* Posts by BobaFett

35 posts • joined 18 Sep 2009

Unreal: Epic’s would-be Doom... er... Quake killer

BobaFett

Technically brilliant, incredibly dull.

Whilst Unreal was technically brilliant, it just didn't excite me as a game to play. Yes, the colour palette was wide and varied but it lacked an artistic style. The designers spent more time trying to exhibit the technical feats of Tim Sweeney. I much preferred the feeling of the environments created by the guys at Id Sofware, even if Quake was all very brown. And I also preferred fighting Steve Polge's Reaper Bot for Quake deathmatch, than the opponents in Unreal. Admittedly, it's a different style of gameplay but I don't think Epic really used his talent to Unreal Tournament 2003 which was a lot more fun.

It also disappointed me that both Quake and Unreal lacked the multitude of on-screen opponents that you could fight in Doom. Yes, they were proper 6DOF 3D, but they lacked the excitement and fun of Doom. Not to mention that neither of them had a multiplayer co-op. Had to wait for Left For Dead to get something of a similar ilk.

And I think as other people have mentioned, the best single player story led FPS by a country mile was Half Life.

WTF is... NFC

BobaFett

Re: It's not too bad

@Tom 38: My only reservation these days with paying cash, is the number of bloody fake £1 coins in circulation. Admittedly, I could be more careful checking my change but more often that not, I don't realise I've been given a fake until I try and buy something from the vending machine at work.

Also as another poster pointed out, it can sometimes be excruciatingly painful when a cashier gets confused when you give them £5.34 to pay for an amount of £3.84 (expecting £1.50 in change). It should be as simple as counting the money I've given them, entering it into the till and waiting for the answer on the display.

Apple wins second round of Samsung patent slugfest

BobaFett
Stop

Re: Apple cultists

I would have to concur with the AC, that if you look at the comments or votes on any of the Apple related articles the majority of commenters/voters take an anti-Apple stance. It also seems that most initial comments are in the same vein. Objectively, anyone can review the comments and measure this themselves, but please let me know if my casual observation is incorrect.

Apple Java update fails to address mega-flaw – researcher

BobaFett

Re: Do consumers really use it that much on any platform?

You are correct, any platform agnostic program is either different from the host or from instances of itself. This is quite evident using GTK or X-Window based apps on Macs, so it's not specific to Java. The problem lies in the fact that most cross-platform UI toolkits imitate the standard set of controls found in Microsoft Windows leaving little room for doing things differently other than doing something custom (and usually not fitting with user's expectations on the platform they are accustomed to).

My main point was that, this being the case, writing cross platform apps with UIs that don't behave like normal native applications isn't particularly gratifying as a developer. Not to mention the fact that if you really want to do clever things with the file system, etc. you need to use the new File API in Java 7. Prior to that, you'll struggle not to end up writing native code. So personally, I'd rather just code to the operating system in ObjectiveC or .Net (apologies Linux) than settle for a sub-optimal cross-platform solution.

Apple Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion review

BobaFett
Mushroom

Re: OCD much

These are evidently in-house applications where the UI designers share strongly different opinions. To be honest, I'm surprised Jobs allowed this diversification of metaphors to promulgate as they did under his stewardship.

And here's a personal gripe that bothers me day in day out, on Calendar.app and Google Calendar but not Outlook: what the fuck is up with paging your calendar by month?! A day is a day, and arbitrary month delimiters just make viewing last 2 weeks of one month with the first 2 weeks of the next painful! Woefully, unnecessarily painful! Time is a continuum, I don't need some arsehole to insert some stupid bloody paging mechanism at inappropriate moments. FFS, it's the 21st century, can someone please realise month (and year ends) are only of significance to pen-pusher money-pinching accountants!

Apple CEO: Frothing fanboi iPhone 5 hype screwed our sales

BobaFett
Facepalm

It will all even out over time.

