userexec's recent activity

  1. Comment on Language learning thread #2 - Share your progress, tips and questions in ~humanities

    userexec
    Link
    I've made a ton of progress lately in reading Japanese with Lingo Mastery's Japanese Short Stories for Beginners. I only know about 2000 vocabulary and 250 kanji, but that's sufficient to read the...

    I've made a ton of progress lately in reading Japanese with Lingo Mastery's Japanese Short Stories for Beginners. I only know about 2000 vocabulary and 250 kanji, but that's sufficient to read the stories with a bit of challenge involved, and it's very satisfying to reread the stories again every few days and feel it become just a little easier each time.

    I also found a huge collection of novellas for grade schoolers, the Kodansha Blue Bird books. You can get them through Kinokuniya. I expect these will take about double my vocabulary/kanji to really be able to enjoy, but I'm pretty excited to get started on them. I remember my English skills vastly improved from reading grade school novellas like Goosebumps and The Hardy Boys, so I'm hoping something similar can happen here.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on Language learning thread #1 - Share your progress, tips and questions in ~humanities

    userexec
    Link Parent
    I was on and off with Pimsleur because of the cost until I realized they released largely the same courses on cassette and CD for decades. If you want Pimsleur without a monthly subscription, I...

    I was on and off with Pimsleur because of the cost until I realized they released largely the same courses on cassette and CD for decades. If you want Pimsleur without a monthly subscription, I highly recommend picking those up. It really is a good course--I just don't use it consistently enough to justify how much I end up paying in rent when I could own a used copy outright.

    1 vote
  3. Comment on The uncertain future of ham radio in ~tech

    userexec
    Link
    The engineering aspect of it has always fascinated me, and I'm a sucker for electronics equipment, but what's always stopped me from pursuing it is just that I don't think there would be anyone to...

    The engineering aspect of it has always fascinated me, and I'm a sucker for electronics equipment, but what's always stopped me from pursuing it is just that I don't think there would be anyone to communicate with on it that I'd actually want to communicate with. Back when I was a truck driver I had a CB, but I always left it off because the only conversations on it were hard right rants, racial slurs, trucker gatekeeping, or lot lizards advertising their services. I'm sure ham radio isn't quite that bad, but I still get the impression I'd just be dumping thousands of dollars into equipment and learning for the equivalent of Fox News survivalist chatroulette. Totally possible I'm wrong; just being honest about what's kept me from doing it.

    7 votes
  4. Comment on What have you been eating, drinking, and cooking? in ~food

    userexec
    Link
    I came across a Zojirushi bread maker on Craigslist for $20. It's a very old model without many options, and I've never cared about making bread before, but I do love my Zojirushi rice maker so I...

    I came across a Zojirushi bread maker on Craigslist for $20. It's a very old model without many options, and I've never cared about making bread before, but I do love my Zojirushi rice maker so I figured why not. It's great actually! So cheap and easy to just create a loaf of white bread or french bread or whatever without having to go to the store. I'm particularly enjoying the timer function so that if I know I want a particular bread with supper, I can just toss the ingredients in whenever there's time and set it to have warm, fresh bread ready right before mealtime. Ingredients come up to about a half to a third of what I'd pay for the same bread in the grocery store.

    1 vote
  5. Comment on What’s something about you that people don’t often believe is true? in ~talk

    userexec
    Link
    I have a degree, but I never actually graduated from high school. I had an unusual schedule during high school that had me going to three other schools a day for specific classes I was interested...

    I have a degree, but I never actually graduated from high school. I had an unusual schedule during high school that had me going to three other schools a day for specific classes I was interested in (Cisco certification at the trade school, programming classes at the community college, teaching classes held locally by a nearby university). As a result, I just didn't attend high school for long enough to get the required credits to graduate. The guidance counselors were aware I wouldn't finish, but were great folks and thought it was more important that I go and learn if I was interested in learning.

    I still walked in a graduation ceremony, but only got an empty holder for the diploma. There wasn't even an admissions process that I remember for moving on to university since I was already enrolled in courses with them, so nobody ever asked for proof I actually graduated, and since I have a degree now everyone just assumes I made it through high school anyway.

