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Comment: Marvel used back-catalog heroes too... (Score 1) 185

by sirwired (#48167343) Attached to: Warner Brothers Announces 10 New DC Comics Movies

You have to remember, if you don't read comic books, nearly EVERY hero is from the "back-catalog." Beyond the Hulk (who was in a TV series and a couple of movies), and a passing familiarity that Captain America existed at one time, the remaining characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are virtually complete unknowns to the general public. Did a bunch of the other ones have active comic books going on when the movies were planned and were huge "hits" in every comic book store in the land? Maybe; I have no idea, and neither does most of the movie-going public. (It's telling that comic books aren't sold at general-interest stores anymore; the only place to buy them is specialty comic and hobby shops.)

And if Marvel can make Captain America, an obvious bit of cheesy WWII gung-ho patriotism, work for a modern audience, I don't see how you can say that Wonder Womam, Flash, and The Green Lantern "haven't aged well." They don't NEED a current "following" to be successful in a movie... the number of people that are the audience for comic-book movies is SO large compared to the number of comic book buyers, that it doesn't really matter how popular the hero is in current comic books; the people that buy comic books are only a tiny portion of the target audience.

The one any ONLY reason that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has worked out so well (without using the most recognizable properties in the stable) is due to Kevin Feige's unifying long-term vision. At the time Ironman rolled out the door, he had at least a hint of a plan ready to go, and quickly pulled it into a quality long-term plan tying everything together. But if every movie is planned out by a different producer, then it becomes Just A Bunch of Comic Book Movies. Would The Avengers have been nearly as successful if it merely happened to contain heroes from previous movie franchises? Heck no.

But DC clearly doesn't understand this, as the movie they are counting on to revive their fortunes, "Batman vs. Superman", contains two heroes who have never met or discussed each other, at all, in their respective movie franchises. Mashing them together is going to look like just that, a mash-up. When Avengers rolled out the door, the ONLY new characters were Hawkeye (yes, I know he had a cameo in Thor), and Smulders. The rest had been introduced quite clearly in previous movies, and were also clearly part of an over-arching theme. (Introduced first in the little credit snippets, and then rolling out to larger roles in the movies.)

Comment: Compared with the software costs... (Score 1) 108

by sirwired (#48149843) Attached to: Oracle Database Certifications Are No Longer Permanent

Compared with the licensing costs for Oracle DB software, $245 (which quite a lot of people never pay) is a freakin' rounding error.

I don't see any problem at all here... it's perfectly normal for certifications to expire with any number of vendors or industry-wide certs.

Comment: I'm not holding my breath (Score 3, Interesting) 561

by sirwired (#48149771) Attached to: Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

If an operational prototype is still a decade away, I'm not holding my breath. I'm a little fuzzy how something can be "built and tested" within a year, but require a decade to produce an "operational reactor". How do you test something that doesn't work?

That said, 100Mw in 70 sq. ft. would indeed be a world-saving device. One of the larger problems to solve with cheap/renewable energy production is getting the juice from the generating plant to the end-user; scaling up distribution grids is not a trivial problem. If every neighborhood substation could have their own reactor, that solves a LOT of issues. For instance, it makes high-powered electric vehicle charging stations viable on a mass scale. It could power desalination plants in remote areas cheaply. Additional power could be quickly brought online upon, say, building a power-hungry factory.

A utility exec quoted in an article I read a while back said that even with "free" energy (meaning energy with zero fuel cost), that would only enable him to cut prices by about 40% due to capital costs for both generation and distribution. If you can lop much of the "distribution" off, that's a significant cost savings.

Comment: I doubt it's for the money (Score 1) 108

by sirwired (#48148261) Attached to: Oracle Database Certifications Are No Longer Permanent

Yes, certifications are not free, but compared to Oracle's total revenues, they are a drop in the proverbial bucket. It would not surprise me if they did anything better than break-even on the program... I just checked, and an Oracle exam voucher is all of $245, even for a proctored exam, and business partners get discounts. And a bunch of that money goes to Pearson to run the tests. On top of that, while I'm not an Oracle guy, other vendors I work with hands out free vouchers like Halloween candy if you do a decent amount of business.

Comment: Nobody even SENDS spam to my GMail any more (Score 1) 261

by sirwired (#48134937) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Can't Google Block Spam In Gmail?

I've been on GMail nearly since day 1, and have a forwarding service that sends e-mail from my "permanent" address there. I have labels set up so I can see to which e-mail the messages are addressed. I use both addresses for various purposes.

At it's peak, I was getting about 100 spams a day, about evenly split between my two addresses.

Virtually ALL the spam I get now is sent to me through the forwarding service (where GMail catches still it.) The amount of spam I get sent to the actual GMail address has dropped to almost nothing. I suspect the major spammers simply have stopped sending spam to GMail addresses, as it isn't even worth the nearly zero cost to do so, as it will virtually never get through to inboxes.

