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Microsoft Won't Bring Back the Start Menu Until 2015

GMFTatsujin Re:flame away, but... (516 comments)

And it only took you months to get to the same level of functionality you had before! SUCH A DEAL

about 3 months ago
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The Foundry Will Soon be a Makerspace in Bellingham, Washington (Video)

GMFTatsujin Re:What? (35 comments)

Makerspaces are places where people--either the general public or a group of paying members--can gather together and make things. Makerspaces usually have an abundance of tools, materials, and places to work on hands-on projects. They typically celebrate open source, notions of hacking technology, and playful misuse of technology to do interesting things.

Think: informal, engaging, creative spaces where you can collaborate with people to make things.

Here's a blog I wrote with good pics: Quelab - a Community of Practice. Full disclosure: I'm on the board of directors at Quelab in Albuquerque. Drop by if you're in the area code.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is the Bar Being Lowered At Universities?

GMFTatsujin Re:Wrong site (605 comments)

As a long-time reader of /. and a current Teaching Assistant at my local university, I can absolutely confirm that student writing at the college level has plummeted.

I read 70+ papers a week written for a 300 level course in film critique. The content is weirdly polarized. Some students have laser-sharp content and style. Others smash dense blocks of words together with no coherence or structure. There are practically no in-betweeners; the bell curve is inverted on quality.

about a year and a half ago
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First Person Dungeon Crawlers Making a Return

GMFTatsujin Frayed Knights is also worth a mention (163 comments)

(To let you know up front: I was a beta tester on this project, but I have no financial stake in its success.)

Frayed Knights: The Skull of S'makh-Daon is a party based dungeon crawler worth looking at. It feels a lot like Wizardy 8 in gameplay, and the writing reminds me of the kind of psuedo-in character talk around a tabletop RPG session: really fun, light-hearted, and a little self-aware of the ridiculousness of the proceedings. Frayed Knights also has a clever endurance mechanic for fighters and casters alike. The leveling system offers solid alternatives for the player to explore.

Frayed Knights went gold a few weeks ago after a *lot* of rigorous testing, feedback, and RCs. Indie developer Jay Barnson of Rampart Games really did a labor of love here. I can recommend the to anyone who enjoyed the Wizardry series, Might and Magic, or classic Bard's Tale.

Frayed Knights Website

more than 2 years ago
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Drupal Competes As a Framework, Unofficially

GMFTatsujin Re:It's a long way (178 comments)

I'm building a site on Drupal now exactly because it's what I know.

What, should I use something I *don't* know?

I know other webby develop-o-matic, framworkified tools too, and it's true that I'm not super-convinced that Drupal is exactly right for the job... but getting the job done well is more important to me that getting the job done perfectly, when the "perfect" solution is something I haven't even seen yet. Like, nebulously perfect. Perfect in a way I don't yet know... and have no time to snoop out and master the way I have already with Drupal.

Having a big, flexible toolbox is good, but at some point you say, "Yeah, this'll the job" and get to it. Let me put to use what I've learned.

(That being said, I just subcontracted a Drupal job from a designer whose client wants five pages on the site. FIVE CRAPPY PAGES. I just about tore my eyes out with rage.)

more than 3 years ago
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Feds Help You Find Your Fastest Internet Service

GMFTatsujin Re:Advertised speeds, not useful (163 comments)

I find if you move the decimal point over a few places to the left, you get an accurate understanding of what to expect. I'm listed in a 10Mbps region, and I get a very reliably disappointing 150kbps. I haven't been surprised in years at the throughput I've gotten from Comcast.

My buddy a few streets up floored me by getting 1250kbps last night, though. It pays to live in the posh part of town, I guess.

more than 3 years ago
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Comment Profanity by Language

GMFTatsujin Re:Perfect? (263 comments)

Also, you never know what "$%!!!#$!!()$!$)!" will actually parse...

more than 3 years ago
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Teacher Suspended Over Blog About Students

GMFTatsujin Re:Not an YRO (634 comments)

Looking at this through the flip test, students who critique, berate, and abuse their teachers' image should fairly expect summary expulsion, unwanted publicity, and the destruction of their future employment.

That's what the teacher got.

Saying something stupid is one thing, consequences are a related thing, but keep it in perspective. Teachers and students both have the right to speak, to write, and to express. This teacher is indicative of a major issue in school -- lack of respect on both sides of the desk -- but she is not the cause of it.

Call her out on it, yeah. Maybe put some of her troubled students in they fray as well. Treat it like what it should be: a reconciliation of students and teachers, though. The educational system won't survive inquisitions, whoever gets staked.

more than 3 years ago
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DARPA Wants To Know How Stories Influence People

GMFTatsujin Holy crap, my degree just became useful! (87 comments)

I worked for the local university, which had a sweet tuition remission policy. I ended up taking classes in anything I was interested in, hopping from college to college. Linguistics, American Studies, Film Studies, lots of literature, some sociology and anthropology... After a few years of this, the university sent me a letter demanding that I declare a degree and f'ing graduate already, or they wouldn't let me take any more classes.

The course load was so varied that it was hard for me to shoehorn it into a single field. I had to figure out what tied them all together.

I realized that I had been studying the ways the stories and cultures interact and affect each other. Lots of semiotics, language, and that sort of idea encoding, but also study of cultural reactions and re-manifestations of stories to "fit the times." Propaganda was a big part of that. (I declared the program in early 2001. That September, I discovered a wealth of research material.)

There was no discrete program to fit that into, but there *was* the catch-all "University Studies" degree: a sort of roll-your-own program that, if you could make a case for hanging your classes together somehow, you could graduate.

I call my degree "Propaganda Studies" for my own amusement, I work in I.T. to pay the bills... but now I can go apply at DARPA! Fat government research grant, here I come!

more than 3 years ago
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10 Dos and Don'ts To Make Sysadmins' Lives Easier

GMFTatsujin Re:Windows CAL cost (246 comments)

Point taken. Consolidating directories of authenticated accounts in general is a good idea, especially if open standards are involved. If Active Directory (or whatever) isn't your cup of tea, setting up an OpenLDAP server or something similar should be an option.

I think the basic idea is to avoid over-replicating information and minimizing the potential for human error in the duplications.

more than 3 years ago
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10 Dos and Don'ts To Make Sysadmins' Lives Easier

GMFTatsujin Re:#11: Meaningful error messages (246 comments)

At last, we know why Gordon Freeman was so handy with the crowbar... AND the most solid clue yet as to why Black Mesa went blooey!

Thank you, sir! You've done us a great service!

more than 3 years ago
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Banknotes Go Electronic To Outwit Counterfeiters

GMFTatsujin Re:Go electronic! (441 comments)

Above posters have already addressed privacy. I agree with that.

But here's another reason: to keep market costs *real.*

When you pay with a credit or debit card, the card network charges the business some amount just for the privilege of handing over your money. This nibbles away at the business's profitability, ie: the reason they stay open to sell you what you're after in the first place.

With cash, you pay the same price, but the money stays between you and the business. You're not paying a VISA/MC/DISC/AMEX middleman for a "carry your money from A to B' fee.

Cash is more efficient that electronic in that regard.

Plus it makes it easier to fill up your piggy bank with spare change for a little splurge spending later on. (Can't do that with receipts!)

more than 3 years ago
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NSA Considers Its Networks Compromised

GMFTatsujin Re:Which is the sane thing to assume (239 comments)

Yeah, I felt pretty good about the deadbolts on the front door. Until a thief broke in through the window to undo the bolt from the inside, just to walk right in.

That's when I learned two lessons: there's more than one way in, and thieves don't have qualms about breaking stuff.

more than 3 years ago
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eLEGS Exoskeleton Allows Paraplegics To Walk

GMFTatsujin Tell me I'm not the only one (56 comments)

Did anyone else miscue the title as "eLEGO exoskeleton?"

Awesome unlock for Hawking, dude. LEGO Physicist is the funnest game ever!

more than 3 years ago
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PowerPoint Rant Costs Colonel His Job

GMFTatsujin Re:Powerpoint in the military (194 comments)

Ignite-style presentations tend to get around this by forcing the speaker to advance a slide every fifteen seconds with a twenty slide limit. Result: five minutes of good stuff. The creed is, "Enlighten us, but make it quick," and this structure does a pretty good job.

I volunteer at Ignite New Mexico, and we've had dozens of fascinating PowerPoint presentations -- a weird paradox, I know. Even if you find a presentation less than invigorating, at least it's short. Chances are you'll be surprised by how interesting *any* topic can be, though.

Check out our YouTube channel.

about 4 years ago
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Linux Wall Warts Small On Size, Big On Possibilities

GMFTatsujin Re:A small business owner's viewpoint (316 comments)

The NAS I'm running at home has RAID5 and powers down the disks when not in use. It consumes about 15W idle. (Don't recall the model offhand.)

I figured I could map /home to that via SAMBA. It runs Linux underneath it all, but I haven't figured out how to get root on it yet, otherwise I'd try it out as more than a file server.

I'll look into the Linkstation, though. Thanks for the thoughts.

about 4 years ago
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Six Reasons Why Flash Isn't Going Away

GMFTatsujin Please oh please oh PLEASE KEEP FLASH (483 comments)

Otherwise, Flashblock will stop working and all those ads and banners and devil-may-care craziness will be UNSTOPPABLE.

Seriously, how can I strip out HTML5 content that I hate? What plugin can tell what should stay and what should go? Flash is the best thing ever for people who want to enjoy the web, because the Flash elements are easy to detect and discard before rendering.

about 4 years ago
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Linux Wall Warts Small On Size, Big On Possibilities

GMFTatsujin A small business owner's viewpoint (316 comments)

I'm in the design phase of opening a consulting business (non-IT related) to run out of my home. Marvell's plugs look very attractive to me as a right-sized server for my modest needs. Email, web, file storage (especially with a RAID NAS or via DropBox) -- the wall wart looks just right for that kind of workload. I've worked in IT with big, fancy servers, and I just don't need them.

The alternative is to lease something like a Linode. I like the way Linode does business, but five months of their low-power service would buy a SheevaPlug. All I'm missing then is a static IP and the always-up cloudiness that Linode provides. The choices are tempting.

about 4 years ago

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