Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

More Eye Candy Coming To Windows 10

Dutch Gun Re:Will Microsoft ever learn? (137 comments)

My computer has had CPU and GPU cycles to burn for the past decade, and while my machines are typically reasonably powered, they're not exactly considered monsters either. For all the complaints I hear about wasting cycles, I have yet to see OS-level effects or window animations seriously slow down my computer in any measurable way, even on specialized workstations I optimize for performance, like my digital audio workstation.

Animation actually has a real purpose in terms of UI design. For instance, an animation between a window in it's normal state and the minimized state is not just aesthetically pleasing, but helps the user to mentally connect those windowed positions, making it less likely for people to be momentarily confused about where their window disappeared to. Moreover, people generally like eye candy, and they like to be able to customize their system. It simply serves to make people more comfortable with the OS environment, but I'd argue that's actually important of any tech product intended for the masses as well.

Adding animations or some virtual gloss doesn't devalue an operating system and turn it into a tech toy, nor does making a product boring and dull enhance it's functionality in any way.

6 hours ago
top

In UK, Internet Trolls Could Face Two Years In Jail

Dutch Gun Re:So what qualifies? (457 comments)

I think most people would agree that this is either mild trolling or bad humor (and I do hope the mods read enough of the thread to realize it was done to made a point). I think most reasonable people would agree that it's not at the level that merits prosecution. Obviously we're going to have problems if every rude person on the internet was arrested. I also think most people would agree that a very real line is crossed once you threaten me with physical violence or sexual assault, or if you tracked my real name down and started sending me nasty e-mails to my personal account, or if you made disgusting photoshopped images of my kids and posted them online.

People tend to get a bit squeamish about subjectivity in the legal system, but seems like the legal world is a pretty gray area, because it's dealing with human behavior and all the vagaries related to that. Clear-cut rules can be a double-edged sword, as we've found out with "no tolerance" policies at schools when we hear about kids getting suspended for writing a story about shooting a neighbor's dog with a gun, or getting in trouble for not having a proper nutritionally-balance government-approved lunch.

Seriously, though... making fun of my handle? ;-)

yesterday
top

In UK, Internet Trolls Could Face Two Years In Jail

Dutch Gun Re:So what qualifies? (457 comments)

Enforcement of nearly every single law in the world requires some sort of subjective judgment. That's why we have human judges and juries to help decide these things - at least matters of any real significance, like criminal matters. What's the difference between first degree murder, second degree murder, or manslaughter? All very subjective factors. This is no different.

There are legitimate arguments to be made against this sort of law, but I think most people wouldn't find it hard to recognize legitimate and malicious trolling.

yesterday
top

Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

Dutch Gun Re:Or not (358 comments)

The only reason you think you need them in native apps is because you're used to them.

I'd love to know why replacing something that is functional and 100% understood by anyone who uses a computer in favor of a new design which doesn't clearly convey its intent is a good thing. Designers have also been wringing their hands over the "save" icon for years, because it's a floppy, and no one uses floppies anymore. But everyone already knows and understands that symbol outside of what its actual original meaning was (and if not, they learn it by simple association), and so there's absolutely no need to change it except that designers think it needs changing. We'd end up with a completely different arbitrary symbol with zero benefit, except that designers can now feel smug after inflicting a giant headache upon the world by forcing everyone to relearn something they already knew.

I don't consider myself a reactionary, but this insane drive to remove buttons and borders is actually hurting functionality. I'm fine with making buttons look less like beveled aluminum, but I really think this trend of playing mystery meat navigation (remember when that was pointed out as a bad design decision) has gone too far. Sorry, I still think the new "modern" design aesthetic is damned ugly. Even worse, in some cases, usability takes second fiddle to those aesthetics.

Is it the end of the world? No. Will I get used to it? Well, of course. But keep in mind that the operating system is, at it's core, a fairly mature technology at this point. The advances we see are largely UI-related or providing somewhat ancillary functionality. Since the "sleek, new look" is touted as a major feature, I'm going to evaluate it as such, and as a new feature, I find it woefully lacking.

