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

EA Exec Won't Green Light Any Single Player-Only Games

Matthew Weigel EA is trying to survive (274 comments)

It sure is terrible that EA is trying hard not to go down the tubes. The cost of modern games is enormous, a lot of them never even recoup their losses, and yes EA is trying to eke out every penny from games that do succeed. That way, they can be in business one more year.

about 2 years ago
top

Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda Resigns From Slashdot

Matthew Weigel Good luck (1521 comments)

Best of luck. I've been here since the main use in going to your website was finding the latest news on Enlightenment, and I really appreciate all of your work.

about 3 years ago
top

Eight Major 3G & 4G Networks Tested Nationwide

Matthew Weigel Mbsp? (123 comments)

Is that like Megaspoons?

more than 3 years ago
top

Google Should Be Logging In To Facebook

Matthew Weigel Obvious? (95 comments)

Can't you just look at your Facebook settings to see what information is available to other people who are logged in to Facebook?

more than 3 years ago
top

I Like My IT Budget Tight and My Developers Stupid

Matthew Weigel Re:You don't need a certification to know somethin (235 comments)

I think you're making a logical error. You are comparing the value of the certificate as a predictor of success (that is, how much - if any - weight to give their degrees and certifications when deciding whether to hire them) and the value of the training process - yes, completely ignoring the certificate at the end - for someone that you've already hired and whose ability is not in question.

The question isn't whether someone with less intelligence or no experience in the subject matter can become an expert on a subject from a training program; the question is whether the smart and knowledgeable person you hired (let's at least assume that you hired someone who meets your standards, and have ruled out potential hires that would not cut the mustard without the certification or degree) can come out with much more and deeper knowledge of the subject.

more than 3 years ago
top

Book Review: The Art of Computer Programming. Volume 4A: Combinatorial Algorithm

Matthew Weigel Re:easy problem is easy (176 comments)

So E represents 0 and/or 1?

more than 3 years ago
top

Putting Up With Consolitis

Matthew Weigel Re:'consoleitis' not slowing uptake of video cards (369 comments)

Well, I'm specifically talking about games that push the limits of graphics hardware, and that require a $500 video card to run. The market is very tiny there, but the increase in development costs is - I think - nontrivially larger than the cost of entry into the retail box console market. As a rough estimate, look at the budget for a Pixar movie: Up had a budget of $175M. The quality of art assets and graphics engine programming is going to be a bit lower running on a GeForce GTX580, but not that much lower, and instead of voice acting and writing you have longer runtime (so more assets), game design, and the requirement to do more art "in the round" since you don't have as much camera control as you do in a movie. So... $175M seems kind of reasonable to me as a rough estimate for pushing modern GPUs to the limit in a PC game.

AAA console game budgets are not quite that high yet with a few notable exceptions like Grand Theft Auto 4. So... I agree that the smaller market is a big concern (especially when you restrict it to "people who spent $500 on their video card"), and a reason that console development is more attractive (indie games, strategy games that don't translate well to console, and MMOs seem like the main exceptions here). However, I disagree that the budgets would be similar for a major console title (something getting close to a sales record, pushing the envelope of what the consoles can display, etc.) and a major PC title that tried to push the limit of a modern high-end graphics card.

more than 3 years ago
top

Putting Up With Consolitis

Matthew Weigel 'consoleitis' not slowing uptake of video cards (369 comments)

"Though a $500+ video card is considered top of the line, a $250 one will now play pretty much any game at the highest settings with no problem. (Maybe that’s what everyone wanted?) Pretty soon, however, graphics chip makers won’t be able to sustain their rate of growth because the software is so far behind, which will be bad for gamers on consoles as well as PC."

Making content that looks good at 1080P (or 1920x1200 for some PC monitors) is hard. Some amazingly specialized people spend a lot of time working on it; the more powerful the graphics processor, the more that is possible, but the more art assets have to be created (along with all the associated maps to take advantage of lighting, special effects, shader effects...) and the more programming time has to me spent. Much like the number of pixels increases far faster than the perimeter of the screen, or the volume of a sphere increases faster than its surface area... the work to support ever-increasing graphics power grows faster than the visual difference in the image.

