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Comments

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Jaron Lanier Rants Against the World of Web 2.0

SimHacker Re:Jaron Lanier gives me the creeps (231 comments)

You have Jaron Lanier confused with Mark Pesche. Jaron didn't have anything to do with VRML (in fact he has a lot of disdain for it), and his work with VR at VPL predates VRML by many years. The stuff Jaron did was actually quite creative and ground breaking, and led to some interesting patents, while the VRML crowd, who came along much later, were a bunch of posers and cargo cult imitators.

more than 4 years ago
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Jaron Lanier Rants Against the World of Web 2.0

SimHacker Re:Redundant?! (231 comments)

You need Old Glory Robot Insurance, endorsed by Sam Waterson!

more than 4 years ago
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An Early Look At What's Coming In PHP V6

SimHacker Re:So... (307 comments)

It has everything to do with you being unprofessional for using PHP in the first place. You SHOULD have known PHP sucks, and you WOULD have known PHP sucks and there are much better alternatives, if you had done you research. -Don

more than 5 years ago
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iPhone App Pricing Limits Developers

SimHacker Linux blasphemy (437 comments)

Linux is only free if your time is worthless.

-Don

more than 5 years ago
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Wayland, a New X Server For Linux

SimHacker Re:Complaints about X (487 comments)

You're totally wrong. There's a huge benefit to pushing mouse tracking and drawing to the server, instead of spreading it out over the network or between processes running in different address spaces.

You may be confused, because the terms "client" and "server" have switched place between the NeWS or X11 window server and client application, and the web server and web browser client. The web server is like a NeWS or X11 client application, and the web browser is like the NeWS or X11 server.

Most people run X clients locally, and don't take advantage of its network ability. The direct rendering and hardware access stuff certainly doesn't operate over the network.

The problem still exists, even more so than before, but the solution has moved up a layer on the stack to the web browser instead of the window server, because of X's failure to provide an extensible network efficient protocol. Instead of sending pure PostScript to the window server, you send an amalgamate of JavaScript, JSON, XML, HTML and CSS to the web browser.

The web browser IS a graphics server. If there is no value sending executable code to the graphics server, then why is AJAX so popular and powerful?

Compared to the purity and simplicity of NeWS's use of PostScript for programming, rendering an data represention, today's piebald AJAX solution is a shotgun marriage of inelegant competing technologies that weren't designed to work together.

Case in point: Why is JSON so popular, when we have XML? Answer: Because XML HTTP Request won't let you download XML from sites other than the one you downloaded the web page from, even though XML is not executable, although you CAN download executable JavaScript and JSON from different sites. So why the pointless restriction? Purely a historical accident. The executable content cat's already out of the bag, and JSON's just working around stupid design flaws in Microsoft's XML HTTP Request.

-Don

more than 5 years ago
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Non-Violent, Cooperative Games?

SimHacker Re:M.U.L.E. (329 comments)

M.U.L.E. is one of the greatest cooperative multi player games of all time. Totally classic and ingenious!

-Don

more than 5 years ago
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Non-Violent, Cooperative Games?

SimHacker Re:Multi-player SimCity -- open source Micropolis (329 comments)

Some more notes on the multi player SimCity user interface from a talk I gave about pie menus at Xerox PARC in 1998:

Natural Selection: The Evolution of Pie Menus

Multi player voting on important issues and expensive zones.

Voting dialogs require unanimous vote of all players to do important things like change tax rate, build expensive buildings, quit the game (although anyone can quit themselves, everyone must agree to shut the whole game down). Any person can dissent by pressing cancel button. OK button requires each person to press it. The beveled edges are extra thick: as many times thicker than usual, as there are yes votes required. As each person votes "yes" it lowers one normal thickness down deeper, until the last vote fully depresses it.

Bouncing building gets closer to ground as more people vote for them., Finally falls "down to earth" as the last person votes for it. Any person can cancel a vote since they require unanimous consent. Bouncing buildings also display a parallel multi player voting dialog, and the bouncing building is a shortcut to the dialog. To vote yes, you just place the same building in the same place. To change the proposed location, you place the same building somewhere else, and it resets to only having your vote.

-Don

more than 5 years ago
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Project Turns GPS Phones Into Traffic Reporters

SimHacker Re:Already done in US! (119 comments)

TomTom's HD Traffic system combines the standard (and spurious) traffic reports, roadway sensors, and other information with real-time data collected from cell phone towers, and it's continuously monitored 24/7 in the HD Traffic Control Center to filter out misinformation and prevent abuse.

So not only would there be no point to hacking TomTom HD Traffic, but it would be very difficult to hack without resorting to all kinds of felonious, easily detected activities.

-Don

more than 5 years ago
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Project Turns GPS Phones Into Traffic Reporters

SimHacker Good reason to have a separate PND and cell phone. (119 comments)

The problem with using your cell phone as a personal navigation device, is that when the batteries run out quickly, you can't call for help. You're lost AND disconnected at the same time.

TomTom's HD Traffic and IQ Routes (which I described in a message above) works well because it runs on a separate device that has its own dedicated cell phone and SIM card, which plugs into your car charger for power. Plus it has a big touch screen, a loud speaker, and a dashboard mount, which makes it much more safe to use hands free while driving. So you don't have to stop talking on your phone, use your phone's batteries, or use your phone's data plan, to download real time traffic updates.

-Don

more than 5 years ago
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Project Turns GPS Phones Into Traffic Reporters

SimHacker Re:TomTom did it! [HD Traffic, IQ Routes] (119 comments)

TomTom's "HD Traffic" gets information on traffic speed from all drivers who have a Vodaphone cell phone in their car.

It does not require each of those drivers to have TomTom devices. It does not require the cell phones to have GPS trackers. It does not require the cell phones to use air time or have unlimited data plans, or even have the ability to connect to the internet.

[Disclosure: I work for TomTom. Whenever I go down to the lunch room, I walk by the HD traffic control center where they collect and distribute all the traffic information -- it has a glass wall like a fish tank with a big screen in front displaying the live traffic feeds.]

The "chicken and egg" and "critical mass" problems are solved by combining traffic data from several different source, and getting a lot more data points than we would get if we only collected data from drivers who have a TomTom that's always connected to the internet with an unlimited data plan.

The other question is how to TomTom users receive this real time traffic information. The TomTom devices that support HD traffic have their own cell phones with built-in SIM cards, whose cost is covered by the HD traffic subscription, so it can download traffic reports in real time. It does not require you to drain the batteries and increase the bill of your own cell phone. The TomTom device is usually plugged into the car charger.

There's another feature called "IQ Routes" that enables TomTom to plan intelligent routes even when they're not connected to the internet, based on historical time sensitive information. Traffic on different roads has different speeds at different times of day and different weekdays, so IQ Routes measures that, and takes it into account when planning routes. Then HD traffic can add another layer of real time traffic information to make the routes even more accurate.

TomTom devices (even if they're not connected to the internet live) can record the speed you drive along the roads you travel, and if you choose to opt in, they anonymize and upload that data when you hot-sync your device to your PC or Mac (using your computer's internet connection instead of requiring a wireless data plan). Then they download the aggregation of all other TomTom user's traffic speed information. So each time you hot-sync, you get fresh traffic data based on the latest measurements of many other TomTom users.

All this data is also fed back into improving the maps, correcting mistakes, and tracking changes. Since the roads are always changing, you can get a discount by subscribing to map updates, to get fresh maps and points of interest updated regularly. We also offer traffic camera (speed trap) subscriptions, so the TomTom can warn you to slow down before you get speeding tickets.

-Don

more than 5 years ago
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Wayland, a New X Server For Linux

SimHacker X-Windows! (487 comments)

    WHAT IS YOUR DISPLAY?
            display = XOpenDisplay("unix:0");

    WHAT IS YOUR ROOT?
            root = RootWindow(display, DefaultScreen(display));

    AND WHAT IS YOUR WINDOW?
            win = XCreateSimpleWindow(display, root, 0, 0, 256, 256, 1,
                                      BlackPixel(display, DefaultScreen(display)),
                                      WhitePixel(display, DefaultScreen(display)));

    OH ALL RIGHT, YOU CAN GO ON.

