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Comment: Turkey already blocks individual IMEIs (Score 5, Informative) 97

by Schezar (#46517623) Attached to: Brazil Blocks Foreign Mobile Phones

Vetting individual IMEIs is neither practical nor legal, as you can't stop someone from using a government approved, legally imported phone from using it on all networks.

You're wrong. It's both feasible and, in many countries, legal.

Turkey already does this. If you use a foreign phone of any kind with a Turkish SIM, your individual IMEI will be blocked in 24-48 hours. The only way around that is to pay a significant fee to the government, register your phone/IMEI, and then wait a week or so for the registration to take effect. Note that you can't register AFTER the phone is blocked. If you let it get blocked, you're basically screwed.

Turkey does this to prevent the importation of phones that didn't pay local taxes, and also to ensure that all users of phones/data are registered and tracked within the country.

Comment: Nothing. In my Professional Opinion. (Score 3, Insightful) 223

by Schezar (#45251031) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Cross-Platform (Linux-Only) Audio Software?

There is nothing. There is no good solution for you. That was the answer in 2005 when I first asked it, and that is the answer today.

Even an ancient copy of Cool Edit Pro running on Widows XP is more usable, useful, and powerful than any audio software available natively on Linux. Your non-professional, non-Windows options all share many (if not all) of these problems:

1. Limited basic functionality
2. Extensible only through writing your own code
3. Difficult (impossible) to configure
4. Literally the worst UIs you will ever see in your entire life
5. Often unable to work with digital mixers and audio interfaces

In the time it would take you to get something useful and functional working in Linux, you could spend the cash you would have made working minimum wage on Windows and Audition (or just pirate a copy of Cool Edit Pro).

+ - SPAM: What is the Best / Most Hackable E-Cigarette? 1

Submitted by Schezar
Schezar (249629) writes "Electronic cigarettes have been a dark horse in the chemical consumption market for some years now. As far back as 2010, we were debating the merits of this technology here on Slashdot. Government, legal, and societal questions aside (well debated as they are elsewhere on the Internet), what about the technology side? Where are the hackers, the hobbyists, the arduino-augmented electronic vapor delivery systems? Who is hacking these things? Are some more open/moddable than others? Is DRM on the horizon? What's your tech of choice if this relatively new bit of technology is your game?"
Link to Original Source

+ - Brazilian telephony operator TIM drops calls on purpose->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A recently produced report by the Brazilian Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ANATEL) confirms what many clients — myself included — have long suspected, TIM disconnects its customer calls on purpose. TIM offers voice plans charged either by minute or by call, the latter appeals to a larger audience because one call, regardless of its duration, costs only 25 cents even if it's long distance. However the report discovered that these calls have a drop rate 300% higher than those charged by minute which strongly suggests that they are disconnected on purpose, to maximize profits. More details (in Portuguese) here: http://g1.globo.com/parana/noticia/2012/08/tim-derruba-os-sinais-de-clientes-de-forma-proposital-aponta-relatorio.html"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Ideas are worthless (Score 5, Insightful) 217

by Schezar (#40345719) Attached to: Why VCs Really Reject Startups

Ideas are worthless. We have great ideas all the time (or at least, ideas we think are great). The value of a business proposal isn't in the idea, it's in the execution of the idea.

The most important things to a serious VC when it comes to a startup have almost nothing to do with the idea itself. You don't have to convince them of the idea: they've probably heard it before already. You're trying to convince them that YOU are the one to EXECUTE that idea, and that you can do it better than anyone else. If you can't, then the'll fund that other person instead.

When you approach a VC, the only thing you bring to the table is your ability to execute the plan you've proposed.

Comment: Private security theater is no better than public (Score 5, Insightful) 585

by Schezar (#40339651) Attached to: Sen. Rand Paul Introduces TSA Reform Legislation

I fly around the world on a regular basis. There is one thing that every single foreign airport I have ever flown out of shares in common: a lack of security theater.

From Mumbai to Istanbul, Narita to that tiny little airport on the island next to Toronto, I never have to:

1. Take my shoes off
2. Submit to a body scanner
3. Suffer a pat-down
4. Wait more than ten minutes to get through security

Flying within and out of the US is slower, more difficult, more humiliating, than flying through airports where terrorism is ACTUALLY a common threat. I am embarrassed every time a foreigner has to deal with my country's ridiculous soap opera of security, and simultaneously enraged when the outside world reminds me that, outside of the US, flying is a wonderfully pleasant experience from start to finish.

I don't really have a new or insightful point here other than to vent, to be honest. It's deeply frustrating to see the ludicrous amount of money we've spent on body scanners that are not only trivially fooled, but simultaneously don't catch anything actually dangerous a metal detector wouldn't have already caught and still require me to take my god damned mother fucking shoes off. Security is worse, yet somehow takes longer. I have to choose between a ridiculous body scan or an intrusive physical search in my own relatively safe country, but can travel in comfort everywhere else.

It's maddening. I avoid flying as much as possible literally because of the TSA. It's a sad state of affairs when a 12-hour train ride (which, mind you, costs MORE than a flight) is an attractive option to dealing with airport security.

It's maddening to the point that I supported Rand Paul's original initiative to ban/reform the TSA. Rand Paul is a lunatic, yet I dislike the TSA so much that he and I agreed on this one issue.

