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Comment: Re:30$? (Score 2) 135

by Carik (#42140769) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: DIY 4G Antenna Design For the Holidays?

From the story:

I would like to build an antenna for her 4G device so they can finally enjoy information the way I have. ... After shopping around any 4G antenna costs way too much money.

So no, this article isn't about building for enjoyment, it's about finding an affordable way to get online. Now, perhaps $30 + shipping is within the OP's "way too much" range, but perhaps he just didn't see that item.

Comment: Re:Genetically Modified Food. (Score 1) 183

by Carik (#39211941) Attached to: China May Restrict Genetically Engineered Rice

[quote]Native species of grains? What agriculturally useful grain is this you see growing out in the wild? Rice, wheat, and especially corn are all dependent on man to cultivate the soil and plant them.[/quote]

Rice, wheat, and corn in the form we commercially farm them are moderately dependent on man to cultivate them.

Amaranth, spelt, and others are all capable of supporting and spreading themselves.

As to their use... well, for the most part, they're of fairly limited use. But it's always useful to have a wide gene-pool: pretty much any kind of animal breeder can tell you that it's a good idea to keep a few outcrosses available in case the primary bloodline gets too inbred. The day may well come when some pest or fungus evolves that will decimate commercial modern wheat, and nothing else. It'd be nice, at that point, to be able to work with some other grain.

In addition, those are also pretty useful for people who, for whatever reason, can't eat wheat. I know three or four people who can't eat wheat -- it makes them violently ill -- but have no problems with amaranth or spelt.

Comment: Science DIDN'T fail us. (Score 1) 474

by Carik (#38890541) Attached to: Trials and Errors: Why Science Is Failing Us

I saw this article a couple of weeks ago, and wrote a response to it. Here it is again...

My only complaint with this article is the title. This is NOT a failure of science. This is exactly what science is supposed to do. This is a failure of our understanding: scientific research doesn't guarantee absolute answers. It doesn't guarantee that we'll understand any specific thing at the end of the research. It's not a way to make money. It's simply an attempt to show that a given guess is or isn't correct. "Science," in every case mentioned in the article, is doing exactly what it is supposed to: proving an incorrect hypothesis to be incorrect.

I think the critical part there is "[Science is] not a way to make money." The author refers to science as "failing" in industry because the industry can't make money off it. That's not what it's for. It's a nice side effect, granted, but it's not the point. What we call "science" is a set of guidelines for testing guesses. Sometimes those tests show that our guess is probably accurate. Sometimes they show that guess is just plain wrong. In both cases, "science" is doing what it's supposed to do.

Comment: Re:This seems bizarre (Score 5, Interesting) 136

by Carik (#38882649) Attached to: Dutch Supreme Court Sees Game Objects As Goods

It could be that the judge wanted to tack on more time... since it looks like he could only impose community service (possibly because everyone involved was a minor?), it may have given him an option to impose a harsher sentence.

I could easily see that: "OK, the max I'm allowed to impose on a minor for a single offense is 100 hours, and that's for threats of violence. But you deserve more punishment, so what else can I do? Oh... you also stole something. That's another 44 hours. If I could think of anything else to add, I would, so count yourself lucky, kid, and don't do it again."

Comment: Re:10% Ethanol (Score 1) 556

by Carik (#38723820) Attached to: Is E85 Dead Now?

I don't know about E85, but when my local gas stations switched to 10% ethanol my Subaru dropped from 28mpg to 21mpg. If I could get pure gasoline again, I'd happily pay a price 5% higher if I could get back that missing 25% of my fuel economy...

Not to mention that, at least around here, the gas prices didn't actually really drop when they started adding ethanol. And I won't even get started on the damage it seems to be doing to small engines (lawnmowers, for instance...).

Comment: Re:10% Ethanol (Score 1) 556

by Carik (#38723780) Attached to: Is E85 Dead Now?

No, you MISquoted wikipedia. To quote the full first sentence from the articles on backfiring and knocking:

Backfiring:
"A Back-fire or backfire is an explosion produced by a running internal combustion engine that occurs in the air intake or exhaust system rather than inside the combustion chamber."

Knocking:
"Knocking (also called knock, detonation, spark knock, pinging or pinking) in spark-ignition internal combustion engines occurs when combustion of the air/fuel mixture in the cylinder starts off correctly in response to ignition by the spark plug, but one or more pockets of air/fuel mixture explode outside the envelope of the normal combustion front."

Pinging and knocking are in the cylinder. Backfiring is in the exhaust system or air intake.

I have to admit, though... if you're too lazy to read past word seven of the backfire definition, it sounds like they're the same thing.

