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Comment Re:Good luck with that (Score 2) 164

I'm not sure I agree with this.

For starters, the film 2001: A Space Odyssey was based on a short story by Arthur C. Clarke called "The Sentinel." Clarke wrote the novel at the same time the movie was being made, and it was actually released after the movie, so it's essentially an adaptation of the film and by no means essential to appreciating or understanding the film.

What's more, Kubrick has a track record for taking the material he is bringing to the screen and adding to it or taking it in new directions not expressed in the written work -- see The Shining, for example, which diverges from Stephen King's book wildly.

Kubrick's film should be enjoyed as a film. All these comments saying you need to read the book to understand it just sound like people who couldn't understand the movie and feel guilty about it, so they went and got the book from the library. Don't feel guilty. The film is designed to be a bit inscrutable and to inspire thought and debate.

Comment Re:'medium is the..." (Score 4, Insightful) 164

(honestly I haven't met anybody who doesn't fast forward through the draggiest parts to get to HAL)

Well, you haven't met me, but if you're talking about everything between the ape men and Discovery then those happen to be my favorite parts of the film. My absolute favorite scene, in fact, is when Heywood Floyd runs into the Russian scientists at the Pan Am lounge on the space station. And if you want to see why these scenes are absolutely essential to 2001, look no further than the film 2010, which completely fails to understand anything about the earlier movie and portrays the Heywood Floyd character -- and everybody else, for that matter -- as a bumbling incompetent who couldn't survive an airline flight to Greece, let alone an interstellar voyage.

Comment Re:ChromeCast (Score 1) 244

Other devices, like an AppleTV, do not require any other device at all. It's kind of ironic, considering all the fuss Google made about Chromecast not requiring Android.

Well, what's ironic about it, really? Chromecast doesn't require Android -- and statistically, you're much more likely to own some flavor of iPad than an Android tablet. Google never promised you that you wouldn't need either one.

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).

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