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Dad Makes His Kid Play Through All Video Game History In Chronological Order

jdavidb Re:I'd love to do that (222 comments)

Oh, man, this guy and I were cut from the same OCD cloth. I know it just looking at his pictures of Atari 2600 game boxes all sorted first by box style and then alphabetized. I used to do that when I was a kid and when I finally get the thing out of storage I'll bet a bunch of the games are alphabetized.

about two weeks ago
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Dad Makes His Kid Play Through All Video Game History In Chronological Order

jdavidb I'd love to do that (222 comments)

I have seven kids all homeschooled and we love to fire up Mame, and I've kept my Atari 2600 although they haven't gotten to play it yet and I need to bring it out of storage. And I love to have them go through interesting pieces of twentieth century history in chronological order - right now we're watching through old Disney and Warner Brothers cartoons together on Saturday mornings, in order. Next year they are going to watch all six Star Wars films in the order they were released, before we see Episode VII.

BTW, it's kind of adding insult to injury that the Pac-Man screen on that article doesn't match the actual console that is shown. I wonder what the kid thought of various ports of Pac-Man.

about two weeks ago
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Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

jdavidb Control and abuse (584 comments)

Why does your child have to be a scientist? How is this any better than a 20 year old boy whose parents want him to be a doctor and who disown him because he chooses to be a musician?

As a father of seven children, I believe you'll make better parenting decisions if you learn to let go, and spend lots of time deliberating and negotiating with your wife so that the wisdom of both of you can be brought to bear. If you really want your children to be counter culture in some way, and you are both enthusiastic about it, you might look into homeschooling.

about two weeks ago
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How To End Online Harassment

jdavidb Re:misogynists on the intarwebz? WHAT U SAY? (834 comments)

There is effectively no censorship on the internet now

I pick forums that have a level of moderation that suits my needs. In the past I tended toward more laissez-faire moderated places and just ignored what I didn't like, but as I've grown older for a handful of subjects I've needed forums that are little tighter. That's the great thing about freedom: you can pick what suits you, and get away from everywhere else.

about a month ago
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GNOME Project Seeks Donations For Trademark Battle With Groupon

jdavidb Re:How is their infringment? (268 comments)

The problem I see is that if Gnome doesn't defend their trademark, one day Groupon may come around and sue Gnome for their pre-existing non-infringing use of the same name for a different product - and there's a chance they could win. If I understand correctly, going on the record now trying to defend the trademark reduces the possibility that Groupon could win if they were to turn the tables and sue Gnome in a few years.

about a month ago
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'Star Wars: Episode VII' Gets a Name

jdavidb Re:I'm optimistic... (267 comments)

Though honestly, all *three* movies are terrible when you compare them to the Thrawn trilogy (also not a popular opinion, but search yourself, you know it to be true :p.) So whether or not episodes 7-9 will be any good (I'm guessing no, but I'd be happy to be wrong), I'm still pissed at them for retconning all the extended universe (including the masterful Thrawn trilogy) out of existence.

That's one of the best reasons ever for eliminating copyright - let the differing visions compete on their merits, rather than on what is "official" according to the copyright holder.

I loved the Thrawn trilogy, but at some point I realized they could never be movies because they were just too long. Which is a shame - I would sit through them with joy, but the general public wouldn't. Back in the day, everybody I knew thought that the Thrawn trilogy was 7, 8, and 9.

about a month and a half ago
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'Star Wars: Episode VII' Gets a Name

jdavidb Re:I'm optimistic... (267 comments)

but maybe having a good writer (who made almost all the Star Wars films you love -- and none of the ones you hate) means you'll have a good story?

I don't know if today's grown Star Wars fans will ever be happy. Nowadays it's popular to blast even Return of the Jedi. I think the sophisticated fans feel that only IV and V, or even only V, were any good.

My memory is that when TPM came out, everybody on Slashdot posted that they loved it for about a day - and then suddenly the hate came in. I never figured it out. Suddenly it wasn't cool to like TPM, so everybody hated on it.

about a month and a half ago
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Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crashes

jdavidb Re:Using NASA's dictionary (445 comments)

what if this happens because Branson wants some results to show to investors and pushed too much? Would you still say he was a brave pioneer or just an abused employee?

In that case I'd say he was both. He was made a pioneer by his intentions. He wouldn't be the first pioneer to be abused and mistreated, just as he is not the first pioneer to give his life trying to get humanity to the next frontier.

about 1 month ago
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Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crashes

jdavidb Re:Using NASA's dictionary (445 comments)

May we mourn the loss of this brave pioneer and honor his or her legacy. I think this is a perfectly appropriate time to quote these words:

I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The [SpaceShipTwo] crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them...

The crew of the [SpaceShipTwo] honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."

about 1 month ago
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Technology Heats Up the Adultery Arms Race

jdavidb Re:Already gone (304 comments)

I can surely see the point in avoiding making people feel like the "ought to" do anything - it's a wholly destructive concept wherein you hold yourself up to an arbitrary yardstick and inevitably fall short (if you didn't fall short there would be nothing that you "ought to" be doing).

You wouldn't believe how destructive it is when a philandering spouse wants to maintain a secret second life and uses this to guilt you into not checking up on them.

That doesn't mean that you shouldn't strive for it

Well, you shouldn't strive for it, because it's your mate that has to strive for it. The feeling of trust is a feeling that is created by the mate's actions. You check up on them to see what they are doing, and if they are behaving in a trustworthy manner, eventually you feel trust.

One of Harley's major premises is that as a psychologist, it's easier to change behavior than feelings. The change in feelings comes after your spouse changes behavior (which sometimes comes after you yourself change behavior - for example, by starting to check up on them).

about 2 months ago
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Technology Heats Up the Adultery Arms Race

jdavidb Re:Already gone (304 comments)

Which would seem to suggest that trust is important

Well, he goes on to say that trust is still irrational, and to insist that it is not trust that makes a marriage successful. Since a big part of his work is about motivation, he's very careful to word things such that people don't feel like they "ought to" trust. In fact, trying to make a spouse feel like they "ought to" trust and that something is wrong with them if they do not is a common tactic for spouses in an affair who do not want to be discovered.

about 2 months ago
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Technology Heats Up the Adultery Arms Race

jdavidb Re:Already gone (304 comments)

Unrelated. In this case we're not talking about the application of tools, we're talking about trust - which is widely considered to the THE most important factor in any healthy relationship. So lets try this on for size: "If you feel you can't trust the person you've chosen to be your life partner, your relationship already has serious issues"

"Widely considered" is an interesting standard of expertise to use about relationships, since the vast majority of relationships and marriages fail. In fact the vast majority of people who get counseling report that it didn't help them.

Dr. Willard Harley is the author of His Needs, Her Needs, one of the few relationship books that was indicated by a study to actually be successful, and he has actually applied statistics and science to measure the success of his approach to marital counseling. His approach is successful in saving relationships and restoring the feeling of romantic love (or creating it if it did not previously exist).

Harley stands outside of mainstream advice on a number of issues, but as I just said, mainstream advice hasn't been demonstrated to be particularly helpful. Dr. Harley's opinion on trust is that you should not trust each other in a relationship but that instead you should invite each other to check up on each other to whatever extent you choose. In his words, snoop until snooping is boring because you've snooped enough that you know you won't find anything. When you get to that point, you'll feel trust, rather than forcing yourself to feel it irrationally (i.e., without evidence, or in contrast to what the evidence actually says).

about 2 months ago
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Artificial General Intelligence That Plays Video Games: How Did DeepMind Do It?

jdavidb Re:Opensource remake (93 comments)

I took a graduate neural networks class in 2002 and did my implementation in Perl using PDL. The professor desperately pushed matlab on everybody but left us free to choose our own implementation language, and I chose Perl. I felt I understood neural networks pretty well at the end of the project. Twelve years on all I remember are the basic concepts at a high level.

about 3 months ago
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Flurry of Scans Hint That Bash Vulnerability Could Already Be In the Wild

jdavidb Re:"could be worse than Heartbleed" (318 comments)

any CGI script that at any point invokes a shell or invokes a program that invokes a shell (e.g. using the system call), irrespective of the actual shell command

But it's been well known for more than ten years that you ought not to call system or execute external programs from a CGI program. That's just a bad idea. This exploit is one proof as to why.

about 3 months ago
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Airbnb To Hand Over Data On 124 Hosts To New York Attorney General

jdavidb Re:Of course they'll downplay it.. (149 comments)

As soon as money changes hands it is no longer a "private arrangement".

