* Posts by NumptyScrub

640 posts • joined 18 Mar 2010

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Windows 10: The Microsoft rule-o-three holds, THIS time it's looking DECENT

NumptyScrub
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Re: We will tell them it's free - Muuhahahha

The Win8.1 it's currently running is Technet provenance, so volume licensing rather than OEM. I have no idea whether that would make me more of a pariah than an OEM customer, or less, when it comes to them letting me activate a reinstall ^^;

I miss Technet, apparently MS want to make sure I consider alternative OS vendors (mmm... minty) when I need to spin up a new machine at home, rather than just install Windows by default. Net result, only the gaming machine(s) still run Windows. :'(

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NumptyScrub
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Re: Windows10 just plain sucks. HoloLens are a useless crap.

The Hololens is not a bad copy of Glass, it appears to be a see-through version of the Oculus Rift.

Assuming that the MS promotional video I watched earlier is intended to be indicative of the user experience (items placed hovering over real world objects in a true perceived 3D environment), then it's a head mounted 3D display (check), with motion tracking (check), and gesture sensing input (unique to the hololens), which is transparent enough for the user to see through (unique to the hololens).

I have seen more than one person post on the Elite: Dangerous forums about how they would want the Rift screen to either be transparent, or provide a video overlay of the real life scene, so they can accurately type / pick up a drink / make notes on a pad then go back to the flight controls without needing to remove the HMD. Potentially, the "hololens" could provide such a head mounted display option, although a lot depends on the actual hardware implementation.

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NumptyScrub
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Re: We will tell them it's free - Muuhahahha

The key quote is "This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – at no cost."

So for the warranty period (and extended warranty period where applicable), as that can can be considered the "supported" lifetime.

I build and support my own devices, and I suspect that MS will class this collection of bits as "the same device" only until I change the motherboard. To be fair, mobo (and thus CPU + RAM) changes I always fresh reinstall for anyway, but I'd like to be sure that Win10 will actually let me reinstall onto "this PC but with different CPU/mobo/RAM in" and not require I buy a new copy of the OS to do so. All the previous OSs that have been installed on it (98 SE, XP, XP 64, Vista 64, Win7 64, Win 8.1 64) have allowed reinstalls after hardware updgrades, I'd want 10 to be no different.

That integrated XBox app sounds intriguing as well; a lot of my Steam titles are multiplatform XBox titles, and it would be interesting to actually be able to play them in a XBox party with friends. I'll have to see if I can find out more info on what functionality it actually offers.

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MYSTERY RADIO SIGNAL picked up from BEYOND our GALAXY

NumptyScrub
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It's evidence of spiral galaxy bigotry at work, I tell ya!

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NumptyScrub
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That would be news in itself, as everything else in the universe is moving away.

Apart from Andromeda, of course, which is coming over to say hi sometime in the next 4 billion years. And it's impossible to say one way or the other regarding anything outside of the "observable universe" boundary.

The vast majority of stuff definitely seems to be actively avoiding us, though ^^;

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Video nasty: Two big bugs in VLC media player's core library

NumptyScrub
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Well, if no-one is able to access the machine then it makes no difference if it is supported or not. And are all of the bugs, exploits, holes stomped on, fixed or blocked in the latest o/s? No.

Then it doesn't matter two hoots what I use.

It was more a dig aimed at the usual response given when someone asks for help with issues with Software v(N-2), aka "version N is the currently supported version, please upgrade".

An airgapped XP machine is as secure as any airgapped machine. I'd still recommend rebuilding that dodgy Win7 box (it should be stable, we have stable Win7 boxen here) and when you have it working properly, migrate to that as your dev box. The additional thread scheduling and handling thingies, and the ability to just throw RAM at the problem (yay 64-bit OS!) hopefully outweigh the effort of kicking it into shape.

Secondly, there are some compatability issues with the later o/s which aren't in the older ones for some applications which MS have 'promised' to fix and haven't.

Whenever I've had support requests for older apps on a newer OS, I've usually gone the route of upgrading the user to the version which is certified to work with the newer OS (and waiting for that version to be released, in one or 2 cases). I don't know how much effort is required to build Win7 / 8 / 10 compatible apps out of an older XP codebase, however given XP is unsupported I had kind of assumed that everyone would be making the switch anyway.

And, lastly, shove XP on a new machine run a massive database bashing exercise (say a few million SQL queries) then do the same on Win7. Compare the run times for both.

So, assuming you mean to run both on the same hardware and only the OS differs, I'll specify a machine with an i7 5960X (8 core with hyperthreading), 32GB RAM and running 2x 512GB SSDs in a RAID stripe. I've deliberately picked stuff I think XP will struggle to support or use; 16 virtual cores (does the XP HAL allow for 16 simultaneous threads?), more than 4GB of RAM (32-bit XP will also only allocate 2GB to any one user process), and SATA3 drives.

Will XP be quicker in that situation? I suspect not, because I've skewed it to try and hobble XP. However any enthusiast (and most corporate number crunching users) run a 64-bit OS and have >4GB RAM for very similar purposes. We have a few data analysts here that run local database servers (16+GB RAM in those boxes), are you sure that they would see a performance increase if I were to switch them to XP?

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NumptyScrub
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Perhaps he prefers to use a stable system. As I do for my development; the Win7 machine is too flaky compared to XP.

If a professional developer does not understand the implications of using an outdated and unsupported version of someone else's software, then I really don't know what to say.

I am disappoint.

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Just WHY is the FBI so sure North Korea hacked Sony? NSA: *BLUSH*

NumptyScrub
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Re: @Jimmy: Would have been more impressive (and believable) @fruitoftheloon

You didn't see the "Imitation Game" movie then did you? Where they made a decision not to provide actionable intelligence for a US food/material ship convoy being targeted by German submarines as that would tip the Germans off that the Enigma code had been broken? Or where it might by comparison be silly to say anything about the NSA having compromised the DPRK's network?

So they let Sony get hacked, only to tell us anyway a little while later. Yet we have not been told of whatever major Nork hack they did manage to thwart that has tipped the DPRK off that their systems are compromised.

If it was far more important than a tiny global megacorp like Sony, I'd have thought they might have been crowing about it. As is, all I see is some additional "evidence" presented to make a previous statement sound more convincing, and nothing regarding why they chose to sabotage their (apparently successful and long running) intrusion at this time by doing so.

It is a mystery ^^;

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Feds dig up law from 1789 to demand Apple, Google decrypt smartphones, slabs

NumptyScrub
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Re: ACturd @Camberwick Green

Ah, I see you're sticking with your your usual level of offering and adding nothing to the conversation. This is my surprised face, honest.