So now, it turns out, he doesn't want to do what he'd said at all. His proposal address NONE of the things that madden me so, and in many cases make them worse. Privatized security theater is no better than public security theater. The THEATER part is the problem, not the public or private part.

Comment: He must not be that good (Score 4, Insightful) 219

by Schezar (#40297181) Attached to: Gamer Keeps Civilization II Game Going for 10 Years

He must be a pretty crappy gamer if, in all that time, there are still other civilizations in his way with which to have constant nuclear warfare. If he'd actually eliminated the other civilizations, he could easily rebuild everything.

Also, how on earth did he have so much global warming? That can really only be the effect of poor decisions or poorly waged nuclear war.

Comment: And people wonder why the US holds it so tightly (Score 5, Insightful) 284

by Schezar (#40255861) Attached to: UN To Debate Taxing Internet Data

While unlikely (hopefully) to pass, this sort if thing is exactly the reason the United States has been so reluctant to give up its nominal control of the Internet's architecture, nevermind why so many technologists are tacitly OK with the US's continued dominance.

The nations of the world, given equal weight, err toward censorship, and many regimes with UN votes have deeply vested interests in clamping down on the extraordinary free-for-all of information exchange that the current Internet provides. I for one want the United Nations to have no role at this level, and both hope and expect the US to refuse ratification should it actually come to pass.

Comment: Think of them as another test of ability. (Score 1) 804

by Schezar (#34709680) Attached to: Should Colleges Ban Classroom Laptop Use?

If you are actually distracted from study by someone else using a computer silently in your field of view, you will have a difficult time with most corporate environments. Ignoring unimportant screens and filtering out irrelevant information are basic abilities of modern people.

There is plenty to debate on the issue of laptops in general. I doubt many students use them to take any manner of notes, and the one's I've seen earnestly trying fall hopelessly behind someone with a pen and paper (as notes tend not to follow a format the way an office document does). But, it's basically a problem of individual students in the end. If someone chooses to distract themselves from a lecture they're paying for, it's their own business by and large.

Debate all you want, but claiming that laptops distract the whole room is laughable.

Comment: Distracting? Think of it as another test. (Score 1, Interesting) 804

by Schezar (#34709496) Attached to: Should Colleges Ban Classroom Laptop Use?

There are real arguments to be made here, but the "distracting other students" one is, in a word, ludicrous. Even from the article summary - "...when I'm trying to pay attention to the lecture, even someone's screensaver in the row ahead of me can be a major distraction,' - plays to it.

If you are actually distracted from study by someone else using a computer silently in your field of view, you will have a difficult time with most corporate environments. Ignoring unimportant screens and filtering out irrelevant information are basic abilities of modern people.

There is plenty to debate on the issue of laptops in general. I doubt many students use them to take any manner of notes, and the one's I've seen earnestly trying fall hopelessly behind someone with a pen and paper (as notes tend not to follow a format the way an office document does). But, it's basically a problem of individual students in the end. If someone chooses to distract themselves from a lecture they're paying for, it's their own business by and large.

Debate all you want, but claiming that laptops distract the whole room is laughable.

Comment: Re:Nonissue (Score 1) 357

by Schezar (#34062782) Attached to: Facebook Adds Friend Stalker Tool

So how do you address this? Is it illegal for me to watch you drive your car to the urologist? Is it illegal to then google for your license plate and/or address to see who you are or where you live? Is it illegal to see you visit the pharmacist, and remember that I'd also seen you at the urologist at some point in the past?

Should it be illegal to say to my one friend "Hey, I saw IndustrialComplex at the urologist, and again at the pharmacist. Funny that! His license place was 'ASSMAN' too!" ?
Should it be illegal for my friend to tell his friend what I told him?
Should it be illegal for my to tell ten of my friends?
Should it be illegal for me to make a blog post about it?

At what specific point do you intend to make something like this illegal?

Comment: Re:Nonissue (Score 2, Insightful) 357

by Schezar (#34062248) Attached to: Facebook Adds Friend Stalker Tool

Ahh, but our entire society's expectations of privacy have been unreasonable for the better part of the last several decades. This false sense of privacy has existed solely due to the inefficiency of access to public data, much in the same manner that entire localized business models disappeared with the advent of national television and freeways.

It's a nonissue only because the work, both in law and expectations, to actually address the fact that we're finally having to come to terms with the fact that there is a lot of perfectly legally accessible information about all of us in the wild will never be undertaken by our government or our society, and technological workarounds will evolve far faster than any legislation or agreement can. The point is moot. If Facebook didn't do it themselves, someone with a screenscraper and a database would.

If you can see it, you can correlate it. This is a nonissue only because there is no possibility of a solution for anyone who is upset.

Comment: Nonissue (Score 3, Insightful) 357

by Schezar (#34062068) Attached to: Facebook Adds Friend Stalker Tool

If this information was already extant, and this functionality is just an aggregation and compilation of said extant data, then there is no problem. No new information is being provided: public information has simply been correlated, something any person could do on their own at any point prior.

Making already legally accessible data more readable is not in any way wrong. Anyone who fears or is angry about this is in for a shock over the next decade or so as technology reveals all sorts of already public things about them, and younger generations simply won't care.

Put your Nose to the Grindstone! -- Amalgamated Plastic Surgeons and Toolmakers, Ltd.

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