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Comments

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The Growing Illusion of Single Player Gaming

bazorg Re:Never been a fan of multiplayer. (286 comments)

Indie to the rescue! It's now on its last legs as development stopped a while back, but Altitude (altitudegame.com) is great multiplayer game that I read about on Slashdot and have been playing since 2009. The micro-transactions part of the game didn't work well, so the authors dropped it. If you just want to shoot at other players and not read about it, the in-game chat can be switched off, players can be muted and you can just avoid going to the forum pages on their website (which is separate from the game).

With the new billion of people going online on their tablets and phones, there is a lot of noise and annoying sales tactics that didn't work when all computer users were nerds. We just have to choose our battles and our games.

2 days ago
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Apple Outrages Users By Automatically Installing U2's Album On Their Devices

bazorg Re:BTW, this proves piracy is irrelevant for artis (607 comments)

True, U2 have more money in their pockets than most. However, if you do get around to read the Salon.com article I recommended (and I really think it's a great +5 insightful read), you'll be able to learn about what happens BEFORE someone has the chance to become big as U2. You'll see that the revenue share that privileged U2 and Radiohead opted out from was NEVER good for a starting band in any case.

2 days ago
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Apple Outrages Users By Automatically Installing U2's Album On Their Devices

bazorg BTW, this proves piracy is irrelevant for artists (607 comments)

I thought this album release was quite significant actually. Many years ago Courtney Love wrote on Salon.com ("Courtney Love does the math") that she was not bothered with P2P distribution of her music, as in fact CD sales were not a source of income for artists. Every now and again the publishers associations whine about how artists will perish due to P2P, and on /. there is disagreement with no proper evidence to support it. Now we see a well established band and Apple showing that revenue sharing with a publisher for printing CDs that may or may not be bought is not the best deal they could have.

Opt-in and UI preferences aside, this album was a major release.

2 days ago
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If We Can't Kill Cancer, Can We Control It?

bazorg Re:Baking Soda May Help! (140 comments)

I have two objections on the "big pharma fighting the truth about cancer" point of view... maybe you can give this some thought and comment on them:

1) how can the pharma have a PERFECT bureaucracy that wins EVERY time a new alternative cure comes along? A lot of people say that big pharma has a big cover up operation in place and no cure will ever be publicised or made viable unless it suits big pharma. However, when articles about alternative cures come along, they are always revolutionary and obviously simple. If that's the case, why don't we see something as simple as gathering 100 or 1000 cancer patients, treat them, document the success and only then release the findings on Youtube/P2P/whatever?

2) Consider the annual sales and profits of Big Pharma. Then the same for Big Food. IF there's a simple cure using natural food and basic ingredients that big pharma cannot patent, what's Coca Cola, Pepsico and other similarly large companies waiting for to steal big pharma's lunch?

3 days ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

bazorg Re:$1.1 Trillion over 54 years... (530 comments)

I thought the reason for punishment was that the cold war balance of power was disrupted by Cuba in a way that many millions of people USA could have lost a nuclear war before the USA could fire their own missiles at the USSR. Did I get that totally wrong from this side of the Atlantic?

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

bazorg Re:The war that no one wanted (471 comments)

I don't know about that... I wrote mud before because a swatch and a "traditional" watch for sports use can just be put under the tap for a good wash. That's "water-proof" in my book, not "water-resistance".

The sauna case is not just because Suunto and Polar are originally from Finland, but because I've had Swatches die (nearly) after I used them in the swimming pool, then sauna, then back to day to day life. I believe it was the battery that could not cope with the change in temperature. A few years of resting in the drawer and that Swatch came back to life with a new battery. I look forward to seeing the tech specs on smartwatches to understand what are their operating parameters. Until then, I assume they are closer to electronics than to the jewellery world.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

bazorg The war that no one wanted (471 comments)

I could see dropping 100 bucks, maybe, on something that tracks health telemetry, but honestly? It'd probably have to be a gift before I got it.

One thing I haven't read thus far about the smartwatch situation is that Motorola, Apple, Samsung, etc. are new entrants to an area where Polar, Suunto, Garmin and a few others have already been building this sort of equipment for a long time. These guys have build watches with heart rate and other sensors with varying degrees of ruggedness, specifically for the purpose of surviving sports use. Spending ã100-ã300 for a device that needs daily charging, in a shell that can't go into the sauna, sea and mud just for the sake of having 1000 apps (at ã0.99 each) instead of 10 functions built-in is not that compelling until SPECTACULAR apps turn up.

This article comes at a great time, because heart rate and GPS as apps aren't that convincing IMHO. Maybe a fart-rate app is what the world needs.

about a week ago
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HP To Charge For Service Packs and Firmware For Out-of-Warranty Customers

bazorg Re:oh well (385 comments)

not being able to get a copy of a firmware update for someone's out of warranty system, server or not because I'm not "HP certified support" or whatever

If I read TFS correctly, your customer can access the required resources as long as they have a valid support agreement in place with HP.