It's no different to your contribution to the debate tbh, Matt. I see you unequivocally support the idea that deletion of data =: destruction of evidence, without stopping to ensure that the data in question has been properly classified as (or should be classifed as) "evidence" first.

In the absence of any warrants requesting that data, and in the absence of any arrest and/or charges, any data is not classifiable as "evidence", and thus can be freely destroyed without consequence. Imagine a file called "test.txt" containing the 4 characters "test" (created to ensure that SMB share permissions are functioning correctly). Is deleting that file a criminal offense? Since you have provided no clarification to your assertion that removal of any data is obviously destruction of evidence, I'll have to assume you think it is, even though the idea that deleting a test file is "destruction of evidence" will sound somewhat ludicrous to most people.

Unless you care to clarify your assertion, so that we can ensure that we are on the same page as regards which data is actually "evidence" (aka data which is legally definable as evidence with respect to the "destruction of evidence" offense), and which data is not and can be freely removed without fear of sanctions?

Note that blanket assumptions that all data is considered protected as evidence sounds just a little bit totalitarian. I'm hoping you've thought it through a little better than that :)

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Tesla S P85+: Smiling all the way to the next charging point

NumptyScrub
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Re: @PeterGordon (was:electricty is so clean right

The fact is, ingesting too much of anything can be toxic. People actually die each year from drinking too much water so your argument is quite incompetent.

The fact remains that Tesla batteries are 100% non-toxic and recyclable exactly as I said.

I'm fine with EVs and think the Tesla is a great idea, but seriously look at those 2 statements. If too much of anything can be toxic, then the Tesla batteries are, logically, potentially toxic. Thus, they cannot be claimed to be 100% non-toxic.

If you are going to point out flaws in other people's debating technique, it is prudent to ensure yours is not similarly flawed ^^;

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NumptyScrub
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Re: That's nice.

My old Japanese rally homologation model: I used to average 140 miles per tank (45 litres / <18mpg), and on a "spirited" drive could get the low fuel light on before 100.

My current Japanese sport-tourer motorcycle: I average 140 miles per tank (18 litres / ~35mpg) and on a "spirited" ride can again piss through it in less than 100 miles.

So your friend's Tesla is getting similar range to a saloon based sports car, and similar range to a sport-tourer motorcycle, when driven in real world conditions by someone who enjoys a "spirited" drive. The P85+ apparently manages more than 150 miles even in "spirited" mode, so it apparently has significantly better range than a petrol sports car or a sport-tourer motorcycle.

Some people want more than 400 miles out of a tank, and some people want less than 5 seconds to 60mph, and never the twain shall meet :)

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NumptyScrub
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Re: If only..

Not to mention the impossibility of sending High Definition TV over the air - "There would only be enough bandwidth for one HD channel".

And, who knows if they ever can get above 56kbps on a twisted pair copper wire, I hope they do.

The 56k limit is because you have to fit an analogue signal into a 64kbit digital channel. If you need to fit an analogue carrier inside a 64kbit digital transmission channel, 56k is about as good as you are going to manage, even with today's technology. We already had far superior "data transfer over twisted pair" options before V.90 hit.

If you want to compare the 2, here's the timeframe for Ethernet versus the timeframe for modem development. 10Base-T (10Mbit, 1990) is contemporary with the ITU V.32 standard (14.4kbit) in 1991, and V.90, (56kbit, 1998) is contemporary with the first Gigabit / 1000Base-T ethernet standards.

ADSL services were first patented in 1988, or at the point dialup modems were about to go from 9.6kbit to 14.4kbit. The kit was apparently horrendously expensive up until the late 90s though, which is potentially why consumer takeup (and market presence) was extremely low up to the turn of the century. Still, by the time V.90 hit, DSL services had been around for a decade, and you could get a 512kbit or 2Mbit service for a "reasonable" price (aka less than 3 figures per month).

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You'll get sick of that iPad. And guess who'll be waiting? Big daddy Linux...

NumptyScrub
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The majority (by far) of the vehemence I've seen directed at Win 8 is from having a touch optimised interface on a non-touch device (TIFKAM on the desktop). And then I read this in the article:

It's still a ways off, but Melamut reckons Ubuntu for phones and Ubuntu desktop will "ultimately… converge into a single, full operating system that will work across different form factors from mobile to tablet and PC."

Which is exactly what MS tried with Win8, have the same experience across phone, tablet and desktop, and which (due to the interface) annoyed so many people. I've already seen echos of the TIFKAM vehemence aimed at Unity, so it's up to Canonical to avoid all the mistakes and pitfalls MS faceplanted into if they don't want the same level of revulsion at this converged (device agnostic?) Ubuntu.

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Paris terror attacks: ISPs face pressure to share MORE data with governments

NumptyScrub
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Re: @G.D.

But those anguished folks aren't the one's who're blowing up buildings and shooting non-Muslims terrorists.

Our Western Civ, philosophical meanderings will not defeat our butchering Muslim terrorist enemy. Nor will futile reposte-snark and ill-advised humor.

Our Western Civ. philosophical meanderings are rendering us very vulnerable right now. Our problem is learning how to apply our Muslim terrorist enemy's tactics and strategy against our Muslim terrorist enemy.

You seem to be conflating "muslim" with "violent psychopath using religion as an excuse" so I've edited your quote for you. Dumbfuckery of that magnitude (conflating "westerner" with "those soldiers here shooting or drone striking innocents") is what they do, not what we should do. We should be taking the moral high ground and not be contributing to any escalation of violence, because escalation of violence never ends well. I learned that quickly enough at school, I had assumed all schoolkids did.

Much like the escalation of surveillance that this thread is actually about, in fact. I am struggling to think of one positive (i.e. benevolent to its citizens) historical use of a surveillance state, and I can think of a couple of negative uses right off the bat (the words "secret police" have a negative connotation for a reason, it seems).

Also, kudos for at least not using the phrases "fight fire with fire" or "you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs", even if I was getting that kind of vibe from some of your references.

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NumptyScrub
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Re: It should be obvious

Anyone capable of reading will also be well aware that the people committing these heinous crimes were already known to the security services, and were demoted to "not interesting enough to keep an eye on" only a couple of months before this attack.

Please, enlighten me how giving them unfettered access to read my Facebook account and emails could have prevented a tragedy perpetrated by someone in France that they knew about, but chose to stop watching?

Apparently if you don't want to be monitored by your own government, all you need to do is associate with known terrorists, go get some proper terrorist training in the Middle East, then come home and don't do anything for a few months; they'll get bored and completely ignore you then. >.<

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NumptyScrub
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Re: Destroyed All Braincells

"....Libya...." Hold on a sec, weren't you and your chums claiming only not too long ago that Libya was part of that "wonderful" Arab Spring, and all due to the Great Revelations brought to us by Bradley/Chelsea Manning? Seems that much repeated claim has been forgotten now that the Arab Spring has turned into such a big mess (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30003865).

