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Ask Slashdot: Android Apps For Kids Under 12 Months?

iocat Re:6 months? (311 comments)

You're not supposed to entertain infants. You're supposed to keep them from dying. Anything you do or that they see should be intrinsically motivating for them. This is why they love super boring shit like seeing car keys or business reply cards. If they're bored give them a wooden spoon. All a tablet is going to do is frustrate them.

Am I saying you're a bad parent if you use devices to entertain your less-than-12-month-old infant? Yes, I am. I am straight up judging you and finding you lacking if, after hundreds of thousands of years of non-screen-based infant development, you suddenly are too weak and useless to raise a child without a tiny TV next to them. You're a disgrace to our species.

Source: raised kid without showing them TV until they were after 1 year old. I don't mean they never saw a TV, I'm just saying we never used it as a babysitter or were like "now's the time when you watch tv"

about a year and a half ago

Assange Makes Statement Calling For an End To the "Witch Hunt"

iocat Re:"Do the right thing" (915 comments)

Way to defend rape. It's possible to be raped by someone you previously had consensual sex with.

more than 2 years ago

Assange Makes Statement Calling For an End To the "Witch Hunt"

iocat Re:"Do the right thing" (915 comments)

Source, please?

more than 2 years ago

OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) Won't Support Some 64-bit Macs With Older GPUs

iocat Re:Just buy new hardware! (NOT) (417 comments)

The thing I don't really get about this is that AFAIK the retina display Macbook Pros are functionally going to run at 1440 x 900 anyway; other than font rendering and videos it's not even clear to me what the extra pixels are for. Will you even be able to set your machine to let you individually address those pixels? So why not let older machines just run at their native res, and don't tax the GPU?

more than 2 years ago

Should Snatching an iPhone Be a Felony?

iocat Re:Why does his privacy have not value? (607 comments)

RTFA. Chris Brown kept the phone. He grabbed it from someone's hand and drove away.

His privacy doesn't have value because he's a celebrity. That's settled law. The iPhone has value because some lady purchased it. Also settled law.

You can whine about how it's not right all you want, but then I'd counter with whining about how it's not right that a woman-beating piece of garbage like Chris Brown is still a celebrity.

And I'd further argue that only his celebrity kept him out of jail after that incident, so a) maybe he should calm down when someone takes a picture of him and b) maybe the fact that he can't calm down means he belongs somewhere where he can't hurt people.

more than 2 years ago

Dealing With an Overly-Restrictive Intellectual Property Policy?

iocat Re:Two mostly similar choices (467 comments)

This. Honest is the best policy. At my last job, I had a similar agreement, and I wanted to do something that was theoretically (but not practically) directly in my field -- I wanted to make an indie videogame, while working at a videogame company (that made macro games). I talked to my boss, explained the situation, came to a verbal agreement, sent him an email, and got an email response giving me the go-ahead to do the project (with a former co-worker who had gone to a competitor, no less). It didn't go anywhere, but if it had been the next Limbo, I was protected. If I had been sneaky and made the next Limbo, I'd be in copyright/IP/legal purgatory. Also, most jobs with this type of agreement will have an invention assignment form when you start the job, where you can specifically carve out previous inventions/IPs you've developed or are developing. I advise everyone in a creative endeavor to pay close attention to this and avail themselves of the ability to carve things out before they start a new job.

more than 2 years ago

Don't Worry About Global Warming, Say 16 Scientists in the WSJ

iocat Re:I am not worried about it (1367 comments)

No offense, but... source?

more than 2 years ago

Microsoft Pushes For Gay Marriage In Washington State

iocat Re:Glad to see Microsoft taking this position (678 comments)

I kind of agree with the grandparent. The whole problem with marriage in the United States is that it is a religious thing that is sponsored by the government. When I was forced to legally marry my partner of 15 years (for insurance reasons) we got a form from the state government telling us we needed to get our marriage "solemnized" by a priest or judge. Why was priest even an option? I can't get a priest to renew my drivers' license or notarize any other type of contract, so why do they have this magic power granted to them by the state for marriage?

In my opinion, civil marriage should be handled by the state only. If I need to "solemnize" the fact that I have a girlfriend and make our relationship a legal contract, let someone at the DMV do it.

If I want to get "married" in the eyes of God, that's a religious thing, and I can take it up with my church.

(Of course, this isn't the system we have, and given the system we actually have in the U.S., anyone should be allowed to marry anyone else in my opinion. If you're against same sex marriage, don't have one.)

more than 2 years ago

Will NASA Ever Recover Apollo 13's Plutonium From the Ocean

iocat Re:wtf? (263 comments)

Cool thanks.

more than 2 years ago

Will NASA Ever Recover Apollo 13's Plutonium From the Ocean

iocat wtf? (263 comments)

Wow, that's a really poorly written article. From TFA:

The catastrophic risk came from the SNAP-27 radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG), a small nuclear reactor that was going to be placed on the moon to power experiments, carrying Plutonium 238 Apollo 13’s lunar module.

What does that even mean? Anyway, if it was in the LEM, did the LEM even survive rentry? Since it had no heat shield, etc.? Is the LEM still attched to the CM during re-entry even? Pretty sure it's not.

more than 2 years ago

The recent snow on the U.S. east coast ...

iocat Re:World News brought to you by a /. poll (292 comments)

The MLB is the biggest market for baseball and draws the best players from all over the world. It's a cinch to say that the winning team is the best single team in the world. There is a World Baseball Classic started after those jerks at the Olympics threw baseball out of the competition, and based on that you could say Japan is best at baseball, but the team that beat the Texas Rangers is probably the best team in the world at the moment. Other than the Oakland A's, who will win the world series next year. I hope! :)

more than 2 years ago

Apple Nixes iPad Giveaways

iocat Re:Enforceability? (388 comments)

There's some case law on this related to the Super Bowl, and whether or not I can buy two tickets to the SB and then do a "Win a trip to the Super Bowl!!" contest. IIRC & IANAL If you're drafting too much off their brand and trademark, they may have some grounds. You can do whatever you want with your iPad, including giving it away, but if you do an ad campaign in which the free iPad is basically the main thrust of the campaign, you start to tread on tricky ground. If you were like "Win great prizes, such as an iPod, a new Mustang or a Nomad MP3 player!" you're on much better ground. If your contest ad looks like an Apple ad, well, you're in trouble.

more than 3 years ago

Google Yanks Several Emulators From App Store

iocat Re:Meh... (190 comments)

So Yong Zhang deserves to get paid... for putting hard work into violating license agreements and porting other people's emulators which are used for... what exactly? Certainly not playing stolen videogames! Because then you might need to go up the chain a bit and feel bad for the software creators who weren't being paid. But no one ever seems to give a shit about them when something gets in the way of playing stolen games.

more than 3 years ago

Bizarre Porn Raid Underscores Wi-Fi Privacy Risks

iocat Re:guilty eh? (964 comments)

I leave my wireless router unprotected. I keep my machines locked down and I don't really care if my nieghbors use my wifi, I don't suck down a lot of data anyway. Also, I think the world would be a better and more useful place if all wifi access points were open. But what's scary to me now is if some neighbor used my router to do something illegal (proscribed porn, bot net, whatever) some moron might decide that I'm somehow culpable because the bad things passed through a box in my house. This case actually has me reconsidering my open access policy.

more than 3 years ago

Tattoos For the Math and Science Geek?

iocat Re:Smith Chart (1186 comments)

One has the right to get a stupid tattoo, or spout anti-Semitic nonsense, or do any number of things. That doesn't magically free you from the consequences of the action (such as having to wear long sleeves at work, or being fired for being a bigot.)

more than 4 years ago

Apple Announces iPhone 4

iocat Re:Gizmodo (1184 comments)

It also has FOLDERS!!! Now that's a stunning achievement! Maybe by iOS7, you'll be able to nest folders inside of one another!

more than 4 years ago

What Has Your Phone Survived?

iocat Re:I don't have an iPhone, (422 comments)

I know a guy who tests phones (for a living) by (among other things) putting them in ovens at stupidly high tempatures. They still work afterwards.

more than 4 years ago

The Science of Avatar

iocat Re:I haven't seen it (275 comments)

Having seen in in 3D, I can assure you, the visuals are not "a critical piece," they are "the critical piece." This is not a movie to watch critically for plot holes or bad dialog, The 3D is great, and the CG is just stunning.

more than 3 years ago

When Developers Work Late, Should the Manager Stay?

iocat Re:It's called a team (426 comments)

Agree completely. When I was managing developers, I felt I had to be first in and last out. Not hovering (although, I confess, that happened occaisionally -- maybe six times in a brutal 8 month crunch, when we were getting close to a breathrough), but making sure everyone had everything they needed, whether it was food, laundry, software, dev support services, live rats for their pet snakes, or just someone to bitch to. No one likes putting in long hours when the "boss" is off golfing. If you're interfering with the team you're slowing them down, but you have to be there, even if you're just in your office miserably surfing the web (or sleeping -- I've had "first in, last out" schedules that kept me in the office from 8am to 4am for weeks, so sleeping under the desk was the only way to cope).

There's always something you can do, whether it's streamlining HR administrivia for people, hunting down the latest versions of SDKs and stuff, or whatever. When there was nothing I could do on the project (not testing or feedback or whatever), I just focused on quality of life issues. My big tip: buy a barbeque grill and cook for your team. Not only is it cheaper than any pre-cooked alternative, it tastes better and people seem to really like the fact that the producer is personally cooking for them. You can buy steaks and potatoes for less than the cost of pizza, and burgers and stuff trend towards less than $3 a person (versus ~$8 for pizza or ~$20 for Indian). A 10pm or 11pm run for ice cream, slim jims, fresh coffee, and cigarettes is also usually appreciated!

Bottom line, if you can't change the schedule so people can live normal lives, my feeling is you have a firm responsibility to share the pain and enable people to get the task at hand done as easily as possible. But, don't get in the way, don't micromanage, and DO NOT CHAT. If there are two producers there, bored, chewing the fat while they are "there with the team" they may as well go home. Everyone else is concentrating. Pretend you are too! And don't chat with the people doing the heavy lifting unless they are clearly in break mode! You cannot be a tool of procrastination!

more than 4 years ago



5 Years, 20 games -- a DS Lessonography

iocat iocat writes  |  more than 5 years ago

iocat (572367) writes "To most developers, 20 games may be more than they create in a whole career. For handheld creators like Griptonite Games , it's barely one hardware generation. J.C. Connors, studio head at Griptonite, has written an interesting article for Gamastura about the lessons the team has learned this generation, working on high profile DS titles such as Spore Creatures , Age of Empires: Mythologies , and Spider-Man: Web of Shadows ."
Link to Original Source

Next Gen:News Media Hurts Itself with Game-Bashing

iocat iocat writes  |  more than 6 years ago

iocat writes "Colin Campbell (editor-in-chief of Next Gen Online ), has delivered a thought-provoling editorial related to the Mass Effect Affair — Fox New's denounciation of Mass Effect under the headline "SE-Xbox," which attempted to portray the game as depraved, interactive, hard-core porn. (A semi-retraction followed, in which the reporter had to admit she hadn't played the game).
Campbell makes the point that:

[The Media] seem to be stuck in a weird time warp; one where consumers find videogames strange and threatening; one where games are the province of young men, prone to anti-social behavior and potential violence. ... This is, in fact, a failure on their part because it's not normal NOT to play games. Playing games is the thing regular people do. So when the networks start blustering about how it's "interactivity" or "gore" or "porn" in games that does the damage, they look like idiots. And not just to some hardcore fraternity of die-hard gamers, but to millions of their viewers.
The rest of the editorial deals with the damage that the mainstream media is doing to itself by continuing to try and foist "antiqudated opinions" on an audience more tech- and media-savvy than its own reporters."

Link to Original Source

iocat iocat writes  |  more than 7 years ago

iocat (572367) writes "Just in time for summer comes a new threat at the beach... the beach itself. According to a story on CNN , which sites an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, sand holes have killed more Americans (16) than shark attacks (12) in the period from 1990 — 2006. They can quickly collapse and crush or suffocate victims.

According to the article, one victim was " Matthew Gauruder, who died from a collapse at an after-prom beach party in Westerly, Rhode Island, in May 2001. The 17-year-old was playing football with friends when he jumped for a pass and fell backward into an eight-foot-deep hole someone had dug earlier. Would-be rescuers made the problem worse by caving in more sand as they tried to approach him. People at the scene said he may have been buried 15 minutes, said his mother, Mavis. "

A crusading father and son duo of doctors has pursued the issue for years, after the son witnessed a dangerous collapse while working a summer job as a life-guard on Martha's Vineyard. Apparently life-guards on the Vineyard are now instructed to kick people out of holes deeper than a child's waist."

Link to Original Source

iocat iocat writes  |  more than 7 years ago

iocat (572367) writes "According to this story at Physorg, an engineer at NC State has created a supercomputing cluster of PS3s, linking together 8 of systems. Although the 512MB RAM capacity is a limitation, Professor Frank Mueller is quoted in the article as saying "Scientific computing is just number crunching, which the PS3s are very good at given the Cell processor and deploying them in a cluster..." The cluster cost him about US$5,000 to create. He estimates 10K clustered PS3s could be the most powerful computer on earth."



24-hour stores

iocat iocat writes  |  more than 10 years ago The existance of 24-hour stores, such as Meijer Thrifty Acres in the midwest, or the Long's Drugs at 51st and Broadway in Oakland (which, it must be stated, is far more than just a drug store and in fact is equal in square footage to about one half of a Target, but without as many clothes, so the actual selection of non-clothes articles is both deeper and broader (where else can you buy a live lemon tree, a fishing rod, a bolt of fabric, your choice from an entire AISLE of shelving paper, and a bear-claw all in one shopping trip?) than your average Target or K-Mart), while awesome, is significantly mitigated if you never wake up at 4am and are wide awake and desperate for something to do. I mention this for two reasons. One, so I could make a super, super long sentence, and two because while I used to always either wake up or still be up at 4am, and looking for some fun place to hang out, these days I seem to go to bed early and wake up late. Possibly due to oldness.


clock tower 3

iocat iocat writes  |  more than 10 years ago The last boss in Clock Tower 3 is really just annoying. But other than that I loved the game. I beat it -- ok, I got to the final boss -- a super long time ago, but just scammed a save off a friend tonight so I can just see the ending movie w/o having to beat the final boss.


medical marijuanaand potheads

iocat iocat writes  |  more than 10 years ago Why is it that the only people who seem to really need / want medical marijuana are like burn-outs driving VW micro buses? I mean, are they reflecting the classic stereotype of pot smokers *before* they need medical marijuana, or does using medical marijuana for dodgy reasons like "back pain" somehow *cause* one to become some kind of hippy throwback?

You never see some guy in a suit talking about he needs pot because of his back pain... it's always some person who looks like they just wandered out of Humbolt County. It's amazing to me how just as soon as medical marijuana was legalized in CA, all these burnouts suddenly developed medical-marijuan-requiring conditions...

Anyway, just for the record, my current thought is that I am pro-legalization of most recreational drugs. Using drugs is incredibly stupid and self-destructive, but since most drug users just self-select themselves out of the way of non-drug-users' lives and career paths, it's really no skin off my nose if they want to ruin their own lives. Criminalizing drugs just creates a black market and the attendent violent crime and lengthy, pointless, jail sentences for non-violent offenders.



iocat iocat writes  |  more than 10 years ago The day after Thanksgiving should officially be known as RPG DAY. On this day, the shoppers can go shop, and the gamers can spend the entire day playing RPGs.

Normally I'm not much of an RPG player -- I like action, fast games, racing, etc. RPGs take too much time for too subtle a pay-off (not to put too fine a point on it, but when I want stories, I read books). But every now and then, you do want a linear, structured, environment in which to experience success, and nothing fits the bill like an RPG.

RPG DAY -- a day when there's really nothing else to do -- fits the bill perfectly. Nothing else is calling your time, chores can still be put off to Saturday or Sunday, and there's a great feeling of holiday quiet that can't be duplicated any other day of the year. Oh, and left-overs and leveling up just go together in a way that can't be articulated.

So my advice to the world? Pull out Zelda, Final Fantasy, or even go old-school to Wizardry on your Apple II or emulator, and get ready to spend a whole day immersed in hacking, slashing, and mindless leveling up!

For me, this year, my poison of choice will be Gladius from LucasArts. Happy RPG day!


Teller and moderation

iocat iocat writes  |  about 11 years ago I'll probably get meta-moderated into oblivion, but I just moderated the hell out of the Edward Teller comments. From what I saw, comments fell into these categories:

1) Comments bashing Teller because he ratted out Oppenheimer and/or because he was all about nuclear weapons.

2) Comments praising Teller for being a badass.

3) Comments that were praising his accomplishments, but taking note of the fact that he did some fucked up things and was a pretty complicated individual.

What irritated me though, was that comments in the first category were all at 5, and the other two were either at -1 Flambait/Troll or just 1 or 2. I fall in category 3, but I just feel like people who made/moderated comments in category 1 just are either naive or ignorant. The soviets are a big joke now, but back in the day -- when Teller was saying the only thing that would hold them back was the H-Bomb -- they really WERE bent on world domination, and you know, evil. Like, do some reading (gulag archipelago, the richard rhoades books, etc.) before you start saying the world would have been a better place if Teller was never born!


healthy fast food

iocat iocat writes  |  more than 11 years ago When evaluating the health quality of fast food, it's best to just look at calories, not anything else. Calories are all that matter in weight loss, anyway (don't believe me? check out the hacker's diet for details.

Anyway, eliminate Burger King immediately. The Whopper is like 600C w/o mayonaise. If you're trying to keep under 2000 C a day, this is worthless, since the Whopper isn't even filling.

At McDonald's, a Big Mac is 590 C, which is a lot, but can be the basis of a 1000 calorie lunch, when paired with small fries -- the kids' size ones -- and a diet coke. But the smart money is on a Quarter Pounder with no cheese, at only 410 calories, and a fairly satisfying burger, especially with the onions. Don't fall into the siren song of getting two cheeseburgers -- at 330 calories each, they're worse than a Big Mac! The real Calories in fast food burgers are in the buns...

Wendy's is going to be your low-cal fast food savior. A Single, no mayo, no cheese, is only 380 C -- that's only 100 C more than a McDonald's hamburger! Make it a Double, which is a pretty satisfying burger, and you've only added 200C, still a tiny bit less than a Big Mac. Skip fries and replace them with 5 chicken nuggets (only 99c and 225 Calories) and you're either at 605 with a Single, or 805 with a Double. Finally, throw on a side salad with 1/2 pack of French dressing (35 and 45 C, respectively) to round out the edges and you have a pretty filling fast food meal thats under 700 or 900 Calories (again depending on whether you went with a Single or a Double). The salad is even sort of healthy, in a fiber way (it's long on lettuce, short on everything else), and the dressing is pretty good.


iocat iocat writes  |  more than 11 years ago Ok, it's 5am, I got a proposal done 30 minutes ago. Do I go home and sleep for two hours or stay up? I will be hella tired and in a bad mood either way, but if I stay up, I don't have to deal with the pain of *getting* up. I also reek. I wonder if it is light outside. Staying up all night gets somewhat less fun as you age, I think.


Come to my GDC speech

iocat iocat writes  |  more than 11 years ago I'm giving a speech at GDC:

Saturday, March 8 9:00-10:00AM Lecture: Designing Original Games Based on Licensed Properties

If you're up early, or more to the point, still up, and want to hear some GBA licensed game horror stories, stop by!

On the one hand I am bummed that I got such a crappy time, but on the other, anyone who shows up, I'll know really was interested in the topic.


iocat iocat writes  |  more than 11 years ago There are basically three choices in wooden train sets: Brio, Thomas the Tank Engine, and the cheap one from Target. They are all entirely inter-operable, and feature wooden tracks, and wooden train cars with magnetic couplings.

Brio is so outrageously expensive that is clearly exists only for rich people to demostrate their wealth. A starter set in a figure 8 with 3 train cars (~20 pieces total) costs $40. A slightly larger set costs $100. The accessories are just vulgarly expensive: A crane costs $31 (this is one track length with a plastic crane); a small, matchbox sized cop car is $12, a 2 car and 1 engine Santa Fe branded passanger train is $46... and these are discount prices online.

The Thomas the Tank Engine trains, which feature the painful english license, are about 60% of the cost of the Brio trains. Still, a 45 piece set with bridges and crap runs $240 at retail.

From Target, I just bought a 140 piece set for $39 (it's actually $59 at, but cheaper in the stores -- this is very common for Target). It's exactly the same stuff.

Anyway, it's fucking insane that Brio charges as much as it does, but it's even more insane that people pay those prices for their precious children.

I like what one woman I met did: her kid was bugging her for those trains at Christmas, while they were in one of those yuppie stores that sell them, and she was like "This train set costs as much as an Elephant. We don't have elephants at home, we go to the zoo. This store is like the zoo. You play with the trains here, and then we go home." I wish I had thought of that line of reasoning.

Anyway, no clue how the generic trains will go over, and my dad claims he will subsidize the purchase of Thomas trains to go on the track, so we'll see.

FWIW, a real HO scale electric train set runs $39 and up, with most coming in around $69. HO trains kick the ass of wooden trains.


iocat iocat writes  |  more than 11 years ago I don't know why I like this game so much. It's repetitive, simple, and pretty each -- circle strafing and patience enables you to get through most missions unharmed. And yet, it's totally additive. I just want to see what happens next.

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