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Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

sandytaru Re:Astronomy club? (207 comments)

There's also a lot of old and outdated information that can be refreshed/verified. During my freshman year astronomy class in college, we got some telescope time and we were calculating out binary variable stars to confirm that what was measured 50 years ago was still accurate. Ours turned into a paper for our professor when our binary star turned out to have a third star in there, causing faint fluctuations that our modern CCD camera could catch, but the older technology had not been able to detect.

yesterday
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Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

sandytaru Re:Brush up on calculus (207 comments)

Although if there is an "Astronomy Throughout History" class I'd go take it, because it's really one of the oldest scientific disciplines.

yesterday
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New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance

sandytaru Re:Most taxes are legalized theft (318 comments)

It was "accounted" for in the ever-growing US debt burden, unfortunately. That's like buying a brand new car and listing it in your assets, while ignoring the $20,000 loan you have outstanding. Hooray! You accounted for the minimum car payments and maintenance payments in your monthly budget - but not the interest payments, which are making that debt grow ever larger.

2 days ago
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New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance

sandytaru Re:Most taxes are legalized theft (318 comments)

"Pensions" and "healthcare" also includes military pensions and healthcare, too. I was born in a giant Army hospital. Where do you think the money for that hospital came from? Not the budget allocated to buying war planes, I can tell you that.

2 days ago
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New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance

sandytaru Re:Most taxes are legalized theft (318 comments)

Thank you for parsing that out. Too bad nobody will listen if it goes against their preconceived notions that civilian entitlements take up all our budget.

2 days ago
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

sandytaru Re:Supply IS GREATER THAN Demand (264 comments)

I think it's this more than anything else. My best friend's father is a COBOL programmer. He came down with hairy cell leukemia and was down part time while he went through chemo and all that stuff. The company was completely understanding, and from what I hear gave him a friggin raise when he came back because they didn't have anyone else who could do what he did and they were scared of him retiring early due to health reasons.

2 days ago
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New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance

sandytaru Re:Most taxes are legalized theft (318 comments)

You know, you can actually do a FOIA and request a lot of that information at a county, state, or even federal level.

Individual program taxes will never happen, though, because in the US the biggest suck on our tax dollars is the Pentagon and the military, and a lot of people like me would be happy to opt out of that. I would not, however, opt out of SS and Medicare/Medicaid, since I'm supposed to (in theory) get that money returned when I need it the most.

2 days ago
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The Documents From Google's First DMV Test In Nevada

sandytaru In Google's Defense... (194 comments)

From TFA: 'In communication with the Nevada DMV before the test, Google said its policy was to prohibit autonomous operation at railroad crossings that lack signals and for human drivers to take over. It also noted: “[Roundabouts are] particularly challenging, where many drivers don’t know the proper rules in the first place.” In an e-mail to colleagues at the DMV, Breslow wrote, “We can’t fail an applicant for not being able to navigate a traffic circle if they say that there [sic] vehicle can’t yet do it.” '

So the two times that the Google engineer took over were for the two things that Google said they felt it was unsafe for the car to handle - a railroad track without a signal, and a roundabout.

about a week ago
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Banks Report Credit Card Breach At Home Depot

sandytaru Re:Store branded credit cards (132 comments)

Someone who forgot to hit the ATM before going shopping.

about two weeks ago
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Steve Ballmer Authored the Windows 3.1 Ctrl-Alt-Del Screen

sandytaru Re:Windows 8 (169 comments)

MSI motherboard with 16 GB of RAM, standard DVD player, blah blah. Two HDDs, one SSD and one platter, with a fat external USB platter for backups. Dual 1080p monitors. And yes, it's quite possible that the 650 watt PSU I had before was simply low quality, but it was an excuse to upgrade to a nice modular 1000 watt one, and future proof it. I'll be dropping in a 2nd 660 and SLIing them for my birthday this year.

about two weeks ago
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Music Training's Cognitive Benefits Could Help "At-Risk" Students

sandytaru Re:Known For 50 Years (58 comments)

Apparently having something to do stops a lot of drug use and other crimes in general.

