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Missouri Law Says Students, Teachers Can't Be Facebook Friends

Arctech Organization (415 comments)

If I were a teacher I wouldn't want all of my students (past and present) to be friended on my personal FB page anyway. Even if it were segregated into groups (fb) or circles (G+), it would just be a lot easier to manage posting information and fielding questions, messages, and such if a page were made for the classroom that was organized by the teacher. I wouldn't see it as a function of things being appropriate conduct or not, just a sane separation between work and personal communication.

more than 3 years ago

Missouri Law Says Students, Teachers Can't Be Facebook Friends

Arctech Re:Facebook friends != friends (415 comments)

Would saying +1 to this be too meta?

more than 3 years ago

Debt Deal Reached

Arctech Re:Most economists think this isn't enough? (844 comments)

When you're stuck in debt and in a low wage dead end job, would you enact full blown austerity measures on yourself, sell your house, your car, get rid of anything that costs money and live in a box? So you could pay pennies on your interest from your 7-11 job? No. You go take out a student loan, you increase your current debt, get a degree, and get a job where your revenues are to a healthy enough point to where your long term debt isn't a problem anymore.

You can't cut your way out of a depressed or recessed economy. The national debt, while a problem, is not the biggest problem we need to worry about right now, the thing we have to focus on is jobs. We need to invest in economic stimulation, social safety nets, and overall job creation. If we focus on that and start actually recovering revenues then the debt problem won't be this insurmountable thing. The debt is a long term problem. The slow economy is an immediate problem, and if we use spending to bring it back to health it won't matter in the long term whether it adds to the overall debt or not. BTW, no one is getting "taxed the fuck out of", taxes are as low as they've been in decades. One of the largest contributors to our current debt was the Bush era tax cuts, which did practically nothing to stimulate the economy nor grow jobs, and the republican's staunch opposition to letting them expire was one of the things that made them most transparent. They don't actually care about reducing the deficit, they just want to defund the government and make sure all the rich people get richer.

more than 3 years ago

HTC Ready For Apple Patent War

Arctech Re:Aliens vs Predators (98 comments)

Right now just about every major technology corporation in Silicon Valley have amassed large sums of software patents (most of which should never have been awarded or given credence in the first place) for the express purpose of either frivolous use in lawsuits, or the threat bringing suit.

Granted there are not many easy solutions to this gross misuse of the original intent of patent law, but the answer of "don't buy a smartphone" isn't really going to help much. It's a systemic problem widespread in the industry, and I'm doubtful it will go away without serious patent reform.

more than 3 years ago

Facebook Is Most Hated Social Media Company

Arctech Re:Customers? What customers? (165 comments)

At the very least a user is a client of the service, however from Facebook's POV they may as well be a customer. Every head that logs in to their site produces ad revenue, fairly efficiently targeted ad revenue if the person has bothered to enter in any amount of "likes" for various interests. Facebook's purchased currency, "points", is gravy by comparison.

more than 3 years ago

Carmack Addresses FPS Creativity Concerns

Arctech Re:Still doesnt excuse (280 comments)

I don't believe anyone is arguing that id can't innovate technology-wise, the Doom3 engine was pretty advanced for its time and all of its normal-mapped goodness was pretty well received as far as "good graphics" metrics went. But the actual Doom 3 game, good luck seeing all those pretty graphics when over half the game is played in practically no light whatsoever (at least before you get to the hell levels).

Which isn't even all that bad a trait but for the fact that the actual creative design of the game boiled down to a one-trick pony. Wander around in the darkness -> Pick up an item -> Monster jumps out of the closet. It works for the first few times, and then it's just boring and predictable. For a sequel to one of the most notorious action shooter games of all time, there's a whole lot of wandering around not shooting anything save for the times you happen across an enemy or two. It frankly didn't feel like a Doom game at all, it's like they wanted to be System Shock 2 but couldn't figure out the formula.

Ironically, an earlier released game Painkiller turned out to be a better Doom sequel than Doom 3, not to mention it also stacked up pretty well to D3's fairly well.

more than 3 years ago

Wall-E Robot Made With LEGO Mindstorms

Arctech Transform looks good, but... (29 comments)

The action of tucking the treads underneath is impressive and a pretty sweet engineering. I just wish the headpiece was more than an afterthought, though. It looks very unfinished.

more than 3 years ago

Facebook Announces Video Calling With Skype

Arctech Re:Beginning of the End (102 comments)

While the feature does exist, it takes a good bit of time to set up and organize (especially for people with 200+ contacts) and on top of that it's cumbersome to use. Google+'s Circles feature, as I understand it, is introduced with the addition of every contact, and in every post you make it's made very clear with what groups you are communicating information to.

more than 3 years ago

Time To Close the Security Theater

Arctech Re:No amount of security will prevent terrorism (457 comments)

The part about looking for nervous responses isn't a bad idea, but the rest is fundamentally racial profiling, and won't do much to prevent actions of local citizens that have been radicalized, another of Al Qaeda's recent focuses.

more than 3 years ago

Chain Reactions Reignited At Fukushima

Arctech Re:Whack-a-mole (234 comments)

