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Comment: Re:It happens... (Score 1) 173

by Etherwalk (#49361707) Attached to: Prison Inmate Emails His Own Release Instructions To the Prison

I had to go through jury selection a few months back for a capital case, going through three or four rounds of appearances and interviews. Part of what struck me about the experience is how incredibly poor the paperwork was. They gave us number cards when there were 250+ people to go through in my group, they were all handwritten even though the numbers corresponded with the computer-generated numbers we were assigned when the original mailing for service was sent. Forms and questionnaires looked like they were generated in Clarisworks by first-time users in elementary school. Nothing had letterhead, nothing had any sort of official feel.

  Your story about no letterhead and using fax machines is totally believable to me, and I'm amazed that it isn't abused more often.

Courts have no money for electronic upgrades, and when they have the money they have to fight a bureaucracy to get them. Seattle is still using DOS-based systems.

Comment: Tent Cities (Score 1) 60

by Etherwalk (#49361527) Attached to: Ikea Refugee Shelter Entering Production

It would probably be sellable at an Ikea as well, to decrease costs through commercial sales

I could see this as camping gear, DIY flatpack cabin, DIY garden guesthouse, flatpack survivalist supplies

I wonder how it holds up under snow and monsoon, since places needing such shelters can have snowy winters (Japan Fukushima) or hurricanes (Haiti) and monsoons (Burma)

There might actually be a real demand. A lot of places in the US have homeless "tent cities" where local homeless populations live, and there is definitely an effort to work to improve their lot.

Comment: Re:There is one effect TFA omits ... (Score 4, Insightful) 343

Yes, a lawyer is more likely to sue you if you do something wrong. It doesn't make it wrong to hire a lawyer.

It doesn't make it wrong, but it does make it dumb.

An engineer is more likely to hold your private key hostage. It doesn't make it wrong to hire an engineer.

Comment: Re:The only reason... (Score 1) 343

The next time you are sexually harassed by a woman, feel free to point it out. If they don't follow the same procedure, sue them into oblivion.

People claiming they're harassed have a lot of power even though most people bringing harassment lawsuits are bogus, because we as a society have decided it's important enough to prevent real harassment that we're willing to pay the price of having lots of spurious lawsuits.

Comment: Re:There is one effect TFA omits ... (Score 4, Insightful) 343

It is interesting that news stories never mention that Ellen Pao is a lawyer. I don't know what Kleiner Perkins was thinking when they hired her, and made her a junior partner. If you hire a carpenter, that carpenter is going to try to solve every problem with a hammer. If you hire a lawyer, that lawyer is going to try to solve every problem with a lawsuit. That's what they do.

Yes, what a shame it is that they hired someone who knew enough to assert her rights if she faced gender discrimination. Much better to hire someone from inside the tech industry who had acclimated to the gender discrimination properly already.

End Sarcasm.

Yes, a lawyer is more likely to sue you if you do something wrong. It doesn't make it wrong to hire a lawyer.

Comment: Re:Looking inside shopvac (Score 1) 261

by Etherwalk (#49351601) Attached to: RadioShack Puts Customer Data Up For Sale In Bankruptcy Auction

Someone's panties are all in a bunch, wouldn'tchaknow. Seriously, nobody's accusing you of anything; but, if it acts as a deterrent, or they happen to catch a thief, it keeps prices lower for you (or profits higher for the shareholders, which could also include you), and if the anti-cheating software happens to catch a cheat, that added proof that you actually did the work makes your degree that much more valuable.

So, where's the problem?

Leaving aside your sexist language, the problem is in the insult. The action assumes you are a thief and launches an investigation without any evidence, just because you bought a shopvac. It is a guilty until proven innocent approach.

Imagine that as you check out, the cashier says "I am going to look inside your shopvac in case you are a thief."

Saying it's because other people are thieves justifies looking in mine is saying that I might be guilty because other people are.

Comment: Re:Looking inside shopvac (Score 1) 261

by Etherwalk (#49350785) Attached to: RadioShack Puts Customer Data Up For Sale In Bankruptcy Auction

Having worked at Home Depot in my lesser years, no, the cashier was doing their job and making sure they scanned all of your items. About 20% of the theft in my store was sliding small items under the garden center gate, 10% was walkouts, and 70% was people shoving shit in shop vacs, so yeah, not blaming anyone for checking those.

When their job is to accuse me of stealing, it's an insult to every customer who buys a shopvac. That is the fundamental objection people have to requiring people to sign your receipt when you leave, for example, or to running college essays through anti-cheating software.

