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Ask Slashdot: Resources For Kids Who Want To Make Games?

tlambert Game construction kits (87 comments)

Game construction kits:

Stuart Smith's Adventure Construction Set
Racing Destruction Set
Pinball Construction Set
Arcade Game Construction Kit
Shoot'Em-Up Construction Kit
Garry Kitchen's GameMaker

Run them on a real Commodore 64, or run them in an emulator. Images are available online for all these software titles.

See also: http://www.lemon64.com/?game_i...

9 hours ago
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Investigation: Apple Failing To Protect Chinese Factory Workers

tlambert Re:In related news... (188 comments)

It is commonplace for US manufacturers to require their contracted facilities overseas to meet standards for ethics. treatment of workers, and environmental impact. The fact that Apple has such low standards to begin with, and doesn't even enforce them, should be bothersome.

Short of stationing an observer in every room of a factory floor room currently being used to manufacture Apple products, there's no way to do this short of spot checks, with the hope that the translators and government assigned handlers are not in the pay of the factory operator, and don't "phone ahead" so that these audit come out clean. Frankly, given that changing configuration between "unclean" and "clean", and then back to "unclean", would likely be prohibitively expensive, so as long as the spot checks are ongoing, the conditions are going to be the best that you can hope for, and still be in China.

My company has walked away from China over these issues and moved production back to the US over the last three years, mainly over issues of labor treatment.

I think the straw that broke the camel's back was when one of our products failed incoming inspection, and when we opened it up, there was a finger inside. The worker literally lost a finger during the production of one of our products.

I think if they were finding fingers in products during servicing or inspection (which in the U.S., for Apple, is contracted out to Solectron), there would be hell to pay, so I'll take that particular story as anecdotal/apocryphal, unless you can cite a news story to that effect.

Walking away from China manufacturing is generally not an option, when the cost per unit quality of, say, U.S. workers, prices them very much out of the range of possibility. If Apple were to wholesale drop Chinese manufacturing as an option (as you say your company has done), obviously, the COGS would go up, and with it, the cost to the consumer for the product. The factories would be relocated elsewhere to either some other Southeast Asia country, or to Eastern Europe (which is where iPhones are put through final manufacture so that it takes place in the EU and therefore avoids the non-EU product import VAT that would otherwise be charged as a protectionist measure by the EU).

Either way, if you expect those jobs to come back to the U.S. without a change in MFN status for China, and a change in international tariff structures to enforce U.S. environmental and labor policy on trading partners facilities used to manufacture goods sold in the U.S., as Steve Jobs told Obama: "Those jobs are gone; they're not coming back".

Even were they to come back under those circumstances, they would be coming back to automated factories in non-union states, so those jobs are effectively gone forever, either way.

If we suddenly froze trade relations with China, it would have the same effect: the closes you could expect those jobs to come to a U.S. worker would be the Maquiladoras, which, economically speaking, pay about 25% of a Mexican living wage for supporting a family, which is significantly less, in terms of subsistence, than the Chinese workers in Shenzhen are getting, which is a significant surplus over 200% of what it takes to support a family on a workers wages.

Find all the fingers you want, those jobs will never be U.S. jobs again.

yesterday
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FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

tlambert Why what police force get involved when... (512 comments)

Well, that was mostly the cynic in me writing, but on the other hand, isn't a threat made against a single individual typically handled by the police? Why would FBI feel the need to get involved? Or is this on of the "because it happened on the Internet it's different" kind of situations?
Government agencies overstepping their boundaries and getting involved in things that aren't their business is certainly a reason for concern.

Why what police force get involved when...

This is a basic, 50,000 foot view; it's not intended to cover all the details, and corrections gratefully accepted, but I believe this covers the gist of it...

It's pretty clear that the threats, particularly against the appearance of Anita Sarkeesian at Utah State University were, at a minimum, interstate.

When the threats cross a state line, the move from local police jurisdiction to federal police (FBI) jurisdiction, since police forces may only operate within their own jurisdictions. If the crime spans larger jurisdictions, such as adjacent cities within a county, or adjacent counties within a state, then it may be handled by an inter-agency task force. If it gets bigger than that, then the next larger jurisdiction encapsulating the jurisdictions involved takes ownership. The jurisdictions and agencies, are as follows:

Within a city: The city police force
Within a county: The county sheriff
Within a state: The CBI (California Bureau of Investigation - agency name varies by state)
Interstate: The FBI
International: Interpol

Within these classifications, inferior jurisdictions are often acted to cooperate/participate in the investigatory legwork, arrest operations, searches, evidence gathering, forensic work (autopsy, crime scene investigation, and so on).

Exceptions:

When a crime occurs on a federal lands or reservations, the FBI always has jurisdiction. For "indian reservations", investigator power lies in both the FBI and in the tribal police force (depending on the nature of the crime).

When a crime occurs on a military base, the investigatory power lies within the branch of the military; for most crimes, this is the MPs or Military Police. For more serious crime, or crimes involving military personnel not on base, or non-military and military personnel both, it goes by branch of service:

Navy, Marine, Coast Guard: NCIS - Naval Criminal Investigative Service
Army: USACIDC or CID - Criminal Investigation Division of the Army Provost's office
Air Force: AFOSI or OSI - Office of Special Investigations

Generally, anything involving a civilian, or occurring off base, ands up being a joint investigation with local authorities, which can include authorities in other countries (e.g. naval bases in Japan, air force bases in Germany, etc.).

For terrorist threats, USDHS - DHS - the Department of Homeland Security - gets involved. They are probably already involved in the Utah State University threat. At that pint, they can call on the capabilities and services of agencies such as the DOJ (Federal Marshals office), the NSA (which is allowed to operate domestically), the CIA (which is allowed to operate extranationally), the DIA (which is allowed to operate with regard to foreign military), and so on.

All in all, the more something escalates in terms of geographic reach, or in terms of threat level, the higher up the food chain you go, further and further into territories where you do not want to be. At some point in the escalation process, you get to the stratospheric regions where people simply "disappear" (otherwise known as "extraordinary rendition").

Does that answer your question?

yesterday
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Investigation: Apple Failing To Protect Chinese Factory Workers

tlambert In related news... (188 comments)

In related news... Apple is continuing to deny responsibility for space junk launched into space by Boeing, which is known to use Apple products, and has repeatedly dodged questions about their sole responsibility for the existence of Somali pirates, who are known to have held hostage container ships containing one or more containers of Apple products, among the many thousands of containers aboard.

Oh. I'm sorry... weren't we playing the "Blame Apple for the actions of other people" game?

yesterday
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Investigation: Apple Failing To Protect Chinese Factory Workers

tlambert Re:Question. (188 comments)

Question. Why do they work people so hard instead of just hiring more people? Are these guys salaried instead of hourly? Is it about keeping down costs on training or employee benefits like dormitories they don't think they can operate without? It can't be a massive labor shortage or the employees would quit and find somewhere else to work...

The cost to the company for an employee includes more than just that employee' hourly wage, and much of it is not fungible.

This is why in the U.S. we have 3 people working 40 hour weeks, instead of 4 people working 30 hour weeks. In order to reduce the work week length, we'd need to be able to make 3x40 equivalent to 4x30 for the employer. Most of the overhead that makes this losing math is associated with government, although there's also per employee equipment costs and space costs at the worksite. Everything else is pretty much unfunded government mandates per employee, so that the more employees you have, the higher your costs.

yesterday
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Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

tlambert Take advantage of the system (279 comments)

Take advantage of the system

(1) Find the best college or community college that'll have you as an English teacher
(2) Teach English for small $
(3) Take advantage of the perquisite that you get to take some amount of free classes because you are faculty
(4) Finish an associates in a STEM field. An associates is transferrable, even if credits are not (I suggest microbiology)
(5) Either transfer as a student, or, if it's a good college, finish your bachelors degree there
(6) ...While still teaching, if you can; 1-2 years experience teaching at a college level puts you higher on the hire list

NB: "Good college" is relative; you will generally get out of any program what you put into it.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

tlambert People without degrees tend to lack the vocabulary (279 comments)

People without CS degrees tend to lack the vocabulary necessary to communicate efficiently with their peers about CS topics in situations where they are required to work on a team. Big "O" notation, names of algorithms, breadth of algorithmic knowledge, etc..

If you are not going to be working on a team (and it's the rare company who does not believe they will become larger in the future), then a portfolio of previous work is generally acceptable.

Because companies believe they will grow, you are most suited to being a consultant, or, alternately, working for a consulting firm.

I've frequently considered creating a "vocabulary test", along the lines of those multiple choice test games passed around on Facebook; the problem with doing that, however, is people would "learn to the test"; and while it would be a form of education for them, as a result they would successfully get their foot inside the door of place where they would ultimately not be successful. This would not be a service to either them, or the places which hire them. To be effective, it would have to end up growing to the point that it might as well be a certification exam. And still, people would learn to the test, instead of having any depth of knowledge necessary to communicate with those who do.

3 days ago
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Linking Drought and Climate Change: Difficult To Do

tlambert Linking Drought and Los Angeles: Easy To Do (198 comments)

Linking Drought and Los Angeles: Easy To Do

Northern California sends most of their water south to Los Angeles so that they can grow water intensive crops like walnuts, rice, avocados, etc., when other crops would take hugely less water (but not be as profitable). Sadly, agribusiness pays a deeply discounted price than the rest of us, so we're effectively subsidizing their shrinking water bills with our ballooning ones.

If Los Angeles would just *catch* their run-off, instead of dumping it into the ocean using their huge drainage system you tend to see in Terminator movie car chases, and walked down at the end of Buckaroo Banzai, they wouldn't need to take all the water from Northern California, or most of the water from the Colorado river.

How much of the recent torrential rains in California that happened to land in the Los Angeles area do you think ended up in storage systems, vs. the ocean? I'll give you a hint: not a lot.

4 days ago
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Telepresence Store Staffed Remotely Using Robots

tlambert Re:Labor Loopholes? (52 comments)

Wait until the robots can stock shelves and clean up smashed jars of pickles...

The human don't have to bother with smashed jars of pickles...

"Smithers! Release the Roomba!" "Yes, Mr. Burns head."

4 days ago
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Webcast Funerals Growing More Popular

tlambert This is a brilliant idea! (70 comments)

This is a brilliant idea!

More webcasts should have funerals, so we can bury them and move on, and there will be one less webcast!

4 days ago
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Apple and Samsung Already Working On A9 Processor

tlambert I think the relevant points got left out... (114 comments)

I think the relevant points got left out... the summary missed the most interesting parts:

1G L2 - all of graphics memory now fits in the L2 cache

14nm design - someone needs to update Wikipedia; they can probably clock it faster than the op speed listed there

Quad core - this thing may be in the next MacBook Air

Memory bus - Apple's memory bus is still faster than everyone else's by a mile; pays to have the Alpha->NetScaler->PA Semi guys on the payroll

This things is probably going to beat the pants off every other ARM chip in a while. Oh yeah, forgot: they're already sampling.

4 days ago
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Spanish Media Group Wants Gov't Help To Keep Google News In Spain

tlambert Re:HAHA! (191 comments)

Badly designed browsers when doing private browsing

It is called PRIVATE BROWSING - let's repeat this once again PRIVATE BROWSING.
Use no-skript with ghostery and clear your cache if you want to be selective.

Then don't expect things which depend on cookies to work, or bitch about them when they don't. You expect them to do a geolocation by IP address each time you make a request? How is your IP address any less identification than a non-cross-site cookie? And it's not all that accurate (e.g. if you use onion routing, it's random, and if you use a VPN, it's constant for the VPN location), so you're screwed if you browse that way.

4 days ago
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Spanish Media Group Wants Gov't Help To Keep Google News In Spain

tlambert Re:Imagine that! (191 comments)

That's a tough law to enforce and likely to provoke a heck of a lot of backlash.

You mean like the Spanish people pulling out of the country?

5 days ago
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Job Postings Offer Clues to Future of Google Fiber

tlambert I can explain the telecommute... (38 comments)

San Antonio, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Nashville are listed as telecommute positions

No one with the skills to do what they want done wants to live there. They want to live in a place they can walk out the door, go down two doors, and apply for a position at some other tech company, and have a new job pretty much instantly. Employers are fungible.

5 days ago
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Spanish Media Group Wants Gov't Help To Keep Google News In Spain

tlambert What the old farts did... (191 comments)

That I no longer have Google with which to access my porn!

I mean, what did they do back in the heady days of JaNET and dialup BBS, yanno, like "Before Google"??

A line printer, a ton of green-bar paper, a lot of tape and scissor work, hang it on the wall, and then stand way, way back to find out you've been Rick-Rolled and it's the "woman in hat" picture again?

5 days ago
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Spanish Media Group Wants Gov't Help To Keep Google News In Spain

tlambert Re:Imagine that! (191 comments)

That's easy, heck Lycos still exists. The question is how do they get their population to use it?

Pass a law in Spain that people must use it instead of other search engines?

5 days ago
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Spanish Media Group Wants Gov't Help To Keep Google News In Spain

tlambert Re:Imagine that! (191 comments)

This is the standard Anglo approach to the problem. Present a false black and white argument instead of the actual argument, and then present an ultimatum.

Most European cultures including Spain do not have such a culture. Instead, they would likely prefer to negotiate with google on the issue. Google instead chooses to openly extort the country by offering them only two choices which you suggest.

I presume your middle option would be:

S: Pay us a lot for our content showing up in your search results and news!
G: No.
S: We have passed a law that makes you pay us, so pay us!
G: Buh Bye!
S: Savages! They should negotiate on the amount they will pay us! Have they never heard of under the table kickbacks?!?

Isn't that really how you are saying things should have gone?

Or were you thinking that Google should have charged your newspapers for listing them, an amount equal to the amount the newspapers were charging them for "their content" (but then pay Spanish taxes), so the newspapers get an expense write off on their taxes, they get the status quo, and the Spanish government gets more taxes out of Google?

I'm really curious to know what your idea of a negotiation would look like here...

5 days ago
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Spanish Media Group Wants Gov't Help To Keep Google News In Spain

tlambert Re:Imagine that! (191 comments)

Publishers do not have legislative powers. Democratically elected leaders owned by publisher lobbying organizations do.

Fixed that for you. You're welcome.

5 days ago
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Spanish Media Group Wants Gov't Help To Keep Google News In Spain

tlambert Re:HAHA! (191 comments)

Coming from Canada, I'll give you an example of the problem with Google News. PS I'm not french.

1) Clicking the news tab will always default to the US news. Even if Google is forcing the google.ca domain

Badly designed browsers when doing private browsing don't allow for ephemeral cookies.

The problem is that you are geolocated by IP (and yes, it gets this wrong if you are using a VPN into a node in another country - it thinks you are in the other country; not solving this "problem" is intentional on the part of the IETF), and a attempted cookie is set saying "They are in Canada; redirect and use the google.ca domain to serve up the first page". So google.ca shows up.

This geolocation is not repeated, and the cookie is not reset subsequently, since it's a relatively computationally expensive reverse lookup operation; if the cookie is there, it's referenced, and if the cookie is not there, it's not referenced. Then your subsequent request comes in through that first page, the cookie is examined, is not seen, and therefore you get the default, which is the US response.

The proper thing for your browser to do is to set an ephemeral cookie when doing "private browsing"; that is, it allows the "set" of the cookie, but since it's "private browsing", the cookie is set in memory in the DOM, instead of being saved in permanent cookie storage.

So it's happening that way because your browser implemented has screwed the pooch on what it mean when you are private browsing, and just blocks all cookie sets unconditionally. In other words, your browser sucks.

NB: Chrome gets this wrong in "incognito mode", as well, in the other direction; it implements ephemeral cookies into the session, rather than the DOM. Presumably, this is because they want cookies for login sessions to persist across DOMs which involve Google properties. So it's possible for an "incognito mode" session to leak information to outside parties for cross-site purposes. You'll see this with "limited number of views per month" sites, like the NYT and other news sites, where if you use the same "incognito mode" session - which persists, even if you close the window and open a new "incognito mode" window. If you restart Chrome, then the cookies are flushed. It's not clear whether this is intentional or just bad programming.

5 days ago

Submissions

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It looks like Apple has started paying for product placement

tlambert tlambert writes  |  about 2 years ago

tlambert (566799) writes "From the well-that-didn't-take-long department:

It looks like Apple has gone back on their long-standing tradition of refusing to pay for product placement; at the end of the Hulu premiere episode for the television show "Deception" in which multiple Apple products appear, there is a clear statement in the credits: "promotional consideration furnished by APPLE". The statement occurs at time hash 44:49, 6 seconds before the end of the video."

Link to Original Source
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99 year old woman reading again on her new iPad

tlambert tlambert writes  |  more than 4 years ago

tlambert (566799) writes "This is a cute story (with video) about a 99 year old woman and her iPad. It's interesting because of the accessibility angle. After years with glaucoma, she's able to read books again due to a combination of font scaling and an adjustable backlight intensity, according to the article."
Link to Original Source

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