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I suffer from jet lag ...

Ephemeriis Re:FOF (163 comments)

Do other /. folk have a slight fear of flying like me?

I don't fear flying... In fact, I used to thoroughly enjoy it back in the '80s/'90s...

But flying isn't nearly as fun/humane as it used to be. And the additional security theater is annoying.

These days it just isn't worth the hassle. If I have to go somewhere, I'll drive. It certainly makes for longer travel times... But it's a far more enjoyable experience, so I don't mind.

about 7 months ago

$60 Light Bulb Debuts On Earth Day

Ephemeriis Re:money back if not delighted? (743 comments)

Given the disappointing lifespan I've been seeing with the CFL lights in my home I really have a difficult time believing their claims.


When we moved in to this house we slowly replaced all the incandescent bulbs with CFLs as they burned out... That was years ago. It's gotten to the point where it's downright inconvenient to have a bulb burn out, because we don't have any spares sitting around the house. I mean... Maybe one bulb a year?

more than 2 years ago

Magical Thinking Is Good For You

Ephemeriis Re:Baloney (467 comments)


After reading that summary I thought about it for a little while... Trying to come up with instances of magical thinking in my own life. Not to prove anyone wrong, but out of curiosity.

Do we really all think magically?

But I really couldn't come up with anything.

Oh, sure... Maybe I'll get spooked and dash up the stairs in the middle of the night after watching a horror movie... But I don't actually believe anything is going to jump out at me - I'm just unsettled from the movie.

If I see something neat and orderly out in the wild I might speculate on whether somebody built it, or if it was naturally occurring, or perhaps was a product of human intervention... You know - the differences between an arrangement of rocks that makes a convenient stairway, somebody going out an legitimately building a stairway, and having people use the same path for so long that steps become worn into the trail. But I don't see something like that and just assume that somebody had to have made it.

And when coincidences start lining up, I might very well mutter about bad luck, or claim that somebody out there is looking out for me... But that isn't actually because I believe there's an intelligent agent out there looking out for me - it's just a figure of speech.

I really, genuinely, do not attribute anything to supernatural forces.

But even for those few of us who claim to be complete skeptics, belief quietly sneaks in. Maybe you feel anxious on Friday the 13th. Maybe the idea of a heart transplant from a convicted killer weirds you out. ... If so, on some level you believe in magic.

I don't feel anxious on Friday the 13th... It reminds me of the movie series, and I'm a big fan of horror movies. Although I may very well feel creeped-out after watching several Friday the 13th tonight.

Similarly, the idea of organ transplantation in general weirds me out. I'd prefer that my internal organs remain internal, and I don't much like the thought of somebody cutting me open and replacing parts. But if something breaks, and I need a replacement, I don't much care where it comes from.

more than 2 years ago

Adobe Releases Last Linux Version of Flash Player

Ephemeriis Re:How will this affect users? (426 comments)

Honestly, it hasn't been that big a deal for a little while now. Like it or not, HTML5 is supplanting Flash in a lot of places.

Personally, I see this as less of a ding against Linux than an admission that Flash just isn't that important anymore.

about 2 years ago

Why the NTSB Is Wrong About Cellphones

Ephemeriis theater (1003 comments)

Why is the NTSB targeting gadgets instead of bad drivers?

Because it is always easier to come up with a technological solution (even if it doesn't work) than it is to address the real (usually human) problem.

even hands-free phones

This really illustrates the absurdity of the claim that phones are to blame for the problem.

If you're using a hands-free device, you're just basically having a conversation with someone who isn't actually in the car. It's not going to be any more inherently distracting than having a conversation with somebody who is in the car. So if hands-free phones are a problem... So is talking to a passenger.

more than 3 years ago

Firefox Too Big To Link On 32-bit Windows

Ephemeriis Re:Time to move on, perhaps? (753 comments)

Yes, most people still run 32-bit hardware.

Pretty much anything purchased in the last few years is going to be 64-bit capable.

If you're running 32-bit, it probably isn't the hardware holding you back. It's probably your software.

I'm still having to reload machines with 32-bit Windows XP because we've got software that won't support anything else.

more than 3 years ago

Will Windows 8 Be Ready For Release In 2012?

Ephemeriis Re:Not in 2012 for me (504 comments)

Instead of having a nice GUI with lots of options, it's a purdy GUI with few options and the rest buried in some power shell syntax.

