User talk:SteveBaker/archive16

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About your comment on reference desk

[[1]]Your first comment on the subject. Wholeheartedly agree except about this one bit "parents who adhere to Sharia law deciding that their female children should not be educated at all past the age of 8". It is not that way in the Sharia, unless in Taliban -or any other fanatics. I apologize if my comment felt annoying. I just feel that I ought to say something. I comment here since I think it will be off-topic if I comment on the reference desk. Salbazier (talk) 16:43, 10 November 2009 (UTC)


for adding additional insight to the programming topic on the reference desk. I appreciate it. -- penubag  (talk) 05:09, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

ANI notice

Hello, SteveBaker. This message is being sent to inform you that there currently is a discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents regarding an issue with which you may have been involved. The thread is Ban of user User:Fraberj. Thank you.— dαlus Contribs 23:15, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

Sent you an anecdote to your CERN question to your email

My "theory" (although it's silly/humorous) is that it's intertwined with an epic love story. Feel free to delete the email, but check my contribs just so you know it was good-faith explanation that might be too silly to post on the ref-desk; and, it involves a "backwards explanation" of fate. I believe that all you have to do is calculate the independent probabilities of the first n failures, and then multiply and calculate a conditional probability of the entire sequence starting with the next anomalous malfunction. I don't have an advanced degree, just some humble thought. Thanks for your presence at the ref-desk and excellent article which I purported causality to some unbeknown, fascinating love story! 윤리윤리윤리 (talk) 10:31, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Draper point

Hi, the article, Draper point is too short for dyk, being only 592 characters when the dyk rules require a minimun of 1,500. Can you add more explanation and expand ? Regards, —mattisse (Talk) 14:32, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

Argh! Sorry - I forgot about the minimum article length thing. Well, there isn't a whole lot more I can add to what I've already I guess we should forget the whole DYK thing. Thanks! SteveBaker (talk) 11:20, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Help !!!

I need your help. Do you know how to make Huggle work in Ubuntu ? Or direct me to someone who does ?Rkr1991 (Wanna chat?) 09:08, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Huggle is a '.NET' application (that's a stupid decision for something that's going to interface to Wiki's that are almost universally run under Linux!) - so you pretty much have to run it under Wine. That's not something I've ever tried to do - but there are some instructions: Wikipedia:Huggle/Wine. At the very least, there is a list of "Successful users" there - any of whom would be better people to ask than me! Good luck! SteveBaker (talk) 11:18, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
OK, I'll try that. BTW, were you the one who helped designing the game SuperTuxKart ? Rkr1991 (Wanna chat?) 14:21, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes and no.
I wrote the game "TuxKart" as more or less a solo effort (my son helped out some). It is a very simple MarioKart64 clone that ran pretty well on 600MHz PC's with lowly 3Dfx graphics cards! It became pretty popular and was on all of the big Linux Distros - the release of it had my website slashdotted (I survived!). It was wildly popular. Then, a couple of years later the '' site started running a "game of the month" (GotM) thing where every month they'd pick a game that they felt was in need of 'polish' and a bunch of people would pile in - work for a month and (theoretically) come out with a much better game at the end. Sadly (as it turned out) TuxKart was picked. In theory, it was a good idea. Take a game that is close to being playable/fun/pretty and polish it enough to make it really good.
So a bunch of people who had no clue what they were doing - and almost zero 3D graphics knowledge dived in and started hacking. One of them in particular set himself up as the 'project leader' and ignored all of my sage advice. They ignored the areas of the code that most needed work (the AI, collision detection and go-kart physics) and concentrated on the one area where it needed zero work (the graphics). The only person on the team with graphics expertise (Me!) was ignored at every turn. They ripped the code to shreds put in art that looked like shit and generally tore things up - and, as planned, a month later, left the project to go and work on something else. The game they left me with wouldn't compile - let alone run. The art was incredibly polygon-dense - way beyond the ability of hardware of the time to draw at a high enough frame rate. It didn't use any texture at all because their "artist" had never done 3D before - and it didn't attempt to fix a single one of the problems that actually needed to be fixed.
So, in the end - and with much regret - I was forced to simply revert the entire month's effort and lock the 'contributors' out of my code repository so they couldn't do any more damage.
I was not alone in being victim to this ill-conceived way to "improve" games. The GotM crew ripped Pingus apart - and IMHO, it's never recovered to the state is was in before they started, they ripped into the Linux Sim-City clone (I forget the name) - which looks about the same now as before they started. The only game they ever really improved was "SuperTux" - which is a really simple 2D side-scroller that was within their abilities (although it took a lot more than a month). Eventually, some of the GotM crew came back and picked up the TuxKart code at the state it was in just before I reverted it and (on my request) forked the sources, removed my name from the credits, and renamed it "SuperTuxKart". They started a much more sane development of it - but still didn't make much progress. The code ran - but was far too slow to be described as "interactive"! The SuperTuxKart project has died and revived a couple of times since then - but entirely without my involvement. I'm not quite sure where it is right now - I haven't been following their development much - but I suspect that the inexorable progress of Moore's law has finally resulted in computers fast enough to run it. It still doesn't look that great though.
So, the original TuxKart is still all my own work - and it still builds and runs nicely on even very low end hardware. TuxKart is not without faults though - the AI in particular needs some significant effort.
SteveBaker (talk) 19:21, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
Hmm, Interesting... I like SuperTuxKart, a nice past time when you're bored... Haven't played TuxKart though... Rkr1991 (Wanna chat?) 11:08, 20 October 2009 (UTC)


