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Review: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria (video)

billtom Re:4 kinds of people... (204 comments)

Great, you're in category 3. And according to my review system, you should not come back to WoW.

I don't understand why you used a reply to my post as the place to put your general rant about the direction of WoW. I wasn't defending the game in general.

more than 2 years ago

Review: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria (video)

billtom 4 kinds of people... (204 comments)

My review of Mists comes down to dividing players into four groups:

1. You are an active WoW player.

Well, you don't need a review of Mists because you most likely already bought it.

2. You are a former WoW player, and you're kind of thinking that you'd like to come back to the game.

Then please do come back. Blizzard did a pretty good job with this expansion. Lost of the rough edges have been smoothed. There's some good content. Fun to be had.

Will you stay with the game for months? I don't know. But you'll be playing at that point, so you can make up your own mind.

3. You're a former WoW player but you're still pretty down on the game.

If the very thought of being told to "kill 10 panda-moose" makes you sick to your stomach, then for god's sake, don't come back. While Blizzard is on their game for this expansion, it's still basically the same game you left and the things that made you leave are mostly still going to be there.

4. You've never played WoW.

Well, my advice for all multiplayer games (MMO's, FPS's, etc, etc) is to play whatever your friends are playing (real-life or online friends).

Online multi-player games are infinitely more fun when you play with your friends. So if your friends are playing WoW, play WoW; if your friends are playing Team Fortress, play that; if your friends are playing Hello Kitty Online... well, make new friends.

more than 2 years ago

How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led To Mat Honan's Identity Theft

billtom Re:But he's and IT Expert! (222 comments)

I think you're missing the important point of this incident.

Yes, you're right that there are several things that Mat could have done to limit the damage that the crackers did to his systems. Such as local backups, two-factor authentication on his gmail, etc.

However, there is nothing that he (or any iCloud user) could have reasonably done to prevent his iCloud account from being compromised. The fault for that lies solely with Apple and Amazon's terrible telephone account security policies.

For people who didn't RTFA, you can take over anyone's iCloud account over the phone with just the user's: name, email address, billing address, and last four digits of their credit card number. (At least, until Apple changes their policies.)

more than 2 years ago

A Critical Examination of Bill Gates' Philanthropic Record

billtom Re:All charity ends (370 comments)

I think that when most people say a non-profit should be "run like a business", they really just mean that the organization should be setting concrete goals and objectively measuring progress towards those goals and evaluating all the organizations actions as they relate to achieving those goals.

The rest of your post looks kind of straw-man-ish.

more than 2 years ago

Canada To Stop Making Pennies

billtom Re:Rounded Up (473 comments)

The government aren't complete idiots (nearly, but not complete). There are regulations surrounding how this is all going to work. It isn't being left up to the retailer to decide.

Basically, all prices will still be in cents. So something that costs $9.99 will still cost $9.99 after the penny is gone.

When you go to pay your bill, if you pay cash, then the after tax price (remember there's sales tax in Canada) is rounded following government mandated rules.

And the rules are as you'd expect. x.y1 and x.y2 round to x.y0; x.y3 and x.y4 round to x.y5, etc.

more than 2 years ago

Third-Generation Apple TV Lands With a Thud

billtom Re:What? (222 comments)

I never bought that "it's just a hobby" line. That's all just PR spin.

Apple wants every product to be a runaway success; but they also like to project an aura of infallibility.

So what they do, after they launch a product, is very quickly gauge the market success of the product and carefully calibrate their public comments about the product to match the market success.

Runaway hits get the "we worked really hard to revolutionize the world" treatment. And relative duds get the "oh, that's just a hobby" treatment.

