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Is the App Store Broken?

windwalkr Re:People expecting their marketing for free (258 comments)

Huh? There are tons of apps with a free version and a paid version and/or paid upgrade. That's a demo / trial.

Not exactly. Apple doesn't allow actual demos, they're pretty explicit about this. "Lite" apps are the workaround and they tend to offer reduced functionality but are free- this can serve as a demo if it's easy to divide your app into "the intro stuff" and "the longer term stuff", for example by giving away the first few levels of a game- but cannot serve as a demo if your app doesn't have this distinction.

For example, I'm pretty sure that Apple will not permit a 30-day free trial, nor do they permit you to have functionality which is "disabled in this demo version." You can get around this to some extent with in-app purchases, but that's not quite the same as a demo.

At best, it's a very different way of monetising your software, and a way that some developers may not like. At worst, GP is right and it could compromise your ability to effectively market your app.

about a month ago

Are US Hybrid Sales Peaking Already?

windwalkr Re: I can't buy one (377 comments)

"Series hybrids .. are designed to be run mostly by the battery, but have a petrol or diesel generator to recharge the battery when going on a long drive."


about 2 months ago

How Tim Cook Is Filling Steve Jobs's Shoes

windwalkr Re:Less hands-on (209 comments)

As a long-time user, I didn't like my first impression of iOS 7 beta, got used to it after about a day, and would not now go back. I actively recommend that people I know upgrade, unless they have an older device (never install a new iOS on a 3+ year old device; it never ends well.)

So, you haven't met me "in real life", but there are plenty of people who like iOS 7.

If we went on "met in real life" figures, then I'd have to say that nearly everybody uses an iPhone and very few use Android. Because that's what I saw on my recent holiday. Obviously not a fair comment, but maybe it goes to show that people with a similar viewpoint often end up in the same place.

about 2 months ago

.NET Native Compilation Preview Released

windwalkr Re:Is JITC finally going to die? (217 comments)

You make some good points, however:

The reason is that it can perform global optimizations, in-lining aggressively.

So can all semi-modern C++ compilers. This is a compiler technology, not a language concern.

Modern generational garbage collectors are also faster than malloc/free, and do not suffer fragmentation.

Perhaps true, but this ignores the fact that C++ can effectively bypass heap allocation completely for programmer-defined hot spots. Sure, this pushes the optimisation work on to the programmer rather than the compiler, but it still means a significant performance win. Java can't do this to anything like the same degree.

about 5 months ago

Cairo 2D Graphics May Become Part of ISO C++

windwalkr Re:You see "implementation-defined" a lot in C spe (430 comments)

I think he's referring to signed integer overflow conditions, which don't behave as most people would probably expect and aren't trivial to handle correctly.

about 8 months ago

Intel's 128MB L4 Cache May Be Coming To Broadwell and Other Future CPUs

windwalkr Re:So in the real world? (110 comments)

Yes and no. Applications can't typically "put things into the cache", but algorithms can (and often are, when it comes to image processing) tuned to suit a particular cache size. Processing the image in an appropriate order, breaking the image into cache-sized chunks, and so on can all be effective strategies which pay off big-time in terms of performance.

about 9 months ago

Samsung Creates Phone With Curved Display

windwalkr Re:Apple? (219 comments)

Apple does this with all their old hardware. They either declare your hardware obsolete

I'm fine with this. Hardware keeps improving. Software changes to take advantage of this. Sooner or later, I'll want to upgrade.

or make the OS perform so badly on it that you declare it obsolete on your own.

There really needs to be consumer protection against this kind of thing. Apple has made a habit of pushing upgrades to devices that really can't handle it. Explaining to people why they shouldn't tap "Yes" when the phone repeatedly wants to upgrade, because it will permanently break their device, is not a battle that you can win. Not until it's too late, anyway.

From what I've heard (and it seems to match my experience, though it's difficult to be sure with a hidden filesystem) the latest update will even background-download itself onto your device without asking, using your bandwidth and device storage- which you can't get back, even if you don't wish to upgrade.

about a year ago

Hands On With Motorola's Moto X

windwalkr Re:This got me, too. (120 comments)

To be fair, Apple devices (at least, first and second gen iPads) have similar screen burn-in problems. Run the device with the same app too frequently and you will start to see minor but permanent panel degradation.

1 year,28 days

Blizzard's Unannounced 'Titan' MMO Rebooted, Development Team Reduced

windwalkr Re:If I learned anything from Asheron's Call 2 (193 comments)

Major problems can be found after the ramping-up stage that you mention. The team decides that they can fix the problem, but only by changing some fundamental assumption upon which the whole game is based. This causes a lot of rework and can blow budgeting and scheduling out of the water. Worse, gp is fairly correct about a practical life cycle for a game engine- so if you bump the schedule like this a few times, you may need to start making "upgrades" to your underlying tech before you've even released the product. That can be a vicious cycle (see DNF.)

"Data storage / retrieval, mechanics" are often the smallest part of a game. What's really expensive is often the art assets, sound, levels, and polish. And a change to any of these can mean updating everything else to suit (oh, we're going with an egyptian theme now?)

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Where Are the E-Ink Dashboards?

windwalkr Re:Energy sucking plasma? (242 comments)

We've "burned" an image into several iPad2 LCD screen quite effectively. It's not horribly noticeable while the tablet is in use, but display a uniform dark/black image and it's clear that there is permanent damage. We've since started using a screensaver for that application to prevent the issue from worsening, but the damage was permanent.

It may not be the same mechanism, but the end-user result is the same.

about a year and a half ago

LG Seeks Sales Ban of Samsung Galaxy Tablet In Korea

windwalkr Re:Judgment of Solomon needed. (91 comments)

I'm sure an actual judge can come up with a much better and more inclusive way than I could come up in the minute or so it took me to write that comment.

Better, more inclusive- probably. Perfect- no. And if you're going to come up with a single statement that defines business pracitces for all time, you'd better be sure that it is perfect and without any loopholes.

A good starting point would be to kill off software and business method patents

That would surely just lead to a world where software companies can't compete with hardware companies, since one side has protection and the other does not. (hypothetical: Hardware-heavy companies including Apple and Samsung would have patents which could be used software-heavy companies such as Microsoft or Google. But if Microsoft wanted to enter the tablet market, they would have nothing to protect them from the hardware patents.)

Which basically means "you can't make something that looks exactly like my product", which is totally sensible, as there is no good reason why Samsung should be allowed to sell a phone that looks exactly like the iPhone (which is way more than just "rectangle with rounded corners").

Absolutely, but where do you drawn the line? A lot of the complaints about Apple here stem from the fact that Apple deliberately use a minimalist design, which can be hard to avoid without adding user-unfriendly gimmicks to the product for the pure reason of dodging patents. Should something similar to the FRAND concept exist here, identifying "essential" patents and preventing abuse?

about a year and a half ago

Steam For Linux Is Now an Open Beta

windwalkr Re:Good for Linux. (353 comments)

Not a smaller cut. No cut whatsoever.

about a year and a half ago

Windows Phone 8 Having Trouble Attracting Developers

windwalkr Re:i dont see the problem (268 comments)

I don't get it either. 100k Apps seems adequate to me -- especially for a new platform.

A small number of quality apps is enough to suit most users, most of the time. The difference is the lack of all those niche apps which are only needed by a few people, only some of the time. Need a security-camera app to check on your business when the alarm goes off at 3am, for whatever el-cheapo camera brand you thought was a good idea at the time? This is where a more mature app library can be noticeable.

