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Comment iPad with GoodReader (Score 5, Informative) 180

My wife is finishing up her PhD in a biological science field. A couple years ago she was carrying like 70+ printed out papers around with her so she could reference them when writing at home or at a coffee shop. She got an original iPad and started using GoodReader and said it changed the game completely for her. She's on an iPad 3 now but the effect is the same.

I got her old iPad when she upgraded and I loaded literally a couple thousand papers and other documents I've saved over the years (mostly IEEE and ACM papers and a ton of standards documents I reference for work), luckily all already organized. GoodReader will let you load things and keep whatever directory/folder organization you have. It's great!

Comment It's true (Score 3, Interesting) 454

My wife is finishing grad school with a PhD and getting the hell out of Dodge. She's already found a job related to science/academia in her field that pays more and has better benefits than anything she could expect as a post-doc or assistant professor. It's a stable job where she can see clear career advancement over the coming years. This as opposed to an academic career where she wouldn't have much say in what part of the country she ended up and would have to work like crazy (publish or perish is so true) in an attempt to maybe get tenure 15+ years down the road.

Not to mention that more than a few of her advisers and colleagues have been having serious funding issues. She's in a field where lots of funding comes from the NIH and they're cutting back like crazy. It's not a very good climate right now.

Comment Good thing? (Score 4, Interesting) 346

If the design manager was the one who has made some of the UI decisions for Facebook over the last year or two maybe it's best he departs. Facebook is convenient for me for keeping in touch with a lot of people I know but I haven't heard anyone say anything good about their user interface design in a very long time. I don't really have any ill will towards anyone at Facebook (I have a number of friends who work there) but perhaps this is a good thing.

Comment How common are electron microscopes? (Score 1) 32

So just how common are electron microscopes these days? I don't work in the sciences so in my head they're still room sized beasts that I read about as a child in the 1980s. I haven't really thought about it until now but I suppose the technology must have improved, like technology does. Are there desktop sized ones now that can be had for relatively low cost?

Comment A sense of scale (Score 3, Interesting) 126

A billion stars seems like a lot but general consensus is that the Milky Way alone has 300 +/- 100 billion stars. So at best this is like 0.5% of the galaxy. I just read about the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey looking at 300,000 galaxies and planning on hitting 1,000,000 eventually. The number of stars out there is truly mind blowing for us puny humans. It's really impressive if you stop to think about it.

Comment Works for me (Score 0) 405

I switched over to Bing in protest of some Google hijinks that I can't even remember a while back and I haven't gone back. Bing works quite well for me for pretty much everything. On occasion I won't be able to find what I'm looking for and I'll go try the search on Google and it's very rare that the results are any better.

Also the fact that it doesn't show me a bunch of pointless posts from Facebook every time I search for something is a major plus.

Comment Re:Not RIAA but New Sensations (Score 2) 407

This has been going on for a long time. I have a friend who had some nice three letter domains back in the late 1990s. A largish company decided that the Internet was cool and they wanted them. They had some trademarks that were remotely related to the domain names but my friend (and a simple whois check) had records indicating he had the domains well before they even existed as a company.

They made him a cash offer that was in the low five figures. He wanted to keep the domains. They said take the money or we'll sue you for copyright infringement. He talked to a lawyer and was basically told, look, you actually have a strong case here. You could litigate this and you might actually win. But it's going to end up costing you about what they're offering for the domains and a lot of time. If they're worth that much to you might as well just sell them and be done with it.

At this point my friend took the cash.

Comment Re:Points on your license? (Score 0) 151

What, are you expecting buses to be faster than driving?

No, not at all. I hate buses. If I can take an underground train I will go for that every time. I think part of my problem is I come across a lot of people who live in SF who think that they're the greatest thing in the world. Go somewhere like NYC or London and you'll see that mass transit really can work, can be faster than driving, and is a lot nicer. It's an attitude issue here.

