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Comment Re:Ah, the memories! And lessons, too. (Score 1) 305

Ah, the memories! Here are some of the stories I've heard and or witnessed over the years.

  1. Buttons: Every couple years, IBM would hold an open house where anyone in the community could come in and get a tour of the facility (Kingston, NY). This was back in 1984, IIRC. PCs were just starting to make an impact at this time... big iron was king. We're talking about a huge raised-floor area with multiple mainframes, storage, tape drives... MANY millions of dollars per system. A few hundred users on a system was quite an accomplishment back then and these boxes could handle a thousand users. We were also in the midst of a huge test effort of the next release of VM/SP. I had come in that Sunday afternoon to get several tests done (death marches are no fun). All of a sudden the mainframe I was on crashed. Hard. I'd grown accustomed to this as we were at a point where we were "eating our own dog food"; the production system was running the latest build of the OS. But, an hour later and it was STILL down. Apparently, a tour guide had led a group to one of the operator consoles and a child could not resist pressing buttons. Back in those days, booting a mainframe meant "re-IPL" Initial Program Load. Unless the computer was REALLY messed up and wouldn't boot. Only then would someone re-IML the system. Initial Microcode Load. Guess which button the kid pressed? It left the system in such a wonky state that it had to be reloaded from tape. All the development work of that weekend was lost and had to be recreated and rebuilt. (It was a weekend and backups were only done on weekday nights.) It took us a week to get things back to normal.

Hey, I have a similar story from when I was working at Dartmouth College in the mid-80's. I was on third shift with two other guys, one who knew what he was doing, and one who was, uh, not fully technology-enabled.

For some reason, one night the latter person thought it would be a good idea to clean out the cabinet of our Honeywell mainframe. With a broom. A long-handled push broom.

This was on a weekend, when we normally do a full backup (onto good old 9-track tapes), reboot the system into protected mode, verify the system integrity, and go into multi-user mode. Well, we finished the backups, and tried to reboot. Nothing was working, and the diagnostics were wonky and pretty uninformative, and we (the useful co-worker and I) spent an hour or so trying to debug what was going on. It wasn't until we asked the third guy about the machine that he mentioned his cleaning. The boot switches for the IPL were on the door, and when he was in there cleaning, the broom handle toggled several of them, leaving the machine in its unusual state.

Needless to say, we asked him to avoid cleaning mainframes with brooms in the future.

Comment Re:well.. (Score 1) 383

FUSCHIA I really hope that was intentional.

Of course it was... it was a setup for another poster to come along and elevate the irony level via a similarly-constructed officious-seeming announcement in order to enhance the joke and provide, hopefully, additional chuckles among the fine readers of slashdot. Instead, by observing my typo, and failing to take the opportunity to craft a joke out of it in the same vein... why that's a complete waste of a setup. Can you help a brother out and at least continue the joke when the effort of a setup has been made?

This thread, however, is a fine example of depth-first self-flamage. For those of you who were in one of the schools that failed to properly teach computer science, observe and be edified.

Comment Re:TiVo invented timeshifting? (Score 1) 490

Yeah time-shifting is nothing new. It has existed ever since the Sony Umatic VCR released circa 1969. That VCR was too expensive, so Sony went back and created the Betamax (anc JVC copied it to create VHS) in 1975. DVR is not even the first digital recording method - that was miniDV and Digital VHS in the early 1990s. ----- People have been time-shifting for decades. All the DVR did was replace the magnetic tape storage with magnetic disk storage. Nothing revolutionary... it was an evolutionary change.

On the contrary! Using a disk to store data is completely revolutionary!


Sorry about that... couldn't help myself.

Comment Re:"No flight ceiling" (Score 1) 276

I'm not an engineer so I can't comment on the operating ceiling of the the thing but speaking as a former private pilot, 9,150 meters (FL 28, roughly) is already well above the point where the pilot-in-command would be allowed to operate without supplemental oxygen.In fact, up that high you'd be messing with the three-holer transport jets and would probably need a pretty high-quality heated flight suit.

Erm, FL 280, right?

