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Comments

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Mathematicians Devise Typefaces Based On Problems of Computational Geometry

tverbeek missing the point? (60 comments)

Traditionally, typeface designers have considered legibility and aesthetics in their work (in addition to typesetting limitations). Apparently those factors are optional now as well.

OK, these are interesting intellectual exercises. But don't try to sell them as examples of typeface design, because that's a creative discipline that goes beyond mathematical questions of "can it be done?"

about a week ago
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Nokia Had a Production-Ready Web Tablet 13 Years Ago

tverbeek Re:The sad part here... (267 comments)

Yeah, I saw the low UID, which is why I wondered how you could be online and yet so unaware of what so many people were doing on the Web in 2000. Sure, it was mostly dial-up or bad DSL, but it was hardly just "hardcore geeks". They were e-mailing and chatting and looking at (still-image) porn and shopping and selling garbage on eBay, and talking about what a bust Y2K had been. There was that whole "dot-com bubble" that everyone was talking about (but not calling it a "bubble" yet because it was still the latest Big Thing). The following September, I distinctly recall everyone at my office flocking to news web sites trying to learn what was happening in New York on a Tuesday morning. So I have to figure that you were too preoccupied doing stuff with the geekier parts of the internet to notice that yes: the Web was already kind of a a big thing in 2000.

about a week ago
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Nokia Had a Production-Ready Web Tablet 13 Years Ago

tverbeek Re:The sad part here... (267 comments)

And EPOC worked in devices with great battery life. Mine would go much longer on a set of AAs than I do with my iPhone.

about a week ago
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Nokia Had a Production-Ready Web Tablet 13 Years Ago

tverbeek Re:The sad part here... (267 comments)

Was the web on its own interesting enough in 2000 to make this a killer device?

Yes, it was. Were you still wading on CompuServ and Usenet or something at the time? :)

Also, what OS does it run, can it do anything but surf the web?

EPOC could do lots more than surf the web; it had apps for all the obvious personal-assistant functions (calendar, notes, to-do, contacts) and had a decent ecosystem of third-party apps. It powered the Psion PDAs (clamshells with decent thumb keyboards and stylus input), and was head-and-shoulders bettter than PalmOS or WinCE (its contemporaries) in terms of stability and ability to run on low-power hardware. I nursed one of the later Psions along for years after they were discontinued, until the iPhone came along and there was finally another pocket computer worth switching too. The devices' main weakness (other than nonexistent marketing) was the state of mobile connectivity in their day: slow-n-crappy cellular data, hard-to-find local wireless, and dial-up.

about a week ago
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Fruit Flies, Fighter Jets Use Similar Evasive Tactics When Attacked

tverbeek Re:I always thought... (65 comments)

Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.

about two weeks ago
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MariaDB 10 Released, Now With NoSQL Support

tverbeek Re:Why? (103 comments)

"Why do you want to run a SQL server that has NO SQL support??"

That was certainly my first question.

about three weeks ago
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Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

tverbeek Kaiju (455 comments)

So which of these is Godzilla, and which is Gamera?

about a month ago
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Time Dilation Drug Could Let Heinous Criminals Serve 1,000 Year Sentences

tverbeek Justice Revenge (914 comments)

This isn't about greater justice. It's about greater revenge. Not the same thing.

about a month ago
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St. Patrick's Day, March Madness, and Steve Jobs' Liver

tverbeek Re:Had he not waited. . . (129 comments)

He fell victim to his own reality distortion field.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Software Can You Not Live Without?

tverbeek basic createware (531 comments)

I use OS X, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android, so exceptions/substitutions are made when an app isn't available for a given platform.

DropBox - Because that's where all the stuff I'm working on at any given time is.

Firefox - Because I'm a same-browser-on-everything kinda guy, and I'm too stuck in my ways for that to be Chrome.

LibreOffice - Because I'm a same-wp-on-everything kinda guy, but not so stuck in my ways that it has be OpenOffice.

Manga Studio - Because I create comics as a hobby, and even on the machines that don't have stylus input, I like to be able to open the projects I'm working on, and work on lettering or coloring. I don't use the GIMP because I think it's worth buying myself nice software sometimes, and I don't use Adobe Creative Shite anymore because that doesn't have to mean wasting money.

CyberDuck - Because a simple drag-and-drop ftp client is handy for getting my stuff where it's going.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Sort?

tverbeek 52-pick-up (195 comments)

I use the 52-pick-up sort

about 2 months ago
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US War Machine Downsizing?

tverbeek Re:Time to end the military industrial complex (506 comments)

I don't see it happening. The US military has become the federal government's most dependable jobs program. It's like the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps... but not civilian (and not doing conservation work). In an economy where "defense" has become an important sector, budget cuts mean layoffs.

about a month ago
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Who's On WhatsApp, and Why?

tverbeek spam or scam (280 comments)

The only thing I know about WhatsApp is that for a while I was getting a lot of mail that was either spam from it or from scammers pretending to be it.

about 2 months ago
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First Liquid Machines Presage Soft Robots

tverbeek not so new (42 comments)

Soft robots have been with us for decades.

about 2 months ago
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E-Sports Gender Gap: 90+% Male

tverbeek Re:Huh? (320 comments)

"E-sport" is an attempt to apply the macho-associated word "sport" (usually understood to be a physical activity) to gaming. Competitive video gaming (even for an audience) is really no different from competitive chess or poker. You sit down and you match your ability to play a game against other people playing the same game. Something one can reasonably be proud of being good at, so the pretending-it's-something-else aspect is a bit childish.

Which might help explain the lack of appeal to female participants: childishness in adult males is really, really off-putting. Combined with the aggressiveness of a competitive activity... it's worse.

about 2 months ago
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E-Sports Gender Gap: 90+% Male

tverbeek Re:Huh? (320 comments)

Lots and lots of people don't consider hunting or fishing "sports". Those are effectively a whole different sense of the word "sporting".

about 2 months ago
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Windows 8 Metro: The Good Kind of Market Segmentation?

tverbeek too late for that (389 comments)

I recently special-ordered a desktop computer for my very-computer-illiterate mother (a retired musician) and somewhat-computer-illiterate father (a retired lawyer) to use, to avoid confusing them with Metro. Meanwhile my niece (I'm too old for my "little sister" to be relevant) has no trouble at all dealing with the traditional Windows Explorer desktop (though she prefers her Mac, which is mostly the same) because she grew up with it. In fact, it's the only interface she's ever known, which makes replacing it a bit problematic. It's way too late in the game to start worrying about a dumbed-down UI for computer illiterates.

about 2 months ago
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Debian Technical Committee Votes For Systemd Over Upstart

tverbeek Re:Nature takes care of mistakes like these. (379 comments)

Why didn't you list DOS 2? Oh yeah, because it was hugely popular (for its time), thanks to its support for hard drives with subdirectories. Not as widely deployed as DOS 3 would be, but far from a flop.

You're correct that DOS 4 flopped. That's one data point. (And really, that was IBM's failure, not Microsoft's.)

DOS 6 was widely adopted, replacing DOS 5 (which had little to recommend it except that it wasn't DOS 4) and living a long and productive life under the 16-bit versions of Windows.

Windows 98 enjoyed quite a bit of success, and (except for being a trojan for IE4) deservedly so; 98SE was the Windows that people stuck with on their older hardware rather than installing the resource-hogging Windows XP. Perhaps you were thinking of the deservedly-reviled Windows ME, which followed it?

You're also correct that Vista and Win8 have been flops. So that's three data points, but non-consecutive. Microsoft's success/failure pattern isn't quite as simple as you misremember.

about 2 months ago
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Iconic Predator-Prey Study In Peril

tverbeek Re:Why should we care? (84 comments)

This is not just nature. Isle Royale's ecosystem was disrupted when Europeans came to the region and started trying to strip it of mineral, forest, and animal resources. In the early 20th century we turned most of it back over to nature, but by then the some of the major indigenous species (and the peoples who hunted them on a small scale) had been wiped out. Most importantly, the coyotes are gone, and moose have moved in to replace the caribou. The wolves (and the foxes that remain) have filled the coyotes' niche as predators, but because of the increasing difficulty of reaching the island from the mainland, they've had difficulty establishing a viable population. This is something "we" screwed up.

about 2 months ago
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Iconic Predator-Prey Study In Peril

tverbeek Re:it comes down to money (84 comments)

There's a lot more than the wolves that draws people to Isle Royale. (Most people who visit the island never even see a wolf. I consider myself lucky to have glimpsed one briefly, as it tracked a moose and her calf.) Visitors come for the trails, the moose, the fishing, the scenery, and the relatively solitude. Losing the wolves would mean that the island would lose a little mystique, but far more important would be the long-term repercussions on the island's ecosystem.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Russians find "new bacteria" in Lake Vostok

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  about a year ago

tverbeek (457094) writes "Russian scientists believe they have found a wholly new type of bacteria in the mysterious subglacial Lake Vostok in Antarctica, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. "After putting aside all possible elements of contamination, DNA was found that did not coincide with any of the well-known types in the global database," he said. "We are calling this life form unclassified and unidentified.""
Link to Original Source
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Canadian charges against US manga reader dropped

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 2 years ago

tverbeek (457094) writes "The US-based Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the Canada-based Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund have announced that the Canadian government has withdrawn all criminal charges in R. v. Matheson, a case which involved a US citizen who was arrested and faced criminal charges in Canada relating to manga found on his computer when he entered the country. Customs agents declared the illustrations of fictional characters to be "child pornography". The defendant, a 27-year-old comic book reader, amateur artist, and computer programmer, has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing. Despite financial assistance from the CBLDF and CLLDF, he has an outstanding debt of $45K for his defense."
Link to Original Source
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HP reverses course on PCs

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 2 years ago

tverbeek (457094) writes "Not to be outdone by Netflix's bumpercar strategic planning, HP's current CEO has announced that they will not be divesting themselves of their Personal System Group, which makes some of the world's bestselling laptops and desktops. No word on what this means (if anything) for the fate of WebOS and its mobile devices."
Link to Original Source
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Spock gives up the con

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 2 years ago

tverbeek (457094) writes "Leonard Nimoy announced at the Creation Con in Chicago, celebrating the 45th anniversary of Star Trek, that this would be his last appearance at a Trek convention. He spoke for an hour, which at least suggests that he's making this move by choice and not out of necessity. He's 80 years old. "Live long and prosper," he told the crowd."
Link to Original Source
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Comics Code dead

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 3 years ago

tverbeek (457094) writes "After more than half a century of stifling the comic book industry, the Comics Code Authority is effectively dead. Created in response to Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent, one of the early think-of-the-children censorship campaigns, and Congressional hearings, the Code laid out a checklist of requirements and restrictions for comics to be distributed to newsstand vendors, effectively ensuring that in North America, only simplistic stories for children would be told using the medium of sequential art. It gradually lost many of its teeth, and an increasing number of publishers gave up on newsstand distribution and ignored the Code, but at the turn of the century the US's largest comics publishers still participated. Marvel quit it in 2001, in favor of self-applied ratings styled after the MPAA's and ESRB's. Last year Bongo (publishers of the Simpsons comics) quietly dropped out. Now DC and Archie, the last publishers willingly subjecting their books to approval, have announced that they're discontinuing their use of the CCA, with DC following Marvel's example, and Archie (which recently introduced an openly gay supporting character, something flatly forbidden by the original Code) carrying on under their own standards. The Code's cousins: the MPAA and ESRB ratings, the RIAA parental advisory, and the mishmash of warnings on TV shows still live on, but at least North American comics publishers are no longer subject to external censorship."
Link to Original Source
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Bill O'Reilly: science cannot explain the tides

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 3 years ago

tverbeek (457094) writes "David Silverman of the American Atheists was a guest on The O'Reilly Factor to talk about the billboards the AAG has put up recently, including one declaring the Christian Nativity story a myth. O'Reilly, playing to his home-field advantage, figured he could show up his guest by citing a daily miracle that proved the legitimacy of religion, a mystery beyond the ability of science to grasp: "The tide comes in and it goes out, Mr. Silverman," he lectured. "It always comes in, and always goes out. You can't explain that.""
Link to Original Source
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Big Blue Sun?

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 5 years ago

tverbeek writes "IBM is in talks with Sun Microsystems for a buyout. IBM would get Sun's hardware business and some substantial software (especially web and virtualization) expertise. Sun would get the financial support and the stability of being part of Big Blue. The merger would create a company with an increasingly attractive alternative to Wintel systems, with strong support for open-source technology."
Link to Original Source
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Majel Barrett Roddenberry Has Died

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 5 years ago

tverbeek writes "Majel Barrett Roddenberry, wife of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and the only person to appear — in one form or another — in every Trek TV series plus the movies, has died of complications from leukemia. She was 76. In addition to her ongoing involvement in Trek and its fandom, she produced her late husband's series Earth: Final Conflict and Andromeda, and made an appearance as a key character in an episode of "rival" series Babylon 5."
Link to Original Source
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Anti-Science political campaign launched

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 5 years ago

tverbeek (457094) writes "MiCAUSE (Michigan Citizens Against Unrestricted Science & Experimention) — a political organization opposed to embryonic stem cell research on "moral" grounds — has launched a sneaky media campaign that pretends that the issue is the state's economy and taxes. Referring (without detail) to measures in states where stem cell research has not only been legalized, but also received investment funds, the TV ads claim that approval of Proposal 2 on the Michigan ballot this November wouuld not help the state's recessionary economy by stimulating the creation of jobs (on one of the few industries with growth potential in the Midwest), but would instead hurt the taxpaper by (somehow) forcing them to subsidize it."
Link to Original Source
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tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 6 years ago

tverbeek (457094) writes "Good news and bad news on the RFID privacy front. The good news is that U.S. citizens may not need to carry an RFID-embedded passport just to cross the border with Canada. The bad news is that the driver's license you carry with you nearly everywhere would be embedded with an RFID chip instead. That's the scenario that's going to be tested in the state of Washington as a pilot program starting in January 2008, according to an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer . Washington is anticipating loads of border-crossing traffic for the 2010 Olympics in adjacent Vancouver BC, shortly after the federal passport requirement goes into effect in June 2009. The "enhanced" licenses would require applicants to submit to an in-person interview and show proof of citizenship to get one."

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