That's funny. I really never thought I'd see someone on Slashdot complain about a CLI being more useful than a GUI.

I can certainly relate. Windows has been so GUI-centric for so long that suddenly finding the CLI more functional than the GUI is downright strange. Moving from Exchange 2003 to 2007 was a very jarring experience for me.

However... Now that I'm actually learning PowerShell, I have to say that it's pretty damn nice. The added flexibility and control is amazing. And it enables all kinds of scripting and automation.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Getting a Grip On an Inherited IT Mess?

Ephemeriis Re:Quit (424 comments)


I'd be willing to bet a year's pay that the previous guy wasn't straight-up incompetent. He was probably relatively skilled, and doing the best he could with the resources at his disposal. Which were probably not actually the resources he needed.

Odds are good that there's a reason why the place is in the condition it is now.

Odds are good that there's a reason why the last guy isn't there anymore.

Odds are good that you're going to need more than one guy in IT to get it all straightened-out.

more than 3 years ago

Filmmakers Reviving Sci-fi By Going Old School

Ephemeriis Re:Dunno... (422 comments)

Dodgy CGI humans like the ones in Blade something or other and spiderman break the illusion completely though.

Which is where practical effects really shine.

Again, you aren't trying to re-invent the wheel. You're just filming reality.

more than 3 years ago

Filmmakers Reviving Sci-fi By Going Old School

Ephemeriis Re:Dunno... (422 comments)

Rather than "realistic" I usually use "internally consistent", meaning that it is realistic within the universe of the movie/book/whatever. If something happens there had better be a story-reason why it's happening (or not happening, as the case may be).


Teleporting from one continent to another because it's Star Trek and that's what we do is fine.

Somehow traveling from the US to Australia with absolutely no apparent passage of time or explanation of how it happened in the context of the story is a plot hole.

more than 3 years ago

Filmmakers Reviving Sci-fi By Going Old School

Ephemeriis Re:Dunno... (422 comments)

The problem is that 'When you create elements of a shot entirely in a computer, you have to generate everything that physics and the natural world offers you from scratch

I don't see that as a problem, and the thing is, with GCI you can do things that are impossible, impractical, or incredibly dangerous without it.

Sure, if you're doing something that's straight-up impossible, being free of the constraints of real-world physics is pretty nice.

But if you're just trying to do something impractical or incredibly dangerous, and still want it to look somewhat realistic, you're adding a lot of overhead by doing it in CGI instead of practical effects. A ball bouncing down stairs shot with practical effects looks real because it is real... The same shot using CGI looks real because some guy spend hours/days/weeks tweaking the shot until it looked right. There's nothing intrinsic to the CGI process that'll make a ball fall down at all, much less deform and bounce and roll correctly. All that is the result of many lines of code and many hours of tweaking.

The goal of special effects shouldn't necessarily be to look realistic, they should be works of art themselves and help create a mood or tell a story.

I disagree; unless you're shooting a cartoon, everything should be as realistic and beleivable as possible. And everything in the movie should strive to be a work of art in itself.


Right after you talk about how CGI is nice for doing impossible things, you say that it should all be as realistic and believable as possible?

Needless to say, I disagree.

Sure, if you're doing some kind of gritty cop-drama or something, realism is pretty nice. But what if you're doing a fantasy or science fiction movie? Do you really want realism? Once you introduce magic or dragons or FTL travel or something, realism pretty much goes out the window.

They hope to change this with their upcoming sci-fi film, 'C,' which will be shot entirely without CGI or green screens

Yeah, do that scene in Star Trek where Spock walks into the lift from one part of the ship and walks back out in another. Without a green screen they'd have had to have an acutual elevator.

They'll probably do it exactly the same way the original Star Trek did it... And Next Generation did it... Without a green screen.

I think it a bit ironic that a sci-fi movie would eschew real-world technology.

But, they aren't.

They're making a decision to use a specific real-world technology to tell their story in what they believe to be the best way possible.

more than 3 years ago

Failures Mark First National Test of Emergency Alert System

Ephemeriis Re:Don't watch TV (451 comments)

It would really depend on the situation.

If I were at work - sure. Plenty of folks around the building with radios or TVs on. I'm sure somebody would see the warning.

At home? Probably not. My wife is just as bad as I am, if not worse. Our neighbors all head South for the winter, and aren't terribly social at the best of times. My wife's side of the family is all dead. My side of the family is 1,500+ miles away.

more than 3 years ago

Failures Mark First National Test of Emergency Alert System

Ephemeriis Re:Don't watch TV (451 comments)

That's kind of what I was thinking when I heard about this test.

I consume less and less broadcast media - be it television or radio - every day.

Unless I just happened to be driving somewhere in a car at the time of the emergency, I simply wouldn't hear the warning.

more than 3 years ago

How X-Ray Scanners Became Mandatory In US Airports

Ephemeriis Re:I wish they would do the obvious (264 comments)

This assumes that the only terrorist threat is from Muslims

And, like it or not, that is a prevalent assumption in the U.S.

Additionally, there is no way that a policy which is that discriminatory could be implemented without violating the constitution.

I'm no constitutional lawyer... And I'd like to think that we're better than this... But I really wouldn't be all that surprised to see such an obviously discriminatory policy at least proposed, if not actually approved.

It would be the equivalent of only requiring scanners for people in a certain skin colour range.

Or kicking folks off planes because they look too Muslim?

Granted, it's a private corporation that's kicking people off of planes, so they don't really have to worry about constitutionality the way that the government does... But it's just as discriminatory, and just as stupid, and just as effective.

more than 3 years ago

Entry-Level NAS Storage Servers Compared

Ephemeriis upgrade-ability (182 comments)

I'm no expert. We've got a NetApp where I work now, and had a Netgear ReadyNAS at my previous job. But I will say that some ability to upgrade is going to be key.

We got the ReadyNAS up and running with just a couple TB of storage because we really didn't think we'd need more than that. Within a year we were full and looking for some way to expand it.

The NetApp here was installed with a good pile of storage... But we've grown our environment so much that we've exceeded the capabilities of the chassis, and are looking at upgrading to a faster model.

It's very easy, when you're shopping around, to simply look at prices and your current needs and come to the conclusion that you really don't need that much storage... It's also very easy, once you've got a network storage device, to throw everything on there - simply because it is so convenient. And then, before you know it, you're running out of room.

Make sure you get something that can easily be expanded and/or upgraded - because it will happen. Probably much sooner than you expect.

more than 3 years ago

Why the Fax Machine Refuses To Die

Ephemeriis Re:It's convenience and security. (835 comments)

Sheet-fed scanners are ridiculously expensive

I don't know that I'd say ridiculously expensive... Sure, they cost more than a generic fax machine, but not that much more. And you often get what you pay for - meaning a more expensive document scanner will likely hold up better than your bargain fax machine.

And then there's the real multifunction devices...

plus you have to save the file, attach it to an email

Any place that's dealing with a large volume of paper - be it scanning, printing, or faxing - really ought to have a good, solid all-in-one device. Not one of those piece-of-crap inkjet things that HP sells for $100 - but a real office machine. The kind of things that Kyocera or Canon make. The big beasts that'll scan in reams of paper in just seconds, automatically convert it to whatever format you want, OCR it, and then store it somewhere on the network or email it or whatever else.

These things really aren't that expensive. Usually you can get them under contract with some local company and then you don't have to worry about maintenance or anything. And the cost per page is usually much lower than it would be otherwise.

These things make scanning insanely easy. And they'll also email for you - making the whole process just as easy as sending a fax.

then, hopefully, the file isn't too large for the sender or recipient's mailserver.

I guess it depends on where you work and what you're sending and where it's going... But a PDF document isn't that big. I've got 100 page documents that are just a couple MB. Most folks can receive files of that size.

Plus, it isn't like you fax machines have a magically endless supply of paper. If you're sending a document that's big enough to worry about the size limits on their mailserver, then they're going to be going through a lot of paper. Better hope they filled it up before you sent the thing.

With the fax machine, one just drops the stack in, verify the fax successfully transmitted, task complete.

Ideally, sure, that's how it works. But I can boil down sending a PDF attachment to something just as simple.

What you're neglecting to mention is that the entire time you're sending your 100+ page document, your fax machine (and attached phone line) are busy and unable to do anything else. As is the recipient's fax machine and phone line. And if you're sending (or receiving) a lot of these things, you can tie that line up all day long. Which is exactly what we were doing here.

Also, many people feel that snooping of phone lines is much less likely to occur than snooping of email, when is sent in the clear.

