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Comment: Re:Corporations are people too (Score 1) 226

by minkie (#49597363) Attached to: Grooveshark Shuts Down

That's the most common outcome, but it doesn't always work that way. It is possible for the court to hold the corporate officers or investors personally liable. It's called piercing the corporate veil. Doesn't happen too frequently, but it happened to Limewire (http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2010/05/limewire_smacke.htm), who played in the same space, just a few years ago.

Comment: Single-vision wins (Score 1) 464

by minkie (#48722381) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?

What you want to do is get a dedicated pair of glasses for sitting at the computer. And, don't let them give you any bull about, "We just have to measure you for distance and reading, and can calculate it from that". Get a tape measure (one of those cloth ones used by tailors works great) and measure how far away your screen is from your eyes is as your normally sit. Do this a bunch of times over a few days to make sure it's accurate. If you also use a laptop, measure that distance too (in whatever posture you normally use your laptop). You may find it's not the same as your desktop. It might help to enlist somebody to help you make these measurements.

Then, tell your eye doctor to measure your eyes for that distance. The standard machine they use can do that, they just don't like to do it because it takes more time. There's a calibrated rod that attaches to the phoropter (that's the Rube-Goldberg thing you look through with all the dials and lenses), and a card they can hang from that at any specified distance. It's called a near-point scale. The doctor should set that at whatever distance you measured for your workspace.

Next, make sure the doctor writes a specific prescription for this distance. Again, don't let them give you any crap about how the optician will figure it out from your distance and reading Rx's. All the optician will do is average them, which may be good, or it may not be. Insist they do it right. If your doctor isn't willing to take the time to do the exam right, vote with your feet. Many doctors won't want to do this because it takes more time, and time is money.

Then, have a set of full-vision glasses made up with that intermediate prescription. Use them. Keep them at your desk if that's more convenient than carrying two pairs of glasses around with you.

I found progressive lenses horrible. I went through a few attempts, and eventually settled on old-fashioned bifocals. The kind with the line in them. In addition to the full-vision intermediate lenses described above, I have a pair of bifocals made up for my exact use-case: being able to see the whiteboard or screen in a meeting, and still be able to work at my laptop. To do that, I have my distance Rx in the top, and my *intermediate* Rx in the bottom. I also had them drop the line between these a little, so I really have to look down to see through the lower part. And, the lower part is also a little wider than the standard area. It's exactly what I needed. The thing to realize is they can make up any combination of lenses to fit your exact need. Car mechanics often have bifocals made up with the near-vision lens on top (so they can see what they're doing when working under a car on a lift). It's called occupational lenses. If your optician isn't willing to work with you to make you exactly what you need, again, vote with your feet. PS, some vision plans will pay for occupational lenses above and beyond the regular benefits.

Comment: Editor warrs, the next generation (Score 1) 402

by minkie (#47588415) Attached to: Comparison: Linux Text Editors

It used to be that the editor wars were vi vs. emacs. Now we've evolved to the point where it's the text-based editors (vi and emacs lumped into the same camp) vs. the graphical-based ones (sublime and all the rest).

I've never used Sublime, but a few people in my office use it, and I'll admit, it looks pretty neat. If I was editing files exclusively on my desktop, it might well be what I would use (and I say that after 30-odd years as a die-hard emacs user). But, the biggest problem I see with Sublime (and I'm assuming the same for rest of the graphical editors) is that it doesn't work and play well in a cloud environment.

We do all our work on servers in a hosting provider. My desktop is just for reading mail, browsing, and hosting terminals windows. And maybe, as I get dragged kicking and screaming into gmail, that list might get reduced to just "browsing and terminal windows". All the files I want to edit are remote. I've got my terminal program configured so one click gets me a shell connection on a remote machine, then I run emacs (in text mode, i.e. -nw). All my files are there.

I watch my office mates who use Sublime struggle with moving files back and forth. Drag a file down from the server to their desktop. Edit it in sublime. Push it back up to the server. There's some kind of integration which takes much of the drudgery out of that, but it's still pretty clunky. Even if you used something like sshfs to mount your remote directory, it's still a lot slower (I'll often grep 100's of source files to find a function name; that would be deathly over sshfs).

Yes, you could run the sublime app on the remote machine, talking to the X11 server on your desktop, but that's pretty horrible in its own way. It does solve the problem of getting the editor close to the files, but U/I performance sucks over most real-life networks.

I will admit that the idea of customizing/extending my editor using elisp is just frightening. A cool idea 35 years ago, but at this point, it's absurd. I'm glad that there are still a few lovable fanatics out there continuing to maintain the language bindings I use, but it's clear that's at an evolutionary dead end.. The fact that Sublime uses Python is one of the things that makes it attractive.

