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New Usage-Based Insurance Software Can Track Drivers Using Smartphones

Spugglefink Re:Nope! (137 comments)

Everybody told me, "You can't buy a red vehicle! Your insurance will skyrocket!"

Everybody told me, "You can't buy a large vehicle! Your insurance will skyrocket!"

I bought a large red vehicle. My insurance skyrocketed. By $3.86 a year.

Then I added a teenage driver to my policy... Ugh.

about two weeks ago

The Hidden Cost of Your New Xfinity Router

Spugglefink Re:Crapfinity (224 comments)

I pay Comcast over $200 a month, but they're reliable and fast. You couldn't pay me enough to deal with Verizon DSL again, and while OTA channel options have expanded considerably, OTA today is like cable was in 1980, and a big step back compared to cable in 2014. My wife has to have her 24/7 reality TV. It's actually a reasonably cheap price to pay to keep her from annoying me to death.

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: What To Do About the Sorry State of FOSS Documentation?

Spugglefink A few problems... (430 comments)

As someone else already pointed out, doc writers for FOSS projects tend to be technical-minded early adopters who are either developers themselves, or who spend a lot of time with developers. That's how I got my own start, and it has come with the dual problems that my writing is too technical for Joe User on the one hand, and on the other, when you start documenting new software, you find a LOT of bugs. If you have any coding skills at all, it's faster to go fix the bugs than wait for someone else to do it, and that's how doc writers morph into developers morph into project managers. I haven't updated my documentation in almost 10 years, because only so many hats fit on my head at one time.

As a project manager, the problem I've faced is that I have dozen of peoples who loves my project and woulds liking to help in some way to be part of the team. These generous peoples is wanting to help very muchly, but they isn't writing so good in English, because they isn't talking English as first language. Really interesting it is getting when collaborating are peoples from two very distinctive language background who makes error in strangely conflicting way too. Resulting is documentation need to be heavily edited, to the point of rewriting everything. Them peoples is nice, but they isn't no use writing nothing.

It has been a really frustrating ride over the years. We could do better on documentation if I took the time to sit down and go through it all, but if I had that much time, there are so many more critical things to deal with first. What it all amounts to over the span of almost 15 years is a slow process of attrition and collapse where more people leave than join, and more and more unfinished work piles up everywhere.

It is what it is. If you don't want to deal with all this, go spend $1,000 on some commercial stuff.

about a month and a half ago

Math, Programming, and Language Learning

Spugglefink Re:I disagree (241 comments)

I've had similar experiences in life. Things that were boring in school are easily mastered once you have a real use for them. Knowledge is a tool. What good is a tool if you don't use it to accomplish work?

Give me a problem, and I will figure out what skills I need to get you a solution, and acquire just those skills. That's just how I get things done as an adult.

about 2 months ago

Should We Eat Invasive Species?

Spugglefink Wineberries! (290 comments)

Wineberries (Rubus phoenicolasius) are considered an invasive, noxious species to be destroyed on sight. But why would you want to destroy something so very delicious and tasty? I have some growing on my property that drove all my fancy named cultivars to extinction, and good riddance. These berries are better tasting anyway, and the seeds were free from heaven above, or at least a bird's cloaca from above. Bird shit never tasted so good.

about 4 months ago

Quad Lasers Deliver Fast, Earth-Based Internet To the Moon

Spugglefink sharks! (131 comments)

There's going to be hell to pay when the sharks get ahold of these things.

about 4 months ago

NASA Laying Foundation For Jupiter Moon Space Mission

Spugglefink Re:What's been the hold up???? (100 comments)

We just have to convince someone that water from Europa is a miracle tonic that grows hair and enlarges the penis. The funding will take care of itself.

about 5 months ago

Linux Developers Consider On-Screen QR Codes For Kernel Panics

Spugglefink Re:Good idea (175 comments)

I have a couple of bad micro SD cards. Put one into a card reader on a Linux machine, try to read some of the files, and presto magnifico, kernel panic every time. Windows handles this corruption a lot more elegantly, incidentally, but the hardware is toast either way.

about 5 months ago

The Neuroscientist Who Discovered He Was a Psychopath

Spugglefink brain scan? (241 comments)

Having learned that psychopaths are more attractive to women than guys who have good jobs and don't punch them in the face, I'd like to have a brain scan and see if I'm lucky enough to be a psychopath. If I am, maybe I can get laid!

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Attracting Developers To Abandonware?

Spugglefink Re:$40,000 a year (321 comments)

Curious, have you ever tried giving a realistic estimate to someone who's asked you to do something like that?

