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Comment: Re:Cut the cable (Score 0) 270

by PopeRatzo (#47735455) Attached to: "MythBusters" Drops Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci

It seems to me only with TV can there be this really common "Let me demonstrate how I don't watch TV by telling you how much I know about TV."

Well, you gotta think most of that is the fact that 63% of all news on the Internet is about TV. Seriously.

You can learn a ton about what's happening on TV without watching TV. For example, let's do a little experiment. I'm gonna pick a popular web site at random, say, "Buzzfeed" and go there right now. OK, hold on....

I'm back. Of the six top stories on Buzzfeed, three of them are about TV. Now this is the front page, where all the stories are aggregated, and I just looked at the top six stories without scrolling down.

There's a story about "Where has Jennifer Aniston been?" which I assume involves a significant amount of cosmetic surgery and possibly rehab. Next is (I shit you not), "How The TV Version Of “Clueless” Ruined Everything". I don't know what that could possibly be about, but the headline is tantalizing. I mean this TV show fucking ruined everything! Finally, the #6 headline is another story about television coverage of #Ferguson, of which there have now been more of than actual news stories about #Ferguson. This is an interesting phenomenon of it's own, with the media loving to talk about how the media is covering something, especially some horrible thing.

I didn't look, but I assume that if I were to scroll down there would be more headlines about people who play this "Game of Thorns" (which sounds painful) or one of the ubiquitous stories about how that guy on the reality show you don't watch turned out to really be a horrible person in real life.

Comment: Cut the cable (Score -1, Offtopic) 270

by PopeRatzo (#47734521) Attached to: "MythBusters" Drops Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci

What is this, a TV show or something?

I love not having cable. It's one of the most liberating things I've ever done. With the time I saved by not watching TV for the past seven or eight years, I've learned to play jazz pretty well, and my eyes don't burn in the morning from staring at stupid television for hours. I'm not a great player by any means, but I'm good enough to play out at clubs with professionals. It's not that I'm at a high level, but I can hold my own, and people like it. Learning to improvise jazz as an adult has really lit up parts of my brain that were sitting dormant for decades, and that's a good feeling. All because I decided to ditch TV.

From what I can tell, the past seven/eight years have been nothing but reality TV, dramas with titles that are acronyms, and shows where you pay a subscription AND get commercials. Really high quality stuff, like Deadwood or The Wire, I'll get when it comes to Netflix or via other means, but I'd have to be so interested in it that I'm willing to go look for it. The thing that was the killer for me was when I found myself flipping through channels looking for something to watch. There just seemed something really wrong about that.

Anyway, if this is some big show for nerds where they confirm your bias about the world, I hope the changes turn out to your satisfaction. Back in the day, I was an avid TV watcher I seem to recall something about a cartoon about a family where the father was stupid, the son a smart-ass who road a skateboard and the mom had big blue hair. It's probably not on any more, because the guy who did the voice for the really old rich guy who owned the nuclear plant where the stupid father worked would now be almost as old as, what was his name..."Mr Burns", I think. I don't look down on people who watch television, it's just not for me any more. I suppose it's something of a social hindrance though, because all I can do is have a quizzical expression when someone mentions some show like "Iron Chef", which I assume is about a super hero.

Comment: Re:Simulations are limited by imagination (Score 1) 156

by PopeRatzo (#47734119) Attached to: Google Wants To Test Driverless Cars In a Simulation

Real life is far more creative than any scenario designer.

Ain't that the truth.

This is why I don't see everyone in driverless cars in any of our lifetimes. I'm thinking it's at least 70 years out. And not least because a) who's going to pay for all the necessary infrastructure? and b) shared liability will make it a nightmare.

Maybe first let's see if we can have a driverless NASCAR race without crashes. And then I want to see the CEO of a driverless car company put his kids in the car and send them on a coast-to-coast road trip, including LA at rush hour, Chicago's Dan Ryan Expressway Southbound at 3:30am and on small roads crossing the Appalachians.

Comment: Re:Lord, save us from corporatists (Score 1) 334

by PopeRatzo (#47728381) Attached to: FCC Warned Not To Take Actions a Republican-Led FCC Would Dislike

Yeah, that's what I want. Politicians who are so worried about what the other side might do in the future that they sit on their hands while a handful of powerful elite simply loot the country and peoples' wealth.

This is has been the operative policy for so long - both parties - that it's' become clear that's the plan.

Comment: Lord, save us from corporatists (Score 5, Insightful) 334

by PopeRatzo (#47724877) Attached to: FCC Warned Not To Take Actions a Republican-Led FCC Would Dislike

Why do they play and say talk about a "Republican led FCC" instead of just saying they don't want the FCC to do anything that might mean the least inconvenience for Comcast and AT&T's complete takeover of the Internet?

I mean, for chrissake, Barack Obama, the marxest marxist who ever marxed, appointed goddamn Tom Wheeler, a former cable executive to be chairman of the FCC. Are they disappointed that the chairman of the FCC isn't just Brian Roberts, the CEO of Comcast?

Fucking corporatists. They're not even trying to hide their evil agenda any more. We need another president like Taft or Teddy Roosevelt to just scare the living shit out of big corporations. It's the only way to make them behave. The Clayton Act and other anti-trust legislation ushered in the most productive and prosperous era in US history, and now these sleazy fucks want to take us all the way back to the age of robber barons where young women got burned up in shirt factory fires. Now we've got pussy-ass Barack Obama and Eric Holder who shake with fear every time a CEO so much as looks cross at them. Now, a company breaks the law and the justice department fines them with one hand and passes them the money to pay the fine with the other hand (Citicorp, Goldman Sachs, et al). Two parties, one is completely terrified of the corporatists and the other's got their nose up the corporatists ass. No, they're not the same, but the outcome is the same.

