mat's recent activity

  1. Comment on Someday aliens will land and all will be fine until we explain our calendar in ~life

    mat
    Link Parent
    Wait, what? 00:00 is 12AM, 12:00 is 12PM. I assume I am misreading your comment because you seem to be saying that you don't use AM between 00:00 and 01:00, but instead that's also PM? Meaning you...

    Wait, what? 00:00 is 12AM, 12:00 is 12PM.

    I assume I am misreading your comment because you seem to be saying that you don't use AM between 00:00 and 01:00, but instead that's also PM? Meaning you have two hours which are 12pms every day?

    I must have that wrong..

    1 vote
  2. Comment on If you have more than ten tabs open they’re not tabs anymore they’re bookmarks wasting RAM in ~tech

    mat
    Link
    Using RAM is not the same as wasting it. People complain a lot about Chrome "using up" all their available RAM (Firefox does it too but nobody seems to moan about that) but why else do you have...

    Using RAM is not the same as wasting it.

    People complain a lot about Chrome "using up" all their available RAM (Firefox does it too but nobody seems to moan about that) but why else do you have RAM? I paid for the damn stuff, I don't want it sitting there doing nothing!

    I have swap space in case I need to offload browser processes into slower storage. I regularly don't close my browser (currently 17 tabs, usually more) while I'm editing video or 3D modelling and all that RAM all my open tabs are using? My operating system just... hands it over to the thing I'm actively doing. There's a little lag if I tab back as things load from disk, but it's only tiny.

    Also, bookmarks vs tabs - most of the tabs I have open now are things I'm actively doing (or soon to be doing). Having them as bookmarks makes no sense - especially in the case of things where I have things sitting in shopping baskets, some sites don't remember your almost-purchases if you close the tab. A great deal of what I do with my browser is short-term and transitory and I don't tend to go back to things. I also use tabs as "to do" reminders - eg, I have a tab open about rice cookers, which is to remind me I need to look into rice cookers in more depth when I get the time. I have a wikipedia speedruns tab open because I have been enjoying that but once I'm bored of it I'll close the tab and probably never revisit the site again. Bookmarks just aren't visible enough to work like that.

    Not counting the ones Firefox makes me have to create search shortcuts, I currently have 25 bookmarks - and I need to delete a few of those. They're almost all comics and I open the whole folder in the morning to read while I drink a cup of tea. 25 tabs of comic (on top of any already open tabs) sure uses up quite a lot of RAM..

    9 votes
  3. Comment on Why do new cars look like this? (Gray and without any flake, as if formed out of dough) in ~design

    mat
    Link Parent
    In the UK it's grey, followed by black and white. I walk along a fairly busy road daily and I would guess that half the cars I see are some sort of monochrome. I was quite surprised when I managed...

    it seems like almost every car on the road now is either black or white.

    In the UK it's grey, followed by black and white. I walk along a fairly busy road daily and I would guess that half the cars I see are some sort of monochrome. I was quite surprised when I managed to buy a (used) blue car a few years ago.

    Anyway I looked it up. 62% of UK cars sold in 2021 were white, grey or black, and grey/black/white has been the most popular colour for over twenty years now.

  4. Comment on AdminLTE vs Pure Bootstrap for a new web project? in ~comp

    mat
    Link Parent
    Another way to look at "tired" is "familiar" and familiar means easy to use. There's a reason a great deal of the web looks pretty similar and it's usability.

    tired designs.

    Another way to look at "tired" is "familiar" and familiar means easy to use. There's a reason a great deal of the web looks pretty similar and it's usability.

    6 votes
  5. Comment on Return to Monkey Island | Launch trailer in ~games

    mat
    Link Parent
    I fired up Windows for the first time this year only to find that it wanted to spend several hours downloading updates and repeatedly rebooting along the way, while at the same time Steam hadn't...

    I fired up Windows for the first time this year only to find that it wanted to spend several hours downloading updates and repeatedly rebooting along the way, while at the same time Steam hadn't remembered my password and the reset tool was throwing errors, then I got timelocked out for getting my password wrong too many times. Gave up at 1am.

    I reckon if I leave my machine rebooting/downloading (every time it reboots it does so into Debian so I have to manually intervene to get things moving again) all day I might be able to try again to get into Steam this evening and then spend a few more hours downloading before I can finally play the damn thing... It might be quicker to wait for the linux or Playstation version..

