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Comment: Re:That's great and all but... (Score 1) 259

by Optic7 (#48190537) Attached to: NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

Yours may be the first post on Slashdot that I've seen arguing for political correctness over discussion of engineering realities getting an early +5 rating. Very interesting to see the replies to your post so far. If it had been the other way around (men more suitable than women for mars mission) and someone had complained about sexism, it would have been downmodded to oblivion and received a flood of "screw political correctness, accept the facts" replies.

As to the information related by the summary, if we extrapolate a little bit and think about colonization ideas while having to deal with similar engineering constraints, women would possibly win again. They would be able to taken frozen sperm with them to impregnate with after arrival, as opposed to having to transport couples.

Comment: Re:Was this ever anything but a slogan for sheep ? (Score 1) 376

by Optic7 (#48155207) Attached to: Pentagon Reportedly Hushed Up Chemical Weapons Finds In Iraq

Yeah, about that. Sorry, but there was no good or even half-bad reason for a ground invasion of Iraq; only fully bad to terrible reasons, involving intelligence errors and exaggerations (about chemical weapons) and outright lies (about nuclear weapons). Many many people paid the price, and are still paying the price (we all are, actually). So yes, "Bush lied people died" is still completely applicable, and his administration is still completely deserving of the hate and vitriol that it receives and will continue to receive, probably forever.

Comment: Hard problem, but gmail is one of the better ones (Score 1) 261

by Optic7 (#48135099) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Can't Google Block Spam In Gmail?

In my experience, gmail is fairly good (the best?) about catching actual spam, but I still get both false positives and false negatives (a lot more of the former). That makes me believe that this is actually a very difficult problem to serve. The post above from someone who was a gmail engineer reinforces this impression.

However, how much spam you receive is largely under your control. I receive very little spam even in my spam folder - usually less than 5 a day. It basically boils down to keeping tight control over who gets your actual main personal email address. That should be reserved only for friends and family, and even then, I've thought about asking them to not enter my email address on any websites if I decide to change my main address some day.

Here's how I control the commercial emails (and consequently, spam):

1. You will need a domain name to use for receiving commercial emails (i.e. any website where you enter your email address), and domain hosting or at least an email forwarding service.

2. Configure the email forwarding/filtering to forward all emails or emails following a certain pattern for that domain to your real email address. I configured the option on my webhost to forward all email (a catch all, if you will), however, I've since learned that this is not the best way, because if your domain starts getting flooded with spam your domain could get blacklisted. Supposedly the best way is to configure a filter that has a "key" string. Let's say you use your initials: .jb (Joe Blow) - the filter would then only forward emails that contain .jb among the recipients' addresses.

3. Register with a unique address at each website, each store, any commercial use of your email. Ex: use spammer.com.jb@mydomain.com when you register at spammer.com. Same thing if you give your email address to any entity who is not a family member or personal friend. Now all the commercial emails will get forwarded to your real mailbox because they have the .jb key. I actually make an exception to this for banks and for things like webhosts, etc, but I'm reconsidering banks after the recent JPMorgan breach when they obtained contact info for everyone. I would still make an exception for webhosts or anything where there could be a problem if your mydomain.com is not available for some reason.

4. ???

5. Profit. I.E. as soon as you start seeing real spam (not the stuff that a lot of people incorrectly mark as spam), you will know what address they're sending to and can block them at your webhost or email forwarding service. Here are some examples of entities that I had to block because they were breached or sold my email address to spammers:

adobe.com (breach)
dropbox.com (breach)
planusa.org (unknown)
cinegearexpo.com (unknown)
equifax.com (unknown)
zappos.com (breach)
whois (open database - I use a proper domain registrar that hides my info by default now)

Bonus: another major advantage of doing this is that it makes it much much easier for you to change your main email address. You can reroute all your commercial email with one reconfiguration of your forwarder instead of having to go to each individual website to change your address.

Extra bonus: makes it super easy to setup a filter at your client or webmail to send all commercial email to a separate folder. Just filter for mydomain.com in the "to:" line.

Doing this for a few years now has really opened my eyes to how many companies and other organizations either don't give a shit about your private contact info, have shitty security, or actually sell you out for money. I was frankly surprised at some of the organizations that I had to block. Unfortunately early on in my spam-fighting days I did use my main email address on websites, and sometimes also used google's floating period or + functionality to try to individualize email addresses so I get some spam where I don't know where they obtained my address. But those are few and far between, and I've been slowly untangling myself from it to the extent that I can.

Comment: Re: It will never get built ... (Score 2) 31

by Optic7 (#48107423) Attached to: Axiom Open Source Camera Handily Tops 100,000 Euro Fundraising Goal

You're being a bit overly negative. This camera is nowhere near a RED competitor. This camera is going to be closer to a Blackmagic Production Camera competitor (which currently retails for $3k), at least in terms of hardware. In fact, their costs will likely be even lower than Blackmagic's, because they are concentrating on core features and openness, and will not include things like a video display, internal recording, etc.

Comment: Re:It will never get built ... (Score 1) 31

by Optic7 (#48107325) Attached to: Axiom Open Source Camera Handily Tops 100,000 Euro Fundraising Goal

While I agree with you that the goal of 100k Euro was a bit low (they actually ended up getting 175k Euro = 221k Dollars right now), the 350 Euro was just deposit/voucher that would allow you to buy a camera from the early batches for half the retail price. That means, you had to shell out another 2600 Euro to get the actual camera when they become available. Retail buyers will have to pay in the 5000-6000 Euro to get it.