Comment: a few years over 40??? (Score 5, Informative) 274

by minkie (#46914751) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Joining a Startup As an Older Programmer?

I'm 55. 4 years ago, I left a good paying job at a Fortune-100 cube farm (where I was miserable) and went with a startup (where I'm having fun again). Best decision I ever made. I'm the oldest person in the company. Many of the people I work with are half my age. It all works just fine. Get over it. You're there to do a job, not be a frat buddy. If you don't want to go clubbing with the guys after work, don't go clubbing.

On the other hand, go into it with your eyes open. Startups are not the most financially stable place to work. Before I took this job, I discussed it with my wife. We've got no kids, no debt, and enough in the bank that if the startup went bust in 6 months (as, statistically, startups are likely to do), we'd still be OK. I would be more worried if I had kids to support, and loss of a paycheck might mean missing a mortgage or car payment.

Comment: Re:Having a private pilots license (Score 1) 269

The article says, "Airpooler’s legal counsel is a former Assistant Chief Counsel for Regulation at the FAA", so I suspect they have a reasonable idea of what's legal and what's not. On the other hand, as they saying goes, "We're the FAA. We're not happy until you're not happy", so, yeah, anything's possible.

That being said, having been a flight instructor myself, I've seen a lot of amazingly scary aviation being committed. You are truly taking your life in your hands when you jump into an unfamiliar plane with an unfamiliar pilot. And I'm not sure if the mechanical condition of the average GA plane or the skill of the average GA pilot frightens me more.

Comment: Re:Surcharge (Score 2) 338

by minkie (#43812685) Attached to: AT&T Quietly Adds Charges To All Contract Cell Plans

A good way to get the attention of somebody like a phone company is to file a complaint with your state's Public Service Commission. The PSC will forward the complaint to the company, who will have to respond officially to the PSC. If they're going to jerk you around, that's the best way to jerk them right back.

Media

Roku Finally Gets a 2D Menu System 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-look dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Many of us have griped for years about Roku's retro one-dimensional user interface. Finally, in conjunction with the release of the new Roku 3 model, the Linux-based media streaming player is getting a two-dimensional facelift, making it quicker and easier to access favorite channels and find new ones. Current Roku users, who will now begin suffering from UI-envy, will be glad to learn that Roku plans to push out a firmware update next month to many earlier models, including the Roku LT, Roku HD (model 2500R), Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD, Roku 2 XS, and Roku Streaming Stick. A short demo of the new 2D Roku menu system is available in this YouTube video."

Comment: Re:27" FTW (Score 1) 375

by minkie (#42905097) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is Your Favorite Monitor For Programming?

I've tried 30" monitors and they were just too big, but for me 2x27" is perfect.

I've got 2 x 27" now, and I keep thinking if I were to do it all again, I'd go with a single 30. The problem with 2 monitors is you can't really have a window spanning the break in the middle. The OS supports it, of course, but it's annoying since the two halves never line up perfectly, and even if they did, there's a gap. Plus, of course, twice as many cables.

Or, maybe it's just a case of the grass is always greener on the other desktop.

Comment: There's some bad physics going on here (Score 1) 103

by minkie (#41672933) Attached to: From a NAND Gate To Tetris

I looked at the "Getting Started With Digital Logic - Logic Gates" part. Anybody who has actually built something with TTL on a breadboard should know that 7400 series gates can sink a lot more current than they can source. Connecting a logic output to ground through a LED may not draw enough current to turn the LED on fully. The right way to do it is to connect the LED between the logic output and the Vcc rail in a pull-down configuration (with a current limiting resistor). Of course, that gives you inverted logic (LED on means logic 0, LED off means logic 1), but you get used to that. If it bothers you, use an inverter.

Comment: Mid-70's (Score 2) 632

by minkie (#41579421) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Were You Taught About Computers In High School?

I graduated from a pretty typical suburban NJ high school in 1977. We had an HP 9810 (http://www.hpmuseum.net/display_item.php?hw=51), and also a ARS-33 connected to a time-shared BASIC system a few towns away. I got to play with them my junior and senior years. That was my first introduction to any sort of computer. It was, or course, also my first introduction to computer games (hunt the wumpus, lunar landrer, and some kind of Star Trek thing where you got to explore the galaxy and blow up klingons with photon torpedos.

I was also lucky to spend the summer between my last two years of high school at a program run by Stevens Tech, where I was exposed to FORTRAN and PDP-10 assembler (both via punch cards).

If all else fails, lower your standards.

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