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Comment Suggestion for a better April Fool's joke... (Score 1) 33

Yes, it's like the Powers That Be on Slashdot aren't even trying anymore.

Many of you on Slashdot have been around long enough to remember the "OMG Ponies!" joke site that was foisted on us one year. Seemed like everyone at the time complained about how stupid that joke was. Of course, the joke ended up being on Slashdot (albeit several years delayed), since *now* cute cartoon ponies are considered "20% cooler" than ever before, thanks to the inexplicable cult-following of My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic.

May I suggest for a future Slashdot April Fool's joke, the admins try a reprise of "OMG Ponies" of sorts. Disguise Slashdot by making it appear to be a MLP fan forum site. Of course, approximately zero Slashdot members would fall for the joke, but if some Slashdot denizens were to, say, get their "brony" friends to visit this new, wonderful MLP fan site on April 1, at least the joke would be on them when they re-visit their new favorite MLP forum on April 2.

Comment Re:Does Anyone Actually Want it? (Score 1) 141

There's nothing new about 3D cameras. Back in the 1980's I used to shoot Kodachrome in an old 50's-era Kodak Stereo camera. Lots of fun, and it taught me new ways of looking at photographic subjects and composition. I've got some shots from that camera that would make little sense in 2D but are intriguing when viewed in 3D.
I've owned a Fuji 3D digital camera for perhaps 6 years now, and Fuji has yet to come up with a successor model, since apparently it sold so poorly (mine was a store demo unit that kept getting further and further discounted because nobody even wanted it then!) When I use that camera in public, people sometimes get curious and ask me about it. When I show them images from it on the camera's display (it's got a lenticular 'lens' on it so it provides 3D viewing without glasses), everyone I've encountered has been impressed (if not amazed). I think I could have sold a dozen of those cameras on the spot if I had them to sell.
It's better than the old film stereo cameras in that not only can you see the results instantaneously, but it even has a sort of variable parallax, which gives it a much wider range of "usable" focus (film stereo cameras will give you a "headache 3D" effect if you include visual elements that are too close to the camera.) You can even shoot HD 3D video on it, which is pretty nifty when viewed on a 3D monitor or TV.
Anyway, don't knock it 'till you've tried it!

Comment Re:Here's why I reject Apple (Score 1) 145

Regarding #6, um, Apple ][ computers did not require a boot disk. Just as with your TRS-80, if you didn't have a diskette drive, you could still use the BASIC interpreter in ROM and save/retrieve data on cassette tapes. Later Apple //e ("Enhanced") machines dropped the cassette interface, but you could still run BASIC in ROM without a diskette.
Heck, even the original IBM PC could be used with cassettes without a diskette drive or a boot disk!

Comment Re:Hi (Score 0) 179

VM means Voice of Music (

VM was a US company that was a major manufacturer of record changers, especially in the 1960's and early 70's. While VM did not sell a lot of phonographs under its own name, and thus may not be well-known to most Americans, it sold millions and millions of changers on an OEM basis to a lot of US manufacturers. Often these had customized elements such as tone arms and trim, and badged with the purchasing company's brand name, so as to appear distinctive to the end user.

VM also produced tape recorders and tape mechanisms to be OEM'ed to other companies, but these never attained anywhere near the sales success of their record changers.

What this has to do with Slashdot, I'm not sure. Oh, wait-- you meant another meaning of "VM". Sorry!

Comment Re:Into the abyss (Score 1) 202

For that, get an LCD monitor that uses an IPS panel. The vast majority of LCD monitors and TVs have TN panels.
IPS screens are vastly superior to TN panels in terms of viewing angles and color gamut. They're also more expensive, but the cost difference has really declined in recent years, and they've become more common. My 27" Dell Ultrasharp monitor (with an IPS+ panel) retailed for about $1000 when I bought it about 4 years ago (I got mine as a refurb for "only" $599 or so), but it was money well spent.
Once you see a *good* IPS monitor (some seem to be a bit better than others), you won't go back to a regular TN panel monitor.

Comment Re:Betamax (Score 2) 202


My family was literally the first in town to own a VCR. This was in 1979, well before video rental stores started to appear in our area. ...And indeed, a blank tape cost about $20 and a prerecorded tape of a reasonably major motion picture cost about $80. We had a Toshiba Betamax-format VCR, BTW.
"Everyone" always said Beta was superior, but the only "first-hand" source I ever saw was a Sony advertising poster, though it mostly tried to demonstrate how U-load systems (such as Sony's Betamax and U-Matic) were better than M-load systems (such as VHS). Apparently this advertisement or one like it was the germ of this "Beta is better than VHS" trope.
I have a few early VCRs in my collection, and I can vouch that early VHS machines tend to have "clunkier" load mechanisms than early Betamax VCRs, and this would be much to do with the M-versus-U loading mechanism. I would also not be surprised if a first-generation Betamax VCR using the original Beta I speed (which was quickly discontinued in favor of the slower Beta II speed) offered slightly more resolution than a first-gen VHS machine on SP. However, VHS-format VCRs got better rather quickly, and I doubt that Betamax had any visual advantages over VHS once you got to the early/mid 1980's.
Besides, back in the late 70's when these new-fangled home VCRs appeared, people didn't have TV sets with composite inputs and comb filters, since there was no real prior need for the former and I don't think the latter existed yet. They had sets like our then-new 25" Zenith System 3 console with only an RF input and no special video enhancements. Even if there was a difference of 10 or so line-pairs of horizontal resolution, it'd be negated by the consumer TV technology of the day.

By the way, while maximum runtime was indeed a big part of the picture, it's interesting that VHS originally got longer recording times not because JVC was particularly interested, but because RCA (which was in the process of getting VCRs OEM'ed from Matsushita (Panasonic)) insisted on having a longer running time than 2 hours on a T-120 tape for the American market, so they and Matsushita came up with the "LP" speed. JVC never really endorsed the LP speed, but they then started adding the even slower SLP (later known as EP) speed to the format.

Comment The Cavity Creeps are attacking Toothopolis! (Score 1) 128

Y'know, it used to be that disasters in SimCity were things like fires, floods, and Godzilla attacks. What now? "Emergency! Market share of Crest(tm) toothpaste among Sims has fallen below 50%!" To respond to this disaster, you have to deploy advertising defenses and retailer goodwill to increase brand awareness and Sim purchasing levels.
Next thing you know, in addition to such city services as police, fire, water, and sanitation, Sims will start demanding such things as Coca-Cola(tm) bottling facilities and McDonald's(tm) restaurants.

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