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Comment Re:Provoking (Score 2) 1130

All Bush had to do on 9/11 was "look presidential". Sitting in a fucking classroom for 7.5 minutes listening to kids read "My Pet Goat" was not the actions of a true leader. All he had to do was politely excuse himself, and get into his armored limo and drive somewhere, and he didn't even have the balls to do that. The reality is that listening to kids read books is what vice presidents and first ladies normally do The fact that Dick Cheney was back in Washington D.C. while Bush Jr was being flown around the country to "undisclosed locations" tells you everything you need to know about who was really running the country.

Comment The Byte Shop (Score 2) 120

I have fond memories of me and a couple junior high school buddies hanging out at the Palo Alto Byte Shop. Playing BASIC Star Trek, typing random shit and seeing what happened ("df" means "disk format" in CP/M; they removed that program from the IMSAI), a bit of BASIC programming... I don't remember any of the computer brands, other than the iconic IMSAI, with the switches on the front panel (as seen in the movie War Games).

Comment Re:Serves them right (Score 1) 578

Your lengthy screed fails to recognize the facts that 1) alcohol is a dangerous drug which is already legal, and 2) alcohol is as bad, or worse on the "developing brains of minors" and "negatively affecting others" scale. Legalizing pot is a no-brainer, because it is safer than alcohol and tobacco in every way, and less addictive too.

Comment Probably not a typical school experience (Score 2) 632

I am 49; my family moved to Palo Alto in 1972, while in 4th grade. They took us to a room with teletypes (hooked up to a HP 2000 computer) and let us play games on them (Hunt the Wumpus, Hammurabi, etc). In the 5th grade they taught us BASIC in math class (this was back in the days of "new math", which I had no problems with, and am quite thankful for). About this time, I discovered my father was a computer programmer, and decided that was what I was going to do ("You mean they pay people to do this?"). He made some not entirely successful efforts to teach me assembly and COBOL.

In 7th grade honors math class, we learned Minitran (a FORTRAN dialect), from which I learned that programming on punch cards sucked (you submit the program, a week later you get the result back, which usually contained a syntax error). Another student taught a class to his fellow nerds on assembly programming; we had some kind of special nerd room at our middle school which was supervised by Joan Targ (sister of Bobby Fischer, and wife of the infamous SRI psychic researcher Russell Targ; the SRI "ESP testing machine" developed at great cost, and described in The Amazing Randi's book on Uri Geller, was in this room and we played around with it all the time. There was also an unused old analog computer, to which we would randomly plug in banana cables). Jonesing for more computer time, I would hang out at my dads office when I visited him, and also at a local computer store.

By my freshman year in high school (1976), we got access to the school district HP 3000 computer; however the computer lab was closed all year because the current crop of nerds had hacked the machine so badly, they decided to wait for them all to graduate before letting students back on the machine. In my sophomore year they lets us into the computer lab, now outfitted with VDTs and 1200 baud modems (speedy!). I took the only computer programming course, taught by some math teacher, and already knew more than he did so I dropped that. Maybe the year after that, I was put in some kind of program where I went to various places after school (different Stanford labs, once at Xerox Parc) and someone would say "OK kid, why don't you write a program that does this..." and I was exposed to C, assembly, PL/Z, APL and Logo. Back at school, I made an attempt to learn SPL3000, which was hampered by a lack of manuals, or any documentation, so I looked at hex dumps of a library binary to try and figure out how to make function calls. Later we got some early personal computers, I think they were Northstars.

Comment Re:the business has changed, too (Score 1) 282

I'm about as nerdy as you can get, and 48 years old. I also happen to have a life-long interest in alternative music, and SF is the place to go. It is the cultural magnet for the entire Bay Area. San Jose has an anemic music scene, and everything in between SF and SJ is a wasteland. The only emerging rival is the East Bay, which has attracted a lot of bands due to the lower cost of living. So for me, it would be really great if I was living in SF, this isn't just about young "hipsters" with tattoos and shit...

Comment Re:Bring Back AD&D 2nd Edition (Score 1) 139

Anyone who tried playing a character with charisma below 6 in my games got ran out of town by the locals for looking like some kind of monster.

Hmm, OK, probability of rolling CHA less than 6 is... 4.6% Yeah, 1 out of 20 people look like "some kind of monster". Glad I never played in your games.

Comment Re:Dear D&D Designers (Score 1) 139

Whilst I don't have my dusty Rolemaster books in front of me, I'm quite certain you couldn't do anything remotely combat effective with Boil Water. Of your "creative ideas", the only one that would be allowed by the rules would be boiling the water, then throwing it at someone. However, it would probably be more effective to just attack with your weapon instead.

And saying that getting shafted by bad stat rolls is a "challenge" is just a cop out.

Comment Re:cool story bro (Score 1) 610

I'm using a recent version Open Office on the Mac, is Libre Office significantly better? Because a co worker designs these docs with Word 2007, full of carefully positioned boxes of text. When I open them, the text boxes are often overlapping and nearly impossible to properly view. I can view them correctly with Google Docs.

Comment Re:Where Journalists Went After the Internet (Score 3, Interesting) 220

No, that is the rose-tinted version of the past. The reality of Watergate was that the FBI was at war with the White House; Deep Throat (Mark Felt) himself was up to his eyeballs in corruption, having overseen COINTELPRO, and later convicted for it. Deep Throat was funneling information to Woodward and Bernstein for selfish political purposes.

Supposed hard-nosed "investigative journalist" Woodward now makes his living as a conduit for White House insiders who want to get their white-washed version of history into his hagiographic "behind the scenes" books. He is a total tool of the American political elite.

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