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Comment: Re:The good and bad... (Score 3, Informative) 480

by Jim Robinson Jr. (#34837254) Attached to: Verizon Finally Unveils Apple iPhone

I beg to differ. As a Blackberry user with this limitation I find it incredibly annoying. This is my ONLY phone device and I frequently spent 4-6 hours / day in con-call meetings. When someone says "here... I'll send you that number (or whatever)..." I can't get it until hanging up.

While I agree that the lack of simultaneous voice/data will not impact everyone, don't discount the importance of that in the business world.

Comment: Re:Not surprising, with the Conservatives in power (Score 2) 433

by Jim Robinson Jr. (#34810116) Attached to: Internet Downloading Costs To Rise In Canada

With all due respect to the anti-conservative/capitalistic commentary (which has a lot of apparent validity) this type of situation occurs BECAUSE of government regulation... not because of insufficient regulation. At least in the US, governments have permitted and even encouraged monopolistic business practices that restrict the free market and customer choice. Whether traditional carriers (AT&T, Verizon, etc.) or traditional cable (Comcast, etc.) they all have PURCHASED - FROM THE GOVERNMENT - an exclusive territorial provider contract. That means that the very government that should be encouraging competition is in fact allowing the exact opposite. Because we consider ourselves more civilized, we no longer call this graft, corruption, bribery, etc. Instead we bury our collective heads in the sand, take the contract purchase dollars, and tell ourselves that its OK. Isn't it great that we are so good at lying to ourselves?

As a free-market capitalist, and traditional conservative, what I want to see is governments getting OUT of market control. Once there are multiple real choices in providers, with the associated competition for customers, we will see this disturbing trend reverse itself.


President Obama To Appear On Mythbusters 795

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the busting-the-citizenship-myth-at-last dept.
Muondecay writes "President Obama will be featured in the December 8th MythBusters episode, 'Archimedes Solar Ray,' during which he will challenge Adam and Jamie to revisit an ancient and somewhat controversial myth: Did Greek scientist and polymath Archimedes set fire to an invading Roman fleet using only mirrors and the reflected rays of the sun during the Siege of Syracuse? This is part of a White House effort to highlight the importance of science education."

Robots Taught to Deceive 239

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the of-this-will-be-fine dept.
An anonymous reader found a story that starts "'We have developed algorithms that allow a robot to determine whether it should deceive a human or other intelligent machine and we have designed techniques that help the robot select the best deceptive strategy to reduce its chance of being discovered,' said Ronald Arkin, a Regents professor in the Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing."

Comment: Written thoughts (Score 1) 527

by Jim Robinson Jr. (#33253812) Attached to: Preserving Memories of a Loved One?

First, my condolences. I cannot imaging the pain your family is facing.

Second, I will concur with other posters. Don't focus so much on preserving your wife into the future that you forget to make memories now.

That said, I am having my family do something proactively that might be of service. Particularly with my mother (who at 64 isn't exactly old yet, but anything can happen).

Write letters. I mean the hand-written kind. One for birthdays, graduations, weddings, first jobs, grandchildren, and other major events. It will be difficult to do, but tell your wife to mentally take a trip to the future. She's watched her kids grow up and now face an important life event. What would she like to say to them? Advice? Congratulations? Stories? I would suggest having your wife do this in chronological order, giving her the opportunity to mentally and emotionally age the kids and take a mental stroll through their future.

You didn't mention your children's gender, but if they are girls I would also suggest those letters cover some of the mother/daughter talks about growing up. Menstruation, first boyfriend, first kiss... you get the idea.

Video is good, but sometimes they are hard to watch. And, as others have already commented, letting go and letting time dull the memories is just as important as remembering. The past is a great place to visit, but you can't live there.

After you wife has passed, you will be her representative. She can't parent from the grave (apologies if that sounds cold) simply because there isn't a 2-way conversation. But at least with these letters she can share her most important thoughts directly with the kids... and give you a starting place.


Comment: Re:Thoughts. (Score 3, Informative) 527

by Jim Robinson Jr. (#33253720) Attached to: Preserving Memories of a Loved One?

Great suggestion. I have one from my father. He's been gone 12 years, and one in a very long while I'll pull it out and spend some time in the past. If you do this though... be sure to store it in several layers of plastic. One won't be enough over time. 12 years and my dad's smell is just about gone.

Comment: Re:We All Wish (Score 4, Insightful) 872

by Jim Robinson Jr. (#32775444) Attached to: Climategate's Final Days

As someone who is not in favor of the chicken-little approach to climate change, I would like to comment on this. I speak for no one but myself and would be happy to find errors in logic.

We *know* through geological records that this planet has undergone many changes in climate, including ice, flood, fire, drought, etc. Scientists *think* - based on the limited evidence available - that greenhouse gasses are the culprit. This time. Scientists also *know* that mankind, through industry and machinery, produces greenhouse gasses. Therefore mankind must be the cause. It's been a long time since I took logic, but as I see this as a questionable conclusion at best.

