Category Archives: Other topics

Sony is LAME

Apparently, the Go.exe binary that comes with the same discs infected with the Sony rootkit is statically linked to LAME, and thus a GPL violation.

Wow. Sony – You’ve made my day.

Re: Monty Hall

Erik, I presume what you call the Monty Hall problem is in summary this:

  1. You’re in a game and you have to choose one of three doors behind which there may be a prize (apparently in this case a donkey, hmm, maybe not a prize then ;-)
  2. After you have chosen a door, the game show host opens one of the other doors behind which there is no prize.
  3. You get the chance to change your choice of doors.

The correct answer is that you should switch your choice without thinking, because it doubles your chance to get the prize. Is this the problem we are talking about?

Most people will intuitively feel that there is now a new situation where you have a 50% chance of getting the prize, because there are two doors left and one of them has the prize.

The reason this is not the case is in rule number 2 above. The important part is that the host chooses one of the other doors and never the door you have chosen. Now, this gives you two possibilities:

  1. You initially chose a door with the prize: (33% chance) -> This is easy for the game show host, he can chose any of the other doors. The other door has 0% chance to contain the prize. Switching will give you the wrong door.
  2. You initially chose a door with no prize (66% chance) -> The game show host has no choice. He has to choose the remaining empty door. Now this is interesting. The other door has 100% chance of containing the prize. Switching will give you the right door.

See, because the chance to choose a room with no prize initially is twice as high, you have a bigger chance that the game show host is forced to open the other empty room, which gives a bigger chance for the third room to contain the prize.

Does that help? Or were you talking about something else entirely? ;-)

Update:

Maybe this is a better summary:

If you choose right the first time, switching will never give you the prize. If you choose wrong the first time, switching will always give you the prize. There’s a much bigger chance you choose wrong (2 out of 3).

Monty Hall

Perhaps a real mathematician can help me here. I just don’t understand the supposed solution to the Monty Hall problem.

I understand the reasons that it is supposed “unintuitive” but I still believe them. Allow me to forumlate the objection in a way that seems novel.

Once Monty reveals the Donkey, and you are given what is in reality a new problem – pick a door with a 50% probablity of any one being the right one. The thing is that switching from your originally selected door doesn’t change the probability of the door being the right one. Merely the act of revealing the donkey behind one of the unselected doors does.

So what’s critical is selecting a door under these new odds – which is exactly what Monty is letting you door. The key for me is that even choosing to keep the door you already have is a selection.

What am I missing?

Jack Thompson’s Modest Proposal

I realize that this is not the kind of content I would usually present in this forum, but nonetheless, stupidity on such a grand scale cannot be countenanced.

Jack Thompson has, as a sort of grandstanding piece of satire, proposed a particularly violent video game scenario, with the intention of donating $10,000 to charity, should the game be produced.

I myself am not ignorant in the ways of public manipulation. This is a win – win for Thompson. If the game isn’t made, then he spins this as reveling the hypocrisy of the video game industry. Blithely ignoring that studios exist to make money, and producing a game that is directly insulting to their target market is tantamount to suicide, Thompson will claim that the absence of his game points to a hypocrisy in the industry. Underneath, Thompson will say, they know that such a game would cause a flowering of violence in the real world.

And if the game is made? Thompson has created a scenario so horrific that the studio who made it will have made only more evidence for Thompson’s claim that we are all depraved, vicious peddlers of filth and darkness to the fragile and pure children of America.

Thompson misses the essential truth – that America is a disgustingly violent place. The fragile and pure children are nowhere to be found. We live in a culture of violence, in a time of unjustifiable military action, in land stolen from it’s native people by application of force, whose media from Saturday morning cartoons to the evening news is saturated by blood. One wonders if perhaps Thompson himself carried violence in his heart – is this scenario of his what his dreaming self wants to do to the video game industry? When Jack Thompson writes the name “Osaki Kim” does he breath the words “Jack Thompson?”

More to the point, does old Jacky boy not realize that he has created the perfect opportunity to satirize himself, and display as only interactive fiction can, his own lunacy? Showing, in grim high def 3-D detail, the senseless murder of pale, scrawny, geeky high school aged video gamers, innocent and defenseless, by a man who has been told by his culture to take retribution out of the hands of the court and into his own will not help make Thompson’s case.

