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Comment: Re:Tech solution for a social problem (Score 1) 405

Only 10% deaths due to distracted driving? Then what are the other 90%? There was a news article recently claiming 65% of the deaths were due to daydreaming, and 15% to phones etc.

How about requiring the driver to solve a captcha every two minutes by speaking the letters. The gummint could make money on this!

They're looking at tech solutions because they are easy and fun, compared to social solutions.

Comment: That would be Debian Testing (Score 1) 766

by WryCoder (#35898090) Attached to: Microsoft Counts Down To XP Death

I've been running Debian Testing on my desktop for over 10 years. It is continuously upgraded, and that includes all the apps, not just the OS. Never reinstalled it. And it's totally free/libre.

I expect to keep running it for the next ten years.

I have a cron that downloads the updates, which I like to apply by hand ("apt-get upgrade") every few days, so I can watch what's going on. But most of that could be done by cron, if you wanted to take a bit of risk (similar to what you take when you apply MS updates).

Comment: Re:Atol Growth Tracks Sea Level - Darwin (Score 1) 360

by WryCoder (#33629802) Attached to: Facing Oblivion, Island Nation Makes Big Sacrifice

We are not talking only about low-level atols.

Atols maintain their elevation wrt sea level: if sea level drops, wind erosion lowers the atol. If sea level rises, the coral (yes - underwater) builds the reef higher. Beaked fish, e.g. parrotfish, and wave action partially reduce the face of the reef to sand and rubble, which is deposited on the atol above waterline. The coral has no trouble keeping up with sea level rise, about a foot in a century. The real problem is decimation of the fish by hunting. That can slow or halt the build up of coral sand.

For vegetation to grow on the atol, fresh water is needed. This comes from the lagoon enclosed by the atol, and is contained in a "fresh water lens" that is slightly above sea level under the atol. If the lagoon is breached or allowed to dry out and fill with sand, the atol becomes a coral island. To keep this from happening, the lagoon mush be protected and fresh water must be carefully conserved. Coral islands may have much less water, due to run-off, unless vegetation is firmly established and not destroyed in a typhoon.

These facts have been confirmed since Darwin first proposed his theory of atol growth.

A recent, refereed article studied the surface area of 27 atols in the Central Pacific. 86% of them increased in area or remained the same as sea level rose over a 20 to 60 period.

Global and Planetary Change, Article in Press, Accepted Manuscript, doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2010.05.003

The dynamic response of reef islands to sea level rise: evidence from multi-decadal analysis of island change in the central pacific

Comment: Re:Cards should not be mailed. Period. (Score 1) 220

by WryCoder (#32805574) Attached to: HSBC Bank Sends Activated Debit Cards Through Mail

USPS has Priority mail for speed and Certified First Class for on-line tracking, with and without signature confirmation, with and without a hard copy receipt of delivery ("return confirmation"). Then there is Registered mail, which is insurable and kept under lock and key until delivered. These services are much cheaper than FedEx.

There is also USPS Express Mail - next day delivery with tracking. It's essentially equivalent to FedEx, and delivers to PO Boxes, which FedEx won't do.

Comment: It Ain't Torvalds (Score 1) 373

by WryCoder (#31882358) Attached to: Media Industry Wants Mandated Spyware and More

Linus is pretty agnostic when it comes to blobs - he's "practical". So there is a lot of secret, proprietary software in the kernel, often under NDA.

If you are talking about spyware at the middleware and app level, his kernel isn't involved.

If you want to thank someone, that would be Stallman and the Free Software Foundation. They are the ones who have been fighting this fight for 25 years, won in the copyright arena, but now moving into the software patent and trusted computing arenas.

The "trusted computing" (i.e. trusted by industry, not you) initiative is still alive. OP is a part of that, and deadly dangerous to free software. They are trying to block you from the internet unless your software is signed by approved authorities, bottom to top, and immutable. Refer to the FSF for more information.

If you are looking for a totally free GNU/Linux with no kernel blobs and no non-free applications, look at gNewSense. I have it running on a Lemote Yeeloong. Even the bios is free software. The kernel is a deblobbed linux kernel derived from the linux-libre project.

Comment: Re:Feedback? (Score 1) 383

by WryCoder (#29764709) Attached to: CT Scan "Reset Error" Gives 206 Patients Radiation Overdose

Why not require that scanners incorporate an independent detector that measures the amount X-ray energy?

This is already a requirement of 21CFR1020.33:

(2)Timers. (i) Means shall be provided to terminate the x-ray exposure automatically by either deenergizing the x-ray source or shuttering the x-ray beam in the event of equipment failure affecting data collection. Such termination shall occur within an interval that limits the total scan time to no more than 110 percent of its preset value through the use of either a backup timer or devices which monitor equipment function. A visible signal shall indicate when the x-ray exposure has been terminated through these means and manual resetting of the CT conditions of operation shall be required prior to the initiation of another scan.

Comment: FM Customer Service (Score 2) 135

by WryCoder (#29637581) Attached to: Interview With Jeremy Howard of FastMail.fm

Well, I have mod points, but rather than using them, I'll tell my story.

My wife was losing mail and we couldn't track down the problem. I had server logs showing that some mail was accepted by fm, but then disappeared. After much hair pulling, I put in a support request.

I quickly received four pages of logs showing exactly what happened to the mail in question - from the time it was accepted until it was deleted by an email client.

It turns out that there was a Mac Email client which was set to delete mail coming from sources not in my wife's address book. I thought she was only using the webmail. But every once in awhile she'd start the Mac client and it would reach up and expunge mail from the one or two people who were in the fm address book, but not in the Mac Mail address book. Gone without a trace!

Believe me, this kind of service is worth far more than $20 per year.

As you can see from the thread, these guys build on free software, and give back. I run a number of mail servers myself, but I (and my family) use fm because it would take me man years to add on what these guys offer, to say nothing of admining it all.

I'm always amazed that people are willing to waste dozens, maybe hundreds, of hours just to save $20 per year. I keep trying to get my daughter to use fm, but she'd rather struggle with the spam on the free service I provide her on one of my servers than fork out the $20. Wastes my time, too.

Comment: Re:Who is Brian Eno? (Score 1) 196

by EastCoastSurfer (#29498003) Attached to: Brian Eno Releases Second iPhone App

I wouldn't say AS is a roach motel of a book. The story is pretty good, and you don't have to buy into her entire philosophy to get some positive take aways from the book (don't mooch off other peoples hard work, work hard yourself, be responsible for yourself, stick to your ideals and don't sell out etc...).

That said, her dialog is lacking at times and she can get quite wordy. Some of the monologues in the book are so extremely long that I wonder if her editor actually edited anything.

I found The Fountainhead to be a much better story though and while it still had dialog issues, she did much less beating you over the head with the long monologues about her personal philosophy.

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984

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