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Comment: Re:Hours Played is a bad metric. (Score 2) 48

by aevan (#46774539) Attached to: Steam's Most Popular Games
It's even worse... for games like Dungeons & Dragons or Lord of the Rings, steam launches a launcher...which then sits in the tray to download updates and such. From that launcher, the game can be loaded, and it persists past closing the game.. and that launcher is what steam tracks for 'hours played'. What you end up with is steam informing you that you've played the game 168 hours this week... but you never actually had the game on at all. I'm listed at over 8,000 hours in those games, nowhere near the truth.

Plus, it masks any other games you've loaded in the interim (or at least as far as the steam 'in-game' status). Couple this with that a lot of steam games can be played without launching them through steam, and you're left with a completely disingenuous metric.

Comment: Won't everyone be a millionaire? (Score 1) 293

by swillden (#46773349) Attached to: Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

At least, won't everyone who's paid a middle to upper middle class wage, buys a house and saves for retirement eventually be a millionaire?

If you want to retire at 65 and have enough money to live a decent life for 30 years after that, you need pretty close to a million dollars plus a paid-off house. And, frankly, it's not that hard to accumulate a million dollars of net worth over a ~40-year career, assuming reasonable returns on your retirement account and modest appreciation on your home. I'm actually targeting net assets of two million for retirement, given that it's still 20 years away and I expect that inflation will roughly halve the value of the dollar between now and then.

Comment: Re:power cars? technically no (Score 1) 73

by jellomizer (#46773301) Attached to: 'Thermoelectrics' Could One Day Power Cars

So say we can double that. That makes the fuel 40% efficient as we use some of the heat towards efficiency. That will double the gas mileage. However if you need a smaller engine, then it will be producing less heat. That is good if it is 1 for 1. However if their needs to be a particular heat starting limit then it may cause an issue. Unless you go with a bigger car.

The idea as the engine gets more efficient people buy bigger cars, is economically sound and proven. A large truck today can do about the same as a station wagon 30 years ago. But what happened is more people started buying trucks.

Comment: Re:Simple problem, simple solution (Score 1) 326

by swillden (#46773097) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained
Regardless of the number of exclamation points you use, Mountain View and SF housing do affect one another. I know several people who have lived in both areas and who have opted for one over the other based on questions of price and convenience. Said (insane, IMO) prefer to live in SF, but some choose MTV because SF is too expensive. Lowering the cost of housing in MTV further -- and making it more convenient to the Google campus -- would induce some more to leave SF.

Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1111

by hey! (#46772927) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

It's not a "re-examination". It's a butchering.

You say that like it's necessarily a bad thing.

We've got to stop acting as if the Founding Fathers were like Moses descending from Mount Sinai with the Constitution chiseled on a couple of stone tablets. They were brilliant, enlightened men for their day, but the Constitution is not a document of divine inerrancy.

The US Constitution is the COBOL of constitutions. Yes, it was a tremendous intellectual innovation for its time. Yes, it is still being used successfully today. But nobody *today* would write a constitution that way, *even if their intent was exactly the same* as the founders.

For one thing it's full of confusingly pointless ("To promote the Progress of Science") and hoplessly vague ("securing for *limited times*") phraseology that leaves courts wondering exactly what the framers meant, or whether they were just pointlessly editorializing ("A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State").

It's also helplessly out of date. The Constitution was drafted before the existence of mass media and advertising; before photography even. It was the appearance of photography in newspapers that woke people up to the idea that they might have privacy rights that were being threatened. A Constitution written in 1900 would almost certainly have clauses explicitly recognizing a right to individual privacy and empowering the government to protect that right. A Constitution written in 2000 would almost certainly have clauses restricting the government from violating individual privacy.

And then there is slavery, an outright *evil* which is enshrined in the founder's version of the Constitution. That alone should disqualify any claim they may have had to superhuman morality.

So if we take it as given that the US Constitution is not divinely ordained, it's not necessarily a bad thing that the current generation should choose to butcher what the founders established. Would you re-institute slavery? Allow *states* to deprive citizens of liberty and property without due process? Eliminate direct election of senators?

So it's perfectly reasonable to butcher anything in the Constitution when you're proposing an *amendment* to the Constitution. That's the whole point. We should think for ourselves. In doing so, we're actually carrying on the work the framers themselves were doing. Every generation should learn from its predecessors, but think for itself.

Comment: Re:Specialized Pieces (Score 1) 266

by plover (#46772215) Attached to: Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

He had a space shuttle model that he put together one time, and as far as know it still remains in the shape of the space shuttle. It didn't grow dinosaur engines, it didn't have wooden castle doors, it never had gears and shafts and pistons protruding from the wings, it just stayed a space shuttle model. The castle, on the other hand, was sometimes a tube, sometimes a fort, and sometimes a box, depending on what he was playing.

He's now 25 years old, and I don't suppose he's all that interested anymore. However, he's probably not too far from having a kid of his own to take it apart and remake it in the shape of a zombie tractor ninja robot.

Comment: Re:Matches. (Score 1) 266

by plover (#46772065) Attached to: Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

What happened to playing with matches?

The problem is that it's all the frickin' strike-on-box junk nowadays. Good old fashioned strike-anywhere matches are getting harder to find. You have to dig deep through grandma's junk drawer to find a box, and then you still have to sneak them out to the garage to see which of grandpa's mysterious cans of fluids are the most flammable.

