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Comment: Re:Wrong Title (Score 1) 499

by BLKMGK (#47877299) Attached to: Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

This is pretty funny. You are apparently advocating the Govt. hire people who have previously belonged to organizations that have expressed themselves as enemies of the same organization that's being asked to hire them? Do you actually hear yourself when you speak or type? That's like asking to be hired as a fireman with a record of arson (lying about it no less!) and then threatening to sue because it's so unfair they don't want you. Duh! The Govt isn't in any way obligated to give jobs and had she been up front about it they might have let it go but instead she lied.

Comment: Re: Astronomy, and general poor night-time results (Score 1) 550

by BLKMGK (#47536603) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

That's very possible. I will admit that once I was able to get my surgery and had it done that I haven't kept up. I knew that they had enlarged the area of the cut for my procedure and I also knew that they had begun mapping. I knew about the cut because a Dr warned me about it after mine had been done and told me that if I had further corrections (I had one correction and a flap lift to clean out dead cells prior) they would likely cut further out. Later I was told about the surface mapping and a Dr even mapped out the one eye I have that's not as good as I might like - my dominant eye no less! However since my vision is so damned much better than it was and I'm not a big fan of taking risks I've held off. I should probably spend some time and learn about the options

to be clear - the option I skipped was the cutting of slits in the lens to adjust vision (how it was described). the option I went with required a cutting of a flap and laser ablation of the material underneath done right after that was approved. I'd consider surface ablation now I think...

Comment: Re: Astronomy, and general poor night-time resu (Score 1) 550

by BLKMGK (#47536553) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

The sad ting is that was a number thrown at me when I was in high school. My eyes continued to change for sometime after that but Drs really didn't seem to want to talk about it when I asked, just assured me that it was correctable. My first real clue was the day they had to special order contacts for me. Then one day I asked if I would be considered legally blind without correction, my Dr burst out a giggle and said of course I would! I have to admit that was pretty damned scary. At least one Dr talked to me about PRK where they could do slits in my lens to try and get it to correct but I was told that it would really ruin my night vision and the thought of someone cutting into my eyes scared the crap out of me! Lasik was on the horizon shortly afterwards and Drs were telling me about it. I was still resistant until I was told I could no longer wear contacts and eye glasses were working out "poorly" to say the least. The surgery really helped out my quality of life for sure. Losing your towel and stuff at the beach because the current pushed you down and you can't see well enough to recognize them without help SUCKS!

Comment: Re: Astronomy, and general poor night-time resu (Score 3, Interesting) 550

by BLKMGK (#47528363) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

Actually you're right, that was a typo. Try 20:700 20:900!

Without correction I could literally not see any part of the eye chart on the wall. First car at a red light? Without correction I couldn't see the stoplight much less what color it was!

One day my dr told me it would be a week or two before my contacts would be in because they had to manufacture them. Puzzled I asked why and was told that there was little enough demand that they didn't keep any in the shelf. I then asked how much stronger I could go before they didn't make anything stronger. My dr told me they made a few stronger but not to worry because we could switch manufacturers and find some even stronger! That day scared the crap out of me because I realized I might really be getting to a point where correction became very difficult. It was probably an additional 4+ years before LASIK came along, thankfully I never needed a stronger prescription. I'm still supposed to get dilated yearly so they can check inside, a detached retina is apparently a very real possibility since my eye is so "long". They dilate me because otherwise it's like trying to look into a room thru a peephole - their words not mine.

The prospect of losing ones vision is damned scary to say the least :-(

Comment: Re: Uncertainty/fear? (Score 1) 550

by BLKMGK (#47527153) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

That would depend on the prescription, obviously you aren't wearing a strong one. Wait until they're thick as bottle ends and your contacts must be special ordered and then tell me what a picnic it is. For a real party glance over your shoulder in traffic to switch lanes in broad daylight, accidenty look out the side of the glasses thus getting no correction, and miss the vehicle in your blind spot - literally. Been there, done that. Wear contacts long enough and your eyes do bad things, glasses while cheap are no panacea...

