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Comment: Re:Bad idea in NJ too. (Score 1) 363

by Karl Cocknozzle (#47877201) Attached to: Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

Today that enlisted man would have been tasered, beaten, and arrested for assault on a police officer and resisting arrest.

Not necessarily. A large minority of the enlisted are white...

- T

True. It's possibility the cop would have made-out with him or become drinking buddies with him instead.

Comment: Re:Bad idea in NJ too. (Score 1) 363

by Karl Cocknozzle (#47871563) Attached to: Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

A friend of mine was nailed last month in NJ for simply picking up her mobile device and a cop happened to see her (yes, illegal to operate a hand-held device in NJ). She uses the phone hands free via bluetooth. She was using it as a GPS, in a town she didn't know well, and couldn't see the screen due to sunglare. She learned a hard lesson that day (as did a bunch of others) after a $160 fine and a mandatory traffic court appearance away during working hours. She now has her phone mounted in a better position rather than putting on the seat so she isn't inclined to pick it up. Judge said that met State requirements - at least in his court.

A funny story - back in the late 80's, when radar detectors were all the rage, one of my enlisted men got pulled over by a VA Trooper. As the trooper approached, the kid got out of the car and threw his $200+ state-of-the-art radar detector on the ground smashing it into pieces and calling it a worthless POS. Trooper shakes his head and starts to laugh. Kids asks why? Trooper responds that they don't use radar in VA - they use VASCAR. But, he was being pulled over because his tail lights weren't working correctly and the trooper simply wanted to warn him about it.

Today that enlisted man would have been tasered, beaten, and arrested for assault on a police officer and resisting arrest.

Ahhh, progress...

Comment: Re:difference between driver and passenger? (Score 2) 363

by Karl Cocknozzle (#47871555) Attached to: Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

I suppose the same way PawSense detects whether a cat or a human is using the device: when you text and drive, you have a funny way of using the device - because you're constantly switching between texting, putting down the device and driving, picking it back up after 10 seconds, and doing that over and over, as opposed to a human that's fully committed to the task of inputting text.

How would that be different than someone, say, texting while masturbating in the passenger seat of a moving car? A lot of sudden awkward pauses, shifts in position, device gets put down to pinch a nipple.

Comment: we're all citize^h^h^h^h^h uncharged criminals now (Score 1) 108

by xeno (#47792245) Attached to: Judge Allows L.A. Cops To Keep License Plate Reader Data Secret

This. By stating that none of the bulk data can be disclosed because of "potential charges," that's a little different than redacting "ongoing investigations" against specific individuals. The latter is a pretty reasonable limitation on the information disclosed from a FOIA request, but the former is a pretty literal form of treason: an appointed or elected official is seeking to subvert the US Constitution's prohibitions on warrant-less searches, and also to bypass constitutional checks and balances by essentially turning judgements into decrees removing rights from every citizen in perpetuity. Add the notion that the topic is secrecy of scope as well as content, and that's pretty much a literal definition of "conspiracy" to violate* the constitution.

*Perhaps "provide a legal contortion that exempts all citizens from certain constitutional protections in a manner that clearly and purposefully violates the intent of the law."

Comment: Re:The death of leniency (Score 1) 643

by Karl Cocknozzle (#47767511) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

The problem with this is that if all cops feel like they're being audited all of the time, they're less likely to let you off the hook for a minor violation. Then since they have to charge you with something, and there's supporting evidence, you're not going to get a plea or reduction from a mandatory sentence in court.

I know that doesn't sound like a big deal but cops let thousands of people off per day on minor things where people just need a warning.

Not remotely a foregone conclusion. It comes down to what the rules of the cameras actually are. If the footage goes to third parties and can only be reviewed in the case of an incident, "leniency" wouldn't be an "incident."

Cops are already "audited all the time" by virtue of the fact that they radio in when they stop the car and get out with "I'm stopping the car to investigate X." If he doesn't show up with a prisoner, there is already an "audit point." The camera won't require the cop to "invent" a charge, but it would police him if he kills you in the course of an encounter because it would mean there was a "version of events" supplied by someone other than your murderer.