It looks to me that HP is saying that hardware buyers are only entitled to a license for software patches if they pay some sort of annual rent. Some will pay, some will shop elsewhere.

about 7 months ago
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EU Commission: Corruption Across EU Costs €120 Billion

bazorg Re:Relation to Debt Crisis? (196 comments)

If we consider that the questions on the survey were:
"do you feel that corruption is widespread in your country?"
and
"do you feel that corruption affects you personally?"

then it's an unsurprising result. If people are told their country is corrupt and bankrupt when it is obviously going through a serious crisis, it is easy to believe in that story and perpetuate that perception of a broken country.

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Events Calendar Software For Local Community?

bazorg Re:how about a facebook page? (120 comments)

Well, I did not get that from the original submission. I hope you don't end up wasting public funds to re-invent Facebook and then realise that people are not aware or not willing to sign up for yet another region-specific social network.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Events Calendar Software For Local Community?

bazorg how about a facebook page? (120 comments)

There's quite a lot you can do with Facebook pages, and a lot of people will already have username/pwd there.

about 8 months ago
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Will Electric Cars and Solar Power Make Gasoline and Utilities Obsolete?

bazorg Re: Uh? (734 comments)

OK. so it's kind of possible but not very good.. Thanks for taking the time to explain.

about 8 months ago
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Mars Rover Opportunity Finds Life-Friendly Niche

bazorg Re:Disappointed (55 comments)

breathlessly waiting for the announcement confirming life on another planet because they believe that will be the final triumph of science over God.

nah. the gods won't care and the scientists are probably going to tire quickly of any conversation of science vs gods.

What will be interesting is the impact of that kind of discovery on day to day religious life. Things like "God shaped man in his image and likeness" (Gen. 2.7) will look out of place if weird looking aliens are found. More so if the aliens hold a similar belief about alien-shaped gods.

about 8 months ago
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Will Electric Cars and Solar Power Make Gasoline and Utilities Obsolete?

bazorg Re: Uh? (734 comments)

A 1000 square foot flat-roof house could support up to 111 solar panels for 22kWh per day

Hmmm... is there any chance of making transparent panels so that they could be piled up rathen than requiring more and more building area?

about 8 months ago
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Mars Rover Opportunity Finds Life-Friendly Niche

bazorg Re:Disappointed (55 comments)

Living on that great star? Some important steps have already been taken to achieve that goal!

http://waterfordwhispersnews.c...

[North Korea lands first man on the sun]

about 8 months ago
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HP Brings Back Windows 7 'By Popular Demand' As Buyers Shun Windows 8

bazorg Re:meanwhile.... (513 comments)

Actually, if the sales numbers are to be believed, people just aren't buying new PCs at all.

Except for RAM, the vast majority of PC users will never fully max out their machine. They won't even get close to what the CPU can do.

That's an interesting point which does not seem to hold up when I read Slashdot. It looks to me that there are 2 conflicting generalisations:
1) the vast majority of users does not max ou their 5 year old PCs
2) all application and web development these days uses too much of all PC available, especially if you use Firefox, Javascript, antivirus and all the bloatware that is pre-installed on new PCs.

So which one is it?

The way I see it, the iPad and Macbook Air show what PCs could optimise in terms of performance: use SSD, use smaller apps (iOS) and and use app markets to offer an easy way for software developers to make sales.

That's the opposite of what happens with the more conventional PC market with laptop computers. A well stocked shop can have laptops with 5 different screen sizes, 20 different CPUs and a varity of HDD sizes, but only a small minority of high end machines have SSDs. If HDDs became secondary storage or more manufacturers accepted to start their price range a bit above the current levels, then there would be more conventional PCs "feeling" fast.
As things are, people are paying more for less CPU power, getting crude applications, spending money on subscriptions and still can claim that the iPad/Android tablet is faster than a similarly priced PC. And they're not wrong.

about 8 months ago
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Windows 9 Already? Apparently, Yes.

bazorg Re:That would be a considerable selling point (1009 comments)

Well, incompatible as they may be, I find that most of the apps I like and need exist on Windows Store as ARM and x86 compatible. I don't have a RT machine to try them, but assume that someone has already bothered to compile apps for both architectures, otherwise they wouldn't show on the Store as compatible.

It's a risky generalisation, but I think that right now what's missing from Windows Store is the kind of social networking apps that are IPO-oriented and exist by the dozens for iOS and Android. They are great for showing how popular and hot an app ecosystem is, but in general I don't see what they'll turn into once an investor demands that some sort of money will have to come out of the user base.

about 8 months ago
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Windows 9 Already? Apparently, Yes.

bazorg Re:9.1 (1009 comments)

Hi, I'm not the OP, I'm one of the other 4 people outside of MS who likes Metro.
I find it much more elegant than what I used before, which was a start menu with too many icons, leading me to have a dozen usual shortcuts on the desktop itself. That "desktop" way of using the computer also lead me to keeping a bunch of current documents on the desktop folder, which required regularly cleaning up. Soon enough I fall behind on those tidying up chores and start dropping everything in a folder just to hide the mess when I present at customers.