Well, in fairness I've also seen it claimed by many (yourself included) that more surveillance powers are required for security services to fight terrorism. We then find out that those same services are already surveilling well beyond their remit (apparently this is fine because they don't care about normal people) and yet they still completely failed to prevent the Paris attacks, done by people who were already on their radar as persons of interest.

If the security services are already just blanket scoffing all the data they can get their hands on, and yet they still fail to prevent these atrocities, then it would appear that blanket scoffing of data isn't working too well. It would also appear that the criteria they use to downgrade potential threats are also flawed (these people apparently having been downgraded prior to going on a rampage).

Now I've done some thinking on this, and if you truly want to wipe out internal terrorism (aka a 0% chance of a terrorist event occurring in-country), the only viable solution is permanent surveillance of the entire country. Anything that is not under constant surveillance has the potential to be used by terrorists for secret meetings, so everything has to be under constant surveillance or the whole exercise is pointless; someone will inevitably slip through and people will die anyway.

So you have to be comfortable with GCHQ filming you on the bog, and filming your kids in the bath, if you truly want to prevent terrorism. Terrorists are apparently perfectly capable of using encryption to avoid detection, they are also going to be perfectly capable of using sign language in an unmonitored bathroom to avoid detection. On the plus side, it would also make it impossible to commit a crime and remain undetected, and it would be impossible to go back on your word without facing the consequences, as we would have recordings of all actions and conversations available for evidence at trial.

It does, however, also allow those people collating and reviewing the surveillance the ability to choose what to disseminate, and what not to disseminate, and as such I could not countenance it without hard proof that those people were truly incorruptible.

How far would you be comfortable for government surveillance to go? 24/7 monitoring of everything, or something short of that (which would allow terrorists enough leeway to continue to meet and plan in secret)?

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Google unleashes build-it-yourself 'Ara' SLABLET phones (in Puerto Rico)

NumptyScrub
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Re: No way, no how

There might be a market for a replacement screen, but an upgrade screen when yours works fine? What's the market for an upgrade battery in a world where many phones already have a replaceable battery, and those that don't can have a battery 'case' that adds capacity?

I think it is unlikely to extreme that anyone will ever want to upgrade the wireless, cellular or GPS in their phone. Does anyone with a phone that does "only" wireless N want to pay to upgrade to wireless AC? If your phone "only" does LTE will you pay to upgrade to LTE Advanced? (assuming you actually have towers with it nearby)

I'd buy one*. My gaming desktop is a "grandfathers axe" machine, because I only upgrade the parts when they break or are no longer fit for purpose. The case is 15 years old, because sheet aluminium lasts for ever when stored indoors ^^;

That works in exactly the same way as this phone; I have a chassis and I just purchase and install the bits I want as and when it becomes useful for me to do so. I might be an edge case, but I'm also definitely a market for that kind of device.

*Caveat: as long as the APU / RAM and storage were also upgradeable, because there's no point adding ever more complicated bits to a processor that's already starting to struggle. I don't care if it is a single module containing all 3, I do care that I can throw more FLOPS (or RAM) at it when it inevitably slows down due to software "upgrades" hogging more resources.

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What do UK and Iran have in common? Both want to outlaw encrypted apps

NumptyScrub
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Re: Risk vs benefit

If terrorists kill up to (say) 20 citizens in the UK every year, are we happy to put up with that to maintain freedom ? Many people might say "yes". How about 100 ? Or 1000 ? Is anybody going to stick their neck out and name a number ? If a certain disease killed 100 people in the UK a year, would we be as worried, or is that different ?

I'll draw a line in the sand; when terrorism regularly kills more people than cars, I'll support more draconian measures to curb terrorism. If it ever did happen though, I'd have to suspect that someone was deliberately letting them through in order to support an unpopular political agenda (such as curbing or removing basic freedoms from your populace in the name of "safety") ^^;

Je suis cynique

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Tax Systems: The good, the bad and the completely toot toot ding-dong loopy

NumptyScrub
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Is VAT not basically a transaction tax? Is there a situation where I can be liable for VAT without it being directly attributable to a specific transaction (the purchase of goods or services) I have participated in?

I note that the article proposes that transaction taxes are batshit insane have the highest deadweight cost, and that VAT as a "consumption tax" has almost the lowest deadweight cost, just above land value taxation. I must be missing something, because as far as I can see consumption taxes look an awful lot like transaction taxes with a different name.

Also WTF is up with paying taxes on duties? I pay VAT on fuel duty (not 20% on the price of fuel, 20% on the price of fuel+fuel duty) and the same goes for all items with a specific duty levied. Increasing alcohol duty by 10% increases the revenue raised by more than that 10%, thanks to an extra 20% VAT on that increased levy. That is pretty batshit insane, hiding increased revenue in the knock-on effect of taxing an increase in duty.

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Elite:Dangerous goes TITSUP

NumptyScrub
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Re: @Robinson - OK but

Let me give you some examples. Freelancer had a single player campaign that really engaged the player. That was its "thing" (combat was fun too). X2 had a unique economic model and the ability for the player to run little scripts and remote control his assets. That was its "thing". Eve Online puts the massive into massively multiplayer and has a totally player run economy (some things still get seeded by NPCs of course). That's its "thing". Having a "thing" maintains the player's interest. So, what is Elite Dangerous's "thing"?

Freelancer also had a campaign that artificially restricted what the player could purchase (ships or equipment) until specific story milestones were passed. That works in the context of a defined narrative, but grates if the game is supposed to be a "sandbox" type.

X2 (and the X3s) let you buy what you like and build what you like right from the start, if you have the money, so it's a much better sandbox. It only has a hundred or so locations though, and each location is only tens of kms across. I also ran into unforseen issues where one story mission causes a sector to get totaled; I had 3 thriving factories in there with a decent amount of combat ships for defense, and lost the lot thanks to it being a scripted battle. Not a lot I could do about that except cry :'(

EVE is the definitive "space sandbox", to the point that CCP intended piracy and griefing to be part of the game experience. Scammers in Jita (and corporate moles in general) are there because scamming a player out of in-game goods, or working your way into a position of trust and then cleaning out the corporate hangar and account just after downtime, are considered fair game; only phishing for account details, or exploiting game mechanics to make money are considered verboten. CCP have to sell PLEX somehow ^^;

Elite's "thing" probably depends on who you talk to. IMO the "thing" for E:D is that it is larger in scope than existing sandbox games, and provides 1st person combat for those that prefer that to the stats-driven MMO style combat. I love combat flight sims and I like sandbox space games, so that's why it works for me.

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NumptyScrub
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Re: @Robinson - OK but

I'm keeping out of the argument, but +1 for this :

The player in a game is the centre of the universe, not an outside observer.

