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Comment: Re:please no jokes about (Score 1) 128

by Ecuador (#49813427) Attached to: China Unveils World's First Facial Recognition ATM

Already answered, but let me try to make it clearer. So there are no ranks or training courses (basic training is 40days for all - although I did get an extra 2 weeks of NATO translation school). However, because you are a conscript, i.e. the army needs you and not the other way around, you are different "material" than the permanent army staff. You know it, they know it. So when you start out you are a bit like a fish out of the water (they actually call you a "fish"), but as the time passes and you near graduation you have learned how things work, and you get respect from both "newer" conscripts and from officers as well (I guess it is a natural response to your more "experienced" attitude). This effect is compounded if you are old (I was 30 when I got to the army, having gotten educational deferment over the standard age of 18) and also if you are educated (I was actually grouped together with other MS/PhDs). Additionally, where you served mattered as well. You might end up in a backwater camp with strict officers that would try to give you trouble even when you were nearing graduation, and perhaps there is just a Major or Lt-Colonel running the camp who enjoys his absolute authority by showing it off ;) At such a place the officers (or at least the camp Commander) might now observe that unofficial hierarchy much (but they would at least up to a degree). Near the end of my service I was sent to the Greek Pentagon as a Translator and there you were surrounded by Generals, Brigadiers and other educated officers etc. and if you were one of the 3 Translators you even got to visit the "war room", so I had probably maxed-out the possible "unofficial" hierarchy (there is actually an app for that now! it is called "lelemetro", but it is in Greek). You did not get any "pips", but you knew and everyone else also knew. Case in point, when I was sent to the Chinese officer tour I mentioned, I was sent to report to another camp. I appeared in front of the Commander early in the afternoon and he told me that my orders had not arrived yet, they would probably be in the next day, I would have to wait. So I told him, ok, then, you can write me up for a 24h "exit permit" and I will leave you my cell number to call me if something happens before that. He stared for a couple of seconds, wrote down my "exit permit" and I left. I went through the front gate and gave it to the guard. Jaw dropped, he called the other guards. "What the hell is this?" they asked in awe. "24h exit" "but there is no such thing" "there is now". The context you are missing to understand this is that an "exit permission" lasts for a few hours. At most it can last up to midnight (or in special occasions until the morning call), but to get a full 24 hours you need an official leave, which is something you have a specific quota of (and I did not have any to spare). And even with an official leave, you still have to be present at the morning call, whereas I had a strange piece of paper that allowed me an unheard of (at that camp at least - I am sure others have pulled their "rank" like I did in other places) "real" 24h leave that did not even count against my quota. I behaved like a Major General in front of that Commander and he simply went along without even flinching!

Comment: Re:please no jokes about (Score 1) 128

by Ecuador (#49811255) Attached to: China Unveils World's First Facial Recognition ATM

Hmm. I don't remember having that problem in Greek army boot camp. Maybe because by that time I was well trained after figuring out how to tell Chinese actors apart? ;)
Funny relevant story, while a conscript I was sent as an escort of a Chinese officer party (12 generals, 1 captain) that was doing a tour. Their captain wanted to play a joke on me so while at cape Sounio he showed me a group of Asian tourists and asked me "those tourists, are they like us?". No, I told him, they are Japanese. "How do you know?" he asked me startled. "They speak Japanese." I tell him. More startled he asks "You can tell the difference?". So I ask him back, "what do you mean, does Japanese sound anything at all like Chinese?" to which he says "eeh, no". And I left him there to think it over a bit...
That Chinese Captain was even more bewildered as he watched me and another conscript interact with our own Captain and Colonel. He told me that he could not understand our hierarchy, while he could see that we were just privates, we behaved like we were the same or above the Colonel when interacting with him. I had to explain to him that we were not privates in that sense, we were conscripts and we had a different hierarchy which was separate & parallel to the hierarchy of the rest of the army, and your level in the hierarchy was based on how close you were to graduating from the army. I explained that with less than a month left, me and the other attached conscript were at about the level of a Major General in our hierarchy so we could damn well be casual with just a Colonel if we wished... Not sure if he could grasp it...
Fun times...

