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Comment: A few caveats (Score 4, Interesting) 53

by 8086 (#48440773) Attached to: Indian Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Snub Android One Phones
Some factors to consider:

1. The Android Ones are a hard sell in India and nobody cares about Stock vs Proprietary Android. The Xiaomi Redmi 1S which sells for less than these phones and has much better specs is a huge hit in India. I bought one about a week ago for ~Rs. 6000 ($100) in a flash sale, and its already out of stock at all major online retailers. To top that, there's news of an even cheaper (~Rs. 4000) Xiaomi phone with a 4G modem coming soon. I did look at the Android One phones when I was shopping, but ended up getting the Xiaomi because of the better build quality and necessary luxuries like a scratchproof screen and non-shitty camera which the Android Ones lack. Also, there are better featured phones (with older Android in some cases) available in the same price bracket as the Android Ones from these same manufacturers. My servant bought a 6 inch Micromax phablet a month ago for ~Rs. 7000. (Yes, I'm not one of the aforementioned 'class-conscious' assholes, although they do exist). Btw, CyanogenMod works well on the Xiaomi and I now have a fully functional portable ScummVM gaming console - something that my iDevices and Samsung Androids from the past 4 years haven't been able to do without bricking/breaking warranty.

2. Brick-and-mortar mobile stores are a lot less regulated and organized, and come in way more shapes and sizes than the article makes them out to be. For instance, a lot of "mom-and-pop" phone shops in India will gladly sell you pirated software and content, non-licensed Chinese parts, and no-name Chinese phones. If you're unlucky, they'll even sell you refurbished items as new. These are highly independent wheeler dealers who do what it takes to make a profit. The real effect of this stocking ban will be that only big-name mobile shops such as those run by the major cellular carriers or the equivalents of Best Buy here in India will not stock the Android Ones, but the countless little shops will still do it.

3. Online shopping has reached critical mass only just now, i.e. the Diwali 2014 season. The technology and players have been around for a long time - I made my first online purchase here in 2000, but India-friendly options such as cash-on-delivery and zero-fee cash transfers have only recently come up. Trust is a huge issue here when not buying face-to-face from a person, because we don't have faith in the due process getting our money back if something goes wrong. If you buy face-to-face, you can at least go and rough up the guy who sold you the defective item, or so the argument went. But, times are changing, and people don't want to pay the "brick-and-mortar tax" anymore. Big retail in India is shit-scared, and there's possibly even corporate psychological warfare going on against e-commerce:
Story 1 Story 2.

Comment: Women in competitive gaming (Score 1) 962

by 8086 (#47514407) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry
Even outside of the extreme examples, women have a tough time in the competitive gaming scene and are immediately written off when they show the slightest bit of incompetence. For example, take Pyrion flax and Sheever from the Dota 2 competitive scene. Pyrion is arguably worse than Sheever (he himself would probably admit that), but he is given more airtime and taken more seriously. Here's a video that shows blatant sexism among Dota 2 casters:
I can't seem to find the video, but on day 3 of the Dota 2 TI4 championship (in the C9 vs VG match), there's a point where Sheever tries to say something about the lineups but is interrupted by other casters three times in a row. She ends up getting to say nothing before the game starts.

I don't think there's much that can be done to get women equal and fair treatment in gaming and computer-related fields, but I'm almost certain the situation will improve itself over time as more women participate. In the meantime, we just have to try to not be such dicks to the outliers and to not look at people through the lenses of gender, race and nationality.

Comment: Re:Have to channel the old Hedberg (Score 1) 625

by 8086 (#47332629) Attached to: EU's Top Court May Define Obesity As a Disability

"Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic! Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupus! One of those two doesn't sound right."

There are a number of STDs that people get yelled at, too. But your point is well taken. Until recently, alcoholics were considered to just have weak character and were very badly mistreated. Recognizing addiction as a disease helped to change that stigma. Like alcoholics, for many, obesity is not a simple matter of mind over matter and a lack of willpower.

I partly agree with you. Morbid obesity that renders a person dysfunctional should be considered a bona fide disease. Ideally, the government should provide free proper rehabilitation for anyone morbidly obese to recover. But, the line should not be drawn at the BMI mark for Obese (which is what is implied), and here's why:
1. It would encourage indulgence by rewarding it, and lead to possible misuse.
2. It would increase hostility in the workplace against the Obese.
3. As as someone who almost touched the Obese line himself once, I think my weight and how I look is none of your business, or that of anyone that I engage with on a professional or social basis. Many people would be offended by being offered the Obesity benefit based on bad hair days. I don't think most Obese people want another possible label that just about anyone can throw at them.
Yelling is not the best cure, but not yelling also has major downsides. Sometimes people need to be alerted.

Comment: we live in interesting times (Score 2) 52

by 8086 (#43172289) Attached to: US Vulnerability Database Yanked Over Malware Infestation
Apart from the great irony of this incident, it is also a sign of things to come in cyber security and the computer industry in general. It seems we're at a point of time when you don't have to be stupid and/or high-visibility in order to get hacked, most contemporary software is ill-equipped to deal with the rising security threat, and even security service providers cannot be fully trusted. Hopefully this translates to more employment for us geeks and opportunities to build all the security features and plug up all the holes like we always wanted to but couldn't spare the time for.

Comment: Cuba libre (Score 1) 121

by 8086 (#42349449) Attached to: The Mark Cuban Chair To Eliminate Stupid Patents
Mark Cuban is an accidental billionaire with a lot of attitude and an itchy twitter finger. His smarts are debatable, but his chutzpah is not. In this instance, however, I agree with him.

Judge Posner who ruled on an Apple v Samsung case agrees with a lot of us here: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/10/judge-decries-excessive-copyright-and-software-patent-protections/ . It's time the USPTO did something drastic about frivolous patents and patent trolling. The problem cannot go away with major systemic change, and because of the complexity of laws involved, you can't just make reforms such as "ban all patent trolls" willy-nilly. The patent trolls will just reincarnate as software company holding companies or some other type of legal entity that bends the rules.

What needs to happen are major changes to the patent examination process itself. Very few people know that when looking for prior art, patent examiners don't use Google or even the Internet to do their research. They do searches in a few official patent/scientific databases in order to make their opinions about prior art. The patent applicant and his attorney can provide USPTO with references from the Internet to prove their point and those are read over by the examiner, but otherwise the examiner has their hands tied.

If the examiner wants to deny a patent application, he/she has to move mountains and prove without a doubt that the invention is not patentable. Patent attorneys are persistent leech-like creatures who will keep appealing any such decisions using any possible argument for as long as possible. Every time a patent attorney argues and disproves a patent examiner's decision, the examiner looks stupid in front of his peers. So, by default, the path of least resistance for the patent examiner is to just keep on awarding patents based on the limited knowledge of USPTO's databases.

I know this from working as a software patent litigation expert.

+ - Raspberry Pi To Cross The Ocean In Autonomous Boat->

Submitted by lukehopewell1
lukehopewell1 (1855440) writes "The Raspberry Pi is a triumph in computing, and it's now set to become a triumph in robotics as one developer plans to build a model boat around it and sail it across the Atlantic Ocean, completely unmanned.

It's codenamed "FishPi" and will see a model boat sail across the Atlantic all by itself save for a camera, GPS module, compass and solar panels. It's only a proof of concept right now, but if this guy set it up on Kickstarter and offered a live stream of the crossing, I'd be opening my wallet."

Link to Original Source

+ - "Flame" didn't take a nation state to develop->

Submitted by mrheckman
mrheckman (939480) writes "Security researcher Todd Heberlein shows how easy it is to create AV-evading viruses:
http://www.netsq.com/Podcasts/Data/2012/GlowingEmbers/ (HTML5 video)

"Flame is the latest high profile cyber espionage attack, and two things stand out about it: how long it has been around without being noticed and its size and breadth of capabilities. This has led to a lot of handwringing in the anti-virus community and computer security community in general. One explanation given for the fact that such capable malware could have gone so long without being noticed is that it was developed by a nation state with huge budgets. Glowing Embers sets out to show that this is not the case. A single person in a single week can accomplish many of the things Flame can all while evading anti-virus software. ""

Link to Original Source

+ - Master your online search skills with the Power Searching with Google course->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "It seems that Google wants to help you become a power searcher and get better answers from the service. Today the search engine giant announced that they are rolling out a new free online video course called “Power Searching with Google” that was built to teach end-users best practices and various tricks to get the most out of the search experience."
Link to Original Source

Comment: why not 4G? (Score 1) 134

by 8086 (#39352719) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Has the Best 3G Coverage In California and Nevada?
You should bring aboard one of these (http://nyconvergence.com/2012/03/ny-marketing-firm-uses-homeless-for-sxsw-wifi-beacons.html) homeless people and you'll have 4G internet. You won't need as much internet on the trip, either: with a homeless companion you can sing "spanish ladies" for miles, share stories about the down-low in whichever city they're from, and food, as you find the best dumpster diving joints on the interstate.

Be sociable. Speak to the person next to you in the unemployment line tomorrow.