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User information for Tom

Real Name Tom   
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Signed On May 21, 2000, 15:34
Total Comments 1435 (Pro)
User ID 4838
User comment history
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News Comments > Morning Tech Bits
2. Re: Morning Tech Bits Jan 19, 2012, 18:18 Tom
The first digital camera I ever used was a Kodak DC-120 in 1997. Amazing stuff back then. Sad that they were early to the digital game yet ended up like this.  
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News Comments > On Sale
1. Re: On Sale Nov 24, 2011, 09:06 Tom
DCS: A-10C Warthog is even cheaper on Steam until the 28th, only $20!  
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News Comments > Hard Reset Interview
7. Re: Hard Reset Interview Nov 20, 2011, 10:11 Tom
"Steam is DRM" ... uh huh, your view isn't any narrower than his eh?

Steam is a service in which you give up some things to get some other things. Clearly most people have found the tradeoff to be in their favor.
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News Comments > More on DOOM 3 Source Release
10. Re: More on DOOM 3 Source Release Nov 16, 2011, 20:17 Tom
Huh? EAX has been useless since the audio stack got rewritten in Vista. All modern game audio is done completely in software, and AFAIK you have to do special tricks (Alchemy?) to use EAX in the older games that used it if you run them on Vista or later.  
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News Comments > The Fighter Collection Plans
14. Re: The Fighter Collection Plans Nov 14, 2011, 17:34 Tom
Yep I read it as Tie Fighter as well... and this comment thread appeared exactly as I expected it would. *sigh*  
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News Comments > More on Deus Ex: Human Revolution Boss Woes
18. Re: More on Deus Ex: Human Revolution Boss Woes Nov 2, 2011, 19:06 Tom
Yeah, I agree with you, Brumbek. The boss fights were NOT hard. They sprinkled guns, ammo, and health all over the place just in case you didn't have any (but my inventory was always overflowing with it anyway). If you want to see hard, try a Russian FPS like STALKER or Metro. THAT is hard!

The bosses (and the rest of the characters and story for the most part) were pretty forgettable. The characters from the original Deus Ex stick out more. If they improved only one thing in the next Deus Ex game, I would choose this. They had a fine engine this time around, pretty good gameplay, combat, world design, voice acting, high production values all around. But the characters and writing were kind of weak.

Still, it was a fun game. I don't regret my time with it and I wouldn't mind playing through it again sometime.

Best part? Death by vending machine. Ah yeah.
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News Comments > Humble Bundle Makes $1M
3. Re: Humble Bundle Makes $1M Oct 11, 2011, 13:14 Tom
So how much might an individual developer be getting out of that figure?  
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News Comments > Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers
14. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 2, 2011, 15:33 Tom
Hump wrote on Oct 2, 2011, 15:16:
I played a grand total of 2 minutes. It was apparent that people were using vegetation hacks aplenty (I wont even try to guess what else was being used).

Do you mean that you were hiding in vegetation but got shot anyway, when nobody should've been able to see you? If you'd played a little more than 2 minutes, you might've discovered that 100 kills with certain weapons gets you an IR sight that clearly highlights people hiding in vegetation in most cases. Using the spot key (Q), you can then broadcast the positions of those people to everyone on your team, which will likely result in a quick death for them. Also, at close to medium range, sound is a very effective tool for locating people.

Hiding in vegetation is fun and effective a lot of the time, but it can be defeated without resorting to cheating.
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News Comments > Skyrim Voice Cast Announced
42. Re: Skyrim Voice Cast Announced Sep 27, 2011, 18:23 Tom
Dang, ~20 voice actors for Oblivion? It felt more like 5.  
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News Comments > Mod Removes Deus Ex: Human Revolution Gold Filter
29. Re: Mod Removes Deus Ex: Human Revolution Gold Filter Sep 23, 2011, 19:42 Tom
Ahh... people will complain about anything. The levels in this game were plenty large, the graphics plenty good. The exterior scenes in that final place were just amazing. Some people put a ton of work into that. And for the last part of the game, where so often games fizzle out.  
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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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1435 Comments. 72 pages. Viewing page 36.
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