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Comment: Re:diagreeing with same sex marriage != hate (Score 3, Interesting) 1746

by Cyrano de Maniac (#46655601) Attached to: Brendan Eich Steps Down As Mozilla CEO

Your observation jives with one of my own thoughts on the matter.

Many people have something which they incorporate as the center of their identity, be it their race, their ethnicity, their gender, their sexual proclivities, their religion, their choice of operating system, their athletic team, their place of origin, their family, their career, their hobby, and so forth. People who have convinced themselves that their very identity is tied first and foremost to one aspect of life have an incredibly strong, even visceral, reaction to anyone who expresses anything less than complete agreement with them. There is a term for this: zealotry. A zealot is unable to distinguish disagreement with their view from a personal attack or even hatred, as their very identity is melded with that for which they are zealous.

One of the most zealous sets of people we see today (at least in my myopic U.S.-centric personal experience) are homosexuals. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but my observation seems to be that this particular group of people has made homosexuality the defining feature of their life. As such, even minor disagreement with the idea that homosexuality is completely normal results in a strong adverse reaction and accusations of fear and hatred.

Personally I am saddened by this, that people have focused so strongly on one aspect of their identity so intensely that they view themselves first and foremost as that thing, rather than as a person, complete and whole. This is unhealthy, and when widespread (as we see today most strongly in both political zealotry and the zealotry of homosexuality) we end up with a fractious society that struggles to engage in a civil exchange of ideas, and at its worst can lead to quite literal violence and bloodshed.

Comment: Re:Is there an end to this? (Score 1) 352

by Cyrano de Maniac (#46412261) Attached to: Vast Surveillance Network Powered By Repo Men

I certainly hope not.

My sister's car was damaged when an SUV rear-ended me as I was stopped at a traffic light. The driver of the SUV did stop, but refused to identify herself and provide insurance information. I could tell by the driver's actions that she was about to flee, and quickly noted her license plate number, and sure enough she fled while I pleaded with her to reconsider what she was about to do.

It took about a month longer than it should have, but eventually the machinery of justice caught up with the driver, and my sister was made whole for her financial loss. If it hadn't been for a clear and visible license plate it is doubtful that any compensation would have ever been recovered.

Comment: Re:Liked SC1 better than SC2 (Score 1) 160

by Cyrano de Maniac (#45858165) Attached to: Development To Begin Soon On New <em>Star Control</em> Game

While overall I liked SC2 better than SC1, I too missed the strategy game aspect of SC1, for much the same reason -- it was a quick strategy game instead of a long RPG-like adventure. SC2's humor was spot-on, so that was a huge bonus.

I remember not having a code-wheel to use to start up SC1, but my college roommates and I knew that "PARTY" was one of the answers to the startup challenge screen, so whenever we'd want to play it was "cd \games\starcon", "starcon", followed by repetitions of "party", "party", "party", then F3, until the game let us in.

Also, the SC1 music emitted by the old Radio Shack "Game Blaster" was better than that from the Sound Blaster that I replaced it with -- I can still feel the melee music in my bones 23 years later.

Comment: Surprising results (Score 3, Interesting) 327

by Cyrano de Maniac (#45461327) Attached to: Monthly net electricity use in my household:

I looked back at my past year's worth of bills and saw that I used a total of 3648 kW-h. I'm not sure if that's good or bad, though each month my power company sends me a notice that states I'm using about 15-25% less energy than my energy efficient neighbors. I live alone in a house that's bigger than I need but not ludicrously so, and I don't tend to leave computers running. As 30-year old appliances fail I've been replacing them with more efficient models, and as they burn out I'm replacing incandescent light bulbs with CFLs (but dang, some of those daily-use incandescents are over 12 years old at this point, I'm beginning to think they'll never fail).

The big surprise for me, however, was my bill from last January; my electric energy use easily outstripped even my summertime air conditioning use, and was a fair bit higher than the months immediately before and after. The bill kindly informed me that the average temperature that month was 9 degrees colder than the year before, but I couldn't see that making such a huge difference. Could it be the air circulating fan in the furnace that I let run on low most hours of the day? Maybe, but why the anomalous month? I considered a incorrect meter reading, but realized that it's read remotely rather than by a guy walking around the neighborhood, and any mistake would have been offset the other direction the next month. Then I remembered.

For occasional use by my houseguests I have one of those oil-filled radiator-styled space heaters in my guest bedroom. I recall that sometime in that December-January timeframe the heater was used, and I forgot to check that it was turned off after a houseguest left. It sat there maintaining a comfy temperature in the otherwise unused bedroom for approximately a month before I happened to enter the room and noticed.

So now I know just what an energy pig that space heater is, and I'll be extra careful to check in on it after houseguests depart. Thanks Slashdot, you've probably saved me several tens of dollars over the next decade as I become more vigilant about the heater's use.

Comment: Brighter whites? Really? (Score 1) 202

by Cyrano de Maniac (#45294393) Attached to: Panasonic Announces an End To Plasma TVs In March

Am I the only one who doesn't want brighter whites, and would even go so far as to avoid them?

On my smartphone, computer monitors, laptops, and even my old CRT monitors and TV I keep the brightness turned down. When I have opportunity to see LED TVs at my parent's place or elsewhere they always seem eye-piercingly bright, to the point where I don't care to watch them. The same goes for any LED based TV in a store -- or basically anywhere. This was one of the main reasons I was looking forward to eventually purchasing a plasma TV (instead of an LED TV) to replace my CRT TV.

Truer whites I'm all for, but brighter whites do nothing at all for me.

