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Comment: Re:My guess (Score 1) 653

Well, Palin had her moment, but showed Carly that there's an opening there that she can exploit to get perhaps a veep spot. Running companies into the ground like she did is not a hinderance in the Republican business world –heck, it's a sign of healthy locust appetite to them! So now all she needs is some bona fides on the social front, to attacking a popular CEO in her supposed field can let her appear to be sticking it to the arrogant artsy fartsy liberals. Fnord.

Comment: Re:If you demand all your supporters be flawless.. (Score 1) 653

That is, well, a big jump to a conclusion there, son. Not mentioning something is not active refusal. At the moment, the situation in places like Saudi Arabia is such that advocacy there could even hurt the ones you are trying to help. Also the "we" factor is not to be ignored, as in "we Americans are better than that. Stop going backwards, Indiana" works better than preaching from the outside. All this assumes that Tim Cook has enough time and resources to call out every case of discrimination, of course. I personally feel Tim doesn't mention SA because it's basically like saying water is wet.

Though Apple does not release sales numbers by country, it's pretty safe to say that Indiana is still a bigger business than Saudi Arabia is, due to demographics and sales outlets. So I don't give that argument much weight.

Comment: Re:Make it DARKER dammit. (Score 1) 233

by Saint Fnordius (#49162839) Attached to: Spock and the Legacy of Star Trek

Without darkness, there can be no lens flares!

But on a more serious note, darkness is often mistaken for depth. Nonstop action for pacing. Fan service hat tips for reverence to the material.

What I feel was lost from Star Trek as it got older was the vast scale of the universe, the sense that these ships were billions of kilometres from the nearest home base, that any message sent would take weeks, and more weeks would pass before any help could arrive. What J.J. Abrams latched onto was the idea of the Starfleet as a military organisation, leaving the research part of the Starfleet by the wayside. But with the current fetishisation of armed forces, it does have the Trek characteristic of reflecting the moral climate of the age, though I feel it lacks the bigger part of the theme –how overcoming discrimination is the key to success.

Comment: Re:Star Trek gave us a future to shoot for. (Score 1) 233

by Saint Fnordius (#49162799) Attached to: Spock and the Legacy of Star Trek

What Leonard Nimoy brought into Star Trek was his interpretation of Spock, as someone who will always be different, an alien, a misfit, but at the same time respected, a part of the gang, a good friend. From interviews and histories, the picture emerges of Nimoy having a pretty large say in Spock's characterisation and backstory.

As for cultural differences, the classic Trek Line was always "oh, we used to discriminate based on religion, but we got over that." It was a little heavy-handed, thus the recognition in The Next Generation that religion was still around, but it was treated as something that enriched a character's background and was not allowed to be an excuse for intolerance. Intolerance within the Federation didn't play a major role until Enterprise, and by that time I had lost interest in the franchise (the Terran supremacists also seem cribbed from Babylon 5).

Comment: Re:Micromanagement reigns... (Score 1) 420

by Saint Fnordius (#48710861) Attached to: The Open Office Is Destroying the Workplace

Agreed, as most "agile" workflows try to reduce the contact between stakeholders and the development team. The whole point of Scrum's product owner is to reduce the number of managers down to one, and the idea of things like sprint goal is to say "look, we can promise this by the end of the sprint. Now let us go do it!"

It's just that the internal tools are often abused by traditional managers, instead of leaving them to be tools for the team to manage itself.*

* I don't consider the scrum master to be a manager, as the role of the scrum master is more of a subordinate role than a managing role, a person who helps to smooth the way and referee, not to make sure everyone is working on what he feels is important.

Comment: Re:Transparency is supported. Pronounciation? (Score 1) 377

by Saint Fnordius (#48571437) Attached to: Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

Considering the number of images we push through the internet, a "retina"-resolution JPEG is still a factor of ten smaller than a PNG. Since many mobile plans have data caps, and many more are still forced to drop to EDGE speeds due to spotty coverage, it does play a role. Those that argue that image size does not play a role have not seen now average surfers have little to no tolerance for delays. Even speeding up the load time from three seconds to under a second is very important.

A PNG is still used a lot, though, due to its support of alpha channels. But that means they tend to be used where they can be cached. It has more or less replaced the venerable GIF for those areas where a SVG cannot (yet) be used. The old rule of thumb of choosing JPEG for photographic images and PNG for more solid colours still applies.

Comment: Re:Even if their wet? (Score 1) 194

by Saint Fnordius (#48546949) Attached to: Trains May Soon Come Equipped With Debris-Zapping Lasers

I think the system would be dual-powered, with a sensor placed where the laser's reflection off of the rail would normally hit. Others have mentioned that there were already tests, where the leaf isn't incinerated so much as insta-dried and thus not so slimy. It would restrict speed, though, as the train could not travel faster than the speed of the laser leaf-dryer.