Nice.

The player in certain genres of games is the center of the universe, most RPGs and the single player elements of FPSs make you a true protagonist, whom the story revolves around. The player in Sim City, however? You're making all the decisions, but you aren't the centre of a complex narrative web, you're just the town planner. The player in Planetside, or the multiplayer component of any CoD? Just some grunt helping your team of grunts reach an objective. The player in DoTA is part of a team attempting to destroy the enemy base, but again there is no complex narrative and you just repeat the same scenario over and over again.

Many extremely successful games (CoD, DoTA, Minecraft) provide a gameplay experience that is weak or even mostly devoid of a rich predetermined narrative experience where the player(s) follow, and are the centre of, a developer created storyline. That does not stop them having a rich narrative experience, many Minecraft or DoTA players will happily regale you with stories of "that time when..." and proceed to go into great detail of how their player interactions, with either other players or the environment, provided them with a thrilling experience.

Dragon Age: Inquisition is spoon feeding me a rich, prewritten script (which I can affect, but only in predetermined ways) that I am finding compelling and enjoyable. I am the centre of the DA:I universe.

Minecraft, CoD:AW multiplayer matches, and Elite: Dangerous provide me with an environment in which to play. It is my actions which define the experience; our last ditch rush to cap points in Domination to squeeze in a win, that time we mistakenly built our vast Minecraft castle right over a creeper spawner (and then had to hunt the damn thing down so we could destroy it), the attempt to use a fuel scoop to refuel where I got interdicted 8 times in a row (and chased off or destroyed several larger and better equipped ships, much to my satisfaction). In E: D a friend of mine destroyed a Python (a giant, ponderous multirole vessel that costs many millions of credits) with his Eagle (a tiny, nimble fighter that costs a few thousand credits), a real David and Goliath moment. Funnily enough, he couldn't wait to tell people about it.

If you want to take the analogy to an extreme, people enjoy playing chess and draughts (aka checkers), and they have literally no built-in narrative. 100% of the experience is in how you play the game, and how you interact with other players, and none of it is provided by the "developers". Is E: D as boring as chess? Yes, in the sense that you will only get out what you put in (disclaimer: I have had exciting and tense chess matches). E: D has more lasers and explosions than chess, but to be fair it also has little predetermined narrative beyond reading bulletin board notices and inferring what you can from them; "War in Eranin!" would mean nothing to someone the other side of the galaxy, however someone 2 systems over could infer that there are lucrative smuggling prospects for several goods that will be in short supply (like personal weapons, an illegal item that will be in high demand), or decide to offer their services as a mercenary pilot to either side in the conflict. Or they could decide that war sounds like dangerous business, and just choose to relocate somewhere less volatile; to be fair, some games would not give you the choice to not participate in a local conflict ;)

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NumptyScrub
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Re: OK but

I don't give a flying cluck about "offline mode". I'm just telling you that whatever this game does was done far better in games of the genre from 10 years ago. Freelancer was much more fun to play as was (is) X2. Elite Dangerous was good to play for about 2 weeks whilst I got the "wow" factor of the Oculus Rift out of my system. Now it's just a daily grind.

What are you grinding for? I'm assuming you feel the need to buy shiny upgrades for your ship, or a shiny new ship? Then you need to earn the scratch for it, just like life. I've been playing since premium beta (maybe 9 months?) and my current state is a little over 20k credits since the gamma wipe, and I'm flying the freebie Sidewinder (no upgrades).

I did the trading grind when the beta was all about trading, and got to a Type 9. I did the mission grind when the beta was all about missions, and to be honest while it's nice to have a Cobra or Asp, for pissing about looking at stuff and exploring, the Sidey is the literal cheapest option; it costs 0Cr to replace it if you blow it up, and fuel is dirt cheap (even without a fuel scoop). I'm just flying around doing some space tourism, the odd courier mission, and escaping interdictions. I'll worry about grinding for money when I have a specific goal in mind (like getting an Imperial Courier) ;)

I've played Elite, Frontier, Frontier: First Encounters, StarLancer, FreeLancer, the whole X series (including all the X3s and X: Rebirth), EVE, Conflict: Freespace and the sequel, all the Wing Commanders, and almost every X-Wing game ever released. E:D is by far the biggest sandbox of the lot; FreeLancer and X3: Albion Prelude are tiny in comparison (a hundred or so locations versus ~400 billion systems). E:D is combat flight sim focused; no matter how many people will assume it's all about the trading and play it like EVE, the flight model is deliberately tuned to promote atmosphere type dogfighting (like StarLancer, Wing Commander, X-Wing, Freespace, and the X series) rather than MMO style "click buttons and wait for damage to resolve", or the Allegiance or F:FE style Newtonian jousting model. E:D has no artificial limits on range or equipment availability until story milestones have passed; one thing that bugged me about FreeLancer was areas with the better kit being locked until you had finished story mission <whatever>, then suddenly you had loads of upgrades available to purchase. That's more of a railroad than a sandbox.

So, compared to all the space combat flight sims, space trading sims etc. that I have played, E:D is looking pretty good. The combat flight sim part is shooty and lets you take a pop at players as well as AI. The grindy trading part has a large player-affected market that requires some forethought and a pinch of luck. The space explorey part makes you work to find those exoplanets that aren't gifted to you on the target list (this is where supercruising with a Rift helps you spot those parallax movements that turn out to be previously unknown celestial bodies), and overall it does everything it purports to do well enough that I am perfectly happy with it as is.

What it does not do is hold the player's hand at the start; if they choose not to fly the training scenarios then you are dumped unceremoniously into a cockpit docked at a station, and left to figure it out yourself. Note that one of the training missions specifically covers undocking, flying to a new system and docking again, so the info is there if people choose to PTFTM (play the training missions). I cannot stress enough that new players should play the training missions :)

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NumptyScrub
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Re: Frontier: First Encounters

I remember it well, but I still enjoyed F:FE a lot once I got hold of the patch(es). However:

Diablo 3 on XBox One: 250MB patch on day one (required to play online)

CoD: Advanced Warfare: 200MB patch on day one (also required to play online)

Destiny: 250MB patch on day one (ditto)

Dragon Age: Inquisition: 280MB patch on day one (ditto)

Nobody is apparently capable of releasing a game these days that does not need a day one patch. Blizzard, Activision and EA are continuing the grand tradition spawned by Frontier :)

Games developers release unfinished code, and have been for several years now. It has apparently become standard industry practise now that consumers can get day one patches via the wonder of the interwebs. I don't see this changing any time soon, unless people all decide not to buy games on release in protest of devs releasing unfinished code (this is highly unlikely to happen).

