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Comment: Re:Tactics unsuccessful? (Score 1) 149

by billstewart (#47725591) Attached to: The 2014 Hugo Awards

Yes. People talked about them. They got to whine to each other about how all the liberal feminazis voted against their immensely well-written books for political correctness reasons; I ranked them low because of the writing. They were pretty much going to do that anyway. Maybe they kept some better-written works from getting on the ballot (but there's usually lots of competition, and certainly was this time.) Maybe Correia will get some more book sales (a friend who likes his writing says that the trilogy that got nominated wasn't his best work; so far I've found it to be readable escape-fiction, fun if not deep.)

Having heard some of what Beale's written when he's blathering misogynistically about whatever vile tripe he's blathering about, I'm not going to buy anything that will pay him any money or even read more of his writing online. But I did give his nominated work a fair review (wasn't Hugo material; would have been ok as a story in a pulp magazine, back when there were more pulp magazines around.)

On the other hand, Torgerson's work surprised me - while his two pieces had much better writing mechanics than Beale's, they were utterly soulless non-introspective pieces of formulaic bland. Mil-fi isn't my favorite genre, but this isn't close to being Honor Harrington (which I liked) or Scalzi's Old Man's War (meh, and I like his other writing), or even up to the quality of one of the freebies given out at the previous Worldcon, where the author obviously at least enjoyed obsessively describing the spaceship which Our Guys were going to go Fight Aliens with.

Comment: Chris Hadfield's Space Oddity missed by 3 votes (Score 1) 149

by billstewart (#47724647) Attached to: The 2014 Hugo Awards

It hadn't occurred to me to nominate it, and unfortunately didn't occur to enough other people, so it missed the short list for Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form by about 3 votes (usually only the top 5 nominees get onto the ballot, occasionally 6 if there's a tie or fewer than 5 if not enough works meet the "5% of nominations" threshold.)

An actual astronaut, in space, performing a classic science-fiction-themed song, named after one of the most influential SF movies? It so totally belonged on the ballot, because [expletive deleted] we're living in the future!.

Of course, a few other works I liked, and works I haven't read yet by authors I like, also didn't get on the ballot, but that's normal.

Comment: Re:Grammar Flaming As A lifestyle... (Score 1) 29

by billstewart (#47724531) Attached to: Interviews: Andrew "bunnie" Huang Answers Your Questions

First of all, this is English. You can do just about anything you want. Even more so if you're a descriptivist rather than a prescriptivist.

Second, using "they" as a non-gendered third person pronoun referring to a singular antecedent has been in documented use for at least 600 years. It's no worse an impedance mismatch than using a gendered singular third person pronoun, and no matter what your middle-school English teacher taught you, English grammar isn't Latin grammar, nor is it modern German grammar.

Third, you should be using lead-free solder these days anyway (and while it is a lot less cooperative, inexpensive soldering irons today are better than cheap soldering irons were when I was a kid.)

Comment: Re:Android's annoying (Score 1) 61

by billstewart (#47698717) Attached to: San Francisco Airport Testing Beacon System For Blind Travelers

This is a belated reply, but the title was "Android's annoying". Yes, if I had an iPhone, I could use Siri, and it would Just Work, because that's what shiny Apple things do. On an Android phone, it's (optionally unlock the screen, then) go to Messaging, then hit the little microphone icon that tells it you want Google to interpret some speech, then tell it what the speech is, then hit the send button, all of which require me to put on my reading glasses first (which would be a bad idea, if I were driving, which of course I'm not.)

That's not even counting the HTC-skinned version of text messaging app, which knows I want to see lots of previous call history on the screen at once, and knows I'm not going to need to do the thumb-pinch thing to make the text bigger, much less having a menu entry to let me choose font size first, but that was my old 2.0-custom-HTC-AT&T version of Android, as opposed to KitKat.

Comment: Nash Bridges filmed near my office (Score 1) 442

by billstewart (#47612141) Attached to: Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

Back in the 90s I was working in San Francisco, at 4th and Folsom. Don Johnson and Cheech Marin's show Nash Bridge filmed in SF, often under the freeway near my office, and sometimes on one of the streets near us. They'd block things off and film episodes, and the clerk for my department had the hots for him, so she'd have to go watch out the window if they were close enough.

Comment: Android's annoying (Score 1) 61

by billstewart (#47597089) Attached to: San Francisco Airport Testing Beacon System For Blind Travelers

Maybe a current Android phone is better, but my old one has helpful things like a microphone icon next to the keyboard that you can press and type by voice recognition instead of keyboard. Which I suppose is useful, after I put on my reading glasses to do texting or other apps in the first place. (I'm sorry, I want the equivalent of being able to tell Siri to do stuff without needing to look at the keyboard - how else am I going to text while driving\\\\\\\\ um, use the phone with limited vision? And my HTC's version of Android didn't even let me pick a font size for text messaging; HTC just knew I'd prefer to see more lines of conversation and wouldn't need to do the pinch thing to make the text bigger.)

Comment: How my mom gets through airports (Score 1) 61

by billstewart (#47597071) Attached to: San Francisco Airport Testing Beacon System For Blind Travelers

Yes, I know you're trolling, but I'm going to comment anyway.

My mom's not blind, but her vision's really lousy (age-related macular degeneration, like a lot of old people with serious vision problems.) She takes wheelchairs in the airport, which not only takes care of navigation, but also helps her deal with distance (she can do short distances herself, but has trouble with long distances or long standing.) As the Boomer generation gets old and decrepit, we're going to start doing the same.

Using technology instead of labor is what capital is for. The capital only gets wasted if these sensors are obsolete in a couple of years, and if we haven't learned any lessons about design or implementation from it.

Comment: House of Lords != House of Commons (Score 1) 282

by billstewart (#47579677) Attached to: UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

"Parliamentary system" mainly refers to the House of Commons, whose members are elected and who elect the Prime Minister. The House of Lords is the other lot, sort of like a hereditary Senate, that *used* to be the important part of Parliament up until maybe the early 1800s, which lets the aristocracy still have some say in government as long as they don't actually interfere with the Commons too much.

Comment: Re:You're probably not one of them - CA FTB. (Score 1) 570

by billstewart (#47562313) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Unless they identify themselves as the State of California Franchise Tax Board, they're not.

At least for Federal taxes, you and they can only go back 3 years, unless they're alleging significant underreporting of income (which $200 isn't), in which case they can go back 6 years, or fraud, in which case you're on the hook forever. I don't know the FTB's time limits, but I'd be surprised if they're more than that (or at most one year more.)

Also, their name is pronounced "fran-chi-zi", because they're a branch of La Cosa Nostra, and yo, they don't mess around. If they wanted to take $200 from you, they'd have taken it by now. But if this really is the Franchises, you do have a way to get help in working with them, which is to contact the office of your state assembly representative. And if it's really not them, they'll probably also appreciate having you reporting the fraud (though unfortunately, you doing them a favor doesn't mean they'll do you a favor later.)

Biology is the only science in which multiplication means the same thing as division.