    13 votes
  6. Comment on Mozilla Rally - Data collection for research about data collection in ~tech

    userexec
    Link
    Curious about everyone's thoughts on this. It's an interesting ask. I could see the data being very helpful for uncovering trends that would otherwise remain unexposed. At the same time, my...

    Big tech has built its success by exploiting your data. When you join Mozilla Rally studies, your data helps us uncover Facebook‘s tracking network, understand search engine choice, and help local news find sustainability. People just like you help build a better internet for all.

    Curious about everyone's thoughts on this. It's an interesting ask.

    I could see the data being very helpful for uncovering trends that would otherwise remain unexposed. At the same time, my impression of Firefox users is that they're going to be awfully hard to convince to hand over that data. A lot of them are using it specifically to share as little as they possibly can.

    3 votes
  7. Comment on If I wanted to make a game like Wordle, where would I start? in ~comp

    userexec
    Link Parent
    Seconded on this comment. Just HTML, CSS, and JS is all you'd need for something like this. I wouldn't start with a JS framework like React or Vue at all--what they bring to the table is just not...

    Seconded on this comment.

    Just HTML, CSS, and JS is all you'd need for something like this. I wouldn't start with a JS framework like React or Vue at all--what they bring to the table is just not going to be necessary for something like this, and will only add an up-front setup step just to use 1% of what they can do, and you'll still have to use HTML, CSS, and JS anyway while working with them.

    I'd maybe recommend a CSS framework like Bulma if you want pretty UI elements right away, but even that's going to be an up-front setup step that will still require you to know CSS anyway and introduce confusion as to where base CSS ends and the framework begins, so possibly just skip that too.

    Taking a beginner course in HTML and CSS for the interface and then focusing some learning into vanilla JS for the game logic will get you to a great starting point. Then if you ever need more presets from CSS frameworks, or more modularity and data handling from JS frameworks, you'll already have the fundamentals down that will make learning those simpler.

    9 votes
  8. Comment on Bored Ape Yacht Club is racist and started by Neo-Nazi trolls in ~tech

    userexec
    Link Parent
    I'm not contributing to the discussion at all here, but something you said piqued my curiosity. I used to drive for a mid-sized company called TransAm. Does that have anything to do with their trucks?

    I'm not contributing to the discussion at all here, but something you said piqued my curiosity.

    otherwise innocuous photos of the side of a long-haul truck

    I used to drive for a mid-sized company called TransAm. Does that have anything to do with their trucks?

    2 votes
  9. Comment on On communicating accurately with Americans in ~humanities

    userexec
    Link
    Some of what he's saying here reminds me a lot of Kyoto Japanese. Same concept, but cranked up to 11, where saying something like "you have such a kind-looking face" can mean you're ugly. Let's...

    Some of what he's saying here reminds me a lot of Kyoto Japanese. Same concept, but cranked up to 11, where saying something like "you have such a kind-looking face" can mean you're ugly. Let's Ask Shogo did a fun video on this: https://youtu.be/9wPlO1FKy8U?t=151

    3 votes
  10. Comment on Republican Glenn Youngkin wins Virginia governor’s race in ~news

    userexec
    Link
    Our local elections were a republican sweep as well, with 22% voter turnout even though literally every registered voter gets mailed a ballot and bios and statements from every candidate and can...

    Our local elections were a republican sweep as well, with 22% voter turnout even though literally every registered voter gets mailed a ballot and bios and statements from every candidate and can place it into any dropbox or send it back from their mailbox without a stamp. The school board got some... interesting new people, to put it charitably.

    Time to listen to the locals my age complain about how messed up our politics are for another few years while refusing to so much as pencil in a bubble to fix it, all in a district with such low turnout that they could easily dominate any election if they actually cared.

    20 votes
  11. Comment on RIP Cure Dolly, YouTube Japanese teacher in ~humanities

    userexec
    Link
    It seems the Japanese language YouTuber Cure Dolly has died. She stopped making videos about 4 months ago due to health problems, but was expected to return and was still answering questions from...

    It seems the Japanese language YouTuber Cure Dolly has died. She stopped making videos about 4 months ago due to health problems, but was expected to return and was still answering questions from her community for some time.

