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Comment: What about the graphics? (Score 1) 121

by Paul Carver (#48642223) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Resources For Kids Who Want To Make Games?

In a related but definitely separate question, what are some resources for kids who are interested in creating the graphics for games? Are they all horribly complicated or are there some good starter tools that kids can use to bridge the gap between utterly awful and years of profesional experience?

Comment: Re:sane units - FYI (Score 1) 129

by Paul Carver (#48490261) Attached to: Graphene May Top Kevlar As a Bullet-Stopping Material

Incorrect. 2000 MPH has one sig fig. Intermediate zeros (2001) and trailing zeros to the right of the decimal (2000.0) are significant but trailing zeros to the left of the decimal are not unless somebody changed introductory Physics since the 90's.

Of course if you want to be unambiguous you should write 2.000 x 10^3 or 2 x 10^3 so we can distinguish between 4 vs 1 sig fig. By moving the trailing zeros to the right of the decimal we've declared them significant. But it is utterly wrong to assuume that 2000 has four sigfigs. It has one unless the precision is specified elsewhere. By "utterly wrong" I mean "you will get points off in high school physics" wrong. That's straight out of the basics of the first sig figs lesson.

Comment: Re:I'm OK with this (Score 1) 181

by Paul Carver (#48125469) Attached to: The Cult of Elon Musk Shines With Steve Jobs' Aura

Steve Jobs was born in 1955, Elon Musk in 1971. Are you sure you want to compare them based on accomplishments to date? I think we can assume Jobs won't be accomplishing anything else, but it's a bit premature to judge Musk's lifetime achievements. Lots of people live into their 70s, some are productive into their 90s, especially if they can afford expensive medical care. Even if Musk were to die at the same age Jobs did, you really aren't giving him a fair comparison unless you restrict your comparison to things Jobs had accomplished by Musk's current age.

Comment: Re:CDC guilty of correlation == causation (Score 1) 291

by Paul Carver (#47901281) Attached to: Link Between Salt and High Blood Pressure 'Overstated'

Then slowly adding solid food, starting with only raw foods. It took a couple of months to work up to eating chicken again.

I'm going to have to pass on any diet that includes raw chicken. I'm also very skeptical of the claim that drinking juice has any benefits that aren't present in just eating whatever the juice came from. Bottled juices are convenient because of the shelf life. If you're sticking a fresh item into a juicer you could have gotten all the same benefits by just sticking it directly in your mouth. Your stomach liquifies everything anyway.

If you've got a GI disorder that prevents you from digesting or eliminating then you'll need to be on clear fluids and IV but for non-GI disorders the rest of your body doesn't care whether the food was solid or liquid when it entered your mouth. Either way it was broken down into its fundamental constituents before it passed into your bloodstream.

Comment: Re:In addition to rolling out... (Score 1) 129

No, NYC is too corrupt and too union. It doesn't help that everything in NYC is expensive, but don't imagine for a minute that running high speed fiber in NYC is just a matter of buying the fiber and paying a competitive hourly wage for somebody to run it through a conduit. There's definitely a reason why no little startup is just buying some cheap datacenter grade GigE switches and running new fiber building to building in NYC.

Comment: Re:Clever? (Score 1) 229

Interesting interpretation of the word "lost" you've got there. Right in the headline of the article you linked to it says "AT&T lost $3.9 billion in Q4 2012, earned $7.3 billion profit for the year".

But I suppose you could be referring to $7.3 billion profit for the year as 3+ billion per quarter if you're bad at dividing by four.

Nevertheless, according to page 30 of AT&T's annual report http://www.att.com/Investor/ATT_Annual/2012/downloads/ar2012_annual_report.pdf the dollar amounts (in millions of dollars) for "Construction and capital expenditures" for the past few years are:
2012 19,728
2011 20,272
2010 20,302
2009 17,294
2008 20,290

So 17-20 billion dollars per year in construction and capital improvements. If you've got evidence to show that AT&T is NOT investing tens of billions of dollars per year in improving the network you should maybe contact the SEC or FCC. Otherwise, it's not really polite to imply that AT&T isn't investing in infrastructure without evidence to support your claims.

Disclaimer: I work for AT&T but not in wireless or in finance. But I'm well aware of AT&T's public communications of how much the company is investing.

Comment: Standards based interfaces? (Score 1) 248

by Paul Carver (#45863377) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: State of the Art In DIY Security Systems?

I haven't looked into it lately but it used to be that composite analog video (i.e. NTSC/PAL) quality was the only standard. Any higher quality video was proprietary and often required Internet Explorer. The only other option was using something like zone minder or motion to grab jpegs as quickly as possible and create videos after the fact.

Has the situation improved? Are there cameras available that provide live realtime HD quality video without a dependence on the camera vendor's software or a web browser plugin?

Comment: Re:How about complete amnesty (Score 1) 354

by Paul Carver (#45862249) Attached to: The New York Times Pushes For Clemency For Snowden

I think a reasonable case could be made that the NSA is the enemy of America and Snowden was operating behind enemy lines in direct contact with anti-freedom forces with great power to destroy him. While he may not have been in an armed forces branch of the US government he WAS acting at great personal risk to defend the US constitution from those who have demonstrated their willingness to violate it. The constitution must be protected from enemies foreign AND domestic. Snowden is fighting to do so even if he never actually swore that oath.

Comment: Socialization vs getting work done (Score 1) 96

by Paul Carver (#45126339) Attached to: What's Lost When a Meeting Goes Virtual

Humans are social creatures so there is often business value in spending some money to allow people to socialize, hang out, and eat and drink together. That's where face to face meetings are irreplaceable.

However, if the work is well understood and there aren't personality conflicts that need to be worked out and team cooperation to be built, then teleconferencing is much more effective. In person meetings and whiteboards facilitate "winging it" whereas teleconferencing (I mean with screens sharing, not just voice) tends to encourage getting your information into at least somewhat organized electronic form. This can be harder, but it's harder because it's not allowing you to be as lazy as just sitting around talking and maybe scrawling an incomplete and inaccurate diagram on the whiteboard that you never bother finishing or archiving for future reference.

I wish my employer would spring for a bit more business travel, but I would be lying if I said it would make me more productive.

I should also mention that instant messaging with presence indication is also an essential component of working across geographic distance. I'm much more effective working with people when glance at a list of names on my screen shows me instantly who's available at this moment. The people who are never "online" in IM require a much more inconvenient phone call/voicemail/email/walk down the hall.

I have certainly wasted time at in person meetings waiting idly by while someone I wanted to talk to was busy talking to someone else about some topic that didn't require my attention.

Comment: Re:Let me see if I understand this... (Score 1) 136

by Paul Carver (#45035431) Attached to: In Praise of Micromanagement

No, he was an expert in knowing what a large number of people will think looks cool. I didn't buy anything while I was there, but when I was in the vicinity of the Apple store in NYC I certainly went inside to take a look around. The building itself is basically a work of art and the staircase is at least as much a part of the art as anything else.

A staircase alone won't sell phones or computers, but Jobs didn't focus on just a staircase. He treated buildings as part of the Apple package. If you can't see why that's important then you'll never be as successful as Jobs.

Of course that's ok. It's not necessary for everyone to be as successful as Steve Jobs. But if you're putting a lot of effort into trying to prove that he wasn't *really* successful you might want to take a look at your own life and ask why it's so important to you to find faults and convince people that he wasn't talented.

It's not so hard to lift yourself by your bootstraps once you're off the ground. -- Daniel B. Luten