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Comment: Search and categorization are hopelessly broken (Score 1) 151

by swb (#47570137) Attached to: Is the App Store Broken?

I can't tell you the number of times I've searched for games and occasionally other categories and gotten fed up and not bought anything. The categories are mostly unhelpful, the search is completely useless, there's no good filtering, it's awful.

That being said, I still have dozens of apps, some with obscure features that I don't know how I found them, so it's not impossible to find apps, it's just hard to fine tune a search.

One filter I would like to see is "Has In-App Purchases" being something I can filter out. Especially with games. I'll pay $10 for a good game, happily, if it is feature-complete without buying add-ons.

Comment: Re:I must be the outlier (Score 1) 223

by swb (#47565649) Attached to: Comcast Confessions

I'm not quite sure why Comcast hasn't emiserated the in-store situation yet; but apparently they haven't, and it's not as though the front-line peons are fucking with you for their pleasure, so if they aren't forced to they generally won't.

The last time I went to a Comcast service center there were no fewer than a half-dozen people waiting in line, perhaps as many as a dozen and only 4 employees.

The lack of strongarm tactics in stores is probably deliberate to avoid the kinds of arguments and chaos that would end up getting uploaded to youtube from a cell phone camera.

Or it could be flat-out fear. Most people in my line looked somewhere between pretty annoyed and downright pissed. It's easy to be an asshat on the phone, when the guy in front if you is 6'2, 240 and sick of your shit you tend to be a little more cautious. At best you'll get yelled at, at worst you might end up having your face decelerate a DVR.

Comment: Cultural cycle speed-heroin (Score 2) 505

by swb (#47549397) Attached to: Suddenly Visible: Illicit Drugs As Part of Silicon Valley Culture

Doesn't the cultural cycle of drugs always go from speed to heroin? Speed provides the energy and "go" but the come down is rough, so there's a turn towards tranquilizers and opioids as a way to manage the come-down.

I've never been on that merry-go-round, but the older I get the more sleep deprivation hurts, physically. It's not just being tired, my body aches, almost like the early stages of strep throat or the flu. A little opioid would really take the edge off that.

It's not hard to see adderall and vicodin/oxycodone being a popular combination in Silicon Valley.

Comment: Re:My experience with hydrocodone... (Score 3, Informative) 505

by swb (#47549319) Attached to: Suddenly Visible: Illicit Drugs As Part of Silicon Valley Culture

I had a bad accident which resulted in 2/3rds of my left ring finger getting amputated and the end joint on my middle finger getting fused. Needless to say, I was on a lot of painkillers. 40 mg oxycodone per day for about two weeks, which gradually tapered down to about 5 mg as needed, which amounted to about 5-10 mg a day for maybe 4 months.

Like you, I got kind of tired of the large doses after a while. They made me feel kind of sluggish and lazy. Even when I had tapered down I really kind of resisted taking a second 5 mg dose in one day unless I felt there was a compelling need. It seemed to be more bad side effects and less good value.

I eventually ended up mostly taking a single dose in the morning; for some reason my hand hurt worst in the morning and even if it didn't, not dosing in the morning usually meant my hand hurt worse than normal by mid-day and it was harder to recover (more meds, more time) once it got painful.

Like you, that single dose in the morning seemed to have a kind of calming focus. I'm also a huge coffee drinker, so I would imagine the combination was the key. But I never really wanted another dose during the day. I couldn't recapture the effect from the morning. I just got sluggish.

Unlike you I took them all, probably past where I had a hard-core need, but when they were gone -- zero sense of any withdrawal symptoms. Nothing. My sense is that addiction requires big doses that keep your level up nearly 24 hours a day for weeks. Tiny doses, like 5 mg, once a day probably just can't produce a true physical dependence because you go "dry" after about 8 hours.

I'd probably keep taking them if I had them, but only once a day, and that may be the difference. People who get addicted don't have that "it doesn't work so well in the afternoon" effect; for them it works every time and they really notice it when it stops. I just had no interest in more, it worked against me.

Comment: Re:Better than nothing? (Score 1) 120

by swb (#47542859) Attached to: When Spies and Crime-Fighters Squabble Over How They Spy On You

You'd like to think this means something good, like maybe the spy guys have some moral disdain for spying on citizens for law enforcement purposes but I think that's just wishful thinking.

My guess is that at best, this is about the spy guys not wanting to lose any advantage they have over high-value, careful adversaries who will walk away from a communication system if they think it could be compromised.

At worst, it's bureaucratic one-upmanship, with national security types wanting to keep their status over mere criminal law enforcement.

The downside is that it leads to parallel construction where law enforcement just uses the techniques anyway and then builds a legal case from evidence they wouldn't have been able to link together otherwise, burying the secret info along the way.

This may also encourage the spies to help law enforcement if they think their techniques may be used but otherwise obscured by the parallel case.

Comment: Did anyone ever try booklamp? (Score 1) 26

by swb (#47540905) Attached to: Apple Acquires "Pandora For Books" Booklamp For $15 Million

I'm dubious on the Pandora style genome concept at least as implemented by Pandora. That being said, I've listened to it and gotten some artists/songs out of it that I'd probably never hear of, so I think there's something to the idea.

My main complaint is that I wish they would give you some kind of control panel for each "station" so that you could fine-tune the recommendations by genome key words, years, etc and not just get their choices. It'd also be nice to be able to just browse the genome database without having to listen to a song.

Anyway, it'd be interesting to see what a book recommendation system like this would look like and how well it would work. I'm also curious if they do some kind of automated analysis of the texts or if its just human-derived stuff.

Comment: Re:FUD filled.... (Score 1) 212

by swb (#47534635) Attached to: How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

Since this whole war on terrorism nonsense, they've gotten kind of funny about tours for the sake of curiosity.

The Union Electric plant didn't have a visitor center -- you just showed up outside an entrance and employee took you anywhere you wanted to go. I even got to go inside one of the generators.

Comment: Re:sure, works for France (Score 5, Interesting) 290

You can have all the vacation time you want anywhere you live

Which is why every American takes 6 weeks in the summer.

In my experience, most permanent job employers don't like to negotiate on vacation time. Sometimes they'll give on a day or two, but usually they're not crazy about vacation time that deviates from whatever the position qualifies for. The only explanation ever given to me was that because salary is "secret" it's easier to compensate employees differentially; vacation is visible to other employees at the same level and differential compensation creates tension.

In a contract employment situation you can negotiate anything, but I've found in shorter term contracts there's usually some kind of deadline that's non-negotiable, making free-lance vacationing a little bit challenging.

Comment: Re:raise money privately? (Score 1) 198

I think roads are the best (and in some ways the most literal) examples of what municipal broadband should be.

The government builds roads past my house but it only provides "dark asphalt" (aka dark fiber), it doesn't provide any of the services that could be provided by the highway.

The government then licenses "service providers" to provide services on the municipal roads -- taxes for trucks that deliver things to my house, taxis, or even access fees for me to drive a vehicle on those roads. I have to pay myself to utilize the services provided by the roads.

Municipal broadband should be the same way -- it should only be the transit network, anything else -- IP connectivity/Internet should require me to pay an internet provider who in turn has paid for whatever access they need to the municipal network the same way businesses pay fees (direct or indirect) to use the roads to deliver services.

Comcast could sell TV services or Internet services, although I would expect that some other ISP would offer an better product than Comcast and they would be a marginal player, which of course is their entire objection -- hey have a rent-seeking monopoly they want to maintain. If the pipe to your house was open to any service provider, it seems likely they would only get a minority of people who wanted traditional cable television.

Happiness is a positive cash flow.