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An SSD for Your Current Computer May Save the Cost of a New One (Video)

ThePyro Re:Max RAM? (353 comments)

Not entirely true. If your motherboard has dual-channel support then you'll definitely get a performance improvement (though maybe not a noticeable one outside of gaming) when you upgrade from 1 stick to 2 sticks of RAM, even if you can't use the extra capacity. Plenty of systems ship with only 1 stick installed.

about three weeks ago
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Man Of Steel Leaps Over Record With $125.1 Million To Mixed Reviews

ThePyro Re:+1, Flamebait (364 comments)

Despite his nigh-infinite power and goodness, there are a number of themes that can make a good Superman story interesting:

1) Superman can't save everyone. His character can be forced to make difficult decisions about how and where to apply his efforts, knowing that he can't be everywhere at once. I don't recall this plot device being used much in the movie. Yeah, there are lots of civilians getting killed, but that doesn't even seem to phase our hero. I don't recall any critical decision moments.

2) Superman can't save everyone, again. Despite his powers, there are some things he just can't fix. As the recent Wired review mentioned, this is why Jonathan Kent usually dies from a heart attack - that's something that Superman's powers cannot help. The movie doesn't pick up on this theme at all.

3) Superman may be _good_, but he doesn't have to be omniscient. Well-meaning application of his powers can result in unintended consequences, and his character can be forced to play clean up and also show a does of humility.

There are plenty of others. The character has spawned multiple television and comic book series, after all.

I didn't really enjoy this latest portrayal of Superman; it feels like the writers didn't understand his "good" nature and how to properly create _interesting_ conflict. An hour of Superman employing brute force (the one thing that he has no problem with) is just not compelling.

about 10 months ago
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Congressman Introduces Bill To Ban Minting of Trillion-Dollar Coin

ThePyro Re:What about this. (1059 comments)

Unfortunately even if the military budget were cut to $0 we would still have a half-trillion dollar deficit. The elephants in the room are the Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits that have already been promised to people, and which already total nearly 70% of federal tax revenues. Health care costs continue to rise faster than economic activity, and the number of beneficiaries of the programs will soon jump higher as more baby boomers retire. Unless we plan on spending 100% of federal tax revenues on these programs (which won't work for very long) something must be done to bring costs in line.

about a year ago
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Boeing's CHAMP Missile Uses Radio Waves To Remotely Disable PCs

ThePyro Re:Industrial terrorism (341 comments)

Welcome to the age of industrial terrorism.

The article was pretty light on details. I wonder what the range is on this thing? Industrial terrorism could definitely be a concern.

The description makes it sound like the weapon is just a directed microwave gun, and missile part is only required to deliver the gun into range. If that's the case, what's to stop a group of terrorists from deploying such a weapon anywhere they like? Rent a hotel room near a target, construct the weapon, fire it out the window to silently disable electronics, and then escape while workers are still scrambling to figure out why all the PCs just went dark.

Heck, you might even be able to mount such a weapon in a van or truck; slide the door open for half a second to fire (nearly silent, of course) and then speed away before anyone even realizes what just happened.

about a year and a half ago
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Rear-View Cameras On Cars Could Become Mandatory In the US

ThePyro Re:remarkable (754 comments)

Seriously useful tip: your car has a nice, wide rearview mirror to let you see what's behind you. Adjust your side mirrors to show you your blind spots. I've done this for over a decade.

The proposed back-up cameras are not supposed to take the place of existing mirrors. Rather, they are installed closer to the ground so that you can see what's behind you at a lower level than what's typically visible with the rear-view mirror (ie small children).

more than 3 years ago
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StarCraft AI Competition Results

ThePyro Re:Nerd Fantasy Extrodinaire: Ingame Scripting Age (113 comments)

Have a look at the Spring Engine if you haven't already. There are a variety of RTS games, including some high-quality variants of Total Annihilation, which use the Spring Engine and allow for all sorts of client-side scripting through Lua. There are a variety of client-side lua "gadgets" that players have written already. You can move your units into custom formations by drawing lines or squiggles with the mouse; there are widgets to automate using air transports to ferry units between factories and rally points; there are even widgets to automatically alert the player when certain dangerous units are spotted. IIRC, someone was even working on a script for kiting with long-range units.

more than 3 years ago
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UC Berkeley Asking Incoming Students For DNA

ThePyro Re:DO NOT WILLINGLY SUBMIT YOUR DNA!!! (468 comments)

I imagine a scenario like the following:

Twenty years down the road, a close acquaintance of yours is murdered.

