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Comment: Gerrymandering (Score 5, Insightful) 607

by Schezar (#49724899) Attached to: The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties

These trends are not new. The sole reason there is a Republican majority in the House of Representatives is the massive gerrymandering that took place in the last decades. Democrats have consistently won the "popular" vote for the house, but districts are tactically set to favor Republicans almost across the board.

The districts are this way because while Millennials do indeed skew heavily liberal/Democrat/progressive, they tend to NOT get involved in state and local politics. Republican governors and state legislatures used the last gasps of the dying generation to secure powerful gerrymandered districts ensuring the GOP holds onto the house, at least until the next census.

An interesting side effect, however, is that these artificial superdistricts are such that the Republican is practically guaranteed to win it in the general election. Thus, far-right tea party nonsense candidates can appeal to their local base without much fear of throwing the actual election over to the Democrats. The safer these districts are for Republicans, the further right, racist, sexist, and old they'll skew for the foreseeable future.

Until young people get active in local and state politics, then it literally is a game of just waiting for the current old set in those places to die of old age.

Comment: Nope. That's not what happened here... (Score 4, Insightful) 160

by Schezar (#48625679) Attached to: To Fight Currency Mismatches, Steam Adding Region Locking to PC Games

And, none of those reasons are why region locking was added to Steam.

Further, it's not region locking like you described and railed against. All Steam did is wall off a handful of regions where the local currencies are extremely volatile, and even then ONLY for accounts gifting games to one another between the rest of the world and these tiny regions.

Your butthurt is misguided here. Let the strawman go.

Comment: Sue Them or Give Up (Score 3, Insightful) 159

by Schezar (#48398175) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With VoIP Fraud/Phishing Scams?

There is no technological solution. (The phone system as a whole is just so old).

There is no human solution. (The other company will not bother).

You have three options.

1. Wait until it stops and ignore it
2. Change your phone number
3. Sue Level 3 for damages (and file a police report)

In my professional (but not legal: I am not a lawyer) opinion, there is no way to resolve this sort of problem other than suing the closest legitimate business that links you to the perpetrators. Whoever is furthest downstream to the bad guys is your only target, and suing them is probably the only option. Maybe just to get a C&D, maybe punitively just in hopes of getting them to clean up their act. A police report on its own will have zero effect: the police just don't care about IT crimes on this scale.

Sue them, and as part of it file a police report. Don't even bother with any other options at this point: they are not likely to work.

(Again, not a lawyer, just an IT professional).

Comment: "Counterfeit detector pens" don't exist (Score 4, Informative) 160

by Schezar (#47853195) Attached to: The Five Nigerian Gangs Behind Most Craigslist Buyer Scams

cash can be checked for legitimacy with a counterfeit detector pen

"Counterfeit detector pens" don't exist. They're just iodine: they have no special detection properties whatsoever.

"Counterfeit pens are fairly accurate and save a lot of time, but they aren't foolproof. For instance, if the counterfeit is printed on paper with a low starch content, the pen won't detect it. If someone managed to steal a roll of unused currency paper and printed it themselves, the pen wouldn't detect it. If someone washed a $1 bill until the ink was gone and re-printed it as a $100 bill, the pen wouldn't detect it. All the pen really detects is whether the paper is made from wood pulp or an alternate, less starchy fiber."

Comment: As a long-time Glass user, he's a bit off (Score 5, Interesting) 166

by Schezar (#47056305) Attached to: Why I'm Sending Back Google Glass

I can easily see how he could have these problems. His use case is ridiculous.

I can't imagine a sane human being putting on Google Glass and thinking "hey, I'll watch video or read web pages on this thing!" That's almost the opposite of a normal use case. I can't imagine looking at the screen for more than a few seconds at a time.

The value of glass:

1. Non-distracting notifications of emergent information

I don't take my phone out of my pocket every time it buzzes. I don't constantly read twitter every time I happened to pull it out to see what that buzz was. Instead, I just live my life. If I'm walking somewhere, and glass buzzes, I can, at my leisure, cock my head slightly to turn on the display and read the message. If there's a short followup, I speak it into Glass. If there's a long one, I, at my leisure, deal with it later on my phone.

2. Navigation

I'll be honest. For driving, or especially biking/touring, the turn-by-turn is worth the current price of admission even if that is the SOLE use. Trying to mount a phone on a motorcycle/bicycle, let alone pull a phone out of one's pocket while biking, is laughable. The navigation is amazing to behold the first time you use it. For a frequent biker/traveler, it's already indispensable/

3. Candid photos

I have a large collection of interesting shots of my life now. The photos are indeed at an "angle" much of the time. Who cares? If I want to take a picture, I use my phone, or a real camera. I use Glass solely to catch, again, emergent moments. Something interesting happens, and I snap a photo discretely and immediately. For that use case, I defy a regular camera or smartphone to be deployed and used quickly enough without similar "angle" or "shot framing" issues.

Glass is primarily a notification tool coupled with a navigator and a quick-draw smartphone.

I'm not saying Glass is perfect. Far from it. It has a long way to go. But this guy appears to be trying to use it in the least imaginative and least useful ways possible. He's doing the equivalent of complaining that he cant edit 4k video on his phone, or that he can't easily make toast with his flamethrower.

Comment: Re:I don't understand big cities - off topic (Score 5, Insightful) 427

by Schezar (#46949535) Attached to: In SF: an App For Auctioning Off Your Public Parking Spot

You have to truck in everything and truck out everything,

The suburbs also have to truck everything in and out: it's not like local farmland and local factories provide even a tiny percentage of the goods and foodstuffs used there.

Rural areas also have to truck most things in and out, for mostly the same reasons. The way the world economy is structured, pretty-much EVERYTHING is trucked in and out from somewhere else. It's a myth that non-urban areas somehow are less reliant on the "outside" than urban areas.

More to the point, there is a massive economy of scale in cities. New brings in goods in bulk, which then require minimal internal redistribution compared to, say, strip malls in suburbia.

All of that aside, cities are where basically all jobs are. Why would anyone start a company that requires skilled workers in a place with a small talent pool? How many coders or engineers live in any rural town, or even within a day's commute of one? How many live within walking distance of a building in New York?

Look at the job listings in any small town, and then look at the job listings in New York or Boston or San Fran. There's nothing to do in exchange for money in small towns and rural places for most of us. There's no career path at all.

Hell, there's also just NOTHING TO DO. We live in New York because we can walk to one of two dozen brunch places on Sunday morning. We can see opera, musical theatre, the symphony, an off-broadway play, slam poetry, a puppet show, or basically anything we want any day of the week. Want to play an obscure German board game? Thousands of people live basically next do and also want to do so. How many people would be interested in that kind of game in a town of 2000 people?

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 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:
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.

Maternity pay? Now every Tom, Dick and Harry will get pregnant. -- Malcolm Smith