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Comment Noise (Score 1) 202

Noise isn't a problem. It's unpredictable noise or unwanted noise that's a problem. Or noise that cannot be controlled.

In IT, working in a deathly silent office is bugging. I need the background of fans spinning to "feel right", but I don't think it needs to be loud, or even immediately audible. And anything beeping will drive me to distraction as my brain is tuned to find that beeping thing and fix whatever the problem is.

But a tap dripping? Or headphones tizzing? Or someone tapping their foot or banging a door? Even a mouse clicking? That drives me mad. That's why the background hum is good - it washes them all out.

I work in an office with a technician. He's young, keen, not used to workplaces with lots of other young people.

We have a "swear jar" of sorts. It's for when he hums, whistles or breaks into song. Playing music, I've told him, is right out. Like others, I've worked in places with fed-in music and it drives me insane. I spent a year in an IT office with a badly-tuned radio locked to BBC Radio 1 and it drove me mad.

I work in schools, so some weeks/months of the year there is nobody around. All my speaker-sets go missing as the office and teaching staff use them to take advantage of the empty offices by having their music up louder than they'd ever be allowed while others are around.

Run an after-school event and all the kids want to plug themselves in while they work. I'm sure that's good for them but the noise leakage from their tiny in-ear things is immensely annoying and often means it's banned even through headphones (not just by me). Even on the school PC's, no apps, games or anything else that makes a sound and internal speakers are switched off - when you have 20 PCs in a room, that's just a cacophony of nightmares.

It's a matter of courtesy. Even if you NEED sound to concentrate, you need to understand that others NEED silence. If you can find a way to have your sound without interfering with their silence, they won't have a problem with you. But blanking out sound is immensely harder than drowning out silence. and there's a fascination with having music so loud that everyone can hear, even out of sound-insulating headphones. That's just unnecessary and rude.

And when you get into singing along, humming, drumming, tapping or anything else, I will break your fingers and shove them down your oesophagus. That's not necessary at all and does nothing but inflict your sounds on others that have already chosen not to listen to your music.

I own a couple of sets of headphones. At a reasonable price, set to a reasonable volume, you literally can't hear a thing from outside them. And I couldn't hear a thing outside when wearing them. So it's not impossible to cater for such tastes. But people don't do it. The problem is that there's no earplug or set of headphones that can provide silence in such a situation. The closest you get is bassy tinnitus coupled with heartbeat, blood-rush, swim-ear sounds, with the background slightly muted in the background.

So when you're on your own, out of earshot, do what you like. When there are others around who don't like sound you need to get a decent set of headphones and keep it to yourself. I know that means restraint in your personal tastes, but you also have to stop picking your nose, scratching your feet, farting, undressing, and all the other distasteful habits at that point too.

I will make one exception: With babies around, you should not be asked to be silent for them to sleep. All you're doing is breeding people like me who can't relax in silence by doing that. And a baby will sleep through ANYTHING. Babies will fall asleep outside in a noisy shopping centre, at a party, with a movie blaring, etc. *Sudden* noise might wake them but that's only more sudden and scary against the silent background than if you just all talked normally over the sleeping child and someone sneezed or whatever.

And if a baby wakes, it wakes. Nobody INTENDS to wake them. That's my one exception - talk normally around babies and even sleeping children. You're subconsciously teaching them to be able to cope with a noisy environment without actually disturbing them at all.

But otherwise? Shut the hell up or isolate your noise from me.

Comment "I Don't Want Your Money" (Score 1) 31

Interesting. I had a fellow on the the train yesterday ask me for food. When I told him I didn't have any money (true), he said he didn't want money, just a loaf of bread. I had just spent nearly the last of the money in my bank account at the grocery shop (due to a banking stuff-up, payday was delayed a couple of days this month). I didn't have any bread, but I gave him one of the two bricks of cheese I'd just purchased and wished him luck in finding some bread to go with it.

Comment Re:In the long run (Score 1) 69

Civilised people have learned how to deal with those who kill without descending to their level.

It wasn't so long ago that the Germans attempted to exterminate quite a few of their neighbours. Yet it proved possible to prevent this without exterminating the Germans.

This makes me glad, as I've a number of good friends today who are German.

Comment Re:The popularity of open offices has exacerbated (Score 1) 202

Brazil is a favourite of mine. Been ages since I watched it, though--might have to do something about that sometime soon.

If I didn't take my job seriously, I could deal with the office. I could go there 9-5 every day and go through the motions and likely get away with it indefinitely. And get almost nothing done, because I simply can't think when random people are constantly walking by and/or talking to each other or on the phone. I am simply very much more productive at home.

My wife doesn't often work at home, but when she does, it's not usually a problem--she has her own desk, etc., in another room. Occasionally she's off work when I'm not--on those days I usually just resign myself to doing administrative busywork or whatever, as they tend not to be such great days for writing or coding. And I can't deny that it's sometimes nice to have her as a distraction.

Comment Re:Appeals court fails basic facts (Score 1) 88

So if you use a copy of Microsoft Office that you didn't pay for but got from "a guy", you can't have civil action against you?

I think you'll find that's not how copyright works, has ever worked or will ever work.

Because at that point, it's not really *copy*right you have to worry about, it's licensing for the original work. To copy it would have been infringement, and you're using an unlicensed copy whether you were the one to copy it or not.

The problem is exactly that judges spent too long reading the law, because that's what's enforced and convicts you, not the dictionary definition unless there is absolutely no legal definition anywhere that's been previously established by a court of law or a legal statute.

Comment Re:Uh..... the price tag?! (Score 1) 172

Well, you're paying for what we computer people call "The Microsoft premium". As we all know, Microsoft's products aren't just designed to be powerful, but to have a design aesthetic that makes them just a little bit special compared to the competition. Apple has always been known for their powerful, but pedestrian, beige or gray thrown together boxes, with no thought given to how a device should look or feel or its usability. Whereas people buy Microsoft not just for the quality, but to own something a little special and little different from the boring old me-too machines from everyone else. A machine that looks friendly, and is friendly.

It's an ethos that may mean Microsoft only gets 2-3% of the market with its Lumia phones, or Zune music players, or Surface tablets, but it ends up getting the right 2-3%, discerning customers willing to pay more for a better product, who'll eventually influence those around them to do the same thing.

For more details, see my blog, Brave Plasma-sphere.

Comment Re:Holy flamebait batman! (Score 1) 904

On the contrary, that's *exactly* what the link shows (and your response as well)--it's one huge exercise in filtering and colouring data in order to "prove" a very specific and narrow viewpoint. One that is very obviously rooted in hatred and selfishness.

Comment Re: Hmm (Score 1) 890

TCP/IP mostly came form Stanford, Xerox (PARC again!), and UC London.

Then it got useful for local networks with work on Ethernet from, where else, PARC, U Hawaii, and UICU (which now prefers UIUC just to annoy us NovaNET alumni).

And the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a largely ignored history of contributions to modern computing and Internet capabilities, from Ethernet to instant messaging to computer-based training, lots of interesting stuff.

And many alumni that were powerhouses early on; Marc Andreessen, Ray Ozzie, Don Bitzer, Steve Chen, Lemuel Davis, Bob Miner,Larry Ellison, and a few others

At one time Microsoft hired more from UIUC than any other school.

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