Fortunately, the police find some DNA at the scene! Unfortunately it's yours.

Fortunately that DNA sample you submitted to Berkeley was confidential! Unfortunately, a quick scan of the good 'ol police DNA database finds it anyway. Wonder how that happened?

Fortunately your name isn't associated with the sample! Unfortunately, since the victim didn't know anyone else who attended Berkeley, that's enough for the police to get a warrant for an official DNA sample.

Fortunately you didn't actually commit this crime, and mundane reasons easily explain the presence of your DNA! Unfortunately, someone once heard you say that you really didn't like the victim very much, and that statement combined with your DNA is enough for the brain-dead jury to convict you.

more than 3 years ago
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TI vs Calculator Hackers

ThePyro Re:DRM in a calculator? (463 comments)

Standardized tests are another reason TI might want complete control over the operating system. If the operating system can be modified then sneaky students could hide all sorts of cheats inside the operating system. Forcing students to clear the memory of their calculators would no longer be sufficient to prevent cheating since information embedded in the OS would not be cleared.

more than 4 years ago
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TI vs Calculator Hackers

ThePyro Re:DRM in a calculator? (463 comments)

One of the reasons that TI signs things is to provide a form of copy protection for the 3rd-party applications which are sold via the online store. The calculator operating system will not run a flash application for which it does not currently have a license. The operating system binary is signed so that you can't tamper with it in order to disable the copy-protection. A modified operating system could potentially run flash applications without a license.

As far as user-created software goes, TI doesn't really care what you run on the calculator. It's only non-free flash apps that concern them.

more than 4 years ago
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Mind-Blowing Interfaces On Display At SIGGRAPH 2009

ThePyro Holograms: 2D vs 3D (173 comments)

I couldn't really tell from the video, and the article didn't specify. Are the touchable holograms 3D, or are they just 2D images floating in mid-air? I suspect the latter. Still impressive, though.

more than 4 years ago
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How Do You Deal With Pirated Programs At Work?

ThePyro Come clean, forcefully if needed (958 comments)

As the 'IT Guy' it is your responsibility to make sure all the machines you manage are properly licensed. Any software that is used for the business is your responsibility, and you're likely to take the blame if someone reports the unlicensed software to a vendor.

I recommend that you immediately inform management of the problem. If they are hesitant to buy proper licenses, inform them that you need to start uninstalling the unlicensed software (and be sure to follow through on this if you have to). That will help motivate them to do the right thing.

Do not leave yourself in a position in which you might end up being the scapegoat, especially if management is aware of the problem and complicit. This sort of thing could potentially ruin your career. While it may cost you your job if you do the right thing, at least there won't be a black mark on your record that could harm your entire career.

more than 5 years ago
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Should You Break TOS Because Work Asks You?

ThePyro Business sense (680 comments)

Even if your boss doesn't care about the ethics of this scheme, he probably does care about ramifications to the business. What happens when you get caught? All your development work will have been wasted because they'll shut you down at the very least. There's potential for a lawsuit, which is an expensive proposition even if you win. Damage to your company's reputation may make it harder to do business. And as another poster already mentioned, this isn't exactly a gem of a project to put on your resume.

more than 5 years ago
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Google Founders Buy Fighter Jet

ThePyro Obviously (356 comments)

Obviously this is a first step toward achieving air superiority in the skies above Google's new aquatic data centers. As the Google Navy continues to expand its influence the importance of protecting the fleet from airborne threats will increase.

Also, never underestimate the bandwidth of a fighter jet full of tapes screaming across the sky at Mach 3.

more than 5 years ago
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Blizzcon 2008 Wrap-Up

ThePyro Wow, that's risky (173 comments)

the Wizard was designed with a brash and ambitious personality in mind; she would not choose the safe, easy, or common way to do things.

Ok. Sounds good.

So, when they were looking at possibilities for the first spell a player would use . . . they chose Magic Missile.

Yeah, that's definitely not the common way to do things! Way to think outside the box.

more than 5 years ago

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