Comment: Re:you're doing it wrong (Score 1) 368

by Saint Fnordius (#48546101) Attached to: Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

I think it is best to remember that this is his own personal constructive criticism of why a story doesn't work for him as a reader, namely because he has an expectation that technology included in the story have its societal ramifications referred to.

I like to compare it to set dressing in a play or a movie: the story may be good, but if the stage isn't appropriately set, then it makes it harder for the audience to maintain suspension of disbelief. Part of why I detest Michael Bay movies so much is how he relies only upon glamorous explosions, but doesn't really make them match actual physics. That blatant disregard makes it impossible for me to build up even a smidgen of disbelief.

Comment: Re:you're doing it wrong (Score 1) 368

by Saint Fnordius (#48546067) Attached to: Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

It is actually an old argument, which Charlie is presenting here. I recall even Isaac Asimov himself mentioning this how a classic pitfall of a speculative fiction writer is to add tech but not consider the political ramifications of the technology. It was also at the root of the cyberpunk writing movement, and part of what reviewers loved so much about Neuromancer when it first came out.

I found Mr. Stross was being nice here. Instead of merely stating that he hated a certain book, he did say why specifically he couldn't finish reading it. And since he writes a lot of SF himself, it is only polite to be constructive in his criticism.

Comment: Re:The number one thing (Score 1) 250

One midterm solution that Munich helped pioneer is to have central heating on a large scale. The city's power plant got rid of its cooling pools, and instead pipes the water heated by generating electricity into homes. The city has bee pretty successful in expanding the network so much that the electricity plants have slowly moved from heat being the by-product to electricity being the by-product to the demand for hot water and warm radiators now a driving force. Oh, and it is popular in the city also because it cut down on soot so much.

But that is more of a centralised solution. In your case, the two things you might look into are personal electrical turbines (yes, they are coming on to the market) as well as a modern wood oven. The thing about wood ovens is they are less efficient as wood just isn't that efficient a fuel, but the psychological effect of a wood fire is that it just feels warmer.

The suggestions others make about a water-based solar heating system is also worth noting, as they are really cheap to make yourself. The main issue here is planning, as the water reservoir that you are heating needs space, the pipes have to be laid (though you might be able to use your current radiator network), but it is a good way to at least augment your solution.

Comment: Re:For the rest of us (Score 1) 299

by Saint Fnordius (#48301307) Attached to: It's Time To Revive Hypercard

I think that's the biggest issue - not that SuperCard isn't a worthy successor, but that it is hard to find and it costs money. HyperCard used to be free and available for every Mac user, so it was a natural gateway drug for programming. What also made it accessible was that it was meant to handle data - the "card" in the name comes from its roots as a database program. It was easy to whip up a recipe database, or an address book, and so teach hobbyists about how data is stored.

I do not expect HyperCard to come back, as that vital element of giving it away for free and still have a powerful tool has been tried. In fact, I suspect that love for HyperCard is fuelled more by nostalgia than anything else. Eventually we may be mourning the loss of WYSIWYG HTML editors for the same reason.

Comment: Re:5e: Best D&D, MHO (Score 1) 203

by Saint Fnordius (#47755655) Attached to: Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

In mechanics terms, that is true, but when talking about characters they were referred to by their former careers: "ex marine", "former scout", "retired navy" and so on. And back then, that's what was most important to us nerds.

Now excuse me while I dig out my LBB version of Traveller, all those notes I wrote in high school and college about that and FASA's Star Trek RPG, and wallow in nostalgia!

Comment: Re:Munich - sort of like Detroit? (Score 2) 190

by Saint Fnordius (#47747285) Attached to: Munich Council Say Talk of LiMux Demise Is Greatly Exaggerated

I don't suppose you ever heard the term "Laptops and Lederhosen", have you? Munich is where most of the German IT industry is, and population and job growth are still outstripping the real estate market. In that respect, it's the anti-Detroit with its abandoned neighbourhoods.

Comment: Re:5e: Best D&D, MHO (Score 2) 203

by Saint Fnordius (#47710789) Attached to: Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

I started playing AD&D back in 1980, where the only systems available without a class system were the more obscure The Fantasy Trip and Champions. Tunnels and Trolls, RoleMaster, Arduin's Grimoire, Palladium, they all had classes, and Traveller had careers to generate your skill sets (and most famously, no rules for improving skills during play). GURPS didn't come out until 1986 or thereabouts, long after AD&D had been the FRPG of choice.

So I don't think you really know what you're talking about.

Air is water with holes in it.