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Comments

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Empathy For Virtual Characters Studied With FMRI Brain Imaging

sandytaru Re:NPC (18 comments)

My question was more along the lines of "do these people in the simulation regularly play video games?" I'm a long time gamer and I would assume that saving the bystander AND getting to the fire exit would be the required goals for a maximum score, even if I knew that there was no "score."

about half an hour ago
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'Just Let Me Code!'

sandytaru So what is the solution? (316 comments)

Some sort of mega-all-in-one SCM, IDE, build tool, project management software nightmare?

Honestly, I think developers on big teams have it easier. Part of my job is to do some of the less exciting operational stuff so that they can spend more time coding. (We unfortunately lump in the build process with coding, even though it's not that sexy.)

yesterday
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States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

sandytaru Re:9 States automatically increased (772 comments)

I have to say, I frequently travel from Georgia to Montana for business, and I was quite surprised that food and basic commodities there are CHEAPER than they are in my home state, despite the higher minimum wage. I'm guessing that housing and utilities must be more expensive or something to equalize it.

4 days ago
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States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

sandytaru Re:Crazy (772 comments)

I can still get full service gas at a pump here in town. It's attached to a garage and they charge me 50 cents more a gallon for the privilege. Those jobs didn't disappear, but consumers realized it was dumb to pay a premium for something they were perfectly capable of handling themselves. The primary consumers of the full service gas pump here are the elderly, for whom checking tires and pumping gas IS more difficult.

4 days ago
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Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

sandytaru Re:Controlling prices? (191 comments)

They could have, but it would have been a lot more work. At the very minimum, you need to hire a second pair of eyes to proof read your novel before you toss it up on Amazon for anything more than $0. For someone who is going to take it seriously and do it properly, that alone can cost $400-500. At the 99 cent price point, you need to sell nearly a thousand copies just to break even. Unless you're a well known author, the odds of that happening are pretty low.

4 days ago
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CCP Games Explains Why Virtual Reality First Person Shooters Still Don't Work

sandytaru Re:Not if you use the Virtuix Omni (154 comments)

This is an anecdote, but back when the dance simulator games were a thing, that's exactly what happened. I had a friend who played Dance Dance Revolution quite extensively. He started out as a freshman in college at a heavyset 180 lbs. Two years of obsessive DDR knocked him down to 140 and pretty darn buff with a faintly visible six pack. Thanks to the core muscle build up, he hasn't really regained anything much in the ten years since.

5 days ago
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New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes

sandytaru Re:There's another treatment that stops most T2 (253 comments)

I have no problem cooking healthy foods from scratch for lunch/dinner. (Well, mostly from scratch. I don't make my own whole wheat pasta.)

What gets me is liking chocolate too much. I lose all self control around a box of truffles. The only safe thing is to get a bag of dark chocolate I really don't like too much and limit myself to a few pieces a day as a treat.

about a week ago
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Economist: File Sharing's Impact On Movies Is Modest At Most

sandytaru Re:So this means... (214 comments)

Fine by me. This is why I stopped watching movies and television altogether. Books do not abuse me so.

about two weeks ago
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FTC Files Suit Against Amazon For In-App Purchases

sandytaru Re:about time (47 comments)

Different divisions. The AWS geniuses are not the same department as the marketing morons who thought it would be a great idea to make free-to-play kiddie games with $10 bonus characters.

The real dummies in this are of course the parents who handed out devices that had the credit card information stored on record, or even worse, gave their kids the credit cards when prompted. When I tried that shit back in the late '90s I got my computer privileges revoked for a month.

about two weeks ago
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Alleged 'Bigfoot' DNA Samples Sequenced, Turn Out To Be Horses, Dogs, and Bears

sandytaru Re:This headline sucks due t inaccuracy (198 comments)

RNA and mitochondrial DNA are two different things, I thought?

about three weeks ago
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Reading Rainbow Kickstarter Heads Into Home Stretch

sandytaru Re:This isn't going to do much (68 comments)

That was part of the stretch goals. The initial 1 million was to bring an updated version of the show to the web. At 5 million, they wanted to bring it to all platforms, including mobile devices, video game consoles and set top boxes too.

about three weeks ago
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I suffer from jet lag ...

sandytaru Re:Depends on direction of travel (163 comments)

I'm about the same. Traveled two hours west for work this week and I basically just go to bed and wake up on my normal EST schedule, shifted thirty minutes or so. I call it moving to "grown up time." Back home I stay up til midnight and wake up at 7:30 AM. Here, I'll crash by 10PM and get up at 6AM. When I go back, resetting to my normal schedule takes no special effort at all.

about a month ago
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Workaholism In America Is Hurting the Economy

sandytaru How much reduced sleep is tied to long commutes? (710 comments)

I work my 45-50+ hours a week minimum like everyone else in tech land, but I also normally only have a 10 minute commute. (I'm currently visiting another office and the commute is 30 minutes from my hotel, bleah.)

