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Comment Re:Your laptop is more like a desktop than a table (Score 1) 329

I don't disagree.

There are a few layers to this discussion. One is the stationary computer. For me, that's gone for all but that old Apple.

The second is "The end of the PC" discussion, and I don't think we are anywhere close to that. Tablets and phones are growing very potent. Lots can be done on them, but they are not the general purpose computing devices "PC" devices are. Some of them can be, and I see people attempting to do that.

I myself am looking at a basic droid device for that purpose. I also use portable Linux distributions a lot, along with virtualization to decouple from hardware.

When it comes to authoring things, the PC is still king. For information consumption and some light manipulation, tablets and phones are rapidly filling that niche. There will be fewer PC's, but no end to them anytime soon.

Comment Sort of. (Score 1) 329

I've ditched the desktop. One laptop works for me. I don't even have external screens and such anymore. It was just easier to learn to use it well just as it comes. I will, on occasion plug in a mouse, or other specialized input device, and those are carried in my backpack.

Older laptops get purposed for specific things. Media server, or development machine for micro-controllers and such.

The only real PC that I have now is my Apple //e! (and I wish it were portable) And it's a nicely equipped //e, with a USB card for storage, serial, etc...

Comment Almost anyone can be a programmer. (Score 1) 767

Being a programmer, at the lowest level, is composing instructions. Lots of people do that, and they do so without too much trouble.

Now, being a good programmer requires being able to manipulate and keep track of simultaneous abstractions. That's a lot harder, and I do think there are plenty of people who just don't work well that way.

Comment Yeah, you can and should grow up. (Score 1) 299

There is a process on these things. It's not a perfect process. All of us have to deal in some ways so that we may see the greater gains by doing so.

You said this:

Thanks for the lecture, Dad. Now, can I live like a grown up and make my own mistakes? Or do I still need your permission and still need to pay tithes to your institution for the privilege of your guidance and leadership?

LOL!! Bet you are somewhere in your 20's, right where I was when I said similar things. It's a tough gig, but time cures a lot of things. Trust me on that. Yeah, Dad now. Was just starting that gig when I signed up to this site, and the last kid is about to leave the house. Long time.

Here's the hard truth. You won't like it either, but it's fact, absolute. You are accountable to those you need stuff from. That's reality. Now, you say you want to live it on your own totally as an individual? Great! Give it all up. That means you don't get citizenship, that means you don't get infrastructure, that means you don't get courts, police, fire, or any of the other things you found up and running here like everybody else did.

Go off and do it all yourself, ideally somewhere that the rest of the world will just let you have, and then you can do fuck all you want, if you live long enough to actually do it.

Not a pleasant idea is it?

You see, you want shit, but you don't value what you see around you. Somehow, you think that's just a freebie and that you've got some entitlement to declare yourself above it all, that rugged individualist who doesn't need anybody or anything, just keep your hands off my money, blah, blah, blah.

Everything costs something pal. Everything. And the cost of living here is dealing with the process that is up and running here. Don't like how some of the taxes get spent? Great. I suggest you invest some of your time in politics and advocacy and get it changed, just like anyone else can and should be doing. That's how we resolve that stuff.

We don't resolve it by devaluing the society we live in, and declaring taxes as theft is like shitting where you eat. Fucking stupid.

You are lazy as hell, expecting some simplistic market solution to very complex, very old, very human problems. Been reading "those books?" Bet you have, and the attraction there is it's simple. Vote with your feet right? And if we just dismantle it all, the magic market forces will sort the people out.

Doesn't work that way either, and it doesn't work that way because the real money will crush you and me like we don't even exist. The real money, left unchecked would enslave people, kill off the gays, promote smoking tobacco to avoid paying for old people as optimal profit is when the worker dies right after their productive years, etc...

Go and read your history. That's how it has always gone down, and given no checks and balances, that is how it will continue to go down.

