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Comment Re:morons (Score 1) 2288 2288

In Australia, (some) retailers do both (some do inches + metric, others do just metric, no-one does just imperial), but I still have an easier time with inches when it comes to screen size. A lot of the problem stems from the fact that they're made for American markets, so the model number will usually have the inch measurement in it (eg, an AL2216W is 22 inches across).

Comment Re:New World War (Score 1) 185 185

regardless of whether the insurance industry's death panels approve.

The death panels that Palin and others talked about

I think that was his point. Insurance companies refuse to insure people depending on their health - in other words, a textbook definition of the "death panels" that Palin & Co were scaremongering about.

insurance companies can't hold a candle to the number of rejected claims by Medicare. Go ask an old person. Medicare has always been the number one denier of claims!

Sampling bias, anyone? The people who can get private health insurance are generally healthier (they have enough money, which indicates that they're gainfully employed, which indicates that they're healthy and young enough to work). As you say, ask any old person. Plus, there's side benefits of having money - you can afford to eat healthily, see a GP for check-ups (and not just emergencies), and live in a safe and healthy area.

On second thought

You have to have a first thought before you can have a second thought. If you try really hard, maybe one day a thought might pop into your tiny little brain!

Comment Re:Options (Score 3, Insightful) 789 789

riding is a choice.

That's a flimsy argument - driving is a choice. In fact, for some people, biking is the only choice (I'm talking about people too poor to afford cars, or areas with unreliable public transport and no parking, or people disqualified from driving, or people with health problems which prevent them from getting a license but not from biking).

Cyclists should not be allowed on congested major roads if they can not keep up.

Are you talking about the law, or courteousness? Let's say you were talking about courteousness. I'm guessing that cycling is not an option for you - you may live too far away, or it's too hilly, or you work a job that demands you can come in quickly (eg, on-call sysadmin), or health reasons, or bad climate, or any other number of reasons. I don't begrudge your choice/need to drive - but realise that not everyone's situation is like yours. I'm lucky in that I can do either; but what you're basically saying is that you want to enforce laws that would make cycling illegal for all intents and purposes. That's unreasonable and unfair. So if your attitude is such that you're not willing to reach a compromise that would allow both groups of people to use the road, then how can you expect cyclists to compromise?

But perhaps you were talking legally. Well, I checked the laws in my jurisdiction; whilst there is a uniform minimum legal limit, there's an exemption for bikes so long as they keep to the edge of the outside lane where possible, and don't go on roads where bikes are explicitly disallowed (motorways, etc). Though quite frankly, that doesn't matter. I've never seen anyone get a ticket for riding a bike too slowly, nor can I imagine one being issued (apart from anything, it'd be pretty easy for the offender to get away - no plates to record, more maneuverability than a cop in a car, and faster than a cop on foot).

You said it yourself; "cyclists should not be allowed on congested roads". As the old adage goes - "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride". We can either sit here arguing all day about what should be, or we can talk about what can be. If you continue to talk about what should be, then the problem will never go away. And if you're not interested in an actual solution, one that benefits both parties, then there's no point in talking to you.

You missed a major point in your acceleration theory; cars have much more power than bicycles which more than compensates for the weight difference. I have never been out-accelerated by a bicycle for more that 40 feet(and I do not drive a hot car). Now I am on the cyclist's bumper and limited by the cyclist's speed. The same thing can be said for every other driver in the line that was passed at the stop by the cyclist.

I can usually do nearer 40 meters before anyone accelerating from the lights at a normal rate comes back up on my bum(per). Yes, if they put the pedal to the floor in a halfway decent car, they'll match or best my acceleration. But that's not how most people drive (even if it is technically possible), and they certainly can't take the moral high ground if that's how they're driving. And if they need more than 60m (let's say plus 20m to cancel out the advantage) before the next turn or light, then you're right, they shouldn't have pulled ahead. But it's been my experience that the roads only start to get thin (enough that cars can't easily pass) at the city limits, by which point the traffic's already bad enough that you're not going to get a 60m run.

