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Comment Another nail in the coffin (Score 1) 453

Don't get me wrong - I think they are right. It's about time CS enters the mainstream; it's good for the economy; it's important that this happens. But, this is another nail in the coffin of the "geek era." We will go back to being nerds and the extraordinary period when we were relevant and even sorta cool will be over. The question I'm interested in is, what's the next thing we will make our own? I hope it happens a little bit like Makers, by Cory Doctorow...

Comment Re:Box Office (Score 1) 629

I have no idea how old you are, of course. I was 13 when I saw Episode IV on the big screen. I didn't know what to expect, I didn't particularly want to go to the movies with my dad and mom that day. It's safe to say however that that movie changed my life and has a great deal of responsibility in making me who I am. I saw the movie again 12 more times during its first theater run. I borrowed money, I worked, I sold raffles, all to afford spending every minute I could watching that movie. 12 x a movie ticket is a lot of money to the average 13 yo. Then I waited 20 years. It is extremely unlikely that anyone who has gone through the original trilogy in their teens would have skipped the latest 3 based on reviews. That is why it was such a blockbuster. I, and millions like me, just *had* to see it, even if we knew it was going to suck. Others have spoken here about why the original trilogy was amazing and why the latter one sucks so I'm not going there. Except to say that IMHO Lucas tried to keep the franchise's appeal to kids while trying to give the 1978 kids some grown-up material that would appeal to the middle-aged geeks they had become. To do that requires a sort of genius that Lucas does not possess. It's possible - just look at the Phineas and Ferb show on Disney Channel. But Lucas seems incapable of dealing with adult issues, let alone bridging the required age gap. His adult themes are not grave, they are boring - trade taxes indeed! So Star Wars fails to grow up with its audience.

Comment Re:physicality of vinyl (Score 1) 405

Back in the '80s my friends and I produced a number of tapes that we jokingly called 'the magnum opii' (as obras primas for those who speak portuguese). The method to produce one of these was simple: start with something random on a turntable; then you have however long that song lasts to select the next song, find the album, put it on the second turntable and be ready to mix it in just at the right time. Not only the tapes sounded good (although sometimes really really bad or hilarious), but it was good exercise for the musical mind, having to keep a lot of info about music in our heads to be able to pull good mixes. Good times... :)

Comment Re:It's obvious (Score 1) 502

Precisely. For some reason though I've been seeing what almost looks like a campaign from users for the right to install software "on their own machines" (never mind these machines belong to the company, not them). This is being billed to management as an absolute necessity in order for people to be able to get work done. Windows is being used as an example by Linux users, who want something akin to the "power user" group Windows offers. I've spent hours this week explaining to managers why giving users full sudo is exactly the same thing as giving them the root password. The fact that Fedora comes up with this new "feature" precisely now raises flags all over my paranoid brain. I'm absolutely certain before the week is over some manager will suggest replacing all our Ubuntu workstations with Fedora as a way to solve the "problem" of users not being able to install software. This looks suspiciously similar to the way Windows took over the corporate desktop in the early-to-mid nineties.

On a related note, what happens in settings like computer labs, where users can be students in a school or patrons in a library, etc.?

Comment Re:Keep It Simple (Score 1) 721

Garbage in whose opinion? As Joseph Campbell said, mythology is what we call other people's religions. The same can very well apply to garbage. And I'm not discounting the protestants; this is an article about the Vatican, so it makes some sense to limit my comment to Catholics. That and the fact that I was raised Catholic -- which sort of gives me a license to poke fun at Catholics (besides having helped to make me an Agnostic).

Comment Re:Keep It Simple (Score 5, Interesting) 721

Or maybe someone on this other planet 2,000 thousand years ago compiled a bunch of thousand-year-old stories and attributed the result to the creator of the Universe. Then over the next 500 years or so a group of people schemed to get to the top of their society by carefully editing the stories, leaving out whole books of it and only including what they could use. Then they controlled their world for the next 1,000 years or so by using careful doses of applying the resulting book and torturing and killing people who disagreed with them. Then some people finally started waking up and learning to think for themselves and maybe the original people who were oppressed by the holders of the book have now ascended to the top of the societal pyramid and are terrified of not having oppressors and tyrants telling them what to do, so they vote and influence policy to try and force everybody under the rule of that original book again, which in the meantime has lost all of its meaning and can be interpreted to mean anything at all. Just saying. This is just the kind of thing that could happen on an alien world in a bad Sci Fi plot, isn't it?