Comment: Re:You can't use technology to raise children (Score 1) 266

by plover (#46771917) Attached to: Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

I saw a video on Youtube titled "A magazine is an iPad that does not work." It featured a 1-year-old child tapping images on a magazine, expecting something to happen, and being somewhat frustrated that nothing does. There's a kid who may never throw a ball in his or her life.

Now I'm trying to figure out if that actually matters or not -- I certainly don't see ball-throwing as a necessary skill for life anymore, it's now strictly a form of recreation. We're no longer hunter-gatherers, we don't have to climb trees to get fruit or throw spears at boars to eat meat. We may be missing out on a lot of the experiences in the world by avoiding such activities, but we don't truly need them to survive in this age of McFood, Amazon, and Farmville.

Comment: Re:Specialized Pieces (Score 1) 266

by plover (#46771789) Attached to: Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

The best Lego set we ever bought for my son was a castle set at a garage sale. It didn't have instructions. He just put together pieces and made castles, they didn't have to look like anything pre-made at all.

Had I been more forward thinking, I would have thrown away all his Lego instruction sheets and booklets.

Comment: Re:Yawn. (Score 4, Insightful) 50

They become old and bitter, just like those mainframe guys. Everything comes with a trade-off. When we went from the mainframe to PC's, software for a little while had to take a step back so it will work on systems with less power. The same thing is happening now with mobile devices. Software is taking a step back so they can operate on their mobile devices, where speed was sacrificed for weight and power usage. However, the fact we have smaller lighter carry anywhere technology, allows us to be more connected and less reliant on paper.

Trade-offs, they happen. Just like the mainframes, the PC will move more towards business only usages, while home stuff will go to mobile devices, as well as those light end business apps.

The Mainframe isn't dead yet, neither will the PC go away any time soon. However they will get more specialized for particular work.

Comment: Re:It's crap (Score 1) 1111

by swillden (#46770231) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

Except that's bullshit, because if people really cared about using their guns to defend our freedoms, there would already be a gallows set up on Capitol Hill with half of congress swinging from it.

Utter nonsense.

There are problems -- lots of them -- but peaceful civilian control of our government has not yet failed. Things aren't bad enough to justify civil war, but that doesn't mean it will never get to that point.

Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1111

by swillden (#46769749) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

And to pretend that the Founders never intended the Constitution to be amended is silly since we have an amendment process.

Of course they intended it to be amended. Which means that if people would like to ban civilian firearm possession, they should amend the constitution. Not that any such amendment would have a prayer of getting ratified.

Comment: Re:Simple problem, simple solution (Score 1) 326

by swillden (#46769687) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

Well, if you want reasonable housing prices in the face of climbing demand, then it's your problem. Without new housing in quantity in Mountain View, existing housing in Mountain View will cost more, and the same effect will ripple out to surrounding communities, including SF. The increased number of commuters will also increase traffic on the roads (though not as much as it could, thanks to the Google buses).

If you don't care about housing costs and traffic in the region, then it's not your problem. I don't live in the area, so it's certainly not my problem.

Comment: Re:Effectiveness of a space elevator. (Score 1) 85

by swillden (#46769609) Attached to: Google Looked Into Space Elevator, Hoverboards, and Teleportation

Very good point. I stand corrected.

Putting something into LEO with an elevator would probably require lifting it well beyond LEO to get something close to the right orbital velocity, then applying thrust to fix up the resulting eccentric orbit. It'd still be cheaper than lifting it from the ground into LEO... though it occurs to me that the reason it would be cheaper is that it would get its orbital velocity by taking energy from the elevator. That could be restored by lowering a mass from geostationary orbit.

I hadn't consider it before but it seems like a space elevator would need station-keeping thrusters to maintain its orbital velocity since it would be sapped a bit by every kilogram lifted from the ground. Without thrusters you'd need so send a like amount of mass down, which means for every kilogram you lift up and want to keep in orbit you'd need to find a similar mass to send down. Maybe ore from asteroid mining operations? Of course, then the source of the orbital velocity you're using to restore the elevator's velocity is the thrusters that put the ore into the right orbit to go down the elevator.

Comment: Re:But what is a militia? (Score 1) 1111

by jellomizer (#46769595) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

As a non-gun owner, I still support the second amendment.

Increased freedom comes at a cost of reduced safety. If we want to be a free society, we need to be allowed to be dangerous.

Part of this militia bit, means we as citizens should be free to arm themselves in case we feel the need to revolt against our government or protect ourselves from a foreign source.
This was added during a phase in our government where we just fought off a legitimate controlling government, to make our own. The idea of replacing it with one that is unchecked is dangerous.

Now as time went along the US Government is one of the most stable governments in the world. Because we are in an era of stability. These gun laws seem more appropriate to stop those random nuts. As there isn't much of a real effort internally to overthrow our government. However... This may not be the case, we could go downhill fast, and if laws are too restrictive then if it needs to happen we will be at a disadvantage.

Now as I stated I don't own a gun, nor am I looking for a gun, as I while I don't agree with everything about the US, it is good enough for me to not feel like I need to get armed. Nor does most of the rational population.

When someone says "I want a programming language in which I need only say what I wish done," give him a lollipop.