Akir's recent activity

  1. Comment on Here are Tesla’s biggest announcements from Battery Day: Elon Musk said the company will phase out cobalt and aims for a $25k car in ~tech

    Akir
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    The 25K electric car cannot come fast enough. I don't care how many corners need to be cut (as long as they aren't going to affect safety, of course).

    The 25K electric car cannot come fast enough. I don't care how many corners need to be cut (as long as they aren't going to affect safety, of course).

    8 votes
  2. Comment on Intuitive music composition software in ~creative

    Akir
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    It's good that you already know that the most intuitive way to write music is to record what you're playing, but you're severely limited if you don't know how to play a musical instrument since...

    It's good that you already know that the most intuitive way to write music is to record what you're playing, but you're severely limited if you don't know how to play a musical instrument since most of the time you will want something that handles MIDI. The good news is that I know of a tool that doesn't require that, though it does have some inherant limitations. It actually predates sequencers and there are tons of free implementations. I'm speaking, of course, of the multi-track recorder.

    Grab Audacity. Start a click track. Hit record and whistle your tune to the beat. Hit record and hum the harmony. Hit record and beatbox your rhythm. If you need to transpose notes, delete accidental sounds, shift things in time, or loop a repetitive beat, Audacity has some very easy tools to help you do that. Before you know it, you've got a song.

    That being said, if you do want to go to the next level and have drastically superior tools to shape your sounds and beats, you'll probably want to use an actual sequencer with some sort of musical controller - most likely a keyboard. If you can get one with an on-board sequencer, it's actually going to work a lot like a traditional multi-track recorder. You'll find some tools to be really useful - quantizing to get the perfect timing on your notes is certainly great - but depending on which one you buy, it may not be so easy to transpose or time-shift your notes after you've played them.

    There is a third half-way between intuitive and pro-level tools and that is the tracker. Yes, you are technically entering notes into a spreadsheet, but the keyboard is usually set up to play like a musical keyboard and you still have the option of doing it live with most tracker software. Some people find it easier to "see" the music in trackers than they do with the piano roll style professional tools, but YMMV.

    6 votes
  3. Comment on Do stories need conflict? in ~books

    Akir
    Link Parent
    First of all, you say your story (yes, of course it's a story, however short it is) was written to avoid conflict. It does if you avoid all context. Note that in my interpretation I insert my own...

    First of all, you say your story (yes, of course it's a story, however short it is) was written to avoid conflict. It does if you avoid all context. Note that in my interpretation I insert my own assumed context. This is possible because your story was too short to imply any specific setting so the reader is forced to assume that it matches their own. That part where I mentioned malaise was in part because I was feeling depressed at the time.

    Secondly, conflict is everywhere. People are multifaceted and those facets often oppose one another. So even if you don't bring other people into the story, there is still plenty of room to find conflict.

    And then of course there is death of the author, which essentially lets me choose to interpret your text the way I choose to regardless of what you actually intended.

    1 vote
  4. Comment on A million students and counting have learned Linux in ~tech

    Akir
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    Coincidentally, I had a choice for my degree to choose a class in either Windows or Linux, and the main reason why I chose to go with Linux was that I figured a basic class in Windows would be...

    Coincidentally, I had a choice for my degree to choose a class in either Windows or Linux, and the main reason why I chose to go with Linux was that I figured a basic class in Windows would be exactly as painful as you described. And even if it were an advanced class, it would only really help me become a system administrator, which is the last thing I'd want for my future.

    1 vote
  5. Comment on Do stories need conflict? in ~books

    Akir
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    I'm not sure exactly what you're asking. If you're asking if the story would be better if my extrapolations were made explicit, then my answer would be 'maybe' but leaning towards no. Some things...

    I'm not sure exactly what you're asking.

