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Topics - General Disarray

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Arts & Entertainment / Pacific Rim
« on: July 14, 2013, 05:22:59 PM »
I normally like Guillermo Del Toro's movies, and I liked this one. I just saw it today in 3D, and I was entertained. However, I have heard a bunch of hype about it supposedly breaking the cycle of endless remakes and sequels with an original idea, but I found it to be pretty formulaic. I mean it's cool that humans were able to fight off an alien threat without some superhero and on their own, but it seemed very predictable. I mean the black guy sacrificed himself and everything, come on.


Arts & Entertainment / Season 3 Syndrome
« on: May 05, 2013, 05:38:27 PM »
This is a phrase I've coined, and it's way too common. It is used when a TV show becomes pretty popular, and then, after it is well-established, it gets weird.

The best example I can give is Andromeda. The whole Abyss storyline and the philosophical crap they tried to introduce was just stupid.

Another example is Lost. It got really stupid after the third season.

My point is, a lot of shows tend to "try to reinvent themselves" after the third season, and it goes wrong most of the time. So many times, I've found myself hating a show during season 3.

Technology, Science & Alt Science / Fiber splicing
« on: April 27, 2013, 04:56:33 PM »
We had a guy from Comcast come in to my work today to terminate a new fiber line for the business, and he was cool enough to show us the whole process and explain everything. I didn't get to see much of the prep work, but it's pretty much gradually stripping off the outer layers, and organizing the wires in a way that would allow you to easily pull back more slack in case it's needed later.

He installed a box in one of our network racks, and connected short pre-terminated fiber wires to the inside of the relay that would eventually connect to our networking equipment. The other side of these wires are what was getting spliced to the cable that leads outside the building.

Once he got the ends down to the bare fiber, he used a cleaving tool to get a good edge that could be easily spliced. After this, he told us that you are supposed to use really pure alcohol to clean the ends of the wire, but he just used his fingers after wiping them on his jeans...

The machine he used to actually splice the wires together is really cool. You load the wires into it facing each other to where they almost meet in the middle, close the lid, and it does the rest. It uses tiny cameras to precisely align the two ends, maneuver them to where they are just barely touching, then the electrodes heat them up and fuse them together. #" class="bbc_link" target="_blank">This video is pretty close to what it's like. You see pictures of the ends as they are lined up, a bright light, then it's just one cable. It displays the estimated signal loss after it's done, this guy got 0.01 and 0.00 dB loss on the two I watched.

To secure the splice, he put this sleeve of 'shrink wrap' around it, placed it into a mini-oven that was part of the machine for a few seconds, and it's done.

I thought it was pretty cool. I took a short course in how to terminate fiber, but we didn't have anything that high-tech.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Stand-up recently
« on: April 06, 2013, 07:20:01 PM »
I personally feel like stand-up comedy has become a contest about who can offend the most people. I don't have a problem with comics being vulgar. It's usually pretty funny (the ones I have been watching are Carlin and Lewis Black.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / North Korea
« on: April 05, 2013, 08:03:37 PM »
Do you think he has any intention of launching an attack?

His regime has to know that they have no chance of surviving an actual war with the US. I'm pretty sure that the US has the capability to take out the leadership of the DPRK while leaving the innocent bystanders (mostly) untouched.

I have heard rumors that Kim Jong Un is just making all these threats against SK and the USA to solidify his position as leader to the rest of his country and the military, and that they attempted to assassinate him a while ago.

What are your thoughts on this?

Arts & Entertainment / Bioshock Infinite
« on: March 30, 2013, 06:40:03 PM »
I just finished the game, and I loved it. I can't say that the plot was the most surprising thing ever, but it was pretty damn good. The scenery was amazing. The gameplay was very similar to Bioshock 1&2, but there's a whole new mechanic introduced with the skyhooks.

And the best part of the game is Elizabeth. It's basically an escort mission that doesn't inconvenience you, but rather helps you. She gives you cash when out of combat, and ammo/health/salts as you need them when in combat. Plus, the animation is pretty much Disney quality.

It's definitely worth at least torrenting.

Arts & Entertainment / The Dresden Files
« on: March 23, 2013, 07:05:37 PM »
I'd like to introduce you all to the best series of books I've ever read. The author is Jim Butcher. He's not really well-known, but he's the first author that I've ever bothered to check up on.

