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Comment: Harder if mildly effective (Score 1) 178

by crow (#48092025) Attached to: Ebola Vaccine Trials Forcing Tough Choices

The difficulty in determining the effectiveness of the vaccine when you give it to everyone is dependant on how effective it is. If it reduces the chances of exposure resulting in infection by 10%, then yes, it will be tough to show that it's not useless. However, if it reduces the chances by 90%, it will be quite obvious.

Comment: Good and Bad (Score 1) 134

by crow (#48077933) Attached to: Google's Security Guards Are Now Officially Google Employees

There are good things and bad things about hiring workers directly for things like security. At the tech company I work for, we hire outside services for security, landscaping, stocking the coffee stations, and running the cafeteria. Obviously these workers aren't getting the same benefits package that direct employees get. On the other hand, it lets the company focus on doing what the company does and letting other companies specialize in other services.

It's rather like using an outside cloud vendor for IT services instead of implementing them in-house. The only difference is that the people doing the work are doing it on-site.

It also means that the outside contractors are treated differently when there are layoffs. The company decides to reduce headcount, but the service contracts are managed under different budgets, so those workers aren't cut.

Comment: MythTV, FreeNAS (Score 1) 287

by crow (#47944187) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: What's In Your Home Datacenter?

I have MythTV running with a 3TB drive, but it's down to the last 100GB. It also holds all our photos and Time Machine backup for one iMac. I'm now planning a FreeNAS box with 8TB usable and drive slots for three more drives when that fills up (probably 6TB or larger drives by then). I plan on ripping all our DVDs and putting them in storage.

I did a comparison of the cost between the server and a nice entertainment center that was mostly for storing DVDs, and the server won by a landslide.

Comment: Re:express train to bankrupt (Score 1) 115

by crow (#47927347) Attached to: Logitech Aims To Control the Smart Home

I think for most people this sort of thing doesn't make sense, but there are a few places where it does:

*) Security. If you're paranoid about break-ins, being able to monitor your home remotely can bring some peace of mind.

*) Stalking your family. The same security features will sell to anyone that wants to know what their family is doing when they're away. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; think of baby monitors and such.

*) Remote management. If you have a property like a vacation home or are just away from home a lot, being able to remotely manage the heat and air conditioning is a huge benefit. This also brings in the potential to do things like automatically disable the air conditioning if a door or window is open. I would love to have a thermostat that would display "close the sliding door to activate the air conditioning."

But yes, for most people, there is no need for any of this.

Then again, I would love to have automatic blinds that open and close based on such criteria as sunrise/sunset and weather. In the winter, I want the skylight blinds open during the day and closed at night. In the summer, I want the reverse. All the window blinds should close a half-hour after sunset by default (or maybe I would find something else makes sense).

Comment: Re:Sharing channel == worse picture quality (Score 2) 80

by crow (#47889669) Attached to: L.A. TV Stations Free Up Some Spectrum For Wireless Broadband

Possibly, but more likely they're dropping their subchannels that were ignored by everyone anyway.

Most broadcasters use their physical channel for one HD logical channel and several SD streams. For example, 4.1 might be HD CBS, 4.2 might be the same thing in SD, and 4.3 might be continuous weather. If they drop the SD channels, they can probably fit in both HD channels with little degradation.

Comment: Copyright violation? (Score 5, Interesting) 230

by crow (#47857277) Attached to: Comcast Using JavaScript Injection To Serve Ads On Public Wi-Fi Hotspots

Does this violate the copyright of the sites the user is visiting? By modifying the content stream, they're creating a derivative work without authorization.

On the other hand, user-controlled plugins and ad blockers do that all the time, so I wouldn't be too quick to make that argument in court.

Comment: Re:Working from home (Score 1) 161

by crow (#47719673) Attached to: Calif. Court Rules Businesses Must Reimburse Cell Phone Bills

Yup. EMC provided me with an ISDN line and later reimbursed me for my Internet expenses when they switched to VPN. I think it was just a few years ago that they stopped reimbursing, saying that home Internet is now normal, and the VPN use doesn't increase the cost.

My phone has always been paid for by the company. If they stop paying for it, I stop using a cell phone.

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"