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101  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Two of the best commentaries I've seen about GamerGate on: October 29, 2014, 07:07:34 PM

Two good posts regarding GamerGate that are actually worth reading IMO. Both from Popehat.

The first by "Clark" talking about how the whole idiotic thing got started - and how it evolved to even greater levels of idiocy from there:

Gamer Gate: Three Stages to Obit

Posted By Clark On October 21, 2014 @ 12:09 pm

A lot of things been written about Gamer Gate. Some of them wrong, some of them stupid, some of them both.

A lot of the confusion (both accidental and malicious) is because Gamer Gate is three separate things clustered together under one name. <more>

The second is by Ken White who provides 10 mini-rants which are very funny and enlightening - and apply equally to any major web kerfuffle. A must read! Thmbsup

Ten Short Rants About #GamerGate

by Ken White · October 26, 2014

If you know what #GamerGate is, I don't have to tell you. If you don't know what #GamerGate is, any description I give you will be attacked by hordes of partisans saying that I have described it unfairly and that the sources I have linked are biased. So I'm going to treat you, dear readers, as if you know what it is. Clark wrote a post about it last week. My take is different. I'm not going to offer you a timeline or an attempt at a definitive "what happened" or "who is right." Instead I'm going to rant about ten ways that this controversy illuminates how we're screwed up. <more>

102  Main Area and Open Discussion / Non-Windows Software / Re: Linux Foundataion's $2400 Intro to Linux course to be offered online for free on: October 29, 2014, 11:13:34 AM
 EdX is in the process of updating the Linux course, the new course will be offered on 12/20/14 and will still be free unless you want it to be accredited......

Marking my calendar. I started it last time and got half way through (it's excellent BTW  Thmbsup) before I go tripped up with availability of time and didn't finish it. embarassed
103  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Sci-fi novel now available from DC member kyrathaba! on: October 29, 2014, 10:49:13 AM
^I'll wait however long it takes. Thmbsup
104  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Is technology killing old loved books? on: October 28, 2014, 08:02:53 PM

What do you think is the best strategy for hobby writers who want to get their stuff out there

From what I've heard, nobody in the main publishing industry is interested in "hobby" anything. If you're not "writing professionally" they do not want to know you. The reason is because, if they do decide to publish your manuscript, you're expected to be very actively involved in the promotion of your book. That means appearances and book signings. Something that can be hard to arrange if you can't get time off from family responsibilities or your regular job.

There are success stories that are exceptions to this, but those are pretty rare. Most times you're either "all in" or you're out.

I was just talking to a writer friend of mine, who has an agent, and she basically said you are committing career suicide by not going the agent-publisher route.  If you self publish, you will be ostracized from the industry.  I immediately thought "what if the music industry is like this too?"

Since literary agents vet the writers they take on as clients, there's a certain assurance felt by publishers when somebody has an agent. Non-agent submissions to major publishers generally don't get read. Many publishers simply return them with a letter stating they have not not read them. That's because somebody is always suing somebody else for "stealing" their novel once a book hits the best seller list. Some publishers are nice enough to tell you they only buy through an agent they work with and return the manuscript to you postage due. Most just say "thanks - but no thanks," state they haven't so much as looked at what you sent, ask if you want the manuscript returned to you (at your expense), and warn that if you send another unsolicited manuscript, it will be shredded unread.

Smaller publishers throw unsolicited manuscripts into what's called the "slush pile" where they sit unlooked at unless somebody is bored or there's an intern sitting around with nothing to do. Your odds there are about as good as they are hitting the lottery.

The reason self-published writers are such a problem is because people tend to do stupid things when they self-publish. Many times they sign contracts or assign copyrights to e-publishers, or vanity presses, or some company they set up with a "friend" or family member.  That can sometimes prevent a major publisher from getting clear legal rights to publish your work. If you have a contract or "arrangement" with somebody else - even a fairly informal one - the big guys won't waste their time trying to undo your legal messes.

So yes, an agent is a good thing - as long as you get a good agent.

Music, I think, is a little different. A person's talent and skills can be easily determined in less than 5 minutes of listening, whereas you'd need to slog through a book or two worth of output before you could determine if a writer is good enough to be worth an agent's time and effort.
105  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: good Videos [short films] here :) on: October 28, 2014, 03:47:12 PM
Just in time! A post-apocalyptic-trick-or-treat-themed short called: The Last Halloween

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4MEpR2-vQI" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4MEpR2-vQI</a>
106  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Emergency Broadcast System ? on: October 28, 2014, 02:45:46 PM
Do or did nuns actually smack with rulers?  That seems to be the Standard Catholic Nun behavior in tv comedies.

The Dominican nuns in the school I went to did.

These ladies in case you never met one.

Sister Ann Christopher had a backhand a tennis pro would have envied.

Some of the older ones used to whack with one of those 40" rubber tipped wooden pointers too.


But the times were a changin' (and those metal rod reinforced pointers too easily bruised) so the yardstick became the nun's weapon of choice for school discipline.

(They'd also throw chalk sticks. One of those in the back of the head was a painful reminder not to pass notes in class.) huh
107  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Is technology killing old loved books? on: October 28, 2014, 02:37:15 PM
I don't think it’s so much the technology as changes in the publishing business and the gradual elimination of the "mid" or "middle list" by most publishers.

If it ain't selling in large quantities (~50K and up), a title is either tossed on the bargain rack or into a shredder fairly quickly these days. New tax rules for how back and mid stock inventory has to be valued also plays a part. Nobody can afford to carry"slow inventory" on their financial books any more.

The end result is that the only books by major publishers that can be sure of survival are the ones that cater to the lowest common denominator. Classic, cult, and niche interest titles disappear fairly quickly after their first press run. So in some respects, electronic editions make many more titles available for longer since there's no production costs or physical inventory to carry. Under this scenario, it actually behoves a publisher to keep their entire catalog available electronically. Something they can't do with paper.

Oh yeah...just for the record, I still prefer paper and enjoy buying and giving away used books. That's something you can't always (or simply or aren't allowed to) do with e-books.

108  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Emergency Broadcast System ? on: October 28, 2014, 02:14:26 PM
In CT they activated the EBS at one point during Hurricane Sandy. It was a "take cover" announcement.

Most of the people who received the alert (because they still had power as opposed to the rest of us) bitched because it kept popping up over the TV show they were watching.

Radio is ok. Internet...meh!

I still think the old fashioned mechanical SD-10 air raid sirens that went off at noon every Saturday post WWII till about 1980 were the most reliable. (A steady siren meant: "alert" A rising and falling tone meant: "Sit down; face the nearest concrete wall; put head between legs - kiss ass goodbye!" as the saying went.

At least with those you could always hook a gas engine or car battery up to them (by design) and get them to work. If the grid is down, all the technology in the world becomes nothing but inert PC boards stuffed with electronics.


@Miles - Those were the bad old days weren't they? Remember when the two civil defense radio frequencies were marked with a CD logo right on the AM dial of every radio sold in the USA?


109  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Your favorite cartoons of yesterday and today? on: October 28, 2014, 07:52:19 AM
When I was a kid I really liked the 1940's era Superman cartoons by Paramount Studios.

One good punch solved everything in Superman's world. So American!  Grin


Low on plot, silly stories - but at least the characters looked like they did in the comic books. The artwork was superb. Nice art deco look.

Somebody posted a bunch of them up on Youtube. If you're interested, best watch or download before it gets pulled:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiuTMnSVRwA" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiuTMnSVRwA</a>

110  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Looking for a project time tracker/nag tool that keeps me writing billable notes on: October 28, 2014, 07:27:48 AM
Sorry, but unless this solution reads application window titles and automatically tracks hours based on activity in the respective windows (which I suppose it doesn't) -- it is only one of the many (sorry again) USELESS "solutions" for time tracking and billing which instead only puts another layer of complexity on top of one's projects.

Um..."useless" is a pretty harsh characterization. Wouldn't it be more correct to to say it's "USELESS" for your purposes? 

