bobquasit: (Default)
Someone asked "why doesz lovee huuurt?". Oh, hell, I'm going to post their entire question because the spelling is so insane:
Read more... )
bobquasit: (Default)
Someone asked "why doesz lovee huuurt?". Oh, hell, I'm going to post their entire question because the spelling is so insane:
Read more... )
bobquasit: (Default)
There were several questions on Askville this morning from guys who were dumped by women who tried to let them down easily. This is, of course, the most refined torture that a woman can inflict on a man; the ultimate punishment she can mete out to some poor idiot for committing the capital crime of not being compatible with her, or not attractive enough to suit her tastes.

Here's the advice I gave one suffering fellow:


There isn't quite a question here. But I'd say that she as trying to let you down easily. Unfortunately many women seem to prefer to try to dump a man without hurting his feelings. This is, of course, impossible; you can't dump someone without hurting them badly. That's why it's called "dumping"!

The problem is that when they try to phrase it so you'll still like them after they break up with you, they make it sound as if there's still a chance that things could work out for you two romantically. But there isn't. THERE IS NO CHANCE SHE WILL EVER, EVER be romantically involved with you again. At most, she might give you a few signs of affection out of pity and in a misguided attempt to cushion the pain of her dumping you. That gesture could include anything from a kiss on the cheek to one last instance of pity sex (if she's the trashy type). But in any case, it's over forever. It's time for you to move on.

I'm sorry; I know it hurts. And it will hurt, a lot, for a long time. But there are other women out there, and in time you'll find one. Get active, throw yourself into new projects, learn new things, try new things. In time, the pain will fade and your life will go on.

"Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them; but not for love." - William Shakespeare, As You Like It (Act 4, Scene 1)
bobquasit: (Default)
There were several questions on Askville this morning from guys who were dumped by women who tried to let them down easily. This is, of course, the most refined torture that a woman can inflict on a man; the ultimate punishment she can mete out to some poor idiot for committing the capital crime of not being compatible with her, or not attractive enough to suit her tastes.

Here's the advice I gave one suffering fellow:


There isn't quite a question here. But I'd say that she as trying to let you down easily. Unfortunately many women seem to prefer to try to dump a man without hurting his feelings. This is, of course, impossible; you can't dump someone without hurting them badly. That's why it's called "dumping"!

The problem is that when they try to phrase it so you'll still like them after they break up with you, they make it sound as if there's still a chance that things could work out for you two romantically. But there isn't. THERE IS NO CHANCE SHE WILL EVER, EVER be romantically involved with you again. At most, she might give you a few signs of affection out of pity and in a misguided attempt to cushion the pain of her dumping you. That gesture could include anything from a kiss on the cheek to one last instance of pity sex (if she's the trashy type). But in any case, it's over forever. It's time for you to move on.

I'm sorry; I know it hurts. And it will hurt, a lot, for a long time. But there are other women out there, and in time you'll find one. Get active, throw yourself into new projects, learn new things, try new things. In time, the pain will fade and your life will go on.

"Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them; but not for love." - William Shakespeare, As You Like It (Act 4, Scene 1)
bobquasit: (Default)
On Wednesday I "graduated" from physical therapy. I still need to exercise my elbow, and it's not 100% yet, but it's a lot better.


Last weekend Teri and I went to King Richard's Fair with her brother, his fiancee, and some of their friends; we were the designated drivers. Unfortunately we couldn't bring Sebastian. He's never been there, but he would have loved it. We saw a guy selling ocarinas with a songbook for both Zelda and Majora's Mask; if Sebastian knew, he'd go absolutely insane! But they were too much money to buy this year.


Alan Greenspan has magnaminiously agreed that he screwed up on the whole "self-regulating finance companies" idea. I had to comment over at the Washington Post:
And how does Mr. Greenspan propose to pay us all back? All the working-class Americans who were left behind while his policies fattened the wallets of those who (he is now shocked to discover) were robbing us blind?

Somehow, I don't think he has an answer for THAT question. Which is a pity, because now it's the only question that matters.



Over on Askville, a right-wing idiot asked "If Obama gets elected, how would he respond to an attack by Iran?". In the details, he answered his own question: Obama would be clueless and pathetic. My sarcasm mode suddenly clicked on, and I wrote this comment:
He would say "HA HA HA! I am an Evil Muslim! Go ahead and destroy the infidel dogs, my Muslim terrorist brothers!".