Comment: Re: Uncertainty/fear? (Score 1) 550

by BLKMGK (#47527107) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

Yeah, back then they didn't track your eye and would shut the laser off if your eye moved. In my first surgery they also wanted me to keep both eyes open which really sucked when they were working on the second eye. The flap was held down with a small marble at first too which I found weird. The tracking of the eye is a huge improvement as they cannot keep that flap lifted too long before things start to dry out so they didn't like stopping - you can guess how I know!

Comment: Re: Astronomy, and general poor night-time result (Score 2) 550

by BLKMGK (#47526899) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

PRK was what resulted in halos and starbursts. Early LASIK didn't have a large enough flap cut so in extreme darkness a pupil could dilate out past the corrected area. I don't think they cut as often now and instead use ablative procedures that remove material from the surface after first mapping the eye's surface. After the surgery you could have some dryness that can take some time to go away, use drops.

If you're prescription is stable I HIGHLY recommend the procedure. I went from 20:70 20:90 to 20:20 20:30 - I was legally blind without correction and my Dr laughed when I asked that. I got the surgery the January following the initial FDA approval in the United States. I was no longer able to wear contacts as my eyes had begun to starve for oxygen and the blind spots that glasses have nearly got me killed in traffic - literally. I went from losing my towel on the beach and not being able to read the alarm in the morning to being able to read an alarm across the bedroom - I could read that distant alarm 2 hours after surgery. I was terrified prior to the surgery, a near miss driving with glasses solved that damn quick.

When my surgery was done procedures were cruder, the FDA limited what they could do (to my detriment), and they didn't know about the pupil dilation yet. I wouldn't trade it back for the world! The difference this made in my life has been incredible. I've suffered no side effects other than some dryness which can cause Chelazians in my eye lids if I'm not careful. My vision remains pretty good, I'll need reading glasses before too long I suspect. I could have a tune up done to sharpen things but considering what I lived with before I'm not sweating it. My night vision remains good but age has taken its toll in that dept, I don't mind as it beats being blind.

I should admit, I've run into one or two people with horror stories and I'd never do mono vision unless I never had stereo vision to begin with (I know someone like that). The number of success stories I've encountered is far far higher. It's still surgery, not to be taken lightly, but its a damned miracle for some of us...

Comment: Re: this is great news! (Score 1) 94

by BLKMGK (#47514337) Attached to: Open-Source Blu-Ray Library Now Supports BD-J Java

Then you have to find software that will play it, nothing to this point except Windows software has been capable and many of those player packages required tricks to get them to work. All of my HTPC front-ends are Linux based XBMC and the hassle of mounting ISO and using Windows isn't something I'm interested in. ISO are indeed "larger" - about 3x bigger! Disk space is cheaper sure but not so cheap that I'm willing to triple my storage needs. Compression is the way to go!

Comment: Re:this is great news! (Score 2) 94

by BLKMGK (#47512937) Attached to: Open-Source Blu-Ray Library Now Supports BD-J Java

This. This. This!

Media makes sense for many of us including me. It's higher fidelity, it's MINE so long as I possesses it, and I can transcode it to whatever format. Lend it? Sure! Borrow it? Yup! Watch it (nearly) right away? Can do! Yes, I hate the ads, the forced BS, but I can still watch it - media has value to me any many others. Being able to use the menus and gain access to the extra content and alternate versions of a movie without having to rip it multiple times would be awesome!

This is good news :-)

Comment: Re:this is great news! (Score 1) 94

by BLKMGK (#47512907) Attached to: Open-Source Blu-Ray Library Now Supports BD-J Java

I own lots of them - all of them have been ripped to my server, compressed, and put into MKV containers. However by doing this I cannot get the "branching" that many BluRay have for alternate endings etc. and any additional content on the disk is pretty much wasted too - sometimes I like that stuff. With DVD I rip to ISO and have full access to that stuff!

Now that this is moving forward, finally, if someone can come up with a way to compress the content but allow access to menus, alternate endings, blah blah, I'll happily re-rip to a format or container that allows for that playback. Yeah, this is a BIG deal for many of us.

