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Comment: Agreed, single-use numbers and Paypal FTW (Score 1) 98

by billstewart (#48687613) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Companies With Poor SSL Practices?

That also reduces the ability of the company to coordinate your purchasing information (though your name and address are probably relatively unique, unless you also use single-use versions of those, like random apartment numbers for your house.)

Somebody else also recommended using PayPal for sites that you don't want to trust on a regular basis. Any place that you don't trust, or that you think might be lax about security, or that you're not planning to use repeatedly can get by with that.

Comment: Sizes of Constellations (Score 2) 47

The phrase "smallest of all 88 constellations" really irks me. Constellations aren't real things, they're imaginative descriptions of patterns people see to make it easier to remember which stars are which. There's at least one constellation "The Triangle*" which is smaller, or if you allow two-star constellations, "those two faint dots over there" is even smaller.

(*Yes, I stole that The Triangle from Terry Pratchett; it's the name of a Discworld constellation.)

Comment: Re: who cares how many children (Score 1) 249

by hey! (#48685669) Attached to: AirAsia Flight Goes Missing Between Indonesia and SIngapore

That's an interesting take on the idea. There may be, almost certainly is an "optimal" point of view where the balance of future carrying cost, productive potential, experience and future work expectancy.

If you value experience the highest, then older people are the most valuable. Children have highest carrying cost, least experience, but the highest adaptability and future earning potential.

Now you could take a *market* approach to valuing lives by holding an auction to see how much people will contribute to save a life. In that case I have no doubt that children would win hands down. In a sense we do this already; charities which rescue children have a distinct advantage over those that target adults or the elderly.

Comment: Re:Why not include the original IBM design? (Score 1) 174

by hey! (#48684259) Attached to: Know Your Type: Five Mechanical Keyboards Compared

I actually dug out my old Model M last year. Aside from the fact that the rubber.insulation had flaked off the keyboard cord, it still worked perfectly. And it was every bit as good as I remembered it being for typing, and if I replace the cord it will last forever.

There's only one problem with the thing: it's so damn loud. Every damn keypress is accompanied by a loud "POK!" Forget about annoying other people, *I* was annoyed. Years of typing on pretty good Thinkpad "scissor switch" keyboards had accustomed me to a low, pleasant sussuration.

Cherry makes a "brown" switch that is not quite as loud as the classic buckling spring. I have a cheap nixeus keyboard that uses "brown" knock-offs. They're pretty good and not so loud as to be annoying. I wouldn't use this keyboard in public, at a Starbucks or in the library, but it's fine in my home office.

Comment: My wife's had our son in the hospital (Score 2) 207

by swb (#48683957) Attached to: Facebook Apologizes For 'Year In Review' Photos

...hooked up to an EEG machine.

The backstory is that I had gone to roust him out of bed because he's chronically late but found him in the bathroom, unconscious and not breathing. Somehow he had passed out, fell, and landed on a trash bin and the bin liner had blocked his airway.

He spent four days in the ICU, the first day in a propofol-induced coma with an EEG connected. It was a horrifying experience and my wife posted the image two days later basically as a way of letting people know what had happened and why we had gone silent to everyone for a few days.

She was annoyed by the image of him presented as "what a great year" but I don't think much more than annoyed.

I think the entire feature is lame and I've marked all of them (my own suggested one and every other I've been presented) as "I don't want to see this". Trying to block my own suggested one in the Facebook IOS app consistently crashed the app.

My takeaway on this is that Facebook's image analytics suck. As good as they seem to be at identifying faces for tagging you might think they would be able to train their system to identify smiling faces so that when they suggested images they would tend to show ones more likely to be positive and reject others.

Comment: Windows says 3:30 1:20 2:50 4:20 0:35 ! (Score 1) 57

by billstewart (#48682081) Attached to: My laptop lasts on battery for ...

Windows estimates on how long anything takes seem to be pretty random. For battery life, that seems to be exacerbated by the manufacturer's power management software as well (and I haven't figured out which lies my new HP tells, compared to the old Dell.)

We have a new program from the IT department at $DAYJOB, which puts the machine into hibernate overnight if you haven't used it for an hour or so after 7pm. (These are laptops, so the energy the company gets to brag about saving is on my electric bill, not theirs, but I've got electric heat so it doesn't really save anything.) The big impact is that the VPN connection drops, so I have to wake up the PC, then log in to the VPN, then before I do anything else, go into the browser and reload the autoproxy, so the firewall doesn't replace half my tabs with non-restorable "your proxy settings are wrong" banners. Costs me about 15 minutes extra in the morning, though I can get some of that back by making coffee while I wait.

Comment: Chimps (and humans) are Apes, not Monkeys (Score 1) 201

by billstewart (#48682017) Attached to: N. Korea Blames US For Internet Outage, Compares Obama to "a Monkey"

Ooook! Don't say the M-word near the Librarian!

You're thinking of the "Bush or Chimp" website. We're not monkeys!

And as the other poster said, at least in America, calling black people "monkeys" is specifically racist; calling white people that is just a non-racial insult.

Comment: Re: I doubt it. (Score 1) 87

hey, I had a GE made in Mexico about a decade ago - complete junk. I just gave away a Bosch too - also junk. Before the GE was Whirlpool junk. Replaced the Bosch with a Maytag, a model with a grinder, and it's the first dishwasher I've bought that I haven't hated in two decades. Not sure where it's made.

Comment: I've managed a team full of H1bs.. (Score 4, Interesting) 518

by hey! (#48677749) Attached to: Paul Graham: Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In

Not my choice, we got them in a deal with a VC. And I will tell you from experience that they're not all great programmers. A *few* of them were very good programmers, most of them were OK, and a few were very *bad* programmers. Just like everyone else. The idea that the H1B program just brings in technical giants is pure fantasy. This isn't 1980; if a CS genius living in Bangalore wants to work he doesn't have to come to the US anymore, there are good opportunities for him at home..

H1B brings in a cross section of inexperienced programmers and kicks them out of the country once they've gained some experience. I have nothing against bringing more foreign talent into the US, but it should be with an eye to encouraging permanent residency. I think if you sponsor an H1B and he goes home, you should have to wait a couple years before you replace him. Then companies will be pickier about who they bring over.

I have to say, managing a team of H1Bs was very rewarding, not necessarily from a technical standpoint but from a cultural standpoint. Because I had to learn about each programmer on my team and the way things are done in his culture, I think I became closer to a lot of them than I would have to a team of Americans.

Comment: Re:Stupid/Misleading Title (Score 1) 118

by blincoln (#48675757) Attached to: US Navy Sells 'Top Gun' Aircraft Carrier For One Penny

You can still take recyclables to a recycler and be paid for them. Most people don't consider it worth the effort for the amount of money they'll get in return, unless they're hobos and/or they have something valuable (like copper) to sell. I had some old steel bits and pieces that I carted down to a recycler a few months ago. I got about five dollars for all of it. I was happier with that arrangement than if the steel had ended up in a landfill, but most people wouldn't have been willing to spend a few hours collecting it, driving it to the recycler, etc.

Comment: Why Kozmo sort of succeeded (Score 1) 34

Ok, the company as a whole tanked rapidly, as one might expect, but according to friends who lived in its territory at the time, one reason the service was so popular was that one of the things it delivered was weed. The company itself didn't sell it, but the drivers did that themselves, so they were happy and the customers were happy, and there were an awful lot of deliveries that had only one random item on the books (plus weed.)

It's hard to think of you as the end result of millions of years of evolution.