    WHAT IS YOUR DISPLAY?
            display = XOpenDisplay("unix:0");

    WHAT IS YOUR COLORMAP?
            cmap = DefaultColormap(display, DefaultScreen(display));

    AND WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COLOR?
            favorite_color = 0; /* Black. */
            /* Whoops! No, I mean: */
            favorite_color = BlackPixel(display, DefaultScreen(display));
            /* AAAYYYYEEEEE!! */

    (client dumps core & falls into the chasm)

    WHAT IS YOUR DISPLAY?
            display = XOpenDisplay("unix:0");

    WHAT IS YOUR VISUAL?
            struct XVisualInfo vinfo;
            if (XMatchVisualInfo(display, DefaultScreen(display),
                                 8, PseudoColor, &vinfo) != 0)
            visual = vinfo.visual;

    AND WHAT IS THE NET SPEED VELOCITY OF AN XConfigureWindow REQUEST?
            /* Is that a SubStructureRedirectMask or a ResizeRedirectMask? */

    WHAT??! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT?
    AAAAUUUGGGHHH!!!!
    (server dumps core & falls into the chasm)

more than 5 years ago
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Wayland, a New X Server For Linux

SimHacker Re:Complaints about X (487 comments)

Has X-Windows solved the essential problem of having a fixed protocol, so clients are not able to download code into the server, to implement application specific protocols and local interaction without network traffic?

Also known these days as "AJAX".

-Don

more than 5 years ago
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Wayland, a New X Server For Linux

SimHacker Re:X11 - The X Windowing System (487 comments)

HTML+AJAX is doing now what NeWS (originally known as SunDew) was doing 23 years ago:

Gosling, James (1986). "Article 5 - SunDew", in F.R.A. Hopgood, D.A. Duce ...: Methodology of Window Management (Eurographics Seminars) Proceedings of an Alvey Workshop at Cosener's House, Abingdon, UK, April 1985. UK: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 3-540-16116-3.

-Don

more than 5 years ago
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Wayland, a New X Server For Linux

SimHacker Re:Ice Cubed -aka- I39L (487 comments)

The ICCCM is unbelievably dense, it must be followed to the last letter, and it still doesn't work. ICCCM compliance is one of the most complex ordeals of implementing X toolkits, window managers, and even simple applications. It's so difficult, that many of the benefits just aren't worth the hassle of compliance. And when one program doesn't comply, it screws up other programs. This is the reason cut-and-paste never works properly with X (unless you are cutting and pasting straight ASCII text), drag-and-drop locks up the system, colormaps flash wildly and are never installed at the right time, keyboard focus lags behind the cursor, keys go to the wrong window, and deleting a popup window can quit the whole application. If you want to write an interoperable ICCCM compliant application, you have to crossbar test it with every other application, and with all possible window managers, and then plead with the vendors to fix their problems in the next release.

In summary, ICCCM is a technological disaster: a toxic waste dump of broken protocols, backward compatibility nightmares, complex nonsolutions to obsolete nonproblems, a twisted mass of scabs and scar tissue intended to cover up the moral and intellectual depravity of the industry's standard naked emperor.

Using these toolkits is like trying to make a bookshelf out of mashed potatoes.
- Jamie Zawinski

-Don

more than 5 years ago
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Wayland, a New X Server For Linux

SimHacker Ice Cubed -aka- I39L (487 comments)

http://www.art.net/~hopkins/Don/unix-haters/x-windows/disaster.html

As a result, one of the most amazing pieces of literature to come out of the X Consortium is the "Inter Client Communication Conventions Manual," more fondly known as the "ICCCM", "Ice Cubed," or "I39L" (short for "I, 39 letters, L"). It describes protocols that X clients ust use to communicate with each other via the X server, including diverse topics like window management, selections, keyboard and colormap focus, and session management. In short, it tries to cover everything the X designers forgot and tries to fix everything they got wrong. But it was too late -- by the time ICCCM was published, people were already writing window managers and toolkits, so each new version of the ICCCM was forced to bend over backwards to be backward compatible with the mistakes of the past.

-Don

more than 5 years ago
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Wayland, a New X Server For Linux

SimHacker XSitOnIt and XRotateBuffers (487 comments)

The X approach to device independence is to treat everything like a MicroVAX framebuffer on acid.

-Don

PS: I do like the stuff that's been done pulling the good code out of X and developing decent libraries like Cairo!

more than 5 years ago
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Wayland, a New X Server For Linux

SimHacker Re:Two decades is more like it (487 comments)

Are you old enough to remember the Beta 2 version of Landru?

Kirk says "where is the damn computer room?" This man, named Marplon, shows him. Now kirk and Spock see Landru's face on a video on the wall and hear him, but WAIT. it is a computer voice. he is fake. Kirk says "I am going to pull the plug on him." He explodes a hole in the wall with his phaser, and there is the computer, still talking nonstop. He cannot shoot it, the computer has a self defense screen. But he will outTHINK it. He says "Landru, you are for the good of the body?" Landru says yes. Kirk says "The body is dying. Young girls are being raped and beaten. How is that good for the body?" Landru does not know, and then he explodes. Spock says to Kirk "Logical. Flawlessly logical."

-Don

more than 5 years ago
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Wayland, a New X Server For Linux

SimHacker Re:Two decades is more like it (487 comments)

The nice thing about X10 is that you could print out the manual, take it with you to the bathroom, and read all the way through it in the time it takes to have a nice leisurely bowel movement.

-Don

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Creationists Threatened by Spore

SimHacker SimHacker writes  |  more than 6 years ago

SimHacker writes "Creationists are horrified that Spore is converting children to believe in evolution, and they hoped that Jack Thompson will help them out in their battle against the evil man behind it all — Will Wright.

"Listen to this poor misguided girl talk about evolution after playing Spore.
It really makes me sad... I hope that somehow I can prevent more damage from being done."

"Someone informed me that an Attorney, Mr. Jack Thompson may be able to help me. As he has had much success in raising awareness about problem video games. Does anyone know how I can get in touch with him?""

Link to Original Source
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Spore Creature Creator released

SimHacker SimHacker writes  |  more than 6 years ago

SimHacker writes "Will Wright's epic game Spore will be released on September 7, but now you can already download the Creature Creator and upload and share your own original creatures. The creature creator user interface is extremely easy and fun to use, thanks to its 3D direct manipulation user interface. Already more than 39,000 creatures have been uploaded to the Sporepedia, so when Spore is finally released, there will be a huge library of user created content available. It's available for Windows and Mac."
Link to Original Source
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One SimCity Per Child

SimHacker SimHacker writes  |  more than 6 years ago

SimHacker writes "Thanks to the initiative and guidance of John Gilmore, Electronic Arts has generously donated the original "classic" version of Will Wright's popular SimCity game to the One Laptop Per Child project.

SimCity is the epitome of constructionist educational games, and has been widely used by educators to unlock and speed-up the transformational skills associated with creative thinking, and by the Future City Competition by seventh- and eighth-grade students to fostering engineering skills, such as teamwork, communication and problem solving skills, providing interaction among students, teachers, and engineer mentors, informing the community about the multi-disciplines within the engineering profession, and inspiring students to explore futuristic concepts and careers in engineering.

OLPC SimCity is based on the X11 TCL/Tk version of SimCity for Unix developed and adapted to the OLPC by Don Hopkins, and the GPL open source code will soon be released under the name "Micropolis", which was SimCity's original working title.

SJ Klein, director of content for the OLPC, called on game developers to create "frameworks and scripting environments — tools with which children themselves could create their own content." The long term agenda of the OLPC SimCity project is to convert SimCity into a scriptable Python module, integrate it with the OLPC's Sugar user interface and Cairo rendering library, and apply Seymour Papert's and Alan Kay's ideas about constructionist education and teaching kids to program."

Link to Original Source
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SimHacker SimHacker writes  |  more than 7 years ago

SimHacker writes "Since Adobe bought Macromedia, it was predicted that Adobe would drop support for SVG, because they were supporting SVG as an alternative to Flash, which they now own. Now the other shoe has finally dropped. Adobe SVG is dead. Long live Adobe SVG!

Adobe to Discontinue Adobe SVG Viewer

Adobe has decided to discontinue support for Adobe SVG Viewer. There are a number of other third-party SVG viewer implementations in the marketplace, including native support for SVG in many Web browsers. The SVG language and its adoption in the marketplace have both matured to the point where it is no longer necessary for Adobe to provide an SVG viewer.

SVG is an established vector image format. Adobe currently supports SVG in several of its authoring and server products, including Illustrator, InDesign, GoLive, Version Cue, Graphics Server, FrameMaker, and FrameMaker Server.

Adobe customer support for Adobe SVG Viewer will be discontinued on January 1, 2008.

For more information on this decision and answers to questions about the discontinuation of Adobe SVG Viewer, please see the Adobe SVG Viewer End of Life FAQ."

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