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* Posts by janimal

266 posts • joined 11 Sep 2007

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Ten excellent FREE PC apps to brighten your Windows

janimal

re: tony72

As with any tool, they can be misused or misunderstood. There's nothing inherently wrong with CCleaner & other registry cleaning tools. The problem is usually the user.

That's not to say I haven't borked a couple of dev installations in the past, but through my own fault not the cleaners. Back when I was a windows developer registry cleaners were an essential item when developing COM based software. Yes I remember DLL hell too!

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Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode

janimal

You should also check out oolite. It is based on Elite & is very similar (same ships, universe etc..), but has been added to over time and has loads of Mods available.

I do have the BBC version I linked earlier, but I prefer Oolite.

Linky..., http://www.oolite.org/

Enjoy! :)

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janimal

There has been a lot of uproar about this but the bottom line is that they have moved so much stuff to the servers they physically cannot produce an offline version now. All of the commodity prices, background simulation, module upgrade availability, bulletin board missions, injected events and I suspect even the NPC AI are run from the servers.

Which seems a pretty odd thing to do if one of your requirements is for the game to be playable off-line yes?

That code didn't end up on the server accidentally surely? At each point they made a decision to move some code to the server where was the sanity check on the requirements?

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janimal

Re: There seems to be a lot of confusion about 'offline mode'.

@Flatpackhamster

There are other reasons than direct griefing and lack of internet connection to want an off-line game.

1) Economics: They will need to find a way to fund the on-going server requirements - this can fundamentally affect game play eg; Micro-transactions & play to win

2) No pause button: I suspect many of the backers for this project are grown adults with jobs, families, children, cats etc... Last night I was playing oolite in a fit of nostalgia. At 11:30 I decided to install the povray planets extension and do one more trade run before bed. Due to a firefight and then being mass-locked forever, I was still no-where near the station at 00:45. Fortunately I Was able to just pause the game & go to bed. I will get back to it later.

3) Consistency: The game universe moves on without you. If I can't play for two weeks, or two months, the game universe has continued changing. Those changes are effected by other players actions while I am on holiday or just too busy to play. When I return I am effectively playing a game in a completely different state.

4) Re-balancing: Because this online universe is shared with multi-player. I may even return after a couple of weeks hiatus and find that my ships or weapons have different statistics. Anything in fact could have been tweaked solely in the interests of the multiplayer game.

5) Economic Griefing: You may be able to play Solo online mode, but the markets & missions are still going to be affected by the actions of MP players. You can rest assured that if there is a way to grief the shared galaxy, humans will find it. Economic griefing and scamming has been well practiced in certain other MMOs. Don't expect it not to happen here.

6) Modding: Some people were really looking forward to the proposed modding API. This very obviously can't happen now can it

7) DRM: They promised a DRM free version. Online authentication is DRM.

8) Longevity: The future playability of the game is entirely bound to the success of the company. You will only be able to play it while it is economically viable for Frontier to support the server. If sales tank quickly or no-one is buying spaceship skins that might not be very long at all. Equally it could continue for 15 years - the point is it is entirely beyond your control.

How many other products do you buy without any guarantees for how long it will actually function?

Many people seem to be completely unaware of the possible implications of this allegedly trivial decision.

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janimal

Re: one way out of this mess

One of the Frontier staff said in the linked thread that they did not want to place the server code in the hands of the player & allow them to discover all the secrets of the universe.

So it seems obvious that some of the 'limitations' preventing them from offering offline play are Intellectual Property & DRM based.

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janimal

Re: Oh, FFS!

I agree with all your points.

On the plus side if you want to relive the BBC micro version, you can do so..

https://store.zaonce.net/elite1984.html

They offer the 1984 BBC Micro version + the emulator required to play it for free (as far as I can tell).

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janimal

Re: Solo play not good enough

Well the other problem is how long can a buy once business model support the required servers for? I think it is reasonable to infer that the business model will have to change to micro-transactions or subs at some point in the future? Both very negative points for me.