Just sayin' smiley

111  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Looking for a project time tracker/nag tool that keeps me writing billable notes on: October 28, 2014, 07:21:15 AM
I would suggest rather a better time tracking software from Replicon as it has helped in better time management for our business activities. It got great usability and at the same time can be accessed from any location using a web browser and can be quickly implemented in any office environment.

Try it and you would definitely like it for sure!!

One thing about this product and company that I find particularly annoying is the complete absence of pricing information available on their website. I know some folks still like to follow the old 50's era "sell the sizzle, not the steak" mantra by being overly coy about pricing. Apparently with the belief that, if you can demonstrate the usefulness of your product to a potential buyer, they will somehow magically come up with the money to buy it, no matter what.

Guess what? This isn't the go-go 90s any more. Businesses are more budget conscious than ever. If the product doesn't fall within their budget, it's a non-starter no matter how perfect a fit. So stop wasting everybody's time.

I recently had a client spend a dozen or so hours evaluating a product only to discover it was priced several orders of magnitude higher than the highest amount they could even consider. And they didn't find this out until they spoke to something called a "solution specialist" who reluctantly gave them the pricing schedule. Talk about a total waste of time.

112  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Recommend some music videos to me! on: October 27, 2014, 09:55:52 PM
Blast from the past here. A an "alt" band I really liked called Garbage with Shirley Manson on vocals.

Stupid Girl:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1N29vkIT3eo" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1N29vkIT3eo</a>

and I Think I'm Paranoid.:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpRiSb_Ir-s" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpRiSb_Ir-s</a>
113  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Recommend some music videos to me! on: October 27, 2014, 08:49:36 PM
^Yeah. Pretty awesome wasn't he? Yet another Boston music scene original - with a capital 'O.' Totally unique sound and approach to the role of bassist. I really miss him and that band. Sad

This probably my fav:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M34iZH4-qkI" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M34iZH4-qkI</a>

Some of the sleaziest sounding vocal, bass, and sax lines since Lou Reed's Take a Walk in the Wild Side.
114  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: (Hypothetical): If DC Grouped Together...What could be achieved? on: October 27, 2014, 08:46:09 PM

Almost 3.5 years later and I am sitting here with the feeling that I should have just gone ahead and done it, and handed it to mouser. And it still bothers me enough that I am considering just doing it and calling it my NANY project for this year.  Sad

Sounds like a plan! And why not?  Thmbsup

I can tell you why not... it's not her site.  That's just one reason that I'd think of if it was me.  But I think that's the big one that's been holding her back if you look between the lines.

@Wraith - I don't see how submitting a software repository project as a NANY entry steps on anybody's toes or needs anybody's permission. There's nothing to say it has to be deployed at DoCo. I'm sure it could find an audience outside of this website regardless of whether or not it finds a home here.

Just sayin' smiley
115  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: (Hypothetical): If DC Grouped Together...What could be achieved? on: October 27, 2014, 04:04:02 PM

Almost 3.5 years later and I am sitting here with the feeling that I should have just gone ahead and done it, and handed it to mouser. And it still bothers me enough that I am considering just doing it and calling it my NANY project for this year.  Sad

Sounds like a plan! And why not?  Thmbsup
116  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / All Simpson's episodes available for streaming free to US cable subscribers on: October 27, 2014, 03:11:38 PM
If you're a Matt Groening fan, this is pretty cool. Thmbsup

From the Verge (article here)

Landing syndication rights to The Simpsons was a huge deal for the FXX network, and it's trying to make the absolute most out of them. It's now made every single episode of the show available to stream online and through apps for iOS and Android. They'll also be available to stream through the FXNow app for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, Apple TV, and select smart TVs and other streaming boxes. A cable subscription with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, or several other US providers is required, but streaming episodes is free beyond that.

The streaming service is being called Simpsons World, and FXX is loading it up with clips, quotes, and playlists designed to help viewers explore the show's catalog. It'll even display the current popularity of each episode across each season, as well as how many views they have. It's clear that a good amount of time was spent tailoring this service to the show, and that should make it a pretty appealing way for a lot of people to start streaming.

