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Comment: Re:money back if not delighted? (Score 1) 743

by Ephemeriis (#39717307) Attached to: $60 Light Bulb Debuts On Earth Day

Given the disappointing lifespan I've been seeing with the CFL lights in my home I really have a difficult time believing their claims.

Really?

When we moved in to this house we slowly replaced all the incandescent bulbs with CFLs as they burned out... That was years ago. It's gotten to the point where it's downright inconvenient to have a bulb burn out, because we don't have any spares sitting around the house. I mean... Maybe one bulb a year?

Comment: Re:Baloney (Score 1) 467

by Ephemeriis (#39680671) Attached to: Magical Thinking Is Good For You

Indeed.

After reading that summary I thought about it for a little while... Trying to come up with instances of magical thinking in my own life. Not to prove anyone wrong, but out of curiosity.

Do we really all think magically?

But I really couldn't come up with anything.

Oh, sure... Maybe I'll get spooked and dash up the stairs in the middle of the night after watching a horror movie... But I don't actually believe anything is going to jump out at me - I'm just unsettled from the movie.

If I see something neat and orderly out in the wild I might speculate on whether somebody built it, or if it was naturally occurring, or perhaps was a product of human intervention... You know - the differences between an arrangement of rocks that makes a convenient stairway, somebody going out an legitimately building a stairway, and having people use the same path for so long that steps become worn into the trail. But I don't see something like that and just assume that somebody had to have made it.

And when coincidences start lining up, I might very well mutter about bad luck, or claim that somebody out there is looking out for me... But that isn't actually because I believe there's an intelligent agent out there looking out for me - it's just a figure of speech.

I really, genuinely, do not attribute anything to supernatural forces.

But even for those few of us who claim to be complete skeptics, belief quietly sneaks in. Maybe you feel anxious on Friday the 13th. Maybe the idea of a heart transplant from a convicted killer weirds you out. ... If so, on some level you believe in magic.

I don't feel anxious on Friday the 13th... It reminds me of the movie series, and I'm a big fan of horror movies. Although I may very well feel creeped-out after watching several Friday the 13th tonight.

Similarly, the idea of organ transplantation in general weirds me out. I'd prefer that my internal organs remain internal, and I don't much like the thought of somebody cutting me open and replacing parts. But if something breaks, and I need a replacement, I don't much care where it comes from.

Comment: theater (Score 2, Insightful) 1003

by Ephemeriis (#38387676) Attached to: Why the NTSB Is Wrong About Cellphones

Why is the NTSB targeting gadgets instead of bad drivers?

Because it is always easier to come up with a technological solution (even if it doesn't work) than it is to address the real (usually human) problem.

even hands-free phones

This really illustrates the absurdity of the claim that phones are to blame for the problem.

If you're using a hands-free device, you're just basically having a conversation with someone who isn't actually in the car. It's not going to be any more inherently distracting than having a conversation with somebody who is in the car. So if hands-free phones are a problem... So is talking to a passenger.

Comment: Re:Time to move on, perhaps? (Score 2) 753

by Ephemeriis (#38372528) Attached to: Firefox Too Big To Link On 32-bit Windows

Yes, most people still run 32-bit hardware.

Pretty much anything purchased in the last few years is going to be 64-bit capable.

If you're running 32-bit, it probably isn't the hardware holding you back. It's probably your software.

I'm still having to reload machines with 32-bit Windows XP because we've got software that won't support anything else.

Comment: Re:Not in 2012 for me (Score 1) 504

by Ephemeriis (#38293564) Attached to: Will Windows 8 Be Ready For Release In 2012?

Instead of having a nice GUI with lots of options, it's a purdy GUI with few options and the rest buried in some power shell syntax.

That's funny. I really never thought I'd see someone on Slashdot complain about a CLI being more useful than a GUI.

I can certainly relate. Windows has been so GUI-centric for so long that suddenly finding the CLI more functional than the GUI is downright strange. Moving from Exchange 2003 to 2007 was a very jarring experience for me.