Yes. I've provided estimates I felt were very fair. I bill based on what a competent person ought to be able to do with something, and don't charge for the extra time I have to spend due to not being competent with some particular language or toolkit or what have you. If the project is in Python, I don't know Python, so I'm not going to charge for the time I have to spend reading up on the language.

In this case, the $40,000 estimate is realistic for me, simply because that's what I would actually have to have in order to endeavor to complete this task. There is more work there than I can get done while working 80 hours at a day job and having a little bit left over for a life, so if I'm taking on a project of that magnitude, I have no choice but to interrupt my regular employment. There probably isn't enough work in IceWM or whatever we're talking about to justify paying one guy to work on it full time for a year, but my regular gig is an all or nothing proposition where I either eat all the food on my plate, or I get none at all. That's what it would take for me, but obviously anybody actually hiring me for this job under these circumstances is a moron, and to that extent my offer is not especially serious.

1 year,2 days

Ask Slashdot: Attracting Developers To Abandonware?

Spugglefink Re:$40,000 a year (321 comments)

What's wrong with, "Hey, if you (fix this bug|add this feature), I'll pay you $x. No rush, do it in your spare time, and whenever you get it done you'll get paid"?

In principle, nothing. In practice, $x is always a figure that's off by at least one order of magnitude relative to the amount of work involved in accomplishing the desired goal.

It helps if you already know the code, the language, and the toolkit intimately. The more you know ahead of time, the easier it is to accomplish some goal for hire. In practice, the more intimately involved you are with a project, the less $x will be. I've had people offer to buy me a six-pack of beer in exchange for what amounts to 50 hours of work to someone familiar with the code and able to get off and running quickly. Another time, I got offered $50 for a similar amount of work, which is much better, but still laughable. Sure, I know the code, but it still takes time and work to implement and test something. I work on that particular code for free, but if I'm for hire, I'm going to get at least minimum wage. Otherwise, I'm simply not for hire.

1 year,5 days

Ask Slashdot: Attracting Developers To Abandonware?

Spugglefink Re:$40,000 a year (321 comments)

That's extreme, do you anticipate there really be enough work to maintain IceWM every single working day?

No, I anticipate there being enough work that I can't get it done and work 70 hours at my day job too. Let's say it only takes me four months of highly concentrated effort to get everything up to date and humming along, after which future maintenance will be much easier to manage. All I have to do is take four months off from my day job, which means I give up my seniority, my vacation pay, my sick pay, my experience pay, my bonuses, my health insurance, and I start over from square one four months from now when they rehire me. If they rehire me.

I'd like to do this badly enough to make some huge personal sacrifices, but one full year paid up front is the least I'll take in order to gamble everything and trade away all the benefits of staying with my nose to the corporate grindstone.

Indeed, if I could pull together multiple projects, everybody could pay less. Too many projects, and I can't get the work done though. Financing for such things is extremely unpredictable too, and I might get paid this year and never get paid again, so I have to go off and hunt up some other project to work on.

Hunting work takes time too. All in all, I'll just keep my day job until somebody meets my price. This means I will be keeping my day job in perpetuity, unfortunately for me, and unfortunately for all the FOSS I could have worked on, had I but time. Oh well.

This is why it's impossible to pay somebody to work on your pet FOSS project, unless you have deep pockets, or a gigantic base of users with shallow pockets and the will to empty them. The best way to get FOSS done is to go do it yourself, and do it for free, out of love. If you can't code, and you can't pay, then you're just shit out of luck. Incidentally, while obviously somewhat over-valued, lists IceWM as having an estimated commercial development cost of about $2,000,000 USD. $40,000 is jack shit. It's not even one real salary for a developer.

1 year,6 days

Ask Slashdot: Attracting Developers To Abandonware?

Spugglefink $40,000 a year (321 comments)

As long as you pay me $40,000 USD a year, I'll continue maintaining IceWM for you in perpetuity. That would be taking a big pay cut to do something boring that I have no interest in doing, but it would be worth it to get to work at home in my underwear.

I don't know how many times I've been approached by someone who wanted to "pay" me to do work like this. Yeah, $60 isn't going to get you anywhere, Bunky. Sorry bud. You want me to do something that's going to eat all my time, then I'm quitting my day job, and guess who has to make my house payment and crap? Right!

1 year,7 days

What Keeps You On (or Off) Windows in 2013?

Spugglefink Re:2001 (1215 comments)

Ooh, yes. Good old Windows ME. It did wonders in convincing people to ditch Windows!

