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126  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Rant Thread! on: July 11, 2014, 01:22:41 PM
Okay a new one popped up.

I am reading Keith DeCandito's reviews on Star Trek TNG.

Pretty good all told, but he's putting in just a few too many full pic ads of his or friend's books in.

It's well known that 1 200X380 pic overpowers 2000 words of text.

So just as a lark, after trying to play fair, I nuked one of the pics with AdBlock.

The result was immense. I don't really mind texts calling out their products. It's when a big pic "bullies" the text to the side that I begin to get grumpy.

After all you wonder why WHY AREN'T YOU READING MY AD FOR NEW COKE??? when lil' ol text GETS PUSHED TO THE SIDE BY A HUGE PIC THAT ASKS YOU TO BUY SOMETHING can't be read coherently!?

127  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: July 11, 2014, 12:09:12 PM
Troll Truck

How did they even do that? I'm guessing it's some sort of real truck and then somehow the footage is spliced together, then lettered over on top?

128  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: DonationCoder Recipe Sharing Thread on: July 11, 2014, 12:04:00 PM
Heh I've been reading lots of "Star Trek TNG walkthroughs" so I'm full of comments (from the better episodes) about "added nice complexity" and all that.

So I shall take the Recipe Thread into new territory with a dark and murky one!

It's a paraphrase from a SciFi (Non-Trek) short story (whose exact title is escaping me at the moment - note to self check my anthologies).

It's a brilliant sideways show-not-tell about tough times in the gritty near future. You can vary it, and it goes something like this:


Fried Rats

2-5 rats
2-5 grams of salt

Make a fire out of street trash
Fry the rats to desired finish
Add the salt to taste

Serves 5-20 depending on the number of rats used.


Insert your haunting minor key music here!

129  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: July 09, 2014, 04:20:52 PM
Heh Giampy I don't even know what that pic means : )
130  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting "stuff" on: July 08, 2014, 07:18:12 PM
That's a really complicated video and I've seen the movies 3 times (except #2) and a chunk of new Dr. Who and I still only got 30% of it!!

131  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: which forums you use for PC troubleshooting? on: July 08, 2014, 03:03:41 PM
Any decent forums for PC troubleshooting, where they are frequented by really knowledgeable people who respond quickly?


This one!!
 Grin Cool Thmbsup

I used to use a forum, I don't remember its name, but now it's pretty much dead


I am contemplating teaching a chess course for kids, but it works for adults too. I absolutely intend to include a few general computer concepts in there.

The most glaring improved bang for the buck is learning about "regular" vs "advanced" search.

Basically, reg search sux. Like many other phrases, "once you go advanced, you never go back".
I'm being long winded but gimme about 3 sentences and then I'll loop back to your question.

Basically reg search takes your five words you put in there and takes "best guesses" at two or three at a time, obscured of course by SEO games aimed at people like you.

Advanced search has about three basic features (another thread can go into the advanced ones) that are vital. First, you find the fields and pick either "all of these words" or "exact phrase", or both. It still sometimes likes to cheat, but it tries much harder to follow those rules.

So now looping to your question, if you can't remember that forum you used to use in 2005 etc, what you do is (hopefully!) recall your old user name, and one or two posts that you really really remember standing out as meaningful to you from all the rest.

Then you put in "all of these words" and put your username, and about four of the signature words of that super important post. (Or three, whatever, in case you didn't use one word you thought you did).

Then if a certain couple of sites are "muddying" your results, you put "not these words" and put about three of those in there, and re-search. You'll still get some junk, but not as bad.

Do that a few times, and once you get the knack, the name of that old forum should pop up because if you posted there, and it wasn't 1992, it's long been archived by the engines and in the Internet's version of 20 Questions, you can find it again.

Heh per another thread, I found the children's book from about 1957 I'd read 30 years ago with an unpronounceable author and a title I'd forgotten with the same basic method!
132  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting "stuff" on: July 08, 2014, 02:51:22 PM
Interesting article!  I don't really fall in any of those areas, though.