Mind you, MKV supports "branching" on it's own, it even supports menus! Now, try finding mature tools that can create MKV with the branching properly or tools to create MKV menus. I've seen ONE tool to create the branching files (years ago and I lost track of it's development) but I've yet to see that format supported in my player of choice - XBMC. I think VLC *might* support it but I'm not sure - I'm told Anime files sometimes use this but I'm not a consumer of that.

If the stars align the XBMC folks will take these changes to the BD library and leverage them. Then maybe the community will create tools to support ripping that will play this back. That would be cool - we'll see. People have been working just to get this support for YEARS so this is a pretty decent feat IMO.

Comment: Re: The issue is big publishing (Score 1) 192

by BLKMGK (#47494987) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

I would bet that putting indy author's wares on display would lead to some backlash by big publishers if they found out, not seeing indy publishers who've made a name for themselves on bookshelves doesn't surprise me. As someone who reads books exclusively electronically I've likely lost some touch but the sense I have is that paper is slowly going away and that e-books are now selling well enough that having paper copies produced isn't a "must" in order to make a living. An author's goals play into their choices I think - do they want to see their book in bright lights or do they want to make a living? If you want fame then e-publishing is probably not going to get you to that same level. If you want to be able to support yourself, drop the second job, and not have to travel all over promoting then e-publishing isn't a bad path if you've got talent.

I would point out that Konrath seems to take issue with that 40% figure. He has made far more than 40% and one of his biggest points seems to be that he will continue making money on that book pretty much forever. He has complete control of pricing and availability, something he certainly wouldn't have with a big publisher and 100% wouldn't have if the book were printed. Take a hard look at how long a print book gets shelf space and print runs, if it doesn't take off it's dropped BUT the publisher retains rights a very long time. The publisher can kill your ability to make any money simply by stopping the presses - not so with e-books.

You have to read fairly deeply into his blog but there was a time when Konrath was fighting to get rights back for some of his books that were languishing. He has also made a great deal out of the fact that many of the books he was rejected on have made him a great deal of money as e-books. Certainly he has anger against the big publishers both because of this and because of some truly stupid marketing decisions they've made for him. Mind you, I've not read any of his books as the genre has zero interest to me but I find his blog to have some pretty fascinating insights into publishing.

I won't disagree that there are almost certainly some really bad books out there. Reviews help weed those out and Amazon often allows you to read small portions of a book you're considering. I'm okay with the existence of bad books out there since big publishing houses seem to cull a great deal of wheat with the chaff when they make their publishing decisions. The few authors I know seem to want to go the traditional publishing route, they seem to feel it's somehow "safe" and it's a norm they know vs an unknown leap. As a result they've only dabbled with e-books (if nothing it's a way to get me to read their stuff). If any of them became half as successful as Konrath at it they could be doing what they love full-time. IMO the path to that is e-publishing, the big publishing houses are too greedy and their terms too lopsided. If I were talented enough to author a book I'd have zero interest in the print houses

Comment: Re: The issue is big publishing (Score 1) 192

by BLKMGK (#47492607) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

Read the blog I linked above. He self publishes on multiple platforms, Amazon doesn't stop him from doing that and in fact he has offered free downloads on his own site for some of the same content he sells on Amazon. If you told him that big publishing did all of those things he would laugh at you. Most of that can be outsourced and if you think the big publishing houses really do much promotion I've got a bridge you might be interested in. Certainly some authors get promoted but only a very select few. Considering the cost of their services no way would I consider any of the big houses. The worst thing is that when it goes out of print they still own rights, you cannot make money on it and they are now locking in ebook rights too. Ebooks on the other hand have no fee to be stocked and are always available. Read what he and others have had to say about wrestling with big publishing houses to get back their rights. Read about the ridiculous pricing and hugs cuts those same publishers take from authors. Also read about the freelance editors and artists he and others have employed. The guy writes books I'd hate to read but sells them like crazy, publishes his sales numbers, and helps out other authors. He also seems to really hate the big publishing houses and explains why in pretty good detail IMO. Yes, Amazon has gotten big and the big publishers want everyone to assume they will one day start ripping everyone off, maybe they will, but it's a sure thing the big publishing houses are ripping people off NOW. I'd stick with Amazon personally....

"It's curtains for you, Mighty Mouse! This gun is so futuristic that even *I* don't know how it works!" -- from Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse