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Slashback Education Graphics Software

Slashback: Blender, Paly, Dragon 284

Posted by timothy
from the tofu-can-enjoy-conjugal-relations dept.
The last Slashback of July brings you updates on the open-source Blender and Diebold's approach to voting security, and a skeptical look at the design origins of the Dragon V CPU, John Poindexter's very own future, and more. Read on for the details.

A cleaner UI would be nice in the next round. Qbertino writes "Blender 2.28 - the first major release after it was GPLd after a $100,000 community source-code buyout in October last year -- is finished. It's now got a wide variety of added features such as Audio Sequencing (as mentioned earlier) and a complete redo of the built-in Python engine for your 3D scripting convenience and import/export empowerment. It runs on Linux, FreeBSD, Irix, Solaris and that other OS :-). See the full changelog here and get the new version binaries here. Cheers to the Blender folks and: Happy Blending!"

Just close the curtain on your way out, citizen. utunga writes "After recent claims that their voting systems were grossly insecure, Diebold has issued a rebuttal which has in turn been panned. One question this raises : Do programmers now have worry that their comments ... such as - 'Reimplemented MMIO functions, as MS is too effing lazy to provide them under CE. Most of this is cribbed from the Wine Project.' - might wind up in the media (or worse, in court) as evidence for one side or the other ?"

Correspondence school? chipace writes "The newly released Dragon-V CPU could have deeper roots in Austin, Texas than in China. The Alchemy Au1500 (AMD) displayed at Comdex 2002 has a lot in common with the new CultureCom Dragon-V cpu (or is it the other way around?). Both have identical MIPS32 cores (16k instruction + 16k data caches), Ethernet MACs, USB 1.1, PCI 2.2, SDRAM controller ... same power consumption. I'm not saying they are pin-compatible... just that this is by no means an original chip (seeing as the Au1500 has been available for over a year). Is the Dragon-V a ground-up development that CultureCom is describing, or is this just another case of a Chinese company doing reverse engineering?"

They can swim out and try, though. Complete Bastard writes "The Australian is reporting today that Aussie corporate Linux users, including AusRegistry, which runs Australia's domain name registry, are also starting to say no to SCO's licensing scheme. After reading the recent /. roundup of corporate ire, it would seem the business world is starting to truly make it's opinions known in this issue..."

The wisdom of the free market. skwang writes "Do you think John Poindexter should keep his job? The head of Pentagon's department responsible for Terrorism Information Awareness (formerly Total Information Awareness) and most recently known for his Policy Analysis Market, which would allow investors to buy future's contracts in middle east events such as the overthrow of King Adbullah of Jordan, has himself a futures contract on Tradesports, as reported by CNN.

Investors can now buy futures contracts to speculate on whether or not Poindexter will keep his job after August 31st. Since Poindexter's contracts are new, they do not represent an accurate indicator of his job security."

Could be too late: Eponymous Coward writes "CNN writes "Retired Adm. John Poindexter, who created a firestorm this week with his plan to create a futures market that would capitalize on predicting terror attacks, will resign in coming weeks from his post at the Pentagon, a senior defense official said Thursday. The official said the research that Poindexter and his Total Information Awareness program (TIA) were conducting had become just too 'unorthodox'." Ya think?"

No good deed goes unpunished. Anonymous Coward writes "In regards to the June 25th Article 'WiFi Exposes Sensitive Student Data': The School district has decided to boot all volunteers, the story is here..."

Seems like a harsh way to treat long-time volunteers with expensive skills.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: Blender, Paly, Dragon

Comments Filter:
  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Thursday July 31, 2003 @07:01PM (#6584193) Homepage Journal
    Setting up wifi in an insecure way hardly qualifies as an expensive skill.

    ....an expensive mistake perhaps, but I don't see tons of job ads saying "wanted: bozo who doesn't know how to configure wifi to set up our wireless network"

    • Setting up wifi in an insecure way hardly qualifies as an expensive skill.

      whats funny is that the real article says nothing about Wi-fi it just says the districts policy is that only employees can touch the computers now.
      • whats funny is that the real article says nothing about Wi-fi it just says the districts policy is that only employees can touch the computers now.

