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Comment: Re:Internet accounts, and I watch broadcast TV (Score 1) 194 194

I found the less internet accounts I have, the less I feel the need to be heard. Since ditching my slashdot account 3 years ago, I post only 10% as much. Back when I had an account, I had the urge to post on a variety of topics where I was frankly talking out of my ass or adding my worthless uninformed opinion. Basically I was just another droplet in a river of BS.

I used to read and post a lot on Usenet back in the 80s and 90s when it was the biggest game in town. (To the point where I felt guilty about it, and needed my usenet 'fix' every day.) When Usenet degraded I felt an acute sense of loss. I got on slashdot, which is slightly reminiscent of old usenet, and I also was on IMDB for awhile, slightly reminiscent of another part of usenet. (That , the IMDB, is where I got tired of all the BS from fatuous, self-important posters). Nothing quite replaces Usenet back in the glory days though. (Or maybe it just seems that way because I was relatively young then.)

Slashdot's moderation system helps filter out a lot of noise, though I'll admit that here too, it seems harder to pan for those golden nuggets of insightful comments than it used to. Mainly, in my opinion, too much snarky schoolboy humor gets modded 'up' nowadays.

Anyway, getting back to the original topic, I keep hearing how 'nobody' watches broadcast TV anymore. I guess that makes me nobody. Digital TV has excellent video quality, and you see those programs on PBS like Nature and Nova in glorious detail. Even the quality of the commercial shows is , for the most part, better than it was 'in the old days', and for me the old days goes back to the 50s.

Comment: Re Brit self-deprec: Megacities 'Londoners' book (Score 1) 410 410

The thing about 'megacities', based on my own admittedly limited experience, but also on what other people have said about places like New York City, is that they are composed of neighborhoods, and each neighborhood has its own flavor, its locals who are comfortable there and so on. (Of course, that may not be true of every megacity.)

I read a book called "Londoners" (don't remember the author), in which the author had people from various walks of life talk about their experience and take on London. It started with an airline pilot talking about flying in, and ended with him talking about flying out, but there were illegal immigrants, city planners, wiccans, American tourists (the most inane of the lot), old timers, people who hated it, those who loved it, etc. A very interesting read, and yeah, it seems like London would fit in with the neighborhoods description pretty well. The big problem with London and most megacities is their high cost of living. In that Londoners book someone commented on how it might become difficult for the needed working class people to live close enough to work there.

Comment: Do they have support by email? (Score 1) 479 479

In my limited experience with these things, I find that sending an email to support gets a better informed answer than talking to someone on the phone. It's less stressful too. Of course, if you're a "customer on fire", that may be too slow. ('Customer is on fire' was the expression used by one of the managers at a place where I worked for when a customer had an urgent problem.)

Comment: 3 of the 5 titles for MS & 'rusted on'? (Score 3, Informative) 26 26

I actually read the first 3 or 4 paragraphs of the Microsoft link. That 60% is 60% of 5 exclusive games, which doesn't sound all that statistically significant.

There was a line "Whether you're a rusted on fan or still on the fence looking to make a purchase decision" (italics mine). Is 'rusted on' a new expression or was that a typo for 'trusted on' (which doesn't even sound as good as 'rusted on' to me)?

Comment: I actually think the metric system is worse (Score 0) 830 830

I realize I'm in the minority here. I wonder how many people have ever actually thought about it though. A looonng time ago this came up on slashdot, (back when my 5 digit slashdot id was a 'high' number); a European who had moved to the US posted that he liked the US system at least for linear measurements because they were 'about right' for things you wanted.

Yeah, I know, it's hard to calculate how many inches is in a furlong, etc, but who needs to do that? It's nice to be able to say 3 inches is a 4th of a foot and 4 inches is a third. Also I like 2 pints to a quart and 4 quarts to a gallon.

The metric system is a child of the French Revolution and has about as much warmth as a painting by Jacques-Louis David, and as much bonhomie as Marat or Robespierre.

Temperature could probably go metric without much bother though.

Comment: Re:Doesn't surprise me (Score 1) 170 170

I remember reading years and years ago about this. The San Diego Chargers were a football team way down in the cellar of the rankings, so they hired a psychologist to try and figure out what was wrong with the team. He noticed that the defensive players had messier lockers. He ended up giving a personality description of the typical players in each position. The only one I remember is that he described the safeties as 'assassins'. I remember that because I always kind of felt that if I had become a professional football player (not that that was ever going to happen), the position I'd probably have wanted was safety, partly because they seemed to be the most 'individualistic' players on the field, opportunists, reading the situation and reacting rather than following a set script. (Yeah, I know, the coach or captain may call for something like a safety blitz, but relatively speaking, they seemed to be the most independent players on the field.)

Comment: Re:A nuclear power plant -(actually hydroelectric) (Score 1) 403 403

I saw one of those documentaries about what happens if humans disappear, and, as part of the show, they visited a hydroelectric plant to find out what would happen there. It seems that one of the problems hydro plants have is shellfish growing on the turbine shaft. As I recall, without regular cleaning and removal it would stop turning after a few months.

Comment: Re:Meh ('Community's better with less freedom?) (Score 1) 469 469

Hmmm, a "community" being worse off because of more freedom. Interesting thought. I would say 'communities' always enforce some restrictions, laws and customs. They have to work out how to resolve the inevitable conflicts with many people living together. Granted, they can carry this too far and be stifling. (People leave small towns for the big city to get away from everyone minding everyone else's business for instance.) So, there has to be a balance, and a careful evaluation of what freedoms to respect. (Freedom of speech is very important, but some Supreme Court Justice said that it doesn't give you the freedom to yell 'Fire!' in a crowded theater.)

Other submitters have given plausible reasons why the 'freedom' of the BSD license means people don't contribute back and that weakens the whole. I had never thought about the issue before, but now, reading them, those arguments make sense to me.

I've noticed that abstractions like 'Freedom' often seem to break down when you look at them very carefully and think about edge conditions, so that when people advance an argument solely on the basis of an abstract principle, I tend to be a bit cautious.

Comment: A drawing on the left side of the brain thing? (Score 1) 425 425

There was a book years ago called "Drawing On The Left Side of the Brain". Now, I was always able to draw. In grade school I was the kid the teacher would get to draw posters and stuff. But my brother couldn't draw. I gave him this book, and, a couple of days later, he could draw. I think what the book taught was not to put too much into the image. One of the tricks was to try drawing from a picture of a person that was upside down. That way the student concentrated on the lines that create the nose instead of the nose itself for instance.

I wonder if people who have trouble programming aren't, in a way, trying to put too much into it, making something that should be simple, hard, because for instance, they don't break a problem down in to simple enough steps.

Maybe it's all just about those who 'get it' and those who don't, and nobody has figured out what to tell the ones don't.

Comment: Re:Depends how you evaluate the curve (Score 1) 425 425

Well, you had me scared after reading about fizzbuzz. How many slashdotters besides me had to try writing it? I wish I'd timed myself but I think it was less than 5 minutes. I think it was the first program I've written in at least a year. (Had to do a sudo apt-get install build-essential to even get it to compile.)

Comment: I remember him From Usenet as quite a gentleman (Score 4, Informative) 138 138

I posted on one of the Usenet groups (probably sci.lang.functional or sci.lang.haskell) about his book The Haskell School of Expression. It's been awhile, but I vaguely remember posting about a mistake or typo, and he replied right there on Usenet acknowledging the error. He was generally very generous and helpful on the newsgroup.

Getting the job done is no excuse for not following the rules. Corollary: Following the rules will not get the job done.