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Comments

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Civilization: Beyond Earth Announced

RockDoctor Will it be any better than CIV (85 comments)

... vintage 1991.

I'm still playing my original copy, in DOSBox. And for entertainment value, it sets a steep profile to match, let alone beat.

2 days ago
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Racing To Contain Ebola

RockDoctor Re:No quarintine = no containment (111 comments)

Objectively, is there really anything to do other than to strictly and conservatively quarantine every country (and sub-quarantine cities as necessary) with a positive case?

We need the MDT-MRPQ tool that we sent back to that field base for service last month, and we'll need them at the end of next month.

Are you going to pay the consequential costs of your "advice"?

(Bear in mind - the lead time to manufacture an MDT-MRPQ tool is around 8 months. Which is why we rent them from Franco-American corporations instead of owning our own. This reduces the price of the fuel in your petrol tank.)

2 days ago
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Racing To Contain Ebola

RockDoctor Re:Don't forget to contain other places (111 comments)

There is no vaccine against ebola.

That said, because I'll be back to work in Africa (to fuel your lifestyle) shortly, I'll be getting a booster on my typhoid jab tomorrow. Because ... that disease didn't stop killing people with Mozart.

2 days ago
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Racing To Contain Ebola

RockDoctor Re:Simple prevention is (111 comments)

Don't eat bats (unless it is really well-cooked and well-spiced), and don't get bitten by mosquitoes which have previously bitten bats.

Good luck with the latter. Unless you live in a bat- (and mosquito-) free country. Which is pretty unlikely.

2 days ago
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Racing To Contain Ebola

RockDoctor Re:Nuke it from orbit... (111 comments)

If that shit gets loose and starts infecting thousands or millions there might not be much of a choice

If that shit gets loose ... you have already lost the Conacry choice. You'd probably be safer by turning every port of entry into the Continental US into radioactive dust, and a hundred kilometres around.

Let the Hawaiians die - they've got native fruit bats and must be considered suspect.

2 days ago
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Racing To Contain Ebola

RockDoctor Re:Is Ebola a "rapid burnout" disease? (111 comments)

That's the point - there is a natural reservoir, it's the Tai forest in the Ivory Coast.

How would that explain the 1979 outbreak of Ebola in N.Kenya/ S.Sudan in 1979?

2 days ago
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Racing To Contain Ebola

RockDoctor Re:Is Ebola a "rapid burnout" disease? (111 comments)

2500 km?

Why would bats migrate from the RDC to Guinea?

Errr, because it was caught in a cargo shipping container?

(It might be an idea to read my previous - last 15 minutes - posts in this thread.)

Do I sound unconcerned? Of course I am. It's the same risks that I am exposed to in searching for oil to fuel your lifestyle.

Do you sound concerned? [I shrug] It's the same risks (etc) but they strike at your home. [Shrug.]

Welcome to the globailsed economy, where any organism anywhere in the world, be they plutocrat or bacterium, can exploit a homogeneous global target audience.

2 days ago
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Racing To Contain Ebola

RockDoctor Re:Is Ebola a "rapid burnout" disease? (111 comments)

So major cities throughout the world are under direct threat and likely acting early rather than latter in cutting off sources of infection would be far safer.

Shrug.

We were receiving cargo onto the boat less than 48 hours out of Guyana, less than 2 weeks ago. Since then 1/4 of the crew will have crew-changed to (mostly) Louisiana, another 1/4 to Europe, another 1/4 to various places in Africa (including Guyana and Liberia), and half of the Philippine labourers will be lining up for their crew change.

Stable door is open. Horse is over there [points at horizon].

2 days ago
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Racing To Contain Ebola

RockDoctor Re:Is Ebola a "rapid burnout" disease? (111 comments)

but if something this virulent ever learns to spread like the flu there will be no more overpopulation worries.

... for about 3 generations.

2 days ago
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Racing To Contain Ebola

RockDoctor Re:Africa, eh? (111 comments)

Unless a Reston style variant decides to transfer to humans. Then we're pretty fucked.

Even then only for usages of the word "fucked" that include a mere 75% mortality.

We're humans ; we'd make that up in a couple of generations. 40 years. No, 50 years. No, maybe as little as 60 years.

Actually, stepping back the human population by (say) 75% might be one of the best moves a "Mad Scientist" (or "Rogue Government") could make for the species. Might be death for you, or for me (I was handling equipment 2 days out from from Liberia just 2 weeks ago), but on average, that's not likely to be a bad price.

2 days ago
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Racing To Contain Ebola

RockDoctor Re:Africa, eh? (111 comments)

I predict a low posts count.

Prediction fulfilled - even including this reply to a (spit) AC.

And I work in the area. But I've been watching it for a couple of months now.

2 days ago
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Russia Wants To Establish a Permanent Moon Base

RockDoctor Re:Fine.. (312 comments)

But a show of force is never a bad thing.

Are you Ukranian, Russian, Afghanistani, Vietnamese, or Korean (either side)?

Speaking as a geologist, I realise that I have a slightly different meaning of "never" to most people. But I've never heard of "never" being a phrase for "not in the last week".

2 days ago
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New French Law Prohibits After-Hours Work Emails

RockDoctor Re:At least someone appreciates work-life balance (477 comments)

i agree. unfortunately, that's "un-American".

Why is it unfortunate that an article about French employment practices should be un-American.

Oh wait - do you actually, like, live in that hell hole? Stop reading the internet and get back into the cotton fields!

4 days ago
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Rover Curiosity Discovers Australia-Shaped Rock On Mars

RockDoctor Re:Aha! (99 comments)

Actual atheist AND geologist response : it's still a fucking rock, and trying to make my head believe that it looks like Australia hurts my head.

It has a bit of "desert varnish" on the surface, by the looks of things.

5 days ago
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Smart Car Tipping Trending In San Francisco

RockDoctor Re:The rich do not own smart cars (370 comments)

Public transit simply doesn't work in many cases in the US.

That is a problem that US citizens need to address. But it seems that they don't have the communal balls, and would prefer to keep car manufacturing and selling industries active.

5 days ago
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Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

RockDoctor Re:Viva La XP! (641 comments)

As for Linux, the CDT430 only has 16MB RAM. Most remotely recent Linux distributions will not even install with less than 256MB RAM.

The first 5 or 6 years of my experimentation with Linux I did on a 386 with 4MB of memory ; I added an IDE card and doubled the hard drive space in about 1994, using money from my first job in the Middle East.

The biggest problem these days would be finding a SIMM (remember them?) as small as that.

5 days ago
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Interview: John McAfee Answers Your Questions

RockDoctor Cynical fucker! (124 comments)

That's a compliment, by the way.

Sounds like you've spent some time in Africa too, where they've been honing the fine arts of being human for longer than anywhere else.

The press card is powerful, but has risks and limitations. Do not attempt this magic, for example, at a Federale checkpoint in Mexico on a desolate road late at night. You will merely create additional, and unpleasant work for the person assigned to dig the hole where they intend to place you.

You wouldn't want to be all dusty and sweaty when they put a bullet through your head, would you?

Documentation is the polite word for âoecashâ.

That is going into my fortune cookie file!

about a week ago
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UAV Operator Blames Hacking For Malfunction That Injured Triathlete

RockDoctor Re:Evolution (178 comments)

Or someone on the track next door has a track cleaning machine with bad shielding around the motor.

More-or-less random noise from intermittent contacts in a motor doesn't normally produce comprehensible signals when picked up by a digital antenna and radio de-coding system. It's pretty unlikely for analogue systems too.

about a week ago

Submissions

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Data security on the Internet of things - digestible version

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 2 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "While it has been discussed on Slashdot before, the questions around data security on the "Internet of Things" may seem a little dry to many people.

