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Comment Disable Windows Update (Score 1) 249

It's so simple, just disable the Windows Update service. Turn it back on when you want to check for updates. This works on all versions, including Windows 10 Home. I don't understand why NO journalist has EVER mentioned this. Oh, wait, I know... because tech journalists are totally ignorant of the technology they are covering.

Also, check the Task Scheduler for fascist update programs like AMD Updater, which AFAIK cannot be disabled any other way.

Comment Windows (Score 1) 226

The general purpose PC is still the best media appliance available. I also use Windows with a wireless mouse and keyboard. It's just way less hassle than anything else. I can set up the library the way I want it, using *GASP* a folder tree. Zero time wasted scrolling through brain-dead UIs. No ads or posters in my face. No mangling of song orders, etc. due to bad or missing metadata. There is a wide variety of media players from which to choose. Updates and codecs are easy to install. And also kind of important: my files are files, period, and the space they consume is a known value. There is no database other than the folder tree. PLEX, for one, eats positively criminal amounts of disk space for its library database.

Comment unfortunate article (Score 1) 485

"Star Trek" is fertile ground for cultural and political commentary. It's unfortunate that Sandefur's article is not an analysis of Star Trek, but rather a thinly-veiled polemic. Sandefur's own political views constitute the bulk of the article, in which he mounts a shallow emotional appeal against progressive political values. He cherry-picks specific fictional events from Star Trek to illustrate a right-wing narrative about how American society has allegedly deteriorated. For example, seemingly unaware of the astronomical irony of his word choice, Sandefur characterizes the idea that the Federation might learn something from low-tech sustainable farming as "reactionary" and "inhuman". The banner of the Claremont Institute website reads "Recovering the American Idea". I guess this means going back to a simpler time, when no one questioned the authority of Captain Kirk, who surely rose to his position of authority by virtue of impeccable morality and strength of character.

Comment crap direction (Score 5, Interesting) 360

The problem here is not the franchise, but the director. George Lucas has an uncanny ability to get the worst possible performances out of good actors. Look no further than Samuel L. Jackson, who's a talented individual, but came off as stiff and wooden in the Star Wars movies. It's well known that George Lucas doesn't direct actors at all, and often shoots just a single take of the performance. Then he invests massive time and energy into the visual effects, making the CG artists re-do their work multiple times for questionable reasons. He's more of a technology evangelist than a filmmaker.

Comment lossy is not an issue (Score 2) 130

I'm a professional video editor, and I can tell you flat out that lossy codecs are not necessarily bad. DV is a very solid option, it's supported by all software. ProRes is fantastic, but it's OS X only, unless you want to shell out several hundred dollars for a Windows codec plugin. In most software, if you edit with the DV or ProRes codecs, frames will only be recompressed if you actually change the image data. If all you're doing is straight cuts editing, then your exported, edited frames will be bit-for-bit identical to the originals. If you do need to adjust the video, add transitions, etc., then frames will be recompressed. But you will be very hard pressed to visually detect any generation loss. You'll need to repeat that process through ten iterations before you see any image degradation. And remember, your original footage is VHS, which is hardly broadcast quality to begin with.

Comment No one should document their own work! (Score 1) 211

As a professional technical writer, published author, and university instructor, I can tell everyone here that developers should never be permitted to write their own documentation. No amount of blogging and helpful hints is going to turn a programmer into a teacher, unless she already is both. Even then, there is a huge potential for disaster. The person who creates something should never, ever be the person who documents it. The creator is just too close to the product. Zen mind is beginner's mind. This is why UX focus groups consist of naive users, not experts. And the developers are the most expert of all possible experts. Sadly, software companies, at least in the digital content creation sector, seem to have fired all of the technical writers as a cost-cutting measure. The quality of documentation from many companies (I'm looking at you, Adobe) has plummeted. Nowadays it's expected that any issues with the docs will be resolved by the users themselves via discussion forums. It's a travesty, I tell you.

Comment Re:death is an evolutionary adaptation (Score 1) 625

"The universe doesn't care" is a vacuous truth. Of course the universe doesn't care. About anything. My point is that it is in our OWN long-term interests, as a species, to clear away the dead wood from time to time. If we all reproduce and raise individuals who are capable of same, that's fine, but only IF we don't cause a societal/environmental collapse due to over-utilization of resources.

Comment death is an evolutionary adaptation (Score 1) 625

Death is a necessity. If we look at aging from the point of view of evolutionary adaptation, it is clear that it serves a telenomic "purpose". The lifespan of each species is optimized for environmental conditions. Humans have programmed cell death that limits their lifespan to ~100. Other species have other lifespans according to their evolutionary niches, and some species are effectively immortal. It is within our own individual short-term self-interests to prolong life indefinitely. However, it is very clearly NOT in the best interests of society, nor the global ecology, for humans to be immortal. Humans consume vast resources, in great disproportion to their contributions to the greater environmental milieu. Someday, if and when humans (or some form of cybernetic organisms) become vastly more efficient, intelligent, and compassionate, it may be viable to consider immortality. But clearly, technological progress has far outstripped our understanding of its implications. Do we really want a world filled with creaky, old, rich people who never relinquish power? Because it's self-evident that, under the current societal conventions, immortality will not be available to the underclasses. This path eventually leads to a bifurcation of the species reminiscent of H.G. Wells.

Comment this actually affects my life (Score 2) 372

Alla y'all can shoot off your Slashdotting mouths, but this issue directly affects my life in a major way. I am an educator and artist with a strong technical skill set. But I am of no use to the Apples and Googles of the world, and they are, frankly, of no use to me either. So there is no place for me in the Bay Area any longer. After 20 years in San Francisco, I am forced out by the spiraling rents. And why is the rent going out of control? It's precisely because of the gold rush described here. The Mission neighborhood, in particular, is being gentrified at an extremely alarming rate. Rents have increased more than 400% in 20 years. That's a quadruple factor, my friends. And yet, the crime and misery on the street continues unabated. There are literally thousands of homeless on the streets of this one neighborhood alone. And the private buses taking the technorati to their business parks in San Jose are symptomatic of this very real problem. As for me, fuck it, I'm moving to Portland. This place makes me sick, and I used to love it. End of line.

Comment Addiction replacement program (Score 1) 330

12-step programs merely replace one addiction with another. The dependence on alcohol or drugs is replaced with dependence on the Invisible Hairy Thunderer in the Sky, and, more significantly, his alleged representatives here on earth. If 12-step programs are so successful in treating addiction, then why do people continue to attend meetings for decades? Any ethical clinical psychologist will tell you that her ultimate job is to render her services unnecessary by helping the patient to achieve independence. 12-step programs merely encourage a different form of co-dependence. It's manipulative and self-serving on the part of the 12-step programs' institutional leaders, and ultimately damaging to the participants. I, for one, would rather expire from alcohol-related liver failure than surrender my ability to think critically.

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