Congratulations; you've just given the religious right all the authority they need to regulate abortion out of existence.

about 4 months ago
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Entire South Korean Space Programme Shuts Down As Sole Astronaut Quits

jdavidb Re:begs FFS (186 comments)

How do we tag misuses of the expression "begging the question" in the article summary? I tagged this story as "notbeggingthequestion," but if there's another tag out there people are using, I'd like to be aware of it.

about 4 months ago
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Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

jdavidb Re:No Advertising does not power the Internet. (418 comments)

Notice that the guy who said it is an advertising guy. That's his whole worldview. That's the way he thinks it is and the way he thinks it should be. Meanwhile for the rest of us, we have lots of alternatives. Paid sites, community-supported sites, ad-blocked sites, sites run by people who love what they are running a site about.

Basically this is a little advertiser wanting us to support clubbing a big advertiser, Google. He'd like us to get mad at his competition. What he wouldn't like is for us to start noticing just how much what he is advocating is in his self-interest.

I recommend we all switch to ad-block and screw them all. If some sites die or have to switch funding models, works great for me.

about 5 months ago
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Privacy Oversight Board Gives NSA Surveillance a Pass

jdavidb Realistic (170 comments)

You don't have to be "cynical" to expect the government to act in the government's own best interest. The idea that one piece of government will keep another piece in check rather than colluding together to expand power is an unrealistic pipe dream. Honestly we've had over two hundred years of real world experimental evidence demonstrating that checks and balances DON'T WORK. They never did, and never will. The only realistic check on government power is secession.

about 6 months ago
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Federal Judge Rules US No-fly List Violates Constitution

jdavidb Re:What's wrong with luxury? (276 comments)

They never want me. They find out I won't enforce the law as written if I find it to be immoral, and that's that.

Hopefully eventually they will be unable to find enough jurors who don't feel like me in the jury pool! But I guess I'm feeling over-optimistic today.

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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Prince of Sealand dies

jdavidb jdavidb writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jdavidb (449077) writes "46 years ago, occupying an abandoned WWII platform off the coast of Britain, Paddy Roy Bates declared independence, naming himself Prince of the Principality of Sealand. Today, Bates has passed away at 91.

Long time Slashdot readers will remember Sealand as the site of HavenCo, an unsuccessful data warehousing company that tried to operate from Sealand outside the reach of larger nations' legal structures. They may also remember plans that the Pirate Bay had at one time to buy Sealand.

Bates had moved to a care home a few years ago, naming his son Michael Regent of Sealand."

Link to Original Source
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jdavidb jdavidb writes  |  more than 7 years ago

jdavidb writes "Eric Faden of Stanford University's Fair Use Project "stole" thousands of tiny clips from dozens of Disney films to create an educational film explaining copyright and fair use. Right out of the mouths of characters from Disney, the chief advocate behind the most recent ex post facto extension of copyright, you can learn how copyright terms have been extended, how important it is for works to pass into the public domain in something resembling a reasonable period of time, and what exceptions are granted by the principle of fair use."
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jdavidb jdavidb writes  |  more than 7 years ago

jdavidb writes "Paul Graham writes today on what hackers should know about investors if they want to build a company that will attract funding.

Because most investors are a different species of people from founders, it's hard to know what they're thinking. If you're a hacker, the last time you had to deal with these guys was in high school. Maybe in college you walked past their fraternity on your way to the lab. But don't underestimate them. They're as expert in their world as you are in yours. What they're good at is reading people, and making deals work to their advantage. Think twice before you try to beat them at that.


If you're a hacker, here's a thought experiment you can run to understand why there are basically no hacker VCs: How would you like a job where you never got to make anything, but instead spent all your time listening to other people pitch (mostly terrible) projects, deciding whether to fund them, and sitting on their boards if you did? That would not be fun for most hackers. Hackers like to make things. This would be like being an administrator.


