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Comment Re:Notch's house (Score 1) 619

A home is normally the single biggest item a person spends their income on, and with good reason

For a typical middle-class person, sure? For someone on the lower end of the upper class even, probably (the tax break is tough to beat). But for the true upper class, you should be spreading your investments around. At that level, you have plenty of other useful things you can do for investments and tax dodges. Unless you want to spend all day following the market, probably the best thing to do would be to put most of it in big indexed funds, and live off the interest (aka: a "Trust Fund"). But I'm not in that weight-class, so someone there could probably advise you better.

Comment LISP? CMS-2? (Score 1) 277

I depends on what you consider "obscure". If LISP counts, it is probably the most important obscure language ever, just because it influenced the design of nearly every major modern "scripting" language. Particularly those that aren't procedural.

If you mean languages most have probably never heard of, I'd go with CMS-2 It was (and probably still is) used extensively in shipboard systems in the US Navy. It was also the Navy's first crack at a "unified" language. This led to a concerted effort to get rid of the hundreds of single-purpose languages that helped make DoD systems so expensive and difficult to maintain. That led to the development of Ada, its temporary manadate, and to about a 20 year period starting in the 80's where small languages were looked down upon by the CS community.

This has recently been changing, with a profusion of new "Domain-Specific Languages". Give it a new buzzword, and what was old is cool again.

Comment Low maintanence (Score 2) 619

Interestingly, it seems he's already tried what I probably would have gone for at his age: Buying a ginormous house and trying to act like a hedonistic big shot.

As a ... more experienced person nearing 50, I think my priorities would be different. Big houses suck. They require continual maintenance, and who's going to be wasting their time shepherding all that? Having to deal with stupid BS little issues all day is precisely what he sold to MS to avoid. The more big expensive crap you acquire, the more effort has to be expended to maintain it all. No wonder he's made himself miserable. I can always trade time for money, and that certainly goes moreso for someone with his new financial resources. Its TIME that is precious.

Today, I'd find a fun interesting place to live, and *rent* myself a place there. Preferably somewhere walkable, so I wouldn't have to maintain a car (gawd, what a time and money sink those things are). I'd probably approach a local charity (like the food bank) and offer to do some free computer work for them. Knowing myself (and as a developer he's probably similar), it wouldn't take long to find some really interesting problem in there that could have wide application.

As for meeting people, how is he going to meet cool new people while locked behind gates in that mansion? Blah.

Comment Re:It'll devolve. (Score 1) 85

This was basically the main plot element of John Scalzi's Redshirts

Yup, that's precisely where I got the idea. This would be pretty different, as in Redshirts they essentially invaded the writers' universe to force them to resolve the plot holes in theirs to end the whole thing properly. They essentially blew a huge gaping hole in the "third wall". GQ, due to its setup doesn't have that third wall problem. (unless you count the aliens who don't understand the concept of fiction). What I'm talking about is simply bringing a writer along on the ship for their weekly "adventures".

Comment It'll devolve. (Score 4, Interesting) 85

The idea behind Galaxy Quest was really neat for a single story. The problem with doing a series that way is that after an episode or two, it will necessarily just devolve into the bad Trek clone the movie was parodying. Voyager had the same problem. They set up this neat twist with mortal enemies forced to work together on the same ship to survive, but then once the pilot was over they were all chummy (because the fundamental survival problem was still there), and the rest of the run it became just another Trek TOS clone.

I can see two good ways out of this:

Way 1: Don't resolve the main plot in the pilot. Basically, they'd need to stretch the entire move out over a 3-5 season arc, more like Babylon-5 than like Trek. A lot of modern shows are doing this. The only issue is that it tends to make the series feel really slow and boring if you don't throw some other little things in there to resolve. There's only so much foreplay a guy will sit through...

Way 2: This time, take a writer with them. An actor playing a writer, I mean. Someone to think up the silly resolutions (like the stuff that TNG always had Wesley do). So every week the "writer" would have to think up a new ridiculous way to get everyone out of the latest pickle. After all, it was really the writers who thought up the BS resolutions that made Galaxy Quest (OK, Trek) so silly. There's probably enough silly kinds of SF plot devices to parody that you could get a good two or three seasons out of it.

Comment Re:Because its not just a NASA facility (Score 1) 59

At the time, the stories coming out were that there was a delay in the request for assistance, which is required before the federal government can come help.

