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Comment Use utf if you must, for character names, only. (Score 4, Interesting) 165

I started playing nethack before it was nethack, it was just hack. (I may well hold the record for longest time playing without an asencion, but that is beside the point.) I have played other roguelikes and keep coming back to nethack because it is the only one that keeps that same feel for me. It has had the same overall look my entire life. While the expanded character set in UTF would allow for significantly more characters to be used in drawing the map, and designating each monster with a different character, I beg of you not to do so. Keep the overall look the same, (or allow it as a compile time option at the very least) and just use UTF for the character name.

For which implimentation of UTF to use, I'd go with utf8 as it seems to have the widest adoption, or 32 because that will probably allow you the longest time before having to think about this again. I would avoid the middle ground.

Comment Worst Is When They Don't Allow Overlapping Jobs (Score 1) 278

I have filled out some applications that if the start date and end date of different jobs overlap, it kicks it out and doesn't allow it. Some people work more than one job at a time, I have one job that I had over five years, and periodically took on other side jobs for extra. It is impossible for me to list those side jobs on such applications, Or, if I do, I no longer have one job that lasts five years. Then they ask me to attest that the information is complete and accurate and that I've listed all jobs I've had in the last 10 years.

Comment Late 80's to early 90's (Score 1) 632

I started Elementary school in the late eighties. I went to a university laboratory school, so we had a bit better technology than some of the surrounding schools. We had a computer lab with multiple Apple II e systems, and an Apple II GS. Each classroom had Apple II e systems as well, but not enough for the whole class. During my fifth grade year, the school purchased several Pentium I computers which were slowly deployed, starting with the lowest grades, and working their way up, much to the annoyance of the fifth and sixth graders. Only one of these computers made it into my classroom, and it was for the teacher's station. The teacher's station had the computer, a laserdisk player, and a large CRT television that could display from either the computer or the laserdisk.

I remember some of the lessons about the technology itself, but mostly we used the technology for educational games, number munchers, Oregon Trail, Odell Lake, Carmen Sandiago, etc. I remember learning about floppy disks while they were still floppy, and thinking that the 3.5 floppies were what people were talking about when they said "hard disk" until my brothers (older) corrected me. I remember being told to always touch something metal before touching a computer, to ground myself.

Middle school it was completely back to Apple II E computers. I took a "programming" class, and was quite disapointed that all I learned was Apple II e BASIC, and nothing more complicated than simple arathmatic and printing out a block graphic we first drew on graph paper, then wrote the code on paper, then typed the code in. It was boring as hell.

My high school had pentium class computers in each classroom, although often just one. There were still some 386 computers in the hall outside the language arts (English) wing that were used for word processing only. I was in yearbook, and I was the most tech savvy person there, and I networked the OS 8 macs together (localtalk) and later oversaw the conversion of files when the yearbook upgraded from OS 8 with Adulus Pagemaker to Pentium class computers with Adobe Pagemaker.

LIke many here I imagine, I learned most of what I learned about computers at home, not at school, but there was technology instruction at my schools, even if it was fairly rudimentary.

Comment I seem to be in the minority. (Score 1) 505

I seem to be one of the few here who does not object to monitoring and key-logging software. Although I think key-logging is overkill (a logging proxy is my preferred solution) I think software monitors offer a good compromise. More than once a parent has come to me wanting me to install internet filters or netnanny type software and I convinced them to go with a logging solution instead. (Again, I didn't use key-loggers, just proxy loggers, so the parent knew exactly what sites the child went to online, but not what they did there.) I do not think this greatly erodes trust if the parent tells the child it is happening. A simple conversation about it is enough, and simply letting the child know, "hey, there is a logger set up so I can know what sites you are going to if I want to, I'm not going to be looking at every site you go to, but if I get worried about something I can go back through the logs." is not a huge deal, especially if it is done while the child is young. Springing it on a child WITHOUT telling them could cause some problems. I'm not as sure I agree with this solution for much older children, as I think a 16 year old would have a problem if such a plan were suddenly implemented (unless, perhaps, it goes along with first computer in the bedroom or another increase in privileges so can be seen not as reducing their rights, but expanding them less.)

Comment Re:150 in one (Score 1) 458

I like these better. They actually give you the feeling of making a circuit board and make it much easier to visualize what is going on in the project. I got one for a 9 year old nephew, and his almost 6 year old brother has made over 60 of the projects. (You can buy these things at other locations than the link I posted, I just posted the first one I could find.)

Comment Doesn't solve the biggest problem (Score 5, Insightful) 570

I don't know the limit of efficiency that this new engine design will deliver, but at any sane value this does not solve our biggest problem here in the United States (and probably other nations as well.)

Everything we do is regulated by oil. Our food distribution runs on diesel, our manufacturing runs on diesel. Our military runs on diesel. Our workforce requires gas to get to work. Every facet of American life is dependent on oil based fuels without which our economy, our military, our industry, our agriculture and our commerce will fail. Even with extreme improvement in our ability to harness these fuels, it is extraordinarily unlikely that we can produce enough fuel to be self-sufficient. In short our national security and our very survival are in the hands of foreign powers.

