Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Old codes I remember using (Score 4, Insightful) 615

Epson printer ESC codes - you embedded them in text documents and sent them to your parallel port dot-matrix printer, and they produced bold and italics and double width, and all sorts of effects.

ANSI escape screen codes - for setting foreground and background colours and other screen effects (clear screen, home) when you got bored with light grey on black.

Comment Re:I understand this (Score 1) 152

On another note, slurping is OK. It is recognized as good manners in some cultures. (but once it's inside your mouth, there's no need for any more noise!).

No. Slurping is most definitely not OK. I have had misophonia since the age of 12 (and it gets worse with age) and slurping is one of my principal triggers. I will feel like screaming at you as loud as I can if you slurp. I probably won't, but I will be sorely tempted. But I will get out of there as quick as possible.

Don't slurp.

(And yes, I know all about the joys of eating the traditional Chinese way. The only way I could stand it was to drink a large glass of alcoholic cider as quickly as possible. Alcohol is one of the few effective temporary cures for misophonia - I am told that cannabis also works, but that isn't legal where I live).

Comment Re:Australia take note... (Score 1) 253

Wut? No-one has 3Mbps DSL in Aus any more, 24Mbps is pretty much universal. NBN is 96Mbps, not 12Mbps. Your politics are way out, too.

What planet are you on? I live on the outskirts of Sydney - some people in my suburb can even see the harbour bridge in the distance from their houses. And the whole suburb is more than 4 KM from the nearest exchange. My DSL speeds are LESS than 3 Mbps. Many suburbs in the Port Hacking area are sitting on slow DSL speeds AND there are no NBN projects planned to assist any of these suburbs. And what's more, I live in a mobile blackspot - I can't get a mobile signal at my home computer, not even a reliable 3G signal from Telstra.

There are heaps of people in Australia on 3Mbps and worse - and quite a few of them live in metro areas.

If you don't believe me, just look at TPG's coverage maps ( and click on exchanges like Miranda and Cronulla (southern end of Sydney). Any areas in purple - Gray's Point, Lilli Pilli, Port Hacking, Dolan's Bay, Maianbar, Bundeena - are all more than 4.5 KM from their exchange, and many people there are getting speeds of 3Mbps OR LESS. I am one of them, and I know plenty of people in my neighbourhood with worse speeds than me (I have a Telstra pillar right outside my house, so I get better speeds than some).

Comment Re:Adult Diagnosis (Score 1) 131

As a person who was diagnosed by a specialist psychologist as an adult, I would recommend it to others, with a couple of cautions.

First the cautions. It might cost very little if you live in the UK, but it might cost a lot if you live in the US. I live in Australia and it cost me the equivalent of US$500 for the whole diagnostic assessment process. I have heard of people paying US$1-2K for a diagnostic assessment in America. Only you can tell how much it will cost and whether that price is worth it. But I can say that I am very glad I paid my US$500.

Second - and this surprised me. I wanted the diagnosis and am glad that I got it. But I had a negative reaction for a while: all the internalised stigma came to the fore: "You are broken. You are second rate. etc" This was depressing. Society has a strong negative message about autism, and you may be on the receiving end of that from yourself if you get a diagnosis. What got me past this reaction was doing something very positive with my diagnosis. I took up tutoring gifted high school students with Asperger's who are into games programming. The school is very pleased, and they know all about my diagnosis. I am there as the adult Aspie computer programmer who can relate to the student Aspies on their terms. And I can teach programming skills that none of the school's teachers have. After a few months I realised that this was very therapeutic: my diagnosis was a qualification for doing something positive ... and I might add that I was partly inspired to do this by listening to some of Temple Grandin's talks. With more time I would consider setting up a computer club for high school students on the spectrum - and I would love to have other adult Aspies involved (well, I am in Australia, so most Slashdotters are too far away.)

A really good talk on Asperger's and adult diagnosis is here (45 minutes):
She discusses what getting diagnosed means for her as an adult. The talk gets more personal as it goes on - she starts with more general information and then gets into how it affects her life day to day. I have similar experiences to her with phone calls, burn out, fluorescent lights, sounds, and general social overload. I am trying to take better care of myself and get less burnt out - her video helped me identify that a little better.

As for positives about getting a diagnosis ... First of all, it gives you certainty instead of doubt. You can move on with learning how to cope better with your weaknesses and strengths, rather than going round in circles: "Am I or aren't I?" If you don't have the label "Asperger's" then by default you get the label "normal" - and that might not be an appropriate fit for you. Many Aspies - diagnosed and undiagnosed - spend years of adult life trying to "fake normal" and suffering fatigue or burn out (including break downs) or even meltdowns.

