Shot-fire, I'm still using Office 2003 (when I'm not using LibreOffice). I'd still be using Office 97, but it doesn't play well with Win7.
220 posts • joined 14 Jul 2007
Old kit, old data
I have data on my computer that is almost forty years old. It's still valuable. I've had to go through a ridiculous number of format conversions to keep it that way. Some of it started out saved on TRS-DOS cassette tapes. Some started out on Commodore Scripsit cassette tapes. It's gone through TRS-DOS floppy disk to CP/M to MS-DOS, and I had to keep at it as the programs I used to record it went quietly into the sunset. Right now it's on a NTFS hard drive, and if I take it any further, it'll all be saved as RTF.
The thing is, I still use that data (I am, and live with, a novelist. They're word-processing files.) Some of the conversions it went through were only possible with a specific machine (Commodore 128) which was only available for a few years. If I'd missed out on that machine, the files would be gone.
So give some consideration to a bloke who wants his old kit back. Who knows how long it'll be for the files to become the digital equivalent of cuneiform? That can happen rapidly and surprisingly.
Re: Updating to Windows 10
I have drive docks on my desktop PC. When the windows "update" was free, I cloned my hard drive onto another hard drive, then got Windows 10 on it. I can use either, without them screwing up the guts of the other. I keep them both up-to-date, but hardly ever *use* Win10. I don't know from dogs' breakfasts (I'm a cat person) but Win10 has some similarity to cat urp.
Re: Dark matter/energy question
There's a filk song (Science Fiction Fandom version of folk) called "Radiation Blues".
Old H-bomb went off last Tuesday, by the Second Chance Saloon.
Ain't nothin' left but the jukebox, and it's playin' a mournful tune.
Just keeps on playin' the Radiation Blues.
Been drinkin' since last Tuesday, and I should be getting high,
But the dehydration's got me, and all I am is dry.
Just keep on singing the Radiation Blues.
There's a lot more of it, sung to the tune of "Frankie and Johnny". I have the lyrics somewhere, but I'm not going to search a filing cabinet and my storage for it.
Re: Getting a proble there?
The Parker Solar Probe holds the current speed record -- at a 15-million-mile perihelion, it was going 213,200 miles per hour. (This is a bit over .0003 c.) It will get closer, and faster, each time it goes by (using planetary gravity assists). At closest planned approach, it will be 3.9 million miles away, which should bring its speed MUCH higher. But it's only doing that because it's very close to the Sun, and if you'd try to use that velocity to get to Barnard's star, it simply wouldn't be there. The probe would use it up trying to get away from our Sun.
I played Spacewar on the PDP-1 at MIT, in '62 or '63. (The TX-0, which could be thought of as the ur-PDP, was in the same room. Next door was a paper-tape teletype which somebody had taught to play tic-tac-toe.) It was so much fun I ported it to the CDC-3100 at the university of Minnesota. There's an online emulator at https://www.masswerk.at/spacewar/minnesota/.
I've been a museum curator for several decades (now retired) and I estimate 90% of the visitors are very nice people. 9% are rather clumsy, and might break things. And 1% are pure brass reciprocating bastards who shouldn't have been allowed in the door. This is only a rough estimate, and I suspect social media has more of the reciprocating sort.
That's why I don't go on Facebook or Twitter.
I am not a pessimist. I am paranoid. My major jobs have required paranoia.
I ran and helped maintain a large Van de Graaf generator. It had high voltages all over the place. Bad things could happen if those voltages got loose. The machine even gave me electric shocks when I wasn't careful to keep me alert.
And then I joined the museum world. Let me put it straight: entropy is out to get your stuff. Your job is to find all the ways entropy can get in, and block them.
As for the glass being half full, or half empty? Forget it. The glass is twice as large as it needs to be to handle the drink.
The experiment could be in space, and still not cause permanent debris. Simply have two satellites, aimed carefully at a convenient very-low-orbit crashpoint over the Pacific Spacecraft Graveyard. The immediate debris would make a lovely display, which could be examined for trajectory, brightness and spectrum. That'd give a rough idea of what came out of the crash, size and material and all. Of course there would be things that headed out - but it's an orbit. They'll be back, to very-low-orbit. The whole mess would decay rapidly into the atmosphere, and we'd know where to watch for it.
