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Comment Re: Seriously? (Score 1) 111

Yes you can read -- between the lines. Remember, Amazon is famously anti-union. Do you think they don't have some kind of ulterior motive here? Save money, lower/eliminate benefits eventually, make even the "skilled" employees interchangeable and easily replaceable. Being at the very bottom rung of the economic ladder in America, it's nice to see that the upper middle-class is finally starting to get a taste of what's happening to everyone else.

Sorry for the early morning cynicism. From the bottom we're all just saying "duh, what did you expect?"

Comment Vic-20 (Score 1) 515

I was given a Vic-20 by my parents for Christmas one year when I was about 10 instead of the Atari 2600 I really wanted. I did enjoy the game that came with it (Radar Rat Race) but was still disappointed. Later that day I cracked open the manual and began typing in the commands. "HELLO, WORLD!" appeared on my screen. Eh. And then an animated ASCII jumping-jack man. That's pretty cool. And then a program that asks for your age, runs it against several IF-THEN statements and prints out an answer based on your age.

What a second. What?

So I added numbers together and did more IF-THEN checks. Holy fucking shit. I realized at that moment that I could do anything with these commands. I could create any program I wanted including games like Pacman. There was no limit. I had the Power.

So I programmed hardcore for the next 6 years. I became very good in Basic and proficient in machine language. And then I stopped programming around 17. I was burned out and it wasn't fun anymore.

Eventually I became a music major (composition) and gave up on computers altogether. Then a few years ago I came up with an idea for a super massively large music generating program. While I had forgotten how to program and had no feel for modern technology (when programming) and anything that had happened in languages in those 30 years, I still knew how to think like a programmer.

I chose Lua for this project (which didn't even exist when last I had typed code into a machine) and have become fairly proficient in it (some 6000 lines of code or so).

So yeah, entirely self-taught and then re-self-taught.

I have some huge gaps in my knowledge concerning really cool mathematical algorithms that I'll probably never learn. But I'm not really a programmer. I'm a composer using programming to realize a bigger project.

Comment I like it (Score 1) 303

I'm not a programmer but I've gotten way in over my head on this one program I'm developing (music generating software). I'm constantly using code from all over the place and I attribute it and provide license information for all of it. I don't know what's considered trivial or what any other relevant laws are so I make sure I am always covered. And if I can't find licensing information about some code then I search elsewhere for a solution. Since this one big project is my entire life I want to make sure every single little i is dotted and t crossed. If this makes it easier for me to use code from SE then great with a clear conscience then great!

Comment Re:As a composer and writer ... (Score 1) 531

Sorry I'm so late to reply. Most distros are horribly out of date with the version they package thus missing out on bug fixes and new packages. But even if it is up-to-date it's unnecessary. TeXLive has its own method for upgrading that's similar to apt-get. Basically every day I run: tlmgr update --all which lists and updates everything that needs an update as well as installing any new packages. Every year there's a new version of TeXLive so you just install it into a new directory, change a link to point to it instead of the old one and you're ready to go.

Comment John Cage and an anechoic chamber (Score 1) 332

John Cage's experience in an anechoic chamber was instrumental to much of his thinking about music and silence. Or at least it made for a good anecdote that he used quite often:

"There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot. For certain engineering purposes, it is desirable to have as silent a situation as possible. Such a room is called an anechoic chamber, its six walls made of special material, a room without echoes. I entered one at Harvard University several years ago and heard two sounds, one high and one low. When I described them to the engineer in charge, he informed me that the high one was my nervous system in operation, the low one my blood in circulation. Until I die there will be sounds. And they will continue following my death. One need not fear about the future of music."

Comment I'll still want the print version (Score 1) 153

The pride of my personal library is my copy of the 20 volume edition of the OED (2nd). I have it conveniently placed near my writing desk and make constant use of it. I fully appreciate the greater convenience of an online version but there's nothing quite like seeing it all laid out like this. While the market for something this expensive and large might be dwindling I doubt it will ever go away completely. And then at $295/year currently for the online version I just cannot justify spending that much (due to the weird price fluctuations at Amazon, and a lot of patience, that's the exact price I paid for my printed version). I also have the OED Historical Thesaurus which is an amazing work. The article mentions that they're going to combine it with the OED for the online version. That would make the yearly price more reasonable but it still seems more than I'd be willing to do for every year for the rest of my life.

Comment The answer (though it's not very satisfying) (Score 2, Informative) 814

I've given this a lot of thought over the years and I believe you can break it down into three circumstances

1) If you're using a monosaced typeface or a typewriter, use two spaces. It's the convention and I personally think it makes reading the text much easier. Of course how often does this situation arise these days? Not very.

2) With a typesetter or typesetting software a "space" has no specific length as it varies depending on the needs of the typesetter. That said some typesetters pad the space after a period and some don't. Either way it will look good and consistent. Trust your typesetter. Though if you use TeX you have your choice of which style to go with. It doesn't matter which you choose, it'll look fine.

3) If you're using a word processor it doesn't matter. Word processors produce crap for output. By using one you are stating up front that you don't care how the final product looks. By definition you are producing an informal text and as such you can use as many spaces as you want since it's not going to affect the aesthetic value or readability of the text any more than the decision to use a word processor in the first place. If you do care about how it looks and reads use typesetting software.

Lord of the Rings

Submission + - New Hope for Jackson Hobbit Film?

DrJimbo writes: Almost just in time for the 70th Anniversary of the Hobbit (published September 21, 1937) Entertainment Weekly has a 5-page article on a possible reconciliation between Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema that may pave the way for the director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy to return and helm the filming of The Hobbit (New Line controls the film rights). It was previously reported here that Jackson would not be making the Hobbit film. The EW article says that Jackson wants to make two films: first the Hobbit in its entirety and then another film that bridges the roughly 60 years between the end of the Hobbit and the start of the Lord of the Rings. Unfortunately Jackson already has a lot on his plate with filming of The Lovely Bones scheduled to start this month and a live action Tintin film in the works.

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