The excellent webcomic 'Freefall' (by Mark Stanley) addresses some of these concerns in typical "Ha ha. But serious." manner. While the original Internet-controlled coffee machine might not seem so threatening, when it becomes a voice-controlled coffee pot, linked to your grocery account ... all of a sudden it doesn't seem so innocuous."
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Bitcoin plummets after Chinese block 3rd-party payment processors

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 4 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "In order to use Bitcoin in the real world, you need to convert it into a convertible currency (Kroner, or Rupees, or Yuan, or even USD), a task that is undertaken by "third-party payment provider[s]."

Earlier this month, China's central bank warned that Bitcoin was "not legally protected," had no "real meaning", and barred financial institutions from using the currency. That ban was extended to 3rd-party providers on Tuesday (though with a deadline of Jan 31st / Chinese New Year), and last night 3rd-party provider YeePay complied with the ban. In consequence the Chinese Bitcoin exchange BTC China announced that they could not accept deposits in yuan ; overnight, the exchange's value for Bitcoin has fallen to half it's earlier values.

All the theorising about the value of Bitcoin in opening up a new economy is moot if users can't either put money into the currency, or exchange the currency for one that they can use in the Real World."

Link to Original Source
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The Empire of Evil develop technology ... without (obvious) evil intent.

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 5 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "In a move designed by a PR genius, a conspiracy team of crack Iranian hardware hackers are developing a ground-steered drone for marine Search and Rescue work. Development plans include fully automating the flying and search-and-track capabilities. This will no doubt be followed up by a beefed-up version capable of dropping a "dirty nuke" in Central Park New York.

In deference to the expressed stereotypes of Slashdot, it is also impossible that these persons of the "brown" and "Muslim" persuasions to have developed this technology on their own, and must have stolen it from someone in the rest of the world."
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Falling GOCE satellite seen from Falkland islands.

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 5 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "The GOCE satellite was expected to fall out of the sky at the weekend, and orbital calculations before it last disappeared from the view of ground stations suggested that it came down in the South Atlantic.

The BBC post pictures from a Falkland Islands resident (Las Islas Malvinas if you're in Latin America) who saw a large, fragmenting fireball travelling in the right direction at the right time. Video is available. You'll need to travel to their home near Volunteer Point to view it. If you happen to have a satellite base station in your back pocket, they might be interested in borrowing it to be able to upload the video recordings. Don't bother to take a mobile phone.

Oh, nice tombolos along that waterfront."
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"Light Caber" to be replaced.

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 7 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "In news not coming to you from the Star Trek universe, the so-called "light caber" is to be replaced. How this will impact future aspirant Jedi Knights is unclear, as they will have to manufacture new designs. Members of the Jedi Knight community who are experienced tossers may be little affected."
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Google 'Glass' to be banned while driving

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 9 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes ""Stuff" magazine, a "gadget" oriented mag, is reporting that the UK's Department for Transport is planning to ban drivers from using Google "Glass", using the same law (1988 Road Traffic Act) that is used to ban drivers from using hand-held mobile phones.

While there are obvious parallels between the distraction potential of the mobile phone and of "Glass", there are arguments in the other direction that the speech-control aspects of "Glass" could make it less distracting than, say, a touch-screen SatNav. So, to ban "Glass" driving or not?

Typical fines for using a mobile phone while driving are £60 cash plus three penalty points on the driving license ; the points expire 3 years after the offence and if you accumulate 12 points then you've lost your license. Repeat offenders may experience higher fines and/ or more points. Around a million people have received the penalty since the mobile phone ban was introduced in 2003."

Link to Original Source
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Cyclist pleads guilty to manslaughter of pedestrian.

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 9 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "The Grauniad is reporting that a San Francisco cyclist has pleaded guilty to a charge of "vehicular manslaughter" over a collision which killed a 71-year-old pedestrian.

Seemingly, the cyclist had run three successive red lights before finding himself "unable to stop" and ploughing into multiple pedestrians at a junction. "Unable to stop" plainly translates to "driving too fast" in this case.

