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How Videogames Help Fund the Arms Industry

gmcraff Re:How about just not naming them real names? (410 comments)

Verisimilitude.

If you're going to make a game set in WW2, you model real WW2 weapons.

If your game is set anywhere from 1990 to 2050, and you're trying to model real-world combat situations (with varying degrees of accuracy), then you'll have to model real world firearms. Due to the durability of firearms and the essentially mature technology, you could expect current technology and models to be used for decades. Consider the 1911 pistol for example: that's not a just a model number, that's the year it was introduced. It's also the most common handgun used by serious competitors today.

Savvy gamers today just aren't going to buy it if their High Intensity Combat Operative character in the game is deploying with Generic Intermediate Caliber Select Fire Rifle firing the combat tested 5.44x40mm Solid Lead to Ashcanistan to fight the nefarious Ethnically and Ideologically Unidentifiable Terrorist Organization. They want their DEVGRU to drop out of a Lockheed C-130J into Timbuktu carrying a Colt M-4 Carbine with a Trijicon ACOG on top so they can put a 5.56mm NATO round into the tuches of a Al Qaeda splinter group that's trying to destroy a UN World Heritage site. (Licensing fees paid for all those trademarks.)

If you want to make stuff up, you've got to set your story a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, or some other equivalent narrative technique to put distance between what the player knows and the game-world contains. You can fake medieval weapons. You can't fake modern fire-arms in present-day settings.

about a year and a half ago
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Outgoing Federal CIO Warns of 'IT Cartel' In DC

gmcraff Re:Not just an IT problem (198 comments)

No, this is the state of play even before we start talking about lobbyists.

The regulations accumulated like that as the result of some grievously bad deal that happened a long time ago on a project you've never heard of. Because of this forgotten screw-up, Congress passed laws to require oversight and record keeping for this, that or the other detail.

Also, when Congress appropriates money in the budget, they allocate the money for certain purposes. In government, they call that "colors of money". Certain colors can pay for R&D, certain colors for initial purchases, other colors for maintenance, things like that. This can guide certain government decisions, such as whether to pay for more R&D now to have lower initial procurement costs, or buy cheaper components in initial procurement and plan for higher maintenance costs, etc. Using funds for purposes not consistent with the appropriated purpose is a crime.

Let's use my cheeseburger example. If you want one, you determine what kind of money you have and what quality you want, and some qualities may be out of your price range. You then go to McDonalds, or Red Robin, or Rainforest Cafe, whatever, and you pay your money and you get a (restaurant name) cheeseburger. Let's say they advertise a double quarter pounder, medium rare with Tillamook medium cheddar cheese with pickles, onions, tomatoes on a sesame seed bun, and you want all that.

Now, let's say the government wants the same cheeseburger, only they're going to buy 10,000 of them. As a result of the FAR, the following certifications must be established before delivery and acceptance by the Decision Authority:

- Weight of each hamburger patty must be +/- 5% of the Critical Performance Metric of 0.25 lbs. Continuous sampling, measurement and reporting must be done to maintain quality/quantity standards to the governments specifications (The restaurant/manufacturer's own QA process is done separately and in parallel, but has no bearing on the government's metrics.), reported monthly
- The cooking process must be certified to achieve a 95% outcome of Medium Rare (see appendix A for definition). Sampling, measuring and reporting to be provided monthly.
- Quality of other ingredients are also to be sampled, measured and reported, monthly.
- The economic health of the providers of cheese, tomato, onion, ground beef, buns, etc must be assessed for economic viability, and a multi-source procurement process must be implemented for any critical material to ensure the supply of all components even in the event of a supplier going out of business. If a component can only be procured from one source (possibly for proprietary reasons), the liability of the manufacturing line must be assessed and if necessary, the government will buy the whole plant to assure the production of the material even if no one else on the market wants that product any more.

Without considering corruption, wastage, inefficiency, lobbying, political favors, etc, this is how you make a $200 hamburger. All by the regulations.

more than 3 years ago
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Outgoing Federal CIO Warns of 'IT Cartel' In DC

gmcraff Not just an IT problem (198 comments)

It's a military, construction, health, fill-in-the-government-blank, problem.

General Dynamics, Raytheon, Boeing, Halliburton, etc provide a critical service: they understand government regulation. If you've ever seen a printed out copy of the Federal Acquisition Regulations, you'd be surprised that gravitational collapse isn't happening.

For most businesses, it's not worth taking a government contract until they're asking you to provide a COTS solution, where you know what you're selling, and the government pays you, and that's the end of it. The government is getting exactly what the commercial market gets. Firm Fixed Price contract, no surprises.

As soon as the government wants it customized in any way, and they're willing to pay you to customize it, that rabbit hole goes all the way down. Every stipulation of the contract must be assessed for compliance, and every assessment requires some kind of test, and every test has a schedule towards passage of the test, and every last one of these things costs time and resources, which means money, which the government is going to pay you, because the government wants its double cheeseburger in a way that no-one else wants it.

If you're an action oriented kind of entrepreneur, this will drive you insane. So you don't do it yourself. You go in as a subcontractor to one of the big Gov-BS-Handlers. You do the work, they firewall you from the BS, 50% for you, 250% for them (after change orders and spec changes and reviews and program management overhead) and everyone is happy with the $500 hammer (non-sparking, minimal toxic release, aircraft rated, 8 pound, loading bracket hinge, for the hitting of, one count)

more than 3 years ago
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Barack Obama Sworn In As 44th President of the US

gmcraff Re:The Naivete of Hope (1656 comments)

The nit is well picked. I shall resolve to remember that detail.

more than 5 years ago
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Barack Obama Sworn In As 44th President of the US

gmcraff Re:The Naivete of Hope (1656 comments)

I was told dissent is patriotic.

I dissented with some things (rather vigorously) during the 43rd Presidency. I dissented with a lot of things during the 42nd Presidency.

The 44th President is going to get my dissent as well.

Welcome to the United States of America. I can see you just arrived.

more than 5 years ago
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Barack Obama Sworn In As 44th President of the US

gmcraff Re:Chanj (1656 comments)

<lol>Wud hav had it neway</lol>

On November 3rd, 2004, one could predict that there would be change happening on January 20th, 2009. One could predict that the 44th president of the United States of America would be inaugurated.

It is now the responsibility of the 44th President to ensure that there will be an orderly transition of power to the 45th President. It is also his responsibility to ensure that there will be an orderly transition to the 100th President, and the 200th President, and so on.

So Help Barack H. Obama, God. So Help Us All.

more than 5 years ago
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AVG Fakes User Agent, Floods the Internet

gmcraff Re:F5 IRule (928 comments)

I recommend using a data class rather than setting a global variable.

Data classes are compiled at configuration load and are static, whereas setting the global variable with each firing of the event absorbs a small amount of processing time to reset the variable. Setting global variables can also move TMM into a slower processing regime. As the HTTP_REQUEST event is very 'inner loop', it is best to optimize it as much as possible.

If you absolutely have to set a global variable with a semi-fixed value, I recommend doing it during the RULE_INIT event.

(As of July 1st, F5 is offering expanded iRule support to Premium and Premium Plus support contract holders. Call in with your troublesome iRules, and you have a somewhat decent chance of ending up with me at the other end of the phone.)

more than 6 years ago

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