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Real Name SMA   
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Nickname Scottish Martial Arts
Email Concealed by request
ICQ None given.
Homepage http://
Signed On Jun 16, 2002, 23:16
Total Comments 3165 (Veteran)
User ID 13410
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News Comments > Morning Mobilization
2. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 8, 2017, 11:31 Scottish Martial Arts
There are reasons to complain about Macs and about Apple in particular. But IBMs well documented switch to Macs for enterprise resulting in drastically lower total cost of ownership makes it pretty clear that Macs are a viable enterprise computing device. They cost more up front, but they also require vastly less user and technical support, leading to smaller IT budgets overall.

Windows is great for gaming, and Microsoft dominates the enterprise market share, but market dominance does not imply the best, or even a good, choice for enterprise computing. Anecdotally, with my East Coast move next week, I'll no longer be able to zip over to my parents house to provide tech support, and as a consequence I've switched them to Apple products. My mom, a dictionary definition of a techphobe, for whom the switch to digital ruined her hobby of photography because she was too lacking in confidence to use a computer, is now an active iPhone photographer, editing and ordering prints from her Mac, with only a little bit of up front training on my part. My dad, for whom I was constantly removing malware (presumably acquired from porn sites lol), suddenly doesn't need my help anymore. Extend that to an enterprise, and suddenly the Apple platform is a viable alternative to Microsoft, for which you need an entire dedicated department, i.e. the Help Desk, just to keep your worker bees able to do their job.
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News Comments > Sunday Tech Bits
14. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 6, 2017, 18:03 Scottish Martial Arts
A few thoughts:

History Lesson

Win32 is the combined systems/applications programming interface developed for Windows 95. I've not studied the Windows 9x kernel in any depth (no longer relevant) but my understanding is that it was a hugely improved version of the MS-DOS kernel, with things like true multiprogramming (i.e. multitasking), virtual address spaces and memory management, etc. but was nevertheless still built on the (shaky) foundation of MS-DOS. Individual applications no longer took the whole system down, but individual drivers sure did.

Parallel with the development of Win9x, Microsoft developed the Windows NT kernel, a fresh start, influenced by some of DEC's operating systems for their VAX series of computers (NT and some of the VAX OSes shared a lead developer). By the time MS was ready to drop the Win9x kernel and completely switch to the NT kernel (with the release of Windows XP), the Win9x line of operating systems had been hugely commercially successful, and not having backwards compatibility would have killed any chance of XP being adopted. Accordingly, the Win32.dll became a wrapper library for NT system libraries and NT kernel sys calls, so as to maintain backwards compatibility. Despite attempts to gradually replace Win32 with things like the .NET Framework, Win32 has stubbornly stuck around, and will likely never go away.

Win32 as an API

Win32 is a colossal piece of shit from a software engineering perspective.

Functions with 14 parameters are not uncommon. Some functions trap to kernel mode, i.e. are sys calls and incur additional performance overhead, while others are handled entirely in user space, yet which are which is not fully documented and changes from version to version of Windows. Functions rarely do one thing and do it well and simply (perhaps THE essential principle of software engineering), but instead do many things through as complex a mechanism as you can imagine.

The API operates at mixed levels of abstraction, handling everything from process and thread creation and management, memory management, and low-level I/O, to GUI programming, windows management, and user event handling. Compare this with Linux or macOS, where low-level sys calls are provided by the Linux and Mach kernels (respectively), and various APIs are layered on top in increasing levels of abstraction, so that systems programmers can use one API to deal with systems programming concerns and end user application programmers can use another API, further up the stack, (like the macOS/iOS Cocoa/Cocoa Touch framework) to deal with application programmer concerns.

Win32 sucks, but we're stuck with it.

UWP as an API

I don't have any direct experience with .NET or UWP, so I can't comment on it's quality as an API, but it is difficult for me to imagine it being worse than Win32. To the extent that UWP improves the programmer's experience developing for Windows, then it might also means Windows development might be something I'd be willing to consider (as opposed to being an impetus for suicide).

