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Comment The VR Experience (Score 1) 151

The problem with VR is twofold:

1) The cost of the hardware required to run it is still pretty steep. This is something you really can't just skimp on if you want decent frame rates. Expect to build a system worthy of the " gaming rig " title if you want a decent experience.

2) Due to the first problem, there aren't as many folks buying VR titles. As a result, the developers are hesitant to pour money and resources into the creation of the titles as they will have a difficult time recouping the costs. This really becomes a problem with multiplayer titles as you will quickly note the lack of players to compete against.

I own an HTC Vive unit paired with a higher end gaming rig and while it does the job as advertised, it isn't without some minor issues.

Resolution is one of them and is the first thing you'll notice if you're used to looking at the ultra-crisp flat panel displays we're used to. You will get used to it, but it is an issue. The GPU hardware just isn't there to drive dual 4k displays at 90 frames per second. It'll get there, but we're not there yet.

The unit isn't glasses friendly. You can wear them, but they need to be a narrow frame to fit within the headset. I have a specific pair I wear when using the unit.

The unit can be a bit heavy for some folks and uncomfortable after a time. Those who are prone to motion sickness had best leave this tech alone. The wiring tends to get in the way and I find myself unwrapping from the wiring from time to time.

You need a wide open space to play in. I can't tell you how many times I've whacked the door, ceiling fan or other items in my play room flailing about in VR space. It does an OUTSTANDING job of making you forget you're actually standing in a small room but you'll remind yourself in a hurry when you whack the wall. ( Keeping the boundary warnings on does help )

Overall though, the VR play experience just puts everything else to shame. To the point where I'm looking forward to good VR titles far more than I am a non-VR game. I think the best path going forward for developers would be to develop for both platforms allowing the use of VR hardware if available. The typical first person perspective titles would be great candidates for this. Eg: Skyrim, Fallout4, any of the First Person Shooters out there, etc.

Some of the titles I particularly enjoy:

QuiVR ( pre-release, dedicated developer patches / updates nearly daily. Outstanding title. )
Eagle Flight ( UBISoft's foray into VR. I have more hours played in this than any other title and what I bought the Vive for. Unique flying sim )
Space Pirate Trainer
AudioShield
Thumper
Serious Sam VR ( still in development )
TheBlu ( good for demo use for your family / friends. Lots of " Oh Wow " moments, no motion sickness )

Comment Easier Solution (Score 2) 396

Other than the weather* and maybe traffic reports, quit reading / watching what passes for the news these days.

It ceased being ' news ' a long time ago and evolved into sensationalism designed to grab as many viewers as it can.

Even the Weather portion you have to take with a grain of salt. Especially if there is a hurricane or similar event going on. The media tend to cause more hysteria than anything.

In my opinion, being misinformed is worse than being non-informed. The latter doesn't tend to whip folks into a frenzy like the former can.

Quit watching / reading their bullshit and the problem will quickly fix itself.

Comment Depends on the company (Score 3, Interesting) 906

The older companies have been there and done that already. Previous incidents have honed policies about such behavior in the workplace to a fine edge.

As a result, your older companies make sure you understand they will not tolerate it. At all. Annual reviews and signed acknowledgements of said training with the threat of termination of employment for any violations pretty much keep folks civil.

It's just a matter of the new ones getting a taste of what happens when you don't have clear policies on the issue.

Watch for a zero tolerance policy to be born rather quickly ( as it should ) now that there is a spotlight on it. Will be a non-issue shortly as they will likely fire the guy in question if the allegations turn out to be true.

Comment Re: Can VR really "fail"? (Score 3, Insightful) 88

Agreed.

The only thing stopping it is the cost of the hardware required to support it. The VR unit itself in addition to the decent horsepower machine that runs it puts the cost out of reach for those who can just buy a console for their gaming fix.

When the hardware prices come down, more developers will create content because they will have a larger potential player base.

Right now it's akin to a Tesla. Lot's of fun, but not affordable enough for the masses.

Comment Re:Techie Republicans why (Score 3, Insightful) 113

Regardless of it being bipartisan or not, it is a bill that is long overdue.

If Law Enforcement is allowed to have such toys as these, then some oversight will be necessary to ensure they don't abuse them. Based on how judges are tossing out evidence when LE lies about using them ( at the behest of the FBI and their NDA ), one would think that they would welcome the rule. They'll complain about how much harder the job is, red tape, etc. but. . . .

Evidence tends to stick better when you follow the proper ( and legal ) procedures in procuring it.

Comment It's always someone elses fault (Score 1) 641

Not only did the guy buy the Tesla knowing full well what its capabilities were, he let his kiddo borrow it. To be honest, it could have been any car. Lots of people die every damn day from alcohol related crashes. The fact that this one involved a Tesla is now merely a statistic somewhere.

Why is it that no one these days bothers to take responsibility for their actions. It's always the fault of someone or something else.

It can't be his daughters fault that she was drunk, it's the folks who sold it to her !
Or the folks who manufactured it. . . .
Or the folks who shipped it. . . .
Etc. Etc.

It's a tragic loss. It always is.

However the facts are simple: His daughter CHOSE to drive while drunk.
( Welcome to being one of ~90k people killed every year from it )

THAT'S what killed her.

Not the car.

Comment Um . . . no (Score 1) 251

Based on what we see today with machines and software, we're all pretty aware of the fact that we don't own any of it. Especially those machines that require code to function.

Imagine your machine implant was made by Microsoft / Apple / Google / Etc who mandates that you will accept periodic software updates to keep it in " top operating condition " and in no way, shape or form would they use any telemetry data gleaned from your prosthetic for any purposes whatsoever. :|

Your implant would also probably get a mandatory backdoor by the USG to boot.