117  Main Area and Open Discussion / Non-Windows Software / Re: LINUX: It's official - Mint 17 "Qiana" released to distribution on: October 27, 2014, 02:08:45 PM
Is there any way to upgrade an older installation to the latest version? I have a working Mint 15 install. Instead of starting it all over from scratch, it would be nice if I could tell it to upgrade itself. I went into the Update Manager and updated everything, but it still says it is running Mint 15.

You can...but it's not recommended. Especially if you have a bunch of PPAs added to your repositories. Many of those are version specific so you'd need to remove and install the correct ones for the version of Ubu underneath Mint.

And even though Ubuntu has a do-release-upgrade command, you'll need to manually update your software sources list first for it to work.

I've done upgrades that way (in the past) and I learned they made for far more work than they saved. About the only time I've found Debian's apt-get dist-upgrade or Ubuntu's do-release-upgrade really useful was for upgrading servers. Desktops just have too much "other stuff" loaded for either upgrade command to work reliably.

Recommendation: Don't. Just do a clean install. You'll save more time in the long run.

Does anyone know if this has changed now that Mint has changed its upgrade path? That is, if I install some version of Mint 17, should I then be able to update to Mint 17.x without having to do a clean install?

Yes. You can.

I made an error in my original reply (since corrected) because I got sloppy about the difference between a release upgrade and a version or 'dist' upgrade. (It's a common error for which I apologise.  embarassed)

Within the same major version, apt-get dist-upgrade is fine and probably a good idea to run since dist-upgrade will also attempt to intelligently upgrade any dependencies along with the installed packages plus resolve any dependency conflicts that may result. The regular update only updates the installed packages themselves. It will not update, add, or remove anything else - including any new dependencies or unneeded packages. Additionally, any update that would change the status of another installed package won't get downloaded or installed using just apt-get update.

To clarify - a "dist upgrade" is not the same thing as a "release upgrade." "dist-upgrade" works within the same release since it uses the same repositories as a regular update.

118  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Do we have any musical people on DC? on: October 27, 2014, 01:49:50 PM
There's a saying that there's a time and place for everything. In my case, the time was the mid 70s and the place was Boston/Cambridge MA. Although I've done sessions, sat in, or just played with a lot of people since then, I haven't gone at it hammer & tongs (i.e. that professionally) since.

My band's name was Maelstrom ("High-Energy Rock!"). Your classic rock quintet: two guitars (Gibson SG + Fender Telecaster), percussion (Rodgers), bass (Gibson L9S/Fender Jazz), and vocals (1 lead/2 harmony). We were an "all original" rock band trying to get signed at the dawn of the disco error era. Two guesses how far that went despite having a good local following.  wallbash

Our favorite venue was the now legendary and sadly departed Rathskeller (known as "The Rat") on "Comm Ave." in Boston.

This is sorta what you'd see at The Rat. Pretty cute, huh? And miniskirts in the dead of Boston's winter? Boy, those were the days!

The Rat was the quintessential "rock dive" bar. Sorta of like Boston's answer to CBGB's which opened one year earlier in 1973. Great music. Great bands. And an unique cast of 'characters' out in the audience. I recently discovered my band was listed on The Rat's Wikipedia page under "Notable Acts." Not too shabby considering some of the bands on that list went on to real fame and fortune. mrgreen

Sorry I don't have any pictures, videos, or recordings to share. This was before the advent of digital. Recordings were mostly done in a $$$ recording studio on reel-to-reel and then dubbed to 30 min cassettes or mastered to 45 RPM vinyl. Very expensive in those days. Video was totally beyond the financial resources of most groups. About the only way you'd ever score a video was if you appeared on some local public TV station. (No DVDs, MP4s, VHS or Betamax cartridges for playback yet either. If you had a video it was on a studio grade tape reel.) And all (if any) pictures of us probably went out the door with the girlfriends of the band members after we (not very cordially) ended our musical relationship. nono2 rip

Too bad. It was a really good little group. Haven't done anything I've enjoyed that much since. Sniff! boohoo
119  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Recommend some music videos to me! on: October 26, 2014, 08:17:05 PM
Electric bass. Though I'd seen them all. Fretted and fretless...4-string...then 5-string...then 6-string...then 8...then 12...

