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Comment How I lost weight (Score 3, Interesting) 496 496

I've lost over 45 pounds and kept it off for over three years so far. And best of all, I didn't do it by starving myself.

I've considered myself overweight for most of my adult and childhood life. Oddly enough, I had always been fairly athletic, and exercised regularly throughout my life. I had strong willpower. But I just couldn't seem to keep weight off.

I lost my weight by signing up for weight watchers online. Weight watchers online is a program that allows you to conveniently keep track of the food you eat. All of it. I don't think weight watchers is magic; instead, I think the process of making eating a deliberate and measured action is what helped me. I like numbers. I can do numbers.

What I found by recording everything I ate is that a small number of foods accounted for a large amount of calories. Beef, fries, bread, snacks. I've largely eliminated these foods from my diet. It's not that I can't eat them, I just don't feel that the value is high enough for the calories to eat them a lot. I was able to decrease the number of calories I ate without starving myself by eating smart. The other benefit of recording food is that there are some replacement foods that are significantly healthier. For me, I started snacking more on pretzels, which I found a lot more filling, but contained less calories than many of the other snacks I ate.

After about a year, I stopped using weight watchers. I had internalized most of the good behaviors, and no longer needed to record everything I ate. I continued to lose weight, slowly but steadily. Eventually I stopped at a healthy weight, and I feel great. Over time, even though I was never starving myself, I started eating higher calorie foods and exercising more regularly to offset it. On that note, for burning calories, exercising longer and with lower intensity is better than short, intense workouts. I like to use the elliptical; I can exercise for 90 minutes without killing myself, and burn over 1000 calories. I've found that playing video games at the same time really distracts me from the act of exercising, and even makes it enjoyable.

If you're skeptical, and think you know enough about dieting to not record everything, think again. There are simply too many surprises. Go to your favorite restuarant's website and look at the nutrition information. I used to go to Chili's quite often. I haven't been there for a long time. I don't know how they cook their food, but it's insanely high in calories. Even seemingly safe foods like salad can be high in calories depending on the dressing. The opposite is true as well. Some fast food, like KFC, can be very low in calories (although probably bad for other reasons). Over time, you'll learn what fills you up and doesn't have a ton of calories. If you just start "eating less" without any data, you'll still be eating the same inefficient foods, and you'll probably gain your weight back after you can't take it anymore.

Comment Automation (Score 1) 80 80

As others have pointed out, deploying EC2 instances automatically is fairly easy using the well-documented EC2 APIs.

The difficult part about distributed computing is synchronizing the work between available instances. For this, you might want to look at RabbitMQ or other queueing servers. One way to do this would be to have one thread (on your computer) generating problem instances, while you spawn spot instances on EC2 as desired, which consume the work and report the results. I suspect you could accomplish something similar using Hadoop/MapReduce.

Comment Math for computer science (Score 1) 466 466

The second class will not be very useful to you. I've heard this rumor propagated time and again, and no one can ever give me a convincing argument why such a class would be useful, other than for graphics and numeric computation.

The first class would be much more useful. Algorithms is the more or less the study of the math of programming. If you are seriously considering programming, you should learn this topic in great detail. Judging by the number of topics covered, I am assuming this is a lower-level course. You should definitely take at least one low-level computer science theory course!

One other area you may want to look at is logic -- look for Dijkstra's book "A Discipline of Programming".

Comment Cool, but not useful (Score 1) 135 135

First, this is pretty cool. Enough said about that.

Unfortunately, I don't think this will be useful for solving NP-complete problems. For those of you who don't know much about algorithms, NP-complete problems are hard to solve because they become much harder as you make the problem "bigger". It is perfectly possible for problems to be solvable in a reasonable amount of time for small problem sizes, like n=3 that the authors of this article solved.

The paper explains that because bacteria can multiply exponentially, they can multiply until they have enough nodes to solve the problem. Well, there's a problem with that thinking. Bacteria, like computers, need resources. Presumably, if you double the bacteria's food/resources, you will not find an exponential growth in the number of bacteria that can be sustained. If this is true, then there is certainly a problem size that will make using bacteria intractable, which negates the benefits of using bacteria.

FreeBSD 6.1 Released 227 227

nbritton writes "FreeBSD 6.1 has been released! This release is the next step in the development of the 6.X branch, delivering several performance improvements, many bugfixes, and a few new features. Of note are the major improvements to the filesystem and SATA code, possibly making FreeBSD the number one choice for SATA RAID implementations. For a complete list of new features and known problems, please see the release notes, errata list, Bittorrent Downloads, Mirrors, Hardware Notes, and Installation Guide."

Software Engineers Ranked Best Job in America 471 471

fistfullast33l writes "CNNMoney and Salary.com have ranked the title of Software Engineer the best job in America. Computer IT Analyst also ranks 7th on the list, placing both technology positions in the top 10. From the article: "Designing, developing and testing computer programs requires some pretty advanced math skills and creative problem-solving ability. If you've got them, though, you can work and live where you want: Telecommuting is quickly becoming widespread.""

Ifolder Server Review 98 98

liquidat writes "I wanted to have a look at the new Open Source ifolder-server and additionally at ifolder in general. ifolder is mainly supported by Novell, and Novell advertises it's Suse Linux, so I downloaded a Suse-VMware image, installed the vmware player and gave it a try. After I installed the needed software it worked pretty well and gave me a quite good impression of what ifolder is about."
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Journal Journal: Moderation Definitions

I am growing increasingly annoyed with people not knowing how to moderate. Likewise, appearently a number of people can't meta-moderate either, because the stupid moderators are still being allowed to moderate. And thus, I present definitions of the "big words" that stupid moderators appearently don't understand.

Flamebait:

"You're a creature of the night, Michael. Wait'll Mom hears about this." -- from the movie "The Lost Boys"

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