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Comment: Re:eliminate extra sugar (Score 1) 496

by asliarun (#49329551) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds

I did it by eliminating extra sugar.

I cut way down on sugar, and it made absolutely zero difference on my weight. It may have other benefits, but not weight.

Then again, everybody is different. What works for your body may not work for another.

There probably is no magic bullet, other than working your sweaty ass off on a farm or building pyramids (or a machine that simulates such), which is what we are evolved to be doing. The only chubby people used to the royal families, which is like 0.00001% of the population, not enough for evolution to "care" about.

Diets are like software engineering fads: promise a Grand New Way of doing things, but in the end there is no substitute for experience, skill, patience, listening to users, and discipline. "Have you tried the new Node-Jay-Ass diet?"

I would note that the guy who dies at 65 with a Bic Mac in hand appears to be happier than the guy who dies at 82 on a treadmill sweating his bloody ass off.

I beg to differ. Unless you go to extreme levels, exercise is for building a healthy body. Diet control is for losing excess weight. While exercise certainly helps in losing weight and in boosting metabolism, it only has a marginal contribution in losing weight.

The other thing: You say you cut down sugar and it didn't make a difference. I don't know exactly what you meant, but personally, I see sugar in different forms. There's pure granulated sugar which is only a small part of our diets. The much bigger thing to eliminate is "hidden sugar" - sugar in processed foods (even canned or tetrapacked foods). There's sugar from fruits too. I remember reading about a school that replaced the coke vending machine and forced kids to drink fruit juice. Obesity actually skyrocketed. Kids were chugging half gallon fruit juice containers for lunch every day!

I am not a "paleo" person but I do believe that during our hunter gatherer days, fruits were a very seasonal treat. A few months in a year, and it was easy picking and full of nutrition and packed with energy (sugar) so all of us developed a really sweet tooth. But those fruits were only available for a couple of months a year and then, our lifestyle was drastically different too. We were energy starved, not energy overloaded.

Finally, I also see carbs as sugar. Both are broken down by the body to produce energy, and excess converted by our body into fat (energy storage for the starvation days).

So, to me, eliminating sugar means eliminating pure sugar, processed foods, fruits, and carbs. I find it difficult to imagine how doing this cannot possibly result in significant weight loss. I am fairly overweight (not obese though), and to me, following this is the best way to start the process of becoming healthy and fit again. I would rather lose 15-20 pounds and then start exercising - than doing all at once.

I feel that making this a package deal is only raising the bar much higher and giving us more chances to fail early on. If I mentally think that I have to exercise AND control my diet - chances are that after a week, due to work pressure or some other excuse, I will skip gymming. Then I give myself an excuse to start slacking off on my diet as well. Instead, I want to put myself in a position where I can succeed early on, and let that reinforce my belief system that I can "do it". I would much rather start with a simple rule of thumb - i.e. eliminate sugar from my diet.

Just my personal thoughts, please don't crucify me if I have been factually wrong on some of my notions.

Comment: Re: A laptop with almost no ports?! (Score 4, Informative) 529

by asliarun (#49221287) Attached to: Apple's "Spring Forward" Event Debuts Apple Watch and More

If you leave biases aside, and want to compare the Macbook with something else, the Dell XPS 13 would be neck to neck. I would even venture to say that the Dell is far more computer for the money (i will qualify why). Here's a comparison.

The Dell XPS 13 is extremely well built (aluminum alloy, carbon fibre - I've held it, it is gorgeous) - might possibly be a hair lower than the new Macbook (which I haven't held) but really, I think you would be splitting hairs.

The XPS 13 however has two big things going for it - it has full blown Core i3/i5/i7 (2.1 - 2.4 GHz) as opposed to Macbook's Core M (measly 1.1 GHz) - which means much better performance (i would imagine 2x-3x better), much less thermal throttling, and better graphics (HD5500 vs 5300). The other big thing is its display. XPS 13 has a near zero bezel 3200 x 1800 pixel Sharp IGZO panel that is arguably the best and most cutting edge laptop panel one can get today.

You can read a review of this panel here:

And dimensions and weight. Macbook is 11" wide and 0.52" thick, and weighs 2 pounds. The XPS 13 is a bit heavier (2.6-2.8 pounds), but is only 12" wide and 0.33"-0.6" thick. The cool thing is that because of the near zero bezels, XPS 13 is a 13" screen while only being 12" wide (typical for a 11" laptop, not for a 13" laptop).