His Dresden series stars Harry Dresden, a guy who advertises himself in the newspaper as a Wizard. He is a good guy, definitely to a fault. He operates out of Chicago, and any supernatural predator that wants to operate there had better beware. Harry has to face tougher and tougher enemies, until he figures out what's behind it all, and then it gets even harder.

What I like most about this series is that the author does his research. He incorporates most of mythology into the plot, if there's a story about it, chances are it's in one of his books.

There have been a total of 14 books published so far, and he's planning >23 total.

His other series, "The Codex Alera", (first book is "Furies of Calderon) is really good as well.

Technology, Science & Alt Science / Computer pranks
« on: March 23, 2013, 03:30:04 PM »
So there's this guy at work we don't like, and we're trying to think up new and original pranks to play on him, any suggestions? Info: it would be on a Windows 7 machine that only he uses, but we don't have access to his profile unless he leaves his computer unlocked and leaves the room (if that happens, there's a long-standing tradition in the department to send funny emails from their account). We do have access to the computer when he's not there, and I can get to his HKCU registry this way.

A few of the things we've done so far:
  • Change local group policy so that it denies read access to any USB drives (so he can't watch anime during the night shift)
  • Open a dialogue box that can't be closed
  • Change his background through the registry
  • Funny shutdown messages using shutdown -i
  • Edit the boot.ini file so that you have to choose from a list of degradingly-titled OS's to boot from (and the worst one is the right choice)

Technology, Science & Alt Science / Fiber optic cable move
« on: March 17, 2013, 12:35:56 AM »
My biggest project right now is moving all our servers and switches from a 2-post environment to 4-post. The relay system is so much more efficient, and we don't have to worry about cables under the floor. I thought I'd get some other opinions on this subject, if anyone had some thoughts. My data center has been transitioning over from 2-post to 4-post racks, in a much more organized system. Basically, we are trying to move our fiber connections from the data center to the individual floors to the new environment. We will have to pull the fiber cable back from its current location (it runs under the floorboards) to the new rack. My idea, and the idea management has agreed to is to break all the current connections, pull it back, and re-do all the connectors at the end. A few of my team (me included) have taken a class on how to terminate fiber, and we have given a crash course to the rest of the team, but I am open to suggestions

Technology, Science & Alt Science / New smartphone advice
« on: August 13, 2012, 07:21:49 PM »
I currently own an HTC EVO 4g through Sprint, and my contract is up. I would like to upgrade my device. I would have preferred to change networks to Verizon because of their service in my area. One of my coworkers had my phone and changed over to a Verizon Razor MAXX with 4g LTE service, and he gets great service in my workplace. However, Verizon just changed their plan options to make them much more expensive for new users, I would end up increasing my bill by at least $25 per month if I switched from Sprint to Verizon. So I would rather stick with Sprint for now.

My current plan is to upgrade my device through Newegg to the EVO 4G LTE for $150, which is $30 cheaper than the Galaxy S3. To me, a bigger concern than processing power is battery life. My current phone is horrible for battery life, though that may be due to the bad 3g signal I get at work. That may be made irrelevant if Sprint's LTE signal is as good as they claim. Only wish I could test the service before I sign up.

According to this comparison, the battery life is somewhat conflicting.  What should I value more if I'm mostly browsing the web, talk time, or standby time?

Any other advice?

Technology, Science & Alt Science / Google Chrome issues
« on: July 27, 2012, 07:41:00 PM »
I have an issue with Chrome. I really like the browser other than the fact that I can't seem to load certain websites with it. When I try to go to a few pages with this browser, it just stays loading forever and never comes up with anything. A couple examples are and, if that helps at all.

This seems to be a common problem, but I have never managed to find a solution for it.

A while back, I was having a problem where chrome would crash whenever I tried to load a youtube video, and that was solved when I disabled Chrome's own Flash plug-in, so that it would not conflict with Chrome's version of Flash. But I am still having trouble with only a few websites.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Technology, Science & Alt Science / Fun with remote commands
« on: May 12, 2012, 10:59:12 PM »
So I was bored at work tonight and decided to do something productive. I found a simple command line utility that you can use to remotely execute programs on any other PC in the domain, it's called PsExec and it's part of the PsTools package. You just put it in system32 and you can run it from the command prompt.

