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RIM Drops Playbook Price By 66%

shrykk Re:It's possible (302 comments)

A tablet that's just like the iPad but better seems unlikely for now. Better in every way and a lower price? That does happen sometimes in the tech world - but more likely competitors will prosper with a different form factor, or with different input methods, or focus on a killer app.

The Playbook is a nice litte device and is differently shaped to the iPad - no reason it can't coexist. People ought to resist the temptation to cheer on Apple like a favourite team, and be glad of variety instead.

more than 2 years ago

Left HCL

shrykk So what's the problem? (4 comments)

So, if this offshoring exercise was doomed, what have you got to worry about? However inconvenient it is to move jobs, you remain a highly-skilled professional with useful skills. It would be far worse for you in the long term if the transition had been a roaring success - all the jobs would swiftly follow.

So look on the bright side :-)

more than 2 years ago

Hypothetical Selfish Question

shrykk Re: Hypothetical Selfish Question (4 comments)

Breaking social norms would end up reducing the pleasures available to you quickly - just grabbing what's in front of you would surely create more problems than the pleasures briefly gained. The chances of you achieving much pleasure before incurring some mild discomfort and ending it all would be slim.

Going a bit further than your question, it is probably possible to live purely for oneself to a greater or lesser extent while appearing to be a normal member of society. You might think some people already do. Someone who really wanted to live that way might choose to commit crime, intending to live a long life of luxury on ill-gotten gains or a short life if caught.

about 3 years ago

Another Bad Interview

shrykk Bad luck (15 comments)

I wouldn't get too upset by this sort of thing. If they were looking for the kind of person who knows all the oddities of the language inside out, then you got ruled out without being evaluated on other factors.

i.e. Your ability to actually write working software (which as a professional you probably pride yourself on, and rightly consider to be something rather important to interview for) would be something their process did not even try to measure.

The question is, do you intend to keep applying for C++ positions? If so, brushing up surely couldn't hurt.

more than 3 years ago

Another Bad Interview

shrykk Re:Bah (15 comments)

This sounds like the opposite sort of thing. It seems like Turgid has done just enough C++ at work, that with a straight face and some mild exaggeration he could have described it in terms that the employers would have accepted his experience. IF he had passed whatever they thought their technical requirements were.

more than 3 years ago

BBC To Dispose of Douglas Adams Website

shrykk Re:Sickening! (189 comments)

You seem to be under the impression that the H2G2 site is the work of Douglas Adams or a site about his work.

Instead it is a big community-wiki sort of thing inspired by the eponymous Guide itself, about Life, the Universe and Everything.

It's not really clear that shipping the server to Adams' family would achieve anything. In a sense the H2G2 site belongs to its many contributors, who presumably will be happy with it being sold off so long as their site stays live and their community can persist.

about 4 years ago

NASA Reveals Hundred Year Starship Program

shrykk Re:yikes (351 comments)

Please note, the hydrogen seedstock is the alternative to taking a hundred tonnes of rocket fuel to fuel the whole trip back (and hence having a vastly bigger ship out, hence having to assemble the ship piecewise in orbit instead of launching it from Earth. Sooo many more problems). Landing hydrogen on Mars is really not the sticking point with this plan.

more than 4 years ago

NASA Reveals Hundred Year Starship Program

shrykk Re:yikes (351 comments)

In 1996 Robert Zubrin and others proposed a $55 billion programme for a series of Mars missions, Mars Direct. You can read about it in a very interesting book called 'The Case for Mars'.

The key points of the mission were

  • staying on Mars for 6 months between launch windows rather than a few days (digging in for radiation protection).
  • taking a seed stock of 12 tonnes of hydrogen and using a series of chemical reactions with various elements found on Mars to produce rocket fuel for the way back.
  • sending repeat missions including an initial unmanned mission, so that each mission makes the return fuel for the next one, giving a margin of safety. There would be multiple missions and a colony established.

This still seems to me to be the most sensible and effective way to put people on Mars. Preliminary back-and-forth trips to the moon not needed. Establishes a genuine human presence instead of just planting a flag. And at a cost which in the light of numbers being thrown around during the financial crisis which looks like a bargain.

more than 4 years ago

Sony Sued Over PS3 "Other OS" Removal

shrykk It's all about hurting Sony (546 comments)

A prediction: there will be some settlement, where the "victims" can claim $10 in coupons for discounted games, but the lawyers will make a few hundred thousand or a million.

That's a shame, but it's about the only way we have to hit Sony in the pocket for their bizarre anti-customer actions.

more than 4 years ago

Google Serves a Cease and Desist On Android Modder

shrykk Re:License missing (336 comments)

Instead of moderating, I'd like to ask you politely to stop using the term 'intellectual property', unless you genuinely need a quick way to refer to all three of copyrights, trademarks and patents in one go.

Enough confusion abounds already without mixing together the different rights and obligations of three different legal rights.

In this case, some included trademarks might arguably need defending, but the same doesn't apply to copyrights. (With patents, I understand there is the issue of 'sleeping on your rights', laches, but that's another matter).

more than 5 years ago

Making Babies In Space May Not Be Easy

shrykk Re:Doctor, Doctor, it hurts when I do *this* (262 comments)

One of the main problems (I'm sure there's more) is that unless your "vehicle" is huge, then making it spin causes both a "gravity gradient (gravity on your head will be smaller than on your feet) and strong Coriolis forces (people and objects cannot follow a straight line).

Sure, you wouldn't want your tiny space station spinning around at a huge rate to create 1G at the circumference.

But it's easier for spacecraft, and we're not talking Babylon 5's gigantic ships with rotating segments either. You can use a counterweight on a tether, creating a much larger orbit, to reduce these effects.

For example, Robert Zubrin's Mars Direct plan, the plan to establish multiple Mars visits using currently-available rocketry, suggested retaining part of the final rocket stage to use as a counterweight. The manned module would spin about the combined centre of gravity for the months-long journey to Mars, then the counterweight would be discarded.

Using a tether has problems of its own, but it might be a good solution if we're to go out and explore the solar system without radical new methods of propulsion.

more than 5 years ago

New Zealand Tree Stuck In Evolutionary Time Warp

shrykk Terrible summary (337 comments)

The Slashdot summary of this story is spectacularly bad, particularly the 'should have ended over 500 years ago'.

Five hundred years is completely negligible on an evolutionary timescale. If trees - TREES - you know, big woody things that grow really slowly - had evolved significant changes in that time it would be headline news.

The research that led to this story wasn't remotely aimed at calling evolution into question, quite the contrary. Scientists are interested in the causes of the changes that these trees go during their lifetimes - and they have shown that these metamorphoses are probably due to the moa bird. Which is quite interesting, if probably not Slashdot-worthy.

more than 5 years ago

What Did You Think Of The New Star Trek Movie?

shrykk Enjoyed it until I started thinking... (592 comments)

I enjoyed 'Star Trek' while I was watching it, but on later reflection, I didn't really approve of any part of it. They've just made a big, dumb movie full of action, with a series of improbable coincidences leading to the familiar characters being in charge of the Enterprise at a ridiculously young age.

I did approve of the way the whole thing was rendered canonical by the process of changing the timeline, and the way they spelt it out for even the slowest members of the audience. "What's that you say, an alternate timeline?" But still, it felt a lot like most prequels, in that it was moving along on rails towards a predetermined end.

This time round, Kirk becomes captain of the Enterprise seemingly at the age of about seventeen, essentially (skipping spoilers) because Captain Pike likes the cut of his jib and appoints Kirk first officer before conveniently being kidnapped. Perhaps Slashdot readers will agree with me here: why do the movies promote the idea that anything worth doing gets done by a kid or a 'natural'? Someone very young who gets to achieve things just by being the protagonist. It seems like movie-goers can't cope with the idea of anything being achieved by a hard-working adult.

I'm not totally familiar with the original Trek canon, but it always seemed to me that the Enterprise was crewed with competent career professionals, not half-trained Academy brats.

more than 5 years ago


shrykk Masochism (10 comments)

Perhaps it would be possible to cross-compile from a non-Stone-Age machine?

But let's face it, no-one would even try what you're doing if they weren't a very strange sort of masochist anyway. Paying £200 per hour for a middle-aged woman in a plastic dress to spank you would be far more *normal* :-)

about 6 years ago

PS2 the Most Played Console In 2008

shrykk Re:Not surprised (172 comments)

The PS2 is graphically less capable than a GameCube. Any developer who is lazy enough to only dress up a PS2 game (considering the Xbox360 and the Wii both use DVDs - alleviating any storage space considerations) is not using the console to anywhere near it's full potential.

You're almost certainly right - but I put it to you that developers don't always exploit consoles' full potential. Take some multi-platform franchise, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, maybe the Wall-E game or something like that, and you'll see a divide between the PS3 and 360 versions and those for the Wii and PS2. Perhaps we should forget this, after all any mediocre developer can make an ugly game, but it does contribute to the general impression. Gamecube ports don't help either, I enjoyed Zelda: Twilight Princess but it didn't wow me graphically.

Look, I love my Wii, but I watch Playr on Sunday mornings and the best Wii games don't look as good as the beautiful next-gen and PC games that are coming out. Wii graphics at the moment look a lot like the graphics of the later, and best-looking PS2 games. I'm talking about a console that has been around for donkeys' years, with software houses releasing their third or fourth title for the machine - all the tricks are known.

Now, the PS2 has a DVD drive as well. The issue isn't so much storage, so much as technical limitations to the numbers of textures and polygons that can be drawn on the screen, the amount of computation available to be devoted to nice lighting algorithms, physics simulation and so forth. Power will show in the end - I dare say the Wii games coming out in two years' time will look great and make my assertions about comparability with the PS2 look ridiculous.

Still, to get back on-topic, the PS2 is 'good enough', and has some games that really deserve to be played. I'm not surprised people are still using them.

about 6 years ago

PS2 the Most Played Console In 2008

shrykk Not surprised (172 comments)

I'm not really surprised - the PS2 has a huge software library, plus most owners have several peripherals that still prove useful. This weekend I played some Singstar and Guitar Hero III with friends, and I'd be more likely to buy more PS2 games that use the guitar and mikes, than to buy new peripherals (extra functionality and downloadable content notwithstanding).

In fact the Singstar game we played was a brand-new copy of the recently-released Singstar ABBA, and everyone loved it.

You can pick up used PS2 games for a pittance. I remember chatting to a store assistant in a games store, saying he was still always seeing parents come in and picking up PS2s with a bunch of games for the holidays. Console and a load of games well under 100 UK pounds, for which you can't really get another console (perhaps a DS or PSP with one game).

They're still releasing new games for the PS2, a pretty clear indication that it's still alive. No-one sane would advocate playing a cut-down and graphically poor PS2 Force Unleashed, but it's clearly still economically viable to release it. Though some would say the same for the Wii version. And, I don't want to arouse any fanboy ire, but I have a sneaking suspicion that similarities in graphical capabilities between the Wii and PS2 might help the economics of releasing a PS2 port... Anyway, there are a ton of PS2 games that are well worth playing - a brilliant last-generation game beats a mediocre current-gen one.

Everyone commenting on gaming stories should disclose their console preferences to discourage fanboy-ism. My TV is currently hooked up to a Wii, a PS2 and a Sega Master System.

about 6 years ago

Automated News Crawling Evaporates $1.14B

shrykk Re:Holy crap. (546 comments)

If there was a trade, then by definition the stock was worth precisely the value at which it was traded.

While that is in many cases a vital truth, it becomes a pointless truism when one party is poorly-informed.

A handful of beans aren't worth as much as a cow just because you manage to persuade one hick that they're 'magic' beans. And an instantaneous stock-market price would only really mark the consensus agreement on the worth of a stock if markets were perfectly efficient.

more than 6 years ago


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