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Comment Re:Newpapers, no. (Score 1) 79

It sure is nice to NOT have to fscking "earn" your vacation hours, or sick leave (when contracting, you figure those into your bill rate, and take off when YOU want to)

Unfortunately, freelance writers do not typically get to set their own rates in any significant way. You're generally paid by the word, or by the assignment, at a rate predetermined between you and your editor (and your editor holds all the cards). I have never heard of a freelance writer being paid hourly. And when the editorial budget gets squeezed and the rates go down, you always have the option of taking your talents elsewhere -- if you can find somewhere -- or you take what you're offered. In this market, there is seldom any room to negotiate.

Comment Re:Metro UI (Score 4, Insightful) 467

However, Surface RT actually sold quite well and that's what makes it different from Zune.

By what standard did it sell well? Maybe Microsoft was moving some units at first, but months after launch we kept hearing the same figure for the number of units sold. A month would go by and someone would quote the same figure, again. That's not indicative of strong sales. By some channel figures, in Q1 of 2013 Microsoft and its partners moved less than 2 million Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets. That's not just Surface RT, not just Microsoft, that's every vendor of Windows tablets combined. Meanwhile, Apple sold nearly 20 million tablets in the same period; one vendor. So I ask again, by what standard has Surface sold "quite well"?

Comment Negative press (Score 5, Insightful) 467

Don't worry; Steve Ballmer's reorg will fix all of this. All of the product groups that analysts used to compare quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year have disappeared. Products have been shuffled around into new groups organized around "engineering." The upshot is that money-losing products like Bing are now going to be lumped in with big breadwinners like Office. You won't be able to look at the Xbox and Online Services divisions anymore and say "they lose money." All those failures will be hidden in the new structure. Without an instance like Microsoft writing down almost a billion dollars on the Surface RT disaster, it will be harder for anyone to gauge how it's doing, at least for the next few quarters. Problem solved!

Comment Re:like anything else.. (Score 1) 580

If a student is used to getting As in high school and gets Bs or Cs in their early math or engineering course, they shouldn't consider that a reason to change majors.

There's one problem with that, which I faced. I was getting the B or C in classes like college chemistry and organic chemistry. I told the instructors I was thinking of dropping the class and trying again later, but they told me that A.) my grade was typical, and that it meant I was actually doing decently well in the class; and B.) if I do drop the class, I shouldn't bother trying to take it again, because based on their experience I would end up with the same grade. It was impossible for students to absorb all the material taught, they told me, and if I got a C this time, the next time I took the class I would just forget the other half of the material and get a C again.

This not only seemed to me to be a totally ridiculous way to teach a class -- you actually admit that students can't learn what you're teaching?? -- but this was also a junior college, where anyone who wanted to get a four-year degree would need to transfer to a four-year university. The department prided itself on teaching classes that "prepared you for Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, or any university in the country." The catch, however, was that they handed out grades that made it impossible for their students to transfer to any of those schools. They'd pat you on the back for passing their class, then reward you with the kiss of death that basically ended your education ambitions right there.

Comment Re:et tu? (Score 1) 204

The only ones who backed out of the conference (as far as I can tell) were going to talk about hacking Sharepoint. While I'm sure that's useful in some situations, it sounds like an extremely boring talk.

And kinda entry-level. I'm just generalizing here, but based on my own interactions with SharePoint, I strongly suspect that nobody ever sat around, racking their brains about how to hack a SharePoint site.

Comment SPDY? (Score 1) 566

I am not big on my networking protocols, but didn't the HTTP 2.0 group decide to base its work on Google's SPDY protocol? The two don't look the same to me, but some of the descriptions in this spec do look like reshuffled versions of the SPDY spec. What's the relationship between the two these days?

Comment Re:Expect more of this. (Score 1) 608

People were OK with adopting Apple's UI on small mobile limited-use-case devices (mainly because the existing offerings at the time totally sucked, especially MS's horrible offerings that tried to shove a Win95-style UI onto a tiny touchscreen), but they never did so for their desktop and laptop PCs.

Based on what I see at the (rather many) computer conferences I attend, I beg to differ. It seems to me that a great many IT professionals have switched to MacBooks and aren't looking back. But you can't run Microsoft Dynamics on OS X, so not many in the accounting department are going to switch.

Personally, I think Microsoft is absolutely right to invest as heavily in Visual Studio as it does, because if that product wasn't just so top-notch, you'd have developers fleeing Windows for OS X in droves.

Comment Re:I have one (Score 1) 120

I wouldn't be too surprised if that has something to do with the fact that 'filming'(whether to actual...chemical film... like some kind of barbarian, or to digital) requires nontrivially different(and not inexpensive) hardware, and you have to decide that you are shooting 3d before you start shooting, while re-rendering an existing set of CG models is mostly a computational problem.

That's not really it. Many of the movies released in 3D have been converted from 2D to 3D, after the fact. Early conversions looked bad ("Clash of the Titans") but newer ones are looking better and better ("Star Trek Into Darkness").

Comment Re:Hooray! (Score 1) 120

Unlikely. The theatres already blew their load and installed multi-million dollar 3D projectors.

Maybe, but many of them installed them because they were forced to buy new projectors for digital content (because film will be obsolete by the end of this year). I'm not sure the cost of getting a 3D capable projector is really significantly more than buying a new, multimillion-dollar digital projector for each screen.

Comment Re:Hooray! (Score 1) 120

I've been really wanting to see Hugo based on all the comments I hear about the quality of the 3D, but the 3D edition of the Blu-Ray is apparently a limited edition three-disc sets (including two discs you don't need if you have the 3D Blu-Ray and a 3D-compatible player). It's hard to find, and when I do find it somewhere it costs an arm and a leg (typically $40).

Comment Re:Hooray! (Score 1) 120

I went to see The Hobbit in 48fps and I really enjoyed how it looked. Contrary to all the people complaining about the "soap opera effect" on high-refresh-rate LCD TVs, 48fps was how that movie was really meant to be seen, and I enjoyed experiencing the filmmaker's vision.

The film itself, though? Utter, execrable schlock, and a total wasted opportunity considering the quality of the source material.

Comment Re:So what's the problem here? (Score 1) 120

However, 3D Box Office revenue is off significantly in 2012. From a high of 2.2 billion down to 1.8. The bloom is off the rose.

I still like to go to the movies in 3D when I think there's going to be lots of flashy sequences that could benefit from it (something like a "Star Trek Into Darkness" or "Man of Steel"). The problem is, I live in a major urban market where the cost of seeing a 3-D movie typically runs around $16.50 or more. A ticket to see "Man of Steel" in IMAX 3D tonight will cost $21.50, including service charges, and I think it was a couple of dollars higher on opening weekend. When I see prices like that, my interest quickly fades, and I assume the same is true for a lot of people -- particularly when we're constantly hearing reviews that say "the 3D added nothing, don't bother."

Comment Re:ESPN 3D is ending as well (Score 1) 120

And a common standard... otherwise it is VHS vs. Beta again.

Enlighten me on this one, because my 3D TV seems to be able to play any 3D content you can throw at it.

Sure, there are various manufacturers of 3D TVs and many of them use different technologies for their glasses, but that's just a consumer choice. They all play the same content. As for technology, my TV is a "passive" set that lets me watch 3D programming using the same glasses you get in movie theaters. You can actually bring your glasses home from the movies and use them with the TV if you want.

Comment Re:What I found w/ BandN (Score 1) 330

With the capability to add a MicroSD card (what I also liked), you'd think they'd have an audio jack for audio books. Nope. Load your own screen savers? Nope.

You can load your own screen savers on a Nook (on the e-ink ones, at least; I can't speak for the tablets). You just make a new directory in the folder that includes all the built-in screen savers, name the directory what you want your screen saver to be called, and load it with as many images as you like. The Nook will rotate through them.

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