Comment Re:Give Up (Score 4, Interesting) 932

"A stranger walks up to you on the bus, and says 'My name is Rev. Kwame. I want a reliable person who could assist us to transfer the sum of ... Do you give them your bank account number?"

An example that's more "real world" to the average user. Regrettably, in the real world, people (especially older folks) do fall prey to scams or otherwise obvious fraud.

No kidding. I still shudder when I remember what happened years ago to my aunt, who is over 70. I came to her house to visit and found a man in his 30s sitting in the living room drinking coffee. My aunt says "you remember so-and-so, I met him on the way to the grocery store and asked him in. Fancy that, he's now an antiques dealer and may be interested in buying some of my stuff." Well, this was NOT who she thought it was. It was a total stranger who realized she had mistaken him for somebody else and decided to take advantage of the situation. Now my aunt is a retired jeweler and "her stuff", some of which was exposed in the coffee table, consists of unique pieces and precious stones that she kept for sentimental reasons.

I didn't want to scare her by exposing the impostor, so I asked to have some coffee too. When she left I told the guy I knew what was going on and if he didn't want me to call the cops immediately he would show me his ID and, as soon as aunt was back, make an excuse and leave. Fortunately he was not a violent criminal, just a lowlife who saw an opportunity to scam an old lady. So he left and aunt never figured out what had happened.

When I read about old people giving thousands of $$ to Nigerian schemers, it reminds me of this story.

Comment too limited (Score 1) 628

I had to say 1 computer, 3 monitors; but that does not begin to cover it. The one computer is a Mac Pro that runs 12 (yes, 12) virtual desktops under spaces and typically 5 virtual machines (OS X Server, XP to run vSphere Client, Vista to run AD admin tools, Ubuntu dev box, Ubuntu testbed.)

Comment Re:Give Up (Score 2, Interesting) 932

I actually blogged about this, and I don't blog that much. In short, I realized that Windows is thought to be user-friendly and the common denominator everybody uses and understands, when in practice every Windows user who is not a technically inclined person tends to have some relative (or an IT guy in corporations) who does the "hard" stuff for them. My conclusion was, if we all flat out refuse doing it, MS will be done and over it very fast.

Comment Stop trying (Score 1) 708

There is no solution. Actually there is one solution: massive investment in education over a couple of generations.

Studios do not produce big budget movies (or TV) for us. Their goal is not to further your sense of awe and the perception of the numinous. Their goal is to sell cars, medicine and bacon products.

They don't care if a couple hundred thousand of us watch a show. Even if there were enough of us, we're not exactly easy to convert.

Much better to make the jocks and beauty queens glue their eyes to the TV for cheap violence, sex and romance. They are legion - and converting them is easy. "Big man. Fast car. Pretty girl. Must buy fast car to be big man and get pretty girl. Ugh!"

Might as well get used to it. On the TV, good stuff will come along every few years - then get canceled like Firefly.

Comment Yes, please! (Score 1) 783

There's only one reason to be in IT: because you love it. Anything else is the wrong reason. I used to say during the good old days that yes, I was making great money but if I loved poetry that's what I'd be doing instead. Money is just not enough to make up for doing something you don't like every single day. IT requires commitment, willingness to constantly upgrade your skills, a passion for problem-solving, organizational and interpersonal skills. It gives back long hours, unappreciative employers and customers and these days, not a great deal of money. So all of you people who joined the profession during one of the previous booms thinking only about money, yes, please, go find something else to do. Go poison some other field. This will mean I'll get to work with fewer noobs and wannabees who think some stupid acronym certification makes them something they're not. And of course with fewer people in the field the average $$ will go up for those of us who really like this and know what they're doing.

Comment Re:personally (Score 1) 1721

Agreed it's premature. But I don't think they're giving Obama the peace prize. They are actually giving Bush the anti-prize. Or they are giving this prize to the millions of people who supported Obama and helped turn America around. Changing the face of the biggest military power in the world from that of a bellicose, stupid and arrogant cowboy to that of an understanding and respectful partner is no easy feat. I'm not sure whom, but someone certainly deserve a prize for that.

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