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Topics - Virgil0211

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General Discussion / Windows 8 release preview experiences
« on: September 08, 2012, 09:26:41 PM »
So I decided to go ahead and update my Windows 7 installation to the latest Windows 8 release preview. Installation went surprisingly fast with minimal difficulties (under 40 minutes, saitek cyborg v7 keyboard stopped working (it's always been temperamental, even on Vista & 7 according to the reviews)). Boot up is extremely fast, actually rivaling Ubuntu's (though I haven't done the stopwatch test yet). As far as I can tell, everything is running faster than it was before. The interface is much improved, with a simple key shortcut (windows key + x) to quickly bring up the usual troubleshooting tools like resource monitor and task manager (which have been upgraded to much better interfaces).

I personally don't understand some of the complaints that have been made in places like Kotaku about the metro interface. Once you click on the 'desktop' key in Metro (or just press the windows key to switch between aero & metro desktop), you never have to even look at the metro desktop if you don't want to. And why wouldn't you want to? I personally love it. The OS just, in general, seems more user-friendly than before.

That said, if you've already got Windows 7 and aren't planning to directly purchase it in the next few days for other reasons (as I'm planning to, building desktop for girlfriend), I wouldn't say that it necessitates an upgrade at this point. Not unless you're getting it for a computer with a significant RAM deficiency and the price point is worth it to you. The new features and such are VERY nice, don't get me wrong. They just don't quite justify the MSRP I've heard quoted. Close, but not quite.

Anybody else try out the Windows 8 Release Preview?

General Discussion / Stand your ground/castle doctrine
« on: April 25, 2012, 03:29:54 PM » recently ran a story about a woman facing 20 years for using a gun to defend herself from an abusive husband whom she had a restraining order against.


What the hell?

Thought I'd start a topic about this since looking around at various electronics, custom PC assemblers, etc. Wanted to prompt a discussion about the kinds of computer builds people around here would like to see/work on. For example, I'd love to play around with a computer built on AMD's new APU design, or a computer with two 'double GPU' video cards and two 'double GPU' workstation cards to see if I can get it to function well as both a workstation and a gaming desktop.

The inspiration for this? Well, that would be this monster-

So now my first major purchase will either be my first car, my first house, or this f***ing thing. :-P

I keep thinking that we should have a separate section for technological discussions, but these topics may be a bit few and far between for something like that.

So, anyway, after building my new desktop, I made it a dual-boot with Windows 7 on one partition and Ubuntu on the other. Thankfully, unlike my laptop, the video tearing problem I was having seems to not be an issue here. Normal video files (as far as I can tell) seem to play horizontal movement fine. Flash videos have some tearing (a noticeable amount more than I observe on Windows), but not to the point that I can't enjoy the videos I tend to play in flash. The way things are going, .flv may be replaced by HTML5 anyway (IIRC).

Anyway, after reading a lockergnome article about the best programs for Ubuntu, I installed WINE and decided to check out what programs they were able to get to work. I was a bit surprised that they were able to get quite a few popular games, such as WoW, to work through WINE. They were even able to get the SWtOR beta to work back in October/November (The current version doesn't work, hanging at the splash screen. The team currently thinks it's a problem with communicating with the server, but there still haven't been any workarounds.). So, I went ahead and installed Steam and Portal 2. To my surprise, it actually seemed to work at first. It started up, updated itself, played the company logo videos, went to the main menu without any apparent problems.

And then I pressed 'new game'.

I don't know if I did something wrong with configuring WINE or something, but the game stuttered for almost 2 minutes before I was able to move very much. The graphics settings were already lower than in Windows 7, though modifying them up or down didn't seem to have a whole lot of effect on the frame rate (this was late at night, so I had to retire before I was able to run it for very long which may be why I didn't notice that much of a difference when changing the graphics settings. I'll run it again tonight and see if there are any differences.). What really seemed to slow it down was when I moved to a new part of the building and when I created portals. There was a noticeable pause each time I fired the portal gun and moved the portal. I'm guessing that it may be a problem with either the memory or the CPU, though I'm not quite confident enough to be sure.

