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Comment obvious and not-so-obvious answers (Score 1) 153

The most obvious are the serial, parallel, and PS2 connectors used for mice, keyboards, printers, and the occasional device that in the past would have used some variant of the RS-232 serial port.

Less obvious is a reduced reliance on video connectors and special-purpose buses like PCMCIA, eSATA, and MIDI.

USB-based cabling has also replaced the old-school "Laplink" cable connectors for connecting two computers directly to each other, although Ethernet and WiFi long ago reduced the need for such connections.

Comment Re:You better fix your unicode characters (Score 1) 18

What really bothers me is it should only take a few lines of code to replace garbage characters that slashdot shows with an ascii code for that character.

The worst is that it looks fine in preview, but the garbage comes out on the post. It's like they're deliberately trying to run off users.

Comment Re:You better fix your unicode characters (Score 1) 18

It wouldn't matter to me if they were Hindu, Jewish, or atheist. What bugs me is when someone doesn't practice what they preach. But religion should play no part in politics, except that hypocrisy is a no-go for me.

Take gay marriage, for example. Government should have no part whatever in marriage. I should not need a license to get married, and why is it all right to discriminate against single people? Why should a married couple earning $50k pay less than a war widow with a child earning the same amount?

If government had no hand in marriage, the "gay marriage" issue would have never come up.

Comment This is a business decision - possibly a fatal one (Score 1) 241

I can't blame the paper for going the cheapest route. I can blame them for believing patently false info fed to them by their content-management software experts and going with what they THINK is the cheapest route.

I assume their goal is to have a non-anonymous content system going forward, keep their existing comments, and keep the "comment history" of non-anonymous commenters intact and so future comments are connected to past ones made by the same person.

I also assume they want to have all of this done by a certain date and under a certain budget.

Given the short time-frame I assume the remaining work, if any, is expected to take less than a few months.

Their options are:

* Stick with their existing configuration (does not meet the criteria above)
* Dump their existing comment system and start over with a brand new one, possibly losing their entire comment history (does not meet the criteria above)
* Dump their existing comment system and NOT replace it (does not meet the criteria above)
* Keep their existing comment system as an archive but not allow any new comments (does not meet the criteria above)
* Pay $BIGBUCKS to "do the impossible" and get a system that can keep historical comments anonymized but give them what they want going forward (likely does not meet the time and budget criteria above, by a longshot)
* Pay $BIGBUCKS in direct, measurable costs of lawsuits and lost customers and $MOREBIGBUCKS in lost goodwill (likely does not meet the budget criteria above, by a longshot)

The question is, which criteria are they willing to sacrifice? If they continue on their current path, they are choosing to sacrifice the "budget" criteria. I hope they have good legal insurance and enough capital to survive the public relations nightmare that lies ahead of them, or they may wind up needing to hire a good bankruptcy lawyer.

Comment Is there a truly similar payment before 8/11/1994? (Score 1) 48

I would love to know the first cryptographically secure e-commerce transaction outside of a testbed environment. If something similar to the August 11, 1994 https: transaction occurred prior to that date, that would be worth contacting the author about. By similar, I mean a transaction in which the buyer used a cryptographically secure method to provide payment information directly to the seller, vs. using a non-secure method like email to provide payment information, using an intermediary like CompuServe or the Post Office ("cash on delivery") to manage the payment, or providing direct payment through some other means such as via telephone-voice-call/dialup-modem-direct-to-the-vendor/dedicated-data-line-direct-to-the-vendor/fax/mail/in-person/etc.

The article includes some important disclaimers not found in the summary:

* The 1971 ARPANET transaction "technically didn't count because money wasn't exchanged online: they only used the network to arrange a meeting place."

* The 1984 Videotext transation didn't count because the customer "paid for them in cash [at the time of delivery]. That's not exactly e-commerce."

Thanks to those who have already pointed out that you could buy things using Compu$erve (sorry, old habit$ die hard), Quantum Link, etc. and even via a telnet server before 1994.

Those mentioning buying things over BBSs (well, most BBSs anyways) and USENET are probably talking about using the network to arrange a purchase, not to actually conduct the purchase.

Comment Re:You better fix your unicode characters (Score 1) 18

Just because Trump attends a Presbyterian church doesn't make him Christian, it makes him a wolf in sheep's clothing. Trump worships only two things: Himself, and the ancient Greek god Plutus.

I hate it when someone who seems to always go against Jesus' teachings claims to be a Christian.

That goes for all the Republicans, with the possible exception of Carson and perhaps Rubio. Actually I have my doubts about almost all politicians. You know what Christ said about lawyers and the rich, which almost all of the Senators, Congresspeople, Governors, and President.

The optimal answer is for politics to avoid setting itself in conflict with faith, and there are reasonable compromises to achieve this.

Agreed. Remember the three in the furnace who were to be burned alive for refusing to follow the law and bow to the idol. I'm not Hindu, but I would be aghast if they passed a law making it mandatory to eat beef every Saturday.

As to the unicode, that's slashdot's fuckup.

Comment Re:Hillary has... been opposed to single payer (Score 1) 28

You are pants are on fire?

IMO any of the three Democrats would be a better President than any of the Republicans, although there are two or three Republicans that might not fuck up America too badly.

Perhaps the conspiracy was cooked up by her supporters? The insurance companies are the major reason health care is so expensive and ineffective here.

I'm disgusted by the Republican candidates' cowardice and heartlessness when it comes to refugees, and the fact that none have served in the military but are all for going to war. Back in the Vietnam war days those sorts were called "chicken hawks", and you'll find few veterans who can stomach them.

Unless you're rich and white you'd be a fool to vote for any of them.

Comment Re:"Reset to factory settings" button (Score 1) 148

This. Especially for consumer devices.

The only reasons NOT to have a user-accessible "factory reset" button is if the customer specifically doesn't want one (such as for anti-theft firmware where the customer does not want the thief disabling it without entering a code or possessing a hardware "key") or where there is a legal requirement to not allow the person in possession of the device to reset it (such as an ankle-monitor used by some people on parole, probation, or out on bond awaiting criminal trial).

Except for "so cheap they are disposable" devices and perhaps devices where there are national-security or very-strong-legal implications or where the end user specifically does not want one, there should always be a "reset switch" that is accessible to factory-authorized repair shops and, ideally, legal protection against price-gouging if an end user has to take the device into a factory-authorized shop to have it "reset" due to bricking.

Submission + - Zuckerberg to Take 2 Months Paternity Leave to Give His Kid a Better Outcome

theodp writes: TechCrunch reports that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will take two months off from Facebook for paternity leave. Why? "Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families," Zuckerberg explained in a FB post on Friday. "At Facebook we offer our U.S. employees up to 4 months of paid maternity or paternity leave which they can take throughout the year." No word on why Baby Zuck will only get 50% of that time — maybe that's what the gains chart suggested as a good tradeoff — or if expectant parents who apply to send their children to Zuckerberg's new Primary School, which aims to "help children from underserved communities reach their full potential," will be expected to make a similar commitment.

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.