At some point, I predict that someone high enough in the food chain is going to realize that the emperor has no clothes, and people actually like shine, gloss, transparency, gradients, and color schemes other than white on white (Apple) or kindergarten construction paper (Microsoft), and we'll see a return to those types of design elements.

yesterday
top

Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

Dutch Gun Re:Languages (546 comments)

Not every task has the same requirements, and thus, a single language can't possible be the "best" tool for every type of job. Languages are often created to solve very specific problems. From a technical perspective, any Turing-complete language can solve any programming problem, but certain languages are often much more elegant at expressing domain-specific programming solutions.

A programmer complaining that there isn't one single master language for programming is like a carpenter complaining that he has a box full of tools instead of one tool that can do it all. It's much better to have multiple tools that excel at what they were specifically designed to do rather than a single tool that does a mediocre job at everything.

2 days ago
top

Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

Dutch Gun Re:Scripting language du jour (546 comments)

I've been programming C++ for almost 20 years and C# (part time) for about 7, and I'd agree with your general assessment about productivity. If you don't meet the requirements for using C++, you should absolutely be using C# or a higher-level language. It's not only the language that's easier to use - the .NET framework has a lot of really useful functionality and is far less obtuse than older APIs like the Windows native API (although that's a pretty low bar to hurdle).

If you need maximum performance, seamless interoperability with C and other C++ APIs, and excellent platform portability, then you use C++. C++ 11/14 don't really affect the language's use case a significant amount, in my opinion. It just makes things a whole lot nicer for those who would still be using C++ even if it was still stuck at C++ 98 because of the core language characteristics and ecosystem available. Some developers are coming back to C++ because many of the predictions about native-equivalent performance of managed languages really never panned out, at least in non-contrived real-world examples. A lot of us, though, like in the videogame industry, simply never left.

My guess is that C++ is rapidly evolving because of the renewed interest in it due to it's performance characteristics, not the other way around. Who knows for sure, though...?

2 days ago
top

Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

Dutch Gun Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (546 comments)

I've heard about this "overloaded operator" problem a number of times. I've been using C++ for almost 20 years now. Do you know how many times I've been bitten by crazy nonsense happening under the cover of an operator overload? Zero. Nada. It's never ever happened to me in practice, and I've worked with a variety of codebase quality. I'm a sample of one, of course, and therefore can't extrapolate out to all use cases, but still a sample of one who's been using the language a really long time now. If it was really such a problem, you'd think I'd have actually experienced said problem at least once at some point.

Maybe it's a problem if people do really horrible things in operator overloads. But come on - just don't do that! Why the hell would someone write a database transaction as an operator overload, for instance? That would be insanely bad practice. It's not something you can do accidentally, like forgetting to free some memory. It's a deliberate, very bad design decision, and you're blaming the language? It's like blaming a kitchen knife for slicing your fingers if you don't treat it with the proper care and respect.

C++ has plenty of things wrong with it as a language, and it's most definitely not suited to every programmer or every programming task. Operator overloading has never even made the list, as far as I'm concerned.

2 days ago
top

OS X 10.10 Yosemite Review

Dutch Gun Re:Wait, what? (300 comments)

If you're typing the name of the program, of course there's little difference, except that Windows 8 covers your current workspace completely, yet doesn't even give you any visual indication that you can immediately start typing. This is endemic of the entire Windows 8 experience. There are no visual cues for *many* of the important things you have to do, and that's just a horrible design for a form factor with lots of real estate and a highly accurate pointing device.

I personally think the start menu is simply easier to use for a mouse user, especially when you don't remember exactly the name of what you're looking for (this can happen for rarely used programs or documentation, for example), because everything is logically grouped. You simply walk up the menu tree until you find what you're looking for and click it. Frequently used programs are pinned to the taskbar or perhaps populate the desktop.