Seriously, there needs to be a goddamn revolution in this country. I'll get behind it 100% as long as it's finished by the start of football season because I'm totally gonna take my fantasy league this year. Or maybe we can just not have the revolution on Sundays or Monday nights. Didn't they used to do that in wars? Take Sunday morning off so everyone could go to church and pray that God help them butcher the other side? Something's got to be done, I tell you. Start the revolution right now while it's still pre-season.

At least, thank god, we get another chance in 2016. Yeah, I know, anybody who gets the nomination from either party is going to be a corporatist, but if I don't hold out some faint hope that something will change, I'll just go shoot myself, and I can't do that because, like I said, I'm going to own fantasy football this year. But, (and thank God for small favors) I won't be enriching Comcast while I do it.

Comment: Re:BooksKindleAudiobooks (Score 0) 105

by PopeRatzo (#47724481) Attached to: Do Readers Absorb Less On Kindles Than On Paper? Not Necessarily

Appendix's in works of fiction annoy the crap out of me.

That depends, of course. Nabokov's Pale Fire was mostly footnotes and appendices. And I've seen novels that have had glossaries and endnotes and epilogues and so on.

I'm confident that ebooks will eventually overcome this minor hurdle. But I really can't figure out why the Kindle app removed that very nice feature. It was just a solid line at the bottom of the page that showed a dot for where you were in the timeline of the book.

I forget the word for using real-world tropes when designing interfaces. Apple used to take heat for putting "wood grain" and shiny metal textures on buttons and other interface elements (damn, I know the word but I just can't think of it now). Normally, I don't care for it unless there is some bit of useful interface. I would like to see reader apps at least try to recapture more of the experience of reading a book-book than just black words on a white page. When I'm forced to pick up a dead tree edition because what I want to read does not have a digital version, I remember why I liked the experience so much. Not least of all because I didn't have to remember to plug my paperback into a charger at night, it would just fall out of my hand when I fell asleep. Also, book marks on ebooks are not yet as useful as bookmarks in a paper book.

Comment: Re:Does it matter? (Score 1) 63

by PopeRatzo (#47724315) Attached to: Plan Would Give Government Virtual Veto Over Internet Governance

No but civilizations always work to make commerce more efficient and the internet is obviously a great way to do that.

If it was worth doing, then why didn't the private sector do it?

They actually did. I don't know if you're old enough, but the private sector created what they said was going to be an interactive network that would connect everyone. It was called, "cable TV".

When cable rolled out, there were these boxes you could input to answer questions and it was going to be how you communicated with people.

It took government to create the Internet. It could not have been done any way. And since it was created with public funds, there should have been at least some aspect of it that was left to function in the public interest, instead of in the interest of a handful of telcos and content providers. And Amazon.

This is a subject where opinions seem to break down according to whether or not you're old enough to remember what it was like being on the Internet before 1995.

Comment: Re:BooksKindleAudiobooks (Score 1) 105

by PopeRatzo (#47719681) Attached to: Do Readers Absorb Less On Kindles Than On Paper? Not Necessarily

Seems to me I get the same effect by glancing down to the bottom of my Nook's display and noting the "page ## of ####".

Don't get me wrong, I love my reader. But a number and a graphical display of how much is left are two different things. And the physical sensation of how much of a book is on the left and how much on the right (for western readers), is another altogether.

As I said, I read almost exclusively on my Nexus 7. Except magazines, where I prefer dead tree editions.

Comment: BooksKindleAudiobooks (Score 1) 105

by PopeRatzo (#47716245) Attached to: Do Readers Absorb Less On Kindles Than On Paper? Not Necessarily

(Note, I tried to make the subject line read, "Books>Kindle>Audiobooks", but for some reason, Slashdot removed the ">"s.)

I absorb least of all from audiobooks, only partly because I usually fall asleep in the first five minutes.

Ever since the Kindle app got rid of the little graphical representation of where you are in the book (like a timeline, at the bottom, where you saw whether you were 1/4 of the way through, halfway or close to the end), I've been a little uncomfortable with my ebooks.

Say what you will about those old paper-and-board book things, at least you knew exactly where you were, and could get some mental image of the progression of the narrative arc. So when you'd only got maybe 1/10th of the book read (based upon the fact that only a little bit of the book was on the left hand side) and you were reading a mystery, you could pretty much rest assured that there were some pretty big plot twists to come. Maybe that has something to do with any less absorption from ebooks (if there really is less, which I doubt this study proves).

Even so, I read mostly everything on a tablet, except sheet music. And when a really good sheet music e-book reader (and editor) comes out at less than $2000, I'm going to grab one. Musical manuscripts are just too small, even on a 10" tablet. I need to be able to see two pages of music at a time (at least).

Comment: Re:well.. (Score 1) 46

by PopeRatzo (#47716029) Attached to: A statement to ponder

The ad hominem was not yours, it was in the article you approvingly cited from The Federalist.

A hundred years ago, the first group of progressives concluded that this country needed to change in a big way. They argued explicitly for a refounding of the United States on the grounds that the only absolute in political life is that absolutes are material and economic rather than moral in nature.

The people from that "first group of progressives" that I cited were starting purely from moral grounds, and demanding that the United States live up to the morality professed by the very "federalists" from whom the group got its name.

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