With Windows 8 Metro, I just store everything in the right library folders and it gets indexed for quick finding and retrieving. The Start screen shows me useful stuff before I start any application. The UI guidelines for Metro are suitable for simplified apps, which are a welcome improvement over having everything and the kitchen sink on the main screen, plus an Advanced Settings tab. Programmers can dislike web designers as much as they like, but the fact is that "Apps", Apple style, did offer improvement over what is still common in the "PC" world.

In parallel, I find it that the Windows Store is a good replacement for relying on Google search results to decide what to install on my PC when I need something new. Do a search for [some application name] APK and see the same old crap happening with Android apps. On balance, I think app stores are a good thing.

I got Windows 8.0 soon after it was released, as a cheap upgrade to Windows 7. I think it compares well to what Apple did with OS X and iLife a few years ago. It works fine and the account sync across devices is a really nice to have. So much, that Firefox had it before for a much smaller scope of use.

Recently, I asked my company to upgrade W7 to W8 on my work laptop (Mods: "+ 1, Funny"). Since there are work-related restrictions in relation to the use of MS accounts, I find tha I'm using only part of what W8 offers. Unsurprisingly, I have to fight MS apps on occasion and it is kind of accomodating in relation to signing on to separate applications with or without the Windows account. On my home PC, I leave more settings with their defaults on and overall it's more comfortable to use.

The key thing is that Windows is no longer just an OS that sits in your PC. It is an OS + applications + a bunch of online services so that it competes with the equivalent from Apple and Google. I understand that /.rs would like stuff to be like in the old days, but that's not what the market says: PC sales are dropping and tablets/smartphones are selling more in its place. Folks at Microsoft would be stupid to drop Windows Metro + online services just to please the "desktop" users. I think that it won't take long until we accept that the "PC market" is not separate from the smartdevice market, leading to about 25% of PCs sold being OS X/iOS; 25% with Android/Chrome and Wintel devices will have something like 40%, with a tendency to go down.

about 8 months ago
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Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Pass 10% Market Share, Windows XP Falls Below 30%

bazorg Re:2014 predictions (470 comments)

1) no problem, I'll set up a reminder for December 2014 and check if my prediction is right.
2) and 3) I have the impression that everything that is pointed out as being bad about Windows 8 and RT is what people like about iOS and Android (it boils down to simplicity and low price tags on apps and subscriptions). Hence my prediction that if (or when) Apple makes an "iPad Pro" to go along the Air; it will run iOS; it will be built for touch first; it will have an app store as the only way to add software and it will be "DRM-compliant" in a variety of ways. Today, you can get the Surface RT with that kind of features but people dislike it because it's not sufficiently alike the PC they already have.

about 8 months ago

Submissions

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UK experts speak out against NHS privatisation

bazorg bazorg writes  |  about a year and a half ago

bazorg (911295) writes "New regulations made under Section 75 of the Health & Social Care Act 2012 are being pushed through the UK Parliament, promoting competition between healthcare providers. In the OpenDemocracy blog, author Caroline Molloy summarises the issue:

In brief terms, the regulations require all NHS services to be put out to competition unless the commissioners can prove there is only one provider capable of delivering them. Such decisions could be exposed to costly legal challenges.

In the same publication, Lucy Reynolds adds: If the government manages to complete the legal process now underway, almost the entire NHS budget will pass through competitive markets. This arrangement awards compensation to companies ejected from the markets by any subsequent renationalisation or reinstitution of “preferred providers”.[...]

They can enforce these financial claims through UK and EU Courts against our government. This mechanism is known as the “privatisation ratchet”: the compensation mechanism stops governments from reversing the direction of change by renationalising services after the private sector has been allowed to compete to provide them.


A broad array of health professionals, campaigners, and academic experts have spoken out against the new regulations, which are perceived as potentially aligning the UK NHS with the healthcare provision practices of the USA."

Link to Original Source
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Rick Falkvinge on child porn and freedom of press

bazorg bazorg writes  |  about 2 years ago

bazorg (911295) writes "Rick Falkvinge of the Swedish Pirate Party blogs on the subject of freedom of the press and foresees how users of Google glasses can be charged for possession and distribution of illegal porn. "Child pornography is a toxic subject, but a very important one that cannot and should not be ignored. This is an attempt to bring the topic to a serious discussion, and explain why possession of child pornography need to be re-legalized in the next ten years.""
Link to Original Source
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BBC chooses Microsoft DRM platform

bazorg bazorg writes  |  more than 7 years ago

bazorg (911295) writes "The BBC chose Microsoft's DRM technology to limit for 30 days the viewing of content downloaded from their website. These downloads would allow viewers to catch up on shows that were broadcast on the previous 7 days, and they would be compatible with Windows Media Player 10 and 11 and a new product called "iPlayer". This iPlayer is not yet available for platforms other than MS Windows, which caused the Open Source Consortium (OSC) to file a complaint to national and EU authorities on competition."
Link to Original Source

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