So here's the deal on "supporting" stuff. It's a package. You can either leave, or not. If you stay, then you deal. That's it. Assuming you are here, then we have the politics to help shape how things go, and we have the dollars to fund what gets done. Given you leverage all of that stuff no matter what you do, those taxes are no different than cutting me in for my share of a joint project. I don't like war either. But, I do appreciate the New Deal, and many other good thing we do, so I pay my taxes, and I do my politics and advocacy to speak my mind about it, ideally resonating with many others in ways that impacts how things get done and that changes things for the better, or worse...

The worse part?

When you tune out, buy into the idea that the system is fucked, and that somehow you would be better off just on your own with "your money", fuck everybody else style. Nobody gets to do that. Thinking you somehow deserve to be able to do that, or can do that is idealistic and naive frankly.

Again, take it or leave it. You are accountable to those you need stuff from. That's reality and the sooner you get that, the better off you will be.

And the other reality here is that you need stuff! That posh life you've got isn't a freebie, and it's posh too, assuming you aren't posting up from one of the really fucked nations. Want to call your own shots? There's a good idea. Move to Somalia where they pretty much let it go there, and arm up while you are there, and remember to cut your "friends" in for their slice of the pie for covering your ass too. Funny how that stuff works isn't it?

So assuming that, yeah. Posh. You got a lot handed to you, and it costs money. Real money to build, real money to maintain, and real time to keep it from being over exploited, and that means doing your civics, not tuning out dreaming of fantasy lands where you can just magically have it all and do what you want to do.

Come back and read this in 10 years or so. Have your family, grow a little, experience things, and maybe you might come to understand just a little bit of the naivete' and selfish nature you've got and how much harm it can do.

Paying your taxes isn't supporting the bad stuff. Failure to actually do your civics, cast your votes, advocate your values and demonstrating them in your own life is supporting the bad stuff.

Think we are treating gays like shit? I think so. Fuck that. Know what I do? I stand up for them, taking heat when it matters, and not voting in asses that would continue the abuse.

Think we should legalize it? I do. I think all the incarceration is a massive abuse, and in many states, interestingly those states where I hear a ton of people like you denying the process mind you, is a crime against the people, and it's being over-exploited as cheap, slave labor too. Fuck that.

The difference between us? I know we need government, I know here in the US WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT, and our first amendment means we get to talk about that shit, find common ground, and vote out asses, voting in people who will do the right things.

Know what happens when you don't get that? You get exploited, that's what. Want to know why?

Speak or be spoken for, that's why. So rather than rant your ass about how "your money" is going to some thing or other you find undesirable or unjust, when the reality is your greed is showing more than your morality is, grow the fuck up, get involved, and start taking the shit back proper.

That's what I learned coming out of my 20's, and into 40's now. Ignore the politics, and you live under the rule of those that didn't, and it's all precisely that simple.

Comment Stealing... Looking awful selfish from here. (Score 2) 299

What you say?

Yeah, selfish.

How exactly did you make "your" money? I assume you've accounted for the value of the nation you live in, right? The infrastructure, education, currency, military protection, local protection, license to do business, etc...

Are those things worth nothing?

Have you considered what making "your" money would actually look like, if people were dumb enough to really buy into the idea that taxing is stealing?

Think margins are thin now, just wait until you need to fund your own protection, figure out currency issues and value exchange, or need to settle differences with weapons instead of courts, or fight of plunderers, thieves, and copy cats.

You have a birthright, and it was established through the collective labor and taxes to add value to our lives over time. Nothing you do, and I mean absolutely nothing is done in isolation.

Yeah, that means you didn't build it yourself and nobody else did either. That also means you've got to pay your share just like everybody else does, because it's a package deal. Nobody gets to just not participate, because it doesn't work that way. It can't work that way.

Early on, the idea of self-governance was justified for these reasons. We need taxes, we need infrastructure, we need government and we need it because eeking it out as hunter gatherers just doesn't get us anywhere, and the quality of life sucks complete ass too.

We are free people in the US. We agree to fund government and submit to it, while preserving our right to challenge it, become part of it, work with it, and deal with it so that we are better able to enjoy our freedom.

A hunter gatherer is very free, but also very poor. That hunter gatherer, operating in isolation, "building it themselves" will invest most of their time getting established, and working to survive, ideally having a small family, not getting killed off by some other person wanting a quick leg up, with the idea of having a little bit of time to simply do what they want to do as opposed to what they need to do.

