ARRAY(0xa777ff48)
 
Profile for Eric Hopper > Reviews

Browse

Eric Hopper's Profile

Customer Reviews: 10
Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,118,636
Helpful Votes: 107




Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Eric Hopper "Omnifarious" RSS Feed (Seattle, WA USA)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
Charlie Brown Christmas Tree with Blanket (Non-Musical)
Charlie Brown Christmas Tree with Blanket (Non-Musical)
Offered by On The Go Toys
Price: $12.82
43 used & new from $9.50

3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Like buying a styrofoam sign with the words "I recycle" on it, December 11, 2012
Other, similar items or actions:

* Instant zen sand garden

* Getting angry about only getting one giant helping of mash potatoes at the free church Thanksgiving dinner because they were gone by the time you went back for seconds.

* A department store Santa that requires ten dollars from the child (not the parents) before the child can sit in his lap.

Crass, banal, and completely missing the point. There are plenty of sad little trees out there if you want to decorate your own. Go find one that needs your time and attention and make it special. Don't bother with this plastic piece of mass-manufactured tripe that only looks sad because it was purposely made that way.

Unless, of course, you happen to find one in a trash can.


XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Playstation 3
XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Playstation 3
Offered by Clover Media
Price: $7.50
180 used & new from $5.50

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A faithful and streamlined re-creation of the original., October 28, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I played the original X-COM a bunch using dosbox before purchasing the new one so I could compare.

The new one is very faithful to the original in almost all the ways that matter, while streamlining the things that don't. I would award 4.5 stars because it doesn't do this perfectly and suffers a little from 'consolization'. But it gets more right than wrong. If you liked the first, you will almost certainly like this re-creation and I suspect most will find it better.

The new one removes TUs in favor of an action counting system. This overall better and more streamlined. It's a bit less flexible than the TU system. In particular firing and then moving is generally not an option (except with one skill that the (I think) Assault class can get).

The soldiers also now remember their loadout from mission to mission, which removes the major wart of having to hand move all the equipment around at the start of each mission. The class system aids with this, and also provides a better and more flexible way to customize your soldiers abilities than training them the way you did in the first. My only complaint is that you can't load up with extras, which has led to me almost completely giving up on grenades as the inventory slot is far too valuable to be occupied by a single-use mediocre damage area of effect weapon.

Also, instead of building several bases and having to manage them all you now just build satellites to monitor particular countries and have it as a given that you have interceptor hangers in various world regions. No more fiddling with building storage areas, living quarters, equipment inventories and headcount. Also, all the first level eqiupment is essentially free.

But some strategic flexibility has been lost. In the original, it's possible to avoid combat much of them time. You engage in just enough to keep all the countries happy while using your workshop to manufacture items for sale. This is a much less viable strategy in the new one as you can only sell what your workshop produces when a country makes a special request (which happens rarely) and many workshop items take resources that can only be obtained from alien spaceships and bases.

The feel of the centerpiece of the game, the turn-based tactical combat remains very much the same. There are some armor types (Ghost armor, Skeleton armor) that offer tactical possibilities not present in the first. And enemies that have much more sophisticated tactics as well. The game greatly rewards careful planning and creative use of the various skills your soldiers possess.

I still can't figure out how you could possibly stun an ethereal though. Those arc-things are far less capable than either the stunsticks (they aren't a weapon and so can't be fired like one at the end of the assault class' run-and-gun skill) and I have not yet found an equivalent to the stun bomb launcher.

So, as I said, I think this game is overall singificantly better than the original even if it does have a problem or two that prevent it from being perfect.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 11, 2012 3:51 PM PST


Avogadro Corp: The Singularity Is Closer Than It Appears
Avogadro Corp: The Singularity Is Closer Than It Appears
by William Hertling
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.86
31 used & new from $6.63

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent novel. Plot heavy, character light, October 28, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This novel has a fascinating and believable premise. An AI arising out of something seemingly simple who's complexity is derived solely from the complexity of it's input. Something that is given a purposeful directive that, when combined with the job it does has repercussions far beyond what the original system was designed to do.

The premise is well developed. There is a little bit of "and then magic happens", but it's not very much magic, and it's plausible that it could happen, unlike, say, the lightning in Short Circuit. And that's the main strength of the book.

The alienness of the AI that was created is very interesting. It's not the kind of intelligence anybody can have a conversation with. The whole basis of its existence is the manipulation of people, and it would be hard to see how the entity could ever develop the sort of narrative consciousness that would enable us to have a conversation with it.

The characters and their motivations are rather two-dimensional, and none of the characters really grows or changes appreciably through the course of the novel. The novel is about exploring the premise and the consequences, not about the people. And that's its biggest weakness.

