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Comment: Tried a decent fountain pen? (Score 1) 712

by microbread (#41838053) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: The Search For the Ultimate Engineer's Pen
TWSBI Diamond 540 - super fountain pen, not too pricey and is essentially airtight so the ink doesn't evaporate. It also comes with tools to fix just about every part, including a little bottle of lubricant. Noodler's Bernanke Black/Blue - virtually instant drying on most paper. No joke, you can write a line and waggle your finger over it trailing after the pen and it simply won't smudge. Fountain pen will give you nice smooth flow, the nibs go down to 0.2-0.3mm should you need it.

Comment: They tried this in the UK... (Score 4, Informative) 197

by microbread (#40864055) Attached to: Patent and Copyright Wars Gone Wild

And the courts weren't happy about it. The wording of the letter has to be extremely precise and boils down to:

We think you've been downloading porn, but we can't prove it. We'd like you to pay us some protection money, but legally we can't force you to without you agreeing to show us what's on your hard drive.

So, there's no onus on you to pay up whatsoever. Remember that IP addresses are still not considered solid evidence in most countries. To the extent that if your laptop gets stolen and you have an IP address and a GPS fix on the crook's address, the police often refuse to go round and batter the door down because it's they need more proof.

Comment: Re:Why the double standard? (Score 1) 377

by microbread (#40858423) Attached to: Algorithmic Trading Glitch Costs Firm $440 Million
Because when you start dealing in those sorts of volumes, you start affecting other things unintentionally. Lone maverick (amateur) traders, even with a few million in the bank don't have much effect on the markets by themselves. Note that over 140 stocks were fingered here, very very few individual traders (not funds) can do that sort of damage that quickly. If it's not checked, it can be devastating to businesses. If you suddenly snap up half a billion in GE stock, you'll turn heads. It doesn't sound like the NYSE agreed to cancel them, they simply decided to cancel them to prevent further damage being caused. Additionally they make a good point that there are plenty of normal people with stock linked savings accounts which could be affected. Naturally you sign up to some sort of risk and waive all damages, etc, but the damage should be limited to companies going bust, not some nutjob corp destroying the price through negligent programming. This isn't just Knight's money, it's *our* money as well.

Comment: Re:Better yet (Score 1) 113

by microbread (#40728211) Attached to: Startup Turns Fixing Your Grandma's PC Into a Game
Windows 7 also requires you to be a genius to actually find anything. Here is the guide to searching using complex queries: Why the hell isn't a simple interface included? Windows generously suggests around six filters as standard and I imagine you're expected to guess the rest...

Comment: Re:Before you start throwing missiles (Score 1) 429

by microbread (#40726685) Attached to: Harvard Study Suggests Drone Strikes Can Disrupt Terror Groups

If you choose to believe Bin Laden - certainly his opinion holds just as much weight as people who think they know why he did it - you can get answers.

A Reddit user had a good rundown of Bin Laden's own talks:

Note these are reasons for 9/11 rather than why he turned specifically, but it is certainly the occasion in the public's mind.

In particular:

In conclusion, I tell you in truth, that your security is not in the hands of Kerry, nor Bush, nor al-Qaida. No. Your security is in your own hands. - Osama Bin Laden

Comment: Re:Khan Academy criticisms (Score 1) 190

by microbread (#40718591) Attached to: Can Anyone Catch Khan Academy?
I have no quibble with the material on there, I just find it a bit lacking in depth. The python examples you cite are a good example - they're good, but basic. It's the sort of stuff you'd be learning in a high school programming class. The problem is if you want to learn about something in more detail, you're stuck, you've got to go to a university site to get that information. Calculus is getting better, the multiple integration stuff isn't bad. I guess I'm just a bit picky when people tout Kahn as the be all and end all of education. The parent of my post got it spot on with the criticism videos - the idea of Khan is fantastic, but the execution is far from optimal and isn't necessarily the best way to learn. For Python, I found the official documentation to be stellar as is Learn Python the Hard Way (free online or a few bucks for a pdf).

Comment: Re:Khan Academy criticisms (Score 1) 190

by microbread (#40716787) Attached to: Can Anyone Catch Khan Academy?
Khan is rubbish once you need greater than high school level knowledge. Granted there are great introductions to fields like finance, but fields that, at first glance, appear to have lots of videos often aren't that useful. So yes, it's a nice resource and good for learning new things, but don't expect to learn very much on there. As a physics graduate, I'm much more inclined to view things on iTunes U or the various university homepages because the quality is good and the material is at a much higher level.

Comment: Re:With a map: good is good enough (Score 4, Interesting) 34

by microbread (#40710327) Attached to: Great Open Source Map Tools For Web Developers

The problem (is it a problem?) currently is that the different providers have different strengths. Microsoft has very good non-satellite maps, I think they're prettier than Google and they have the massive bonus of being partners with Ordnance Survey in the UK. Anyone who lives in Britain will know that OS is the mapping service for outdoor people. Bing has also had aerial (45deg) view for a long time, way before Google woke up.

Open Street Map is highly variable, but the best maps (for instance, Berlin) offer a level of detail that is frankly astounding - down to benches and lamp posts. Crowd sourcing has both advantages and disadvantages, though I haven't seen any vandalism yet. The ability to export maps is also great for developers/data miners. Simply being able to download reasonable maps of the entire planet for free (minus 20GB) is fantastic.

And of course Google Maps is venerable, has a uniformly good interface, decent satellite imagery and great navigation. And the killer feature - integration with search results and directory enquiry information.

Horses for courses really. I wish that we could have Google's search capacity with Bing's graphics and OSM's level of detail, but that'll take time.

Comment: Re:Holy funding, splatman! (Score 1) 270

by microbread (#40622007) Attached to: Ouya Android Console Blows Past Kickstarter Goal

But neither do I want happy-go-lucky platform jumpers. I want a game with a solid story and quality production, something sorely lacking in App stores. That doesn't mean realism, that means a heavy dose of empathy, great voice acting and considerate level design.

I'm thinking games like The Longest Journey, Golden Sun or the early Zelda games where I genuinely felt for the characters. The Golden Age of Gaming really did exist. The only thing that's come close recently for me is Bastion.

Comment: Re:Make sense (Score 5, Insightful) 530

by microbread (#40383129) Attached to: Microsoft To PC and Tablet Makers: You're Not Our Future
As an owner of a Zune HD, I can attest to it being a great product let down by abysmal marketing and poor support from Microsoft. It was the only real competitor to the iPod Touch and one of a very small number of PMPs that has (had?) 64GB flash memory. If they'd released it properly in the EU and actually paid for advertising it might have fared differently.

My computer can beat up your computer. - Karl Lehenbauer