Wealth is measured in time. When most of our time is "must do" time, we are poor. When most of our time is "want to do" time, we are wealthy.

You are wealthy due to the labor invested in making sure you are born wealthy enough to even contemplate bitching about having to contribute your share needed to keep it all rolling.

Now, if we are to do a proper accounting of "your money" as opposed to the cut you owe the others who busted their ass to hand you a posh birthright, things start to get a little ugly.

Truth is, your taxes are a steal, even with the abuses. Could be better, but you are still getting one hell of a deal.

"your money" equals what you get paid for your labor products, most of which are not even possible to do or profit from without that birthright you ignore and refuse to value properly. Your slice of the education, military, research, police, infrastructure, courts, etc... is directly related to the value you get for all those things. They aren't free. They don't exist in a vacuum, and there isn't some picking and choosing which ones you like and which ones you don't, because the whole thing breaks down without everybody paying in their fair share to get their fair value out, which makes the whole thing work for you like it does.

So that means yeah, you are going to pay for some things you think are shit, and you are going to deal, because the alternative is sucking ass somewhere, living to work, working to live, hoping to god you don't get hurt, or killed before you even turn 30.

What a selfish ass you are. Fuck.

Comment Well, fuck you very much EA. (Score 1) 274

There is a reason I've stepped away from modern gaming. There is the occasional title or two I want to play or my wife does, and we do that together, able to share some time. Honestly, those are getting fewer and fewer.

Gaming is expensive, and the value proposition keeps getting diluted down to a point where it's really starting to show. Think the same kind of death corporate radio is suffering. The dynamics are very similar, as will be the end game.

Fuck these guys. Go retro and or indie. Lots of platforms from home built micro-controllers to older machines that can play great games to phones, PC's and other devices that can also play great games.

There is also the homebrew scene. It's a lot like indie, but different in that it usually involves older machines. Much of the homebrew scene is open too. You can see the code, modify the game, interact with the developer, be the developer, contribute graphics, or just collect 'n play. I've spent more on homebrew titles than I have modern gaming for a few years in a row now. There are scenes for the 8 bit machines, some computers and odd devices. AtariAge is one place where it's happening. Quality works too, right along with a bunch of people doing games and getting help on it from others ranging from insiders who just like retro, to enthusiasts who just have picked up how things get done.

Wrote one for the 2600 a while back for a Minigame compo. Need to do it again too, because I had a lot of fun and got some great feedback. On many of the titles I buy, I know the guy who wrote it, and I know they love that "this game kicks ass! Thanks for it!" feedback as much as they do the few $$$ they get from a physical media run or two.

Right now, I'm gaming on older gear, and building fun little projects with micro-controllers that have classic ports. Learning about the tech, building things, modifying them, and such is just as much fun as jamming on a modern title is, and I know I'm way better off for it too. Long ago, this started on the old Apple ][, which I have setup to play on to this day. The kids like the thing for all it's weird games, sounds, and such.

Back then, cracking 'em was as fun as playing them, and several of us did, getting good enough to start careers in computing too. We used to write games, share them, laugh at them, play them, build on them, and just enjoyed it on a lot of levels besides just playing through some linear, scripted pile of shit that's full of licensed IP to the gills. Same game, different skins, diluted value each time... Now that people are picking up on this stuff, they are insuring that they maximize their return on the least value possible, and that's the end game for a top heavy industry suffering as so many others have.

So yeah, fuck you very much. EA was founded on some great ideas. Now it's just riding a wave, so seriously disconnected from the art of things it's sad to see.