Seems like a pointless rant. There are plenty of people whose upgrade timing didn't warrant getting an iPhone 4S that will now purchase an iPhone 5. Apple know this, they most probably could have delivered an iPhone 5 in July, but are just stretching the revenues out for as long as is feasibly possible based on competitive offerings. I think the only people caught up in their own hype here, somewhat worryingly perhaps, were the analysts. But that's bankers and investors for you. As we're constantly reminded on financial adverts addressed to the consumer: "past performance isn't an indicator of future returns" (or something to that effect). Boo fucking hoo!

iPad Mini maquette spied on web

BobaFett

Aspect ratios

I really don't think 4:3 aspect ratio is such a bad choice when you compare it to standard paper and photo sizes. Perhaps a good compromise would be to move to 3:2, but I'm not convinced.

US Letter = 1.294 (11 x 8.5 in)

4:3 = 1.333

A4 paper = 1.414 (297 x 210mm)

Digital SLR = 3:2 = 1.5

16:10 = 1.6

16:9 = 1.778

Leap second bug cripples Linux servers at airlines, Reddit, LinkedIn

BobaFett

Re: Linux bug? Really?

Has anyone figured out why the Java VM running on Linux is so adversely affected?

Apple 15in MacBook Pro with Retina Display

BobaFett
WTF?

Missing the point.

A lot of people seem to be overlooking the fact that this is a premium laptop aimed at creative professionals, not your average home consumer.

Professionals who will most likely want to work on a significantly larger screen (that's larger, not higher resolution) or perhaps two such screens when sat at a desk. (If anyone can find a PC laptop that has the output capability of driving a dual-link DVI resolution screen, please let me know. Many have GPUs that support such resolutions, very few have the necessary outputs for them. I am aware of a Thinkpad that does it.)

Professionals who will also most likely, want to store and work on their data using RAID-1 disks at a minimum without being hampered by a slow interface. Yes, USB3 is good but Thunderbolt is twice as fast and daisy chainable.

As for all those omissions people are complaining about. The Apple Thunderbolt Display makes a great docking station for Mac laptops as it provides wired ethernet, a webcam, audio and power (although you'll now need an adapter for the new MagSafe connector which is disappointing). You can also daisy chain a second Thunderbolt display.

Is there really anything that can compete for the creative professional who wants to concentrate more on getting their work done, than trying to figure out whatever the alternative setup would be in the PC world?

Apple introduces 'next generation' MacBook Pro with retina display

BobaFett
Trollface

Re: Mac OS X doesn't scale for big resolutions

Even Paul Thurrott (news editor for Windows IT Pro magazine) is of the opinion that Mac OS scales better than Windows. See the section "Better Resolution Agnosticism" in this article:

http://www.winsupersite.com/article/windows-7/what-microsoft-can-learn-from-mac-os-x-lion

BobaFett
Stop

Re: Can't one just get the panel and install it on another 15.4-inch laptop?

What would be the point unless you run an operating system that is truly display resolution independent? Font rendering normally is but GUI controls and icons are not often designed to be, so actually being able to click on buttons accurately might prove extremely difficult.

I use a Dell 27" 2560x1440 monitor at home with 108.8 dpi and I find that UI controls are getting a bit small compared to my old Dell 24" 1920x1200 monitor which had a 94.3 dpi. This new 15.4" 2880x1800 display has a dpi of 220.5. You're going to need software that can scale to that pixel density and still be usable!

IIRC, NeXT computers used to use Display PostScript so that it was truly resolution independent.

BobaFett
Stop

Re: Stop the pixel counting nonsense

You're kind of missing the point. It's not about the number of pixels but pixel density, and the point at which individual pixels become difficult to discern from one another at a given viewing distance. Hence the reason why Apple most frequently use the term "Retina display".

The pixel count is really only interesting from a graphics and battery performance point of view, as it has a detrimental effect. And I'm not convinced I'd like to play Diablo 3 at the full 2880x1800 resolution if they're going to be rendering 4 times as many pixels, as it they will probably have to compromise on the use of other rendering effects.

Foxconn receives Apple smart TV order - report

BobaFett

Re: Lessons from the past...

As with all things Apple, I doubt the focus will primarily be about the hardware specifications. It will be about what it can do, how it goes about doing it and most importantly what it can offer over and above what we have today. So the physical design will be pleasing and the user interface will be simple and easy to use (possibly too simple).

As others have pointed out, the physical screen is not something people will be re-purchasing on a regular basis. Potentially, one could have an upgradeable logic box (signal provider to the screen) but let's be honest, video codecs for broadcast and disc media change infrequently so that piece of hardware doesn't need changing often either.