Not that there's anything wrong with this approach. Most companies do it to some degree; and Apple are experts at it. But don't buy the PR spin.

more than 2 years ago

A Memory of Light To Be Released January 8, 2013

billtom Re:Yay, now we get Sanderson back! (228 comments)

Ah, I wasn't making a serious suggestion. Just a little joke about authors of meandering, never-ending fantasy epics dying before the epic finishes; and how that might open up a new professional niche for some writers.

more than 2 years ago

A Memory of Light To Be Released January 8, 2013

billtom Re:Yay, now we get Sanderson back! (228 comments)

Don't count on it. George R. R. Martin is going to die before he finishes Song of Fire and Ice. So Sanderson has job security there.

more than 2 years ago

Netflix Expects To Be Unprofitable In 2012

billtom Re:More content (323 comments)

Yes, Bell and Rogers are evil bastards, but in the Netflix Canada case, it's the Canadian divisions of the major movie/television production companies that are the villians. Like: Sony Pictures Canada, NBCUniversal Canada, etc, etc. (And yes, Bell and Rogers are somewhat involved, but in their role as content owners, not as ISPs.)

From what I understand, these big multi-national companies are not particularly happy with Netflix US, but they're kind of stuck because they have existing agreements and Netflix US has too many subscribers to ignore.

But then when it came time for Netflix and the movie/TV production companies to negotiate contracts for Canadian distribution, the productions companies said, "hey, wait, here's our chance to really stick it to Netflix. the Canadian market isn't that big and Netflix doesn't have a big presence there yet."

So they offered much worse deals to Netflix that Netflix just couldn't afford; or refused to license the content under any terms.

Basically, the people who own the content copyrights are starving Netflix Canada in hopes that it dies.

more than 3 years ago

Canada CRTC Rules Against Usage Based Billing

billtom Re:Usage based billing is efficient (117 comments)

This hearing wasn't really about Usage Based Billing as a concept.

As is pretty common in these sorts of things, the terms of debate g0t all twisted around by the participants as they try to put forward their various agendas.

The real question being addressed was: in what ways can the big telco companies force their wholesale customers (the independent ISPs) to adopt certain billing practices on their retail customers?

The fact that the question, this time, was about UBB was incidental to the basic point.

Basically, the big telcos HATE having to make their last mile infrastructure available at wholesale rates to independent ISPs. But the regulator (the CRTC) forces them to do it and won't budge on that basic point.

So, instead, the big telcos are trying to make it unprofitable to run an independent ISP and drive them all out of business (while still, technically, offering wholesale access to their networks).

The latest tactic is to try to force the independent ISPs to offer the same terms of service to their retail customers as the big telcos offer to their retail customers. The thinking being that if the prices, bandwidth, data caps, etc, etc, are all exactly the same between the big telcos and the independent ISPs, then most users won't bother seeking out the independent ISPs and will just stick with the big telcos for internet access (as the customers already have a relationship with the big telcos for telephone or television access).

But, the big telcos have to go through the regulator (CRTC) in order to execute this plan to destroy service differentiation because the terms of the wholesale market are heavily regulated. (If they weren't, then the big telcos would just drop wholesale alltogether.)

So, this whole thing isn't really about Usage Based Billing as a general concept. It's about the big telcos trying to force their particular UBB plans on the retail customers of independent ISPs; as opposed to allowing the independent ISPs to adopt their own UBB plans with details different from the big telcos.

more than 3 years ago

SOPA Hearings Stacked In Favor of Pro-SOPA Lobby

billtom Re:Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) (302 comments)

I've always thought that the opponents of a particular piece of legislation should be the ones who get to name it, rather than the supporters.

Supporters always pick names that sound good but disguise the details.

But if you can get the "I Hate Puppies and Apple Pie" bill passed, then there's probably some good legislation in there.

more than 3 years ago

Are You Too Good For Code Reviews?

billtom Re:The problem is poor developers... (495 comments)

I'll have to disagree with your assertion that code reviews have no place in a workplace with diligent, meticulous developers; for the following reasons.

1. There are limits to how much even a diligent, meticulous, skilled person can spot errors in their own work. Yes, quality regression testing can catch a lot of stuff. But you'll still catch a few bugs in code reviews, no matter how good your team is individually. Maybe we can argue about diminishing returns, but that's a different point.

