If I were rich like Ted Turner...
...I'd start my own news network. I yearn for there being available push-model (i.e. TV and radio) news of a drastically different what and how. So that I can stand it again.
I'll start with FNC. The one good thing about that network is that they cover the suprisingly large number of things that all the other networks will short-shrift or outright black out. Unless you like to have a tremendously skewed or giant blind spot in your perception of what's going on around you... It's sad that the acquisition of the other half of balance is single-source.
A) The hear both sides and then decide thing. It was an admirable experiment, but it's predicated on a crucial, yet only implicit assumption, and one that is its fatal flaw; that both sides will tell you the truth about their side, enabling you to make an educated choice. Leftists can and do exhibit occasional moments of candor about Leftism in private, one-on-one conversations, but as the amount of broadcast inherent in the situation goes up, the hesitancy towards doing so escalates almost instantaneously to infinity. (And this makes sense, if you understand that side.)
B) Their Left-wing bias. Not in slant within a piece, not in selection of pieces to run as news, but by voluntarily co-habitating in the box that is the boundaries the Left defines for us on how we think about things. Readily pulled examples include "income disparity" and "the Republican war on women". Both are transparently cheap wedge vehicles that are defined as not a problem or not existing by the Right and an untainted Center. Why would I want to hear more news delivered in the terms of Leftist manufactured thought fences, cornering and corralling my mind.
My news network would be characterized by the following pillars of approach:
1) No quotes. For example, a defense attorney saying "My client is innocent and we are going to defend against this scurrilous lawsuit vigorously." Of course they're going to say that. That's not news. That doesn't make me more informed. Same for Obama saying he wants to get the economy going again, or the Lindsey Graham verbal posturing Right-ward before his re-election time.
Besides, they're too often taken out of context, something the Right is also egregiously guilty of I'm sad to say. If a journalist is bent on twisting things, they can easily do it without the ellipses. I'm already at the mercy of the reporter, so I'd much rather they just tell me in their own words, distilling what happened to the key points.
2) No human interest stories/interviews with the neighbors/et al. Somewhat related to the first. I'm sorry that some kids are dying of cancer, but an expose on how one got to live their Batman dream for a day is not worthy of my time. Neither is "he was a quiet boy and seemed nice enough" about a murderer, or "she loved life and gave it her all every day" about a murderee.
3) The Left's side of the argument given only by Right-wingers. That is, damn knowledgeable, and willing to be fair in the interests of spelling out the whole issue to the listeners, kind of Right-wingers. Which might be hard to find and recruit enough of, in that proper interpretation of the Left seems only an occasional fancy of the moment to most on the Right.
Differing conclusions about the Left-wing side or sides would even be fine, and particularly welcome, but only if backed up by sound reasoning about demonstrable Left-wing traits. No hyperbole, just what can be supported. Food for thought.
A difficulty in this would be in how to deal with newer viewers. Those already much further along in their understanding and seeing would find a lot of boring redundancy in things taken as givens, but that are foundational and new and necessary for any kind of comprehension of the rest of the material, for such as those who inadvertently hit the wrong channel on a Daily Show ad break.
I.e. my fledgling network would face several formidable, known challenges. Summarized as not looking like any other news network that presumably anyone had even known before.
4) A late-breaking one: No sports. What can match it in the ratio of the time spent reporting on it over its immaterialness. Many daily newsish type things, like horoscopes for example, are just as inconsequential, but get nowhere near the coverage. Similarly for entertainment news.
Strictly only things of edifying qualities. I think my network tagline would be "News That Improves". Come ready to parse and analyze, or go somewhere else to any number of sources to pass idle time vegetating.
p.s. I now read at the threshold of 1. Any would-be AC's and trolls: do the math. I think I'll be much happier this way, knowing that I've eliminated at least some of the wasting of my time.
p.p.s. I've been away from this place for about nine months.
what do you think about so-called "security questions"?
My car ins. is thru State Farm. They've started asking for my mileage periodically, apparently to move away from a two-tier pricing system (regular (avg 12K/yr) or low-mileage (under 7500 mi I think)) to better-matched tiers. (Thankfully they're not yet quite as "Progressive" as to ask to put a device in my car that spies on my driving.)
I've haven't gotten around to making my password manager program (and I don't want to have to trust someone else's, and I am a programmer afterall so I shouldn't have to), so unimportant things like this get put on stickies, which invariably seem to be eaten by my desk like socks by my dryer.
This is no problem as I can just request that login credentials be e-mailed to the address they have on record, like Slashdot does. EXCEPT when they implement those stupid "security questions".
My take on them is that they're a huge security hole in an otherwise fairly secure (if you choose an obscure username and a strong password) system. They typically necessite answers in common words (if you want to be able to remember your answers, that is), and on topics that are susceptible to public records and social engineering techniques.
So I do what I think is the best I can do to mitigate this weakest link in all-too-common login schemes and fill these fields with random garbage characters.
So on State Farm's web site I find a # for "technical support". So I call asking for a password reset, and the lady asks me the same questions as the auto function for doing this on the web site. I explained why I'm incapable of recalling the answers to the security questions, and was told they couldn't help me without them.
Well what good is their so-called tech support dept then? If they're just monkeys reading scripts, and can only type things into the public web site like I can, then that's not "technical support".
I called technical support for their web site because I was locked out of my account. I'm still locked out of my account, because their technical support couldn't offer any actual technical support!
After that I found a comment/suggestion form, and typed in my contact info and the current problem and gave my background explano, and got:
We are unable to complete your request due to technical difficulty.
