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Comments

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Mozilla Doubles Down on JPEG Encoding with mozjpeg 2.0

jensend oops (129 comments)

that'd be this link

that'll teach me to use preview esp. when I've been spending too much time on sites where the article discussions use bbcode

about two weeks ago
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Mozilla Doubles Down on JPEG Encoding with mozjpeg 2.0

jensend Balderdash. (129 comments)

Any "nerd" who posited that bandwidth and storage concerns would be so totally irrelevant that we'd happily waste 10-20x as much of them for practically zero benefit was not so much a "nerd" as a total idiot. Having more bandwidth means you want to do more with it, not waste it for no reason.

Real "nerds" worth the cred understand that not only does lossy compression provide great results at small fractions of the sizes of the best lossless representations, but research into lossy compression also helps us understand the structure of real-world information, intelligence, and human perception in new ways.

A future where we have lossy formats which achieve results equal to today's formats in a quarter the bandwidth because we've come to better understand the structure present in real-world signals and the ways humans perceive and interpret information is a cooler and more exciting future than one in which we [url=http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2012/01/19/the-hidden-expense-of-energy-costs-print-is-costly-online-isnt-free/]waste exajoules of energy and help destroy the planet[/url] by sending each other millions of terabyte-sized high resolution lossless cat videos.

about two weeks ago
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Homestar Runner To Return Soon

jensend Re:No Flash, though, please. (57 comments)

Oh, by the way, one of my pet peeves is seeing vector animations from Homestar Runner, AtomFilms, etc uploaded to raster streaming video sites. The original vector animations had bitrates low enough for dial-up, ran smoothly on a Pentium III, and scaled flawlessly to any resolution. The raster (usu. H264) versions frequently look much much worse despite 20x the bitrate and dedicated processing hardware.

about three weeks ago
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Homestar Runner To Return Soon

jensend Re:No Flash, though, please. (57 comments)

Vector animations like Homestar Runner are the original purpose of Flash- the one thing it is actually quite good at, and has been quite good at since Macromedia released Flash 3 in 1998. That's part of how it became ubiquitous- it did one thing and did it well. Even now there isn't really a better alternative- there's nothing that has the capabilities, the cross-environment rendering consistency, the install base, and the tool support Flash vector animations have.

It's just really unfortunate that after the Adobe acquisition Flash became a way of shoehorning a subpar and insecure "rich content platform" into that ubiquitous install base. For quite a while now streaming raster video has been a dominant use of flash, where it's been inferior to other solutions and only used because of its large install base and its support for DRM.

about three weeks ago
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On 4th of July:

jensend WHAT THE HECK HAS /. COME TO (340 comments)

+4 for somebody who thinks the internet was created using "the html"?

What about ARPANET, CSNET, etc? TCP/IP? Email? FTP? NNTP? Gopher? (all US inventions by the by)

They may not have started calling it the internet until 1982 but it'd been around for ~19 years before CERN hooked up to it, over 21 years before TBL's Christmas 1990 invention of the WWW, and over 24 years before the WWW really started picking up in late 1993 as the later-but-more-popular Gopher (U of Minnesota) dwindled due to shortsighted license problems and Mosaic (U of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) gave people a new vision of what was possible.

I'm under 30 and I remember using Gopher, Mosaic, and Netscape 1.0. GET OFF MY LAWN.

about three weeks ago
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SSD-HDD Price Gap Won't Go Away Anytime Soon

jensend Re:RAID? (256 comments)

Absolutely not.

The main advantage of a SSD for most users is not the 5x faster sequential performance, it's the >100x faster access times. RAID does improve throughput but it does very little to improve access times and random IOPS.

about 3 months ago
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Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

jensend Re:We have those in South Carolina too (325 comments)

How about not recklessly endangering others' lives and not showing contempt for democracy and the rule of law?

If you want to spend a few trillion dollars of your own money to build your own private road network where you can drive at whatever speed you darn well please, go right ahead. But if you want to use the road infrastructure paid for by your fellow citizens, you need to live with the rules your fellow citizens have put in place.