Comment How about they actually screen the goods sold? (Score 4, Funny) 427


If they are going to spot check the liquids, just do it before I purchase said liquid. That's kind of a nice deal, given it actually has some impact on my safety. Random checks after the purchase has a really shitty end game:

1. Liquid found to be benign: "Sorry for bothering you, and trust us the chemicals used for testing are no big deal." Right. Feeling good about that one. NOT!
2. Liquid found to be dubious: "I'm afraid we need to conficate your coffee miss..." She asks, "Well, what about that guy over there, who got one too?" Yeah, that's ugly. Do they go and get his to put up a brave face, eventually just taking all the coffee? Or is it just a lie, or menacing behavior to get her to just shut down? And if she asks, "But you guys certified them for sale inside the terminal right?" Their reply? LOL!!!
3. Liquid found to be dangerous: See dubious, but for a lawsuit. +1 for pain and suffering on all sides. Might as well just start handing out good drugs to prevent the headaches that are going to happen. Here in Oregon, somebody might just strip over it! State law permits nudity as a legit protest. Hello 10 O'Clock news!

There are times when I seriously wonder whether or not anyone actually thinks about these things on more than a basic level.

Of course, the vendors would throw a fit! They need to make the money, so fuck us, right? Right.

Comment I've not seen them do this, and I fly a lot. (Score 1) 427

I know exactly what I'm going to do when they do attempt this with my drink.

"Oh, you want some coffee? Here, take mine, no worries, thanks."

Or maybe...

"Please hold on to this for me, thanks."

+1 to the "ditch digging" comment up-thread. Yeah, spot on. I want the security jobs, IF THEY ARE ACTUALLY ADDING MATERIAL SECURITY VALUE.

Comment So they are more self-sufficient, and... (Score 1) 307

Much better able to figure out who they are, where their talents lie, and exercise life choices in a more robust way.

My own High School, in the 80's and in a hick town of maybe a few thousand mind you, offered quite a lot. My own skill sets were:

music, drama, speech, debate, I directed several performances starting from sheet music and some willing participants
formal and creative writing
math through intro to calculus, which I bailed on, headed off into binary math, booleans, etc... when the teacher asked, "why? Nobody uses those numbers?"
Metal fabrication skills
Wood fabrication skills
Auto Repair, and I completely rebuild a nice car I got for a song too.
Introduction to radio and electronic media
Basic Electronics
Ceramics, Art
Social Studies, History, Economics
I taught LOGO my Senior year
BASIC, 6502 Assembly, PASCAL, Beginners C (Aztec, if I recall correctly)
Desktop Publishing
Basic Biology, Chemistry

Hobbies were HAM Radio, Computer programming, building cars, fabricating products to sell in local markets, and TV tune up and Repair for date money....

Not every kid soaked it up, and for them, they could drill down into some niche and excel. Others, like myself, just wanted to learn and build.

Coupla things that have resulted from that:

1. Fell on hard times growing up. Sometimes didn't eat. I could do lots of work as a High Schooler, and did. Turn right around and hunt for food, going from the shot, to meat on a plate. Old school, no joke.

2. I've never, ever paid for a locksmith. Won't either.

3. All I need is ANY car. Hard times happened again a few years ago. That old car with 300K+ miles on it got me through, runs great, cheap ass. I completely understand that thing. Again, cheap ass.

4. Took lots of jobs to attend college. Manufacturing ended up a focus, because I can make stuff, make a lot of stuff, make it right, make it on time, and make it cheap ass. People love cheap ass.

5. Can learn on my feet, and I know that's from the broad stimulation I got when it mattered.

And it goes on and on. Not everybody wants to make things, or even understand them. That's OK. But when hard times come calling, you all will be damn glad to know those of us who do, and school is about building great people. All kinds of great people. Starting out by underestimating them isn't how it's done.

Comment MENTORS -- That's the new model (Score 3, Interesting) 110

Looking back on my own primary school education, which happened in the 70's and 80's, the best education I got was from those teachers who delivered the material well, often relating it to real life things, or concepts that I could understand, and those that took the time to understand who I was, even if I didn't yet. They were the mentors. They helped to change my life for the better. They teased out things they saw and developed them. They are the ones I did contact long after school to say, "thanks."

I can understand teachers -- educators in general getting a bit nervous over something like Kahn Academy. After all, who really needs teachers when kids can just plug in and get smart?

