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Apple Kicks HDD Marketing Debate Into High Gear

hoarier customer enlightenment and its drawbacks (711 comments)

The SI prefixes have been around for nearly 5 decades, and have a specific meaning used by everybody. Every scientist uses them in one way or another, and for every last one of of them, they have the same meaning.

Why can't we, the C.S. people, accept that?

The lasting ambiguity for hard drives has perhaps been less a matter of computer science than one of marketing. (The pervasiveness of inch measurements is a heavy hint at uninterest in SI.)

It used to be that companies were happy if there was a general impression that the drives were bigger than they actually were, because hard drive storage costs weren't negligible and people actually risked running out of space. What incentive would Northgate and Zeos have had for prominently pointing out that their Miniscribe and Micropolis (?) 65MB drives really were what they said they were, rather than what customers optimistically presumed they'd be?

Now, by contrast, even my laptop has 500 gig-somethings -- I never bothered to see which, as I don't suppose I'll ever use more than one fifth of the space; and if by chance I ever do come close to filling it up I'll replace it with a 4TB drive or whatever's the ludicrous norm by that time.

about 5 years ago
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We're In the Midst of a Literacy Revolution

hoarier teachers love Google too (431 comments)

While studying editing for my Degree in Writing (Business and Technical) I had to edit a paper from an Honors level student.

What, there are universities that hand out degrees in "Writing (Business and Technical)"? I'm less worried about students' alleged illiteracy than I am about universities' lack of ambition. [sepia]Back in my day you'd study business or technology and get your writing practice while drafting your term papers.[/sepia]

My own students sometimes write swathes of immaculate prose. These swathes come without the Google ads and other distractions that accompany the exact same swathes that Google obligingly finds for me. Definitive proof of plagiarism is blessedly simple.

about 5 years ago
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Why the Google Android Phone Isn't Taking Off

hoarier Maybe the "smart" choice is to buy nothing. (745 comments)

Phones are social objects; they live and die on cultural perception, on our collective assessment of what carrying them can do for our style.

or so the article tells me. Huh? My main phone (a Casio, for Japan) lives and dies on its battery. It's reliable and legible and the payment plan makes it cheaper than most of the alternatives. It's about three years old, making it half the age of my other phone (Sony Eriksson, for Britain). So I'm happy with it, though you're welcome to enjoy your own, very different phone.

Pace Farhad Manjoo but I really couldn't give a bowel movement about my "style" (if any) and unless you're an available and unusually alluring specimen of the opposite sex I don't care what you think of it either.

Consider using your old phone and doing less to accelerate the degradation of the planet.

about 5 years ago
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Japanese Political Candidates Go Dark Online

hoarier Re:Real Reason for the Law (91 comments)

I didn't know all of that but I did know most. And some I know to be wrong.

There's no law that says your election poster must be vapid. Indeed, wingnut candidates (stereo)typically use the space to say what they believe or why you should vote for them, rather than using it to show their neat hairstyle, improbably white teeth, and (until very recently) white gloves. It could be that mainstream parties now think that text of any kind beyond a mere sentence or two carries fatal connotations of wingnuttery. I suspect that they avoid it for another reason: that if they go on for more than a couple of sentences they will risk either being conspicuously vapid or saying something substantive with which some potential voters might actually [get ready for it] disagree.

Likewise there's no rule forcing you to drive around in a truck uttering inanities ("Good morning, everyone! Good morning! This is Tanaka! I humbly beg you to think well of me! This is Tanaka") while nubile females sit and wave for X thousand yen per hour. You can instead stand in one place and say things that at least sound as if they're worth saying. (Tip: You'll never go wrong saying that North Korea stole innocent Japanese people who must never be forgotten, and that that regime it is very dangerous and must be treated with great care. Or by saying that you're in favor of a green tomorrow in which both the young and old will be well cared for.)

But you're right: laws prevent work on websites and severely hinder any attempt to campaign intelligently. One cynical inference is that this is deliberate: the party that has been in near complete control of legislation for decades has had nothing to gain from political education and vigorous public debate.

about 5 years ago
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Japanese Political Candidates Go Dark Online

hoarier Re:Real Reason for the Law (91 comments)

Well, yes, he's conscientious and informative. I'd agree that the final stage in the transition of the Japanese political system from one of conservative/feudal patronage sometimes irritated by union-backed center left to one of rivalry between an organization of conservative/feudal patronage and a spin-off feudal organization of conservatives is one that merits books, PhD theses, and news stories. But somehow this rivalry between two organizations whose primary appeals are (as you perceptively put it) "We are the LDP" and "We are not the LDP" is hard for me to take seriously as "breaking news" or even weekly/monthly analyses.

Even putting aside the batshit Happiness party and miscellaneous wingnuts, there does seem to be plenty of food for irreverence, and if a growth of irreverence helped put an end to candidates' nervous dependence (in posters, etc) on complete vapidity, so much the better. So I wish Japanese politics had its own Wonkette. Meanwhile, your own analysis packs about the most insight and wit per kilobyte that I can remember seeing in any coverage of Japanese politics.

about 5 years ago
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Japanese Political Candidates Go Dark Online

hoarier Re:Real Reason for the Law (91 comments)

a summary of the parties and issues at play in the current election here: http://janneinosaka.blogspot.com/2009/07/all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about.html

An excellent guide. Well done!

For real in-depth coverage (and I mean in depth) in English, check out Tobias Harris' blog here: http://www.observingjapan.com/

Ah yes: "In constituency X, conservative machine politician A leads conservative machine politician B. In constituency Y, conservative machine politician Q leads conservative machine politician P."

I was nodding off before I reached any "depth".

about 5 years ago
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Japanese Political Candidates Go Dark Online

hoarier Re:Real Reason for the Law (91 comments)

the LDP is looking especially past its sell-by date, so it could well be a historic change election.

If that happens it would be remarkable, given that the party (MinshutÅ) expected to win is a spin-off from the LDP. Like the LDP it consists of factions, and the two that are by far the largest back members (Hatoyama and Ozawa) who started off in the LDP. Better to think of it as LDP Lite.

Still, there are alternatives whose success would bring "change" of a sort. There's the distinctive-voiced Matayoshi Jesus, who urges harakiri, and there's the Happiness Realization Party, run by a guru who's making money hand over fist selling a "scientific" way to happiness. The latter is putting many candidates and lots of effort into it, and (despite their populist promise to cut sales tax to zero) will surely lose big, just as the "Aum" fruitcakes did in 1990. "Aum" thereupon decided on success through mass murder; the Happies seem amiable but they sure have deep pockets.

about 5 years ago
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Windows 7 To Sell In UK For Half the US Price

hoarier Re:Not surprising (487 comments)

We are regularly charged top prices for drugs, Windows software, Iron, Labor, etc.

Labor? Hmm, do you have a source for that? (I hadn't noticed that US mcjobs were particularly well paid.)

Well, Americans need drugs (though a lot less than many think), labor, iron, etc; but they don't need Windows.

about 5 years ago
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No Social Media In These College Stadiums

hoarier Re:$3Bn could buy coverage of actual news (265 comments)

Apparently CBS is shelling out $3Bn for "exclusive" (?) rights to this stuff. Despondently contemplating what passes for US TV "news", I'd rather see actual news than either ersatz news or people running around with balls. Maybe I'm unusual. I presume that, other things being equal, the universities and stadium owners would prefer higher ticket sales.

about 5 years ago
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No Social Media In These College Stadiums

hoarier $3Bn could buy coverage of actual news (265 comments)

Three billion dollars? That would pay for some competent journalists at news bureaus around the world. Whereupon there'd be more competition for Fox "News" and CNN. Meanwhile, those interested in sports could either go and see sports for themselves (higher ticket sales!) or via YouTube. Less publicity for the universities? Splendid: they'd have less of this dubious obsession with male musculature and could instead put more effort toward encouraging places for intellectual stimulation, soft drugs, (safe!) sex, and revolution.

about 5 years ago
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English Wikipedia Reaches 3 Million Articles

hoarier Re:A Pause for Pidgey. (192 comments)

Pidgey and the Pokemon, and countless others have been subjected to the digital equivalent of a book burning by people who held an opinion that certain information was not "worthy" of archival. This from the same crowd of people who think that the Cloud Gate, Wood Badges, Ima Hogg and Books on the psychology of Est are all topics worthy enough to be Featured Articles.

After a book burning, there is no book. After this "digital equivalent of a book burning", you have the article here (as you pointed out).

I don't know if a crowd of people were behind the "deletion" (in one sense of the word). I do notice that the page was "deleted" (turned into a redirect) by one New Age Retro Hippie (his/her self-description), whose activities at Wikipedia suggest no interest in musty old matters like Ima Hogg [I like this one] etc but rather an infatuation with electronic games for young folks.

If the page had been deleted (in the normal Wikipedia sense), you'd probably be able to read it at Deletionpedia . An irritating detour from Wikipedia perhaps, but again hardly the equivalent of a book burning.

about 5 years ago
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The Homemade Hard Disk Destroyer

hoarier Re:What about using a Gas or Charcoal Grill? (497 comments)

Just cook the drive on the grill for 15 minutes or so. The heat should demagnetize the drives. You might want to watch out for toxic fumes though.

Mmm, data smoke!

Yes, put your drives into a Blendtec.

about 5 years ago
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Ten Things We Still Don't Understand About Humans

hoarier Chins up! (397 comments)

Chin aside, every part of the head has some plausible function. But how about the chin? Chins baffle me.

about 5 years ago
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AOL Picking Up Journalists Shed By Conventional Media

hoarier Re:If they are smart (94 comments)

NewsPapers need to die.

The newspapers that I choose to read don't need to die. By comparison, AOL's "idea of how to handle the internet" seems to be "news lite", flooded with as many classifieds and the like as possible. Thanks but I'll take the Guardian and when I want to read more about the US I'll get it from Wonkette.

about 5 years ago
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UK National ID Card Cloned In 12 Minutes

hoarier A successful change of biometrics! (454 comments)

For years, people have mailed me with offers to increase my penis size. I've never believed them. But now I know that my biometrics can be changed. This must be so if the Daily Mail says so.

