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Comments

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Three-Year Deal Nets Hulu Exclusive Rights To South Park

wwphx Re:Wise Move by South Park Creators (138 comments)

Well, it's been a good run, but I don't have Hulu and have no plans for buying it. So I guess no more South Park for me. I'm heartbroken. Really. I'm seeing a cardiologist next week for a work-up.

At least it'll free up a slot in my DVR's programming list.

about a week ago
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Microsoft Wants You To Trade Your MacBook Air In For a Surface Pro 3

wwphx Re:Not likely. (365 comments)

I didn't retire my MBP until the video developed a problem and I didn't want to drop $500 to fix an old machine, so I got an Air. I'm going to go back to a Pro when it's time to upgrade my Air, I hate the 4 gig memory limit and lust after my wife's 16 gig limit.

My MBP served as my desktop, connected to an external monitor, until we had a lightning strike that actually scorched the chassis next to the power plug, it also popped the sound. Insurance bought me a 27" iMac, bumped the memory to 16 gig and I'm very happy. I just love the stability: my desktop has been up for 50 days (powered it down for an extended trip out of town), my laptop had been up for a month but I installed some new software that forced a reboot.

about a month ago
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Microsoft Wants You To Trade Your MacBook Air In For a Surface Pro 3

wwphx Re:reverse it & you'll see M$ is desperate (365 comments)

I switched to Macs maybe eight years ago or so, largely because of my wife: she's an astronomer and the observatory that she's at uses linux as their core with Macs as their workstations. I definitely agree with your colleague, I've found that Windows under Parallels is extremely stable, more stable than I've experienced on dedicated hardware, and I would imagine more so if you were running it under Bootcamp, which I haven't done yet.

I have two complaints about Parallels. First, they don't support fooling the OS in to perceiving different video cards so you can run old games under it, second they are very aggressive about planned obsolescence when a new Mac OS comes out, i.e. every year, or a new Windows OS comes out, every couple of years. As a result, I only upgrade when I absolutely must, and I expect Win 7 to have pretty long legs.

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

wwphx Re:Administrators (538 comments)

Not all libraries require an MLS for full-time work, but enough of them do that it's problematic. A woman I know worked for a library system for ages with a BA, was stuck at part-time with no benefits. Had to have her gall bladder removed. It was cheaper for her to fly to Thailand with a companion for a week or two than to have it done without insurance, but that's a different rant.

On a more direct note, my sister-in-law with a BA has worked for two library systems without a MLS, full-time, and is even doing research for profs.

about a month ago
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Even In Digital Photography Age, High Schoolers Still Flock To the Darkroom

wwphx Re:The actual appeal (240 comments)

DLSRs can produce great images but there are so many times it produces cold, lifeless images. You can take hundreds of images and choose the best.

When I used film, a cheapo camera produced more brilliant pictures per shots. Yeah, you have to wait and have them developed but in every reel there were always some amazing shots. Now, with DLSR there are thousands of lifeless images and you edit them and enhance them until they are good. There is just so much rubbish and then a good one among them.

I think a lot of it is on the dynamic of knowing that you only have 24 or 36 shots in your 35mm that you pay more attention to the photos that you take, versus being able to shoot hundreds of hi-res images on a DSLR for zero expense and weed them later. But it can also be a question of skill or luck, being able to get that peak moment that makes the shot.

about a month ago
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Even In Digital Photography Age, High Schoolers Still Flock To the Darkroom

wwphx Re:The actual appeal (240 comments)

My first camera was a Yashica Mat-124G 120 roll film camera, 6x6cm negatives. Manual everything, and only 12 or 24 shots per roll. I worked the summer of my freshman (HS) year mowing lawns in Phoenix earning money for it. In my opinion, it is unsurpassed as the best camera to truly learn photography if you are serious about it as you must pay very close attention to composition and exposure. Plus, the prints that you get out of a 2.25 square inch negative can be amazing.

I sometimes think DSLRs make everything too easy. Now everyone has a camera built in to their phone, and anyone can buy a good digital camera for very little money. And it's ruined a lot of markets for photography. A friend of mine worked for years developing very good skills, got a great set of pro equipment, and was making a decent living shooting weddings, quincenaras, and kid soccer team shoots. A woman came in with an entry-level DSLR and started shooting weddings for $100. Her quality was absolutely crap, but she ruined my friend's business because he refused to shoot weddings that cheap, and people wouldn't consider the additional skill and service that he brought in to the equation.