UWP as a Walled Garden

Microsoft would be fucking retarded to let UWP become the basis of building a walled garden. Likewise, they would be committing suicide if they dropped Win32: there's simply too much software, both legacy and current, running on it. Microsoft has been acting smarter as of late, so there's reason to hope that UWP simply becomes a better end-user applications level API that makes Windows software development more palatable to the engineers tasked with doing it. On the other hand, Microsoft's history gives plenty of precedent for assuming that they'll do the stupid, shoot-self-in-the-foot thing.
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News Comments > Morning Consolidation
8. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 6, 2017, 13:36 Scottish Martial Arts
Sounds like the initial release is a clunker. Too bad. I was definitely rooting for Nintendo after the surprise of the NES Classic Edition (yeah, yeah, emulators have existed for decades and the system isn't extensible but it's still a fun little system that's totally worth the $60).  
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News Comments > Morning Safety Dance
3. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 6, 2017, 10:59 Scottish Martial Arts
Quboid wrote on Mar 6, 2017, 10:09:
They're soldiers. Being mean to the enemy is what they are supposed to do. Being mean to their own side is not what they're supposed to do.

Exactly. A female Marine made it through boot camp, which means she gets to wear the eagle, globe, and anchor, and should be accorded the respect which that accomplishment is due: if other Marines refuse to give that respect, by illicitly sharing nude pics, then that's a fundamental breakdown in military discipline.
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News Comments > etc.
1. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 3, 2017, 10:49 Scottish Martial Arts
Interesting article. It really sounds like Spector was going to use the Deus Ex concept to create a Command & Conquer spin-off for EA and Westwood, which in turn might explain the origin of C&C: Renegade, announced in 1999 (a year after this hinted-at deal would have fallen through). I'm glad we got Deus Ex rather than Spector's C&C spin-off, but at the same time, for all it's deep flaws (non-existent AI, horrendous shooting mechanics, floaty movement, etc.), Renegade genuinely had some interesting ideas in it. The second to last Renegade mission where you're taking down a Nod desert base, piece by piece in the order you choose with the vehicles and tools you choose, so that you can blow open an entry point into the Temple of Nod, certainly seems like something with Spector's fingerprints on it.  
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News Comments > NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti This Month
46. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 1, 2017, 17:52 Scottish Martial Arts
Ozmodan wrote on Mar 1, 2017, 14:37:

Sorry but I have to disagree with that comment. The difference between 2k and 4k is minor, especially so if your monitor is under 48". I bought a 4k monitor and guess what I run it at 2k all of the time on games. There are only a few games I can really tell the difference. So ask yourself do you really see that much difference between 2k and 4k or are you just being elitist?

Don't look at games: look at text rendering.

Maybe it's just a matter of continuing Windows fucker-y when it comes to HiDPI displays, and the differences are less apparent than they otherwise would be. What I can say is that whenever I go from my Retina MacBook Pro (15" 2880x1800 native resolution scaled to look like 1440x900) to the 27" 1080p monitor attached to my gaming PC, then my eyes begin to bleed the moment I look at text. Text looks like the printed word on the MBP; on the PC, text looks like a grid of pixels (a hi-res grid, but a grid nonetheless). Doubled pixel density, at least on the MBP, makes for a gorgeous display; while I don't have a 4k display, I would have to imagine that a 4k 27", with twice the pixel density of my current 1080p 27", would look similarly amazing.
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News Comments > NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti This Month
11. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 1, 2017, 10:53 Scottish Martial Arts
RedEye9 wrote on Mar 1, 2017, 10:22:
Creston wrote on Mar 1, 2017, 10:06:
Price drop on the 1070 please.
Not yet, The GTX 1070 is unflinched for now, from its $349 baseline pricing.

Absolutely worth it at that price. The 1070 was the best single upgrade performance boost I've ever gotten from a piece of hardware. Of course I was coming from a Radeon 280X, but that wasn't an ancient piece of hardware either.
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News Comments > Into the Black
6. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 28, 2017, 21:54 Scottish Martial Arts
RedEye9 wrote on Feb 28, 2017, 21:42:
new Alien Covenant trailer

I'm feeling pretty meh on this one, particularly after the clusterfuck that was Prometheus.
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
21. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 26, 2017, 15:56 Scottish Martial Arts
El Pit wrote on Feb 26, 2017, 12:32:
Get well soon, Cutter! Take care, okay?