It did indeed. I've been exposed to everything since then, except Windows 8. None of them are as bad as ME was, but none of them are especially interesting either. Windows is pretty bland.

My kids grew up on KDE. My daughter's Wacom tablet gave up the ghost, so I bought her a new one. There were no Linux drivers yet (score one for Windows), so I went out and bought her a brand new computer with Windows on it so she could use her tablet. She ended up crying. She tried to make a go of it, but she just wasn't comfortable with something alien and new. I ended up faffing about for days with experimental drivers until I got the thing working.

I guess where I'm at in life, if I wanted to use the tablet, I'd just leave Windows on the computer and go with the flow. That's why I bought the damn new computer in the first place; spend money, solve problem. Hardware on Linux either works flawlessly, or you my as well just grab a brick and start pounding yourself in the head with it. However, what father can stand to see his baby girl cry because you just handed her a steaming turd called Windows and took away everything she loves?

Come to think of it, that was a year or two ago, and I never updated anything on that computer. She's still using some ancient kernel with the old, experimental drivers. I guess they work, huh?

about a year ago

What Keeps You On (or Off) Windows in 2013?

Spugglefink 2001 (1215 comments)

The last copy of Windows I ran on a personal computer of mine that I owned was Windows ME. I don't guess I'm ever switching back.

about a year ago

'Smart Gun' Firm Wants You To Fund Its Prototype

Spugglefink Sawstop (558 comments)

Yay, the Sawstop of guns!

about a year ago

Open Source Projects For Beginners

Spugglefink Re:All projects need your help. (212 comments)

I started that way, and ten years later I'm running the project I started documenting. I've never been a real programmer, but I have basic programming skills. You can go a long way if you're trying to accomplish something you really want to do. Then again, the majority of would-be contributors to this project over the years have been useless. I'm an outlier, not a common phenomenon. Getting the right mix of abilities and motivation and compatibility with the common project goals is actually really hard. Most people are like the guys who helped me plant trees one time, where I had to go back and plant all the trees again after they left. Volunteering to feel good about yourself for volunteering doesn't really help the project go forward.

about a year ago

Google Reportedly Making a Smartwatch, Too

Spugglefink My smart watch... (196 comments)

My smart watch has little teeny gears that go round and round, and it tells you what time it is.

about a year and a half ago

Study Finds Universe Is 100 Million Years Older Than Previously Thought

Spugglefink Re:The difference between science and religion (245 comments)

I have heard the same bullshit claims about alteration, re-translation and rewrites over and over again. I am really bored and tired of it.

Uhhhh... You're blind? The only reason I study the Bible at all is to find amusing ways to get proselytizers to leave me alone. Even with just the most casual, basic comparative study of one version against any other, it's extremely and painfully obvious that one translation says one thing, and another translation says something else. This is especially evident if you compare versions in different languages, and I've read bits of the Bible in Spanish, French, Latin and ancient Greek, along with several different English translations. You don't have to look hard at all. Let's just take my favorite example off the top of my head, Exodus 22:18:

Do not allow a sorceress to live.

Thou shalt not suffer a sorceress to live.

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

maleficos non patieris vivere

A la hechicera no dejarás que viva.

No dejarás con vida a la hechicera.

Tu ne laisseras point vivre la magicienne.

Tu ne laisseras point vivre la sorcière.

[Greek removed by Slashdot]

The word in bold is variously translated into modern languages as something like witch, sorceress, etc. and it's almost always in the feminine in translations. The word [Greek removed by Slashdot] is obscure and hard to translate definitively, but "animal" is a common translation, and the word is neuter in gender. Maleficos in Latin is masculine, and means something like "doers of evil" etymologically, and is translated as things like "evil, wicked, accursed ones." Greek and Latin are as far back as I can go, but there's nothing in either language to suggest the original author intended this to apply only to female wicked people, and yet that is how it has ended up in every modern language I can read. It even ended up that way in Latin eventually, changing gender to feminine in Malleus maleficarum.

So, to summarize, the only bullshit is believing that none of the countless people who have dipped their fingers into the Biblical pie over the centuries have ever let their personal views or the times they were living in color what they did with the text. Sure they have.

about a year and a half ago

Where Have All the Gadgets Gone?

Spugglefink More... (278 comments)

I own more electronic gadgets than I did in 2005, because I have an extra printer, and a smart phone. What's the point of the article? Besides, why does anybody give a flying rat's ass how many electronic gadgets you own? ZOMFG people have fewer gadgets teh wr0ld is ENDING!!!!!

about a year and a half ago


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