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Comment: Re:flash/disk/tape ratios still stand (Score 1) 183

I've stopped attempting to keep my game collection on the an SSD.

Install all games to an HDD, and only keep the games you're actually playing on the SSD. Under Windows 7 I use a 120GB SSD for OS and the 2-3 games I'm currently playing by using Steam Mover. Since it's simply a GUI for a few cmd commands (mklink being the central one) it'll work for any directory you point it at, not just Steam games, and it's very robust.

If you're on Linux you're likely already familiar with some ways of doing this, if not I can give you a few pointers :)

Displays

New Display Technology Corrects For Vision Defects 28

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the fuzzy-pixels dept.
rtoz (2530056) writes Researchers at the MIT Media Lab have developed a new display technology that automatically corrects for vision defects without requiring glasses or contact lenses. This technique could lead to dashboard-mounted GPS displays that farsighted drivers can consult without putting their glasses on, or electronic readers that eliminate the need for reading glasses. The display is a variation on a glasses-free 3-D technology: a 3-D display projects slightly different images to the viewer's left and right eyes. Similarly, this vision-correcting display projects slightly different images to different parts of the viewer's pupil.

Comment: Re:We've observed and created antiparticles (Score 1) 214

by Man Eating Duck (#47490943) Attached to: Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

By coincidence I was discussing Orwell with a friend last night. We decided that while 1984 was fine sociology and politics, the plot really didn't depend at all on the small amounts of technoogy he described. The surveillance could have been provided by spies as well as by TV screens and cameras. "SF" isn't a category we'd put Orwell into.

Um, science fiction doesn't have to be technology-focused, and most of the best stories aren't (with some exceptions where some exotic tech is a plot device). Sure, as many sci-fi stories occurs in the future there is an assumption that new technology have been marching on, but many interesting stories concern themselves with how humans react to the possibilities enabled by technology and new societal structures, rather than the technology itself. Nineteen Eigthy-four is specifically a future dystopia, but I'd certainly place it within the Sci-Fi genre.

On a side note, I've found that providing performance specifics about technology, specifically computers, are a sure sign of *bad* Sci-Fi. I read a novel written in 1992 set in 2007 where one particular computer had a CPU of 400 MHz and was equipped with "several hundred megabytes of memory". Bad Sci-Fi writers: restrict yourself to describing what amazing feats the wrist-computer is capable of, do not venture into providing explicit hardware specifications :)

Comment: Re:Many worlds (Score 1) 202

by Man Eating Duck (#47455485) Attached to: How Deep Does the Multiverse Go?

Prove it.

I can't prove it as I don't know the math, but I've heard it explained this way:

Imagine a lot of parallel chess games between Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand. There might be all three outcomes and a lot of different games played, but not every possible game. The ones where one player loses in five moves, or one player overlooks a trivial mate-in-one, or both players fumble so much as to resemble novice players aren't likely to exist anywhere. The probabilities are simply too low in a game between two high-level chess players.

Comment: Re:Sweden (Score 1) 1040

by Man Eating Duck (#47167801) Attached to: Seattle Approves $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

The more socialist countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany) are doing far better than the more highly capitalist ones post crash.

Yup, Norwegian here. We weren't really affected adversely over here. I am not at all qualified to discern why, but the people who are generally claim it's because of our very solid societal structure and general lack of private interests' influence on our political system, which makes us less vulnerable to external market swings.

Norway as a nation is dependant on export industries (oil & gas, power, cargo shipping services, fish), and a few companies did suffer, but the regular Joes and Joettes didn't really feel any impact at all from the crash.

Comment: Re:Missing the point (Score 1) 321

by Man Eating Duck (#47127487) Attached to: I Want a Kindle Killer

I use the Kindle app on my Android phone. I would never buy a standalone reader because I read when it's convenient. My phone is almost always with me and fits in my pocket.

I use the Kindle app on my Android phone. I would never buy a standalone reader because I read when it's convenient. My phone is almost always with me and fits in my pocket.

And I habitually bring my Kobo reader everywhere I go, and read every time I have a few minutes to kill. It fits nicely in a jacket/cargo pocket. I usually read several hours each day, and there are several reasons why I also bring it when leaving my apartment:

  • * When reading for hours at a time the better display eliminates eyestrain
  • * Battery concerns is not an issue
  • * The display is larger and fits more text, making for a more comfortable reading experience
  • * Fewer distractions than on a phone

If the phone is good enough for you when it comes to reading, that's great, and I would also like that to be the case for me. But for me it's not cutting it, so I end up choosing clothes based on whether they can store my (admittedly light and sleek, but bulkier than a phone) e-reader. I really, really hope that E-Ink aren't going away anytime soon.

