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Comment Re:Add-ons? (Score 1) 404

It is hard to believe a company when they have worked hard to destroy their credibility with their own user base. For example: claiming to support privacy, while removing features that can improve privacy.

Also, Slashdot users are not a singular entity. Different people have different opinions. It is quite probable that those opinions will contradict each other.

Comment Re:That's reasonable (Score 1) 509

If we had teachers with a solid grounding in the science that they are teaching, pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of a theory would be an excellent idea. Not only is science evolving, but it gives incentive for students to enter the sciences because there are frontiers in which they can contribute to research.

Unfortunately, many science teachers are teaching outside of their specializations and many older science teachers may not be aware of the current state of their specializations. Even more unfortunate are those teachers who would take advantage of it to preach non-scientific theories such as creationism (or other fringe theories that have nothing to do with science).

Comment Re:The RPi's "secret weapon" (Score 1) 120

Every platform starts with a small community and with a small base of software, including the Raspberry Pi.

The foundation had several secret weapons to deal with that. The first is that they developed something different. Keep in mind that the hobby platform of the time was the Arduino. They managed to undercut the Arduino in both price as well as performance, and by a quite significant factor for the latter. By addressing the education market, they also fostered goodwill. On top of that, they are active in building and supporting a community.

Other boards may do all of the above, but their attempts aren't compelling. Doubling the speed may attract some people, but it is not compelling when other factors are considered (especially if the price is on-par or higher). Attempts to address the needs of the education market feel hollow, like businesses trying to defend their turf, which does little to generate goodwill. As for community, that is a heck of a lot more than posting videos to a corporate website.

On top of that, the Raspberry Pi gained support from third parties, particularly with relation to education. It has also been particularly strong at presenting their product at conferences (e.g. PyCon's Education Summit). Wolfram shouldn't be discounted either. Given Mathematica's marginal ability to run on the Pi, it was a token gesture. Yet it was also demonstrating support for the Pi as an education platform.

Comment Re:How long will you all put up with this shit? (Score 2) 458

I use Linux, OS X, and Windows. As long as the applications that a user needs/wants are available for a given platform, there isn't a huge difference to the end user.

As you mention, the differences are quite significant if the user digs a bit deeper. If they attempt to keep up with technology news, or dig around to discover the privacy settings and how updates are managed, it is quite obvious that things are amiss. Yet I highly doubt that many people do that since most people seem to treat technology as a tool rather than as managing it professionally or as a hobby.

Then again, that assumes that the people who notice that things are amiss actually regards it as a problem. The upgrade treadmill has been part of the personal computer market since day one, while a multitude of companies have been encroaching upon the end user's personal data for well over a decade now. A lot of people treat the former as an excuse to get new toys. A lot of people treat the latter as a trade-off for convenience.

It is going to be difficult to get people to dump Windows simply because people either don't know or don't care about what Microsoft is doing. Heck, it is difficult to get people who do know and do care to dump Windows because Microsoft has a stranglehold over many parts of the market.

Comment Re:BASIC? Give me a break. (Score 1) 117

BASIC may not be an ideal language, but it had two advantages: it was fairly easy to learn, and it used to be there by default.

Being burnt into the firmware or installed with the OS offers one huge advantage. The beginner developer didn't have to choose amongst different languages, and worry about making the wrong choice. I suspect that this is a large part of the appeal of web development a decade later. Any computer with a web browser had HTML and JavaScript installed by default.

Comment Re:The most condescending, sexist statement... (Score 1) 117

I think any commentary I add is likely to just detract from the awesomely stupid essence of that last quote. They don't know it's available to them? What the hell does that even mean?

A lot of girls emulate other girls and women, just as a lot of boys emulate other boys and men, to fit in. It isn't a rule, since there are definitely exceptions, but the shortage of female role models would have a negative impact.

That being said, computer science isn't exactly a popular field for boys either. It's simply popular enough that male outliers have managed to dominate the field.

Comment Re:Try uBlock (Score -1) 406

Read articles, see no ads.

Wrong reason.

The way that advertising networks operate, as well as their negative impact upon security and privacy, should have been the argument for ad blockers from day one. Unfortunately, this approach has been adopted by a minority of people. That even seems to be true on Slashdot, which attracts people who are more vocal about security and privacy.

