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Comment Re:What about other life goals? (Score 1) 91

I used the unpaid example to draw a sharper contrast. A large block of time off is generally unavailable under any terms, except at companies like FB (or apparently everywhere in Europe) that explicitly call out child-rearing.

Since you seem to know of the system: If European democracies have a state system for paying for the leave, did the debate include proposals to allow payments for other avocations?

Europe is a big place and it probably varies to jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but I'd say generally no. I know that here in Norway there are a few other exceptions where the government may step in and pay like if you're giving care to someone seriously ill because you're a de facto replacement for public healthcare but for personal projects you are on your own. It has been suggested though that those who want to be slackers can be employed for a relatively short while, then go on unemployment benefits while making crap applications for jobs they won't get, flunk interviews and in general be unemployable while formally meeting the requirements. For the more serious people though I know some that have gotten 6-12 months unpaid leave to pursue some personal dream in the private sector, in the public sector it's even easier.

I think this very much relates to the use of overtime and wage politics, in Europe you generally have to pay for every hour and to be honest you're usually paying overpaying unskilled/untrained people and underpaying your best people. Which means that if good employees don't get their leave and instead quit thinking their CV is good enough to get re-employed a year later you as an employer lose. They have to deal with similar leaves quite often for the 50% that's female and we also have a shorter paternity leave, so really there's no reason to be a dick about it. I guess it depends on why though, if you're starting a competing business then no.... the one I know who got a 12 month leave sailed around the world. Pretty bold move, but it was also fairly certain he'd be coming back. I think it takes a large company though, the smaller the harder it'll be.

Comment Re:Yeah, but that just means... (Score 2) 181

Just basic literacy will help a lot. Most conflicts in the world involve illiterate soldiers on one or both sides. Modern war is very expensive, and very destructive. War almost never makes economic sense. Most countries have market economies, so if your neighbor has resources that you want, you don't need to take it by force, you can just buy it.

Bad for you, worse for the other guy. Don't underestimate how much the stronger player can abuse their position until they go one step too far.

Comment The middle ground (Score 1) 289

Some of the component shops around here have PC-builders, basically you pick (from their approved selection) case, psu, mobo, cpu, ram, graphics card(s), disks etc. and they'll assemble and test it for you. If you want to start fresh and not use any parts from your existing setup that's a quite practical way to getting the parts you want without fiddling with screws and cables and DOA components (well unless they fail during shipping). Personally I rarely start over from scratch though, it's rare that everything is so outdated it's best to start over.

Comment Re:Uber and pirate bay (Score 3, Interesting) 52

Fortunately for the rest of us, they can't legislate reality. They take down Napster, it goes fully distributed. They flood the networks with shit, torrent sites provide ratings. They go after TPBs trackers, we get magnet links. They start blocking at ISP level, torrents go encrypted. And sometimes they run into setbacks, they couldn't shut down the Bittorrent protocol. They haven't been able to shut down file lockers. Their mass lawsuits/shakedowns have largely been halted. VPNs and open Wifi is still legal. And when they do score a win like being able to shut down a site, a zillion mirrors and proxies pop up making it futile.

The war on piracy hasn't exactly had the same kind of popular appeal as the war on drugs. It is a lot easier to come up with horror stories about crack whores and heroin addicts than about people pirating MP3s. I'm guessing this is the main reason we haven't seen haven't seen bigger legal opposition is the fact that offense is the best defense, so far the easiest solution has been to come up with a better tool. If they manage to get rapid-fire site take downs in the DNS system, there's also the dark web solution. The TOR system isn't built for heavy P2P, but just for getting magnet links - which is the only thing you need to bootstrap the process - it's plenty. So from where I'm standing they might get bigger and bigger guns, but the target is getting harder and harder to hit in the first place and punch through the armor if you do.

Comment Re:Now only if... (Score 3, Interesting) 52

Yeah, well, don't hold your breath ... if the US doesn't launch some form of trade sanctions I'll be surprised.

Since the EU is a free trade block and Sweden is a member, I doubt they can do much of anything. Through good services like Spotify they've curbed much of the public appeal of piracy and the Pirate Party is at ~0.4% far from any seats in the general elections and they lost their MEPs in the 2014 elections. They got more to lose than gain by revitalizing the public debate again, particularly anything that looks like US interference which is what pissed many Swedes off back in 2006.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 94

Now that the Steam Box is on the market, there is a growing demand for high-end gaming graphics on Linux. That sound you hear is nVidia laughing all the way to the bank.

They've already been there counting and laughing ever since the GTX 970/980 launched. They fell over laughing when they learned that the Fury would be a $500+ card only. Steam boxes would just be the cherry on top.

Comment Re:he should know better (Score 2) 305

If you made some kind of public statement and your employer/landlord/bank called you up and said it's not compatible with being an employee/tenant/customer of ours anymore I think most people would call it a free speech issue. Granted, we're not really being consistent because half the time we want to protect dissenting opinions from the wrath of the majority and the other half we want obnoxious and offensive speech to have consequences. Like when Brendan Eich was forced to step down as CEO of Mozilla, was that right or wrong? Some think it was right, that the LGBT community had a right to cause a shit storm. Others think they blatantly silenced an opposing voice by harassing his employer. But the government wasn't involved, so there was no free speech issue right?

