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Comment Re:why stockpiling? (Score 1, Interesting) 292

They are probably waiting for the price to go up. There are wells all over the Midwest that have been prepped for drilling but not drilled, or drilled but not fracked, or fracked but are being held idle, because the economics of their existence was calculated on $80+/barrel oil. The companies are letting them sit hoping the price goes up so they can make more. It's easy to project how long this is worth doing given a certain amount of volatility in the price and the fact that demand will always be there, in fact, the current glut of NG in North America means applications are being converted to run NG, possibly boosting the coming price upswing.

Comment Re:Squaring up photos of pages (Score 1) 122

If you scan the pages in batches consistently, the crop and rotate parameters will be the same for all the pages in a batch. Then you just have to tweak the parameters once per batch. If you use a tripod and don't bump the camera, the batches can be big.

I wrote a script to do this exact thing. You put the crop, rotate, etc. parameters into a text file which you can save along with the batch of images. It also supports multicropping each image so that you can use it to build indexes of negative and slide pages, which is why I really wrote it. I can take pictures of dozens of Printfile pages of slides or negatives and auto-crop out the individual images to build an index of low-res images for browsing. I also use it for batch - scanning photo prints at full resolution and just trim the edges off,fix slight rotating etc.

The IM crop command basically does all the work. It is a very powerful program.

Comment LaTeX (Score 1) 227

I use LaTeX reports on a webserver instead of a paper lab notebook. One, I can't lose it. Two, paper is filthy and I work in a cleanroom. In the lab I am never far from a computer with putty or RDP.
Plaintext means I can grep years worth of reports to query what is effectively my cyborg memory. I use hyperref to create pdf hyperlinks, images are no problem. Provenance concerns are handled by my build script which commits everything to a git repository multiple times per day. If I want to scribble stuff without publishing it I just comment it out. The documents are available on the webserver for anyone to see.

Comment Re:So what? (Score 1) 480

Interestingly, when I was going to UTD, wearing shorts in their little amateur hour cleanroom was a serious safety violation; of all the dozen or so commercial cleanrooms I have been in since then, shorts were allowed with no problem. Some of them even have low-crotch clean suits so you can wear full-length skirts. ...they remind me of those wing suits.

Comment Re:So what? (Score 1) 480

I worked at DMOS5 from 08 to '12, having contact with DFAB, DMOS6 and RFAB. On the fab side, jeans are normal up to the branch management level, easily, and business casual is normal even for VPs. I first started there I went out and bought BC clothes just in case but after I realized I would be out dressing my hypervisor went back to jeans and a button down. It's a big company though.

Comment Re:"an act of social provocation"? (Score 1) 367

Selling and possessing chunks of aluminum (aluminium) is legal.

Selling/possessing chunks of aluminum in a certain shape will land you time in a FPMITA prison.

They have made an economical mini mill economical that makes the chunk of aluminum. In America, we believe that it's only illegal if you get caught, and so these folks fancy themselves as finding a great hack.

Comment A step in the right direction (Score 5, Interesting) 109

Laws should be tracked, with dependencies, by an apt-like system. Anyone should be able to query what is illegal, without a lawyer. Automated systems can flag unfairness, conflicting laws, and obsolescence.

Lawyers and judges' jobs would be reduced to addressing bugs.

The whole lot should be committed to a git repository (git-blame anyone?). New laws should take the form of pull requests.

Comment Efficient-market, inefficient-energy hypothesis (Score 3, Funny) 775

According to my "the cheapest thing is the best for the environment" theory, this was easily predictable.

Energy means fossil fuels. To a first approximation, other energy sources can be ignored. And in the modern economy, money ~ energy. When fuel (i.e. energy) prices go up, the effect ripples through the whole supply chain, touching absolutely everything that is manufactured and shipped. The costs associated with most products are dominated not by human labor costs but by energy costs. And since our modern agriculture essentially exchanges energy for food, even human labor comes down to energy costs.

Therefore, TO A FIRST APPROXIMATION, the cheaper of two alternatives is better for the environment.

Electric cars are more expensive than gasoline cars, and often would never exist except for subsidies. If they were really more economical, they would already be popular. Ergo, per The Theory, they are worse for the environment.

Comment Very disappointed with Voice app for iPhone (Score 1) 172

I use Gvoice for my personal calls and messages on my work phone. This is a good system because I can keep my number when I change jobs, but still use my work phone which I have to carry anyway.

I'm honestly surprised how bad the user experience is when using the Voice app for iPhone 4. I seriously wonder if I got some kind of counterfeit app (if that would even be possible), the usability is THAT bad.

Gvoice text messages pop up on the lock screen instantly, but then when I go to view them, I have to open the Gvoice app (slow) then "refresh conversations" (very slow) in order to even read the full message again. There is no excuse for this since if the phone displayed the text on the lock screen, what could I possibly be waiting for? How long can it take to display a few kB of text that has already downloaded?

For texting, when in a "conversation view", new texts almost never update properly. The only way to update the conversation view is to scroll to the TOP of the conversation (even though the newest messages are at the _bottom_!) in order to trigger the "updating conversations..." function. Of course a single conversation can be many pages long. Which means the fastest way to refresh the conversation (which I shouldn't have to be doing, since the text already displayed on banner and the lock screen...) I still have to navigate back to inbox and refresh, and wait. WTF? This is such a usability bug that I can't believe anyone would ship it.

Text conversations are not threaded properly at all. I have to constantly delete old conversation branches.

For voice, there is NO proper call history. NO CALL HISTORY!!?? There is a "dialer" and a "quick dial" but no way to call someone back based on history. And you can't revert back to the iPhone's proper call history either, because the numbers that show up in the iPhone history are random numbers to google servers. I honestly never thought I would use a phone that did not have a usable call history.

Comment Re:rather have money (Score 4, Insightful) 524

That's the good thing about "money" solves the coincidence-of-wants problem, which is why people prefer to be paid in money instead of perks. However, with the government standing in the middle between your and your employer, you will never get a larger paycheck equal to the perks. Giving you the perks is more tax-efficient than paying you enough to buy the perks yourself.

Spending $30/(month*employee) on candy bars can simply be written off as an expense. If the company wanted to pay the employees enough to buy their own candy bars, they would actually have to pay all their people $50/(mo*employee) or so that they have $30 left after income tax. And you won't get a group rate on candy.

All things being equal, perks are a better value. Hope you like going to the gym that your employer uses for its gym membership program, hope you enjoy the coffee they buy, the healthcare plan that they offer, and the groceries at the company store (not quite, but we are getting there).

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