People who scream that they should be able to use ad blockers because they don't want to see ads sound like self-entitled jerks. They sound like people who want something, yet give nothing in return. That doesn't work out well for companies that need to generate revenue in order to fund their product. Worse yet, it does nothing to enforce accountability upon advertising networks and (if worse comes to worse and advertisers refuse to be accountable) earns no sympathy from legislators.

Comment Re:UX to increase user base, in turn for HW compat (Score 2) 231

While it is important for FLOSS developers to look at UX, the vast majority of FLOSS has nothing to do with the FSF beyond using their license agreement. UX has also been outside the scope of FSF efforts, and choosing to put more emphasis on it is bound to alienate a lot of their supporters.

So yes, look at UX. Yet choose the right people for the job.

Comment Re:nothing has changed (Score 2) 172

The hyperlink may be there, but there are issues with how it is used. The most obvious one is that some social networking sites require a login. For people who have an account, that is unlikely to be an issue. For people who don't have an account, or don't want their account linked to particular activities, the value of the hyperlink has been devalued. That is particularly true in nations that are oppressive. The second issue is that many more sites include user specific information in hyperlinks, such as a session identifier. This makes it more difficult to share links.

Comment Re:Walking and texting (Score 1) 142

Why is the bit about "not operating heavy equipment" relevant in many (if not most) cases? You're probably surrounded by heavy equipment if you're walking around a public place. In that respect, it isn't terribly different from the typical workplace where everyone is responsible for following safety protocols. It doesn't matter if you're the person operating the machine or a visitor who is on a tour. Whether people should be surrounded by heavy equipment in public places is another question, but it is the case and we have to deal with it.

The ability to multitask and use peripheral vision is also irrelevant. I know that I can use my device (may that be a mobile phone or a printed book) and be aware of my surroundings. Except when I'm not aware of my surroundings. That lack of awareness may happen once a day or once a decade. While the intervals between the lapses will affect the frequency of detrimental outcomes, it will not affect the probability of a detrimental outcome when that lapse happens.

Comment Music Industry is fine, global economy collapses (Score 2) 261

As others have noted, the music industry isn't losing money over this effort. What will actually happen is this:

- The music industry will start lobbying to make the Raspberry Pi, LCD screens, Python, and /dev/null illegal since they are infringing devices.
- Governments will pass legislation that reflects the interests of the music industry.
- Huge swaths of economy will be stuck in the paper age until Unix systems can be patched to operate properly without /dev/null. A smaller segment of the economy will be stuck in paper age until programs incorporating Python itself or that are programmed in Python are replaced.
- School children and electronics hobbyists will fill prisons and, upon release, find themselves unemployable because of their criminal records. The result is that there will be a lack of skilled labor to help the economy to recover in the years to come.
- Microsoft and Apple will declare bankruptcy, as manufacturers find that they cannot produce enough CRTs in a timely manner and GUI-centric operating systems will be unable to adapt to consoles based upon LEDs and toggle switches fast enough.
- On a positive note, the MPAA will collapse due to it's current dependence upon LCD technology to deliver its content to consumers.
- On a negative note, the lack of competition will means the RIAA will take over.

Comment Re:poor tool (Score 1) 63

In there defense, this is not about security. It is about how easy it is for a third party to track individuals based upon the properties of their web browser. Many of those properties are obtained through scripting. While turning off scripting will make you less identifiable, it seems to defeat the point that they are trying to make.

Comment More interesting if ... (Score 1) 63

It would be more interesting if they would suggest configuration changes to produce a non-unique fingerprint. Their only suggestion is to use an extension like NoScript, which they admit is impractical.

I can see ways to make fingerprinting less effective, at least among privacy oriented individuals, but it needs something like Panopticlick to collect and analyze data in order to recommend optimal, non-unique fingerprints. In some cases this can be handled by browser settings. In other cases, it may require some sort of add-on. Yet it should be possible to create non-unique combinations.

The best that I can do with the present setup is to guess how to configure to my browser to make it less unique. For individual parameters, it is quite effective. Yet the only way to create a unique fingerprint is by sheer luck.

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