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Comment: Re:At Odds (Score 3, Insightful) 447

by BrianH (#48133331) Attached to: Statisticians Uncover What Makes For a Stable Marriage

Excessive spending on a wedding may also reflect a "prince/princess" mentality, where people see their wedding day as the beginning of some great romantic journey straight out of a Disney movie. Many younger people jump into marriage without an understanding about what marriage really is. When the rather dreary realities of life set in and don't match their preconceptions, the entire marriage can fall apart. An expensive wedding can be an indicator of that mindset.

My sister dropped over $30k on my nieces wedding, only to be floored when my niece divorced her husband just three years later. Her excuse? He wasn't "romantic anymore". She wanted a fairytale romance with a "happily ever after", and thought that something was wrong with her marriage when "happily ever after" turned into "working to pay the bills", "only vacationing twice a year", "what do you mean, I should get a job too?" and "my adorable Prince Charming husband works 14 hours a day to make ends meet and is so tired when he gets home that he has no time for meeeee *whine*".

It's the fallout from the princess culture, imho.

Comment: Re:I've got one on the way (Score 1) 138

by BrianH (#43949039) Attached to: Dell's New X18: 5 Pounds, 18 Inches

FWIW, the Windows logo on the XPS 18 is the updated version of the Super (Windows) button, and it's an active part of the tablet. Pressing it returns you to the Start screen so that you can change programs or launch something new (or hide you pr0n from the GF when she walks into the room). The button exists on all Win8 tablets because MS requires it.

Comment: I don't get the hate. (Score 4, Informative) 138

by BrianH (#43948981) Attached to: Dell's New X18: 5 Pounds, 18 Inches

My office was on the pre-launch wait list and we got some of the first XPS 18's Dell shipped. For your average person, with average computer needs, it's actually a really nice solution. First off, this really isn't meant to be used like a typical tablet, and is more of a "lap computer". The foldout legs allow it to work beautifully as a presentation piece (I've been using it to do R&D demos), and when reversed it actually makes a very nice tabletop touchscreen.

Is it the most powerful computer in the world? No. Mine is the i5 with 8Gb and it's performance is about average for a modern desktop computer. You're not going to run the latest games with everything cranked all the way up (the lack of discreet graphics puts an end to that), but my son plays SW:ToR and it averages about 40fps with everything turned up. That's nothing amazing, but it's really not bad either. You have to remember that the XPS 18 isn't meant to compete with powerful desktops...it's an Ultrabook in a tablet form factor, and it delivers Ultrabook level performance. When viewed through that lens, the performance is just fine. On the Windows partition, I've run everything from Office to Visual Studio with no real complaints.

The battery life on mine has been fairly good. From a full charge, it will do about 4.5-5 hours of light duty work (web browsing, etc) with the screen brightness turned down a bit. When my son was playing SW:TOR, he got about two hours out of it with the brightness all the way up. That's not the greatest, but you have to remember that we're talking about an 18" 1080 screen.

The portability is actually better than you would expect as well. You're not going to be walking around using it in your hand like an iPad, but it's very well balanced and much easier to handle than it looks. I purchased the messenger bag style case for mine, and usually carry it around like a laptop. When I'm moving around the room, I just tuck it under my arm, where it feels much lighter than its advertised 5lb weight. The back of the XPS 18 is metal, there's a heavy rubber bumper all the way around, and the "gator glass" screen is slightly flexible, which make it fairly durable. Mine has already taken a few falls without any marks or damage.

There are a couple of things I'm less than thrilled about. The power button is poorly placed and is exceptionally easy to accidentally press by hand. I had to reconfigure it in both Win8 and Xubuntu (yes, it dual boots just fine) to ignore inputs from the power button entirely. The foldout legs are well built and seem like they'll last a while, but Dell's folding mechanism uses a poorly designed magnetic holder. Basically they placed magnets on the back of the legs and then placed the regulatory stickers over the top of them to hold them in place. It took two weeks for the stickers on one to peel loose, after which the leg began flopping out on me. It was an easy fix with a bit of superglue, but it was a disappointing to see them cheap out on such a simple detail. Like others, I'm also disappointed in their choice to use a 5400RPM hard drive over a SSD, or even a 7200. The HDD is probably the biggest performance killer in the design. Finally, I'm irritated that, even after a month of tweaking, I haven't managed to get the touchscreen working in Xubuntu 12 LTS. I don't know what Dell did with the drivers for this thing, but none of the standard Linux touchscreen drivers work at all. Because of that, you can only use Linux on it when it's sitting at its base station with the physical keyboard and mouse. It makes a fine Xubuntu workstation when sitting on the base, but I'd really like to get the touchscreen working on it so I can use it as a tablet.

All in all though, I'm fairly satisfied with it. I'm not going to use it to replace my desktop, but since getting it a month ago I've nearly stopped using my previous tablet (Xoom) and have completely stopped carrying my Ultrabook around. My Apple wielding co-workers have largely reported the same. If Dell would offer this in a 15" version and make it a bit more portable, I think they could give the tablet makers a serious run for their money. It really is THAT good. Having a "real" computer in your hand, instead of a hobbled app-only tablet, simply gives you a lot more flexibility in how you use it.

Oh, and for those who said that they'd like it if it would run Win7...it will run 7 just fine. One of my co-workers is rabidly anti-Win8, and the first thing he did was a Win7 downgrade. It works great for him.

Comment: Well, it's a city council position. (Score 1) 439

Any idiot can get elected to a city council, especially in a smaller city like Berkeley, just by hobnobbing with some neighbors and getting his name out there. I used to know a city councilman who was LITERALLY a used car salesman by trade. The guy lacked any political skills whatsoever, and he wasn't exactly "intellectually gifted", but he had the whole schmoozing thing down pat. He ran in an off-year election, and got in with about 500 votes.

I'll get worked up when I hear a state legislator, or a governor, or a congressman advocating something like this. But I'm not going to worry about the personal opinion of a two-bit councilman who represents a few dozen blocks from one unimportant city.

Comment: Re:No Death Penalty (Score 3, Interesting) 379

by BrianH (#42091001) Attached to: Search For "Foolproof Suffocation" Missed In Casey Anthony Case

I've always thought that this was the simplest solution to it. Keep the death penalty, but remove the power of the judiciary to apply it. A judge can sentence a killer to life in prison, but the killer has the power to decide how long that will be. They can spend the rest of their lives in a cage, or they can request execution if they want the easy way out. If you want to remove the possibility of a decision made under duress, or want to enforce a mandatory minimum punishment, just stipulate that they can't request it for 10 years or so.

Comment: What's the problem? (Score 1) 1080

by BrianH (#41450075) Attached to: Light Bulb Ban Produces Hoarding In EU, FUD In U.S.

I don't see the objection to hoarding. I have CFL's in much of my home, but there are a few spots where I simply prefer the light and warmth of incandescents. For those spots, I bought a few cases of my preferred bulbs and stuck them in the attic. Barring power surges, I figure that I purchased a 30 year supply for about $100.

Comment: Re:It's called "Get A Grip!" (Score 4, Informative) 1127

by BrianH (#40781931) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Preempting Sexual Harassment In the Workplace?

Of course he said something. I said something. Several other employees said something. There were a number of us who weren't exactly thrilled to work in an office that often resembled a frathouse more than a place of business. Nobody said anything about suing or threatened to call in the EEOC, but management clearly understood that there were people who were less than happy with the situation. They chose to ignore the fact that some of their employees didn't like the behavior, and they paid the price for their choice. A managers job is to manage, which means preventing this sort of situation. When they failed to intervene, they demonstrated their inability to perform the job. When the other two "instigating" employees chose to bring Playboys to work, email hardcore porn around the office, and insult anyone who asked not to see it (actually calling us "whiners" in one email), they demonstrated an ongoing disrespect for their fellow employees.

They didn't lose their jobs because of "words". They lost their jobs because they couldn't be professionals. If you can't behave like a mature adult, don't get pissed off when people stop treating you like one.

Comment: Re:It's called "Get A Grip!" (Score 5, Interesting) 1127

by BrianH (#40780647) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Preempting Sexual Harassment In the Workplace?

Actually, any manager that is allowing this kind of behavior to occur is asking for trouble, no matter what the makeup of the group is. Many years ago I worked for a smallish all-male consulting company that allowed a LOT of sexually unprofessional behavior to occur. We're talking "Playboys in the magazine rack in the lunchroom" kind of unprofessional behavior. Several of us weren't thrilled about it, but there really wasn't a lot of complaining.

One of the male software engineers left the company after about a year. Several weeks later, the company was hit by a lawsuit. Turned out that he was gay (nobody had ANY clue) and found the workplace to be sexually hostile. The guy walked away with a healthy settlement, both managers were fired, two other employees were fired along with them, and the work atmosphere went down the tubes.

Sexual discrimination suits don't require there to be a gender difference, and even an employee who seems OK with sexualized behavior can later sue over it if they change their mind (or simply want to make a few bucks). Only a complete moron would allow this kind of behavior in their company.

Comment: Damn (Score 1) 326

by BrianH (#38973597) Attached to: Man Claiming He Invented the Internet Sues

In November 1993 the owner of a local computer store (and a friend of mine) asked me whether it would be possible to sell computer parts over the Internet. In December 1993 that site went live and was among the first retailers on the Internet (Bottomline Computers...Discount computer parts that protect your company's bottom line!) The system was only semi-automated, as the server simply wrote the transaction to a text file, encrypted it, and emailed the encrypted file to the owner for manual processing, but that was a state-of-the-art bleeding edge concept at the time.

The site flopped and was shut down less than a year later. Back in early 1994 most people still equated online shopping with catalog shopping, with visions of dodgy JC Whitney parts and cheap knockoffs dancing in their heads. It was still an untrusted concept.

I never even thought about patenting e-commerce. I could have been rich! (of course, I seem to recall looking at a few other sites doing similar things as part of the development process, so I'm 99% sure we weren't actually the first).