It's not sustainable, but those advancing graphics processors are a big part of why game developers are moving to consoles: a shinier graphics engine costs more money to develop, which increases the minimum returns for a project to be successful. Anyone who looks at the business side can see that the market of people who have $500 graphics cards is much tinier than the market of people who have an Xbox360 or Playstation3. If you're going to spend that much money on the shiny, of course you're going to shoot for a bigger return too!

When it takes a big team to develop something... well, that's generally not where the innovation is going to happen.

more than 3 years ago
top

Prosecutors Request Closed Courtroom For Goldman HFT Programmer's Trial

Matthew Weigel Re:Trade Secrets? (250 comments)

Sure, but that doesn't mean that they have standing on their own to request that portions of the trial be closed.

more than 3 years ago
top

Prosecutors Request Closed Courtroom For Goldman HFT Programmer's Trial

Matthew Weigel Re:Trade Secrets? (250 comments)

Which Goldman Sachs lawyer? Since Aleynikov is being prosecuted criminally, not sued, it's the federal prosecutor in court claiming wrong-doing; Goldman Sachs' lawyers aren't representing either side.

more than 3 years ago
top

Open Source-Friendly Smartphones For the Small Office?

Matthew Weigel run your own server: +1 (222 comments)

I've been really happy with this approach, personally. I run eGroupware on my server, and it in turn provides device-agnostic GroupDAV and SyncML services (among others) that I use to keep my smartphone (an iPhone 3G, but options exist for pretty much everything else too) synchronized. I don't use Evolution, but I understand that it is supported as a client (I use Thunderbird / Lightning, although there's currently a bug in one or both of them causing problems that I haven't tracked down).

On top of integrating well with my phone, desktop, and laptop, it also provides a decent web interface for it all that I can use when none of them are available. It doesn't provide its own mail server, but it integrates just fine with what I had already set up - and all communication (send/receive mail, synchronize, and web applications) is inside an SSL tunnel. The functionality I have, for personal information, is as good or better than every corporate Exchange system I've interacted with. And it's all open source, except for the pieces that run on my proprietary phone.

more than 3 years ago
top

Your Online Education Experience?

Matthew Weigel Re:Online classes are a waste of time (428 comments)

North Central Association of Colleges and Schools:

The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), also known as North Central, is one of six regional accreditation organizations recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

I'm not really sure where you are getting your information, but very basic Google searches are proving you wrong.

Seriously. Try to transfer your UofP credits to a state college and see what happens.

I don't have any UofP credits to transfer; as I said I am taking online classes elsewhere and my undergraduate degree is from a traditional university. However, my experience at traditional universities is that transferring credits between them is unreliable at best, and based at least in part on the opinions of the admissions people at the school you're transferring to.

more than 4 years ago
top

Your Online Education Experience?

Matthew Weigel Re:Online classes are a waste of time (428 comments)

"Do you actually believe that?"

You seem to be confusing the quality of pedagogy with the quality and depth of material. Yes, my impression is that teachers are held more accountable to students at University of Phoenix, as opposed to traditional universities.

"Many of the people in her *masters* program could not write at a college level. We were floored with the low quality of the people taking these classes."

That is also a separate issue. For myself, taking graduate classes online at another university, the fact that I didn't have to justify my ability to take the class before signing up was a boon... fewer hoops to jump through, no need to prove both my formal and informal education in the prerequisite material, etc. (I'll still have to go through all the hoops before I actually receive a Master's). It's a double-edged sword, sure, but it's useful to have universities that do it in addition to universities that don't.

more than 4 years ago
top

Your Online Education Experience?

Matthew Weigel Re:Online classes are a waste of time (428 comments)

"Big deal."

Just trying to point the discussion in the right direction - toward facts, rather than inaccuracies and hearsay. That may not change anyone's overall assessment, but at least it provides a better basis for making such a judgement.

"Overall, they're a pernicious influence in society."

If you see them as the trend toward which every college should go, yes. On the other hand, they also provide educational opportunities to a lot of people ignored or sidelined by traditional colleges, and as an additional option - like community colleges are an additional option - I see value.

Perhaps the difference in our opinion is really that I don't view traditional universities in as positive a light, particularly for people who don't fit into the expected mold, so the standard by which I judge Phoenix is lower.

more than 4 years ago
top

Your Online Education Experience?

Matthew Weigel Re:Online classes are a waste of time (428 comments)

That's an interesting take. The University of Phoenix is actually accredited, by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which in turn is recognized by the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Also, although I can't speak for UoP, the school I'm attending online offers recorded lectures (for aural learning and note-taking), discussion forums where the TA is active, opportunities to ask the professor questions live during class (naturally, this requires being online when the on-site class is being held) and plenty of homework to learn by doing.

I think you're also generally giving for-profit schools short shrift for little good reason; they don't spend (or seek) money based on football teams, or endowments, but are actively trying to sell the quality of pedagogy and student attention. From what little I've seen, they pay more attention to student feedback on teachers, and teachers aren't given free reign to treat students like crap just because they've done important research. That doesn't mean they're perfect, but - like community colleges - they have a place of value and importance in society.

So far I've done the traditional undergraduate degree, community college (actually after I got my Bachelor's), online classes, and yes a ton of learning on my own. They're all opportunities to learn and challenge yourself, with varying degrees and kinds of support infrastructure to encourage and help you. But they are definitely all different, and I think they do serve different purposes and subsets of the population.

more than 4 years ago
top

IT Infrastructure As a House of Cards

Matthew Weigel pay off your credit cards? (216 comments)

This the essence of technical debt. Whether you're programming or deploying IT infrastructure, it's inescapable that sometimes you're going to have to include kludges to work around edge conditions, a vocal 1% of your users, or whatever. These kludges are eyesores, and fragile, but they're also as far as you could go with the time and budget you had.

Sometimes, accruing debt like this enhances your liquidity and ability to respond to change, so avoiding all kludges introduces other more obvious costs that slow you down and make you seem unresponsive to users or customers. But you can't just go on letting your debt grow all the time and not eventually come up technically bankrupt. Let it grow when you have to, but just as importantly make time to pay it down. A lot of this stuff can be paid down a little at a time, as you come across it a few months later. The pay-off if you're vigilant is that the next ridiculously urgent fix to that system can often be handled much more easily, without dipping down further... with patience and attention to maintaining this balance, you can reduce your technical debt and make the whole system hum.

The downside is that there isn't a quick fix when you find yourself deep in technical debt. You can't just spend all your time reducing it; your highest aspiration at that point should be maintaining the level of technical debt, rather than letting it grow, but it's generally been my experience that altering the curve of debt growth even a little can set you on the right path.

more than 4 years ago
top

MySQL's Influence On the GPL

Matthew Weigel Re:Stick a fork in it. It's done. (183 comments)

I skimmed it. One of the authors of MySQL I presume self-agrandising and taking credit for "saving" MySQL even though none of Oracle's promises are legally binding.

Those two sentences are completely contradictory. :-)

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

Matthew Weigel hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

top

Why?

Matthew Weigel Matthew Weigel writes  |  more than 11 years ago

So I volunteered for a "week locked in a hotel room" medical study today. I dunno if I think it's a good kind of study, I dunno if I'm going to follow through with it (I have until the end of May to back out!). With a phone line I can get work done, and there are those philosophy of math books I've been meaning to read... Lauren will probably go nuts at the house, but if we're smart about taking care of groceries and things then at least she won't starve.

I guess I sort of view it as a funky sabbatical; if I can get enough work done to justify it being "working from home" rather than "taking a week off", then I'll come out pretty far ahead.

Piercings: pro/con? Con: I'm too much of a wuss to try to fight with some piercings, and I love mixing it up with friends, so those are right out unless I can figure out how to deal. Pro: far less permanent than a tattoo, with about as much pain and look-at-me value. I've always see-sawed between being squeamish about doing semi-permanent damage to myself, and playing at scarring, but I've always had an irrational sense that I just shouldn't put ink or metal in me. Pro: I can explore that feeling without permanent effect with piercings, and all I'll give up is the fact that I've never done it. Con: it's pussy-footing if I think I'll get a tattoo; just get the tattoo. Except for the ever-astonished Eckerdt, I doubt anyone would notice if I got a simple little earring, but I'm not sure that I wouldn't jump in with both feet and get a nipple ring or nose ring. Pro: this is gonna sound weird, but there is an appeal to tracking my life history through piercings or tattoos.

"I got this one when I got drunk and said something unkind to Lauren, I got this one for the argument I had with my parents, and that one when I provoked a fight..."

