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Ask Slashdot: What Is the Most Painless Intro To GPU Programming?

CoderBob Re:Obsidian (198 comments)

I've seen a few people mention Haskell, but no love for Erlang in here. Any particular reason?

about a year ago
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Pitcher-Turned-Law Student On Cheating In Baseball

CoderBob Re:MLB has much bigger problems (276 comments)

I must be doing a bad job of trying to say this.

I'm not saying that stuff doesn't count as gameplay- but I'm saying that by virtue of THAT counting as gameplay, the same courtesy should be applied to the pick-off throw to first to shorten a baserunner's lead, or the second baseman moving slightly behind the baserunner to encourage a pick-off throw, or a batter calling for time right after a pitcher gets set, just because they made the batter wait earlier, or any of the other myriad things that aren't directly related to putting the ball in play. Linebackers running towards the line is actually a good example of gameplay, in that it is a counter to the whole "run the play clock down to the last second before the snap" by the offense, which is still better than "I'm going to just hold the basketball and let the clock run" I see when I end up at a sports bar and the NBA is on.

It's easier for me to pick out the things in football that I would consider "waste of time" because although it doesn't cause me to change the channel, I don't really make it a point to watch. For people who feel that way about baseball, it is easy for them to point out the things in baseball they consider "slow". Time spent around any sport usually leads to spectators picking up the little things that can mean a lot to an entire game, so for those fans, the little things all tend to mean something important, whereas those little things in other sports "don't count".

If it helps, I would probably rate the sports in terms of my enjoyment as a spectator as: NHL > Baseball > Basketball (NCAA) > Football > Golf > Tennis > Billiards > Curling > Figure Skating > Marathon Running > Power Walking > Basketball (NBA).

about a year ago
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Pitcher-Turned-Law Student On Cheating In Baseball

CoderBob Re:MLB has much bigger problems (276 comments)

I wasn't trying to knock the episodic nature of football (I like that phrasing, by the way) but point out that saying baseball is "slow" because of the periods of time in which the ball isn't in play is not comparing apples to apples. As a baseball fan, I appreciate the time between pitches, with all of the mental games that go on between pitcher and batter or pitcher and baserunner(s). It is great to watch when a pitcher and catcher are in sync and barely need to communicate, as well. It probably helps that I'm enough of a math nerd to enjoy the ridiculous number of statistics tracked in baseball.

I've noticed that some football fans don't think twice about that time between plays, or a team repeatedly taking a knee to end the half (that REALLY bothers me for some reason, and I don't know why that sets me off but a batter stepping out of the box does not), but will knock baseball for time between pitches, "the slow pace" of the game, that kind of thing. If you enjoy the sport, even just to watch, you'll look past the things that drive others batty.

about a year ago
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Pitcher-Turned-Law Student On Cheating In Baseball

CoderBob Re:MLB has much bigger problems (276 comments)

I like Niado's answer below, but if you want to bring MMA in, there seems to be an awful lot of posturing around the cage, and "commentary" that pads the length of the pay-per-views. There are some epically long bouts, but there are also those done in 30 seconds in the first round by submission, followed by another 10 minutes of broadcast before the next fight.

about a year ago
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Pitcher-Turned-Law Student On Cheating In Baseball

CoderBob Re:MLB has much bigger problems (276 comments)

Man in motion does change play, yes, but to me it's in the same category as a pitcher shaking off signs from the catcher. They both can be important to the outcome, but they aren't "exciting" the way a long fly ball is, or watching a running back shake off a couple of tacklers. Most of the complaints I hear or read about the pace of baseball are based on the time between the pitcher throwing the ball and then the ball coming back to the pitcher, which leaves out the arts of shortening the lead of a base-runner, or taking time on the mound to ice a batter (see football coaches calling timeouts RIGHT before the opposing team's kicker gets ready to kick a field goal). I just think if we're going to compare the actual time of "play" versus the running time of the game, it should be an apples to apples comparison.

about a year ago
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Pitcher-Turned-Law Student On Cheating In Baseball

CoderBob Re:MLB has much bigger problems (276 comments)

Hockey for me was an acquired taste, probably from exposure to the Redwings growing up in Michigan, and then moving to Grand Rapids where their AHL farm team is. The Griffins are even in the AHL playoffs this year, so I get bonus hockey after the Redwings bowed out against Chicago last night.