Comment: Re:U.S. law is the new international law (Score 2, Insightful) 1005

by BrianH (#38757494) Attached to: Megaupload.com Shut Down, Founder Charged With Piracy

It occurred to me that demonstrating the NEED for SOPA might be the point of this entire exercise. Megaupload unquestionably aided piracy, but it was also a legitimate business that had millions of legitimate users. The owner and operators of the site may be able to convince a judge or jury that the primary purpose of the site was NOT piracy, but was simply incidental to the operation of that type of service. If they can convince the judges in their home countries of that, they won't be extradited. If they can convince U.S. juries of that, they won't be convicted. In order to prosecute these guys, the U.S. will have to prove that piracy was the primary reason for the sites existence, and that could be tough to do. They still have a pretty decent shot at walking away from this.

And if they get off, you can bet the halls of Congress will echo with, "See, we DO NEED SOPA! Our laws are obviously inadequate if we can't even shut down a pirate site like Megaupload!"

That may the plan, after all.

Comment: Re:U.S. law is the new international law (Score 4, Insightful) 1005

by BrianH (#38757420) Attached to: Megaupload.com Shut Down, Founder Charged With Piracy

The position of the U.S. government is that these are foreign nationals operating a criminal enterprise within the United States. From a legal standpoint, it's no different than issuing warrants for foreign drug kingpins who ship drugs to the United States. They're not prosecuting foreigners for their actions overseas, but they are charging foreigners for the actions they are initiating within the borders of the United States itself.

Osama bin Laden never set foot in the U.S. either. We still had arrest warrants out for him, even before 9/11, for acts of terrorism he initiated on U.S. soil (the '93 WTC attack) and on foreign U.S. locations (embassies, Khobar, etc). While we're talking about two vastly different types of crime, the legal principle behind the charges is the same. If you direct criminal actions within the United States from a foreign location, you become subject to U.S. law because you are committing activities within the country.

By placing a datacenter within the borders of the United States, MegaUpload's management placed itself within the jurisdiction of U.S. law for any actions occurring within that datacenter. This isn't a purely U.S. thing either...pretty much every country on the planet recognizes this same legal principle. When you choose to operate a business within a nation, you are also making a choice to subject yourself to that nations laws.

There's only one way around this that I know of, and that's to insulate via foreign subsidiaries. Many multinational corps use subsidiaries to avoid this exact problem. In Megaupload's case, I don't see how they could have fit that into their business model.

If there's one lesson to take away from all of this, it's simply that you should check a nations laws before opening up a business there. If something is legal in your home country, and illegal in the country next door, it's probably a BAD IDEA to start opening offices in the neighboring country. MegaUpload was stupid to open a datacenter in the United States, the MPAA/RIAA's home turf.

Comment: Re:Nothing can change that tablets are mostly usel (Score 2) 86

by BrianH (#38400368) Attached to: How HP and Open Source Can Save WebOS

As a longtime software developer and all around computer power user, I find my tablet to be fairly useless. It has a lousy onscreen keyboard, runs limited applications, and can't really be used to do MANY of the really cool things that I've spent the past 20 years doing on computers.

My wife, on the other hand, is a technophobe schoolteacher, and is rarely seperated from it nowadays. It gives her a simple way to do her pointless social and entertainment things...Facebook, email, Youtube, etc...without having to deal with all of that "computery" stuff. If you ask her, she'll tell you that it's the greatest bit of technology ever invented.

But the real eye opener came from my kids, including my about-to-go-to-college daughter who is incredibly computer literate and who I taught the fundamentals of BASIC coding when she was only four years old. To her, and my 14 year old son, it's just another computing device. There are some things that are better on computers, and some things that are better on tablets (who wants to watch a streaming movie on a laptop with a keyboard in the way?) To them, the entire discussion is silly, as both devices have their own purposes. The kids simply move back and forth between them without a second thought.

We are contrained by the limits of our own prejudices and experiences.

Comment: Re:Frist! (Score 1) 272

by BrianH (#38359096) Attached to: The oldest hard drive I'm still using is ...

GIGabyte? Heh, one of my DNS servers still has an ancient Conner 850MB drive that has been happily spinning away for at least 15 years. Other than replacing a power supply and a couple fans, it (and the ancient Pentium Pro server it's connected to) have been the most durable computers I've ever owned! Of course, since it only acting as a backup DNS server and runs an equally ancient Slackware build (3.9!), it doesn't actually do all that much work. At this point, it's mostly just an experiment to see how long it can actually run before releasing its magic smoke.

Image

Denver Bomb Squad Takes Out Toy Robot 225

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-feel-safer-already dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A robot met its end near Coors Field tonight when the Denver Police Department Bomb Squad detonated the 'suspicious object,' bringing to an end the hours-long standoff between police and the approximately eight-inch tall toy. From the article: "'Are you serious?' asked Denver resident Justin Kent, 26, when police stopped him from proceeding down 20th Street. Kent said that he lived just past the closed area, but was told he would have to go around via Park Avenue.'"

It is much harder to find a job than to keep one.

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