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Comment COBOL programmers aren't all old (Score 1) 369

There's a COBOL shop in my small town that contracts for corporations and the government. I know several COBOL specialists in their 30s. It's actually an extremely lucrative field to get into these days, with good pay and job security.

Rewriting all that COBOL code in some other language would be bound to cause major problems.

Comment While I still can read and work maps... (Score 5, Interesting) 158

...reading maps while driving / biking is asinine. Before satnav I used to plot a route to a new destination using a map,. and distill that to a single 3x5" (approx) piece of paper (a crib) I'd tape to the steering wheel hub or handle bars. Worked fine, but wouldn't adapt to real-time changes.

If you ask me, GPS satnav is the best thing to come out of the Cold War. It's still fallible... but it sure beats spending 15 minutes at a stop-n'-rob parking lot with a map unfolded over the car's hood plotting your next move.. can of Coke in one hand and lit marlboro in the other.. yeah.. I just god a good memory of a trip across the SE USA in a 1984 Rx-7, reading paper maps in parking lots =o)

But... I agree.. map-reading is a skill that must be preserved and taught. AB-so-lute-ly. I am a firm believer in first learning the tried-and-true paper-and-pencil methods. Even in meteorology school in the early 90's I understood it -- learn to do it the old way, and when the new way fails, you'll still be able to perform. And ... y'know? Many times doing it the pencil and paper way showed me things that computers just glossed over.. things that made a huge difference.

Comment Squrriels and power! (Score 1) 150

True story... back in the Stone Age, BI (Before Internet) I was at my first weather school in the USAF, at Chanute AFB IL, on a smoke break (remember those?), it was an instructor and a few us students.. we were on a side of the building that faced a sub-station.

There was a small explosion, we felt a very slight disturbance, a teeny tiny shockwave I guess. People started pouring out of the school -- the power had gone out at the school and surrounding buildings. After assessment, we were told "Go home, it'll be hours before it's fixed." A squirrel had gone and shorted out a transformer.. a big transformer, not those little ones you see up on poles. We later heard there was spalling around the transformer. Yea buddy, a squirrel and some metal made for shrapnel!

Second one, in North Miami - our building had only one way in for power, a 3-phase feed off a pole (!), then buried underground (!!) and into the power. Power goes out, but it was only one phase. The boss and I go to where the noise came from.. and there was a dead squirrel on the floor, with charred fur and a blown-out left hindleg. I still have the picture. It took FPL 3 hours to come and replace one fuse on the pole. Our 90 KVA UPS took the phones and network gear through those 3 hours with plenty to spare. No, we had no generator. Just a mondo UPS.

Fucking squirrels!

Comment We've just put Biff Tannen in the White House (Score 1) 1560

Word of God: Biff Tannen in Back to the Future II was modeled on 1980's Donald Trump.

I can't wait for the White House to be decorated in gold and tigerstripe / leopard print, with vulgar paintings of what seems to be B-movie characters. Oh wait, the Obama's style wasn't too far off, all that red and gold French Provincial Whorehouse Rococo like some african dictator.

So.. is this 2017-A now? Oh well whatever.. bring it.. 2016 was an absolute disaster for me, I think from here things can only go up.. i hope...

Comment Re:Multitasking (Score 1) 435

Okay, I accept this premise. Most programs have failed. They are not sufficient to be the sole focus of my attention for an hour or two. But you know, sometimes they're good enough to have on in the background while I'm doing something else that's *also* not sufficient to be the sole focus of my attention.

Disclamer: I have a 3-d capable projector and 3-d glasses. I didn't buy it because of 3-d, I bought it for 2-D. I did buy a few 3-d discs, all of them Pixar or Disney animations and the synthesized Titanic 3-d.

Result: I don't use 3D at all. I had a month-long fling with it and then tossed the glasses in a drawer, where they remain. I'm 100% 2-D and enjoy a bright, contrasty, downright spectacular image that does a fairly good job of showing whatever depth the content creator put in the image.

Comment Re:Multitasking (Score 2) 435

Because we're a multitasking generation. The need to wear special equipment to watch TV, then to take it off to check messages on a phone, then put in on again, then take it off to go to a quick piss break during commercials then back on again to go back to the show...

If I'm checking messages / emails / whatnots while watching a movie or tv program, the movie or program has failed.

That said, for me, 3-D failed because gimmick, because glassess because it doesn't really add anything more to live-action material.

The good thing: Learning stereoscopic production has led to much more realistic foreground-background interaction in animated material. This is especially noticable when comparing pre-3D Pixar works with post 3D works. Brave, in particular, shows this very well.

Comment Re:Thanks to Trump? Obviously! (Score 1) 432

Hillary wins -> jobs go to Mexico
Trump wins -> jobs stay in the US

You mean.. BILL wins (twice) , jobs went to mexico. And oh boy, did they!

But let's not forget that NAFTA was drafted under Reagan's terms in office, so.. yeah buddy, both sides are taking turns at fscking us.

Comment Re:As if this is new (Score 1) 370

So when the starving mob are at the ruling elites' gates with torches and pitch forks, they'll surely find the resources to do the right thing.

Brexit and El Trumpo seem to be The People doing pitchforks and torches, but with the vote instead of actual pitchforks and torches.

That comes next, if this coming Great Experiment doesn't work. (It probably won't work.)

Comment Re:I don't understand (Score 1) 131

"Many consumers" does not equal "Apple customers". That, right there, is the fundamental problem. Apple customers want thinness at all costs. And so many companies, like Samsung, are sooo jealous and envious of Apple's cultist customer base that they somehow think that they can replicate this level of success by copying Apple's impractical and user-hostile design decisions.

So this is why Apple decided to build the SE, which is a short, fat 5S that needs no case to be usable. Maybe Apple knows what their customers want better than you and Samsung. Just a thought.

I offer an anecdote: I have a 5S, bought the year it came out. It's a 3 year old phone now. I find the 6 and beyond to be obscenely, grotesquely big and thin. While a recent visit to the Fruit Cart (apple store) so a friend could get his 6s+'s face sensor looked at I chatted up an employee. I told him how much I liked that Apple had decided to build a short, thick fat phone, and if he had any way to float that thought back to the mothership, it'd be nice. His reply? "Oh, they know. A bunch of us went to the SE the day it arrived."

So.. when's Samsung short, fat thick phone coming out? I mean, if they indeed are sooooooooo jealous of Apple, they MUST have their own little phone, no?

Comment Re:Sorry, no (Score 5, Insightful) 304

Luke playing with a starfighter, in one of his first scenes, is cringe-worthy.

Oh c'mon, you've never done it? FWIW, that wasn't a "starfighter,' that was a scale model of the speeder parked *right behind Luke.* That is his T-16, the one he bullseyes womp rats with. Seriously, you can see the ass end of his real T-16 right behind him.

One is never too old to play with toys. Never. I have a fair collection of 1:400 diecast aircraft, and when I clean house I *always* "land" the Pan Am 707-321 on its display place.

The day one becomes "too old" for such frippery, one is ready for the pine box. The kind with rope handles and no wheels.

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