Then he would cook and eat a white Christian baby on live national TV. And he'd nuke the entire United States for dessert.

There. Are you happy now? Have I fulfilled your twisted fantasies?




Askville seems to be dying, by the way. All the moderators and management have simply disappeared - they haven't been seen for a week or more. Spam is running amok, in large part because Askville/Amazon itself is apparently using a new "Bonus Question" system to allow MTurk users to gold farm - real cash - on Askville. They're churning meaningless questions created by bot to gain $0.03 per question. There may be some sort of search engine gaming going on as well. Many people have stopped answering questions, and most of the activity there is now on the discussion boards. But there's a strong general impression that the management wants all the old users, all the people who enjoyed seriously answering and asking questions, to leave. We're interfering with the commercial aspects of the site.

There has been some chatting about setting up a non-commercial answering site lately.

Brr! I'm freezing. Time to go to bed!
bobquasit: (Default)
On Wednesday I "graduated" from physical therapy. I still need to exercise my elbow, and it's not 100% yet, but it's a lot better.


Last weekend Teri and I went to King Richard's Fair with her brother, his fiancee, and some of their friends; we were the designated drivers. Unfortunately we couldn't bring Sebastian. He's never been there, but he would have loved it. We saw a guy selling ocarinas with a songbook for both Zelda and Majora's Mask; if Sebastian knew, he'd go absolutely insane! But they were too much money to buy this year.


Alan Greenspan has magnaminiously agreed that he screwed up on the whole "self-regulating finance companies" idea. I had to comment over at the Washington Post:
And how does Mr. Greenspan propose to pay us all back? All the working-class Americans who were left behind while his policies fattened the wallets of those who (he is now shocked to discover) were robbing us blind?

Somehow, I don't think he has an answer for THAT question. Which is a pity, because now it's the only question that matters.



Over on Askville, a right-wing idiot asked "If Obama gets elected, how would he respond to an attack by Iran?". In the details, he answered his own question: Obama would be clueless and pathetic. My sarcasm mode suddenly clicked on, and I wrote this comment:
He would say "HA HA HA! I am an Evil Muslim! Go ahead and destroy the infidel dogs, my Muslim terrorist brothers!".

Then he would cook and eat a white Christian baby on live national TV. And he'd nuke the entire United States for dessert.

There. Are you happy now? Have I fulfilled your twisted fantasies?




Askville seems to be dying, by the way. All the moderators and management have simply disappeared - they haven't been seen for a week or more. Spam is running amok, in large part because Askville/Amazon itself is apparently using a new "Bonus Question" system to allow MTurk users to gold farm - real cash - on Askville. They're churning meaningless questions created by bot to gain $0.03 per question. There may be some sort of search engine gaming going on as well. Many people have stopped answering questions, and most of the activity there is now on the discussion boards. But there's a strong general impression that the management wants all the old users, all the people who enjoyed seriously answering and asking questions, to leave. We're interfering with the commercial aspects of the site.

There has been some chatting about setting up a non-commercial answering site lately.

Brr! I'm freezing. Time to go to bed!

The Hobbit

Oct. 9th, 2008 07:48 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Someone over on Askville asked a question today; it was for someone to basically write their homework for them, a book review of The Hobbit. Some users castigated the poor questioner, but I couldn't resist helping her. Here was my answer (quotes from her question are in boldface):


1) Give a summary of the plot.

The Hobbit is the story of a pocket-sized monster who is the friend of a boy named Ash. Together they roam the land, fighting other hobbits - who are also called hobémon - to see who is the best.

Evil Team Rocket shows up and causes all sorts of trouble, but the brave little hobbit defeats them by evolving into a new more powerful form and gnawing their heads off. Everyone lives happily ever after, except for Team Rocket, because they're dead.

The End.

2) What did the book make you think about?

Lime jello, for some reason. I really couldn't say why.

3) Discuss any overriding themes.

There are three great themes in The Hobbit:

"With great power comes great responsibility."

"Spread 'em. Take a deep breath. Cough."

