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Comment: Re:how much it took (Score 3, Interesting) 222

by Entropius (#49199563) Attached to: Laser Takes Out Truck Engine From a Mile Away

It took "mere seconds" to burn through the engine manifold.

Paint it white (specifically, something with high albedo in whatever frequency range the attacker favors) and you can probably increase that time by a factor of ten. Paint it with that retroreflective paint that they make street markings out of and you've blinded anyone near the firing station.

Laser weapons look effective now because nobody's taking rudimentary countermeasures against them (because they don't need to). But if these things start appearing on battlefields, there are some simple countermeasures that will make their life a lot more difficult.

Comment: Re:Evolving world... (Score 1) 481

by Entropius (#48449009) Attached to: Cops 101: NYC High School Teaches How To Behave During Stop-and-Frisk

Remember: In the same way a Fireman runs into a burning building; this Officer is going to be running towards the gunfire if there's trouble, not away from it like the average youth on the street.

If my experience with the "youths on the street" in Baltimore is any indication, they'll be running toward the gunfire, fumbling for their cellphone cameras, chanting "World Star Hip Hop".

Comment: Re:police are good (Score 1) 481

by Entropius (#48448991) Attached to: Cops 101: NYC High School Teaches How To Behave During Stop-and-Frisk

I know this advice, but I wound up not following it, and it turned out okay for me -- in one situation. I wish we could come around to a policing culture where every story could end like this one. Sadly, we don't, and in many places the police have made themselves out to be the enemy.


I got hungry for a burrito one night at midnight in Tucson (a city of about 800,000; mixed white/Hispanic). Good thing, too, since there was a burrito shop three blocks down the road. I was reading an e-book on my netbook, so I grabbed my netbook and tucked it under my arm, and headed for the Taco Shop. Well, it was colder than I expected, so I started jogging down the road. It didn't occur to me, of course, that I looked suspicious, running down the street with a laptop under my arm.

Well, four cops confront me in the parking lot of the Taco Shop, wanting to know what the deal was. They were professional, and didn't make any aggressive moves toward me, put a hand on weapons, or touch me, but made it plain that I wasn't free to leave. They asked where I lived and what I was doing, and I told them. I said "I guess that does look suspicious. But this is my laptop. Can I show you some documents on it with my name on them, and show you that they match the name on my driver's license?"

The cop tells me to go ahead, so I do, and he says "Huh, guess it is your computer, then. Enjoy your burrito" and leaves along with the others.

Thing is, this is exactly what you shouldn't do when stopped by police in many places, since as you say their goal (often) is to find people and put them in jail. I could have said nothing, been detained, called a lawyer, and wasted a whole bunch of my time and a whole bunch of theirs. But, thankfully, I was able to take a risk that the Tucson police were better than that and try to demonstrate my innocence on the spot, and it paid off.

(Three of the cops, incidentally, were Hispanic; this wasn't a "white cops let the white guy go" situation. But there is far less racial animosity in Tucson than there is in places like Washington DC.)

Comment: Re: Civics class (Score 1) 481

by Entropius (#48448851) Attached to: Cops 101: NYC High School Teaches How To Behave During Stop-and-Frisk

And let's teach today's men to stop behaving like women and today's women to stop behaving like men while we're at it.

In what ways do today's men behave like women that you'd like to stop, and in what ways do today's women behave like men?

How would you like to see men and women behave differently?

Comment: Re:Seiko Kinetic (Score 1) 415

by Entropius (#48272479) Attached to: How Apple Watch Is Really a Regression In Watchmaking

It's hilarious that smartphones, operating in data mode, can give me nearly transparent audio in a voip connection to the other side of the planet... and yet in "phone" mode, people in the same city can't hear each other.

"Hold on, let me call you back on my Skype app" is something that should never be uttered over a voice call.

Comment: Re:Another failure of ZAW!!! (Score 1) 347

by Entropius (#48207711) Attached to: The Classic Control Panel In Windows May Be Gone

How could anyone competent ever call scripting obsolete?

It is no more or less than a tool to tell the computer wtf you want it to do in precise terms. If you don't have that you're reduced to hoping someone already thought of the things you're trying to do and implemented the correct clicky bit for you to click on. If not, you're SOL.

Comment: Re:And... (Score 2) 347

by Entropius (#48207635) Attached to: The Classic Control Panel In Windows May Be Gone

The Registry.

Oh, god, the Registry.

Those of you know more than me can maybe advise: why the hell does this thing even exist? Why not stick with ordinary text files containing things like

# set the preferred meaning of life
meaningoflife = 42

like sane OS's? Yes, okay, sometimes they're hard to find, but if you want to mimic the "registry" idea, make it standard practice to name them "foobar.ini" and symlink them into a central location.

Comment: Re:Start menu usage dropped in lieu of what? (Score 2) 269

by Entropius (#48027097) Attached to: Microsoft's Asimov System To Monitor Users' Machines In Real Time

Why not give users the option to use both?

The dumb thing is pinning a run command to the task bar: this requires both mouse input and keyboard input to do anything. It's far more sensible to use a keyboard shortcut for "run"; I can type alt-f2 (linux) or meta-R (windows) and then a program name and get it without reaching for the mouse.

It is much easier to suggest solutions when you know nothing about the problem.