        Which means that the servers will now be really secure, since none of the employees have any idea what they do, and they certainly wouldn't touch them. :)

        • Which means that the servers will now be really secure, since none of the employees have any idea what they do, and they certainly wouldn't touch them. :)

          No that means that they won't have any security patches applied, so whatever holes are discovered/post on the internet, will likely exist for a long time on these servers.
  • Blender (Score:5, Informative)

    by Squidgee (565373) <squidgeeOO1 @ h o t m a il.com> on Thursday July 31, 2003 @07:03PM (#6584201)
    Blender's UI is actually really useful once you get used to it.

    The problem is, getting used to it. It's set up for the advanced user (read: keystrokes for EVERYTHING!), not for the newbie-point-and-clicker.

    It's kinda like Slack, but in the 3D app land.

    • Re:Blender (Score:5, Interesting)

      by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @07:15PM (#6584270)
      Maybe it works for the experienced user, but it's still a stellar example of bad UI design. Tiny buttons with cryptic icons, a GUI interface that works in an irritatingly nonstandard fasion, and so forth. Fixing these would go a long way towards making it accessible to new users, and would not hurt the experienced users one bit. Given that the poor interface is by far the biggest complaint people have about Blender, you would think that some thought would be given to fixing it.
      • Re:Blender (Score:5, Interesting)

        by OverCode@work (196386) <overcode&gmail,com> on Thursday July 31, 2003 @07:54PM (#6584453) Homepage
        Recently I've learned to write 3ds max plugins, and a good 3/4 of the time I spend is just trying to get around in max. The actual 3d handling code (C++) is really simple to deal with.

        Point being, 3d modelling is Hard, and I would expect any reasonably capable 3d modeller to be difficult to learn, even with a well designed UI.

        Blender doesn't necessarily have a horrible UI. It's just a targetted one, meant for power users who need fast access to a lot of functionality.
        Not to say it couldn't be improved.

        -John
        • Re:Blender (Score:4, Insightful)

          by makapuf (412290) on Friday August 01, 2003 @03:05AM (#6586219)
          wrong. There are simple things in 3D modelling, and those should be simple. See Brice.

          I think a good interface (be it a programming language or a GUI) should not ADD complexity to the inherent complexity of a task.

          Thus, simple thing should be made simple, repetitive tasks should be quick to do, and numerous other ones should be available without learning/remembering too many ways to do it.

          Generally, pick two.

          I think blender's UI is good at the last two ones.
          • Re:Blender (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Mac Degger (576336) on Friday August 01, 2003 @05:08AM (#6586441) Journal
            Sorry, but Bryce is a wrong example; it's a plything with as much use to a production environment as a "my first sony" is to an audiophile. Sure, it makes pretty pictures, but is it parametric? Is it, at all, any good? No.

            And that's why Bryce (to you) has a good UI; it's a toy's UI.

            Now I'm not defending Blender's UI, but have a look at 3dsmax, maya and softimage; they're all difficult to learn. Blender however seems to go out of it's way to be hard to learn.
        • Re:Blender (Score:2, Insightful)

          by JanneM (7445)
          I don't think that is the kind of problem the previous poster had in mind. Take the example with having a row of tiny buttons with less-than-clear icons on them.

          Their functionality - or lack of it - has nothing to do with the problem domain. No matter what the application, they are making it harder to use than would otherwise be the case. They are difficult to see, to distinguish between, and easier to make an accidental "misclick" and select the wrong function.

          I fully agree that an UI should be designed
      • Re:Blender (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Xerithane (13482) <[gro.mrafdren] [ta] [enahtirex]> on Thursday July 31, 2003 @07:58PM (#6584482) Homepage Journal
        Maybe it works for the experienced user, but it's still a stellar example of bad UI design. Tiny buttons with cryptic icons, a GUI interface that works in an irritatingly nonstandard fasion, and so forth. Fixing these would go a long way towards making it accessible to new users, and would not hurt the experienced users one bit. Given that the poor interface is by far the biggest complaint people have about Blender, you would think that some thought would be given to fixing it.

        The people who complain about Blenders UI wouldn't manage with any 3d application. If you read any of the numerous tutorials on Blender, you can get the hang of the UI in less than a half hour. I'm not saying be efficient and quick, but at least use it without difficulty.