    Cure Dolly's methods and presentation were somewhat unconventional, but I learned so much from the grammar explanations in her Organic Japanese videos. Watching them before taking a "textbook" Japanese class was like taking an inoculation that made all the most confusing points perfectly clear. She was very skilled at explaining difficult language concepts in organized, memorizable ways and putting simple rules to what most learners would see as exceptions.

    Some learners were put off by the strange presentation style, clickbaity thumbnails, and the android doll persona that she never broke, but if you're ever interested in learning Japanese I highly recommend looking past all that. After enough great lessons, it becomes endearing (I swear). For those who prefer a more textbook, class-prep approach done very well, I've also found the YouTuber TokiniAndy to be very helpful.

    Curious if anyone else here studied Japanese, and what tools and materials you found to be the most helpful.

    2 votes
  12. Comment on GM announces Ultra Cruise, enabling true hands-free driving across 95% of driving scenarios in ~tech

    userexec
    Link Parent
    Seconded on the public transit where it's available and makes sense with scheduling. In bigger cities like Chicago, I found having a car to be mostly an annoyance and just used the L and buses for...

    Seconded on the public transit where it's available and makes sense with scheduling. In bigger cities like Chicago, I found having a car to be mostly an annoyance and just used the L and buses for everything. In my current city (pop. ~250,000), the transit system is as good as I suppose it can be for here. Some trips make sense, others really don't. Trying to get to the community college from my mid-city address results in layovers between buses longer than the entire trip to just drive there. A little over an hour by bus for a drive that takes a little under 20 minutes. Taking the bus both ways is a considerable time investment. I'll always advocate for taking the bus when it makes sense, though, and investing further in our public transit.

    What I am genuinely looking forward to about these hands-free systems is people letting the car figure out its speed and actually hold it. If these gain high enough adoption, it may eliminate my biggest pet peeve about driving: People not knowing the speed limit and just picking a random number every 30 seconds.

    Then again, if they won't even pick a speed and hit their current cruise button on the interstate, I should have no reason to believe they'd ever hit this one. I swear sometimes I wish I could just reach into other people's cars, hit the cruise button, and yank their feet away from the gas pedal for all our sakes.

    4 votes
  13. Comment on The NYT's partisan tale about COVID and the unvaccinated is rife with sloppy data analysis in ~health.coronavirus

    userexec
    Link Parent
    Tildes is probably the only place I see substack articles posted anywhere, and I feel like more often than not it's some edgy premise piece that ends up being apologism. Am I missing something...

    Tildes is probably the only place I see substack articles posted anywhere, and I feel like more often than not it's some edgy premise piece that ends up being apologism. Am I missing something about people's love of substack? The whole concept of subscription newsletters just seems outlandishly niche to be showing up so much, but then I get that there are plenty of ways to use the internet.

    9 votes
  14. Comment on Why are people getting worse at “The Price Is Right”? in ~tv

    userexec
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    That's probably the case, though I do make less than my parents adjusted for inflation. I can't imagine my parents or grandparents carrying more than $100 on them at any given time. When I went...

    That's probably the case, though I do make less than my parents adjusted for inflation. I can't imagine my parents or grandparents carrying more than $100 on them at any given time. When I went shopping my with grandmother, she never carried more than $40 or $50 because you might get mugged. For where we lived that seemed silly, but she was pretty committed to it, so I have to assume that it was a real danger to her and her family at some point. I have to laugh at myself sometimes because I'll go and take $100 out of the ATM and, to this day, feel an irrational itch to get it home and put away where it's safe. I just remember shopping trips as a kid I was always in charge of the pencil and notepad, keeping track of what we had in the cart and what the tax on it would be so that we didn't go over--something I absolutely don't do anymore.

    Edit: I should mention they all had much more cash at home--they just didn't carry much on their person when going out. Where their finances were split between savings, cash at home, and cash on hand, mine are all unified behind a single debit card.

    7 votes
  15. Comment on Why are people getting worse at “The Price Is Right”? in ~tv

    userexec
    Link
    Interestingly the first thought that came to my mind didn't show up here. The big difference between how I shop and how my parents and grandparents shopped, at least in my mind, is that I never...

