Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:X-Files vs. Bab-5 - ouch! (Score 1) 238

by TWX (#48895835) Attached to: Best 1990s Sci-fi show?
The Q-making-fight seemed a lot more like the original TOS pilot, "The Cage," than anything else, when the Talosians made Pike relive an experience where he fought against an odd primitive humanoid warrior.

Part why early TNG episodes felt like TOS episodes is that some were essentially unproduced TOS scripts reworked for the new characters, or were originally created for Phase II . Decker and Ilia stories were adapted into Riker and Deanna stories.

Comment: Re:Missing (Score 1) 238

by TWX (#48895749) Attached to: Best 1990s Sci-fi show?
They could have done so much with that; they could have played the self-doubt and fall-from-grace that violating such rules should have led-to, but chose not to. That's part why I think they should have stayed with the planet in The 37s, as at least those people were the descendants of humans and bending the rule on the Prime Directive for an offshoot of a founding race of the Federation wouldn't be completely out of character.

Instead we ended up with ultra-evolved Paris and Janeway gettin' it on, and abandoning their ultra-evolved offspring on an alien planet, and making veiled come-on jokes after the fact.

Comment: Re:I won't notice (Score 1) 290

by TWX (#48895717) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?
I always found that there was a rough ratio of screen size to viewing distance, and it varied between conventional television viewing and "home theater" viewing. Those two have blurred in recent years with the advent of inexpensive large TVs, we we can err more toward the home theater size.

I have a 100" projector at 4:3. At 16:9 it's about 92" diagonal. We sit about eighteen feet from the screen. When I had smaller screens over the years we sat proportionately closer. I also have a 30" HD tube television, I sit about ten feet from it. When I had smaller televisions over the years I sat closer generally for movies, but for conventional television shows it could be further away. So, for a ratio, distance to viewing ratio seems to fall between 2:1 and 3.5:1 or me. I expect that most people are similar, based on my friends' setups.

I have computers running at 1920x1080 on both setups. The resolution is so high for the distance that I have to zoom-in the web browser to use it. Fonts are almost unreadable without walking up to the display. I don't think there would be a lot of practical advantage to increasing resolution on either setup, and remember, that's with a 92" screen in the mix. There is just no better viewable image for me. I'm also young enough that my eyes are still pretty good, for what that's worth.

We don't really buy new DVDs anymore unless it's for TV shows that just aren't available in better quality anyway, but I don't see a lot of benefit over Blu-Ray. Hell, I still have a ton of Laserdiscs and they're watchable on these setups.

Comment: Re:X-Files vs. Bab-5 - ouch! (Score 1) 238

by TWX (#48892871) Attached to: Best 1990s Sci-fi show?
John DeLancie steals scenes excellently. He also bookends the series as Q, which does help add closure to the end of the show.

I just wish that they hadn't brought him into DS9 or Voyager. It was a rather naked attempt to boost ratings by doing it, but it didn't work very well and there wasn't a lot of reason for him to show up there. To me it made more sense that he would continue to torment the same people repeatedly (ie, Picard and company) than to find a specific other set of humans to torment.

Comment: Re:Why would anyone buy something from those catal (Score 2) 64

by TWX (#48892719) Attached to: Smartphones, Tablets and EBay Send SkyMall To Chapter 11

For people that didn't want to pull out their laptop, or didn't have enough battery, it was some free entertainment.

Bingo. I don't think it's even so much about lack of ability to compare prices, I think it's like how children, while they eat their breakfast, will read the entire text on the packaging of the cereal box because it's the only option.

Before the ubiquity of portable electronic devices that could hold loads of content, there was an upper limit on how much content a person could bring them, and even then, the person had to have the foresight to plan for it. They had to bring paperback books or magazines of their own, and if they didn't, the only entertainment was the Skymall catalog in the seatback pocket. Read something enough and some random thing starts to seem neat, so they buy it out of boredom.

I suppose they are right about Amazon and the like in the sense that before, it was sometimes difficult to find the things in Skymall through other sellers, as most of them are catalog sellers and unless you knew who they were, you simply couldn't find them. Amazon makes it a lot easier to find part numbers and descriptions, and search engines allow one to find the same product through other catalogs, opening up the available options.

Comment: Re:I have an even better idea (Score 4, Insightful) 285

by TWX (#48892677) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes
It's not the "dangerous clunkers" here that are so much the problem as the uninsured, who cause accidents and cannot pay for what they've done to other people. I'm starting to think that automatic impoundment should be the default when certain kinds of paperwork are not in order, like no insurance and no or suspended license, and that the car cannot be gotten out of impound without proof that the paperwork has now been corrected, and if the paperwork condition was discovered as a result of an accident investigation, the victim (the other driver) can petition to be awarded the vehicle as compensation for the damage they received if there's no insurance and no forthcoming reimbursement.

Driving isn't a right, it's a privilege. I've paid for that privilege my entire adult life, maintaining my registration, my insurance, and my license despite having no at-fault accidents. I expect others to do the same.

Comment: Re:Oops (Score 4, Interesting) 202

by msobkow (#48892069) Attached to: At Oxford, a Battery That's Lasted 175 Years -- So Far

I hate to tell you this, but most people who've worked support in manufacturing and office environments have similar stories. I spent close to two months getting paged by Northern Telecom in Bramalea, ON for a manufacturing system failure on the shop floor at 2-3 AM most days per week. It was only by deciding to hang out for an entire night watching the area that I found out it was being caused by a cleaning lady unplugging the network bridge to plug in her radio while cleaning the area.

So seeing as I have one of those stories myself, I find them a lot easier to believe than most of you kids do.

Comment: Re:If all goes well. . . (Score 1) 224

by TWX (#48890833) Attached to: Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade
It's not so much that a problem happens once a year, it's that 20 or 30 things each fail once a year on their own, and many of them in-turn cause failures in other things, so if the Rube Goldberg of devices and processes that have to work each morning are interrupted partway through, it starts adding unnecessary stress to the individual. When each device operates independently of the rest then the failure of the coffee maker isn't that big of a deal, but if individual has spent a lot of money to make everything just work, and everything doesn't just work, it's aggravating and it sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Back when I was paid hourly, parking at work was a huge problem, and one was expected to park before clocking-in. The hourly employees were left angry every single morning due to this, and morale at the office was unnecessarily low. Worse, those that could address it were not hourly and had assigned, enforced parking, so it was not a problem for them. They never could understand why their employees were always in such a bad mood. It was a disconnect that has never been fixed.

Comment: Re:Interstellar missions... (Score 0) 202

by TWX (#48890795) Attached to: At Oxford, a Battery That's Lasted 175 Years -- So Far
I don't think that even the most efficient and simple electric circuit would be able to do anything meaningful with that small an amount of power. Maybe a wakeup circuit to bring up a long-sleeping computer that is powered from another source, but it may make more sense to just use something nuclear that provides sustained higher current for a long time.

Comment: Re:Missing (Score 2) 238

by TWX (#48890065) Attached to: Best 1990s Sci-fi show?
You know, I had no problem with a female captain, that was never an issue. A captain that couldn't delegate and had to be the diplomat, scientist, warrior, engineer, etc was what bothered me. Even the way Kirk was written, as a captain that left the ship far too often, didn't generally work on engineering-related problems or science problems, he left those to his engineering and sciences staff.

And I know that there were a couple of TNG episodes where Picard kicked ass, but usually it was very unusual circumstances that prompted it, like in, "Starship Mine," when he was the only one of the crew left aboard when some terrorists tried to steal something explosive from Engineering and he was forced to think outside the box to stop them.

Utility is when you have one telephone, luxury is when you have two, opulence is when you have three -- and paradise is when you have none. -- Doug Larson