Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



FPS Gaming and the 'Just-World Hypothesis'

lxt Re:All FPS do this (366 comments)

I'm not entirely sure I agree with you when you say "we don't like [moral ambiguity] in games".

I'd argue the problem is more moral ambiguity is difficult to write in games. It is hard to create characters and situations that are both morally ambiguous and rewarding to play, but when it's done right it can be extremely effective. The problem is it's extremely easy for a writer or game designer to take the easy way out and just state "this man is bad" versus "this man is driven by a series of complex emotions and decisions".

For example, Deus Ex is pretty much in every single Top 10 Games list ever made, and that's a game which takes great pains to make almost every character morally ambiguous. Everyone you're up against will have some plausible logic behind their actions, and you're frequently chastised and praised for your violence or passivity as a player by NPCs. And it's undeniable that players responded extremely positively to that game.

People *are* drawn to ambiguous characters for the simple reason that they reflect ourselves: nobody is perfect, after all. I'm not saying every game should offer you differing ethical choices and perspective (hey, sometimes its fun to just gun down Nazis without worrying about the consequences of your actions), but morally ambiguous characters *can* be enjoyable to watch (hey, The Sopranos and The Wire were based around that entire premise), and to play.

more than 3 years ago

Julian Assange To Be Extradited To Sweden

lxt Re:I would just like to take this opportunity to s (530 comments)

It amazes me that people here just don't get the fact that Assange has no case. If you actually read the ruling (, you'll see that not only legally did he have very little to actually complain about, but his own defense lawyer basically lied to the court.

So go ahead, rant about big government and scary oppression all you want, but it's completely irrelevant to this case. Britain and Sweden are members of the European Union. One of the major benefits of the EU is the easing of border restrictions. You can cross from France to Germany, for example, without a passport. Citizens of one EU country can legally work in any other EU country. However, this runs both ways. You can move freely between EU countries as an EU citizen, but so can the law. That's the whole point of a European Arrest Warrant. That's why Assange has no case. It's got nothing about the US, nothing about him...and all about the law.

In case you didn't get it: every single point of Assange's defense was demolished by the judge. Now, you're probably going to say "well, of course, the judge was in on it too", but read the ruling. He allegedly committed a crime in Sweden. He may well be innocent, but that's completely irrelevant. This hearing had absolutely nothing to do about his guilt, and everything to do about whether Sweden is legally able to extradite people in another EU country for crimes they are wanted in connection with. And there's not question that Sweden has that right under EU law.

I'll say it once more: read the ruling I linked to above. Assange's legal defense was very bad, and never stood a chance. It's not about people out to get him, it's about a terrible legal team


more than 3 years ago

BBC To Dispose of Douglas Adams Website

lxt Re:A History of Brilliant Behavior (189 comments)

Exactly - it wasn't unusual. It happens in almost every new piece of media - for a time its cultural value is under appreciated, and much material is lost. The same things happened in the 1910s-20s with film. Film stock *was* volatile, but with the right storage could have been preserved. Today, less than 10% of films made during that time period exist, mainly because the rest got thrown out.

The same thing happened in the 60s/70s with video tape (the stuff cost a fortune, and nobody thought people were going to care about the programs they were erasing 50 years in the future), and again with websites until crawling and archiving became commonplace.

more than 3 years ago

Judge Berates Prosecutors In Xbox Modding Trial

lxt Re:Ars has a few more details and links (285 comments)

If you RTFA, you'd realise the link you just posted *is* TFA. It's the same Wired content reposted on Ars... :/

more than 3 years ago

In the Face of Android, Why Should Nokia Stick With MeeGo?

lxt Too late for developers... (336 comments)

