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Comment Re:Does it kill the bees??? (Score 3, Informative) 248

Hmmm, I was going to say that bees die when they sting. But that's because normally the stinger gets hooked in the victim and the bee's abdomen ruptures when the stinger is pulled off. If they're stinging glass, I suppose it's possible they could survive the experience because the stinger wouldn't get stuck.

Comment If you're looking for a calculator... (Score 1) 254

and not a programming environment, there are a buncha TI (and other calculator) emulators. For example:

Personally, I'd just open up a spreadsheet program. If you need an algebraic equation solver, go with R, Matlab or possibly Mathomatic:

Comment Re:Title is misleading (Score 1) 510

Automation is shifting repetitive, uncreative, brutish work to repetitive, uncreative, brutish machines, thus freeing humans to pursue nobler interests.

No consolation to the workers who can't find new jobs, I know. But for the larger society, the benefits outweigh the costs.

In every change some prosper, some lose. But the same happens in every status quo. We may as well choose technological progress.

If we are compassionate, we can give the displaced workers opportunities to learn new skills.

The problem here is that automated systems are now smart enough to replace (pulling a number out of a hat) about 20% of low-skilled and moderately-skilled labor. This percentage will only grow larger over time. In other words - in the future, you'll have to be either exceptionally smart, or exceptionally creative to be able to have a job. I predict Lake Wobegon (where all the children are above-average) will do fine, but the rest of the world is in for "interesting times".

There will be a substantial part of the population that simply isn't smart or creative enough to hold a job in the face of automated competition. The only refuge for the average worker will be in situations where customers expect and require a human interface (for example in many service/hospitality industries). The tipping point will probably be around the time that most taxi services and some bus lines use driverless vehicles for at least some of their pickups. Look at IBM's developing model where the only US employees are sales force and executives (with corresponding admin support). The automated economy will be similar to that, but with less offshoring and more AI/automation.

The only defense the working and middle classes have against this (other than exceptional skills and/or creativity that can't be automated) is ownership of automated systems for themselves. Which is pretty hard to achieve when you don't have the money to buy in. So: everybody ready for the Butlerian Jihad?*

* -

Comment Save yourself the grief... (Score 1) 562

If you aren't going over the limit, don't sweat it. If you are going over the limit and have access to an ISP that offers a business or telecommuter plan with no limits, go ahead and make the switch.

AT&T lost me as a 15+ year ISP customer inherited from Bellsouth because their overage charges at 6 Mbps put my monthly bill within $20 of a Comcast business plan at 22 Mbps and no cap.

Comment Turn-based and beyond... (Score 1) 221

You can probably cover about 2/3 of the games in the market with one hand. Just about anything that runs turn-based should be fun, even without a hardware upgrade. This covers everything from a large swathe of the 4x strategy games, to most Rogue-like games to puzzlers.

If you add a new multi-button mouse or other OTS capability enhancers, racing games (limited control set) and single player RPGs (those that pause when you bring up inventory or other data screens) come into play. RTS may also work, but could cause trouble if some of the game actions aren't accessible from mouse menus.

For an RPG, you'd need that tab button, plus buttons for forward and backward movement, and a button to pick up things, when you add in the 2 standard buttons and the wheel, you're probably looking at an 8-button mouse as a minimum (you'll turn your facing to move sideways, unless you add more buttons). Some RPGs that require you to use keystrokes to enable special attacks could be problematic. You won't be taking on the really combat-oriented RPGs here.

MMOs and FPS are probably the last thing you'll be able to take on and feel competitive - they'll probably require a prosthetic or some alternate control mechanism to provide a full substitution for the "lost" hand. And whether you elect to go with additional hardware or not, the learning curve will hurt your gameplay for a while.

Finally, if your other arm has any useful movement that can be restored with PT, there's a good chance it can still be used for mashing the spacebar or a virtual equivalent. And best of luck to you dealing with this IRL as well as from a gaming perspective.

Comment Re:Prior Art? (Score 2) 98

In the first case: Not just prior art. Unclean hands and a few other "technicalities" come to mind. (IANAL)

In the second case: offense can be defense. One way to force someone to the settlement table on the original suit is with counterclaims.

Comment Re:But Anonymous has? (Score 1) 104

Plenty of other sources for both the FBI and Anon: wireless carriers, Databases owned by Apps that harvest the UDIDs (now a banned practice, but whatever), malware on jailbroken devices.

Also, perhaps the data actually came from another federal agency such as NSA, or said agent was moonlighting for another agency?

Every party in this mystery has reason to be secretive, so it's fertile ground for every type of conspiracy theory: Anon in league with FBI??

Comment Re:It's called "Get A Grip!" (Score 1) 1127

On the other hand it is quite easy to find non-work topics for chat that don't involve sex, religion or race. Politics for example. No one gets offended by that, right?

Or try sports. Maybe you're a Yankee fan and your co-worker is a Red Sox fan!

And even if they do get offended, the good news is political or sports harassment isn't prohibited by law, so if you feel the need to slight or bully your libtard or reactionary co-worker, go for it. Be careful of those corporate policies, though. They can bite you in the ass.

Informal survey: How many here were offended/not offended by that phrase?

Comment Re:It's called "Get A Grip!" (Score 1) 1127

For some folks, "That's what she said" jokes are offensive.

Bottom line: be damn careful to know your audience if you're going to say anything regarding gender, race or religion, in general or about an individual. The person who reports you may not even be part of the group that was the target of your stupidity.

I once started a comment about "too many chiefs" being on a project in a meeting with a Native American in the room before my brain caught up with my mouth, and I made damn sure I apologized to him the same day, just on the off chance.

On the downside, I now find it uncomfortable to watch "Blazing Saddles".

Comment Re:It's called "Get A Grip!" (Score 1) 1127

No way to figure this one out until you find out how sensitive she is to geek male stupidity.

If she's sensitive about anything like offensive language or bad jokes, she'll probably want you to report everything formally.

On the opposite end she could be a geek girl herself and know even "better" jokes than the guys.

Most likely somewhere in the middle.

The problem is, without knowing her personality, your only safe route is to handle it by the letter of the law, case law and company policy. And even knowing her personality, if you make minor offenses subject to informal punishment you are basically saying "yes these are offenses, but we elected not to follow the company rules for reporting this type of offense." That sounds like something that can get you fired or reprimanded just as severely as if you made an offensive remark yourself.

Comment Re:Too late to be asking.... (Score 1) 384

Depending on what your lawyer says about your existing obligations, this could be an opportunity to sell the client an annual support contract with monthly billing, rather than paying by the hour. 2 months of "warranty period" support seems a tad low -- if the application is of any size or complexity. It could take that long just to train the users. Which means no one on the client side has actually spent any time uncovering the bugs before the free support expires. Also, socking the client with hourly rates right after a free support period can induce sticker-shock. That can be alleviated by a support contract, too.

The other advantage of offering standardized support contracts is that it makes it VERY clear that there is no such thing as eternal free support in your offering.

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