But the thing is, a vast majority of kids won't do that. Some of them can't. Others can, but won't be self-aware and self-directed enough to do that. For most kids, we need teachers at a minimum, and we really need mentors big. A short story:

In High School, I was exposed to Apple ][ computers. There is an Apple //e on my desk that I use regularly to this day. (Electronics, retro programming, writing) We had some programmed instruction material on disks that was supposed to teach us about the computers. Most everybody was new as the computers were only there for a year or two before I showed up.

Basically, the whole idea was to have the teacher shepard the students through the material, answering questions, etc... and most importantly, just make sure they do it. Anyone could do this, given a dry run or two, and some supplementary material to prep on. In fact, as a student, I did exactly that as part of some project.

That's what the teachers fear, and they are right about it too. The thing is, we've been fixated in the US, on test scores and other hard metrics to a point where we totally ignore the real education. Class time is planned down to small increments, test score stakes have been raised right along with requirements in such a way as to dictate what happens in the classroom, and this denies the educator the opportunity to actually educate!

Now, back to that story! These problems were not really manifesting themselves during my time. Some changes could be seen, but for the most part, my High School education was robust, as it happened before we really started the ugly changes. A few of us found out that we could type ctrl-c on the keyboard and break the flow of the BASIC program contained on the disks! Of course, it didn't take long to LIST the program, and then change it, saving it back onto the disk, which we did.

Back then, material would be contained on copied floppies with those floppies distributed each day from the stack. One never really got the same floppy, and students would sometimes carry their own data floppy too, depending on what they were doing. A group of four of us modified that program, with the goal of introducing some jokes in the hopes of the floppy shuffle putting them in the hands of other students! It worked great! The day after we did it, one of us got the modified disk, no fun, but three other students got them too, and the laughter triggered questions leading back to us!

Now, why do we need educators? How does mentoring play out in this digital age where we've got so much information available? This is why:

That teacher, who doubled as the geometry teacher, took us aside and talked about it. He could have disciplined us at that time, really impacting lives, but he didn't. Instead, we got assigned a different track. Our requirement for that year was to learn all we could. We had to decide to do something, state why, then actually do it. If we did that, we got the A grade. If we didn't, we were back in the planned track, just doing the rote exercises, and probably a B grade, because he knew better.

That year changed my life, and that of my four friends! We went from running games to cracking them. We learned binary math the hard way, having just the computer, some photocopied reference material and problems to solve. Problems like, "how do we use these small integer numbers to do real things?" kinds of problems. Signed math, boolean ops, programming in BASIC, PASCAL, LOGO, and 6502 assembly language. Actually, it was machine language first, because we didn't know about the little Mini Assembler, until after we had written a few small CALL routines as DATA statements in Applesoft.

The machines got CP/M upgrades, and honestly we got those because the educators were running some CP/M school apps and wanted help! My senior project was to teach LOGO, and I did. Wrote out a whole semester of exercises, handouts, lecture notes, the works, all under the watchful eye of our mentor, who saw it happening and did what he needed to in order to see it maximized. That guy fetched books, sometimes people, and made things possible. We would be there peering at the ROM listings to make our own 6502 reference, then a day or two later, a data book showed up... And throughout he asked the hard questions and held us to some standards, like doing what we said we were going to do, then doing something else.

The four of us went on to careers involving computing. I thank that guy every so often when I feel that spark of seeing new things, wanting to learn. He taught us how to learn how to learn, and inspired us to do it too.

Back then, resources were hard to find, no Internet, no Google, lots of just thinking, talking and trying stuff. Today, it's different. We need the mentors and the people builders far more than we need people just making sure kids sit in the seat and do what they are told while watching some videos... Those people change lives, and those changed lives --those adults will be taking care of us when we get old, and they will carry our legacy forward, build on it, and do great things. ...or they get ignored, those bits of potential not teased out to shine, just doing ordinary things in ordinary ways largely because nobody actually showed them how to be extraordinary.

We all see the fantastic kid who got on the Internet, built some thing, blah, blah, blah... There will always be those, and they are great just by who they are and the freedom they might have to exploit that. For most everybody else, we need teachers to teach, but we also need them to mentor and build and leverage all this information in ways that builds great people.

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