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Comment Re:Why not stop making new shows (Score 2) 307

The problem as I see it isn't that there are "too many new shows". It's that there are too many new shows that target the masses, to attract advertising to said masses. That means that fringe shows rarely get the attention they might deserve on their merits, because the bean counters don't see large number of eye-balls.

tl;dr: it's a business model issue.

Unfortunately, the other parts of Hollywood, the movie studios, have been bitten by the number-of-eyeballs silliness, because they want large returns on their big-budget creations. The only time a Hollywood studio will take a chance on a movie is if it can be done on the super cheap and distributed on a smaller number of screens. Not many modern movies meet the criteria. That's why we are seeing the flood of big-budget remakes, reboots, and sequels.

I personally "cut the cord" when TCI blacklisted me: my house-mate died and I refused to take over the service or pay the back bill. (The executor of the estate never paid the overdue bill.) I wasn't their customer, but they held me responsible anyway because I was living in the house! After that, every time I moved, every attempt to get cable service has been blocked by that blacklist...so I do without. (I get my cable modem service through a reseller.)

And, frankly, I don't miss it. I used to rent those TV series that caught my eye, then the rental business collapsed. I've considered Hulu and Netflix, but I'm not sure I want to commit the time to that form of entertainment. So I buy DVDs of those shows that interest me. Most of them in the used market, not the new.

Movies in theatres? The time interval between my visits to theaters is pretty wide. I went from Cars to Pitch Perfect 2 -- not exactly the type of movie customer The System wants to have. Part of the reason is I don't like the "movie experience" of people talking, texting, and worse. Or, in my last outing, the movie house had the sound turned up too loud -- the singing was good enough that they didn't have to blast it out. (And the usual excuse, dating, is out because I don't date anymore.)

Let's not talk about trailers in the theatre (I don't see), on TV (I don't see), and on YouTube (I do see). Most of the trailers convince me to NOT see the movie being advertised...

Comment In the junk pile (Score 1) 284

I have an old, old box with Windows 95 on it. If I could ever find a replacement for the motherboard battery, I could probably even boot it. If I wanted to. The question would be "why?"

(The answer is that box still has a copy of Syntrilliam's CoolEdit on it, so I can convert MP3 to OggVorbis. Worth it? Flipping a coin...)

Comment Re:You still go through HR for jobs? (Score 1) 242

Let me disabuse you of your incorrect notion. My last four jobs did not involve an HR department. (1) One was a "promotion" from freelance to full-time. (2) One was a contract gig "promotion" to full time. (3) One was from a newspaper ad sent to me by a friend, who knew the owner of the business. (4) One was an equipment co-location customer who got so dependent on me that he hired me to continue what I had been doing as "customer service".

Indeed, looking back on my career I have very little contact with any HR department. My very first job came through the efforts of a gradute-student-run research project at Southern Illinois University. Several jobs were as a college student worker. Several more jobs came via recruiters. My best jobs was one of those error cascades involving computer magazines, the American National Standards Institute, and being a take-over-Charlie in a standards-setting committee.

Comment Re:Stupid question. (Score 5, Informative) 242

The problem is that the HR departments want X years in specific technology. I still remember years ago an ad wanting a programmer with 10 years of Java programming experience...and Java was just turning five.

The last time I was looking for work, I found ads that were so specific that I surmise the hiring person had a specific person in mind, but was required to put job openings out to the world. I do know one instance where the job was intended for a H1-B visa applicant; no way they were going to hire a citizen for the position.

Yes, I agree that people should continue to learn new stuff. I'm picking up Python as part of my current job.

Comment Old programmers for old systems (Score 4, Interesting) 242

There has been quite a discussion (including in CIO magazine) about old programmers being exactly the right people to deal with "ancient" legacy systems. There is still a lot of systems in current use written in COBOL out there, even COBOL that predates the ANSI version. FORTRAN is still surprisingly strong in the scientific community.

The article mentions programmers continuing in niches. Me, for example. I've discovered a very nice corner where I work with RS-232 serial ports and the mistakes engineers/programmers 20-30 years my junior inflict on the community. Schools don't teach the National Semiconductor 16550 UART anymore; not to mention all the errors made trying to utilize the FIFO capabilities. (It's not engineers using the chips themselves, it's the ASIC people using the 16550 from the cell libraries!)

I'm on the wrong side of 60, yet I've not decided when I'm going to retire...if I retire. I may just decide that, as long as I can find people who need my skills, I'll keep going until they carry me out feet-first.

Comment I don't use an ad blocker (Score 1) 519

Like so many other people have commented, I have earned the right to turn off advertising on ./ and decided not to check that checkbox. Instead, I use another method to block ads: /etc/hosts. Here is a small sample:

127.0.0.1 media.sonypictures.com.
127.0.0.1 images.adsyndication.msn.com.
127.0.0.1 2mdn.net.
127.0.0.1 atdmt.com.
127.0.0.1 fastclick.net.
127.0.0.1 hire.tv.
127.0.0.1 hiro.tv.
127.0.0.1 pointroll.com.

In firefix, I have also set to "ask first" for every single media player. I just wish there was a way I could do this with HTML5 video content as well.

Comment Re:Oh boy, here we go... (Score 0) 413

Then there will be the sliver of comments about developing additional sources of zero-carbon sources of energy. Traditional fission reactors have their own pollution problems. Fusion is still too experimental; no one has yet to demonstrate a scalable method of doing that. But there is another power metal: thorium. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

I'm not saying that solar and wind are pie-in-the-sky. Those sources of renewable power have their place. We should not shut the door, though, to additional options. Just as we need diversity in our population, we need diversity in our power solutions.

Plus, don't count out Bell Lab's favorite project goal: "And then something wonderful happens."

Comment Re:Spreadsheets (Score 2) 144

Any place where you have to take a number of observations and perform statistical analysys on the data. A lot of yield analysis in agriculture is done this way; remember, agriculture was the mother of statistics. Then you branch out to the other hard sciences and a spreadsheet is the right tool for the job. Once you learn the limitations of the tool (precision, range, accuracy) it can slash effort to a fraction of other methods.

Comment Re:"Secure in their ... papers" (Score 1) 157

Are we talking about a single piece of paper, or are there three independent pieces of paper? If the former, then the warrant would have to be served on Bob, because he has possession of the letter. If you made a copy or otherwise made a separate recording of the letter, then LEO could come after YOU for the contents. And you have no standing to contest the warrant on fourth amendment grounds. You could be questioned about the contents in either case.

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