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Comment Re: Linux. (Score 1) 399

The entire point of "muscle memory" is that you don't think about it at all - I think "close window", and the cursor moves to the top-right corner of the screen and clicks the box without any further attention from me. For more sophisticated stuff muscle memory becomes more more of an analogy, but it remains "click on this icon that does X at aproximately Y location" and needs minimal thought - just rearrange things and you have to spend time playing "where's Waldo" with the icon you need. Change the icon graphic as well, as is so often the case between analogue tasks on different OSes and it becomes an even more attention-consuming endeavour. Change the basic process as well, which is not entirely unheard of and you may need to relearn large portions of your skilset (for example Open Office, WordPerfect, and MS Word all use fundamentally different underlying concepts of document organization, which is very often reflected in the UI workflow)

As for laziness - the entire history of civilization is one of laziness, even multiplication was a shorthand technique developed to simplify tediously repetitive addition. Adding superfluous difficulties, even superficial ones, is both annoying and dramatically reduces productivity. Yes, it may often come down to remembering new locations for similar-looking icons, but even that is a non-trivial expenditure of attention, especially if you're not good at memorizing new things.

Comment Re: Linux. (Score 3) 399

>My only lack of understanding in this matter is why so many people aren't capable of understanding more than one Operating system.

I think it's less laziness than the efficiency of familiarity, combined with the fact that "alternative OSes" historically presented a far more different UI than has become the case with many today. Consider driving a car that had replaced the steering wheels and pedals with joysticks or something - a functionally trivial change in a modern fly-by-wire car, but your ability to maneuver the vehicle effectively is going to be considerably compromised by your unfamiliarity. Yes, 80% of the time that may not matter, but that last 20% is going to be constantly cropping up with irritating reminders of your incompetence until you have a few thousand hours of familiarity under your belt. And long after that you've achieved basic competence, the differences are liable to generate pro-active interference with each other, assuming you still drive normal vehiecls as well

While an unfamiliar operating system is generally less personally dangerous, the difficulties are still quite frustrating. Even something as ubiquitous as the file load/save dialog often presents a considerably different interface between operating systems, with many non-obvious differences in how you configure and leverage bookmarks and other non-trivial navigation aids, on top of the differences in file system organization conventions. Or heck, take the MacOS file manager with it's drop-down folder heirarchy menu from the title bar - beautiful idea, I sometimes find myself missing it on other platforms, but completely non-intuitive, and until you learn of it it's pretty much impossible to navigate up a folder heirarchy.

What makes it worse is often the differences seem to be added purely for the sake of being different - take the window min/max/close buttons on MacOSX and Ubuntu, which for some reason they decided to put on the left instead of the right which everyone has been made familiar with over the last couple decades. When switching OSes you now need to retrain your "muscle memory" on how to close windows, and if you use multiple OSes on a regular basis you probably end up momentarily confused on both. And to what end? Even if there's some grand philosophical reason to the change (and I've never heard one), the end result is that they made OS migration that much more difficult for the sake of a tiny functionality change.

Comment Re:So glad I don't work with her (Score 1) 290

>I wonder if this is true.

I agree it seems unlikely at first glance, but I think that may simply be because I too am an avid reader. I certainly have met my fair share of people whose lips move when they read, and many more who don't understand why I so strongly prefer to read silently than out loud. Vocalizing is *slow*, even internally, but perhaps if you don't regularly spend several hours a day reading then you never learn to transcend it.

Comment Re:Use Only as Directed (Score 1) 290

>Of course, we're doing it wrong.

Quite. You should be replacing all of those emails with with voice messages. Then you can easily scan through them by ear in high-speed real time, without distracting your eyes from doing whatever it is you were supposed to be doing before that woman with the horribly shrill voice started droning on and on about the minor update she thinks should be made to the module interface discussed last Tuesday when Frank was on vacation in Tahiti with his new wife and....

I apologize in advance if management was listening in and just got a great new idea on how to improve workflow.

Comment Re:So glad I don't work with her (Score 1) 290

Indeed - even if the text is a word-for-word transcription of the recording. Though, I understand that many people, possibly even a majority, read by mentally vocalizing the words at a pace not much faster than speaking them out loud, so they can't actually read substantially faster than they could listen. Even they though would benefit from the ease of referring back to pervious statements in print.

As for video documentation... it can be a wonderful thing for clearly documenting physical processes (car repair, threading a sewing machine, etc.), and as an augmentation to more structured documentation, but I can't even imagine trying to use it as a primary documentation source for programming. I mean, if done really well (and hopefully well-indexed) it may indeed be a superior introduction to a module, and maybe even to wrap your head around more complicated details, but once I've got the overview, I need to be able to reference the details, *especially* the rarely-used details, quickly and concisely enough that I don't lose track of all the threads of what I was doing that needed those details.

Dear lord... even a transcript of a really well done video documentation would be painfully distracting to sift through... how have your entire development staff not already left for less tortuous pastures?

