Harold Ramis Dies At 69
"Print is dead."
- Egon, 1984
"Egon is dead."
- Print, 2014
Zero Point: The First 360-Degree Movie Made For the Oculus Rift
I can't wait until they bring this to reality TV. I'll finally get to experience reality like it was meant to be experienced!
Egg-free Flu Vaccines Provide Faster Pandemic Response
You probably know whether or not you are allergic to eggs. How many people know whether or not they are allergic to grasshoppers?
Time Warner Deal Is How Comcast Will Fight Cord Cutters
I don't know if it is necessarily law. Perhaps only one company is given access to the existing infrastructure by law, but there can be multiple cable companies.
My town (Cedar Rapids, IA) has 2 cable providers. Imon and Mediacom. Imon just serves our metropolitan area (Imon is not municipal -- they are an independent, for-profit company), whereas Mediacom is a regional cable provider and serves many other metro areas. There are 2 sets of cable infrastructure run side-by-side throughout the city. I have 2 cable feeds terminating at my house.
The problem is, who wants to come in as an unestablished second provider and foot the bill to re-wire the entire city again? Probably not many companies. Cedar Rapids' situation is definitely unique and it may not last as there were (are) rumors about Mediacom leaving the city because of the local competition.
30 Minutes Inside Valve's Prototype Virtual Reality Headset
I'm coming out with an application called "Solitary Confinement".
Required hardware will be a VR headset, noise-cancelling headphones, and a typical closet or shower (shower/tubs will not work). You can play single player but it's much more realistic if a friend or family member takes on the role of the warden. I'm integrating it with the steam API and am currently ironing out the achievements.
An OS You'll Love? AI Experts Weigh In On Her
Disclaimer: I have not watched the movie yet.
In this movie the user and the AI grow to love each other. Can't the opposite also happen? How about the AI likes you, but just as a friend. Is the AI going to hang out with the AI down the street more than it spends time with it's "owner"?
If the AI is truly intelligent than isn't this the same as human relationships, only at near light-speed?
How would you use science to innovate upon sports?
Man, away games would be brutal.
CES 2014: Ohio Company is Bringing Military-Grade Motion Sensors to Gaming
Complete living room destruction!
And probably a trip to the ER.
No. of vehicle license types I hold:
You may need a certificate in Iowa if you are between the ages of 12 and 18 (I assume if you are under 12 then no boat for you). Otherwise, individuals only need to register their watercraft with the DNR, no certification or licensing required.
From the site:
Who Needs the Card?
Persons at least 12 years old but less than 18 years old may operate a motorboat over ten horsepower or personal watercraft (PWC), only if they complete a boater education course and possess a Boater Education Certificate approved by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Even if not required by law to get the Iowa boating license, many boaters take the boat safety course in order to save on their PWC or boat insurance.
Australian Police Warn That Apple Maps Could Get Someone Killed
Just for clarification:
EPIRBs are generally used for maritime incidents. They float, can be activated manually but automatically activate when they enter the water.
PLBs are Personal Locator Beacons. Similar to an EPIRB except they are usually smaller, less expensive, and most do not float.
ELTs are used for aircraft related incidents.
They all perform the same function which is to alert rescuers to the location of the beacon. For terrestrial use it is generally recommended (required?) that you use a PLB.
The system is expensive to maintain since (unless you are abusing the system) the search and rescue usually comes at no cost to the beacon owner. Because of this, you should really only use these devices in situations that may involve the loss of life or limb. Running out of gas on a remote Australian road is not necessarily an emergency. There may be help nearby or other vehicles that may come along within a relatively short time frame. The beacon should only be used if you think that there is a good chance you will end up dead or permanently disabled as a result of your situation.
Of course, one would hope that if you have the presence of mind to carry a locator beacon that you would also make sure to fill up your gas tank before a long trip into an unfamiliar, remote area.
Compared to my siblings ...
I'm the oldest of 5 boys and I have the least amount of (formal) education. FYI, there is a 16 year gap between me and my youngest brother.
1) Me: College dropout (4yr university (comp sci) - attended for 1.5yrs) Job: Software developer.
2) Next: Electrical Engineer (4yr university). Job: Works for an electric power company (utility).
3) Next: BA Marketing (attended probably 4 different 4yr universities and changed majors 4 times over a 14yr time span). Job: PR/Communications director for an affluent (redundant?) country club.
4) Next: BS Anthropology (4yr university). Job: A naval officer on an aircraft carrier.
5) Next: Finishing AA in Restaurant & Hotel Management (2yr community college) this semester. Job: Grocery store (non-managerial).
But I make the most money, so I win right? :P
Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Working With Awful Legacy Code?
There are (at least) 3 things that lead to bad code: 1) Poor Planning. 2) Time Constraints. 3) Mediocre (and even bad) Developers.
