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Comment: Margins (Score 1) 22

by nmb3000 (#49143475) Attached to: The Only Constant is Change

As someone who was quite vocal against Beta in the original announcement article, I've got to say that this about-face is a pleasant surprise. I don't love everything about it, but it's a far sight better than what we saw on the beta site. Glad to see the powers that be came to their senses, and were not persuaded by UX blowhards.

One bug/design issue is with the comment margins. Here's what I'm seeing in Firefox:

Playing with the CSS, I think this is easier on the eyes and feels a lot less squished:

Which I got with this:

    #commentwrap, #commentlisting {
        padding-left: 1em;

    #commentlisting {
        padding-right: 1em;

Now how about some proper Unicode support? :)

Comment: Re:Amateurish (Score 1) 451

by Dogtanian (#49141885) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

The thing that really hit me about the screenshot was how crowded it looks. The example is presenting information with a clear underlying structure (a file system) and a small number of actions I can take, and probably half the area of that window is empty space. And yet, my immediate reaction is that there's no clear structure to tell me where to look, and the design desperately needs more visual hierarchy and better use of whitespace. Of course, this is a recurring problem with the current trend for flat designs

I agree that the screenshot looks more complicated than it needs to, but I'm not sure it's a problem with the "flat" graphical style so much as the layout which (IMHO) looks like versions of Windows from the not-at-all-flat Vista onwards (and even XP to some extent until you turned some of the crap off).

The problems with the icons there are- if anything- that they've moved *away* from flat design which (done well) would- and should- have simplified them to their essential elements and made them recognisable at a distance (à la road signs, etc.).

But, as stated by others elsewhere, MS has always been about change for the sake of change, playing silly b*****s by introducing new technologies and ways of doing things that are discarded in the next version of Windows simply for the sake of being new, or at least for selling some "new" crap.

Comment: Re:Realistic (Score 1) 344

by bluefoxlucid (#49138457) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

Because I can't switch to another electric supplier. I did (I switched to a 100% solar-wind-hydro-geothermal supplier, meaning they need to ensure there's at least enough of said power produced to cover all of their customers), but the main utility continues to charge me for just having electricity.

Basically, the utility company for my area supplies everyone with electricity and gas. There is only one utility company. For every unit of electricity or gas, they charge you a few pennies of transport fee. On top of the transport fee, they also charge you $30 "customer fee". So if you use 0 gas and 0 electricity, you pay $30; if you use 10 gas and 200 electricity, you pay $8 + $11 + $30, plus either the main utility's commodity gas and electricity costs OR your electricity and gas suppliers's commodity gas and electricity cost.

It costs $30/mo to have an account with the local utility.

Comment: Re:Amateurish (Score 3, Insightful) 451

by Dogtanian (#49136699) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

Those icons look like someone's first pixel art experiments. It seems that Microsoft has fired all of its professional graphics artists.

The problem is that- in terms of style- either they can't make up their mind what they are, or they're trying to have it both ways.

They're neither sufficiently clean and flat to match the current style of graphic design (which they went for with Windows 8), but nor do they work particularly well as 3D or prettified icons, or any other style in their own right.

The end result is that they just look like horribly underdesigned versions of "old school" icon design circa XP to Windows 7. And some (e.g. the warning "!" triangle and error "X" circle) just look badly designed full stop.

The colours are also far too bright to be used in large, solid blocks like that. It's probably no coincidence that the "flat" trend in general was accompanied by the rising use of *slightly* less fully-saturated colour (see here for an example); not dull by any means, but more tolerable for solid blocks than (e.g.) #FF0000 red etc. (*)

I grew to hate the use of bland gradients of the previous design trend (early Web 2.0 and later) and the glossy 3D effect started to get overdone (and cheesy) when adopted by every man and his dog. So I'm a fan of the flat look when it works. The problem (which I figured out at the start of the trend) is that if it's not done well, it can easily come across as being simply underdesigned or crude, and as it becomes more widespread it's likely to become adopted by people who can't tell the difference.

(*) Mind you, that was also a trend elsewhere, e.g. in clothing.

Comment: Re:Realistic (Score 3, Insightful) 344

by bluefoxlucid (#49129645) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

The "incentives" actually make solar panels expensive. If you get a $2000 subsidy for $3000 solar panels, retailers will start raising prices to $5000. You still get $3000 solar panels, but you have a perception of getting a good deal by getting $2000 back. This is why JC Penny has sales all the time: they tried for 10 years to drop the practice of marking $20 items up to $100 and running constant $80 sales, and they lost a shitton of business; switched back to showing sales off inflated prices, and they regained a shitton of business EVEN WHEN ITEMS WERE MORE EXPENSIVE UNDER THE SALE MODEL.

As for power wholesale versus retail, they should calculate your bill by net power units. If you provide 1000kWh and consume 1000kWh, they shouldn't charge you 1000x 12c and pay you 1000x 8c. You already pay about $60/mo for infrastructure ($30 of customer fees, plus infrastructure usage fees).