Not only no, but hell no.

Comment Hindsight (Score 2) 627

The good folks in US Intelligence might want to whisper a few things into the ears of Customs regarding their search rules.

It is a bit more difficult to keep tabs on folks traveling abroad when they decide to leave their tracking devices. . . . . .er phones at home due to the issues experienced at the borders.

Comment Gotta love intelligence agencies (Score 5, Interesting) 294

and the games they play.

Let's put this story out there and see if we can get him to panic and / or introduce some suspicion to his relationship with the Russian government.

If I were Team Snowden, I would respond with dusting off another, yet to be released, bombshell about what potentially illegal activities the NSA has been up to.

Comment Re: Strike (Score 1) 73

Yeah, always one in the crowd.

Ok Mr. AC, let me throw this at you. With nearly 25 years of service behind you, would you just drop everything and walk out the door KNOWING what the IT job market is like if you're over 40 ? Or have you kept up with such things ?

Would you still do it knowing you're one of the few that are left that will still get a pension ? ( $450 -$500k on top of whatever you built up into a 401k ) No, new hires no longer get them, the program is phasing out but those with my level of service are the last generation who will get them.

Would you still do it knowing your skill sets are really only useful to another telecom company who will still be dealing with the same issues and the same Union ?

Or you think you might just ride out the last five years in the hope you don't get laid off before you can retire ?

Sure, it's an easy answer if you're 25. Not quite so simple once you start getting close to retirement age.

Especially since I'm not willing to start over at half of my pay nor relocate since the home is paid off.

Comment Strike (Score 4, Interesting) 73

If they're calling for a strike, then it isn't something trivial.

Everyone is quick to judge them, yet have zero information about what the contract is offering or what the issues are.

I WORK for AT&T and this article on Slashdot is the first news I have heard on the matter. ( I fall under wireline vs wireless, though our contract is also up this year )

For those who have not worked for a Union company, let me brief you on a few things.

You cannot negotiate any part of your job with the company. Salary, benefits, time off, nothing. All of it is done from the Union.

Our last contract, the healthcare premium increase effectively erased the mediocre raise we got. ( ~1 - 1.5% a year )

The company no longer trains non-management employees ( I haven't seen any training for more than a decade ) for the equipment they're responsible for.
The newer folks are supposed to learn from the veteran techs. ( Who carry the job most of the time )

So you're effectively on your own to learn it. I am one of three people with a Cisco Cert ( my vacation time, my money to obtain it ) on my team and have full blown enable access to damn near every router and switch in the company. All the way up to the Core level systems.

Think about that for a moment. The vast majority of my team has the same level of access and exactly ZERO formal training on any of it and the company could give two shits about it.

Training, healthcare costs and a raise that isn't laughable are usually the big issues that Strikes are born from. It's not that the company can't afford it, they just take their workforce for granted and think all this stuff just magically works on its own somehow. :|

Oh and for those who think you can replace everyone with just anyone off the street at a lower wage, it typically takes at least two years ( a year for the ultra-motivated ) for an already qualified someone to become proficient enough at their work to do so without help. Unless, of course, you think these folks are just born with innate knowledge of how specialized telecom hardware works and integrates with the other systems.

If that were the case, the company would have replaced everyone a long time ago.

So don't judge those considering a strike too harshly just yet. At least until we know what their reasons are.

Comment Unions (Score 3, Interesting) 594

Unions certainly had their time and place in history, but these days it seems to be less about standing up for the little guy and more about how much money can we bring in via Union Dues. ( My opinion of course, I work within a Union Company )

That said, $21 an hour is a rather laughable wage in a State with a high cost of living like California. Hell, a wage of $80k is laughable in a State where housing starts at $500k and goes right off the scale.

So there is this thought:

If Musk doesn't want his employees getting seduced by the Union, he should probably consider bumping the pay of his workers to near what the national average is and address any concerns they may have ( like excessive mandatory overtime per the article ). As long as he keeps his workforce happy, they'll have no reason to Unionize and Musk will have nothing to worry about.

Of course, there is the flip side.

Musk can say " screw this " and move the entire operation out of California and into another State where the cost of doing business is much lower.

Comment It's not that we deny climate change (Score 0) 481

as it's pretty obvious the climate IS changing.
I'm just not so sure about the sole root cause being what the politically correct opinion is on the matter. ( Eg: Humanity is the reason )

In the grand scheme of things, our species is a relative newcomer to all things Earth. Since long before we showed up, the planet has cycled between two states. One of them being the Greenhouse version, the other the rather Chilly Ice Age variety. It's been going on for millions of years and will continue to do so long after we're dust. I'm pretty sure we have had nothing to do with the previous cycles, thus my reluctance to blame humanity as the sole contributor to the issue.

At some point it's going to get really hot around here. The Polar Caps and glaciers will all melt and the sea levels will rise once again. Somewhere along the way a Super Volcano will do its thing or we'll get a big enough NEO impact and the resulting dust / ash clouds will block enough sunlight, cool things off and we'll swing the cycle back the other way. Wash, rinse and repeat for billions of years.

It's Natures way of reformatting the planet so to speak.

Not to say we shouldn't try and minimize the pollution we spew out. It's nice to live in a non-toxic environment where I can breathe without a coughing fit.
If we want to blame human industry, so be it. Something needs to be the bad guy before folks can even be bothered to notice that something needs to be fixed.

The human variable may ultimately help speed things up, but in the end the cycle will continue to repeat itself and there isn't much we can do to stop it.

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