So let's assume they provide a built-in DVB-T/DVB-S tuner module and PVR capability, perhaps with hard drive upgradeability (don't count on it). That's still not offering anything more than what one could buy off the shelf either fully integrated or as components.

So where's the added value? For me, it'll have to be incorporating iTunes TV/Movie rentals at an aggressive price. One that beats paying a subscription for Sky/Virgin.

BobaFett

Re: content..

Well I for one, am not interested in paying Sky/Virgin to provide me with a large number of channels that I can already get for free via FreeView/FreeSat. Where those packages have value is in the sports channels and the TV series which are exclusive to Sky1, etc.. However, I still think that the base package of £15/month for those exclusive TV series is a lot to pay over a year, especially as I don't actually watch that many and am in no particular hurry to watch them, if they'll eventually be showing on Free To Air channels.

However, this is not always the case. HBO and AMC show a number of series that I like which aren't free to air, but sill don't warrant me spending £180/year to watch. As such, I'm quite keen to watch them on a pay-per-view option. Currently however I find the iTunes pricing a bit expensive, but maybe I'm just being a bit tight. I also think the BBC series pricing is way too high, for someone who already pays for a TV licence (and if I wasn't so lazy, could just record the programmes I want anyway).

In any case, I think pay-per-view for the latest TV series on a simple integrated TV could have potential if priced keenly. Current SmartTVs sit on the periphery, relying on third party content providers. Apple can at least use some of its weight/cash to bring content to consumers at a better price than the Sky/Virgin duopoly does in the UK.

BobaFett
Stop

Re: With a Fanboisian 4:3 display no doubt

16:9 is great for watching TV but I'd prefer 2.35:1 for movies, as offered by one of those Phillips TVs. I look forward to the day that I can buy a 3840x1600 monitor with a 2.4:1 aspect ratio - it would be ideal for work and watching movies!

However I think your dig at Apple's choice of a 4:3 aspect is misguided. For portrait viewing 3:4 is a good compromise compared to A4 paper which is 3:4.24.

Self-driving Volvos cover 200km of busy Spanish motorway

BobaFett
Paris Hilton

Sexist?

One has to wonder how the decision was made to feature a female rather than a male reading a newspaper in the driving seat?

Apple design chief Jony Ive knighted - but not by the Queen

BobaFett
Meh

Re: so few republicans

Does the monarchy have any political power or is it just an artefact of bygone eras? Personally, I'd much rather have been born to just a very wealthy family than the Royal Family. Unfortunately, I'm just a bounty hunter these days... c'est la vie.

BobaFett
Thumb Up

My personal favourite

Is the 1st generation iPod. Not sure if it was entirely down to him, but it's still a beautiful object to behold.

Nokia loses $1.7bn in Q1, sales chief falls overboard

BobaFett
Stop

Re: Anyone remember...

The success of the Xbox 360 is down to a number of factors:

- out-gunning the Wii in the graphjics department and actually supporting HDTV resolutions (not that the XBox is aimed primarily at the Nintendo audience in the first place);

- beating the PS3 to market by over a year;

- having a superior, well-integrated user experience made by a software company rather than a hardware company (Sony).

The original Xbox was a pre-cursor and an experiment where the financial backing of a company like Microsoft can see these projects "stick", as you said..

But to use the success of the Xbox as a prediction for Windows Phone is somewhat naive. I doubt you'll find many market analysts who'd bet their money as willingly as yourself.

Fragged, fragged and thrice fragged! 20 years of id Software’s Doom

BobaFett
Angel

Fond memories indeed!

The thing that immediately impressed me about Doom was the feel of the environments. I had been playing Ultima Underworld before which was even more claustrophobic, but that first level of Doom, overlooking the little pool with the window into the courtyard just felt so much more 'solid' to me. The fact that the level was actually just a 2D plan was cunningly disguised.

I also totally loved the music, even though Bobby Prince had ripped off the key riffs/melodies for other metal bands. Ok it was only 4 channel MIDI music, but as someone who grew up with 8-bit microcomputer games, it was something I really appreciated. I even bought a Yamaha DB-50XG daughtercard to make the most of it!