Comment: There's only one thing (Score 1) 676

Take a look at the audiobook for Moonwalking with Einstein. It's uh. There's a line about Bill Clinton copulating with a basketball; that may be a little out of bounds. By necessity, the author makes some touchy references to things.

It's an amusing book, but also a valuable summary of a huge body of knowledge that boils down to one important fact: the human mind, with all its variation, has fixed capabilities. Every person can, through application of effort, develop an incredible memory, mental mathematics skills, great expertise with musical instruments, a solid understanding of engineering, and so forth; in short, every human being is a ready-made genius. The mind is a tool which itself requires skill to use.

Old and new memory techniques, mental math strategies, and study techniques allow us to maximize the use of our mind. Textbook study profits greatly from the SQ3R study method (all modern methods are effectively SQ3R with different names); mnemonics enhance any formal and informal study; anyone who learns mental math through soroban and anzan methods will quickly become a human calculator. Ericsson's research into expertise tells us that a person learns rapidly when they analyze their difficulties and flaws as matters of inappropriate technique, focus on improving those weaknesses, and practice in a way which targets such skills while giving constant and immediate feedback--in short, knowing exactly when we're doing it wrong and why it's wrong gives us the ability to correct and rapidly improve our abilities. It only takes application of technique.

Humans are different. Our experiences shape us; sometimes, brain damage or genetic and biological imperatives shape us. Women think differently than men; asians have different cultural interests than europeans; but we all have the ability to deliberately bestow upon ourselves any skill we wish. Normal humans can even emulate strange humans: synesthesia can be simulated, and this simulation can be leveraged to improve memory; distinct personalities can be created inside the mind by force of will, and a writer or actor can shape coherent, independent characters and complex interactions from these imaginary individuals; artists train themselves to dull the left prefrontal cortex, making themselves capable of the amazing feats of brain damaged savants. Anything one human can do, another can do.

Comment: Re:But... (Score 1) 249

I use a Kindle, and have noticed the same. If I want to read text books, I need physical books; for stream data (fantasy novels), I use Kindle.

The location information is visual. The space on the book, the depth into the book, and so forth. It's also serial: cross-referencing involves flipping back to the physical space in which the book should have the correct information, and then recognizing if the information you find is older or newer, and correcting position.

Comment: Re: Drop your weapon... (Score 1) 318

Doesn't matter. What matters is why the officers understand they've been dispatched to the scene, and what they believe they're seeing when they arrive.

Obviously you're able to tell a real gun from a replica at a distance while someone waving it around, but most people can't, including cops, until they have it in hand, personally. You might be comfortable risking other people's lives by making them assume that all guns are toys until they've been shot at, but people who actually do have, as a feature of their daily job, other people assaulting and trying to kill them, probably wouldn't want you armchairing on their behalf.

The solution? Actual thinking parents not sending their kid out into public to act stupid with a replica gun. To teach a kid that when they see a cop car rolling up, to perhaps consider not looking crazy and waiving said replica gun around. This is a 100% lapse on the part of parents and a completely crappy position for the cops to have been put in. I know that you would be safe, because you would omnipotent and know, from a distance, that the replica gun wasn't real, and that if it was real, the universe's special karma system would protect you from the laws of physics because you are A Better Person Than Cops Are, and bullets wouldn't be able to hurt you.

Comment: Re: FFS (Score 1) 395

Well he could have been experiencing severe suicidal depression due to his asshole friends not recognizing his psychiatric burn-out, and turned to marijuana as a coping mechanism. I've done similar, but without involving any drugs;sleep for 18 hours a day isolates me from the world better than psychotropics.

Comment: Re:FFS (Score 1) 395

Yeah, I know. Marijuana in vogue, alcohol falling out of favor.

Their argument is that you take like 1/20 the amount of alcohol needed to kill you (20 beers = death) versus 1/1000 the amount of THC needed to kill you (1000 joints = death), therefor alcohol is worse for you than marijuana. That's a very unscientific approach.

It's part of the propaganda movement to ban alcohol for anyone under the age of 25.

Comment: Re:Drop your weapon... (Score 2, Insightful) 318

If you're that unable to grasp the difference between the possibility that someone might be carrying a weapon (say, in a violin case), and cops responding to someone's alarmed call about a guy brandishing a gun in public, and having that gun waved at them as they arrive on the scene, then you are completely out of touch with reality. Cops get killed, more often than you seem to know (or perhaps not as often as you'd like?) for misjudging the risk to their lives as they come upon such scenes or make a traffic stop. If you did that all day, every day, and some of your colleagues died doing what you have to do for your job, you might look at it a little differently. You're probably thinking that the police should have just hidden behind their magic bullet-proof cruiser doors like in the movies, right? Yeah. That kid shouldn't be dead. I blame his parents, 100%.

Dreams are free, but you get soaked on the connect time.