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Comment: Re:Transparency in Government is good! (Score 1) 334

So, if the Office of Administration is so innocuous, what's the harm in making it subject to FOIA requests? Exempting yourself from them makes it look like you're hiding something.

See "Nixon White House" for a possible reason FOIA requests to this office should be allowed.

Comment: Re:God I hate those neverlost things (Score 2) 188

I've gotten a few rental cars from Hertz with the GPS devices. You can only turn the brightness down a bit. They cannot be turned off. I did notice the camera, so I just tossed my jacket over over it. I just request a car without that device now. Besides I have phone GPS which frankly is easier to use.

Seconded. I tried to use NeverLost once. UI was terrible, and the turn instructions were either late, or unclear, resulting in my getting...lost. Next rental, I had my Garmin with me. Worked like a charm.

Comment: Re:$100 million (Score 1) 95

by Peter Simpson (#49266329) Attached to: Education Company Monitors Social Media For Test References

There certainly is a lot of budget that is wasted or abused in public schools, and bureaucracy and teacher's unions contribute much to that,...

Hmmm. I'm with you on the bureaucracy part, but I don't think it's just about money. You can't have a good school system without well paid teachers, good facilities and materials, and an environment that helps kids want to learn.

The town I live in is a "bedroom community" with little or no commercial tax base. Down the road a bit, is a wealthy town, with a lot of multi-million dollar mansions and a fairly good commercial tax base. Our town struggles to fund our schools, while the wealthy town has all the extras. Our kids still do well, mostly because we have a small group of dedicated teachers (unionized) who care. They aren't paid like the teachers in the wealthy town, and they are currently being strangled with more paperwork and requirements in order to remain licensed, thanks to the sentiment that "we need to weed out all the bad teachers" which is currently in vogue. Many older more experienced teachers are retiring, rather than put up with the additional burden.

What's my point? Education is in a crisis, but I strongly disagree that it's because of teacher unions, at least in my town. The "Kansas attitude", religious and political interference with curriculum, is one cause. The political push for constant testing and debate over metrics is another. The battle over Common Core is a third. It seems that the new attitude is to dumb down the curriculum, test more and then wonder why kids are still getting lower grades. Perhaps we should let the teachers work it out, instead of the politicians, demagogues and publishing companies?

Comment: Re:Boston, in the winter? (Score 1) 112

"Limited" monetary resources? Hah! Try "nonexistent"! Boston's budget for snow removal disappeared faster than the snow came down.

And two days is about right for the time it takes to fill a pothole...and the time it takes one to reappear after being filled! Talks about a thankless job. The roads are so heavilty travelled, they have to do it at night, when it's coldest.

There isn't even a central location to report the potholes, which are repaired by the individual towns, or the state, depending on who is responsible for that section of the roadway.

I once head about an app that sensed sudden Z-axis accelerations and used the GPS location to report potholes, but I have never seen it and it was probably a dream someone had.

Cheer up! Spring is on the way! I can see the grass over my septic tank again. The foot and a half of snow everywhere else and the six foot banks are going to take till June, though...

Comment: Re:Boston, in the winter? (Score 3, Funny) 112

I'd like to see one of those self-driving cars find its way around Boston this winter....

Top post. Nice. Boston says, "bring it on!". Commuting into Boston is not for the faint hearted. I've seen potholes this winter into which the Google self-driving car would fit nicely.

Comment: Re:Damn... A win for the creationists (Score 1) 94

Well, to a creationist, the fact that there are no intermediaries between you and your parents is proof that you are not related.

To the religious fundamentalists, this is just more proof that Satan and his evil hoardes place false evidence to lure those whose faith is not solid away from Biblical truth.

Comment: Re:Physical encryption. (Score 1) 809

by Peter Simpson (#49049337) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Portion of Developers Are Bad At What They Do?

"Suppose you wanted to send me a file with very sensitive information, how would you encrypt it in such a way that I would decrypt it?"

I'd use a cross-cut shredder, then send it to you in a paper bag along with some Scotch tape. (You didn't specify how easy it needs to be to decrypt, especially if I include some random shredded pages in the mix.)

Works for most types of files: Excel, PDF, etc...

Yes, but you are wasting paper

ZIP it first -- use the encryption option for extra security. THEN print the resulting hex dump and shred it.

Deliver the key with a phone call.

Comment: Re:Where did they get the COA for the ingredients? (Score 2) 412

by Peter Simpson (#48971803) Attached to: Major Retailers Accused of Selling Fraudulent Herbal Supplements

Every herbal supplement that is going to be ingested in America needs a COA (Certificate of Authenticity) to verify their legitimacy. Disclosure: I used to work in the herbal supplement industry. This is not wholly uncommon. The biggest issue here is that the suppliers/manufacturers were ripping off the GNC etc. Someone along the way faile dto check the authenticity, and they got burned.

Yeah...can you tell us where most of them originated? I'm betting China or India. Where the Certificates of Authenticity are...well...not always "authentic", shall we say? And yes, what you pay for in China or India is not always what you get. To say the least!

Comment: Multivitamins? (Score 2) 412

by Peter Simpson (#48971611) Attached to: Major Retailers Accused of Selling Fraudulent Herbal Supplements
I'm highly skeptical of store brands as a whole. They're much cheaper than the national brands, and claim to be the same thing. But, as they're "supplements", FDA doesn't check. We should just trust CVS, Walgreens, etc, to be telling the truth, right? I mean, they're huge, honest companies and they distribute real medicines, so you know they are taking great care to make sure the stuff they sell is as advertised. Let's do a sniff test on that statement. Nope. Doesn't pass. I suppose the store brands *could* be legit, and I could be getting a great deal -- exact same, high quality multivitamins for 1/4 the cost of the national brand. But my spidey sense says, no. Rice flour and rat droppings are far more likely, especially since the package gives no indication of where the product originates, just "Distributed by CVS". Yeah, that in itself inspires a whole lot of confidence...NOT.

Comment: Re:Terrible names (Score 5, Insightful) 378

by Peter Simpson (#48906189) Attached to: Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

Charms bar? Continuum? Names used to be fairly intuitive, and even when they weren't completely intuitive their names were derived from their technical function. I'm thinking "context menu", "start menu", "task list", "quick-launch menu", and "system tray". Now they're just marketing doublespeak.

Hey Microsoft!

Pick a UI and stick to it! I'm getting very tired of having to relearn the entire UI whenever you make a new release.

A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming is not worth knowing.