    2 votes
  6. Comment on Wikipedia Speedruns in ~tech

    mat
    Link
    "Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man" to "Monograph" Time: 35.066 Seconds Number of links visited: 5 path [ "Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man", "Johns Hopkins School of Medicine", "Research...

    "Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man" to "Monograph"

    Time: 35.066 Seconds

    Number of links visited: 5

    path [ "Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man", "Johns Hopkins School of Medicine", "Research university", "Publish or perish", "Academic publishing", "Monograph" ]

    Pretty pleased with that!

    I gave up on one which ended at "100th meridian west" which I later looked up and almost nothing links to it. I could get to the 95th and 105th meridians but was just going round in circles trying to get any closer.

    2 votes
  7. Comment on The Ethereum Merge is done, opening a new era for the second-biggest blockchain in ~finance

    mat
    Link Parent
    On the plus side, at least the massive environmental damage aspect has been somewhat mitigated, but with that sorted out NFTs "are only valuable as tools for money laundering, tax evasion, and...

    On the plus side, at least the massive environmental damage aspect has been somewhat mitigated, but with that sorted out NFTs "are only valuable as tools for money laundering, tax evasion, and greater fool investment fraud."

    They're a lot more dead than they were nine months ago, and hopefully that trend will continue. Nice idea, in theory, to create unique digital artworks - but the implementation is completely braindead, rendering the whole thing worse than useless.

    13 votes
  8. Comment on Is alternate history science fiction? in ~books

    mat
    Link Parent
    I studied English Literature at university, but almost never did genre come up. Various movements in literature which are genre-like did - eg, Romanticisim, Magic Realism, etc - but generally...

    I studied English Literature at university, but almost never did genre come up. Various movements in literature which are genre-like did - eg, Romanticisim, Magic Realism, etc - but generally literary theory isn't particularly concerned with genre. Genre is a shelving issue, not a literary one.

    My question then is - what's useful about the term?

    Why is it useful to lump sci-fi, fantasy, alt-history and a bunch of other already existing, reasonably well-defined genres into one?

    It doesn't help with shelving - I don't want to dig through magic swords to find my space stories, and I doubt that the talking horse people want to trouble themselves sorting through robots with lasers. People who like both are probably happy looking on two different shelves. And genre is, ultimately, just a shelving problem and nothing more. To paraphrase Louis Armstrong - "There are two kinds of books, the good, and the bad. I read the good kind."

    "Speculative fiction" doesn't add anything useful that I can see. In fact, worse, it actively confuses things. If you ask me if I like sci-fi I will say "usually"; if you ask me if I like fantasy I will say "generally not"; if you ask me if I like speculative fiction I will say "I don't know, the question is too broad"

    1 vote
  9. Comment on Is alternate history science fiction? in ~books

    mat
    Link Parent
    Not sure how you got that impression, it wasn't my intent. Wells pretty much created the genre - or at least, tied with Shelley for doing so. Asimov isn't one of the Big Three for nothing. Dick...

    Not sure how you got that impression, it wasn't my intent. Wells pretty much created the genre - or at least, tied with Shelley for doing so. Asimov isn't one of the Big Three for nothing. Dick and Le Guin are hugely important in the genre too.

    For what it's worth, time travel is possible within known physics, it's just extremely difficult. FTL is a common freebie, but still is theoretically possible. Everyone handwaves something (even super-hard writers like Baxter and Egan), because like you say, story is more important than writing a physics textbook. I'm not trying to suggest that all sci-fi has to be 100% accurate within known science. But it should be reasonably plausible, unlike the magic swords of fantasy.

    Clarke wasn't wrong when he said that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, but a magic box that makes a starship go faster than light using some engineering that currently doesn't exist is very different to waving a wand to make a horse talk. In a thousand years we might develop that engineering but a horse isn't ever growing vocal cords in response to a waggled twig.

    "Possible" doesn't mean "doable now", it means potentially do-able one day, maybe. A story where the tech (or magic-like technology) isn't going to break my suspension of disbelief by being ridiculously implausible. Sanderson's Mistborn series and his concept of "hard magic" is an interesting - and very rare - example of doing this in fantasy. A good example of getting it wrong is pretty much all of Star Trek, which appears to just be magic all the way down - "reconfigure the deflector array to solve this week's problem!"

