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Comment sidesight is 50/50 (Score 1) 304

I also have the landscape/portrait combination. It would take far more than this to tempt me to switch. My gutter has a slight fold, so my visual perpendiculars are about six inches apart, and I'm not viewing the wings at some weird oblique angle (or buttock balancing, which can only end badly if like many software developers one is treadmilling the 50/50/50, where 50 is the new 40).

My landscape screen hails from the era where 1680x1050 was king, and a godly stout and square king at that. It's not quite wide enough to triple tile, so I had to solve the console problem differently.

I configured Tilda terminal to pop up (always on top) in the bottom 1/3 of the vertical display, where the pixels begin just two inches above the top of my desk. The vertical display always has my primary browser, maximized. When Tilda pops up, I still have as much vertical height for my browser than on the landscape screen, so I just have to scroll the web content to the top portion of the browser window while I'm using the console (like hell I'm going to manually demax my browser window every time I pop up Tilda with my Windows menu key).

The problem that drove me nuts is that the content at the bottom of a web page won't scroll up to the top of the window. FF just doesn't think the user ought to be able to scroll past the point where the bottom pixel of the content is any higher than the bottom pixel of the display window. No empty bottom margin allowed! The right side of your screen can taper into nothingness, but not the bottom. That makes it pretty clear already that there's an industry-wide potato famine for vertical real estate: they didn't even consider that it might be ergonomically more acceptable to scroll the portion of the content you're actually reading up to eye level, because to a first dipshit–designer approximation nearly every screen is a horizontal slit (I chose the ndash rather than a hyphen in that compound modifier, by a nose).

One loses pretty much nothing running a browser in portrait mode if combined with NoSquint. On 80% of web sites (denominated by the sites I willingly chose to visit) I just magnify the fonts until all the loopy cruft blows off the sides of the screen, leaving that portion which I wish to attend gloriously enlarged on my jumbo page. It is certainly true that some sites are coded in relative units where it's impossible to achieve a horizontal enlargement of the main content column by fiddling with NoSquint. For these, there's always Stylish. If even Stylish fails (mainly because the selectors are too cluttered and generic) I either (A) actively seek an alternative resource better behaved, or (B) switch that specific page into Chrome. Yes, I treat the web like a kindergarten full of unruly children (and graphic designers) forever requiring a heavy thumb. It's worth the effort. One font to rule them all!

I've long lived by the adage that for primary reading, fonts should be large enough that the user can lean back and operate the Page Dn key with your big toe. Your own spine will thank you on the home stretch of the 50/50/50.

That mainly leaves the annoying scrolling problem. Fixed with Stylish.

body:after {
content: 'Tail';
color: #505050;
display: block;
text-align: center;
font-size: 1vmax;
padding-bottom: 40vh !important;
}

Yes, this breaks a few web layouts and the word 'Tail' shows up sometimes in the strangest places (this is how I know when it's my own diddle—and which of many—breaking the layout). Easy enough to switch off if the need arises.

The 40vh is empirically just big enough to cause web pages to scroll above the top of my Tilda terminal.

I love this desktop configuration. It rocks. Even my black gutter, slightly crooked like the spine of a book, is more of a feature than a bug.

One sees those big flat screens in a different light after one multiplies by the love-slave vector 50/50/50. The applicable units are hours, weeks, years. Not seconds, minutes, and dazzle.

Comment stupidity escalation (Score 1) 288

The entire premise of this post is built on stupidity escalation.

Corporations often pass off short-term financial hardship (mainly of the cash flow variety) as a legitimate reason to prune staff—generally fooling no-one, yet successfully biding time in the PR war saying nothing much at all until some new outrage of the moment shifts the spotlight to a different circus ring. Among the best-paid professionals in our society are the engineers of running issues aground against the acidic shoals of going nowhere fast with the greatest expense (first, we kill the injunctions). Business as usual, on both fronts.