    If you're asking if the story would be better if my extrapolations were made explicit, then my answer would be 'maybe' but leaning towards no. Some things are simply better left unsaid. That's why foreshadowing is a popular literary device - it gives hints about what's about to happen and gives the reader an ego boost when they find out they are right. Inductive ideas have power - that's why the scariest monsters are the ones who are ill-defined and unknowable.

    2 votes
  6. Comment on 8K Gaming - Nvidia RTX 3090 on a LG ZX 88" OLED TV in ~tech

    Akir
    Link Parent
    Personally speaking, I like 4K gaming because it gives you very clear images on a big TV display. For games with highly-detailed environments it means that gameplay can be like a gorgeous piece of...

    Personally speaking, I like 4K gaming because it gives you very clear images on a big TV display. For games with highly-detailed environments it means that gameplay can be like a gorgeous piece of moving art. Death Stranding is a pretty good example of this.

    But if you're playing your average FPS game, that doesn't matter; even if they have highly detailed environments, you're not going to be able to enjoy them much because the camera is always spinning. And with competitive or twitchy games in general, you will want to prioritize framerate over resolution.

    Honestly, 8K is mostly marketing; just like always, game developers are going to focus on graphics graphics graphics and make things as pretty as they can at the expense of higher resolutions.

    3 votes
  7. Comment on A million students and counting have learned Linux in ~tech

    Akir
    Link Parent
    The good news is that I would consider the fact that you're covering CentOS to be a good sign, since that's a bit more common in servers than in desktops. But you might want to do yourself a favor...

    The good news is that I would consider the fact that you're covering CentOS to be a good sign, since that's a bit more common in servers than in desktops. But you might want to do yourself a favor and take the Linux Foundation class at the same time. Alternatively, every time you come across a new system or utility, take a few minutes to scan over the man pages for it so you can better understand what the bredth of it is.

    1 vote
  8. Comment on California to ban sale of new gas-only cars in 2035 under Newsom order in ~enviro

    Akir
    Link Parent
    That's basically the reason why I'm curbing my enthusiasm. If this was passed by congress I'd be more confident. I should mention that the reason why I brought up the wish that automakers would...

    The biggest issue I see mostly is that it's merely an executive order. While I don't expect some hard-line conservative governor to be elected here, it's reasonable to assume that the order could possibly be reverted at some point.

    That's basically the reason why I'm curbing my enthusiasm. If this was passed by congress I'd be more confident.

    I should mention that the reason why I brought up the wish that automakers would bring smaller cars to market is because they all tend to chase the big moneymakers, and in the US that means gigantic cars that are often not very aerodynamic or efficient. Look at Ford for an example - they are only just now making all-electric cars, and the only model they offer is a relatively large one under their expensive Mustang brand.

    3 votes
  9. Comment on California to ban sale of new gas-only cars in 2035 under Newsom order in ~enviro

    Akir
    Link
    This is nice - great, even - but I have very little confidence of this actually coming to fruition even though it's got a fairly long timeframe. Personally speaking (and as someone who is a heavy...

    This is nice - great, even - but I have very little confidence of this actually coming to fruition even though it's got a fairly long timeframe.

    Personally speaking (and as someone who is a heavy advocate of switching to full battery electric vehicles until we can make public transportation a better option), I think it would do more good to make electric vehicles more available to people with low incomes. Say, for instance, a bill to force apartment owners to provide electrical connections at their renter's parking spots upon request. Personally speaking, I would also like it if automobile manufacturers had electric vehicles that did not have all the weight and size of a full-size car. Something vaguely like the Citroen Amie.

    7 votes
  10. Comment on I can't make it any clearer. Any advice? in ~comp

    Akir
    Link Parent
    Of course, it's a problem with Outlook. The world would be a better place without it.

    Outlook

    Of course, it's a problem with Outlook. The world would be a better place without it.

    1 vote
  11. Comment on What are your “Flowerbox Indicators”? in ~talk

    Akir
    Link Parent
    Coincidentally, I still don't understand the concept of gourmet popcorn. Is it just popcorn with weird toppings? Or maybe it's popcorn that has had the semi-popped kernels rejected?