Second, it opens up participation in the online community where you can learn from other people on the spectrum. I have found that very helpful - one example being the video I linked to and another being Temple Grandin's own talks. There's also the web site Wrong Planet, and even the Aspies who post regularly on Quora, answering all sorts of questions about autism. There are many helpful blogs around too where you can learn from other Aspies who have thought about and discussed their experience on the spectrum.

Third, you may want some counseling or therapy, either now of in the future, to deal with issues like stress, anxiety, depression, or even marriage counseling. Having a diagnosis and seeing an adult autism specialist will enable that therapist to adapt their approach and therapy to your real condition. The autism spectrum has a major impact on how people process and handle emotions and thought, so counseling and therapy need to be handled a bit differently with Aspies - especially things like marriage counseling which involves both emotions and social interaction - things that Aspies do differently to the non-autistic world. Even medication can be affected by being on the spectrum. I saw my diagnostician for two years and learned about managing stress and anxiety and some serious sensory sensitivity - still applying those lessons now.

Even if you are coping well now, you might find that your ability to "fake normal" wears off as you get older. All the effort trying to appear "normal" can cause burn out and as you get older you may revert to more overtly Aspie behaviour. The coping skills may become weaker. And a diagnosis will help both you and other people to recognise and handle this better.

Good luck with whatever you choose to do. In any case, get books and read. Look around the web and read. Learn

Comment Why dumb phones suck (Score 2) 313

Thing is, I don't want to make or receive phone calls or text messages!

I hate them.

The only reasons I own a phone are because a smart phone is a small handheld computer that can surf the net, play games, play music, show movies, and do other useful tasks (alarm clock, exercise timer - even flashlight). And a smart phone can act as a modem for my laptop to connect to the internet.

So ... remove the smarts - the data, the computer-like features, the hotspot - and all you have left are the two things I don't want: phone calls and SMS.

Comment Re:Agreed but there is a point (Score 1) 341

Chicken Pox for adults is known as Shingles which is far nastier than Chicken Pox.

No, chicken pox for adults is known as chicken pox. In my 30s, my eldest toddler got chicken pox, then a week or two later my youngest toddler got chicken pox. Then a week or two later I got chicken pox. I had never had it as a kid, so I got it as an adult. It was standard chicken pox, and I was off work for 2.5 weeks.

My wife got shingles when she was pregnant with our first child. She had had chicken pox as a child, so she was the only one to miss out when our household had its chicken pox epidemic.

So chicken pox for adults is chicken pox - these are adults who never had chicken pox before. Shingles is for adults who had chicken pox as a child.

Comment We the Government (Score 5, Insightful) 204

We the Government of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations, will not allow the democratic process to interfere with the rights of business to dictate monopolistic and oligopolistic solutions to citize ... erh, customers.

In particular, you have no right to competition nor to form any "more perfect union" that reeks of socialism or even just consumers rights.

Business must be allowed perfect freedom. All other freedoms are coincidental.


Your governor.

Comment Re:Erh... I don't get it (Score 1) 104

As an American, I wonder... how do you do Christmas in warm weather? Or do you just do Christmas in July?

Couldn't we just get some mad scientists to invent something to rotate the Earth 180 degrees? Or if they're really mad, 360 degrees.

A: yes, we do Christmas in July (well, some of us do) ... and Christmas in December - so two Christmases, if you want

B: we put fake frost on shop windows, sing songs about sleighs and reindeer, and wear shorts and T-shirts and go to the beach and get sunburnt. I am not used to your wintry Christmas, so I have nothing to miss.

C: the world has already been rotated 360 degrees by mad scientists - didn't you get the email?

D: how do you do July 4th in warm weather? July is cold, and when we used to have "cracker night" (24 May - so one week short of winter) we would wrap up, sit around a bonfire in the street, and let off "bungers" (large, noisy, unsafe exlosive fireworks). Definitely a cold weather thing.

Comment Re:Erh... I don't get it (Score 4, Informative) 104

I mean, yes, it's true. And yes, it's interesting. But ... news?

Yeah, not really. In Australia I have known for decades that we have a great opportunity for our telescopes because we see portions of the sky that are out of sight for all you Northern Hemisphereans. Hardly news. That is also why bases in Australia are very useful during space flights, when the capsules or whatever go out of range for the Nrothern Hemisphere.

Oh, and it's summer here - a balmy 25 degree Celsius (=77 degrees F). And I live three minutes walk from the beach ....

Slashdot Top Deals

We don't really understand it, so we'll give it to the programmers.