пятница, 21 января 2011 г.

Apple and lockdown

Revisionist history (Score:5, Insightful)

by goombah99 (560566) on Wednesday April 07 2010, @12:26PM (#31763706)
posting this again, since something went wrong the first time:

this is a false dichotomy forged by suggesting that this Steve is good, ergo this steve is bad, then amplifying those traits by mapping them on to perceived standards of today.

I built and sold homebrew computers in the era when the apple II hit the market. At the time we all laughed at the apple as a "toy" because it was so locked down and not built from components. Back then, sonny, you built a computer like an Imsai, altair, cromenco, by starting with a metal box, putting in a non-switiching power supply, choosing the largest capacitors you could fit in the box, then an s-100 (altair) buss. then you picked a cpu board from one manufacturer, some memory cards from another, a keyboard uart decoder from another, a keybaord from another, a video card, and a TV screen modded with an RF converter on channel 4.

These apples were hideously locked down. Switching powersupplies with just wires coming out of a metal box, no way to ugrade the capacity and very little excess capacity. the keyboard was integrated into the case ! and wholly shit a mother board with soldered in chips, video, meomery, and CPU.

Even the address space of the cards you plugged in was decoded on the motherboad not the cards (which allowed the cards to be smaller than the ones for the S-100 bus). THe cards even got regulated voltages not raw rectified AC.

they sucked all the flexibility out of it.

the software was essential to the operation of the hardware not separate from it: a lot of the video management was done in software. the timing one the disk drives they put out used soft sectors not hardware determined sectors (only one hole punched in the floppy instead of 20, one for each sector). Even the memory refresh was handeled on the video updates which in turn were backsided on last half of the 6502's instruction cycle (when it would not be fetching). It was one of the very first systems to successfully use dynamic memory. (Only a fool would not use static memory in an altair, since you had to do all the refresh handling on the memory card).

You had to buy apple floppy disks, and apple plug-in cards for many things cause they were not standard cards or drives.

And of course the apple II in hind sight was one of the most geniuous machines ever built. it's lock downs let hobbiest's soar in other directions. plug in cards were small and the pre-decoded addresses and regulated voltages let you put all your effort into what they did rather than barely getting them to work. the dynamic memory allowed cheaper larger address spaces and the standardization of the video (all apples had to have the same video card) meant all games written would work on all apples. the same was not true of the others' since every s-100 bus machine had some different video card standard.

the use oif software decoding of keyboards and disks and so forth introiduced an era that eventually led to the apple desk top bus in the macintosh. What a brilliant simplication. Now we of course have USB instead of different ports for keyboards, parallel printers, scsi drives, tablets, mice.... But the only reasons we went down that track was Woz's apple paved the way. by making so much of the hardware immutable, the software could rely on standard configurations in every machine and thus software timing of other events became reliable for the very first time.

so this is BS revisionism to say that Woz was all about openness and Jobs all about lock down.

What it was both. lock downs of previously unlocked down things created growth to build on. you were not constantly re-inventing the wheel from scratch. In case you have not noticed it before the thing that makes apples great is they always are expensive: this is because they spec them out at high levels using fewer but a complete set of advanced components even on base models. This means software can always count on a feature being there and thus not shoot for the lowest common denominator. think back to pre-windows XP days about how hard it was to move a mouse or a printer from one PS computer to another but trivial on apples and macs. these days PCs are moving ahead precisely because of standard components. power supplies, USB, SATA. you don't mess around trying to home brew those do you?

четверг, 19 августа 2010 г.

Avid/MAudio sucks


I think it speaks to the lack of talent and vision of the engineers who designed this thing. A few years ago I was offered a job at M-Audio as an electrical engineer to help design their products. Not only did they design M-Audio's line, but Digidesign's product line as well. I ended up not taking the job for 2 reasons:
1) They cut corners where ever they could in their products to save money (and judging by Avid's latest offerings I'm guessing they still adhere to the same philosophy)
2) The engineer's there were pretty clueless. I think a big problem is that most of them are just engineers and don't have a musical background so It's hard for them to design something that sounds good.