Quite true - when I was in high school, I had music lessons or rehearsals twice a day every day of the week. I had time for school, music, and sleep. I even stopped watching television at some point, never to resume. Unfortunately I ended up suffering from music burnout by the time I went to college, which is why I'm not an opera singer or a professional trumpet player today.

about two weeks ago
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Steve Ballmer Authored the Windows 3.1 Ctrl-Alt-Del Screen

sandytaru Re:Prevent damage to your computer (169 comments)

Someone who experienced the registry getting chewed up during an unexpected burp once before.

about two weeks ago
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Steve Ballmer Authored the Windows 3.1 Ctrl-Alt-Del Screen

sandytaru Re:Windows 8 (169 comments)

Had some instability due to a too weak PSU when I rebuilt my Win8 system last winter. I was getting BSoD or worse - total unannounced shutdown - with annoying frequency. (Turns out the GTX 660 really did need that 1000 watt PSU I was too cheap to get at first.) Thankfully, no lasting damage, because the BSoD and system shutdowns worked as intended and protected the rest of the hardware.

It's very stable now. I think I've had to reboot the system once in the last month.

about two weeks ago
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Banks Report Credit Card Breach At Home Depot

sandytaru Store branded credit cards (132 comments)

I am suddenly grateful we've been using a store branded Home Depot credit card for the last few years. Replacing that with a new one won't be painful at all. I think I've paid cash if the amount was under $10, too.

Still going to go through ye old checking account and verify there's no HD charges on there since April.

about two weeks ago
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Coffee Naps Better For Alertness Than Coffee Or Naps Alone

sandytaru Re:20 minute nap? (133 comments)

Have you talked to your eye doctor about the weekly/monthly lenses? I only have to take mine out once a week, and I throw them away for a fresh pair every month.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Best Games To Have In Your Collection?

sandytaru Re:Uno, Scrabble, Apples to Apples (382 comments)

Again, scale. There are very few party games that can accommodate twenty people and still make everyone feel included.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Best Games To Have In Your Collection?

sandytaru Uno, Scrabble, Apples to Apples (382 comments)

Uno for long time friends who probably won't end up hating each other. Scrabble for a small group of newer friends. Apples to Apples for larger gatherings, since it can scale up to accommodate teams.

about three weeks ago
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

sandytaru Re:Her Videos Are Shit (1262 comments)

They actually made me think a bit, though. I too thought it was funny as heck that you could beat up the hookers in GTA and get your money back, but that's because I recognize that the GTA franchise is all about doing things that would be illegal or outright immoral in real life. But I'm a mentally healthy, socially well adjusted (mostly) adult, and I recognize that video games are not meant to be an instruction manual for life. Someone who is mentally ill, younger, or un-educated might not recognize that nuance as well.

about three weeks ago
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ACM Blames the PC For Driving Women Away From Computer Science

sandytaru Re:So... (329 comments)

The problem is that if it wasn't for PCs, I'd have never gotten into IT. My 19-year-old female self realized that if I couldn't repair my own PC I'd be dependent on other people for the rest of my life every time something went wrong. (Like I am with my car *cough*) My video card blowing out is what started me down the rabbit hole to begin with.

about three weeks ago
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Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

sandytaru Re:So... what does that mean? (441 comments)

Most local schools are funded primarily at the county or state level, not the federal level. The tax that supplies our district's funding is our property taxes. So they got a double whammy with the foreclosure crisis - property values and thus taxes went down, and there were fewer homeowners paying taxes at all.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Square Enix releases new website for revamped FFXIV

sandytaru sandytaru writes  |  more than 2 years ago

sandytaru (1158959) writes "Square Enix has released a new website and trailer for version 2.0 of its failed second flagship MMORPG, dubbed FFXIV: A Realm Reborn. The handful of players who still participate in the current version of the game say that the replacement director, Yoshi P, has done great things to improve gameplay and version 2.0 will be essentially a brand new MMO. But when an MMO failed so hard on initial release, will anyone be willing to give it a second chance?"
Link to Original Source
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MetroPC 4G Coverage extended, but at what cost?

sandytaru sandytaru writes  |  more than 2 years ago

sandytaru (1158959) writes "I glanced down at my Samsung Galaxy Indulge this morning and noticed my normal 1X data connection had been replaced by 4G. It seems that MetroPCS held true to the promise their salesman made to me back in September and have rolled out their 4G into the extended metro networks (at least in the Atlanta area, so far.) They hoped to have these networks all up and running by the year's end. However, MetroPCS had a disappointing third quarter due to churn, and the question is whether they're going to see a return on investment at all. "
Link to Original Source

Journals

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How to get me back in the movie theaters

sandytaru sandytaru writes  |  more than 2 years ago

This evening when I was driving home from class, I passed a brand new movie theater that opened on highway 316 between Atlanta and Athens. There were beautiful spotlights dancing in the clouds in the night sky, and I know they've been hyping up this new theater for months.