A good camera does not a good photographer make. A good camera can take good pictures, but I'd hesitate to call them photographs. But then again, I'm a snob who's been shooting for 30+ years.

about a month ago
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Even In Digital Photography Age, High Schoolers Still Flock To the Darkroom

wwphx Re:The actual appeal (240 comments)

There's a Brit (IIRC) who took an 8x10 view camera and mounted a flat-bed scanner to it. I think it produced hundreds of megapixels, but with very slow exposure and B&W-only. Unfortunately the site that I saw it on is long-gone. You remove the glass from the scanner and mount it to a film slide, carefully aligning the scan plane with the film plane. Focus and compose on the ground glass, make the swap, and you're off and running. You just need a scanner that can be powered by USB, so the capturing laptop can do it all.

To say it was awesome is to do the results an injustice.

about a month ago
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Even In Digital Photography Age, High Schoolers Still Flock To the Darkroom

wwphx Re:The actual appeal (240 comments)

I've been shooting for over 30 years and love working in the darkroom, I've always found something viscerally satisfying about inserting a white sheet of paper in the developer and watching the image emerge. But those days are pretty much over for me. I don't have access to a darkroom, I don't have a place to set one up in my house, I don't like the continuing cost of chemicals and paper since I'm unemployed and there are no good photo labs near me, plus the unemployed bit. My Canon 6D is a one-time expense (well, maybe in 5 years I'll buy a new body), and I don't make a lot of prints. I also prefer filters, I've got a 77mm circular polarizer on order and I'm very intrigued by these variable neutral density filters, but I also use Photoshop and Premiere. I've scanned something like over 100 rolls of film and just found another box of negatives, so I'm looking forward to finding out what they reveal. I just wish I could find my 6x6cm negatives.

about a month ago
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Even In Digital Photography Age, High Schoolers Still Flock To the Darkroom

wwphx Re:The actual appeal (240 comments)

Audiophile isn't exclusively quackery, it's personal preference plus discretionary funds. When I bought my first receiver, the store was having a two-for-one sale on B&W speakers (which I still have, probably close to 30 years old). I was doing A/B comparison between two comparable receivers from the same manufacturer, and settled on the old one because I liked the sound better. The salesman didn't believe me. When I went back a few days later to pick up my kit, he said 'You're right, the receiver that you bought does sound better. I went back in and did some more A/B comparisons, and it's a better-sounding receiver.'

For me, now in my early 50s with horrible tinnitus and sometimes needing hearing aids, MP3s ripped at max settings sounds fine as far as I'm concerned. Which is sad, but that's the way it is.

Ah, memories. Buzz Jenson's Sound Advice was a great place. I don't know of any audio/video-only stores in Phoenix anymore that are only A/V.

about a month ago
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Cambridge Company Unveils 3D Printed "Fruit"

wwphx Re:ewww (59 comments)

I read your sig as Modest doubt is called the bacon of the wise. I like my version better, though I'm not sure what it means.

about 2 months ago
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The Major Theoretical Blunders That Held Back Progress In Modern Astronomy

wwphx Re:"affirmative action for diversity of ideas"? (129 comments)

Clark's Law: When a distinguished but elderly scientist says something is possible, he's probably right. Corollary: When a distinguished but elderly scientist says something is not possible, he's probably wrong.

about 2 months ago
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Amazon Escalates Its Battle Against Publishers

wwphx Re:Good news for BN? (218 comments)

In a way, this is a core question in library science regarding censorship: does failure to carry an item constitute silent censorship? In libraries, the effort is to carry quality representations of multiple sides of an issue, even one that you may personally disagree with. But in this case, considering the bajillions of books and other items that Amazon carries in its cavernous warehouses across the United States and the world, operated by low-paid drones, also assuming they carry many other titles by the same publisher or author, then yes, it would seem to me to be abusing its position.

Having said that, there are other posts to this story that say the book is available on Amazon in a variety of formats.

about 2 months ago
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Sony Tape Storage Breakthrough Could Bring Us 185 TB Cartridges

wwphx Re:Don't worry, NSA will still buy American (208 comments)

4KTB. ROFLMAO!

I'd love an affordable tape backup system that had about 10 TB+, but I'm not going to buy Sony.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

wwphx Re:TRS-80 Model 4P (702 comments)

My Model 100 still works, though it's in a closet at the moment. And my Apple Newton works just fine. I wish my Palm Pilots had fared as well, but I don't trust anything that rides all day in my pocket to survive like that.

about 3 months ago
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RCMP Arrest Canadian Teen For Heartbleed Exploit

wwphx Re:Good. (104 comments)

He's Canadian. The preferred execution method is Boot to the Head.

about 3 months ago
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The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight

wwphx Re:Trembling in fear. (146 comments)

That is an excellent line, sadly I'll probably fail to remember it. Much thanks.

about 3 months ago
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The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight

wwphx Re:I'm going to have an excellent seat (146 comments)

I've actually shown her that episode of The Tick! She didn't find it as amusing as I do, but I'm a lot more weird than she is.

about 3 months ago
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The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight

wwphx Re:I'm going to have an excellent seat (146 comments)

She's not a swimsuit model, and frankly I wouldn't want one, too high maintenance. But she is good enough for television: at least two BBC productions and one Japanese production have been made because of this lunar laser ranging program. Still, we're celebrating our 9th anniversary in June, and the coolest thing is that she found me through online dating even though I was 500 miles away.

