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Comment: Re:Looking to move off of iTunes (Score 2) 156 156

Yeah, I started ripping my own CDs to MP3 early on in the game and quickly realized that putting my collection in Apple's hands would not let me retain control of my collection. That was back in the days of the white iPod. I currently use git annex to keep my collection synchronized across two computers and my android phone. That mostly seems to work, although the android client does seem to be a bit flaky.

Comment: Re:Multiple multi-million dollar satellites. (Score 5, Funny) 330 330

Funnily enough at the satellite company I worked for that one time, one of the older guys there mentioned how he almost lost a satellite once by logging in to his own account and issuing a maneuver command to the satellite. Problem was the satellite was expecting times in GMT and got them in MST. Took them days to get it oriented correctly again.

Now the programmers in the audience could probably think of like 10 different specific things that could be coded into the system to prevent that from happening, but this company didn't. Which really isn't too surprising. I asked one of the devs on the ground systems team if the ground systems was using GMT or UTC. His answer was "What's the difference?" I was able to infer from his answer that it was most likely GMT, and that did appear to be the case. Somewhere deep in the bowels of the system there was presumably some piece of code written by an Indian contractor with a math degree adjusting times for leap seconds, but it wasn't in any code that anyone knew about.

The early history of that company read like a Monty Python sketch. The first satellite exploded on the launch pad. The second satellite fell over and then exploded. The third satellite burned down, fell over, exploded and then sank into the swamp. The forth satellite got into orbit and was promptly bricked by sending the wrong version of Windows(!) to it. To be fair they only had to do that because they launched it with the wrong version of Windows(!!) in the first place. One would think that ANY version of Windows would be the wrong version of Windows to shoot into space, but that's why you're not the head of a billion dollar satellite company.

Comment: Crashed the Uni Mainframe Once (Score 1) 330 330

Was curious what an apparently undocumented feature on the login page did. Turns out what it did was crash the mainframe. Go figure. You'd think they'd take that shit off the login page, but apparently no one had ever been so curious as to explore it before. Which says a lot about that uni, now that I think about it. Also, once trash talked a uni in a story on a news blag website. Yeah, those were the days...

Mostly I make my career out of fixing other people's tech mistakes. Which is not something that uni taught me how to do. Man I'm glad I got out of that place before I ran up any significant student debt. Did I mention I trash talked a uni on a news blag website?

Comment: Re:useful? (Score 1) 131 131

Well, they'll be useful when I decide to start jumping off perfectly good cliffs. If I ever get sick of IT, I could make a better-than-average living packing parachutes or possibly even flying a jump plane. I'd need to go get a pilot's license and a commercial rating for the latter, but demand definitely exceeds supply for skydiving pilots. Just because the majority of people never picks up a skill (Like lockpicking, contact juggling, parquor, etc) doesn't mean those skills aren't useful. They just require some creativity to use to their full potential.

More to the point, the skills I've picked up skydiving are not ones that are going to go away at any point in my life. Even if I quit the sport, I'd still be able to hop into the wind tunnel at any point and fly. Contrast that with the ability to, let's say, run Molten Core. Anyone in a guild who did that during vanilla WoW spent way more time learning how to do that than I did skydiving. Keep in mind that my actual freefall time at the time I got my A license was less than an hour. And that's with wind tunnel time. The hypothetical guild probably spent several times that much time wiping on trash to get to the first boss. Three years later, I'm still building on my skydiving skills. Three years later, the hypothetical guild's shiny purple crap has been obsolete for three expansions and if anyone runs Molten Core anymore, it's 1 or 2 people going for some vanity drop. That's a significantly less rewarding experience, and I know that first-hand.

Comment: Re:Does this concern anyone else? (Score 1) 131 131

Heh, yeah. I took up skydiving in 2012 and the progression does feel very much like a video game. Can't advance until you demonstrate proficiency in the current training level yadda yadda. I'm building useful skills, actually have a social life now and am in much better shape than I was before. And my accomplishments are actually meaningful to me. Down sides are it's a pretty expensive hobby and has a higher than average chance of killing me. I'm pretty conservative under canopy, though.