        3d modeling applications with more power than TruSpace can't have that user friendly of an interface because of the sheer number of functions it has to have in quick access. If you look at Maya, they have spent tons of time in the UI, and their biggest contribution was the pie menu. Using Maya for an hour, vs. Blender you will notice Blender has faster keystrokes (while Maya is more "usable") but after 10 hours, Blender is more usable.

        Their GUI also works in fairly standard fashion, with menus and hotkeys. The button tray at the bottom (default) is easy to see, and after you know what the icons mean (5 minutes of reading) it makes sense. I'm going to reiterate this point: Most people that complain about Blender and it's interface haven't read any of the documentation on it and spent 30 minutes trying to figure it out.

        It isn't a mail client, it's a 3d modelling application.
        • Re:Blender (Score:4, Interesting)

          by dmiller (581) <djmNO@SPAMmindrot.org> on Thursday July 31, 2003 @08:10PM (#6584520) Homepage
          The people who complain about Blenders UI wouldn't manage with any 3d application.

          Not so. I was able to pick up Maya, 3DS Max and Lightwave and start editing meshes pretty quickly just by playing with the interface. I have read a couple of Blender tutorials and it still seems like too much work.
          • Re:Blender (Score:2, Informative)

            by Xerithane (13482)
            Not so. I was able to pick up Maya, 3DS Max and Lightwave and start editing meshes pretty quickly just by playing with the interface. I have read a couple of Blender tutorials and it still seems like too much work.

            I haven't used 3DS much, but my first impression of it was worse than Blender.

            I read the Castle tutorial on Blender and felt very comfortable with it. Which tutorials did you read?
          • I have read a couple of Blender tutorials and it still seems like too much work.

            Yeah, pressing the tab key is just so hard.

            Seriously, get over it. I made the same complaints when i was a blender newbie, and the developers basically just said "shut up, we like it this way".

            At this point, I think the pain/cost of making all the expert users retrain themselves is worse than just having the occaisonal new user get used to the way things are.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          "It isn't a mail client, it's a 3d modelling application."

          Agreed. Most of these arguments come from the "everything is an appliance"[1] crowd. If it doesn't have a big red "push me" button, then it's too hard. Thing is for those of us whom "time is money" (and make good amounts too), the Blender interface (much like the wordperfect interface) is right up our alley. Remember our tools are for "work", not for "play".

          [1] I'll leave it to the audiance who got that trend started.
        • Re:Blender (Score:4, Informative)

          by KnightNavro (585943) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @08:42PM (#6584698)
          I don't know about learning it in a half hour. I've been playing with it for a week and I'm still only up to static modeling. It really could use better documentation. Of course, users experienced in other 3D modeling programs may have an easier time. In any case, this page [eskimo.com] has been tremendously helpful.
          • It really could use better documentation.

            That's why they sell books, because they give the software away for free. Kind of forced compensation, but I think it's a great model.
        • Re:Blender (Score:4, Informative)

          by dcuny (613699) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @08:43PM (#6584702)
          • If you read any of the numerous tutorials on Blender, you can get the hang of the UI in less than a half hour.

          That depends on what you mean by "get the hang of the UI". Sure, you can figure out that buttons can be pushed and that everything in Blender looks like a button. At least form could fit the function, y'know?

          The main problem is that the UI doesn't give you any clue how to perform tasks. For example, might know, for example, that you need to add bones to your mesh. But how to do that?

          I know that it can be done, but looking through the menus and tabs, I can't see hide nor hare of anything like a Add Bones option. Once the bones are added, how are they supposed to be parented to the mesh? Again, the UI doesn't give any clue.

          Just because you (or any other number of users) can figure out how to do great things in Blender - and Blender is an amazingly powerful program - doesn't mean that it's got a good UI. I could just as easily point to the Persistance of Vision Raytracer [povray.org] and claim that it's got a great user interface, because lots of people can use it and produce great work with it.

          It's great that you can memorize a zillion different keystrokes, but I can't. That means I can't use Blender without an Internet connection, so I can download the outdated manual, or search for an outdated tutorial, or head over to the friendly folk on #blenderchat for some help.

          • Most people that complain about Blender and it's interface haven't read any of the documentation on it and spent 30 minutes trying to figure it out.
          Well, the same goes for most people who use any software. But one of the points of a UI is to expose functionality of the product. And that's something that Blender does terribly, even for someone like me who's been struggling with the UI for a couple years.