"Do your own homework, or you'll end up wasting your life making silly comments on Askville."

4) Why you liked or did not like about the book.

I like it because it's just the right thickness to fit under the short leg on my bed. So now I can sleep straight again.

That should be all the info you need. Good luck! Wow, I'll bet you'll get a great grade.



Ironically enough, my answer to question #4 was itself pretty much a straight-out steal from the wonderfully funny The Portmanteau Book.

The Hobbit

Oct. 9th, 2008 07:48 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Someone over on Askville asked a question today; it was for someone to basically write their homework for them, a book review of The Hobbit. Some users castigated the poor questioner, but I couldn't resist helping her. Here was my answer (quotes from her question are in boldface):


1) Give a summary of the plot.

The Hobbit is the story of a pocket-sized monster who is the friend of a boy named Ash. Together they roam the land, fighting other hobbits - who are also called hobémon - to see who is the best.

Evil Team Rocket shows up and causes all sorts of trouble, but the brave little hobbit defeats them by evolving into a new more powerful form and gnawing their heads off. Everyone lives happily ever after, except for Team Rocket, because they're dead.

The End.

2) What did the book make you think about?

Lime jello, for some reason. I really couldn't say why.

3) Discuss any overriding themes.

There are three great themes in The Hobbit:

"With great power comes great responsibility."

"Spread 'em. Take a deep breath. Cough."

"Do your own homework, or you'll end up wasting your life making silly comments on Askville."

4) Why you liked or did not like about the book.

I like it because it's just the right thickness to fit under the short leg on my bed. So now I can sleep straight again.

That should be all the info you need. Good luck! Wow, I'll bet you'll get a great grade.



Ironically enough, my answer to question #4 was itself pretty much a straight-out steal from the wonderfully funny The Portmanteau Book.
bobquasit: (Default)
Askville seems to be pretty much going to hell. The management neglected the users for a long time, and then suddenly instituted a draconian punishment by suspending 16 or 17 users; these included some of their best. Factions have developed, partly along religious lines, and discussion boards quickly turn into nothing more than flame wars.

In one of them, the Askville Mayor made a rare appearance to announce that the discussion board would soon be closed in response to complaints (which are almost certainly endemic at this point because of their own boneheaded policies). I had to respond:


Personally, I have to say that the thought of the Askville Team barging in here and shutting down the discussion is pretty offensive - not to mention high-handed. Yes, the DB has pretty much gone bad. That seems to be how most DBs here end up, sooner rather than later, when an even slightly controversial topic comes up. It's more a matter of personalities than anything else.

But who is to blame for the increasingly toxic environment here at Askville? In my book, it's largely the Askville team itself. They've played absentee landlords for years now, and the poisoned state of the Askville community is the natural result. They may have been working like dogs on background coding issues, but they've badly neglected the people who make up the Askville membership - the people who create the value that the site has for Amazon.com.

They rarely speak to us. When they do, the communications are minimal. Mostly they issue decrees on their blog, which doesn't allow feedback. When they've been finally forced to take action because the community is falling apart, they've made stupid, draconian decisions.

There are really only two ways to run a social site (which is the core of what Askville is). One way is to run it impersonally, with clear but minimal rules that are enforced regularly and impartially.

Alternatively, you get yourself down on the level of your users and get to know them. You develop a relationship with them, or if it's a large site, with the most active and influential members. In other words, you make friends with your user base.

Distant but fair landlords, or friends to your users. The Askville team seems to have straddled the categories, and picked the worst of both types. They've been distant but unfair, with rules that are unclear and aren't enforced with any regularity. They've punished with little or no warning, and even when they try to interact with members, it's always very clear that they neither trust us nor are comfortable dealing with us.

It seems likely that Askville's days are numbered. That's a pity, because it was a good idea and could have been a smashing success. But when it fails, I hope that Amazon.com management will lay the blame where it belongs: on the Askville management, and on themselves. Because Amazon.com should have noticed long ago just how poorly Askville is being run.



The post went up, but I suspect that it might disappear soon - and in any case, odds are that the discussion board will be closed before long.

Askville management may have done a decent job with the code and features. They've done a horrendously poor job in dealing with their users. Yes, I might be banned soon for making this post there. But frankly, I have very little interest in the site any more - and it's just not worth answering questions "officially" there any more, because the odds are that you'll either be attacked by some for not agreeing with their opinions, or you'll be down-rated by other respondents in order to improve their own ratings. Some people have been gaming the Askville system like crazy to give themselves insanely high numbers of "quest coins" - even though the coins are useless!
bobquasit: (Default)
Askville seems to be pretty much going to hell. The management neglected the users for a long time, and then suddenly instituted a draconian punishment by suspending 16 or 17 users; these included some of their best. Factions have developed, partly along religious lines, and discussion boards quickly turn into nothing more than flame wars.

In one of them, the Askville Mayor made a rare appearance to announce that the discussion board would soon be closed in response to complaints (which are almost certainly endemic at this point because of their own boneheaded policies). I had to respond:


Personally, I have to say that the thought of the Askville Team barging in here and shutting down the discussion is pretty offensive - not to mention high-handed. Yes, the DB has pretty much gone bad. That seems to be how most DBs here end up, sooner rather than later, when an even slightly controversial topic comes up. It's more a matter of personalities than anything else.

But who is to blame for the increasingly toxic environment here at Askville? In my book, it's largely the Askville team itself. They've played absentee landlords for years now, and the poisoned state of the Askville community is the natural result. They may have been working like dogs on background coding issues, but they've badly neglected the people who make up the Askville membership - the people who create the value that the site has for Amazon.com.

They rarely speak to us. When they do, the communications are minimal. Mostly they issue decrees on their blog, which doesn't allow feedback. When they've been finally forced to take action because the community is falling apart, they've made stupid, draconian decisions.

There are really only two ways to run a social site (which is the core of what Askville is). One way is to run it impersonally, with clear but minimal rules that are enforced regularly and impartially.

Alternatively, you get yourself down on the level of your users and get to know them. You develop a relationship with them, or if it's a large site, with the most active and influential members. In other words, you make friends with your user base.

Distant but fair landlords, or friends to your users. The Askville team seems to have straddled the categories, and picked the worst of both types. They've been distant but unfair, with rules that are unclear and aren't enforced with any regularity. They've punished with little or no warning, and even when they try to interact with members, it's always very clear that they neither trust us nor are comfortable dealing with us.

It seems likely that Askville's days are numbered. That's a pity, because it was a good idea and could have been a smashing success. But when it fails, I hope that Amazon.com management will lay the blame where it belongs: on the Askville management, and on themselves. Because Amazon.com should have noticed long ago just how poorly Askville is being run.



The post went up, but I suspect that it might disappear soon - and in any case, odds are that the discussion board will be closed before long.

Askville management may have done a decent job with the code and features. They've done a horrendously poor job in dealing with their users. Yes, I might be banned soon for making this post there. But frankly, I have very little interest in the site any more - and it's just not worth answering questions "officially" there any more, because the odds are that you'll either be attacked by some for not agreeing with their opinions, or you'll be down-rated by other respondents in order to improve their own ratings. Some people have been gaming the Askville system like crazy to give themselves insanely high numbers of "quest coins" - even though the coins are useless!
bobquasit: (Default)
I lost most of my interest in Askville a couple of months ago. I'm still not 100% sure why. I continued to peek in now and again to adjudicate appeals, but it was mostly out of a sense of duty more than anything else. I didn't enjoy it much.

Then recently, Askville went through a radical change of policy. 16 people had their account suspended for actions they'd taken long before. Many of these people were on my friends list there, or were people I was aware of; they were, mostly, good advice-writers.

A lot of them ended up at another advice site called Fluther for the duration of their banishment. So I went over there too, to take a look.

It's not bad. Smaller and more friendly than Askville, for one thing. And it's not affiliated with some corporate behemoth (Askville is owned by Amazon.com, and you get gold coins for endorsing their products). So I just made the following post in an Askville forum. I know, I'm just asking for trouble:
Read more... )
I really should just go back and do some more work on that Dan Grabauskas poem. It's much more fun.
bobquasit: (Default)
I lost most of my interest in Askville a couple of months ago. I'm still not 100% sure why. I continued to peek in now and again to adjudicate appeals, but it was mostly out of a sense of duty more than anything else. I didn't enjoy it much.

Then recently, Askville went through a radical change of policy. 16 people had their account suspended for actions they'd taken long before. Many of these people were on my friends list there, or were people I was aware of; they were, mostly, good advice-writers.

A lot of them ended up at another advice site called Fluther for the duration of their banishment. So I went over there too, to take a look.

It's not bad. Smaller and more friendly than Askville, for one thing. And it's not affiliated with some corporate behemoth (Askville is owned by Amazon.com, and you get gold coins for endorsing their products). So I just made the following post in an Askville forum. I know, I'm just asking for trouble:
Read more... )
I really should just go back and do some more work on that Dan Grabauskas poem. It's much more fun.
bobquasit: (Default)
The first thing to try when you're having problems with almost any piece of electronic equipment:

  1. Turn it off.
  2. Unplug it - the power cord, plus any data connections
  3. Wait a full minute, by the clock
  4. Plug it back in (all plugs)
  5. Turn it back on.

Four times out of five, that will solve the problem - at least for a while.
bobquasit: (Default)
The first thing to try when you're having problems with almost any piece of electronic equipment:

  1. Turn it off.
  2. Unplug it - the power cord, plus any data connections
  3. Wait a full minute, by the clock
  4. Plug it back in (all plugs)
  5. Turn it back on.

Four times out of five, that will solve the problem - at least for a while.
bobquasit: (Default)
Be very skeptical about new medicines and procedures which haven't been in common use for at least a generation - call it 20 years. Longer would be better.

Time and again new medical breakthroughs have turned out to have huge, unexpected side-effects, or even to be actually harmful. If it hasn't been used for long enough that a generation of patients have died of natural causes, it may not be safe. The history of medicine has shown this time and again.

Generally speaking, it's best to chose the "simplest and least" option whenever possible. Disaster is most often caused by complication and confusion. And when it comes to your health, it's best not to take a chance. There are no do-overs when it comes to your body; it's one per person, and that's it.

Of course you should listen to your doctor! But make sure that he or she is worthy of your trust, and don't be afraid to let her/him know that you prefer a cautious approach whenever feasible.
bobquasit: (Default)
Be very skeptical about new medicines and procedures which haven't been in common use for at least a generation - call it 20 years. Longer would be better.

Time and again new medical breakthroughs have turned out to have huge, unexpected side-effects, or even to be actually harmful. If it hasn't been used for long enough that a generation of patients have died of natural causes, it may not be safe. The history of medicine has shown this time and again.

Generally speaking, it's best to chose the "simplest and least" option whenever possible. Disaster is most often caused by complication and confusion. And when it comes to your health, it's best not to take a chance. There are no do-overs when it comes to your body; it's one per person, and that's it.

Of course you should listen to your doctor! But make sure that he or she is worthy of your trust, and don't be afraid to let her/him know that you prefer a cautious approach whenever feasible.
bobquasit: (Default)
Okay. I've got my bonus, and my computer's hard drive seems to be getting unreliable. Plus the sound card and DVD-ROM are shot, and the CD burner is getting quite iffy. So it would seem that it's time to get a new computer, while I can.

I could use some advice and suggestions, though.

Here's what I want in a system:

1. able to convert videos into DVDs.
2. able to convert cassette tapes and LPs into CDs
3. able to play modern games such as Fable and Oblivion.
4. The usual other capabilities.

Now, I'm thinking of going to PCs for Everyone. I got the system before the last one from there, and possibly the one before that. They had a great reputation for years, and their systems were reasonably priced and used high-quality parts.

But a few years ago they closed their brick-and-mortar location and became a net-only company. They're still in business, but I'm not in touch with any of the people I used to know who used them. So it's possible that they've gone downhill; I don't know.

Looking at their website, I see two options: a system built on a AMD Sempron processor, or one built on a AMD Athalon 64 x2 Dual-Core processor. They're the AMD 1000 and AMD 2000 series, both of which can be viewed here.

I'd customize them a bit, of course. But I'm not an expert on hardware, so I could use some advice. And if anyone has suggestions on somewhere else to buy the system, or on processors other than the ones I've suggested here - heck, on ANYTHING to do with the system - please let me know! That includes software. I'm assuming that I'll go with Windows XP, since by all accounts Vista sucks, but if you think that's a mistake do tell me.

Just one thing: I'm not going with a Mac. I hate Macs!
bobquasit: (Default)
Okay. I've got my bonus, and my computer's hard drive seems to be getting unreliable. Plus the sound card and DVD-ROM are shot, and the CD burner is getting quite iffy. So it would seem that it's time to get a new computer, while I can.

I could use some advice and suggestions, though.

Here's what I want in a system:

1. able to convert videos into DVDs.
2. able to convert cassette tapes and LPs into CDs
3. able to play modern games such as Fable and Oblivion.
4. The usual other capabilities.

Now, I'm thinking of going to PCs for Everyone. I got the system before the last one from there, and possibly the one before that. They had a great reputation for years, and their systems were reasonably priced and used high-quality parts.

But a few years ago they closed their brick-and-mortar location and became a net-only company. They're still in business, but I'm not in touch with any of the people I used to know who used them. So it's possible that they've gone downhill; I don't know.

Looking at their website, I see two options: a system built on a AMD Sempron processor, or one built on a AMD Athalon 64 x2 Dual-Core processor. They're the AMD 1000 and AMD 2000 series, both of which can be viewed here.

I'd customize them a bit, of course. But I'm not an expert on hardware, so I could use some advice. And if anyone has suggestions on somewhere else to buy the system, or on processors other than the ones I've suggested here - heck, on ANYTHING to do with the system - please let me know! That includes software. I'm assuming that I'll go with Windows XP, since by all accounts Vista sucks, but if you think that's a mistake do tell me.

Just one thing: I'm not going with a Mac. I hate Macs!
bobquasit: (Default)
[A 45 year old man whose wife recently died asked how to meet people. This was my answer:]

I am sorry for your loss.

It’s difficult to know how to answer your question without knowing more about you - and in particular, your dating style. How you met your wife, for example, and how you used to date. If you were comfortable in the bar scene, for example, my answer would be quite different than it would be if you were of a more shy and retiring nature - or if you just didn’t like bars, for that matter!

But if you were comfortable in the bar scene, I don’t think you’d have asked this question here. You’d already know what to do.

While I’m at it, I’ll include the obvious caveat: depending on how recently you lost your spouse, it may be too soon for you to begin dating again. But that’s for you to judge.

I have two different approaches for you. Either one should work well, and there’s certainly no reason that you couldn’t try both simultaneously.
Read more... )
There are other options, of course. Speed dating, for one. You may find speed dating events in your area by Googling for them (i.e. "speed dating" and [your home town]). There may also be matchmaking services available in your area, if you want to spend the money. These are very personalized; the matchmaker meets you and gets to know your interests, and then matches you up with someone that they feel might be compatible. It’s a new take on an old tradition. Again, Google would be the place to start looking.

As I mentioned before, I met my wife on an online service. We’ve been happily married for years, and have a wonderful little boy. So I’m living proof that online dating works.

Good luck!
bobquasit: (Default)
[A 45 year old man whose wife recently died asked how to meet people. This was my answer:]

I am sorry for your loss.

It’s difficult to know how to answer your question without knowing more about you - and in particular, your dating style. How you met your wife, for example, and how you used to date. If you were comfortable in the bar scene, for example, my answer would be quite different than it would be if you were of a more shy and retiring nature - or if you just didn’t like bars, for that matter!

But if you were comfortable in the bar scene, I don’t think you’d have asked this question here. You’d already know what to do.

While I’m at it, I’ll include the obvious caveat: depending on how recently you lost your spouse, it may be too soon for you to begin dating again. But that’s for you to judge.

I have two different approaches for you. Either one should work well, and there’s certainly no reason that you couldn’t try both simultaneously.
Read more... )
There are other options, of course. Speed dating, for one. You may find speed dating events in your area by Googling for them (i.e. "speed dating" and [your home town]). There may also be matchmaking services available in your area, if you want to spend the money. These are very personalized; the matchmaker meets you and gets to know your interests, and then matches you up with someone that they feel might be compatible. It’s a new take on an old tradition. Again, Google would be the place to start looking.

As I mentioned before, I met my wife on an online service. We’ve been happily married for years, and have a wonderful little boy. So I’m living proof that online dating works.

Good luck!

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