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Comment Re:This simply means we're succeeding. (Score 1) 235

Hard to get much further east than Montreal as train service is discontinued.

Funny, I could have sworn I saw a VIA train here in Halifax this week.

No, train service is NOT discontinued past Montreal. They did reduce the number of trains per week though. Apparently the new VIA boss is looking at reversing that.

Comment Re:Oh Noes!!!!!! (Score 1) 79

And this is exactly what happened the first time Oprah gave away a car to everyone in the audience. All these poor people suddenly owed taxes on a $30,000 windfall, and many couldn't actually cover it. It future iterations of the giveaway Oprah learned her lesson and included payment of taxes as part of the prize. Of course, there's still the issue of insuring and doing repairs on a $30,000 car. Thankfully, here in Canada we're not taxed on winnings.

Comment Getting There (Score 1) 385

All of our computers at work (six of them, small office) are optical media free. We do have a USB DVD drive for the once-every-few-months we need to read or burn optical media. At home I have a DVD drive, but only because my computer is 5+ years old. If I was building a new computer for home use now I'd leave it out.

Comment Great idea... (Score 1) 194

Great idea, terrible execution.

No surprise that it started off super popular. Who wouldn't want to relive their childhood Pokemon days, except in the real world? And it is indeed really fun at first. The thrill of catching new Pokemon is a great high.

But then reality sets in:

  • - Reliability issues. They were not prepared for the popularity and the game was a real bitch to play for a while. Overloaded servers + crappy bugs = frustrating gameplay. Sure, it's "free" but my time is not free and if the experience is subpar I'll go elsewhere.
  • - Shitty communications. Sure, they were scrambling to put out all sorts of fires, but the biggest fire they ignored was public relations. They'd remove features and probably had good technical reasons to do so, but did not communicate those reasons to their users. That pissed people off.
  • - No end-game content. Your levelling up goes by fast at first, and your first 50 Pokemon are a thrilling experience. Then you hit the mid-game: your levelling slows down and you have to work a little bit for the next 25 Pokemon. "Okay, that's cool. It's forcing me to get out of my bubble and see my city a bit." Then you hit the end game. Next 75 Pokemon are an absolute grind. Like spending days just to get enough "candy" to evolve one Pokemon. I'll probably never get a Golem. So you have to decide if you want to spend literally hundreds of hours completing your PokeDex. I know I don't. So what's the alternative end-game? Not much. Try to find a few good Pokemon so I can fight gyms? Great, I can spend my hours tapping the screen rapidly so that I can... what, get some coins to upgrade my bag I guess.

So yeah, I'm not surprised numbers are falling off. Once you hit around 75 Pokemon species the game just becomes a huge grind for almost no reward. I suspect that once they get their issues under control and start releasing new content they'll see a little bit of rebound, but it may already be too late to woo a lot of people back.

Comment Hmmmm (Score 2) 86

The slim version makes sense. As the platform matures, get out a barebones system at a lower price point. Console manufacturers have been doing this for a while now. I had the PS1 slim and the second gen PS3. If the PS4 slim hits the right price point I'll finally jump into PS4 land. The 4k version is a little more iffy. Now developers have two configurations they have to consider.

Comment Re:Why isn't renewable cheaper? (Score 3, Insightful) 325

As far as I know, it IS economic when compared to newly-built coal. The problem is that we have a bunch of 40 year old coal plants that have paid their capital costs off, so the power coming from them is currently quite cheap. Of course, these plants won't last forever, and we're going to have this whole wave of needing new plants at some point, which will be very expensive. Fuel will also get more expensive in the future. So while renewables might be slightly more expensive than the antique power we get now, that's not going to be the case for long. The problem is, short-sighted people only see the $0.02/kWh price increase on their bill now and scream bloody murder without understanding that the $0.02/kWh increase now is insulating them from a (pulling this number out of my ass) $0.10/kWh increase a few years from now.

Comment German approach (Score 4, Interesting) 462

I have to be honest, I'm not a huge fan of the German approach to presenting the horrors of WWII. Last Christmas I visited the Dachau concentration camp outside of Munich. All the material presented there went extremely over the top to paint the Nazis as inhuman monsters that were far distanced from any sane person. But what this totally missed is that the horror of the Holocaust was that it was completely human. The vast majority of the Nazis were everyday people like you an me, and that's what makes it mindbogglingly terrible.

In contrast you have the Holocaust exhibit at the British Imperial War Museum. The whole first section is very clearly focused on the on the economic and political conditions that led to the rise of the Nazis. Through the propoganda and information presented in that exhibit you come to understand how otherwise normal people came to participate in, sanction, or at least turn a blind eye to, one of the worst attrocities in modern history. I believe that only by dissecting this information and understanding this "flaw" of human nature can we really prevent such terrible things from happening again. Mein Kampf should have been repuplished years ago for exactly this reason.

Comment Artificial Life (Score 1) 17

Following up on the story about the app store simulated as artificial life, it'd be interesting to examine optimal strategies in other topics, such as news reporting. This man seems to be following the "innovate" strategy, while a lot of our news sources are "CopyCat" stratgey. Seems to work out better for the CopyCats... but I do wonder where the balance is before there's not enough original content.

Comment Wow, just wow. (Score 2) 386

Because of the US Patriot Act the province in which I live has made it illegal for me, a government employee, to store personal information (including email addresses, age, views about things, etc.) about citizens on US servers. If I do I could be fined $2,000 and my municipal office could be fined $500,000. Sooo Mr. US, repeal your Patriot Act and then come back to us about using your servers.

Comment Re:Glow in the Dark Dino Bones Coin More Interesti (Score 2) 298

I liked Interac a lot until I stopped being a student and no longer get unlimited transactions. $0.65 for every transaction after 8 in a month!? And it's going up to $1 in June! I've shopped around a bit too and can't find anything that works out better than that. So now I just use my CC for everything and make sure I pay it off before getting interest.

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