    1 vote
  10. Comment on Is alternate history science fiction? in ~books

    mat
    Link Parent
    Why do you need a parent category though? Fantasy is fantasy. Sci-fi is sci-fi. Alt-history is alt-history. There doesn't need to be an umbrella term to encompass three discrete things. We don't...

    Why do you need a parent category though?

    Fantasy is fantasy. Sci-fi is sci-fi. Alt-history is alt-history. There doesn't need to be an umbrella term to encompass three discrete things. We don't feel the need for one term to cover Romance, Crime and Horror, why is Sci-fi, Fantasy and Alt-History different?

    Fantasy and Sci-fi are fundamentally different. Sci-fi deals with the possibly real; fantasy, the definitely not real. I mean sure, there is sci-fantasy (eg, Star Trek, aka magic dressed as science) and I would maybe, if I'm being very, very generous, give some Brandon Sanderson and Olivie Blake a category of some kind of realist-fantasy. But then there's always cross-genre examples in all cases - Romantic Mysteries exist, and Criminal Thrillers. I don't understand why Sci-fi and Fantasy get bundled together all the time, if not for the simple reason of keeping the weirdos in one tidy corner of the library/bookshop (a group I happily consider myself part of, at least for the sci-fi)

    Using the term speculative fiction just reinforces Atwood's ridiculous notion that sci-fi (and OK, there's probably some literary fantasy out there too but I haven't read it) isn't proper fiction and that's my main issue with it. We have sufficient genre names already, we don't need any more - believe me, my wife works in the library service and deciding how to shelve the books is really not a problem they have.

    2 votes
  11. Comment on Is alternate history science fiction? in ~books

    mat
    Link Parent
    While genre is largely just a shelving problem (and then only if you want it to be), I really don't like the term "speculative fiction" because if it's not speculative, it's not fiction. All...

    While genre is largely just a shelving problem (and then only if you want it to be), I really don't like the term "speculative fiction" because if it's not speculative, it's not fiction. All fiction is speculative, it's just some is more speculative than others.

    Also Margaret Atwood only used/popularised the term because she thinks she's too literary to write science fiction. Which is pretty insulting to all the perfectly good sci-fi authors (not to mention readers!) out there.

    1 vote
  12. Comment on Wind chimes - it doesn't have to be complicated in ~creative

    mat
    Link
    This page has a cheery subtitle "it doesn't have to be complicated" before going straight into 60+ pages of engineering, maths, diagrams, tables, graphs and even downloadable Excel spreadsheets....

    This page has a cheery subtitle "it doesn't have to be complicated" before going straight into 60+ pages of engineering, maths, diagrams, tables, graphs and even downloadable Excel spreadsheets. It's exactly what I'm looking for, because I'm currently building a doorbell - but it's a pretty hilariously long way from not complicated.

    Anyway, this is the sort of thing I really love the internet for. A very specific topic, one which someone has spent a lot of time understanding and exploring, written up in great depth. Even if you're not currently into windchimes this is a pretty interesting read.

    I don't think I will ever tire of knowledgable and passionate people talking about the thing they are knowledgeable and passionate about. The author also has a youtube channel, the relevant companion video to this article is here

    6 votes
  13. Comment on Sony releases wearable air conditioners to keep you cool for hours on the go in ~enviro

    mat
    Link
    Makita do a few cooling clothes, including this fan-cooled vest and this rather space-suit-lookin' one Nothing I'm aware of with active cooling though, I think they're more designed to help you...

    Makita do a few cooling clothes, including this fan-cooled vest and this rather space-suit-lookin' one

    Nothing I'm aware of with active cooling though, I think they're more designed to help you cool via perspiration.

    5 votes
  14. Comment on Where do you acquire books? in ~books

    mat
    Link Parent
    Oh, you're on the outside. In that case I can only apologise about my stupid fucking country. Have you looked at bookshops in Ireland?

    Oh, you're on the outside. In that case I can only apologise about my stupid fucking country.

    Have you looked at bookshops in Ireland?

    3 votes
  15. Comment on Where do you acquire books? in ~books

    mat
    Link Parent
    Wordery is my first port of call in the UK before going to Amazon.

    Wordery is my first port of call in the UK before going to Amazon.

