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Comment Re:Boulder/Denver, CO; Lincoln, NE & Bozeman, (Score 1) 464

Actually, no, Bozeman is technically a desert, so it doesn't get a lot of snow. It does, however, get cold in the winter. A typical winter has at least a couple weeks during which it never gets above 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Snow generally arrives around October, and while not a huge amount, it usually sticks around until March or April. However, the summers are absolutely awesome with lots of outdoor activities to do. There are also two really good ski resorts near town for the winter.

All that being said, Bozeman is starting to become an expensive place to live. But you are less than thirty minutes from being outside of civilization. (I went to school at Montana State in Bozeman, though I currently live in Kalispell, MT. It is a much better place to live, in my opinion, but it doesn't have the same job opportunities as Bozeman.)

Comment Re:Activity or productivity (Score 1) 165

It also removes some of the intangible elements of human interaction. Someone may not be as "productive" directly, but they are very good at helping others get their jobs done more effectively -- either through mentoring, improving morale, etc. When we start putting numbers on people instead of thinking of them as actual people with personalities, we lose the real value of the person and interactions of a team. Metrics can be helpful, but they must be kept in context.

Comment Re:It could be if..... (Score 1) 435

I work in a school where some of the student/teacher laptops are touch and some not.

I don't need or want touch on a desktop - I've got a full keyboard and and a real mouse.

On my personal macbook pro - touch would be nice, but the mac's touch-pad is pretty sweet, though occasionally I connect a real mouse

On last year's laptop, a 12" windows laptop with a tiny touch-pad - it is crying out for a touch screen.

On this year's model laptops that have windows 8, touch screen and a touch-pad too - it is awesome.

For fast use the touch screen, clicking dialog boxes, installing software, fixing things - you generally don't have to keep typing.

For accurate use the touch-pad. editing, anything that uses both keyboard and mouse.

Comment Re:Yes - known for years. (Score 1) 435

Although you can boot Windows on a Mac, you don't have to do that. Windows, including Win 10, can be run safely in a Parallels or VMWare sandbox.

On a Mac you can have both of these - my Windows 7 bootcamp install is also the VMware target. So I can run it natively for games, and later as a VM if for I'm working on OSX. Not upgraded yet to 10 - hoping it works just as well.

Comment Re:It's "not just the about the money!" (Score 1) 297

That is one major advantage to OS X. You can make a drive image and boot off of it. Helps for migration testing and backups. It really frosts me that Microsoft hasn't figured out how to do that yet. I can keep a 128 GB flash drive in my bike bag and restore my laptop anywhere in the world I can get a new HD. Pretty damned convenient.

I love the fact that the included OSX backup (and dead simple) program Time Machine, creates a bootable USB backup - there's nothing remotely similar in Windows land but should be.

Comment Re:Always backup your data to a different machine! (Score 1) 297

I have to disagree - Yes, I personally go for a waaay more paranoid backup approach, but just backing up to an external USB HDD (though with a "real" backup, not his manual drag-and-drop BS) puts someone a whole world of hurt better off than 99% of computer use

If Grandma calls and says her HDD died and she hasn't "run that DVD backup thing" in a few months, well gee, sucks for you, granny! If, however, she calls and asks for help getting her nightly USB drive backup reinstalled to a new computer, hey, cool, she's lost almost nothing.

Once my parents had access to a decent internet connection (not just a modem) then I soon transferred them over to use Crashplan and have everything backed up at my place on an old Windows Home Server - works perfectly fine, and I get an email if the backup fails or doesn't run regularly.

Sure I'd have to build a new PC if theirs fails but all dad's family tree info and photos are safely backed up at my place (and online too)

Comment Re:Quantity doesn't matter... (Score 1) 301

...when the damn USB interfaces are crammed so close together that I can only plug one thing in at a time anyway.

Don't worry though, I'm sure that design consideration is right around the corner. I mean, we consumers have only been complaining about that bullshit for years now...

Recently passed through KickStarter


Comment Re:Three (Score 1) 301

Three. One for the mouse, one for the cable to the USB hub with the external hard disks in the shelve, and one spare one (e.g. for a USB stick, or to connect the smartphone).

Would this be of any use to you?

A recently funded KickStarter project.

https://www.kickstarter.com/pr... (which you can order through)


Comment Re:ST only needed transparent aluminum for... (Score 1) 247

What is this Star Trek IV you speak of? On a related note, isn't it weird how they skipped straight from ST II to ST VI, and Spock was suddenly back with no explanation?

Likewise, I'm still waiting for the release of Star Wars Episodes I, II, & III to be made.

There was an attempt a few years ago by some George Lucas look-alike, but they were far too silly to really be part of the story:

Midichlorians and a Jar like character - strange ideas for a semi-decent sci-fi story.

Comment Khan Academy (Score 1) 315

My son is just about to turn nine, and he is really enjoying the programming section on Khan Academy. The site was originally designed as a math curriculum but is rapidly expanding into other fields. It is free, and it uses JavaScript with immediate visual feedback while teaching them the basic concepts of programming. There are step by step instructions and helpful hints to help guide them through the concepts, but having some occasional parental help is sometimes required. Overall, though, I have been pretty impressed with it.

One thing though: I would make sure they learn how to type first as that will greatly help their ability to program.

Comment Re:The retro bulbs look fantastic. (Score 4, Informative) 328

I am curious if they still have the property of not attracting insects. One of the things we discovered while in Texas is that LED bulbs were great for outdoor lighting when you didn't want to attract insects like a normal light bulb inevitably does. Apparently, it has to do with the LED lights not transmitting light at certain frequencies. With a warmer light, they may be transmitting frequencies now that will attract insects. It would be great for indoor lighting, but it loses the benefit when used outdoors.

Comment Be a Good Listener (Score 4, Insightful) 214

I think one of the most valuable abilities for a good programmer is to be a good listener. A big part of that is also being able to ask good questions. You need to be able to fully understand the problem to be able to develop the right solution -- remember, the solution that customer actually needs is not always the one they think they want. Also, being able to listen also means you will be better able to learn new skills.

Comment Re:What if... human's just weren't cut out for it? (Score 1) 272

As for humanity surviving on Earth - aside from a "grey-goo" scenario, or malevolent AI bent on human extermination, I can't think of anything that would actually present a credible threat to the species. Now lot's of things could bring about the collapse of our civilization, or even *almost* wipe out the species, but even a 99.9% extermination rate would leave 7+ million people - twice the population that is estimated to have existed before the birth of agriculture. Even a 99.9999% extermination rate would leave 7+ thousand people - more than the estimated population during the worst of the last major ice age. And those few survivors would have access to a wealth of knowledge and technology undreamed of by our ancestors - I doubt they'd have trouble eventually rebuilding a new civilization, at worst it might take a few thousand years - and we've been tool-makers for over a million already.

The biggest problem that people starting to rebuild civilisation after most of us have been wiped out - is going to be energy sources, then metals.

All of the easy to get to coal, oil and metals have been strip mined and basically used up - the really hard to get to stuff (which they won't be able to get to) is going to be all that remains.

The coal and oil could eventually be replenished, but only in geological timescales (and favourable conditions)

I suspect they'll be a stone-age people until a passing UFO checks out the world that suddenly went quiet.

"Free markets select for winning solutions." -- Eric S. Raymond