          There are other Free software programs that support animation, such as Art of Illusion [sourceforge.net] and Anim8or [anim8or.com]. There are up and coming contenders, such as JPatch [sourceforge.net] and Wings3D [wings3d.com] that don't yet support animation, but promise to in the near future. As powerful as Blender is, I'm hanging my hopes one one of these less powerful, but more user friendly applications.

          (In fairness should note that Ton has recently set up a forum for the improvement of Blender, and one of the main focuses on Blender 2.0 will be an improved user interface.)

          • One thing that Blender could/has? benefitted from is tooltips when you have a mouseover on the buttons.

            Excuse me, not sure about the window Blender, all I do is the linux version anymore. Have they implemented tooltips "balloons" for the windows versions yet?

            SB
            • Re:Blender (Score:4, Informative)

              by dcuny (613699) on Friday August 01, 2003 @01:18AM (#6585941)
              Yes, Blender had tooltips on buttons on all platforms.

              Blender is an OpenGL application, and draws it's own widgets and windows, so it has the same look and feel on all platforms.

              Blender has implemented a lot of improvements to the interface from the earlier releases. But (as others have pointed out) 3D animation is hard. Many operations are non-trivial, and require a number of steps. A more clear UI would be helpful, but not under these circumstances.

              There are also a lot of 'hidden' functions that people don't know about. For example, there are constant requests for Blender to have more Wings3D [wings3d.com] sort of modelling features. Blender already supports things like face select and extrude along normal but finding out about them is a different matter. (I doubt I can remember what key combination brings up extrude along normal, and I haven't the foggiest idea how to go about finding it from within Blender.)

              Anyhoo, I think what Blender needs is good integrated documentation. The Blender team seems hellbent on keeping the download as small as possible, and don't want to include anything that's not necessary with the core download.

              Still, integrated help would solve a number of problems:

              • Newbies could discover things like U for Undo.
              • Intermediate users could find out the order of buttons to press to get radiosity to work.
              • Longtime users would never use it, but they'd never see it, either.

              Just a thought.

        • Re:Blender (Score:3, Interesting)

          by aardvarkjoe (156801)
          You failed to address the relevant point: Blender's UI is needlessly cryptic. Even assuming that you really can pick it up in half an hour like you claim (obviously false; I and many others have spent far more than half an hour trying to learn to use it), there is absolutely no reason to simply ignore the years of research and work on user interfaces. A well-designed interface would be just as powerful of the "power user", and still not be as opaque to the new user.

          If you think that having a text entry w
          • Absolutely correct - Blender's UI is needlessly cryptic, and resolving these issues would not impede the experienced user if done intelligently. People who think that they need to reinvent years of GUI design expertise just because their particular application is unique simply don't understand GUI design - period.
        • Just a half hour? Proficient in it? I never thought I was interested enough to spend several hours on Blender when I still don't know many other technologies (I recently taught myself Perl and I've learned C++ and Java in high school and college so far...), but 30 minutes?

          That I'll do, if you weren't exaggerating. Which book should I read?
      • Re:Blender (Score:3, Interesting)

        by digitalhermit (113459)
        Given that the poor interface is by far the biggest complaint people have about Blender, you would think that some thought would be given to fixing it.

        Actually, many people praise blender for its user interface. Yes, it is difficult for someone who hasn't read the manual to use, but once you actually read the manual, you'll soon realize that the interface is pretty easy to use. You can get a lot of things done very quickly because of how the mouse and keyboard interact. No, it does not conform to most u
        • Re:Blender (Score:2, Interesting)

          by AndyChrist (161262)
          The makers of every other decent 3D app don't think it's irrelevant.

          I last used an early version of blender...so my opinion may be dated...but the documentation sucked as badly as the interface. With most 3D apps, you can just look at it and know what you're seeing. With blender, screw actually manipulating objects, just figuring out what's in front of you can be a pain.


          • I last used an early version of blender...so my opinion may be dated...but the documentation sucked as badly as the interface. With most 3D apps, you can just look at it and know what you're seeing. With blender, screw actually manipulating objects, just figuring out what's in front of you can be a pain.

