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Comment: I like the tablet/laptop two-in-one design (Score 4, Informative) 161

by DrJimbo (#49208207) Attached to: Ultralight Convertibles Approaching Desktop Performance

Speaking of Slashvertisements, I'm running Linux on a Dell 11" 3147 two-in-one. I can use it as a small laptop machine and I can also use it for watching Netflix in the tablet configuration. Although the two-in-one is thicker and heavier than a tablet, it can be better than a tablet for watching videos because there are several configurations where the keyboard acts like a stand so you don't have to constantly hold it.

For me, it was $260 well spent (via the Dell outlet store). I'm pleased with the device even though the Linux support is merely adequate. No multi-touch for the touchscreen and I can't access the accelerometer. AFAIK, everything else works. I wrote little scripts to rotate the display and disable the keyboard and touchpad. I get over 5 hours of battery life while mostly watching videos. I like that the Linux desktop and/or virtual consoles are only a click or two away because I like to tinker. There are a bunch of hardware improvements that would be nice, starting with a lighted keyboard, but for the price, I'm not complaining.

IMO, if the price is decent you might as well buy a laptop with a touchscreen that folds all the way back. I think it is a good use of resources and it makes the device much more versatile. For me personally it is better than a separate tablet and laptop. I may never buy another laptop that doesn't convert to tablet mode.

Comment: Re:Full blooded American here (Score 1) 671

by DrJimbo (#49175451) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

The Wikipedia article you linked to supports what the GP said:

This decision was weakened by the Court's ruling in Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court (1973), when the court found that the key to jurisdiction was whether the Court could process service to the custodians. Braden was relied on by the Court in Rasul v. Bush (2004), in which it held that it did have jurisdiction over the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay detention camp because it could reach their custodians, the policymakers and leaders of the Bush administration, who were responsible for their detention.

+ - Why I'm Saying Goodbye to Apple, Google and Microsoft->

Submitted by DrJimbo
DrJimbo (594231) writes "Dan Gillmore says; "When I became a technology columnist in the mid-1990s, the public Internet was just beginning its first big surge. Back then, I advised my readers to avoid the semi-political, even religious battles that advocates of this or that technology platform seemed to enjoy. Appreciate technology, I urged, for what it is—a tool—and use what works best.

So why am I typing this on a laptop running GNU/Linux, the free software operating system, not an Apple or Windows machine? And why are my phones and tablets running a privacy-enhanced offshoot of Android called Cyanogenmod, not Apple’s iOS or standard Android?""

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:CLimate "Deniers" actually more knowledgeable (Score 3, Interesting) 681

by DrJimbo (#49109313) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge

The abstract of the article you linked to ends with:

This result suggests that public divisions over climate change stem not from the public's incomprehension of science but from a distinctive conflict of interest: between the personal interest individuals have in forming beliefs in line with those held by others with whom they share close ties and the collective one they all share in making use of the best available science to promote common welfare.

FFS, how you can you interpret that in any other way than the failure of science education? The paper says the failure is not because people know too little science but because they don't believe in science because they are surrounded by people who don't believe in science.

How on earth can you interpret the abstract of that paper to be a vindication of science education and a justification of your disparaging comments about Bill Nye? If nearly half the population disbelieves in science and doesn't use science to form opinions on matters of vital importance and public welfare then how is that not a failure of science education? Did you even bother to read all of the abstract?

To make a car analogy, it's like you are saying an advertising campaign for car was a rip roaring success because it created a lot of brand recognition. But sales were dismal because even though many people knew the brand, they had very negative associations with it.

Comment: Re:Don't plead guilty (Score 5, Insightful) 188

by DrJimbo (#49050311) Attached to: MegaUpload Programmer Pleads Guilty, Gets a Year In Prison

Can be sure as shit that Kim isn't going to part with his money to defend him even if he didn't have his own case to worry about.