Comment: Re:I don't know about you... (Score 2) 57

by Carik (#38586080) Attached to: Filtering By License Should Be Possible in App Markets

[blockquote]I suspect that many people (including myself), when searching for an application in an App market would prefer to browse through the FLOSS offerings first, then fall back to free (as in beer) or adware and proprietary apps if nothing suitable (or familiar) is available.[/blockquote]

You're probably right. But "many" is not the majority. Most people just want to know whether it works. Google and Canonical aren't really aiming for the FOSS community. They're aiming for the community loosely labeled "people who have money." There's a fair amount of overlap, of course, but there's a lot more people in the second group than the first. Confusing 80% of the first community to cater to 90% of the second isn't really a good business decision.

That said, it probably wouldn't cost them much to add the feature, and it would be pretty easy to make it not get in the way of people who didn't care. I admit it would be a clever thing to do, and it would be nice if they did, since there are people who care.

Comment: Re:Should FSF decide to change its name (Score 1) 57

by Carik (#38586038) Attached to: Filtering By License Should Be Possible in App Markets

Well, "FOSS" seems to work pretty well. For people who know what it means, it works great. For everyone else, they can look it up.

Any word with multiple meanings confuses people once in a while. Using "free" for both software that's under an open source license and software that costs nothing has always seemed like a pitfall someone early on in the FOSS movement should have avoided to me. It makes it really hard to explain to people who don't already know what you're talking about, and leads to confusion even among people who do understand the concepts involved.

Comment: I don't know about you... (Score 4, Insightful) 57

by Carik (#38585456) Attached to: Filtering By License Should Be Possible in App Markets

...but here's what I do:

I use the software that does what I need most effectively. My needs are rarely served by refusing to use a piece of software just because it's not open source. I often find that the open source software is a better value (for my needs, GIMP is a better choice than Photoshop, and it's starting to look like it's also a better choice than Lightroom), but not always.

The simple fact is, most people just don't care what license their software is. You can complain as much as you want that other people are just uneducated, but it doesn't matter.

To address one point directly from the article:

Are we really approaching a world where "free" could mean "under a free license", or "proprietary and crippled in terms of features", or "proprietary but ad-supported"? Really?

No. We're not approaching that. We're STILL at that. Free, to the vast run of humanity, means "you don't have to pay for it." It means "This doesn't cost anything." To a relatively small number, it may also mean "I have set this product free, and you may do whatever you want with it," but that's not the majority view.

Google knows that. That's why the free label on Android means "no charge." So does Canonical. They've come closer than anyone else to marketing linux in a way that appealed to ordinary consumers. Those ordinary consumers don't really care whether an app or application is open source. They care whether they'll have to pay for it or not. That's not a failing on their part. That's good business sense. It's rarely a worthwhile business technique to annoy your consumers with ideology: it's a much better technique to offer them stuff they don't have to pay for, if they'll just buy this one expensive thing from you.

Comment: Re:Navigation isn't a luxury (Score 1) 938

by Carik (#38360124) Attached to: NTSB Recommends Cell Phone Ban For Drivers

"Navigation isn't a luxury"? You're right. So you're just going to have to learn to navigate. Sit down before you leave home, figure out the best route, then follow it.

I learned to drive in Boston. I spent 15 years driving there before I moved. I continue to drive there when I go back to visit friends. I don't have any device that will give me "real time navigation info", and I don't see a need for it. I do now have a GPS system -- I got it a year or so ago -- and it's nice to have if I need to get somewhere unexpectedly, but mostly I just figure out where I'm going ahead of time. It's not hard. If roads are closed, you find your way around. Maybe you pull into a parking lot and look at your map. Maybe you just take a bunch of turns that look like they should work... sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

For a technology that only really came on the scene a few years ago (for live traffic updates, longer for GPS), people have sure gotten to feel entitled about it.

Comment: Re:Public Transit (Score 1) 938

by Carik (#38359962) Attached to: NTSB Recommends Cell Phone Ban For Drivers

I'd love to. Aside from a few friends I don't see much anymore, public trans is the only thing I miss about living in Boston. My commute was a lot easier when I could take the bus/train in and out.

Sadly, I don't live in a big city anymore, and my local bus system is pretty much useless. It'll get me to work and back, if I don't mind waiting 60-90 minutes after my shift ends, and walking half a mile between my house and the bus. That's fine in the summer, but when the temperature is down around 0, it's not a lot of fun. And in the summer, I ride a bicycle or motorcycle.

Comment: Hire a resume writer (Score 1) 523

by Carik (#38189854) Attached to: How Does a Self-Taught Computer Geek Get Hired?

Most IT people suck at writing resumes. Shop around for someone who has placed a lot of IT workers -- or at least some! -- and go with them. If you have any friends who hired someone, see how they liked the person they worked with.

A good resume will get you noticed, and they'll know the buzzwords that local businesses are looking for.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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