Assuming the information I have read is correct, greenhouse gasses are caused by nature far more than man. I can't find the reference, but recall a study published last year that showed the bovine population - both dairy and meat - producing more greenhouse gasses than all of mankind. So... do we eat less beef and drink less milk?

I believe that we have a responsibility to be good stewards of our environment, and as such should take reasonable precautions to protect our planet. However, let's not confuse that with the 'sky is falling' mantra. It may very well be, but when we speak in a geological time frame even as short as man's sojourn on this planet... there is simply insufficient evidence to be certain. That does not absolve us from responsibility as stewards, but it should temper our responses.

My conclusions:

1. Anyone who claims that the climate is not changing is lying to themselves.
2. Anyone who claims that they can prove WHY the climate is changing is lying to the rest of us.
3. Anyone who claims to have a solution is trying to sell you snake oil.

Regarding the OP, I sincerely hope that this issue isn't over. This is a debate that should continue.


Comment: Re:Hopefully NEVER. (Score 1) 261

by Jim Robinson Jr. (#32554614) Attached to: When Will the Automotive Internet Arrive?

I'll second that. Privacy aside, it will be a sad day when my own vehicle become the government's enforcer for speeding... reporting me for every violation.

I'm imagining a license system like in 'The Fifth Element". You get into your vehicle, insert your license... and it let's you drive based on a point system.

Funny? Perhaps.

Impossible? Nope!

Terrifying? Absolutely!

Comment: Re:Before anyone gets in a huff... (Score 1) 1217

by Jim Robinson Jr. (#32542774) Attached to: MA High School Forces All Students To Buy MacBooks

Every child in the use is entitled to a PUBLICLY FUNDED education up to the 12th grade. Unless you live in an petroleum or gambling funded state, that's not quite the same as FREE. Just look at your next property tax bill. Every single property PAYS for those children to get that education.

That said, it's ridiculous that our "free" educational systems cost more than many a university education. According to the National College Board, the average 2009-2010 cost for a university is $7,020 / year (http://www.collegeboard.com/student/pay/add-it-up/4494.html). According to the US Census Bureau (http://www2.census.gov/govs/school/07f33pub.pdf) in 2007 (the latest numbers available) we paid an average of $9666 for each student. It's an interesting comparison and begs several quality control questions. I'll leave those for a different discussion.

Either way, nothing is free - or even cheap - when it's provided by the government.

Comment: Re:There are no other questions (Score 1) 902

by Jim Robinson Jr. (#31613916) Attached to: Will Your Answers To the Census Stay Private?

I'll second this comment. Though not a professional genealogist, I am the family historian. Once you move more than 3-4 generations back you will exceed the scope of family lore and need external information to help you figure our where you come from.

For example, family lore held that my great-grandfather (GGF) immigrated from Wales. However, according to the US Census, it was his FATHER that immigrated. His mother came from Ohio. Once I knew that I was able to find my GGGF and that between 1900 (are you a US citizen = no) and 1910 (are you a US citizen = yes) something important changed. From that I was able to track down his citizenship application and find the town where he was born. Now I've jumped the pond and am working to find his parents. Fun times!

All of this started because the US Census asked several critical historical questions such as place of birth for you and your parents, parents names, age, marital status, citizenship, and occupation.

The fact that we are no longer asking these questions, whether for fear of offending or political correctness, is a travesty to future generations.

Universal, Pay Those EFFing Lawyers 335

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the they-can-afford-it dept.
Slashdot frequent contributor Bennett Haselton writes "The EFF is seeking over $400,000 in attorney's fees from Universal Music Group after Universal sent a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube, demanding the removal of a video posted by user Stephanie Lenz. Lenz had posted a video of her toddler dancing to a 30-second clip of the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy"; after Universal sent the takedown notice, the EFF sent YouTube a counter-notice on behalf of Lenz arguing that the video was fair use, and YouTube restored it. Now the EFF is asking the judge to award them attorney's fees for their work." Use your magical clicking device below to read many more words.

Comment: What's the difference.... (Score 1) 837

by Jim Robinson Jr. (#30587746) Attached to: Uniforms For the Help Desk?

Like most people who work in or around IT I've got a closet full of give-away shirts. T-shits, polo's, and yes... dress-shirts.... all emblazoned with some company's pitch and all screaming "hey everyone... I work in IT". Don't laugh before you check your own wardrobe.

Have you ever worn one of these to work? Even once? If so, what's the difference? If you are willing to advertise another company's brand why shouldn't you be willing to wear your company's logo?

Of course, this is predicated on the idea that the "uniforms" in question are tasteful, button-down, collared shirts in a non-neon color and intended to be worn with your existing dress slacks. If you would wear it in public, then it shouldn't matter. As someone else has already pointed out it can be liberating to have a limited wardrobe to select from and financially beneficial to have someone else pay for it. If, however, you would NOT wear this in public, you have a very different decision to make.

Documentation is the castor oil of programming. Managers know it must be good because the programmers hate it so much.