You are correct but not for the selfish reason you imply. Kim Dotcom's assets have been frozen so they were not available to defend this programmer. He is only being allowed money for living expenses and his own legal fees. You may hate Kim Dotcom but he is not stupid. It would have been in his own best interests to pay for this guy's defense (assuming that fact couldn't be use to malign the defendant).

Comment: Re: Perl is more expressive (Score 1) 192

by DrJimbo (#48955791) Attached to: Perl 6 In Time For Next Christmas?

@Lines = sort { $a->{Name} cmp $b->{Name} } @Lines;

to assign to @lines, when not raising lines is a sign your not just another Perl hacker.
@names would be the better choice, @sorted_names is another.

The Perl code is sorting hashes based on the value associated with the "Name" key in each hash. Presumably the other data in the hashes are what make a "Line" and the Name is just one of possibly many attributes. Therefore you suggestions don't make much sense to me. Perhaps you were thinking of the much simpler:

@Names = sort @Names;

Comment: Obligatory: 12 Second Mini Van (Score 1) 823

by DrJimbo (#48879143) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret


I reached my (1st) goal of getting into the 14's in the quarter mile, last year. I feel that any car running in the 14 seconds is faster than most cars on the road, but this speed stuff is like a drug. You always think of some little thing to make it a little faster. If a 14 second mini van will beat most of the cars on the road, a 12 second Mini Van mini van will beat almost all the cars on the road!

Comment: Re:Fuck the libs! (Score 1) 216

by DrJimbo (#48762339) Attached to: Bill Would Ban Paid Prioritization By ISPs

[...] there should be no problem with prioritized packets as long as you are not slowed down or interfered with in order to deliver them.

I did read your sentence to completion and I still vehemently disagree with it. At first I thought you were suggesting there be a fast lane as long as there is not a slow lane but, of course, that makes no sense. Then I figured out you are fine with a fast line paid by the sender as long as the slow lane meets some minimum bandwidth requirements. How can the customer complain since they are getting the extra fast line bandwidth "for free"?

One of the many obvious problems with this scheme is that it can quickly devolve to a situation that squeezes out all of the mom and pop content providers (the general public) who can't afford to pay for the fast lane. It reminds me a little of those idiotic "deals" from ISPs that let you lock in your current bandwidth and payment rate for life. As technology improves, increases in bandwidth should far exceed increases in costs.

I admit that in a static situation where my bandwidth to and from certain corporations suddenly increases is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. This seems to be the situation you envision. The problems start when the original static situation evolves over time. You can easily get into a situation where bandwidth to and from certain corporation is basically free while all other bandwidth is exorbitantly expensive. In the US, at least, the last mile is already a big corporate, unregulated rip-off. Why open the door to make it much much worse? The only way it could possibly be feasible would be for massive regulation of the minimum bandwidth and maximum fees of the slow lane. If the fast lane (and especially the slow lane) are unregulated then it will become a consumer nightmare. If you regulate it enough to work so consumers are not "slowed down or interfered with" going forward into the future then it will be a nightmare for everyone and the fast lane will be worth little.

I am also reminded of the RICO laws and things like civil forfeiture where the government can basically steal stuff from you without ever even charging you with a crime. Those bad laws were passed under the guise of "we are only going to use them on the really bad guys". Perhaps those were the intentions when those laws were passed but a few years down the road some police department reads the law carefully and figures out it can be used as a great way to raise sorely needed funding for the department. And, guess what? It is also legal. A rough rule of thumb is that any law that can be abused will be abused eventually. Why needlessly open up another channel for abuse when we gain nothing by doing so?

If you are a poor person on a sinking ship would you like a policy where the rich people get the fancy lifeboats and the poor people get lifeboats that were deemed adequate many years ago? Or would you prefer a policy where the poor and the rich are all put into the same lifeboats?

Comment: Re:Palladium foil with just the right parameters (Score 1) 183

by DrJimbo (#48678345) Attached to: Bill Gates Sponsoring Palladium-Based LENR Technology

why can't the electrons get between two nuclei and cancel their repulsion (rather like muons can do)?