For the obvious reason. :) Of course, revealing our secret is going to have repercussions... Tevildo (talk) 23:53, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Just curious

How did the dry ice idea go? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:52, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

It didn't - my son and I were convinced by the responses that it (a) wasn't going to work and (b) might be dangerous. So we didn't try it. The argument that was most convincing was that as the mist drifts up out of the long, thin hose, it would condense on the sides and freeze - probably causing the hose to block - maybe causing a dry ice bomb. I haven't talked to him since yesterday - so I don't know how the rest of the Borg costume went. The photos he sent me a week ago looked pretty good though - the dry ice was just a wild idea. SteveBaker (talk) 15:09, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Reference Desk archiving interval

There's a discussion running on the RD talk page about decreasing the archiving and transclusion thresholds to reduce the page size, perhaps to as few as four days. I don't care one way or the other, but I'd like to make sure any consensus includes input from some long-time regulars, so I'm dropping this note on the talk pages of a few that pop to mind. (I hope no one feels this is improper canvassing.) —Steve Summit (talk) 01:19, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

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...for your extended comments and explanations here. While I didn't participate in that round of discussion I've more-or-less seen it before and was watching with interest. I can only say that I'm proud to share a viewpoint with someone who can express themselves as cogently as you have. I was even moved to compose a haiku in your honor titled "Science":

Knowledge, slow growing:
each step tested, tried, sustained;
no belief required.

And now that I've exposed my lack of talent for writing, you can see why I appreciate your own so much! Seriously though, I found your points to be well made, thorough,accurate, and very clearly written. I've seen the same questions raised before, but have never seen them addressed so well; it was really a pleasure to read. Given the nature of Wikipedia, I'm relatively certain that similar questions will be raised again in the future so I plan to keep a link to your responses handy  : ) Doc Tropics 22:14, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Sci-fi question

Is this video technobabble or is it legitimate? Do we have an article I can read some more of this stuff on, or is this guy's theories unsupported? Thanks, J. R. (talk) 05:32, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

You need to ask this on the Science Ref desk. SteveBaker (talk) 21:19, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Mini Moke Question