Again, I am not saying Macbook is not good. It still seems to have Apple's obsessive attention to detail in terms of build quality and user centric design approach. But to say that it has no competion - that is no longer true. I do believe that the XPS 13 is a genuine alternative in just about every respec. The extra 0.8 may be an issue for some, but you also sacrifice a *lot* of computer for that. Then I would say, might as well get an iPad.

Comment: Re:great film! (Score 1) 44

by asliarun (#49200511) Attached to: 'Chappie': What It Takes To Render a Robot


Saw this movie yesterday night. Absolutely loved it! I wrote another comment on this thread, but to me, this is probably how we will end up.

You should also try Neal Asher's books. They are a more extremely and futuristic version of this movie - with a lot more violence, cyberpunk style action, homicidal aliens, etc. but the underlying theme is the same. And the AIs and robots (golems) are mostly similar too. Oh, it even has AIs that have gone insane, robots that have strange idiosyncrasies, and hybrid versions of all of these.

Comment: Re:Mediocre? That's being generous. (Score 3, Informative) 44

by asliarun (#49200465) Attached to: 'Chappie': What It Takes To Render a Robot

The linked article give it a C. That's quite a bit higher than Kenneth Turan implies in his review:

Don't believe everything you read. If I had mod points I would have upvoted lkcl's earlier post.

I saw the late night show of Chappie yesterday. I am a science fiction nut (especially hard scifi and cyberpunk - Neal Asher, Peter F Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, Stephen Baxter, etc.). Chappie is not hard scifi, nor is it grand theatric soap opera. But it paints a vision of how robots and AI would eventually get integrated into society. And I *loved* the movie for it. If you see District 9 (the director's earlier work), you will see that Neill Blomkamp has a very distinct and unique viewpoint. He focused not on technology, not on robotics and special effects, but on how all this will eventually coexist in our super fu*ked up world.

And the irony is thick in the movie. You have a bunch of outlaws - violent thugs - that first ridicule the robot/AI and try to take advantage of it, but eventually respect the being for what it is - an independent consciousness. Chappie eventually becomes part of the family. And I agree with the director's vision. The urban backdrop of modern day South Africa / JoBurg - it personifies a certain grittiness and bizarreness that just works perfectly for the story.

Sure, the movie and story has huge shortcomings. But for me, the main storyline, unique viewpoint, and the way it is directed - it all adds up to make a superb movie.

It is also worth reading Neal Asher for an even more violent and futuristic version of what this movie essentially is.

Comment: Don't make the individual conform to the goal (Score 1) 698

So very sad to hear about your impending demise.

This was a letter written by Hunter S Thompson when he was 22 years old.
He tackles the grandest question of all, the proverbial "meaning of life".

I normally dislike reading self-help literature of any kind, but this is not it. This is just a honest introspective letter, and a letter he writes to his friend who asks for advice. Although the friend's question was different from what you are asking, I thought that the real underlying question was the same. Hence I write. Quite likely, this is also the letter that I will ask my children to read. Or I will read it out to them.

All the very best on your onward journey.

To quote the Hagakure:
Among the maxims on Lord Naoshige's wall, there was this one: "Matters of great concern should be treated lightly."
Master Ittei commented, "Matters of small concern should be treated seriously."

Comment: Re: They are just trolls with lots of money (Score 4, Interesting) 418

by asliarun (#49026863) Attached to: $10K Ethernet Cable Claims Audio Fidelity, If You're Stupid Enough To Buy It

You bring up some good points in your post. But I have to disagree on one thing. Good quality music reproduction is today more accessible than ever. There was a time when you had to get horn speakers or at least speakers as big as cabinets, class A amplification -solid state or tubes, and a really hard to setup vinyl turntable. Then there was room treatment, speaker placement, and all those shenanigans.

Not saying this is still not relevant. But today, you can get a decent pair of headphones (sennheiser, audio technical, akg, grado, fostex/MrSpeakers, etc), a decent DAC and amp (Schiit, Audio GD, etc), and good quality source and good quality digital (hi res or even redbook) - all at even a college dorm budget, and similarly compact.

