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Comment Re:Stow the 'Tude, Queenie (Score 1) 361

maybe try to not be such a douche-bag about "having exponentially many needless conversations" with your co-workers

Seconded. Every math or computer geek I've ever known who employed snotty language like that ended up sleeping in a bed they made themselves.

All too often "needless" conversations involves a passive aggressive asshole on one side doing everything humanly possible to prove to the world at large just how futile this interaction/interruption really is.

In most complex projects, there are any number of needful conversations just dying for an opportunity to take place between team members who are attentive to the needs of the project as a whole, and able to identify the appropriate venue and opportunity.

Comment Re:if a sheikh had $3 million spare, why not chari (Score 1) 241

belonged to everyone

You must be arguing from a theistic position. It's sure not supported by the genetic code as expressed by wolves, seagulls, sharks, or dragons.

Because the human greed gullet sometimes takes years to complete the swallowing motion, we're the dancing bees of declaring "dibs".

A highly popular dance move is the puerile head fake of vapid collectivism.

It's certainly true that all life on earth shares the destiny of our damp blue marble, which should give pause to the greedy algorithm running amok.

Another highly popular head fake is the display of flagrant excess. Gives the chattering classes a focal point having nothing to do with reforming the "heads I win, tails you loose" gravy train known as Wall Street.

Comment bunk shot into the trophy bunker (Score 2) 388

An old joke nearly served. The NSA is not a place where God coddles his minions.

It seems there was this priest who just loved to play golf, but he had been very busy for many months and had not been able to get away to go golfing. Well, one Sunday morning he woke up and felt he just HAD to go golfing. The weather was just beautiful.

He called up the Bishop and claimed he had a really bad case of laryngitis and couldn't preach, so the Bishop told him to rest for several days. He then got out his clubs and headed off for the golf course.

He set up at the first hole, making sure no one was there to see him playing hooky, and blasted the ball with his wood. It was a beautiful shot! It went straight and true. It bounced, and bounced (right up onto the green) and rolled its way closer... and closer... a hole-in-one! The priest jumped up and down in his excitement, praising the Lord and shouting hallelujahs!

He struts off to the green, collects his ball, and tees off at the second hole, repeating his performance on the first hole, much to his astounded delight. All this time St. Peter and God have been watching him from the gates of heaven. St. Peter has finally seen enough to pique his curiosity. "Lord," he says, "this priest seems to be a real trouble maker. He ignored his congregation and even lied to go golfing. Now you reward him with a hole-in-one! Why?"

"Well, think about it for half a second, you sanctimonious prat. Who can he tell?"

Comment wherever you go, there you aren't (Score 4, Informative) 141

Those fuckers at redirected my connection attempt to so that even after I authorized Javascript for their site I was unable to navigate to my intended destination (whatever shit they pulled did not even leave a history item for the originally requested URL).

This sucks because I middle-click many URLs into tabs I might not visit until ten minutes later. It I had a bunch of these tabs open I wouldn't even have been able to recollect where I had originally been. In this case, I knew to come back here.

Those fuckers at need to procure themselves an Internet clue stick PDQ.

Comment Re:That's sad (Score 1) 419

Since Blockbuster's entire business model depended upon exorbitant late fees, and they were only too happy to reduce rental times for new releases from 2 down to 1-day for the same reason once their competitors were disappearing, I'll be near the front of the line to spit on their grave. Nothing of value has been lost.

Wear your shoulder pads and bring your A game. I'll be right there beside you, fighting dirty to for the honour to produce the first sputum of blood and saliva from between rapidly swelling lips I can't even pucker.

Then I'll get in line to do it again.

They devastated all the small shops offering a decent back catalogue like an infestation of mountain pine beetle. We've got one left where I live, but it's not exactly small, boasting 20,000 titles in stock. No sign it's going away any time soon, but still, I worry.

Comment hookers of horseshit (Score 1) 476

The complaint tries to use the fact that Google bid for the patents as an extra point against the search giant.

This mainly implies that the law firm had not yet run into the filing document word limit. Most lawyers would cite vaginal birth as evidence of precocious sexuality.

Logically, one might presume that the winning bid is most likely to come from the side at greatest risk of being sunk were the patents were to be wielded against them. In this vein one would argue that Apple & Co. made the most lucrative bid to absolve themselves of their own infringements of the Nortel portfolio.

This great opera of stupidities proposed and disposed takes place while the aggrieved parties on both sides shower hundred dollar bills upon the jousting hookers of horseshit.

Comment virtuous ex post self-fulfilling projection (Score 1) 156

Moore's Law isn't even a law... it's a prediction.

If you were doing more than thinking in tiresome categories you might have called it a self-fulfilling projection which is pretty much exactly what it became.

To refine this even more precisely, it's an ex post self-fulfilling projection, where "ex post" modifies "self-fulfilling".

But wait, there's more! It's a virtuous ex post self-fulfilling projection, where "virtuous" modifies "self-fulfilling projection".

We're now deep into The Remains of the Day. I might even call it a pink leather virtuous ex post self-fulfilling projection. Sailed through menopause without a hiccup—to everyone's great surprise—but even lathering on a hair-net bale of Grecian Formula teaser treats the glory days are well behind us.

Comment Re:Pretty common support forums policies (Score 1, Insightful) 326

encouraging unnecessary warranty claims

From the user's perspective the warranty claim is necessary until Apple communicates to the afflicted that it isn't, because they've solved the problem, the fix is available now, and it won't cost you two hours of your life to patch up Apple's incompetence.

How To Irritate People - The Car Salesman

Comment Re:This, this, and more this! (Score 1) 372

That's also been my experience, for the most part. In the past when a Slashdot post has revealed enough information for me to dig through the edit history on Wikipedia to see what happened, I've sided with the Wikipedia editors.

One time I put quite a bit of effort into cleaning up an article about a fellow who set a dubious record long ago (less stupid than winning World Sauna Championships, but still inadvisable). There was a great deal of misinformation spread in the aftermath of this stunt. It was a tricky business to make correct logical assertions through the minefield of popular misinformation that ensued. A doctor who supervised this did eventually publish in a peer-reviewed journal enough of a factual synopsis to sort out which stories were candyfloss bullshit, and which weren't.

A week later another editor came along and "simplified" my careful prose into the language of careless, naked assertions. I chalked this up to a lesson learned.

The vast majority of my edits have fared better than that. These days I mainly restrict myself to adding isolated statements.

If anyone digs into the article's history, there's a version of the page with carefully worded prose. My contribution wasn't erased, it was merely buried. I wonder sometimes how many pages on Wikipedia have far superior text buried in deep sub strata of their page histories.

The real problem with the model is that there's no underlying arrow of progress. Given their editorial guidelines, credible sources are the foundational object. But sources are not first class objects on Wikipedia. Pastiches of credible sources (the actual articles) are the primary first class object. For the highly inculcated, formal dispute resolutions might also be considered first class objects (in many cases, rather fuzzy first class objects).

Until there's some method, at least semi-automatic en route to the semantic web, to enforce the use of a good source over a bad source at the level of isolated assertions, nothing much is going to change. Editors become possessive of pages because the effort of volunteers is the only force retaining any of the historical quality of an article from death by a thousand well-intentioned word changes.

The least reliable articles are often the ones apparently riddled with careful references. In many cases I've dug into the source and found it doesn't support the claim in any fashion whatsoever, or outright contradicts the claim in some larger frame of consideration.

One could define software engineering, if one wished to, as the art of pushing entropy up hill with quality control. The opposite of software engineering is politics. This can work for a while, until your free labour quits in disgust.

The other remark I'll make is that most people vastly underestimate the utility of mediocre information conveniently packaged. On just about any subject, fifteen minutes at Wikipedia is all I need to put together a mental game plan about what I need to pursue and how, and what is likely to be the most productive place to begin. Underneath the curling, worm-eaten, multi-coloured leaves of factual assertion, there's a pretty decent semantic graph lurking in the page structure, even if sometimes it's closer to the lyrics of Dem Bones than Gray's Anatomy.

The social graph is full of shit, too, lest we forget. One can glean a lot from a social graph full of shit, and many companies do.

Comment Re:Bullshit we won't notice (Score 3, Insightful) 466

I'm 6'7". I do my best not to fly (don't really want to be sexually abused) but when I have to, I am fucking miserable.

Yeah, tell me about it. I'm 6'4" (plus a 1/2" extra in the morning) but I have an especially long torso, so we'd probably be eye to eye sitting down. I don't know about you, but the seat in front of me prevents me from slouching the least bit, when I lean my head back on the head rest, my gaze is vertical. It's pretty close to a 90 degree bend, which I try out just for shits and giggles, while other people find ways to sleep.

Pro tip for tall fliers: the foam cushion usually rips off the aluminum seat frame (Velcro). If your ass can handle sitting on the hard, cold metal you might manage enough of a head rest to get a half hour snooze in the mid-flight red-eye hour of total desperation. I've done this many times.

I got stuck on the apron at Schiphol once while they replaced a starter motor. The middle-aged Germanic woman beside me had tree-trunk thighs, clad in tight black neoprene. Our thighs met in a thermonuclear embrace on my side of the arm rest for our entire stay on the apron, plus the return flight to Montreal.

At this point, the airlines can go fuck themselves. I'd rather not leave the ground.

Comment 40 years (Score 1) 93

now operating mostly beyond its original 40-year licenses

What do 'best before' dates on food really mean?

Some number pencilled into an operating permit granted in 1969 is not the last word on how long these facilities will continue to operate safely.

There was—at the time—not a single reactor of a modern design with a forty year operational record on which to base even the wildest guess. The number "40 years" had more to do with investor ROI than any engineering crystal ball.

I recall one reactor shut down for an expensive refurbish a long time ago because circulation pipes had become unexpectedly brittle in less than a decade of exposure to a constant, low level of neutron flux.

Summary: we didn't know shit.

On day one, it's extremely hard to tell the difference between a Toyota and a Chevy. At year thirty, the stakeholders think they've won the lottery because it was a Toyota after all. At year thirty-five, Toyota develops a frightening latency in response to the graphite rods. At year forty-two you've got this headache sorted—or so you would like to believe. It was operator over-reaction to upgraded SCADA data collection rates. No, it was xenon capture by surface pockets in metals exposed to decades of micro-crystalline annealing. No, it was pockets of non-uniform fission density due to a very minor change in the fuel-pellet binding agent made as older mines ceased production.

All the reactors built in the 1970s were version 0.9. No reactor anywhere had a forty year operational track record with a modern design.

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