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Comment: Don't make the individual conform to the goal (Score 1) 698

So very sad to hear about your impending demise.

This was a letter written by Hunter S Thompson when he was 22 years old.
He tackles the grandest question of all, the proverbial "meaning of life".

I normally dislike reading self-help literature of any kind, but this is not it. This is just a honest introspective letter, and a letter he writes to his friend who asks for advice. Although the friend's question was different from what you are asking, I thought that the real underlying question was the same. Hence I write. Quite likely, this is also the letter that I will ask my children to read. Or I will read it out to them.

All the very best on your onward journey.

To quote the Hagakure:
Among the maxims on Lord Naoshige's wall, there was this one: "Matters of great concern should be treated lightly."
Master Ittei commented, "Matters of small concern should be treated seriously."

Comment: Re: They are just trolls with lots of money (Score 4, Interesting) 418

by asliarun (#49026863) Attached to: $10K Ethernet Cable Claims Audio Fidelity, If You're Stupid Enough To Buy It

You bring up some good points in your post. But I have to disagree on one thing. Good quality music reproduction is today more accessible than ever. There was a time when you had to get horn speakers or at least speakers as big as cabinets, class A amplification -solid state or tubes, and a really hard to setup vinyl turntable. Then there was room treatment, speaker placement, and all those shenanigans.

Not saying this is still not relevant. But today, you can get a decent pair of headphones (sennheiser, audio technical, akg, grado, fostex/MrSpeakers, etc), a decent DAC and amp (Schiit, Audio GD, etc), and good quality source and good quality digital (hi res or even redbook) - all at even a college dorm budget, and similarly compact.

I remember the days of the walkman and audio cassettes, and for sure, the progress has been dramatic. The only irony being that the single most important piece - the quality of mastering and quality of recording - has largely gone for a toss. Today, it is all about loudness wars and auto tune. But that is a different matter.

When people pursuing any hobby go beyond a certain expense level, they make purchasing decisions for most things other than money. Why is there no Slashdot argument about people paying $3 million for a vintage Ferrari or a Jag? Is there any basis to that price! Is the buyer, no matter how much an auto enthusiast, ever going to take his or her vintage Jag for a really rough spin that could risk damaging the car?

Maybe the analogy is not accurate. Fair enough. But a lot of audiophiles with really high end systems do find a difference in sound even with trivial component swaps. They will even claim that placement of certain objects in the room alters the sound.

But before dismissing them as twats, it might be worth thinking about how idiosyncratic and bizarre other people are who are equally immersed in their hobby or pursuit. The guy who is cooling his Intel CPU in liquid nitro to get the last bit of over clock - really, what practical purpose did he serve? And he probably spent a bunch of money on his rig too.

The strangest thing of all is that music is one of those strange beasts that changes quality with every trivial change in component, room, source, you name it. That is what gets audiophiles hooked. Maybe and probably it is psychoacoustics. But if you can hear the difference, it is there, right?

Now how much tweaking and money you want to throw at this pursuit, that is a very subjective thing. But dissing it and ridiculing it is also wrong. It is only one of the many things that continue to fascinate us as a species. And music is indeed very very special to most of us. We just don't pay enough attention to this sense.

Comment: Re: Different markets... (Score 4, Insightful) 458

by asliarun (#48946205) Attached to: How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft

I disagreed about apple being jewelry alone. Microsoft made products that people grumblingly put up with - so they could get the job done and be more productive.

Apple made products that people finally liked to use, and could use it easily enough, and fairly intuitively. When you create a great user experience like this, especially with a very low learning curve, people will adopt and use it in extraordinary ways. Once they feel good about using your products, they will feel special, like it was their private special thing. They will then become your biggest marketing team.

If anything, the industrial design aspect of Apple's products and even high price were side effects. The first was a nice to have, the second not so nice to have. But it didn't change a damn thing. It was always about the core user experience.. And how even most of the third party apps gave you the same sense of familiarity and consistency.

In a cynical way, this is like marketing a drug. You give the first few doses for free and make people realize how easy it is to use the drug and how shiny their world becomes when they use it regularly. Then step back and enjoy the fun. Apple gave people a tiny little pill yto swallow and even gave them little travel packs. Microsoft made people goto the doctor and get the drug injected up their backsides.

Comment: Re:OK, based upon notebook shopping thus far (Score 2) 118

"8GB was something acceptable back in 2008... but a laptop should be at 16, if not 32 gigs of RAM."

On what basis are you saying that? What are these deal-breaker applications that will need 32 or 16 gigs of RAM? Mind you, this post is about an ultra portable 13" laptop - I would assume that no one in their right mind would want to use this as a full blown workstation. I would imagine most users would use a laptop like this for standard stuff like browsing, Office apps, for presentations, etc.

Maybe a few would run Photoshop or Visual Studio or Eclipse. Is 8GB not enough for Photoshop or Eclipse anymore?? And I do feel that with HD 5500, 8GB RAM, and a speedy SSD, Photoshop would run just fine.

And back in 2008, Windows XP 64 bit had barely come out and almost no one was using 64 bit apps. From what I remember, almost everyone had between 2GB - 4GB RAM in standard laptop builds. Much less 8GB.

I'm honestly scratching my head to try and imagine why 32 GB or 16GB would be considered bare minimum for an ultraportable laptop.

Comment: Re:Bye_bye, Blackberry (Score 2) 307

by asliarun (#48879293) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

Why don't you educat yourself?

When Apple first introduced the MacBook, you could get it in white or black. The black version, of course, cost an extra $200 for the coolness factor. Considering that my MacBook lasted for eight years, it was a worthwhile investment.

When my Black MacBook stopped working, I took it into the Apple Store. Most the Apple employees heard about the Black MacBook (discontinued in 2008) but never saw one in person. They took turns looking at it. Surprisingly, despite being a six-year-old laptop at the time, the Apple Store replaced the keyboard top and battery with identical replacement parts.

Did you stick an Apple logo on a Thinkpad? :-D

You must work at Google. :P

That is great service support indeed. And I can see why you wouldn't let go of this model.

P.S. I wasn't aware of black macbooks (but I have never owned a mac) - and saw an opportunity to sneak in some stinkpad love.

On a side note, check out the new XPS 13. Those near zero bezels look mighty nice.

Like the Sharp Aquos phone that is near bezel-less.

(Sorry for the OT - got carried away a bit)

Comment: Re:Bye_bye, Blackberry (Score 1) 307

by asliarun (#48878029) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

No one wants to switch from a Mac/Windows to a Windows/Mac system if their files or programs are not 100% guaranteed to work.

When my vintage Black MacBook (2006) died last year after eight years of faithful service, I exported my data into neutral file formats (i.e., cvs and xml), switched over to my Windows gaming machine, and imported my data into corresponding programs. Minimal downtime. Meanwhile, I'm saving up for a new Mac system.

"vintage Black MacBook" - Sorry, I am not a Mac person - what's a black Macbook? Or wait a minute... Did you stick an Apple logo on a Thinkpad? :-D

Comment: Re: This Product Makes Sense (Score 1) 78

by asliarun (#48484675) Attached to: Intel Core M Notebooks Arrive, Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro Tested

Perhaps what is "sensible" or not depends on usage patterns. It could very well be that Asians want a bigger phone because they use their device more and hence want something closer to a tablet. During train and public transit. As opposed to Americans who are mostly driving to work and are thus not using their phone as much every day.

Comment: Re: Rather late (Score 2) 313

by asliarun (#48474345) Attached to: Windows 10 To Feature Native Support For MKV and FLAC


*That* is the real reason to have music in Flac. Please put aside the endless music format and abx testing debate where no one is going anywhere anytime soon (and throw Hi Res into the picture).

Buy if you want to buy a song or store it, you would obviously want a lossless format, and flac would be the obvious choice. You can always covert flac into a lossy compressed format and based on your storage constraint (in say your portable media device or phone), figure out how much audio quality you want to lose. But you cannot do it the other way around.

Comment: Re:More power to you (Score 3, Informative) 100

by asliarun (#48412409) Attached to: Group Tries To Open Source Seeds

Is it really an optimal choice to grow a plant from scratch every year? Could a tree or a perennial shrub provide better long term nutritional returns? Isn't a mature tree far hardier and less susceptible to crop loss?

Fruit/nut trees also take a long time to come to maturity, like 5-10 years per tree. All that time, they're not producing a sellable product.

Mature tree crops fall hard to disease all the time. Oranges, for one, spring to mind.

Better to grow a variety of things.

FYI, there is a lot of research being done in trying to make perennial versions of many of the grains and vegetables we currently eat.

Comment: Re:More power to you (Score 4, Interesting) 100

by asliarun (#48404461) Attached to: Group Tries To Open Source Seeds

Where your link to moringa is interesting - Looking at the production of it, it sure doesn't seem like you get a lot of density in a given acre of production. For example, lets compare the nutrients produced from one acre of muringa vs. one acre of spinach (rice/wheat/corn). How many pounds of leaves can you get out of an acre of moringa, and how intense is the labor to get that acre harvested vs. one acre of spinach?

There is a reason that we grow the crops that we do - they can be grown very densely, with the least amount of fertilizer, insecticide, water as possible as those things all take money to provide. There is also a need for the minimum amount of labor to plant, maintain and harvest the crops.

You make a good point. But I wonder if the food we grow are always based on scientifically optimal choices or often based on other factors. Like one crop being grown more widely because it commands a higher price. Or changing food habits and inordinate preference to certain grains and veggies.

The other thing to consider is access to information and access to grains. Are we growing or not growing (a crop like muringa) because of an informed decision, or because most of the world is not even aware of these options?

Other things to consider are that plants like muringa will grow in most places where you wouldn't dream of growing spinach. This is not just a third world problem. Even in most developed countries, good access to irrigation and "the right climate" are often deal breakers.

Finally, I find the tree (perennials that live for many years) vs plant (that typically die on every harvest) debate - an interesting one. It is something I feel that we need to focus on more deeply. Is it really an optimal choice to grow a plant from scratch every year? Could a tree or a perennial shrub provide better long term nutritional returns? Isn't a mature tree far hardier and less susceptible to crop loss?

Mind you, I am not saying you are wrong. All I am saying is that we definitely need more awareness about more such options, better access to seeds and how to grow them in different climatic and soil conditions. And more informed debates. And we really need to discuss this far more than Kim Kardashian's buttocks.

Comment: More power to you (Score 4, Interesting) 100

by asliarun (#48404051) Attached to: Group Tries To Open Source Seeds

As an interested lay person, I'm thrilled to hear about this initiative. Not to sound ungrateful, but I would really really wish and hope that
- This initiative will always retain the bazaar mindset, and not get bogged down by bureaucracy
- This initiative will spread into the continents where this is needed the most - Asia and Africa.
- The options for seeds grows beyond vegetables and into grains and other basic nutrition foods. Ref: http://www.opensourceseediniti...
- They use this platform to spread awareness and accessibility to some of the really hardy native crops in various parts of the world that are dying out. Many of these are naturally drought and pest resistant, grow very easily, and in some cases, have much better nutritional value than many of the foods that are today more fashionable.

The moringa plant, for example.

To compare (an example):
100 grams of moringa leaves has 9.3 g protein, 434 mg calcium, 738 g vitamin A, and 164 mg vitamin C
100 grams of spinach leaves has 2.9 g protein, 99 mg calcium, 469 g vitamin A, and 28 mg vitamin C

And this tree grows even in a desert. But I don't want to goo offtopic. This was just an example.

My only hope is that a platform like this - can and should - make knowledge and seeds accessible to all. We can literally solve world hunger and world health by doing this.

Comment: Re:Hold on a minute (Score 1) 198

by asliarun (#48187959) Attached to: Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries

I was more interested in the wide and volatile range chosen. $100k is considered a big line to cross; to cross it twice is an immense step. It is as if we compared people making $20,000-$60,000 and found that more McDonalds workers are in that range than small business accountants--with McDonalds workers making $22k on average, and accountants making $58k.

Got it. Sorry, I misunderstood the point you were trying to make. And you are correct, of course.

Comment: Re:Hold on a minute (Score 3, Insightful) 198

by asliarun (#48187261) Attached to: Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries

I find more amusing that some software developers are making $104,000, and there are more of them than managers making $200,000, therefor there are more software developers in the $103,000-$203,000 range than there are managers in said range.

Software development, like (i guess) medicine, law, finance, etc., values expertise, skills, experience, and deep analytical ability. More so than many others where analytical ability is less valued. Besides, this leadership skills, client management skills, and project management skills are also valued, but they are equally valued in other industries as well.

That is, IMHO, we see the pattern we see. Highly skilled software developers, like highly skilled financial analysts/traders - transcend traditional salary and "perceived value" bands, and can often make far more money than even very senior counterparts in their company. However, conversely, other counterparts - i.e. software development managers with well rounded analytical and managerial skills are also very well regarded and paid accordingly.

There really is no reason why one has to feel snarky about either of these options. One can feel snobbish about individual skills (and being a non-manager), just as one can feel snooty about being high up in the corporate chain. And both positions are boorish, IMHO. Pride about individual skills is fine, and good, but do remember, there are very highly skilled craftsmen and blue collared workers and armed forces personnel by the thousands who get paid diddly squat compared to what software and financial guys get paid. We just got lucky and are enjoying the ride in the gravy train - and all because of the completely messed up way in which the market works (and assigns relative value to skills).

IBM Advanced Systems Group -- a bunch of mindless jerks, who'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes... -- with regrets to D. Adams