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Comment: Re:WHy would he do it? (Score 4, Informative) 193

by bscott (#46722631) Attached to: Stephen Colbert To Be Letterman's Successor

> His bank account will see a significant step up

Not as much as you might think. He makes more than half what Letterman does now ($8 mil/yr vs Dave's ~$15mil) and it's unlikely CBS will pay him as much as they paid Dave, at least not to begin with.

Since Dave (and Leno for that matter) took pay cuts a few years back due to declining audiences across the board, Jon Stewart has been the highest-paid talk show host on the air.

Comment: Re:Pragmatism (Score 1) 503

You could usually see it coming at my last job, when a Dvorak user would step up to - for instance - a communal computer used for presentations, and attempted to log into something. They always had to type their password twice, the second time after wincing in realization of what they'd done the first time...

Comment: Re:Pragmatism (Score 1) 503

by bscott (#46131799) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?

I should add - I'm glad those features are there, I think they're cool, and I sometimes wish I could use them. If I had only one computer to use for the rest of eternity, it'd be so customized I'd only need eyeblinks to do everything.

But those features are only good insofar as they don't take away from stability. And when my Linux desktop encounters an error, it's pretty much always Compiz these days... this has been true across the last two revs of Ubuntu, v11-v13 and across two separate hardware platforms Dell-Lenovo, and reinstalls every few months. Never had problems with Ubuntu v8-v10...

Comment: Pragmatism (Score 5, Insightful) 503

by bscott (#46130709) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?

If you can't have a consistent experience across even one day, why get too reliant on customizations and shortcuts?

Back in the day, I had to switch between Data General (terminals), MacOS, and Amiga keyboards and UIs on a daily basis between work and home. These days, of course, everything has changed - now I bounce from Linux to Android to OSX, and more than occasionally Windows too. It's just never paid off to build a super-custom setup when you can't stick with it.

I use Linux for my main desktop at home partly because it is so quick and easy to reinstall - just keep your data on a backed-up server and you can virtually forget about maintenance or troubleshooting. Get used to the default setup and just reinstall whenever you run into something you can't work around - 15 minutes to get back to a familiar desktop is quicker than any full restore-from-backup I'm aware of. (I actually like Linux internals but every time I learn something, I end up forgetting it before I need it a second time; it gets frustrating...)

I'm aware I'm giving up a fair amount of potential productivity and convenience. I don't care any more. I'm just happy when I remember not to try and touch the monitor on my wife's iMac.

I got friends and colleagues who, for example, use Dvorak. More power to 'em. They're younger and more stubborn than I, and most of the time they have one laptop they use both at home and at work. As a wise man once remarked, I'm older now, I got to move my car on street-sweeping day, I can't be doing just anything I want any more...

Comment: "What's the point of a baby, sir?" (Score 1) 937

by bscott (#45911635) Attached to: Who Is Liable When a Self-Driving Car Crashes?

> what's the point of a self-driving car if you can't relax or do something else while 'driving?'"

It's early days yet, give it time.

There was no point in cars AT ALL when they first were introduced: they were slower than horses, you needed to bring a mechanic along with you 'cos they broke down every mile. Some cities you had to employ a guy to walk ahead of the car with flags to warn people. Utterly without practical use, they were.

They got better, laws adapted. You have to start somewhere though!

Comment: Finally, life catches up to Max Headroom (Score 1) 112

Been rewatching "Max Headroom" (one of my all-time faves) lately and have been so impressed with how much they foresaw. Sure, today's cameras are a lot smaller and several details about society and industry were a bit off-base, but the idea that information is more valuable than money, the rise of corporate power while governments decline in relevance, and a lot of other things they got spot on.

That said, the live telemetry from "satcams" is something which has been missing. Google made a big leap forward with Maps and Streetview, I just wanted it to all connect together in realtime like at Theora's console... nice to know we're still making progress!

Comment: Science Fact (Score 4, Interesting) 186

by bscott (#45743109) Attached to: What Sci-Fi Movies Teach Us About Project Management Skills

You don't need to reach for SF to get a great project management lesson, just look at the Apollo program.

A triumph of the human spirit, of technology, of ingenuity, sure - but mainly, an overwhelming triumph of project management. Who says the government can't handle any big jobs, eh? (well, anyone who's been watching for the last 40 years maybe...)

Comment: Friends?! (Score 0) 206

by bscott (#45296873) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Package Redirection Service For Shipping to Australia?

I have to wonder, did you leave the U.S. because you had no friends?

I moved to Australia 7 years ago and I still have friends back in America. Although I can get a lot more things here now than I used to, I still occasionally have a friend help forward things to me. There's no reason to go with a service, just Paypal them the postage.

Maybe you can send them things they might enjoy too - my friend's wife developed a taste for Tim Tams (cookies) and so we have a regular exchange going, as my Aussie wife misses the "graham crackers" she could get in the U.S. which are unheard-of here...

Comment: Re:welcome to the socialist wonderland (Score 4, Insightful) 206

by bscott (#45296851) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Package Redirection Service For Shipping to Australia?

FWIW I can confirm, having experienced hospitalization in the U.S. - with top-tier Blue Cross coverage - and later in Australia as well - the ordinary everyday Medicare system - there is no real difference in the quality of care.

The equipment, the people, and the access are all very good in both countries - assuming you have insurance in the U.S., and I'm comparing major cities to major cities here of course.

What's dramatically different is the cost, and the level of paperwork. In America we were snowed under for years with insurance company statements and bills from a dozen providers - we ended up just sorting them by color and then weighing them... and we had to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket after Blue Cross was finished.

In Australia, you pay maybe $80 for a doctor visit, and get some of it back from the government Prescriptions average $10-$20. If you go to the ER and get admitted to a room, you have to pay $6 a day if you want the TV to work. And I think you sign like one form on your way out. You never hear from them again.

Comment: Asking Slashdot for advice on being polite?? (Score 4, Insightful) 399

by bscott (#44529095) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Request Someone To Send Me a Public Key?

If you don't have the social skills to phrase a polite question, Slashdot is perhaps not the ideal place to go looking for advice...

Technical issues with giving anyone your private key aside (I can't think of any reason to give it out to someone no matter how much you trust them) just explaining things clearly should work for any reasonable person:

"I have no problem with you having my personal key, but I am concerned about the integrity of the data while in transit. I would appreciate it if you can supply me with a public key for your organization, then I will be able to encode my key so that only you can decode it. This will ensure that our mutual privacy won't be at risk due to using an insecure communication system such as Email. Thanks very much!" etc

Comment: Center for Terminator Studies (Score 1) 161

by bscott (#44083533) Attached to: The Men Trying To Save Us From the Machines

I wrote about the CSER last year at - if you take this and combine it with the news that the EU is building the world's most powerful laser, you'll wonder why the movie version of Skynet even bothered with a time machine in the first place...

(oh yeah, they already HAVE a Skynet -

Center meeting at 4pm in 2C-543.