Comment: Re:Tracktion (Score 1) 223

by Cyrano de Maniac (#45259385) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Cross-Platform (Linux-Only) Audio Software?

Thank you for mentioning this! I purchased Tracktion 3 for the Mac a number of years ago because its workflow and interface mapped better onto my brain than any alternative I could find (well, at least those I could demo for free, which was quite a few). However I was disappointed when Tracktion appeared to become an abandoned and unmaintained product, and it kept losing bits of usefulness with each OS X release. To be honest I'd given up on it and considered it to be lost money. But if it's back I'm *definitely* going in for the new version -- particularly as even the non-upgrade price is now around 20-25% of what I paid for the previous version (and an even better ratio on the upgrade price).

I initially looked at it for the purpose of MIDI sequencing, and that's what I based my purchase decision on. However I never used it for that purpose but instead have done a small number of multitracked board recordings from my live sound-guy gigs. Back before the bit-rot it did an absolute bang-up job for those projects.

But, anyway, given there's a new version and it would appear that active development has resumed, I'll definitely recommend checking it out. I mean, there's free demos for Windows, Mac, and Linux -- with certainly enough going on in the demo to determine whether it fits your style of operating and is worth purchasing.

Direct links: and

Comment: Re:As the saying goes... (Score 0) 999

by Cyrano de Maniac (#45150161) Attached to: US Government Shutdown Ends

Nothing was lost? All the work that the government workers could have been doing during the shutdown was lost.

You mean all that work that was so important that it was deemed non-essential?

All the revenue from the National Parks were lost.

Which amounts to what, maybe a grand total of a couple million, nationwide? Maybe? The federal government burns through that in seconds.

Two weeks food inspections, drug inspections, VA claims processing were lost.

And yet safe food and drugs were still being produced, shipped, and sold. The lost value-add was... umm...? And a few VA claims are paid out to drug companies and the like about two weeks late -- yawn.

Worldwide confidence in the US and the US dollar was lost. US credit rating was compromised with the possibility of higher interest rates on new deficit.

Wake me up when people stop loaning the U.S. federal government money, charge it higher rates, or stop keeping their wealth in dollars. If anything those first two effects can't come soon enough, to put the brakes on the spending spree that's selling out of every taxpayer, particularly the younger ones who will labor under the burden of paying that debt for most of their life. I say throw the retiring Baby Boomers to the wolves -- they spent their trust fund on federal baubles for decades, and now it's time to pay the piper. That fable about the ant and the grasshopper has more than a little merit.

Scientific tests will have to be thrown out and restarted.

So this was all a job creation program for scientists, you're saying? After all, they can look forward to redoing all that work. Sounds just about as effective as the previous economic stimuli to me!

Comment: Re:I only go... (Score 1) 415

by Cyrano de Maniac (#45144979) Attached to: I typically visit a doctor (for medical reasons) ...

I used to do the same thing, due to most of the same reasoning. My thoughts had always run along the lines of "I'm have a pretty healthy and robust immune system, and I rarely get sick. It's no big deal if I catch a flu bug because I'll fight it off quick." Plus, it was just a hassle to go get vaccinated against the flu.

Then one year I picked up a nasty lingering cold, which of course there's not much I could do about other than treat symptoms. But it dawned on me partway through that if I were exposed to the flu while my system was already knocked down a few pegs by a cold or other infection, that I would be in a world of unnecessary self-inflicted hurt.

Since that time I've availed myself of flu vaccines. I really can't tell you if they've helped me avoid a bout of the flu, but I have recognized the trend of it being slightly harder to fight off colds and other infections as I age, so to me it seems to be a trivial and inexpensive betterment of the odds.

Comment: I'm gonna' cry (Score 1) 172

by Cyrano de Maniac (#44688443) Attached to: Yahoo! Sports Redesign Sparks Controversy, Disdain From Users

This makes me terribly sad.

There is no doubt in my mind that my father will be unable to cope with this change and be completely frustrated trying to run his fantasy football team this year. This of course means "support" calls to me, who has no interest in sports, fantasy or otherwise.

"Wait, wait," you exclaim, "the fantasy football section hasn't changed. Well, much, at least." Maybe, but my father has trouble with concepts like drag-and-drop, and is one of the stereotypical older users with whom you can expect to have this type of conversation: "Q: Which web browser are you using?" "A: Google. Or maybe Yahoo? You know, the usual one.", "Q: Sorry, which program do you use to go to Google, or Yahoo?" "A: The Internet". Coping with user interface changes is definitely not among his aptitudes, and this redesign is going to make for a long year of confusion and grumbling.


Comment: Yay for Star Control and Battlezone (Score 1) 121

by Cyrano de Maniac (#44367579) Attached to: Atari Facing $291 Million Debt Claim From... Atari

I don't have much to add other than I'm hugely excited for both Star Control and Battlezone. SC1 and SC2 were bedrock mainstays of my college days, and the hover-tank Battlezone released in 1998 was phenomenal.

I've since moved on to play and enjoy The Ur-Quan Masters, but even shortly after SC2's heyday and before UQM was available, I remember paying for a legit download of the PC version of the game (late '98, early '99?). If we could get network mode Melee, I'd be tickled pink. If there were a persistent universe game (ala EVE) formed out of the Star Control franchise I'd lock myself away in a room and never see the light of day again.

However I've never found a comparable game to the '98 Battlezone. The gameplay was terrifically fun, fairly easy to get started, the copy protection was a reasonable compromise (need one disc present among all the computers playing on the LAN), and I cannot remember a single stability, usability, or gameplay bug. I could very much see wasting away many hours if that were updated and brought to market again.

2000 pounds of chinese soup = 1 Won Ton