It seems that Nokia has a bit of a following on /., probably because their hardware is pretty decent, and key handsets like the N900 appeal to the demographic here. But the fact is in terms of an *ecosystem*, Nokia has nothing. They are in the gutter.
Nokia are at the point where they are actively having to pay developers to write apps. And we're not talking small apps here - big, branded apps for global companies, who are being approached by Nokia asking them if they'd like an app for Ovi. I couldn't tell you the number of clients I deal with day in day out during my day job who have already been rung up by Nokia. Even with an app developed at no cost, very few companies will take Nokia up on it.
It is simply not a space that people want to release software into right now. It doesn't get you press, and it doesn't get you sales. At least Blackberry have realised their previous app space strategy wasn't working, and are attempting to engage with mobile developers in a meaningful way. Nokia's left there without a clue.

more than 3 years ago

Early Review of 11" Macbook Air

lxt Re:Why isn't it black? (348 comments)

It is in keeping with the current design language: my current gen MacBook Pro has a silver bezel - it's a custom order option if you get the high-res matte display. I actually think it's nicer than the black.

more than 3 years ago

Should Sony Team With Google On a PlayStation Phone?

lxt Re:Why would they? (182 comments)

My Bravia TV running Linux says you're wrong. Sony want nothing to do with an *open* implementation of Linux. They use Linux all the time as an embedded OS on their own products.

more than 3 years ago

India's $35 7-Inch Android Tablet To Hit In January

lxt Re:2GB Ram? (205 comments)

The submission is wrong. It's flash memory, not RAM. The TFA even says so.

about 4 years ago

India's $35 7-Inch Android Tablet To Hit In January

lxt Re:Production cost (205 comments)

Two words for you: Resistive touchscreen

about 4 years ago

The Joke Known As 3D TV

lxt Re:thrusting (594 comments)

I don't know where you're getting the idea it's cheaper to shoot on film than digital, but in the vast majority of cases it's much, *much*, cheaper to shoot digitally than on film.

Film is costly for several reasons, including having a finite supply of it (when shooting a film you tend to shoot between 3-4x more footage than you end up using. On digital it's much closer to 15-20x more footage), having to scan it to work on it digitally in post production (optical effects and tints being very rare today), and increasingly in today's world, a lack of people trained to handle it.

Not to mention the fact that stock itself is very expensive, and for digital you're either shooting on magnetic media or SSD.

Finally, your assertion that "depth is a known problem with filming" is nonsense. You may be used to seeing films with a shallow field, but it's entirely possible to shoot films without any depth of field at all. There was a movment in the 1930s to this effect - some really classic films such as 'The Rules of the Game' are shot almost entirely in 'deep focus', where there effectively is no depth of field, and everything is in sharp clarity.

about 4 years ago

id Software Demos Rage On iPhone, Releases Source Code For Two Games

lxt Re:iPhone? (266 comments)

"C) With no restrictions on app development, the person who makes a $.99 fart application loses business to the teenager with an hour of free time and an SDK who makes his own one and releases it for free for his own amusement. With the iPhone that app might cost $50 or more to develop"

Ah, but that's not strictly true, is it? Because to get onto the Android Market you need to pay a $25 registration fee. Now, I'll admit the App Store requires a $99 fee, but I think it's worth noting both platforms require some form of payment to actually get onto the main storefront.

more than 4 years ago

Apple Blindsides More AppStore Developers

lxt Re:Android... (716 comments)

Which would be a good point, except it's not just about the screens. Have you read the Android documentation? *Technically*, you're not even guaranteed the device you're writing for will have a touchscreen.

more than 4 years ago

Facebook Crawler Speaks Back

lxt Ooo, deja vu (317 comments)

It's sort of ironic that Facebook is trying to stop someone crawling public profiles on their site, because that's exactly what Mark Zuckerberg did while he was at Harvard (I was a grad student in the CS department at the time).

Pre-Facebook, Zuckerberg created a site that let Harvard students compare each other, a bit like Hot or Not. Obviously nobody was going to go to a site that wasn't populated with their classmates, so he basically crawled the websites of the various residential houses that put their students info online (but behind passwords and auth) and copied it into his own site.