Hello Steve, found your name on the discussion page of te Mini Moke perhaps you can help me with the translation somewhere is stated that the Moke can "climb a 2-in-1 gradient" can you please explain what this means I understand its a difference in height against a diffenence in lateral distance but I can hardly believe this is car could climb 2 m over a lateral displacement of 1m, which would be comparable to a tank --DerekvG (talk) 10:57, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Well - you're right, a 2:1 slope would be a slope that went up two meters for every meter it went laterally...and I very much doubt that any wheeled vehicle could climb that! Even if they got it wrong and meant 1:2 - that's a pretty steep slope...maybe the moke could do it because it's so light - but it's only two-wheel drive - and it's front-wheel drive too - which is really bad for hill climbing because more of the weight of the vehicle tends to be on the rear wheels, giving the front wheels even less grip. So I don't believe these numbers. Where did you find this information? If there is no citation for it, I would certainly delete it. SteveBaker (talk) 14:15, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

actially it was for the 4wd (twin-engined) military prototype of the moke, the reason for my question is that i'm not a native english speaker --DerekvG (talk) 14:27, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Even for the 4wd version - I'd be really surprised if it could to 2:1...but maybe 1:2 is reasonable for that version. SteveBaker (talk) 14:44, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

the refence is on the mini page --DerekvG (talk) 16:06, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Ah! OK - well if you follow the link to the referenced web page, it clearly says 1:2 not 2:1! That makes much more sense. I've fixed the mini article. So the 4WD version of the Moke could climb a 1:2 slope - but that version never went into production. The FWD version probably wouldn't make it up a slope that steep - but I'm not 100% sure of that. SteveBaker (talk) 17:12, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

the FWD can handle such a slope on standard concrete or macadam road (not off road)(only just in upward direction) without much difficulty in down ward (backward) sense - i know by experience my parentsdrive used to slope 2 m down in just over 4.5 m forward and I would drive it frontwheels down scarY! --DerekvG (talk) 17:19, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

My 1963 Mini (with the original 37 horsepower engine) wouldn't be able to get up a 1:2 hill - and the mechanics and motor of the Mini are pretty much identical to the Moke. But maybe with a bigger engine and stickier tyres. At this point, you've got to ask "which Moke?" because they came with all sorts of different engines and tyres. SteveBaker (talk) 18:49, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Halloween question

I recall you asking about how to make a Borg Halloween costume for your son but I don't remember seeing anything about how well it came out. So, how did it work? Did the laser work out like you wanted? Any pics that you don't mind pointing me to? Dismas|(talk) 05:16, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

In light of the (really good) answers I got - we decided not to do it. Sorry! SteveBaker (talk) 13:17, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for letting me know. Too bad it didn't work, it was a hell of an idea! Dismas|(talk) 00:52, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

iPhone Piracy

Hey, I just now noticed this edit. Interesting read. (You chose a weird line to quote, though.)

If I were an iPhone user, I think I'd be a bit irritated that my apps had this tracking technology in them, but since I'm not, this is a fascinating bit of statistics. Check out the "Normal -vs- Pirate Frequency of use" slide. If that's not a glitch in the data, pirates use installed application the least during the first week that they're installed! I'm not sure if this represents people who install apps they don't want, then uninstall them immediately, or if it represents people who install so many apps that it takes them a week to figure out which ones they like. Either way the process for pirating iPhone apps must be phenomenally easy and casual for people to be this uninterested in newly downloaded apps.

