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Altering Text In eBooks To Track Pirates

Idaho Re:So... (467 comments)

In fact, this is one more reason for good authors to avoid traditional publishers. I can think of quite a few authors who would have a thing or two to say about algorithms like these being used to modify their work.

Just like in the music industry, big publishers are simply not necessary anymore. Editors most certainly are, but publishers?

about a year ago

Mayor Bloomberg Battles Fleet Owners Over NYC 'Taxi of Tomorrow'

Idaho Re:Ambivalent (278 comments)

If we are talking about American engines with their usual anemic power/weight ratio's, then probably yes. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is driving hundreds of thousands of kilometers with 1.3 l engines that deliver 100 KW or so.

Also, what's with the crazy units of measurements. 4 tablespoons per mile more - is that supposed to sound like "not a lot"? In real units of measurements, that would be around 40 ml/km or 4 l/100 km more which is an absolutely huge amount - in fact, on just that difference you can drive another small or hybrid car.

about a year ago

Mayor Bloomberg Battles Fleet Owners Over NYC 'Taxi of Tomorrow'

Idaho Re:Ambivalent (278 comments)

This is why the rest of the world uses this standardized system for units of measurements.

So, I was similarly surprised that in 2013 it is apparently still possible to build *and* sell new cars that consume 10 l/100km.

about a year ago

EVE Online Getting TV, Comic Book Adaptations

Idaho Re:Gotta be there (81 comments)

Randomly change anything and it will probably be an improvement, is how bad it is.

Despite that, I played the game for over 5 years. That's how good the meta-game is, if you're in the right alliance at least ;)

about a year ago

ZDNet Proclaims "Windows: It's Over"

Idaho Re:Whats the alternative? (863 comments)

Because "pinning" things to the taskbar in Win7 is an atrocity: when an application is not running it looks like an icon, when it's running it's much bigger (normal taskbar entry). So applications don't stay in the same place, depending on other applications that may or may not be started. Plus it just looks terrible, having a taskbar with running applications and then there seem to be icons stuck in the middle. Saw it once, went like "is that a bug? Wait, it is actually designed to behave like that?" and put it firmly in "Do. Not. Want." territory. So re-adding the taskbar is one of the first things to do, right up with disabling grouping on the taskbar and resetting Alt-Tab to behave sensibly and without all the massively distracting animations.

The win7 start menu is a huge improvement over XP however. So I guess it's obvious it had to be taken out for Windows 8.

about a year and a half ago

If I could (or had to) ban texting in one place ...

Idaho Re:Texting while driving (417 comments)

And we could call this supernatural selection!

about a year and a half ago

OpenOffice: Worth $21 Million Per Day, If It Were Microsoft Office

Idaho Re:potentially worth... (361 comments)

I would go one further and admit to installing LibreOffice *alongside* a full MS Office installation at work. The ribbon interface in recent Office version just drives me completely nuts, and the versions of Office that do not have it yet are getting so outdated that they have serious problems opening files from the newer versions (even with the converters installed). Whereas LibreOffice generally doesn't. The formatting may be slightly off, but at least I can get to the content.

The company I work for has a full MS subscription so it's not about saving money. It's just that in recent version Microsoft made the interface so atrocious to use, while continuing to ignore long-standing, over a decade old formatting/style and image movement bugs that you run into with even the most trivial of documents (say, a few page design doc with some screenshots), and which type of problem I remember noticing since Office 97, that even LibreOffice is starting to look attractive by comparison. And yes, I fully agree that is saying something.

Yes, I seriously tried using the ribbons for a while, I just *cannot* bear it. Too bad they had to force this on all Office users, since it's holding me back from using quite a lot of nice new features (major improvements in Powerpoint, say) in recent versions.

about a year and a half ago

Amazon Overcharging Publishers For Tax

Idaho Re:Never attribute to malice... (184 comments)

Where I live, short changing doesn't happen either way very often (or I just don't notice), but the times it does, I have actually seen it in both directions.

The funniest time was when we paid for some drinks, the owner thought/gave change as if we gave him a 50 when we actually paid with a 20. Got more money back than we paid in the first place. The place was OK so we did the nice thing and actually told him ;)

Speaking of Amazon though, this is why I will never buy DRM-encumbered anything. I have a Kindle and love it. I will leave it as an exercise to the reader how I obtain ebooks for it. I would gladly pay for them, if they did not come with DRM and where actually *cheaper* than the paperback editions. As it is, my bookshelf contains the paper edition, and I obtain the ebook for portable use by other means. A shame, really.

about 2 years ago

Google Threatens French Media Ban

Idaho Re:Looks like a train wreck in the making... (419 comments)

Of course they're not that dense.

This is all about getting the government to help you put your hand in the next guy's pocket.

about 2 years ago

Hallowe'en is coming. Trick-or-Treaters who visit ...

Idaho Re:WTF? (437 comments)

Cynical people might say he did it to improve business, as apples are sour and contain a lot of sugar too, they are very bad for your teeth, even comparable to soft drinks.

They may be healthier to the rest of your body compared to candy and soft drinks, but for the teeth: not so much, apparently.

about 2 years ago

Gas Prices Jump; California Hardest Hit

Idaho Re:Gas price (402 comments)

Over 45% is correct, likely it's even higher if you include VAT.

