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User information for Tom

Real Name Tom   
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Signed On May 21, 2000, 15:34
Total Comments 1553 (Pro)
User ID 4838
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News Comments > Morning Safety Dance
4. Re: Morning Safety Dance Feb 14, 2013, 19:56 Tom
RollinThundr wrote on Feb 14, 2013, 18:56:
Blame the person not the gun, not the video game, not fucking culture of all things. We don't have a gun problem we have a stupidity problem.

There are stupid and crazy people all over the world. Bad things happen when you give these people relatively easy access to guns. They cause more serious problems than their counterparts who don't have that access. Not everyone can be bothered to get their hands on stuff like sarin gas. But guns? They're all over the place in the US. Easy!

So... Stupid? Crazy? Want to go on a rampage and then blow your head off? Pretty easy in the US. Not so easy in many other countries. The conclusion seems pretty obvious to me.
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News Comments > Path of Exile Patched
28. Re: Path of Exile Patched Feb 13, 2013, 17:42 Tom
Beelzebud wrote on Feb 13, 2013, 17:26:
I've tried playing this game, but it has a nasty habit of just randomly causing my PC to reboot. No other games do this.

If you have a Sound Blaster X-Fi, this is solved by running the game with the --softwareaudio command line argument. (Note the two -'s.) The game is triggering a bug in Creative's drivers. Unfortunately the devs don't seem terribly interested in coming up with a better fix, but at least this workaround works 100% and doesn't compromise the audio quality.
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News Comments > Op Ed
7. Re: Op Ed Feb 11, 2013, 23:12 Tom
eRe4s3r wrote on Feb 11, 2013, 22:32:
Part of the reason for that is of course that there are no f2p games that offer any immersive fun gameplay experience.

Meanwhile, League of Legends has like zillions of players, then there's Tribes: Ascend, Airmech, Path of Exile, Mechwarrior Online, Planetfall 2, etc. F2P is not just crap like Farmville, browser games, and failed MMOs. It includes some hardcore games, some of which are actually pretty good.

It's a brave new world. Between F2P and KS, publishers are being kicked to the curb pretty good now. LOVIN IT!
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News Comments > Games for Windows LIVE Issue
6. Re: Games for Windows LIVE Issue Feb 11, 2013, 17:48 Tom
Was thinking about picking up Dark Souls on sale but GFWL was the dealbreaker. Glad I didn't bother.  
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News Comments > Super Sunday Metaverse
11. Re: Super Sunday Metaverse Feb 3, 2013, 21:10 Tom
deqer wrote on Feb 3, 2013, 20:16:
Of course there is a decline in windows 7, when you have vendors like Dell forcing Windows 8 on customers now. What did you expect? Since it's being forced on people, I wouldn't say it's anything to really talk about. It's shit.

Struck a nerve though, didn't it?
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News Comments > Morning Tech Bits
16. Re: Morning Tech Bits Feb 1, 2013, 19:35 Tom
DirectPlay has been dead and buried for MANY years. DirectSound got killed by the morons who rewrote the audio stack in Vista. As for DirectInput, please tell me what alternate API you suggest using for working with joysticks, throttles, pedals, and anything else that is not an Xbox controller.

Y'know, there used to be cool people working on DirectX at Microsoft, except for the flunkies that did DirectPlay. But all those cool people must've left and been replaced by .... well .... maybe that's what happened to those DirectPlay mofos. *FACEPALM*
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News Comments > Morning Previews
10. Re: Morning Previews Jan 28, 2013, 18:07 Tom
Hey I never said the game was perfect, it's certainly not. But some of the stuff I saw in that big thread was just undeserved, IMO.