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janimal

Re: Pity!

The gaming industry really pisses me off in this way.

We have thousands of old games, who by necessity relied on excellent game-play to be successful. If the graphics were relatively good it was just a bonus.

Whilst the movie industry almost constantly releases rehashes of old movies, the games industry largely ignores the wealth of old games. Unfortunately when they do revisit something they often completely miss the essence of what the game great in the first place.

I would be so happy to get some reboots, with identical gameplay, just updated graphics and resolutions.

Tie Fighter

Populous

Syndicate

Elite / Frontier / Frontier-2

Spy vs Spy

Geoff Crammond's F1 GP

X-COM: UFO Defence

Would be great for me!

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janimal

For as long as they can fund the servers right? So in the long term without subs or micro-transactions how will they do that?

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janimal

So how are they going to fund the required servers after everyone has bought the game? Expect a Micro-transaction pay to win experience in the future to keep the servers online.

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janimal

Yes server costs is a big issue. How are they going to fund the servers once all the potential players in a fairly niche market have bought the game?

The only real ways I know to do so are through subs or micro-transactions, both great reasons for avoiding online only games.

Expect the purchase model for the game to change at some point in the future possibly.

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janimal
Thumb Up

Re: Standard mistake to make

All great points

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janimal

Re: Oh FFS

Having read some of the rage thread linked in the article. It appears that solo play is still possible, but it still requires a connection to the servers.

In which case, for me at least, that's not so bad (until the game company folds of course).

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janimal
FAIL

Oh FFS

I was really looking forward to this, but only for offline. Glad I didn't stump up for the kickstarter. There must be many more like me who only really wanted it for the offline experience. :/

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Hate Facebook? Hate it enough to spend $9k fleeing it? Web 'country club' built for the rich

janimal

Re: This too will probably fail.

I'm sure the subscription is within the Daily Fail's budget

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janimal
WTF?

The last thing I would do...

if I had that kind of money to throw away, would be spending all day on a computer looking at pictures of people's cats (on luxury yachts).

The reason I spend all day on my computer is because I am not rich.

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'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux

janimal
FAIL

Apple v Oranges

They are not the same thing.

I use both together and feel technologically crippled by the absence of either

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janimal

Re: Wow so much copying Microsoft..

As long as they copy the useful things it's not a problem is it?

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janimal
Facepalm

Re: My faith in humanity wains when I read this site sometimes

Sadly you instantly negate any point you might be trying to make by generalising all criticism by labeling it as just 'whining'. Do you not consider your own post to be 'whining'? I do.

What sort of things do you expect people to post on a discussion forum?

Maybe you should spend all day just waiting for a new article to be posted and then get in there with a 'First!' followed by your list of acceptable viewpoints?

Anyway two points...

1) People, especially IT professionals, these days tend to spend an inordinate amount of time interacting with a computer. For me personally it is very close to 'every waking moment'. So it is understandable that changes to that interaction, whether an improvement or not are going to provoke a reaction.

2) This is a discussion. I can only assume you have some kind of learning disability, because it is clear that you have visited some of these things before. Evidently however, despite your intimate knowledge of the same old comments which appear time after time, you still felt the need to read them (I am generously assuming you have read the thread) and then tell us all how pointless they are. Well done.

If you can't see the irony in your own post there's really no fucking hope for you. Or are you just trolling? If so I guess I made your day.

I'm not usually so belligerent, but people who use the whining "argument" deserve a special hell of their own.

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janimal

Or the fewer people that upgrade, the more pressure there is on Microsoft to provide a quality OS informed by 40 years or so of HCI research, which allows the user to configure the desktop(s) to suit their aesthetic and workflows instead of an OS designed by marketing whose sole purpose is to increase sales of their other products by manipulative and anti-competitive strategies.

However at least 9 looks more useable than 8 even if at this stage it still looks bloody ugly. Including multiple work-spaces is a step in the right direction (although very late to the party)

I still can't understand why they don't copy linux at a more fundamental level and increase separation of the GUI from the the core.