Comment Live streaming beats fixed schedule (Score 2) 232

I think the TV as such is mostly going to go away, at least the form with a tuner. Here in Norway the mean broadband connection is 33 Mbit/s, the median 24 Mbit/s and 90%+ have 4+ Mbit/s. In say ten more years of fiber rollout "everybody" will have enough bandwidth to watch whatever they want, whenever they want it. That doesn't mean I think TV as such will go away, but the big screen in the living room will just be one of many where you can watch it. As for "smart" TVs, well they don't cost more than a cell phone less screen, camera and radio/wireless so why not throw it in there even if 95% don't use it.

Comment Re:Paris terrorists didn't seem "religious"... (Score 1) 491

The Paris terrorists didn't seem that "religious" or "conservative". From AFA: "She loved partying and going to clubs. She drank alcohol and smoked and went around with lots of different guys."

I noticed at a class reunion that that some of the extremes had flipped, like a fairly freaky urban party girl now living on a small farm far out on the countryside while some of the absolutely most boring and conservative people had flipped out. Those who just leaned one way or the other were mostly the same. I know I'm being an armchair quarterback here but it's probably the same with some terrorists, they've lived the party life but lacked some deeper meaning and purpose to their life and then had a true religious awakening becoming ultra conservative and extremely hostile towards their past life. It certainly seems to fit several convert stories I've read where they relatively suddenly become totally changed, cut off all their old friends and so on.

I don't think they're so many, but they might have a far more black and white view of the world than most. And they've probably externalized much of the blame on the "decadence" of modern society, alcohol, porn and whatnot. Apart from the violent side, many of them actually sound like pietists in Christianity - happiness comes from family, tradition, honor, worship etc. and "worldly amusements" like dancing, music, gambling, drinking should be shunned. I can sort of understand male converts who at least get the upper hand in a patriarchy, why women would want to turn back time makes no sense to me.

Comment Re:He gets stuff done, making others look bad (Score 2) 103

At this stage, NASA should just funnel money to SpaceX as fast as they can, before the space programs of other countries make them an irrelevance.

Yes I know that's harsh, but how else can NASA sidestep the politicians that meddle with NASA's long-term plans every election cycle?

Well, nothing Musk has done so far is deep space-specific. In fact, the whole manned flight program comes from NASA money. Is he going to design the Mars lander, outpost, return vehicle and fund it all? I doubt it. So in practice it's going to be on the politicians' whim for quite some time still.

Comment Re:What 'meaning'? (Score 1) 137

Hey at least it's a holiday that's not all about me, me, me. Sure, the retailers want to exploit it like every other special day (Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, Halloween etc.) but I kinda like finding a nice gift for someone, when I can. And it's a pretty good excuse to enjoy the end of the year the same way Sunday is the end of the week. Don't let commercialism get in the way of Christmas, it's pretty hard to ruin Crazy Shopping Day though since that was all it meant.

Comment It's in the law (Score 4, Interesting) 222

USC 17512 Limitations on liability relating to material online

(i) Conditions for Eligibility.â"

(1) Accommodation of technology. â" The limitations on liability established by this section shall apply to a service provider only if the service provider â"

(A) has adopted and reasonably implemented, and informs subscribers and account holders of the service provider's system or network of, a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers and account holders of the service provider's system or network who are repeat infringers; and

Nobody has dared poke this part of the law with a stick, what the heck does "reasonably implemented", "appropriate circumstances" and "repeat infringers" mean? None of it is defined any closer. I'd go for the simple two-pronged defense:

1) The policy is clearly spelled out in our terms of service, where we may terminate your contract:

By using the Service, you agree to abide by, and require others using the Service via your account to abide by the terms of this AUP. The AUP will be updated from time to time, so you should consult this document regularly to ensure that your activities conform to the most recent version. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THESE TERMS, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY STOP THE USE OF THE SERVICES AND NOTIFY THE COX CUSTOMER SERVICE DEPARTMENT SO THAT YOUR ACCOUNT MAY BE CLOSED.

1. Prohibited Activities. You may not use the Service in a manner that violates any applicable local, state, federal or international law, order or regulation. Additionally, you may not use the Service to:
Breach of Agreement: If You breach this Agreement, or any other agreement referenced herein, Cox has the right to terminate this Agreement and retrieve its equipment.

2) Our customers are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Something tells me this is going to get overturned on appeal.

Comment Re:queue the next level of ad blocking (Score 1) 323

One of them used to; I can't remember if it was AdBlock or NoScript, but one of them had a "load ads but don't display" mode instead of the usual "deny ads completely" mode.

It was for sites that could detect whether or not the ad components were accepted for download by your machine - which I remember a few sites did early on, even before this whole war got rolling. Not many but enough did, they felt that option was necessary, and I remember having to turn it on (off?) because at least one of the sites I visited regularly required it.

I just went and looked at the ABP and NoScript options and I don't seem to be able to find that feature any more, so either they removed it or turned it on full-time. I'm guessing it was the latter, but somehow the sites can still detect whether or not you are using some kind of ad-blocking technology.

Comment Re: Don't evolve your business model (Score 1) 221

Precious little, in a while. There's more and more support to the idea that any device to be connected to the internet will have to be"audited" for "potentially harmful" software and "certified" by "authorities". I know it sounds unacceptable right now but give it time and everybody will simply shrug and say "it's for our own safety and besides, what can we do?"

I heard pretty much the exact same thing when the "I love you" virus was making the rounds, just saying...

Radioactive cats have 18 half-lives.