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Comments

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EA Comes Under Fire for Shady PR Stunts

RobBebop Re:I guess it was money well spent (228 comments)

Sins are a slippery slope. If I get a check that's personally addressed to me, I'd consider that either a gift or a bribe. Bribes are illegal. Gifts aren't, though you're beholden to report them to the IRS. There's no greed in taking the money. The only greed is in reporting it publicly for your own benefit... which also benefits EA. Thus, the only guilty parties are (indirectly) EA and (directly) the people who blogged about it so they can rake in advertising dollars.

I suppose I'm guilty for commenting in this thread... but since I won't see a dime from either EA or Slashdot I'm clearly not guilty of greed.

about 5 years ago
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EA Comes Under Fire for Shady PR Stunts

RobBebop Re:I guess it was money well spent (228 comments)

But getting a check from Knuth means you found a bug in LaTeX. There is genuine pride in debugging a piece of software like that. Being a video game blogger? Not so much.

I'll be honest... I'd cash it and then not comment about it. Maybe I'd send a private e-mail to EA thanking them for their generosity and informing them how I feel compelled not to comment on this game because of the clear conflict of interests involved.

about 5 years ago
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New Unmanned Japanese Re-supply Vessel For the ISS

RobBebop Re:Russian Progress, not Shuttle, supplying ISS (93 comments)

In addition to a garbage disposal, it's also a pantry where their food is stored since there isn't much sense unloading it when a new one docks.

about 5 years ago
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China Considering Cuts In Rare-Earth Metal Exports

RobBebop Re:Will somebody in the WTO finally grow a pair (456 comments)

we decided it was a much better idea to sell ourselves lock stock and barrel to the Chinese.

And now that it's time for them to collect on that debt, it's probably a good idea for them to stop giving us these cheap resources that are also important to their own development. In school lunch terms... if somebody borrowed $10 from you last week because they wanted to buy stuff from the cafeteria, would you agree to sell him your bag of Doritos this week for a quarter?

This is a hard lesson to learn, but those in debt deserve to be CUT OFF.

about 5 years ago
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Does Your College Or University Support Linux?

RobBebop Re:"Sometimes I would ask the student tour guide.. (835 comments)

do you really, honestly believe that some random kid giving tours is going to know what "Linux" is?

An advanced understanding? No. As an alternative operating system that can be used to replace Windows? Yes. Dell offers Linux as a preinstalled option. I believe HP does, too. I'm not sure how well they market it... but it's out there. Also, high schools typically have technology classes which teach everything from "how to use a computer to check your e-mail" to "programming FIRST robots". I'd expect the technology teachers at these high schools to know the difference between Linux/Mac/Windows and spend at least half a class period talking about it in even the most basic level of these classes (though on second thought, Microsoft spends a lot of money to ensure high schools aren't equipped with a Linux alternative so YMMV).

about 5 years ago
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Does Your College Or University Support Linux?

RobBebop Re:Who cares? (835 comments)

You're acting like people shouldn't have personal preferences, and should always accede to the whims of others.

I'm reminded of the quote, "A reasonable man adapts himself to his environment while an unreasonable man adapts the environment to him. Progress depends on the unreasonable man."

about 5 years ago
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Does Your College Or University Support Linux?

RobBebop Re:Who cares? (835 comments)

My first impulse was that the "Who cares?" attitude was that of a troll, but after thinking about it a bit I realized how Windows-centric my University had been (RPI Computer Engineering - Class of 2005). Via a financial aid package I got a free (at the time) top of the line laptop which happily ran Windows during my time there. Then there was the Vorhees Computing Center which was divided up between Windows on the left (where you'd go to print stuff) and UNIX on the right (which was mostly ignored because it was fairly ancient).

Anyway... point is that AFTER college all of my computers have been loaded with Linux and my "work" computers continue to be predominantly Windows. This is a fact of life.

If you have the luxury, I'd put in the following recommendation: making sure she's got easy access to both Linux and Windows. Because I'll say this, knowing what Linux does well and learning what Windows can handle satisfactorily will give her an advantage over the people on campus who only know one way of doing things.

If easily/convenient computer labs on campus offer Windows desktops, send her to school with a Linux laptop. If not... is sending a student to campus with two laptops or a desktop+laptop really that hard to imagine?