This is irritating, so we pretend to become stupid as bricks in turning the table, as if the converse contains the least shred of cognitive viability: that any company not under present fiscal duress could not possibly benefit under best management from another round of lay-offs.

If anything, the converse is even dumber than the original stonewall, and about 100x more bloody minded. God forbid that by such asinine manoeuvres we return Karl Marx to the rank of essential reading, who at least spat upon the pathos from a viable view of systems.

Comment the zipper and the bee (Score 1) 254

Ruminant self-castigation concerning my previous post.

Fingers and foghorn were clearly operating at different stages of rubbing the sand out of their eyes. Waking up is hard to do. Harrumph. Nothing burnishes one's wit like mucking up one's determiners twice in two sentences.

I blame it all on eliding the apostrophe from the all-caps. That small joke went against the soul of my being. It was like The Scream welling up inside me.

It just struck me that we should change the name of the apostrophe as used in contractions to "the zipper mark". Do up your zippers boys and girls. First lesson on the first day of middle school every year through grade seven, eight, nine, and ten.

Then this brief public service announcement concludes with the disclaimer that surfaces sometimes deceive: the zipper mark and the dangling participle have nothing in common, but if you'd like a good example of the DP to think about until we get there, consider this:

Flitting gaily from flower to flower, the football player watched the bee.

Comment water cooler guessing game (Score 1) 265

I'm guessing he wasn't meeting expectations

You're never seen a person be fired because the ranks of management are equally vile?

Have you never seen a manager go to jail because he deliberately fired or drove away the company's most competent employee on fabricated allegations in order to exact revenge for a perceived slight, prior to his own dismissal or resignation?

No, I didn't think so. The master retributivist of eternal liberty sabotages human systems instead.

Comment silly words (Score 1) 113

With a small herd of these pet pandasauri—and an enormous harvest of coprolignum—one could well up the Great Wall of China in record time. It would still required great hordes or workers, but the workers would be highly obedient. Anyone who slacks off would have their highly-prized long-handled trowel promptly confiscated. With no hall pass, it's crenellation duty for you. From there it's years fighting your way up the rank just to obtain the corner-pocket edge-finishing tool.

Comment I wank, therefore nothing much (Score 1) 189

Would any consciousness be able to deal with such a relative delay?

Interesting to frame the story in such a way as to bring the existence of human intelligence itself into doubt.

Roger Penrose believes that human creativity is rooted at quantum effects, effects which probably play out at the Planck scale, where the ratio between the Planck scale and the reconfiguration of a single molecular bond in a gathering neurotransmitter pulse likely exceeds the ratio of a CPU cycle to a trans-continental ping.

Shall I continue wanking, or should we put this bizarre speculation to bed?

Comment sanity pre-emption field (Score 1) 158

If I had a time machine and I could visit myself in a past life, but it was even more hemmed in than Twitter—say Morse code at one millibaud—my message to self (circa mid to late 1990s) would be this: Screw games.

Yes, I had a blast playing those games. But then I started making "mixed" decisions in how I set up my system to balance the games I liked to play and the development tools I needed to use. In hindsight, that was nothing but bad mojo. The difficulty of achieving a perfect stack is exponential in the number of interacting constraints.

There are many other things I could tell myself, but in most of the other cases I probably had to learn those lessons the hard way. This one is different. I guess I somehow believed I was just chasing a moving carrot I would catch Real Soon Now and that all the fuss to mate the perfect video card to the perfect driver was a temporary growing pain (along with much else at the time). I was wrong. Nearly two decades later, the carrot remains elusive. DRM amounts to a sanity pre-emption field.

My final stop on the video card wagon was a hardened HD5670 (Redwood) with the open source Linux driver, nearly passive heat pipes and Japanese capacitors. If the software doesn't work with my card, screw the software.

I have mucked a bit with OpenCL. Getting the software development stack to work again after each Linux upgrade cycle bears some resemblance to Mine Sweeper. Sometime in the next decade I'll probably spring for a $60 CGN prime plus plus, just so I don't feel left behind.