Comment Re:Options (Score 1) 789 789

What annoys me most about cyclists is when they sometimes act like motor vehicles and sometimes act like pedestrians depending on which mode is more advantageous; riding through crosswalks; riding on sidewalks to get around traffic.

That's a shitty thing to do; but sometimes it's necessary. When the weather's nice, I cycle, and the amount of improvising necessary due to shitty planning and non-stop construction/roadworks is ridiculous. I do sympathise with drivers' frustrations (I don't want to get hit either - plus, I hate those self-righteous lycra-wearing jerks as much as you; they treat "casual" cyclists like shit too, and I cop all of the hatred that those jerks should rightly receive). But sometimes it's simply not possible to cycle 100% legally and 100% considerately.

They basically state that if you can not keep up with the normal flow of traffic you should not be there. Cyclists are not exempt from these laws.

That's a perfect example. As you point out, it's illegal for cyclists to drive on the road, and it's also illegal to ride on the footpath. What should be done? You may think the ideal solution is for us to just drive - but with the hellish peak-hour crawl, do you really want more cars on the road slowing you down and taking your car parks (we're used to leaving home earlier, so we'll be there before you)? Putting all the cyclists behind the wheel is the difference between making you 10 minutes early and 10 minutes late - have you ever noticed how the traffic's especially bad on days with inclement-but-just-as-drivable weather? It's in both our interests to get a decent bike thoroughfare, one that disrupts neither cars nor pedestrians. If cyclists bother you, tell your elected officials to get them their own lane, so they aren't in yours. I realise that this comes across as rewarding bad behaviour, but bad cyclist behaviour is not necessarily born of maliciousness.

Another issue passing on the right when traffic is stopped at a light; I just spent time trying to get around you and now you illegally pass me while I am at a light so I have to do it again.

It may seem like a jerk move, but it's actually the most considerate option in the situation. It's simple physics - a bike has low mass and low power, so they can accelerate quickly but hit top speed almost straight away. A car, on the other hand, has slow acceleration (due to a high mass), but a high top speed. Now, presumably, your proposal is to have cyclists wait between cars, as a car would. But now, when the light turns green, the cyclist can only accelerate as fast as the car in front, but, s/he still has the same (slow) top speed. Pretty frustrating for everyone behind the cyclist. On the other hand, if the cyclist gets to the front of the light, s/he can use the rapid acceleration advantage to race ahead of the motorists, thus impeding traffic much less.

Comment Re:What is the issue? (Score 3, Insightful) 319 319

Eventually, the software industry is just going to have to face the fact that the days of artificial scarcity are over.

There isn't any artificial scarcity because there isn't any scarcity. The number of possible programs left to write is practically infinite. For starters, we haven't invented a program that can write programs (artificial intelligence) (though realistically the problem would be supplying motivation in a non-programming language), so there's still that to be done. Also, computer programs help nearly every other field (niche/domain specific programs) - so saying that there are no new programs to write implies that no other field is advancing and changing. Thirdly, programs for entertainment (video games, social networking, online games, etc) are a practically inexhaustible domain - you can keep making them until kingdom come. Finally,

"Everything that can be invented has been invented."

  - Charles H. Duell, U.S. Commissioner of Patents, in 1899.

You're not the first to express this sentiment, and you're not the first to be wrong about it, either.

Comment Re:This study is nothing but Communist propaganda (Score 1) 961 961

I guess I don't even particularly like the 'entertainer' argument.

I for one would like to see how far this argument can be applied. I wonder if you could (literally) shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater and later get off scot-free, claiming "It was just for laughs"? What would happen if you quietly announced yourself as an "entertainer", as all these pundits (both Left and Right) do?

Comment Re:Are you serious? Do you even know who phk is? (Score 1) 298 298

With this level of reading comprehension, you must be in serious contention for the position of slashdot editor. No-one called Poul-Henning Kamp a doof. GP was saying that Poul-Henning Kamp was calling OTHER people doofs (implicit/paraphrase), as indicated by preceding "article summary" and the quotation marks.