    1 vote
  16. Comment on BMW makes heated seats a monthly subscription in ~tech

    mat
    Link Parent
    I might have missed some because I don't really follow Windows/Mac software but I can only think of Adobe doing this exclusively and tbh from a business perspective it's pretty compelling. It's...

    "ownership is temporary and contingent on your continued payment"

    I might have missed some because I don't really follow Windows/Mac software but I can only think of Adobe doing this exclusively and tbh from a business perspective it's pretty compelling. It's not a lot of money, especially when you factor bulk discounts - and support, cloud storage, ongoing updates, all managed in-app? Hell yes please. Even 25+ years ago when I started working in IT that's how lots of companies (including Microsoft) was doing software for business. Subscription. It's just you got a case of CDs every few months with updates and had to manually put them all onto your PCs. Which was my first job! It was very boring.

    Anyway, point is that just because some people are doing it doesn't mean everyone is. There's still plenty of software you can just buy, and software is unique in that there's FOSS too. If I could download a car... So just because one company is running a trial, I see no reason to assume that all car manufacturers will be doing the same thing, even in a decade. That's also ignoring the fact that it's not impossible that in 15-20 years most people won't even own cars, and car travel will be a subscription service much like how e-scooters are now.

    Anyway, how do you imagine consumers can "push back"? Genuine question. I don't mean it to sound facetious, and I apologise if it does.

    I don't want and will never buy a BMW already, so that's my contribution of nothing. I'm not reducing their sales numbers because I don't buy brand new cars and I don't want BMWs anyway. So I have made zero push back. I imagine many of us are in a similar situation (almost everyone in the UK didn't buy a BMW last year, they sold 116,600 cars in 2021)

    My experience of people who do buy new BMWs, which is admittedly only 3-4 people, is they won't care about a few hundred quid to lifetime-enable an option they'd almost certainly be buying anyway. Chances are most buyers won't even know it's a "subscription", the sales person will say "heated seats?" and the buyer will say "of course" and £850 will go on the price, exactly like buying an option - because that's what it is. Or they won't buy it and won't know about it. BMW owners are well used to paying for stuff and have the money to do so.

    fwiw I don't entirely disagree that making heated seats a subscription service is a bad idea (although I do think it has good aspects as well). I just don't think it's the tip of a disastrous iceberg either.

    3 votes
  17. Comment on BMW makes heated seats a monthly subscription in ~tech

    mat
    Link Parent
    Lots of people don't own their cars anyway, at least where I live. 90% of new cars bought in the UK are owned by finance firms. A lot of people effectively rent their cars, paying monthly, and...

    their end goal is probably a world in which you don't even own the car.

    Lots of people don't own their cars anyway, at least where I live. 90% of new cars bought in the UK are owned by finance firms. A lot of people effectively rent their cars, paying monthly, and replace them every 4-5 years. Which is the same as what BMW are doing here with features. Nothing new, really.

    I'm not sure I buy the slippery slope arguments because all this is doing is expanding people's options. Car manufacturers likely don't care if you rent their cars or buy them outright, what they care about is you're driving their cars not someone else's. If I can buy a used BMW which doesn't have heated seats and pay to have heated seats enabled, that's better for me as a consumer than the current situation where if I want heated sears I have to find a used car where the original buyer paid for the option at purchase. Or I can not pay and not have them. Seems like quite a good idea to me.

    7 votes
  18. Comment on Feel good movies in ~movies

    mat
    Link
    RRR. As Patrick H Willems put it, it's not just the best action movie of 2022, it's the best romantic comedy and musical as well. If this movie doesn't leave you with a smile on your face, your...

    RRR. As Patrick H Willems put it, it's not just the best action movie of 2022, it's the best romantic comedy and musical as well. If this movie doesn't leave you with a smile on your face, your face might be broken. Watch it in Telugu with subtitles if you can.

    1 vote
  19. Comment on Feel good movies in ~movies

    mat
    Link Parent
    I watched Top Secret for the first time last month and it's nowhere near in the same league as Airplane or Naked Gun - or even the fairly terrible Hot Shots. Val Kilmer is no Leslie Nielsen, by...

    I watched Top Secret for the first time last month and it's nowhere near in the same league as Airplane or Naked Gun - or even the fairly terrible Hot Shots. Val Kilmer is no Leslie Nielsen, by some distance.

    The played-backwards scene in the bookshop is superb but that's about it.

    1 vote