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Comment Happy(-ish) SO user (Score 1) 268

I've been happily using Stack Overflow for a couple of years now. I've learned a lot, despite many participants often being at the school/junior professional level, thus only regurgitating the stuff from tutorials without necessarily much depth of insight or practical use experience. I've also been able to contribute some things, which seem to be helpful to a number of people.

I never realized there were ads on the site until this article. But then again, I've had AdBlock / hosts file since before I signed up...

I always imagine that it is fair that when people contribute some original content, if the site does not remunerate them (in money) for it, some other incentive might be in order - e.g. free use and option out of advertising (kudos Slashdot). (And unlike e.g. Facebook, to which I've contributed countless translated words and phrases in the beginning years... and where the translated interface's overall impression is still that of a million unpaid monkeys typing away at a million keyboards even today.)

Comment Re: On paper, this is a good decision (Score 1) 132

So the above page seems to imply that
  1. Your website has to be very basic (without Javascript for instance) so that they can run on "feature phones".
  2. And you have to register your site with them

I couldn't find out what pages are available on the service, but it seems "all of the internet" it is not.

Comment Re:On paper, this is a good decision (Score 1) 132

But I can't help but wonder in practice if it won't leave a lot of poor people with no internet access at all.

Sure, it's nice to have an even playing field. But when you're starving, do you really want the government telling McDonalds that they can't give you free food because that wouldn't be fair to Burger King?

No internet access at all, is still better than access to only Facebook.... I doubt that browsing FB all day long is going to help people out of that poverty.

Comment Re:I guess it's easier... (Score 1) 425

... Another may involve tweaking your gut microbiome to change how you extract energy from certain foods. ...

Whatever happened to eating a balanced diet...?

My guess is that if you eat fresh/raw foods (i.e. not processed junk), or foods that have been "processed" via age-old traditional methods like Lactobacillus fermentation preservation as well as sprouting, you may be getting a whole lot closer to both goals.

Comment Mindboggling (Score 0) 106

On Saturday mornings, I wanted to sleep late. So you know what I did? I made sure there were science projects available, and that's what he did with our two daughters and our son.

Amazing. One would think that a family with that sort of wealth at their disposal might be able to hire all sorts of nannies/governesses/tutors at any hour of the month to keep their kids occupied (and educated) while they slept in - whether on a weekend or on any other day of the week.

Cudos for keeping it real and staying in touch with how the other half ^H^H^H^H 99.9999% lives.

Comment Re:Why not let children develop their interests (Score 2) 106

naturally? And maybe they'll pick up hobbies that interest them on their own.

Disagree. Having an environment where something can develop is pretty important in my opinion.

Anecdotes from my childhood:
* Positives: free availability of encyclopaedias, the town library, "how to" books, books about experiments, workshop with many hand and power tools, some scrap materials.
* Negatives: Due to financial constraints and living far away from shops on farm, scarcity of some materials like light/torch bulbs, batteries, good quality wire, magnets, some chemicals. Due to improvising with scrap materials, results were often failures or not adequate outcomes.

To this day I like to read up on all sorts of subjects and making designs. Actually implementing one is however difficult, I seem to have this huge mental block about failure that I have to work hard at to overcome. Even for throw-away prototypes.

Comment Re:Melinda Gates? What did she accomplish? (Score 2) 106

I can't quite find her resumé.

Is she qualified to teach science and math?

In my humble opinion, I have found that people that are qualified teachers in something are often not the best choice to inspire interest in that subject (to the contrary - and I've been a part time teacher myself). IMO, role models (e.g., parents and other adult relatives) that are (even mildly) passionate about something are much better at that. Parents are passionate organic farmers? Chances are, kids might become that too, or at least be the ones that plant a bed of veggies instead of flowers. Parent a fairly good sports shooter? Kids might just surpass him (happened to my brother). Etc. etc.

Comment Re:The thing I don't understand is why now? (Score 1) 83

1. The Zika virus has been Africa and Southeast Asia since forever.

2. They don't seem to have microcephalic cases like Brazil has.

As I am a citizen of an African country, I wish to disagree and posit an alternative theory. I think that the virus mutated in the recent past. Before that, it only affected the brains and not the more exterior and visible tissue. It has now mutated to affect larger areas in that region of the body.

Source: a majority of politicians in my country and neighboring countries, born anywhere in the past 3 decades and further back. Although, to be sure, one would need to research the travels of all these peoples' mothers, and I haven't gotten around to that yet...

Comment Re:do most accounts need to be secure? (Score 2) 165

one must question that assertion. are the accounts these passwords belong to really in need of security in the 1st place? are they not, most of them, throwaway accounts with not much value in them?

without some measure of value of accounts secured by the passwords identified, lists like this don't tell us much.

so called "security experts" should do more worthwhile research to find out the sort of insecure passwords used by people who want to keep some thing valuable secure.

True. But the answer depends. As the longish Wired article linked to above also hints at, if you link ("daisychain") your accounts, you might consider a simple throwaway e-mail account as not important. But then you go use the e-mail address as the login for another account, and/or as a backup where password resets for the other account get sent to. It now has become the weakest link in your daisychain (to mix metaphors).

And that's one of the password's weak spots in the modern economy: having so many services and devices that each require their username/password as if they are the most important or sole login the user will ever do in his life.

Comment Re:"Messaging service"? (Score 1) 92

I for one consider the fact that SMSs are not free a good thing rather than a bad thing. In other words, if someone sends me something, it has to be worth the few cents it costs him.

I for one do not want to be connected ("on the line" for those that have seen The Internship) 24/7. I switch on my data/wifi only when I want to send something, do a little surfing, check e-mail, waste time on /. I can not stand constant attention-grabbing interruptions, it kills my productivity dead.

So whenever someone asks we "Are you on Whatsapp?" I tell them no, and I'll never be. Send me an e-mail when you get around to it (incidentally it's much more platform-independent and interoperable than Whatsapp, and it's been around a lot longer than Whatsapp or Skype or Yahoo IM or or or a hundred other apps that Whatsapp hasn't really improved on either), and I'll read it when I get around to it and respond when I get around to it. It's going to arrive at the same time than that Whatsapp. If you need to contact me more urgently than that, you can always phone or SMS. At a slight cost.

Comment Whaha (Score 1) 228

You find two-stroke engines in poorer countries because they're cheap

I have a Stihl trimmer. Bought because it is decent German build quality (albeit Made in Brazil), thus being much more expensive (but also needs much less adjustment, repair and eventually replacement) compared to the Chinese models available where I'm at. (As an aside: The dealer that sold it to me had ads up on lampposts the other day: "Buy once" - with various products of this company displayed. Although he also carries other brands.) It also has a very noisy (wearing ear muffs together with eye protection) 2-stroke that emits some nasty-smelling stuff and gets hot enough that you have to be careful not to get it too close to your arm under which it is used.

That said, I for one can hardly understand the first world's fascination with leaf blowers. I do have a fairly large property (around .36 Ha or 1 acre) with quite a few deciduous trees. Leaves do need to get picked up, else they form a dense lawn-chocking mat. But this gets done in any case when the lawn mower runs over them and picks them up together with the lawn clippings. This nice mixture then goes to the compost pile, where it automatically gets turned into wonderful growing medium for my vegetable garden - thus saving me a run to the municipal dumping site for garden refuse and later on another run to buy fertilizer, and eventually lowers my need to go grocery shopping. So I get extremely fresh and organic food, and save carbon emissions at the same time as saving money. When I do go to the shops, these days it's usually by bicycle with a smallish backpack, so I also save on gym fees and still having health that's much better than a few years ago. I think they call it an integrated systems approach.

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