Protecting the rest of us from numbskulls like you is not just honest work, it's a great benefit to society. You could do the rest of us a benefit too by not touching a steering wheel or gas pedal ever again.

about 4 months ago
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Australia Declares Homeopathy Nonsense, Urges Doctors to Inform Patients

jensend Re:The spokesman for the AHA said... (408 comments)

Perhaps tomato soup may have some beneficial effects, but if you really want to find feelings of well-being and contentment, you should have more ketchup.

Ketchup contains natural mellowing agents which help you stop worrying about your minor medical ailments. You don't need homeopathic medicine; you don't need a placebo. All you need is to relax, have some ketchup, and let your body take care of things naturally.

These are the good years, in the golden sun,
A new day is dawning, a new life has begun,
The river flowing like ketchup on a bun.

Ketchup. For the good times.

A message from the Ketchup Advisory Board.

about 4 months ago
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Smart Car Tipping Trending In San Francisco

jensend It may be short but it has a weight problem. (371 comments)

Our old Chevy Sprint- a 5 passenger hatchback- weighed < 1500lb and got 44mpg city / 53 hwy. For the sake of "safety" the Smart Fortwo- a dinky two-passenger car with little cargo room- weighs 2250 lb and gets 34 city/ 38 hwy. The engineer giveth, and the safety inspector taketh away.

Safety involves tradeoffs, and people should be able to make their own informed decisions about their own safety and the risks they will tolerate. Safety regulations should be based on the damage your car does to other cars (and to pedestrians and cyclists), since you shouldn't get to decide what risks other people face.

Failing to admit that safety involves tradeoffs, and regulating cars only based on their own occupants' safety, has led to a curb weight arms race. The easy way to be safer, if you ignore the tradeoffs, is to make your car heavier compared to the average; but when the average weight rises everyone is less safe (especially pedestrians and cyclists), all the advances in engines and materials are outweighed, and MPGs stay stagnant.

about 4 months ago
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Why Darmok Is a Good Star Trek: TNG Episode

jensend Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (512 comments)

The problem is: we may think it strange that a universal translator that does such a miraculous job everywhere else would be so nonfunctional with this language, Trekkies will come up with some silly technobabble explanation, but the only real reason is that a universal translator is just a handwaving plot device for writers' convenience, and here for once they found it inconvenient. Their way of dealing with it may be illogical, but tossing the crutch for one episode allows them to explore new ground.

Almost every piece of technology in Star Trek is there for one of two reasons: it made the writers' jobs easier (e.g. universal translator, replicator, the badly overused holodeck) or it made the set designers' and special effects guys' jobs easier, esp. in the original series (e.g. transporter). In each case, these technologies would have vast and far reaching impacts that the series never took into account because it wouldn't serve the items' purpose as handwaving conveniences. You have replicators, but whenever you want to have an object be valuable or difficult to obtain, somehow the replicator just can't get it quite right. You have transporters that can teleport tremendously fragile objects like people instantly across thousands of miles, but whenever you want characters to have an adventure physically retrieving an object, or whenever you want characters to be in real peril off ship, somehow the object is inherently untransportable or the transporters can't get a lock on people.

Fridge logic and dubious explanations abound, yet somehow the show goes on.

about 4 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

jensend Re:And that's exactly what I asked for. (2219 comments)

As I've said in another post here, a lot of the problem is that you sent people back to beta again and again to solicit more feedback before the very most basic problems- esp. content width and comment section information density - had been addressed at all.

This gave people the impression that those things weren't going to change, and solidified in people's minds the idea that beta was horrific and that a redirect to beta was a reason to scream.

Though the present beta isn't ready, it is enough of an improvement over the earlier betas as to reassure me somewhat about the future of the site. But until a few minutes ago I had no idea of its improvements because previous horrific betas' lack of improvement over the months had trained me to avoid beta like the plague.

about 6 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

jensend Part of problem: previous betas were even worse (2219 comments)

Because of how awful previous betas were, and how gradual and unannounced the improvements have been, the knee-jerk reaction to "oh, we're going to try redirecting you to beta!" is "OH HECK NO YOU DON'T."