The best hockey games are really the low-scoring ones where both teams are very evenly matched and playing all-out, which happens more often now that their is a cap system. If it is a low-scoring game because both teams suck, then it can be a snoozefest.

about a year ago
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Pitcher-Turned-Law Student On Cheating In Baseball

CoderBob Re:MLB has much bigger problems (276 comments)

The World Series starts after 9PM because much earlier than that and you leave out the west coast TV market. 9PM EST = 6 PM Pacific.

Perhaps I am an oddity, but I find basketball much more annoying to watch than baseball, and football really isn't any better. In terms of continuous action, I would put forth that the NHL is actually the most "gameplay" for the length of a game.

I'm not saying Football and baseball are "equal" in downtime, but if you start adding up the time between a play being declared dead and the actual start of the next play (not men lining up, but when the ball is snapped), I think that the amount of time that is spent not "playing" the game becomes more comparable. Yeah, there's a clock counting down, but what is the actual run-time of a typical football game at this point? 3.5, 4 hours?

about a year ago
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White House: Use Metric If You Want, We Don't Care

CoderBob Re:The right answer (1145 comments)

Fahrenheit? 0 = friggin' cold, 100 = friggin' hot.

How is that any easier than: 0 = water freezes, 100 = water boils?

It's not so much that it's easier, but it provides a greater degree of differentiation for the normal temperatures of day to day life. Most people aren't really concerned with where water boils on the scale, but rather what the temperature is outside. A better comparison between 0 and 100 degrees F is -17.8 to 37.8 - which becomes more cumbersome. Where I am in the US (Michigan) we see both ends of that extreme every year. There's something easier about the gradual change in temperature over that 100 degree interval compared to the 55.6 degree one- no decimals, and it's a smooth transition from one temp to the next.

about a year ago
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White House: Use Metric If You Want, We Don't Care

CoderBob Re:2x4 (1145 comments)

The difference in size is due to the fact that the measurement is from a rough-cut board. The "lost" size is from the process that goes from rough-cut to the nice, smooth, minimum-of-splinters-during-handling chunk of lumber.

about a year ago
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Book Review: A Practical Guide To Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming

CoderBob Re:Speaking of command lines... (81 comments)

No experience with OS X, but the second format looks like ncal instead of cal. Perhaps you have an alias for ncal that is defined in .bashrc or .profile or whatever the OS X equivalent is? On my Crunchbang box ncal looks similar to what you posted but has Sunday at the top and doesn't jam weeks 1 and two into one line (maybe a victim of copy & paste?)

about a year and a half ago
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Which Shipping Company Is Kindest To Your Packages?

CoderBob Re:Wait, why? (480 comments)

Keep in mind the average dock worker is limited to 25 to 30 hours a week, at ten bucks an hour or so, and are encouraged to get off the clock as quickly as possible. Many of them are college students, who may or may not be hungover. Not an excuse, just insight.

The other point, and one that is commonly lost, is that fragile stickers imply self-importance. The shipper assumes their package is more important than any other package in the system. More stickers imply an even greater and greater sense of self importance. This can definitely create an environment where the package will be handled in a rough manner through spite. To extend the common car analogy, it would be like taking your car in to the mechanic with strict guidelines on how he sits in the car, starts the car, turns the wheel, or any other commonplace operation he would need to perform. Even though they are underpaid workers who might not have great motivation, they do usually have enough of a sense of self-worth that some moron slapping 8 fragile stickers on a box is going to piss them off.

Ideally, unless the package has orientation issues (liquid in a container, which should be labeled as such instead of just "Fragile") or is in some other way incredibly dainty, it shouldn't need fragile stickers. When I worked there, any package handler (official job title, sadly) seen throwing a package was fired. No ifs, ands, or buts. Didn't matter if it had a fragile sticker or not.

more than 3 years ago
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Which Shipping Company Is Kindest To Your Packages?

CoderBob Re:firsthand experience... (480 comments)

The funny thing about those cardboard pallets: If it came FedEx Ground, the terminals have no rabbit jacks or fork trucks. They have flat carts, and conveyors, and people. That's it. Sometimes the difference is as simple as the mindset in your local FedEx Ground terminal compared to UPS, or vice versa.

more than 3 years ago
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Which Shipping Company Is Kindest To Your Packages?

CoderBob Re:Wait, why? (480 comments)

When I worked the loading docks for FedEx in college, it isn't a question of spite. It's overuse of the "Fragile" stickers without adequate packaging.

Take, for example, the current crop of TVs. Some idiot orders one from buy.com or walmart.com, and a 52" TV that is delivered to the stores, 3 at a time, banded to a skid, is instead just picked up, a shipping label slapped on it, and out the door to the UPS/FedEx/other small parcel carrier of choice. These items are not packaged correctly for that kind of shipment- which is why, if you read the fine print, most carriers are not liable for damages to them.