            OK, have you used Maya before? Take a look at its interface and try to create a scene without the manual. Try the same thing with any non-trivial modelling program. Sure, the simple applications all let y
            • Not true, 3DS MAX has an easy to learn yet powerfull interface. A friend of mine was using it to make commercials back when I was in college. He had reverse kinematics, extrusion effects, particle effects, etc. All of that was simple enough to do that after watching him for 5 minutes I could have picked it up (though I wouldn't have been anywhere near as good as he was). The coolest thing from my perspective was the way he got compensated for the commercial, a new workstation, 5.1 surround system, 2 Pro VCR
            • Yeah, I can use maya, 3dsmax and softimage (and also lightwave, but I hate the UI and the whole modal thing puts me off). Blender's UI still sucks. Live with it. Why do you think people (ie the dev's) are now considering Blenders UI to be an issue they must fix? Please stop trying to defend something which even it's developers know to be crap.
      • Maya Got it Right (Score:3, Insightful)

        by metalhed77 (250273)
        Maya has an excellent UI from the little I've gotten to play with that a friend showed me. I've been shown the Blender and Max UIs, and they are atrocious. Besides not all advanced users memorize keyboard shortcuts. I've been using Photoshop pretty regularly for 5 years now and only memorize a small number of shortcuts. Sure photoshop is a much simpler program, but still, well written menus can make memorization not so necessary.

        The key to a good UI isn't really widgets or anything (although Blender's are
        • Sorry, but that way lies obstruction of screen space...and that is something you juct can't do; 3d needs all the screen you have (preferrably multiple monitors...or even better multiple beamers :)).

          Also, to become truly proficient in any app, it's a prerequisite that you learn the keyboard shortcuts; if you don't, you cannot be considered proficient. You're also much to slow at using the app if you don't use shortcuts...and if you've ever been in a production environment, you'll know that you need every se
      • "Good UI design" as conventionally taught is overwhelmingly biased towards lusers. For some apps (eg: office suites), this makes sense. They're interchangeable programs used by interchangeable employees.

        But, for apps that are extremely "vertical" (heavily used by a very small, elite group of users) a whole different set of design principles is sensible. Essentially: make the common things fast, make the rare things possible, and then get the hell out of the way. Being nicey-nice to the uninitiated does NOT
  • by BrotherPope (8102) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @07:05PM (#6584216)
    'Reimplemented MMIO functions, as MS is too effing lazy to provide them under CE. Most of this is cribbed from the Wine Project.'

    Wine has been under the LGPL for a while now... anyone know more about this 'cribbing'? What exactly was copied, and from what tree?

    I haven't heard that the voting system code is available under the LGPL... in fact, I've heard that secret source code is quite important to keep ahead of competitors.
    • We'll in the worst case, if they did excessively copy from the LGPL wine code then they would still not have to release the source of their system, they would simply have to release the "modified" code from the voting system. If they had "de-libraried" the MMIO functions then they could provide a test case for the GPL but I imagine they would simply re-library it with the blessings of the wine projects and release the source to this library LGPL. The LGPL allows you to hide YOUR code while diclosing wha
    • This particular bit of secret source is of course no longer particularly secret. See... A Very American Coup.. [scoop.co.nz]. Here at Scoop where we broke this story we are seeking to get the word out about this page which will carry our ongoing work on the subject. Please have a squizz. And if you look carefully you will find the link to where the secret source remains online and downloadable... Finally... online media buffs Check out our appeal to the online independent media [scoop.co.nz] related to this story.
  • by acxr is wasted (653126) * on Thursday July 31, 2003 @07:07PM (#6584224)
    Odds Poindexter loses his job before September: 2:1

    Should he be fired, odds that this will fix the "problem": 1,000,000,000:1
  • by Merik (172436) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @07:08PM (#6584230) Homepage
    • The problem with the DARPA project was that it "looked" bad. Personally I think it was a brilliant idea. It is the ultimate distributed analysis and works for the same reason capitalism does. But as cool as it sounded I pretty much knew it would be in trouble.