Anybody know what I might want to look for to confirm whether or not I'm correct? I mean, I typically see Ubuntu as primarily a business/productivity focused OS, but it'd be great if I could figure out a way to get it to play games reliably as well.

Also, anybody else have any interesting experiences with WINE? It's kind of fascinating to me that they've managed to get a program that's able to translate .exe files for a completely different operating system.

General Discussion / A little input before I respond.
« on: January 22, 2012, 04:46:06 PM »
Remember that Obama Dunkin' Donuts poster from a while back? The one that lists 'got Obama' and 'prevented 2nd Great Depression' as one of Obama's triumphs? Well, I commented on it and got a response, and I was wondering if I could get some input while I draft a reply.

Here was my original comment.

-Without a trial and dumped his body at sea. Weren't we supposed to be better than that?
- Why are Bush's needless interventionist wars bad and Obama's good?
- Yeah, just screwed up an economy, the constitution, and healthcare instead.
- More like maintained, or do the estimates of the CBO before the stimulus plan no longer matter?
- Dunkin Donuts instead of Krispy Kreme? You couldn't even get THAT right.

Why make sure the Tea Party sees it? It's completely stupid. I cannot believe that the Tea Party is so difficult to criticize that THIS is the thing that they HAVE to see.

And here was the reply I got.

Point 1: Obama's needless interventionist wars are a continuation of Bush's. Obama has not started any wars - despite main-line Republican's beating him up over failing to intervene in Syria while Tea Party Republican's decry every dollar that gets spent - failing to realize that the President neither creates legislation nor determines budgets. The only thing that could be considered "Obama's" war would be the U.S.'s actions in Libya - which (unlike Iraq) had international support (a much larger percentage financially than either Iraq or Afghanistan) and was demanded by the House of Representatives (who later bitched about the cost of a war they wanted).

2. Obama did have the largest budget in history. It was approved by Congress AND the President before October 1, 2008. Obama was elected November 2008. Obama's only action to "increase" the budget was to roll the already approved special allocations for military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan into the Federal Budget. If you add all special allocations while Bush was in office into the Federal Budget, it actually went DOWN the first year Obama had any say in it.

3. The constitution: Homeland Security Act, secret prisons, arresting foreign AND US citizens without trials and taking them to a military base outside the US to prevent US law from having ready access to them, secret torture areas, etc.... oh, I'm talking about "W" - not Obama.

4. The "Great Recession": If congress controls the purse strings, and every time they make an agreement with the President regarding spending (you pass this, and we'll pass the bill you want) and then shows themselves to be liars (EVERY time, look at the congressional record - Obama passes stuff that has an agreement, and gets the Democrats to agree to pass it, and then the Tea Party REPUBLICANS back down on their word as if it wasn't worth the amount that they pay their unusually large staffs [by standards of congress] of family members and relations of business associates). There is ONLY 1 way to improve the economy: Spend money. If companies refuse to hire (as claimed by most fortune 500 company CEOs) until Congress gets off its ass and agrees on a budget, then the millions of unemployed aren't spending. If companies aren't spending on materials for increased production, then the companies aren't spending the money either. The states that have improved economies have LOTS of state money into hiring - like Texas adding 1 million new jobs, and 380,000 being state employees (and 500k being because of natural resources that no politician can take credit for, unless they killed the dinosaurs).