Comment: Re:Corporate directed not volunteer direct ... (Score 1) 403

Unless the locks on your doors are to lock people in, they aren't there because you assume all your houseguests are criminals, they are there because you assume some non-house guests are criminals. The locks don't stop the people you've already let in. And yeah, I do assume some of the people outside are criminals. Why wouldn't I?

The problem with this line of thought is that, to continue the analogy, a lot of your legitimate house guests will be kept out by the locks, while the criminals outside all know that you don't lock your cellar hatch and can help themselves.

Most DRM to date don't even slow down the pirates, as long as someone can see the content they can copy it. My experience is mostly from working at a publishing company, and the legitimate customers have a far easier time using a non-crippled file than a DRM'ed one. Basically, DRM is just a big fuck you to your legitimate customers, especially on downloaded files that are ostensibly usable anywhere like an ebook.

That said, I don't really understand why DRM-free streaming is so scary to content providers. Strong authentication would hinder casual link sharing, and the pirates would be able to make a copy of your stream even with any DRM you could imagine, as long as they could see the content. The only ones to suffer are legitimate customers that can't view the content because they don't have the right combination of equipment and software. The music business, and to a lesser degree the ebook industry, have found that in going DRM-free you can still rely on the majority of customers to be perfectly allright with paying for a good product, and they are happy that they can be sure of it being accessible. Currently the pirates are far superior when it comes to objective quality of product in the movie/TV-show department.

Comment: Re:next for NoSQL (Score 1) 162

by Man Eating Duck (#47042057) Attached to: New PostgreSQL Guns For NoSQL Market

While your parent *was* a bit snarky in his reply, I can see only two reasons why you would try to finagle your NoSQL needs into a PostgreSQL server: you don't understand how to use a traditional RDBMS but would still like to advertise that you're using PostgreSQL instead of MongoDB (not likely for most devs), or the decision is made for you by management for the reasons you mention. If you need some NoSQL solution in a new project it's not very difficult to create an instance, and the infrastructure for the future production DB of your project should be a consideration based on your needs, not what is incidentally already there (hey, it's a DB, it should do the job, right?). Right tool for the job.

For the record I am very used to working with traditional SQL databases, and I particularly like PostgreSQL. Still I know there are lots of use cases for the various NoSQL DBs. They are different beasts, some of which are tailored for very specific applications. I haven't scrutinised the new features of PostgreSQL, but if a NoSQL db were a better fit for the project I would need strong reasons not to go for it.

*Analogy warning* If you have to change a large amount of Torx screws, you could probably accomplish it with a flat blade screwdriver of an approximate size if that's what you have in your shed, but it might save you a lot of destroyed screws to buy a Torx driver instead.

Comment: Re:next for NoSQL (Score 1) 162

by Man Eating Duck (#47041779) Attached to: New PostgreSQL Guns For NoSQL Market

Yeah, it's irritating, but should not be an insurmountable obstacle for migrating schema+data. I have done this thrice for a database consisting of 40 tables and about 2.7 million rows total (DB2 -> PostgreSQL 7.something, DB2 -> SQL Server 2005, and SQL-Server -> PostgreSQL 9.1). Yes, I know that those numbers are small-ish, but the data contained a lot of user input and included every quirk and special character under the sun :)

This database was storage for a Java application using Hibernate, which likely evaded some obstacles (see below). The procedure took a couple of days in each case: export schema, change a few data types in the schema (bool/int, date/datetime and so on), after which the inserts work if you pay attention to string escapes, encoding, and so on. I scripted the conversion in each case, so that every test iteration started from a fresh dump. I tested it by exporting all data from both DBs to native language data types and diffing the results.

Of course you can get in a lot of trouble if your client software is not using abstraction for db access, I suppose that some software contains quite a lot of literal SQL in the source, and SQL syntax differs in amusing ways. In some causes I can see no other reason for it than "because fuck you, that's why". Also, if your client software relies on non-standard features of a specific RDBMS you might have to rewrite to account for that.

So yes, I would very much like for all vendors to have a standard-compliant default mode, from which exported data would seamlessly import into other RDBMS's (re. sig, how do you write that correctly?). Sadly, most vendors (apart from OSS alternatives like PostgreSQL which should bend over backwards to make migration easier) have no interest in making it easier to switch to another RDBMS, so this will never happen.

Granted, I was part of the team developing said application, and DB portability was something of a pet peeve of mine, for which I was very thankful during the migrations. Due to that we had few DB-related issues during those migrations. I'm not even a DB-admin by trade, so most real DB-admins should have no problems doing what I did.

