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Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?

Aighearach Re:Org mode (120 comments)

I've been using emacs for 15 years for all my software development.

That said, orgmode doesn't look very useful. If you're wanting note-taking software that specifically allows formulas to be written in lisp, then it is surely the way to go. Or if you not only use emacs, but also use emacs for things other than editing, then perhaps it is just the nerdy tool for you.

I don't think I'd put it in a list of tools targeted at professional journalists for taking notes, though.

TuxCards, dokuwiki, freemind, freeplane all look a lot more like the sort of tool being asked for here. Suggesting kitchen-sink type of tools for emacs sure doesn't help popularize emacs for what it is good at, either.

11 hours ago
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Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

Aighearach Re:Who watches the watchers (203 comments)

Republicans are currently attacking the 17th Amendment because they're scared of changes in demographics that will marginalize their right-wing views, and if they can strip the right to vote on Senators away from the People, and return it to the State Legislatures, then they can elect Senators based on gerrymandered State-level district lines, instead of by popular vote within the State.

Why do you hate Democracy, and why do you hate the Constitution?

12 hours ago
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Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

Aighearach Re:Who watches the watchers (203 comments)

Do you notice that the "Republic" is a type of "Democracy"?

You missed the words "free" and "direct" in the definition of Democracy. In Democracy, everybody chooses. In a Republic, some undefined set of people choose. Also, a Democracy is direct but a Republic can be direct, or indirect. Therefore, assuming the definitions you quoted, a Democracy is a type of Republic, but most Republics are not Democracies.

Sheesh...

Couldn't agree more! ;)

12 hours ago
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Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

Aighearach Re:Who watches the watchers (203 comments)

The Framers were specifically, clearly, and explicitly against "Democracy." That is why only a small percentage of people were allowed to vote, and they only voted on who would then go on to vote for the rulers. They were focused instead on guarantees of civil rights and local control of local issues.

The original system of electing "electors" who then choose the President was based on the English parliamentary system, but effectively with a different parliament (the Electoral College, a title borrowed from German aristocracy donating a Prince who held a vote towards electing the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire) for choosing the President than for writing laws.

For example on local governance one of the big complaints was that the King would rescind the laws even of his own appointed local Governors, because he didn't want to allow the colony to be well-governed. Important and routine things like local taxes to fund local government were rescinded, leaving the colony in perpetual partial-anarchy, and interfering with the establishment of long-term business ventures. The fight was more about ensuring that local governance is allowed, and is conducted according to understood Rights, than it was about who got to choose the leaders.

Words change, but ideals of Democracy are something that came later, and have not yet succeeded in supplanting the Republic that we have. Many States, such as mine (Oregon), have local Democracy through a Ballot Measure system. At times the State Legislature has passed laws we didn't like, and we have in those cases repealed them. We also write and pass laws directly that the legislature lacks the courage to pass. But at the Federal level there is not even a legal mechanism to hold a direct election, and not a single national direct election has ever been held. But don't be confused; for many supporters of Democracy, that is the eventual goal; to create a national system where we can over-ride individual laws or decisions by the Legislature, and even enact new laws by direct vote. There are many issues that the political parties are 51/49 split on where the People in general are 70/30 on that issue. With actual Democracy we could resolve most of those issues in popular ways.

That the serfs don't even understand the basic terminology certainly adds to the difficulty in promoting those types of changes.

12 hours ago
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Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

Aighearach Re:Who watches the watchers (203 comments)

If your premise is that corporate leaders are not people, I can guarantee you I would form a militia and fight to restore American ideals of personal freedom.

Corporations are not people, but corporate employees are. It is none of my business if a politician changes jobs and becomes a corporate employee.

And how would you decide what jobs you'll let former pols do? It is like inverted Fascism; fascism was the merger of the functions of business and State, this would be a merger of the functions of anti-business and State.

12 hours ago
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Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

Aighearach Re:Who watches the watchers (203 comments)

Thank you! Thought I'd give a shout-out from another fan of civics.