As far as the CBO: there are a LOT more accurate prediction organizations. However, using their numbers: "Short-term" growth of 2-3% (which is what it was in the early and mid 2000s) sustained for 5 years is enough time (according to Historical Economic figures) for companies to notice a turn-around and start hiring. Since economic figures showing how good a country is doing are based largely on spending (more spending = better economy, and saving money is bad) - a "good" economy is (in and of itself) a bubble. Bubbles depend on sustained input in order to maintain and increase (or grow). Since the CBO estimates that Obama's proposed budget would provide a Federally sustained growth of 2-3% before companies hiring (it assumes unemployment will continue at its current rate, so Federal spending will be entirely toward non-existent products already produced). Production to meet Federal demand will require comanies to hire, meaning consumers have more disposable income, which leads to an increase in their spending, which means companies have to increase output by hiring more people, which means consumers have more disposable income, which leads to an increase in their spending, which means companies have to increase output by hiring more people, which means consumers have more disposable income, which leads to an increase in their spending, which means companies have to increase output by hiring more people, which means consumers have more disposable income, which leads to an increase in their spending, which means companies have to increase output by hiring more people, which means....
you get the picture.

4. Krispy Kreme donuts are too sweet, and Dunkin has better coffee.

Any input/sources you guys can contribute while I'm writing something up?

EDIT: Sorry, forgot to put my original comment in there. :-P

General Discussion / Well, the time has come...
« on: December 07, 2011, 10:32:42 PM »
My girlfriend and I finally sat down to watch 'The God Who Wasn't There' together. Led to an interesting debate, though she seemed to be a bit more comfortable with the movie immediately after the video rather than the next few days. For example, she said that there was historical evidence outside of the bible for Jesus' existence, though this was just mentioned in passing and I pointed out that she hadn't examined the sources as thoroughly as she should have.

It made me wonder, though. I remember Shane saying something about this in a comment to someone making similar claims a while back, but I can't remember which video it was on or what was specifically said. Do you guys have any experience with Christian apologists' responses to 'The God Who Wasn't There' and have either any ready-prepared retorts, or any sources I could use to look these sorts of things up?

General Discussion / Hey, everybody! My dad's on TV!
« on: November 29, 2011, 09:37:34 PM »
Well, youtube mainly. It's his comments on a performance that he was doing that weekend. He was the soloist for Vivaldi's four seasons in a 'Beyond the Score' performance.

Great concert. I've always been a bit resistant to get into classical music (one of those remaining vestiges of my adolescent rebellion, among a few other reasons), and I think this was the first time I really sat down and enjoyed the music without reservation. It was a beautiful performance, to be sure.

Anyway, just thought I'd share this.

An obviously anti-porn documentary that takes a Michael Moore approach in an attempt to demonize the porn industry. Here's a quote of my post on Fail quotes, which includes links to a deconstruction of the video.

I'm going to posit a documentary recently put on Netflix called "The Price of Pleasure". What's it about? Well...

Here's a deconstruction of the documentary by one of the interviewees who got the Michael Moore treatment that permeates the film. I'm also thinking about nominating it for the 'Biggest Bogon Emitter' award.

The worst part is that it tries to bill itself as being impartial.

Considering the blatant deception employed, I think this deserves an award for such.

General Discussion / Kalling all Keynesians...
« on: September 16, 2011, 02:18:00 PM »
Klass is klearly now in session. Keynesians of all kolors have klaimed for quite some time that the keynesian stimulus was too small to offset the drop in aggregate demand that has been keeping the ekonomy from rekovering. Well, Krugman et al, take a gander at this...

That aggregate demand gap? Klosed, koinciding with a huge inkrease in government spending. Even eliminating government spending from the equation, konsumer demand is above pre-recession levels. And yet, ekonomik growth remains anemik. I wonder why...

(P.S. Anybody else think that the letter 'K' might be a bit overused sometimes...? Oh, well. Time for my Mortal Kombat with my liberal friends. :-P)

General Discussion / Thinking about replying to a conversation on facebook.
« on: September 08, 2011, 04:20:12 PM »
I was reading a facebook convo between some of my friends (whom I shall hereby dub 'person #' to protect the ignorant) and my bogometer spiked at points throughout. I was wondering if anyone thought it would be worthwhile to respond. I'm heading out the door, so the formatting is a bit rough, but here it is:

Person 1
So. My desktop is fucked. Who wants to help me build a new one?
Like ·  · Yesterday at 1:16am · Privacy:

Person 2 Well, it's not that hard. You get some lumber and some nails.... That isn't what you meant is it?
Yesterday at 1:22am · Like

Person 1 Not quite, no.
Yesterday at 1:23am · Like

Person 4 What are you thinking about to put under the hood?
Yesterday at 1:41am · Like

Person 1 I have no clue.
Yesterday at 2:05am · Like

Person 5 I think Josephine is on to something wit hthat wood Case idea though. Would probably have to be water cooled though. don't want fires to happen due to processor heat.
Yesterday at 6:56am · Like

Person 2 Yeah, I have actually seen one of those. Pretty awesome looking, but definitely a pain to maintain.
Yesterday at 7:13am · Like

Person 2 But seriously, what kinda budget are you looking at? Are you wanting something for gaming, or just schoolwork and basic stuff, or a combination? What is the most graphic/cpu intensive game/program that you use?
Yesterday at 7:15am · Like

Me: Check out and see what you can get there.
Yesterday at 8:10am · Like

Person 1 I mostly need something for general internet use and school. My Laptop is pretty new and decent for games... I haven't actually played any games on my desktop in a while...It has issues.
Yesterday at 8:25am · Like

Person 1 I'm looking to spent around $400 on it.
Yesterday at 9:01am · Like

Person 2 Let me do some pricing and see what I can come up with. I am guessing you already have an OS?
23 hours ago · Like

Person 1 No, I'll likely need one...
21 hours ago · Like

Person 2 k.
21 hours ago · Like

Person 1 And I know that adds about 100 right off...
21 hours ago · Like

Person 2 yep. on the cheap end. 100 will get you a basic stock OEM OS, anything flashy will cost more. That is, if you want to go with Windows, which I assume you do.
21 hours ago · Like

Person 1 I've used windows 7, it's solid...
21 hours ago · Like

Person 2 Yep, that's what I use too. Mine was 89, for the 64 bit version, back in March. The 32 bit OEM version is around 99.
21 hours ago · Like

Person 1 My current desktop was discount stuff back in 04-ish when it was built... So I'm okay with hardware that's a couple years out of date.
20 hours ago · Like

Person 3 hahaha paying for windows
13 hours ago · Like

Person 3 it is to laugh
13 hours ago · Like

Person 3 anyway gonna recommend you get a nice monitor and keyboard/mouse and speakers docking deal for your laptop instead of splurging on a new computer
13 hours ago · Like

Person 2 Yes, Tobi, paying for Windows. That is what honest people do. And it is the dishonest people that make it cost so much for the rest of us.
13 hours ago · Like

Person 1 ‎*sits back with popcorn to enjoy yet another con-friend vs internet-friend argument on his facebook*
13 hours ago · Like

Person 3 I care plenty about paying people for their work but a jobless college student on financial aid does not have any moral imperative to throw a monetary drop in the ocean to a multinational corporation. That money has better places it can go.
12 hours ago · Like

Person 3 You should be honest because you care about how it affects people not just for honesty's sake.
12 hours ago · Like

Person 2 Oh, no, I get that. And I am - if you note the sentance where I pointed out how pirating the software affects all the others forced to pay an inflated price. :D
12 hours ago · Like

Person 2 And there is this little trick - just fyi. If you are a college student on financial aide, the financial aide will pay for things you need to accomplish your school work, including computer software. And you can get a killer student discount on it even. Just saying.
12 hours ago · Like

Person 3 My point is you're not forced. Windows should really be free for non-commercial use anyway.
12 hours ago · Like

Person 3 Oh god now I sound like a linux zealot.
12 hours ago · Like

Person 2 Haha, yeah, I agree with you there. Or they should at least do what several other companies do and offer a bare bones version for free.
12 hours ago · Like

Person 2 That would impress enough people that they would be willing to pay for the upgrades,.
12 hours ago · Like

