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Real Name Tom   
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Signed On May 21, 2000, 15:34
Total Comments 1305 (Pro)
User ID 4838
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News Comments > Sunday Tech Bits
6. Re: Sunday Tech Bits Sep 18, 2011, 23:00 Tom
20MB Fuji, with a big plastic wheel you could use to move the head manually. Never saw another Fuji hard drive after that.  
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
13. Re: Out of the Blue Sep 12, 2011, 18:57 Tom
People are always claiming that defragging files stored on an SSD is pointless because it will make such a tiny difference in performance. These arguments appear to be based on insufficient understanding of how SSDs and operating systems work. It's ESPECIALLY bad when people confuse wear leveling with filesystem fragmentation. SSDs perform wear leveling internally - the OS knows nothing about it, even with TRIM. The OS performs fragmentation - the SSD knows nothing about it, even with TRIM.

If you dig a little deeper, maybe even do some measurements, you'll find that there IS a real performance difference and the reason for its existence is completely logical.

Perhaps you've noticed that people tend to report several measurements when evaluating SSD sequential read performance. This is because there's a BIG - sometimes HUGE - performance difference depending on I/O size. For example, 4K vs. 64K vs. 512K. I/O size is how many bytes are read or write when the OS says to the drive "hey, read/write X bytes from/to location Y".

Well guess what. When your file is split into hundreds or thousands of fragments (which DOES happen in the real world), and you want to read it all in, sequentially, as fast as possible, what sizes do you think the I/O requests going to the drive are going to be? Will all the fragments be aligned on nice BIG boundaries? No. Because of fragmentation, you can't just zoom over the whole file in big chunks. You have to read a little from here, a little from there - gather all those fragments together. Performance won't be as bad as all 4K I/Os, but it won't be as good as all large I/Os either.

For example, I just did a real-world test with two files in my downloads directory, stored on an Intel 120GB SSD with 49GB free, running Windows 7:
File 1, 12MB, 189 fragments: read at 135MB/sec
File 2, 10MB, 1 fragment: read at 175MB/sec

That's a 30% difference. Reading other non-fragmented files consistently gets me very near 175MB/sec.

Bottom line: the performance penalty is not nearly as severe as with traditional disks, but it's hardly as miniscule as people claim. Fragmentation is something that gets worse as the contents of the volume are modified, and it can get really bad if the volume is low on space for a long time. By never defragmenting, your disk activity WILL get slower and slower. People attribute this to SSD internal implementation details such as wear leveling, poor TRIM, whatever, but the truth is that in many systems fragmentation will be a factor in that degradation over time.

I've raised this point several times with SSD manufacturers as well as the team at MS responsible for optimizing Windows 7 for SSDs. They all went through the following stages: 1) deny, 2) downplay, 3) grudgingly accept.

Why did I bother writing all this? I just think it'd be nice if people thought a little more about this topic and did some measurements themselves before making inaccurate claims. Use contig from Sysinternals to measure fragmentation for individual files. I wrote my own program to measure sequential read throughput for individual files, but there's probably something else suitable out there.
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News Comments > Quoteworthy
5. Re: Quoteworthy Sep 9, 2011, 07:57 Tom
It's not really that hard to code a decent progress bar in most situations. I've done it many times. Sometimes environments and systems are set up in such a way that it makes it more difficult than it should be. But it shouldn't be a several day task unless you want to get fancy with the display or you're foolishly concerned with trying to make it perfectly smooth. It doesn't need to be. It just needs to indicate progress even in a rough way on a fairly regular basis.

Coding a progress bar in such a way as to slow down the task significantly is really bad programming. There's no excuse for that.
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News Comments > Borderlands 2 PC Wish List Request
18. Re: Borderlands 2 PC Wish List Request Sep 7, 2011, 22:51 Tom
How about netcode that doesn't randomly drop players all the time and make them lose quest progress, throwing them out of sync with the rest of the players?

Dunno if they ever fixed that because my group of friends gave up on the game after months went by, various patches came out, and the problem persisted.
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News Comments > OS X League of Legends Ending Tonight
5. Re: OS X League of Legends Ending Tonight Sep 6, 2011, 23:25 Tom
lol ... silly Mac users. Go play Photoshop.  
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News Comments > PIP-Boy 3000s
4. Re: PIP-Boy 3000s Sep 4, 2011, 00:26 Tom
Sadly, developing a real product is substantially more difficult than tooling around in your garage.  
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News Comments > Richard Garriott on Ultima
11. Re: Richard Garriott on Ultima Sep 3, 2011, 00:09 Tom
There can never be another real Ultima game. Really. Do you see any modern developer/publisher being able to make it happen? No way. Modders can't touch it either.

Ultima died with Ultima IX. RIP
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News Comments > Evening Consolidation
4. Re: Evening Consolidation Aug 27, 2011, 08:27 Tom
Um yeah, because if you code the game to react to controller input, it'll just magically work with mouse and keyboard too...  
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
31. Re: Out of the Blue Aug 25, 2011, 19:28 Tom
Wing Commander 2 is still my all time favorite game. The characters and storyline were so good. Didn't hurt that the rest of the game was cutting edge too. Ahhhh....... RIP space sim genre!  
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News Comments > Morning Legal Briefs
10. Re: Morning Legal Briefs Aug 10, 2011, 19:21 Tom
I haven't tested it, but supposedly if you have multiple Kindles on the same account (which seems doable in a multiple readers in one household scenario) then you can have purchased content on all of the devices simultaneously without relying on any sharing feature.