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NumptyScrub
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Re: "...this one's got a way to run"

You are comparing a DDoS of servers to mismanaged servers. Completely different

I am comparing people not being able to play the game (because servers), to people not being able to play the game (because servers). You tell me how many consumers are going to carefully examine root causes before they decide whether to be outraged or not?

Also, it took X: Rebirth around 20 patches (a couple of months) to finally kill an AI queueing issue that could cause some story missions to be uncompletable without manually editing your savegame. Star Citizen has managed to deploy about as much as the E:D alpha (Hangar and Arena modules) with no dates on any of the actual universe content (Squadron 42 / persistent universe wotsit). E:D is looking fairly good when compared to that company, and those are the 2 I would rate as the closest current matches (if you can think of others let me know, I love a good space combat flight sim).

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NumptyScrub
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Re: I've been thinking about playing....

4,500 Cr. But honestly, docking in E:D is an order of magnitude easier than the original. Ahh the joy of lateral thrusters!

The starting Sidewinder, as well as a couple of the other ships (Eagle, Hauler), are small enough to go through the letterbox sideways*. If you line up dead centre you literally cannot be the wrong orientation to get through. Hopefully by the time someone has earned enough to get a ship that is big enough to require proper orientation to fit through, they'd have also become a lot more comfortable flying ;)

*I've used this before to get past AI numbskulls in Type 9s taking up the whole slot, there is enough space either side to get a sideways Sidewinder past, as long as you have the guts to try it (and put 4 pips to System for the shields) :D

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NumptyScrub
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Re: "...this one's got a way to run"

In other news, multi-billion dollar companies Microsoft and Sony fail to keep their servers available on Christmas Day, impacting gamers being able to play over 100 titles (many freshly unwrapped, no doubt). Would you concur that both the consoles and the support infrastructure for either company are also not mature enough for a full-blown release, if a bunch of disgruntled script kiddies can take the network down for millions of players?

Full disclosure: I've been playing Elite fine and had no connectivity or trading issues whenever I've logged on. I could not however play Dragon Age: Inquisition on my XBox One during the aforementioned unexpected downtime. In my single case, Frontier have been more reliable than companies valued a thousand times higher, and I would find it hard to believe that I am unique in that respect.

I'll not even mention how much more reliable E:D is to, say, X: Rebirth regarding game-breaking bugs on release...

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Renault Captur: Nobody who knows about cars will buy this

NumptyScrub
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Re: Tce Engine

But on real congested motorways it's a very different story because the Prius comes into its own in slow traffic when it is on electric. A car with stop/start is stopping and starting the engine every time a few yards progress is made, causing a lot of wear. A Diesel or petrol car without is using fuel all the time to do nothing. Shortly after I got the Prius I was stuck in traffic on the M6, and in three quarters of an hour made barely a quarter mile of progress. Suddenly there was a strange noise, and I realised that the engine had only just come on to charge the battery.

If you can be sure of driving mostly on motorways at unsocial hours your Diesel may have an advantage, but my experience is that in mixed real world traffic conditions the Prius uses less fuel.

If you can make the charge back from the regenerative braking, then I completely agree with you, electric mode will be better than running the engine. However, if you are making the charge back by using the internal combustion engine as a generator (it is not designed to be an efficient generator, it's designed as a car engine), I suspect that the total power efficiency of motive force from engine generated electric charge sent to the wheels, vs total power efficiency of motive force from the ICE, are going to be comparable, if not slightly biased to driving directly from the ICE. Storage losses plus electric motor efficiency will need to be as good as, or better than, transmission losses for it to be better using the engine to charge the batteries than just drive the axle.

Does anyone know those comparative figures for hybrid vehicles? If driving the car from an engine-charged battery is still 10% more efficient than just using the engine then hybrids are a (literal) no-brainer for fuel economy, and ICE only cars should be phased out. If driving the car from the engine is even 1% more efficient than driving it from an engine-charged battery, then the design should really only allow for charging via regenerative braking (that literally is free energy, since you want to lose the kinetic energy anyway, you might as well get some use out of it).

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NumptyScrub
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If you can lock the wheels up, the brakes are good enough. Obviously modern cars have ABS to prevent this, but the point stands: brakes can only be *so* good. Unless you start fitting parachutes to the car.

The single most important safety item on any car is the tyres. If you put shitty £10 teflon tyres on then your grip levels are compromised, and braking and cornering (including swerving) will all be far below safe levels.

Summer tyres are practically worthless in snow or ice. Winter snow/ice tyres are subpar in dry summer conditions. Cheap tyres with shitty grip levels mean you could lock up the wheels just using your handbrake. You want the right tyres for the conditions, and you want the best grip available because that is the safest configuration available.

I've had sports vehicles that could lock the wheels up using "performance summer" tyres, but that could not lock up the tyres running slicks on track, no matter had hard I stomped the pedal. The more grip that is available, the harder the brakes are able to work.

It's all about the tyres ;)

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NumptyScrub
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Re: NumptyScrub It is a French car.

Having driven throughout France over many years I can tell you the number of souped-up boy racer cars is far lower than the UK, Germany or Italy. You also see far less sports cars such as the Mazda Miata or BMW Z3 or Z4. Indeed, if you do see a sports car on French roads it is far more likely to have a GB plate than a French one. You do see an almost continual chain of smokey, slow diesels.

And yet I see vast swathes of people at Les Vingt-quatre Heures du Mans every year, and a hell of a lot of them seem to be French; I always end up talking to people on nearby plots, and the natives:furriners ratio is pretty good, usually 50% of the closest 10 plots are French. Maybe it's confirmation bias, and French petrol heads all live with a few hundred km of Le Mans? Possibly, but the ones I've spoken to were all passionate about cars, and usually had a soft spot for at least one french model.

To be absolutely fair though, generally their favourite cars were other nationalities e.g. Jaguar, Lancia, BMW, Chevrolet, Nissan etc. ^^;

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NumptyScrub
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Re: It is a French car.

And before anyone mentions old fun French cars like the Peugeot 205GTi please go and check and you will often find all the fun bits were added to boring base cars by British development teams to suit the British market.

Renault have a history of making bonkers cars; the Renault 17 Gordini, Renault 5 Turbo, the Espace F1 (who in their right mind puts an F1 engine into an Espace?), the Clio Sport V6 et al, and the Renault Sport division is based in France. We don't have a monopoly on mental petrol-heads in the UK, there's a lot of them elsewhere as well :)

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NumptyScrub
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Re: Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

If you knew you were driving a torqueless car why did you try to overtake a truck going uphill on a motorway on a windy day? Was it the car's fault or yours?

How many drivers that this vehicle is aimed at (the ones who view it as purely a transport tool) would actually ask themselves that question prior to attempting an overtake manoeuvre? In my experience it's approximately none; I have been witness to more failed overtakes than I care to remember. So this is acting completely in character for the target market, and thus could be argued to be good journalism for a review.

