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Comment: Photocopy! (Score 1) 252

by helbent (#46944421) Attached to: $200 For a Bound Textbook That You Can't Keep?

Years back, when in yee olde academy, I used to run into costs surpassing $500 per semester for books. I think they're north of $1,000 for a full semester now.

Sooooo, I used to get all my books bought and would immediately head up up to the local copy shop and then spend around $120+ or so and get double-sided copies of all my books on 11" x 17" paper. Then I'd return the books for full refund and then pocket the difference, a savings of up to 70% or more off the cover price. The process would take a few hours but for a poor college student who was literally going without food here and there, it was worth it. It was moderately inconvenient to have to lug around bags filled with of stacks of photocopies but I managed.

Nowadays, this is all obsolete. The copiers are now digital and making digital PDF scans of the books (or copies) is certainly within the realm of reality.

http://www.diybookscanner.org/

These charming folks here have a scan fixture for $500 (you supply the cameras and light and computer and GPL software, however). I used to hear of frat houses on campus pooling cash to buy one or just a few books which would be passed around to all the members who are taking the same class.

I wonder how long it will take before some enterprising folks to start to pool their cash and buy (or build) one of these fixtures to get around artificially-created barriers such as we see here?

Comment: DRAGONLANCE! (Score 2) 1244

by helbent (#39269981) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good, Forgotten Fantasy & Science Fiction Novels?

Any of the old DragonLance novels from about 20+ years ago are wonderful.

I spent many a long hour reading plenty of those fantasy fiction books, and as much as I hate to admit it, some of the stories were so vivid and compelling that they brought a tear to my eye during the tragic finale here or there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Dragonlance_novels

The Chronicles

+ Dragons of Autumn Twilight
+ Dragons of Winter Night
+ Dragons of Spring Dawning
+ Dragons of Summer Flame

Legends

+ Time of the Twins
+ War of the Twins
+ Test of the Twins

Lost Histories

+ The Kagonesti (A Story of the Wild Elves)
+ The Irda (Children of the Stars)
+ The Dargonesti
+ Land of the Minotaurs
+ The Gully Dwarves
+ The Dragons

Meetings Sextet

+ Kindred Spirits
+ Wanderlust
+ Dark Heart
+ The Oath and the Measure
+ Steel and Stone
+ The Companions

Preludes

+ Kendermore
+ Brothers Majere
+ Darkness and Light --- This one was HILARIOUS! I hadn't laughed my arse off whilst reading before I came across this book.

Anything with Elminster in it, anything with Drizz't Do'Urden and the Avatar series (NOT the movie) are also strongly recommended.

I seem to recall coming across a bittorrent of some poorly-scanned versions of these books but I can't say for sure if it is still around.

Comment: Re:Sony botched it. (Score 1) 191

by helbent (#36707340) Attached to: Sony Announces End For MiniDisc Walkman
"That was the most frustrating part of the MiniDisc format. My $300 MD player/recorder was crippled."

I recall reading a sad article online somewhere about a guy who had recorded his brother's wedding on a minidisc camcorder of some sort, only to discover to his horror that there was no easy way to make copies of the video directly. Sony's shitty cripple-tech meant that the camcorder assumed that any video you recorded with it was (a) copyrighted, and (b) you did not own the copyright, therefore you were simply SoL if you needed a backup.

Any, the joys so Sony and their vibrant innovations, eh?

Comment: Total BS (Score 4, Insightful) 496

by helbent (#33331132) Attached to: Iran Opens Its First Nuclear Power Plant
I always shake my head and ruefully smile when I see these fear-mongering stories about hyped-up fears of “An Iranian Nuke in our Future!” and similar drivel. The IAEA inspects the program at ever single step of the way and of something is veering off course, everyone in the UN and the US will know. So far that hasn't happened, and my guess is that it won't.

For the record there's no simple, direct way to readily convert fuel-grade uranium into weapons-grade uranium, short of building a breeder reactor, and that's not exactly something you can do in your backyard or garage. Fuel-grade uranium doesn't go into a nuke, and you don't put weapons-grade uranium into your reactor, unless you want a really big “boom”.

As it stands, the only nation in the Mideast that illegally built a nuclear weapons program outside of international purview was Israel, and they got some of the initial materials to do so by smuggling the uranium from a refinement facility in Apollo, Pennsylvania in the late 1960's (c.f.: The Samson Option by Seymour Hersh). Yet you never hear two peeps about the “destabilizing influence in the Mideast” of that nuclear bandit state in the press, do you?

Also, let's not forget that the entire [crooked] line of thought is brought to you by the same perpetual prevaricators who threw up a lot of hot air about “Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq!” and “Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan!” and then were trying to beat the drums for a war with Syria under the pretense of “Saddam moved all the weapons to Syria (and Iran!)” It's the same old, tired media meme rehashed once again for a petty excuse to get us involved in another war we don't need and can't afford.

For my part, I'd like to see every media editor that purports that very same lie to be strung up, just so the air can be cleared a bit.

Comment: Re:If you can't handle calculus, science isnt for (Score 1) 467

by helbent (#31722084) Attached to: Help Me Get My Math Back?

The Teaching Company is a great resource for lifetime learners. I've used a fair number of their products over the years and they have a lot more positives than negatives. The only thing I dislike about their course offerings is there is too little to acquire with regards to MBA-style courses, but that's neither here nor there.

I think the two courses you want are:

Understanding Calculus: Problems, Solutions, and Tips by Dr. Bruce Edwards, and

Change and Motion: Calculus Made Clear, 2nd Edition by Dr. Michael Starbird

I have the second course and although I haven't gone through it yet, it does not look too shabby.

You might also do well to consider a calculus book by Schaum's.

Comment: Re:Newspaper Culture (Score 1) 420

by helbent (#29904939) Attached to: Decline In US Newspaper Readership Accelerates

When your newspaper's remaining unique feature is its absorbency, you know you're really in trouble.

Don't laugh.

For years the only reason I subscribed to the weekend edition of the local rag was so I could acquire a fairly steady supply of paper to line the bottom of the cages of the assorted small pets around the house.

Yes, really. The printed "matter" inside this "newspaper" you speak of was just as so many other posters have pointed out: nonstop sell-outs and hucksters for big-government sweetheart deals and tireless hypesters of the military/industrial/prison complex.

No, my friend. If such "writing" is the stamp of this fallen age, then the sooner every prevaricating press implodes, the better.

Red Hat Software

+ - Fedora 11 Released

Submitted by helbent
helbent (1244274) writes "Fedora 11 (Code Name: Leonidas) is now available for public download and use. Major features include: Automatic font and mime-type installation, PulseAudio [universal volume control], fingerprint reader support, iBus, and Presto, the last of which dramatically increases the speed of patches and updates. Obviously, this release also includes ext4 support.

Tonight we code in hell, baby!"

NOWPRINT. NOWPRINT. Clemclone, back to the shadows again. - The Firesign Theater

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