Investors always say what they really care about is the team. Actually what they care most about is your traffic, then what other investors think, then the team.
"

Journals

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Evolution: monopolistically integrated

jdavidb jdavidb writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Today I'm removing evolution from my Fedora 8 system, because it ate my mail this morning, and I'm switching to Thunderbird.

Remember how livid the world was because Microsoft claimed that Internet Explorer was integrated into the OS and could not be removed, even if you were to remove the icon from the desktop? Well, pot, meet kettle: if I attempt to remove the package evolution-data-server from my system, it attempts to take along with it a whopping 32 other packages, including pidgin (the IM client formerly known as gaim) and gnome itself in the form of crucial pieces of gnome such as gnome-panel and gnome-applets.

Gnome and evolution should immediately be sued and brought to justice for their evil monopolistic practices.

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Those backward Mormons

jdavidb jdavidb writes  |  more than 6 years ago

More proof that you shouldn't believe everything you read:

Austin Children's Shelter workers share their experiences [with the FLDS mothers and children]. "We had read that they had a fear of technology, so we took down our computer lab, and the first night one of the mothers pulled out her iPod and asked where she could dock it," VanOsselar said. "It surprised us because we didn't expect them to be so technology savvy," she said.

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Nearlyfreespeech.net discounts large bandwidth usage

jdavidb jdavidb writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I've mentioned before my preferred hosting provider is http://www.nearlyfreespeech.net/, which by your usage, allowing small traffic websites to exist for basically less than a dollar a year. Now NFS has introduced a plan for higher-usage websites: previously, usage was $1 per Gigabyte of bandwidth used. This is still true for your first gigabyte. However, starting immediately upon completion of one gigabyte, the price starts going down logarithmically. A reloadable page displays in real time your changing bytes-per-penny pricing.

For almost all of my purposes, NFS has been suitable. I could pay a lot more for certain things, but I haven't found it to be worth it at this point in time. I'd rather continue to run my websites for the price of rifling through my couch cushions for spare change.

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Why politics is bitter conflict

jdavidb jdavidb writes  |  about 7 years ago

According to Walter Williams, it's obvious: it's because we're making decisions for everybody instead of letting people be free. Thus, when one's preferences win out, it's necessarily at the expense of someone else who doesn't share those preferences. Of course they fight, bitterly.

The solution is to get government out of these decisions. Eliminate the political machinery that has the power to control these things, and then people will quit fighting for control of it.

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Do Nuclear Weapons Deter?

jdavidb jdavidb writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Do Nuclear Weapons Deter?

The first part of this article is very interesting, as he proposes a chain of logic that he asserts proves that ownership of nuclear weapons is not actually a deterrent to attacks by enemies. I'm not quite able to wrap my head around the logic, yet, and I'm not sure I agree. But it's an interesting thought, and I think I'll be revisiting it.

Then he gets to the point where he mentions "market anarchism." After that point the reasoning gets really weird, and I'm saying that as a market anarchist, myself. I'm sure it's even weirder to those who aren't. :) Some leftist pacifists might agree with and like his conclusions, though.

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Slashdot 10 Hot Comments feed

jdavidb jdavidb writes  |  more than 7 years ago

I've had the Slashdot 10 hot comments slashbox on my page since the year I started using Slashdot (wow; that would be 2001, I think). Now I've built an RSS feed to pull links to the comments into Google reader.

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"Our" infrastructure is in good shape

jdavidb jdavidb writes  |  more than 7 years ago

I really liked this quote:

The next time I cross a concrete bridge (as they all are in Alabama), I'll feel better than I once did: A bridge collapsed somewhere, and it was such a startling event that everyone is covering it endlessly. The incorrect message everyone else is getting is that the nation's infrastructure is crumbling.

I had a vague feeling along those lines when I first heard this story (and being disconnected from most major media I heard the story nearly 24 hours late and have only heard about one update a day since then), but I couldn't elucidate it.

Source: http://www.mises.org/story/2668

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ad blocking software detected

jdavidb jdavidb writes  |  more than 7 years ago

This page just told me "This page cannot be displayed because ad blocking software has been detected." Cute. I guess I just won't bother reading, then.

