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Comment Re:Shiva Ayyadurai is a fraud. (Score 3, Interesting) 50

Well, it's possible that he's mildly delusional, as most of us are about beliefs about ourselves that we hold dear.

It strikes me that Ayyadurai is in a legal catch-22 situation. Let's suppose for a moment he did "invent" email. That would make him a public figure, and the legal standard used to establish defamation is "actual malice. That's a difficult standard to meet.

I assume Ayyadurai's complaint are claims that he is a "fake" or a "liar". Suppose some random shmoe is interviewing for a job, and you tell the interviewer that he's a "liar". That is defamation, unless you have actual reason to believe he is a liar. But if you say the same thing about a politician running for office, it's NOT defamation unless you have actual reason to believe he is NOT a liar. That's because the politician is a public figure.

It seems to me nearly impossible to defame someone by calling him a liar in the context of his claiming to invent anything. His very demand to be recognized for his achievement makes him a public figure, whether that claim is true or not.

Comment Re:Atari (Score 4, Informative) 25

Like all 8-bit home computer vendors, they made their own audio and graphics ASIC chips. Sound programming consisted of variants of ADSR (Attack Decay Sustain Release) programming which was replaced with industry standard MIDI with the Atari ST. Graphics programming was based on different text and pixel video modes and player missile graphics/sprite programming. Text modes allowed characters of single/double/half character widths, and double/regular heights. Pixel modes were between 1, 2 and four bits per pixel. The added boost was with player-missile graphics which was an extension of the 2600 console and sprite programming (similar to the Commodore 64 and TI-99/4A). You programmed in little pixelmap images then set registers to position them. Add some extra code to automatically update their positions and you had animation with a very simply physics engine (velocity, acceleration, collision detection). Some video modes supported 16-colors (rainbow or various shades of a particular color). Some programmers developed an APAC mode (any pixel any color) where two video frames are used to pick two different standard colors for each pixel to make a new pixel color. - effectively 24-bit color).

De Re Atari was considered the holy book on programming.

They had their own trackball, light pen and graphics tablet controllers, but didn't include an RS232 interface - that came as an extra podule that plugged in through the serial bus. Other home computer systems had these as standard, so you could use generic dot-matrix printers, modems and frame grabbers.

This was a brief period of time in the industry where international standards/methods were too expensive silicon wise, so everyone tried clever hardware design techniques for IO, graphics and sound.

Comment Re:Being a satirist means acting like a dick. (Score 1) 889

But that doesn't change the fact he attempted satire and failed.

ooh, please tell us more about this Objective Humor Determining Machine you've hands on.


Now you can take it for granted that no matter how clear the joke, there will be some people who don't get it. It always happens. Successful humor, however, is understood as funny by its target audience. Therefore when a jokester is surprised when people he expected to get the joke didn't, he has failed.

Comment Being a satirist means acting like a dick. (Score 5, Insightful) 889

But a very carefully targeted one. The people who get ridiculed have to really deserve the dickish treatment. You can take a cheap shot, but you can never punch down.

Now I've seen the infamous video and I totally get it. It's a good point, but it totally fails as satire because he ended up screwing with, and then harming the guys in the video, who almost certainly have no idea the significance of what they're doing. How many Jews are in India? About five thousand individuals out of a billion. Zoroastrians are almost 30 times more common in the US as Jews are in India, particularly rural India.

Now he's totally right that the media is stupid, block-headed and hypocritical, and has neither the ability nor inclination to understand him. But that doesn't change the fact he attempted satire and failed. That makes him, at least in this incident, just a dick.

Comment Re:Well you would choose Manchester By the Sea (Score 1) 52

Don't worry. You are a special, unique snowflake. If people can't understand you, they are racist.

Actually people who don't understand me are usually idiots. Some of them are blockheads. Funnily enough racists understand me fine, they just don't like what I have to say.

Comment Re:So how is this any different than before? (Score 4, Interesting) 205

Well, "free market" used this way is a glittering generality. Most people who use it aren't referring to the technical economic sense in which individual consumers and producers make consumption, production and pricing decisions autonomously. What they typically mean would be better described something in the direction of anarcho-capitalism, although many are somewhat selective in their application of that philosophy (e.g. they aren't for the free market determining the number of abortions performed, birth control pills dispensed, or marijuana grown).

Comment A good manager should know when there's a problem. (Score 4, Interesting) 158

Years ago I developed an early mobile computer app (on palm pilots) for use in field work (exotic vegetation control, mosquito control, that kind of thing). And the supervisors would often warn me that the workers were unhappy and hostile toward the idea of a new system.

So I'd take the field guys aside and talk over their concerns. Inevitably the question would come up whether their supervisors would be tracking their movements all through day. I'd assure them that no, the system couldn't tell if you stopped to grab a cup of coffee or take a whiz, but I warned them that it would give management a very precise assessment of how much work each individual worker actually accomplished.

And here's the thing: everyone was OK with that. They didn't mind being evaluated on accomplishment, they just didn't want to be treated like children or judged by some bullshit metric.

As a manager you need data, but you shouldn't have a bias toward easily obtained data. Someone who is on top of his employees' performance doesn't need an ass-in-chair time tracker, unless an employee's actual function is simply to sit on a chair.

If you're really doing your job as boss, the people who report to you won't be worried about being tracked. They'll worry about doing a good job. Because when they do a good job, you notice, and when they do a bad job, you notice... and promptly. Nobody is going to think you're judging them on bathroom breaks.

Comment Re:Big news in California... (Score 1) 455

It should be big news. There's a 15,000 acre reservoir behind that 750 foot dam; if the level of the reservoir drops 30 feet, that's 450,000 acre-feet, or a half billion cubic meters of water. Depending on the speed of the spillway failure that could well be the largest dam-related disaster in US history. For comparison the Jonestown Flood was only 18 million cubic meters. The Saint Francis Dam disaster involved a reservoir of only 47 million cubic meters.

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