This would allow them to sell GUI's targeted at different user groups on top of the one core OS.

Business users might be happier to fork out more often for improvements to performance if they could do so without impacting the user experience. Much the same for many home users I should imagine?

I'm sure they could bank masses of goodwill by creating an OS that allowed the user to choose how it looked & behaved, you know like an Operating System (designed to allow you to operate your hardware the way you want / need to) instead of forcing new GUI paradigm's and aesthetics down your throat because marketing says they need something new & whiz bang or that they need to transition the operating system to simply a consumer device.

Admittedly such a scheme is not simple and takes a lot of design & planning but I'm sure the MS folks consider themselves some of the best developers in the world.

Sadly MS is much more defined by its marketing strategies than decent software design. It has always seemed to me that they have some marketing troll in the basement who doesn't understand that you can compete by providing really excellent products instead of treating users like cattle and exploiting their market dominance. It seems to me they have no confidence in their own abilities.

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janimal

Re: Stupid Reader

Seems confused about the term "add-on", which does not mean included

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janimal
Flame

Reading back through the thread would answer your question.

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janimal

Re: AC

Linux Mint on my old netbook it's infuriating that a slip on the mousepad sends me off to another workspace that I never use and I then have to alt-arrow to get things back again. Most annoying and unwanted - if there's a way to turn this off for an old Gnome (Mint 7!)

I don't know about mint 7, but on later Mint's you can certainly turn off the hot corner for workspace switching - it's the first thing I do on any Mint install. You could try a later Mint, using the Mate desktop & see if it runs ok, or install a lighter GUI?

I have found Mint pretty good. I have an HP Elitebook which came with Win 7, however after a re-install of the OS - including all the correct HP drivers, W7 wouldn't recognise any of the hardware or fn buttons - whereas in Mint 14 and later they all work fine, including bluetooth & wi-fi (and the hardware & fn buttons to control them)

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janimal

Re: And does anyone actually use this in Linux?

I use it all the time, in both Linux and W7 (via 3rd party software) even though I have 3 screens

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janimal
Flame

Re: Windows had multiple desktops when Linux didn't even exist yet

technically having to install something else to provide the functionality means it is not included in Windows.

Are you going to claim Windows has CAD software because you can pay Autocad several thousand quid & install it?

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janimal

Additional monitors, IMO, are much better than multiple desktops. This minor feature, unused by most and likely to stay that way, isn't going to change minds...

I like to use multiple monitors and multiple workspaces personally.

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janimal

Re: AC

But imagine the disk thrashing and CPU burning that would happen if you tried that with Windows and VS. I tried the 3rd party virtual desktop hacks on Windows, but Windows just can't handle having more than one "work session" at a time - that's a fact I've painfully learned over the years.

This is also one of several uses I have for multiple desktops. IF you want it on windows you should look up dexpot - it does an excellent job of multiple desktops & several other things too, You can even make it do the cube (I don't bother). I have had no performance issues with it.

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janimal
WTF?

@JDX again

However I would've thought these days, more and more people would be using VMs to meet the same goal rather than running hundreds of applications on one PC?

What do you suggest one or two cores per desktop perhaps?

I do use VM's, but not to achieve the same functionality as virtual desktops - the overhead for each VM is much more than running an application on the host machine, but on a virtual desktop.

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janimal
Go

@jdx

It's not really that useful a feature for most people.

I have been using Dexpot for my virtual desktops on win XP & win7 for years.

It is both excellent and really very very useful.

When I'm working I tend to have a lot of code & browser windows open, but if I want a five minute news break etc... I switch to another uncluttered desktop view to browse the web etc.. check e-mail.

My machine is hooked up to two monitors and the lounge TV via HDMI, I can set dexpot to not switch desktops on one or more monitors, so I have it set to not switch the TV screen. So when we are watching a movie etc.. I can still flip between desktops on the other monitors without affecting what's on TV.

