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Comment: Re:Will the cameras work? (Score 1) 613

by Sarten-X (#47768301) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

knowing the police departments they'll make up all sorts of bullshit requirements and end up spending $8500 per camera made by some police chiefs brother in laws company.

Now, I don't own a GoPro, but last I heard, they were nearly indestructible inside their shatterproof sealed case. Unfortunately, without the bulky case, they're left rather vulnerable. A wearable camera is going to have to be comfortable and not interfere with movement, so it will likely need a different form factor.

If the GoPro (or other COTS) offerings don't meet that one legitimate requirement for the job, then something else will have to be found. The search will have to include the other "bullshit" requirements that GoPro already meets: Shock resistance, operating temperature range, battery life, et cetera. For an established manufacturer, it will involve some engineering, but for a newcomer to the field, the engineering will be quite extensive and expensive, especially since that engineering cost is spread over relatively few units, whereas a consumer-oriented product like GoPro can expect a few million sales.

Of course, understanding those many requirements, especially ones like "fits comfortably during officers' regular duties" requires a keen understanding of a police officer's life. Naturally, those who are already familiar with the use case will have an advantage in meeting those requirements satisfactorily. That means the best product will usually be designed by an established company who's built a good working relationship, or a newcomer already familiar with the needs, like a family member or friend.

Comment: Re:Why not MP4? (Score 5, Insightful) 126

by Sarten-X (#47766651) Attached to: GOG Introduces DRM-Free Movie Store

Perhaps not so good a chance as it seems.

Sure, most of us Slashdotters are in the middle of that particular Venn diagram, but my wife, for example, lies far off to the "hatred of DRM only" side. She doesn't care about patent licensing, but just wants to watch a movie easily. For us, that means no physical media occupying our limited shelving space.

It should be easy. Many movies are now offered with a digital copy, available on various services. Last time she wanted to watch a movie right now, we tried that, buying Frozen from iTunes. Unfortunately, iTunes apparently won't play such things to a VGA-connected device, because it can't verify the device supports HDCP. Naturally, there's no warning about this until you actually try to do it. I think the next thing we tried was Plex, streaming to our Roku device. That didn't work, either.

We ended up getting a refund from Apple, and bought a physical copy from Amazon. Once the physical disk arrived, it included a code to get a digital copy. We had to choose carefully how to use the code, judging by current compatibility charts what devices would be able to play the copy. Still hoping for convenience, we tried Amazon's streaming service, but that wouldn't play at all on our TV-connected laptop, and the Roku didn't feel like connecting to Amazon to even attempt playback. We finally just gave up and played the physical copy, several days after the initial attempt.

My wife is fine with respecting copyright and paying for entertainment. She just expects that entertainment should not be the reward for solving a puzzle of compatibility.

I've praised GOG before, and I'll do it again. Their primary concern seems to be that entertainment should be easy, and I'll support that, even if it means throwing a bit of support behind patents.

Comment: Re:Wealthiest Buy F-35 (Score 5, Insightful) 107

by Sarten-X (#47740461) Attached to: Air Force Requests Info For Replacement Atlas 5 Engine

First off, this is entirely off-topic. Apart from being built under the name "Lockheed Martin", the Atlas V is completely the F-35. Even that connection is a stretch, as they're managed under completely different divisions, and the Atlas is actually being built by a partnership between Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

Second, you're only citing half of the story. The DoD originally asked for 42 F-35s, but had to cut back the order to 34 due to sequestration. The House Appropriations Committee denied some of the Pentagon's other requests, and moved that money into purchasing the additional F-35s.

Finally, I find it interesting that your very first post to Slashdot is a heavily partisan off-topic piece, very nearly quoted verbatim from the article I've linked, but conveniently missing the paragraph that gives an even perspective to the matter. I have a sneaking suspicion you're not intending to improve this discussion.

Comment: Re:Raptor? (Score 4, Interesting) 107

by Sarten-X (#47740397) Attached to: Air Force Requests Info For Replacement Atlas 5 Engine

They do. but they're not an authorized contractor. and the paper work takes years.
welcome to stupid government.

I've done government work. The bulk of required paperwork is a full accounting of absolutely everything being billed to the government. Every minute worked by every employee must be logged, and every expense must be justified. It's all an attempt to reduce the chance of defrauding the government, and indirectly the taxpayers.

Yes, current contractors charge a lot, but despite outside opinion, they can justify every expense. Sure, an efficiency-loving Congress could cut out the paperwork, but that opens the door for any company with a promise of a product to overcharge. At least they could scam the government efficiently.

Comment: Re:No. It would not. (Score 1) 375

by Sarten-X (#47731533) Attached to: Would Scottish Independence Mean the End of UK's Nuclear Arsenal?

There will be the nation of States, where modern media portrays every minor annoyance as though it were the start for the ever-coming revolution, providing a convenient self-gratifying rationalization for racism, sexism, ageism, and all other discrimination that every group uses to oppress another equal group.

Then there will be the nation of United, wherein the citizens understand that today's conflicts are no different than any previous conflicts. The rich and the poor still behave just the same as they always have, though both are generally better off today than in centuries past, as the basic standard of living has risen tremendously.

Comment: Re:why internet connected? (Score 4, Insightful) 111

by Sarten-X (#47700407) Attached to: Hackers Steal Data Of 4.5 Million US Hospital Patients

This is utterly ignorant.

Many (if not most) healthcare providers in the US are affiliated with a larger organization, such as Community Health Systems. The branch offices need to have access to patient data from other affiliated providers, and given that this includes emergency rooms and other urgent-care facilities, the information must be available as quickly as possible. Physical separation is not a reasonable option.

