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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.

Comment: I disagree (Score 3, Interesting) 287

by WebCowboy (#46431221) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Linux For Grandma?

KDE is ok but not the best unless the user is a power user who likes a more custom desktop. Better XP alternatives are mint with cinnamon or xfce. Both seem a bit snappier and less laden with configuration options. If mum is running XP with the default Fisher price theme and the clouds-and-rolling-green-fields wallpaper the featuritis of KDE is wasted on her.

That said a bit of change is not always bad. If mum uses web for everything then chromebook is pretty classic looking and very simple to use and maintain assuming you are getting new hardware and want affordability. OTOH it could be useful to depart from the possibly stale XP era desktop style if mum is not too set in her ways. In my personal experience GNOME 3 has gone over fairly well. If us FOSS hackers hate it that often means it is something casual users will like;-) . With GNOME 3 you get something that reduces down to a simple launcher. In just a few minutes you can put mum's apps in the favourites dock, do a couple minor tweaks then show mum how to launch her app. Virtually everything us /. types b!tch about w.r.t. GNOME like hidden or missing config options or problems with multi desktop on multi monitor are stuff mum has no clue about and will never care to learn about. So GNOME is the choice I made and now they think all forms of MSFT windows suck.

Comment: Yes this is the biggest reason. (Score 1) 187

by WebCowboy (#46428127) Attached to: Is Traffic Congestion Growing Three Times As Fast As Economy?

Whoever is at fault large scale transportation projects are one if the two main drivers for all short term changes in traffic patterns. The other is weather.

The tail end of the economic bubble and the first round of stimulus programme projects led to high levels of construction. Those projects likely completed between 2010 and 2012. As they completed road capacity increased faster than demand or traffic load. Hence reduced congestion over that time.

Last year it is possible more projects started up causing lane and road closures again. Also as I mentioned weather can be an issue. The flooding in Alberta Canada and in Colorado for example caused extended closure of damaged roads. Also the very cold winter discourages use of public transportation in most cities as nobody wants to walk to a stop and wait for a bus or train outdoors in freezing public transportation can be very unreliable in bad weather....more so than using personal vehicles. This may br a long term thing too. The climate is changing (NOT warming... where I live average temperature has gone DOWN most of the last 10 years and it is noticeably colder than at the turn of this century especially...all year but especially in winter...this rapid cooling has changed snowpack melting and caused flooding issues more typical of what happened 100 years ago). Whether you live where it is warming or where it is cooling she effects of weather on traffic are likely to become more pronounced.

Comment: Re: WTF (Score 4, Insightful) 179

by WebCowboy (#46374005) Attached to: Apple's Messages Offers Free Texting With a Side of iPhone Lock-In

That is what confuses people. An iphone user sends a text to a phone number so they expect it to go to a phone number but that is not what happens by default.

The default behaviour once your phone number is hijacked by imessage is for the iphone to look up your phone number to find the apple account it is attached to then route the message to ANY device associated with that account.

As a result, if the recipient has any device associated with their apple account and they do not remove their phone number from their apple account imessage will NOT fall back to will consider the message sent!

Some examples of the confusion of crapple iMESSage default behaviour for the poor ex iphone users I know:

* wife replaced iphone with a Note 3. 3 days later she turned on her ipad and several hijacked texts sent to her phone number showed up there...on her wifi only device

* my niece upgraded from ipgone 3gs to a galaxy and gave the old deactivated/no-sim iphone to her son as a toy after wiping it. For the next few days her son was getting many of the texts that were supposed to go to her phone number

* A coworker received a blackberry z10 to replace an iphone and he started getting texts on his macbook air.

This is maddening insane default behaviour. Apple is supposed to be intuitive and this is the opposite. No sane person would expect to have a text sent to a phone number to get sent to some other random device that has no phone connection when they switch phones but that is what happens. Imessage is not as smart, simple or as sensible as you suggest it is.

Comment: Re: Turn off iMessages ? (Score 2, Interesting) 179

by WebCowboy (#46373725) Attached to: Apple's Messages Offers Free Texting With a Side of iPhone Lock-In

We purged our household of iphones last year and went through this little "eff you" crapple experince. Nobody tells you that apple hijacks your sms permanently by default and it must be manually taken back if you switch platforms.