Comment: treat it like a maker project for the kids (Score 2) 187

by xeno (#47739397) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

I just worked thru this same project with my MS/HS kids. For us, the answer was not a specific scope, but the best one we could find for cheap secondhand. It worked out very well to involve the kids not just with the content viewable thru the scope, but with the mechanics of assembling a working setup. Now they're interested in the optics and process, not just the results.
After several crappy new ones (thanks, woot...) we happened upon a Celestron Astromaster 90 for $25 at the local Goodwill (1000mm focal length/which they advertise as "dual-purpose telescope appropriate for both terrestrial and celestial viewing" -- but the most important thing for us was the stable tripod. Even a great scope will be frustrating and a turnoff for the kids if it's wobbly and hard to see something cool at the outset, like craters on the moon. For the CA90, I picked up an eyepiece-to-Tmount adapter and T-to-DSLR for $30, allowing us to swap naked-eye viewing and digital photography (face it, if you succeed and the kids go 'oo shiny' the next question is 'can i put this on tumblr?'), all for under $100 and the whole setup fits into the car trunk.
An alternate which we also enjoy, while not strictly a "telescope": I picked up a 500mm F6.5 camera lens for under $50 (I have both a refractor and long-tube/telescope style and slapped a 2x matched doubler on it, giving us an effective 1000mm telescope with a t-mount end. We dropped an additional $8 on a t-mount adapter for a DSLR, and $30 for a manfrotto lens holder for a tripod (optional). For under $100 total, this gave us some pretty sharp digital-only viewing that fits into a messenger bag. Again, this is a win not because it's the best optical setup, but because it pulls the kids into the process AND the result is shareable.
Oh... and one other cheap trick that is a huge help with viewing using budget (but not crap) optics: Attaching about 8in of 1in link chain (just the standard hardware store proof chain) to the objective end of your long telescope makes an excellent vibration damper. With this chain damper and a 2- or 10-sec delay on your camera, you can snap no-touch/super-clear pictures thru the scope with most excellent results.
YMMV. Good luck!

Comment: Re:Pretty obvious (Score 2) 115

the process isn't really that much different in regions where there is enough moral fiber for the state to keep all of the proceeds.

The state never gets "all of the proceeds"--the entire thing is a graft to slurp money out of taxpayers pockets (while causing more accidents at the same time) and into the pockets of private industry. The money paid to the government is considered a "cost of doing business" for the people operating the graft. It's one of the most corrupt things in our modern society--automated law enforcement.

Comment: Connected to mass layoff of Windows SDETs? Maybe? (Score 5, Insightful) 304

One of the bits of logic used for recent layoff and reorgs has been something like 'component/security/etc testing had become so mature at Microsoft (!) and ingrained into normal dev processes, that such a large population of SDETs (testers) across OS and key office products is unecessary.' Just chew on that for a second, and ponder how intensely stupid that seems.

But nevermind my opinion; I guess we're getting some at-scale empirical testing of whether getting rid of testers en masse was a good idea.

Comment: Where does it keep its brain? (Score 1) 98

by xeno (#47671995) Attached to: Gartner: Internet of Things Has Reached Hype Peak

The Cloud = software as a service (SaaS) = hosted services = "the network is the computer" = blah blah blah..'s all more or less the same decades-old idea:
  "you just click buttons and pay us all the money, nevermind what's behind the curtain."
...where you trade huge amounts of control for incremental savings
"we're not sure where your data lives, so you'll just have to trust our vague compliance statement"
...with the same bad security implications:
  "software vulns and compromise stats are a trade secret, so don't ask"

So with a nod to JKR...
I offer the only truly wise decision principle regarding adoption of "cloud"/hosted services:
"Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain."

Comment: Re:Not creative rock stars? (Score 1) 166

don't have ANY of the perks of the private sector that techies prize, like working from home (HA!) flex-time, or flex-spending accounts.

(1) They do have work-from home. Didn't you read the story from yesterday about all the patent examiners working from home?

No, but most of the government jobs int his country aren't with the patent examiners, or the Feds in general. None of the government jobs I've looked at had this benefit because I live in a "red" state, so "government equals bad always."

(2) Flex-time is not a benefit, it is a way to screw over employees. Combining sick-leave with vacation they've reduced the total number of days off. Government jobs have much more generous vacation and sick-leave policies.

Ahhh... Youv'e confused "Paid Time Off" encompassing sick and vacation time with "flex-time." What it means where I've worked is your schedule is flexible to meet your needs. So if you need to come in at 6:30am so can get your kids off the bus at 3:30pm we'll do what it takes to accommodate you assuming it doesn't compromise our overall mission. Or you're a "night owl" who prefers to come in at Noon and work until 9-10pm. Again, not a problem as long as your work is handled.

(3) Flex-spending accounts - yet another way to screw over employees. Government healthcare coverage is some of the best out there, you don't need a flex-spending account because you have very little out-of-pocket expenses in the first place.

Not necessarily. Again, red state. Government = bad. So government employees are the scum of the earth. So around here, having the ability to put some of your own money aside pre-tax to cover the gaps is very useful. And yes, if you work for the feds, you don't need this.

But even still, let's just say I agree with everything you said--so what? It's still a soul-crushing graveyard for creativity.

Comment: Not creative rock stars? (Score 4, Interesting) 166

Can you do what they can do? No? So then, how about a nice plate of shut the fuck up, then?

Government doesn't get good techies because they don't pay enough, have a lousy working environment, and don't have ANY of the perks of the private sector that techies prize, like working from home (HA!) flex-time, or flex-spending accounts. Workplaces are static (you can fight for the "best office" after 10-15 years of seniority, but will toil in an ill-lit cube farm until the,) schedules are inflexible, and benefits are one-size fits all.

I saw an advertisement for my job (basically to the letter) working for a "state" organization here... The Teachers retirement fund (it's a pension fund for the teacher's union, operated by the state under state employment rules.) What I make is irrelevant, but suffice it to say, their "max" was 40% less than I make today, and just over 50% less than what "the market will bear."

That's your ballgame.

Vax Vobiscum