In an emergency, with lives at stake, you are supposed to do what is needed and worry about the "proper" paperwork and chain of command later. Insisting you can't save lives without XQA dash 5 filled out is the kind of crap that our soldiers in WWII used to call chickenshit.

insistence on the letter rather than the spirit of ordinances. Chickenshit is so called — instead of horse — or bull — or elephant shit — because it is small-minded and ignoble and takes the trivial seriously. Chickenshit can be recognized instantly because it never has anything to do with winning the war

This is pretty much an exact characterization of the response we got from the Federal government at the time, and the excuses that are still thrown up for their inaction today. Of course this is the exact flavor of shit you can expect when the POTUS in question hires a political donor to head an Emergency response agency instead of an experienced disaster response leader (as the POTUSes before and after him did).

When disaster strikes, and the locals aren't equipped to deal with it on their own, we need leaders, not chickenshits. That's what we are supposed to have a federal government for.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 283

Additionally, Kansas has a very unusual history wrt the major parties. Look up Bleeding Kansas. Until fairly recently, the Democratic party wasn't a politically viable option at the state level or lower, so the national blue-red divide tends to play out there within the Republican party.

That means most of the political rules of thumb that apply elsewhere in the country don't necessarily apply there.

Comment Re:This is absurd (Score 1) 275

That was my first thought too. However, simple text is not enough, because multiple states (or other license-plate issuing authorities) might reuse the same plate ID. So you have to have that information too.

I remember seeing an article several years back about the trouble police (and people reporting crimes to police) were having identifying plates, due to all the vanity plate styles available. People have to resort to describing the design of the plate to the cops. My own state has so many different styles available today that I can't even come up with a good number of them. Multiply that by 50, + various possesions you see around occasionally like Guam and Puerto Rico. On top of that, tribes can issue plates as well, and many of those have specialty plate options, and everyone's options are constantly changing. Trying to reliably OCR that info down to text seems like it would be a nightmare.

Comment Re:Anyone else having a WTF moment here? (Score 1) 275

If you're horrified about the possible privacy leaks, be glad they're using XP. Imagine if they were using Windows 10!

Actually, the exact opposite is true. Microsoft quit releasing security patches for XP over a year ago. The only thing preventing anyone who wants to pwn that box from doing so right this second is if its too busy doing its botnet work to service any other requests.

Comment Re:This is absurd (Score 2) 275

If you work at a large enough company, you can't just take the company credit card to shop with whenever the whim strikes you. Otherwise the IT staff would end up with their own company Lamborghini. There has to be a process. That prevents abuse, but of course it bogs things down. The more potential for abuse, the more "process" there has to be, and the more ridiculous the resulting process looks to someone used to doing their own shopping.

Back when I worked for LMC, I had one vendor who could simply not understand why the package he paid extra to "overnight" to us then took a week to get through our receiving department and to my desk. A more recent employer of mine had a process for selecting PC equipment (after we told the purchasers exactly what we wanted) that took so long that quite often the part had been obsoleted by the vendor before the process completed.

Both of those are private employers. Add in the extra regs you have to have to prevent corruption in government procurement, and yes simply buying a bigger hard drive is not so simple.

Plus, the guy actually has a good point here. The fact that they've filled up a 80GiB HD tells you that they really ought to drop back an reanalyze the whole process. Perhaps its as simple as not relying on a four year old desktop PC (can it seriously do anything useful with >80Gig of photographic data?), or perhaps something a bit different should be done with the entire process.

Comment Same with a Note 4? (Score 1) 157

I'm using a Note 4, so I just tried it.

Surprisingly, yes it is possible to stick the pen in backwards. It wouldn't have been difficult at all to make the grabber nub on the top of it too big to fit down the shaft. I'm not sure why they didn't bother to do that. Of course I wasn't stilly enough to try to force it down all the way to duplicate the issue (sorry folks).

That being said, I never use the pretend pen. I'm not even sure what apps it would work with. For taking actual notes, I use an 11 inch pad. So I'm not sure how many actual users this will be a big issue for. However, I believe Samsung S6+ has the same size display, so perhaps people who don't care about the pen will all be buying that instead now, and *all* (both) remaining Note users will be pen users.

Comment Real Life (Score 1) 202

I did an OS reinstall about a month ago. I just installed flash 2 days ago. I wasn't trying to avoid Flash, its just Saturday was the first day I discovered I needed it for a website I wanted to visit and didn't already have it installed. This is from someone who visits a lot of streaming and game websites. ('s streams for Wait Wait Don't Tell Me were the culprit, in case you were curious).

Now the fact that I had to do it tells you flash isn't exactly history. However, in the past I don't believe I've ever made it a day after an OS install without having to install Flash. A whole month is pretty dang impressive. So yeah, for my uses at least it definitely looks like its on its way out.

What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expect generally happens. -- Bengamin Disraeli