Running multiple red lights, as the cyclist seems to have accepted by the plea bargain, is a mark of reckless irresponsibility on behalf of the cyclist, as is his admittedly excessive speed. Cyclists have obligations towards pedestrian safety in the same way that motor vehicle drivers have too."

Link to Original Source
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Wood-powered USB re-charger

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 9 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "Out camping, and your smart phone has a flat battery, so you can't turn it on to discover that you haven't got a signal to call up a weather report to find out if it's raining or not? Well now you don't just have the option of opening your eyes and looking at the skies (hint :the big, round wet things are "raindrops" — Wikipedia may have a better description) ; now you can also feed some random bits of plants — twigs, cones — into a little camping stove, and while you're making a cup of $BEVERAGE$ the stove will produce enough electricity to recharge your power-hungry technology.

OK, I'm being a touch sarcastic about using it for a mobile phone. But as someone who likes week-long trips into the mountains, with camera batteries to re-charge, and GPS loggers to re-charge, and tablet computers which I use to record my geological notes also needing re-charge ... this is a technology that I may well be experimenting with. It's not without criticisms, valid ones, but it does have interesting potential. I'm sure the compounded wilderness experience of the techno-nerds of Slashdot can work out some criticisms of the idea.

In a sideline, it comments on the (in-)efficiency of thermoelectric electricity generation : for a stove peak power of 5.5kW, it can produce up to 4W of electrical power, for an efficiency of 0.072% (tech specs here). Hmmm, maybe photovoltaics on the lid of my rucksac would be better?"
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BBC gives up on 3-D programming.

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 9 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "After spending several years on supporting the uptake of 3-D TV, the BBC has accepted that people don't want it, and are turning off their 3-D channels following an uptake of under 5% of households with 3-D equipment.

I can just feel the joy at not having wasted my money on this technology."

Link to Original Source
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Will Alibaba have a bigger IPO than Facebook?

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 10 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "The BBC are speculating that the impending IPO of Chinese mega-B2B company Alibaba may have an IPO value larger than that of Facebook. Since Alibaba primarily put the manufacturers of physical goods into contact with the customers of physical goods, does this remind you that the world does exist outside of the Interwebz?"
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Retail 3-d Printers becoming available in the UK

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 10 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "Well-known retail electronics/ gadgetry company Maplin are advertising the availability soon of retail build-it-yourself 3-d printer kits from German (I think) supplier Velleman. While this is quite expensive (£700), it's specs also include a fairly large build volume (20x20x20 cm).

While Maplin have never been cheap, they are one of the few places in the UK these days where you can get electronics parts on the "High Street" (more or less — dozens if not a hundred stores ; for electronics what Jessops used to be for cameras) without having a business credit card and a £1000/month minimum account spend.

So, if they're dipping a toe onto the 3-d printing bandwagon, then it's a good chance that widespread adoption is not far behind."
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XCom : Enemy Unknown (iOS) edition to be premium-priced

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 10 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "BBC News are reporting that 2K Games will be marketing the iOS (iPhone and/ or iPad? I'm not an Apple-core.) at the relatively high price of £13.99 (20€ / $US17.99) compared to a more typical game price of £5.99 (etc. etc.). They discuss how effective this "premium-price" model will be, compared to the alternative "pile'em high and sell 'em cheap" model or the "give away the game and charge for buying a BFG9000" model.

Seems to me about the same price that I paid for the original game in ~1994, and I still enjoy playing that. Guess that makes me an economic dead end to the company though."
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US College students raise money for sex-change

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "In a small and unusual outbreak of peculiarity, Yahoo is carrying news of an American college "fraternity" (approximately, a single-gender house owned by a student group, providing communal accommodation at universities that don't have student accommodation) which has raised thousands of dollars to pay for the gender re-assignment surgery of one of their first-year members.