      The problem really isn't Poindexter. All the projects I've heard of sounded very creative and the kind of thinking out of the box they were demanding immediately after 911. The problem is that Poindexter was hopelessly naive regarding the real w

      • by gad_zuki! (70830) *
        I don't think this project had any merits at all. The people who have been defending it in the press have been using domestic examples as success stories like the Iowa Electronic Market. Well, considering how small a sample size that is and the nature of the two party system AND the more or less predictable workings of the electoral college, prediciting the president is a lot easier than dealing with dozens of governments, rogue organizations, etc.

        Also, these traders would mostly be Americans. Pardon my
      • Oh it didn't just look bad. It was like assassination politics
        for middle-eastern jihadis. Place your bets, win big by
        fixing the game.
      • No, it was stupid (Score:3, Interesting)

        by autopr0n (534291)
        The futures market idea is interesting, but it only works when a large number of people have enough information to at least have some opinion.

        With terrorists attacks, only a select group of people would have valid information, namely terrorists and people connected to (or monitoring) them.

        If a system wasn't totally anonymous, then no sane person 'in the loop' would ever make a bet, because they would be immediately arrested after an attack.

        If a system WAS anonymous, then you have much larger proble
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 31, 2003 @07:15PM (#6584268)
    In reference to the Palo Alto story, I have learned to be wary of volunteer work. People just don't appreciate what they don't pay for. If you volunteer to do something, people act like your time is of no value, so they will feel free to waste your time.

    Maybe the school district will understand the value of these past volunteer services when they finally have to break down and pay someone. The added bonus is that a paying job will be created. I know volunteer work is full of good intentions, but a side effect is contributing to unemployment.
    • "I know volunteer work is full of good intentions, but a side effect is contributing to unemployment. "
      What?!? Do you have a study which shows this? Did you consider that the money people save via volunteer efforts gets spent somewhere else? And if somebody is volunteering instead of watching TV or reading /., that is a net benefit to the GDP. Higher GDP growth => less unemployment. There is not a fixed pie of work to be split up.
    • by jefu (53450)
      I recently worked at a university which was in the process of determining that no student could graduate without a hefty dose of "service based learning". As it developed, what they meant by that was the idea that the university would require as a graduation requirement that all students volunteer for a term or two at "approved" local organizations.

      It was not approved on that cycle, but is still one of the approved ideas in the local power elite and will most likely be pushed through eventually.

      A very

    • I doubt this would have happened anywhere else. To understand why this happened would be to understand Palo Altans. Just today I was driving down University Avenue towards Stanford and a pedestrian started screaming obscenities at a car because his dog ran out into the road. This sums up the general attitude of Palo Alto quite nicely.
  • the dragon chip.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Suppafly (179830) <slashdot@suppaf[ ]net ['ly.' in gap]> on Thursday July 31, 2003 @07:22PM (#6584301)
    When they were first annoucing that the Chinese would be producing the dragon chip, there was a lot of speculation here and other places that it would just be a reverse engineered version of something else.. guess that's what happened.
  • by Handpaper (566373) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @07:22PM (#6584303)
    Most of this is cribbed from the Wine Project.
    This looks like a job for the FSF. How far are the binaries being distributed? Since they contain GPL code, it shouldn't be too difficult to make a case for source code release, which would open the whole app to peer review (and, if the article is even halfway right, hilarity).
  • by sideshow (99249) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @07:32PM (#6584355)
    Cause between all the, "Fix this when I'm less drunk"'s and, "This better fucking work GODDAMMIT!"'s I might be out of a job.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    creating a futures market for terrorism as a way to glean info, should be lauded on Slashdot. It is a geek's solution to an information problem. Having it excoriated in Congress and the media is exactly what happens every time a "Poindexter" stands up and suggests what seems like a great idea to geeks: dumb people just don't get it and the geek gets ostracized. We should salute you, John Poindexter...

    Unfortunately, even though Slashdot is a geek site, it isn't that educated, at least when it comes to econ,

    • by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @07:43PM (#6584412) Homepage Journal
      The problem I had with it was the potential for abuse. Athletes aren't allowed to bet on games and for the same reason the CIA shouldn't be allowed to "bet" on things that they can have an influence over. Especially when they might be tempted to create even more chaotic and violent situations than they normally do.
    • I almost posted this exact same thing, but luckily decided to scan the comments first.