And when she asks you how to configure Samba, Cygwin, Wine, Apache, and remote terminals... be prepared with the answers.

about 5 years ago
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What the DHS Knows About You

RobBebop Value Added: Information NOT Stored (402 comments)

I think the point that highlights why this is all security theater is the note at the way bottom of the record which says Private Jet Travel was not included in the documentation. It seems this is a hole in their security model that will never be plugged.

about 5 years ago
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Copyright Troubles For Sony

RobBebop Re:Some counterpoints (276 comments)

The article clearly says a seven-album deal.

According to what I've read, one of the nasty parts of multi-album recording contracts is that the contract gives the record company final approval about what can get put on an album. The idea that they still hold any rights beyond the contract for songs they didn't select for album publication seems to do a disservice to this particular agreement.

I hope the Mexican court sees this for the evil it is.

about 5 years ago
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Where Have You Gone, Bell Labs?

RobBebop Re:Greentech! (552 comments)

it is entirely possible to transmit power efficiently over long distances

The same "not in my backyard" argument that resisted cell towers is politically holding back adding the extra transmission capacity to connect solar farms to cities. Let me know if you need citations.

Moreso, I've read that the challenge of solar/wind in terms of harvesting the energy at sites in the middle of nowhere is storing the power for more than a few hours in case it gets cloudy or the wind calms down. Whereas all the other sources of energy can be controlled based on an input variable that's controlled by human interaction, wind and solar have completely external dependencies.

As far as you calling my comment stupid... you must have missed the overaching point that I was trying to make that solar panels don't generate very much energy based on the amount of space and resources they use. The key for solar is installing it in an area where space is a negligible consideration. Further... I think installing 100,000 acres of solar farms somewhere in the desert and then transmitting that power to a city would have unforeseen environmental effects because sand and solar panels have different heat absorption properties and it wouldn't surprise me if this cause negative weather effects.

Like I indicated... right now solar and wind are good rural and suburban options for roof installation. And that's significant. I'm not saying don't do solar. I'm just saying the technology doesn't currently exist to do it on a massive scale where it would make a dent in the national energy consumption requirements.

about 5 years ago
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Where Have You Gone, Bell Labs?

RobBebop Re:Greentech! (552 comments)

a population zone like New Jersey which consumes 8 GW of electricity would need to be completely blanketed in solar panels to get the power needed to run

Solar panels could pay back the energy cost of their cost of their construction in under eight years back in the 1970s.

I wasn't talking about cost. I was talking about taking a great idea and then realizing after it's implemented that there were major drawbacks because nobody wants to live in a state that's completely blocked out by the sun (there are other reasons not to live in NJ... but that's for another topic).

It's an engineering challenge. The energy needs are X. The physical space and resources available are Y. If the energy solution generates power at a rate of X/Y then it's a non-starter.

You are a nuclear playboy.

Nuclear, hydro, wind, SOLAR, coal, gasoline, geothermal, natural gas, and steam. I support the energy sources that enable modern living. I was just pointing out that nuclear is a major benefit to densely populated areas. You can call me an Urban Playboy if you want because I think the advantages in terms of energy usage within cities far outweigh many other aspects. The two shiniest examples of why big urban centers are advantageous are public transportation utilization and district heating (where heat energy lost from operating systems is used instead of wasted like it is in areas where it easily escapes into the atmosphere).

Yeah... sure... put a solar panel on your house and watch your electricity bill go down to $10/month because you're generating 100kW with your panels. That's a good solution for you. I'd live in a place where energy costs are 50kW because I'm taking advantage of energy saving systems like Energy Star appliances, passive solar heating through insulated windows, and then shelling out the $100/month to pay for the energy generated by the electric and gas company that I've used. (caveat: the numbers I'm using here are pulled from my ass, but they are supposed to illustrate the point I'm making).

about 5 years ago
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Space Shuttle To Be Replaced By SpaceX For ISS Resupply

RobBebop Re:ATV? Progress? (297 comments)

some competition on government contracts to the United Launch Alliance consortium of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

Yeah... Boeing and LM are just as big and resistant to change as any huge organization who has enjoyed many years with a business model that has let them coast along and collect money freely.

Disclaimer - I work for NASA.