I know people who are losing two hours of their life a day commuting each way, in addition to working our nasty hours, leaving fewer hours to actually live. It's either cut out eating or sleeping, and thus it's usually sleep that takes the hit.

I could make twice as much money if I committed to a horrible commute but I value my free time too much.

about a month ago
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Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job

sandytaru Re:Administrators (538 comments)

I've talked to plenty of educators about it. I'm married to one. It really does depend on how each individual school board is approaching the situation. Some teachers love it, others hate it, but it all boils down to implementation and how much support the school board is giving the teachers. (And support, as always, boils down to money in a lot of cases.)

about a month ago
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Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job

sandytaru Re:Oligarch's Game (538 comments)

Yep, the valedictorian of my high school went to Harvard under those terms. She was the eldest in an Army family. At best her father was pulling $40K/year.

I'm in GA, so my state university tuition was (at the time) completely covered as long as I maintained a B average. I was just on the hook for housing and food, and I committed to loans for that. I also worked, and had a VA stipend since my father was disabled, which covered what would have been my family's "expected contribution." My parents only really contributed about a thousand dollars over the course of my undergrad, mostly for furniture.

about a month ago
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Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job

sandytaru Re:Oligarch's Game (538 comments)

I also sat down when considering colleges and looked at my choices. Due to income levels, Ivy Leagues were out for me, as was any private school. That left state schools. In-state tuition is cheaper than out of state, so that left local state schools. I wanted something bigger and better than a small community college or tech school, so that left the Research I and II schools.

I narrowed it down to four state universities, and was accepted to them all. In the end, I went for the slightly more expensive Big State U because I could move away from home (loved my parents but I was being suffocated) and because the brand name on the school would look good on my resume as long as I stayed in the same state. (Huge alumni network here.)

The ROI on whole schools and on individual majors should absolutely be a point of discussion with high school seniors, and parents need to be frank about it. But it isn't the state schools that are the cause of the student loan crisis, it's the for-profit schools that prey on those who CAN'T get accepted to the state schools.

about a month ago
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Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job

sandytaru Re:Administrators (538 comments)

Common Core is being unnecessary vilified by people who don't understand it. All Common Core does is define a base line of standards for all children in all states that adopt it. It says, "This is what a US student should know at each grade level." The methods and curriculum for how to achieve that goal are still left up to the states and local school boards, but the educational companies who supply them with books are not helping them the way they should. Many books incorrectly state they are common core compliant.

The way it was handled could certainly have been better, but I see nothing wrong with saying all second grades should be able to do basic multiplication and all 7th grades should be able to find the primary theme of a passage of writing.

about a month ago
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Harley-Davidson Unveils Their First Electric Motorcycle

sandytaru We might just get this (345 comments)

We've talked about getting a motorcycle for around town use. I work four miles from the office and I feel silly driving a mid-size sedan here daily, especially since I can avoid major highways (except for one traffic light controlled intersection.) I wouldn't take a motorcycle on anything bigger than a two lane road (too many idiots on highways).

Most importantly, the local Harley shop is about three blocks from my house. If it does something strange I can walk it to the shop for repairs.... assuming it has the electric equivalent of a neutral gear.

about a month ago
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2 US Senators Propose 12-Cent Gas Tax Increase

sandytaru Re:or else how about (619 comments)

Many federal projects allocate funds to states and cities (less so since the ban of earmarks) for smaller local projects. We're paying our taxes in, why shouldn't we get them back? Granted, I-75's legendary potholes are a more pressing problem.

about a month ago
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2 US Senators Propose 12-Cent Gas Tax Increase

sandytaru Re:or else how about (619 comments)

It's a state highway. And we tried very hard to raise our taxes with a TSPLOST (Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) and it did not succeed passing the state-wide referendum because everyone outside of the metro Atlanta area is allergic to taxes, apparently.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Square Enix releases new website for revamped FFXIV

sandytaru sandytaru writes  |  about 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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