Planning takes time and it is difficult. We employ "Systems Engineers" to capture requirements, understand the existing code base, and then determine what work actually has to be done. Then the developer takes those plans and turns them into code. Unfortunately, and especially as complexity increases, you are going to: 1) miss things, 2) break existing things, and 3) run into conflicts that often require complete refactoring of some part of the code or an ugly kludge to get you by. On a large development effort you usually hit all 3 of those.
Time. Obviously time affects everything. There's never enough time, so it's very important to get the planning stage right. If you skimp on time with planning you will pay it back 10-fold over the course of maintaining your software. And then there's just the obvious stuff. How many of us are juggling multiple projects, bug fixes, documentation, etc. Priorities change week to week, day to day. Is it management's fault? Ultimately, yes, but their jobs aren't easy either.
Developers. Hey, most of us have been mediocre at some stage during our careers. Hopefully we all get better with age (I've only met one person who got worse) but some progress much more slowly than others. I've been coding since I was 9 (I'm nearing 40 now) and if I look at code I did even 5-10 years ago, it makes me cringe a little. The code works, but it is not as efficient or well organized as I would do it today (or so I've convinced myself).
We code in C++ where I work. Most of the developers have been coding for a long time. But they coded for a long time in 80's languages and transitioned with no training at all to C++ (which I consider a 90's language). People still roll their own lists (i.e. don't use or aren't aware of the STL), misuse the object paradigm, don't understand templates, still use pointers when they should use references, etc. Most are basically still C developers and they are perfectly competent C developers -- but we're using C++ in a highly threaded environment.
So, imagine, if you will, the state of a decade+ old code base for a massive, monolithic application which has to communicate with a (very) random and ever-changing assortment of hardware devices, protocols, etc. written in C++ by developers who never really learned C++. Also, the poor bastards that have to do the planning in this quagmire and the managers that are taking fire from all sides.
Yes, bad code is the norm (and, yes, I do enjoy my job).
A Day in Your Life, Fifteen Years From Now
I live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and we pay by the CCF (100 cubic feet or 748 gallons). Oddly, water consumption is a fairly small part of my water bill.
In January 2011 here's what I paid (note: we pay bi-monthly, so this is roughly 2 months worth of charges):
Water - Residential:
68 days at $0.31 per day = $21.08 (this is just for having water hooked up regardless of usage)
4 CCF (about 3000 gallons) at $1.62 per CCF = $6.48 -- this is the only figure affected by my consumption (aside from the subsequent taxes)
Tax = $1.93 (I don't know what this tax is)
Total Charges: $29.49
Sewer - Residential:
68 days at $0.35 per day = $23.80 -- this is allegedly influenced by my consumption, but they do not show the math. I think the 4 CCF figure above probably includes both supply and sewer costs. I think this fee is a fixed maintenance fee.
Total Charges: $23.80
Storm Sewer - Residential:
68 days at $0.14 per day = $9.52 (maintenance fee)
Total Charges: $9.52
Sub Total: $62.81
Tax (7%) (state + county): $4.40
Grand Total: $67.21 of which about 10% is for actual water usage - the rest I owe even if I never turn on a tap.
Ask Slashdot: What Distros Have You Used, In What Order?
1) Slackware (yes, on floppies)
2) RedHat (for quite a while) -- this was also the only time (until recently) I ran Linux as a desktop OS
3) Gentoo (for quite a while)
5) Debian (headless server/nas), Ubuntu (laptop) & Amazon Linux (in the "cloud" :P)
I've played with most of the available distros at one time or another. I also ran FreeBSD for a while (alongside Linux).
My current setup has my Windows 7 64-bit PC (main workstation) with an Ubuntu laptop (embedded development) and a Mac OSX laptop (general purpose use & music recording). My headless Debian server/firewall and my headless Debian 16 TB NAS. I used to host DNS, HTTP/S, etc. locally but have since moved those to Amazon's EC2 service and am running Amazon's Linux AMI there on my virtual server.
On my summer vacation, I did / will do / am doing:
I used to hunt and I don't mind hunting/hunters. I'm not a fan of hunting purely for sport though. If you eat what you kill, don't trespass on private property, and treat the land, your weapon and your prey with respect then I think it's fine. No one who eats meat has a good reason to get indignant with a hunter if they follow those rules (IMHO).
I will be taking 2 shorter vacations this fall. They both involve the outdoors but there won't be any hunting -- well, I'll do some fishing but that's generally not considered hunting.
I'm going out to Colorado to hike a few 14ers. Then a while after that I will head up to the boundary waters in Minnesota and portage up into Canada. Hopefully do a little fishing but mainly I will be camping and canoeing. I'd like to do some back country camping this winter too, we'll see.
I don't suppose any of that sounds like a vacation to some of you. ;) It's hard to beat being surrounded by all of that natural beauty though. It can be hard work, but the scenery and solitude is always worth it and I can always use the exercise.
AT&T Killing Its 2G Network By 2017
In many places in my neck of the woods I cannot get 3G and my phone has to fall back to EDGE in order for me to have any data whatsoever. So, if by discontinuing EDGE they mean they are going to increase their 3G/4G coverage then that's just great but, more than likely, that is not what this means.
Not that any of this matters to me anymore because my next phone will be on Verizon's network. AT&T's coverage is truly pathetic where I live. I've been with AT&T for 4 years and the same dead spots that existed 4 years ago are still dead spots today. If I go back home most of the county my grandparents live in has no service (voice or data) at all for AT&T -- you can get a Verizon signal everywhere. Also, there are many areas in the mid-sized cities in my region where your average person would just expect a signal (shopping districts, heavily trafficked recreational areas, etc) yet time and time again AT&T gives me the unexpected.
400,000 American Homes Have Dumped Pay TV This Year
If it weren't for sports I think that number would be at least 10x higher.
There was a thread about "cutting the cord" on one of the AV forums recently and sports was the primary argument for sticking with cable. ESPN and its ilk are well aware of the clout they have. Networks like HBO have influence too, but if you can wait a year all of the shows worth watching on those networks are going to be out on DVD/Bluray/streaming.
I ditched cable 5 years ago and I've had to make a few sacrifices. I used to be able to watch my local BigTen basketball and football games on network TV until the BigTen Network came along. Then ESPN took Monday Night Football. Yeah, NBC has Sunday Night Football, but there was something special about MNF. I just don't watch most those games now. I also don't get to see college football bowl games or march madness games unless I go out or to a friend's house. You do miss that a little but then you remember the 100 other things you could be doing with your time and life goes on.
I do subscribe to a number of streaming services and my over the air selection is pretty decent. So, I really watch about the same amount of television that I did before I got rid of cable. I just pay a heck of a lot less now.
Some retort, "Yeah, but you still have to pay for Internet access..." Like I wasn't going to do that anyway? Yes, of course, now there is no "bundle" deal. Fortunately I live in a town with multiple cable providers (yes, 2 different coax cables are run into my home) and DSL so Internet access is reasonable even without a cable TV package.
I also didn't /have/ to buy extra equipment for watching streaming video on my TV. I use my PS3 which was not bought for streaming video but, rather, for playing games. Now it gets more use as a media player than a game console though. The only device I /did/ buy that I might not have needed to before was a Roku for the bedroom TV.
If cable companies offered an a la carte subscription service I might actually sign up again, but I don't see that happening.
Game of Thrones: Bush's Head Gets a Makeover
Yes, fair enough.
I was thinking more along the lines that the characters and chain of events in the series did not seem to be mirroring or recasting any particular period of human history or mythology.
And I certainly plan to re-read them many more times.
Game of Thrones: Bush's Head Gets a Makeover
I dare you to place The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy into historical context.
Bloomberg, WSJ: Student Aid Increases Tuition
However, I do know that there are plenty of places where youmay not make minimum wage, but you still don't make anywhere close to enough to live on, and no matter how long you work there (doing a good job, showing up on time, etc), you have no guarantee of making more.
Yet, apparently, they keep showing up for work and are able to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves in some fashion. Me? I'd move to somewhere where it wasn't so expensive to live. If everyone does that then the business will have no choice but to increase wages or die. I've got no sympathy for someone in a bad situation that does nothing to change it -- especially in America where you have the freedom to do exactly that.
I have personal knowledge of a job making $8/hr at a chocolate store, where the owner is on the lookout for more adults to hire, part time, for that much money, on a long-term basis. And has no intention of raising the pay, making a full-time position, or anything of the sort.
Then the owner can pound sand. Oh, it's the best job offer on the market? Well, maybe you should take it then? Or move. Or start a competing business. Etc.
Pretend I'm typing this in all caps and I'm using lots of exclamation points: You cannot have a living minimum wage. And definitely not in a global economy.
Let's go extreme. Let's raise the minimum wage to $1,000,000/hr. Hell we'd all be living in mansions and driving Bentley's right? No? Why?? Well guess what, those same problems exist (albeit on a smaller scale) even when you bump the minimum wage from $7.25 to only $7.50. There is a short term bump and then inflation and job losses bring everything back into balance. Meanwhile you've just lowered the value of everyone's cash savings. So, in the long run, you've manged to do nothing for the working class and you've reduced the net worth of the middle class and probably screwed over most retirees. Hooray! The rich are OK (of course) since they have their money tied into investments that appreciate with inflation.
I'd love to see America try a free market once -- just once. No more minimum wage. No more corporate welfare or subsidies. No more laws and loopholes for the rich and entrenched interests. A flat tax system. Etc.