And now for something completely different:
I had an inverse experience of this sort. Way back in the 1960s, I had a night shift on the CDC 3100. (It had a magnificent 12K of 24-bit words!) It wedged. Nothing I could do made it work again. Frustrated, I began pouring curse-words into the console typewriter. Somewhere in all this foulness I must have done something right, because it began working again -- properly. The digital gods answered my prayer.
They really shouldn't stick grad students with the night shift, but I came out okay that time.
Re: Start of a retraction
The problem with Jupiter's larger moons? First, they have their own gravity wells. Second, they are well within Jupiter's gravity well. Third, they are much further away than Mars. It'd take a lot of delta-V to get whatever you were mining to any Terrestrial point-of-sale. The moon and Mars are less habitable than Antarctica, but we do have bases in Antarctica. And you'd need a lot less delta-V to get to the asteroid belt from these smaller worlds. So have robots doing the grunt work -- but it might be wise to have humans there to repair the robots. Both Mars and the moon seem to have enough water to mine for fuel.
Besides, there are research opportunities. The far side of the moon has good radio silence, and lots of the time, no light pollution whatever. Mars is further out, so it'd be useful for VLBI and parallax studies. And liveable or not, they have raw materials to support the studies.
Re: If women are REALLY "equal"...
I don't think you DID read Bambi's comment right, though Bambi could have presented the comments more effectively. The argument was that men and women do not have the same capabilities; the mistake was in using examples involving superior male performance. I don't think anybody feels women would make better weightlifters -- but in my experience, women make better psychologists and doctors. Your mileage may vary, but I doubt it would vary enough that you would assemble a 50/50 Olympics weightlifting team.
In the 21st century, the finding of reasons to be aggrieved seems universal. Men complain about women, women complain about men, elites complain about deplorables, and hard-working deplorables complain about useless elites. And they ALL complain about their bosses.
Frankly, I think it's the bosses' fault.
What about the type K stars?
We live on a planet circling a type G main-sequence yellow dwarf star. In our region of space, about 7.5% of the stars are type G. Everybody talks about the type M red dwarfs. That's reasonable: there are a lot of them, about 76% of the stars in our neighborhood. But they don't give out much light. For a planet to be in the Goldilocks Zone, it has to be quite close to the star. It's probably tide-locked. Worse, red dwarfs are given to tantrums, with flares and radiation. I wouldn't want to live next to one.
Why is nobody talking about the type K orange dwarfs? They make up about 12% of the stars in our neighborhood. They're heavier than the red dwarfs, and give off more light -- and they're not nearly as excitable as the red dwarfs. There'd be more mass in the system, the planets would probably be larger, and they'd have more of a chance to keep their atmosphere. Why, they might not be tide-locked, even!
I certainly hope it's because everybody is so busy talking about the planets they don't bother going into fine detail about the stars.
UBI is not a good idea.
There is an old saying: "Idle hands are the devil's workshop." I don't know if that's one of the official Gods of the Copybook Headings, but it should be. Busy people, people with a job, don't have time to cause trouble. (Politicians and bureaucrats don't count there.) People who have nothing useful to do, will do SOMETHING. Some on the UBI will sit there watching TV. Some will be busily making more people to go on UBI. Some will discover an interest in painting and literature, or perhaps invention. And a lot of the rest will make trouble. Multi-generational welfare is not a pretty sight, and that is, at heart, what UBI would be.
Re: as autumn weather turns to winter
"As autumn weather turns to winter" speaks of countries that are busy having an autumn. In Australia, autumn also turns to winter -- it just does it six months differently than the northern hemisphere. Nearer the equator, things like "rainy season" get their chance to strut.
"Much of the world," I'd say, means "a pretty decent percentage." If they'd said "most", I could go with you. Remember, also, that the northern hemisphere has almost twice the land surface as the southern hemisphere does -- and that "winter" means different things to different people. I was in Thailand during their cold season, happily wearing short-sleeve shirts, but saw the occasional Thai going past in a light parka or heavy hoodie.
During the Carter administration, and continuing, the maximum speed allowed on American roads was 55 mph. Everybody hated it. As one traveling salesman said, "crossing Texas at 55 isn't a job, it's a career."
Highways are not one-size-fits-all, especially when the garment in question is a straitjacket.
Hey, you know why it's called the iPhone X? When you see Apple's repair bill, your response will be X-rated
Re: If iPhone owners are sheep, what are Android phone owners?