According to the story, "Donnie Collins, 20, a sophomore at Emerson College in Boston, was born female but has been living as a male since he was 17..." and had joined a male fraternity (females go to a "sorority" ; it's Latin, live with it), but his health insurance (American for "citizen's medical service", approximately) wouldn't pay for the surgery to remove his breasts. So, the men in his accommodation grouped together to raise the money for the surgery.

Yahoo's editors (or Reuters, the source of the story) are obviously puzzled about the motivation of the fraternity men. But it seems obvious to me : the severed breasts are going to be mummified and nailed to the wall of the living room. Once the "girl" has gone."

Link to Original Source
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Road tunnel "cheesed off"

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "Life can be hard for roads and road tunnels : mountains press down on your shoulders, snow and ice dust your feet, and deisel and petrol fumes choke your lungs. But occasionally you can get really cheesed off. "the Brattli Tunnel at Tysfjord, northern Norway" has been closed and badly damaged by a fire on a lorry load of cheese. Which is moderately scarey and not terribly funny when you remember that a few years ago one of the trans-Alpine tunnels was closed by a similar lorry fire with several deaths and the tunnel closed for repairs for months.

On the other hand — the Mythbusters have tried building salami-powered rockets in the past, and may have a new material to evaluate."

Link to Original Source
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Goatse.cx emails becoming available !

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "As reported a few months ago, the new owner of the dreaded goatse.cx domain is relaunching it as an email service. The notifications went out just a few hours ago, and already he's well past the half-way mark in his funding request. Accounts will be set up manually over the next few days, at which point I'll be changing my contact email for Slashdot to immortalise that eye-searing photograph!"
Link to Original Source
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Swede gets photo driving license - with a photo of a painting of himself

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "The BBC are reporting that a Swedish artist has read the terms of his driving license application carefully, and complied with them. The application calls, specifically, for a "recent likeness" of the subject, not for a photograph of the subject. So, he got out his paintbrushes and painted a self-portrait — a "likeness", and "recent" too — against the regulation plain background. Attaching a photograph of the portrait to the application, he then mailed off the application, and a while later got his new driving license in the post.

The artist cites arty-farty inspirations such as Magritte's painting of a pipe entitled "Ceci n'est pas une pipe", as well as "[questions of] technology and [...] of identity". Or maybe he's just a trouble-maker who deserves a day in a dark room with a police thug and a $5 wrench.

Of course any nerd would have spent months finding and writing drivers for managing a 1990s 480x320 pixel webcam and using that to produce the photo. It does rather beg questions of just how low a resolution a picture you can get away with though. And how would the police (etc) manage an HDR photograph (of one's reflection, out of focus, in a poor-quality mirror)."

Link to Original Source
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(Yet Another) Space-based navigation system

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "A proposal has been, uh, proposed for a relatively low-cost method for producing regional satellite-based location system. Instead of putting up an expensive constellation of atomic-clock-carrying satellites in near-polar orbits, the proposal is to send timing signals from ground-based atomic clocks, to pre-existing geostationary satellites with poor latitude control. The "geostationary" satellites re-transmit the timing signals to earth, and triangulation then supplies location from the arrival times of the signals at the receiver.
The proposal paper on Arxiv also suggests that, since most existing communications satellites are designed for 2-way communications, this could provide a "cheap" back channel for (say) location-enabled emergency communications."

Link to Original Source
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km-range shit thrower being developed in New Zealand

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year and a half ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "A man has been bailed by a New Zealand court for allegedly planning to [...] throw horse manure at [the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall].

The 76-year-old "known anti-royalist" was ordered to stay at least 500 metres (550 yards) away from the royal couple
(BBC)

Very obviously therefore, the Republican (sense: anti-imperialist, e.g. Brutus Senior or Junior ) campaigner is working out how to throw shit from significantly more than 500m away.
I can think of two [edit : three] credible technologies : a trailer-mounted trebuchet ; a shit-atomiser sited over 500m upwind and producing a miasma blowing downwind ; or a remote-controlled plane fitted with a real-time camera and a shit-dispenser.
Can Slashdot come up with better suggestions for assisting this vital free speech task?