Hmm, I didn't find the article interesting at all because it also totally misses my use case. (Heh Reverse-Whine!)

I used to hate cell phones back when they were just bricks and Mom made me carry one in the car "for emergencies". I tried an HTC with Win Phone 6, but it was really unintuitive compared to I was expecting at least a minimal imitation of Windows. (Jeez, all I wanted was a mini desktop and folders and to type some text files and use mobile versions of some famous desktop apps! But it didn't really work that way for reasons that bothered me and now don't matter.)

After a colleague at my old job again recommended an iPhone, I did take it a bit more seriously, waited and read up a bit, and spent a bit more to get the 3GS (instead of the now significantly importantly weaker 3G - I recall a few times seeing the 3GS was the lowest model still supported for various things.)

But again getting grumpy that it "refuses" to deal with a "desktop, folders and files", I now absolutely believe there is "no computing power" in it - only some hardware that happens to run various apps. So I use the dating one a lot, and the rest are just "cute useful utilities" that make the phone worth carrying (besides the concept of mobile calling itself). But the minute I want to get serious it has to be on a real desktop comp.

(Another sidebar - I used to have a second weak comp I called "Netscreen" that I used for all the raw experimentation, and kept my project comp conceptually clean as a whistle, but then I got lazy somewhere along the way and just did it all on this one comp. And in the light of the death of XP, time has marched on anyway and *maybe* this one can run Win 9 (if I ever get someone to set up a dual boot test for me), but that old one absolutely can't. *

)    xkcd's Missing Parentheses!

133  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting "stuff" on: July 08, 2014, 02:40:29 PM
Having gone through several iphones between myself, my wife, and my son... I haven't had a reason to replace the battery in any of them, unlike my other phones.  So there is that...

My experience is you get about 3 years out of them under fairly heavy use (at least the 3 & 4s) before the battery starts to have trouble holding a charge. And though I can't speak for everyone, I have yet to get through a full and busy workday without needing to plug my iPhone in sometime in the course of the day. And that's even when it's brand new. But this is probably another one of those YMMV situations.
(Note: as an iPhone user I land somewhere between The Hacker and the Whiner in the spectrum of iPhone owners.)

Well yeah, even brand new I was told too that on a heavy busy day you'll crush the battery charge. My mobile dating app will rip apart the charge in some five hours flat.

I think I'm going on year 4+ with my 3GS, carefully picked as a "watchful medium late adopter" as the sweet spot of the time to be the first version they intended to actually support for a while. Except for that app I also have very little critical data (remind me to spend a day typing what little I have onto my comp). Although they like to talk, an AT&T rep told me it's the constant pulling of updates that tends to grind down the battery capacity. But since I have very little actually hooked to my phone, the rep said I was getting great life usage out of the older phone.

134  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Declaration of Independance- some scholars say we've been reading it wrong. on: July 08, 2014, 02:33:30 PM
Excellent point. Thmbsup

"The error, according to Danielle Allen, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., concerns a period that appears right after the phrase “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the transcript, but almost certainly not, she maintains, on the badly faded parchment original. "

So maybe it's a "very bad point"?
135  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: rtf documents to the web for no-bureaucracy sharing on: July 06, 2014, 07:43:44 AM
Sometimes to be seen by a few friends, sometimes to place a link on a forum. They don't need fancy indexing initially.

Honing in on the word "fancy", maybe a simple index isn't so bad.

I have a free web service from Seraphim where I just use the panel to upload docs. So maybe you could just bang out something like a static page with web links like

Why DC Rules                  File 01
Baby Cody                      File 02
Mouser's Car                   File 03
Ren's Guide to Etiquette    File 04

Unused links

Title 5 File 05
Title 6 File 06
Title 7 File 07

And then people can both visit the index and click links (and do it in small batches, and tell them there's a few extra links at a time.)