Comment pi=3 for the Spandex pigeon (Score 1) 490

Thanks for that lovely rejoinder.

You can't be serious saying it is more dangerous to give way at slow speed versus coming to a complete stop and then having to huff and puff back up to speed, while simultaneously being overtaken with inches to spare by a bunch of impatient motorists because you can't outpace them.

Unfortunately, your typical car driver is all too often dead serious in taking this view. I'm quoting this passage because the issue is more fundamental still.

As my motorcycle driving instructor said so long ago "an intersection is where vehicles intersect". He was no Euclid. That was his only postulate. The corollary he taught, which I took to heart, is "try not to be where vehicles intersect any longer than necessary". He didn't even add an axiom about human binocular vision lacking a faceted lens (this is how Brundlefly checks out the girl flies) or note that the nature of an intersection having four lines of sight is the worst possible configuration concerning the forward brow-ridge skull design. He was no Newton, either.

What does your average barely-competent cyclist do for the first three pedal strokes? It certainly doesn't appear to involve noticing that they've departed from a dead stop in a cruising gear, but then certain forms of cognition are strained when a cyclist is laboriously heaving left, right, left, right, left right to obtain the 30 rpm cadence permitting minimal pelvic-saddle congruence.

Minimal balance, maximal transit time, and poor lane control. What else can we optimize by demanding that cyclists come to a complete stop, rather than entering the danger zone with the inertia of a fast-moving pedestrian?

I was reading about OODA loops the other day, as conceived by USAF renegade-Colonel John Boyle (largely responsible for the F16 and A10 aircraft designs according to his booster camp). In his world coming to a complete stop is called a stall, also known as a clay pigeon, also known as a energy-space cluster fuck.

Stupidity is much the same all the world over.
                  — John Stuart Mill

You know what, fat bubba in your big compensator truck? Having rules that allow the congestion to clear expediently also permits you to get through the intersection more efficiently, without getting any Spandex floss caught between your radiator teeth (typically also a large delay if you even heard the bump). Look it up someday. Expedience is the thinking man's barging ahead, to mutual benefit for one and all.

I had a guy in my motorcycle class who got a broken leg sitting at a red light because the car behind him (closing time) didn't manage to stop in time. He got bumped just enough to drop his giant bike onto his own leg and snapped it good. We were taught to keep an eye on the rear view when stopped at the front of a red light after closing time, with one hand on the throttle to gun it through, if traffic was spotty. If we were going to bite it, we were going to bite it in style.

Pardon my French, but being stopped at the freaking light as a safety measure is so freaking overrated. In a jet fighter you're a clay pigeon. On a motorcycle you're a leather pigeon. On a bicycle you're a Spandex pigeon. On the sidewalk you're a sneaker pigeon. For the drunk, any colouring outside the lines that you can walk away from is a good landing.

I didn't even get into the human eye having rods and cones and being preferentially sensitive to moving objects in 90% of the field of vision.

I personally tend to treat stop signs as "dwell" not "yield". Dwell means having enough time to look a fair distance up the street in both cross direction, twice each way. Then I'm good to go, so far as I'm concerned. Pi legislated to equal 3, bite me.

Comment political calculus on Internet Island (Score 2) 195

That's ironic, because in the 1.x days, the full Seamonkey suite felt less bloated than even Firefox 3.x and hogged far less memory and crashed less.

Firefox 3.x was the apogee of runaway heap allocations. With my usage pattern and plug-ins I was losing 600 MB per day on average. I would have six FF Windows open on half a dozen different desktops, each with 20 to 50 active tabs. When I decided to restart FF because it could no longer keep up with my typing in a textarea box, my session saver would restore all of my FF windows to a pile on a single screen of a single desktop, and then there would be a tab reload storm something fierce. It was a ten minute interruption to get all my windows back to the desktop where they belonged, and FF itself sufficiently quiescent again to promptly enact GUI interactions.