I agree with your points here, but would like to add that, concerning geothermal, the only thing restricting wide-scale geothermal power production is the current limitations of drilling deep wells. Once it's practical to drill deep enough to get substantial heat (and you can drill anywhere to do this) it becomes a simple matter of pouring in salt water and capturing the steam for energy production. There has been at least one MIT study suggesting these renewable power plants could serve our energy needs for the next few thousand years.

more than 2 years ago

Tennessee Bill Helps Teachers Challenge Evolution

Arctech Re:Academic freedom vs science. (735 comments)

I want teachers and those responsible for the curriculum to abide by the establishment clause, meaning they can't present religious indoctrination as education. The Dover trial boldly exposed intelligent design as thinly veiled unscientific Judeo-Christian propaganda, it is infuriating that they can still get away with this "teach the controversy" nonsense.

more than 3 years ago

The Facebook Obsession

Arctech Re:Useful tool for some (265 comments)

Yes however demonstrably there[sic] were not that worth it for you to maintain contact. And that's the real point.

Drifting apart from a person who you have been separated from has nothing to do with the level of contact you maintain with that person, and how much you care to maintain it. When you go from seeing a person every day to a relationship of an occasional phone call/IM/email/whatever, you're going to start drifting apart. That is an inevitability. This is true for both platonic friendships and deep romances. People in long distance relationships don't get closer, so don't be absurd by suggesting a friendship isn't valued because they don't maintain a relationship as well as they did when they were in constant contact. Lives are busy, complicated, and things that we would like to do and like to have time for often get thrown on the backburner. Social networks can specifically counter this effect by creating a new form of constant contact in a way that most other communication technologies frankly aren't able to match. It isn't the same, nor is it as good as seeing face to face, but it's undeniably useful if you actually care about your past relationships.

Young people text because they are too lazy to even spell out "you"! Actually I think Betty White said it best when she said: "It seems like a tremendous waste of time"

oh wow, so old people don't get technology, why i've never heard of such a thing

more than 3 years ago

The Facebook Obsession

Arctech Re:Useful tool for some (265 comments)

The question I'm asking is: Why were the relationships lost in the first place?

People graduate from high schools and collages, people get new jobs, people move, etc etc etc. Not every relationship gets curtailed because you no longer relate to your past friendships.

Is Facebook that much more convenient than e-mail, IRC, SMS, IM, or a telephone call?

It very much is, and follows the pattern of young people tending to send text messages instead of calling someone directly. It is a more passive, less confrontational, and overall more convenient way to engage with another person who would not be otherwise directly accessible.

more than 3 years ago

Revisiting Ebert — Games Can Be Art, But Are They?

Arctech Video games are art, because games are art. (278 comments)

Going to repost a write-up of an acquaintance of mine because he has this all summed up quite nicely. It was originally in response to Ebert saying games "could never be art" a few months back.

I am usually the first person to defend Roger Ebert, but he is just talking out of his ass here. The terms of his argument are ludicrous, he's operating from extreme prejudice and ignorance, and he's using highly loaded terms that are selectively defined in a way that most supports his point of view. I don't care what he has to say here. Either games have provided meaningful personal moments for you or they have not.

I'm going to refer back to Angel's post because I think "games as art" conversations become immediately bogged down in vapid comparisons to other media. The unique element of games, of any game, are the rules - a collection of agreed-upon (or enforced) mechanics that interact with player choice and action to facilitate some larger meaning.

Chess is a great game. Its elegance and complexity and apparently limitless depth makes it compelling and endlessly intriguing. It clearly taps into something we find really, really fascinating. The game board is both entirely abstract and deeply metaphorical. If you don't want to call chess a work of art, then you're just being pedantic or snotty. How many artists have employed chess in their works? As a marker of intelligence? As a symbol of rivalry? Of friendship? As a metaphor for the futility of war, or its strategy and beauty? How many chess terms have entered popular vocabulary?

Games are meaningful creative works. They've been around for a very long time and have long informed our popular consciousness, and video games are just another form. Games help people understand how simple ideas (i.e. rules) can interact in complex ways, or how complex ideas can interact in ultimately simple and exploitable ways, or how certain ideas will inevitably lead towards certain outcomes.

When a great game comes to a climax, it is not because some animator somewhere really nailed an awesome cut scene. The climax of a great game involves a moment when all of the various rules come together in a way that reveals the meaning and depth of their interaction. In chess, this happens with a checkmate - a moment when the game comes to fruition, where the meaning of every previous move becomes clear, and when player actions intersect in a decisive moment.

This is why Roger Ebert doesn't give a shit about games: because he doesn't play them. You can't understand games without playing them. You can't have someone sit you down and try to explain Flower with a powerpoint presentation. Games are about learning, not experiencing. When you play a game, you're learning it, and you're playing for those great "Oh" moments where something emerges out of the rules that you didn't expect or couldn't appreciate without seeing those rules in action. Some games do this once or very few times (such as "Train" or "Passage") but are nonetheless great. Other games do this many times (such as Chess).

