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Comment: Re:It's a "used car", stupid. (Score 1) 126

by xeno (#48087067) Attached to: Tesla Is Starting a Certified Preowned Program

Yes, THIS.

A used car is a USED car, not "pre-owned" any more than I am "pre-dead" as long as I'm vertical, or the food in me belly is "pre-deficated."

I bought my current car (a reasonably lux and sporty V8 sedan that originally sold for just under $70k) from a dealer after it came back from a 3-year lease program. I told the sales droid that if he used the phrase "pre-owned" instead of "used" I would have to assume he was concealing or distorting other information about the car too. I'm sure he would have told me to go get stuffed except he knew I could pay outright. So he rolled, and spoke in plain and truthful terms about the USED car that I eventually bought. Oh, the power of the checkbook.

And one other thing: At 99.9999_% of dealers "Certified" means they had the most junior mechanic in the place run down a checklist, then detail the car. Maybe, maybe even an oil change and filter, but nothing more. Ever. However if Musk designs a CPO program where they throw the vehicle back on the assembly line, have the robots remove the body panels/battery pack/motor, check alignment/tolerances/fatigue, and then reassemble... yeah, that would be worthy of the notion of "certified."

Comment: Windows 10 = iPhone 6 (Score 2) 644

by xeno (#48029311) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Windows 10

Wait... what? Multiple desktops, same apps behave properly as fullscreen tablet apps or desktop windows, snapping control, hybrid menus, launch/switch/end gestures (copied from WebOS and Unity), a task view with app and desktop preview... Every single one of these features has been out for years on Linux (and most on Android or OS X), in much more polished form. It's 2014 and the Windows team is just now figuring out how to have two window managers co-exist? How very retro!

Windows 10 vs. Linux Mint/Ubuntu/Fedora/etc = iPhone 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy/Note series...
The dominant/big-name brand is _years_ behind and floating forward on market momentum.

Comment: shared wonder at the bigness and oldness of it all (Score 1, Insightful) 173

by xeno (#47996897) Attached to: Solar System's Water Is Older Than the Sun

The key part: "darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the spirit was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light." I'm the last person to push theology, and not remotely christian, but that's... poetically pretty.

Yes, the waters were here long before us, before the earth, before (our) star. I don't have to agree with anyone's religious tales to appreciate and share a sense of wonder at the bigness and oldness of it all.

Comment: overthinking the problem (Score 1) 138

by xeno (#47954293) Attached to: Star Wars Producers Want a 'DroneShield' To Prevent Leaks On Set

They're overthinking the problem. It's in Georgia. All's ya need to do is give BillyBob's thousand-year-old grampy a decent slingshot and a bucket of marbles, and tell him you'll pay him $250 every time he can hit one of those tiny little gummint spy planes.

Better yet, get him to tell his fishing buddies about the prize, and his buddies, etc... until you have a low level permeation thru the community. Just remember to pay 'em (and pay out of the set's lunch fund on an obfuscated line item that says something suitably snarky like "humble pie" or "tasty crow".) Oh, and tell 'em old guys: you can't eat what you catch, but you can resell the parts on ebay.... :)

Comment: Re:Is minecraft really 'creative'? (Score 1) 174

by xeno (#47951257) Attached to: The Minecraft Parent

Oh, wow, dude... Calm down. Have some water.
I gotta say, "goosestepping neckbeard" is the best thing I've been called in weeks. And no, a low UID only means I showed up. Just like you did.

I could type something nice about Minecraft, but I already did in another thread today: stuff about minecraft being an excellent UI for 3D printer data.

And try not to lunge so hard at obvious trollage. :)

Comment: HEY NOTCH!!! (Score 5, Interesting) 105

by xeno (#47942523) Attached to: Dremel Releases 3D Printer

The killer app for a commodity 3D printer would be a MineCraft-like interface. I was talking to my teenage kids and their friends about the 3D printer that sits unused in their school lab, and they all complained that the software was incomprehensible. But since they all create amazing structures in MineCraft, I suggested the obvious.... the idea of a crafting UI for 3D design had them jumping up and down yelling “HELL YES we would use that to build amazing things.”