The fact that the act itself should never have been attempted simply points at our somewhat poor standard of driver training. All drivers should be carefully appraising all those facts (available space, vehicle performance, visibility and other road conditions) prior to any manoeuvre. The fact that many don't is mainly a slur on their own skills :(

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Elite: Dangerous 'billionaire' gamers are being 'antisocial', moan players

NumptyScrub
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Docking is a piece of piss if you have a half-decent stick with a hat switch bound to lateral thrusters. I would consider the docking computer a waste of 4500Cr and an internal bay, although I understand that other people may not feel the same way.

I'm one of those retards that bought in early (for a comedy sum) and then spent even more money getting a better HOTaS (my old Logitech Force3D was getting a bit wobbly) and then recently pissed away a ridiculous amount getting an Oculus Rift. Anyone pissed off at Frontier Developments (for whatever reason) could immediately assume that I'm just experiencing Post-Purchase Rationalisation and thus any statement I make regarding how much fun I am having is immediately suspect.

I would counter with the assertion that I don't spend 3 figures on kit if I'm not enjoying myself. I played the alpha at a mates (on his X52 Pro) before I bought in to the beta and got myself a HOTaS. I tried out the DK2 at the same friends before I got my own. When you can see what you're going to get before you pay up, you don't have to try and rationalise the spending decision after the fact ;)

I'm still waiting for a mate to get a Star Citizen login so I can try that out before I buy, although it would be nice to see more than just the dogfight module (the E:D alpha had 6 systems to fly in so you could see the basics of travel and gameplay, rather than just test the combat flight model). If it looks good enough I'll probably get the Cutlass edition ^^;

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NumptyScrub
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Re: It really is a vocal minority

Where's the mercenary edition content?

Since the scam-company that is Frontier never responded to my refund request from weeks ago I might as well put some time into this game and get a little out of the money I put in.

Where's the promised content that was to come with my Beta purchase?

So are you saying that you paid for beta access and have been playing (and potentially enjoying) the beta builds in online-only mode for a few months? If so it is possible you may be one of those people that FDEV decided were not eligible for a full refund, as you would have already used the (time limited, perishable) beta access part of your purchase. Possibly you may be able to convince them to refund up to the retail price from your purchase because there is no offline mode, but the beta part was never offline, and it's usefulness expired when they moved to gamma.

Deciding you don't like the main course and want a refund is one thing, but demanding you also get refunded for the starter and the beers (which were exactly as advertised) is a bit rich, don't you think?

You've got the download (duh) and paintjobs - it's the green/white/black 'Mercenary' skin for the Cobra. Guess you will have to save up to use it if you didn't get the Explorer starter kit though!

The skin is actually for the Sidewinder, unless there is also a mercenary skin for the Cobra (or maybe even other ships?). My starting Sidey got painted up and the skull decal thingy applied as soon as they became available ^^;

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NumptyScrub
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Re: It's for kids!

Well one of you can spot a joke. To the rest, thanks for your informative posts and many downvotes! I'm here all week. Try the fish!

Hey, I wouldn't downvote a comment like yours that could just as easily be parody rather than serious, but I can't resist also providing a rebuke, for the edification of those people who agree with what you said, rather than what you meant ;)

That's why you need smileys in forum posts (and especially in sarcasm), because you lose so much of the contextual nuance when you can't see the wry smile or cheeky grin over the internet.

You got waaaaay too many downvotes on that one though. I've upvoted you to try and even the balance a little ^^;

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NumptyScrub
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In an online game, being blown up by players who are cheating is a pain in the arse, and the frustration and paranoia it causes is evident from the forums. I just can't be bothered with that sort of thing anymore.

To use a reply that I haven't already seen many times ("use solo mode" gets old after such a short time); a shitty player in a massive, heavy, slow ship has no guaranteed victory over a good player in a small, cheap, nimble ship. You can destroy Pythons (costs 57 million) in an Eagle (44k credits, and many players including myself received a free one for early backing or buying the Mercenary Edition), I have seen it done. Apparently my IRL friend who took out an AI piloted one while I was there, subsequently managed to kill a poorly piloted player Python who interdicted him a few days later (and who apparently didn't try and run even when his hull was down below 10%). For realsies.

If you've got the skills, you can get the kills, and the people desperate to cheat because they don't have the skills aren't actually going to get the edge they think they will by just buying the most expensive ship and assuming it is intrinsically "better". The Eagle is designed as the most agile and maneuverable ship bar none, and is the cheapest ship you can get (bar the starting Sidewinder). If you can stay in someone's blind spot and get their shields down to start doing hull damage, it is amusing how many people in more expensive ships will immediately try to run ;)

Hell, even the starting (aka free to replace as many times as you want) Sidewinder is usable in combat, the only problem is "weak guns syndrome" because you get the least damaging weapons in your free package. Flown well it'll take on anything up to an Adder, but the default lasers are slow enough to kill that a Viper or larger will have plenty of time to see their hull slowly going down and be able to run away if they want. I've embarrassed a few (badly piloted) Cobras into running away myself, and it is pretty satisfying even if you do fail to get the kill.

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NumptyScrub
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Re: Freedom to Cheat!

I am really surprised that the developers let the newly minted Elite Oligarchs keep their ill-gotten gains because that seems contrary to their desire to earn real money from in-game items. Perhaps there weren't enough of them to pose a threat to their planned revenue stream.

Elite: Dangerous store

I have only ever seen in-game cosmetic items (literally, replacement ship skins and decals) in the real money store. Have a poke around and let me know if you find any in-game items that could give me a tangible benefit in playing the game (no, the utterly hideous Gold Viper skin doesn't count, even if it might induce apoplectic rage in some players when they see it) :)

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NumptyScrub
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Re: It's for kids!

Grow up!

You are seriously out of touch with the interactive entertainment market if you think computer games "are for kids", or that computer games are created with kids in mind. :P

A quick look at the shelves of any game retailer will show you what proportion of games are 18 rated, and I'd estimate it'll be approaching half (if you include 16 rated games it'll easily be the majority). The majority of new games are squarely aimed at the adult market and that is unlikely to change, because adults have more money to spend ;)

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NumptyScrub
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The old "But it works for me so I don't see the problem" well thousands of other people do have problems, I'm pretty sure very few other areas can get away with the number of defective products software companies can without being faced with an embarrassing recall and compensation.

a) if 2 thousand people have problems, and 200 thousand people have no problems, is the product defective, or is the player-provided environment defective (this is running on customer computers over customer connections, and in my experience not everyone maintains their PC to the same standard that I do)? Exactly how many people are having connectivity issues, versus exactly how many people are not having connectivity issues? I'm not seeing verifiable figures on either side of this argument; nobody has concrete numbers and thus everyone is using weasel words to exaggerate their position (for instance, saying "thousands of other people" without providing one shred of supporting evidence that there is more than 999 people with current issues, or people like me stating that "all of my friends" are working fine so the percentage of issues must also be small)

b) you only need to recall physical goods that have a physical defect, software can be fixed or even completely replaced via download. I completely agree that everyone releases unfinished software these days, every single game I have bought recently had day one patches (6 pre-ordered XBox One games, 6 day one patches of over 200MB each). Taking one company to task for something that everyone does is disingenuous though; nothing short of a consumer boycott is going to convince EA or Activision to change working practise, and you try convincing people not to pre-order CoD: The Next One or FIFA <one every year> as soon as it gets announced.