I am always amazed that folks think a fax transmission is somehow secure, and simultaneously seem to believe that securing email is an insurmountable challenge.

more than 3 years ago

Windows 8 To Fight Piracy With the Cloud

Ephemeriis Re:"push OS code to systems at boot time" (404 comments)

Yeah... They'd have to remove that feature, or allow some kind of internal licensing server... Because there's no way in hell I'm going to roll out an OS that bricks my workstations when the Internet goes down.

more than 3 years ago

Ridley Scott To Direct New Blade Runner Movie

Ephemeriis Re:If it was anyone other than Ridley Scott (288 comments)

I would advocate pummeling the director to within an inch of their life. For Ridley Scott I would ask politely to reconsider before pummeling.

Yeah. I cringed when I first heard about a new Blade Runner movie... But then I heard it was Ridley Scott... And now I'm just kind of confused.

Ridley Scott generally does good work. I can't think of a whole lot of movies he's done that I didn't enjoy. So that's definitely a step in the right direction.

And Blade Runner was certainly an interesting movie... Fairly complex world... I could easily see more stories being told in that setting...

But I just don't know where they'd go with the actual Blade Runner storyline. It seemed fairly self-contained to me. I've never really felt a burning desire to see what Deckard did before this last job... Or how the replicants managed their escape... Or what happened to Deckard and Rachael after they drove off into the sunset... All that really seemed superfluous to the main storyline.

Of course... That's never stopped someone for throwing together an ill-thought-out prequel/sequel before...

I guess what would make the most sense would be another story told in the same setting, but largely unrelated to the events of Blade Runner. See the events on one of the colonies, where replicants are not hunted down, but treated as slaves. Or maybe follow some other detective somewhere else. Maybe a super-prequel showing the development and release of the original series of replicants?

One thing I'd definitely hate to see is any of the original cast making an appearance as themselves. I guess a quick shot of Decker in the background somewhere would be ok... Or see his file on a detective's desk, or hear about him on the news... I could see maybe a glimpse inside a factory and see a bunch of Decker/Priss/Zhora/Roy-model replicants... But they'd have to be digitally altered to look more-or-less like they did 30 years ago.

more than 3 years ago

World of Warcraft Finally Loses Subscribers

Ephemeriis Re:It feels old and already seen (413 comments)

PvE, PvP - it doesn't really matter. Ultimately, it's all about the people you play with.

I had a great group of people I used to play WoW with... We'd played EQ before that, and DAoC, and CoH... Awesome folks.

But the gameplay mechanics of WoW really kind of ruined things for us. We were used to raids that involved 100+ people, and WoW limited it to just 40... And then 25... And, last time I played, most things were geared towards groups of 10.

Absolutely everything is instanced, so you don't really run into other people unless you want to. Then there's all the automated systems to help you find a group... Even going so far as to pull people into a group across different servers...

The end result is that WoW became downright antisocial. I'd log in, join a queue, run through a dungeon, get my loot, and join a new queue - all without anybody saying more than a half-dozen words to anyone else. Didn't get to know anyone, no feeling of camaraderie or anything like that, no sense of community.

This is the biggest difference between WoW and EVE - not any particular gameplay mechanic or quest structure or anything like that. The fact that the entire game takes place in a single, shared universe; and that even in the mission pockets you can still be scanned-down... You're forced to deal with other people. That makes the whole process more social, more communal. And it leads to better inter-player dynamics. Which is the whole point of a MMOG.

more than 3 years ago

Digital Tech and the Re-Birth of Product Placement

Ephemeriis Re:Isn't bad... (228 comments)

Product placement isn't bad when it works with the story. For example, a horror movie isn't ruined because at a party they have a box of Pizza Hut pizza and are playing on a PS3.

Done right, that actually adds to the story... It's easier to relate to characters eating Pizza Hut (or Dominos, or some other national chain) because we've seen the stores, we've probably eaten the food, we recognize the packaging, and we can relate to the entire situation of having a party and ordering pizza delivery.

It doesn't work so well if you go out of your way to make something generic, and avoid branding. The pizza example isn't such a good one since there are plenty of local pizza shops with rather generic boxes and people could still relate to the situation... But when you see people drinking a can of generic COLA, it kind of ruins the immersion. Unless you've gone to the trouble of making it fit within the storyline - developing a fictitious brand with a look and feel of its own. Like the Weyland Yutani beer in Alien.

more than 3 years ago


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