However, it's a bit more than that as well. The start menu provides a logical anchor for nearly everything you can possibly do on a Windows machine. That's really, really important. There are shortcuts, but if you don't remember those shortcuts, you can simply click on the start menu and find it by browsing through the tree structure. It was an unbelievably stupid mistake, because MS completely discounted the psychological factor of removing a safe, always-visible fallback method for users to do whatever they needed to do on their computer.

From a design perspective, the Windows 8 start screen (well, the modern UI in general, actually) was also extremely intrusive for the user as well. This is fine for small form factors, because there's not enough screen real estate to do otherwise, but completely unacceptable for people with extremely large form-factor screens. You're unnecessarily blocking all other relevant information that the user is currently processing. After all, this isn't a phone, and so there's a high probability the user is working on or monitoring something else in another window (or many windows), and by removing those from view, you're creating a discontinuity in the workflow. The process is simply visually uncomfortable for large form factors.

3 days ago
top

OS X 10.10 Yosemite Review

Dutch Gun Re:Wait, what? (300 comments)

I really, really hope this fascination of the global design community with "flat and ugly" disappears soon. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with gloss, shine, transparency and gradients? I actually *like* those things, and every UI designer seems to be tossing those out and saying "Nonono, you don't actually want that. Here's what hip and trendy, even if you don't like the way it looks! It's modern! It's clean! It's the FUTURE!"

I'm actually fine with the anti-skeumorphic trend in general. After all, there's no purpose in a book-organization app to look like a wood-paneled bookshelf. That's just silly and needless over-design. But there are some design elements that have evolved beyond their real-world counterparts. Designers keep wringing their hands about how we need to find a new "save" icon rather than a floppy. Guess what? No, we don't, because the entire world knows and understands that as a universal symbol now, even beyond it's roots as a real world device.

Likewise, the visual language of a button are well known. We probably press 100x more virtual buttons than real, physical buttons in our daily lives at this point, and so the beveled button is a design metaphor that doesn't need changing. I don't care if designers think it's ugly. It provides a 100% unambiguous declaration as to what it is and how it can be used. Designers have decided to strip that away and simply replace it with a clickable region and simple text (see Windows 8). This provides no clue to the user that the button is any different than a label, and actually sacrifices usability on the alter of design, which is inexcusable.

3 days ago
top

The Subtle Developer Exodus From the Mac App Store

Dutch Gun Re:Ob (229 comments)

Gold rushes / landgrabs are, by definition, unsustainable. Those coming late to the party (which is most) get very little. This is reality. In the early days of phone app development, a bunch of people made a very early killing with very modest products. Those salad days are at an end. The novelty has worn off for the public, and a large percentage of people have smartphones now, with all the apps they need already purchased or acquired for free.

If the market is flooded with similar apps, then developers simply can't develop an app that does the same thing as twenty other apps and expect it to make a pile of money. It's just not realistic. It doesn't work that way in any other market. Why should app stores be magically immune to market forces?

Moreover, you can't rely on an app store to do your own marketing for you. When there are a dozen new apps hitting the store every day, exactly how much promotion do you think the store can realistically do for you for free? This really only worked near the beginning of the rush, when there weren't so many apps as today.

It sucks for those developers. Hell, I may be in the same boat in about half a year. I'm releasing my product that I've invested both years and a significant amount of my savings in, and I have no idea if I'll see any return on my investment at all. When it comes down to it, you need to create a product that the market isn't already saturated with, or else you need to build a product so much better that people beat a path to your door for it. Or you need a unique spin that draws people to your product.

In the long-term, there really are no shortcuts for most of us. Counting on "lottery" type success is for suckers.