Comment Re:So glad I don't work with her (Score 3, Interesting) 290

Or, heaven forbid, use voice mail/answering machines that have been around for decades. I routinely ignore my phone when I'm busy, and everyone who knows me knows that they can immediately call a second time if it's important to talk to me right now. As for everyone else - if they can't be bothered to wait through my (very brief) answering message to leave a message, then it's a safe bet that whatever they had to say wasn't actually important enough for me to waste time listening to. As an added bonus, most people don't like talking to machines, and will impart the relevant information in a fraction of the time it would take to extract it from them in a conversation.

Still, for some things it would be nice to be able to conveniently bypass the phone call entirely and jump straight to voice mail - there are times the intimacy and subtlety of voice are preferable, but that doesn't mean I want to interrupt your flow, nor waste a bunch of time on irrelevant conversational pleasantries.

Best case I think would be auto-dictation with voice attachment, so that you could send a voicemail, with all the convenience of recording such, and have it automatically (and accurately) converted to text so that it can be read in a fraction of the time, with the original recording available to listen to as well, if *you* judge that the subtlety or intimacy are important.

Comment How does it compare? (Score 1) 396

So, anyone with real experience want to weigh in on how Powershell compares to the Linux command line? I've only used it a bit, and nothing has really jumped out at me as more than an incremental improvement over (pseudo-) DOS. Basically - is this something that might actually be valuable to -nix admins, or is it just a way for Windows admins to leverage their existing skills when managing -nix systems?

Either way I'm kind of surprised Microsoft is doing this - seems like the biggest effect would be to make it easier for competing systems to worm their way into a traditionally Windows organization. Seems counterproductive, especially in light of the increasingly abusive behavior we're seeing with Windows.

Unless of course this isn't actually open source - I didn't see any mention of the license, and it would hardly be the first time Microsoft has attempted to poison OSS projects with unlicensed code.

Comment Re:Driving yes, but charging? (Score 1) 990

Citation? It seems this study is concerned with the technical capabilities of the vehicles, not whether the necessary charging infrastructure is currently in place. Something like 80% of the US population live in urban areas, with a large percentage of those being people living in apartment buildings or other areas with only on-street parking available, which complicates overnight charging.

Yes, we could install "parking meter" style charging stations throughout residential areas to allow for it, but we could be talking many tens of millions of such stations nationwide. Even if we could somehow keep the total procurement and installation costs down to a thousand dollars per unit (even much simpler parking meters tend to cost more than that), that translates to a many tens of billions of dollars outlay for infrastructure before 90% of the population actually has the option of overnight charging.

Of course that probably wouldn't be done as a single push, but rather mostly as homeowners and landlords installing capacity on their own property - but it still won't happen overnight. Especially for rentals, a landlord is unlikely to want to invest in such an upgrade until a significant portion of their target demographic is already driving EVs.

Comment Re:Obligatory Star Trek: TNG episode (Score 1) 250

Well, not really monotonous - there were apparently a few big jumps on he way to humanity, muticellular life and nervous systems to name a few.

As for WWIII, there's also the question of whether there will be anything left of our species to rebuild. Nuclear weapons were never nearly the threat they were portrayed as. Bioweapons though could easily be far more thorough with far less investment. Especially if designed by fanatics who might find a doomsday weapon attractive.

Comment Re:Obligatory Star Trek: TNG episode (Score 1) 250

Agreed. And there's no guarantee fossil fuels would form at all - coal at least seems to have been an "evolutionary accident" - the result of an 80-million year window between the evolution of... I think you're right about lignin, allowing for rigid woody plants, and the evolution of the first organism capable of digesting it. Thus 80 million years worth of complex carbon sequestered under the earth as unrotting wood. (and incidentally avoiding a potential runaway greenhouse effect)

On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be any technologies made specifically possible by fossil fuels that couldn't have been done with charcoal instead - wood or alcohols don't burn hot enough for ironwork, but charcoal does, and is easy to make. What would necessarily be different is the last few centuries enabled by cheap plentiful energy - either the population would have to remain smaller, or the per-capita energy consumption. Or they might rush off an ecological cliff as they consumed all available fuel and rendered their civilization incapable of further survival, and had to rebuild from the ashes. I wonder how many times that might happen before old legends survived well enough (and were heeded) to avoid a repetition.

Comment Re:Obligatory Star Trek: TNG episode (Score 1) 250

The thing is though that stars like ours, with a similar mix of elements in their planetary halos, should have been forming for a few billion years before ours did. As I recall our star formed about in the middle of the period when 3rd-generation stars like ours are believed to be likely to form. Concentrations of heavier elements around younger stars would likely have been lower on average, just as they'll likely be higher in younger stars with more supernovae in their history (though there's likely a lot of individual variability in that), but it's not clear how important the heavy elements are for the development of life, though the localized high-mutation regions from radioactives may have accelerated things.

Also just as an aside, I suspect you mean sapient life, not sentient. As an oversimplification, sentient=feeling, sapient=thinking. Where thinking is a prerequisite to the sort of technological species that might be detectable across interstellar distances with our current technology.

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