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Ask Slashdot: What Games Are You Playing?

Yeechang Lee Re:Very old games (669 comments)

I have never played it, but have enjoyed other Civ-style games. Should I play the original, Alien Crossfire, or both? Opinion on the latter seems mixed; half loves it and the other half thinks it unbalances the game.

about a year ago

Thieves Who Stole Cobalt-60 Will Soon Be Dead

Yeechang Lee Re:They will, without a doubt, die... (923 comments)

and be the syfy movie of the week.

Unlikely. Syfy prefers animals as the villains of its Saturday-night original movies, not people.

Now, if it turns out that a shark or octopus (or, even better, both) stole the cobalt-60, then you'l have the network's attention. Expect Sharktopus II: Nuclear Boogaloo any week now.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Job Search Or More Education?

Yeechang Lee MS at University of Chicago (182 comments)

If you want to become a professional software developer as opposed to being locked into IT support, the Masters program at the University of Chicago sounds ideal for you. It is specifically designed for those with little or no formal programming experience before beginning the degree.

about 2 years ago

Are Open-Source Desktops Losing Competitiveness?

Yeechang Lee Figured this out in 2003 (663 comments)

I figured this out on the day in 2003 when I first tried out OS X. I've been using LInux since 1995 and had tried every available desktop: CDE, KDE, Gnome, Enlightenment (The horror .. the horror ...), Window Maker/AfterStep, fvwm, and even older ones like Motif and twm. I'd used Mac OS 7 and 8 in college and hated it, but OS X was a revelation.

I still use Linux as a server, but for a Unixlike desktop that actually works and runs a lot of applications, OS X is it. Period.

more than 2 years ago

The Joke Known As 3D TV

Yeechang Lee Glasses = death of 3D TV (594 comments)

People accept glasses for watching 3D movies in theaters because they are there for the experience of watching a film on a giant screen with other people while eating popcorn and drinking soda. The same goes for other specific, controlled environments, like 3D CAM in an office; people accept it as part of the experience (or job in this case).

3D in the home will never succeed until and unless glasses are not needed. It doesn't matter whether the glasses are disposable or expensive, or if today's multiple competing standards congeal into one. No one will accept needing to constantly put on and take off 3D glasses to watch TV. Period.

more than 4 years ago

3 Prototypes From HP, In Outline

Yeechang Lee Back to the future (104 comments)

This wouldn't be the first wristwatch from HP. The company sold the HP-01 from 1977 to 1980. It was a calculator watch that was very advanced for its time (At $750, it should have been!).

more than 4 years ago

The Great Operating System Games

Yeechang Lee Yes, it would (145 comments)

> "[W]ould it kill people to put a reasonable amount of content on pages?"

Yes, the twin demons of page views and banner ad impression counts would indeed kill people. Many non-tech news sites offer a "Single page" or "View all" or "Print" option, but tech-oriented sites generally don't, with a few exceptions like Wired or C|Net.

more than 4 years ago

Today's Best CPUs Compared... To a Pentium 4

Yeechang Lee Re:P4 and MythTV Details (354 comments)

I am surprised the parent said he could do 1080i without VDPAU.

Playing MPEG-2 high-definition streams (whether from over-the-air or FireWire) is easy. To oversimplify, video playback involves 1) decoding the compressed video signal and 2) rendering, or displaying, it. As mentioned, my Pentium 4 was fast enough to decode MPEG-2 streams in 2005, and the Xv hardware-assisted renderer (usable from Linux via any Nvidia or Intel[1] video card/chipset made in the past many, many years) quite nicely displayed the video with the more-than-decent Bob 2X deinterlacer. The resulting 50-70% CPU usage I saw is perfectly adequate for a box that doesn't do anything else, and of course the usage would be less with a faster CPU. Before VDPAU, software decoding and Xv render is what the vast majority (I'd guess 95%) of MythTV users used for high-definition playback.

Decoding high-definition h.264 video (such as produced by the Hauppauge HD-PVR, which shipped in May 2008) is much more difficult. My Pentium 4 was able to just barely play 720p 6Mbps h.264 recordings, but no more; people on mythtv-users were reporting in mid-2008 that a the fastest Core 2 Duo boxes were just barely adequate to play 13Mbps (the best quality, more or less indistinguishable from the original) HD-PVR recordings, and sometimes were overstretched even then. In other words, MythTV users were beginning to create recordings they could not play back!

VDPAU has the video card handle everything. The card itself, not the CPU, decodes both MPEG-2 and h.264 streams and renders the resulting video using excellent deinterlacers. Given the dilemma that the HD-PVR created, VDPAU could not have arrived later (late 2008/early 2009) than it did.

[1] There's still no adequate Xv support using ATi, from what I understand. I don't know whether current ATi Linux drivers have finally solved this; most sensible people on mythtv-users just throw up their hands and buy a $30 Nvidia card.

more than 4 years ago

Today's Best CPUs Compared... To a Pentium 4

Yeechang Lee Re:P4 and MythTV (354 comments)

At some point the reduction in power costs will justify a switch to something like the Revo.

Correct. I do have a Kill-a-Watt and made those calculations a while ago. This is a key reason why I say I wouldn't start with a Pentium 4 today even if I could buy one new (which I can't).