Please click on any navigation link at the top or you may return to State Farm homepage.
With an organization this technically inept, I don't even want to risk having an online account with them. Now I want to close it, and just do everything thru my agent (a system that's been working fine for around 20 years now).
p.s. I guess from now on I should alter my behavior slightly and type in and write down strong passwords (and record which question I "chose" (in case a given site ever changes the order of which one appears first/chosen by default in the dropdown)) for these fields.
p.p.s. Another consideration in using these fields as intended is that I don't esp. want to give away to companies (and their partnering companies?) answers to some of these kinda personal questions. If I were devious I would've tried to corner the market on security questions way back and urged web sites to outsource them to me like that Discus or whatever for web comments, and then build dossiers on people and sell to Google and other such bastards who only generally know about us by what we give away in our searches and emails.
This looks an awful lot like this to me. I don't see too many of them, but the neighbor across the street from my folks got one recently, and they park it in the driveway, mug outwards. It's disturbing.
(Okay, I was gonna end it there, but the plight of the guy who lives there really bothers me, and I think America is forgetting that there's tons of us facing that.)
I think it's his mom's car. This guy in his early 50's lives in a house he bought with his widowed mom, across the street from the house (actually they're all duplexes/attached homes) my folks downsized to when they retired. He apparently used to do technical support for some airline software, working off the computer in the office he set up in his garage, on the phone frequently, and traveling somewhat frequently. Presumably paying pretty well as he bought himself a Boxster. Then the economy tanked and he took a lesser job, presumably just for the meantime.
I had heard from my folks that he was in the running for some networking job in L.A., but apparently that never panned out, as he's been doing the same job since shortly after the beginning of the collapse. He became a cable guy, and I suppose now he'll be what I consider underemployed for the rest of his working life (which might or might not get him to financially retireable age).
His mom had told my folks that she told him to go back to school like I was doing at the time. But all anyone can do is make their best judgment and pick a path. Mine turned out to be the right one, so far at least, as I got back into my planned career. But I was out of work for a very, very long time, and I could've never found work in my profession again, that growing more likely the longer I was out of it. It was a huge gamble. Other considerations were that I had a sizable emergency fund and was under 45 at the time and could afford health insurance. (Kaiser sent me a notice just before I got hired and switched to my new company's group plan that my rates were going up a chunk due to turning 45.)
He might not have had much in savings, and prolly thought he needed to take something where he could get health ins. He also might've thought this would take a while to work itself out, whereas I foolishly assumed it would only be a few months and that what I had initially assumed was just an overreaction and irrational panic on everyone's part would dissipate.
Anyways, on his off days he would park his big company van in front of his place on the street. Right where my folks' tiny home's only front-facing window on the first floor looks out (their kitchen window). Mom cooks and dad does the dishes, and he got tired of looking at this big orange advertisement so asked his neighbor if he would park it on the side street instead (his neighbor has a corner lot). He told my dad to go to hell basically, that he comes home tired from his job (he used to climb poles to install cable TV, but then he finally got a transfer to a newer neighborhood with all underground stuff) and often there's no parking on that side and he doesn't effing want to hear about it.
So maybe his mom bought that thing with the terrible visage and faces it his way to join in! ;)
daily life in the neighborhood
Every morning you walk out to your front lawn to pick up the newspaper. And every morning the neighbors on each side of you physically assault you.
For as long as you can remember, you've lived in a house with a particular set of neighbors on either side of you. And ever since you moved there, your neighbor to the right, let's call him Mr. Right, would give you a bloody nose.
In talking with him about it, he argued that it was justified to keep the neighborhood in order. Mr. Left OTOH took your side and thought that that was complete bullshit.
But some many years back Mr. Left had started accosting you as well. Every morning he'd slap you in the face, box your ears, and kick you in the shins. And he added things over time, like nipple twists and indian burns and wet willys, and then later added foot stompings and hair pulling and nose tweaking.
In talking with him about it, he argued that it was justified to keep the neighborhood in order. Mr. Right OTOH took your side and thought that that was complete bullshit.
So in summary, nowadays every morning you are assaulted in ten different ways.
Many of Mr. Left's assaults are kind of silly, but can be somewhat painful nonetheless.
Mr. Right's assault is definitely painful, and a big pain afterwards in that you have to spend some time stopping the bleeding each time.
So, which is worse to you? That depends on if you're more like Mr. Right or Mr. Left.
If you're more like Mr. Left, then:
1) Mr. Right is worse because it's more severe to you, and
2) It's actually far worse to you because you have an ingrained, noticeably skewed sense of proportion anyway.
If you're more like Mr. Right, then:
1) Mr. Left is worse to you because he comes at you with 9 times the assaults, and
2) It's actually far worse to you because he's actually continuing to add more and more assaults to the daily barrage, with no end in sight, and
0) You're wondering, in the first place, do you really even need to be assaulted that much, period, for there to be some minimal level of order maintained in the neighborhood.
the passing of a giant
Michael Clarke Duncan died today. Actor, celebrity bodyguard before that, and ditch digger before that.
Apparently he had a bad heart attack a month and a half ago, and while his GF 16 years his junior, Omarosa from The Donald's "The Apprentice", gave him CPR until paramedics arrived, it only extended his life a little bit to be lived out in an L.A. hospital until finally passing.
He wasn't a fat man, so it's prolly safe to assume that steroid usage was a contributing factor. He was 54.
I didn't first see him in "The Green Mile", but that's when I first took notice of him as an actor. Apparently he was in "Armageddon" and even one of the "Married with Children" episodes that I know I saw.