Also, if this game got any mentions on Blue's before the big open beta announcement, I must've missed em. It seems pretty darn low on the hype scale.
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News Comments > Morning Previews
7. Re: Morning Previews Jan 28, 2013, 17:39 Tom
I marathoned this game fairly hardcore over the weekend after just learning of it last week. Played through the 3 acts on normal, started cruel difficulty. It's a great game! People like it because it is FUN and innovative. These guys actually put some thought into the game design. They "get it", unlike the folks (designers) who made Diablo 3. All those times when you said "ok I'll cut you some slack Blizzard, since Diablo 2 was so good and the world is different now"? In PoE that's replaced with the feeling of "THIS is how it should've been!" And also "WOW this is new and different and awesome!"

These guys spent 6 years in development and it shows. They weren't screwing around. They made intelligent design decisions. And they went with a bold business model: this is the least P2W out of any major F2P games I've seen yet. When they say "ethical microtransactions", they mean it. The game is free and basically supported by donations. In Tribes Ascend you can pay to unlock classes and weapons. In League of Legends you can pay to unlock characters. So what about PoE? The ONLY gameplay-relevant thing you can pay to unlock is extra space for your stash. And it's not like they squeeze you there either - you get 4 tabs for free and they are large. It's enough space to easily store a whole bunch of potential items for several different characters or builds.

Anyway... The negativity exhibited around here towards this game so far is just proof that Blue's regulars will crap all over ANYTHING no matter how good it is. To anyone who is wondering about this game... Just try it and see for yourself. If you like computer-based ARPGs you will probably love it. It's amazing that it's free.
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News Comments > Path of Exile Open Beta
2. Re: Path of Exile Open Beta Jan 23, 2013, 20:37 Tom
Aaargh.... this was looking really !@#$ing good until the server just crapped out.

Could it be? True innovation? A game with soul?

Only played for ~20 min or so but.. must..not..get..hopes..up...
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News Comments > The Cave This Month
5. Re: The Cave This Month Jan 15, 2013, 17:50 Tom
Watched the trailer. Nothing against it but ... why is this described as an adventure game? It looks like a platformer to me. Totally different genres.  
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News Comments > Sunday Tech Bits
7. Re: Sunday Tech Bits Jan 13, 2013, 20:36 Tom
2560x1440 @ 27" is where it's at. Mmn mmn good. The additional pixels are quite helpful for most everything except video.

Resolution is all about display size vs. viewing distance. Ultra HD makes sense once you pass a certain threshold of display size vs. viewing distance. Pretty overkill for your typical living room, but useful for gaming up close.

This comment was edited on Jan 13, 2013, 23:14.
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News Comments > NVIDIA Portable Announced
36. Re: NVIDIA Portable Announced Jan 7, 2013, 19:26 Tom
Have any of you actually tried gaming on Android? There are a whole bunch of controller-enabled games on Google Play right now. You can hook up a USB controller, use Bluetooth, use a controller designed specifically for Android or not. There are even controllers for Android that have built-in phone holders, and things that mate controllers with phones. And there are phones with built-in controllers such as the Xperia PLAY.


This is a hot area and NVIDIA is jumping on it. Maybe it'll work out, maybe not, but this isn't some crazy thing out of nowhere. People have been doing it for a while and Android is only going to get more and more powerful. Already gaming on a Nexus 7 (Tegra 3) is pretty impressive, especially for a $200-250 multi-purpose device.

Then there is the OUYA which is going to promote controller-enabled games for Android.

Lots of stuff coming along these lines.
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News Comments > Steam Sale Encore
11. Re: Steam Sale Encore Jan 5, 2013, 19:47 Tom
Wallshadows wrote on Jan 5, 2013, 19:05:
Thanks guys, I went ahead and used a fake US mailing address and all is going well!

Achievement: Fraud
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News Comments > Dune II Web Revival
10. Re: Dune II Web Revival Dec 30, 2012, 23:39 Tom
Muad'Dib learned rapidly because his first training was in how to learn. And the first lesson of all was the basic trust that he could learn. It's shocking to find how many people do not believe they can learn, and how many more believe learning to be difficult. Muad'Dib knew that every experience carries its lesson.  
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News Comments > Christmas Metaverse
12. Re: Christmas Metaverse Dec 25, 2012, 16:27 Tom
Frags4Fun wrote on Dec 25, 2012, 14:19:
Speed tests show that I am getting up to 25 Mbps but I never get those speeds on an actual download. I'm wondering if I'm getting screwed. Also, I've asked relatives who live within an hour of my location and they get the same exact numbers. Perhaps TWC throttles everything except for the speed test websites.

