top ACM Blames the PC For Driving Women Away From Computer Science
Thank you, AC. This comment made my day brighter. I wish you success in your endeavour.
top The Million-Dollar Business of Video Game Cheating
Very well written entry on the topic. I agree on almost every single point you have made, esp. the "control fuckery" part. From my experience modern games are even less effective at keeping cheaters away than games made 10 years agoe. Tools like PunkBuster allowed you to vote out players even without the presence of an admin, perfect for servers without constant monitoring. The weird thing is that when I have asked more recent players about these features, it scares them; "I do not want to vote anyone out of the server!".
top Building an Opt-In Society
I am disappointed, why has none made a reference to Bioshock yet, seeing how a city at sea was mentioned?
top English High Court Bans Publication of 0-Day Threat To Auto Immobilizers
The best quote from Alpha Centauri (old video game).
top Inside Mantis: a 2-Ton Hexapod Robot With a Linux Brain
This sort of technology has been available for some time, I remember seeing this six-legged forest machine complete with crane and cutting machinery back in the early 2000s:
Apprently it was developed in Finland by John Deree, and was only displayed rwecently (2012 press release):
about a year and a half ago
top Steam For Linux: A Respectable Showing
I have actually used it since the beta invite popped into my inbox. For those of you who havn't tried it here is a short summary:
I run Arch Linux, which is not supported. Valve only supports Ubuntu and provides the software as a
.deb file which contains the "bootstrapper", basically a "netinstall" version if you were to make a comparision to the average Linux distro. The bootstrapper is easily taken apart via a script in the custom installer program that some of the Arch Linux folks whipped up and ends up installed system-wide by default.
This caused some problems for people like me, who are too paranoid to install untrusted software system-wide or even in my own home directory. I gave it a separate user account and denied the installer root access (which it asked for every time it tried to auto-update). It cried and bugged out, but you could run TF2 from day one. As they continued to improve the software they actually listened to the complaints at github (where they keep their Linux issue tracker) and made the software runnable as a regular user. It now resides completely inside my 'steam' users directory and the bootstrapper is long gone from the system-wide install.
If you are like me, and only run ALSA, hating PulseAudio's tentacle guts, you can actually run Steam anyway. They are using SDL as the backend, so when launching Steam you just export SDL_AUDIODRIVER=alsa before running it, and you'll get sound! Even in-game voice is operational, but you still can't permanently disable it to get rid of all the jackasses screaming into the microphones.
Steam itself still uses the look from it's Windows roots, the ugly custom-skinned UI. And it can't be resized on my machine, which runs PekWM. It is also slow as molasses to start, and so is TF2. That might be in part to me using ONLY a 3G modem for my gaming though. The store also works like a charm.
An interesting feature is that you can actually switch between the OpenGL game window and the rest of your desktops seamlessly, with no apparent bugs or performance loss. Faster and more painless than on Windows. This wasn't always the case though, as early versions would switch to your desktop as soon as you got an archievement and completely screw up your mouse input once you switched back. This has been long since fixed though.
The only recent bug I came across was an apparent lack of support for multi-user environments, where I once started the bootstrapper as my regular user by mistake and let it install, thinking it was an regular update. Once it was up I figured what was wrong, uninstalling it and starting up as the 'steam' user, whereas it sefaulted hard. It took several hours and a lot of support ticket reading to figure out that leftover temporary file descriptors left from the first session screwed up the second one. Kinda stupid bug for a modern software, but that's what beta testing is for I suppose.
For me, Valve has really made my Linux experience a lot better. Hat's off to them. Now I just need to find some TF2 servers with players that are as beligerent and offensive as me!
top Facebook Sued For Violating Wiretap Laws
At least for Chromium there exists NotScripts, albeit it is not as polished as it's Firefox equivalent.
top Startups a Safer Bet Than Behemoths
As a small inventor vs. a large company you're screwed anyway. You are right in that they will copy it and kill your business, but you are wrong to think that patents will protect you as a small-time inventor and business. The large company will simply dig up a couple of existing patents from their portfolio which your original invention MIGHT infringe upon, and all of sudden it's you that are the infringing party. It doesn't even matter if they are valid patents or not, because few small developers can afford to fight the large corporation in court in order to find out.
top Facebook's Plan To Automatically Share Your Data
Yes, there was a case a while back where the interviewer requested to become a friend to the potential employer. I can't find the link unfortunately, but it was a female recruit that was overwhelmed by the question and answered "yes"..
top Facebook's Plan To Automatically Share Your Data
And this comes as a surprise to anyone? The real danger is the proliferation of these services into everyday life. We already have examples of employers that demands access to prospective worker's Facebook accounts in real life. How long before you are viewed as being 'suspicious' for not having an account and sharing all your intimate details with the rest of the world? Everyone is doing it, why not you? Do you have anything to hide?
I am also sure that Facebook themselves will in no way use the third-party data in order to track their users visits on other sites, would they?
top Applying a Music Business Model To a Blog
I can only agree completely.
top Can Bill Gates Prevent the Next Katrina?
The next step of Gates' plan: Regroup all his weather-altering devices into a single prototype named the Weather Dominator. Proudly go on the air while wearing his blue uniform and matching helmet with mirrored facemask and announce his global domination plans.
Rofl, exactly what I was also instantly thinking of. Just think of the possibilities here, G.I. Tux action figurines, anyone?
Don't Copy That Floppy! Gets a Sequel
What, and in effect boycott RIAA/MPAA products? That's probably even worse than piracy, since with piracy they can still get money from you via legal extortion. Boycotting on the other hand, that's... TERRORISM!
top Old Software or Open Source?
I would go with a mix. Teach your students the basic concepts, and then let them try each software out. Explain to them the importance of not learning a tool, but rather a technique. Then let them decide which tool they prefer, and have seminars where the different user groups show each other how they accomplished their task with their software of choice.
As for Gimp's UI, i like it. It is consistent with the GTK toolkit, easy and clear. Granted it is not perfect, but the interface is not at all a problem unless you are a complete Photoshop addict. And as a side note, I've gotten hired explicitly BECAUSE I had Gimp knowledge. So it is not wasted effort learning it.