Being 6'5" and reportedly around 315 lbs, he was heeuge at the time. And not just from the camera angles in that movie.
I also remember him from:
The Whole Nine Yards - As Bruce Willis' assassin buddy (until the end, that is).
Planet of the Apes - As the seargent soldier ape or whatever.
The Scorpion King - Can't remember, except in a kick-ass fight scene with asshole (see his "Punked" episode) Dwayne Johnson.
The Slammin' Salmon - The manic restaurant owner in this "Waiting..." ripoff.
Other movies I saw that I don't remember him in:
Daredevil - Ben Affleck becomes a superhero.
Sin City - Mickey Rourke in a dark, comic book adaptation.
Already released movies I haven't seen that he's in that I want to see:
The Island - Dystopian future tale.
Stuff he's been in that I don't ever want to see:
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby - I don't like Will Ferrell.
A Night at the Roxbury - I hate that other SNL guy, the monkey-boy, even more.
Friday - I can't stand Chris Tucker ever since "The Fifth Element".
Note that for actors, it is their on-screen persona that I like if they're a fave of mine, not necessarily the kind of person they really are. For example apparently he went vegetarian in 2009 and began partnering with PETA to do anti- meat consumption messages. It prolly didn't help his health any to suddenly deprive his body of muscle-replenishing protein.
p.s. I also saw him on the periodically Sandra Bullock produced (and occasionally appearing in) George Lopez TV sitcom, as a wise-cracking dentist.
a new strain
[From this afternoon, when I didn't have access to my saved link for the older JE creation interface here.]
I'm sitting here with my netbook in my recliner, in front of the tube with the volume muted. I was watching it for some news and then eventually muted it to go on the net, but to occasionally look up and see if FNC was covering anything interesting (usually not).
From the headline above the ticker at the bottom they were playing some of BHO's reaction to the GOP convention, quoting him as saying that Mitt only offered no new ideas and only old ideas of the past.
I watched for a minute and saw serious teleprompter reciting, but with an instance of that characteristic occasional interrupting of it by his snickering.
I have two categories of problems with the Left, in general. The first is that your ideas -- what you want for mankind -- are evil. But what is also just as evil is your tactics. You could be honest and earnest with people and not be evil in this second way, and just be evil in the "what" that you're pushing. But that hasn't worked for you guys, at least in America's history, so you adopt evil in the "how" as well (which is working, fabulously, if much too slowly for most of you).
So BHO publicly states that his opponents' are ideas of the past. This is true, of course. Both sides' ideas are from long ago. In fact, thinking about the history of man, it sure seems like the philosophy of authoritarian collectivism has been around a lot longer than that of libertarian individualism.
BHO is not a dumb man. He knows both sides' ideas are old ideas from the past, just as you and I know this. But the Left's tactics mostly boil down to "fooling the dummies", and that's what's going on here. He's of course trying to make the dummies, of which there is an asston in America, believe thru implication that it is only the Right's ideas that are from the past. (With the further implication that "from the past" is even a bad thing.)
So BHO is hugely despicable in both of the usual ways that all of the rest of you are, save the few here that are a bit clueless or a bit crazy or both. But he takes it one step further.
He's like the guy I occasionally played chess with in college, who was so much better at it than me/had tremendous advantage over me in that game, if he actually would've outwardly laughed as he enjoyed his advantage and how well the tricks he could play on me worked.
Only BHO is laughing in the face of the Right, for how well his trickery works on the dummies. Because he knows that both the Right and the (non-nomimal*) Left know it's crap, but the dummies don't, and furthermore the dummies don't even pick up on that tell (and in fact actually find it endearing!).
Most Lefties are dead serious about their religion, and I can appreciate that, independent of its evilness. For example I imagine someone like Hillary (who'll prolly resign from Sec of State shortly after BHO's re-election, and be the Dem's nominee for prez next time) would only stab you (metaphorically) with the knife multiple times because she just wants you (i.e. your political philosophy) dead.
But that's old-school, and BHO is of the newer, extra-sick variety of Leftist. He seems to want to stab and pull the knife out and then pause for a reaction of pain, and enjoy the moment before stabbing again. I see a little bit of that here, too, where most of you guys are just fighting for your side, but a few just write things to be cruel; where you know the deception won't work in that case, but you pile it on thick and savor the moment of just trying to be mean.
Unfortunately as evil grows stronger in the world and you guys find yourselves winning more and more, esp. where previously a given ploy would've never worked, your astoundment at how successful it's going and the confidence that'll bring will prolly turn more of you guys into effectively sporting the patented BHO smug grin, that can be seen between sections of serious-face and those momentary snickers when he's just laughing his ass off inside.
*My "nominal Left" is the mushy middle of the American electorate; those who haven't educated themselves about Marxism and made a conscious decision and said yep that's definitely for me, but those who've just been slid into it.
Example of Leftie consistency #3,409
From the discussion under the topic "White House Pulls Down TSA Petition":
* On throwing Obama out: Don't bother because all politicians are owned by corporate interests anyways so they're all the same.
* On putting Romney in: OMG he would be far, FAR worse!!!
So they're the same, except one is much more same than the other. Understand?
it's a sad day for Slashdotters
Natalie Portman is officially off the market now; the chances of her being naked and petrified and covered in hot grits for you went from infitesimal to nil this weekend. All you have left now is imagining a beowulf cluster of goatses in Soviet Russia. This.
quite a career
Scouring the listings, planning my loser's evening, it looks like it's Will Smith nite on TNT tonite. The thought popped into my head, has he ever been in a bad movie. I only remember seeing him in great ones. And not just the action ones.