Comment Re:It's "going to the mat." The mat. (Score 1) 102

The actual history of "going to the mattresses" comes from the Joey Gallo and the war between him and the Profaci family. The term appeared in the headlines in the early 60's in the headlines in New York newspapers.

Info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Gallo#Gallo-Profaci_war http://tomfolsom.com/blog/

Also, this term appeared in the book "The Valachi Papers". From what I recall, it is supposed to mean getting serious about a mob war, where the various mob soldiers would live in rented houses/apartments, sleeping on mattresses, for the duration of the war.

Space

Super-Earths Discovered Orbiting Nearby, Sun-Like Star 242

likuidkewl writes "Two super-earths, 5 and 7.5 times the size of our home, were found to be orbiting 61 Virginis a mere 28 light years away. 'These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars. The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away,' said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC. Among hundreds of our nearest stellar neighbors, 61 Vir stands out as being the most nearly similar to the Sun in terms of age, mass, and other essential properties."
Games

Copyright and the Games Industry 94

A recent post at the Press Start To Drink blog examined the relationship the games industry has with copyright laws. More so than in some other creative industries, the reactions of game companies to derivative works are widely varied and often unpredictable, ranging anywhere from active support to situations like the Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes debacle. Quoting: "... even within the gaming industry, there is a tension between IP holders and fan producers/poachers. Some companies, such as Epic and Square Enix, remain incredibly protective of their Intellectual Property, threatening those that use their creations, even for non-profit, cultural reasons, with legal suits. Other companies, like Valve, seem to, if not embrace, at least tolerate, and perhaps even tacitly encourage this kind of fan engagement with their work. Lessig suggests, 'The opportunity to create and transform becomes weakened in a world in which creation requires permission and creativity must check with a lawyer.' Indeed, the more developers and publishers that take up Valve's position, the more creativity and innovation will emerge out of video game fan communities, already known for their intense fandom and desire to add to, alter, and re-imagine their favorite gaming universes."
XBox (Games)

Modded Xbox Bans Prompt EFF Warning About Terms of Service 254

Last month we discussed news that Microsoft had banned hundreds of thousands of Xbox users for using modified consoles. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now pointed to this round of bans as a prime example of the power given to providers of online services through 'Terms of Service' and other usage agreements. "No matter how much we rely on them to get on with our everyday lives, access to online services — like email, social networking sites, and (wait for it) online gaming — can never be guaranteed. ... he who writes the TOS makes the rules, and when it comes to enforcing them, the service provider often behaves as though it is also the judge, jury and executioner. ... While the mass ban provides a useful illustration of their danger, these terms can be found in nearly all TOS agreements for all kinds of services. There have been virtually no legal challenges to these kinds of arbitrary termination clauses, but we imagine this will be a growth area for lawyers."

Comment Re:Title misleading (Score 1) 921

That justifies baseless claims about the benefits of substances that have yet to be discovered? Or claims that organic farming somehow performs better at providing these hypothesized nutrients?

No. No, it doesn't. Those claims are still just as unfounded and hypothetical as they ever were.

I rarely rise to the bait presented by knee-jerk naysayers and pessimists. *sigh* Sometimes my self-restraint is overcome.

I read TFA, and didn't see a definitive list of "nutrients" they were studying. There were a few, but if the ones mentioned were the only ones studied, then yes they missed a *lot* of compounds commonly regarded as being of nutritive value.

The history of the quantitative and chemical analysis of food has been one of misunderstanding and misapplication of principles. Start by looking at Kellogg and his odd ideas of a healthful diet.

Comment Re:The Ugly Side of Truth (Score 1) 838

I didn't know you could win an argument by appending a "Period." after your thesis.

Actually the correct steps are: * Present your thesis. * Exclaim PERIOD! * Clamp your hands to your ears and run away shouting "lalalalalalala cant hear you!", before any counter-argument can be made. And there you go, argument won.

Rush Limbaugh?? Is that you?

Comment Re:brilliant or dangerous? (Score 1) 1134

Here's one reason why... I was Bipolar II which meant I was mostly manic. As a result I was easily angered, very enthusiastic, easily empassioned and highly creative. My brain went a MILLION miles per hour in that state and I had brilliance that I couldn't contain at times. I already have an IQ of 160 and during that state it was up 5-10 additional points (when I could stay focused).