Cutter has me blocked so he won't see this but I just wanted to extend the same well wishes. Get well soon, Cutter! I kinda think you're an asshole, but Bluesnews wouldn't be the same without you. So stay on the mend, and get back to doing your thing!
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
20. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 26, 2017, 14:35 Scottish Martial Arts
Wallshadows wrote on Feb 26, 2017, 10:47:
Bill Paxton died.

Game over, man, game over! What the fuck are we gonna do now? What the fuck are we gonna do?

Hey Creston, not sure if you saw it but I wrote up my promised mini-review for the Deus Ex DLC here. The tl;dr is that it doesn't add anything to the Deus Ex Illuminati storyline but if you enjoyed Human Revolution and Mankind Divided then it's totally worth the $12.
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News Comments > Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Criminal Past Released
16. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 26, 2017, 01:01 Scottish Martial Arts
Creston wrote on Feb 25, 2017, 12:23:
Congrats on the apartment, SMA!

Thanks, man! It's really my dream apartment in my dream neighborhood of Manhattan, and a less than 10 minute walk from my dream job. It took a crap load of work to get to this point, and I'll certainly be working hard at the new job, but after feeling pretty lost and adrift through most of twenties, it finally feels like the pieces of my life have fallen into the places I always wanted them to be.

Anyway, Deus Ex DLC Review:

  • The story is entirely self-contained. Although it deals with a number of the same themes as Mankind Divided, and there are a handful of subtle Deus Ex lore references, this doesn't have anything to do with the Illuminati. It's an undercover op in a maximum security prison. It's a super cool scenario, but if you were hoping for further revelations in the Deus Ex mythos, you won't find them here.

  • The early gameplay in particular is phenomenal. You don't have augs initially, and no items or equipment either. You have to be resourceful and engage in some genuine puzzle solving to make progress. Not puzzle solving in the sense of Bioware putting the Towers of Hanoi in every fucking game they've ever made, but puzzle solving as in "An inmate gave me a tip that something useful is in this room, but how am I going to get there with the extremely limited tools I have?" Obviously, that kind of puzzle has more than one solution.

  • The way the story unfolds at least suggests that there are some branches, but of course to know for certain I'd have to give it a replay. In any event, the game presents you with a series of choices that tend to boil down to "do I enhance my personal resources (i.e. get more augs reactivated) or do I get more inmates to owe me favors?) I am guessing the more favors you are owed, then a major turning point in the plot will play out differently. But without a reply I don't know for certain

  • As the DLC progresses, and you accumulate more resources, the game starts to lose it's "undercover in a supermax prison" vibe, and starts to become a standard Deus Ex infiltration mission. It's still a pretty good Deus Ex infiltration mission though.

  • The environment designers payed very close attention to detail, and there's lots of little insignificant bits of the environment that nevertheless are perfectly consistent with the other insignificant details of the environment. It feels like a prison inhabited by real inmates, even if only a handful of said inmates are fully realized NPCs.

  • Length is comparable to Human Revolution's Missing Link DLC. Looks like it took me a bit under 7 hours to finish, but that was with very thorough exploration and stopping to smell the roses. A race to the finish would probably take the average player between two and three hours

  • There are some minor bugs, but nothing game breaking.
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    News Comments > Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Criminal Past Released
    14. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 25, 2017, 09:30 Scottish Martial Arts
    Wesp5 wrote on Feb 25, 2017, 03:51:
    ItBurn wrote on Feb 24, 2017, 18:16:
    The story is way shorter than in the first game though, so if you don't procrastinate that much, the game is definitely too short.

    Exactly. Also although Prague looked great, it was only one hub to which you returned three times and which was split with a long loading time in the middle too! Compare that to the several real hubs in the older games...

    Yeah, I did all the side missions and explored every nook and cranny (having a blast as I went) so the game felt long to me. But it's definitely the case that the main story was much shorter than Human Revolution. Of course, Human Revolution also had many fewer side missions and nooks and crannies to explore. Like I said earlier, Mankind Divided did some things better and some worse than Human Revolution. On the whole, Human Revolution is probably the better game, but I'm still of the opinion that Mankind Divided was extremely good, and if you are at all a fan of Deus Ex, particularly the original to which MD makes plenty of references and callbacks to, then it's absolutely worth the money.