From looking at his filmography, I classify them thusly:
Great Action Movies
* I Am Legend
* I, Robot
* Men in Black II
* Wild Wild West
* Enemy of the State
* Men in Black
* Independence Day
You should remember what all of the above are just from their names.
* Seven Pounds - Where he fakes being an IRS agent.
* The Pursuit of Happyness - Where he's a single father.
All of the above highly recommended by yours truly.
I Hate Martin Lawrence (so I won't see these)
* Bad Boys II
* Bad Boys - No movie of this name could be as good as the one from the '80's with Sean Penn (before I hated him too!) and Esai Morales.
Haven't Seen/Can't Classify
* Men in Black 3 - Might be okay to just wait for on TV. For sequels/prequels, I'm generally okay with a follow-up along the same lines, but after that I'm pretty bored with the premise.
* Ali - I don't have much interest in biographies. Is there anything to this beyond that aspect?
* The Legend of Bagger Vance - Where he's some mystical golf caddy I guess. I do like a good supernatural/life-lesson movie like Mr. Destiny (James Belushi) and The Family Man (Nick Cage and the exquisite Tea Leoni); is it something like that?
Early Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Era (didn't know he had movie roles then)
* Six Degrees of Separation - Lower economic class gay Black con artist rips off upper crusties and makes them reconsider their worldviews or something.
* Made in America - Looks to be a mindless racial comedy/artificial insemination gone awry with Whoopi Goldberg ending up with Ted Danson's sperm I guess.
* Where the Day Takes You - Teenage runaways try to survive on the streets of L.A./The Outsiders set in Los Angeles maybe.
Yeah, not really interested at all in those.
* I, Robot 2 - Prolly.
* Bad Boys 3 - Nope.
* Hancock 2 - Maybe; dunno how much more can be done with this.
* Winter's Tale - "A fantasy story set in 19th Century and present-day Manhattan and revolves around a thief, a dying girl, and a flying white horse." Sounds a little convoluted at this point.
* After Earth - "After a crash landing, a father and son explore a planet that was evacuated by humans 1,000 years earlier." An M. Night tale. Should be good.
p.s. That slap/pat was very measured and called-for.
body image issues
First, some straight talk.
Women, you look like hell after your 30's. Sorry, but it's prolly biological. Men are visual creatures and Momma Nature doesn't want you having babies later.
And if you get work done on you, you look even worse. (And this goes for at any age, BTW. Both genders, too; "hair restoration" always looks horribly unnatural.)
I don't know what to tell you. An older coworker once said that she found bald men sexy. She is wrong about that, of course. What it really is is that she finds sexy men who are bald to be sexy.
Older women, don't get work done. Wrinkles are sexy. But only on certain kinds of women. Either you can pull off aging gracefully or you can't, but butchering your face always only makes it much, much worse.
The good news for you ladies is, as you get older you care less about your looks. For men, however:
As men and women reach older age, body image takes on a different meaning. [...] Women are reported to benefit from the ageing process, becoming more satisfied with their images, while men begin to develop more insecurities and issues. Women reach a certain stage where they are no longer subject to the social pressures that heavily emphasize the importance of appearance. Men from the same studies are reported as becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their physical appearance as they age.
More men worry about their body shape and appearance â" beer bellies, "man boobs" or going bald â" than women do about how they look, according to research.
So much for the "men look more 'distinguished' as they age" bullshit. We look like hell too. My body's going places I never dreamed of. (But then I'm also not one of the sexy ones.)
It looks like historically in Western culture women have been faced with body type comparisons for longer than men have. And because of biology women have it tougher in the first half of life. (Altho nowadays young men are apparently feeling a lot of such pressure.)
But apparently women tend to mentally leave that rat race behind, whereas older men want to hang on to their virile youth. Or at least are not as comfortable with accepting that it's slipping away.
So, onto my body.
I turn 46 this year. At the height of my unemployment depression I also peaked in lifetime weight, of 204 (I'm 5'7" and small-boned, BTW), but today I weigh 176 (thru no fault of my own or any exercise at all, but some kind of stomach and/or heart problem), so for example my face is a lot less fat that I had looked most of my post-college life so far.
I'm glad that I'm out of the 32-33 BMI range (30 and up is "obese") and in the 27-28 range (below 25 is "normal" (for which I'd have to get into the 150's!)). And I saw the study that you live longer if you'll a little high on the BMI. But I don't like the distribution/my new composition.
The last time I actually tried to lose weight, documented in JE's here several years ago, I got down to 182.5, and my stomach was noticeably slimmer then. Now, I don't know what's going on.
My cheeks are less fat. I lost one of my chins so now I'm down to only a double. My love handles have remarkably shrunk, down to practically nothing.
Now the downsides: My butt has shrunk. Seriously, every chair now is rock hard to me, and I sit for a living. Right now I'm sitting on a kitchen chair cushion stacked atop a bed pillow. And it's compressed over the last 2-3 years to rock hard. At work the last of the cushion of my chair gave up the ghost and I've been sitting on a bleacher cushion, until I could make time to get some kind of permanent replacement, but that's stopping working for me, so I gotta expedite this.
What I'm left with is two things: I've got a ring of fat across my chest and under my arms. Which is supposedly a bad place to be storing fat, up near your heart. So I've got fatty sagging man boobs, and my arms don't lie naturally down my sides, with blubber getting squeezed out front and back.
