Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

×
User Journal

Journal: We've been spelling it wrong for over a quarter century 8

Journal by mcgrew

I'm surprised that this hasn't been addressed by the academic communities. Someone with a degree in English or linguistics or something like that should have though of this decades ago.

This word (actually more than one word) has various spellings, and I've probably used all of them at one time or another. The word is email, or eMail, or e-mail, or some other variation. They're all wrong.

It's a contraction of "electronic mail" and as such should be spelled e'mail. The same with e'books and other e'words.

So why hasn't someone with a PhD in English pointed this out to me? I have no formal collegiate training in this field. It's a mystery to me.

User Journal

Journal: Are printed books' days numbered? 4

Journal by mcgrew

In his 1951 short story The Fun They Had, Isaac Asimov has a boy who finds something really weird in the attic -- a printed book. In this future, all reading was done on screens.

When e'books* like the Nook and Kindle came out, there were always women sitting outside the building on break on a nice spring day reading their Nooks and Kindles. It looked like the future to me, Asimov's story come true. I prefer printed books, but thought that it was because I'm old, and was thirty before I read anything but TV and movie credits on a screen.

And then I started writing books. My youngest daughter Patty is going to school at Cincinnati University (as a proud dad I have to add that she's Phi Beta Kappa and working full time! I'm not just proud, I'm in awe of her) and when she came home on break and I handed her a hardbound copy of Nobots she said "My dad wrote a book! And it's a REAL book!"

So somehow, even young people like Patty value printed books over e'books.

My audience is mostly nerds, since few non-nerds know of me or my writing, so I figured that the free e'book would far surpass sales of the printed books. Instead, few people are downloading the e'books. More download the PDFs, and more people buy the printed books than PDFs and ebooks combined.

Most people just read the HTML online, maybe that's a testament to my m4d sk1llz at HTML (yeah, right).

Five years ago I was convinced ink was on the way out, but there's a book that was printed long before the first computer was turned on that says "the news of my death has been greatly exaggerated".

* I'll write a short story about the weird spelling shortly.

User Journal

Journal: Where's my damned tablet? 11

Journal by mcgrew

I'd like to know why in the hell nobody is selling a tablet, or maybe an app for existing tablets, that will let me watch over the air TV on it?

All the necessary hardware is there. Wi-fi and bluetooth are radios. Some cell pones can pick up FM music stations, and have been able to do so and have done so for years.

The FM radio band sits between channels six and seven on the VHF television channels. If it can hear radio, it can see TV.

The technology is there, why isn't the commercial device to be found? Offer a tablet I can watch TV without the internet and I'll buy one. Maybe two.

User Journal

Journal: gun garbage [long] 9

Journal by Bill Dog

Someone kind of set me off at work on Friday. Gotta work on that. She was apparently reading something about an idea to arm teachers. Or more specifically, offer concealed carry licenses for the classroom. And indicated that she was appalled by the idea.

I said one of the beauties of concealed carry is that not everyone even has to have a gun, to still have the effect of discouraging bad people.

1) First it was the old "argument" that let a person have a gun and they'll turn into a dangerous lunatic. Teachers will be letting bullets fly all over the place, endangering the children and everyone around them.

I asked, should the police be allowed to carry guns? She apparently knew where I was going with that, and needed a minute on that one, so came back to what I had offered right before, and said well:
2) How is a teacher going to conceal it, and
3) How are they going to whip it out in time?

To the first, understand that only having it on their person is not essentially required. And in fact would be a bad idea, as it was seen recently in the news an older male teacher being overpowered by a single large student. I would suggest small gun safes, installed in the walls, in every classroom. And then the teachers having the key to it, among their other keys, on their person at all times.

But then a student or students could overpower the teacher and get the keys? Yes, but beyond the factor of not necessarily knowing which key is the one (only the teachers should know this, in addition to never giving out their key ring, even temporarily for something, to a student), this is where the "concealed" part comes in. I've just added a level of indirection to it. Student(s) still don't know if the gun safe in their classroom has a gun in it or not. Heck, put a gun lock on the gun so a bad guy student has to go through the exercise of finding which key works again; this is even more time for other students to exit the classroom during the altercation and seek help from other classrooms.

To the second, they are, and they aren't. If someone bursts into your classroom and starts shooting, they've simply got the element of surprise in their favor and you aren't going to stop them. It's about discouraging it from spilling over into other classrooms. It's not about some vain attempt to ensure that absolutely no one gets killed evar, it's about limiting the damage of these, albeit rare, incidents.

Adjoining classrooms, having heard shots fired somewhere near, would proceed to open their gun safes. Those teachers who've volunteered to have guns in their classroom safes and to respond to emergencies would take them and try to track down which classroom the incident was taking place in and end it. So why then a policy of everyone opening their safe in an emergency? I would have doing so trigger [unintentional pun] a special alarm throughout the school, so that even those who couldn't hear the shots fired would be given notice. Such as to prepare to defend their classrooms or to move their students to an armed classroom (the teachers should know who's part of the program and who's not).

(But then after a school shooting then the students (while they're at the school/in those grades, that is) will know who's armed and who isn't? True, but these are rare occurrences. And slight imperfections in any plan in general doesn't overcome its overall benefit.)

4) Then it was the old suggestion that more times than not the gun will be taken away and the victim will be victimized by their own weapon.

Well that's like the argument that we shouldn't fight back against terrorism, because it only angers the terrorists and causes more people to join them. You have to fight evil; you can't just refrain from trying to curtail violence by bad guys because of all the possible side effects. The alternative is ridiculous.

5) Finally, after having offered up this usual array of Left-wing criticisms, it's claimed that she only meant that her objection was that there was no mention of them getting proper training.

So now we're back to my prior posed line of questioning. I agreed that training should go along with the policy, if it's actually implemented (yeah, right; in today's America?!). But the police for example get training, and they still panic and empty their guns shooting up the wrong vehicle or into other houses. It's just ignoring human nature to expect all or most people to not freak out when they think their very lives are in danger. But that's not a reason to disarm the police, or the populace for that matter.

Which segues into my main point on this. A distinction between (mere) citizens, and "the authorities" (which the Left wants all (white) people to obey without question), is an artificial one when it comes to this. You're not imbued with some kind of magical extra-human powers when you're deputized. You're still just a person, susceptible to all the fears and failings of a human being.

So a recap and a filling out the remaining of what the Left would have us believe about people and guns:

* In general, no one should be allowed to have a gun except members of the government. Because only they can handle it, somehow.

* Unless you're a racist cop.

* And unless you're a member of military, really, because people only join the military because they want to kill people (and not at all instead because they want the government benefits).

* If you're a celebrity, then it's also okay if you own a gun.

* Even if you're one who vocally advocates for civilians not being allowed to have a gun.

* In general, "gun owner" = "gun nut".

* If you want a gun (aside from needing it for your job, or needing it because of the possibility of crazed fans or Right-wing detractors), you're a nut.

* Even if you don't start out a nut, having a gun will make you one, somehow.

* Defending yourself (and defenseless associates) against lethal force with lethal force only makes the situation worse. [For who?]

On a personal/full disclosure note, I don't own a gun, never have, maybe never will. I grew up (and probably because I've always lived in California) not knowing anyone personally who has guns, and still don't, except for my sis and her hubby who just got one recently. I shot BB guns *once*, in summer camp, I was never in the military or law enforcement or security, guns aren't in any way a part of my life, I may never own a gun in my life, but I want that right, along with all of the others in the Bill of Rights, in case I do someday wish to have one. (I don't need to wait until I personally want to exercise a right, to care about it.)

User Journal

Journal: Web Dev on the Mac 1

Journal by stoolpigeon

I've been working on a little side project. I would like to have an app where people can read updates that I send out. It seemed like a fun way to learn more about programming mobile apps and it's something I could actually use if I can get it to a decent state.
 
I'm keeping it simple. I decided the app would just be an rss feed reader. And that meant I need a feed. I want it to be very specific to my app so I decided the way to go would be to just create my own back end for creating the feed. I decided to use php and I wrote a simple set up using the codeigniter framework. That gave me a quick way to set up authorization and it was easy to tie in styling from bootstrap so that things can look decent without any effort.
 