Where I live, current price is EUR 1.90/liter ($9.40 using the current exchange rate), of which 32% production costs, 9% in various margins (supplier, transport, gas station, etc.), the rest is taxes. So yep, the remaining 59% are specific taxes for fuel and "normal" VAT.

about 2 years ago

I go through keyboards ...

Idaho Re:Letter erosion and touch typing (341 comments)

I cannot really imagine there are still that many (young) people who look at the keyboard while typing. Seriously? How do you see what you're typing, then?

You also don't really need the key labels (once you can touch type), just the small "braille"-like lines on the F and J keys to feel where the home keys are, IMO :)

about 2 years ago

East Texas Getting Compressed Air Energy Storage Plant

Idaho Re:20 perm jobs? (248 comments)

More importantly, I don't get why anyone would advertise that 350M is being spent to create 20 "permanent" positions. That's 17.5M per fulltime job!

more than 2 years ago

Laser Powers Lockheed Martin's Stalker Drone For 48 Hours

Idaho Re:Nice (129 comments)

I'm sure they'll listen to Reason.

(sorry, couldn't resist)

more than 2 years ago

Apple News From WWDC and iPhone 5 Rumors

Idaho Re:ethernet dongles (likely at added cost on $2k+) (683 comments)

I think Macs tend to make a rather poor budgeting choice.

Typing this message on my more than 4-year old $1000 (cheapest model) MacBook with 440 full battery cycles and still decent (2-3h) battery live, I disagree.

I would like to see how that sub-$500 laptop is doing after 4 bet is you'd probably need to retrieve it from a landfill first.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Shop For a Laptop?

Idaho Re:mac (732 comments)

Non-ironically, yes indeed. Get the cheapest macbook (without extended warranty), and be done with it.

I did this 4 years ago, so it's one of the plastic models, and still no problems whatsoever. I use it several hours daily, am using it to type this message. Even the battery is still good after 450 full cycles (the warranty is 80% capacity after 300 cycles). Not as good as new, but still lasts 2.5-3 hours during normal browsing/typing. The biggest problem is the backlight is getting less bright (this is normal but still annoying), which is starting to get noticeable in bright daylight (outside). It has not had any problem ever, hardware or software, and since I always just close the lid it has a 90 day uptime (most of which spent in sleep mode of course, but still). Hmm, I should probably install updates...

Performance is absolutely no problem for everyday use (not gaming), and we're talking an "ancient" Core 2 Duo model.

Basically it's hard not to come across as a fanboy after having used Dell and HP for years, but well..that's what it is.

more than 2 years ago

The Rise of Chemophobia In the News

Idaho Re:You know it's coming (463 comments)

Disturbing is very much the word you're looking for, indeed.

Some more choice quotes:

"Being a high energy oxidizer, dioxygen difluoride reacted vigorously with organic compounds, even at temperatures close to its melting point. It reacted instantaneously with solid ethyl alcohol, producing a blue flame and an explosion. When a drop of liquid 02F2 was added to liquid methane, cooled at 90K. , a white flame was produced instantaneously, which turned green upon further burning. When 0.2 (mL) of liquid 02F2 was added to 0.5 (mL) of liquid CH4 at 90K., a violent explosion occurred."

And he's just getting warmed up, if that's the right phrase to use for something that detonates things at -180C (that's -300 Fahrenheit, if you only have a kitchen thermometer). The great majority of Streng's reactions have surely never been run again. The paper goes on to react FOOF with everything else you wouldn't react it with: ammonia ("vigorous", this at 100K), water ice (explosion, natch), chlorine ("violent explosion", so he added it more slowly the second time) [..]

Or how about this one:

But today's compound makes no noise and leaves no wreckage. It merely stinks. But it does so relentlessly and unbearably. It makes innocent downwind pedestrians stagger, clutch their stomachs, and flee in terror. It reeks to a degree that makes people suspect evil supernatural forces. It is thioacetone.

No one's quite sure what the actual odorant is [..] And no one seems to have much desire to find out, either. There are sound historical reasons for this reluctance. The canonical example (Chemische Berichte 1889, 2593) is the early work in the German city of Freiburg in 1889 (see page 4 of this textbook), which quotes the first-hand report. This reaction produced"an offensive smell which spread rapidly over a great area of the town causing fainting, vomiting and a panic evacuation."

[..] They were dispersed with other observers around the laboratory, at distances up to a quarter of a mile , and one drop of either acetone gem-dithiol or the mother liquors from crude trithioacetone crystallisations were placed on a watch glass in a fume cupboard. The odour was detected downwind in seconds. "

more than 2 years ago

The Rise of Chemophobia In the News

Idaho Re:You know it's coming (463 comments)

My favorite source for actually scary chemicals is Things I won't work with, a chemists weblog detailing all sorts of stuff that, well, he won't work with. Random quote:

The experimental section of the paper enjoins the reader to wear a face shield, leather suit, and ear plugs, to work behind all sorts of blast shields, and to use Teflon and stainless steel apparatus so as to minimize shrapnel. Hmm. Ranking my equipment in terms of its shrapneliferousness is not something that's ever occurred to me, I have to say. It's safe to assume that any procedure which involves considering which parts of the apparatus I'd prefer to have flying past me will not get much business in my lab, no matter how dashing I might look in a leather suit.

more than 2 years ago


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