Also, I don't know the specifics of your Dallas issues, but dude, that city is huge. 340.5 sq. miles according to Wikipedia. SF is less than 50. It's literally a 7 mile by 7 mile square. And when I'm talking about a trip taking 45 minutes on buses, that's to go about 3.5 miles if I drove directly. That's horrible by any measure.

Comment Re:Peterbilt parking (Score 1) 151

Take transit 4 days a week and drive on the day you commute to Campbell?

It'll actually be work from home 3-4 days a week and drive to Campbell the other days. But yeah that's looking like the most viable option. To the point of the OP though, that would be difficult if I couldn't have my car in the city.

Although maybe a better idea would be for the cities on the Peninsula to become livable enough so that people don't feel a need to live in SF and commute an hour to two hours a day.

I lived in Cupertino for a long time, but my wife is a graduate student at Berkeley. When we decided to move in together after we got engaged Cupertino was right out. And Berkeley was a pretty bad solution for me. So our options were basically Fremont or San Francisco. We're both young and relatively social so the idea of living in Fremont was pretty repugnant to both of us.

Comment Re:Peterbilt parking (Score 2) 151

With what funding though? They'd be more likely to vote cars back in than raise the necessary tax revenue fund the amount of change that would be necessary in San Francisco alone. That and if it was underground stuff being built it would take forever. They're building a two mile or so extension to the underground trains that will be done in like 2018 or something. And I still have no idea who's actually going to use it.

And look at the BART extension around the bay that was funded. I have no idea when that will be done. 2030?

You could add more surface transportation but you still need access for trucks and other commercial vehicles so it would still be horrible.

The Muni Metro trains that run underground are using control software from the early 1990s that only allows them to run two car trains when the system was designed for three car trains. This is all pathetic compared to NYC's subway. All of the transit agencies are strapped for cash. I don't see banning cars to make people want to fund it more a really viable solution.

Comment Re:Points on your license? (Score 2, Interesting) 151

I live in SF and this is true for a very small portion of the city. If you want to get many places be prepared for a 45 minute bus ride for something that would take half as long or better to drive. I'm sure it's better than Grand Rapids. But Grand Rapids is about the same land area as SF with about 1/8 the population. For things as spread out as that mass transit is difficult.

There are many times where Muni buses only show up every 30 minutes or so and many cases where you need to take two buses or a bus and a Muni Metro train where you're going to wait 15+ minutes at the transfer. I try and use mass transit as much as I can and I'm luck to live near the Castro so I have a lot of options. But in many cases I'll just say screw it and drive because it'll be so much faster.

Comment Re:Peterbilt parking (Score 4, Informative) 151

Not having a car in SF is great if you live near the Market St. tunnel and need to get somewhere on that stretch of the city. Otherwise it's pretty horrible. Sure there's buses and Muni Metro trains that will get you most places, but due to the layout of the city it will generally take you 3x longer to get somewhere via mass transit than driving. As long as this is the case people will keep their cars, even when there's horrible traffic.

That and in many cases Muni buses will be extremely late or bunched up. It's not rare to see Nextbus saying 30+ minutes and this during what are peak travel times. For me it's often faster to walk if the distance is less than 2 miles. This is not an option for a lot of people unfortunately.

Also, what do you do if you live in SF but regularly leave the city? Mass transit is OK for specific things, but Caltrain and BART can only get you so far. I work in Mountain View but will soon need to commute to Campbell a day or two a week. To take mass transit I'd have to take multiple Muni buses or trains or take one and walk a mile, take Caltrain, and then get on VTA somewhere in South Bay. At best my commute will be 2 hours one way and if there's any hiccup and I miss the 5 minute transfer window between Caltrain and VTA it's closer to 2 1/2 to 3 hours. When I can drive down 280 in an hour or so this becomes unacceptable as much as I would prefer to be on a train.

As long as the transit options in the Bay Area are as poor as they are cars will be a necessity for many people. SF would be awesome without them but I just don't see it as feasible. Makes me envy everyone I know who lives in London and NYC.

If we had transit like NYC or London then I'd be all about getting rid of cars.

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