This novel was a very interesting read, and a good story. But it felt like there was a much longer, more detailed and more human story that could've been told.


Sony DRBT50 Stereo Bluetooth Headset (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Sony DRBT50 Stereo Bluetooth Headset (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
2 used & new from $99.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent product marred by flimsy design and poor charging, January 12, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased these approximately two years ago. I have enjoyed them, but the product is marred by two major problems.

The first is that these did not live long in the harsh environment of my backpack. The plastic half-circles that actually hold the earpieces broke.

The headphones still work, but no longer sit as comfortably on my ears, and they are somewhat unsightly as well.

Secondly, Sony has their own proprietary charger. It is a mystery to me why there is any product of this nature released in the past 3 years that is not chargeable with micro-USB. But, apparently, it's not a mystery to Sony. I wish I was gifted with their sense of appropriate design so I could stop being so very annoyed by it.

Another minor nit as that the 'forward song', 'back song' and 'pause' functions are all on one button-like protrusion. You push this protrusion one direction for 'forward' the other for 'reverse' and you push it in for pause. It is distressingly easy to push it forward or back rather than in.

Other than that, these headphones have performed well.

The controls are relatively easy to feel out. They have distinctive bumps on them so you can tell what your fingers are groping.

The sound quality is decent (though I'm no audiophile). The passive noise-canceling design adequately blocks out background noises.

The range on them is pretty good, 3-4 meters before they start cutting out.

And the battery lasts for at least 8 hours without needing to be charged.


4GB Pivot Flash Drive USB 2.0
4GB Pivot Flash Drive USB 2.0
Offered by SHOPDIGI
Price: $23.48
16 used & new from $23.44

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I've been very pleased with this drive, December 15, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
To start with, I'm a Linux user and care not a whit for the software that came pre-installed on this stick.

This device has acted as my primary key fob now for a year or so. It has worked well and been very durable in the harsh environment of my pocket. The rubberized cover prevents most dust from getting to the USB plug itself, and the rest of the casing is sturdy.

Additionally the write protect switch allows me to feel safe sticking this thing into computers I don't consider terribly secure as I know that no software will be able to randomly install itself on it.

I haven't run any serious speed tests or anything like that, but it hasn't been so slow that I've really noticed.

My main complaint is a complaint that I have with all USB sticks, and that's that FAT32 is a horrible filesystem for these things. Its only virtue is that practically every computer in existence can read it. Otherwise it's slow, and requires complicated wear leveling software in the USB stick itself in order to avoid wearing out the stick in short order. It also is badly designed for removing the stick while data is still cached.

Stick manufacturers should stop implementing weird complex internal wear leveling algorithms designed to make FAT32 work well and instead band together and fund Open Source projects like LogFS ([...]) and get them ported to Windows and OS X and stuff drivers for those OSes in a little FAT partition on the stick.


Seagate 1TB Barracuda 7200.11 Bulk/OEM Hard Drive ST31000340AS
Seagate 1TB Barracuda 7200.11 Bulk/OEM Hard Drive ST31000340AS
Offered by SD Peripherals
Price: $79.00
18 used & new from $50.75

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reliability issues, November 23, 2008
I bought 4 of these for a RAID5 setup in September. So far I've had two of them fail. One was a hard failure in which the controller stopped working completely, and the other is showing a lots of seek errors in the SMART data and tells me its going to fail soon. They both started clicking the heads (a symptom of a reset because of an error) just a few days after I got them.

Seagate replaced the total failure within a couple of days after I reported it, and now I have to ship them back the failed drive. I bought a new unit I'm expecting tomorrow as a spare replacement, and I will be reporting and shipping back the drive with all the seek errors soon.

The drives have otherwise been great, but 50% isn't such a good reliability statistic, and that's my primary measure for a drive.

On the other hand, I did buy two other drives from the same family, two ST3500320AS drives. They have been working away flawlessly in my workstation in a RAID1 setup since I got them.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 15, 2009 7:19 PM PST


XX/XY
XX/XY
DVD ~ Mark Ruffalo
Offered by DealsPro
Price: $3.95
87 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The bad polyamory movie, January 16, 2008
This review is from: XX/XY (DVD)
This movie is well acted and has an interesting story, but I keep wanting to slap the male character upside the head for being an idiot. I think of this as being the movie about how not to do polyamory. The characters are often not honest with themselves about how they feel, they use sex as a weapon against those they love and they often have hidden agendas that they refuse to reveal to the other participants in the relationship.

I'm left feeling at the end that nobody has really successfully communicated what they want to anybody else. There is a sort of strange "The Age of Innocence" style denouement in which everybody sort of settles for what's socially acceptable instead of trying for what they really want.


