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Comment: Re: Great. More touchscreens. (Score 1) 233

by WebCowboy (#48583143) Attached to: Ford Ditches Microsoft Partnership On Sync, Goes With QNX

My Jeep has a QNX based touchscreen that is very responsive and fast and reliable, plus it had physical knobs, switches and buttons for climate control and radio as a backup. The backup radio controls are on the steering wheel. I can change the station or audio track, adjust the volume and answer or make handsfree calls and use cruise control without taking hands off the steering wheel. Climate control knobs are logical and nicely sized so they can be operated without taking eyes off the road.

The Ford Explorer i rented had miserable controls. Slow confusing touchscreen and the "physical" climate control buttons were capacitive touch points. Ford should be sued for that. I rented that Ford in the winter -20 weather and had to take my gloves off to turn up the heat. Very annoying!

Two reasons i got a Jeep instead of the Ford. The above was one. And second, for my model year the jeep grand cherokee and the jeep patriot had better reliability records than the similarly equipped ford escape and explorer. The in laws bought a ford around the same time and have spent considerably more on repairs and maintenance than i have on my jeep. As a chrysler brand there is a perception of unreliability but specific models are average to very good so they can be a good used choice if you research.

That said, ford has worked hard to improve its reliability, and ditching mytouch sounds promising so i may consider them again some time.

Comment: It's bad enough (Score 1) 342

by WebCowboy (#48504719) Attached to: Breath Test For Pot Being Developed At WSU

Pot does not affect reflexes the way alcohol does, though I do believe it affects perception enough to be dangerous to drive at elevated concentrations in the body. Even someone who is totally baked NEVER stumbles around and slurs speech the way a drunk person does, but such a person certainly doesn't exhibit good enough judgement to operate a vehicle.

I followed a stoned driver to her home one evening way back when..i was invited over. That experience convinced me driving stoned is a very bad idea. This person took a "creative" route home, changed lanes randomly, drove 65km/h on a 100km/h freeway, tapped the brakes to the tune on the radio at one point, used the turn signals randomly...there was most definitely an impact on driving skills. Plus she invited *me* over, which in itself probably said something about her impaired judgement ;-). If I were to replay those events i would have given her a ride home and worried about getting her car later...

Just because you are not physically impaired by a drug does not mean you are not impaired, and just because you are not speeding does not mean you are not a danger. A stoned driver has no judgement skills and in one way is like a drunk person; his or her recollections of events while impaired are skewed. Other drugs may even make your reaction times better but severely impair judgement. Drivers on cocaine, heroin or meth have caused mayhem because of their erratic mental state.

The most dangerous form of impaired driving, in fact, is not physical impairment and does not involve any chemical impairment at all...that would be texting while driving. When a driver texts in a moving vehicle that person still has full physical abilities and quick reactions, however judgement is severely compromised due to the distraction. Talking without hands free is almost as bad. Distracted drivers behave very much like an amplified version of a stoned driver.

Driving stoned is illegal for a good reason and should remain that way...just because other impairment is worse doesn't mean it is ok. By all means, if you want to kick back and have a toke go ahead, not judging anyone for that, but a person should take some responsibility when driving out of consideration to others. Put away the mobile, get some rest, don't be drunk, don't be stoned, don't be high. If you can't do all of those, make alternative transportation plans.

Comment: seems like a lot of trouble... (Score 1) 293

...to use a natural gas home filling station to power a fuel cell car. It might make more sense to just use the gas to power a more conventional combustion engine. CNG engines are simpler and have been around forever.

Using natural gas to power a fuel cell in a vehicle would require an onboard reformer. The process is rather complex to implement at such a small size, involves some temperature extremes and produces carbon dioxide in the end anyways. Though i suppose if done right it would be quite a bit more efficient than a regular combustion engine.

Comment: Please enlighten us... (Score 1) 169

by WebCowboy (#48418085) Attached to: City of Toronto Files Court Injunction Against Uber

...on the crucial finer points that make being paid to drive someone around so much different that it merits such massive legal protection and draconian regulation.

