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Comment: Re:reasons (Score 1) 315

by tburkhol (#49781141) Attached to: Why PowerPoint Should Be Banned

You don't read slides. If you do that, you are doing it wrong.

I coach a lot of non-native speakers on presentations. Having the exact text of their key idea, written out as a complete sentence, is essentially subtitling their own presentation. It's a way to get information to the audience, even when the verbal presentation is completely incomprehensible to some of the audience, and it may make it easier to decipher spoken words that are not written out. The slides should not be a complete transcript of the presentation, but there are definitely circumstances where reading some of the slide is highly valuable.

Most of those presentations are going to be unpleasant for the audience, regardless of visual aids, but duplicating the information visually and verbally allows at least a minimum of actual communication.

Comment: Re:But I love it when slides are read to me (Score 1) 315

by tburkhol (#49781087) Attached to: Why PowerPoint Should Be Banned

The entire summary, and many people here, are using PowerPoint and presentations interchangeably. So what do they REALLY mean, do they hate PowerPoint itself, the tool, or do they hate the idea of a presentation or slides, a concept used for many decades, or do they hate the person who does a lousy job at making and performing a presentation?

In most of the world, "Powerpoint" is shorthand for presentation software, in the same way that Kleenex is shorthand for facial tissue or Hoover is shorthand for vacuum cleaner. I suspect there are few people who could even tell you the name of Apple's presentation software, let alone any ways in which it is fundamentally different from Microsoft's.

What they really hate is that people making presentations are bad at presentations. But that sounds personal and mean and is a good way to get your target audience to think you're not talking to them, but to some other group of people who don't communicate well.

Second, they hate that powerpoint (or Keynote or Impress) disguises bad presentations in good form. A good presentation has a narrative - a logical flow of ideas - and bullet points are a good shorthand for that flow. Bullet lists can also be a collection of random words. Connection diagrams can be a good way to illustrate the relationships among complex topics, or they can be a disordered collection of random words.

If you're critiquing a presentation (not the slides, but the presentation), and it's a disordered pile of shit, you can ask the presenter to try to identify the main ideas, put them in order, and focus on them. This sounds like "make and follow a bullet-point list," and it's completely useless if the presenter can not distinguish main ideas from details.

Presentation software (Powerpoint, Keynote, Prezi, whatever) allows bad presenters to fill in a lot of shiny graphics and animation. These take up a lot of time, feel like work, and make bad presentations superficially resemble great presentations. The presenter can feel like they've spent tremendous effort making a visual display, which is much easier that organizing their thoughts and content for clear communication. The presenter can look at their slides next to a high-impact, model presentation and see that it contains many of the same elements. The bad presenter is thus able to go through the same motions as the good presenter.

Comment: Re:Bullshit ... (Score 4, Insightful) 205

The slowness comes from letting 3rd party tracking sites set cookies and run scripts ... which modern browsers seem to treat as the default, or letting any crap set cookies or run scripts

When Newegg includes a 1px image from criteo.com, criteo is no longer a 3rd party. When newegg directs "promotions.newegg.com" to edgesuite.net, then edgesuite is no longer a 3rd party (and in a way that is much more difficult for even clever ad blocking software to detect).

The point they're trying to raise here is that including all of those web-bugs and their associated cookies does impact the visitor experience, and FF has a system to reduce it. You can take this from the user perspective: here's an easy way to speed up the web, without having to figure out which of the adblocking plug ins are really legit. You can look at it from the host perspective: if web bugs make your whole web site feel much slower, then maybe the analytics aren't worth it. There are a lot of people who just don't think about why their internet is slow. Every time someone stands up and says it takes longer to load all the ads on most pages than the actual content, a few more people will understand the cost of "free' web pages.

Comment: Re:Rich Family Dies, World At Peril!!! (Score 5, Insightful) 183

by tburkhol (#49749497) Attached to: DNA On Pizza Crust Leads To Quadruple Murder Suspect

Even in the Ghetto, a multiple murder in cold blood would be thoroughly investigated.

Say what you like, but it certainly seems clear to me that progress in criminal investigations happens much faster when moneyed or attractive people are involved. Like Atlanta police managing to capture a serial killer days after he shot a white woman, but months after he shot a bunch of homeless guys.

In DC, where 2/3 killings goes unsolved, where DNA testing was suspend last month over 'inadequate' procedures, and where 15-20% of open cases have untested DNA evidence, they manage to test and return results from a pizza in under a week and arrest the suspect the next day.

Seriously, if you think police apply exactly the same resources and intensity to the killing of Joe Biden's neighbor as to multiple kidnappings in Tremont, you're being naive.

Comment: Re:Password updating (Score 1) 150

Okay, the bit about how many folks wouldn't report a security breach is disturbing, but what's the fixation with updating passwords?