Anyway, thanks for the link. APL (talk) 20:39, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Yeah - they do explain further down the page that "pirates often install applications in bulk".
That makes sense then - it takes the pirate a while to work through all 100 app's he just downloaded, exploring each one and then uninstalling the ones he doesn't like - those that survive the first week then gradually gain the user's attention. OTOH, the legitimate user has paid good money for the single app he just bought and plays with it quite a bit until gradually falling back to a lower level of usage.
Anyway - this backs up the idea that making software cheaper doesn't improve the piracy rate. iPhone piracy rates are entirely comparable with mainstream software piracy rates - despite costing a tiny fraction of the price. That article nicely proves the lies behind the oft-heard defense: "I only pirate it so I can see if it's any good - then I buy it if it is"...only 0.4% of pirates do that - versus 7.4% of people who download demo versions and then upgrade to the real about 19 out of 20 pirates are lying when they say that.
SteveBaker (talk) 21:27, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Ref Desk tree question

I take offense at your calling referenced and well intended responses "ridiculous." Please try to keep a more positive and congenial tone on the reference desk. Please edit your response to avoid attacking the responses of other editors. Edison (talk) 20:28, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

It's ridiculous because that attitude could apply to just about every question we answer: "Why is the sky blue?" - I'm sorry, you'll need to consult a qualified atmospheric physicist. "Does the sun rise in the East?" - I'm sorry - you need to consult a qualified astronomer. The reference desk exists to give intelligent answers - not to throw up our hands and tell people to pay someone else to do their work. The only time we're required to defer to professionals is for medical and legal advice - and this was neither. Knowing how a tree falls is a combination of having cut down a few hundred of them yourself - plus some uber-simple rigid body mechanics and some elementary geometry. I am extremely well-qualified to answer that question. You might argue that chain saws are dangerous (and they are) and that this means you need a professional - but our OP clearly stated that he's cut down lots of trees before - so that's not really a serious issue. There was a perfectly reasonable answer to this question - and I gave it. Telling our OP to ignore me after all the effort I made to provide a decent answer was downright insulting - perhaps before you come over as offended - you should take a moment to think how I feel. As for your "reference" aren't really trying to say that your answer was well-referenced are you? The other response I referred to was equally ridiculous - to claim that a professional tree surgeon can make a falling tree defy the law of gravity and fall in the opposite direction to which it's leaning or to magically jump a 6 meter river is...what...ridiculous? is totally ridiculous. I'm sorry - but your answer (and especially EricR's) were ridiculous (and personally insulting) and I offer no apology for saying so. SteveBaker (talk) 21:26, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Steve, please see Wikipedia talk:Reference desk#Are the reference desks dying? where I have mentioned some of your recent Ref Desk comments. Your input is welcome. Edison (talk) 00:52, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Hey guys, how hard would it be to include this link for the uninformed? hydnjo (talk) 02:26, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
See the link [2] above. It should not be considered "insulting" to offer a different perspective. 'Nuf said. Edison (talk) 03:47, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

By the way I added a photo: [3]. And I appreciated your comments (as well as your contribution to the reference desk which is generally well above average quality. --BozMo talk 17:47, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

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Wow SteveBaker, you've got a whole lot of stars here. I'd swear you didn't seem so bright elsewhere. Were you just playing around? Don't be afraid to admit it if you were. --Neptunerover (talk) 07:25, 3 January 2010 (UTC)


Ooo, You've tried the Virtusphere? How was it? Looking at the thing I've always worried that you'd just start tumbling if you suddenly stopped short. That sphere must have a lot of momentum. The guy demoing it at IITSEC this year would occasionally get up to a light jog, but he'd always speed up and slow down very gradually.

A couple of years ago at SIGGRAPH Boston I tried some technology that used motorized roller skate devices to try to achieve the same effect. It worked pretty much as well as you might imagine. (That is to say, it was hilarious.)