I've been doing all the work at my office, on my desktop running Fedora. I have two nice big lcd monitors and developing on Linux is just so easy. I had the environment up and running in no time.
 
Then this week my son got sick. Nothing serious - but enough for him to stay home from school for a few days. I worked from home to keep an eye on him. I've been putting off getting my Macbook set up to do this kind of stuff but now I really needed to tackle it. Ugh - what a pain. The machine itself has grown on me. The hardware is decent and works pretty well. The software isn't horrible. But oh my word - when I want to do anything 'out of the ordinary' and by that I mean any kind of meaningful work with the system, it is pretty bad. I know lots of professional developers use Macs but I'm stunned at what a pain it is to do things that are trivially easy in Linux.
 
Getting Mysql installed and running with Apache was a lot more work. Getting PHP working the way I want took more time than it ever has before. Things are far from ideal even now, but I've got it to a point where it works.
 
And now I have my code in 3 places. So I'll be using github to keep code in sync between them. It's a little more of a challenge because I have the production environment set up a little differently than the dev environment. But not so differently that it is a huge deal. I have ssh access to my hosting environment (Bluehost) so that makes it pretty easy. - Oh and that is the one thing that saves the mac - having bash. If it didn't I'd have given up on it long ago.

User Journal

Journal: fun with CSS 3 I guess 2

Journal by Bill Dog

So go to www.google.com (I just type in the middle part and use the Ctrl-Enter thingie, a lot), presumably in a modern browser, and type in "askew" without hitting Enter.

It probably only works in the mode where upon typing the first character into their home page it automatically jumps to the search box being in the upper left and intermediate results being displayed as you type, so might require JavaScript being enabled.

You can restore things by backspacing all the way and then begin typing say "askance".

Anyone come across any others? I see that "skew" is one of the keywords in the 2D transforms of the CSS 3 spec, but that word doesn't affect Google, as neither do some of the others.

p.s. On a partly unrelated note, what's with Google removing my dang commas. Paste in "275,908.952 watts" and then type " to hor", and it says "Showing results for 275 908.952 watts to horsepower", and only one document in the results listing. Click on the pop-up suggestion of "horsepower" and... you don't get your conversion. Go back and put the damn comma back and you'll get it. (But then notice in the conversion output that it lists the wattage without the comma!)

User Journal

Journal: Triplanetary 1

Journal by mcgrew

I've uploaded a new book to mcgrewbooks.com. Edgar E. Smith was a well known science fiction writer known as "the father of space opera", and Doctor Smith was a food engineer in his other life. The novel I've uploaded is Triplanetary, first published in serial form in Amazing Stories in 1934.

Some of the dialogue is a bit juvenile, but it would make a great movie.

User Journal

Journal: An Accidental Book 1

Journal by mcgrew

I've read books accidentally, meaning to read a single chapter and winding up reading it in one setting, but I've never started writing one accidentally.

Until now.

Tired of editing Random Scribblings and Voyage to Earth and Other Stories (Formerly titled "Mars Bars"), I thought I'd look for another science fiction novel in the public domain a little less ancient than The Time Machine to add to my web site.

I didn't find one, so decided to just make a book of public domain short stories by the 20th century greats. I found a LOT, and started assembling a book. Somehow, I wound up adding commentary and thought "Hey! New book!"

Then I discovered that one of the short stories wasn't so short -- in fact, it was a full blown novel. So for the last several days I've been formatting it to put on my web site. E.E. "Doc" Smith's Triplanetary will be posted in a few days.

I'll let you know when it's there. I guess I'm working on three books again. The collection I'm working on is tentatively titled "Yesterday's Tomorrow".

User Journal

Journal: just think how some conversations could go 7

Journal by Bill Dog

An errant capitalization in a comment triggered a thought: It will be a confusing day when Dodge announces an electric Charger.

"So, what do you do for a charger?"
<points to car> "That."
"No, I mean how do you charge your electric charger?"
"With an electric charger."
"It charges itself?"
"No, I put it in my garage and charge it there."
"So you've got an electric charger in your garage then."
"I just told you I did."
"So what's the power output of your electric charger?"
"About 275,908.952 watts."

Old programmers never die, they just branch to a new address.

Working...