Not reporting security breaches makes perfect sense. How many stories have we seen here about people being arrested or sued for reporting security holes or breaches? Work groups (public or private) tend to shun people who 'rock the boat,' and reporting unsafe work practices is definitely rocking the boat. I don't know why TFA focuses on public sector, but I'd put pretty long odds on private company employees having a much better report rate.

Comment: Re:I don't understand.. (Score 1) 221

Speed of light in fibre is about two-thirds that of vacuum.

The time-of-flight for light in air/vacuum from NYC to DC is about 1.2ms. In fiber, about 1.7 ms. Travel time for the photons is not the long part of the trip.

Long range microwave towers are spaced 25-40 miles apart, so that NYC-DC route needs 6-9 hops. Optical fiber may have repeaters every 20 km, or 18 light-electicity-light conversions along that route, although high-power, single mode fiber may allow up to 50 miles between stations (5 stations DC-NYC).

But there isn't a dedicated DC-NYC pipe: data goes from DC to Baltimore to Philadelphia... There's routing around within each urban center. I have ping times of 10-15 ms within my metro and 100+ms to cities on the same coast. The speed of photons is not a meaningful part of that latency.

Comment: Re:Only Two Futures? (Score 3, Insightful) 609

by tburkhol (#49725975) Attached to: The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties

Most people I know (I'm in my early 30's) have grown utterly disgusted with both Republicans and Democrats and are now more-or-less libertarians. I think it's a trend that will grow as more and more people realize that both Republicans and Democrats have utter contempt for civil rights and personal choice.

I think this is because political parties in the US have subsumed stereotypical family roles. Democrats prefer a nanny state that keeps close watch on citizens and protects them from their own bad judgement. Republicans prefer a papa state that keeps close watch on citizens and punishes them for bad judgement. Then there's a bunch of people who don't really think anyone has any business telling them how to live their life, so long as they're not hurting anyone else.

Comment: Re:So, we're going to get Toyota clones? (Score 3, Insightful) 285

by tburkhol (#49717733) Attached to: The Auto Industry May Mimic the 1980s PC Industry

the value of the tesla is in the software

No, the value of a Tesla is that it's a gorgeous car with exceptional styling, beautiful materials, great performance, and decent range. They control some of this with software that I'll never directly interact with, and the nav/AV system is great, but putting a Tesla computer in a Lancer is not going to make people buy Lancers.

Comment: Re:Anecdotal evidence (Score 4, Insightful) 241

by tburkhol (#49710421) Attached to: How Windows 10 Performs On a 12-inch MacBook

There doesn't seem to be much factual evidence to make the claim that "It's unequivocally better than performance on OS X,"... The claim, by it's very language deletes a lot of information making the claim worthless.

My guess is that he means "user perception," and I don't find that claim hard to believe at all. Notice the comments in TFS about 'animations?' One of the (to me) most annoying features of every windows from XP is the extensive use of fade in the user interface. Click on the start button, and it spends 300ms fading into existence. Click on an item, another 300 ms fading a sub-menu into existence. This makes the UI feel horribly sluggish and is the first thing I turn off on a new system. OSX has its own bits of animation, like bouncing a task bar item while it starts up. Maybe these things look great at product demos, but they get in the way of me working: always waiting, just a little bit, for the computer to get around to drawing the menu I asked for.

Point is: if MS turns down or off task bar and menu fade in Win10, it will "feel" much faster than other Windows, and very possibly OSX.

Comment: Re:Ungreatful Cunt (Score 1) 214

by tburkhol (#49696747) Attached to: Harry Shearer Walks Away From "The Simpsons," and $14 Million

Scenario A: Every actor, sports star, celebrity, singer, entertainer, etc. mysteriously vanish off the face of the earth overnight. Civilization largely continues on with, at most, a few highly localized areas of decline where the economy of that area was built entirely on such things.

Humans have had actors, singers, and performers for a very long time. Art and drama are more fundamental to who we are than medicine, architecture, or chemistry. If every professional performer disappeared tomorrow, you would still tell stories to your friends, you would still whistle tunelessly, and we would all continue to think you suck at it, desperately wishing for someone with a better sense of timing, rhythm, or tune. The Dark Ages were more a failure of Art than of Science.

Scenario B: Every engineer, software developer, scientist, teacher, doctor, etc. mysteriously vanish off the face of the earth overnight. Civilization decays rapidly into a new dark age as all research instantly grounds to a halt, infrastructure gradually rots away, disease and famine become rampant, and, at a minimum, decades of ruin pass before enough of what's left of humanity has relearned enough of the lost knowledge to start climbing back to a state approaching the world we know today.

It's a lot easier to train someone to be a competent physician or engineer than to train them to be a world class actor/artist. Curiously, it also takes a lot more technical people to do anything useful than it does actors to entertain. GM uses 219,000 people to build 8.5 million cars/year. 38 cars per person: individually, those people are not very useful. Monday Night Football is 20 million people watching 92 players and associated, mostly fungible support personnel. Sure, the car has more value than one football game, but that value is very diffuse. There are tons of entertainers in local/regional theater groups, local bands, and local artists who get paid so little that they have to keep day jobs.