I want one of these cards. Yes, I'll take it in gold, with diamonds.

about 5 years ago
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Sony Takes Aim At Amazon's Kindle

hoarier How about an iPod Touch? (273 comments)

Toward the end of a long and witty demolition job on the Kindle 2, Nicholson Baker describes the pleasure of reading kindling and much else on his iPod Touch. Going back from that to the Kindle 2 "was like going from a Mini Cooper to a white 1982 Impala with blown shocks". Baker's article is as informative as you'd expect from the poet of the card catalogue and miscellaneous lumber; it discusses Sony products too.

(Me, I don't own any of these devices. I read books, which long outgrew available shelving and are now stacked on the floor.)

about 5 years ago
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Nikon Unveils a Camera With Built-In Projector

hoarier Ah yes, just after Kodak discontinues Kodachrome (108 comments)

The hell with projection. One great feature is the Smile Timer. The press release enlightens us:

Smile Timer automatically releases the shutter when the subject smiles

I'm British (a limey, a whingeing pom), so that's something that never happens. This Smile Timer technology should spread to areas where cameras really matter: I'd like to break into some ATMs.

about 5 years ago
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Music Industry Thriving In an Era of File Sharing

hoarier Inflation? (174 comments)

The report does tell us:

Make no mistake; the live music industry grew in 2008. More events, more bands, more tickets and importantly, higher ticket prices. Breaking it down to basic supply and demand economics, and given the scarcity embedded in its model, the live music industry is somewhere you really want to be right now.

My emphasis.

Perhaps the figures include all the tickets all those suckers bought for the triumphant London return of the "king of pop".

Or maybe this year's new music isn't as boring as last year's (I pretty much gave up buying CDs when I found they were all bland and soporific).

That's quite a report, in its gushing marketingese. I note with delight that "heritage act" has supplanted "senior citizen" as the euphemism for "old age pensioner" or "old geezer".

more than 5 years ago
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How To Help With a University ICT Strategy?

hoarier No pay cuts for recommending "upgrades" to Vista (149 comments)

University IT policies have many many stakeholders (Provosts, Regents, President, Deans, department heads, just to name a few) and a lot of interdepartmental politicking needs to be taken into account.

The Provosts, Regents, President, Deans, and department heads of my institution are concerned that they can get and send email, that neither the administration stuff nor the website is hacked, that no screw-up risks escalation to a PR disaster, and that it doesn't all cost too much. And that other people don't bitch about it, and all in all that it can be left to run itself -- because they have more than enough other, IT-unrelated concerns of their own. As long as they can plug their own laptops into the LAN they don't care what hardware or software the masses are using.

In the relevant committees, you're likely to find deep conservatism, even from people who themselves use Gentoo or whatever. Elementary classes in "computer literacy" are likely to be in mere secretarial skills, and their teachers can argue for MS software on Windows as they can truthfully say that this is near ubiquitous in the corporate world. Students and staff want to use software with which they're already familiar, which for the huge majority will mean MS software. Staff find it easier to tell people who are mystified by spreadsheet problems to look up the matter in an actual book on Excel than to do so in a non-existent book on Gnumeric. Still, there's no reason not to install FOSS in addition to the shrinkwrapped stuff, and so my institution has OOo, Gimp, etc sitting unopened on just about all of its computers.

more than 5 years ago
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Linux Notebooks Selling Well On Amazon Germany

hoarier meanwhile, in Japan (207 comments)

Sales in Germany of Acer and Asus net/note/newtbooks with Linux should at least be higher than they are here in Japan -- where they are zero, as neither company condescends to offer a non-Windows option. You can get certain models of Dell n*tbooks with Ubuntu if you look for them online, but there's no mention even of them in the stores. Ask for Linux in a large computer store (e.g. Yodobashi) and you'll be greeted with something between incomprehension and mild alarm. This "free market" of ours is truly a wonderful thing.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Kindle 2 like a 1982 Impala with blown shocks

hoarier hoarier writes  |  more than 5 years ago

hoarier (1545701) writes "Nicholson Baker (author of "Vox" and lover of vintage newsprint) is a docile fellow, and so when Amazon pushed him to buy a Kindle 2 he obediently bought one. Though he got so well into "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance" that we may expect a "Vox 2", the dark gray lettering on a "greenish, sickly ... postmortem gray" background quickly lost him: "You get the words, yes, and sometimes pictures, after a fashion." But this is no normal moan, it's instead Nicholson Baker telling you fascinating stuff you'd never guessed about the Kindle 2 — and with a bonus about a nocturnally legible alternative for "when you wake up at 3 A.M. and you need big, sad, well-placed words to tumble slowly into the basin of your mind", after which using the Kindle 2 is "like going from a Mini Cooper to a white 1982 Impala with blown shocks." A long and lovely article from the New Yorker."
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