Tack onto that the boundless energy the condition gave me and the fact that I never slept in that state and you have exactly what you described. I felt untouchable and alive like no one could imagine. So why did I go on meds? Well, that's the trick. How do you get bipolars or other people who have a self destructive disorder that makes them feel superior or more intelligent go on a med that dumbs them down or slows them down?

I hit that point where I realized my condition was isolating me and shutting me off from everyone else around me. When I examined my life, I realized I had no one to blame but myself; I burnt people out like matches but couldn't see that I was the one common factor in all the damaged relationships. More exactly, my condition.

I eventually got better and now write my own documentation, get along with others, don't have mood swings at work, etc etc. It took me years and lots of hard work and effort to get over old emotional habits... the meds don't do it alone.

But I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes brilliance comes with madness. Sometimes it's just madness, sometimes it's both. Getting them to help themselves though can be almost impossible though.

Amen. The primary differences for me was that I didn't use meds*, and it took being homeless for a year to force a change. I blame it on Asperger's. :-) (see earlier in this thread...)
On the other hand, intentionally reconstructing my personality made me much better at self-analysis and learning the rules regarding social cues.
I'm less "brilliant", but people talk to me now. :-)

* No, I'm not one-upping anyone. The full story is tedious and irrelevant to this response.

Comment Re:You cant teach tact. (Score 3, Insightful) 639

Just one viewpoint, take it or leave it.

Aspergers is to the body language and subtle social cues that define 2/3 of human communication as blindness is to vision or deafness is to sound. Only on the outside, no one knows you have an impaired perception. You don't get cut the slack that the person signing or the guy carrying the cane would.

You constantly monitor yourself every second to make sure you don't do anything wrong. You're labelled as weird, or rebellious, rude, or unpleasant to be around because you can't perceive the messages people are trying to send you. You have few friends because whatever secret magical language that's being spoken to generate new connections with people you totally miss. Many attempts you make to reach out to people end in disaster, and you can't for the life of you understand what the hell it is that you're doing wrong.

Those lonely nights spend in front of a computer are ones you'd probably rather spend hooking up with a girl you met at a bar instead of learning the intricacies of Yacc or device drivers. And it drives you absolutely fucking insane that everyone else is in on the fuck-fest that is life except you.

Amen to most of the above. I don't know how it affects/is applied by others in this situation, but for me it exhibits as an overriding concern for rules and rulesets. It's taken me about twenty five years to accumulate enough rules to get by in most interactions. There are times however when don't have good rules, and I stumble.

This fixation on rules has engendered a wealth of misunderstandings, ostracization and ridicule, mostly because the others don't realize that my socially awkward actions are based on something more fundamental than simple rudeness.

One effect I have noticed with my personal changes is that I am often underestimated by others, probably because my fitting in makes me appear harmless and somewhat uninteresting. So be it. Small price to pay to be involved.
The ever-larger rulesets can be a trial as well, until I realized that I can dispense with them at need.

The biggest frustration is to have the right answer/response, and being utterly unable to communicate it properly; a big (possibly the biggest) advantage is that after all this practice it is relatively easy to learn the appropriate accents, colloquialisms, speech timing and patterns, and topics of discussion ("skins", if you will) that enable me to fit in almost anywhere (within my prior experience).

Any super-abilities you might gain from this condition are cold comfort, as they're used more as survival skills to get around the enormous deficits you experience in being able to read people. The money that you earn from your impressive abilities has to be the substitute for having lots of friends who could help you do stuff (e.g. you pay someone to install an super-heavy air conditioner in a second story windows because you don't have many friends you can call on to help you). It's not really a preference for certain kind of social lifestyle, it's a crappy hand of cards you're dealt that you have to make the best of.

Or you can choose to regard it as a challenge to your abilities and will, and solve it. It's up to you.

However, if I had one piece of advice, it's this: don't let it fester. Learn to communicate in whatever way makes you least uncomfortable, because it is nearly meaningless to have the ability to contribute if you can't figure out a way to make a contribution.

None of this was meant to criticize any of what I quoted. I saw an opportunity to use it as a springboard for what I've wanted for some time to write.

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