Anyway, my company uses a bunch of really old Dell GX270s, D-series laptops and the like (Pentium 4s), and a common complaint is that they just run slow. Generally all we do is make sure that they have the standard amount of RAM, and maybe run a defrag because they don't want to spend the money for better PCs. So I found a way to simplify the job.

I use PsExec to copy a batch file from a network share to the local PC and run it. The batch file copies a registry entry that tells Disk Cleanup what to clean (I only do this because compress old files isn't selected by default, and that's usually where most of the space comes from), run Disk Cleanup, then run Defrag. It prints out which step it's on as well. None of this is visible on the remote PC, so you can do it while they are working and they won't even notice.

My next step will be to add in a remote silent installation of CCleaner, copy over a tweaked .ini file that tells it to clean Hotfix Uninstallers (saves at least 500MB on XP),and  run in automatic mode.

I'll be showing this to the guy whose project it is to get these old clunkers running faster next week. He might be mad because he just had a project where he had to run some batch files on every PC in the building. Manually.  ::)

It's on my computer at work but I can get the code next week if anyone's interested.

Technology, Science & Alt Science / When will Moore's Law stop?
« on: May 11, 2012, 12:05:31 AM »
I always heard it as "computing power will double every 18 months", but Wikipedia defines it as "number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years."

When do you think this will stop being true?

I think it all depends on what the market demands. Look at the current generation of Intel processors. Their transistor size is 22nm vs 32nm for the last generation, yet they are less than 10% faster. This is all due to lack of competition. AMD is struggling to beat their last generation with their current gen. There is no monetary motivation for Intel to advance as much as they could for lack of competition.

The technology is out there, I read all the time about new breakthroughs that should revolutionize computing power, but they will not be used unless they are more profitable than existing technology. Unless real competition makes a comeback, I think we will be artificially stagnated.

Our artificial intelligence programming is slowly but steadily growing more advanced to the point where it seems inevitable that we will eventually have sentient robots able to serve us. At this point, do you think it would be a good idea to "hard wire" Asimov's three laws of Robotics into their personalities?

A good portion of Asimov's stories were based upon exploring the ramifications of these laws, what do you think was the conclusion of all this analysis?

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

By this, I mean has drastically lower taxes on the rich and corporations, "broadening the base" (tax hikes on the poor), and large-scale deregulation of businesses ever produced a beneficial economy for the whole of a country?

This is one of my main concerns with the party, I can't think of a single example where I might benefit if their policies were enacted.

Arts & Entertainment / Disney songs
« on: April 30, 2012, 10:08:35 PM »
Is there really anything better as far as kids songs concerned as the music tracks from the old-school Disney songs?

I have no plans to have kids, but if I ever do, the first thing I will do as soon as they are ready is show them old Disney movies. They are still the most emotionally charged music have ever heard, and I can't imagine anything better to expose new people to.

Anyone agree?

The Lounge / Dr Pepper Ten
« on: April 30, 2012, 06:20:12 PM »
I just did a taste comparison between these 2, and it does taste a lot like the original, but there's still that aftertaste of artificial sweetener in there. It might even be better than Coke 0 vs. Coke, but it almost ruins it for me. Still drinkable, but I don't have sodas often enough to want to go with an 'inferior' drink.

Anyone else tried it?

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Public servants
« on: April 01, 2012, 09:23:37 PM »
Have any well-known Republicans devoted their post-public service lives to helping those less fortunate to have better lives? Or for that matter, have any prominent Republicans done this? It seems like the last couple Democratic presidents have at least attempted to remain in the public eye by working on various projects to improve various 3rd world countries while Republican presidents have been content to fade into the shadows.

I can only recall Democratic ex-officials trying to make the world a better place after their term, am I completely misguided?

I am currently contemplating how I will spend by tax refund/christmas money, and I have already decided that I will probably buy a new graphics card (won't decide for sure until Nvidia releases some details on their next generation), but the things I am thinking about buying are a mechanical keyboard and a very high (80+ gold/platinum) modular power supply.

Does anyone have experience with either of these? I have heard that mechanical keyboards are really great to type/game on, but I haven't ever experienced it for myself. Should I just go to Fry's and try one before I spend ~$100? Are they really that worth it?