And I've got a huge pot belly. I don't even drink beer. I don't eat a lot; I've lost all my weight by simply cutting back on portion sizes. I haven't even noticeably lost muscle mass, but definitely all the hardness in them.
So what does this mean? Besides looking like a dork, my pants fall down when I'm standing/walking, and are too tight when I'm sitting. I've got no hips or butt to hold them up, but a big gut to squeeze out when I sit.
So nothing really fits me anymore. For work khakis I left the Dockers brand when I found some nifty Hagar's that have a hidden dual waist material setup that can retract and extend about 2 inches out of an extra faux belt loop or something on each side, that helps me a lot. But then my roomy Lee jeans that I had to switch to from the young man's 501's some years ago hang ridiculously low when I walk, and when I sit I really want to unbutton them.
It's pathetic. I won't even get into hair issues. But my body shape is starting to show signs of aging, and I don't like it one bit, nosiree.
It is claimed that there is a certain kind of logical fallacy, dubbed "No true Scotsman". But the logical fallacy is only in its ever being applied, what I hereby officially dub as the "the 'No true Scotsman' logical fallacy applies here" logical fallacy. Or the TNTSLFAH fallacy, for short.
As a general, overall good rule, those who have not progressed to even intermediate reasoning skills should definitely not be trying to wield logical fallacy application. Here, dear reader, is a comprehensive, one-question test for you to see where you fall/il:
1. Bill Dog wrote that for NTS, "the logical fallacy is only in its ever being applied". What he means here is:
A. NTS is strictly absolutely never applicable.
B. NTS is, in the vast majority of times, inapplicable.
C. NTS is always applicable.
D. Monkeys are funny.
There, now score yourself; if you answered:
C: You have the reading comprehension of a Slashdotter.
D: You're a walking argument against the legalization of drugs.
A: You have the reasoning skills of a Slashdotter.
B: Congratulations, you're at the least a halfway-intelligent human being. (You rare specimen, you!)
Wikipedia, the ultimate authority on everything, speaketh amongst thusly on NTS:
When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim,
I like the dramatic "faced with". But it never applies. For example, if someone says "Strictly speaking, I am literally saying that *ALL* Mexicans love to eat beans", then certainly the presence of a single counterexample of that would be jarring for the person. However, no one says that (or esp. even means that :). Everyone instead says "Mexicans love to eat beans". In this case, having an encounter with an occasional stray Mexican who does not love to eat beans is no trauma a'tall.
So in fact, it is the person who actually thinks NTS applies to a given scenario who's committed the error in reasoning. As in, not reasoning properly about human communication.
There is at least one other notable additional dimension in which NTS can be misapplied. As in, you can be a semi-normal human being and have grasped the natural, intended meaning just fine, but still err in thinking that NTS applies, thusly:
No true Scotsman is [...] an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion.
Therefore, NTS is only applicable to "unreasoned assertions". And not, for example, "extensively observed assertions". So take someone who's been surrounded by Mexicans all his life, and has been really paying close attention to them for the last couple of decades. His uttering "Mexicans love to eat beans" is not an assertion based on reason. He didn't say "Yada yada yada, ergo Mexicans love to eat beans". So application of NTS here would be misapplication, and a demonstration of bad reasoning in having thought otherwise.
An anon poster wrote today:
I'll argue the reverse. Life is competition. We compete with others for resources and, in today's consumer market, for "stuff". If some people aren't smart enough, don't care enough, etc. to turn on DNT [Do Not Track] - well that keeps web services cheaper for those of us that do turn it on. If the advertisers are getting quality demographics, market segmentation, etc. from the vast majority of folks then the people here - who know better - can continue to get free web sites. If nobody was tracked then we'd have to pay for our sites. Simple enough. Let the herd be tracked. Those that care and those that know will turn on the DNT.
I refuse to view life as a competition as much as I refuse to go along with the "we're all in this together" mentality.
We don't compete with others for resources; this is a flawed, Left-wing view, that everything is a zero sum game. A Left-wing view where the Right says of it "accept it" and the Left "we must do something about it". But either way they're both reactions to and in terms of how Leftists have defined how people are to think about it.
I take neither side of the issue because I reject the issue. Life is about neither ends of the Left's competition vs. cooperation false choice, it's about each person living it how s/he sees fit.
So it's not a matter of some people being "not smart enough" or "don't care enough", in that the reasons don't really matter. It's just people making choices and deciding what's important to them and how much. I don't want to be tracked so I avoid and block Google properties. Others may feel strongly about supporting the free sites that they regularly read. Still others may have mixed emotions and end up at different levels of in-between.
This is not a continuum of good on one end and evil on the other, or dumb vs. smart, or herd versus nerd. It just is. If anything, it's a range of equivalent goodness; it's good that people get to decide for themselves. Their decision is "good" because they made it (for themself). Incidental effects on me notwithstanding; I could end up with more or fewer free sites that I care at all about, depending on if more or fewer people are more or less concerned about ads and tracking. But I'm better off overall that my fellow man can have this incidental effect on me, because the alternative (of all of us having no personal choice in the matter) is far worse.
p.s. Another AC under the same topic posted this: http://advertising.microsoft.com/advertise/microsoft-media-network. I don't know how much this has gotten off the ground, but I for one did not know that MS had gotten into the advertising business. Troubling to me because I had been counting on them being a company that sells software, and not people, like Google.
A + B = C
Mini Ask /.: What should I do about a noisy heatsink fan?
It started all of a sudden last night, upon awakening the computer. My PC is right around 3 years old.