By the way, What were you showing off in the Total Immersion booth? APL (talk) 01:02, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Yes - at a previous job, we were considering buying one of these crazy contraptions. Your intuition is exactly right - the inertia of the ball (and the lack of inertia in your body) makes it hard enough to walk inside it when you can see the ball - but as soon as you stick a pair of goggles on - shutting off your ability to see how you're controlling the ball - and feeding your senses with false (but powerful) motion cues from the graphics - it's impossible! I was able to walk slowly around - but it didn't feel anything like was about as artificial as controlling your motion with a hand-held joystick. It's cool that you got to try the motorized cart things - those looked incredible when I saw them - but I didn't get a chance to try them. But in the end - fundamentally - if you aren't really moving then you won't experience inertia and even the simple act of changing speed or turning corners will result in disasters.
At the Total Immersion booth and I/ITSEC we were mostly demoing our "RealWorldBuilder" tools - a suite of tools - plus a "Game Engine" for the "Serious Games" community. I've just spent the last year rewriting the graphics system from the ground up to bring it up to modern, state-of-the-art quality. This is a rather out-of-date screenshot. Anyway, that wasn't complete in time for the show - so we did a "sneak peek" thing, showing it to existing customers mostly. We also had a new terrain engine - getting us into more high altitude simulations for stuff like the Predator drone. SteveBaker (talk) 04:01, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Wow, to hear you describe that sphere it sounds even worse than I was imagining. I guess we're stuck having very large areas for "walking around" sims. At least until someone comes up with hardware that can fool the inner ear.APL (talk) 19:00, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Well, I guess the hope is that 'virtual motion' systems (which do, indeed, fool the inner ear) become mainstream. There was an announcement MANY years ago from a company that had a headset that you could slip on that did that - but for some reason, it never turned into a product. A year or two later, another group came up with essentially the same idea - but still no product. for example. I wonder whether the product liability issues are the concern. I tried one of those things at SigGraph quite a few years ago - and it seemed pretty effective. I'd really like to have one to play with. SteveBaker (talk) 21:06, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Oh neat. I've read about those before, but I had always assumed that the reason the dropped off the face of the planet was that they didn't work as advertised. (Like those brain-wave interface devices that pop up every once and a while.) But if you say they really work now I'm really curious about what happened to them. I would absolutely love to get get my hands on one of those. I would have thought that the (partially BS) marketing line of "doing motion platform simulators without the motion platform!" would be enough to push those into at least the professional market. APL (talk) 18:44, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

For you

WP:BITE --Neptunerover (talk) 10:18, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