I have decided that I will probably need a bigger power supply if I get a new graphics card, as I will be overclocking both that and my processor. My current PSU is a 600W, and I'm afraid that won't be able to handle it. I would probably be upgrading from a 5850 to 7950, unless Nvidia comes out with something that is competitive within a month or two.

Technology, Science & Alt Science / How to actually stop piracy.
« on: January 29, 2012, 07:13:31 PM »
Why is the MPAA/RIAA not listening when people are telling them exactly how to combat piracy in a way everyone can agree on?

It is pretty widely acknowledged that piracy is a service problem. Pirates provide a better service than the industry. If I buy a DVD, I have to sit through ~10 unskippable things (including completely irrelevant warnings against piracy, since I already purchased the movie) in order to watch it. If I download a torrent, I can just play it without wasting 15 minutes of my life on previews and warnings.

I am more inclined to buy a game through Steam because I have to jump through less hoops that way than I would if I had torrented the game. The game installs reasonably quickly with all updates and patches, and I can quickly and easily play it. I have paid for games on Steam that I would have otherwise pirated because I respect the fact that they have gone to the trouble of making the service better than the ones pirates provide.

But movie/music companies seem dead set on punishing pirates rather than improving their own service. They insist on forcing people to buy multiple copies of a song if they want to have a physical + digital copy of their material. They force you to sit through pointless warnings and advertisements to use what you already paid for.

What will make them realize that they are fighting a losing battle?

Technology, Science & Alt Science / IT certifications
« on: January 15, 2012, 08:26:17 PM »
I would like to get a few certifications in the near future, namely CompTIA A+ and Network+ and/or Cisco CCENT/CCNA.

I just want to know what is the best way to study for these exams, if anyone else has these certs. My company provides access to the CBTNuggets courses for these exams and I have viewed them all, but I don't find them particularly helpful, because they are boring as hell, and I don't think they would be the most useful for my time.

Anyone have any recommendations?

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Is Mitt Romney a murderer?
« on: January 15, 2012, 01:06:02 PM »
Well, is he?

Technology, Science & Alt Science / 16-bit programs on a 64-bit OS
« on: January 09, 2012, 10:23:55 PM »
I have decided that I really need to play SimCopter again, because it was freaking sweet. I currently have Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, and downloaded an ISO for SimCopter, but it doesn't work. After a bit of research, it doesn't work on a 64-bit OS like I have right now.

What I want to know, is what would be the easiest way for me to play this game on my PC? I downloaded VirtualBox, but I don't have an XP image to boot from.

What should I do?

Flat Earth General / NASA can fake it
« on: January 09, 2012, 08:51:43 PM »
Just watch the movie "Apollo 18", and then tell me that NASA couldn't fake the space program. I dare you.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Obama's Nobel Peace Prize
« on: January 06, 2012, 11:01:53 PM »
In 2009, Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for:

his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples

Do you think he has lived up to this expectation? It seems to me that under his administration, it has been business as usual for the stereotype of the American Warmongerer.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Corporate Personhood
« on: December 11, 2011, 09:00:13 AM »
Sen. Bernie Sanders has proposed a constitutional amendment that would overturn the Supreme Court decision in a case called Citizens United vs. FEC. 

The Saving American Democracy Amendment states that:

    Corporations are not persons with constitutional rights equal to real people.
    Corporations are subject to regulation by the people.
    Corporations may not make campaign contributions.
    Congress and states have the power to regulate campaign finances.

I agree with this, and if you do too, sign the petition here, over 106k signatures so far.

If this does come to a vote, how do you think congressmen will justify voting against it?

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Population control
« on: October 24, 2011, 05:56:37 PM »
Do you think that measures will be put into place (in places other than China) to control the growing population? If so, when, and what form do you think such measures will take?

I am reading a book right now with an interesting version of population control. Everyone is allowed to reproduce once, with additional opportunities awarded to people with beneficial genetics. This is strictly enforced with something like a mandatory birth control pill. There are also the "Birthright lotteries". Anyone can enter, and they take the number of people who died that year, subtract the birthrights already awarded, and give the remainder out 'randomly' (it is later revealed that aliens instituted this practice in an effort to evolve inherently lucky humans).

Technology, Science & Alt Science / Will this make my computer go faster?
« on: October 09, 2011, 07:31:58 AM »

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