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Comment: Scrivener (Score 1) 217

by cmattdetzel (#44557133) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Med-School Note-Taking?
I've found Scrivener to be invaluable in my law practice. See http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php.

It's available for Mac, Windows, and Linux (currently in beta). You can take the notes in whatever format or program you like, bring in PDFs, images, media files (such as dictation or lecture recordings), etc., and organize them as part of a Scrivener project.

Scrivener is extremely robust and offers multiple ways to view and organize your notes (such as in an outline or as notecards on a corkboard). You can choose what information gets compiled into a document for printing (such as an outline of a particular topic) and apply different formatting without having to change the source formatting. It's also great for handling endnotes and footnotes.

Comment: No used discs = huge drop off in DLC sales (Score 1) 592

by cmattdetzel (#42826295) Attached to: Xbox 720 Could Require Always-On Connection, Lock Out Used Games
I bought a copy of Borderlands for XBox 360 used. It's true the developer did not receive compensation for that transaction. However, I ended up liking the game enough that I eventually purchased each of the DLC expansions, for which the developer presumably did receive compensation. I pre-ordered Borderlands 2 shortly after its release was announced and bought some of the BL2 DLC as well.

If I had not had the opportunity to purchase a used copy of the first game for $15, it's very unlikely any of my money would have found its way into Gearbox's coffers, as I wasn't willing to take a ~ $65 flier on a new copy of the game. I don't doubt I'm the only casual videogame buyer out there who operates like this.

Comment: Arbitral class action waivers (Score 3, Informative) 147

by cmattdetzel (#41996803) Attached to: Amazon Payment Adds "No Class Action" Language To Terms of Service
Here's a great law review article written by Jean Sternlight of UNLV's Boyd School of Law discussing the impact of the recent case--AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011)--that paved the way for companies like Paypal and Amazon to impose arbitral class action waivers in their consumer contracts.

As others may have pointed out, the most effective (and direct) remedial measure here would involve amendment by Congress of the Federal Arbitration Act. Partisanship and regulatory capture by big business may render this option unworkable for now. In that case, changing the composition of the high court justices, coupled with nationwide reports of the deleterious effects of the Concepcion decision, could allow for SCOTUS to agree to hear a similar case in which Concepcion's holding could be narrowed or abrogated.

Comment: Re:Statutory rape? (Score 1) 479

by cmattdetzel (#40478017) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Watch TV In 2012?

Did it ever occur to you that your comment is COMPLETELY off-topic? Did it ever occur to you that many people do not consider their step {son | father | mother | daughter} as steps? They just consider them as family? Did it occur to you that I am well aware that my wife has a history that she is not completely proud of (are any of us?) and yet I love her anyway?

Admittedly, my prior comment was off topic; hardly a first for /. or an offense meriting reprisal. What my off-topic comment did not do, however, was engage--even tacitly--in the judgments you apparently perceived to have been made thereby. I meant no offense -- and certainly nothing in my words impugned (i) your relationship with your children [natural or otherwise] or (ii) your feelings for your wife. YOU supplied the context.

I'm also willing to admit, in retrospect, that the comment I made was a bit tactless, and I should have been more diligent in censoring myself rather than firing off a quick post. On this account, I apologize for any resulting offense. As a practical matter on your end, you might want to omit irrelevant personal details the next time you ask advice from an online community.

Comment: Statutory rape? (Score 1) 479

by cmattdetzel (#40470279) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Watch TV In 2012?
Did it occur to anyone else that if the two adults (ages 36 and 30) are the natural parents of the two minors (ages 13 and 4) in the family, there may have been statutory rape involved in the conception of the older child (depending, of course, on whether the law in the family's place of residence provides for an age of consent > 16 years old)?

Comment: Re:Blame squarely on GOP (Score 1) 628

by cmattdetzel (#39800201) Attached to: University of Florida Eliminates Computer Science Department

Students attending Florida’s state universities have to pay tuition to attend. As I’ve already pointed out, state law requires that the state expend money from general revenues for the “establishment, maintenance, and operation of” these state universities. I’m not aware of, nor have you pointed out, any “tuitions support (sic)” that exists as some separate series of payments to college students. I certainly don’t remember receiving any such “support” when I attended UF, so enlighten me, if you will. Supporting cites to specific provisions of the Florida Statutes, Laws of Florida, and/or Florida Administrative Code would be helpful and appreciated.

At bottom, I think your problem is with the law--chiefly, that you don't control it. I suspect that, like most people who’ve taken up the “not with my tax dollars” refrain, you believe that you should receive the benefits of citizenship, and of residing in the State of Florida, without cost to you—at least not unless *you* approve of any such costs in advance. In other words, you reject the sovereignty of the government of the State of Florida and of the United States of America, believing (foolishly, to be sure) that *you* are an exception to the laws which govern all other citizens and residents.

Or, perhaps you are simply making an (ineloquent and contrived) argument that you don’t like the state of the law, in which case your gripes were already addressed in the portion of my previous comment regarding relocation and/or ballot initiatives, supra.

Comment: Re:Blame squarely on GOP (Score 1) 628

by cmattdetzel (#39786057) Attached to: University of Florida Eliminates Computer Science Department

Well, skippy, I do vote and I don't go to university. I am a real adult. I actually work.

When trying to convince others that you are “a real adult[,]” it’s probably a good rule of practice to avoid remarks that make you seem like a petulant child.

What you didn't explain is why my taxes should go to something that will not benefit me or the rest of society. Explain why my and everyone else's tax dollars should go to paying someone's college tuition for an education that will benefit only that third person?

Florida residents are subject to and bound by the laws of the State of Florida. Except where federally preempted, the supreme source of law of in Florida is the Florida Constitution. Article IX, Section 1 of that document provides, in pertinent part:

The education of children is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida. It is, therefore, a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for the education of all children residing within its borders. Adequate provision shall be made by law . . . for the establishment, maintenance, and operation of institutions of higher learning and other public education programs that the needs of the people may require.

Art. IX, sec. 1(a), Fla. Const., available at Flsenate.gov (emphasis added).

In other words, the simplest answer to your question is “because it’s the law.” If you don’t like it, you are free to (a) relocate to another state or (b) avail yourself of the provisions of Article XI, Section 3, which sets out the method by which citizens such as yourself may propose amendments to the Florida Constitution through ballot initiative. Whining about your taxes here is the coward’s option, and wholly unpersuasive.

Comment: Re:Blame squarely on GOP (Score 1) 628

by cmattdetzel (#39771301) Attached to: University of Florida Eliminates Computer Science Department
First - efforts to increase tuition at UF have been continually rebuffed by the Board of Trustees and the Florida legislature. The price of tuition is largely a political matter over which students have no control. If you want to see changes, get involved and vote.

Second, please stop perpetuating the "not with my tax dollars" trope. To the extent some small portion of "your taxes" (Florida has no state income tax, so you must be referring to sales or use taxes) is ultimately distributed by state government for higher education, it is done this way for the same reasons that my taxes are used to pay for building and maintaining the roads and bridges you drive on, and the law enforcement and fire departments that protect you and your property, and any number of other sovereign-provided privileges, immunities, rights and services that you enjoy as a citizen of the United States and (presumably) a resident of Florida.

Comment: Re:Looking forward to it (Score 1) 228

by cmattdetzel (#39076071) Attached to: <em>A Memory of Light</em> To Be Released January 8, 2013

After Sanderson took over the books have tremendously improved, almost back to the initial volumes.

For the most part, I'd agree with this assessment. While I feel Sanderson has done a decent job with Perrin and Rand, and a fantastic job with Egwene, I found Sanderson's treatment of Mat Cauthon in Towers of Midnight extremely disappointing. Many fans apparently complained that Sanderson's rendering of Mat in The Gathering Storm was inaccurate. So he over-corrected in ToM, styling Mat as more of a caricature of the brash, irreverent youth who was so excited to let loose a badger on the village green in the opening portion of The Eye of the World. To me, Jordan did a fantastic job evolving and maturing Mat's character over the course of the story, and I wasn't at all unhappy with Sanderson's initial effort with the character in TGS. I certainly never had the impression that Mat was the illiterate simpleton Sanderson made him out to be in ToM. Seeing Mat's character regress to the point of playing puerile practical jokes really soured me on Towers of Midnight and certainly dampens anticipation for the final volume.

United States

State Senator Caught Looking At Porn On Senate Floor 574

Posted by samzenpus
from the let's-vote-on-this-instead dept.
Everyone knows how boring a debate on a controversial abortion bill can get on the Senate floor. So it's no wonder that Florida State Sen. Mike Bennett took the time to look at a little porn and a video of a dog running out of the water and shaking itself off. From the article: "Ironically, as Bennett is viewing the material, you can hear a Senator Dan Gelber's voice in the background debating a controversial abortion bill. 'I'm against this bill,' said Gelber, 'because it disrespects too many women in the state of Florida.' Bennett defended his actions, telling Sunshine State News it was an email sent to him by a woman 'who happens to be a former court administrator.'"

Comment: Another depressing "refresh" to the MBP line (Score 4, Insightful) 411

by cmattdetzel (#31834578) Attached to: New MacBook Pros Launched
Still no eSATA. No USB 3. No SATA III (6GB/s). No Blu-ray. SSDs are still Samsung models which do not use any of the top 3 controller technologies (SandForce, Intel, Indilinx Barefoot). 1920 x 1080 or 1920 x 1200 resolution still not available on 15" models.

All the things I'd been hoping would make it to the next MBP didn't. Looks like I'll be sticking with my 2006 Core2Duo 15" MBP a while longer.
Image

Man Swallows USB Flash Drive Evidence 199

Posted by samzenpus
from the chew-it-up dept.
SlideRuleGuy writes "In a bold and bizarre attempt to destroy evidence seized during a federal raid, a New York City man grabbed a flash drive and swallowed the data storage device while in the custody of Secret Service agents. Records show Florin Necula ingested the Kingston flash drive shortly after his January 21 arrest outside a bank in Queens. A Kingston executive said it was unclear if stomach acid could damage one of their drives. 'As you might imagine, we have no actual experience with someone swallowing a USB.' I imagine that would be rather painful. But did he follow his mother's advice and chew thoroughly, first? Apparently not, as the drive was surgically recovered."

Comment: Re:Sounds like a lot of bad ideas (Score 3, Insightful) 407

by cmattdetzel (#30355276) Attached to: Ambassador Claims ACTA Secrecy Necessary

And it is a small step from corporate control to a corporate state (or one that is corporate controlled).

There can be no doubt that Americans are already living in a corporate-controlled state. Sure, elections are held, but it's nigh on impossible to get elected to high office (U.S. House, Senate, President) without enormous political "contributions" from corporate coffers. How many times have we heard the old trope about "protecting American businesses" from our elected officials? Indeed, they've said it so many times that people actually *believe* businesses need protection rather than the other way 'round. However you feel about the healthcare debate, or the TARP bail-outs (too big to fail? WTF!?!), or no-bid defense contracts, etc, one thing should be eminently clear to those on all sides: these days, it is impossible to tell where the government ends and the corporate board room begins.

Comment: Re:Underwhelmed (Score 1) 60

by cmattdetzel (#26797419) Attached to: An Early Look At <em>DC Universe Online</em>

Maybe this is a step in the right direction but I'm severely underwhelmed by what qualifies for "innovative" when it comes to games. ... Anything in 3 dimensions should be far more complex than Go, because a 3d world itself can contain the complex board games. I think the designers forget about things like spatial awareness or presenting players with non-trivial decisions that require an understanding of morality, metaphor, or abstraction. ...

I couldn't agree more. But this would mean game studios would have to start hiring people with *gasp* liberal arts degrees! In all seriousness, and to take your point further, three-dimensional MMOs offer greater artistic opportunities and pose greater challenges than your run-of-the-mill videogame. These worlds have the capacity to incorporate much of the ingenuity and creativity of the human experience - from art to music to the written word - but always manage to fall woefully short of the mark. I think the reason for this is fairly simple: games like this are massively expensive and have to recoup [or demonstrate the possibility to recoup] significant capital outlay in a relatively short period of time. It's not ars gratia artis. Would a game which incorporated the theatrical devices of Shakespeare, the rich descriptiveness of Henry James, and the subtleties of games like Go or Bridge into a real-time 3D environment be better [read: more engaging and less prone to bots/spammers] than WoW or its ilk? Probably. Would it sell? I doubt it, unless it offered something for those less attuned to subtlety and artifice.

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