Indeed, those speed tests always show the full speed, yet real world results, like YouTube and game downloads/updates, are dog slow. Yet other people who are lucky enough to be on FiOS get fast speeds on those things. So what does this tell us about TWC? What we already know... they suck. The only thing they're interested in investing in is lobbying to preserve their monopoly status. They still haven't even upgraded to DOCSIS 3 here. Even Charter, arguably the worst ISP in the US, did that years ago.

If I had actually got the speed I'm paying for, the same speed I always get from speed test sites, it would've taken about an hour to download Mass Effect 3 the other day. Instead it took about 10 hours. I believe they are throttling and/or their infrastructure is just garbage.
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News Comments > Morning Tech Bits
9. Re: Morning Tech Bits Dec 22, 2012, 09:52 Tom
I apologize for the caps lock, as well as the improper (but perhaps amusing) use of the word "perpetrating". This is a major pet peeve of mine and it drives me crazy that the issue has been swept under the rug by everyone: SSD manufacturers, OS vendors, tech reviewers, defrag software vendors, everyone! And none of them ever bother to explain what's really going on. They just say "oh well defrag is pointless on SSDs, doesn't do anything except wear out the flash, don't do it, don't pay any attention to that, it doesn't apply, you can pretend it doesn't exist".

You mentioned that Windows disables its defrag on SSDs. This is not a good thing. This is an irresponsible easy out for MS. Over time, filesystems will become more and more fragmented (NTFS is VERY prone to fragmentation) and this problem will absolutely contribute to the "Windows feels slower over time" problem. Not like they're strangers to that though. Just buy a new PC. Buy a new SSD. Format+reinstall. Everyone's happy, right?

Even though the problem is absolutely solvable, nobody in a position to do anything cares. This is a sad state of affairs.

If you're interested in understanding the truth, don't just take my word for it. Here are good starting points - note that even Wikipedia usually fails to cite sources for claims related to this point, and even sometimes contradicts itself on this point within the same article:

Also, here's a tool you can use to easily measure fragmentation and defragment on a file by file basis:

I base my statements on a moderate understanding of how filesystems work (having implemented a simple one) as well as my direct observations. I have personally measured a 35% difference in time taken to read a downloaded file from an SSD whether it was in 150 fragments or 1, taking care to make sure the reads were not coming from the OS's disk cache. I encourage everyone to make their own direct observations, though I know it's not easy.
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News Comments > Morning Tech Bits
6. Re: Morning Tech Bits Dec 20, 2012, 18:51 Tom
Verno wrote on Dec 20, 2012, 14:14:
DangerDog wrote on Dec 20, 2012, 14:05:
I thought I read that you shouldn't defrag SSD drives

That's correct, there's no purpose in doing so and it usually conflicts with the drives internal garbage collection.

WRONG! Please stop perpetrating this myth. The truth is that filesystems on SSDs are just as prone to fragmentation as they are on traditional hard drives, and defragmentation has the same purpose on all drives: to eliminate fragmentation. The key differences with SSDs are that 1) the slowdown caused by fragmentation is not nearly as severe as it is with traditional hard drives (but it still exists!), and 2) there's a real wear cost to defragmentation. So things get a little complicated.