5 days ago
top

Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

Dutch Gun Re: Preventable (419 comments)

Well, yeah, that's unfortunately true. I feel for you folks in the southern states - it's a ridiculous situation. Of course, it's a little harder to walk across the border from Africa, and the incubation period fortunately precludes a long, roundabout trip.

about a week ago
top

Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

Dutch Gun Re: Preventable (419 comments)

Regardless of the merits of that suggestion... you do realize you need a passport to enter this country, and that this passport lists your country of origin and every country you've traveled to, right?

about a week ago
top

How Spurious Wikipedia Edits Can Attach a Name To a Scandal, 35 Years On

Dutch Gun Re:Research (165 comments)

I am having difficulty understanding how giving opposing views on an issue or news item in any way hinders free speech. If anything it enhances it giving the intended audience a broader understanding of an issue. Without it echo chambers such as Fox News and MSNBC exist in a vacuum polarizing even further their respective audience.

It's pretty simple. That law was, in essence, the government mandating how to distribute political speech, and defining what's "fair" or "opposing views". Even if the intentions are good, it's in direct contradiction to the first amendment, at least from my perspective. Why should we give the government control over our media's political content (especially nowadays, with nearly unlimited mass media capabilities)? That seems incredibly dangerous to me. The entire point of the first amendment is to protect all speech, especially including political speech. The fact that support for/against the fairness doctrine tends to be split along political lines tells you that this is not just about "fairness" either, but about control of political speech one may or may not agree with.

Your statement about how Fox News or MSNBC are polarizing their respective audience leads into dangerous territory - that of the government making value judgments regarding political speech and acting on it. You're suggesting the government pass a law to better educate people to... what, fall in line with what you (or technically, someone from a government bureaucracy) would consider more reasonable opinions? You don't see this as a problem? Who are they to consider what is reasonable or not an "echo chamber" in terms of political discourse? That's the danger I see in the fairness doctrine.

Let me ask you a different question. Do you support the government's mass collection of personal data from the internet, or their desire to embed a backdoor in all smartphones (the "magic golden key"?). If not, why not? The government is only using that data to find terrorists or go after bad guys, right?

It's absolutely the same issue to me. Both issues are about encroachment of the government on personal liberties for the "greater good", and neither is justified.

about two weeks ago
top

How Spurious Wikipedia Edits Can Attach a Name To a Scandal, 35 Years On

Dutch Gun Re:Research (165 comments)

Honestly, I don't believe it's possible - or at best, unbelievably difficult - for someone to present information without bias. In terms of political coverage especially, I'd wager the chances dwindle down much closer to zero. If you don't notice a bias, then you're either not paying attention, or perhaps are in general agreement with the bias being shown, and as such, it tends to appear "neutral" to you (i.e. 'hey, that's just common sense, right?').

There's bias in choosing how to label things in stories, and there's bias in which stories are reported and which stories are not. For instance, if you typically only report scandals of political opponents but not your own favored party, even if you're only reporting the facts, there's still a bias there. I do think the bias in reporting used to be less overt than today, but I think it's always been there to some extent. Human nature doesn't change so easily.

The fairness doctrine perhaps made sense in a day when our information choices were limited (I'd still argue against it in principle, as I think it stomps all over the first amendment). But we live in the information age, and no one can seriously claim that a person doesn't have access to a wide range of differing political commentary from a vast network of different sources - not just traditional media, but new media as well. Much of it shallow and repeated, true, but we have access to much more of the raw information in more of a peer to peer fashion, and don't have to rely on what the traditional media is reporting.

I'm not quite old enough to remember the Vietnam and Watergate years, but I certainly do remember the pre-internet media days. For all it's faults, I'll take today's information age any day, even if the mass media has fallen quite a bit in stature and relevance. What we've gained, IMO, more than makes up for it.

about two weeks ago
top

Why Do Contextual Ads Fail?

Dutch Gun Re:The Ads are too late. (249 comments)

Contextual ads need to be a little more prophetic and a little less "I sold you so."