Notch? Are you busy just now? Don't you have some spare cash and free time?
Howzabout a 3D crafting UI that looks like a holodeck room and adopts the standard controls for MineCraft to frame up basic block structures, plus some of the better mod controls for curves, smoothing, and multi-size blocks?

User scenarios would follow something like this:
- Adjust the size of the room you want to work in,
- Rough design using building blocks off the hot bar,
- managing multiple materials or colors from the inventory,
- more complex design with other objects (maybe compound objects) from the crafting table,
- fill/smoothing/spanning following the methods/controls of some of the better mods,
- view/flythrough, save functions, import, export, etc...,
- .... and finally printing.

I’d buy it. Seriously, I would plunk down a grand for the hardware in a heartbeat if the design GUI was fun to use.
(And HP needs to get on the stick, if they want to extend their "ink" market... :)

NOTCH!!! Seriously, you need to get on this.
DREMEL!!!?! Seriously, you need to talk to Notch.

Comment: we're all citize^h^h^h^h^h uncharged criminals now (Score 1) 108

by xeno (#47792245) Attached to: Judge Allows L.A. Cops To Keep License Plate Reader Data Secret

This. By stating that none of the bulk data can be disclosed because of "potential charges," that's a little different than redacting "ongoing investigations" against specific individuals. The latter is a pretty reasonable limitation on the information disclosed from a FOIA request, but the former is a pretty literal form of treason: an appointed or elected official is seeking to subvert the US Constitution's prohibitions on warrant-less searches, and also to bypass constitutional checks and balances by essentially turning judgements into decrees removing rights from every citizen in perpetuity. Add the notion that the topic is secrecy of scope as well as content, and that's pretty much a literal definition of "conspiracy" to violate* the constitution.

*Perhaps "provide a legal contortion that exempts all citizens from certain constitutional protections in a manner that clearly and purposefully violates the intent of the law."

Comment: treat it like a maker project for the kids (Score 2) 187

by xeno (#47739397) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

I just worked thru this same project with my MS/HS kids. For us, the answer was not a specific scope, but the best one we could find for cheap secondhand. It worked out very well to involve the kids not just with the content viewable thru the scope, but with the mechanics of assembling a working setup. Now they're interested in the optics and process, not just the results.
After several crappy new ones (thanks, woot...) we happened upon a Celestron Astromaster 90 for $25 at the local Goodwill (1000mm focal length/which they advertise as "dual-purpose telescope appropriate for both terrestrial and celestial viewing" -- but the most important thing for us was the stable tripod. Even a great scope will be frustrating and a turnoff for the kids if it's wobbly and hard to see something cool at the outset, like craters on the moon. For the CA90, I picked up an eyepiece-to-Tmount adapter and T-to-DSLR for $30, allowing us to swap naked-eye viewing and digital photography (face it, if you succeed and the kids go 'oo shiny' the next question is 'can i put this on tumblr?'), all for under $100 and the whole setup fits into the car trunk.
An alternate which we also enjoy, while not strictly a "telescope": I picked up a 500mm F6.5 camera lens for under $50 (I have both a refractor and long-tube/telescope style and slapped a 2x matched doubler on it, giving us an effective 1000mm telescope with a t-mount end. We dropped an additional $8 on a t-mount adapter for a DSLR, and $30 for a manfrotto lens holder for a tripod (optional). For under $100 total, this gave us some pretty sharp digital-only viewing that fits into a messenger bag. Again, this is a win not because it's the best optical setup, but because it pulls the kids into the process AND the result is shareable.
Oh... and one other cheap trick that is a huge help with viewing using budget (but not crap) optics: Attaching about 8in of 1in link chain (just the standard hardware store proof chain) to the objective end of your long telescope makes an excellent vibration damper. With this chain damper and a 2- or 10-sec delay on your camera, you can snap no-touch/super-clear pictures thru the scope with most excellent results.
YMMV. Good luck!