After 3 days of missing texts the wife turned on her ipad to watch some netflix and saw all these texts. After going on a treasure hunt we figured out how to free iphone-source texts from the imessage prison via the apple website as the old iphone was gone.

Apple makes this harder to find than it should be but it isn't too hard to do. You don't have to tell all your friends who still have iphones to mess with their settings but you may have to wait a day or two for the de-registration to propigate to all your friends iphones--the imessage system seems to work like DNS.

Comment: Re: Beta (Score 1) 379

by WebCowboy (#46204389) Attached to: Debian Technical Committee Votes For Systemd Over Upstart

Interesting...I prefer systemd over upstart and I know many others that do as well. So I know it is BS to day systemd is almost universally despised. At worst it is seen as the least of all evils.

It anything the debate is over retaining init.d scripts and systemd as upstart is somewhat of a single vendor stepchild. The main legitimate concern with systemd is its Linux-only implementation complicating the porting of packages to BSD and HURD based systems. The other might be a matter of taste but still worthy of debate--that systemd does not honour the 'Unix way' sufficiently.

Comment: you do know... (Score 2) 503

...that pressing the super key (aka windows key) and typing is not an innovation exclusive to windows 7 don't you?

IIRC win8 retains that ability though I don't use that os. My regular desktop is GNOME 3 and it works just like that too.

The thing with Win8 and GNOME3 is that there is so much angst over what amounts to the introduction of a full screen launcher to replace a stale but familiar cascading drop down menu launcher. In both cases once you launch the same old apps all that crap is out of sight.

Of the two however GNOME 3 is clearly superior in my experience to WIN8. Microsoft went even far beyond GNOME in hiding functionality--at least GNOME retained their equivalent of a start button. Also windows is a confusing mess because it presents the launcher as the application environment...but just for metro apps. Then there is still the old desktop...but without a visible launcher (until 8.1 anyways).

At least in GNOME 3 there is still a clear is clear when you are on the desktop running apps and when you are in the launcher/Switcher. It still hides a bit too much config but it is evolving faster than windows and plugins are quite useful.

In any case I spend most of my time in a handful of apps, text editor and terminal and just tab between them so the desktop environment makes little difference to me.

The one thing that actually surprised me was how much faster beginners and casual users caught onto GNOME than win8. The latter had them mystified, especially coming from XP. Despite being different GNOME was much more intuitive for the most part. Both, however, caused power users much frustration because of their instinctive desire to tweak their environment. Casual users have no such compulsion...their focus is the apps not the environment they are hosted in, and if apps are easy to find and launch that is all that matters.

Comment: Re: Power Bill (Score 1) 277

by WebCowboy (#45972431) Attached to: OpenBSD Looking At Funding Shortfall In 2014

The OpenBSD project is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. The electrical grid is provincially regulated but owned and operated primarily by a number of different investor owned corporations.

Alberta residents can choose from multiple distribution companies-in Calgary Enmax is most common. Further to that you can lock in on a contract rate where the price per kwh is constant throughout, or you can avoid a commitment and pay a spot price called the "regulated rate option".

If you pick R.R.O. then it is really no choice since all Providers offer about the same price. Contract rates vary more between Providers but often the lowest contract rate at a given time can be more expensive due to long contract terms and bigger exit penalties.

Overall though the choices do not significantly reduce energy cost. The more effective solution is to reduce consumption. If the bill is too large upgrade to more efficient modern hardware where possible and do load shedding of sorts, powering off certain architecture machines and scheduling builds of different architectures on alternating days and off peak hours.

20k seems steep to me but maybe not if it is residential rates...the picture looks like it might be in Theo's basement...

Comment: Re: Then Fire Him (Score 1) 509

by WebCowboy (#45691439) Attached to: NSA Head Asks How To Spy Without Collecting Metadata

Yes, fire him but not because of incompetence in his surveillance ability. He is right that he needs metadata to do his spying, but the solution he proposes--to work with big tech to figure out how to spy with less metadata--is wrong.

The solution is to do less spying period. Put intelligence back into intelligence and target resources better, starting specific and expanding scope instead of casting the biggest net and picking through that.

Fire him and replace him with a director that does intelligence not merely surveillance. Same goes with people who handle air travel security.