Real appeal. Con: the desire to record my shame on my body permanently is probably not healthy, and might not be something I should encourage in myself.

top

Music Formats

Matthew Weigel Matthew Weigel writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Well, I guess this is the place to put this:

Even though Ogg Vorbis isn't big time like mp3 yet, it's getting there - and it's picking up a little support in every area where mp3 holds sway, too.

That makes me kinda happy, although as with anything there are caveats:

  • Limited stereo component support: as far as I can tell, the sliMP3 is the only such a thing to support Ogg Vorbis, and it does it in a screwy fashion, using the custom server to reencode Ogg music into mp3 at play time; quality suffers, of course, because you're going from one lossy format to another, but it's probably pretty manageable.
  • Limited portable support: again, it's very limited, with just a portable here and there... but with the new PalmOS 5 devices coming out with processors that can run decoding software, I'm almost willing to forego 5+ GBs of music if it means I don't have to carry around another device. I rarely use my iPod for more than about an hour of music at a time anyway, so it is tempting to go with, for example, the Tungsten T with a software Ogg decoder.
  • Limited encoders: for Macs, there is Ogg Drop... and that's it. For Windows? I don't even know, but the field is not as rich as it is for mp3 encoders. Which is kind of surprising, given that the Ogg library is as totally free as you can possibly get. Maybe it will change? I dunno.

And, well, that's all- most software players now support plug-ins, and all the ones I care about have such plug-ins: notably iTunes, and the iTunes competitors Audion and Mint.

Quality is better per bit, it's free, and the players (home and portable) that stopped Ogg before are starting to come out now; since I no longer have an iPod, or most of the music that was on it, I've got to encode all my CDs again anyway. I am seriously looking at switching over to Ogg entirely and completely.

top

Snow

Matthew Weigel Matthew Weigel writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Wow. This is the snow I've not been missing all these months of winter. Fucking snow. Streets are so bad right now that the snowplows are either overworked or not able to get out themselves. Guess I'm staying in the house right now.

top

What the hell

Matthew Weigel Matthew Weigel writes  |  more than 11 years ago

I guess I'm giving journals a shot. Free without invite saves me the time of asking for one, or bothering to finally turn my web server back on. There's an attraction to LiveJournal using a Cocoa app, but OmniWeb 4.2 gives me the text box I want anyway.

But it might be worthwhile to try to keep thoughts somewhere. When I was a kid I wrote about one journal entry every six months, and that was usually an attempt at a suicide note. Thankfully that stopped around the time I discovered girls. Ignoring that, lately I've been reading a lot of online journals, and while the English sucks and the thoughts don't matter a bit outside casual conversation, it does seem to make people feel better. Is it just an addiction, like playing video games makes me feel better? Time will tell.

I'm thinking about shaving off my mohawk. It's a conversation piece, yeah, but not something I particularly care about. The real appeal of a mohawk, for me at least, is that washing is simple, and I spend 30-45 minutes once a week bothering with my hair, while still having more style (or a petty attempt at such; I'm hardly punk and I don't know anything about style) than a shaved head. Then again, it's pretty pretentious to choose one "I don't have to worry about it" hair style over another because of style.

I'm still dealing with not having an iPod anymore; desire to save money by not replacing it is at war with desire to listen to my music. It helps that I'm getting a ride to work more often, and that the car in which I'm riding is getting its speakers replaced. Better speakers at home would help, too, and any speakers outside the territory of my officemate at work, but none of that addresses late night hacking (or insomniacking, like now) sessions or the times I do ride a bus.

Speaking of listening... I am so damned cynical about stereo systems. There are so many different types of audiophile that I won't try to characterize other people's arguments for expensive stereos, but I'll believe it when I hear it. So far, most of the defects I can hear in my own stereo are attributable to using $5 speakers that have been beaten around the country in the back of a U-Haul for 8 years or so. Does that sound bad? Yes. Does that mean I want to spend more than $5 on each speaker next time? Probably. Does that mean I'm going to spend more than $50? Probably not.

There. That's what is going on in my life, and there's a slim chance that one of my friends will stumble upon this and gain new insight into my life. Or maybe even that I'll feel better after this.

top

Buggy

Matthew Weigel Matthew Weigel writes  |  more than 12 years ago

I'm sure this is perfectly reasonable, but journal entries appear to disappear. Actually, I'm sure this is a bug, that might be called "reasonable" and a "feature" in the future, but whatever.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>