And as a further disclaimer... I work for a company who has been partnered with Orbital in the past, though I've never had anything to do with any of those projects.

about 5 years ago
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Space Shuttle To Be Replaced By SpaceX For ISS Resupply

RobBebop Re:A Better Article (297 comments)

there's also Orbital Sciences

Don't you mean Aperture Sciences? ~

about 5 years ago
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Space Shuttle To Be Replaced By SpaceX For ISS Resupply

RobBebop Re:If You Can't Lead--Get Out Of the Way (297 comments)

Even if you're correct and it's cheaper to just chuck the old one and launch Hubble II.

I think if NASA adopted this "Dell business model" that you describe, space exploration would take about ten years before if became too dangerous for anybody without a powerful Anti-Debris Scan and Removable Tool. Unfortunately, the requirements of space are higher than the comparable code that McAfee and Microsoft churn out. The option to resign yourself to raising the white flag and start from scratch would have much more devastating results when you realize the Scan and Removable Tool has become overwhelmed.

On the other hand, this would pave the way for a huge Anti-Debris Scan industry which would create tens-of-millions of jobs to kick start the economy. Or is that just another example of the Broken Window Fallacy?

about 5 years ago
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Where Have You Gone, Bell Labs?

RobBebop Re:Where have they gone? To the ether... (552 comments)

That's funny... I thought Albany was prosperous because of the Hudson River, the Rockefeller family with their railroad business, and Thomas Edison with his electric company. A quick peak at Wiki supports your claims, though. Nonetheless, being familiar with the area I guess it goes to show that cities need to evolve or die just like companies and countries do. I went to RPI for 4 years from 2001 to 2005 and during my tenure in Troy I watched it get nicer and nicer as the school poured money into the town improving campus as well as some hot spots downtown. I must say, though, that 4th street east of downtown looked like hell when I drove through in May. Many of those apartment tenements need to be torn down.

about 5 years ago
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Where Have You Gone, Bell Labs?

RobBebop Re:Greentech! (552 comments)

There are practical considerations why we don't use solar and wind power to run things. It's very inefficient and uses lots of resources to create it. I believe solar (using cutting edge tech that's been developed in the last two or three years) is slightly better than wind (which demands the right amount of wind for it to work).

I did some back of the envelope calculations a while back and (based on crude estimates) a population zone like New Jersey which consumes 8 GW of electricity would need to be completely blanketed in solar panels to get the power needed to run. As a comparison, the state currently gets 4 GW of electricity from 3 nuclear reactions that less than 5% of the population know about. In terms of staying out of the way of modern living, that's a major win.

about 5 years ago
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While Coding, How Often Do You Refer To Language Docs?

RobBebop Re:Missing Option (303 comments)

My favorite part when I wrote it was rounding the value for pi down to 3.1 and then further truncating the 0.1 by casting it as an integer. But nobody *really* writes code like this. Right? Hopefully? I hope...

more than 4 years ago
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Advice On Creating an Open Source Textbook?

RobBebop Not Wikipedia. Wikibooks! (178 comments)

Wikibooks is the best source of open source educational books.

The folks at CK12.org also probably know a thing or two, since they get most of their content from Wikipedia and were recently distinguished by the governor of the state of California for producing three books which meets the state requirements for an elementary school text book.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Open Source Tax Software

RobBebop RobBebop writes  |  more than 6 years ago

RobBebop (947356) writes "Tax Day is a month and a half away, so it is time to think about how to file. A search for Open Source options has revealed Tax Code Software (which hasn't been updated since 2006) and OpenTaxSolver (whose interface proved troublesome within the first 5 minutes of use). Is there any effort to produce an Open Source tax product for 2008, before I go out and pick up a retail version of TurboTax? This has also been asked in 2005 and 2007."
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RobBebop RobBebop writes  |  more than 7 years ago

RobBebop (947356) writes "The organization Architecture for Humanity has just launched the beta version of their Open Architecture Network website. The goal of the Open Architecture Network is to be the SourceForge of the art of Building Sciences by allowing blueprints, engineering specs, and construction tips to be shared in a community. An article from Wired includes more detail, "The site is built so people can upload info, comment on and, in some cases, download building or project specs". There is also an interview with the co-creators Cameron Sinclair & Kate Stohr at the end of the article."

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