    Interestingly the first thought that came to my mind didn't show up here. The big difference between how I shop and how my parents and grandparents shopped, at least in my mind, is that I never carry cash. When I grocery shop I don't try to fit my shopping into an arbitrarily lower budget of what's in my pocket at the moment, so I don't need to keep an accurate running total as I add products to the basket. Instead I just get the items I know I'm low on without paying too much attention to individual prices.

    I have no idea what my yogurt currently costs. I may price-check it occasionally against other brands, but then promptly forget the individual numbers. I need four yogurts, I just grab four. My food budget pretty much always averages out month-to-month around the same, so I don't bother optimizing it on any individual trip.

    6 votes
  16. Comment on Is there really a US truck driver shortage? in ~life

    userexec
    Link Parent
    They were always at the terminal. No matter when you'd show up, you'd see those same faces around. Actual drivers didnt pop into our terminal but once every few months maybe, so to always run into...

    They were always at the terminal. No matter when you'd show up, you'd see those same faces around. Actual drivers didnt pop into our terminal but once every few months maybe, so to always run into those same people gave away that they were fakes. Someone just coming in and meeting them for the first time wouldn't have that context, though.

    7 votes
  17. Comment on Is there really a US truck driver shortage? in ~life

    userexec
    Link
    Oh boy can I speak to this! I was a long haul trucker for one year, and I actually didn't have a comparatively bad experience with it, but wow did I have to stack the deck in advance to make sure...
    • Exemplary

    Oh boy can I speak to this! I was a long haul trucker for one year, and I actually didn't have a comparatively bad experience with it, but wow did I have to stack the deck in advance to make sure I didn't.

    So first off, learning how to drive a truck is expensive--notably, more expensive than the people looking for relief from a high paying, low qualification job can afford at any given time. The cheapest route is to pay for your own training with an independent trucking school and only take a job once you have a CDL. In 2012, this cost me $4000, and I can only assume it's gone up since. If you don't have the money to front, though, starter companies are happy to take you with no CDL and put you through their private driver training programs for "free," though. By "free" I mean however much they want to charge for it--they'll let you pay it back out of your wages for the first year or two--so kind. That I heard runs as high as $12,000, and you better not quit or you're going straight to collections. So indentured servitude Part A gets started before you even sit in a semi.

    Now, assuming you got through training or came with a CDL, starter companies basically operate like this: They pay low and expect high turnover, because no, there is no shortage of desperate people, and they know it. Now they need a core fleet to ensure loads actually get delivered and, importantly, recover abandoned equipment when other poor souls wash out, so this will be handled by low-but-steady-paid company drivers and reliable owner-operators. The bulk of the operation is what are called "lease-ops," though. This is indentured servitude Part B.

    90% of the drivers in any intake are going straight to lease-op. The company I worked for pushed it hard. You'd be told of the vast amounts of money you could make, how company drivers were accepting a crap deal, how much more legitimate of work lease-op was, how you could be your own boss and make your own decisions about which loads to pull and when to take home time. How the truck would be yours. My company went so far as to give obviously preferential treatment to lease-ops, and even had actors around the training facility pretending to be lease op drivers stopping into the terminal whose whole job it seemed was to strike up conversations with new drivers and tell them how amazing lease-op was. Their strategies were incredibly effective. I was the only driver in my class of 20 or so to still insist on being a company driver by the end of it.

    The great part (for the company) about lease-op drivers is they pay for their own equipment (which when they default on, comes back to you for another go, and they're still on the hook for the full price). They pay for their own insurance (which is high for beginning drivers), and they pay their own maintenance. When you get a lease-op truck back, you can basically re-issue it immediately to the next person. For their company drivers, they have to provide a truck to operate out of company funds, they have to pay the insurance, and they have to maintain it. Lease-op is a wildly good deal for the company... but you still have to have some company drivers because, well, enough drivers need to fail lease-op. Somebody's got to be the grim reaper and go collect the abandoned equipment, and somebody's got to deliver the loads that the lease-ops either refused or ran away from mid-load.

