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Comment: Re:... Exclusion?! (Score 1) 513

Of course you also have the option of throwing an ice chest in your car, stocked with whatever sizes of soda you prefer. You could save tons of money, and entirely eliminate waste, by buying 3 litre bottles of generic sodas for $1, and using whatever size cup/bottle you prefer.

That's not a solution. Go back and re-read what I said about the 20 oz. going flat before I could finish it.

Generally, you didn't comprehend much of what I wrote. Coca Cola is a *treat* for me now, not a staple like once was.

That said, it's interesting that through your mist of incomprehension you actually came close to mentioning some things I do now.

If I'm on something other than a grocery run, like a day trip to the beach or something, I do pack a cooler. I have a couple of Glacier (TM) water bottles that are reusable. Theae are available at Whole Foods near here. You pay $6.99 for 750ml of water, which sounds crazy until you factor in the fact that you're getting a reusable stainless bottle for much less than what empty stainless is often sold for. I'm not affiliated with either company.

For the fizzy craving, travel sized Welch's grape juice + Perrier. Once again, not affiliated with either company. This makes a fantastic grape soda, and you know that everything in it is good. Once again though, this is only for an all-day trip. Yes, Perrier makes a difference--it's got a "bite" that I only used to find in Calistoga sparkling water, which is no longer available here.

Maybe now you get the idea that I'm not going to be satisfied lugging over-sized bottles of ever-flattening generic HFCS infused soda around in my car.

The problem of right-sized Coca Cola not being widely available remains. Also noted, It's definitely a "first world problem" we're whining about here.

Comment: Re:Bullshit.... (Score 1) 130

by hey! (#47558273) Attached to: A Fictional Compression Metric Moves Into the Real World

It doesn't have to be linear to be useful. It simply has to be able to sort a set of choices into order -- like movie reviews. Nobody thinks a four star movie is "twice as good" as a two star movie, but people generally find the rank ordering of movies by stars useful provided they don't read to much into the rating. In fact the ordering needn't be unique; there can be other equally useful metrics which order the choices in a slightly different way. *Over certain domains of values* minor differences in orderings may not matter very much, especially as your understanding of your future requirements is always somewhat fuzzy (e.g. the future cost of bandwidth or computing power).

The problem with any metric occurs outside those domains; some parameters may have discontinuities in their marginal utility. A parameter's value may be good enough and further improvements yield no benefit; or the parmater's value may be poor enough to disqualify a choice altogether. In such cases such a metric based on continuous functions will objectively misorder choices.

For example Suppose A is fast enough but has poor compression ratios; B is not quite fast enough but has excellent compression ratios. There's really only one viable choice: A; but the metric may order the choices B,A.

On the other hand suppose A has better compression ratios than B; B is faster than A, but A is already so fast that it makes no practical difference. The rational ordering of choices is A,B but the metric might order them B,A.

This kind of thing is always a problem with boiling choices down to a single composite number. You have to understand what goes into that number and how those things relate to your needs. You have to avoid making your decisions on one number alone. But some people *will* fasten on a single number because it makes the job of choosing seem easier than it does. Just don't be one of those people.

Comment: Re:Arneson (Score 1) 162

by hey! (#47557795) Attached to: How Gygax Lost Control of TSR and D&D

After Gygax's treatment of Arneson and the way he attempted to attack other games in the roleplaying hobby, I find it hard to feel much sympathy for him.

Well, if you put yourself in his shoes you might well play hardball with other games in the hobby.

D&D as a system wasn't really all special; there were competing systems back in the days he was at TSR which were every bit as enjoyable and arguably easier to play. But D&D had two big things going for it. First, when the three basic manuals for AD&D were published it had by far the best organized and written materials. The Monster Manual was particularly useful. Second it had the network effect: it was the best system to learn to play because everyone else knew how to play it. You could start a campaign at a drop of a hat -- no need to bring everyone up to speed on yet another set of rules.

So put yourself in his position. The future success of D&D is contingent on no other game reaching critical mass. You're completely dependent on D&D, you have no other marketable skills or assets. You have a company with over a hundred employees (which is surely a mistake on your part), and that company has nothing else bringing in cash *but* D&D products. You've made D&D your life work. It's not a situation to bring out the best in people.

Comment: Re:... Exclusion?! (Score 1) 513

Who said anything about drinking from a cup? Not every convenience store has a fountain, and even if they do the performance is inconsistent. Vending machines are definitely not fountains. There's no "cup" a lot of times.

There were many times in my Coke-drinking days when I'd partially empty a 20 oz. I just hated wasting the stuff; but I knew I didn't want to drink all of it. It always went flat before I wanted any more.