But for someone like me, there's just no incentive to go see movies. Roger Ebert did a nice piece on getting people back into theaters that was posted a while back on Slashdot, but I've never been a movie person to begin with.

So, movie producers and theater companies alike, here's how to attract a semi-yuppie who hates movies into your hallowed halls:

1. Turn the volume down. The number one reason I avoid movie theaters is because I like my hearing, and your too loud Dolby speakers are determined to destroy it. One out of five Americans has experienced some form of hearing loss, but I am not one of them. If you market a theater as a "quiet" theater with volume carefully tuned to proper levels for the equipment (and better yet, get some audiophile sound in there), I might be more willing to part with my money to spend time in your establishment.

2. Stop trying to be so family friendly. In the aforementioned "quiet" theater please ban all children under the age of 13. The only thing more likely to give me a migraine than a subwoofer set to "jet engine" is a screaming baby.

3. Have a full bar. Let's up that age to 21 and over only and let me get a giant 60 oz beer instead of a 60 oz soda.

4. Have shit I want to watch. I drove over an hour away to watch the Trigun movie in Atlanta, gladly paying $10 for an hour of subtitled Japanese cartoons. When the last ten good movies made were either a numbered Harry Potter installment or something from Disney/Pixar, it speaks volumes of the sorry sorry state of the industry.

5. Stop serving popcorn. The smell makes me want to vomit.

6. Stop with the 3D already. Everyone hates it. We're not going to love it. Just stop.

7. Reduce the prices. If you implement the full bar and 21 and only "quiet" theater as a niche market, you can totally charge a premium on the drinks and simply call the fee to watch the movie a bar "Cover charge." Ten bucks or lower is still my price point, since that's what the DVD will cost me in a month.

8. Advertisements for other movies are okay. Advertisements for non-movie products are commercials. If I wanted to watch commercials, I'd be watching television. (Except I don't watch television either.)

9. Going back to "show shit I want to see" - make movies I'd pay to watch. I'm a science fiction and fantasy fan, and I've been jonesin' for the purported Uglies movie that's been in vaporware land for the last two years. I want to watch it. Show it to me. If you make it, they might actually come...

10. Hire better writers. Good god, really? Also hire better actors. Pretty faces do not good actors make.

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Micromanagement

sandytaru sandytaru writes  |  more than 3 years ago

So one of my former managers just posted this onto Facebook via her Blackberry: "I really love how any instruction people don't like is considered 'micromanagement.' "

The company that former manager works at is IT marketing, and while they are very good at what they do, they are tremendously guilty of micromanagement. In retrospect, I was miserable there, and it was a good thing I quit when I did. They never utilized my true talents, and now I hope they regret pushing me away by not promoting me. I'm much happier in my current position, where I can write to my heart's content.

So what is micromanagement? It's having WinVNC installed on every terminal so that you can spy on employees. I'm still terrified of that little white tray icon turning black. Micromanagement is demanding 150 phone calls in a single day. It's expecting the impossible of employees and them punishing them when they fail to deliver.

It's also forcing employees into identical roles and expecting maximum performance. That just doesn't happen. People can achieve the same goal through different ways, and as long as they are meeting the goal, why demand that they change the way they are doing things to suit your viewpoint?

I really liked my former manager. She was a sweet lady and I don't mean to bash her. She has a thankless job dealing with less than stellar employees (because all the smart ones quit for greener pastures, like I did.) But she seems to have bought into the corporate lie - that the "best practices" are the only way to do things. What I've learned is that in the real world, "best practices" don't account for budgets, customers, and human nature.

One of our clients has a dying server. Totally dying. We're keeping it alive by pointing an actual fan - yes, a literal fan on it. We have told them many times that they need to replace the damn thing already. The client says no, they don't have the funds for it. We reminded them that we told them last year that the end of life cycle was coming up and they'd need to start budgeting for a replacement. They won't be moved. One of these days, the server is going to die for good, and I just hope their backups managed to catch correctly the day before.

This ties into my last job because it was marketing - convincing those stubborn people to move. Unfortunately, if the actual IT department can't convince the client to buy new servers, then marketing isn't going to help. And yet, the old company expects these sort of miracles on a daily basis.

Management in general needs to realize that equipment is not something you buy once, but that you buy and then feed continually and then eventually replace. That's the "best practice." And former manager specifically needs to remember that the management in general doesn't think rationally, doesn't budget, and certainly doesn't want to fork over another $5,000 for a fresh server deployment.

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