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Comment Re:One thing to keep in mind... (Score 1) 244

This is what I have seen with a lot of free/OSS also: the instructions weren't written for someone who doesn't know how to use the program; the instructions were written as reminders for someone who already knew how to use the program...

Or even more charming is when the instructions are very brief and just tell the 'new' differences with the previous version. So then the changelog becomes part of the help files...?

Lousy help files have cause me to uninstall more than a few open-source programs, and I bet I'm not the only one. If it costs money for decent documentation then I'm one of those corporate sheeple drones that's likely to pay.

Comment Re:marketting (Score 1) 92

... or a half-assed programming model for turning on and off gpios?

Why so mad?

I've seen this many times--where people insist that Arduino-related anything is somehow "not real electronics/programming". As if it were only a lot harder to use, it would somehow "build programmers with better morals and ideology, like me."
It's not the best hardware or software but it doesn't cost much to try.
And if people are doing it for fun, it doesn't need to be difficult or result in the adaptation of rigorous enterprise-level programming habits. If all they want is to blink the LEDs their way and it does that, how is that a bad thing?

There seems to be an odd perception that "the whole hobby of electronics would be better without all these Arduino people". If you feel this way, what is it they do that interferes with anything you wanted to do?

Comment But what does it mean, really? (Score 1) 215

Japan has long used forced auto obsolescence as a means to drive its economy, being prevented from significant military spending (as the USA does). Laws concerning cars in Japan make it prohibitively expensive for average people to keep any car more than a few years before replacing it, despite how good of condition it is still in.

Is it really that surprising that car owners there are being forced into using the latest/most-expensive option currently available?

Comment Re:I would think (Score 4, Insightful) 183

This is really the problem with evaporative coolers: they work best in desert/arid environments, where water is (usually) already in (relatively) short supply.

In humid climates water is plentiful--but they barely work at all in humid environments, where they mainly cause mildew growth (inside the home).

Comment Africa's problems won't be solved anytime soon (Score 1) 83

there was a book about that:
The Lords of Poverty: The Power, Prestige, and Corruption of the International Aid Business ~~~ by Graham Hancock --- Jan 10, 1994

it is the same reason there's always trouble in Israel/Gaza: there are people getting paid to "deal with the problem" (some of them quite wealthy). If the problem goes away, these people would stop getting paid.... So certain people in key positions make sure that the problem never goes away.

Sometimes, ignorance is the answer.

Comment Your men are already dead.... (Score 1) 523

The problem with foregoing handwriting for typing, is that typing itself should already be a dying skill. It is known to cause a particularly difficult-to-treat injury (RSI) and there is already voice recognition software available for PCs and even mobile phones.

The more-modern solution would be to skip intensive typing instruction in favor of using systems that mostly work on voice recognition or touch screens. It is acceptable to have a keyboard present, but for desktop computing it shouldn't be the primary means of character/text input anymore.

Comment Re:Interesting though not to be overinterpreted (Score 1) 252

1) All the participants had metabolic syndrome so the results might not be generally applicable.

...Except that the Eskimos have been eating zero-carb for 5000+ years. (search "zero carb diet" on wiki) Conversely, vegetarian diets have been a fad for thousands of years, but there has never been an established vegetarian or vegan culture for any sustained period. The only times ancient people didn't eat lots of animals was when there wasn't any animals to eat.

2) The meals were fixed portions, so we don't know how it affected appetite or how it compared to previous eating habits.

One of the odd effects of eating low-carb is that you can go much longer periods without eating, and yet you don't feel hungry. You have to try it for at least a few weeks to understand it.
Going 12 hours without eating isn't unusual, and even 18 hours is easily possible without discomfort. It kinda destroys the concept of meals as social settings, because you aren't eating every ~5 hours like everyone else is.

3) We don't know what would happen long term.

See #1 above

Eating low-carb all the time is still considered an extreme diet by medical standards, so (US) doctors won't tell you to try it. And they think you're borderline nuts if you ask about a zero-carb diet.... It is helpful to be under medical care to get your blood numbers tested because there are some conditions that it could easily aggravate instead of improve. Don't be too surprised if they get better however.

If you do try it, the easy rule to remember is that anything from plants is carbs, and is to be avoided--even fresh fruits and vegetables. Basically you can eat any meat (with fat!), milk, cheese and eggs. Lean meat is to be avoided; the traditional Inuit diet was over 50% fat.

The health books in school lied to you. If low-carbs and high-fat was bad for you, there wouldn't be any Eskimos today.

Comment Re:The rest of the country needs to face reality (Score 0) 554

... Our current culture in the US, where unsustainable transportation (driving personal automobiles) is prioritized over sustainable transit, needs to change, and the sooner the better. ...

It would have been easier to just type "Stop liking what I don't like...."

Mass-transit is itself unsustainable, though most advocates ignore the realities of it:
1) Most mass-transit systems have peak usage that is very high, but is rather low the rest of the time. To be utilized it must be operating as much hours of the day as possible and must be sized to handle the peak usage, but that also means that in many cases they run essentially empty most of the rest of the hours of the day. Running empty trains and buses in circles isn't efficient by any measure.
2) The usefulness of mass transit relies on the ability of it to transport people from where they are to where they want to go--but the more stops that are added, the slower the speed becomes, making it undesirable for that reason alone. So mass-transit engineers are forced to decide between making it inaccessible (with few stops) or making it slow (with too many stops).