So that's kind of turned me off to Avids products.


Tesla Studio
Vintage Instruments
Analog Outboard Gear

четверг, 6 мая 2010 г.

Re:Free =/= Fun

Re:Free =/= Fun (Score:5, Interesting)
by gman003 (1693318) writes: on Thursday May 06, @12:41PM (#32112602)

Too true. Game design is one of the things open source does not do well. Open-source clones are often superior, purely on technical grounds, but fully original open-source games tend to be less fun than commercial ones.

Why is this? Simple. Game design is an art, and a complex one at that. Open-source works well for technical tasks. The Linux kernel is one of the most stable ever, Apache is the best web server I know of, and Firefox is my preferred browser. Open-source fails at artistic tasks simply because the end result is designed by a committee, not a single vision.

I'm working on a game myself right now, and I fully plan to release the engine code as open-source. I will not, however, be making it an open-source project, because then, instead of one unified artistic direction, there will be dozens, pulling the game in different ways.

Game design is not, as most people imagine, a simple task. It takes experience and judgment, knowing not only what to add but what NOT to add. When making Wolfenstein 3D, they originally implemented things like dragging corpses into corners and searching through pockets. These were cut not because they were themselves bad, but because they conflicted with the other elements of the game. If you were to open-source a game without a strong player base with strict ideas of what belongs in the game and what does not, you will end up with a jumbled mess of ideas.

Perhaps, however, an MMO could be made to work. If you limit most contributors to only making new quests and dungeons, it might work. Large-scale balancing and other major changes should be limited to a few people, less than a hundred.

суббота, 20 июня 2009 г.

Linux is inherently anti-consumer, pro-business

Linux is inherently anti-consumer, pro-business (Score:5, Interesting)
by tjstork (137384) on Saturday June 20, @10:39AM (#28401755)


The great mystery of computing is not that Linux is not in the consumer space, but that Windows is so entrenched in the enterprise space.

Windows is inherently a consumer operating system. It has a developer mythology that the dream Windows development is to make that one product that you can sell and make millions with. It's got a rich set of services developers can use to build consumer products, and it treats a product like a product, a property that can be bought, traded, and rented. You've got a well documented set of graphics and sound APIs, a halfway decent networking stack, and a bunch of tools that are frankly geared towards producing consumer products and these things support a healthy consumer market. Consumers, to some degree, actually like to spend money, so that Windows is non-free actually enhances its perceived value in the consumer space. If you receive something or buy something that doesn't work in Windows, its not something that you try and sort out and fix, its time to move on to another product. Everything is a black box good that you pay for, it either works or it doesn't, and that's what people on the consumer level want.

On the other hand, Linux is a total corporate and government system. It has a developer mythology that "welcome to the basement of megacorp, I've got a jar skittles.. we're both cogs.. here's your cube." Thus, the economic prospect that in the Linux world, your work product is worthless in the market sense, but, your boss gets to use the economic benefit of it over and over again, and, if you can get to keep working on it for a bit, that's pretty interesting and you get a paycheck for it. If you want to get rich with Linux, it won't be by making an application. You'd have to make a consumer black box out of it by hosting a web site using it. But all the development and other tools of Linux have a certain corporate basement feel. Nothing is really a consumer level product, but, everything has all sorts of rich nooks and crannies to do a bunch of different corporate tasks. Consumers don't need to replace social security numbers in a giant database with some new form of proprietary identifier, but Linux developers do, and that's where the strength of Linux tools lie.

Do you really want Linux to be a consumer system anyway? To some extent, that means getting rid of an awful lot that is lovable about Linux. It means polishing out (getting rid of), that barely documented switch to a command where an author left a note saying "uh, this piece of code I put in and got to work for this one thing that I was doing but I'm not really maintaining it", or, to not have that feature at all, or, even worse, have the feature, but not the warning. In any case, there's nothing about Windows that reminds me of the guy in the basement offering some skittles in the basement of the power company, but Linux has that in spades, and I like skittles.

