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Comment: nice tech, dubious products (Score 1) 149

by Sloppy (#47408181) Attached to: Coddled, Surveilled, and Monetized: How Modern Houses Can Watch You

IMHO all this tech is basically good, but I should point out that I also consider a large wooden horses to be basically good things, too. (They can be neat works of art, or convenient sources of fire wood.) That doesn't mean I'm saying you should wheel all the ones you find, through your city gates! There are other issues besides the utility value of wooden horses. It's the tech that should be celebrated, not necessarily all the products that use it. Tech and products are two very different things, even if related.

There's a pretty easy way to judge the ads for this stuff: what protocols does the product speak? Do you already have software in your repo that speaks that protocol?

And of course, you don't necessarily have to use someone else's service to get the device to work, right? (I'm not even saying you necessarily shouldn't use their service, but if you have to then the product is almost certainly garbage.)

Comment: Re:Actually makes good sense (Score 1) 654

by Sloppy (#47401455) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

Nice. "Darn it, this amusingly tiny-capacity obsolete tape drive isn't powering up. I must have forgotten to bring its .. uh .. [glance around suspiciously] battery. But I paid $800 for it in 1996! *sigh* Ok, TSA agent, you can have my tape drive.. and .. oh no! My ink jet printer isn't working either! You mean I forgot both batteries!? Dammit! So much for printing those colored pie charts on the plane for my .. uh .. presentation. Boy are your kids going to be happy Xmas morning. [glare slightly unconvincingly at TSA agent]"

[Later, on Xmas morning] "Here you go, Billy. You were a bad boy. I never loved you."

[But Billy turns out to be cool] "Whoa! I can salvage the head servo and reel motor from this tape drive, and build something nifty with my Arduino! OMG, does this printer have a stepper motor?"

I think this idea is getting up into the "three birds, one stone" territory.

Comment: Re:Tits and swords (Score 2) 151

by Sloppy (#47400683) Attached to: New Zealand ISP's Anti-Geoblocking Service Makes Waves

Tried to read the first book. Barely literate drivel.

Sometimes people need a little help. Often (but not always!) they'll half-suspect the problem, and will prefix their remark with "is it just me, or..."

You didn't do that, but I'm going to be a pal and pretend you did, and then answer the question for you:

Yes, it's just you.

Comment: Re:Can an "atheist company" refuse too? (Score 1) 1304

by Sloppy (#47361247) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Here's an idea: let's form a religion (or teaching within an existing religion) which mystically believes that insurance should be based on hedging against risk of catastrophically-large expenses, rather than dealing with small predictable non-emergent expenses. The key is it would be based on dogmatic belief in a supernaturally-conveyed (and impossible to disprove) command that we must only use insurance that way. Whenever anyone asks you why insurance should be about spreading risk, we'll always use our faith in paranormal phenomenon to explain.

NEVER will we discuss game theory, limiting overhead, common sense, etc. Let's keep this religious.

Q: "Why do you think insurance shouldn't cover these $10 pills?"

A: "He wrote it thus, when his arm was moved by the will of The Noodly One."

Q: "Do you think it is more efficient that the patient directly pay the supplier of the pills rather without going through a middleman or filing a claim to get reimbursed?"

A: "I have no opinion about that. I do not know nor do I care."

Q: "But don't you at least agree that if the patient shops around, the might be able to get the pills for $8 here instead of $10 there?"

A: "The questions is impertinent. You're missing the point: the cost is irrelevant. This is a matter of good versus evil, and recognizing the essential basil oil in our souls. We transact directly with our sellers because we must, not because it reduces cost."

Q: "What if you don't? Suppose I could reduce claims processing overhead so that--"

A: "Overhead is irrelevant!"

Q: "Ok, but what if I had you file a claim for an $8 bottle of pills?"

A: "The horror!! No, please, no. That is the Shadow Sauce speaking through you. I cannot transact a drug purchase in such a manner!"

Q: "Wait a minute. How do you know all this?"

A: "I just do."

The big question is: do you think you can handle doing this? Mystics make this stuff all look so easy but you have to understand, they train this behavior their whole lives, guided from the time they are children. It's a way of life.

Comment: need remote-controlled floodgate (Score 1) 66

by Sloppy (#47354235) Attached to: The Internet of Things Comes To Your Garden

Handling water may possibly become my first Arduino or RaspPi project, if I can get through my newbie ignorance, and learn some new tricks as an old dog.

We have flood irrigation that comes in from an acequia every couple weeks (used to be every week, but times are changing) at an irregular rate at irregular time-of-day. (You can't deal with this, just using timers, and the amount of water pressure is tiny compared to what you usually have on a typical garden hose, so lots of cheap ubiquitous gadgets don't work here.) I leave a floodgate open (i.e. remove a coffee can from the end of a tube), go to work, go back home for lunch, go back to work, go home at end of day. For various reasons that you can probably imagine, it's bad to leave the floodgate open after we have collected a certain amount of water. Things work out fine if it happens to finish at lunch time (or if it's so slow that it hasn't finished until end of day), but otherwise, someone has to leave their workplace and go home to deal with it.

That is lame, in a way that really does (slightly) matter.

Thus I'm tempted to either build a sensor (or just cheeze out with a webcam, though that's less geeky) and some kind of remote-controllable motorized floodgate.

AFAICT nobody sells anything for this; it's up to me. As it happens, there are lots of guides online for building this kind of stuff, but they're all within the context of Dwarf Fortress! Yeah, right, as if I want a gate that'll remain stuck open just because there's a butterfly or elephant carcass in the way.

Lower tech solution: find retired neighbor to do it, in exchange for beer or something. This is actually the cheapest/smartest way to do, but rubs me the wrong way. I'm sure you all understand.

Comment: Re:Two things (Score 1) 85

by Tom (#47344287) Attached to: The Game Theory of Life

(or is it discovered inside the human mind? I'll let you figure that one out).

There's not even an argument there. Current scientific knowledge indicates strongly that our brains are wired for language processes, but not for a specific language.

What you're referring to as the creation of an algorithm is simply the creation of the description of the algorithm which is a different thing to the creation/discovery of the algorithm.

No. You are trying to introduce some kind of strange sideways category. Or maybe it is the word "algorithm" that's causing the confusion here. I've described my view, how about you describe yours?

Comment: Mystery Antecedent (Score 1) 451

by Sloppy (#47337385) Attached to: CDC: 1 In 10 Adult Deaths In US Caused By Excessive Drinking

This is all about more gov control, taxes, regulation to protect us from ourselves.

Sorry, I clicked the links but I think I might have missed an important part of one them. Could someone please tell me what the word "this" in the above quotation refers to? What is about more government control, taxes and regulations?

Comment: Re:No plans to wear a watch (Score 1) 427

by Sloppy (#47320135) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

Maybe what you need is an anti-watch that uses anti-time: not only does it not tell you what time it is, but suppresses other clocks around you.

"What time is it?"

"It's time for me to press the 'temporary disable' button on my anti-watch. Ah, according to Big Ben, it's 10:38."

Comment: Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense (Score 1) 276

by Sloppy (#47315205) Attached to: Federal Judge Rules US No-fly List Violates Constitution

Our greatest protection was giving-a-fuck.

It's still available, and occasionally used in some limited contexts. There's pretty much no problem that won't be quickly fixed by the people exercising this power.

But we usually refuse. Giving-a-fuck is somehow a "nuclear option" these days, not to be exercised lightly. "Whoa there, this might be a crappy situation, but I'm not going to 'throw away' my vote!"

Comment: Re:You've forgotten 1 thing Tom (Score 1) 103

by Tom (#47281541) Attached to: German Intel Agency Helped NSA Tap Fiber Optic Cables In Germany

The real world is not that simple.

There are some psychopaths, especially in politics, who are not driven by money but by power and control. They've intentionally moved into politics because of that. Merkel is actually a good example of that, she spends considerable amounts of her efforts on getting rid of every potential rival around her, and she's quite good at it. She's the most popular politician in Germany largely because she's made sure all the others woke up to a knife in the back one day.

These kinds of people are not looking for big money, and are not easily bought, because they're looking for a different drug.

People are always available for work in the past tense.