The problem is that the conduction electrons are spread out so they can't clump together in the space between the nuclei. This is due to the low mass of the electron. A muon is very much like an electron but is over 3,000 times more massive; this means it is 3,000 times "smaller" and thus can fit into the small space between the nuclei just fine.

The problem is not that the electron wave function can't get close to the nuclei. The problem is that the electron wave function can't get clumped together into a large enough peak to counteract the Coulomb repulsion of the nuclei. One way to see this is with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Since a muon is 3,000 times more massive than an electron, it has 3,000 times more momentum for the same motion. This extra momentum allows it to be more localized without violating Heisenberg.

One of the best physicist of the 20th century, Julian Schwinger, investigated cold fusion and felt that the physics community as a whole was closed minded about it. I *think* his idea was there was some sort of collective phenomenon (getting the palladium just right) that accounts for cold fusion. It can't be as simple as simple screening by conduction electrons. TBH, I think Schwinger was past his prime and was grasping for things he could apply his formidable intellect to that would be useful for humanity.

I believe the reason most physicists have a problem with cold fusion is the lack compelling experimental evidence combined with the lack of any satisfactory theoretical explanation. Remember that almost all of the interest in cold fusion was sparked by the totally discredit experiments by Pons and Fleischmann. The experiments could not be replicated and in new experiments there was no indication of nuclear activity.

Comment: Re:Palladium foil with just the right parameters (Score 2) 183

by DrJimbo (#48677095) Attached to: Bill Gates Sponsoring Palladium-Based LENR Technology

There's no reason to think this [cold fusion] couldn't happen with palladium foil given sufficient resources.

There is at least one overwhelming reason to think this could not happen regardless of how you prepare the palladium: basic physics.

The Coulomb repulsion of the deuterons keeps them so far apart that the likelihood of fusion is exponentially small. You can muck about with the palladium until the cows come home but unless do something like replace the electrons with muons, it is unlikely you are going to induce a significant amount of cold fusion.

It is like saying that by applying sufficient resources to painting and body-work, I can fix the engine of my car.

Comment: The handwriting's on the wall: Alice v. CLS Bank (Score 2, Insightful) 217

by DrJimbo (#48620391) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

In Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International the US Supreme Court ruled:

merely requiring generic computer implementation fails to transform [an] abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention.

Recently, after its SCO fiasco, Microsoft's biggest gun in its ceaseless war on Linux and all things FOSS has been patent extortion. IIRC, Microsoft makes a sizable chuck of change from Android devices due to the licenses for a fuzzy bunch of patents that have never been tested for validity in a court of law.

At some point, someone with deep enough pockets to risk a spin on the roulette wheel that is the US court system in regard to patents will take on Microsoft and see if the Emperor is wearing clothes or not. Microsoft owns some very smart lawyers. The lawyers know such a challenge is inevitable. They also know there is a good chance Microsoft will lose and will have to shut down its patent extortion racket. At that point they will need a plan B. This is their baby steps towards a plan B which is way too little, way too late.

Comment: Re:Hmmmm ... legality? (Score 1) 138

by DrJimbo (#48603191) Attached to: Amazon UK Glitch Sells Thousands of Products For a Penny

I haven't canceled hundreds of orders on Amazon but I have canceled a handful. There has never been a fee or a penalty although I did have to fill in a small form explaining why I canceled.

If you did this maliciously with a bunch of items just to be a PITA then they would probably respond accordingly and cancel your account.

OTOH, I have had a seller raise the price of an item after I made an inquiry about it. That really pissed me off. I complained to Amazon but they said it was within their rules. The end result is it is stupid to make polite inquires about products (for example, asking if a used book listed as hardcover really is hardcover). You are better off just placing the order and then returning the item for a full refund if it does not match the description.

"I am, therefore I am." -- Akira