Comment: Re:most schools ignore sat essay (Score 1) 187

by Man Eating Duck (#46903089) Attached to: Grading Software Fooled By Nonsense Essay Generator

[...] My vocabulary has always been tested to be far above my level. Granted if you were to just present me the words with semi-random definitions I would probably be screwed. But if you see how the word is used in a sentence like most test present it to you, it is fairly easy to determine the meaning of a word from just it's grammar, context and usage. [...]

I wouldn't say that a particular word is part of your vocabulary if you can only guess its meaning from context. That's why good vocabulary tests only show you the word. According to this test my English vocabulary is estimated to be about 35000 words, probably because I have read *a lot* of English (it isn't my native language). This test only show you the words, and you have to be honest, so cheating is easy... however, I didn't.

There is also the difference between your active vocabulary (words that you would actually be able to recall and use in a sentence), and passive vocabulary (words that you know the meaning of if you see it standing alone). If you can only guess the meaning of a word from its context, it's not part of your vocabulary at all, and a test which helps you to the extent of showing it in a sentence is close to useless.

Comment: Re:Hybrids, diesel and Prius (Score 1) 93

by Man Eating Duck (#46885947) Attached to: DARPA Develops Stealth Motorcycle For US Special Forces

A ship engine isn't a fixed RPM diesel generator, it's a variable RPM diesel engine.

I agree with the rest of your post, but ship's diesel motors used on transport ships are about as efficient as you can make an engine run. For the vast majority of their time, they run at the ideal fuel/output ratio you can get. This is not because of environmental concerns, but because it saves fuel (and money) to the companies running the ships. True, the engines are larger, but you could do worse than looking at what they do to find the most efficient ways to run a diesel engine :)

Comment: Re:What I want to know is ... (Score 1) 239

Yes. From the airport. Which is "in on it".

Yup, that racket annoys me to the point where I try not to buy anything neither at the airport nor on the plane. Except for that I generally don't care about food and drink prices while travelling. At my local airport one company has an agreement about providing all food and pub services (apart from a couple of franchise stores) at the airport, and the prices are absolutely ridiculous.

I've noted a few exceptions, though. Both Munich airport and Las Palmas had pleasant outdoor cafés with food and drinks, with prices a bit cheaper than typical main street tourist places in those respective cities. Not your local corner joint, but better than expectations for airports.

Departing from Stansted, London last week, I had the cheapest pint of beer of the whole trip. £3.25 for a very nice stout (Saddle Black). Granted, we stayed in central London, where prices are high, and that particular pint was a promotion, but it was still actually good value :)

Comment: Re:Still hoping they make a movie camera (Score 1) 129

by Man Eating Duck (#46831209) Attached to: Lytro Illum Light-Field Camera Lets You Refocus Pictures Later

No, it's where you're looking. Why can't you be happy looking where everybody else is looking?

The tech isn't broken just because of a small minority of 'special' people like you don't know how to take in a scene. Why don't you stop being special and just watch it the way everybody else does?

I, too, find this very irksome in some 3D movies. Avatar was pretty good in that respect, some of the Harry Potter movies were really, really bad. The thing is that my eyes will wander over the scene, and it is tiresome when my eyes instinctively try to focus on those out-of-focus areas. It does not happen in 2D, but 3D fools my brain into believing that focusing is possible. And yes, this is an artistic decision on the director's part which doesn't work for me at all, as it does *not* translate from the 2D equivalent.

I haven't gamed much in 3D, but I found it a very pleasant experience when I tried it in a store (I think the game was Crysis 2). I only played for a few minutes, it might have been tiring after a longer period of time, but I'm pretty sure that what made it so *good* during gameplay compared to watching a 3D movie was that the whole scene was in focus.

Comment: Re:Peak During the Day? (Score 1) 504

by Man Eating Duck (#46828487) Attached to: Oklahoma Moves To Discourage Solar and Wind Power

You and I have more power available to us at peak because our solar/wind neighbor is only drawing half of peak. "The Grid" is healthier. I agree 100%.

...but that's not my point.

My point is only that excess residential solar has little value, since it's generated when it's least needed. [Because if it was needed, houses wouldn't be generating extra.]

I don't understand that argument. Private homes generating the extra power in daytime are not the ones that cause a higher load; the offices and factories which are most active active during regular work hours does that. More power input to the grid at peak hours means that power plants could be throttled down. Of course utilities run for profit would oppose this change, which is why they try to make it economically unviable for customers. It makes a lot of sense for a society if your goal is to minimize peak output requirements for power plants, or limit the usage of some environmentally unfriendly, but easily throttleable electricity sources like coal plants.

How many hardware guys does it take to change a light bulb? "Well the diagnostics say it's fine buddy, so it's a software problem."

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