Comment: This is how you Q&A a troll... (Score 1) 177

by sirwired (#48134777) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Florian Mueller About Software Patents and Copyrights

It doesn't really matter what the thread was supposed to be for; there's no useful information on software IP that can possibly be received from this paid shill, as you have no idea if he's presenting the viewpoint he's simply paid to espouse.

You'd be just as likely to get useful answers in a Q&A on family law from Hans Reiser.

Comment: This isn't an alternative (Score 1) 344

by sirwired (#48128867) Attached to: ChromeOS Will No Longer Support Ext2/3/4 On External Drives/SD Cards

"As it stands now every smartphone with an SD card has as part of its manufacturing cost about $2 going straight to Microsoft for the privilege of using exFAT, because the SD standards committee in their wisdom decided that SD cards can't be called SD cards without it."

Independent of what the SD card lists as a spec before you can call something an SD reader, an SD reader without exFAT won't read the vast majority of cards out there. That's ok if you just want to use it as an internal-flash extender, but not so good if you ever want to remove the thing and slot in something else.

Comment: Is the really that much of an issue? (Score 4, Insightful) 344

by sirwired (#48123645) Attached to: ChromeOS Will No Longer Support Ext2/3/4 On External Drives/SD Cards

The target market for the units isn't uber-geeks, it's home users. Those home users will virtually always be inserting memory cards from their camera and attaching external drives they picked up at the local electronics store. As long as the boxes can talk to those, Google is fine.

Why bother developing, testing, and supporting a feature that few in their target market will ever use?

Comment: You are forgetting the audible and tactile feedbac (Score 1) 304

by sirwired (#48095623) Attached to: The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

The audible and tactile feedback of a buckling-spring can both increase typing speed, accuracy, and decrease effective needed key force. While more force is generally required to acutate the switch, the audible and tactile feedback allows your muscles to immediately know the key has been received and can back up the force before slamming into the stops. A collapsing-dome keyboard offers no such precise feedback. It's impossible for your fingers to sense precisely when the keypress has been received, meaning you must apply force much longer than necessary.

And the force of the keys in a Model M is not especially high.

I'll agree that they layout is not ergonomically ideal though.

Comment: Color me skeptical (Score 1) 315

by sirwired (#48094861) Attached to: Fusion Reactor Concept Could Be Cheaper Than Coal

Considering that it was HUGE news when a fusion reactor managed to achieve unity (as much out as was put in), I'm not holding my breath waiting for a production plant.

That said, I do believe that Fusion power is our last, best, hope for the medium term survival of humanity. You can solve a LOT of the world's problems with low-cost pollution-free electrical generation.

Of course, it still doesn't solve the distribution-network problem, or the energy-density issue for transportation, but it does solve plenty of thorny obstacles in world civilization.

Comment: Concise Checklists (Score 2) 52

by sirwired (#48084339) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Designing a Telecom Configuration Center?

List out all your common changes, and produce a checklist template for implementation. This checklist should NOT be page after page of screenshots that nobody but the greenest admin will ever read. They should be concise, and contain just enough information to have all the implementation data, and jog the memory of the admin as to precisely which steps need to be done.

On the template, you should record all the data you can possibly need to implement the change. If you could not fill out the checklist, and then hand it to another admin for implementation, the checklist isn't good enough.

So, that covers the change request part of the checklist.

In the actual implementation part, record ALL the steps where there's a decision point. (As in, you don't need steps for "Remote in to admin console, Login to Switch Config App, Login to Switch, Enter Config mode, enter VLAN subsystem, etc.) "Add VLANs to switch, using information listed above" is fine. Make sure the checklist includes updating whatever documentation you have.

Each line on the checklist should contain the date/time the step was completed. (If the admin just has to put an "X" there, guaranteed they'll ignore the checklist and just put in the "X"'s at the end.

Make the filled-out checklist itself part of the change record. Your change records should be complete enough that you should, in theory, be able to take the pre-change-system config, execute the tickets one after another, and end up with the same final config.

Lastly, do NOT require mgmt. approval for routine changes. Your checklist should already cover giving the appropriate people warning of the change. If you require mgmt. approval (or a change control board) for the most trivial changes, it quickly becomes rubber-stamping, which is even worse than wasting everybody's time. Save the change review process for changes not covered by the checklist.

Comment: Is everyone really that confused? (Score 4, Insightful) 249

by sirwired (#48084157) Attached to: Why Do Contextual Ads Fail?

I don't understand all the comments expressing bafflement as to why you get ads for something you already purchased. The contextual advertising company has no access to your purchase history... if they are going to serve an ad, guessing that you might have already not made a purchase is not a bad start. Is it usually wrong? Sure! Most ads are ineffective. But it's way better than showing the same ad to some random schmuck.

And why do you see Amazon ads after you've already purchased something from Amazon? Well, if you did ANY web browsing at all about it prior to the purchase, it likely got picked up by a contextual advertising company, which, again, has no access to your purchase history, and therefore has no idea they are serving an Amazon ad for something you already bought. The ad may not even be paid for by Amazon; it could just as easily be an affiliate marketer.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.