I'm pretty sure it's the fan on my video card. I don't play video games anymore [altho I couldn't resist checking out that online Wolfenstein thing and playing that for a while one night] so this one is just the mid to low end of nVidia's "business graphics" line of cards. (So maybe I don't even need the fan?)
I vacuumed it out as best as I could with what I've got (large extension on a huge Hoover), but no change. It wouldn't be so aggravating it if was at least constant in its new loudness.
Anyone reading this know if this can be fixed? Should I go buy some compressed air and try it? Or is it probably just some (cheap) bearing(s) going out? I had a new fan noise in my computer about a year ago, but it was just a dust bunny in the CPU fan I think, and it stopped making noise once I sucked it out.
Is there a way to re-lube these things (that's not going to end up dripping oil on the rest of my system/scattering graphite dust when in place!)? I could take the card out and take it into the Geek Squad or something, if the labor charged was not near what a new card costed.
from the fatty meats dept
On weather.com tonite:
"Got Kids? -> Find Delicious Lunch Recipes"
* No, but I have some ham that I could use some ideas for.
* The other "other white meat"?
* "It's a cookbook!!!"
p.s. Too swamped with work to write any kind of substantial JE right now. Been taking work home nights and both days on the weekends for the last 3 weeks, and I'm getting a little burnt, but for the positives, 1) this week should be the last/this next weekend should be my first free one, and 2) it sure beats the flying crap out of having too little. I'm one of the lucky ones in America right now, and I'm oh so grateful. I stressed way more when I *didn't* have a job.
Mustang (external) styling hits and misses, part 1
Starting from what we know of the newest going backwards, since that's just the kind of guy I am:
The bulbous nose adopted/adapted from the recent GT500 looks ridiculous. I think it's the absurdity of the schnozz rising higher than the brow over the eye that makes it look so clownish.
The hood vents on the GT make it look even worse, reminiscent of "Corvette Summer".
However the main headlights look cool, and the while the fog lights are still too big, they're downsized a bit from earlier. The tail lights look pretty snazzy, but I've never been a fan of the black matte plastic plate inserts between them, and same for below it for the licence plate area. Below that is an improvement over earlier, however.
Finally, like the rest of this generation, it continues with the front and rear overhangs being grossly out of proportion. On the plus side tho, as shown that blue ("Deep Impact Blue") of a gorgeous quality somewhat similar to mine (plus just a hint of purple) is returning.
A high-point in front styling, with the "power bulge" hood and the non-smiling lower fascia of the non-GT and 2013. The rear end tail lights are supposed to have been controversial, but I like it, esp. the sequential lighting of them. Gray plastic lower fascia makes it look cheap, like a GM product.
Best color of this restyling was the first-year-only, luxurious Sunset Gold. I've been a sucker for gold/bronze/pewter cars since the 70's, starting with the JimRockford-mobile.
Worst color was their sky blue. Gag.
Four headlights of the same size in the same row across makes for a drab front end. Vast, plain hood needs a scoop to break up the sea of monotony. Over-sized, plain tail lights look equally bland. Giant, ridiculous medallions are only cool if that's where the gas goes in.
changing my oil (hopefully!)
So I go get an oil change on Friday after work. I take it to the place I've been a few times before, a Valvoline Instant Oil Change place that's not real close to where I live but where my apt. used to be. So I'm familiar with the area.
The guy looks at my sticker and says oh, you only put the good stuff in (full synthetic). Yeah, that's because the synthetic blend had become hard to find someone saying they had in stock (in 5W-20), including your stupid place, I thought to myself. So I've resigned myself to continue on with it, even tho the owner's manual calls for a blend. Hopefully it doesn't hurt.
The guy also alluded to a (now I know fake) computer glitch and my previous info is gone and I need to fill out my name and address and whatnot again for them.
So I'm paying and looking at my receipt, and it's listing some Castrol motor oil used. I didn't think much of it, but later I see that the company on the invoice is now Synfast Oil Change. Castrol has a domain name for this that they say is "coming soon".
Valvoline's quickie places didn't get bought out, there's still a lot around. Including now just down the street from me, with their site saying "EZ Lube is now Valvoline". WTF?
Are these places independently owned and they just hang a sign up for whoever's offering a better price on bulk oil that year?
I wish I knew how to change my own, or knew someone who could show me. I see ads for DIY oil changes somewhere like Pep Boys or something like that. Presumably you just rent a bay for 20 minutes and jack up your car and they dispose of the old oil and filter. I wish I knew anyone (well enough) who was even slightly auto mechanically inclined.
I thought at one time about investing in some ramps and a jack and jackstands and trying to do it myself, but I live in a condo complex with a single-car garage that's narrower than normal and I have only a couple feet of "driveway" outside of it. And mine is the garage in the middle of the three to a building, so I'd be blocking somebody, necessarily. So I never did.
Oh well, I guess we'll all be driving electric cars soon, so this ability won't matter. Then I'll just be left with wishing I knew how to do my own brakes.
p.s. I watch 'em, and see oil come out and oil go in, and an oil filter come off and an oil filter go on, but have no idea if they aren't just the same things they took out. Or even if I got new oil, if it was what they said it was in those unmarked pitchers. But, I guess no different than taking it to the dealer to have it done while you wait, and about every other time they drive it around the building to allegedly bays on the other side and prolly just park it there and then give it back to you in an hour later.
p.p.s. The Synfast place wanted to sell me some rear end service. I only have 25K miles on my car and they showed me what they said was my pumpkin drain plug or something and that it had metal shavings in the fluid. Shit, they could have a can of metal shavings down there in the below-ground area that they use, and that plug could've been for anything. At least I'm pretty pissed about it as much as I believe that it was mine. I don't know that they should be fishing around back there. I don't even know if you're supposed to be opening those things, just on a lark.
a great loner's Friday nite
I was going to chime in last night on the discussion on bringing back the 40 hour week (in the JE, not the general discussion area), but I noticed that a blast from my past that I hadn't seen since it came out was about to start on TCM I think it was, or whatever non-premium cable network it is that's left that doesn't do intra-movie commercial breaks.