      Yes, there are problems with the idea, as others pointed out (namely that investors might somehow encourage terrorism). Whether there might be some remedy to these problems is unsure. But, to use a horribly overused cliche, Poindexter was thinking outside the box, and decided to examine the worth of an idea that was effective at predicting other difficult-to-predict events.

      It is said in advertising that the average con
    • 1) bet on assassination of president
      2) assassinate president
      3) profit!
  • blender question. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Suppafly (179830) <slashdot@suppaf[ ]net ['ly.' in gap]> on Thursday July 31, 2003 @07:33PM (#6584362)
    I haven't used blender and have only dabbled with other 3d programs, so maybe this is obvious, but why does a 3d program need audio sequencing capabilities?
    • Answered repeatedly in the previous discussion... Supposedly it's because blender started out as an animation sequencer... Kinda hard to sync lip animation and actors' voices w/out audio sequencing stuff.

      Don't question the audio sequencing stuff, question the UI. It's a complete laundry list of everything that's wrong w/ software usability today.
  • by Psychic Burrito (611532) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @08:02PM (#6584491)
    I've downloaded Blender and tried to run it: After 40 seconds, a blank window appeared, but nothing else. After 7 minutes, I was tired of waiting, killed the app and trashed it. This is the same experience I had on other machines half a year ago with Blender. I just wanted to fiddle around with it a bit, as I regularly do with randomly downloaded Mac apps [apple.com], but this App seems to not adhere to the usual standard of "start the app in 15 seconds or less and everything works".
  • by myklgrant (529062) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @08:05PM (#6584503) Homepage
    As an avid Blender user I consider Blender to be one of OSS's greatest success stories. Since going GPL the rate of improvement has been rapid (the audio sequencer was wanted for years) and the fact that the community made it happen despite it being considered commercially "dead" is a tribute to the power of open source. Makes you wonder what dead code is out there that can be "rescued" by the OSS community.
  • Poindexter is going to resign! [nytimes.com]
    now (nytimes registration required blah blah)

    -bloo
  • by fven (688358) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @08:26PM (#6584597)
    It can be awkward as an employee, but particularly as a volunteer - where you don't have the rights of an employee. The boss is completely non-technical but wants things done exactly his way despite your protests that it wont work, is insecure, doesn't meet their needs etc.

    Using the same blind logic, the boss locks the only people that know the system out of the system (change all root passwds, change locks on doors etc) and then 'make do' with a poorer quality system that they pay more for. Normally in these cases with small schools, there simply isn't the budget to employ a sysadmin and deploy nice (read expensive) network topologies and so people volunteer.

    A sad case of biting the mouth that feeds..
  • No, not the ui.

    The thing I most dislike about blender is the renderer. It just BLOWS. You have to do all kinds of tricks to get decent reflections, shadows and things that POV-Ray has been doing since the day of the Amiga. Now if they could find some way to make a POV-Ray export...
  • by Durindana (442090) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @09:24PM (#6584941)
    Cause the Blender.org folks have a binary download for OS X. I imagine there's folks interested in that version than in Irix and FreeBSD.
  • by phr1 (211689) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @09:31PM (#6584994)
    There was a guy named Jim Bell who wanted to set up betting parlors similar to Poindexter's. You could make anonymous bets like "I love <insert name of politician>, and I bet $1 million that he'll still be in office in 3 months". Of course that amounts to ordering a hit on that politician, since it invites someone to (anonymously) bet against you, rub out the politician, and collect the $1M in untraceable digital cash.

    Bell is now in jail, supposedly for stalking an IRS agent, but the trial was something of a cause celebre for cypherpunks.

    Type "Jim Bell" and "Assassination Politics" into Google for more details. Muldrake [buttersquash.net] was the first I know to point out the similarity between Bell's scheme and Poindexter's terror casino.

  • W00T! Break out the champagne and let's party like it's 1984....because it still is, and we still live in a nation that is still taking away our privacy and freedom day by day.

  • http://www.idg.com.hk/cw/readstory.asp?aid=2003073 1002

    It is made with help of IBM. The core is PowerPC. The new thing is the chinese character generator.

