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Comment: Re:So confused (Score 1) 150

by edcalaban (#47414243) Attached to: Coddled, Surveilled, and Monetized: How Modern Houses Can Watch You
To be fair, there are some advantages to smarter switches - adjusting light levels automatically based on current demand, keypads for controlling multiple lights to set (potentially different) levels at a time (ex: turn everything off, put lights to a comfortable TV viewing level), and for some setups allowing you to trigger your lights based on time or occupancy (though occupancy/vacancy is built in to switches now too).

For example, I have a switch that does vacancy sensing in my bathroom - now I can leave my fan on to air out the shower when I leave for work in the morning. A friend of mine has an occupancy sensor in his stairwell that turns on (and off) his entryway lights so he doesn't need to walk down and turn them off from their only switch (bad design, but something that happens).


Full disclosure: I work for a company that makes light switches and their control systems.

Comment: The customer's basement (Score 1) 310

1. What is the most unusual location you have written a program from?
In the customer's basement. Their house, not their place of work.

2. What is the most unusual circumstance under which you have written a program?
Pretty much the above, but with the added amusement of two other techs standing around while you sit on some heating equipment, wondering why you can't finish this faster.

3. What is the most unusual computing platform that you wrote a program from?
A headless server box? Nothing too exciting here.

4. What is the most unusual application program that you wrote?
I only write usual boring stuff :(

Comment: Re:Yes. (Score 4, Insightful) 338

by edcalaban (#46866871) Attached to: To Save the Internet We Need To Own the Means of Distribution
If you're taking an extremely narrow understanding of essential, then yes. However, there are other reasons things might be essential - take Reverse 911 for emergency awareness (requires a phone). More generally, in this case essential infrastructure is actually being used like the term critical infrastructure. Some examples (cribbed without shame):
  • electricity generation, transmission and distribution
  • public health (hospitals, ambulances)
  • water supply (drinking water, waste water/sewage, stemming of surface water (e.g. dikes and sluices))
  • telecommunication

So the question becomes, "is the Internet critical infrastructure", not "is the Internet essential for survival". Personally, I think it falls quite nicely under telecommunications.

Comment: Re:Does anyone actually... (Score 1) 195

by edcalaban (#44411307) Attached to: Retail Stores Plan Elaborate Ways To Track You
I do, and it doesn't seem to have impacted my battery life much at all.

I leave it on because it works with my car radio, and I use that (plus an app) to trigger various things, like turning off my WiFi when I leave in the morning. It also lets me play music on long trips and I can do bluetooth calls (in my car, not a headset).

Comment: Re:Smart guns... (Score 2) 814

by edcalaban (#44295059) Attached to: Hardly Anyone Is Buying 'Smart Guns'

But to me, mine are kept in a safe that is secured to the floor in my house

Wait a second. You oppose guns that require the user to be wearing something, because you might not have it on at the time when you have to use a gun to protect yourself in a rush. But at the same time, you store your guns in a safe, which presumably takes the same (if not more) time to open as putting on the device that enables a smart gun.

If you properly maintain your guns to keep them out of reach of unintended users, then you are not going to be able to use them instantly in a crisis situation. That is how it has always been. Smart guns don't change anything.

I think the point he is trying to get at is if he's out and about with his gun, this adds the possibility of "Oh, I forgot my . Now the bear shall eat me."

In other words, there's the crisis this won't influence (gun is stored) and the one it will (gun is on him).

Comment: Re:"There Are Few Better Ways?" (Score 1) 511

by edcalaban (#43114957) Attached to: In Wake of Poor Reviews, Amazon Yanks <em>SimCity</em> Download
I rated it 4 stars because I legitimately enjoy the game, and I think other people can too. It's not a singleplayer city builder, and that seems to be what a lot of people expected when the preordered the game. If you go in there thinking of it as a primarily multiplayer experience (like Natural Selection 2 or Team Fortress 2), the always on aspect isn't as bad.

Yes, it sucks that they decided an offline mode wasn't important (given I can still play when I lose connection and it resyncs later it doesn't seem a stretch...). Yes, the servers shitting themselves constantly sucks (lines occasionally, losing connection about every 1 to 2 hours, waiting to authenticate or getting stuck checking for updates). Yes, the standard deluge of day one issues that QA missed sucks (getting stuck in a mini-tutorial because it paused and I just used the last of my coal so I can't gift? WTF?).

But they're working on the servers, they're working on the bugs, and Maxis is being completely open about what's going on. Oh, and the game itself is enjoyable, I can play it with my friends, and it hasn't lost any progress even when I lose my connection and keep playing. So hey, maybe some of us are rating it based on if we enjoy it, not if it's Sim City 4.5.

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir

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