It certainly is not the burden of inspection. At least where i am at, taxis are given the EXACT SAME inspection as out of province used vehicles registered by regular drivers. As for maintenance, when i was still scrimping and saving to pay off student loan and get a house i drove used cars and went to the junk yard to get parts, and there were ALWAYS taxi drivers there getting tires off wrecks for their cabs. They were less picky than me...if they were not flat and not worn to the belts they'd take them.

I understand there may be liability issues in driving taxi as well, however that doesn't merit the nature of regulations in place--so many rules are in place to limit competition and have nothing to do with safety or fraud protection. People can and have set up online services to do deliveries, operate guided tours and so forth that require professional drivers without the challenges and hassle. Even driving schoolbus isnt given so much scrutiny! Think of the children!

I dont fault drivers, it is the fault of taxi companies and plate brokers. Tight regulation makes plates so scarce relative to demand that they can cost more to buy or lease than the vehicle.

The whole anti-uber thing honestly confounds me. I understand the need for regulation in terms of safety and liability but i really fail to see why governments ate so obstructionist. They are supposed to HELP the public, and the public is helped by efforts to improve transportation.

I suppose it has to do with history of taxi operation. Perhaps back at the early 1900's before regulation a few shady operators ruined it for the honest ones. Perhaps even organised crime established itself in the industry leading to closer scrutiny by government for our protection. My theory is that criminal element never completely left. They may have established a presence on boards/commissions to ensure that if they had to follow rules to operate honestly and safely that the rules would also ensure their enterprises were lucrative and free from competition.

I have no solid evidence of this happening, and I believe whatever mob presence there was is long gone, but there certainly is a legacy there in present regulations and powerful lobbies suggesting such influence in the past.

The lobby must be bery powerful still. A couple of right leaning pro business councillors in my city are usually quite outspoken in defending policies to cut red tape, limit taxation and regulation and so forth to help especially entrepreneurs and small businesses, but they roll over and defer to the taxi commissioner at the mere mention of uber or more taxi plates and back amendments to blunt efforts to ease restrictions or outright vote against adding plates or permitting uber and others to operate.

It makes me wonder what goes on that makes the taxi lobby so influential that even some opinionated politicians clam up at mere mention of taxis or uber.

Comment: Re: Not resigning from Debian (Score 1) 550

I do find it annoying to deal with binary formats for some non executable files like configs and small logs. That said the argument you make about fragility of binary is false and has little merit.

There is no "mostly ACID"--a database is or isn't, and the human-readability of a file has no bearing on how corruptable it is. Things like underlying file system and implementation have more to do with it.

PostgreSQL for example is a very robust, multi-concurrent ACID compliant data store, so much so that it is often used as the back end for logging in large important systems. Failed transactions roll back cleanly and single byte errors most certainly do NOT render all data theteafter inaccessible! Despite that you have binary formatted data, even if it is all VARCHAR fields.

It is all in the design and implementation. Binary formats and protocols generally have field and record delimiters, as well as error detection and correcting features like checksums. If a byte is corrupt you lose one record at most and usually just a single field. Delimited text is just a very primitive binary format in that sense, and without checksum or error correction at that. I've never seen a truly robust data store built atop a text format!

On more than one occasion I have seen log files in text format become corrupt, and in most cases the missing or unreadable lines of text were exactly at the point i was interested in seeing. It is quite possible for a text log to go haywire and stay that way until a process is killed and restarted. Text does not help here. Similarly a binary database store can be useless if poorly implemented, such as not using transaction statements in SQL or using myISAM storage for your mySQL database.

My criticism of systemd in this particular instance is not because using binary formats is more fragile than text...indeed i dont know enough to say either way. It is really just a minor annoyance to me due to the fact it creates a need to use an unfamiliar, less generalised tool to view and analyse the data than cat and grep and so on.

In any case for a REAL hgh volume critical system i would push all my data via syslog to a robust storage system underpinned by a database like PostgreSQL or other ACID compliant system. There are some times when a system crashes on boot at a point before such facilities are online, however bootups happen very occasionally on servers and if i have to view a binary log out of a failed system i will just deal with the annoyance and use the provided log viewing on a functioning system or rescue boot environment.

Yes it seems to ignore the unix ideal, but Linux, mac OS and other contemporary platforms and applications with unix roots abandoned the unix way a long time ago as tech moved on and pragmatism set in. It gets tedious to manage text files; they do not scale. I guess the decision was made to use binary for compactness and to forego the need to rotate logs and use general text processing tools to do log analysis, which i am comfortable using but could be thought of as cumbersome.

I am still getting used to systemd. I am a bit disoriented and find the scope of what they are trying to tackle rather wide to put under management of a single project, but hey, the Linux kernel is huge monolithic and has thousands of tightly coupled binary modules, and it works well enough. And, in my experience once i figure out the systemd way of doing it i find it a big improvement over the old crufty init way. Making your own init scripts, even using LSB template, and using things like monit or other more kludgy ways to monitor and restart processes is not a status quo i miss anymore.

I hope the petty bickering in debian community over what boils down to politics over technical merits does not stifle innovation. Debian is not known as an innovation leader but it has done and will have to continue to embrace change and progress when it meets stability standards.

Comment: Re: How about we hackers? (Score 1) 863

This here is a hint of why systemd gets all this hate. Sysadmins who embrace old school methods and cling to an ideology that, whatever merits it may have, has in practice been abandoned at many levels.

This here post suggests that you arent worthy of being a sysadmin if you cannot manually edit and manage inittab and dozens of files in init.d and links for your run levels and so on. Sorry some people have to spend their time doing real work and would rather just use their systems not manage some brittle low level mechanism.

Ignored here is that traditional init SUCKS. It only works for most people because most people do not mess with the canned scripts in the package. It is ridiculous that a misplaced semicolon or ampersand in one of any number of files could cause an entire system start to fail for example. And instead of doing something better all too many sysops would blame the user, as if this sort of thing should always be beyond "normal" people.

The other reason for the hate also seems to be the person behind the product. I see hate comments made solely because Pottering founded the project. Because of his personality and the track record of some of his work on initial release he could cure all cancer and some people would let a tumour kill them because Pottering invented the cure. This is stupid. Who is behind a project is only one of many considerations and not the most important one especially if the case of Free software.

I am not qualified enoygh to pass judgement on systemd yet, but i do know that the status quo is unsustainable. SysV style init scrips are brittle and from a developer/distributor perspective so burdonsome to maintain that it is nearly intolerable, especially considering where traditional sysop positions are being supplanted by "devops". THAT is why users/hackers/old school sysops are having systemd "forced" on them. Package maintainers have embraced the first true, full refactoring of the init system ever done in Linux OSes because nobody who has to develop, maintain or distribute a software package has ever said wow, writing init scrips is so much fun!

If systemd is somehow seriously undermining the ability to provide stability or security then it warrants serious discussion. That subject is orthogonal to who wrote the code and how it adheres to the unix way. The unix way can be exploited and be unstable too if poorly implemented, but the point is moot as linux systems have been departing from the pure linux way at various points since the beginning.

I like the unix way, and should a systemd alternative come out that both follows that better AND actually addresses init shortcomings better than systemd i would adopt that. So far it is not the case. Upstart was not the answer for me, status quo is not the answer. OpenRC is lipstick on the init pig right now--a step in the right direction but not mature enough to handle parallel execution and appears more burdonsome to support for software maintainers who still need to manage that legacy init pig in the meantime.

So systemd is the least of all evils in some peoples views. Part of the problem is yhat nobody stepped forward with a stable, elegant next gen init system until systemd was entrenched. They fell short technically or have been promising but had issues working with developer communities. So it is time to sh!t or get off the pot and implement a better systemd alternative if the problems are that serious and more than philosophical.

Comment: It is terrorism regardless of target. (Score 1) 529

by WebCowboy (#48212449) Attached to: Shooting At Canadian Parliament

Are you inferring that it is only terrorism if the target is important enough or the number if victims is high enough? You are sadly mistaken then.

This was textbook terrorism, a loud public statement and nothing at all personal. The terrorist shot and killed a ceremonial military guard at the cenotaph, a monument honouring our fallen soldiers. If that doesnt make a statement of hatred and distain for a nation then what does?

The terrorists very next act was to proceed directly to the centre block of parliament, where the prime minister and his cabinet were meeting. He was fatally shot by the seargant at arms, who found the criminal roaming the halls looking for more victims.

There is no doubt here at all.

Comment: GNOME is the same (Score 5, Informative) 250

by WebCowboy (#47990761) Attached to: GNOME 3.14 Released

"Super" key then type ter and hit enter. Exactly same number of keys and no mouse required.

Recent GNOME 3.xx are actually quite accessible and keyboard friendly. Most haters here hate just to ride on the 'leet bandwagon.

GNOME suffers from the same affliction as systemd and pulse audio before it...lots of prejudice because it was too crappy or weird when they first came out but are much improved over time. Kind of like people who still think Hyundai cars are junk because their 1985 Pony died on the road all the time, but nowadays Hyundai is as good or better than Toyota.

Some people will never like GNOME 3.xx that's OK, just a matter of taste really. Power users obviously frustrated at lack of tweakability and advanced stuff being hidden, But in my experience it is presently the best desktop by far for beginner and casual computer users. Mum and Dad learned their way around it faster than Windows or Mas OS X, seriously!

Comment: Please get some help (Score 4, Insightful) 1262

It is evident from your posts here that you have some personal issues to deal with.

It is NOT normal to lash out with a vitriolic tirade of graphic sexual threats under ANY circumstances, much less being "provoked" by inflammatory speech. It is sick, and it should not be tolerated or even expected in a peaceful civilized society.

You don't let a thief go or belittle the victim because the door wasn't locked at the time or there were no bars on the windows so a break in should have been expected. You don't defend a rapist and blame a rape victim because she wore a bikini to the beach on a hot day. And yoy certainly don't threaten someone with grave injury or death because what they say offends you. Actions of this sort are those of sick, twisted people...not always evil people as they could be victims of their upbringings, but sick people who need help nonetheless.

Comment: Its the second one Re: Surprise? (Score 3, Insightful) 579

by WebCowboy (#47701051) Attached to: Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

Likely some MSFT graft in the picture. MSFT is relocating regional headquarters and Munich is a front runner. Lots of potential tax revenue, both directly from MSFT and indirectly from the employees and spin off economic activity.

Selection of Munich would undoubtedly be contingent on the city migrating back. I dont believe any outright bribing was involved or required. All Microsoft had to do was have a bean counting meeting with the high ups...if you go back to MSFT the extra money spent on migration, licensing, hardware and administative burden of the windows platform is more than offset over time by the economic benefits of a new major employer in the city.

And, well, how could you expect MSFT to do such a favour if you continued to spurn them at city hall?

Comment: Re: Taking responsibility? Ha! (Score 1) 511

From what I've seen at least half the addicts that I've seen here became addicted based on the advice of a medical professional. Workplace injuries and other accidents led to prescription pain meds that brought on their addiction.

It also doesn't help that they are in an emotionally fragile state, on account of them being unemployable living on disability and other social assistance, with a sudden reduction in income and feeling worthless.

The rest, well yeah Darwin's law can take care of them I suppose, but very many addicts did not get where they are out of selfish pursuit of a high. Some were just dealt a bad hand.

Comment: Re: Laughable (Score 1) 260

by WebCowboy (#46501377) Attached to: The Era of Facebook Is an Anomaly

You didn't read the article thoroughly. Danah boyd specifically makes the point that Facebook can only continue as a "utility" if they must sustain their immense size and growth. That is not how Facebook started, hence the end of the Facebook "as a community" era.

There is no community based around utilities themselves like phone, email and what Facebook is devolving into...they are merely tools to facilitate communication amongst people.

Comment: Re: I disagree (Score 2) 287

by WebCowboy (#46433137) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Linux For Grandma?

They said it themselves. I showed them gnome, kde and xfce and they chose which one they liked. Any if them would do but gnome was closest to what they liked put of box so they went with it.

Style is matter of personal taste. They liked. Gnome because of its launcher. You click activities and up comes a launcher with favourite apps and an expose-style view of all their open windows.

The way they view an OS is that it launches their apps. Besides launching apps they barely do anything else with the desktop or os itself. They also open all windows maximised all the time and even worked that way in XP--shortcuts on the desktop for all the apps they used and maximised all their windows. In that way gnome3 suits them. We don't all work the same way.

One of the chief duties of the mathematician in acting as an advisor... is to discourage... from expecting too much from mathematics. -- N. Wiener

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