Or I'll turn off Javascript, or I'll use wget and/or lynx.

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Biological research, without evolution

jdavidb jdavidb writes  |  more than 7 years ago

As we all learned in this discussion, no biological research can take place without accepting evolution.

Unless you count this family, who have beliefs fairly similar to mine.

One counterexample provided. One false premise refuted.

Of course, the truth is that the other side wasn't using the same definition of "evolution" which was explicitly verbally provided at the beginning of the discussion.

(And, yeah, I'm not classing running somebody's distributed computing client as full-blown "research." I'm just saying it's clear you don't have to accept evolutionary origins in order to understand the progress of biological science.

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Feeds updated

jdavidb jdavidb writes  |  more than 7 years ago

The slashdot comment feeds I provide (also here) have been updated to use https URLs. For subscribers, this means they will get to slashdot through https. Non-subscribers should be transparently redirected to plain old http, at least if my one test through IE where I wasn't logged in is any indication.

Meanwhile, it looks like this means the most recent 24 posts will go through each feed again, as they now have different URLs and thus appear to be new items. Hiccup! :)

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7-7-7

jdavidb jdavidb writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Wow: 7-7-7 already. Seems like just a year ago it was 6-6-6.

Of course, 07-07-07 is really 2007-07-07, so there's no actual significance to it, but at least all the people who don't know the real way to write dates will have one day when they won't confuse each other by writing them different ways.

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Creationism does not imply 100% irrationality

jdavidb jdavidb writes  |  more than 7 years ago

The idea that people "need" to be taught evolutionary origins is nothing but petty bigotry.

The rationale for this mind-control and enslavement is the idea that people who believe in creationism are irrational and therefore incapable of making a positive contribution to the great "we" -- society. I note that this assumes two things: that creationism is irrational (I'll grant that many folks think this is proved, not assumed), and that there is some objective standard of how human lives should be spent contributing to society, some standard which says that a life spent one way is "right" while another way is "wrong," measuring according to some metric that I can't fathom about what's "best" for "all" (for sufficient values of "all" that actually, as far as I can see, actually translate to "some").

So let me give you those two points for the moment. I'm going to tentatively agree that creationism is irrational and that it is important to make sure that everyone is rational so that they can "contribute" to "society" or whatever the heck it is you hope to achieve out of having everyone aware of evolution.

Here's what you're missing: nobody is 100% rational, 100% of the time, on 100% of issues. It's not necessary for everybody to understand every piece of truth in order to function productively.

A lot of smoke is blown about how if kids aren't taught evolution they won't be able to be scientifically productive. Horse manure. It ain't so. You can have wrong ideas about what happened 7000 years ago, or 4.5 billion years ago, and still think quite rationally and scientifically about other things.

There's not a lick of evidence provided for the idea that kids need to be taught evolution in order to grow up capable of making a positive contribution to their society or their country. It's something we're just supposed to accept because men of bigoted faith like Richard Dawkins say so. And I'm not willing to see people enslaved (have their freedom taken away in the form of being forced to submit to compulsory reeducation of ideas their parents quite legally believed) just because Richard Dawkins is a bigot.

When I was in first grade my teachers encouraged other students to make fun of me and shame me because I couldn't crayon within the lines of coloring pages. This was cruel abuse, but I realize now it's symptomatic. School is systematically teaching the values we vote on, and today it's created a society that ridicules and shames people of faith, with the bigoted idea that they are 100% irrational.

Speaking of which, this is why I think a school system that is run by democracy is bound to failure. We could vote to teach everyone evolution, but we could just as well vote to teach them the Flying Spaghetti Monster. We could vote to teach everyone that homosexuality is acceptable, or we could vote to teach that such people should be stoned. If you really want your kids to be educated according to the consensus of scientists, then the absolute last thing that you should want is to have them in an educational institution run by a democracy.

(This is also a large part of why I won't vote. Remember when you're casting your vote next year in November about who is going to be my tyrant and king for the next four years and overrule the free choices of me and my children -- that I will not be making any such choice for you. I would never treat you that way.)

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