People who save money. I mostly use my smartphone for a reader, with calculator/camera function. Oh, and it makes phone calls. My current smartphone is an LG 16C with Android 4.4.2. It cost me about $20 new. If it breaks, I'll get something else, no guarantee needed. My tablet is an ASUS with Android. My preferred operating system is Windows 7. Life is calmer and cheaper behind the bleeding edge, and when I wanted more speed and power, I threw RAM and a SSD at the same ol' computer, and got it.
Over the years I've learned one machine language, three assembly languages, several versions of Fortran, and several versions of Basic. None of them work any more without a vintage machine or an emulator -- like the Red Queen's Race, it takes all the running you can do to stay in the same place. I'm tired of running. If it does my job and I can afford it, that's what I'll get. Android does the job, and it's cheaper than Apple.
Re: And now for something completely different:
If I were faced with using that illegible an image, I'd run it through GIMP to increase the contrast. I've seen too many sites use pale, pale grey text -- sometimes I have to highlight the text to read it. It's web design fashion these days, and I don't like it. I read entire novels on a smartphone with a 3-3/4 inch screen, so even at my advanced age, I'm visually capable.
And now for something completely different:
Your article has nice black type. Then you put in a list of repair costs, and it is pale grey. Why cannot you Web-design jerkwads realize that you are communicating here, not committing Art? I admit, I've seen even paler text, but this isn't a competition to be the least legible. Keep the stuff READABLE.
A draft US law to secure election computers that isn't braindead. Well, I'm stunned! I gotta lie down
Re: As Always
Depends on the government, the enterprise, and the type of help needed. Waffle House is famous for getting restaurants up and running after a disaster, far faster than government aid. When the power's out, the power company is the one that gets the electricity grid back up and running, and in the meantime, major hospitals supply their own. In Minnesota, when the roads are covered with snow after a blizzard, all levels of government turn out to plow them. In New York City, I hear it doesn't work nearly as well.
Business or government, though -- they all charge us for their services. The government calls the charge "taxes". The main difference is the size and complexity. Government is a large and complex thing and takes time to set into motion. Businesses are smaller and more focused, and probably more nimble.
Don't panic, and always carry a balance.
I've bought from NewEgg and never had any trouble, but not recently. There's a Micro Center just five or ten minutes down the road. There's much to be said for buying everything from your local brick-and-mortar store: if something goes wrong, they can't point the finger elsewhere.
Re: And no significant change can be expected until...
It would be nice if the perps and civilians involved had body cameras, too. Police have shown a great (and occasionally violent) aversion to that. But with higher cellphone speeds and larger storage, it might be able to store the video/audio somewhere safe from (ahem) official discretion. If a defense lawyer can present the video of a policeman ripping the suspect's bodycam off and stomping it -- that policeman's bodycam had better show a good reason for it or the case will be fatally compromised.
Windows 7, 8, 10? I'll take 9, please.
Windows 10 is being patched? That OS is spyware all by itself. They're just worried somebody else may get the information they want to be theirs alone. I'll stay with 7. I'd consider Linux, except somewhere along the way, Linux stopped working on my Linux-rated tower. It seems to run, but the display twitches and jumps around.
Upgrades are not always improvements.
Re: there is a science fiction story about this ...
There's another: The Silver Eggheads (1979) by Fritz Leiber. There, humans serve as the plot generators, which are then fleshed out by computers/wordmills into something called "wordwooze" which was the human populace's chief entertainment. It was a desperate time indeed when the 'writers' rebelled and destroyed the wordmills, for none of the humans were really competent at writing. Fortunately, Zane Gort (a robot who wrote stories for other robots) was able to help out. His robot pronography was ... interesting. Pray you do not fall into the hands of Dr. Tungsten.
Re: Feel Good
I went to the post, and read it. It was sober and cautious, and far from stereotyping. He merely said that men and women are, on the average, different; so it's only reasonable they're not all interested in the same things.
But then, everybody knows: men and women are exactly and totally the same, except men are bastards.
There is one slight problem...
For many years, my dentist has offered headphones, to play music of my choice. And then, at least once a minute, "Turn your head to the left." "Open a bit wider." "Are you doing okay?"
What good is something carrying your mind off to a soothing place, when you get dragged back to reality dozens of times during the process? I've given up on the headphones.