  • by sbwoodside (134679) <sbwoodside@yahoo.com> on Friday August 01, 2003 @12:37AM (#6585803) Homepage
    Cumberland Times-News [216.15.229.16] (via google news)


    Thursday, July 31, 2003

    Davis confident in voting process
    Administrator challenges report on machines

    James Rada
    Times-News Staffwriter

    CUMBERLAND -- Here's an open offer from Allegany County Elections Administrator Kitty Davis to Aviel Rubin, the lead researcher of a Johns Hopkins University study that found "significant security flaws" in the electronic voting system being used by the county.

    "I would challenge him to come and try any of the things he said could be done on my machines and us not be able to tell something is wrong. We wouldn't even need to do all the checks with the election judges," said Davis.


    simon

  • by autopr0n (534291) on Friday August 01, 2003 @01:29AM (#6585966) Homepage Journal
    I know that a lot of people have been complaining that people complaining about the government terrorism futures market are idiots, because they're just being emotional about something that could theoretically help fight terrorism or whatever But the futures market thing really is a bad Idea, and not because it's 'immoral' but because it can provide direct financial support to terrorists. All the terrorists need to do is bet on their own activities. In fact, it could cause a lot more terrorism as real criminal gangs get into terrorism as a way of more money. Imagine if the resources of a Columbian drug cartel applied to terrorism. Not good. And plus, terrorist's true plans aren't known to that many people. Unless betting could be totally anonymous, no one who actually knew anything would place any bets.
    • Have a look at the bets offered by tradesports.com, which is a similar market, only for sports instead of terrorism.

      All of their bets involve time -- they have a fixed expiration time. The sports-related bets are over at the end of the ganme, and the politics-related bets are all of the nature "Person X will be governor on D date." The datel limitation is because bets must eventually pay off.

      In order to make money from their own activities, terrorists would need to place bets of the form "Calamity C will
  • by Farley Mullet (604326) on Friday August 01, 2003 @01:37AM (#6585982)

    So PAL is sufficiently distasteful that it must be shut down, even if decision markets are generally really useful predictors of future events [newyorker.com] (and the fact that the U.S. intelligence community could probably use the help), while invading other countries based on faulty (or falsified) intelligence and wishful-thinking "domino-theory" premises about mideast relations, and despite the inevitable civilian and military casualties and potential terrorist reprisals is a "Sacred Duty". Blows my mind.

  • For all those impatient FreeBSD users out there who went to the binaries page and saw "Soon" (it's not yet made it into the ports tree), I suggest doing a CVS checkout and build of the core code tree, bf-blender. [blender.org]
    There's a FreeBSD targetted build shellscript in the main directory, and it works beautifully. (Caveat - I had to copy one .h file into a different location - can't remember what it was, but it worked fine after that).

    Also, if you're interested in the bleeding edge branch of Blender, Tuhopuu (l
  • by rivenwanderer (694220) on Friday August 01, 2003 @02:55AM (#6586193)
    There's been efforts to improve documentation [blender.org], most notably the release of the still-slightly-under-construction 2.0 manual [blender.org] online (so no, they're not deliberately designing a hard-to-use program with the intent to make money on manuals). The shortcomings of the renderer are being addressed by exports to POV-Ray [jmsoler.free.fr], Renderman-compliant programs such as 3Delight, and, (most interestingly in my opinion), Yafray [uniovi.es]. Check out this gallery [uniovi.es]--probably 90% of the scenes were exported from Blender. Right now, this is done via a plugin, but the unofficial/experimental builds are starting to have rudimentary raytracer exports built in.

    Altogether, I think that Blender is a very attractive choice for the 3D hobbyist--someone who enjoys 3D and graphics but is never going to make a living from it. After all, why shell out $1000+ when a little extra effort can get 95% of the features for free? If you plan to have a career in 3D, or have lots of money, it's probably worth it, but as one who's just in it for the fun, the eye candy, and the challenge of making things work, open source offers me four very decent tools to use together: Blender [blender3d.org], Wings3D [wings3d.org], Yafray [uniovi.es], and The Gimp [gimp.org]. All of these work to some degree on Windows, Mac, and Linux, sometimes more. There's never been a better time to get into 3D. And aspiring graphic artists shouldn't turn up their noses at such free tools either. Although you could be more immediately useful to a studio by knowing Maya/Max/Softimage/etc, simply using 3D and graphics programs of any kind will teach you tons that can easily extend to whatever programs you use later.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

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