Comment: Re:please no jokes about (Score 1) 128

by Ecuador (#49810861) Attached to: China Unveils World's First Facial Recognition ATM

It is not a joke. I come from a European country where East Asians were very rare, so when I started watching asian movies I had a hard time telling the characters apart, unless they had some very obvious defining characteristic. After several movies it became much easier.
But let's go the other way. While in the US I was going to a Chinese place with a friend of mine who comes from the same country and has the same (unusual even for Americans - never mind Asians) first name, but otherwise he is bald, I am not, he is heavier set etc. We definitely don't look alike. And they would ask about his wife when we visited (she was Asian and they knew her - I was unmarried) etc. But then I went alone once and they asked me about "my" wife. When he was not next to me they could not tell us apart!

+ - Assange loses appeal to dismiss arrest warrant.

Submitted by Ecuador
Ecuador writes: Looks like Julian Assange will stay at my^H^Hthe Ecuadorian embassy for at least a while longer, as the Swedish Supreme Court denied his appeal to dismiss the arrest warrant for allegations of sexual assault. The WikiLeaks founder has been in the embassy for almost three years now (and it is quite a small embassy — more like a ground floor apartment). As the statute of limitations for some of the alleged crimes is approaching, Swedish prosecutors have already agreed with Assange to question him at the embassy, a fact that made the Court see "no reason to lift the arrest warrant".

Comment: Re:No thank you (Score 1) 203

by Ecuador (#49654079) Attached to: Critics Say It's Time To Close La Guardia Airport

Not everyone thinks closing down the old airport in Athens was a good idea. In fact most people I have discussed this with (mainly people who fly a lot) think that they should have kept the newest terminal (which was quite good) and serve at least some short-haul flights from there. Sure, there is a subway to the Airport, but it is a very long way away (which is of course even more of a problem if you can't take the subway). It is not that good to have to make a 1 hour trip to the airport to catch a 1 hour flight to an island... The old airport had a great location and its only problem was that it was the only one serving Athens. Few cities the size of Athens have only 1 airport.
Also, people living near the airport are rightfully afraid that the freed land will be used for ugly residential development (Athens specializes in that) and also the surrounding areas that were kept from becoming as urbanized as the center of Athens partly due to the airport-imposed building height limit, will star getting the usual 6-story buildings. When it was first decided the old airport would close, politicians promised it would be our "metropolitan park", every year they reduce the size of the promised park and increase the area for development. Now we have reached the point where even a \. poster thinks it is a good idea to use that area for development to "bring few billions Euros" (sic)! Yeah, an even uglier and unhealthier Athens is what is needed, just sell everything!

Comment: Wait, this hasn't shipped yet??? (Score 1) 84

by Ecuador (#49630759) Attached to: Oculus Rift Launching In Q1 2016

I have been reading headlines for "Oculus Rift" on /. etc for years. I never read the articles apart from the first 1 or 2, since I found out that Oculus Rift is an "exciting" VR headset and that pretty much covered it for me. Maybe I am getting old, I don't know - for example I do remember me being excited before the Virtual Boy was released. In any case having seen so many headlines over the years, without actually paying any attention to them I had assumed this was a real product and modestly popular. But it is not out yet and not going to be until 2016? That raised my eyebrow and I clicked on the link to find out this "product" I hear about all these years "exists" only as some dark renders on an even darker background? Wow, that's it then, I MUST be getting old...

Comment: Ah! (Score 1) 125

by Ecuador (#49627909) Attached to: I've had my current ISP (disregarding mergers) for ...

I also have an unsecured wifi neighbor for the last two years. It was very helpful when I first moved in, it took over 2 weeks for my ISP to connect me. Of course I installed a couple of repeaters to extend their network nicely, but this time secured! We don't want more people mooching off this nice neighbor! It's still my backup network if something goes wrong with mine (or I want to borrow a different IP for nefarious purposes).

Comment: Apple goes to the other extreme (Score 2) 434

by Ecuador (#49625247) Attached to: Google Can't Ignore the Android Update Problem Any Longer

They make you upgrade to the latest version, whether you want to or not, otherwise your software stops working. It is more obvious on the desktop of course. Every version they release, they remove at least one of the features I like, but in the end I have to upgrade otherwise a critical piece of software (e.g. Xcode) will not run. That would not be that bad (except releases like Yosemite which are that bad), but then they suddenly decide that your hardware cannot upgrade to the latest OS, without which your software won't work, ergo you have to get a new device.
So while on first glance it looks much better than the Android mess, it is not the best possible scenario either.
My favorite ever mobile OS was MaeMo/MeeGo (N900 & N9 owner) and now that I think about it it even had that right. You could install newer OS versions if you wanted, you did not really have to, but they were actually better by adding more features.

Regardless of whether a mission expands or contracts, administrative overhead continues to grow at a steady rate.