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YES, we need TWO MEELLION ORACLE licences - DEFRA

NumptyScrub
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Re: @AC

This is an idiotic statement. I've worked fairly extensively with Oracle and MySQL*. Oracle is certainly the more feature-rich, but for many applications there is little or no time penalty for using MySQL. The advantage may even be the other way, as you don't need the army of DBAs that seem to be part of every Oracle installation.

I think that statement was actually meant to imply that many people bandy about the term "free" without considering cost implications of the people required to implement and maintain the aforementioned "free" software. You can move from an Oracle DB backend to a MySQL backend, but unless your time (and the time of your staff) is valued at nothing then there is going to be a cost associated with it, even though MySQL (or other backend of choice) has no licensing cost. Whether the cost of switching is less than the cost of not switching is a question that can only be answered by actually looking at the specific scenarios involved; some cases it will be significantly cheaper overall to switch, and some may actually be more expensive overall (although these may be mostly edge cases).

I could ditch all our Windows clients and implement "free" Linux clients; they have office software and can connect to SMB shares out of the box these days, and to be honest a lot of users would barely notice the difference until they tried to find the Control Panel.

What I cannot do is change all our clients over in zero hours, and implement an immediate (and zero cost) skillset upgrade for our support staff, or even a zero cost skillset upgrade for our users (some may already be familiar with MATE / KDE / <insert desktop manager of choice> but many will not be). Those costs are the ones that stop it from being a "free" upgrade.

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NumptyScrub
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Re: Really?

There's then another set of licences to use the ERP. That's what's being paid by use and will be pennies per 'licence'. It was, at one point, the standard way of licensing purchase orders and expense management as it kept it simple.

The company I work for uses Oracle E-Business Suite including the OM and iProcurement modules. We license those per user. I was completely uninvolved in any of that decision making process (I'm support, not development) but I do know that in over a decade of using E-Business that we have never used per transaction licensing.

I am now intrigued as to how much we actually pay per user per year for E-Business, because I would be astonished if we actually are paying more than £150 per user per year for this, but I have literally no idea how much we do pay. I'll have to see if I can find out ^^;

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NumptyScrub
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Re: Really?

They're not licensing EBS per person. They're licensing by transaction. Hence the large number of 'licenses' which is basically the same as the number of expense claim lines plus purchase order lines.

Who the fuck decides to license per transaction in a 10,000 user environment rather than license per core? I don't understand Oracle licensing (very few people do, and I'm sure that's by design), but I know they offer per user licensing, and I know they offer per core licensing. One of those options is highly likely to prove more cost effective than using some (frankly bizarre) "per transaction" licensing approach.

You can colour my gast utterly flabbered as well o.O

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By the power of Xbox, WE HAVE THE POWER! - Leakers publish One's SDK

NumptyScrub
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Re: Numpty Scrub

But by then the PS4 will ALSO cost much less. PS3's started at $500 and are now around $200 depending on the model. Similarly, a PS4 will always undercut the PC, meaning my statement still stands. A $400 budget today would reduce to $200 in four years time, and even today a $200 budget is tricky just to get a decent mobo/CPU/RAM combo, let alone the video card (and I've checked).

A Zotac ZBox AD02 (AMD E-350 APU with Radeon 6310 GPU), 250GB HD, 2GB RAM is apparently $160. I can get a preowned XBox 360 250GB for £109 (which is about $160 according to xe.com).

The main question is really whether an AMD E-350 (dual 1.6GHz, Radeon 6310 w/80 shader cores) provides equivalent performance to the 360, and whether Mint Debian with the Steam client (total cost $0) would allow the ZBox to be considered a gaming machine, or whether you would require it to be running Windows (with the additional license cost) to be considered "equivalent" in functionality to the 360.

I actually have an AMD E-350 based unit under my TV at home (It's not a Zotac, it's a rebranded Foxconn NTA350 mini-PC), that runs Win7 with Steam and Kodi installed. It plays Dungeon Defenders and Castle Crashers, games I own on both Steam and on the XBox 360, at 1080p at speeds that are indistinguishable from the XBox 360. If it was already running when I walked in, and you put a 360 controller in my hand, I'd actually have to look at the lights on the box to work out which device was actually playing the game ;)

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NumptyScrub
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Trollface

Re: Numpty Scrub

Pillock!

Destiny is not available on PC, and there are more strikes & weapons on PS4 than X1.

Balls, you are completely right. Still, I guess Battlefield 4, CoD:AW, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4, etc. all are available on PC to play (using a PS4 controller if you want) at 4k/60fps ^^;

OK...now pull all that off from scratch...on a $400 budget.

When I bought my current 760GTX 18odd months ago it was over £300, now they retail for £200 (for the 4GB version). Since the AC I originally trolled replied to mentioned "the next 8 years" of the PS4 pwning the XBox One because of a better GPU, I'm pretty sure that less than 8 years will be required to be able to build a gaming PC using a 980GTX (or equivalent) for $400; $100 for the GPU, $200 for the CPU, mobo, RAM and case, and $100 for the Windows license.

Zotac do a bunch of barebones mini-PCs at around that price range, and whose specs have slowly been getting better (I bought one in 2013 and it's outclassed by their current lineup). At a guess it may only take a couple of years for consumer tech (with consumer markup*) to match or exceed console specs at console prices. Thus is the way of the tech world ^^;

*If I order 5 million units from Zotac, what discount do you reckon I could get?

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NumptyScrub
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Trollface

Re: All you need to know is just one click away

As the Eurogamer article points out, development is moving to GPU, and this is where PS4 performance will drive off into the distance, leaving the Xbox One to continue to get the crappy ports for the next 8 years

Since this seems to have degraded into console brand fanboyism, I'm invoking the PC Master Race and bombing this thread with irrelevant facts.

The GPU in the PS4 is (slightly) less powerful than a 2 year old nVidia 760 GTX; both have 1152 stream processors, the PS4 runs those cores at 800MHz compared to 1000MHz on the nVidia part, and the PS4 has 5.5GHz memory (176GB/s memory bandwith) compared to 6GHz (192GB/s) in the nVidia part.