Thompson is saying very little new – writers, filmmakers, musicians, all have been blamed in the past for our cultural degeneracy. What Thompson adds to the mix is his subtle finger pointing at us, the gamers. Saying that it is our weakness of character, our support for video games that is the real cause of rape and murder – effectively, Thompson is blaming me and mine. Thompson still lives in a world where gamers are the minority, and can be blamed for those things which are epidemic to this country. And that is so insulting, and so irresponsible, that I believe Thompson’s charge must be taken up.

Games can contain stories, and stories can contain ideas. All Thompson sees is gore and robots, just as all my grandparents heard in the Beatles was sex and drugs. He cannot see the ideas, and as a man with no soul he cannot see the power of storytelling. He has presented us with a scenario which a talented game designer could turn into a bleak tale of individual madness, the culture that praises and nurtures it, and the idiocy of the scapegoat.

I truly hope that someone with the talent and the balls takes up the task.

Fear

When I was a child my gradfather – my dad’s dad – subscribed to National Geographic. He would read the whole thing in a day, and then he would pass them on to me. I loved them. There is something of a formula that can render the magazine dull over long periods of time, but it is not without it’s charm, especially to a curious kid like I was.

And then the bastards sent submarines after the Titanic.

I have never been so afraid in my life. The terrible pressures of the deep on those tiny vessels, the accumulated silt of ages, the monsters that lurked below. Every image became a nightmare. God help me, I was scared of the shrimp.

I switched to novels. Dad gave me 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.

And now my irrational fear of those which goes *SLORP* in the eternal night of the deep had a concrete form in the Giant Squid. Lord of all that is Evil and Slimy, I can’t eat teriyaki sauce to this day, the association of slimy food to the slick, oily skin of Nemo’s Bane is so strong. Worse, this childhood fear had been stirred up with the discovery, several months past, of the (I shit you the fuck not) a goddamn collosal squid. They just keep getting bigger and bigger. My only comfort has been that every giant and (*shiver*) collosal squid discovered has been dead or dying, bodies swollen with shrimp and evil in the bellies of sperm whales – sperm whales, in whom I have no fear, due to the comraderie of mammalhood.

My one salvation: I have been spared the horror of seeing the things live, seeing how they move, as they must, swimming in an abyss cold as space, yet filled with a dark Cthuloid life.

Well fuck a duck

KWIQ

So, KHTML is a HTML rendering engine, built on Qt.

WebCore is an HTML engine based on KHTML for Mac OS X.

This was all accomplished via something called Kwiq. Kwiq, created by Apple, is basically a reimplementation of portions of Qt needed to port KHTML. Qt widgets become Cocoa widgets, and all is happy.

GtkWebCore is a rendering engine based on WebCore for Gtk+.

What interests me about the whole thing is that GtkWebCore is accomplished essentially just by porting the Kwiq layer to Gtk+. So…..now we have large portions of Qt implemented on top of Gtk+?

What could be accomplished with a simple recompile, and a few header files diddled?

Poor

Slashdot has a little story on how much money developers make, relative to the national (US) average.

Having read through this little discussion, with people saying that if they made a dinky 50k for programming, they’d start checking gas meters for $20/hour, I felt the need to vent.

I have three years of software development experience, including one year of R and D management experience, and I make half of the lowest wage mentioned. I’m paid hourly, I get no vacation time, no benefits, and I make 12k a year (that’s about 15000 euros). I have a food budget of 20 dollars a week, for both me and my wife. I’m the lowest paid person at my company (all my “employees” make more, marginally, or some make the same). Currently, the CEO is investing in a product built entirely under my supervision as the manager of the dev team.

Before I started, there was some vague talk of putting the code in CVS, but all of the devs were convinced that it would simply create overhead on projects that were all perpetually behind schedule. CVS was mentioned because it was the only form of version control these guys had heard of.

I put everything in subversion, setup a ticket tracking system, pushed as many of the complete lummoxes out the door as I could, began setting up daily builds and automated testing, and established rules about the CEO never speaking to my team directly, all via me. The team has never been more productive, and I saw the first project to ever ship on time.

I hired testers, wrote documentation, and I still program when I get home. I’m the only one to dedicate myself to a regular schedule (though it’s suffered since school started) so that I can be available whenever people need me, and I’ve taken the blame for everything that’s broken, and given the credit to my team when ever something worked (they deserved it, dammit!).

I have never recieved a raise.

*sigh*

Anyway, thanks for putting up with that. I now return you to your irregularly scheduled programming