BTW, the Mexican cokes are still a bit too big. 12 oz. (355 ml) or half-liter. I find 12 oz., poured over ice and shared with somebody is best; although I can tolerate 12 oz. The half-liter is a disturbing trend. The Mexicans certainly don't need it, since they just surpassed the US in obesity.

BTW, I knew the original coke bottle was smaller and found this article about 6.5 oz. bottles.. Sigh... apparently this was available in the UK not that long ago? Maybe they'll bring it back to the US and finally reverse the trend. The original size was just about right. Yes, I'd pay more per oz., but I'd pay the same per *serving*.

Can the Coke executives get that through their heads? Some of us are desiring a *serving*, not a "most ounces for the buck". Wondering what to do with the excess soda, or being suckered into finishing more than you need... is not a pleasant experience. Having a right-sized glass bottle with real sugar in it, that's what some of us want.

Comment: More generally (Score 2) 513

Firms often fail to supply products or services that are plainly in demand. Sometimes it's a regulatory perversion that interferes with capitalism. Other times the companies are just dicks. For example, CocaCola with real sugar. For years it was very hard to get because of government interference with the sugar market. Now due to NAFTA we can get Mexican Coke with real sugar. If you want a real American drink, you have to get it from Mexico? How fucked up is that? This would be an example of regulatory perversion.

Not to harp on the soda companies, but they also provide an example of companies being dicks. PepsiCo is a big offender. They buy up restaurants, and you can only get Pepsi there. Coke does this too; but not as aggressively. Both companies bully around small convenience stores. I once met an operator in Virginia who found a way to stock Coke and Pepsi. She actually told me that she was getting away with hiding the competing soda from a distributor when they came around. Possibly she trading wholesale lots with a friendly operator across town. This was a long time ago; but I bet it hasn't changed. These companies are dicks.

They also super-sized their beverages to the exclusion of those of us who wanted smaller portions. I really noticed this in my 20s, when suddenly 20 oz. was the only bottle size you could get a lot of places.

I was able to make the long-run decision to reduce soda consumption dramatically, all but eliminating it. I now enjoy the occasional Mexican coke and that's about it. Many others are not so disciplined, and we all know about proposed government fixes for this but really, you can't fix the fact that the companies are just dicks.

Comment: Re:Sales flow chart. (Score 4, Informative) 94

by sg_oneill (#47551807) Attached to: Oracle Offers Custom Intel Chips and Unanticipated Costs

How does PostGreSQL compare?

I work at a large government department with stupidly large scientific datasets being thrown in and out of databases and we're migrating as fast as we can from Oracle to Postgres. The only thing we can't really shake is bloody Oracle financials and a few crufted old Java apps that we don't have the code to rewrite.

Postgres handles beautifully, and on some things even better although on some nasty multi-join type things Oracle will still beat it.

But it doesn't even matter because we can just throw more hardware at it infinitely cheaper than the extortion racket that Oracle pricing represents.

MariaDB is surprisingly competent too and in fact even has a surprisingly complete GIS implementation (Although PostGIS is the gold standard as far as we are concerned). Just avoid the Oracle branded one (MySQL), its not as well tuned, doesn't play nice with packaging systems and is generally posessed of the Oracle odour.

Comment: Re:Laziness (Score 1) 143

I think that HTML5 would make it far worse. Where do most of these bad programmers start? Where the barriers to entry are lowest-- javascript. You'd be making the problem worse, not better.

I do think that there's much improvement to be made with permissions on mobile phones. But that's a separate problem, and one a lot of the Android custom ROMs do well.

Comment: Re:Spruce Goose (Score 1) 85

by hey! (#47550163) Attached to: World's Largest Amphibious Aircraft Goes Into Production In China

Different requirements drive different designs. Before WW2 seaplanes were common because of the lack of runways. After WW2 airports proliferated, and seaplanes couldn't keep up with technical advances due to the compromises involved in allowing them to land and take off from water. But that doesn't mean there aren't applications for aircraft with a flying boat's capabilities, it just means there isn't enough of a market in places like the US to support an industry. Even so, here in North America there are some 70 year-old WW2 Catalinas being used in aerial firefighting. China is a vast country which is prone to many kinds of natural disasters that could make airlifting in supplies difficult, so they may see potential applications we don't.

It's also interesting to note that seaplanes were highly useful in the pacific theater of WW2, and there hasn't been a protracted struggle for sea control *since* WW2. Also, China is a country with no operational aircraft carriers; aside from its training ship the Liaoning, it has a handful of amphibious assault ships that can carry a few helicopters. The US by contrast has ten supercarriers and nine amphibious assault ships that dwarf the aircraft carriers of WW2. The technology and expertise to run a carrier fleet like America's would take many years for China to develop. It's conceivable that the manufacturers imagine a military market for aircraft like this in the interim.

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