Person 1 Don't they do something like that on laptops?
12 hours ago · Like

Person 2 No, they sell you a laptop with the lowest ranked OS, and the price is factored into the price of the laptop
12 hours ago · Like

Person 3 Charging for Windows 7 Starter is highway robbery. Max 3 programs running at a time and you can't set desktop wallpaper.
12 hours ago · Like

Person 2 Heh, charging for Vista starter was way worse. It killed my lappy. I couldn't run anything properly because of the amount of cpu power vista took.
12 hours ago · Like

Person 3 Vista was a complete clusterfuck.
12 hours ago · Like

Person 2 And then some.
12 hours ago · Like

Person 2 On my laptop they blocked you into it though. Laptop wouldn't handle 7 without serious upgrades and it was impossible to backroll to XP.
12 hours ago · Like

Person 3 ‎7 is actually way less intensive than vista, I ran 7 professional on my little ASUS netbook with a gig of RAM and a single-core Atom processor.
12 hours ago · Like

Person 2 yeah, it is less intensive, but the hardware scan I did told me it wouldn't run. I don't remember what the issue was. But the lap top had enough problems that it didn't hurt my feelings any when I gave it up for the desktop.

What do you think?

Out of boredom, I remembered FSAthe1st saying something about and using that as a source for his videos. Figured I'd look it up and see just what transpired at that point. One google search of " FCPA" later and...

It would seem that he was less than honest with the debate. Anyone think it a little odd that though he offered to link to the original conversations, he never did? Nor did he actually portray the debate accurately?

EDIT: I also found the source he used for his answer to the 'Law of Nations' question. Apparently, he didn't know the answer, nor did he actually use his own wording. He copied it literally word for word from the wikipedia article for "Jus Gentium".

It was bound to happen sooner or later, but I guess my computer teacher's encouragement got me started. I'm using 'Think Python' and tinkering around with that, already wrote a couple of scripts. It's turning out not to be quite as unpleasant as I'd feared. I may even try to get some certification in this and add it to my resume if it pans out. At the very least, it prompted me to boot up in Xubuntu for the first time in a long time.

(Oh, how excited I was when I saw that the system updates included a change to the Nvidia drivers. How disappointed I was when I found that it had no effect on the screen tearing.)

I actually have a project I'd like to work on, though it's still something of a pipe dream at this point.

I have a friend who's a department head (events/main programming) for an anime convention that's occurring this October. This year, they're finally letting him restructure the back-end the way he wants to, so I'm trying to help him out with that. We have almost no budget (well, actually, NO budget), and one big problem has always been the dissemination of relevant information. I suggested using twitter, as it can easily be utilized by anyone who has a cell phone with texting. This would allow us to not only disseminate relevant information rather quickly, but would also allow us to communicate rapidly with the ground-level volunteers, which is something we've never had before. We could also use this to keep track of events, presenters, emergencies, etc. While this may help quite a bit, there's also a possible complication in the number of twitter accounts we may end up using. I was wracking my brain about it until I got an idea while my intro to computers class was going over how to program simple things in visual basic 2008. What if I just write a program that can manage, organize, and catalog everything for us?

I know, I'm probably getting ahead of myself. The most complicated script I've written thus far is this (in python)-

print 'What the hell!?!?!'

user_reply = raw_input('Who fucked my wife?! ')

print "Well then,", user_reply,"IS A  DEAD MAN!!!!"

But then again, I just started learning today. Then again, I have no idea just what is considered progressing quickly with this sort of thing.

I'ono. I guess I'm asking if anybody has any experience with this sort of thing, or tips, or even encouragement. This will probably be the first time I've had to just downright teach myself something from scratch and then apply it as quickly as possible.

Shane? Do you recommend I start with visual basic and use that to write the program I want, or should I stick to learning how to use Python? Does my idea even sound feasible in the first place? Will I be required to write it in a specific language (like java or MySQL) in order to get it to work in the first place, considering it involves managing and utilizing twitter's online service? (and if that's a stupid question, I apologize. I'm still a little new at this.)