And then there was the co-op and deathmatch modes. At the software house I worked in back then, we played games at lunchtime and after work. We'd start off with all the good intentions of playing co-op mode, but when it came to waiting by the secret door to the hoard of goodies, we'd all stand there, as cardboard cut-outs more or less, turning robotically to see who would go and press that far off button to open it. More often than not, we'd just end up shooting each other there and then and it would turn into a fun deathmatch with monsters as a side distraction.

I'll always remember what a fantastically new and exciting experience it was at the time. And the Quake 1 alpha just took that further with proper 3D maps, albeit without the plasma gun and BFG. Still there was nothing more amusing than perforating someone with nails and listening to all those Wilhelm screams.

Thank you id Software for kick-starting the FPS genre that we still enjoy today. I still believe the core skills for FPS games can best be learned with Quake 1, 3 or 4. That's what I get my kids to hone their skills on! :)

Gay-bashing cult plans picket of Steve Jobs funeral

BobaFett
FAIL

Pointless, but sad also.

Given they number in the 100 range, let's be thankful this intolerant and misguided line of thinking is extremely rare in the grand scheme of things.

It's just hugely disrespectful that they choose someone's funeral to make a point of it. Jobs retired and handed the reins to Tim Cook in August, that was the time to do it, if at all.

MS confirms Windows shortcut zero-day flaw

BobaFett
WTF?

Execute permissions?

Not sure why people are harping on about execute permissions. The glaring problem to me is why Windows Explorer is using a library to parse links and render icons that should be able to run just fine with user level permissions? Even if it is due to some system-wide resource optimisation, I can't see how the performance of a user-wide one would be hugely different. Especially given most Windows machines only have one user logged in at a time.

Apple MacBook Pro 15in

BobaFett
Jobs Halo

Matte (anti-glare) screen is available

The higher resolution 15.4" screen option is 1680x1050 and is available in glossy and 'anti-glare' but you'll be paying £80 and £120 extra respectively. Not sure why anti-glare costs an extra £40! When I bought my 15" Mac Book Pro in 2007 the anti-glare option was no extra cost.

Tories may scrap IR35 tax rules for contractors

BobaFett

£9.2 million raised?

Of the 30 or so IT contractors I know and have worked with, only 1 of them pays tax according to IR35. The rest have carried on as before, believing they are IR35 exempt because of a substitution clause which isn't even at the sole discretion of themselves. It's no surprise so little money has been raised by the scheme! Not to mention how much the Inland Revenue has probably spent on lengthy and often unsuccessful tax disputes.

Irrespective of whether IR35 was fair or not, the scope of whom it should encompass was poorly defined and has consequently proven hard to enforce. Gordon Brown's more recent changes to the tax system focussed on 'small businesses' are at least based on simple thresholds and offsets that aren't open to interpretation. Although in doing so, I think he's targeted more than just freelancers and contractors.

Windows Phone 7: Microsoft's exercise in self restraint

BobaFett
Jobs Halo

Changed the water it drinks

No kidding, to Apple juice it seems!

Steve Jobs Flash rant put to the test

BobaFett
Stop

Flash is still a hog on Macs

Regardless of relative video performance to HTML5, Flash performance is still far worse on Macs than on Windows when compared on the same hardware:

http://arstechnica.com/software/news/2008/10/benchmarking-flash-player-10.ars

If you look at the GUIMark scores, Windows gets 46 FPS with 54% CPU usage while Mac OS X gets 28 FPS with 140% CPU or to put it another way 85 fps/cpu versus 20 fps/cpu. As such Flash can easily hog 100% CPU on Macs while on Windows it'll be using less than 25% CPU and going relatively unnoticed.

Apple's draconian developer docs revealed

BobaFett
WTF?

Game consoles?

Nobody ever seems to moan about the amount of control Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft exert over their games consoles. Yet in terms of hardware the PS3 and XBox would make perfectly adequate personal computers, much more so than an iPhone.

Microsoft made a phone, and I hate it already

BobaFett
WTF?

@Asher Pat: FFS, RTFA!

I'm guessing English comprehension isn't one of your strong points? Read the article again (assuming you can read at all) and you might realise that the author isn't keen on any smartphones which are limited in functionality or are "dumbed down" for use as a phone.

Microsoft kills FAST's Linux and Unix search biz

BobaFett
Megaphone

@Kristian B: wake up

Microsoft do make software which can only run Microsoft certified hardware and is compatible only with Microsoft certified peripherals: it's called the XBox 360 operating system. Not only that but said hardware won't run any software that isn't digitally signed and approved by Microsoft, so third parties are not free to publish their own software. Of course this is nothing new, it's true of all game consoles and to not quite the same extent, all closed hardware platforms.

I don't see how Microsoft are any different to Apple in preventing the XBox 360 operating system running on compatible PowerPC hardware, versus Apple not wanting Mac OS X to be ran on any compatible Intel hardware. Both are pretty much superficial limitations, but both companies are perfectly entitled to do so in order to protect their business interests. Likewise Microsoft are equally entitled to drop Unix support for FAST, it's their choice. It may upset some existing users but I'm guessing the owners of FAST would have seen this coming when they sold out to Microsoft.

Brits take iTablet moniker for 12in iPad rival

BobaFett
Joke

Is this for real?

It's a lousy photoshop effort and the image shows Windows XP, not Windows 7. And is that very small dot at the top of the bezel supposed to be a webcam? Looks more like a pinhole camera.

Adobe to Jobs: 'What the Flash do you know?'

BobaFett
Thumb Up

@TJ1: very interesting but...

Thanks for the insight, it's very informative. But doesn't this just prove that Flash isn't the best solution for video? Perhaps native video support in the browser would be better, like what HTML5 is trying to address but not succeeding very well because of the codec arguments?

Also, has anyone measured Silverlight video performance between OS X and Windows? Does it exhibit the same issues as Flash?

BobaFett

Mac Performance

Ars Technica examined Flash 9 and 10 performance back in October 2008 and whilst Flash 10 is noticeably better than Flash 9, it's still 6 to 10 times more CPU efficient on Vista than OS X.

http://arstechnica.com/software/news/2008/10/benchmarking-flash-player-10.ars

Flash 10.1 appears to have improved Hulu performance on OS X by around 230% without any GPU acceleration, which would make it only about 3.3 times worse than on Windows now instead of 8 times. Unfortunately 10.1 isn't available yet.

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3678&p=6

Evidently Adobe have been making efforts to improve Mac performance and have a number of technical excuses for why performance isn't the same as on Windows. Whether there's any merit to these is hard to say. Ultimately though, Adobe, for whatever reasons, have neglected Flash on Mac OS X for too long and while 10.0 is the current version, Mac users are well advised to install a Flash blocker like Click2Flash.

Why can't Google be more like Microsoft?

BobaFett
Paris Hilton

Who needs native apps?

@Mage: I don't think you fully understand the concept. Anyone can develop a web application, like Facebook (ha ha, poor example) that manages all of its own data. There is nothing to stop me creating a webapp, that allows client side encryption of data that the server will store but have an insignificant probability of decrypting, as the private keys will be stored locally in the application specific filestore in the user area. If you really think that Google wouldn't cater for this as a primary feature of security then you, to use your own term, are an idiot. Are you really so much smarter than everyone else that you think you're the only one concerned by this? Do you think the engineers at Google aren't aware of this as being a showstopper?

MS exec gets shot down after 'inaccurate' Windows 7 spiel

BobaFett
Stop

Re: Windows apes Apple apes Xerox

True, Apple copied Xerox sometime back in the 80s and probably bought up a lot of smaller companies with good ideas, but on the whole Apple have done more to innovate than Microsoft who seem to be a bunch of talented programmers that think in binary rather than wondering how to make computers more usable. Can anyone cite what Xerox Parc has invented in the last decade?

At the end of the day, it's hard to argue with the general consensus that Apple innovate a lot more than Microsoft. The iPod and the iPhone are perfect examples of where thinking differently (or stealing ideas that aren't publicly known to fruition) have revolutionised the industry. Microsoft are equally equipped intellectually and better financially placed to do the same, but they don't.

Students get deep Windows 7 price break

BobaFett
Pirate

XP must die

It's certainly a great strategy for increasing Windows 7 uptake in a bid to kill off XP. But I imagine most students will turn to pirating the next version of Windows when they find out how much an upgrade costs and they're only earning a graduate salary!

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