However... Now that I'm actually learning PowerShell, I have to say that it's pretty damn nice. The added flexibility and control is amazing. And it enables all kinds of scripting and automation.

Comment: Re:Quit (Score 4, Insightful) 424

by Ephemeriis (#38282052) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Getting a Grip On an Inherited IT Mess?

This.

I'd be willing to bet a year's pay that the previous guy wasn't straight-up incompetent. He was probably relatively skilled, and doing the best he could with the resources at his disposal. Which were probably not actually the resources he needed.

Odds are good that there's a reason why the place is in the condition it is now.

Odds are good that there's a reason why the last guy isn't there anymore.

Odds are good that you're going to need more than one guy in IT to get it all straightened-out.

Comment: Re:Dunno... (Score 1) 422

by Ephemeriis (#38268506) Attached to: Filmmakers Reviving Sci-fi By Going Old School

Rather than "realistic" I usually use "internally consistent", meaning that it is realistic within the universe of the movie/book/whatever. If something happens there had better be a story-reason why it's happening (or not happening, as the case may be).

Agreed.

Teleporting from one continent to another because it's Star Trek and that's what we do is fine.

Somehow traveling from the US to Australia with absolutely no apparent passage of time or explanation of how it happened in the context of the story is a plot hole.

Comment: Re:Dunno... (Score 3, Interesting) 422

by Ephemeriis (#38266852) Attached to: Filmmakers Reviving Sci-fi By Going Old School

The problem is that 'When you create elements of a shot entirely in a computer, you have to generate everything that physics and the natural world offers you from scratch

I don't see that as a problem, and the thing is, with GCI you can do things that are impossible, impractical, or incredibly dangerous without it.

Sure, if you're doing something that's straight-up impossible, being free of the constraints of real-world physics is pretty nice.

But if you're just trying to do something impractical or incredibly dangerous, and still want it to look somewhat realistic, you're adding a lot of overhead by doing it in CGI instead of practical effects. A ball bouncing down stairs shot with practical effects looks real because it is real... The same shot using CGI looks real because some guy spend hours/days/weeks tweaking the shot until it looked right. There's nothing intrinsic to the CGI process that'll make a ball fall down at all, much less deform and bounce and roll correctly. All that is the result of many lines of code and many hours of tweaking.

The goal of special effects shouldn't necessarily be to look realistic, they should be works of art themselves and help create a mood or tell a story.

I disagree; unless you're shooting a cartoon, everything should be as realistic and beleivable as possible. And everything in the movie should strive to be a work of art in itself.

Really?

Right after you talk about how CGI is nice for doing impossible things, you say that it should all be as realistic and believable as possible?

Needless to say, I disagree.

Sure, if you're doing some kind of gritty cop-drama or something, realism is pretty nice. But what if you're doing a fantasy or science fiction movie? Do you really want realism? Once you introduce magic or dragons or FTL travel or something, realism pretty much goes out the window.

They hope to change this with their upcoming sci-fi film, 'C,' which will be shot entirely without CGI or green screens

Yeah, do that scene in Star Trek where Spock walks into the lift from one part of the ship and walks back out in another. Without a green screen they'd have had to have an acutual elevator.

They'll probably do it exactly the same way the original Star Trek did it... And Next Generation did it... Without a green screen.

I think it a bit ironic that a sci-fi movie would eschew real-world technology.

But, they aren't.

They're making a decision to use a specific real-world technology to tell their story in what they believe to be the best way possible.

Comment: Re:Don't watch TV (Score 1) 451

by Ephemeriis (#38016258) Attached to: Failures Mark First National Test of Emergency Alert System

It would really depend on the situation.

If I were at work - sure. Plenty of folks around the building with radios or TVs on. I'm sure somebody would see the warning.

At home? Probably not. My wife is just as bad as I am, if not worse. Our neighbors all head South for the winter, and aren't terribly social at the best of times. My wife's side of the family is all dead. My side of the family is 1,500+ miles away.