The topic's been on my mind for a little bit. I just got around to reading Unity by Chuck Sonnenberg (Sfdebris), had a Borg/Doctor match-up in mind, and figured I'd just make a new topic rather than needlessly inserting it into other threads.

As I said earlier, one of the big ones I'd like to see would be Star Trek/Doctor Who, with particular emphasis on what would happen if the Borg managed to assimilate some of the aliens and technologies from the Doctor Who universe. What would happen if the Borg integrated, say, Dalek technology into their ships? Or even Time Lord? Or what if the Master integrated a Tardis and a warp drive from a starfleet vessel and used it to literally warp the Time Vortex, allowing him to manipulate events without directly involving himself? Or even to possibly make a tunnel that he could use to pass back and forth through the lock on the last great time war, allowing him to selectively allow only certain things out of it? What if the borg used this opportunity to pass through the lock and assimilated the various technologies within, such as the nightmare child (whatever that is)? What if the Borg ended up assimilating previous versions of the doctor, or even the current version so that a previous incarnations had to face them?

If there was ever an opportunity for such a crossover to happen, I'd love for it to take place between one of those alternate universes, kinda like the one that the new series Cybermen came from. It'd allow the writer to end it in any way they pleased, a bit like when trapeze artists take the safety net away from below them as part of the act. Maybe they could pull a Marvel Zombies and have the Borg succeed in assimilating everything in its galaxy, and any encounters with this version would be about making sure they don't get out.

EDIT: Just had a thought, but it could possibly involve the mirror universe in Star Trek. I mean, they never explored what form the Borg took in that world, did they?

Anyway, what sort of crossovers have you wanted to see? Why and how would you like to see them?

I was browsing various blogs the other day, and I came across this one.

It had some interesting ideas that may explain why we aren't seeing hyperinflation, or why we aren't seeing people abandon US dollars and switching to other currencies in spite of the price increases in consumer goods.

It's run by a blogger who, from what I can tell, started out Austrian, experimented with Keynesianism, then switched back after the stimulus plan turned to crap, though his experiment with keynesianism was restrained compared with others and had only to do with the recession itself.

The one that's particularly relevant is the last one. It actually makes a bit of sense as to why people would stick to a medium of exchange that was essentially worthless- you need it to pay taxes, and the government already forces you to accept it as tender. MMT might be worth studying, at least for a perspective on how fiat currency works. I mean, honestly, if gold had depreciated in real value the way the dollar has over the past few years, people wouldn't have kept using it. The legal tender laws discourage adopting another currency, but the government isn't the best at prohibiting activities like this (vis a vis, the drug war). The requirement that it be repaid in taxes and the fact that it already in use by 1971 seems to complete the puzzle. It may also explain why we haven't seen hyperinflation yet, as the government still has relatively high compliance rates with relation to taxation. I'm not so sure on his other assertion about needing foreign currency obligations, though. Seems more like a correlation/causation thing.

Anyway, thoughts on this? At the very least, I found it an interesting read.

General Discussion / And now, for my next trick...
« on: February 02, 2011, 08:36:23 PM »
Remember back when I was talking about getting a new PC. Well, I instead went and got a laptop computer. Seems to be working well.

However, I've been following the various news outlets about the PS3 jailbreak and such. Now that the signing keys have been found and published, one can effectively 'trick' the PS3 into installing unsigned software. The guy who did this claims he wanted to bring back the OtherOS function of the PS3. He's getting sued by Sony for violating the DMCA and the CFAA (well, what were you expecting?  :shrug: ). Anyway, now that this has happened, it's theoretically possible install Ubuntu on the PS3 again in such a way that it makes better use of the system's full capabilities (much like Yellow Dog Linux was able to). I'm going to wait and try fiddling around with it during the summer, and buy a refurbished one for experimenting with.

Anyway, just wondering if anybody had any thoughts or ideas.

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