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Comment: Re:The Moral of the Story is... (Score 1) 360

by obscuro (#49399565) Attached to: Why More 'Star Wars' Actors Don't Become Stars

I can agree with most of that. I think the first script and movie had pace and clarity on its side. And SiFi in the years leading up to 1977 was all about post apocalyptic earth or abstract freak outs. So, SW was a VERY welcome change from hand wringing and acid trips to an exciting, accessible story.

The two Lawrence Kasdan scripts are miracles. The first movie had complete closure. All the mythology about Lucas having a long term vision should be pretty much dead after seeing Episodes I-III. What a mess!! You can thank Lawrence Kasdan for SW being an exciting trilogy. The second and third movies were well written scripts. I promise you Ewoks and other blemishes are all Lucas.

And once you ask the question, "Who builds the Death Star twice?" you're on your way to the question -Who, given that they can build more than one Death Star, only builds one at a time?

Comment: The Moral of the Story is... (Score 1) 360

by obscuro (#49392543) Attached to: Why More 'Star Wars' Actors Don't Become Stars

If you're a bad actor or you are made to look like a bad actor by a bad script or director, your career will be hurt. The Star Wars franchise has had some good scripts and directors and some disasters.

Harrison Ford was a good actor - he got work. James Earl Jones got half the bad magic guy roles for the next 15 years. Billy Dee Williams did fine after being Lando Calrissian. Those were well written roles and the actors played them well. Luke, "But I want to go to Tashi station to get more power converters" Skywalker? You've got to be a STELLAR actor to make anything out of that role and Corvette Summer is all I have to say about Mark Hamill's acting chops. Admittedly Carrie Fisher is a bit of a mystery.

Episodes I-III were terribly written and directed as if the principal actors were on methadone. It didn't hurt Liam Neeson or Ewan Mcgregor because they were famously great actors with an established brand in England. Natalie Portman was a well loved indy actress. Only indy film people really knew she was a great actress. Natalie Portman should have walked off the set the first time George Lucas told her to act like a piece of wood. He wasted her talent.

Comment: Proof that the Internet Makes You Fat (Score 1) 496

by obscuro (#49349879) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds
That guy's chart is proof that html makes you fat. See that little downward tick around 2011 when everyone started abandoning the web for mobile apps. Then BOOM - Bootstrap brings him back to html pages. And that steep recent drop. He thinks it's from his diet and exercise but it's really because all the time he spends looking at his Fit Bit he's not on the web.

Comment: FreeBSD and OpenBSD (Score 1) 716

by obscuro (#49048041) Attached to: Is Modern Linux Becoming Too Complex?

I hadn't touched the BSDs (with the exception of Mac) in nearly a decade but recently had reason to dig into FreeBSD and OpenBSD. I installed both, played around and dug into some work related to my goals. This will sound funny, but I almost wept. They were both so straight forward and HELPFUL!! The errors suggested paths for getting it right the next time. The documentation was up to date and made perfect sense. Everything was where and what the documentation said it would be and where I intuitively wanted to look for it. The config files had nice big comments and helpful examples you could uncomment and use. There was just no noise.

I ended up choosing FreeBSD for my project for convenience sake. Some packages I needed were being tested on FreeBSD. But OpenBSD is BEAUTIFUL. If security is your top concerns it's worth ANY hassle to run it.

I've administered Linux on servers and on desktops/laptops since 1998. I ran RedHat, Fedora and then Ubuntu on my laptop from 2000 till 2011 when I got a started using Mac a lot more.

I started out with Linux a little late. In 1996 I bought that Gray Box with the Red Hat on it when it started selling at Fry's. That box came with a book. I was a Windows admin at the time and the mix of dlls, config files and registry entries was just getting annoying. I was playing the the pre-release of NT 4.0 and worrying about all the shit they moved out of userland and into the kernel. I remember going through the Red Hat book that came with that box, reading man pages and falling in love. It made sense. I got excited about knowing where to look and having pretty much ONE set of things to know for all the configuration files and shell work. I felt like if I did my homework and took an action, it wouldn't betray me.

FreeBSD made me feel that way again but MORE. It's an operating system you can master with the necessary services to do anything.

As the opportunities arise I'll be switching to one of the BSDs. I'm already running some of my cloud services on FreeBSD 10.1. There are more services in the cloud for Linux but it's worth the extra bits of work to me. And I'm constantly pleasantly surprised that the work I prepare for has already been done somewhere or is easier than I thought it would be.

If you feel like Linux is getting too complex. There's and alternative *NIX out there worth a good hard look.

Comment: Signal (Score 1) 237

by obscuro (#48932717) Attached to: Gamma-ray Bursts May Explain Fermi's Paradox

There seems to be a trend in our own civilization toward more and more experiences being constructed purely from information.

We are heading toward the capacity to transform ourselves into information when our bodies fail.

Information appears to be the only thing with any hope of overcoming the limits of the speed of light.

Our civilization is a few thousand years old. We dream of visiting other stars and we invest a little bit of our wealth in preparing to do so.

If spreading to other planets and stars is a common feature of civilizations and existing as information is the only way (or the most efficient way) to operate at interstellar scale, then a billions year old civilization would have transformed into either pure information or something close to it well over a billion years ago. Being made of a specific bundle of matter would just get in the way.

For all we know, the cosmic background radiation could be crowded with ancient civilizations "visiting" earth and a million other places simultaneously.

Comment: DROPPED PANTS (Score 1) 106

Yeah, it's regrettable that in pursuit of spying on your own citizens and other departments of your own govrrnment, you dropped all of our collective pants to a long list of potential attackers. On second thought, maybe I'm overstating things. How many people who want to damage American interests can afford a room full of GPUs and some math Phds? It's all good. Let's just move along.

Comment: Hmmmm... (Score 1) 386

by obscuro (#48706129) Attached to: The One Mistake Google Keeps Making

Google built an ad and PR platform that caters to early adopters with significant disposable income and when it doesn't show up at Walmart the next year this dude calls them stupid.

Oh, and the demand for a driverless car? How about one ofthe fastest growing demographics in the world - old people.

If you'received ever in the mood to sample willful ignorance talk to a journalist.

Comment: Yes, If... (Score 1) 546

by obscuro (#47839697) Attached to: Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?
If "learning to code" include some careful, thorough attention to theory, algorithms, oop and patterns AND a deep, productive dive into building real functioning software, then, yes, it's beats the shit out of a BS from most colleges. Languages and frameworks are essentially built environments. Theory and ease in learning core language features doesn't compare at all with extensive experience with a set of useful, well supported libraries and frameworks. Most wheels have been invented. Most problems require the applicarion of existing structures. Yes, there are important instances where extensive knowledge of theory matters but you can add a HELL of a lot of net value without deep theory that is impossible to add without specific knowledge of libraries and the application of patterns.

Comment: Re:The flip side: (Score 1) 127

by obscuro (#47534507) Attached to: Dungeons & Dragons' Influence and Legacy

Dungeons and Dragons is a game of probability events and profiles that offset those probabilities. It's great training for decision-making under constraints. In the real world one seldom knows everything necessary to make the best decision. We're stuck using what information we can gather (and a model for best understanding) to take our best shot.

On the DM side, a good campaign is about balancing the probability of kicking your players asses too hard and giving them enough challenge to build skills and hit points. For instance, a campaign that is well matched to the players should kill them really fast if they were to (to be allowed to) try to play it backwards. The campaign should present opportunities to build the characters to face the later challenges the DM knows are coming. That's a hell of a lot like the long term management of a team.

It's not so hard to lift yourself by your bootstraps once you're off the ground. -- Daniel B. Luten