In the best of circumstances this would be worrying, depending on close allies for your ability to survive is harrowing, but sustainable. We are not in the best of circumstances, The nations that produce the majority of oil are not staunch allies, but nations with populaces that are predominantly anti-US. At any time the structure in these countries could break down and we could find ourselves at war with them. This would be a war that even if we win could destroy us as a nation. If we conserve all our fuel resources for the War effort, which we would have to do if we want to win with conventional weapons, we would find ourselves bereft of fuel and the fuel production infrastructure itself most likely in shambles due to the war. Our way of life would be over just as surely as if we had been conquered by a foreign power.

We need to switch to electric not because it is more efficient (although it is) not because it will create jobs (though it will) not because it can be more environmentally sound (although it could be); we need to switch to electrical power because it keeps our vital infrastructure requirements in our own hands. It is a matter of national security, no nation can prosper if it id dependent on unfriendly nations for its very survival.

Comment Re:Nothing shameless (Score 3, Interesting) 445

I have volunteered at my local library's booksale many times. We know that we can make more money selling online. Many of the books we have available for $1 we already know we could sell to Amazon for $10. We sell our books for $1 because we think people who can't (or even people who won't) buy books for $10 should still be able to own books.

The people who go through the library sales with scanners are basically equivalent to people going to a food-bank, getting food items, then selling them for profit.

Forthermore, they tend to be some of our rudest customers. They grab a book of a shelf, scan it, and move onto the next book, often sorting books into two piles, one pile for the books they want, another (larger) pile for the books they don't. They often do not pick back up the pile they do not want.

There are other booksellers who come in we mind less. They buy all the books for $1 each, and scan them at home, sell the expensive ones and return the ones they do not want to the library for a sale. Yes, they are still preventing others from getting the best of the books for a price, but they are quite willing to "donate" the cost of the books they do not buy.

Our library has had the no electronic devices sign up for three years now, and every year someone tries to sneak one in. They hide them in purses, pockets, anywhere they can. They do not care about other people's rules. They do not care when we explain to them what we are doing that people are able to get good books at low prices. All they care about is their own profits. They truly are scum.

Comment Multiple Computers and Synnergy for Videowall (Score 3, Insightful) 421

You can purchase some really high end equipment to manage multiple monitors on a videowall, but you shouldn't. Use standard PC level hardware (or lower end rackmount depending on space requirements) with no more than two display cards each. Drive all your monitors separately then tie them together with Synnergy. You can still administer them all from a single workstation, fairly seamlessly, but you don't have a single point of failure, and you've probably saved hundreds of dollars. The videowall systems can also run some light duty servers especially system monitoring. (I like Xymon over Nagios, but it depends on what you want to do with it.)

So far as the monitors themselves, purchase flat-panel HDTV's. They are likely to be cheaper than similarly sized monitors, and you won't want greater resolution than an HDTV can handle for a video wall anyway. This gives you the added benefit of being able to tie in training videos, or third shift entertainment on to one or more screens if needed. Also, if one of your videowall servers goes down right before clients come to view the installation, you can quickly switch those monitors over to CNN, CNBC or another relevant channel.

The workstation tables should be glass or some other surface that can support either dry erase or grease-pen writing. Being able do simple notes on your desk will reduce scratch paper usage and make maximum use of available areas. Glass cubicle walls will cut down on noise like a cubicle would, but does not give as much of the feeling of being in a box as standard cubicles. They allow unobstructed view of the video-wall and you can write on them with grease pens.

Have more workstations than you need, and do not tie people their workstations. If someone wants to claim one that is fine, but some people will really like being able to log off, walk across the room, and log back on. This will also allow you to bring in off-shift workers when shit hits the fan.

As a security measure, get a dot-matrix printer on your firewall. Feed tail -f /var/log/authlog directly to it. If anyone gets in that shouldn't they will NOT be able to erase their tracks.

Put in a breakroom or break area that still has a view of the common videowall. When your people are taking a break during downtime, they should still be able to see if it is suddenly no longer downtime.

For the love of God (and your staff) put in a drink fridge or soda fountain and a coffee pot.

Comment MTSU & RODP (Score 1) 428

In Tennessee many of the state colleges are under a single authority called the Tennessee Board of Regents. The board a few years back instituted an online program called, quite imaginatively, the Regents Online Degree Program, or RODP.

You will have much LESS of the problems you were mentioning at such a school, since the regents do not wish to water down the name of every member school. Furthermore, if you enroll in any member school, you can take as many online classes as you want, so the thing to do would be to enroll in the physical school, talk in real life to professors to get department approval to skip the low level classes and enter the higher level classes directly. This will NOT save you time, as you will still need the same number of hours to graduate, but it WILL make it so you are learning more while they are siphoning money away from you.

The only problem is that the only Board of Regents school I ever attended, MTSU, has a really crappy CS department. (I literally had a professor tell me my Linux box was not possible in the late 90's)

If you can find a similar situation elsewhere, or if one of the other TBR has a better computer program, it would be a good thing to look into.

Comment Class Action Lawsuit (Score 4, Interesting) 435

I'm already seeing all the BS going on about how a class-action lawsuit only helps the lawyers at the expense of the plaintiffs. I do not know if this is usually the case or not, but the only Class-Action lawsuit I have ever been a part of, (interestingly against apple) resulted in a solution that I found quite suitable for the offense.

I didn't get a dime, but I didn't want one. I wanted the system I paid for to work. I got a box in the mail with express shipping paid for me to ship my laptop back to Apple. Apple replaced my defective motherboard, and shipped my computer back. All at no charge to me. I did not even pay shipping either direction.

I bought a product that didn't work as it should. I signed up on the Class-Action, I got a product that worked as it should.


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