    As a company driver it's really not too bad. The pay is low (I made $0.32/mile) but the work is steady. You do get the worst loads, but your pay isn't dependent on the load's payout--just the miles. And of course there are the recovery jobs where there is no load payout since you're just hopping in with another driver to go pick up an abandoned truck, but your pay is still the same. You do it for a year or two, get experience, and then leave debt-free for a job with a non-starter outfit that's actually doing trucking as opposed to financing with a side gig of trucking.

    If you're thinking of going into trucking, go company at your starter. Yes, some lease-ops make it, and they will make way more money than you if they're successful. Somebody has to succeed to keep the story going. If it's clear nobody ever wins the lottery, people stop playing the lottery. You're not going to win. You're going to ditch your truck somewhere that a relative can come pick you up, then struggle with crushing debt and a nonexistent credit score for the next 20 years so that some company's profit margins look better. Someone like me is going to come with a spare set of keys and return your truck so they can do it all over again to the next person. Have patience, go company, and wait for your money at your next trucking job at a company that requires experience.

    Now then! If you survive all that, you still have to deal with the near inhumane conditions of the industry as a whole! It's a classic question: "Where do birds go when it rains?" But let's reformulate it as "Where do truckers go when they're not driving?"

    You don't go home. You don't go to a motel. You stay in the back of the truck on 3-4 week shifts. You're either in the truck, in a shipper/receiver for a few minutes, or picking up food and fuel at a truck stop. Now, the back of the truck isn't bad. You've got a bed, AC and heat even when the truck's off, probably mobile internet (my cell phone bill used to run $400/mo in 2012). You may even have a mini fridge. It's not a sustainable way to live, though. There is nowhere safe to exercise. There is no supply of nutritious food. And then, your sleep schedule... oh boy.

    Truckers' hours of service are not based around a 24 hour clock. There are 14-hour on-duty shifts, 11 of which may be spent driving, paired with 10-hour rest shifts theoretically, and the rules I'm sure have changed since I was in, but in practice you'll drive 10 hours, get 7 hours off, then drive 10 hours again, repeat until you run up against log book regulations and need to reset your time. Hope you're good at working, falling asleep instantly, then working again. You may sleep during the day one day, night the next, or sleep during evenings or mornings. Also you're getting fatter because there's no physical activity and your food supply is garbage, so unless you've won the genetic lottery, you're going to develop sleep apnea. I'd never even heard of a CPAP machine until trucking, but holy crap are they common among drivers.

    So you're at work nonstop for weeks, stuck in a box, can't get decent food, and are developing at least one disease... then I guess there's the whole piss bottle issue...

    Anyway that's enough ranting for now. This article comes as no surprise to me. There is no driver shortage. There's an excess of workers this system regularly chews up and spits out--that's all. What's funny is it wasn't even the worst job I ever had. Teaching K-12 was worlds worse than that.

    29 votes
  18. Comment on What is something you've changed your mind about recently? in ~talk

    userexec
    Link Parent
    So the idea is you cycle very quickly between states of hypocapnia and hypoxia. Basically, in 2-3 cycles, you: Hyperventilate with 30 or so very fast, full in breaths (focus more on in being fast...

    So the idea is you cycle very quickly between states of hypocapnia and hypoxia. Basically, in 2-3 cycles, you:

    • Hyperventilate with 30 or so very fast, full in breaths (focus more on in being fast and deep, let out handle itself). Now you're high on oxygen and low on CO2.
    • Hold your breath until your desire to breath in gets quite powerful (which might take longer than you think). Now you're low on oxygen and high on CO2.
    • Take a full, deep breath in, and hold it for 10-20 seconds. Now you're back to starting point.
    • Repeat

    You definitely feel the effects of it, and they get more powerful with each cycle. By cycle 3 that last breath hold is a pretty disorienting light show for me. Not something you want to do while in water or driving. I transition from that straight into a sort of combined progressive relaxation/mindfulness meditation.

    If I had to explain how it works for me, I'd say it's like my body saying "Hey, we're gonna have a panic attack" and me responding "DAMN RIGHT WE ARE GIVE IT HERE" and my body is so shocked that I ripped it out of its hands that it doesn't know how to respond.

    7 votes