It's also useful if you want to look at something saucy, but might want to switch to a non-naughty desktop at the drop of a hat - like a more useful boss key.

virtual desktops rock.

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Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC

janimal
Facepalm

Oh The Irony!

When I try to access iPlayer this evening, it tells me I am outside the UK and won't work. I checked using some online tools & my IP is correctly identified as being in the UK.

I tried different browsers & clearing cache & history.

In the end the only way I could access it was ironically through a VPN service.

Nice one Aunty!

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janimal

Re: I don't normally try...

You're right, that is not a very good comparison.

Abuse of copyright is trivial and not even proven to be economically damaging to the victim, whereas misuse of guns & ammo tends to result in much more serious consequences, often to innocent bystanders.

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janimal
Mushroom

Bollocks

I think that 'are probably pirates' is a bit strong but I would agree that it should be unusual for a residential user to have large amounts of traffic travelling over a VPN. Home workers don't normally send a lot of data back and forth. Controlling a remote computer using RDP for instance is unlikely to amount to more than 1GB of data a day. Even VNC wont't be that much worse. Someone downloading/uploading documents is unlikely to be using much bandwidth either.

I frequently home-worked as a software developer. On some projects I have had to download a 16gb build every night (over VPN) so that I am coding to the latest build. Even on smaller projects 1.5gb is not unusual.

Just because you can't imagine a legal high bandwidth VPN scenario doesn't mean they don't exist.

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janimal

My very well off Brother has his router configured to connect to a commercial VPN service permanently so all traffic from his house & devices goes through it.

Nothing to do with piracy, just simply enhancing his anonymity.

If I want to look up a bit of perfectly legal fruity stuff on the web, I often use a VPN, once again just to enhance my anonymity.

The reality is that the internet these days is more of a profiling & tracking tool for government & corporations.

The use of a VPN makes you harder to profile & helps protect you from random trawling (of course cookie control, browser cleaning, no-script & ad-block are required too). Of course it won't help if you are explicitly targeted by some entity though.

I also dedicate 5mbps of my connection to a TOR relay, does that make me a criminal too?

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Twitter: La la la, we haven't heard of NUDE JLaw, Upton SELFIES

janimal
Coat

@David Webb

Remind her that she is beautiful and that you love her. It's not hard. Or is that the problem?

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janimal
Boffin

@Richard 12

er..why not? What is wrong with pictures of naked humans?

It might be worth asking yourself why any culture finds our default state or primary purpose of existence to be in any way scandalous?

The hacking element is obviously criminal, and for most of us, just validates our scepticism of "the cloud" as a cure-all to data management.

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janimal

Re: Polaroids FTW

I think we should separate the content of the pictures from the hacking.

We all have genitalia, and anyone who expected celebrity versions to be gold plated or replaced by a set of vestigial limbs is going to be disappointed. It turns out that Kate Upton's frippy is pretty similar to an ex-girlfriend of mine - ooh what a surprise!

The nature of the pictures is not what is important in this story.

Most readers of this site are experienced in (& cynical enough) of technology to not trust our most embarrassing peccadilloes to a random 3rd party repository.

Sadly rather than uplifting the general population's understanding of computing, we have dumbed down computers & devices. 20thC sci-fi novel vs. economic reality. :(

The problem with this story is that the media is going to shoot their load over the content of the pictures and everyone will ooh and aah along with the Daily Fail, before going home to ooh & aah just as scandalously with their chosen.

No doubt some idiot will suggest they shouldn't take nude pictures of themselves. Why the hell shouldn't they?

My question would be why shouldn't people be able to take pictures of themselves naked? I think that is the default state for a human and nothing anyone should be shocked, offended or ashamed of.

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Best shot: Coffee - how do you brew?

janimal

Re: Easy to make

Instant coffee tastes nothing like real coffee, except maybe kopi Luwack, which tastes like Dowe & Egberts instant coffee, just much, much, much more expensive!

Freshly ground, strong roast, Arabica for me every time thanks.