    I got held up finalizing my new apartment lease last night, so I only got to play a few minutes of the DLC before more pressing matters demanded my attention. I'll play through it today as my reward for the stress of a successful NYC apartment and post my review later.
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    News Comments > Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Criminal Past Released
    10. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 24, 2017, 17:56 Scottish Martial Arts
    Initial impression is very positive. There's a ton of detail in the prison and the yard, and your conversations with other inmates often get cut off by guards, so you typically only have the chance to ask one question out of several avenues of investigation. I'm just at the beginning, but the atmosphere is great, and there's definitely some Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher's Bay vibes going on. With only 45 minutes of playtime so far, I think it's still safe to recommend provided you enjoyed the base game.  
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    News Comments > Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Criminal Past Released
    7. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 24, 2017, 16:07 Scottish Martial Arts
    Damn it. I reinstall the game, complete with the 30GiB compressed download, only to discover that the new DLC isn't supported on Linux yet. Guess that means I get to redownload it on my Windows drive, lol.  
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    News Comments > Out of the Blue
    12. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 24, 2017, 15:11 Scottish Martial Arts
    Beamer wrote on Feb 24, 2017, 14:51:
    Today is a good day for Barbuto, also right near you. I'm sure they've got all the doors up, given that it's like 70 out.

    I'm actually still on the West Coast and did my apartment hunt entirely remotely. My realtor was amazing, and would do FaceTime walkthroughs of the apartments I was interested in, and then once she stepped outside, away from the listing realtor, would give me sort of a straight-talk rundown of stuff she noticed that may not have been visible in the video stream, like food smells from the restaurant on the first floor or things like that.

    My timeline is kind of dependent on the moving company, but I'll probably arrive in NYC early in the week of the 13th, with my first day of work on the 20th.
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    News Comments > Out of the Blue
    11. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 24, 2017, 14:58 Scottish Martial Arts
    Mr. Tact wrote on Feb 24, 2017, 14:53:
    Wow, that looks like a total PITA intersection -- two one way diagonal streets? Congrats on finding something you like and can afford.

    Yeah it would be if I were going to be driving. The West Village is so pedestrian friendly though that I'm not bringing my car (it'll sit on my parents drive way for the time being, but I'll probably just end up selling it in a few months). Work is a less than 10 minute walk away in Chelsea, there's a grocery store a block and a half from me, cleaners are right next door, etc., etc.
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    News Comments > Out of the Blue
    8. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 24, 2017, 14:17 Scottish Martial Arts
    Speaking of moving, I heard back from my realtor this morning and it looks like I got my dream West Village apartment. The landlord has approved my application and the listing agent is just running a credit check to confirm that what I described of my credit history is accurate, which it is. Once that comes back positive, it'll be time to sign the lease and wire the move-in payment (which with brokerage fees made my jaw drop a little, but hey, this is Manhattan). My new place is near the intersection of Hudson St and Bleecker St, which puts me just a few blocks north of Beamer. Grab a beer in a few weeks?  
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    News Comments > Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Criminal Past Released
    2. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 24, 2017, 14:11 Scottish Martial Arts
    Creston wrote on Feb 24, 2017, 13:41:
    It sounds like a fun mission, but I really wish it got integrated into the main storyline somehow.

    Same, especially in light of the series going on hiatus. Mankind Divided did some things better and some things worse than Human Revolution, but it, along with Doom, was one of my favorite games of 2016. I'll probably grab the DLC later today, give it a play through and post my thoughts.
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    News Comments > Into the Black
    6. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 24, 2017, 07:31 Scottish Martial Arts
    Can't sleep clowns will eat me (or because I'm anxiously awaiting an answer on another West Village apartment). Things look good because I was the first person to apply on the first day it went on the market, plus my financials are solid, but it still seems to have been enough to wake me up a little before 4am pacific time.  
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    News Comments > Into the Black
    3. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 23, 2017, 23:40 Scottish Martial Arts
    Dacote wrote on Feb 23, 2017, 21:20:
    When a fox "no-news" talking head dies i just don't feel sad. I must be broken on the inside. sniff

    Colmes was one of the three or four token Fox News liberals. Back in the Bush administration, Hannity's show was called "Hannity and Colmes" and the two of them would discuss the politics of the day. Colmes always came across as a genuinely nice guy, with a keen sense of humor.
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    3165 Comments. 159 pages. Viewing page 5.
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