    Coincidentally, I still don't understand the concept of gourmet popcorn. Is it just popcorn with weird toppings? Or maybe it's popcorn that has had the semi-popped kernels rejected?

  12. Comment on Do stories need conflict? in ~books

    Akir
    Link Parent
    The thing about that, though, is that it depends on the ability of the reader to read between the lines. For instance: You risked COVID-19! Whatever could have made you want to take that risk?...

    The thing about that, though, is that it depends on the ability of the reader to read between the lines.

    For instance:

    I went to the store today...

    You risked COVID-19! Whatever could have made you want to take that risk? Also you should be applauded for how well you are fighting the pandemic's malaise.

    ... got eggs and milk...

    Ah, so this was for essentials. And since you're getting these wholesome foods, you probably did it to feed your kids! How selfless!

    ... and returned home.

    You got home safely to provide your family nutrition for days to come.

    3 votes
  13. Comment on Do stories need conflict? in ~books

    Akir
    Link Parent
    There's too much light pollution to see the polyhedra where I live, unfortunately.

    There's too much light pollution to see the polyhedra where I live, unfortunately.

    4 votes
  14. Comment on You're going to be using confidential computing sooner rather than later in ~tech

    Akir
    Link Parent
    I'm not a cryptograpy expert either, so I might not be correct about this myself. But to put things simply, it changes the domain of which things can be done within the realm of encrypted data....

    I'm not a cryptograpy expert either, so I might not be correct about this myself. But to put things simply, it changes the domain of which things can be done within the realm of encrypted data. The exciting thing about this is that it means that data you need to change can be changed while it's still encrypted.

    The thing that is terrifying about this is that it does so by allowing you to execute code within the encrypted environment itself. That means that more and more parts of a given computerized system can hidden away in such a way that our most advanced analysis tools cannot make sense of. Right now, if you can get any arbitrary binary blob and you know the archetechture it is designed to run on, you can disassemble it and experts will be able to tell you what it does and how it does it. With HE, that binary blob is now gibberish unless you know how to decrypt it.

    @Amarok let me know how far off I am on my understanding here.

    5 votes
  15. Comment on You're going to be using confidential computing sooner rather than later in ~tech

    Akir
    Link Parent
    This is the most amazing, exciting, and terrifying development I've ever heard. I'm going to sit with my head between my knees for a few seconds before reading these articles.

    This is the most amazing, exciting, and terrifying development I've ever heard. I'm going to sit with my head between my knees for a few seconds before reading these articles.

    2 votes
  16. Comment on Do stories need conflict? in ~books

    Akir
    Link Parent
    I don't know if I agree with your point 2. There are usually multiple conflicts in slice of life dramas, and even those with no external conflicts, there are usually internal character conflicts,...

    I don't know if I agree with your point 2. There are usually multiple conflicts in slice of life dramas, and even those with no external conflicts, there are usually internal character conflicts, e.g. "I want to grow up, but I don't want to change".

    8 votes
  17. Comment on What are your thoughts on the next gen consoles from Xbox and Playstation? in ~games

    Akir
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    This console generation is looking increasingly unappealing to me as time goes on. Since modern consoles are basically glorified PCs, the only thing really keeping me on is the exclusives. Those...

    This console generation is looking increasingly unappealing to me as time goes on. Since modern consoles are basically glorified PCs, the only thing really keeping me on is the exclusives. Those effectively don't exist on Xbox, and they are too far between on PS4, and when they do happen they vary widely in quality - God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and perhaps also Death Stranding were definitely system sellers, but I would not even consider buying a PS4 after the disappointment of Knack and boring games like The Order 1886. And now with two of those system sellers being released for PC, there really isn't much reason for me to stick with Playstation.