I'm guessing that the money from this campaign will pay to build the prototype and get it ready for manufacturing, then they will probably finance the actual manufacturing run with the number of deposits/vouchers as an indicator of how much money they will actually get for selling the first batches of cameras. 175000/350 means something close to 500 deposits. 2600*500 means they're should expect to eventually get somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.3 million Euro, or about 1.65 million Dollars.

But yeah, I feel like that's a bit over-simplified and over-optimistic, especially given the delays and other issues experienced by both Digital Bolex and Blackmagic Design. They will have to demonstrate that they have things under control and are making good progress to get people to go through with the final orders. Still, I want them to succeed, and donated what small amount I could afford to help make it happen.

Comment: VPN improves my net performance and test results (Score 1) 294

by Optic7 (#48105733) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: An Accurate Broadband Speed Test?

I had been noticing poor performance from Youtube when watching videos (buffering, dropping to low-res, etc). Then I noticed that youtube seemed to work much better while I was connected through VPN, which is the opposite of what you would expect, at least in theory. But I realize that ISPs have been playing throttling games with large video sites like Youtube and Netflix.

However, I did another test and the results of it were more surprising for me. I have 3mbps DSL service through Verizon. If I run a test through speedtest.net, it reports right around 3mbps. However, if I connect my VPN first and then do the same test, it reports around 5mbps! How is that even possible?

Unfortunately, I feel like the VPN slows normal browsing of other sites a little bit, but I haven't done a comparison yet to confirm my perception.

Comment: Meanwhile, in China... (Score 1) 346

by Optic7 (#48098049) Attached to: Why America Won't Match Sweden's Cheap, Fast, Competitive Internet Services

I heard this interesting interview over the weekend on NPR (transcript in link). In it, the interviewee has this gem:

I was meeting with the vice president of the Communist Party in Shanghai, and I said, well, you know, what's your plan, sir? And he said, well, our five-year plan is to ensure that every man, woman and child in China has, at the very least, five megs of connectivity. And in all the top 10 cities, everyone's going to have one gig a second of connectivity. So I said, you know, sir have you thought about, you know, the unexpected side effects of giving 1.3 or 1.4 billion people a gig a second? And he says OK, I know what you're saying, I know where you're going, but here's the thing - the future of the human race, at least in this century, is ultra-high-speed Wi-Fi everywhere all the time. And it's going to happen whether you or I don't want it to happen or not. And because it's inevitable, we might as well get there first.

I live in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the US, and my only viable choices for internet connectivity are 3mbps DSL or Cable internet which is supposedly much faster, but capped at 250GB/month. The cheapest option of the two is $50/month. There are no signs of this changing in the next few years. At the current rate we're going, the US is pretty much doomed to be at the back of the line when it comes to internet connectivity. Think of the effects this will have on our economy in the medium to long term and gnash your teeth.

Comment: Apple's "form over function" strikes again (Score 1) 421

by Optic7 (#47988823) Attached to: Users Report Warping of Apple's iPhone 6 Plus

Seriously. They prioritize form over function in many of their design decisions: thin aluminum cases that scratch and dent (and now frames that bend), chiclet keyboards with no tactile feedback for centering your fingertips, ultrasharp edges on laptop wrist-rest area that cuts into your wrist, glossy screens that have tons of glare, non-user-replaceable batteries that require you to send the device for service unnecessarily, etc.

Comment: VMworld (Score 1) 131

by Optic7 (#47608693) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Technology Conferences To Attend?

I believe I heard that VMworld is now the largest IT infrastructure conference in the world. If you are already steeped in virtualization, it's a wonderful conference to learn stuff and meet people. If you're not already steeped in virtualization, it's a wonderful conference to learn where the IT world is moving, and in fact has largely already moved to.

Comment: Re:Blade Runner's script had little to do with Rid (Score 1) 144

I watched a documentary about movie art direction and production design, and they had an extended segment about the art design of Blade Runner, interviewing the people involved, etc. One thing that they said that was unusual about the film, and hard to replicate, is that there was some kind of a strike (perhaps writer's guild) around the time that they were pre-producing the film, so they had a much larger amount of time to design and plan the look of the movie than the usual, so they really went to town on it. I think the look of the film shows the extra attention to detail that was given.

Comment: Did religion or suppression of it have any role? (Score 1) 619

by Optic7 (#47510663) Attached to: Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

What an interesting coincidence. I was having a conversation with my dad this last weekend about just this subject. He proposed his theory that people in, for example, countries like Russia and China were less ethical than in other countries because of the purging of religion that happened in those two examples, within recent history. This surprised me because he's a fairly liberal-thinking person, although he has become more religious as he gets older. I think of myself as agnostic for the most part, but after giving it some thought, I wonder if he might have a point.

What do you think? Did the suppression of religion in those countries reduce the level of ethics? Can ethics effectively spread and be maintained among a large population without a broad system of organized religion?

Comment: Re:Faith in God (Score 1) 299

by Optic7 (#47378619) Attached to: Site of 1976 "Atomic Man" Accident To Be Cleaned

You forgot to add promoting comprehensive, real-world sex education from an early age, if you don't like abortions.

Although it has nothing to do with religion in general, but more with culture and what specific sub-type of religion people follow. Case in point being Scandinavian countries which are ostensibly Christian, but have the type of sex education I mentioned, a much healthier and natural attitude towards sex, and a much lower incidence of unwanted pregnancies as a result of both.

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