For Linux to be a consumer system, we have to have a world where we take art seriously. That means no copying of images, or songs, worrying about who owns what, and, in a corporate world, all of that is a pain in the rear. If we made Linux into a consumer system and had a consumer culture with it, there's no way you could, from your basement, tell the next bit of bits in your desk to get in line, just like all the other bits. We're all just corporate cogs, hey, here's some skittles.

Me thinks that rather than charging to get consumers to adopt Linux, it should be to drive Windows out of the corporation.

вторник, 16 июня 2009 г.

console market


Horse Shit (Score:5, Interesting)
by sexconker (1179573) on Monday June 15, @04:37PM (#28340327)

With Ubisoft putting out such fantastic titles such as "Imagine: Horsez" by the bucketload, they'll need to show me their full financials before I buy into the $60 million argument.

Developers had no problem jumping ship to the current gen and making money. Games went up $10 on average if you own a 360 or a PS3. They charge you for updates that used to be free, and they charge you to download unlock codes for maps, levels, game modes, costumes, and fucking furniture for your virtual corporate tool. Developers will work out plenty of ways to make morons pay through the nose to cover increasing costs.

OnLive as competition?
Yeah, and I hear that Apple is going to be seriously entering the game market aaaaaaaaaaaany second now.

This is a fucking joke.
The next generation will come around when the current players decide that it's strategically viable.

Let's look at the charts, shall we?

Nintendo has won. They want the current generation to last for as long as they are making buckets and buckets of money.
Nintendo will be the last of the three to go to the next generation (in terms of hard announcements). The ONLY possible scenario that would cause Nintendo to be the first to announce would be the motion controllers from MS or Sony taking away from Nintendo's profits. Nintendo would then make an announcement merely to fuck with the competitors' time tables. (Hint: Natal and Sony's tech will NOT save the 360 or PS3.)

Nintendo will be the last to announce.

MS is in second place, and will likely be the first to announce their next console. MS really want to push Natal to try and steal Nintendo's thunder, but despite their lines about Natal being the next generation XBOX, the fact is the only way MS can capitalize on it is if it's bundled with ALL systems. MS will push this generation as long as it can sell Natal units or Natal + 360 bundles. They need to recoup major cash from their warranty fiasco. MS likely wants Natal to get an extra 18 months to 2 years out of the 360. I don't think it'll be the hot shit they want it to be, but who knows.

MS will announce their next-gen hardware first.

Sony is fucked. I own a PS3 myself and enjoy it, but there's no denying that it simply didn't have the success of the PS2. I think five hundred and ninety-nine US dollars may have had a part to play with that. And with the 360 a year ahead, no one wanted to learn how to develop for the Cell. The bottom line is that Sony will announce the slim PS3 this fall and try to get some momentum, especially in Japan. Sony can capitalize on the release of Final Fantasy XIII along with the slim PS3 in Japan at the end of this year. I don't know if they can do the same thing in the US, especially since FFXIII is on the 360 as well. I expect Sony to keep trying for the "year of the PS3" until someone else makes an announcement. Sony has lost so much cash with the PS3 that they need to get as much mileage out of it as they can and can't risk jumping ship too early. Once MS reveals their hand, Sony will be free to show theirs without much risk of cutting off the PS3 before it's prime, or being one-upped tech wise or timewise for the next gen.

Sony will be second to announce.

The timeline as I see it is basically:

MS releases Natal and Natal + 360 bundles in 2010.
Sales aren't great.
MS announces E3 2011.
Details about the PS4 "leak" in the fall of 2011.
Sony announces E3 2012.
Nintendo teases E3 2012, in response to Sony's announcement. Nintendo won't have a full reveal until E3 2013.

Late 2013 MS launches.
Early 2014 Sony launches.
Fall 2014 Nintendo launches.

пятница, 10 апреля 2009 г.


Fact is, your are going to get bent over by a Record Company..... its just how far, how long and if you let them decide to use vaseline or not." -Unknown

четверг, 9 апреля 2009 г.


"Destruction is not negative. you must destroy to build" - Blixa Bargeld