SSDs are much faster at reading data scattered around different locations, since they don't have to move a drive head over the correct portion of a spinning disk. But even on SSDs there can still be a performance penalty imposed by the overhead of fragmentation. This can be a measurable and sometimes even very noticeable impact when files are split into hundreds or thousands of fragments. Extreme fragmentation happens more often than you might expect, especially if the volume is used a lot while nearly full, and fragmentation breeds fragmentation. When reading a heavily fragmented file, the OS can no longer issue relatively few large, regularly sized read requests. It has to instead issue a larger number of smaller, irregularly sized read requests. If you know anything about SSD performance and benchmarking, you know that SSDs perform better (sometimes DRASTICALLY better) at larger I/O sizes. Now, good modern SSDs may achieve a comparable throughout on many small I/O requests vs. relatively few large ones, but this is hardly guaranteed. Chances are, if you actually measure, you will find a significant performance difference between reading a heavily fragmented file from an SSD vs. reading an unfragmented file.

Please understand that fragmentation happens at the FILESYSTEM level. The SSD has no notion of filesystems. It's a block level storage device that makes many small blocks of storage available to the OS. The OS then makes this storage available via a filesystem. Therefore, any garbage collection or wear leveling done by the SSD is not happening at the filesystem level and has nothing to do with filesystem fragmentation. The only way the SSD is even remotely aware of the filesystem structure is via the TRIM command, which the OS uses to inform the SSD that data has been deleted. The SSD can then take this information into account when doing its own internal garbage collection and preemptive erasing of flash cells. This improves performance of future I/O operations and reduces unnecessary wear on the flash.


It it worth defragmenting a filesystem stored on an SSD? Usually not. Not because "there's no purpose in doing so" but because it's not worth it from a cost/benefit standpoint. The cost of defragmentation is that you cause physical wear due to the many erase/write cycles caused by the OS trying to make things contiguous again via rearranging blocks, without the SSD understanding what's really going on. The benefit is improved performance, which may or may not be noticeable or significant depending on the situation.

In the future, it would be nice if OS and SSD manufacturers would make it possible for the OS to remap block addressing on the SSD in an intelligent, coordinated way. This would allow true defragmentation of the filesystem without wearing out the flash memory on the SSD. The SSD could then lazily rearrange data in flash as it sees fit in order to optimize future requests. But given how much trouble it was just to get TRIM (a relatively basic level of coordination between OS and SSD), and how readily the public buys these lies about the nature and effects of fragmentation, this may never happen.
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News Comments > Morning Metaverse
3. Re: Morning Metaverse Dec 19, 2012, 20:56 Tom
The solution is very simple. Don't go public!  
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News Comments > Morning Tech Bits
6. Re: Morning Tech Bits Dec 13, 2012, 23:31 Tom
Kitkoan wrote on Dec 13, 2012, 23:02:
What would really help give vectors I push I think would be something like an MMX technology that is just for vectors or even a x87-style chip.

What do you think a GPU is?
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News Comments > Morning Tech Bits
3. Re: Morning Tech Bits Dec 13, 2012, 15:13 Tom
Microsoft created a GUI framework called WPF (Windows Presentation Framework) that is vector-based and contains the infrastructure needed to make a real GUI without requiring bitmapped images. Yes, it truly supports vector-based icons (and other "doohickeys") and will scale to any resolution, using 3D hardware acceleration. However, for various reasons, WPF was doomed to an early grave.

Modern 3D hardware acceleration - even Intel HD Graphics - is plenty powerful to render an entire OS worth of GUI using purely vector graphics. We're just waiting for software developers to stop being lazy and make it happen. That's really all that is necessary.

With high-DPI displays finally going mainstream, there's starting to be reasonable incentive to actually do the hard work to make it happen. For example, Surface Pro is a 1920x1080 10.6" screen. A good old 16x16 icon is going to be !@#$ing small on that screen. But vectors are too hard so we'll just make 10 versions of the same icon instead. Great plan.

As for animating vectors, what is the problem? Games are animating (3D) vector geometry in far more demanding ways than a regular old GUI. Do you think 2D is slower to render than 3D? No, the problem is purely in how software developers are making use of the hardware. And that is the usual bottleneck that holds back true progress.
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1553 Comments. 78 pages. Viewing page 36.
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