Stop comparing elite artists to average technical workers, and you'll find much less discrepancy. The average programmer gets paid much better than the average guitarist.

Comment: Re:Labels do harm to the Artists ? (Score 3, Insightful) 244

The entire subgenre of music I used to listen back to in the great heydey of paying for physical media were all bands that had to do their own marketing before the labels would even look at them.

Exactly - labels pick up bands once they've demonstrated not just their musical ability, but their ability to be part of the commercial machine. (Setting aside artificial performers created by labels, like The Monkeys or Britney Spears) The labels look for a marketable product, and the best way to identify that is to choose those that already have a modest market and make it bigger.

They're still doing it. Scouring youtube and CreateSpace looking for people who can put out several high-hit pieces, and offering a pathway to "the next level."

The labels may well be great advertisers and great PR people. The question is whether they're worth their price. It seems to me like there's a niche for an a la carte media advertiser who doesn't require copyright transfers, doesn't necessarily run a recording studio, but can get an independent band into some of the promotional areas (eg, radio play) historically monopolized by the labels.

Comment: Re:Labels do harm to the Artists ? (Score 1) 244

Even an inappropriate for "do shows, sell shirts" kind of music (e.g., Greek traditional) must have its professional artists

Um, no. That used to be one of the defining features of "folk" music: it didn't have professional performers.

You say the labels perform a valuable service for the performers. I say they create artificial scarcity, say by promoting only one of many "Greek traditional" bands, thus focusing as many potential "Greek traditional" customers into a single offering as possible. Certainly there is some benefit to the group chosen to be the sole commercial representative of that genre, but the purpose of the label is to take for itself as much of that revenue as possible. They're not the artists' share-and-share-alike friend. They're keeping the goose who lays golden eggs. They're a tax on the performance.

As a consumer, I would like to think that my payment benefits the artists, and that someone who sells a million albums at $15 each actually ends up with millions of dollars, not the $50-100k most will actually see. So, as a consumer, I see a label as a used-car salesman standing between me and the performers I would like to reward. Out of the 40x markup between artist and retail, label royalties may only represent 150% markup, but (as a consumer) I tend to lump all of the recording, production, promotion, and distribution cost into "The Label," and that represent somewhere around 20x markup. As a consumer, it's hard for me to understand why a CD that costs $1 to stamp and package, sells for $15, and gets the artist $0.10.

Comment: Re:Contract: No! (Score 1) 353

So if I hire a web development company to create a website for me and they sell it to my competitor as soon as they get done then that's fine because we are both corporations and it's not "work for hire"?

Pretty much. Like when you 'buy' a copy of Office, MS is allowed to turn around and sell it to your competitor. That web dev company has probably created a website for you based on a template they've used a hundred times before, adjusting the details and content for each new client, so they have - for the most part - sold you a web site that they'd already sold to one of your competitors. This is why it's important to spell out the ownership and rights to works created under contract - code, art, text content.

Comment: Re:Relevant 19th century Economic Quote (Score 1) 612

by tburkhol (#49657687) Attached to: FWD.us To Laid-Off Southern California Edison Workers: Boo-Hoo

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." -- Frédéric Bastiat, 1848

That's an excellent quote, but it probably means exactly the opposite of what you think. When Bastiat says "plunder," he means "take by taxation, regulation, or legislation." He would probably argue that a businessman (or company) is perfectly within its natural rights to negotiate any level of compensation and any form of contract, and that it is not possible for either a corporation to "plunder" its employees nor for one group of workers to "plunder" another. It's a little hard for me to guess whether he would consider the legally restrictive system of H1b to be "plundering" the foreign workers, based on the non-monetary power of residence granted to the employer. He would probably consider the limited availability of both H1b and permanent resident visas to be "plundering" from businesses by creating an artificial scarcity of labor.

Comment: Re:hmmmm (Score 2) 328

Plus there's the concentration issue - parts per trillion doesn't make for much of a problem in any case. Even the authors didn't make this out to be a health problem....

That seems to be the point of the summary: that the study found small levels of contamination in a fairly confined region and were able to track that contamination (likely) to an uncharacteristic defect in one production facility. It sounds like a thoughtful, reasonable description that responsible producers could take as a warning to pay extra attention to storage facilities. Thus all the more disturbing that the producers' response was to go into full-bore discredit the tree-hugging scientists mode. Like when your doctor says "it's a cold: take two asprin and call me in the morning," and you sue him for diagnosing a non-existent tumor and botching the brain surgery.

The last person that quit or was fired will be held responsible for everything that goes wrong -- until the next person quits or is fired.