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Comment The comments here are fucking depressing to read (Score 1) 621

Stopped reading comments on other sites a long time ago, but the Slashdot moderation thing used to work mostly.

He's 14 years old FFS. I don't remember much of what I did or did not do at that age, but I am damn sure I wouldn't come off great from a trial by social media.

At least above average intelligence, socially awkward kid probably misuses the word 'invent'. Maybe he was a bit desperate for attention. Don't know, don't care. He got handcuffed out of his classroom, in every part of the world I have been to that is every level of messed up, and I wouldn't grudge him getting some time hanging out with people / institutions he looks up to. Maybe he wouldn't make this photo on merit:

So fucking what. He got handcuffed out of his classroom. If he gets to visit NASA and Google and Facebook, that's pretty commensurate compensation. What the kid needed was some off the radar time hanging out with tech / science folks, then back to (a different) school. Pre social media, that would be possible - it would make the papers, then fade away, people forget your name.

But now, we put a 14 year old's life under the type of scrutiny no one would survive unscathed. Some of the comments that I would love to annotate with 'HE'S FOURTEEN'.

Browsing at '2' now:

1) He is not a particularly bright kid and is being unduly celebrated.

  He's not particularly bright and spends his time publically denouncing unduly celebrated 14 year olds on internet forums.

2) 20,000 volts should be enough for anybody

  Joke about tasering a skinny non violent 14 year old kid. HAHA

3) Sorry, but you need to be part of a celebrated group, re-assemble your clock into something that some people say resembles an IED, and then have the school go apeshit and overreact to it.

  I made a better clock when I was 14 and no one cared, so I'll piss all over this 14 year old.

4) So, they finally got their 15min of fame, and now let's just be happy to have them out of the country and back where they want to be in the first place.

The funniest thing about the 'us vs them' theme is the denial of reality. The family are Americans, they hold American passports, they are and remain American in the only way that counts.

5) IMO, this was all part of a preconceived plan to scare people at school by bringing in a suspicious-looking device and then cry discrimination when called out on it.

  (4 Insightful) Sigh

6) Yep.... I hate to say it, but I think a LOT of us just got fooled on this one, at least initially. As techie geeks , we *wanted* to believe this was all about a young, brilliant kid getting held back by the system.

Usual predictable media cycle of build them up then tear them down. Actually I don't think any real tech geek was 'fooled' even before the clock tear downs etc. I saw a curious kid stuck in a crap system being treated abysmally by public taxpayer funded institutions. The fix was to get him into a better environment where he can make what he can of himself. Not this circus. If you got fooled, the fault is yours, don't put it on the kid.

7) If you're muslim, you don't bring anything to school that can be mistaken for a bomb

I had the privilege of being brought up in an environment where that wasn't much of a concern when I went to school. I want all 14 year olds to have that privilege.

And everyone goes on about 'muslim kid', when did we start stamping religion at birth? His muslim-ness didn't seem to be that big a part of his life before this whole business. Now we've given his dad an excuse to cut him off from the rest of the world, take him to Mecca, maybe enrol him in religious classes, move to a muslim country, all at a very impressionable age. If the kid turns into a bearded islamist conservative, I won't blame him. He tried being different and fitting in and look where it got him.

8) Ahmed didn't just not invent anything, he disobeyed a science teacher who saw the clock and told him not to show it to anyone else in the school. Ahmed plugged in the clock and set an alarm to go off during his English class. The mess of unsecured components and wires was dangerous when plugged into 110V AC, if not scary for what it might be. The English teacher quite understandably freaked out.
Ahmed's father had to have known the clock was not the invention of his son, yet he set up fundraisers.
Last November, Ahmed's father registered a company named Twin Towers Transportation.

(4 Insightful)
This is the only one of the nutty conspiracy things I actually looked up and feel stupid for doing so. Apparently it's housed in a building called Twin Towers. Or maybe not. Who gives a crap, I thought this was about the 14 year old and if it is who gives a damn what his uncle calls his company or his cat.

Even if that twisted summary of what he did is accurate, I can't find anything to be outraged about. Like, you know, handcuffing a kid out of the classroom. He did, knowingly, and with malicious intent set off a clock alarm

9) I'm curious if they're leaving the country to avoid a potential fraud charge. You don't insult a police department this haphazardly and get away with it. Nothing would make me happier than watching this piece of trash and his family get arrested as they try and leave the country.

Only one thing worth noting - the 14 year old is very much included in the poster's list of people who should be arrested. The rest of his family, I don't know or care if they should or shouldn't.

10) Because clearly he deserves more recognition for reassembling a clock than Olivia does for discovering a new way to detect Ebola...

(5 Insightful) Ok. If you say so. You are the only one saying that though. In this world of perfectly proportional recognition given out to everyone from the Kardashians to Fujio Masuoka, the 'recognition' for this 14 year old is what we should be outraged out.
Incidentally, I don't think I saw or read a single comment describing him as some sort of genius], all I saw was 'hey kid, drop by our lab sometime, we can show you some cool stuff'.

Comment Config management? (Score 1) 193

Not a big fan of tech support, the ones who are good at what they do tend to move on or move up wry quickly.

I have no idea what the Windows equivalent is like (sccm or something). But I have used Casper from Jamf software to manage several Macs, and it's a pretty cool tool. They also have a simpler option called Bushel, with a free option for three devices, which I haven't tried. Install either, lock down their Macs, and manage their machines with a remote management tool, which also lets you get some learning in. You could even keep your Mac synced with your parents'. They need something installed, you do it for them remotely. The same for patches, OS updates etc. Also, if you build a system from scratch using one of these tools with no manual messing around and if you have the necessary user backups, you can rebuild a machine.

The sheer amount of time spent fixing unknown environments ( where you don't know all the things done in the past to a system ) is never worth it and it's a game you can't win.

Manage system state and configs, automate, take backups, rebuild from scratch if needed.

Casper has a tool called composer, which takes before and after system snapshots for an installation and gives you a reusable package.

My feeling was a similar approach is harder in the Windows world. The UNIX 'everything is a file' advantage, no registry, saner installation paths all help.

Comment Re:Broken (Score 1) 123

Misleading advertising aside, that's really not a fair comparison.
Frankly, by now we know what to expect from $125 phones in terms of updates. You really do get what you pay for, and with low end Android phones it is better to temper your expectations than complain later.

I am not excusing Motorola for the false promises. But really, for that price, what did you expect? And I really can't understand why anyone would buy anything under a Moto G, especially in a mid-high income country. Especially anyone who uses their phone features enough to care about software updates. What possible reason could you have for saving a measly $50 over a Moto G?

Comment Re: Shop elsewhere if you need this drug (Score 2) 372

That's ridiculous. It doesn't cost just a dollar to manufacture and sell critical drugs like this.

It costs a few cents. That's how much it retails for in India.

The summary doesn't mention the name of the active ingredient, on slashdot that's pretty inexcusable. Don't give the market name importance.

The real story isn't the egomaniac Ceo, he's doing what's on his job description. The story is the complete absence of checks and balances. Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with your country? They have a nation wide exclusive on a half century old drug with the freedom to set any price they want??? Sanctioned by the Fda?

Sounds like something Obama could do something about. Import vast quantities of the drug, accelerate Fda approval, flood the market? You do have emergency provisions in the law for importing critical medical supplies I hope? You do right? Why isn't this the fucking story, not some idiotic Twitter baiting?

Comment Solved problem (Score 2) 280

Seriously? I don't get the hype over self driving cars, but this is nuts. Maybe just the article rather than the study, if there is one. We have practically or completely driverless transport. It's called public transport, and it costs a hell of a lot less than it would to deploy and accommodate useless driverless cars. It's a solved problem, many times over. Rail, underground rail, trams, light rail, busways (, driverless trains ( etc. The answer to fixing a problem involving hundreds of cars driving to the same place is not to take the driver out of the picture, it is to take the bloody cars out of the picture.

Decent home shipping to save you from carrying your shopping home. That's the main reason people have for driving to malls. Get rid of it. It's a terrible reason, and lugging shopping home is no fun, even with a car.

Most of the world is so far behind in what's possible with public transport, that's where research should focus on. Driverless cars matter about as much as rich tycoons taking joyrides into space.

Comment Badly written blog post is bad (Score 4, Insightful) 485

The level of data collection and sharing enabled by default in Windows 10 is truly scary, as I mentioned in a comment yesterday ( But that blog post is snarky and awful. There is a decent article about it, which belongs in the summary, ironically one she linked herself:

There may be a valid point or two in that blog, but the Google drool all over it makes it truly terrible.

"I have enormous faith in Google and Googlers doing the right thing with respect to protecting the data I share with them"

Umm yeah...

"Users with Home versions of Win10 will be required to accept automatic updates, including drivers.

And here's a biggy. If you don't want Microsoft installing updates automatically -- if you're a user who has chosen to take control of this process up to now -- you probably will hate Win10.
In some environments, this is unacceptable from a support and security standpoint, and reports are already coming in regarding driver related issues."

The cesspool that is the average Windows Home machine can only be improved by automatic updates. Just heard from someone a couple of days ago that they disabled Windows Update completely because it made their computer slow.

Many users -- especially on somewhat under-powered systems -- may find Win10 to be a painfully slow experience compared with Win7, irrespective of MS' claims.

Weasel worded nonsense - most factual reports suggest the opposite.

First things first. It's obvious from my email today that this icon and MS pitch alone are confusing many users. They've never seen anything like this appear before and many think it's a virus or that their system has been otherwise compromised.

Ah I wish the average user was that suspicious about actual threats. That corner on the average Windows machine is taken up by about twenty background apps.

The privacy issues in Windows 10 are quite fucking terrifying, and matter far more than one more icon hidden in a corner.

The issue for me is that I use Windows because I have to, Android / iPhone / GMail / Siri / Google Now etc. are a choice. And if I am not wrong, these are all opt in, you get notices when you first start up your phone / iDevice. Also a quick read suggest Microsoft's data collection goes far beyond anything I have seen even from Google.

"Windows 10 generates a unique advertising ID for each user on each device. "

"We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to protect our customers or enforce the terms governing the use of the services."

tl;dr Windows 10 privacy issues are scary, but that blog post is garbage, try here:

Comment Windows 10 is tightly locked to Microsoft services (Score 4, Informative) 317

The implications of which no review has mentioned or discussed in detail. With antitrust cases long behind them, and a lower market share in a more mobile world, Microsoft would be pretty sure they can get away with it. It is non trivial for a normal user to change default browsers, all Chrome can do is dump you on the correct settings screen. Then you've to scroll down, click on one of those buttons that doesn't look like a button. And there's a big friendly 'Reset to Microsoft Defaults' link at the bottom. You need a Microsoft account, or at least it is non trivial to install Windows without getting one. OneDrive pops up right away.

The most egregious is the 'express settings' option when you install. The 'custom settings' option is hidden in small text in blue on a blue background in another link that doesn't look like a link thing. The 'express settings' are scary, sending your voice, contact details, location, advertising ID, browsing history etc. to Microsoft and others.

Sure, the average slashdot user can get around it in a few minutes. The average user, not so much - they'll click Next.

Comment Re:Stay indoors (Score 1) 155

What if your job, and having food on the table that day, requires being out in the mid day sun?

Take the numbers on het wave related deaths with a pinch of salt - it's some crappy statistic cooked up by a bored government official, perhaps based on dubious second hand reports (at best, could also be completely made up). Not saying the number is too high. Or too low. Could be either. But when the number of deaths you can report in India correlates with the number of clicks you get on your 'news' website, you get what you would expect.

Comment Re:trees cut down in the cities (Score 2) 155

While the urban heat island affect is well known, and Bangalore would certainly be affected, it's not anything like 10 degrees celsius (the way you write '10 centrigrade' suggests you're used to thinking in Fahrenheit).

Bangalore does not reach 45 degrees. Ever. The average summer maximums are ten degrees below that, which for India makes it pretty much like heaven. It is the ONLY major city in India that does not have an awful climate, which is one of the major reasons it became an IT hub.

Summers in India are fucked. You don't need the hyperbole. The facts are awful enough. 47 degrees is nuts, but it's not the one day extremes that are the worst thing. It's the fucking consistency of it, weeks upon weeks of 40 degrees+ maximums, averaging ~43. One fucking hot day, even if it is 46-7 degrees, is survivable for well off people, you stay home or in an air conditioned office, step out for lunch, change your mind, IM each other about how hot it is.

Comment Too much noise over SystemD (Score 1, Troll) 442

Seriously. There are a small number of people whose opinion is worth listening to even when it disagrees with the groups managing almost every single major distribution of Linux. Granted, some of them will be on slashdot. But definitely not anywhere near the number that pop in to these threads and whine. I use Linux to get things done. I have also used FreeBSD quite extensively, but there are a number of applications that don't quite support FreeBSD, and there is no equivalent of Red Hat. I plan to deploy Ceph soon for example for a storage cluster, and I want to be solving issues related to making Ceph work effectively, not spend time getting it up and running, compiling things myself. So I'll go with a *nix distribution that Ceph is most extensively tested against (RedHat or Ubuntu when I last checked).

If you want to build Debian without systemd and deal with all the niggly annoying issues that will come out of that and get progressively worse, go for it. Just don't pretend it's a viable option for anyone trying to get shit done, trying to keep systems running, trying to get systems up and going in short time. Sure, if you have an abiding interest in operating systems, love compiling kernels and creating custom builds of your favourite distribution, go for it. But the idea that any organization using Linux for critical systems would consider rolling their own distro to avoid systemd is ridiculous. Systemd won. Get over it. Discussions about how it is better or worse are mostly academic at this point. We are approaching almost a year since RHEL switched - if it was that catastrophically bad, we would know by now.

Comment Re:They are not liable. (Score 2) 277

There's a lot of ignorance about the incident and about India here. I don't know whether they are legally liable in the US, but their conduct is questionable. I am utterly amazed how they have avoided harsh criticism in the twittery world of people looking desperately for something to be outraged about.

In a country notorious for being incredibly unsafe for women, they made these claims (

"“Globally and especially in India, Uber is working towards making urban transit safer for women. Let me tell you, it’s one of our biggest concerns and we’re doing a number of things to drive that agenda. “In addition to their individual employers screening them, each of our driver partners are put through a rigorous quality control process, that is implemented religiously across the country even before a partner gets behind the wheel of your vehicle. In fact screening for safe drivers is just the beginning of our safety efforts. ”Our process includes prospective and routine checks of drivers’ license and vehicle records to ensure ongoing safe driving. Unlike the taxi industry, our background checking process and standards are so detailed, it is often more rigorous than what is required to become a taxi driver. Moreover, most of our partners are introduced to us via our preferred partners, which means that someone in the system has to vouch for their track record, creating a referral system of trust.”

They hired a driver with a long criminal record based on a forged police certificate. http://timesofindia.indiatimes...? No way in hell does an unverified piece of paper count as a comprehensive background check in India, and you would damn well know that before making claims like the ones above. Especially when you specifically claim to provide a safe option for women.

Then they ignored a complaint about the same driver by a female customer days before the rape:

I cannot go on about the kind of red flags this should have set off.


"Uber users can see the name, photo and phone number of the driver when booking a cab. However, in this case, the driver's phone was not registered in his name making it harder to trace him."

Their GPS tracking works via the drivers phone and the customers phone with the app installed. It's worthless, anyone who wants to circumvent it can.

They came to a country where women desperately need a safe mode of transport, made explicit claims about providing a safe service for women, and were utterly callous and negligent and deceptive.

As I said, I don't know about legal liability, but please find out more before making 'cars don't rape people, people do' posts.

All the sources I have quoted are newspapers with very decent standards of journalism. Don't go by the page 3 stuff on their sites - major Indian newspapers often have tabloid page 3 crap comparable to the worst tabloids, but their journalistic standards while far from impeccable are way better than say Fox News.

Comment Re:This is tragic! (Score 2) 335

I read these meaningless PR releases utterly devoid of any context (proportion of female applicants, proportion of female applicants meeting the skill requirements etc.) and find myself getting rather annoyed as they seem to suggest that employees in these companies, the whole industry, and by inference, I, did not get a job through merit but because of some kind of gender bias.

But then I read posts straight out of Mad Men like this one, purportedly written by someone who would have a say in hiring, and I think that maybe somewhere behind this whole misguided campaign, there is a very real problem.

- The reference to women as 'girls'. Do it in a bar, not in a professional context, not to a colleague, not in written professional communication.
- 'Brightening up the workplace'? Really?
- That running gag in your company - do the female employees share in it? Or there literally aren't any?

You can claim it's all bar chatter and you're all professional at work, but your office really does not sound like one where women would feel comfortable working.

Comment Re:Muslims? (Score 1) 880

Seriously? What do you call the gunning down of a civilian airliner carrying 270+ passengers from the flag carrier of a muslim country? Are you telling me that if muslim rebels in the middle east not attached to a government gunned down an Israeli El Al aircraft and then some claimed that they thought it was an American military Hercules or something, we would not be calling it terrorism. Can you even imagine a single media outlet in the west, anyone, who would not call that terrorism and the biggest terrorist incident since 9/11, 9/11 part II etc. You really think excuses of 'accidentally' shooting down a civilian airliner would wash in that situation?

Stop thinking with that blinkered attitude where terrorism is defined according to your cultural or social background, yet you consider that definition to be universal, sui generis, and a binary classification. A lone gunman is a lone gunman until he unfurls a muslim flag and then suddenly it's terrorism. I am not saying this isn't terrorism. But how much you identify this incident with lone gunmen going nuts posting hate online and then going on a shooting spree, and how much you identify it with a distant conflict in Syria that this guy was influenced by but had no direct affiliation with, is down to perspective. At least try to understand there is some fucking nuance involved.

To all the 'insightful' commenters about how Islam is inherently evil, and it is impossible to practice it without being violent, fuck you, Sydney will get through this, just stay the fuck away from my city. I am not going to tell the Turkish muslim lady who I get my lunch from, 100m (~110 yards) from Lindt cafe in Martin Place that her religion is inherently violent because some posters on a forum said so, that she is not practising it correctly by waking up at 5 am every day, getting her family to work and running a little hole in the wall shop all on her own that sells the cheapest and best lunch I can find, and that she needs to either un-convert (whatever the fuck that is meant to be) or leave this country. Or by sending her daughter to the best school she can afford and soon to university. No, she's doing it all wrong, this fucking nutcase is the one who is doing it right, and she needs to hand in her muslim card. Slashdot told me so.

I am not a fan of twitter, but I will gladly stand with the #illridewithyou crowd than be identified with you lot. There is a lot that needs to be figured out, and the way the IS ideology has appealed to hundreds of muslims in Sydney is clearly a serious issue. But no solution involve a suspension of basic human rights or officially classifying hundreds of thousands of residents of this city as inherently suspicious. Call it a cliche if you want, but that would be un-Australian.

Comment Re:2GB (Score 1) 880

For those not from Australia, three sources to follow the story which can lay some claim to being journalists (not bloody 2GB) (They have local reporters and a significant local presence)

Comment It's really simple... (Score 1) 505

In Windows 7, I press the start button on the keyboard, type printers, and get a link to devices and printers and a list of printers. In Windows 8 it brings me to the goddam metro view and doesn't give the same results. Similarly, in 7, I want disk management, I type it and it shows up in results. Windows 8 search doesn't work the same way, and it shows results in the horrible Metro UI that suddenly covers the whole screen. I can't think of any explanation for why the type and find anything search doesn't work the same way in Windows 8 and it's a pain to find the right place to change any setting.

All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.