2. Code reviews help to spread familiarity with the code among more people in the team. So that when another team member has to fix something in the code Joe wrote (because Joe is on vacation this week), there's a good chance that this isn't the first time he's ever seen the code.

3. Code reviews spread good practices and knowledge. Your team is unlikely to be all equally knowledgeable in all areas, so code reviews are a good place to spread ideas around.

So, even if you have good regression testing and your programmers are diligent testers themselves, I'd still suggest looking at what well done code reviews can do for you.

more than 3 years ago

Hotels Lead the Industry In Credit Card Theft

billtom Re:Why do merchants need to retain CC info? (135 comments)

It's my understanding that the CC companies are moving towards what you are talking about (store transaction tokens, not CC details). But the CC companies are very reluctant to really push all the merchants to upgrade their systems.

The merchants, of course, don't want to spend any money updating their systems. And the CC companies can't afford to simply cut off large numbers of merchants that won't upgrade or comply to guidelines.

more than 4 years ago

China Renews Google's Content Provider License

billtom Re:Not much of a change (64 comments)

I'll have to disagree with you there. The Communist Party of China absolutely wants to retain political control over China.

The problem they face, which causes things like the Google situation, is that they in order to avoid large scale revolt, they need to maintain a high economic growth rate. And totalitarian economies aren't particularly good at getting economies to grow. So the Party is trying to have a sort-of free market economy while still denying the Chinese people political choice.

But having economic freedom but not political freedom naturally creates friction and strange situations. Like the Google one.

more than 4 years ago

How HTML5 Will Change the Web

billtom Chickens and eggs (208 comments)

When a true random sampling of internet users shows 80%+ of those users using browsers with good HTML 5 support, then I'll start using HTML 5.

Until then, as an internet developer for a small business, it's still HTML 4. We don't have the money to do both and we have to go where the users are.

more than 4 years ago

Might Shatner Boldly Lead Canada As Governor?

billtom I demand a return to patronage appointments! (318 comments)

I'm tired of all these artist/journalist GGs. Let's get the job back to it's proper political patronage role. Forget about political correctness, the criteria should be: which old white guy raised the most money for the party in power.

more than 4 years ago

Sergey Brin On Google and China

billtom Re:I get the feeling.... (368 comments)

The thing is, Google wasn't really making money in China. They failed to take much search market share from the incumbents (particularly Baidu) and their China operations were costly.

This has led many, myself included, to think that the whole free speech and hacking angle that Google is now adopting is just a smokescreen. It lets them save face and leave a market they've failed in while getting kudos from the internet community for standing up to censorship.

The primary evidence for this idea is that China has the same censorship and government hacking policies today as it did years ago when Google entered the China market, so why leave now? Because they've failed to meet market share and profit targets.

more than 4 years ago

What To Expect From HTML5

billtom The IE elephant in the room (272 comments)

It's hard to get too excited about new web stuff because as a web developer, the answer to "when can I start using the new stuff in my sites" is always "when 90%+ of my visitors have browsers that support it."

And given the excruciatingly slow rates of: IE losing market share, MS implementing new technologies in IE, and users upgrading to newer versions of IE; the answer to that 90%+ question for HTML5 will be measured in years from now.

more than 4 years ago

Reliability of PC Flash SSDs?

billtom Re:Linus says... (467 comments)

Note that the Torvalds article referenced is one year old (2 Oct 2008). The SSD space has, of course, changed a lot in the past year.

more than 5 years ago

Toyota Experimenting With Joystick Control For Cars

billtom Re:Power Steering failure? (609 comments)

Well, it's sort of a moot question because we're moving towards drive-by-wire cars even if we keep the wheel and two pedals interface. Mechanical linkage between steering wheel and wheels will be gone in a decade or so.

more than 5 years ago


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