Magical "code optimisations" could possibly pull that back, but the current gen PC GPUs like the 980 GTX have 2048 stream processors at 1200MHz and 7GHz memory (224GB/s). Given that multiplatform releases end up on PC as well, and Windows PCs can use the MS XBox controller natively (or the PS4 controller with the right drivers installed), and the most powerful gaming console is still the PC.

Compare <insert game here> on the PS4 @1080p (or more likely, 900p lol), versus the same game on the PC @4k. If you want to play Destiny, Battelfield 4, or other games at 4k/60fps, then there really is only one option currently available, and it is neither the Playstation nor the XBox.

</smug grin>

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NumptyScrub
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Re: Homebrew with strings

People who are copying a game (I would not call it "pirate", as for me, it involves cracking) ARE (were) a potential customer!

If they copied a game, it is because they wanted to play it.

Did they want to play it enough to actually spent money on it? Hard to know.

The point being made by Anonymous Bullard is that the vast majority of "pirates" never intend to pay for the software. They are not a lost sale, because they were never going to pay (you cannot lose a sale to someone who would never purchase your product), they are simply an opportunistic, unauthorised user. If you make it impossible for them to use your software unauthorised, they will just stop using your software, rather than purchase a legitimate copy.

Thus the canned statements of "we lost £100 million to piracy last year" are impossible to justify. If the product was impossible to pirate, Anonymous Bullard's personal experience is that there would have been almost the same number of sales, and that alleged £100 million in lost sales would be exposed as vapourware. It would be like claiming that "every vehicle on the M6 motorway is a lost sale for the M6 Toll road" and subsequently "the M6 motorway costs the M6 Toll road millions per year in lost revenue". On the surface it seems like a reasonable assumption, but if you actually look at the motivations and reasoning of the people involved, it is shown up as fallacious.

Software pirates don't buy software, they just use whatever they can get hold of for free. If you manage to stop them from using your software for free, they just look elsewhere; the vast majority do not (and will not) go on to buy your software.

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NumptyScrub
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Re: Homebrew with strings

Well, remember the scenario we almost had with Microsoft where they announced that they'd virtually put an end to the re-sale of games? That's the technology you could use; it's already there - if only they weren't so draconian about it.

Yep, they would tie the game to your account and then you wouldn't need the disc any more (it would become a coaster, as the game key was the important part). You could also share the game license with up to 6 (or was it 8?) friends, on the proviso that only one person could be playing at any one time; if you wanted to play together, you all needed to buy the game.

Most people violently opposed to the original plan missed the part where you could voluntarily share the content with several friends, aka "lend them the (virtual) disc". I wasn't aware of it until an acquaintance (who works for MS) pointed it out. So we gained the ability to lend or sell people the physical disc (and require the physical disc in the drive to play the game even though it's fully installed to HD), and lost the ability to just save all our games onto HD (including external HDs plugged in via USB) and never need the physical discs again once the license is assigned to your account. Once it's assigned you can also just download the digital version any time you want, rather than have to hunt the disc down for a reinstall.

I know which one I'd have preferred overall, since I tend to just keep my games rather than trade them in. Those people happy to spend £5 to £10 to rent the game for a week or 2 (purchase for £40, trade in for £30 later) are the people who lose out.

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NumptyScrub
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Re: Homebrew with strings

There's a great difference between "not designed to be open systems" and aggressively hindering any attempt at re-purposing or upgrading it or even repairing it yourself.

I do find it odd that people are generally ok with this type of thing, but I guess not everyone is a geek like me. I have no knowledge/interest in cars, but I'd be quite pissed off if I was unable to open the bonnet and were banned from the road if I made any attempt to.

You should be pissed off then; you can do whatever you like under the bonnet but unless it can pass an MoT you can't use it on the public road. The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 is the car equivalent of the Microsoft (or Sony) restrictions, on what you can and cannot do with your car and still have it use the public roads.

You can do what you like to the console hardware, just don't expect to run the proprietary operating system on it after you've upgraded / modified anything. You'll need to install your own OS that doesn't care about the modifications, and use your own gaming services, because use of PSN / XBox Live is contingent on you using the supplied (restricted) console operating system.

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NASA: ALIENS and NEW EARTHS will be ours inside 20 years

NumptyScrub
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Re: John Bailey

There is no life on the moon. This is an observable fact. Therefore, while it's incorrect to state "there is no life outside of 20 miles of my house" it is correct to state "there is no life on the moon".

I don't think you've got this science thing down right. Either absence of evidence is classifiable as a "fact", so that it is exactly as correct to state that "there is no life outside of 20 miles of my house, because I have never seen any" as it is to state "there is no life on the moon, because we've not found any", or alternatively absence of evidence is not classifiable as a "fact", and thus it is as incorrect to state "there is no life on the moon" as it is to posit that no life exists 20 miles from my house.

The correct statement is "we have not yet found any evidence of life on the moon", and that is as definitive as I would be comfortable getting.

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Apple in 2007: Who wants a stylus? Apple in 2010: We want a stylus!

NumptyScrub
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The Livescribe requires special paper. This Apple patent application is for a stylus that writes on any surface.

Not the same thing.

Exactly the same thing. My motor vehicle used to require a special surface (tarmac) to operate correctly, however I modified it to be able to use any surface (aka put off-road tyres on it). Unless you are arguing that I can now patent the entire vehicle including the engine, drivetrain and passenger compartment, rather than just the tyre, then the concept of "recording stylus" is identical in both applications.

Apple have not invented an entirely new concept, they have modified an existing concept (LiveScribe) to remove one of the previous restrictions. I would only grant the parts of the patent relevant to not needing special paper (the innovation), and ensure Apple properly pay LiveScribe for the use of their pre-existing technological innovation of "styluses that record movements to replay to computing devices".

Of course that's not how the USPTO work, they just grant everything and let the courts sort it out.

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Do you remember mid-1970s fears of global winter?

NumptyScrub
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Paleoclimate temperature measurements (or rather, measurements of other things that are then back-calculated to temperature) all tend to show that we have been getting warmer, overall, for at least the last 12,000 years. We're also just past the end of an 80 million year or so cooling period.

Neither of which says anything specific, however it does tend to suggest, to me at least, that we are going to be getting warmer for at least the next few million years. I just want scientists (and a lot of others) to stop presenting theory or model-based predictions as facts. They are not facts. Only base measured data is facts, everything else is theory and is only as useful as it's ability to accurately predict; something that most of the current models seem woefully inadequate at, although experience with the state of weather prediction means I'm not terribly surprised that we're still shit at it at anything beyond the "couple of days" timescale.

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