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Comment: Re:Version number confusion (Score 1) 194

by BZ (#47520015) Attached to: Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

It's really not that complicated. Firefox releases work like this: 6 weeks of development, 12 weeks of testing and stabilization (split up into two 6-week phases called "aurora" and "beta"; the former corresponds more or less to feature freeze and the latter more or less to "code freeze unless we discover a stop-ship issue"), then release.

So right now 31 is released, 32 is beta, 33 is aurora, and development is happening on 34.

Comment: Re:no thanks (Score 0) 172

by roca (#47511459) Attached to: Firefox 31 Released

> In short, the designers are (willfully?) ignorant of the fact that
> not everyone uses their web browser exactly the same way
> they do.

Aren't you make that mistake yourself? I know our designers collect a lot of data on what many users actually use. More data than individual Slashdot commenters have collected, I expect.

> Any time they change the interface, add an easy-to-find
> checkbox under the options to restore the old functionality.

That leads to an explosion of difficult-to-understand checkboxes in the UI, and an unmaintainable mess under the hood.

Comment: Re:Misfeatures (Score 1) 172

by roca (#47510913) Attached to: Firefox 31 Released

> "Automatic handling of pdf and ogg files" - I have a pdf reader
> already. I dont need another one, and I dont need one
> 'integrated' in my browser, period.

From the release notes: "audio/video .ogg and .pdf files handled by Firefox *if no application specified*" (emphasis added).

> "loaded with new features for developers." Pretty sure that
> means for advertisers.

You just made that up.

Comment: Re:Spyware companies will love it (Score 2) 172

by roca (#47510859) Attached to: Firefox 31 Released

Preventing canvas tracking isn't simply a matter of fixing a bug. A solution would require something like "don't use the GPU" or "don't use platform font rasterization", either of which are completely unacceptable for most users due to degradation of performance or visual quality.

If you've got a simple fix to canvas tracking, let the world know what it is, OK?

Comment: Re:Spyware companies will love it (Score 3, Informative) 172

by roca (#47510775) Attached to: Firefox 31 Released

sendBeacon was already possible with JS using XHR, just in a slower and more user-unfriendly manner. And unlike XHR, you can disable sendBeacon without breaking the Web, so it's actually better for privacy.

However, if you want to completely prevent any sendBeacon-like activity, you need to just disable JS on that page.

Comment: Re:NASA has become small indeed... (Score 1) 108

by BZ (#47498057) Attached to: A Look At NASA's Orion Project

It's a matter of funding.

Looking at the chart at and in particular the inflation-adjusted line there tells you pretty much what the story was: at the peak of the Apollo program NASA's budget was about $40 billion/year in today's dollars (the red line in that graph is in 1996 dollars). NASA's budget today is less than $18 billion/year.

Or to put it in relative-to-the-economy terms, in 1966 NASA was 4% of Federal budget expenditures. 4% of the 2013 US expenditures (actual, not requested) would be $138 billion, according to

I bet if you funded NASA at that level (even just the inflation-adjusted one; I understand that the overall budget structure is quite different now from what it was in 1966, so the $138 billion number is pretty much meaningless), I bet it could produce results a lot quicker than it can at current funding levels...

Comment: Re:Well, uh, yes actually (Score 1) 435

by roca (#47471483) Attached to: FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

Considering fission weapons have been around for 70 years, we've done surprisingly well at limiting their proliferation. I think mass-market availability of fission weapons is pretty far down the list of things to worry about. However, terrorists and rogue states having them in small numbers is definitely high on my list.

Mass-market small-scale kill-bots based on rockets and drones are also high on my list.

Unfortunately the most effective method to prevent use of such weapons will be to put a chip in everyone's head. I honestly think that might be worse than mass murder, but you can imagine it looking attractive both to the Powers That Be and the public.

It is much easier to suggest solutions when you know nothing about the problem.