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Comment: Re:Widespread interest (Score 5, Interesting) 187

by apt142 (#39165589) Attached to: Google+ Unblocked In China; President Obama's Page Flooded With Comments

I blame this on only having two political parties. Since each party only really has one competitor, it boils down to us versus them rhetoric.

With a viable third or fourth party, I think we'd see less "that party wants to eat your children" attacks and more stands on what they believe in. Because it's much harder to go on the attack against two or three opponents, the merits of a particular stance would have to take center stage or least get out of the back alley behind the concert where it's drinking it's cheap whiskey and crying itself to sleep.

But, for that to happen we'd need to have less of a winner takes all approach to our election system.

Comment: Re:Why are there so many sour grapes in the commen (Score 1) 159

by apt142 (#37303176) Attached to: Lucasfilm Unveils "Sandcrawler" Singapore Office

The problem isn't that he didn't make another great movie.

The problem is he took that great movie and manipulated it again and again.

To use your analogy, he cooked us dinner and took us around the block. And now he's retelling us that same story night after night with new fabrications such as changing the steak to salmon and making us believe that we blew him instead.

Living on past accomplishments is one thing. Dwelling on them and reminding us frequently how great it was that ONE time. Not so great.

Comment: Re:IRC (Score 1) 175

by apt142 (#35817876) Attached to: What Is the Best Way To Build a Virtual Team?

I concur with that problem with Skype. However, for voice over IP it does seem to be a great solution in terms of sound quality and talking in groups.

The trouble I see initially is that members of a team, particularly those in the main office are less inclined to kick off a skype session. IT people/Coders tend to route around inefficient areas and chatting with somebody over the internet to a different timezone seems much more difficult than walking down the hall and having a conversation. What I see happen is that people who do similar tasks abroad as those in the office will get less input because of that perceived barrier. So breaking that perception is very important.

For whatever reason a group chat doesn't seem to have that same perception barrier even though you can get better idea bandwidth through conversation.

Comment: Re:Yes (Score 1) 615

by apt142 (#35726116) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Would You Take a Pay Cut To Telecommute?

I think it depends on what you do and some of the corporate culture. I work in a place that is very progressive in it's telecommuting policy.

So, we've learned as a development staff how to communicate across the country or across the room. I happen to live close to the office, so I spend a few days in a week. But realistically, I end up being more productive at home. I find at home that a lot of the incidental conversations are lost. (You know the lol's over the latest meme conversations.) While, the important ones still happen.

All it takes is a team that is willing to learn how to do that and it becomes no obstacle.

Comment: Re:For those not familiar with web content (Score 1) 116

by apt142 (#34999884) Attached to: Facebook To Make Facebook Credits Mandatory For Games
Sure it sucks if you're there already and you have to fork it over. But, what the parent is saying is that you're foregoing 30% of your revenue to go from the small sliver of pie and get in on a much bigger whole pie. You can lose 30% of your income and not even notice if the opportunity nets you 1000%+ gain in new customers and revenue. That's totally worth it. That doesn't change the fact that this is a dick move, but still worth it in monetarily.

Comment: Re:Total waste of money (Score 1) 151

by apt142 (#30905736) Attached to: Schools To Get Their Own DARPA
Do you think this is because of the quality of the teachers or the administrators? In my experience teachers are often very open to different avenues of parental involvement and new education approaches but are often handcuffed by bureaucracy and poor administrators. I'm hoping these funds will act like a big fat carrot to get these administrations to update their lines of thinking and adapt.
Government

Seattle Flushes $5M High-Tech Toilets 433

Posted by kdawson
from the siruis-cybernetics-corp.-was-here dept.
theodp writes "Hopes were high back in 2004 as Seattle's posh public potties opened for business. But four years later, city officials have said good riddance to the five high-tech toilets, self-cleaning and cylindrical, that had cost Seattle $5 million. The city unloaded them on eBay for just $12,549. The commodes had become filthy hide-outs for drug use and prostitution."
Technology

Brain Scanner Can Tell What You're Looking At 158

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-does-a-scanner-see dept.
palegray.net writes "Wired News brings us an article about brain scanning systems that can accurately tell what you're looking at by analyzing your brain's electrical activity. Using a database constructed of readings taken on test subjects who were shown thousands of photographs, the system works in real time to decipher what you're seeing. Naturally, there are some ethical concerns over some potential applications for this technology. Definitely a new twist on "input devices.""

Drupal 5 Themes 65

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Michael J. Ross writes "For any Web site based upon Drupal, an increasingly popular CMS, the styling of the site is controlled by whatever Drupal "theme" has been installed, enabled, and chosen, by the site administrator. Out of the box, Drupal offers only a handful of themes, and thus site administrators oftentimes will instead opt for a theme developed by a third-party. However, if the administrator cannot find one that exactly matches their needs or those of their client, then they will either have to pay someone to custom-build a theme, or learn how to do it themselves. Fortunately, creating a new theme or modifying an existing one, is not that difficult, as demonstrated in Drupal 5 Themes, by Ric Shreves." Read below for the rest of Michael's review.

The Dungeons and Dragons Fourth Edition Preview Books 378

Posted by Zonk
from the races-and-classes-worlds-and-monster-why-can't-we-get-along dept.
It's a big year for tabletop gamers. In just a few months the first books for the Fourth Edition of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) will be released by publisher Wizards of the Coast (WotC). The last major update to the game rules was released in 1999, and sparked interest in D&D not seen since the early 80s. To attempt to answer some of the biggest questions about this newest edition, WotC has learned from mistakes made in 99', and is previewing their game updates with a pair of softcover books. Called "Races and Classes" and "Worlds and Monsters", the two titles cover everything from character creation to the new default world's pantheon. More importantly, it includes a large amount of commentary from the designers about why things are going to be as they are. In short: they're must-haves for hardcore D&D fans. Read on for my impressions of these highly entertaining (and vastly overpriced) chapbooks.
Science

Bizarre Self-Destructing Palm Tree Found 190

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the this-message-will-self-destruct-in-100-years dept.
Smivs writes "A giant self-destructing palm tree has been discovered in Madagascar. The palm is 20m (60ft) high with leaves 5m (16ft) long, the tallest tree of its type in the country, but for most of its life — around 100 years — it appears fairly unremarkable apart from its size. However, when it flowers, it puts so much energy into an impressive flower-spike, that it eventually collapses and dies. Dr John Dransfield, who announced the tree in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, is baffled as to how it came to be in the country. It bears a resemblance to a species of palm found in regions of Asia; 6,000km away. It is thought that the palm has gone through a remarkable evolution since Madagascar split with India some 80m years ago."
Portables (Apple)

Apple Announces MacBook Air 1218

Posted by kdawson
from the thin-end-of-the-wedge dept.
Apple made four announcements at MacWorld Expo: the new MacBook Air, new features for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and movie rentals via iTunes from a TV without a computer involved. The new portable gets most of the attention. It is 0.76" thick at the thickest part, tapering to 0.16". It weighs 3 pounds and has a 13.3" screen and full-size, backlit keyboard. Its Intel chip is the diameter of a dime and the thickness of a nickel. The MacBook Air will cost $1799 and up. Its storage is either 80 GB disk or 64 GB solid-state drive. 2 GB of memory. It has no optical drive (an external one is available for $99) and features a way to wirelessly use the optical drive of any nearby Mac or PC with the proper software installed.

What is now proved was once only imagin'd. -- William Blake

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