It's the whole 1990s Windows vs Mac thing over again, but this time in reverse. If you're in love with the minority platform, the lack of apps probably won't make you change. But for someone who cares less about the platform, it's hard to give up access to those niche apps for questionable benefit.

about 2 years ago

Steve Jobs' Yacht Revealed

windwalkr Re:iMacs? (438 comments)

Brighter than the sun. I wish you could turn them down without ruining the contrast.

about 2 years ago

Apple Acknowledges iPhone 5 Camera Flaw

windwalkr Re:Stupid human! (472 comments)

Works fine for me and mine. I'm not saying that your experience is invalid, but it certainly isn't true for everybody.

The worst iOS update in my experience was 4.0, which turned my iPhone3G from a slightly outdated phone into an unusably sluggish phone with no real way to go back to the old performance. The OS itself was fine (and was a great improvement when used on the iPad, iPhone4, etc.) but it should never have been released as iPhone3G compatible.

about 2 years ago

AMD's Piledriver To Hit 4GHz+ With Resonant Clock Mesh

windwalkr Re:Synopsys (286 comments)

I also thought that at first, but on a second glance.. skew per clock cycle is increasing exponentially. Which is probably what they care about here?

more than 2 years ago

Anger With Game Content Lock Spurs Reaction From Studio Head Curt Shilling

windwalkr Re:Give the game developers a break (908 comments)

There are two problems with this:

* Developing the first part of the game is often the bulk of the cost. Let's say that it's 70% of the work, as compared to doing a monolithic game. Since you're expecting to sell it at $2-$5 rather than $50+, you're causing a pretty hefty loss of income with quite a small loss of expense. You'd better be sure to sell lots of episodes.

* "Sequels" don't sell well. You'd need to be very well loved to bring income that compares to a monolithic game. If you're that well loved, you would have made this money by selling at the higher price anyway.

Not saying it can't ever work, but this model adds a lot of risk in a business that's already overly risky.

about 2 years ago

Crysis 2 Update a Perfect Case of Wasted Polygons

windwalkr Re:Not surprised (159 comments)

on the other hand, it's pretty well known that issueing unecessary state changes to 3d apis is bad and can be costly. So even if they didn't know the extent of the problems it caused on that particular card, enabling and disabling something for no good reason a hundred time per frame is bad.

Agreed- however in the (distant) past we've had to do exactly this because of bugs in the driver state caching. I've also seen Cg hitting state changes fairly hard on some platforms- there was an optimisation to prevent this but it used to cause memory leaks. It can be difficult to know exactly what's going on under the hood there and you can't really blame the application developers for this without knowing the specific circumstances.

about 3 years ago

Crysis 2 Update a Perfect Case of Wasted Polygons

windwalkr Re:Not surprised (159 comments)

One thing worth noting is that a change that makes no difference on the card you're testing with may make the difference between the game being playable or a slideshow on a different card.

Absolutely true. My anecdotes above were in regards to very specific hardware so this comment doesn't really change what I'm saying, but it's an important thing to understand in a general sense.

One particularly amusing issue I remember was with a new feature in Direct3D where I believe we were the only people who supported it in hardware at that time and everyone else emulated it in software; we got a new game from big name game developer X and it ran vastly slower on our card than on much less powerful systems. The idea was that you'd enable this feature once and then keep using it, but they were turning it on and off hundreds of times in a frame and each time that caused a major pipeline stall in our hardware. So once we figured that out we just detected the game and dropped back to software emulation like everyone else, but if they'd known what they were doing the game would have worked fine on all cards and been faster on ours because they'd actually have been using the hardware instead of the CPU.

To be fair, you're accusing the dev in question of not optimising for your card when you admit that the card in question was unusual and probably released after the game in question was developed- otherwise you probably would have worked with them to improve their software? It's all well and good to say "they should have known better" (and I've used that line before, so I know how you feel) but if you're the odd man out, it's hard to really blame the dev for not being able to predict how performance would change in the future. Especially if the dev is using some kind of third-party engine or graphics library (eg. Cg) where they don't necessarily have fine control over state changes.

I don't know the details of your case so I won't comment further, but it's worth remembering that there are two sides to every story.

about 3 years ago


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