I'm still pretty interested in the VR headset technology. Seems like the Microsoft Holo Lens is what the wearable computing guys really needed for augmented reality a decade and a half or so ago. And I'm looking forward to being able to take an audience along for a jump with a 3D camera. It'll really be much more intense than just watching it on a flat screen on YouTube. Even that's a pretty amazing technology, though. For around $400 someone can give you a window into a world that most people will never see. And they want to see it. Pretty much everyone I talk to about it says skydiving's on their bucket list, but only a tiny percentage of them will ever do so much as a tandem jump.

Comment: Re:Ah That's Good Shit (Score 1) 66 66

Probably so, a lot of the 90's are kind of a blur now for reasons. Also, the company I was working for at the time was notoriously cheap with IT costs. They were also the only company I ever worked for that allowed smoking in the office. Around computers. That's smart. The two old guys who ran the joint both died of lung cancer a couple years after I stopped working there. So... yeah.

Comment: Re:UO Not Just a Fighting MMO (Score 1) 75 75

I had to punch an AWFUL lot of deer to progress, back in the day. That was before Trammel or any of EA's WoW-Style gear grind nonsense. I did manage to get a mage to GM mage/GM Scribe and was at different times exalted and notorious. I probably still have a couple of shots around somewhere of the ol' guy. Made bank selling filled spellbooks, recall scrolls and rune bags to people. I had runes to damn near everywhere. That was another thing that was pretty unique to UO -- you could make a rune to damn near anywhere. And despite this, the world still felt HUGE!

Comment: NASA cannot compete (Score 1) 138 138

NASA was a great, even fantastic thing back when there was no commercial motivation to do research on space and powerful rockets. Back when there was little to no commercial launch market.

Now NASA is full of pork.. You cannot kill it because . . . pork. In every congressional district.

NASA is not and never has been efficient. At one time that was irrelevant because of the nature of what they did. Now is is more about letting bureaucrats CYA when something blows up. And to make sure money flows freely to as many congressional districts as possible. The traditional contractors are not designed to be efficient either, except at maximizing how much they can suck from the government teat.

One way NASA might end is that with lower and lower budgets NASA simply cannot do anything. Alternately, they might end because they get budgets big enough to actually do something, making the real inefficiency clear for all to see.

NASA must be held to the same safety standards that commercial providers are held to. Otherwise, a culture of evading or ignoring those safety standards will creep in.

The only role that NASA might have left is projects that require large investment to overcome a lack of commercial motives. For example, going to Mars. Maybe for operating a space station. Probably not for mining asteroids.

Comment: Oh, Sure (Score 1) 388 388

If they'd been a little less bitches, they could be like Dubai right now and dipping their balls in gold, regularly. Them and Iraq both. And yes, everyone in the world pretty much has been fucking with them for... well... ever, really. But there's a way to win against everyone in the world, and being stinky little bitches isn't it. But, you know, whatever makes them happy, I suppose.

Comment: Ah That's Good Shit (Score 3, Interesting) 66 66

The first computer I bought for myself was a Vector II graphics machine. It was an odd beast -- integrated computer/video, MFM 10 MB hard drive, some number of kilobytes of RAM, I forget exactly, and most oddly a dual processor machine. It had both an 8086 and a Z80 chip in it and could use either one or the other to run DOS (I want to say 2.0) or CP/M. Mine came installed with CP/M. This was in the early 90's, just before the 286 really started to catch on.

For my hardware class, I brought it in, took it apart and handed the chips around the class. At the end, I reassembled the whole thing and booted it back up. Fun little presentation. That old hardware could really stand up to a lot of abuse.

Comment: What The Shit? (Score 1) 195 195

What the fuck are you popping up at the driver? Put current speed, RPMs, fuel level and maybe oil/water temperature along the bottom of the windshield so they can just see it without taking their eyes off the road and call it good. Maybe the entire problem is just really bad user interface design.

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov