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Comment: Re:bye (Score 2) 530

Or use the button to disable shaped like a "gear" to disable it...

Which works right up to the point where Mozilla removes this feature, as they have removed so many other features.

Look, I get that programmers are expensive and Mozilla needs to pay the bills somehow, but maybe if they just focused on security concerns instead of trying to re-invent the browser every other version they wouldn't need so many programmers?

Sadly, there is still little alternative to Firefox. Palemoon has a host of compatibility issues with many add-ons, Chrome is Google spyware, and Opera and Chromium just don't have the range of add-ons that Firefox has.

Comment: Re:ISRO sponsered by BIC (Score 5, Insightful) 77

by Somebody Is Using My (#49750191) Attached to: India Targets July/August To Test Its Space Shuttle

The unmanned shuttle will fly to a height of approximately 70 kilometers before splashing down in the Bay of Bengal. Oddly, the vehicle itself probably won't be recovered.

How can it be called a Shuttle if it's only going to be used once?

And while we are at it, since the beginning of "space" is generally accepted to be 100KM and this thing is only going up 70KM, the "space" part of its name is inaccurate too.

But I guess "space shuttle" sounds better than "big can we're chucking high up into the air and then letting sink into the ocean".

Comment: Re:In defense of the human race (Score 1) 150

But by that logic one could argue the reason we haven't been hit by a big asteroid is /because/ Bieber and Dione are here on Earth. The asteroids have been steering clear of us rather than risk contamination. Ship Bieber/Dione out into deep space and we lose that protection!

Then again, it might be worth it...

Comment: Re:They trained their replacements (Score 4, Interesting) 612

Why in the hell would anyone train their replacement though?

Because usually all you know is that /somebody/ is going to be replaced: it might be you, it might be any one of the twenty other people who do a nearly identical job to you. You hang around because you hope that - when the cut comes - you are one of the few spared and you don't want to work with idiots (thus having to do not only your own job but covering for all the replacements). Or working for a large corporation hasn't stripped you entirely of your conscience, you won't want to leave the same burden on any of your current co-workers if you yourself are laid-off and they aren't (you may even care about the customers too, who shouldn't have to deal with poorly trained replacements).

Even the more pre-emptive and forward-thinking employees who have sent out resumes would still stay at the job as long as they can until they actually get an offer for a new job.

Having said all that, I once was fired "immediately" but was then "allowed" to stay an extra two weeks to train my replacement. I graciously turned them down and left right after the meeting.

Comment: Re:What they mean is (Score 3, Interesting) 39

No Santa Clara county will just borrow one of the FBI units and not tell people it was used.

That is one of the first things I thought when I read the article too.

The headline should probably be something more along the lines of "Santa Clara County Opts Against Buying Stingray... decides on competing RingStay brand."

Because these toys are too useful and make data-collection far far too easy for them to give it up. They'll use some other brand, or a device that works similarly (but not exactly) like Stingrays, or hire outside agencies (who /do/ purchase Stingrays) to do the call-interception for them, but you can be sure that ultimately there won't be any real improvement.

Instead they will pass on half-truths to placate the public whom they are supposed to serve to hide the fact they are continuing the behavior we find upsetting.

And then wonder why public trust in them continues to decline.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 0) 304

I doubt Netflix (or whomever) would be willing to lock out all the millions of Linux (read: Android) and Apple users, many who use a smartphone or tablet far more often than a dorky desktop, so its unlikely that Microsoft would get this desired exclusivity. And it's not as if Netflix wouldn't offer those wares on Windows if Microsoft hadn't embedded the DRM. I really don't see other developers or media companies as the reason behind this move.

But it occurred to me after I posted that more likely reason is because Microsoft is betting hard on moving towards a service-based (read: subscription) model for its software. They need a foolproof way of locking people into its pay-to-use ecosystem, one that cannot be easily bypassed with cracks or fake serial numbers. Its does them no good if users can bypass the software that shuts down Windows if you are behind on your monthly payments. Furthermore, they want to make it as difficult as possible for people to put another OS on the hardware so you can avoid the subscriptions entirely.

Protecting their potential subscription income, more than any other thing, explains to me why MS is suddenly so interested in hardware-based DRM.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 304

More to the point, why is Microsoft doing this? What do they gain by adding this to their software? I can understand when a media-producer forces DRM down the pipe, but are the advantages of Microsoft adding DRM into its OS really more than its disadvantages, especially when it is already slowly but inevitably losing marketshare.

Certainly there is no hue and cry from their customers demanding this new "feature". I doubt Microsoft themselves really need it; while they make some attempt to crack down when their software gets pirated, they are well aware that if they cut off the pirates entirely then those potential customers might just start looking to other software ecosystems. Movie and music publishers will love this, of course, but are they really so important that Microsoft can't just ignore them? Especially since this is something new to the OS, not a feature being added to make Windows10 compatible with existing media. I can imagine Linux, Android and Apple positioning themselves as the "freedom" alternative by not including this DRM; certainly those markets are large enough that neither the MPAA or RIAA will prevent their wares from running on all those computers, tablets and cellphones; is Microsoft really willing to let that happen? Or is it software developers that are crying out for a centralized DRM store? Is that whose needs Microsoft is trying to satisfy?

Windows still has a majority stake in desktops, but it is losing overall market share when you add in tablets and phones. People are becoming more and more comfortable using other operating systems and desktops are becoming less and less relevant. You would think Microsoft would be bending over backwards trying to make a product that the users would want to use but they seem hellbent on pushing forward a vision that meets the needs of nobody but themselves.

Comment: Re:Disgusting. (Score 1) 686

by Somebody Is Using My (#49535999) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden

I can remember when my generation was against The Man too.

No, you got it wrong. Well, you are correct in that - when we were younger - it was our generation who fought against "The Man". We did this by throwing our support behind the New Guy who would rid of us of "The Man". And thanks to us, eventually, the New Guy ousted "The Man" and all his old-fashioned notions, enacted policies we supported, and we were happy. But then the New New Guy started making noise, winning the support of the next generation, and foolishly calling our New Guy "The Man". But that's just ridiculous. Our New Guy isn't "The Man"; that's the people our parents supported!

So you see, it is not that our generation has become any less less open-minded and rebellious; after all, we got rid of "The Man". It's just that we already put the proper people into power and can recognize these New New Guys as the loud-mouth troublemakers trying to lead our children astray for what they are.

What Dad, you thought "The Man" was a New Guy too and you were fighting for truth 'n' justice and the American Way? Now that's just silly; obviously you are just being conservative and bitter. ;-)

Comment: Necessary step (Score 0, Offtopic) 336

by Somebody Is Using My (#49518661) Attached to: Update: No Personhood for Chimps Yet

I think this is a necessary step and better done today than tomorrow.

Not that I think the chimps themselves right now are deserving of the same rights of personhood as human beings. But as our science advances, the question of what a "person" is will extend past our common genetics: we may soon have gengineered humans, uplifted animals, cybernetic entities (AI) and, unlikely as it may be, perhaps even non-terrestrial intelligences. After all, its taken centuries for many HUMANS to be recognized as fully protected legal entities by other humans. It is better if we have legal precedents set ahead of time so that the rights of these non-human intelligences are protected from the start.

Comment: Re:Lets say yes so they put an FM radio on my phon (Score 1) 350

Which MP3 player do you have, if you don't mind me asking?

It's an old 1GB iRiver iFP-895 MP3 player. Its ancient and battered, and I don't really use it except as an "emergency radio" these days, but at the time I quite liked it. Come to think of it, I think it was somebody on Slashdot that originally recommended the device in the first place ;-)

As I mentioned, my phone actually has FM radio enabled but I have no confidence that it will have the necessary battery life should I actually NEED to listen to the radio. But AA batteries last forever and replacements can be found anywhere. Nowadays, the the tiny storage space (1GB) is too limiting, so my phone serves as my primary music player but the iRiver lurks at the bottom of my daybag, with a spare AA battery... just in case.

Comment: Re:Lets say yes so they put an FM radio on my phon (Score 5, Interesting) 350

While I don't think the lack is a safety risk - and I do think the headline is just the usual sort of attention-whoring we expect from the media these days - having an FM radio is very useful if there is a regional emergency. And since most people are usually carrying a phone anyway, locking out that ability does them a disservice.

Personal anecdote time: back in the big blackout of 2003 that shutdown the Northeastern US, nobody's phones were working because the networks were jammed by millions of people suddenly calling each other, everyone trying to figure out what was going on. Nobody knew anything except that the lights were off and there was an increasingly nervous tension; as this was only a couple years after 9/11, the word "terrorists" was on everybody's lips. I happened to have an MP3 player with FM functionality on me, and that made me very popular, because I could relay news to everyone around me. The temper changed from twitchy nervousness to reassured cooperation, from a fearful me-first attitude to one where informed people worked together to get through the disaster.

I don't think having that radio made me any safer, but it made me - and those around me - happier because we were not cut off from the rest of the world. I still carry that little MP3 player with me, solely for its radio functions even though my phone is one of the rare devices that does have FM functionality (the phone needs a charge every day, but the mp3 player, which is only the size of a thumb-drive, runs seemingly forever on an easily-replaced AA battery).

Comment: Re:Humans are the gross, worst spieces ever (Score 4, Insightful) 93

[Humans are] the worst disgusting and gross, leave their trash everywhere. They think all history was made in order for their own creation. They pollute everywhere they figure out how to get to.

Do not mistake the ineffectiveness of other animals to be "care" for their environment. A beaver will happily defoliate acres of land. Cats can depopulate entire species of birds, given the chance. Rabbits will breed far beyond the capacity of their environment to support their numbers. All of them will "pollute" as readily as man, leaving their waste wherever it may drop and not taking particular care to "clean up" after themselves when they are done using a burrow or nest. Certainly, they show no evidence of caring about other species; other animals are prey to be fed upon, or predator to be fled from, or other to be ignored but never a concern beyond that.

Humans aren't perfect, to be sure, but our problems are largely due to own success. Though we would believe ourselves somehow superior to the "lesser animals" with which we share the world, we are still moved by the same base impulses of our distant cousins. However, our cleverness with tools and our extreme adaptability means that we are more resistant to environmental repercussions with which the system uses to self-correct the actions of its more boisterous inhabitants. A wolf-pack that eats all the deer in its territory is likely to starve next winter, but Men will just move to a new territory or import food from its neighbors, and thus the genes of the "over-eaters" are preserved rather than culled. Alas, now that our territory encompasses the entire world it may require a worldwide disaster to rehabilitate Man.

But then again, maybe not. Because we are learning - however slowly it may seem - that not only are our resources not unlimited, but also that the Earth is a vast and interlocked system which we share with all the other species on the planet. This very concept of environmentalism is fairly new - a few hundred years at most and truly popular only for the last two or three generations - and prior to this Men took little concern to their depredations because they always thought there would be an endless supply so long as they moved to the next horizon. Now, we are reconsidering our actions - acting against the very instructions of our genetic make-up - working to preserve what we have. While it is not entirely without self-interest, nor is it entirely selfish; we preserve other species for no other reason than a belief that they have as much a right to exist on this planet as we do. That is more than any other species on Earth has done.

Our impact on this planet has been devastating, matched perhaps only by the impact of micro-organisms or the insect kingdom. But these mistakes are only because we follow our genetic predisposition to breed to capacity and do not believe for a moment that any other species on this planet would do any different. Certainly we should use our intellects to curb our innate predilections but neither should we entirely condemn ourselves.

Comment: Here's how to disable "Heartbeat feedback" (Score 1) 156

by Somebody Is Using My (#49382487) Attached to: Firefox 37 Released

1. Open about:config in the browser

2. Change browser.selfsupport.url to “”

3. Go to and tell Mozilla to stop wasting our time with bullshit like the "heartbeat feedback" and gratuitous GUI changes and focus on more important things like fixing the damn bugs.

Comment: Re:It makes sense (Score 2) 193

Even better, the policy is offensive to the (supposedly) egalitarian notions of the country, as it suggests that only a special few can buy the product. With any other product, you can just walk in the store, lay down your money and walk out with your new toy. But with the Apple Watch, only a few (admittedly self-selected) people get that privilege. Suddenly there is a division of the "haves" and "have-nots" in the Apple customer base, and (even though anyone can become a "have" by making a reservation), this split unconsciously strikes people as unfair. This gets them talking about the policy and keeps the product in the news and in people's minds. It is a manufactured controversy designed to raise the awareness of the product. Even more, it makes the *purchase* of the product for those who do get a reservation all the more memorable, even though the actual product is itself unexceptional.

Its is brilliant marketing for a product that would otherwise be unable to compete on its own merits.

"Morality is one thing. Ratings are everything." - A Network 23 executive on "Max Headroom"