My current FF leaks somewhere on the order of 100 MB/day and when I restart FF, it at least puts all my windows back on the same screen, if not the same desktop, and the tab reload storm is forestalled by lazy loading.

By that point I certainly wasn't sticking with FF because it was sleek or svelte. On the contrary, I was invested deeply enough in my suite of FF add-ons that I decided to tough it out (though rather loudly on the FF bug tracker).

I don't understand why so many outspoken voices on this thread purport to be sanguine about Firefox slipping back to the second or third tier in the absence of Google funding. Has no-one here ever read the red-hating Agatha Christie? Oligopoly, triopoly, duopoly, monopoly.

Each little Indian cut off at the knees substantially alters the political culture and calculus on Internet Island. Firefox is Piggy with the coke bottle glasses. Soon after Piggy's demise, civics aren't much discussed.

Think of Piggy as The First Samurai.

Comment Re:Send us a postcard from Stockholm. (Score 3, Interesting) 329

That was a surprisingly good summary of what I've concluded from my own readings. I guess there are two types of nerds: speedy nerds and slow nerds. Generally what passes for intelligence here is News for Speedy Nerds.

For really short people, you basically have to be obese to be "normal" and for really tall people, you basically have to be emaciated.

I'm in the second group. I'd have to check myself into the Ally McBeal foie gras buffet emporium if I ever got down to the bottom end of my "healthy" BMI bracket using the dumb old formula. I used to weight about that much during my growth spurt, despite devouring large meals between larger meals. Strangers standing beside me in elevators used to worry whether my body could withstand the acceleration, and suggest to me that I eat more. On one work term there was a one-plate lunch buffet restaurant I used to frequent where I discovered the technique of using the sturdy vegetables and lettuce to cantilever the plate's diameter. I was a serious eater, and still I had no shadow.

Here is an equally simplistic BMI that works better at the extremes: Ponderal index. It works for me because I eventually filled out into a "scaled up" normal person with no (recent) African genes for shedding heat.

After taking a closer look I concluded that some individuals are such a bad fit for the regular BMI, the use of BMI in the medical setting with these individuals amounts to borderline malpractice. How many people are taking a cholesterol drug because their BMI factored into their GP's uncritical perception?

Anyone else remember the old expression: garbage in, garbage out? Coefficient 2.0 of the BMI formula needs a serious make-over.

Space

Study: Earthlings Not Ready For Alien Encounters, Yet 453

astroengine (1577233) writes "The people of planet Earth would be wise to raise their cosmic consciousness prior to contact with an extraterrestrial civilization, a new study shows. 'The scientific community now accepts to some degree that this contact may occur in the next 50 to 100 years,' said Gabriel De la Torre, a clinical neuropsychologist and human factors specialist at the University of Cádiz in Spain. 'Consequently, we are becoming more concerned about this possibility and its aftermath Certainly the topic of contact with extraterrestrial civilizations raises a number of questions that are not easy to answer. We estimate that this type of event will have not only a social effect, but also on both consciousness and biology as well.' Although we may not have the necessary social skill set to deal with an encounter of the third kind, scientists or astronauts might make the best candidates for the first alien conversation."

Comment Controversy: just add water and stir (Score 1) 426

Contrary to the story summary, the recipe is not quite that easy. There needs to be at least some effort to disguise the act of speaking our of your ass.

There are seven layers of straw men between this outrageously overblown mathematical quibble and the true nature of human cognition.

Comment the many fragments of infinity (Score 1) 208

He strikes me as being more like David Helfgott and less like Rachmaninoff.

To a large degree in mathematics, infinity is used to invoke the limiting configuration of an unbounded process (where there is always a next step). This isn't precisely the same thing as believing in infinity itself, or any of its many discrete fragments.

Meaning in Classical Mathematics: Is it at Odds with Intuitionism

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