I read with my Kindle every night before bed and when I travel. It's a wonderful piece of technology. It melts away into the background leaving only the content of your book to focus on. Because you don't have to fiddle with propping the book one way and then another, I find it's actually less distracting than a physical book.

Of course, that's all true for books that are all words. For books with illustrations, diagrams, source code listings, physical book form is usually a better experience unless you really want to travel light.
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News Comments > New Dune Legacy
8. Re: New Dune Legacy Jul 29, 2011, 09:53 Tom
Dune 2 pioneered the RTS genre on the PC. C&C and Warcraft followed in its footsteps.

The RTS predecessor to Dune 2 was Herzog Zwei on the Genesis 3 years earlier. A truly brilliant RTS, but the design was fairly different due to using a controller instead of a mouse.
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News Comments > OnLive and Bandwidth Caps
19. Re: OnLive and Bandwidth Caps Jul 28, 2011, 09:48 Tom
HorrorScope wrote on Jul 27, 2011, 23:37:
1. I'm an American and I am not buying into everything going backwards. We move forwards. I refuse to become a 3rd world country.

That's pretty funny. You must love American politics then!

Regarding OnLive and caps, I pointed out the ridiculous bandwidth usage as a major problem when OnLive first opened up their service to outsiders. Of course caps are a huge problem for this type of service. ISPs like AT&T are going to automatically enforce caps and charge you $10 for every 10GB you go over the cap, or whatever. That's like $3/hour of playing?

They're going to have to cut the quality like Netflix has done for the bandwidth-oppressed. Not very appealing, as the quality is already way below what you'd get playing a game properly on your own hardware. Maybe they can make it 320x200 and serve up only the classics.
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News Comments > BF3 Preorders "Roughly Comparable" to Black Ops
28. Re: BF3 Preorders "Roughly Comparable" to Black Ops Jul 24, 2011, 20:18 Tom
No Steam, no sale.

Hahaha! No seriously, I'll buy it from Amazon or Walmart or whatever if I have to, but that just feels... uncivilized at this point.
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News Comments > On PC Skyrim
17. Re: On PC Skyrim Jul 7, 2011, 00:41 Tom
reisub wrote on Jul 7, 2011, 00:00:
Why aren't we seeing 64bit binaries by now? Is setting a compiler flag too much effort? I'm sure they could release one on the side with no warranty implied etc. etc.

Still getting mod tools, so musn't grumble too much.

Um yeah.. Setting the compiler flag is one thing, fixing the 1000 issues that result from doing so is another. When you go 64-bit, you have to go 64-bit all the way (barring nasty hacks). That means you have to get all your third party code working as 64-bit too. Then you have to worry about maintaining two builds of everything: 32-bit and 64-bit.

Basically, it's WAY more of a hassle than setting a compiler flag. Developers must be sufficiently motivated in order to spend the time and money on a 64-bit build. And when their lead platform has a pathetic 512MB of memory, it's easy to see why that motivation doesn't exist.
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News Comments > Morning Consolidation
14. Re: Morning Consolidation Jun 29, 2011, 15:39 Tom
Verno wrote on Jun 29, 2011, 14:45:
The PC version having the SDK alone is a tremendous value, especially when it comes to fixing up inherently flawed or busted Bethesda games.

What? No! Releasing an SDK / mod tools so people can fix your broken game is not something I consider valuable. Release the game in a quality state that doesn't need fixing. That's much more valuable. Let people tweak the game to their liking with the SDK, some people will find value in that, but don't make people fix things up (and other people have to track down those fixes, get them working, or more likely, put up with the broken game). I think that trend sucks.

That's ignoring the higher resolution visuals, framerate and increase draw distances.

Those are better reasons to get the PC version.
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News Comments > Team Fortress 2 Goes Free-to-Play
16. Re: Team Fortress 2 Goes Free-to-Play Jun 23, 2011, 23:12 Tom
I put over 600 hours into TF2 and I've hardly touched it since BF:BC2 came out... Thinking I might do a bit of a comeback before BF3 comes out. There is no better gaming value than TF2. It's insane. Complainers should be shot. With many arrows.  
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News Comments > Ships Ahoy - Dungeon Siege III, PC Control Fixes Planned
22. Re: Ships Ahoy - Dungeon Siege III, PC Control Fixes Planned Jun 21, 2011, 16:05 Tom
Overon wrote on Jun 21, 2011, 16:01:
Once again as a PC gamer, I am made to feel like a second class citizen.

Well, aren't we now?
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News Comments > Sunday Consolidation
13. Re: Sunday Consolidation Jun 20, 2011, 10:17 Tom
If you want expandability, buy a PC. If you want to live in a little box with boundaries for the important things that are totally set in stone, buy a console. That's how it is and that's how it's going to be for a long time. The fixed nature of console specs is perhaps the console's greatest weakness and also its greatest advantage.  
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News Comments > RAGE Changing Windows
15. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 14:43 Tom
Look folks, if you don't understand what's going on here, don't freak out or try to speculate on what this means for PC gaming. Either do some learning or just take Carmack's word for it. He knows what he's talking about.

There are some gross, gross misunderstandings evident in the comments on this story.
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News Comments > Morning Consolidation
13. Re: Morning Consolidation Jun 10, 2011, 14:44 Tom
They could've just launched this as the Wii 2 / Wii HD with no special controller and a lower price and everyone would've been happy...  
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1305 Comments. 66 pages. Viewing page 30.
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