The best one-liners are those that season a well-known truth with a sprinkling of humor. Good one!

about two weeks ago
top

Complain About Comcast, Get Fired From Your Job

Dutch Gun Re:Issue? (742 comments)

I'm not sure it was simply rude behavior during a call. I think it had more to do with the fact that he used privileged contact information from work to "escalate" his own customer service problem, started name dropping, and then threatened Comcast with accounting ethics / oversight boards. From that perspective, it's not surprising he was fired. It was an incredibly inappropriate thing to do, as he might have caused serious harm to his employer's business relationship with Comcast.

We don't really know that's what's happened, but that's my guess from reading between the lines. As horrible a company as Comcast may be, it doesn't make sense for them to contact his employer unless he actually made what they considered to be credible threats against them - and the article actually says that's just what he did:

During this call, he says that he mentioned that Comcast’s billing and accounting issues should probably be investigated by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), a private-sector oversight operation.

Combined with the *implied* name dropping, and the fact that he knew who to call higher up in the corporate food chain, Comcast might well take it at face value that he's in a very real position to make this happen, and reacted to that by contacting his employer to make sure this wasn't actually going to happen. The accounting company reacted in a way entirely predictable when they found one of their employees was abusing confidential contact information in order to threaten one of their clients with an ethics investigation. I know it's cool to hate on Comcast and big business here, but this guy may actually have been in the wrong, even if Comcast was in the process of providing him with their usual shit service and runarounds.

Oh, and this doesn't let Comcast off the hook for their mistakes and poor service with this guy either. A story about such poor customer service should be news on its own merits. But just because Comcast was wrong doesn't necessarily make what this guy did any more right.

about two weeks ago
top

HP Is Planning To Split Into Two Separate Businesses, Sources Say

Dutch Gun Re:HoPeless (118 comments)

This is pretty typical of modern corporate America, unfortunately. Wall Street often rewards layoffs with a stock price bump, because it's an easy way to cut costs and boost short-term profits, as well as a way for a company to rid itself of any potential deadwood (in theory) that's dragging it's performance down. It's pretty likely this is also a move that will generate a short term boost as well, which means high-fives all around the boardroom.

Well, it would be foolish to get sentimental over the withering of a corporation, except for the fact that the low folks on the totem pole are the ones who get laid off first. Business tends to be Darwinian in nature, and if HP can't get it's shit together, then it simply leaves room for a competitor that will, and hopeful those new competitors are hiring. It's aggravating that CEOs continue to profit while they suck the life from a business, but I suppose it's quite literally none of my business how they want to run and ruin theirs.

about two weeks ago
top

US Navy Develops Robot Boat Swarm To Overwhelm Enemies

Dutch Gun Re:Meh (142 comments)

"Having a pair" and firing without positively identifying targets means accidentally shooting down airliners on occasion, and no one wants that. It's a tough spot for our armed forces, no doubt, and I don't think it's helpful to oversimplify the problem. Robot boats are essentially disposable, so they're a great way to allow the Navy to get in close for better identification before enemies get close enough to kill our sailors, as well as warn off anyone who is just curious or happens to stray into the wrong area.

We actually have a lot of less-than-lethal technologies at our disposal now as well. Employing those as a first defense in peacetime seems pretty reasonable to me. Why risk accidental death with our abundance of highly lethal weapons if we don't have to? If intruders keep coming past the obvious warnings and attacks by heat beams or sonic weapons, then by all means, break out the big guns and allow our personnel to properly protect themselves.

I'm actually glad to see the Navy thinking outside the box instead of simply building more giant carriers. These smaller boats are probably pretty inexpensive, comparatively speaking, and seem much more suited for the sort of asymmetric warfare they're likely to face in the future.

about two weeks ago
top

Fortune.com: Blame Tech Diversity On Culture, Not Pipeline

Dutch Gun Re:Not where *I* work. (342 comments)

Asking for the state of an industry from people who leave that industry seems pretty likely to get you negatively biased results. If you asked *men* who left the industry, you'd probably hear about a lot of negative experiences other than sexism, but still just as negative. I'm not saying it's not a problem, but just pointing out that there may be a selection bias here. It would have been interesting to compare and contrast the views of those who left and those who remained to see if the perceptions were similar.

While female programmers are rare in the videogame industry as well, they're not unheard of. I think the situation there is probably a bit healthier (on the development side, at least), because there are lots of female artists, designers, QA, management, etc, to help balance things out. In general, I've worked at about half a dozen game companies, and they all seemed fairly female-friendly to me. At least, the women that worked there seemed happy enough, and didn't seem like the type to put up with any nonsense in the first place.

Incidentally, the audio department seems to be another place staffed almost exclusively with men. For some reason, there are extremely few sound designers or composers, rather similar to programming. Not sure why that is...

about two weeks ago

Submissions

top

Penny Arcade Honored by Washington State

Dutch Gun Dutch Gun writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dutch Gun (899105) writes "Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik (Tycho and Gabe) of Penny Arcade have been honored by the Washington State legislature with a resolution. The bill praises their charity work with Child's Play, for attracting tourist dollars by starting the Penny Arcade Expo, which has grown to become the largest video game exhibition in the country, providing student scholarships, and for their leadership role within the computer gaming community. Washington State is home to at least 45 game development companies, including such notable names as Nintendo of America, Microsoft, Bungie, Valve, ArenaNet, PopCap, Gas Powered Games, Monolith, Zipper Interactive, Snowblind Studios, and more.

This is a marked departure from the typical news involving governments and gaming. One could see the courtship of the computer gaming industry by the State of Washington as a shrewd political move, given the current tough economic times and the seeming resistance of the entertainment industry to recessions. Or, perhaps a bit less cynically, this might just be a sign that gaming has reached a critical threshold of mainstream normalcy."
top

Microsoft Lays Off Entire Flight Sim Team

Dutch Gun Dutch Gun writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dutch Gun (899105) writes "Microsoft has just laid off the entire Flight Simulator development team. This continues a long-running trend of terminating or severing relationships with game development studios, such as the Bungie split, FASA, or the closure of Ensemble Studios.

While one would presume that core Xbox development is not currently in jeopardy after spending up to a billion dollars to pay for Xbox 360 repairs and salvage its reputation with gamers, does this signal a reversal from Microsoft's recent focus on internal game development? And what are it's plans for Flight Simulator, a twenty-five-year product with an extremely loyal user-base and a multitude of externally developed add-ons?"
top

Microsoft Lays Off Entire Flight Sim Team

Dutch Gun Dutch Gun writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dutch Gun (899105) writes "Microsoft has just laid off the entire Flight Simulator development team. This continues a long-running trend of terminating or severing relationships with game development studios, such as the Bungie split, FASA, or the closure of Ensemble Studios.

While one would presume that core Xbox development is not currently in jeopardy after spending up to a billion dollars to pay for Xbox 360 repairs and salvage its reputation with gamers, does this signal a reversal from Microsoft's recent focus on internal game development? And what are it's plans for Flight Simulator, a ten-year product with an extremely loyal user-base and a multitude of externally developed add-ons?"
top

NCSoft and Epic sign exclusive PS3 deals

Dutch Gun Dutch Gun writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dutch Gun (899105) writes "Epic has announced that Unreal Tournament 3 will be a 2007 Playstation 3 exclusive. Perhaps even more significant, though, is the fact that the widely-used engine will be ported to and optimized for the console, providing an efficient development system for other games.

Sony has also partnered with Korean-based MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) developer/publisher NCSoft to develop exclusively for the Playstation 3. This could be seen as a move by Sony to ramp up it's console's online presence to compete with Microsoft's popular Xbox Live service. NCSoft's more well-known games include Guild Wars, City of Heroes, Lineage I & II, and Tabula Rasa (currently in beta). No specific titles were announced, but it seems plausible we'll be hearing about one or more of these MMOs being developed for the Playstation 3 in the foreseeable future.

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?st ory=14650"

Journals

Dutch Gun has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?