Then the files just sit there and should have static filenames for the forum links for a long time.

136  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: July 06, 2014, 07:25:38 AM
^^ Can surveillance be addictive? I hadn't known that.

I think it's probably more along the lines of being addicted to power, and surveillance just being a tool of power.

And then a little splash of voyeurism to boot! smiley

In my sillier moments I think it would be hysterical to make an NSA simulator game! : )

137  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: Childhood games on: July 03, 2014, 04:43:27 AM
Sadly, the first games I wrote were also my last. The types of peeks and pokes he used are what crushed me when I had a C64 at almost that age. A couple more years and much cleaner basic from the C128 at least let me make sprite-and-line maze games. And I copied a few of those old magazine games.

It's amazing, people writing code without having a comp and almost getting it right! Look how clean his line numbering is. I was thoroughly unable to write without huge gaps like 1000 1100 1200 1300 2000 2100 2200 2300 2400 when then filled in with stuff like 2500 2530 2540 2541 2543 2600 2630 2631 2632 2640 2650.

Computing only got harder, way too fast for me. (So did science, once you left Chem 101 that I could almost handle; I then took one look at Orgo in the next year's book and changed majors.)

I ended up in Accounting, where the rate of being able to pay rent vs mind pulverizing concepts was much more in my favor!

The only similarly important nod to my childhood I made was getting rather lucky to track down the book that made my screen handles (there was one earlier one before this one) what they are today.

But imagine the pre-1999 difficulty of that! "Some child's book from the 1950's aka decades out of print, about a Phoenix with a title I don't remember and an author I couldn't even pronounce!"

But I got lucky twice. First, by 2001 Safe-For-Work material was finally getting to be added to sites that search engines were getting around to indexing, (after the Non-Safe stuff was notoriously there first.)

And in 2000 a small publisher meanwhile was being deluged with so many fond memories like mine from her friends, that she *re-published it*! Well now, that's a whole new story. Brand new edition, that meant it was actively for sale, when search engines were starting to get the handle of getting past spammers.

All it took about 2004 was some brilliantly inspired long sequence of browsing, and suddenly I had it!

And now in our Wiki-led age, with all its Notability problems, I give to you:

David and the Phoenix
138  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Facebook plays with your mind on: July 03, 2014, 04:12:48 AM
To be fair to Facebook, they're not doing anything less ethical than has been going on when you watch TV - subliminal messages, etc.

Or even newspapers and demagogues.

"If it bleeds, it leads".

Not sure whether it's Dopamine, but something in us gets ancy with too much pleasantness, so we want subversive little vicarious outlets to try to siphon off the pressure. But to echo what Renny said a while back, re: racing to heterogeneity, the uplifting word for that is the famous D-word Diversity.

The downside is that means clashes of disagreement and difference, and *that* lands us into endless fights unless we go through some ethereal dialectic of Homogeneity/Suppression -> Diversity but fighting -> Tolerance -> Acceptance.

It's easy to be both dismayed and cynical about many laws and rulings, but there have been occasional pinpoints of light where we can say "Wow, the court almost got that one right? One down, four hundred issues to go and then we might even be able to live in this society!"

139  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting "stuff" on: June 29, 2014, 03:45:09 PM
3 very short clips in the vid at the link.
I'd never seen the first or the third before. The  third is amazing and gets me every time.
I had seen the second one (or one similar to it) before and the first time I watched it I got the count right and passed the test, but I suspect that it's a matter of concentration and awareness as much as anything.

LiveLeak.com - Proof Your Senses Are Lying To You

I dunno, I'm not at all impressed with the "bah/fah" thing at the end. They are very close sounds, so being fed context and then switching it of course moves it a bit. The same thing happens to me all the time while I am meeting people with accents and I miss about one of every five words they say.

The "Babe" test is just a spin on the "Gorilla" version, and it's been around for a while. It's an artificial test, where we are "promised" a "reward" for counting basketballs, when if you sorta think sideways and don't bother, then you see the babe/gorilla pretty easily.

The mind can only process X stuff. This stuff has been known for a thousand years. That's why pickpockets do their thing - they tap and bump you too fast for you to know what's going on.

140  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Facebook plays with your mind on: June 29, 2014, 01:46:59 AM
^^ Interesting. Seems someone forgot to tell the legislators that the dystopian novels weren't manuals. smiley

Something like that. But scarily, this future is *better* than the combined sum of the first two novels! (Adverb here), the third novel is about dead center with the election metrics. A slight time shift, the tech isn't quite here for 2016, but the signs are there, and it's pretty cleanly on track for 2020. Remember my "Politician tracker app" discussion from a ways back, but turned on the citizens.

Though one of the short stories (that I misplaced dammit) is pretty close to the 3D printing theme.

Star Trek and space operas and "ultra tech" aside, a bunch of the "softer" SciFi is starting to really come home to roost and chirp.

As for Dystopias, I did a project in high school twenty years ago that there is no utopia at all, only varying grades of dystopias. So we traded unconnectedness and boredom and isolation for the Internet where I get to chat with Renny wherever-the-hell-you-are, but tied to Ed Snowden and spy monitoring. It's a sideways draw which is better.

141  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Facebook plays with your mind on: June 28, 2014, 06:01:41 PM
Anyone want to take bets that their profits increase the closer they get to election time? (Anyone that thinks this won't happen is naive.)

Welcome to Hell.

I gave up on FB last year and refuse to use it anymore. This is just solid verification that I should never touch it again.

I have dabbled for years at an ongoing project to take certain works of what used to be fiction, but then got closer in real news. It centered on a trilogy of novels with a few short stories along the way. Tom Clancy's Executive Orders from 1995 dealt with the destruction of govt (no jokes here) if the passengers hadn't downed that last plane in Pennsylvania. The Man from about 1965 dealt with the first Black President.

The last one is Stephen Bury's Interface from 1994 which deals with all of this metric-data for elections. Even 2016 might be a shade early, but it's well on track, so by 2020 I'm pretty sure his basic themes will be rock solid.

142  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Beating ridiculous IP infringement claims by doing things stupidly on: June 26, 2014, 11:24:24 PM
I'm slowly working my way through the actual text of the decision.

Do you have a crisp link to the decision? I always get lost in layers of news articles and their "descriptive links" that go to other news stories.

143  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: June 26, 2014, 08:00:28 PM

Yes... you've been rickrolled by a picture. tongue

Yep! Nailed me too! Just goes to show when you go cross medium, the old jokes work again!

144  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: American Red Cross "trade secrets" about how it solicits and spends donations? on: June 26, 2014, 07:57:57 PM

Raising money, maybe.

But I'd have thought the Accounting side of the fence had enough teeth in it. I don't know what the status of the Red Cross is per required audits to maintain their charity status. But back when that profession was simpler I think you used to have to do that. Then you just get the auditor's report.

But someone's been sending memos lately that it's fun and profitable to re-write the hard work our last two generations put into anti-fraud regs.
145  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Ad Muncher Becomes a Free Software Program! on: June 26, 2014, 04:02:50 AM
But still, surprising to go to the other extreme. I hope he can keep it clean from crapware.

Well, his next line down is "I will never, ever accept payments from an advertising company to allow their ads through our list, or install any third-party software on your system."

I'll particularly be interested in seeing if the iOS version is pretty good. I don't do much browsing on my phone because there's no ad____ stuff I know of for Safari and I haven't tried too hard to scour for an obscure browser that might have ad blocking in it.

But people are all about the apps these days, and the rash is free versions with ads, to tempt you into the paid versions without them. It would be fascinating if AdMuncher could intercept that "Apple Ad" serving engine or whatever it is called.