I also want to point out that here in Oregon we have direct Democracy and also "Representative Democracy." Most laws are State laws, not Federal, and we have real and direct control of those laws; when we want to. And the rest of the time it functions as a Republic, with elected representatives doing the daily work.

The 17th amendment stuff is funny. A bit of submarine attack; you're suggesting it would increase Democracy to remove the right of the People to choose Senators, and return power to State legislatures to appoint them. Given your interest in civics, you surely know that repealing the 17th Amendment would reduce Democracy. It is the current Republican response to changing demographics; if the State legislature chooses the Senators, then you can ensure Republicans get selected by local gerrymandering.

The 17th Amendment is part of the Constitution. This nonsense about the "original" Constitution seems to deny that the "original" Constitution says that the Amendments are PART of it.

I'll give you a B+ for civics, but a C- on propaganda. Your Constitution dogma is self-contradictory.

12 hours ago
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Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

Aighearach Re:Government is a tool (203 comments)

Why would you even think that a company like Google would have more power than a government?

Because the guy on the radio said so, and he swears just like a regular Joe so he must be authentic.

12 hours ago
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Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field

Aighearach Re:Why? (121 comments)

I never got the 50mm hysteria. I always found it either too long or too short when used with 35mm.

At 35mm it works well in a studio setting where the subject is always at a fixed distance and you want to minimize foreground distortion while still giving a sense of depth.

I never did much posed portraits, and in candid or on-site portraits I also tended longer or shorter. Generally an outdoor background provides a better sense of depth so the intermediate length isn't useful.

It can also be a good length for macros.

Here in the western US, for 35mm film if you were to say "portrait lens" it would almost certainly mean 50mm, which now means ~35mm for digital.

13 hours ago
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Why Tesla Really Needs a Gigafactory

Aighearach Re:Does the math work out? (169 comments)

sounds like the old fable of pulling yourself up by your own hair.

If your hair is long enough and you have pulleys in the right places, there is no problem at all with pulling yourself up by your hair.

Don't be scared off by the wrong problem, or let people confuse you with hair when you need a pulley. Even worse would be confusing vertical integration with hair, without consideration of pulleys or efficiency.

13 hours ago
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Why Tesla Really Needs a Gigafactory

Aighearach Re:Does the math work out? (169 comments)

[M]any dealers charge $200 dollars to transfer your ownership....

What? But the dealer has no legal role in car ownership after the car is initially purchased. What happens if the new (or old) owner doesn't pay? (I've sold two previous cars and never paid the dealership anything.)

You lose the warranty, or service agreement. Generally there are a whole bunch of "free" routine maintenance services that are already pre-paid as part of a service agreement, so that is what you're paying to transfer. Also there might be different prices for service for "members" or however they phrase it.

13 hours ago
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Why Tesla Really Needs a Gigafactory

Aighearach Re:Does the math work out? (169 comments)

He better bring her with him to remember the GPS and backup camera, especially if she's not going to let him install it himself. And you really don't want to see what a do-it-yourself sunroof on a new car looks like. If you've done enough fiberglass to do the work, you've breathed too many fiberglass fumes to do the planning...

13 hours ago
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Why Tesla Really Needs a Gigafactory

Aighearach Re:Random thoughts... (169 comments)

Those are mostly all wrong. And indeed they didn't shelve the idea, the companies that have had hydrogen cars on the road for years and years have had great success with it; they just haven't pushed to build infrastructure, because the needs the different storage devices vary widely and it is still unclear which technologies will be most competitive.

3 is especially funny. Better go tell all those BWM owners their cars start slower than a hand crank... they'll probably laugh at you while turning the key to "on" and driving away.

Hyundai actually has a mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell car (well, SUV) now, and Europe is building out limited infrastructure. Even people who want to build the infrastructure are slightly hesitant because everybody is worried that new technology will be ready "soon" that will make them look silly with the old tech. But the build-out is starting anyways.

