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Comment Form and function (Score 1) 412

The only "tech" things I ever seem to use in a car are cruise control and the entertainment system. On a recent trip I had a rental car with all the in-car controls on a touch screen. I appreciated the convenience of being able to adjust the cruise control and climate control, play tunes, tune the radio and so on, all from a common interface. This is a car, dammit, not a mobile computer laboratory. Techie toys must do more than be cool. They must solve problems.

I'm reminded of airplane glass cockpits. Pilots rarely need exact numbers, most of the time they just need a glance at an analogue display. "Full power...confirmed! Gauges green...airspeed alive...rotate..."


Comment Not in a long time... (Score 2) 284

I think the last time I used a Windows 95 system was in the 2000/2001 timeframe. It's been a while.

I used Windows 95 a lot. It worked, but when USB started to become important I upgraded to Windows 98. Some people claim there is a USB implementation for Windows 95 but after careful study I have come to the conclusion that they are mistaken.

I worked for the Evil Empire in the early '90s and had access to early versions of Windows 95 (still codenamed Chicago). One memorable early build crashed and corrupted my hard drive after I attempted to adjust the mouse settings.


Comment Re:4GB ought to be enough for anybody (Score 1) 350

Until there is something that normal desktop users would use (no, not workstations), I would like to see it stay around 4GB so that people writing applications for desktop users don't do horrible things that are solved by throwing more RAM at the problem.

The iPhone has had a small amount of RAM since the start, and this has changed only slightly, and it's been for the better.

Comment Re:As a chemist, I have something to say. (Score 1) 135

Are you aware, that companies that produce lead-free solder in Europe, must have their product labeled with "may contain lead" in California?

Because California's lead restrictions are something like 9X (1 part per billion) where as Europe's standard is at 6X (1 part per million)... even though both of them can be described best and most easily with homeopathic dilution values...

Comment Re: none cipher? (Score 1) 75

Yeah, like when I want to create a kiosk from scratch using linux and want to have it autologin as a user and start x.

Asking on forums just leads to one being berrated and told that it is insecure to have a machine where someone is logged in without producing credentials. Why is it not a valid security model, to have a user called "public"? Especially whenever nothing mission critical is used on said machine?

Comment How things are paid for (Score 1) 528

We decided, a long time ago, that the web would be supported by advertising. Other business models are possible, and were explored, but subsequently abandoned. So be it.

OK, so show me good ads. Cut the "weird trick" ads. Lose the pop-ups, lose the auto-play videos, lose the bad HTML that makes web pages fidget and bounce around while the browser figures out what size your image really is. Lose the web pages that never finish loading. And please lose the Flash ads that freeze the entire browser.

When I loaded this page I got a BMW ad, an ad for a camera store and an ad for shoes. I can deal with that.


Comment Re:Statists will not go quietly into the night (Score 2) 330

Citation needed. From what I remember on Uber's own website, they claim to do background checks of drivers. That doesn't sound like opposition to me.

Sure: http://www.cnet.com/news/ubers-background-checks-dont-catch-criminals-says-houston/

Uber performs in-house background checks, but they oppose municipalities that require police background checks (which is the requirement in most areas for taxi services). There is concern that Uber's in-house checks aren't very thorough, and that they aren't looking very hard as to not have to fail so many applications, or more likely because a tougher background check is more expensive to process (fingerprints, etc). Not that even police background checks are perfect, mind you, just that they're going to catch more than Uber's in-house checks. Plus I suspect there's an element of municipalities not trusting Uber to run these checks in the first place.

And yes, taxi companies do more complete background checks, at least in more areas.

So while taxi companies check a prospective driver's fingerprint records against a database that theoretically (more on that in a minute) includes a person's complete criminal history in the United States, Uber background checks use a database that can only go back seven years for some information.

Anyhow, this is one area where Uber is inflexible. They seem generally disinterested in working with governments beyond getting their existing business plan approved, especially on anything where implementing a regulation would increase costs.

Comment Re:Statists will not go quietly into the night (Score 1) 330

Then that's something the governments need to work with Uber on fixing, instead of trying to shut them down.

That would require Uber to want to work with governments in the first place. They're opposed to regulations such as police background checks; there's not much middle ground there.

Comment Re:Open source? (Score 2, Interesting) 115

Nothing is perfect.

Agreed. And this goes especially for browsers, since they're hitting a moving target.

That said, this exploit highlights the fact that Mozilla still hasn't gotten their act together on layered security. Firefox remains the only browser not to run in low integrity mode (i.e. protected mode) on Windows, so while certain plugins like Flash are sandboxed, the greater browser is not. This goes hand in hand with the fact that Firefox currently does not have the ability to run each tab/window in its own process, making it harder to sandbox malicious content, and is why a bad tab can still take down the whole browser. Heck, the UI and the content still run in the same process, making it all the easier for bad content to reach out and touch the rest of the browser and the system.

This vulnerability is an unfortunate reminder that Firefox is badly behind the curve on browser security. For the most part Mozilla is putting out fires by patching exploits, but the work on fixing the underlying issues has been much slower. The fact that in 2015 they still can't match the process isolation abilities of 2009's IE8 is a little embarrassing, and very frustrating.

Mozilla means well, and while no one is perfect they are sadly about the farthest browser vendor from it at the moment.

Comment Re:I'm not renewing prime this year... (Score 5, Informative) 79

- They raised the annual price of Prime 3x since I signed up


Amazon Prime was launched in 2005 for $79. The price has gone up once, in 2014, to $99. So I'm not sure how you could have seen three price increases. Even if you were a student and are counting the loss of the student discount once you left school, that's only two increases.

Items shipped prime from Amazon have shown up obivously used or broken multiple many times over the past year (much more often than before)

Unfortunately Prime doesn't guarantee the quality of an item, just that it ships quickly. More and more third party sellers are using Amazon, including Amazon's fulfillment system, which means their goods can be shipped out by Amazon and qualify for Prime. As has been the case with Amazon for some time now, if it's not being sold by Amazon directly then it's a crap-shoot; you're basically buying eBay style and hoping for the best. Prime shipping doesn't change that.

Life is a healthy respect for mother nature laced with greed.