The beta is still terrible, but it is substantially less terrible than the versions I looked at last year. During that time, I and many others gave careful feedback but it seemed like there was awfully little improvement over time. It got to the point that a redirect to beta just instinctively causes panic and anger because people have had such terrible experiences with it in the past.

I'm afraid that in the past couple of days some of the complaints and feedback I've given were no longer accurate for today's beta.

I still think the information density and the comment system have a long way to go. I still think the (thankfully slightly rarer now) stock photographs are uninteresting, uninformative, stupid, uninformative, and a total waste of space.

But at least you're not only using a third of my screen's width for content, making it so only ~3 comments can be seen on screen at a time, etc. like previous betas did. That was horrific. Before you redirect anyone to beta, help them know about what's been improved with beta and apologize for past mistakes.

And for pete's sake, give people the option to switch the silly color scheme. Should be simple enough.

about 6 months ago
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Why Robot Trucks Could Be Headed To Afghanistan (And Everywhere Else)

jensend Call and let them know (135 comments)

Calling the number Dice lists for Slashdot results in a recording which in turn tells you to call 415-625-0856.

The receptionist type who answered was polite, said they'd already had several calls today, jotted down my complaints to relay once more to a guy who's involved with the beta, and said "we're withholding his snacks until this is fixed." They said it was nice to realize there were people out there who were passionate about the site.

Make your voice heard. Let them know that wasting screen space, butchering comment sections, etc are going to result in their visitors leaving en masse. If the phone is ringing all day, day in and day out, with users who don't want to see this place ruined, perhaps things will turn around.

about 6 months ago
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Swedish Man Fined $650,000 For Sharing 1 Movie, Charged Extra For Low Quality

jensend Judge to pirates: (366 comments)

I don't like to see people breaking the law. But what I really don't like to see is a torrent search where the only results are 480i DivX versions. Good grief, people. Can't you see how this damages a movie's reputation? If you must upload pirated movies, upload 1080p x264 encodes or I will double the damages when the case comes to court. Now, please excuse me; I need to get some more popcorn.

--Christina Brobacke, Västmanlands Tingsrätt

about 7 months ago
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Oregon Signs Up Just 44 People For Obamacare Despite Spending $300 Million

jensend Re:Paying the fine makes more sense (586 comments)

I am most certainly not the first person in the US to face this. A lot of people just don't realize what the individual insurance market looks like.

What you say about this being "odd" or "first in the nation" is just silly. Costs under Obamacare are supposed to skyrocket for people like me. That's the whole point- bleed healthy young people, esp. males, to pay for everybody else. This is why we have articles like those from Slate saying "you can't keep your plan, and that's a good thing- people paying for the services they receive themselves is just so unfair, we must make everyone pay for whatever anyone else might want." This is why there are all those absurd ads trying to entice my generation to sign up.

Looking at the plans listed at thehealthsherpa.com, a plan with deductibles, copay, etc comparable to what I was quoted $46/mo for before would now, under Obamacare, cost me >$190/mo. The cheapest non-catastrophic plan is $168/mo and the only catastrophic plan offered, which is $115/mo, is absolutely terrible; both are worse than the old $46/mo plan.

I'm not going to hand out details about my zip code and health history to random slashdotters. While you're at it, why not ask for my SSN and credit card numbers? Your sarcasm about believing me and your oh-I'm-so-clever Reagan apotheosis remark don't win you any points here either.

about 8 months ago
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Oregon Signs Up Just 44 People For Obamacare Despite Spending $300 Million

jensend Paying the fine makes more sense (586 comments)

I am 28 and presently uninsured. I delayed getting individual insurance because I knew my plan would be canceled at the end of this year (anybody who actually spoke with the insurance companies has known for a long time that "you can keep your plan" was a lie), so I figured I might as well wait for the Obamacare compliant plans.

Well, the Obamacare compliant plans cost literally over four times as much per month to get comparable insurance. People who went ahead and got the noncompliant plans have now got a reprieve by executive fiat; they can keep the cheap plans another year. All of the effects of this bill have been effectively canceled per dictatorial fiat except for socking it to me and others in similar conditions.