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janimal

I do love my aeropress. For the price, ease of use and also portability (great for decent coffee when camping) it is pretty awesome. As you say, shame about the crema though :/

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Claim: Microsoft Alt-F4'd Chilean government open-source install bid

janimal
Pint

@Rodrigo

Thanks for the link to that article. Dr. Edgard Villanueva's letter is awesome!

I especially like this...

". If the transnational software companies decide not to compete under these new rules of the game, it is likely that they will undergo some decrease in takings in terms of payment for licences; however, considering that these firms continue to allege that much of the software used by the State has been illegally copied, one can see that the impact will not be very serious."

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janimal
Black Helicopters

Re: "like any business, it is entitled to lobby in a democracy"

"On the other hand, the politician lost support. Microsoft is being blamed, and it is a lot of fun to point fingers at any big corporation, but we're being told that Microsoft didn't do anything bad, it just lobbied."

I think you are supposed to read between the lines here.

The reality is lobbying isn't democratic at all. It isn't an activity of equal opportunity. I have zero opportunity to lobby my government. All I can do is write to my MP about any issues I feel strongly about. On the two occasions I have tried this, both times I received a response to a letter I didn't write. On both occasions I replied pointing out this error. the explanation was that for any hot topic they get inundated by 'form' letters from grass roots campaigns and in turn create a 'form' response to those form letters.

So for the average Joe, the interaction between constituent and "democratic representative" is pretty much an automated ignore everything system.

Even if they were to listen, for an MP to reflect the wishes of their constituents would often mean defying the *whip and thus be punished by their own party.

Who tells the whips what to say? Ultimately the lobbyists after all those meetings on luxury yachts in the med & promises of future lucrative board positions etc...

We all know it's true, but no-one is willing or able to change it.

* This is a British party politics mechanism which basically removes any true representation from our so called democracy. I don't know if other "democratic" systems have a guy going round saying "you have to vote with the party line regardless of your opinion or that of the people you represent on this or we'll be slamming your bollocks between the door & door frame until the next election"?

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RealVNC distances itself from factories, power plants, PCs hooked up to password-less VNC

janimal

It is the same for

every single tool ever invented, as well as food and plants and pretty much any object you can think of.

Humanity might have done some amazing things, but in general humans are pretty rubbish! :)

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London cops cuff 20-year-old man for unblocking blocked websites

janimal

“Internet users have sought ways to continue to access the sites by getting round the blocking put in place by the ISPs. One of the ways to do this is to use proxy servers. This operation is a major step in tackling those providing such services."

I'm pretty sure copyright infringement is the number 1 crime on Joe public's mind.

We'll all sleep safe in our beds tonight!

PS. I didn't think operating a proxy server or just visiting a blocked site was a crime? When did they sneak that in?

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Microsoft KILLS Windows 8.1 Update 2 and Patch Tuesday

janimal

How long until a functional update

...bricks millions of machines?

I betting within 6 months.

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Brits STUNG for up to £625 when they try to cancel broadband

janimal

Re: Please

Indeed! Especially the outrageous and surely criminal £625 one!

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NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw

janimal

and then all they'll see is some generic porn and lots of cat videos :/

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janimal
Black Helicopters

I now do most of my browsing in a VM, running Linux, using FF & no-script and accessing the net via VPN with a frequently changed, usually foreign, exit point.

"you ain't seen me right..."

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Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot

janimal

I gave this exact same advice out to a friend 3 weeks ago.

It works well as long as the user understands what needs to be protected & what is fluff.

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'Apple is TERRIFIED of women’s bodies and women’s pleasure' – fresh tech sex storm

janimal

Re: I'll bite .....

It doesn't actually matter whether you 'get it' or not.

You live on a planet with 7 billion people with their own tastes and proclivities. Do you need to know the reasoning behind all their actions in order to function?

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100% driverless Wonka-wagon toy cars? Oh Google, you're having a laugh

janimal

@diodesign

Who pays currently if a BMW has an accident? Not BMW. Your legally required insurers would fight it out like they do today.

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