It's really frustrating to see essays like Ebert's. It's not because he upsets me (who cares?), but because gamers everywhere insist on ruminating about the "future of games" when in reality games are old as hell. Video games have done some great new things with them, but games are still games, and there's absolutely no reason to defend them when they've done a great job being important parts of our culture for the past few thousand years.


more than 2 years ago

How the PC Is Making Consoles Look Out of Date

Arctech Popularity (568 comments)

In the scope of things, the fact that the 360 and the PS3 are showing their age doesn't translate to a mass migration of developers to the PC platform. For a long time now, consoles have gained and held the larger gaming audience compared to the PC, and that market continues to be the biggest and most profitable market. For the majority of the time, PC's hold a significant technological edge over consoles, which is nice for when you want to punch things like Crysis ahead of the graphics curve, but it isn't as if all the console gamers converted to the PC platform because Crysis was pretty.

more than 3 years ago

Experiment Shows Not Washing Jeans for 15 Months is Disgusting But Safe

Arctech Sure... (258 comments)

Maybe you can smell like a hobo and not be a public health hazard, but... you still have hobo-stank all over you.

more than 3 years ago

US Supreme Court Expected Political Ad Transparency

Arctech Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (617 comments)

But that's arguably what the supreme court is for. If the court hadn't overturned democratic majority rule in the 60's then there would still be white and black segregated schools. Only in this case the SCOTUS decided to overturn decades of legal precedent, having the effect of short circuiting any sort of limitation or regulation in election campaigning system.

more than 3 years ago

US Supreme Court Expected Political Ad Transparency

Arctech Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (617 comments)

The individual citizen is always going to be drowned out in a democracy. The biggest gang wins. That what Democracy is.

There's a saying that goes, "Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner."

more than 3 years ago

Why You See 'Free Public WiFi' In So Many Places

Arctech Re:"They Still Use Windows XP?!" (260 comments)

Hell, I'd still be using W2K except I have one or two apps that won't run under it. I actually downgraded from 7 last year after determining that 7 did absolutely nothing I needed that XP didn't, and had plenty of quirks that drove me crazy.

UAC is to Vista/Windows 7 what sudo is to Unix. It was a function that was a glaring omission from NT up through XP, and if you think any operating system is better without a function to temporarily elevate a limited user to admin you're nuts.
If you think XP's default behavior of setting up everyone to run as a full administrator account to run day-to-day tasks 24/7 you're even more nuts.

more than 3 years ago

Why Are We Losing Vertical Pixels?

Arctech Re:Deal with it (1140 comments)

I have no problem going from a 4:3 or 5:4 screen to a 16:10, but unless you're getting a significantly larger screen there is no benefit whatsoever in going from a 16:10 to a 16:9.

Moreover, the manufacturers are pushing 16:9 screens because it's marketable (they can attach all sorts of useless buzzwords to it like TRUE HD 1080p), and because they're cheaper, effectively giving less pixel space in some cases. And as with cheap monitors, most do not come with a stand that supports a swivel to portrait.

Widescreen in general is good for movies, games, and little else. Practically all document creation and all web content progresses vertically, not horizontally, so going to a widescreen standard that gives you less height is completely nonsensical for a huge portion of what computers are used for today.

more than 3 years ago


Arctech hasn't submitted any stories.



28 inches of High Carbon Tempered Steel

Arctech Arctech writes  |  more than 11 years ago Finally.

Ever since I was a kid, I really liked swords. Probably because of the 80s shows I grew up with; the hero usually had some kind of sword. It pretty much stuck with me ever since.

Once when I was in college, I ended up sort of stranded on campus for the winter break. (It was a whole mess with housing and registration, best not to go into detail.)

Anyway, a couple of my buddies let me crash in their apartment for a few days, and one of them had a katana and a wicked-looking broadsword. He let me play around with them, and I found I really liked the katana.

It's a very light sword for one with a two-handed grip, so you can make some pretty quick strokes without having a blade as thin as say, a rapier. But at the same time, you can make very forceful cutting blows like you would expect from a european broadsword.

The Japanese have a cutting test they would put a katana (and its wielder) through. They wet a thick mat, rolled it, stood it on end, and the swordsman would see how many cuts it would take to slice all the way through. If the swordsman was experienced and the katana was well-made, he could slash through it with a single stroke, something euro-style swords can only recently lay claim to.

But moving on, I finally got my hands on a decently made sword. And this one is a real katana, and not one of these home-shopping-network stainless steel numbers that would chip and shatter if ever used in a stage fight or what have you. It's made of high-carbon steel with a visible temper line, the blade is sharp, and I believe the hilt has a full tang.

In the scabbard. I learned how to tie the sageo knot myself.
Hilt Artwork

It's a very good quality blade, and without the cost of these absolutly historically accurate recreations that run you thousands of dollars. This was well under $200.

If anyone wants one, Atlanta Cutlery has them, and it seems they're a very reputable vendor. Their site is kinda funny right now though, if that just takes you to their front page, you can navigate to the katana from Ethnic Knifes and Swords -> Practical Katana Sword

Hmm. I really ought to think of a name for it...


First post

Arctech Arctech writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Apparantly I have a journal on here or something. So here goes with the testing.
First post! :-)

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