, and this game really, really, REALLY sucked. I'm talking about California Raisins.

It was painful: I had to explore all the annoying little cracks in this uninspired Mario ripoff (With all of four -- count them, four -- levels) eight hours a day in a roomn where everything flashed at 60Hz. I was amazed I never killed anyone on the way home. In short, the game was bad in every sector: the music was the first bars of "I heard it through the grapevine", over and over again, the jumping part was all based on precision with lethally punishment for failure. Worst of all, by the time I saw the game, the California Raisins craze was over by nearly two years.

So yeah, I worked on that game, tested it, and gave the client my personal opinion that schlock like that would never sell.

Then today I google the damn thing ("the game that, when I was paid to play it, convinced me a needed a career change"), I find that thank God, it never was published. And I thanked myself for that.

But what's this? One EEPROM escaped, and it's been used to multiply that game? 12 years after I did my moral best to damn that game into oblivion, even at personal financial loss, it emerges from the grave. Worse, that one bit of evil somebody missed, now has, thanks to the "legend of the game that never was", returned to even greater stature than it would have had before?

How? why? where could it come from?

Google found that too:

An interview with a NES cart collector reveals that a woman received them, along with a couple other NES titles I remember very well from that era from someone who "used to work for a gaming company".

I looked at the shot -- it's been many years, it's a generic proto cart, but I wouldn't be surprised if my fingerprints were on that thing.

Damn, I wish I had insisted to the boss that the cart be destroyed.

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