He actually got into a fair bit of trouble for this, and ended up being sent to Harvard's ad-board for discipline (I think he got put on probation, but I'm not entirely sure).

The key difference here is that this guy actually did everything by the book and followed robots.txt, whereas Mark Zuckerberg didn't.

more than 4 years ago

Federal Agents Quietly Using Social Media

lxt Re:I'd hope so. (171 comments)

Exactly. People who are stupid enough to fall for it deserve what they get.

This isn't the government going behind your back, putting you under covert surveillance. It's completely in the open. A friend of mine used to work for the MA state police, in the computer forensics unit. He was amazed at the number of gang members who would just openly accept his friend request on Facebook, which would lead to him quietly beavering away to figure out the social network of the gang, where they met, what they got up to. Sneaky? Perhaps, but not illegal.

Really, people are just plain stupid.

more than 3 years ago

How Easy Is It To Cheat In CS?

lxt Re:Of course it is easy! (684 comments)

I think I disagree - the beauty of programming is everyone codes in a different way. I taught entry-level CS. A simple java 'print "hello world" 10 times using a for loop' question may only have one solution, but dozens of stylistic variations. Square braces on the same line? Spaces between your commas? System.out.println() or System.out.print? Cheating in CS is generally pretty easy to catch when somebody is just copying code, because it will be totally out of style with their usual work. The problem comes when someone is cheating to such an extent that *none* of their code is original!

more than 4 years ago

How Easy Is It To Cheat In CS?

lxt A ramble from the TAs view (684 comments)

I used to head TF CS classes at an Ivy League school (you can probably guess which one from my job title alone). I worked both in session with undergraduates, and in the summer for the high-school/further learning program.

Cheating in CS is terribly easy to detect. We had programs we could use to pick up anything suspect, but I never actually used them - at the entry-level I was teaching at, it was pretty easy to catch someone out. In fact, often you can complete the assignment in the time it would take you to modify your stolen/plagiarized code so as to be undetectable. Half the time you just need to google the code they submitted before you find a forum/Yahoo Answers post from the student in question, and once you've been coding a student for a while you get a good feel for what exactly is and isn't their style and their code.

As to preventing it: there was a very simple policy at my university. You cheat, you fail. In most cases, it was rarely followed. We tended to be far more strict at the Summer School sessions, but then again, we also tended to get considerably more problems, mainly because the high school students and foreign exchange students attending didn't know better. The university also didn't really have a problem showing them the door.

Undergraduates were more of an issue. A lot of the time, we would let them know we'd discovered it, and let it slide. Repeat offenders were usually dealt with by using some kind of grade penalty. Very rarely did students get referred for academic discipline (although this is partly due to the entry-level nature of the courses I taught. Something high-level, or with a substantial amount of original research required, would be another story).

Finally, and perhaps most importantly - why were these students cheating? Well, honestly, I suspect because of the academic pressures placed upon them. I'd be extremely interested to compare the rates of detected cheating at somewhere like MIT, where grades are rounded up/down for GPA (ie, get a B+ and it's recorded as a B in your GPA, get an A- and it becomes an A) and at my university. Given the vast number of emails I used to get at the end of each semester from students desperate for a grade boost to help their GPA, I can see how some might have convinced themselves it was 'ok' to cheat. And maybe....just maybe...people are cheating because they're not getting the support they need. The article says the guy was taking the class for the second time. Sounds like maybe he wasn't getting the one-on-one help and extra support teaching staff should be giving him. Just a thought.

more than 4 years ago

Apple Fails To Deliver On Windows 7 Boot Camp Promise

lxt Re:Bootcamp a gimmick (279 comments)