Comment: Re:I wish they would do the obvious (Score 1) 264

by Ephemeriis (#37918752) Attached to: How X-Ray Scanners Became Mandatory In US Airports

This assumes that the only terrorist threat is from Muslims

And, like it or not, that is a prevalent assumption in the U.S.

Additionally, there is no way that a policy which is that discriminatory could be implemented without violating the constitution.

I'm no constitutional lawyer... And I'd like to think that we're better than this... But I really wouldn't be all that surprised to see such an obviously discriminatory policy at least proposed, if not actually approved.

It would be the equivalent of only requiring scanners for people in a certain skin colour range.

Or kicking folks off planes because they look too Muslim?

Granted, it's a private corporation that's kicking people off of planes, so they don't really have to worry about constitutionality the way that the government does... But it's just as discriminatory, and just as stupid, and just as effective.

Comment: upgrade-ability (Score 1) 182

by Ephemeriis (#37772756) Attached to: Entry-Level NAS Storage Servers Compared

I'm no expert. We've got a NetApp where I work now, and had a Netgear ReadyNAS at my previous job. But I will say that some ability to upgrade is going to be key.

We got the ReadyNAS up and running with just a couple TB of storage because we really didn't think we'd need more than that. Within a year we were full and looking for some way to expand it.

The NetApp here was installed with a good pile of storage... But we've grown our environment so much that we've exceeded the capabilities of the chassis, and are looking at upgrading to a faster model.

It's very easy, when you're shopping around, to simply look at prices and your current needs and come to the conclusion that you really don't need that much storage... It's also very easy, once you've got a network storage device, to throw everything on there - simply because it is so convenient. And then, before you know it, you're running out of room.

Make sure you get something that can easily be expanded and/or upgraded - because it will happen. Probably much sooner than you expect.

Comment: Re:It's convenience and security. (Score 1) 835

by Ephemeriis (#37325776) Attached to: Why the Fax Machine Refuses To Die

Sheet-fed scanners are ridiculously expensive

I don't know that I'd say ridiculously expensive... Sure, they cost more than a generic fax machine, but not that much more. And you often get what you pay for - meaning a more expensive document scanner will likely hold up better than your bargain fax machine.

And then there's the real multifunction devices...

plus you have to save the file, attach it to an email

Any place that's dealing with a large volume of paper - be it scanning, printing, or faxing - really ought to have a good, solid all-in-one device. Not one of those piece-of-crap inkjet things that HP sells for $100 - but a real office machine. The kind of things that Kyocera or Canon make. The big beasts that'll scan in reams of paper in just seconds, automatically convert it to whatever format you want, OCR it, and then store it somewhere on the network or email it or whatever else.

These things really aren't that expensive. Usually you can get them under contract with some local company and then you don't have to worry about maintenance or anything. And the cost per page is usually much lower than it would be otherwise.

These things make scanning insanely easy. And they'll also email for you - making the whole process just as easy as sending a fax.

then, hopefully, the file isn't too large for the sender or recipient's mailserver.

I guess it depends on where you work and what you're sending and where it's going... But a PDF document isn't that big. I've got 100 page documents that are just a couple MB. Most folks can receive files of that size.

Plus, it isn't like you fax machines have a magically endless supply of paper. If you're sending a document that's big enough to worry about the size limits on their mailserver, then they're going to be going through a lot of paper. Better hope they filled it up before you sent the thing.

With the fax machine, one just drops the stack in, verify the fax successfully transmitted, task complete.

Ideally, sure, that's how it works. But I can boil down sending a PDF attachment to something just as simple.

What you're neglecting to mention is that the entire time you're sending your 100+ page document, your fax machine (and attached phone line) are busy and unable to do anything else. As is the recipient's fax machine and phone line. And if you're sending (or receiving) a lot of these things, you can tie that line up all day long. Which is exactly what we were doing here.

Also, many people feel that snooping of phone lines is much less likely to occur than snooping of email, when is sent in the clear.

I am always amazed that folks think a fax transmission is somehow secure, and simultaneously seem to believe that securing email is an insurmountable challenge.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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