Or, for a more "WTFBBQ?" example, let's say I'm shipping, to you, restaurant-grade plates. Nice, solid, plates, dishwasher safe. If you were a restaurant supply business that gets these in regularly with the "FRAGILE" markings all over the package, you laugh at the labeling. Inside, there is a latticework of corrugated cardboard, if you're lucky double-walled, that seperates each plate into a compartment. There is no other packaging. No bubble wrap. Nothing to hold structural integrity. There is about 50 pounds of china in this package, and each plate is separated from it's neighbor by.... a piece of cardboard.

After watching packages like that come through, over and over again, people quit caring about "FRAGILE". If the shipper can't be bothered to package something in a manner that it would survive a 3 to 5 foot drop (depending on carrier) the carrier isn't liable anyway. People tend to put more and more stickers on things that are packaged poorly. If it's packaged well, short of getting run over by the delivery van, it shouldn't be damaged in shipping. Not that accidents don't happen- FedEx, for instance, uses conveyor systems to get packages from trailers to the delivery vans, and the system allows for "sorters" to push packages off one conveyor down chutes to a second. In theory there should be no damage here, again, but sometimes packages will jam in the conveyor, or stick in the chutes, and before the busy handler notices there is a 145 pound UPS battery pack jammed up against your mother's crystal. It happens.

Add in people who ship lawnmowers with oil already in the engine- "THIS SIDE UP". Well, newsflash: it has to go in the delivery van. There is only so much room in one of these, and if your box doesn't FIT under the shelves in the back "THIS SIDE UP", and doesn't fit in the aisle between the shelves where the driver can get around it, it WILL end up on a side, probably leaking oil into parts of the motor it shouldn't be in. Far too many shippers don't actually know how packages are handled once they leave their facilities and just assume "cheaper is better".

If I seem bitter about this, it's because I've seen a lot of it. I've been the guy sorting between conveyors and had a poorly packaged box spill shards of glass all over. I've watched co-workers take a bath in acid because some idiot didn't know how to package his hazardous materials for shipping. I've had a printer from a major manufacturer get shipped in the nice shiny cardboard box you see it in at the store, with the single strip of cheap tape holding the box shut fall out of the bottom of the box when I picked it up. I've lost count of how many times I've seen someone cram a box that was too small for the contents just so they wouldn't pay the upcharge for the next size up oversize shipping. Or hardcover books shipped in cheap, paper envelopes that are just a half inch too small- so the corners of the books tear the paper, regardless of handling. Shippers tend to look at it from an overall business perspective. It's the Fight Club recall thing all over- if the cost of better packaging is more than the cost of dealing with damaged goods, they'll keep the craptastic packaging.

more than 3 years ago
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Federal Judge Says E-mail Not Protected By 4th Amendment

CoderBob Re:Not the same, in several aspects (451 comments)

Plus there's no expectation that FedEx would (or should) have access to the *contents* of your mail,

Seeing as I accidentally replied to the wrong post...

Yes, there is. When you get a shipping account from FedEx, you explicitly allow them to open and inspect any package at any time for any reason.

more than 4 years ago
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Federal Judge Says E-mail Not Protected By 4th Amendment

CoderBob Re:Stop using FedEx (451 comments)

I have worked (as a courier, as well as on the docks) for FedEx ground for over 5 years during my life.

When you sign up for a shipping account, you authorize FedEx to open your shipment. Some of this, IIRC, is to cover for cases of package damage and the need for FedEx to repackage your goods. I've seen cases of their shipping centers opening a dropped off package because they had reason to suspect the shipper was sending alcohol, which in most cases requires a special permit and is governed by some strict regulation.

In general, to cover themselves, they reserve the right to open and inspect any package. I'm fairly certain that so does UPS. I'm not sure about the Post Office.

more than 4 years ago
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Google Privacy Counsel Facing Criminal Charges

CoderBob Re:The real facts from the source (242 comments)

It *is* wrong to use your car to hit people.

It *is* censorship to take away the video.

Regardless of the legality of the original act, it is censorship to remove the video.

more than 5 years ago
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Lexus To Start Spamming Car Buyers In Their Cars

CoderBob Re:Stupid (317 comments)

My only problem with that is that at night, the blue lights are bright enough to actually mess with my night vision, making it harder to see anything.

more than 5 years ago

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