Comment: Connected to mass layoff of Windows SDETs? Maybe? (Score 5, Insightful) 304

One of the bits of logic used for recent layoff and reorgs has been something like 'component/security/etc testing had become so mature at Microsoft (!) and ingrained into normal dev processes, that such a large population of SDETs (testers) across OS and key office products is unecessary.' Just chew on that for a second, and ponder how intensely stupid that seems.

But nevermind my opinion; I guess we're getting some at-scale empirical testing of whether getting rid of testers en masse was a good idea.

Comment: Where does it keep its brain? (Score 1) 98

by xeno (#47671995) Attached to: Gartner: Internet of Things Has Reached Hype Peak

The Cloud = software as a service (SaaS) = hosted services = "the network is the computer" = blah blah blah..'s all more or less the same decades-old idea:
  "you just click buttons and pay us all the money, nevermind what's behind the curtain."
...where you trade huge amounts of control for incremental savings
"we're not sure where your data lives, so you'll just have to trust our vague compliance statement"
...with the same bad security implications:
  "software vulns and compromise stats are a trade secret, so don't ask"

So with a nod to JKR...
I offer the only truly wise decision principle regarding adoption of "cloud"/hosted services:
"Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain."

Comment: Re:Best $4400 I've ever spent in my life (Score 1) 109

Mmmmm.... No. Bzzzzt.

Presbyopia eventually affects virtually everyone by age 40-50, but that just means that you become slightly more farsighted as the natural lens becomes less flexible. Corrective surgery still removes all astigmatic defects, corrects the focal distance to a normal range, reduces eyestrain by normalizing the two eyes, along with other minor benefits. Old people getting laser correction just means "only" having perfect vision past 0.5-1 meter or so.

Now that I'm old (near death by hipster standards, or so I'm told) and need reading glasses for close work, do I regret getting laser correction? Am I not getting "bang for the buck" as I read highway signs a quarter mile ahead? Do I feel sad as I look at the moon and pick out crater edges wiith my naked eyes?

No. Not one single teensy bit. I am happy to age this way; much happier than all other options.

Comment: Re:Reality not sufficient, (Score 2) 109

Mod parent up. Wish I had points.

I had my eyes zapped about 5 years ago, and even with some complications I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Why? I did it beause glasses were making me hesitant to play with my kids.

As they grew older, I was always getting them knocked off in game play or horsing around, and then I found myself declining to play or playing soft or begging off.... Sport lenses were always a half-measure, and contacts are a maintenance timesink vs continual risks of infection. For a while I was interested in intracorneal rings (the only corrective eye surgery that is 99+% reversable) but there wasn't enough data and they were never really popular in the US. I had PRK instead of LASIK because my astigamtism's anomalies were near the surface (the "flap" would contain irregularities). The final thing that swayed me was that laser surgery (in my case) could be performed in about 10-15% of the corneal depth that is safe to treat. This meant plenty of safety margin for the initial treatment, plus I can have it re-corrected to better than 20/20 as necessary over multiple years without hitting safety limits -- basically I'll die many years before hitting any kind of limit on corneal correction. The PRK process is a much slower recovery than LASIK, and I had some complications that added a couple weeks to that, but I remember the first afternoon after getting the "bandage contacts" off and seeing with my fresh new 20/15 eyes... looking across Lake Washington at ripples in the water from canoe oars, and seeing the color and texture of the window trim on the Safeco building well over a mile away from my car on the 520 bridge. The world is absolutely fucking gorgeous again.

But would I have done it specifically for gameplay? What?

Jesus, dude, go outside and look at a tree.

Natural laws have no pity.