(On-topic:) This article headline was nicked from a reddit thread from yesterday (Poul-Henning Kamp has commented on this thread; or at least someone claiming to be him has).

It would have been nice if the submitter/editors here had read the article instead of re-phrasing the more-accurate "You're doing it wrong" headline. Poul-Henning Kemp is expressing his exasperation at the fact that no-one has noticed this optimisation technique in the ~40 years that it's been valid, and attributes it to a failure in the programing culture and programming education. conspirator57's summary may be a little ruder than the article (which is astonishingly un-antagonistic), but conciseness always sacrifices pleasantries.

Comment Re:SELL! (Score 2, Interesting) 643 643

I very much suspect that the panic would work AGAINST the workaholic trader.

Firstly, the only people left trading are also banking on the world not to end, so they're not going to sell cheap (or at all, your scheme relies on a bear market). The only shares that would be sold would be ones for companies that aren't expected to recover from the panic, which causes their share price to plummet, which means that if they weren't going to recover before they CERTAINLY won't recover now.

Secondly, even if they could get money, it's extremely unlikely that it would be worth anything. Any retailers who own large stocks of supplies would either horde, or gouge (to take advantage of the massive surge demand that resulted from the panic, the decrease in supply from some of your competitors choosing to horde, and to compensate for the inherent risk of trading during a panic). Now, mix a panicky and stressed crowd, the anger from being charged more than usual, and the fact that there's no consequence for crime, and you've got yourself one fine recipe for a massive looting spree. Hell, even if the retailer were totally honest, the crowd might loot them for the fun of it, or because they're the only honest retailer in town and the crowd is upset that they're out of stock.

Even if the world DIDN'T end, the people who have money after the crisis would become pariahs (they only have money because they stole it and/or hoarded it), and popular opinion would demand the complete devaluation of pre-crisis money; a full financial reset. A lot of infrastructure was destroyed during the crisis (either by neglect or violence), so the financial reset would be but a drop in the bucket. (By the way, the clean-up is the time to quietly profit - there's a whole lot of property with corpses or social outcasts for owners, and the restoration of state-sanctioned property rights means you don't have to worry about guarding your possessions). Of course, this all depends how much warning was given for the end of the world.

Comment Re:SELL! (Score 4, Interesting) 643 643

It reminds me a little of a throwaway comment Stephen Hawking made in the recent series Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking - he was asked not to speculate on the end of the universe in a certain lecture series for fear that it would affect the stock market. Really? Even if the universe was going to end in our lifetime, and no-one had noticed before now (oops), what kind of fool would hear the news and immediately worry about his or her stock portfolio? What are you going to do with your money after the universe ends? You would think (if people behaved rationally) that the stock market would grind to a halt when every trader says "Screw this, I haven't got much time left and I'm not going to waste it here".

Comment Re:Does the vendor make md5 or sha1 hashes availab (Score 1) 255 255

Mod Parent Up! I don't care if it's posted as anon, this is EXACTLY what would happen. About the only other scenario is if a neutral third party (har har) decided what repos were allowed to be added. The issue is that anyone with centralized control will eventually corrupt it. We don't trust Microsoft because they're already corrupt, but who is trustworthy and will remain so without wreaking privacy havoc?

I 100% agree with AC here. Repos in Windows are a good thing, but like most good ideas, the courtroom prohibits action from being taken.

Comment Re:Does the vendor make md5 or sha1 hashes availab (Score 1) 255 255

Ho ho ho, allow me a moment, my monocle has fallen into my snifter of brandy. Ho ho!

I, being a LINUX USER, you see, do not have such mundane Mico$$$$$$$$$oft problems, ho ho!

Did I mention I use LINUX! Ho ho. I bet you are impressed with my LINUX USING ABILITY. We USERS OF LINUX have SOFTWARE REPOSITORIES, ho ho ho. By USING LINUX you too can have a SOFTWARE REPOSITORY.