NETGEAR WPN802 RangeMax Wireless Access Point
NETGEAR WPN802 RangeMax Wireless Access Point

8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed in the range, no IPv6 support, March 13, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The signal strength throughout my house is a little better with this device than any others I've used (Linksys WAP54G with a high gain antenna), but it's still disappointing. I don't know if it's the other network near me (on a channel as far away from mine as I can make it) or what. But I only have 30-35% in most of my house. And even right next to the router it only climbs to 60%.

Changing the device's orientation helped a little with signal strength as well, but not by a lot. One of my problems may be that the device is sitting next to the two computers I use for my web server and router. Lots of nearby metal, and possibly some interference.

The blue lights would be annoying if I slept in the same room as it. As it is, they're a bit educational and highly entertaining. The little black cover I was given with the unit would be a fairly effective block, but some light would leak out through the housing.

I'm a bad judge for a config GUI, since I know networking pretty well. I am somewhat disappointed though by this device's lack of any IPv6 support and/or lack of support for mDNS or other out-of-the-box, no DHCP server required auto-configuration mechanisms.

IPv6 has been around for a long time now, and the base parts of the standard have been pretty stable for years. It's time for consumer level devices to start being dinged for lack of support for it.


Practical Cryptography
Practical Cryptography
by Bruce Schneier
Edition: Paperback
41 used & new from $8.97

49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concrete presentation of a difficult subject, December 10, 2003
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Practical Cryptography (Paperback)
I've read a large number of cryptography books. Very few of them come down to brass tacks. They give you a description of a few algorithms, their strengths and weaknesses, and leave it at that. Either that, or they describe in lovingly complex detail the implementation of a particular protocol, one usually so fraught with options and details that you wonder how, at the end of it, that anybody writes a conforming implementation.

Practical Cryptography does neither of these things. It presents algorithm classes, why they exist, and what the best known algorithms are in each class. It explains how the various strengths and weaknesses of algorithms in each class combine to make a cryptosystem weaker or stronger. Then it goes on to show you how to use that information to build working cryptosystems.

This book is NOT a careful discussion of the implementation details or plusses and minuses of particular algorithms. They give detailed implementation instructions and advice for some algorithms (such as RSA or Diffie-Hellman) that tend to end up being misunderstood or implemented poorly, but the main focus of the book is about putting all the information together to build a real system. This is something that I feel is sorely lacking in the field of cryptography as it stands in 2005 (when I last updated this review).

The book does have a flaw. The authors present several algorithms and techniques that they recently invented and are not 'tried-and-true'. They present good arguments as to why they're secure. But the only real test of such things is lots of peer review and real-world testing. And, since they're new, they haven't been tested in that way.

People have complained about the book's seeming schizophrenia. On one hand, the authors are trying to show you how to build a secure cryptosystem. On the other, they're telling you how hopeless a task it is to build one that has no vulnerabilities, even if you're an expert in such things.

This can be annoying, but I more find it refreshing. Writing a secure cryptosystem is very hard. People should be aware that it is hard, and they are likely to make mistakes. It isn't something that should be attempted lightly. The current state of computer security is depressingly abysmal. People should be encouraged, as much as possible, to not contribute to the problem.

I'm not following my own advice, and I am building a new cryptosystem. I have found this book a more valuable resource than any other book on cryptography that I have yet read. Even if you aren't building your own cryptosystem, I think you will find the insights this book has into complexity and design to be useful tools in evaluating other cryptosystems.


Chimera
Chimera
Price: $14.69
64 used & new from $1.44

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Huge disappointment, December 3, 2003
This review is from: Chimera (Audio CD)
Chimera has fallen far short of what I've come to expect... moving music that yanks on strings leading into the depths of my subconcious. The music has become as trite and devoid of meaning for me as most Pop and New Age.
I like the earlier, darker, more industrial Delerium, but the Delerium that really speaks to me started with "Semantic Spaces", and continued on with "Karma". In those two CDs, Delerium created music that has an almost spiritual significance for me.
In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons for this is that their vocals have just been another thread in the music. The music had almost the same emotional punch even if you didn't understand a word of the lyrics.
In Chimera, the vocalists have taken over.
Perhaps Delerium feels a need to cater to the pop scene that has recently discovered them. Or maybe its that the vocalists are pushing for more recognition. It must be hard to be a vocalist with such a beautiful voice (which is the only kind of vocalist Delerium has used lately) and not have your name be strongly associated with the music.
Whatever the reason, I don't feel that Chimera is worth the money I paid for it.


Page: 1