Comment: They're the boss. (Score 2) 128

by Etherwalk (#49350707) Attached to: GAO Denied Access To Webb Telescope Workers By Northrop Grumman

I can understand the reluctance to speak to Congress, or their henchmen.

I don't think you understand how federal programs work.

In order to bid on a government project, you have to comply with *a lot* of rules. If you don't want to, you don't have to big on the project. They're just such an awfully big buyer that a lot of people are willing to comply with the rules.

It's like any other moment in life when you're dealing with an annoying and overly demanding client. If you're very lucky you don't have to--but they do put the food on your table.

Comment: Cross Bronx (Score 1) 226

by Etherwalk (#49349415) Attached to: Russian Official Proposes Road That Could Connect London To NYC

The US would of course have to block the road where it hits NYC to prevent trade with them... leading to a 13-thousand mile traffic jam ?

I see you are not familiar with the Cross Bronx "Expressway". The US would simply need to make the highway end on the Cross Bronx. Formal trade barriers are unnecessary.

Comment: Looking inside shopvac (Score 1) 261

by Etherwalk (#49342149) Attached to: RadioShack Puts Customer Data Up For Sale In Bankruptcy Auction

Ever since the checker at Fry's caught that one of my items (the smallest yet most expensive item on my ticket) was not in my bag, I'm more than happy to let them check. It's not always a loss-prevention, treat you like a criminal, measure. In fact, having talked to the checkers quite a bit when the store is slow, I've learned that they catch people leaving without what they paid for much more often than the other way round. At least at Fry's, it truly is a customer service initiative. And yes, cashiers do face consequences for not making sure the customer leaves their register with all of their purchases.

Yeah, the cashier at home depot who looked inside my shopvac wanted to make sure it had all the parts, I'm sure.

Comment: The Wankel Engine of the Semiconductor Industry (Score 4, Interesting) 56

by Etherwalk (#49333793) Attached to: Stanford Breakthrough Could Make Better Chips Cheaper

One of the very first papers I read for a VLSI design course had one of the weirdest final sentences I have ever heard, from a geeky see-my-smarts cross between physics and car geeks. As I recall, it was something like this:

"And then, of course, there is the problem of gallium arsenide, which is the Wankel Engine of the semiconductor industry."

To which the class (a bunch of undergrads wading into the delightful bliss and head-scratching geekery of academic journals for the first time) collectively and perplexedly said "WTF?"

Comment: And so it goes. (Score 1) 291

by Etherwalk (#49329515) Attached to: Steve Wozniak Now Afraid of AI Too, Just Like Elon Musk

Wozniak, et. al. need to chill. It's just evolution.

That's what they said to the textile workers.

It's evolution that will fundamentally change the way our economy has to work, and we're not even close to having a model in place for dealing with it. In fifty years AI will be able to do probably the majority of jobs humans do now. Fifty years after that AI will be able to do everything, and will be much better at problems like the management of government resources, manipulation of the population, and will probably be the intellectual leaders in every field of math and science, as we are still working to come to terms with a world where all of our AIs think faster than we do, and under their own direction.

It's like google that can think for itself. And wikipedia. And once we figure it out, Einstein or Edison with all of that knowledge. In a world where humans are almost useless from a task standpoint--and how could you be otherwise, compared to that? We will be children given chores to make us feel useful, even though we will never learn and consume massive resources, like a mentally disabled son. And that's if we're lucky and the AI's grow to be generous.

Comment: Re: Xinhau (Score 1) 233

It's a very big company, much, much bigger than "The ABC," and the Australian site called itself "ABC," not "The ABC." Without previous knowledge of "The ABC," it was a logical belief. The fact that the trade symbols were different made me double-check.

But by all means, continue calling me names until you're tired of it.

Comment: Re:Xinhau (Score 1) 233

I wondered what this "Xinhau" was. An Indian rip off of Xinhua? But, no, it's somebody who can't spell a word correctly when it's sitting in front of them. Reminds me of some of my students, in fact.

This one wasn't submitted for credit. :)

Xinhua is also a proper noun from outside my usual lexicon and is transliterated from a language I am unfamiliar with, so I am comfortable with getting it wrong once or twice in an informal context. I actually found "The ABC" more interesting, because it took me a little while to realize the site was The Australian Broadcasting Corporation rather than an Australian branch of the American company ABC.

In any event, please excuse the misspelling. But whether you do or not, I found the story interesting and wanted to share.

Kind Regards,


This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington