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At CIA Starbucks, Even the Baristas Are Covert

VanGarrett Re:Typical Government Hypocracy (242 comments)

Ah, but they know why they want their privacy, and are concerned that you might want yours for the same sorts of purposes.

about 3 months ago
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Magnitude 6.0 Quake Hits Northern California, Causing Injuries and Outages

VanGarrett Re:In the south bay... (135 comments)

It wasn't enough to wake us up, here in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley (about halfway between Modesto and Fresno on 99, where I am).

about 4 months ago
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Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

VanGarrett Re:And here I'm hoping... (681 comments)

I don't think that's what Mashiki meant. 64-bit versions of Windows run 32-bit applications just fine, and the mere virtue of being 64-bit does not require 4GB of RAM or more. It just doesn't make much sense anymore, to continue making a specific version of the OS to support a hardware standard that's been obsolete for a decade, give or take a year.

about 6 months ago
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Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot

VanGarrett Re:He also forgot to mention... (343 comments)

That's technically true, but cbiltcliffe also makes the point that it's not his responsibility. cbiltcliffe doesn't care about the US postal service's fee. The Canadian postal service has given him a price for delivery of his letter, and he pays said price. His end of the transaction is done, and whatever agreement the Canadian postal service has with the US postal service is, that is the Canadian postal service's problem, not his. Whether or not the Canadian postal service's fee includes the US postal service's fee is not guaranteed, and any additional fee for international shipping may indeed be considerably greater than the US postal service's fee to complete the delivery.

about 7 months ago
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Terran Computational Calendar Introduces Minimonths, Year Bases, and Datemods

VanGarrett I devised a remarkably similar calendar. (209 comments)

What I came up with was almost identical; the year started and ended with the Winter Solstice, and consists of 13 months of 28 days. Where mine differs, though, is that instead of a "minimonth", I choose to exclude the extra day or two from any week, month or year; a period of time I call "Offset". These days being excluded from a week means that any given day on the calendar will always be the same day of the week from one year to the next. That is to say, under this calendar, if the first day of the first month this year is Monday, then next year and every year, it will or has been Monday (as is the first day of every month, in point of fact). In fact, the 1st, 8th, 15th and 21st would always be Monday, and Friday would always be the 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th.

I've only ever used this system in unpublished works of fiction, though I find it interesting that this same idea has been explored by others.

about 7 months ago
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Terran Computational Calendar Introduces Minimonths, Year Bases, and Datemods

VanGarrett Re:One more reason to get off this rock (209 comments)

Seasons and duration of day are logical and meaningful things to base your units of time on. Nuclear decay and EM wavelengths are a rather illogical basis, as these things don't have a practical use or observation in the common life of humans in general. Days and seasons, on the other hand, have an apparent and obvious cycle, which can be observed without need of special equipment. Furthermore, they have an immediate and profound affect on our environment. This is the difference between light and dark, between heat and cold, between growth and recess. These cycles dictate when we can grow food, and how long we have to complete tasks. It therefore makes a great deal of sense that we would want to keep track of these things. The only failing, is that the larger units aren't always comprised of a whole number of the smaller units, as they are based on difference cycles, which are not actually related to eachother.

Now, on the other hand, if we lived on a starship or perhaps a space station unassociated with any particular planet, your timekeeping method could reasonably be arbitrary. You might choose to base it on the crew's mode average circadian rhythm, perhaps. In those circumstances, you would have eliminated the conditions that have inspired our current timekeeping system.

about 7 months ago
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Measuring the Xbox One Against PCs With Titanfall

VanGarrett Re: Glorious PC Master Race (377 comments)

You know, what I find funny about this, is that the only console games I ever see commercials for these days are FPS, with the occasional Third Person affair.

about 9 months ago
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Ars Technica Reviews Leaked Windows 8.1 Update

VanGarrett Start Menu Search (194 comments)

Perhaps this is speculation too far, but this pair of changes almost suggests that many Windows users haven't changed the way they use the operating system—or their computers—since the mid 1990s. The Windows Vista-era mechanism of "Start and then type," now seven-years-old, apparently hasn't caught on and quite plausibly isn't even known by many Windows users.

Am I missing something important, or does this idea where you're expected to type the thing you want to do kind of abandon the whole point of using a GUI instead of a command line?

I'm not exactly opposed to having the feature there, but if you automatically have to resort to it, then your GUI needs to be reconsidered.

about 9 months ago
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Facebook To Pay City $200K-a-Year For a Neighborhood Cop

VanGarrett Re:Wow... (235 comments)

I dunno, $200k seems about right to me. 30k seems quite a bit low for a police officer, though. The tricky thing about deciding how much a cop's salary should be, is that you've gotta pay him enough to keep him honest. If he's having trouble making the rent each month, then taking a bribe here and there might start to sound pretty good to him.

about 9 months ago
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Mathematician: Is Our Universe a Simulation?

VanGarrett Re:This is not a simulation (745 comments)

It's not clear to me that the existence of reincarnation precludes the possibility of the universe existing with simulation-like properties.

about 10 months ago
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South Carolina Woman Jailed After Failing To Return Movie Rented Nine Years Ago

VanGarrett Re:Debt (467 comments)

That's Larceny, in fact. Though the law generally treats it identically to theft.

about 10 months ago
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Mathematician: Is Our Universe a Simulation?

VanGarrett Re:This is not a simulation (745 comments)

If your life and the events thereof had been run through the simulation more than once, without that knowledge being a designed part of the simulation, how would you know? You are, after all, a part of said simulation.

I've given this idea some thought as well, but the conclusion I've come to is that I don't think that we're part of a computer simulation. I do, however, think that whatever it is that makes the universe possible is liable to operate on principles similar to a computer, and may even be somehow artificial.

about 10 months ago
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Sony Announces Game Streaming Service

VanGarrett Re:Boycott? (144 comments)

I can't imagine that a deliberate boycott can be necessary. Game companies have a hard enough time keeping their servers up at launch, for vastly underestimating demand, and that's often for just authentication purposes, alone. The demands this kind of service has on its servers is ludicrous (just how many players can any individual machine in the cloud support, anyway?), let alone the problems that arise when you account for latency. I just don't know how they can reasonably accomplish their goals.

about a year ago
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Cairo 2D Graphics May Become Part of ISO C++

VanGarrett Re:Sure, why not (430 comments)

As something of a .NET programmer myself, I can testify to the veracity of this. .NET does a great deal for you, and I really think the handicap has prevented me from learning what's really going on.

about a year ago
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The Quest To Build Xbox One and PS4 Emulators

VanGarrett Re:Doubt (227 comments)

Anyone savvy enough to create an artificial Xbox One in software isn't going to be stopped by any DRM measure.

1 year,11 days
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Life Could Have Evolved 15 Million Years After the Big Bang, Says Cosmologist

VanGarrett Re:Millions of years of life-supporting conditions (312 comments)

As I recall, the technique used in TNG was a matter of introducing humanoid genes into the genome of existing lifeforms on the seeded worlds, not entirely unlike the latter scenario you describe.

1 year,11 days
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The Quest To Build Xbox One and PS4 Emulators

VanGarrett Re:Doubt (227 comments)

Not necessarily. The only reason that's been an issue in the past, was because our computers had to significantly out-strip the machine being emulated. What's being suggested here, however, is not an emulator so much as a conditioned environment for execution, not unlike Wine.

1 year,12 days
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First Experimental Evidence That Time Is an Emergent Quantum Phenomenon

VanGarrett Re:Hmm (530 comments)

No, no, no, he wants to run a file system check on them. Something's hanging a boot time.

about a year ago
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Fighting the Number-One Killer In the US With Data

VanGarrett Re:Great use of govt money! (121 comments)

And how do you propose to get 7 billion people to agree on any one thing? It can't be done. You'll have a hard enough time doing it with just 100 people, let alone the entire population of a region. This is why we have leaders. Leaders can make decisions that get followed. When that breaks down, that leader ceases to be such. Majority rule is the only thing that really makes any kind of sense.

about a year ago
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Fighting the Number-One Killer In the US With Data

VanGarrett Re:Great use of govt money! (121 comments)

The ability of a government to enforce its will is the root of its power, but I challenge you to come up with a sustainable circumstance under which a broad population of humans can exist without organizing somehow, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. Even a Commune requires a hierarchical structure. Stripped of government, people will still group together. Some of those groups will be dominated by the most aggressive member, while others will organize themselves more amicably (and eventually dominated by the member with the most ideal ratio of charisma to ambition).

You can suggest that we all live without rule, but how can deliberate action be taken to prevent rule, without inherently becoming rule?

about a year ago

Submissions

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University of Chicago receives Mystery Indiana Jones package

VanGarrett VanGarrett writes  |  about 2 years ago

VanGarrett (1269030) writes "Someone at the University of Chicago went through a lot of trouble to baffle a few people, with an old timey package addressed to Indiana Jones. From the article:

The package contained an incredibly detailed replica of “University of Chicago Professor” Abner Ravenwood’s journal from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. It looks only sort of like this one, but almost exactly like this one, so much so that we thought it might have been the one that was for sale on Ebay had we not seen some telling inconsistencies in cover color and “Ex Libris” page (and distinct lack of sword). The book itself is a bit dusty, and the cover is teal fabric with a red velvet spine, with weathered inserts and many postcards/pictures of Marion Ravenwood (and some cool old replica money) included. It’s clear that it is mostly, but not completely handmade, as although the included paper is weathered all of the “handwriting” and calligraphy lacks the telltale pressure marks of actual handwriting.

"

Link to Original Source
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DIY remote control for a 1989 Magnavox television?

VanGarrett VanGarrett writes  |  more than 5 years ago

VanGarrett (1269030) writes "I've got an old Magnavox television, manufactured in 1989 (model no. RDP422PE01), and I'm in need of a remote control for it. More precisely, I need a power button that I can use without having to get out of bed. While I realize that the obvious solution is to replace the television with something from, perhaps, a decade that we all remember more clearly, I'm not in a position to make that sort of an investment, and far be it from me to pass up a chance to build my own unnecessary convenience. A few Google searches have been less than helpful in finding any technical information that I could conceivably use, so I turn to Slashdot, to seek advice. So, does anyone have any ideas?"

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