The most efficient means of transporting one person is to move them from wherever they are, to wherever they want to go, as quickly and directly as possible, so they will favor using that transportation. It takes an individual vehicle to do that. A 1-person vehicle always has a 100% occupancy rate, and it isn't on the road at all when it's not actually being used. The only issue is technical matters of small vehicle design. It is easily possible right now to build a 1-person vehicle that can get 100 MPG and over 200 MPG is easily possible without any advances in technology.

Mass-transit suffers from utilization problems that are inherent in its use, and that cannot be solved.
Individual vehicles suffer from technological limitations that can be improved with engineering advances.

Comment Fun While It Lasted.... (Score 1) 265

Gaming is never going to "take off" on Linux, because most Linux users don't like paying for software or DRM,,,,, and making games costs money.

The Valve/Steam experiment was just that--a way to test the waters, since nobody else had. Enjoy it while you can, because it's not a permanent thing.

Comment Re:Cost (Score 1) 550

A couple hundred dollars is too much for *just* glasses, unless you need some kind of extreme coke-bottle glasses.

You REEEAAAALLLY should look (ha ha) at some of the places selling prescription glasses online now, there's one that starts with a z but I forget the name. They are surprisingly inexpensive, if they have what you need. And they have a lot, and none of it costs anywhere near what you seem to be paying at the local eyeglasses place.

Comment I wish him luck, but... (Score 3, Interesting) 85

It is very presumptuous to claim one has invented a "new" bicycle just by rehashing normal parts. Millions of amateur inventors in every country in the world have been doing the same thing for 100+ years. Fans of vintage bicycles will tend to say that 'Everything ride-able--and a lot more things not--has already been done; I just can't find the picture'.

Vintage tandem bicycles that allowed a smaller rider in front were typically called "kangaroo" tandems.
I don't remember anything *exactly* like this, but I know I've seen a few that were very similar except for the handlebar arrangement.... -and I don't consider myself to be that great of a fan of vintage cycling. The vintage examples I recall vaguely had a more-complicated arrangement, which leads me to suspect that simpler ones were probably tried.

Comment Re:Pay up! (Score 3, Insightful) 167

Not having a multiplayer element makes it MORE interesting to those that don't play online much (there is still a few of us)...

I managed to get Left For Dead 2 on Steam the day it was available for free.... the first new game I had played in a few years (I am rather beyond the typical game-buying demographic, most likely).

Due to a dated PC I tend to prefer playing single-player, but it has a few glaring problems when used that way. It is obvious that they intended it to be played by four people cooperating, and many situations involve coordination that bots can't or will not do. You almost need to resort to using cheat codes to get through many stages, as the bots are often more hindrance than help. And while there is a "last man on earth" variation to play, it doesn't present you with the usual assortment of enemies to fight.

Comment Re:The diffciulty in getting carnivores to switch (Score 2, Insightful) 466

If it tastes like meat, smells like meat, and looks like meat, then I won't refuse it on principle.

I would. "Carbs that taste like meat" is still carbs.

A few years back I tried eating low-carb out of curiosity (that is--high meat & fats). Best thing I ever did, and the regular medical checkups I get reflect that. It may not be what the AMA advises, but 5000 years of Eskimos trumps whatever the committee opinion is this year.

Besides, they could make the carb-meat "cheaper" just by placing a ridiculous tax on the real stuff.

Comment Re:Had to do paper for a few years (Score 1) 386

I send my taxes on a paper 1040. The first year they had the free-E-filing I could not get it to work*, so I said 'fuck them' and mail paper every year. The issue I had with e-filing was that I could not do it, because I did not have a printer.

To use the free filing websites, you had to go to the federal one and it didn't give you a 1040-like form, it gave you an idiot question-and-answer format. So you could not capture screenshots of the form as it was being completed.... When I finished with the federal, a window popped up asking if I wanted to print, but it would not allow normal Windows .xps printing and did not allow viewing the print results on-screen, and I had no other virtual printer software. So I could not get any visual copy of the Federal return, and you need a couple numbers off that to do the state return. And you had to proceed directly from the federal free-e-file site to your state's free-e-file site, or else the state filing was not free.... and all the websites let you go all the way through and fill everything out and then tell you at the END that you will have to pay.

So I ended up filling out paper copies of both anyway, and have ever since. Fuck them and their idiot websites. Apparently they are still struggling with the concept of "paperless filing", since now you don't get to waste forms THEY provided, you have to print your OWN forms to waste.

If they just had a way to fill out and email a 1040 PDF, that would be great--but there is apparently no free way to do that.

Comment Re:Taking one course solves a "shortage"? (Score 1) 147

So you want someone who is experienced, willing to work for dirt cheap in a boring shitty job, in a boring place, with no perks? ...

This is really the problem with 'finding programmers in the St Louis area'..... --Or at least, it was ~10 years back when I tried getting into the field.
The educational requirements and experience that companies wanted was way out of line with what they were willing to pay, and they were generally unwilling to allow any flexibility in either regard.

The whole thing with the online course seems odd. It's just going to give local businesses more applications they already don't want.

If God had not given us sticky tape, it would have been necessary to invent it.