What is that I hear? You use Mico$$$$$oft products?! Ho ho! My dear friend, you must cease at once and switch to LINUX. LINUX has SOFTWARE REPOSITORIES, did I mention this? Ho ho ho...

oh dear, it appears my monocle has come off again! Ho ho!

sudo apt-get install monocle


Comment Re:It depends where you want to draw the line. (Score 1) 256 256

Apart from maintaining cross-system compatibility (and/or preventing a peculiar form of psychological lock-in by training your users to not understand foreign interfaces), there are certain realities that just make the interface conform to a particular standard. For instance;

  1. Rectangles. We've often dreamt of 3D interfaces and interfaces with crazy geometries, but rectangles are just superior - they scale, tessellate, and can be programmed simply (you need only four coordinates - either X*Y,W*H or X1,X2:Y1,Y2), and rendered easily. Windows don't just have to tessellate with other windows, but also with their contents! Circular interfaces might be novel, but they make very poor use of available space (they don't tessellate with their contents or other windows), are harder to program and render, and require the window contents to be a certain shape and position (ie, don't scale well). Not only that, but even the devices dictate rectangles. If you had a totally circular interface, you'd need a circular screen for it. Which means a circular computer (or rectangular sabot, which is a bad option for portables). And circular devices don't pack or port so well. As for 3D - it looks great, but until we have 3D screens AND peripherals to interact with them without getting gorilla arm, we have to use simulated 3D, which is cumbersome, computationally expensive and has no inherent usability advantages (besides the fact that humans can think in 3D easily).
  2. Windows. A computer, by definition, is multi-purpose. You need some way to pare the functionality out of the computer. Now, modern computers are far, far too complex for any one entity to be able to supply the entire gamut of functionality, from kernel all the way to kid's games (and even if they could, democracy and capitalism have shown us that competition means better products). Enter third-parties. Now, how do you divvy up the workload? The only realistic way is to make each each third party supply one piece of functionality - viz, applications. Ah, but now you want your application to "play nice" with the other applications, since functionalities might compliment one another (eg, web browser + music player + text editor). So, all the application designers have to code to some standard implemented by the system designer ("don't worry about decorating or positioning your window Mr. Application Designer, we'll take care of that"). This benefits all parties - application vendors don't have to keep reinventing the wheel, system designers can make their product more consistent and therefore more attractive to the end user, who enjoy said consistency. And what is a window if not a system-designed container which controls the geometry of each application (so as not to conflict with other applications), and decorates it with various user overrides?
  3. Menus. Well, you need some way to start and control applications. Now, you could use a number of things; hotkeys, desktop icons, contextual, or sidebars.
    • Hotkeys. Hotkey environments exist, but they're not popular, because of the massively steep learning curve.
    • Desktop Icons. Desktop icons are nice, but they're inaccessible once you have an application obscuring them (plus, you'd need to constantly spawn and remove desktop icons based on system status - eg, task management).
    • Contextual. Contextual menus (a la fluxbox) are good, but they have a small learning curve (ever seen a new fluxbox user exclaim "how the hell do I do anything on this damn thing?"?), PLUS they're inaccessible once applications are running (they're contextual, so once you're off the desktop, your menu reflects your application).
    • Sidebars. Sidebars are good - they're obvious ("What does "start" do? Oh, it opens a menu for starting things!"), they're always accessible - they're clearly the best choice for most people (disclaimer: I prefer hotkeys, but I'm not your average computer user).

    Now, where do you put a sidebar? Well, unless you want it to get in the way of applications and interrupt workflow, you put it somewhere discrete - ie, to the side.

Your circular spoke idea is interesting, but it wouldn't work as a primary or default menu. Having said that, I'd be interested in seeing it as an optional hotkey-triggered overlay at the centre of the screen - perhaps you can have two (either as two different circles, or as concentric circles). Maybe if it dynamically "grew" (radial increase) to accommodate menu expansions, that'd be neat. If I weren't so busy/lazy, I'd write a compiz plugin (hopefully someone less lazy/busy will read your idea and pick up the slack ;)).

The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get to work.