As a corollary, the mechanism for dispensing shit from the model plane needs a name. Preferably a "backronym", such as an "ADAM — Automated Dispenser of Aerial Manure" or a JAMIE ... which I can't think of anything for. (Yes, those names are suggested by the Mythbusters and their "shit hits the fan" experiments.)"

Link to Original Source
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9000mile / 6 generation migration by BUTTERFLIES !!

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year and a half ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "I've always been impressed by the Monarch Butterfly's migration across most of the continental US.

W.O.W.

9000 miles between sub-Saharan Africa and the Arctic. Over 6 generations.

"This tiny creature weighing less than a gram, with a brain the size of a pin head, and no opportunity to learn from older, experienced individuals, undertake[s] an epic intercontinental migration."

W.O.W! Colour me impressed!"

Link to Original Source
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Kickstarter-supported game development halted,

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year and a half ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "Auntie Beeb is reporting that a game funded through Kickstarter has halted development following the expiration of the contracts for it's developers.

This is leaving the game in mid-air, and highlights a problem generic to Kickstarter-type projects.

More than 1,200 people backed "Haunts: The Manse Macabre" when it ran a funding campaign via Kickstarter in June 2012.

Haunts sought $25,000 (£15,590) from Kickstarter but the project proved popular and meant the game's developers got $28,739 (£17,895) to fund completion of the game. Prior to the funding appeal Haunts creator Mob Rules Games had spent about $42,500 getting the basics of the title completed.

Haunts' lead programmer was only contracted to work for Mob Rules for a year, said Mr Dakan, and having returned to Google has no spare time to keep working on the game.

(That's not quite as severe as the original slant of the story ; it implies nothing unreasonable about the developer.)

In addition, Mob Rules second lead programmer has quit and no longer wants to work on Haunts.

And these things happen. In the absence of barbed-wire whips, there is little that can be done to force someone to work on a project they don't want to work on.

Unfortunately Mob Rules has no-one available to do this work. In addition, Haunts has been written in the Go programming language which is not widely used and will limit its chances of hiring new hands to complete the work.

In his blogpost, Mr Dakan apologised for how Haunts has turned out and pledged to refund any backer who wanted their money back out of his own pocket.

That is an argument against using obscure languages. But maybe Slashdot has readers who are experienced with "Go", if the program is open-source?

It's a sad state of affairs (probably ; not my sort of game by a very long chalk), but it seems that the manager is trying to recover the situation in an honourable manner."

Link to Original Source

Journals

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So, new toys. "Acheivements" and encouragement to contribute

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Well, pouring a little (more) petrol onto the fire of burning the religious seems to have garnered me another fan, one "thats1fuzzybug99" has increased my "Friend" count by almost 6%.
That would be wonderful. If I knew what it meant.
I wonder who some of the other 94-odd% are. Hopefully some are very odd!

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Politics and moderation.

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Doing some moderation and getting extremely pissed off by the endless maundering of (presumed) Americans about some internal political matters. Someone called Kerry Dubyah is contesting with someone called John Bush for the leadership of some body called POTUS (sometimes a related position called FLATUS is also brought into the "debate" to confuse matters. this post seems to be related to the gigolos/ babotchkas that the contestants use/ are used by. I think.)
I'm wishing for a moderating flag like "Parochial Politics" that would come at a level like "-99", so that such comments could be killed off at source, leaving the interesting (to nerds - this is "News for Nerds, stuff that matters" after all) stuff like the trolling, the flamebaits and the actual technical stuff where people can find it without wading through the dross. Might be able to get rid of the Iraq dross through the same method.

But how to put this forward to the "system" as a proposal? Still can't find a place to post such suggestions/ requests.

The idea is not /quite/ comparable to moderation though - things can move up and down a scale in the moderating system, but I envisage this as being more like a permanent flag. Sort of like the "green beard" method described by W.D.Hamilton.

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