Comment: Re: Everyone are frienemies... (Score 0) 63

by WebCowboy (#45663321) Attached to: Nokia Still Experimenting With Android Smartphone

Yes Sony and MSFT could do exactly that...not likely directly but I could see subsidiaries of each doing that. It has happened before. Atari made games for coleco and vice versa and Mattel ported some of their intellivision games to atari and vice versa in the 1980s at the height of their business. It could happen again through game publishing subsidiaries easily and in fact is a very likely future scenario.

Comment: Everyone are frienemies... (Score 1, Insightful) 63

by WebCowboy (#45661327) Attached to: Nokia Still Experimenting With Android Smartphone high tech. That is the simplest explanation.

MSFT already makes more from android through its patent racketeering operation than from the sale of lumias. Nokia would have an advantage using android as it would not have to pay that protection money to a third party. MSFT can embrace and extend android like anyone else and it is a hedge against any possibility of failure for windows phone though I think the chances of winphone failing are diminishing over time.

This is just how business works. Apple made the II using a CPU from MOS which was a subsidiary of arch rival Commodore. Today the vast majority of android handhelds use ARM architecture which comes from a company who's largest shareholder is Apple and Apples biggest enemy has been its biggest component supplier in mobile devices over the years.

It is that simple. High tech companies are like the local yokels from Deliverance.

Comment: The number doesn't matter. (Score 2) 466

by WebCowboy (#45633999) Attached to: US Issues 30-Year Eagle-Killing Permits To Wind Industry

FAIRNESS matters.

The oil inudstry where I am kills less birds than the wind farms in the area, and the amount killed by wind farms is already quite small, yet the oil industry is required by law to be fully liable for all bird deaths and must, at their own expense, install countermeadures to drive birds away from hazardous areas (scarecrows, air cannons, supersonic noise makers, etc). Even if only a few dozen birds die in a year, and even though none are endangered they are rightly held fully accountable in that respect, as are all industrial operations in my juristiction.

So, tell me why being "carbon neutral" gives a wind farm a free pass to kill animals and destroy habitat?

Comment: Bias alone doesn't invalidate the facts... (Score 1) 466

by WebCowboy (#45633959) Attached to: US Issues 30-Year Eagle-Killing Permits To Wind Industry just need to be aware of the bias. All articles have bias to some degree; writing completely without bias cannot effectively convey ideas--lack of bias reduces an article of writing to nothing but an enumeration of facts. Bias is required to support arguments and formulate ideas, or else you are just making the worlds most boring encyclopaedia.

Thus, it is best to actively seek out and focus on biased articles and apply critical thinking--and look at articles biased on BOTH sides. So, don't b!tch about the bias in an article being against your personal views, go out and seek another article biased towards the opposite side of the argument and evaluate each argument on its merits.

How many birds are killed by coal pollution might be part of a valid counter-argument but it does not invalidate the fact that wind tubines kill eagles and other birds, nor the fact that the government is giving the industry preferrential treatment. Where I live Oil Sands is a major source of energy, and upgrader plants (particularly the oldest ones) have tailings ponds. When countermeasures fail and several dozen birds land on the toxic tailings and die the incident is widely reported and the oil companies are held to account, paying thousands per bird found. If they are held fully liable and are subject to mandated full disclosure of all animal fatalities resulting from their operations then how come wind farms get a free pass?

Wind makes no CO2 and is renewable and that is good, but killing wildlife and destroying habitat is bad no matter who does it, and everyone who does it should be responsible for it. We don't give drivers of hybrid cars a free pass if they are at fault in an accident or let them pour their used oil into a storm drain because their cars have a smaller carbon footprint--that would be asinine! Just because an energy source is renewable doesn't mean it has no impact on the environment (just look at how devestating renewable hydroelectric power has been to the environment in China as an example). ALL energy development must be done sustainably throughout the lifecycle. You could never get a nuclear plant built adjacent to a residential neigbourhood, you couldn't get Keystone XL bulit across an aquifer and you wouldn't give BP a break on the cleanup costs of Deepwater Horizon. You shouldn't give a wind farm of hundreds of turbines covering hundreds of acres a free pass on killing birds, destroying habitats and affecting the health of nearby residents just because it is "carbon free".

One of the most overlooked advantages to computers is... If they do foul up, there's no law against whacking them around a little. -- Joe Martin