So to my fellow geeks: there is hope, and patience is sometimes rewarded.

about 3 months ago
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The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight

wwphx Re:I'm going to have an excellent seat (146 comments)

Actually, the Big Bang people heard of a talk by Dr. Tom Murphy (UCSD) who's in charge of this lunar laser ranging thing called APOLLO (http://physics.ucsd.edu/~tmurphy/apollo/apollo.html) and contacted him for info on how to do the BBT ep. My wife was also the closing segment on the 2008 Mythbusters lunar landing hoax episode, and I did a ten-minute documentary on the laser at my YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Wa.... Originally the Mythbusters wanted to build their own rig, but when they found out the cost and accuracy required they decided it was better to spend a few days traveling to New Mexico, it also gave them a chance to evaluate the gear that they were going to use for their first Alaska Special. Apparently Adam had a really bad problem with the high altitude of the observatory, Apache Point is at 9200', not an uncommon problem.

about 3 months ago
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The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight

wwphx I'm going to have an excellent seat (146 comments)

I'll be watching the eclipse from the catwalk of a 3.5 meter telescope while said telescope shoots a laser at the moon and bounces the beam off of five retroreflectors. Weather permitting. It's awesome having a wife who's an astronomer/PhD.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Shades of Jack Ryan: altering text in eBooks to track pirates

wwphx wwphx writes  |  about a year ago

wwphx (225607) writes "German researchers have created a new DRM feature that changes the text and punctuation of an e-book ever so slightly. Called SiDiM, which Google translates to “secure documents by individual marking,” the changes are unique to each e-book sold. These alterations serve as a digital watermark that can be used to track books that have had any other DRM layers stripped out of them before being shared online. The researchers are hoping the new DRM feature will curb digital piracy by simply making consumers paranoid that they’ll be caught if they share an e-book illicitly.

Seems like I recall reading about this in Tom Clancy's Hunt for Red October when Jack Ryan used this technique to identify someone who was leaking secrets to the Russians. It would be so very difficult for someone to write a little program that, when stripping the DRM, randomized a couple of pieces of punctuation to break the hash that the vendor is storing along with the sales record of the individual book."

Link to Original Source
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New Orleans mayor tries to end video surveillance

wwphx wwphx writes  |  more than 3 years ago

wwphx (225607) writes ""In seven years, New Orleans' crime camera program has yielded six indictments: three for crimes caught on video and three for bribes and kickbacks a vendor is accused of paying a former city official to sell the cameras to City Hall." On October 14, Mayor Mitch Landrieu "announced his proposal to scratch the program from the city budget. The budget requires City Council approval." No word on whether or not the 2011 budget has been approved.

In 2004, it was claimed that a test deployment of the cameras resulted in a 57% reduction in murders in a public housing development, turns out the sample size was ridiculously skewed. It's nice to see a major municipality abandon them, it would be fantastic to see somewhere like London dump 'em. They say that in London you will be photographed over 200 times a day on surveillance cameras."

Link to Original Source
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Update: TSA withdraws subpeonas against bloggers

wwphx wwphx writes  |  more than 4 years ago

wwphx (225607) writes ""In the wake of public outcry against the Transportation Security Administration for serving civil subpoenas on two bloggers, the government agency has canceled the legal action and apologized for the strong-arm tactics agents used."

This is an update to http://news.slashdot.org/story/09/12/31/1417212/TSA-Subpoenas-Bloggers-Over-New-Security-Directive?art_pos=19"

Link to Original Source
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wwphx wwphx writes  |  more than 7 years ago

wwphx (225607) writes "As a result of the GoDaddy nastiness and our domain registrar bash, I created my newest domain at NearlyFreeSpeech.net. My annual contract is coming up with my current hosting service, and I just found out that they may be going out of business, so I need a new host. I'm looking for a linux-based host that offers cPanel, PHP, MySQL, the Fantastico suite, 10 gig of transfer (I rarely use more than 1) and 500 meg of storage for a reasonable price (OK, cheap price: $5 a month or less). I'm running four or five domains now and near future. I've looked for hosting comparisons that run down the features, but what I've found isn't really useful or adequate. I'm also wanting a host that "does no evil". Any suggestions?"

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