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Comment: Nothing to do with video (Score 1) 252

by Chelloveck (#47911779) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?

The underlying question has absolutely nothing to do with video, digitized from VHS or not. The question is, "How can I securely back up a shitload of data that I don't want to lose?"

Now that you've forgotten about the video aspect and just think of it as bytes, the problem is reduced to one that's been solved a zillion times over. Google "offsite backup".

Personally, I use RAID on my home NAS, and rsync the really important stuff daily to an encrypted 1.5TB drive sitting on my desk at work. If you don't have the bandwidth you could do essentially the same thing by carrying your external backup drive back and forth to your office (or friend's house, or safe-deposit box) weekly or monthly. Have a couple backup drives and just rotate them.

Comment: Re:First world problems. (Score 1) 586

I don't like U2. It didn't auto-download, but I'm annoyed it's in the list at all. Sure, it's just one album. Easy to scroll past, right? No reason to complain? How about when publishers decide this is a really good way to advertise? Release a band's album or a single as a free sample and get it listed on everyone's phone. Brilliant! Except that now I have tons of songs that show up in my "purchased" list that I never purchased, will never listen to, and don't want. They get in the way of the songs I actually *did* purchase and want to listen to.

That's what the complaint is about. Yeah, one album is no big deal. But the precedent's being set, and if we don't complain they're going to decide this is a good idea and keep doing it.

Comment: The C pre-processor (Score 2) 725

The C pre-processor. The whole thing. The CPP is without a doubt the biggest WTF in language design. Hey, this C language is neat and all, but how about if we make it so that before you compile it you have to run it through a whole separate language processor with different syntax designed to do string substitution? And let's use that language to implement comments. And hey, how about using it to import common files? But since it's really just a string substitution, the import really just dumps a verbatim copy of the common file into the one being processed. If you have two identical include lines you get two copies of the common file inserted. Wouldn't that be *great*!?

Okay, I understand the historical context and why it made sense at the time. I really do. But from a modern perspective it's definitely not in any way the sane way to do it.

And for an honorable mention, how about the use of leading whitespace in Makefiles? Not only is leading whitespace significant, starting a line with spaces has a different meaning than starting a line with tabs!

Comment: Re:Sounds uselesss to me (Score 1) 116

by Chelloveck (#47819991) Attached to: E-Books On a $20 Cell Phone

I have a phone with a 3.5" screen. It's just about useless for e-reading. Also, the idea that if all the troubled youth were just given books they'd read them is bogus. They *can't* read and if they could they still wouldn't want to.

I know I'm a dinosaur, but I was reading ebooks on my Palm III with its grayscale 160x160 pixel 3.3" screen. It's certainly not a "useless" form factor. I even preferred it to reading paper books, just because I could carry more around with me. Of course, I like to read. I agree that there's no way a crummy ebook reader is going to convince non-readers to hit the books.

Comment: Re:Do they know more than they let on? (Score 1) 121

by Chelloveck (#47806791) Attached to: New Computer Model Predicts Impact of Yellowstone Volcano Eruption
I just heard Phil Plait talking about coronal mass ejections wiping out satellites and the power grid, and possibly small electronics as well. That's my current favorite non-asteroid doomsday scenario. No direct danger to life or limb, it just takes out everything that makes modern civilization work. Hilarity ensues.

Comment: Re:Excellent move for the government (Score 1) 62

by Chelloveck (#47806659) Attached to: New Nigerian ID Card Includes Prepay MasterCard Wallet
When buying something expensive (like a home solar array) the salesman wants a credit check up front to know that you actually have some chance of paying for it. If you can't afford it he's not going to waste his time talking to you. If you can afford more he knows to push hard for an upsell. It's a shitty way of doing business, but that's how it's done.

Comment: Re:Uno, Scrabble, Apples to Apples (Score 2) 382

by Chelloveck (#47779189) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are the Best Games To Have In Your Collection?

I have both Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity, and I prefer Apples to Apples. The gameplay of both is essentially the same but CAH derives most of its humor from being as scatological, gross, and kinky as possible. I understand why that appeals to people, I just generally prefer the tamer "good clean fun" version that can be played with kids and grandparents.

Or you can mix the two and play Apples Against Humanity.

Comment: TFA is Pointless (Score 1) 173

by Chelloveck (#47736783) Attached to: Google Wants To Test Driverless Cars In a Simulation

The article is pointless. Okay, Google is trying to replace the current "controlled" road test with a simulator. The article goes on to say how wonderful simulators are. So what? It says *nothing* about the current regulations. What are they intended to test? Are they done once per model? For every firmware revision? Every individual vehicle? Are they meant to be fully exhaustive or are they more on the order of the driving test a person must take to get a license? Without knowing what the current tests are there's no way to judge whether a simulator is an adequate substitution.

Pure personal speculation: I suspect that the main goal of the testing requirement is to give a warm fuzzy feeling to a non-technical person. It lets them see a tangible object responding to tangible threats. It probably puts the car through a series of common scenarios and some uncommon but easily imagined dangers, so the non-technical human can see the car dodge obstacles and walk away confident that the robot responds like a human would. If that's the case, a simulator will never be sufficient since it's not really a test of the car's performance, but a test of the human's confidence in the car.

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