For many companies it's way more than a gimmick - I work for a large university that *exclusively* provides Apple hardware for end-user computing. All staff and students use iMacs or MacBook Pros for day to day use. The hardware is solid, and the lifespan of a mac machine tends to be a couple of years beyond that of a PC. Around half of those users choose to keep OS X on their personal machines we provide, and the others use Windows. So Boot Camp for us is really a big, big plus. If Apple didn't provide Boot Camp, they'd lose a lot of custom from institutions like ours.

more than 4 years ago

Attack of the PowerPoint-Wielding Professors

lxt From the other side... (467 comments)'s clear that the person blogging this has only really experienced things on one side of the fence. I used to Head TA some large intro CS classes for an Ivy school, and currently work in Instructional Technology. I think her complaints are valid, but don't really have a lot to do with PowerPoint - it's just a fact of life that some professors are bad lecturers. Using PowerPoint as a lecture tool can go pretty badly - but guess what, so can using a chalkboard! I've read a lot of student evaluations in my time, and for every student complaining that the class used too many slides, there's one who's upset we didn't have enough. Some students don't want to take notes, others do. This is part of the challenge of teaching - to find an even ground where every student is satisfied with the lecture style. For example, she says "what helps me most is doing problems step by step as a class". However, I've seen some students who *hate* this approach - so what about them? Do we just forget about them? Ignore them? I personally don't take notes very well, so I like having handouts to supplement lectures. Does this make me a bad student? Honestly, the blog post isn't all that different from some of the student evaluations I read for classes - one student's opinion about what his or her perfect class is. Unfortunately, other students might feel differently. A good professor can be engaging *regardless* of how they present. If you only lecture well with PowerPoint and the projector in your lecture hall breaks, what do you do? The student here is missing the much bigger picture, which is that bad teaching is just bad teaching - whether it be slides, chalk, or overheads.

more than 4 years ago

Archiving Digital Artwork For Museum Purchase?

lxt Um....tape??? (266 comments)

The fact that you haven't thought of tape makes me question how well you know the industry you're in, or how well-connected you actually are. Why can't you put your video files onto DigiBeta or similar? Tape stores well, and with a format like DigiBeta you're pretty much guaranteed compatability for at least 50 years+ (since there's so much TV back catalogue stored on tape, and there will always be a need by broadcasters to get to that content). I don't want to come off as rude, but it just sound like you don't really know much about video production and archival, despite the fact you've chosen to produce video installations and artwork. You're not the first person in the world to do this kind of thing - there are established proceedures for dealing with and archiving video installation work. This still doesn't entirely solve your problem of storing your raw data, but since you specifically talk about .mov files I'm perplexed that you haven't already thought of tape. I suspect you're going to get a lot of answers here that are wildly impractical for a gallery or go well beyond your means - but the fact is this: if a museum or gallery is looking to purchase your work, they should already have a curator who knows the medium. If they don't have a curator who can discuss with you the formats he/she would like the work in, the gallery probably needs to rethink what it's doing in the business!

more than 4 years ago

Carmack & Mustaine Talk Doom Resurrection For the iPhone

lxt Re:A better idea. (57 comments)

I know you're trolling, but I'll reply quickly anyway - Google make no promises about what kind of hardware you're going to get with an Android phone, making it impossible to develop these kind of games. There's no guarantee you'll have a touchscreen, a keyboard, hardware buttons, etc. There are also no promises about the CPU/GPU you'll have available, making it even harder. Just read the docs for both platforms and you'll soon see that iPhone OS allows for a great deal more, mainly because you can make certain assumptions about the hardware. Writing a game for Android is like writing a game for the PC, you don't know how much RAM you have, or what your CPU, your GPU, or your input devices are. Writing a game for iPhone is like writing for a console - you know exactly what's on the other end, so you can optimise your code to the nth degree.

more than 5 years ago


lxt hasn't submitted any stories.



lxt lxt writes  |  more than 10 years ago LXT. AKA, sheep555 :) LXT short for Lighting Technician, which is what I am. And sheep555 being the nick I normally use elsewhere on the net.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>