In my early to mid teens during summers my (stay-at-home) mom used to get me out of the house by giving me some money and dropping me off at the local movie theater. In my early adolescence I had friends, but starting around jr. high my age-peers began to leap ahead of me socially (and still are), and except for a couple of heavy golfing summers with my neighbor across the street whose back fence led down to an 18-hole course, I didn't have anyone over and didn't go over to anyone's. I was a stay in my room and play Legos and listen to my stereo with my door closed kinda kid.
So the local theater complex would have summer matinee specials where moms could drop off their kids for several hours and they'd show us a double feature of things like the Benji movies and other such adolescent fare, and have clowns and balloons and such entertainment between features, and presumably keep an eye on us during that time. (A less litigious and "OMG danger lurks everywhere for my precious spawn!" time.)
One of the (very) few memorable ones was 1981's and then last night's "Clash of the Titans". IMDb's featured quickie summary is pretty good:
Perseus is the favored son of the god Zeus, but he has unwittingly ticked off the sea goddess Thetis. Just to make things worse, Perseus falls in love with the lovely Princess Andromeda, who used to be engaged to Thetis's son. Soon Perseus is off on one quest after another, with Zeus helping, Thetis hindering, and lots of innocent bystanders getting stabbed, drowned, and squished.
Basically, you know a movie's good when within only the first 10 minutes of it it's uttered "Release the Kraken"! :) (I like movies that get right down to the good stuff!)
The lettering of the opening titling looked like movies out of the 70's, which was not that far off then. And the music was almost like old B&W movies -- very humorously overly-dramatic, throughtout the movie. According to the ending credits, courtesy of the London Symphony Orchestra. Hey, this movie had Laurence Olivier and Burgess Meredith in major roles in it, and according to the TCM host guy it did very well thank you very much. It was also neat seeing the MGM lion moving and roaring in that old studio's logo at the beginning.
But the best ripples of nostalgia were the ridiculous standing in front of a giant screen/superimposed over a large background, where the foreground person is completely differently lit (!), and that wonderful stop motion animation. In a single event they'd switch back and forth between the actor made up as the cursed son of whatever god, and the figurine of it moved and posed in that characteristic jerky motion. Man I just love that kind of stuff. For any "youngun" reading this, think Wallace and Gromit, with about half the frames. (And if you're too young for that to mean anything, then what are you doing still standing on my lawn!)
So from seeing it 31 years ago and as a young lad I found I hadn't remembered all the parts and creatures. There was a two-headed wolf creature to be defeated before facing Medusa, that I don't remember having seen before at all, and I should've because it was pretty cool. Yes, the movie kinda goes like how this and the summary above suggests, a la a campaign in the D&D craze at the time.
I didn't really even remember much of what the Kraken in this film looked like, to me now mostly like a demonic sea monkey. But the Medusa was totally as awesome as I'd remembered. Even her lair, with the pillars and the red torch lighting. And the goo that (after an inexplicable delay) came out of her neck stump was an uber neato touch.
I know I saw Star Wars in the theaters, and that that preceded this movie, but I don't recall picking up before on how that stupid mechanical owl was whistle-talking like R2. I like to think that the cheesy comical antics of it didn't amuse me even as a kid.
Pegasus was okay, but the cursed son's (I can't remember his name) giant vulture was freakin' awesome. They had it all fidgety and moving like a somewhat high-strung bird. How it would come in the middle of the night to pick up the princess's spirit, and squawk so loudly while waiting for her spirit to separate from her sleeping body and walk out to the balcony and get in the golden bird's cage that it transported her in, without anyone in the entire castle waking up and wondering what might be going on, I can't figure.
Lots of other cool stuff like gods' faces appearing on statues and talking, like at Disneyland's Haunted Mansion ride, and Zeus's clay models of an arena and certain notable humans and effecting certain things thru the models. And the gods on Mount Olympus talking about their relevance going forward at the end of the movie, and referencing the pertaining constellations, was a nice post-tale finish.
I haven't seen the remake of it that came out a couple of years ago I guess, but I do plan to. At least I recall it looked pretty cool from the previews of it (unlike for example that Conan remake).
where mainstream application development is going
In the first half (give or take) of my career I was a Windows C++ programmer. I was a UNIX and Macintosh guy in college, but I only got as far as shell scripting in UNIX (i.e. no application development), and as for my semi-serious Mac programming skills (in Pascal, C, and also 68K asm), jobs for those were few and far between. So I started out accepting a job QA'ing Windows software out of college, since I graduated during a recession and jobs were few and far between period. And then eventually moved into Windows programming. Because Windows was virtually a universal platform, and there would likely always be jobs, and plentiful, in it.
And things have changed, in a number of ways regarding this. While C++ development on Windows seems to have largely dried up leading up to and then being finished off by this recession (excepting a few jobs requiring major experience in C++ on UNIX as well), Windows remains ubiquitous on PC's as desktops and servers, and on laptops. Hence my needing to switch to from C++/MFC/Win32 to C#/.NET. There are more C# jobs than even Java jobs in my area (southern California), and I personally think Java is dying (not helped by Sun letting the language stagnate) while C# is growing (helped by continuing language improvements). So to me .NET has/had become the main platform for desk/laptop computing and servers.