The European infrastructure project is being supported on the automaker side by BMW, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota, and on the hydrogen supply side by Air Products, Copenhagen Hydrogen Network, ITM Power, Linde and OMV.

That is actually all news from last spring, kids.

13 hours ago
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Why Tesla Really Needs a Gigafactory

Aighearach Re:Does the math work out? (169 comments)

They are most likely adding additional capabilities, and not "shifting" any "focus" at all, in any way.

The real question here is what their attitude towards their EV competitors will be, and if they'll try to retain proprietary batteries, or push towards standards. If they want to stay proprietary, then they'll look to build traditional batteries with their excess capacity; if they want standards, they might just revolutionize the aftermarket and do-it-yourself at the same time.

13 hours ago
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Why Tesla Really Needs a Gigafactory

Aighearach Re:Does the math work out? (169 comments)

Many high end restaurants do in fact grow part of their own produce, especially if they have important ingredients that are of variable quality in the local market. Often they lease the field and the farmer, and give up the cost savings up front, in order to ensure quality and be "in charge" of that quality if a decision needs to be made.

Even with savings aside, this could really benefit Tesla because the battery market is driven by other industries with different needs.

13 hours ago
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Google Aids Scientology-Linked Group CCHR With Pay-Per-Click Ads

Aighearach Re:Non event... (145 comments)

Sorry froggy, they've been on an anti-google kick for years. I'll tell exactly when since... since Jobs declared nuclear war on Android!

Most of the old-timers are on soylentnews dot org

yesterday
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Google Aids Scientology-Linked Group CCHR With Pay-Per-Click Ads

Aighearach Re:Messed up organizations with happy names. (145 comments)

I'll have you know that the Children's Food Safety and Quality Control Council cannot endorse the barbecuing of infants. The harsh smoke is too strong for the tender meat. We recommend braising or low-temperature smoking

yesterday
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Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field

Aighearach Re:Why? (121 comments)

Why would I want to ruin large parts of a good image with this effect? It seems just as stupid as adding a large lense flare.

lenses that can achieve a narrower field of focus are the more expensive ones, so there is established artistic value. Lens flare can also have value, and is really difficult to use effectively, so there is probably also a market for that.

yesterday
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Seattle Bookstores Embrace Amazon.com

Aighearach Re:Bookstores - are you trying to change hard enou (83 comments)

My local independent bookstore offers 10% off cover price on ALL new books, all the time, no membership needed. They have the used copies on the same shelf, too. (and no sales tax in Oregon)

Cover prices are generally set by the publisher, not the retailer.

about a week ago
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Seattle Bookstores Embrace Amazon.com

Aighearach Re:Wrong. Amazon profit from abuse of min. wage co (83 comments)

In my town, regardless of industry, warehouse workers are mostly employees of temp agencies, and usually only get hired on at a company after working there as a "temp" for over a year.

There is nothing sinister about it, these jobs have high turnover, from all causes, and generally they would have to hire multiple HR people just to manage them. The temp agencies are in a better position to manage workers who often don't last in an assignment. Maybe Joe Worker does fine the first 3 months, but then starts to have "personality conflicts." The temp agency can actually still make good use of this worker, and can reduce the overhead costs by avoiding assignments that require a lot of training. An in-house HR department isn't in that situation with these workers, so even if they spend the extra money to manage them, they just have to fire them anyways. It can be literally "impossible" to have a well-managed in-house warehouse workforce, because you can't evaluate, hire, train, and fire, workers fast enough. So you choose between being under-trained, or under-disciplined. The temp agency doesn't have to evaluate, hire, fire every time. They've abstracted out the different parts. So they can provide higher quality low-level workers than you could hire on your own. And when you want to change one out, there aren't a bunch of rules and red tape; nobody is getting hired or fired. You're simply ending an order on temp number #999999, and requesting a replacement, who will show up on time in the morning. And if it was some BS reason, or a "personality conflict," or somebody that got bored after a few months, that worker will call in every morning and probably get another assignment shortly.

about a week ago

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