Then along came Mark Sandman of the band Morphine with his unique 2-string slide bass technique. At which point I thought I had heard it all too.

But now there's a pedal steel bass dubbed the "Slideking Bass" made by Jackson Steel Guitar Co. and played by none other than Zane King.

Learn something new every day.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-_2KSmfd6w" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-_2KSmfd6w</a>

120  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Mr. Bassman Jack Bruce dies, age 71 on: October 26, 2014, 07:26:16 PM
Another musician from the Golden Age of British Rock dies.


 This from Music Radar:

Jack Bruce, legendary Cream bassist, dies
Cream co-founder passes away, aged 71

Will GrovesOctober 25, 2014, 17:39 UTC

Jack Bruce, singer, bassist and co-founder of '60s titans Cream has died aged 71, of liver disease.

Bruce's death was announced on his website and confirmed by Claire Singers, his publicist, who said "He died today at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family."

His family have also issued a statement: "It is with great sadness that we, Jack's family, announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father, granddad, and all round legend. The world of music will be a poorer place without him but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts."

121  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Let's have some weekend Science and Tech! (A bit of a roundup!) on: October 26, 2014, 06:56:06 PM
The ESA's Rosetta Lander is scheduled to be deployed Nov 12th.

ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft arrived at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 6 August after a ten-year journey through the Solar System. The landing site, currently known as Site J and located on the smaller of the comet’s two ‘lobes’, was selected just six weeks after Rosetta arrived at the comet.

The mission’s lander, Philae, will be deployed on 12 November at 08:35 GMT/09:35 CET from a distance of 22.5 km from the centre of the comet. It will land about seven hours later, with confirmation expected to arrive at Earth at around 16:00 GMT/17:00 CET.

This is awesome! Why is there virtually nothing on US media about this? undecided
122  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: looking for scientific calculator like this on: October 26, 2014, 06:51:15 PM
Also HP.

Look here.
123  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Your favorite cartoons of yesterday and today? on: October 26, 2014, 06:48:41 PM
Mr. Magoo, hasn't he been around like forever?

oh Magoo, you've done it again!

+1! Thmbsup


Especially fine was Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol with ol' Magoo playing it straight as Ebnezer Scrooge. One of the best adaptations of Dickens I've ever seen.
124  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Antilock-breaking (ABS) vs Stabilty Control (ESP) vs Traction Control Video on: October 26, 2014, 01:27:38 PM
ABS attempts to stop a skid -- sometimes, in some conditions, releasing & reapplying the brakes *may* help, by essentially giving the tires a 2nd, 3rd etc. chance to grab. For it to work traction must already be lost. Skids can be intentional, sometimes directed, sometimes controlled, and skids to some extend can often be countered. Control is not always completely lost, though it requires the driver not panic, & it obviously helps of they've prepared themselves beforehand, e.g. by practicing to know their vehicle's characteristics & limits.


I've generally found the ABS feature on Fords to be more startling for the driver than actually useful. I'm a big believer in anticipating and preparing in advance whenever possible. As the Top Gun school allegedly says: You don't rise to the occasion - you default to your level of training. So first snowfall, I make it a point to get a little "skid practice" as soon as I'm in a safe place to do it. Especially since people seem to be stupidest after that first coating of snow. After they get some experience with it over the following day or two, 90% are fine. So the sooner you're prepared the better off you are.

Same goes for a 'new' car. An empty lot and a spare hour getting a real feel for the individual vehicle is time well spent.
125  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: 58 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Everything We Do on: October 26, 2014, 01:12:17 PM
So what would it be like to live with no irrational cognitive biases?  Boring?  Enlightened?  Insane?  I really wonder...

Inhuman.  Cool

Truth.  I don't think that biases are a bad thing- I think that unrecognized bias or denial that they exist is the bad part of it.  You have to know your audience, and you have to conversely know who is speaking to you.  Then you can add context around the bias that is transparent.  But when we deny bias, we deny that context.  Which leads to inefficiency in communication.

+1! We, of necessity, work with the tools we have - and play the cards we're dealt.

I think that's called adaptability - which some have argued is the human species best (or possibly only) real skill.

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