Comment: Re:Amost sounds like a good deal ... (Score 1) 376

by Sarten-X (#47699981) Attached to: Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up

If you're not guilty, you have both the right and the duty to fight.

This is a terribly scary proposition. We've been here before, and it didn't work well the last time, either. This is why we Americans now have the Fourth Amendment, requiring due process (with various levels of proof) before interfering with someone's life.

For one, they can fight the ban legally with their ISP (unless, of course, they're guilty and their ISP has the records to prove it). Then there's free wifi networks. Going to a friends. The library. Buying a data plan for your smartphone. Switching ISP.

It's amusing that all of the things you mention, if used for illegal downloading, would generate "proof" at the ISP. If I used a coffee shop's free network for downloading, there would be records of that at the ISP tracing back to the coffee shop. Under your guilty-until-proven-innocent system, the coffee shop would be legally stuck behind a redirect until they pay the ransom or pay to fight. Of course, a coffee shop won't likely have a sysadmin able to prove that it was a guest (rather than an employee) that performed the downloading in question. Even if they miraculously win and get reconnected, I can just walk in next week and download again.

Comment: Re: False dichotomy. (Score 1) 199

by Sarten-X (#47672751) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should You Invest In Documentation, Or UX?

And we have a winner!

Most hardware I buy these days comes with a quick-start guide to just make the thing work. It shows users the basic installation they need to get something working, so they can learn on their own. A well-designed product will encourage such self-guided learning, as it empowers the user.

However, not everything is suitable for a quick-start guide. It's not the right place for preferences, advanced settings, unusual configuration, or alternative use cases. That all belongs in the manual which can then, except for the troubleshooting section, be designed with the assumption that the user has a basic working system and has used the product successfully.

Comment: Re:Question (Score 1) 219

by Sarten-X (#47649545) Attached to: Point-and-Shoot: TrackingPoint's New Linux-Controlled AR-15s

Is that because mother's milk doesn't have enough salt?

In short, yes. It's a problem mostly in places where the mother's milk doesn't have enough of pretty much anything, but salt's the one that kills first.

Consider a place where an average salary is $40 a month. Unfortunately, there are millions of people (infants and mothers included) who live where half of that would be considered a wealthy income. Surely you've seen the desolate scenes on TV where they ask for some number of cents per day to buy little Mary a pair of shoes to walk over the rocky debris to school... We're talking about those places, and worse.

These are places where having clean water isn't as great a concern as having any water. Most of the local population is undernourished, including the mothers. Without proper nutrition, they produce too little milk, and what they do produce is too poor in nutrients to support the infant.

From a biological perspective, salt is fascinating*. In the body, it serves to provide many of the ions needed to control molecules, and it holds water in various places. That's why eating salty food makes you feel dehydrated - your salty blood pulls water from the other tissue. Similarly, when that salt makes its way to your urine, more water is pulled with it, making you urinate more (spawning many myths (and some facts) about salty drinks cleansing the body).

In an infant with a salt deficiency, the lack of salt prevents the intestines from working properly, as the cellular channels lack the energy to open. That prevents nutrients (including salt) from being absorbed into the blood. The blood's low salt level stops the absorption of water, leaving the feces liquid, which will quickly be released, carrying the vital salt with it. Where an adult would be able to hold their stool in longer or try to eat more food to compensate for the lower absorption rate, an infant can't do that of its own will, and the mother can't just produce more milk on demand, especially if she's also undernourished.

The cure is a solution - one of "clean" water with salt and sugar (as fuzzyfuzzyfungus noted above), that can easily be absorbed, raising the blood's salt level, allowing more nutrients and water to be absorbed.

If I had known the cure were that easy, I would have told more people. One problem is that people just don't know that is the cure (even if they are worried about diarrhoea as an issue)

Unfortunately, it's also not as easy as telling people on the Internet about the condition. People with access to the Internet aren't likely to be affected by it. It is pretty common knowledge among related volunteer organizations, but there is a severe lack of knowledge in the local communities where the problem is deadly. There are many medical volunteer groups, and they do great work... but the problem is bigger than their limited resources can cover.

* My biochemistry knowledge is remembered from five years ago. The facts presented may or may not be entirely true.

Comment: Re:Question (Score 5, Insightful) 219

by Sarten-X (#47644979) Attached to: Point-and-Shoot: TrackingPoint's New Linux-Controlled AR-15s

How many more children will die because of this invention?

I'm going to go with "none in the foreseeable future".

Must we have something worse than Sandy Hook for people to wake up and say "no" to gun violence

How about the Bath School disaster, where 45 people died, mostly children? Or perhaps looking away from human causes, we could consider infant diarrhoea, which kills a couple million children per year and can be cured with a few pennies' worth of salt? How about political violence and genocides, which kill thousands of civilian children?

The simple answer is that there is no simple answer. The Bath School disaster was done with explosives. Infant diarrhoea is mostly a problem because parents don't have access to medical care, or realize that they need it. Political conflict is never so simple as having the good guys fight the bad guys - all sides think their righteous virtues are worth dying for, and worth having innocent people die for.

The reality of life is that it's trivial to kill someone. A human body is an incredibly complex machine, with billions of interacting parts, and it's just so easy to screw it up fatally. Sure, you could ban guns with fancy sights, but it's still just as easy to build a bomb, grab a knife, or slip a bit of poison into a meal.

Let's say "no" to pithy slogans and short-sighted politically-convenient campaigns.

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.