I remember the days of the walkman and audio cassettes, and for sure, the progress has been dramatic. The only irony being that the single most important piece - the quality of mastering and quality of recording - has largely gone for a toss. Today, it is all about loudness wars and auto tune. But that is a different matter.

When people pursuing any hobby go beyond a certain expense level, they make purchasing decisions for most things other than money. Why is there no Slashdot argument about people paying $3 million for a vintage Ferrari or a Jag? Is there any basis to that price! Is the buyer, no matter how much an auto enthusiast, ever going to take his or her vintage Jag for a really rough spin that could risk damaging the car?

Maybe the analogy is not accurate. Fair enough. But a lot of audiophiles with really high end systems do find a difference in sound even with trivial component swaps. They will even claim that placement of certain objects in the room alters the sound.

But before dismissing them as twats, it might be worth thinking about how idiosyncratic and bizarre other people are who are equally immersed in their hobby or pursuit. The guy who is cooling his Intel CPU in liquid nitro to get the last bit of over clock - really, what practical purpose did he serve? And he probably spent a bunch of money on his rig too.

The strangest thing of all is that music is one of those strange beasts that changes quality with every trivial change in component, room, source, you name it. That is what gets audiophiles hooked. Maybe and probably it is psychoacoustics. But if you can hear the difference, it is there, right?

Now how much tweaking and money you want to throw at this pursuit, that is a very subjective thing. But dissing it and ridiculing it is also wrong. It is only one of the many things that continue to fascinate us as a species. And music is indeed very very special to most of us. We just don't pay enough attention to this sense.

Comment: Re: Different markets... (Score 4, Insightful) 458

by asliarun (#48946205) Attached to: How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft

I disagreed about apple being jewelry alone. Microsoft made products that people grumblingly put up with - so they could get the job done and be more productive.

Apple made products that people finally liked to use, and could use it easily enough, and fairly intuitively. When you create a great user experience like this, especially with a very low learning curve, people will adopt and use it in extraordinary ways. Once they feel good about using your products, they will feel special, like it was their private special thing. They will then become your biggest marketing team.

If anything, the industrial design aspect of Apple's products and even high price were side effects. The first was a nice to have, the second not so nice to have. But it didn't change a damn thing. It was always about the core user experience.. And how even most of the third party apps gave you the same sense of familiarity and consistency.

In a cynical way, this is like marketing a drug. You give the first few doses for free and make people realize how easy it is to use the drug and how shiny their world becomes when they use it regularly. Then step back and enjoy the fun. Apple gave people a tiny little pill yto swallow and even gave them little travel packs. Microsoft made people goto the doctor and get the drug injected up their backsides.

Comment: Re:OK, based upon notebook shopping thus far (Score 2) 118

"8GB was something acceptable back in 2008... but a laptop should be at 16, if not 32 gigs of RAM."

On what basis are you saying that? What are these deal-breaker applications that will need 32 or 16 gigs of RAM? Mind you, this post is about an ultra portable 13" laptop - I would assume that no one in their right mind would want to use this as a full blown workstation. I would imagine most users would use a laptop like this for standard stuff like browsing, Office apps, for presentations, etc.

Maybe a few would run Photoshop or Visual Studio or Eclipse. Is 8GB not enough for Photoshop or Eclipse anymore?? And I do feel that with HD 5500, 8GB RAM, and a speedy SSD, Photoshop would run just fine.

And back in 2008, Windows XP 64 bit had barely come out and almost no one was using 64 bit apps. From what I remember, almost everyone had between 2GB - 4GB RAM in standard laptop builds. Much less 8GB.

I'm honestly scratching my head to try and imagine why 32 GB or 16GB would be considered bare minimum for an ultraportable laptop.

Comment: Electrically-coupled counterweight (Score 1) 248

by Aardpig (#48920837) Attached to: Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

Many posts suggest doing away with the cable by putting the motor on the elevator car; but this overlooks the fact that the elevator needs to be connected to a counterweight for efficiency reasons.

However, here's a thought: you put motors on the elevator *and* the counterweight. As the elevator goes up, the counterweight goes down and uses its motors as generators to partly power the elevator's motors. And vice versa.

Sure, you're not going to break even due to electrical losses; but it'll be a damn sight better than no counterweight.

The time spent on any item of the agenda [of a finance committee] will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved. -- C.N. Parkinson