What is holding me back? 1) Inertia, since my frontend/backend continues to work 24/7 without any issues. As the saying goes, why change what isn't broken? 2) More to the point, I am waiting until the ION platform supports the Advanced 2X deinterlacer. Once it does in a $200 Revo-like form factor--hopefully soon--I'll buy one, but until then I'll stick with the Pentium 4.

more than 4 years ago

Today's Best CPUs Compared... To a Pentium 4

Yeechang Lee Re:P4 and MythTV (354 comments)

Yeechang fails to mention that [a P4 3GHz] is roughly the sweet spot for a mythtv frontend.

Yes, it was indeed the sweet spot when I bought it more than four years ago. I certainly wouldn't buy a new P4 today, even if it were possible. I'd get an ION-based Aspire Revo for $200-300; that's clearly today's sweet spot.

My larger point stands; most people wouldn't expect that a box that was state of the art five years ago would still be adequate for recording and playing 1080i and even 1080p high-definition video, but it is.

Just set up a plain old linux box and it'll work even with the plain jane VESA driver. Now you can do all this binary NVIDIA driver and XVmc and VDPAU or whatever for even better performance, but it'll "just work" on a stock plain old linux install.

I am not aware of a single case of successful high-definition video playback with MythTV using Xorg's stock VESA driver, and the folks at mythtv-users would certainly want to hear of one. For high-definition playback some type of hardware acceleration, whether partial (as with Xv) or full (as with VDPAU) is required. Some people are successful with OpenChrome/Unichrome, or Intel video, or even ATi, but the vast, vast, vast majority of MythTV users use Nvidia cards and thus its binary drivers.

You can spend more money on an even faster system for myth. But its just money down the drain

I am happy with my P4 frontend/backend because it meets my needs. Again, though, I'd not choose a P4 if I were building a new MythTV box today. In any case, prices have decreased, not increased; there simply was no equivalent back then to today's inexpensive ION boxes.

more than 4 years ago

Today's Best CPUs Compared... To a Pentium 4

Yeechang Lee P4 and MythTV (354 comments)

I've been using a Pentium 4 3.0GHz-powered box as a MythTV frontend/backend for more than four years. It often records four high-definition over-the-air or FireWire MPEG-2 streams while playing back another.

For the first three years I used an Nvidia video card with Xv output to play the recordings at very good quality with 50-70% CPU usage. A year ago I moved to VDPAU, which gives me even better playback with under 5% CPU usage, and will do the same with h.264 recordings (generated by the Hauppauge HD-PVR, for example). Thanks to VDPAU, there's every possibility I'll be able to use the Pentium 4 box for another four years.

more than 4 years ago

The Music Industry's Crisis Writ Large

Yeechang Lee Wait a minute. (554 comments)

Isn't Madonna already 60?

  . . . No way. Wow. You're kidding, right?!?

more than 5 years ago

Apple Keyboard Firmware Hack Demonstrated

Yeechang Lee Lies! (275 comments)

I use an Apple key/b/ r00lzboard anCredit Card Transaction CompleteddI've never seen aHAHA U BN PWN3Dnything like this happen. More anti-Apple proparickrolledganda!

more than 5 years ago

Getting a Classic PC Working After 25 Years?

Yeechang Lee Re:Still have the manuals... (533 comments)

Gotta hand it to Epson for their corporate memory and support abilities... Someone else mentioned contacting them to try and get your hands on some disks but now I'm thinking that might actually work...

Indeed. As I pulled up the list of computers (under "Home Entertainment|Other Products|Desktop Computers"), I thought to myself "No way will the QX-10 be listed." It was! Then, as I clicked on the PDF manual I thought "Surely it'll be a completely-scanned, no-text version." On the contrary, it's a real PDF document with searchable text, internal links, and even the original line drawings. Astounding! Kudos to Epson America.

more than 5 years ago

New Asimov Movies Coming

Yeechang Lee The Will I, Robot movie was pretty darn good (396 comments)

115 replies and—as expected—already there's a half-dozen condemnations of Will Smith's I, Robot with only one positive and one mixed to balance them out. Let me tell you that the naysayers are very wrong.

The movie surprised me with how faithful it was to the dozens of Asimov robot stories. Let me repeat: Asimov's themes fill the movie from start to finish. The movie's plot is entirely based on Asimov's four (yes, four) Laws of Robotics. I wonder if those who condemn the movie have actually read any or all of the stories, as I have, multiple times. Otherwise, I don't see how they could have missed (as I posted to Usenet a few years back):

Given that the film is a Will Smith Summer Blockbuster[TM], I too was impressed and touched by how well it evoked the themes of the
Robot stories. I know the script was originally based on non-Asimovian robots, but the writers clearly went to a *lot* of trouble to fill in
the gaps once they gained the rights to Asimov's name and concepts.


The plot of the movie can very well be seen as the sort of dilemma faced by our heroes in several of the Robot stories, simply writ (very) large. There are allusions to, among others, "Little Lost Robot," "Catch That Rabbit," "The Evitable Conflict," "Segregationist" and "The Bicentennial Man," and "-That Thou Art Mindful of Him."

Yes, yes, I know Asimov disliked violence-filled "robots run rampant" stories and wrote his robot stories in part as counterpoints to such. But given the strictures of a Hollywood big-budget action movie (and don't expect a science fiction movie to be otherwise), I, Robot is pure Asimov.

more than 6 years ago


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