But then there's the mobile world. Of which, BTW, I'm not (yet) a part of (I don't think my Window XP netbook counts), so my views are from someone fairly ignorant of it and looking at it from the outside. There is no one main platform that you can develop for and cover 90-some percent of the market like on PC's. To program for the iPhone/iPad, I'd have to learn Objective-C and their platform's API. To program for Android I'd have to learn Java and their platform's API. To program for Windows Phone 7 I think it's Silverlight (C# and .NET and WPF's XAML markup language I guess).
And just in recent tech news reading, Apple wants a fortune to participate in their applicaton space, Google demands that you use their payment processor (of which they get an additional cut), and apparently Android has not-insignificant compatibility problems even within the platform. And it looks like MS is letting Silverlight die (like Adobe is seeing the writing on the wall and seemingly expects prolly the major reason Silverlight was developed, Flash, to die), with Windows Phone 8 to have yet another separate programming platform.
"Mozilla believes that the web can displace proprietary, single-vendor stacks for application development. To make open web technologies a better basis for future applications on mobile and desktop alike, we need to keep pushing the envelope of the web to include --- and in places exceed --- the capabilities of the competing stacks in question."
I can imagine developers/companies getting tired of making mobile apps having to be ported to other platforms, esp. when web apps have already begun gaining favor over local apps due to avoiding many of the nightmares in installing/updating and configuring/compatibility with each instance of the target environment. And I think as HTML becomes more powerful, with native application like capabilities, there'll be less of a need to tap into lower-level single-vendor API's. These are like plugins in HTML, which are dying today -- the point at which you leave the virtually universal platform for that kind of computing machinery, is where you start inviting in these potential nightmares.
Back at my second job in 1999 towards the beginning of the dot-com bubble, my career was at a crossroads of sorts, in that COM had become very important on the Windows platform, and I had migrated from C to C++ and had gotten comfortable enough with it to be able to understand COM's concepts, but (now "classic") ASP and web programming had been booming too. I could have gone/focussed on either way, but fate at the time was that the other (non-supervising) developer at our tiny company was further along in learning COM, so he was tasked with pursuing that and I was tasked with learning ASP. Since COM mostly died when .NET settled in, tho I was jealous of my coworker at the time, I think it was better for me.
p.s. As a meta comment, the old Slashdot interface for starting a JE doesn't seem to be available anymore (?), but I got to it by choosing to edit my newly-created JE. And it's in this legacy interface that you can actually choose an icon for your burst'o'brilliance, and get the three choices for how far it's shared instead of just the one inscrutable choice of the new.
big C# disappointment
A project I'm working on has a bunch of methods that take an ADO.NET DataRow that use the square bracket/array accessor notation on it to get at the actual value for that particular column (of that row (from the database)).
I needed to add versions of these to instead take an ADO.NET SqlDataReader. In doing so I noticed that it uses the same array accessor notation, so the bodies of these functions turn out to be identical to their DataRow counterparts.
To refactor away these duplicates, I would've thought to make them take a common base class that defines the indexer (for that array accessor notation), but I already know that they don't have a common base class (well, besides Object). (And this is perfectly understandable, really, because they represent two entirely differently working data access models.)
So my thought was to make these, in C++ parlance, function templates. C# has generics including generic methods, so I try.
End result: No can do.
The MSDN documentation dodges this obviously desirable capability by only giving sample code using the generic type T as a black box, in a swap function. No sample showing it actually calling a method on T.
It looks like you can do this if T will always have a base class B in common, that has the called method defined, and then if you use the optional add'l constraint syntax to instruct the compiler of this. That's worth something, but is missing the really powerful benefit.
Statically typed languages like C/C++/C#/Java need to be able to verify at compile-time that that method will be there, for any object that might possibly be passed in as a parameter. The C++ compiler figures out what objects you're calling that generic function with, and auto- stamps out for you a version of it for each such one that's actually being passed in. Thereby satisfying its own requirement, as a statically typed language. [Please forward any complaints about this "bloat"ing out the code to the Windows recycle bin.]
What the C# compiler does is generate only a single copy of the function, with simple placeholders to be filled in later. That's why you can't use the generic argument in any ways that you can't syntactically spoon-feed assumptions about it to the compiler. And it won't compile if it cannot make sufficient assumptions about it.
This is fine for for example generic container classes. Like in C++ how std::vector doesn't need to know anything about the type it holds, neither does System.Collections.Generic.List<T>, because List's functions never call methods on the T or anything like that. That's great, that I can declare a strongly typed container that won't take anything but a certain type (or descendants), rather than always just a container of Object that requires a bunch of casting and if you mess up can readily accept objects of different, unrelated types. But generic programing is capable of so much more.
I've heard that Java's generic handling still has the container taking Object, but just does all the casting for you. I.e. C++ > C# > Java.
So in this case there's no difference between C++ and C# in how many functions are generated in the end (there's code that uses them all), the difference is that the other half of them *I* had to generate. Lame.
p.s. It seems with this new JE interface you can no longer make an edit after preview and expect an immediately following preview to show the update yet. Even lamer. How come it's always amateur hour in the dev area of the Slashdot office? Cuz they only hire FOSSies? What if MS Word didn't show the latest version of the document in its print preview, unless you gave it a minute or three and then tried the print preview again?