Depending on what happens with school and work, my income may be low enough that I don't need to pay the fine for being uninsured, but even if it isn't, it's better to pay the $95 fine and gamble on my health being OK than to pay $2400 for a crappy insurance plan.

The whole situation is insane. Health insurance should be like home insurance. The expected costs of home maintenance are paid out of pocket; your insurer doesn't pay your heating bill or pay to have your gutters cleaned out. Insurance is there to mitigate catastrophic risks, not to take care of your regular expected expenses for you. We do need robust assistance for those who can't pay their expected health costs, but that has nothing to do with insurance, and conflating the two won't make care more affordable. Not being able to pay your health costs is just another form of poverty; it's important to provide a safety net but this is a terrifically thickheaded way to try to go about it.

A few decades ago most people paid most of their health costs out of pocket and the country was better for it. Having employer insurance take care of everything is basically a modern tax avoidance racket. It's less efficient, the costs balloon, people without employer-provided insurance end up in more and more trouble, and the lost government revenue brings program cuts, higher deficits, or more economically disruptive ways of getting tax revenue. Insurance plans and health savings accounts should be taxed exactly like normal income and savings.

about 8 months ago
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Geeks For Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries

jensend Re:Sexually transmitted political power? (730 comments)

The merit of having leadership determined by bloodline is, as Chesterton observed in Heretics in 1905, that it is about as good as having leadership determined at random. Sometimes the new king will be a good man and sometimes a bad one; there should be "no trace whatever of any nonsense about intellect or special fitness for the post." But even if it's done via a "democratic" election, selecting a despot by their oratory or their brilliance or whatever else gives you monsters and not men.

The misadventures of the despots of the last hundred years, whether fascist, communist, "Bolivarian," or whatever else, has made Chesterton's remarks seem prescient.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Cheap Second Calculators For Tests?

jensend Re:RPN calcs- esp 35s (328 comments)

All of the good HP scientific calcs have basic metric-imperial conversion abilities, and none of them live up to the 48. You'd have to browse through manuals to see exactly how much they do provide. My guess is that the scientific calculator with the most unit conversion power is the WP 34S, which is basically an open source 3rd party ROM and keyboard overlay for the HP 30b. I don't know that it would be allowed in many tests.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Cheap Second Calculators For Tests?

jensend Re:Four Function (328 comments)

So I suppose if you're not a "complete math wuss" and you need to convert polar to rectangular and vice versa while in a timed test, you spend a couple hundred extra keystrokes computing Taylor approximations for sine, cosine, and arctangent on a calculator which doesn't even have exponentiation?

And for unit conversions, if you want precise answers you memorize all conceivable conversion factors to fifteen digits?

Methinks you're the one who doesn't have the tiniest bit of understanding of what he's doing.

about 8 months ago

Submissions

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Oracle Releases Java 7u4 - Their First JVM for OSX

jensend jensend writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jensend (71114) writes "From the distant Mac OS 7 past until October 2010, Apple took charge of delivering their own Java Virtual Machine. They were slow to update their JVM, leaving security holes unpatched for long periods, and to get a major version upgrade you'd have to pay for a Mac OS upgrade. After a decade of treating it like a red-headed stepchild, they finally jettisoned their support for it, leaving Oracle to pick up the slack. It took a year and a half, but Oracle has finally delivered, releasing the 7u4 JDK&JRE for Linux, Solaris, Windows, and OS X simultaneously. (See also this FAQ regarding the OS X release). The new JVM also includes a new garbage collector and various performance improvements and bugfixes."
Link to Original Source
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Cygwin 1.7 Released

jensend jensend writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jensend (71114) writes "The 1.7 branch of Cygwin, the Unix-like environment for Windows, has reached stable status after about 3 1/2 years of effort. Among many other changes, this release drops support for Windows 9x. Since the NT API and NT-based versions of Windows are more capable and somewhat less of a mismatch with POSIX (for instance, they include a security model), this has allowed for code path simplifications, better performance (particularly noticeable with pipe I/O), better security, and better POSIX compatibility."

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