    Beyond that, I really don't want to deal with another mid-generation hardware bump. Even though I know I'm getting the same game for the base hardware, it makes me feel like I'm missing out. And there's nothing that will make me believe that it's worth spending the money to effectively buy the same console over again.

    One thing that has really changed for me personally is that I just don't seem to be interested in collecting modern video games in the same way I do my older games. Overall, it just seems like modern games don't have the same kind of risk or inventiveness like they used to - even indie games seem to be getting more safe, though that's probably more of a function of the big gaming companies abandoning everything that isn't mobile or AAA and the rise of 'big indie' (e.g. Devolver Digital). I've learned that one of the things that appeal to me the most is when games have these really great ideas or exceptional sound or graphics, but have either crazy direction or a major flaw in them. I get bored easily with most modern games because they're constantly giving you more of the same thing - I need gameplay that throws me a curveball every once in a while.

    In other words, modern games are missing the fundamentals of why buying games is fun for me. Retro games are like pieces of intricate art that are reflections of the inner thoughts and feelings of the people who made it at the time they were making it. Modern games tend to be the product of design by committee and they change over time. And because they are changing over time, even if you have a physical version of the game, you're generally not playing that version of the game. And so there is no real reason to physically own them anymore.

    This is not to say that modern games are not worth playing - far from it, really. I can find indie games that match what I like to play, and there's something to be said for games I can play to just kind of zonk out and stop thinking for a while. But the thing is that they are more likely to be found on PC and they are very hard to discover.

    3 votes
  18. Comment on A million students and counting have learned Linux in ~tech

    Akir
    Link Parent
    It was actually slightly worse than that, because the professor was clearly not that terribly familliar with VirtualBox. So he had everyone set up a new VM with the default settings and was...

    It was actually slightly worse than that, because the professor was clearly not that terribly familliar with VirtualBox. So he had everyone set up a new VM with the default settings and was surprised to find out that 8GB is not quite large enough to run a full Fedora Workstation installation. And then he was also recommending everyone to use static disk images that take up all your space at once instead of using dynamic allocation. So two weeks later I found myself trying to figure out how to extend LVM volumes because I didn't want to wait for my classmates to reinstall fedora for the 5th time.

    I kid you not, the professor had a 'bonus assignment' (worth no credit) to log into the college's VMs through VMware Horizon and use virtualbox from inside the VM to install Fedora yet again. Needless to say I did not see the utility of doing such an assignment.

    2 votes
  19. Comment on A million students and counting have learned Linux in ~tech

    Akir
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    I'm taking a college Linux Operating System class right now and, boy, do I wish that this was an alternative option. We're on week 5 and the only thing we learned about it is installing Fedora on...

    I'm taking a college Linux Operating System class right now and, boy, do I wish that this was an alternative option. We're on week 5 and the only thing we learned about it is installing Fedora on a virtual machine and some of the more basic dnf functions.

    6 votes
  20. Comment on A picture of Java in 2020 in ~comp

    Akir
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    It's kind of a shame that Java has such a bad rap in the US. It's a great language, it's extremely stable, and it's got excellent support, especially in the commercial sphere. And when you're...

    It's kind of a shame that Java has such a bad rap in the US. It's a great language, it's extremely stable, and it's got excellent support, especially in the commercial sphere. And when you're using something like IntelliJ, it practically writes the code for you. Plus Java has some of the best GUI toolkits I've personally ever used.

    And of course, the worst thing that has ever happened to Java is Oracle. Let's just say that the article's explanation of why most people are still using Java 8 is a bit tame. They have basically divested their public support and decided to only focus on developers who are willing to pay Oracle for their software and services, and they've cut support for a lot of their supporting software. Developers are expected to deploy their own JVM now, and that's going to be OpenJDK because Oracle decided they want to make more money on HotSpot. You'll also have to get your own IDE because Oracle 'graciously donated' it to Apache, where it will die the same slow death as OpenOffice.org.

    1 vote