I'm very familiar with that document. Why specifically are you pointing it out to me? I certainly hope it's not some kind of accusation...unfounded accusations really don't go down well with the admins and you really need to keep a low profile with all of the people you've annoyed recently. SteveBaker (talk) 21:08, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry if you've felt annoyed. I don't consider myself as being here to annoy people and so when people get annoyed with me I hope it's from nothing I have done, since I generally don't mean to be annoying. I think my confusion may have annoyed some people, but it's not up to me if others are annoyed. I believe 'webhost' was a very poorly formed accusation of what I was perceived as doing here by the watchers, and by itself it made no sense to me. I am a computer know-it-not, and so I felt as newbie bitten might feel, if the newbie were to be susceptible to irritation from such bites. My only two speeds are coast and full throttle though, and in space there's no friction, so there's no stopping me once I get going. I hope there's no hard feelings. I just try to have fun, and if that means adding in something off the hook, well, all the better. (I'm sorry you found it annoying) --Neptunerover (talk) 09:10, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Apology accepted.
How very generous of you to accept my apology for how you felt. --Neptunerover (talk) 02:41, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
It's very simple - this is a web site where you come to either read an encyclopedia - or write one - that's more or less all there is here. It's not a place where you can just write about anything that takes your fancy and store it on Wikipedias' servers. Wikipedia is run by charitable donations - and every time someone like you stores crap on it - it's costing the foundation money that they really don't have. Acceptable articles about science are either articles about proven, peer-reviewed scientific laws - or FAMOUS (but perhaps, not proven) hypotheses that may or may not be true (N rays, for example, is completely false - but it has an article because it's famous for being false). Your (frankly) weird ramblings about economics or theories of gravitation have absolutely no business here because they are neither proven nor famous. Things went downhill for you because your efforts to write 'fake' questions to the Ref desk in order to promote those ideas annoyed people - you obviously wanted people to talk about them because when they tried to patiently explain why your ideas were nonsense - you argued with them instead of thanking them for straightening you out. When politely told that you can't keep those pages on this website, you went on the defensive rather than saying "I'm sorry - they're gone now." as a good Wikipedia citizen would. When we used our standard method ("Miscellany for Deletion") to get agreement to remove those pages when you would not - you started flinging accusations and more random bullshit in all directions. Even when someone told you that what you were doing was upsetting the very people who might have supported you, you continued to rant on about it. Then you started accusing good wikipedians of all sorts of breaches of Wiki-rules - and that caused those people to look into other things you've been doing here. So now there are a bunch of people just waiting for you to step one millimeter out of line so you can be kicked off the site and therefore not bother them anymore. You are very lucky to still have an account here - generally, this kind of ill-behavior ultimately results in a ban from the site. This web site is not just another social networking site - so please don't treat it like one. We're here for an extremely serious purpose - and hard-core wikipedians don't suffer nonsense kindly. SteveBaker (talk) 19:39, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Your accusations of nefarious intentions on my part and posing 'fake' questions on the help desk are unfounded. Anyone at those desks ought to know that the best answer to an unwanted/inappropriate question is to give no answer at all. If somebody chooses to answer a question on there, the resulting conversation cannot be blamed on the OP who could have simply been ignored. There must be rules on how the volunteers are supposed to answer questions placed on those desks, and I doubt if the rules recommend starting an argument over the question in the very first response. I've seen short pleasant statements left for people redirecting them somewhere else. Do you assume that I knew the best place for me to go and ask such a question? How would I know without somebody telling me? WP:BITE And talking about sides? There is only one side for me, and that's my side. If anyone wants to be on my side, they better stay the hell out of my way. Dismissed --Neptunerover (talk) 02:41, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
BTW, I obviously cannot write a Wikipedia article about this[[4]], and it might not even be notable enough to go in here, but the TimeCube thing I still don't get, and so I'm not sure if this might be something along those lines. I figured you must understand TimeCube better than me in order to be so against it, or at least it seems to me that you are against it. I hate reading big things that are confusing. You can let me know what you think, or you don't have to. In either case, thank you for your time. --Neptunerover (talk) 09:10, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
I quoted the Time Cube article because it is EXACTLY the same kind of rambling bullshit as the pages you created under your user account. You don't "get" the time cube stuff because it's complete and utter bullshit - the ramblings of a lunatic - nobody other than the idiot who wrote it "gets" time-cube - and even he is inconsistent, incoherent and a lot of other words beginning with "in-". Time-cube only warrants an article here because it's kinda famous on the Internet for being primo-quality bullshit. But only narrowly so. There have been several efforts to get the article deleted and each time, it's only just managed to avoid getting axed by a couple of votes. I mentioned it to you in the hope that you'd understand that I, and everyone else who took the time to read it, felt EXACTLY the same way about your stuff as they felt about the Time Cube stuff. Your theories are on a precisely equal footing with the Time Cube theories from the perspective of any reasonable, scientifically trained person. However, your theories aren't famously bad - they are just plain bad - so no article will ever be written about them on Wikipedia. I'm glad you've found a home for your writings on - they welcome original ideas (good, bad or indifferent) and have policies to prevent reasonable, scientifically-minded people from correcting the bad ones. So that is a more appropriate place to put them and when you are on that site, you can write about whatever weird stuff pops into your head. Sadly, WikiInfo is mostly a 'write-only' wiki - because it's more or less a dumping ground for things that Wikipedia doesn't want - very few people actually go there to read the articles because almost all of them are junk. SteveBaker (talk) 19:39, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Steve, my man, you have the most totally neutral point of view of anyone imaginable. Why haven't they voted you king here yet? --Neptunerover (talk) 03:34, 16 January 2010 (UTC)