146  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: Programming on a Keyboard… a Piano Keyboard on: June 25, 2014, 09:40:08 PM

The video was pretty wild.

If it wasn't for the fact that this video is now well known, I can see that as a cool way to get past nosy surveillance guards in a less free country.

So you get them to release the CD / download and get it to go to the top of the music charts. "Hooray, Culture!" they say. Then say two weeks later the minister of technology comes up and says "Uh... Mr. Supreme Comrade? We have a problem. Four million people now have that forbidden program."

"Oh look, he's playing nice music!"
(Guy thinks to himself "Sure, but I'm also coding!)

147  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Rant Thread! on: June 24, 2014, 08:47:43 PM
P.S. Just posting here so people can see it, I found an epic topic for one of the political threads in the Basement.

Ren, you're gonna love it!

148  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Rant Thread! on: June 24, 2014, 08:46:47 PM
Just got a taste of UEFI Secure Boot and the walled garden of Windows 8.

So far, this machine holds the record of how long a system has held out before being forced to load up a Linux LiveUSB and using dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=1M count=1024 to go nuclear on the partition table. It actually took almost 3 hours to get it to boot Debian.

It would boot Windows 8, and wanted nothing other than Windows 8. After some fudging I managed to get a Windows 7 install stick to boot, but even that would get partway up before going BSOD.

It honestly seems like not only did they make UEFI secure boot a thing just to control how you use the hardware you purchased, but they actually went out of their way to make it difficult to use anything other than what they provide for you to use.

However, I did win that battle. It is sitting on my desk right now at a Windows 7 desktop, and I managed to do it without physically yanking the drive to slave to one of my Debian boxes for forced-wiping.

Like, my god though. I knew they were aiming for a walled garden. But they certainly made it extremely tedious to get out of it. If the next version of Windows really is paid license like they are threatening to do, I am flat out not going to support it and will make everything I need run correctly in Linux.

That's awful!

And you're really good, you run your hosting business and the stuff in your post, etc.

I would never even be able to get started doing anything like that. And it would frustrate me so much that I would just sink in despair.

Actually Seraphim you might have a biz opportunity doing that for other people.

I was really hoping that Win9 was going to be a turbocharged back to basics Son of Win7.

And on a new topic, I hadn't seen the news about Win 9 being a paid license (what does that even mean? That you have to renew it every year or it stops working?!). I think I will hate Microsoft! (Right now I don't, I just randomly like my life the way it is and can't afford to upgrade.)

149  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Programmers: What size monitors do you guys prefer? on: June 24, 2014, 03:27:54 AM
I'm still trying to figure out the best way to handle the dual-monitor setup.

Mostly driven by life circumstances, I have moved away from the dual monitor setup in favor of that incredibly under-rated type of software called Desktop Splitters, and my signature one I use is from that obscure one from here called TranDesk *Not a Nany* but actually from some kind of C+ test.

The point is, the big gain of a dual monitor is how you get a second field of view. But what if you an have *four* views, just a click away!? The fourth one I use for low level utilities like the Task Manager and the master archive of Stickies and a couple other things. So that leaves three. But I am bit prone lately to info overload. So what if you have seven sets of browser windows with five tabs each, and a couple other things going, then you want to start fresh? Just click to a new desktop split!

All that important stuff from tab 1 is saved, then you get a fresh slate to work on. And then when you overload that one, you get a third.

To me all it takes is one good monitor. I am currently on a (dying) 24" but it's a bit of a push that 27" could be better, sure, once you get used to it.

I am just suggesting that for fellas who don't have the money to get whole new hardware, those desktops splitters are incredibly under-rated.

150  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: June 24, 2014, 03:18:26 AM
No, the the trouble I had with DELL was finding a human being in DELL and getting support for the laptops.

I heard and can partially vouch for that Dell gives Biz customers way better support. I think my old company made some sort of "gold team" and every time I called Dell, they basically solved whatever problems we had.

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