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Hot Springs At Yellowstone Changed Their Color Due To Tourist Activity

sandytaru Summary is a bit misleading (48 comments)

I RTFA. These pools have ALWAYS been colorful. That's partially why Yellowstone was made into a national park, after all. It's the composition of colors that has changed in the last century, due to a slightly lower temperature and thus a slightly different bacterial makeup. The summary sort of implies that it was pollution that made each pool colorful to begin with, which isn't the case. Instead of "Researchers say that the different colors of the hot springs in Yellowstone National Park are caused by human contamination" it would be more accurate to say: "Researchers have done a simulation that shows how human activity may have altered the colors in several hot springs at Yellowstone."

2 days ago
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Peter Sunde: the Pirate Bay Should Stay Down

sandytaru Re:Make it convenient for me and I will pay (251 comments)

Well, and everyone pirating Japanese animation and Korean TV dramas. But even those have streaming available in the US via Crunchyroll now.

about two weeks ago
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Peter Sunde: the Pirate Bay Should Stay Down

sandytaru Re:Make it convenient for me and I will pay (251 comments)

Why can't the places that claim to want to make money work out a deal with whatever local regional governments to sell their content for consumers? Country blocks are the stupidest thing ever.

about two weeks ago
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Peter Sunde: the Pirate Bay Should Stay Down

sandytaru Re:Make it convenient for me and I will pay (251 comments)

Yup, the aforementioned regional licensing bullshit. That's a problem the MPAA/RIAA and whoever needs to sort out with the streaming services if they want to end piracy for good.

about two weeks ago
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Peter Sunde: the Pirate Bay Should Stay Down

sandytaru Make it convenient for me and I will pay (251 comments)

I think another reason TPB isn't as necessary as it used to be is because the convenience gap it filled has slowly been replaced by paid services, in many instances. Getting an entire season of a TV show used to involve hunting down disks or even VHS tapes, a lot of waiting, a lot of headache, and the cost - when a pirated torrent of the same thing could be had in a few hours. Even renting a movie involved going outside. What if you didn't want to leave the house - or couldn't?

With the rise of on-demand services like Netflix/Hulu/all their friends, and the availability of most content for a reasonable cost, the laziness factor for torrenting is not as prevalent. For $2 and basically no effort I can buy a streaming movie off Amazon and watch it on my PS3. If I wanted to pirate it now, I'd save $2 but it would not necessarily be any easier or faster.

Same also applies for music. I pirated a lot of MP3s a long time ago because the songs were not readily available on CD or anywhere else (usually because of regional licensing bullshit.) These days, I can pay a dollar to whichever music service of my choice that carries the song, and have the MP3 without having to buy the whole album.

There will be other services along the lines of TPB, but they're more likely to stock 3D makerbot blueprints than they are cheaply available mainstream media in the future.

about two weeks ago
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FBI Seizes Los Angeles Schools' iPad Documents

sandytaru Re:I just don't get it (229 comments)

My beef with the iPads is that since they lack a physical keyboard, kids aren't going to learn to type on them. At least with cheap laptops like Chromebooks, there's a crappy physical keyboard and not just a touch interface.

about three weeks ago
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A Mismatch Between Wikimedia's Pledge Drive and Its Cash On Hand?

sandytaru Re:Spending too much, reserves good, SW improves c (274 comments)

An example of what they've done would be the recent Monuments project. They built a back end, complete with a Google maps API interface, to tell you exactly where they needed photos of which historic monuments, in relation to a given ZIP code. Based on that, I learned there was 200 year old farm house about a half a mile from my office, and I spent a productive lunch break driving over there and photographing it. Their website handled the upload, licensing, and then distributed the new photo to the Commons as well as the Monuments project. There were no errors during this entire process which means the entire thing was rigorously tested and properly coded. It was a painless user experience, if a bit dry because of the spartan aesthetics of Wikimedia, but my "generated content" was incorporated seamlessly into their project in about five minutes. That's good website engineering.

about three weeks ago
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Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

sandytaru Re:Meh, they're okay. (193 comments)

My nephew has one. It does everything he needs it to do for school, which is all one should expect out of a machine offered to kids through school.

about three weeks ago
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Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist

sandytaru Re:Well Duh (454 comments)

I was thinking a "no shit" tag would also be appropriate here as well. This is exactly what the workers have been saying. We're rare, but we're not that rare. Just rare enough to be worth a premium, and to have the audacity to demand things like good benefits and a work-life balance.

about a month ago
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"Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

sandytaru Re:virus eradication and the ability to write code (561 comments)

The difference is, most of the coders kind of know how to approach virus removal - it's just a lot easier to ask Help Desk to do it since they've probably got a machine dedicated to it (we called ours "Benchy the Nurse Box" - it had multiple malware removal programs on it and the only other thing it did besides nuke viruses was play the radio.)

Although the message about not sharing USBs between sick machines is a good one in this book. MANY professionals haven't figured that one out yet.

about a month ago
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Assassin's Creed: Unity Launch Debacle Pulls Spotlight Onto Game Review Embargos

sandytaru Re:It's what some GG people SAY it's about (474 comments)

See, this is what I'm talking about. Brianna who? I have no idea who this person is. You're unintentionally giving her the attention you claim that these folks are trying to get for themselves. I deliberately omit the names of the indie game developer that started this all, and the feminist critic, because WHO they are doesn't matter if GG is really about journalistic integrity in regards to video games. I don't give a flying fig about their personal lives or their supposed sin - I am interested in their bodies of work as it pertains to "ethics in journalism."

Start bashing IGN and Kotaku, they're the real culprits here.

about a month ago
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Assassin's Creed: Unity Launch Debacle Pulls Spotlight Onto Game Review Embargos

sandytaru It's what some GG people SAY it's about (474 comments)

And I 100% agree. This kind of game review culture is toxic.

But any time someone in GG begins naming the names of the indie game developer and the feminist critic, this argument falls down. Either it's about ethics in journalism, or it's about two women who did stuff you don't like. Neither of the women are journalists.

about a month and a half ago
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Your Incompetent Boss Is Making You Unhappy

sandytaru The other side of the coin (204 comments)

It's also difficult to work under a boss who is not only smarter than you, but also smarter than those above them too. Brilliant people have no trouble understanding the technical aspects in addition to the managerial aspects. What they do have issues with is setting the right expectations for their subordinates, and letting go of their perfectionism in light of realistic expectations of average human capabilities. My current boss will go far in his career, but my secret hope is that he might get promoted out from under his current boss and I'll be shifted to someone else who is perhaps less brilliant.... but also easier to work with as a result.

about a month and a half ago
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Microsoft Losing the School Markets To iPads and Chromebooks

sandytaru Re:Nonsense (219 comments)

This is a good point. Microsoft also offers a lot of its nicer software for free to students. Back when I was finishing my master's degree, I had access to everything except the core Office 2013 products (Word, Excel, etc.) I got Project, Access, Visio, Visual Studio, and a free copy of Windows 8.

about a month and a half ago
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Microsoft Losing the School Markets To iPads and Chromebooks

sandytaru Re:Microsoft losing to the school what? (219 comments)

There was also that huge cheating scandal in Atlanta a few years ago where the teachers would go through and correct students tests so they'd get a passing grade.

about a month and a half ago
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Microsoft Losing the School Markets To iPads and Chromebooks

sandytaru Re:Microsoft losing to the school what? (219 comments)

I think it's still useful to be able to read cursive, but I agree that writing it seems kind of pointless today. Want something fancy? Use a cursive font, it'll actually be legible that way too.

about a month and a half ago
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Microsoft Losing the School Markets To iPads and Chromebooks

sandytaru Re:Microsoft losing to the school what? (219 comments)

A teacher in NC said that she found the iPads were good equalizers for kids with dyslexia as well. They could zoom in and out until they found a print size that didn't make their eyes swim, and also change fonts in their text books to one they found easier to read. (I heard the special dyslexic "weighted" font has officially been released now; hopefully some of those kids can get it loaded on their systems.)

That was the only praise she had for the iPads, though. Her biggest complaint was that the teacher's tools were not as robust as they could be; that she still had to do a lot of manual work for grading things that could have just as easily been automated (e.g. no way to store a score for an assignment within the system, just whether it was completed or not.)

about a month and a half ago
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Duke: No Mercy For CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In By Wednesday

sandytaru Re:Or just practicing for an actual job (320 comments)

My Java programming prof said that copying code in your actual jobs is fine - and pretty much expected. But for the purposes of his class, it was not allowed. We were supposed to mess with it and try to build it on our own. Non-compiling code that we did ourselves and messed up would net you a passing grade, whereas perfect code that was obviously copied would get you a big fail.

about a month and a half 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 3 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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