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Comment: Two Words (Score 1) 533

by jenningsthecat (#49505859) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

Local. Storage.

Yes, I know that battery technology isn't quite there yet, a tall water tower for every house or neighbourhood is impractical, and the whole flywheel-in-a-vacuum-can concept hasn't yet lived up to its promise. But really, we NEED to start moving away from 'the grid' as the primary power distribution system. Such a move would hasten the development of viable, economical energy storage methods; incidentally, it would also make moot the arguments about feeding power from household solar panels to the local electrical utility.

The grid is OK as a fallback position, and to provide power to heavy industry because local power storage on that scale probably won't be practical for a long while yet. But the only way we're going to have a resilient system that isn't prone to a large portion of the continent's electricity supply being taken down by an ice storm, (or, God forbid, a terrorist attack), is to start de-centralizing power production and distribution. Yes, there are technical hurdles, but we can get over them. I am less sure that we can get past the entrenched business interests fighting that kind of disruption with all of the resources at their disposal, including the money we pay them.

Comment: Re:Why is this a good thing again? (Score 1) 254

by jenningsthecat (#49501985) Attached to: The Upsides of a Surveillance Society

I wonder if it would be a better world if every word we ever speak was filmed and available for all to see permanently. We often get to know people as we first see them at their best moments but how low are they in their very worst moments? How stable are they in real life? Shouldn't others know when a person is in a defective state of being? For example the pilot that locked the cabin door and flew his plane into the side of a mountain could have been stopped before he acted out.

You wonder? Really? Do you honestly think there's even a shred of a possibility that we would all be better off if we habitually paused to think about and weigh every utterance and action beforehand? Would you consider the loss of all spontaneity for everyone in society a fair price to pay for your incredibly narrow personal vision of safety and security? Also, who the hell are you to judge whether someone is in a "defective state of being"?

Comment: Re:privacy? (Score 4, Interesting) 276

by jenningsthecat (#49501833) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine?

I just want the search engine to stop changing what I'm searching for.

This, exactly. Google's ideas regarding 'synonyms' for my search terms would be laughable if they didn't waste so much of my time. Also, these days when I do an 'allintext' search it almost always turns up far more results than did the same query without the 'allintext' operator. Now just how in the fuck does that happen?

I would pay two or three hundred dollars a year for access to a search engine with Google's reach and power, but without all the ad-oriented bloat, the lowest-common-denominator attempts at hand-holding, and the Microsoft Clippy-isms. You know - something that's more suitable for real research and for getting a job done than for figuring out where to have dinner or what meaningless bullshit the Kardashians and other such social parasites are up to. And while they're at it, they need to include a way of searching for exactly what I type, including case, punctuation and special characters. And if my search turns up zero results, that's fine. I'd far rather have that than be insulted by Google's insistence that it must have something I'm interested in.

I'm not so naive as to believe that anyone else can replicate Google's massive search capabilities. So I really wish Google would provide a search interface for those of us who have both a good idea of what we're looking for and a clue about how to do research. It would cost them next to nothing, they could charge for it, and they'd be doing the world a favour.

Hell, right now I'd settle for Google circa ten years ago - it was way better than it is now.

Comment: Re:'In Canada's Interest' Really? (Score 0) 202

by jenningsthecat (#49321907) Attached to: Leaked Snowden Docs Show Canada's "False Flag" Operations

Sounds like outsourcing labour to from the US so that a third party catches flack for it should it go south. Canada, who basically has few natural enemies, could end up with a kick me sign on its back because of this.

We Canadians already have a 'kick me' sign on our backs, courtesy of our Prime Minister's insistence on following the US example of poking its nose into places where it doesn't belong. And he keeps making the sign bigger and more taunting. I have yet to figure out whether it's because he has a 'Me too!' inferiority complex, is inherently stupid and/or evil, or is a tool of the corporations that benefit from war and from a compliant populace. Possibly a combination of the above, with perhaps a dash of some other psychological and/or intellectual defects yet to be determined.

Comment: Re:Soldered RAM (Score 1) 87

...don't know why anyone would buy this rather than Dell's XPS 13... (Too bad it doesn't have a trackpoint.)

You answered your own question - no Trackpoint. On several occasions I've used my Lenovo to do CAD work without a mouse. Not the best for a long session of schematic capture or PCB layout, but actually quite viable. Wouldn't even attempt it on a Touchpad. And even in day-to-day browsing and e-mailing, Trackpoints rule and Touchpads drool.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 145

I have grown really weary of this attitude that just because certain people are abusing the system, then the system itself is bad. That's a wrong-headed and dangerous approach to problem solving. Throwing out the baby with the bathwater, as the saying goes.

Which 'system' are you talking about? The patent system, or the larger military-industrial corporocratic political system which has undermined, perverted, and co-opted the patent system, (along with so many other things), in a manner which probably has its founders spinning in their graves?

Since many big corporations today have been shown to be corrupt, should we get rid of corporations?

That may be necessary in the short term as the only means to counter the massive power they have usurped. Yes, we need corporations - but they need to be society's servants, not its masters as they are now.

It's a people problem, not a system problem.

No, it's definitely a system problem - unless your definition of 'people' agrees with the law's definition, which extends personhood to corporations.

And the ultimate answer is: the patent system exists for YOUR benefit. And you DO benefit from it. We need to stop abuses of the patent system, not scrap it altogether.

The patent system no longer serves MY benefit - it primarily serves those who are already rich enough to defend their patents and to use them as weapons in patent wars which stifle innovation and waste tremendous amounts of resources with no net benefit for society. I agree that we need something like what the patent system used to be; however, trumpeting the cause of 'patent reform' is rather like crying out for a Band-Aid as a treatment for disembowelment. The brokenness of the patent system is a symptom of much larger problems, not a root cause. The real work needs to be done much higher in the pyramid - then things like a sane and functional patent system will follow naturally.

Comment: Re:Well... (Score 3, Informative) 449

by jenningsthecat (#49084749) Attached to: Credit Card Fraud Could Peak In 2015 As the US Moves To EMV

Time to make a Faraday Cage wallet.

Time to permanently disable contactless payment on all your cards.

Apparently the banks and credit card companies in some countries will send you a new card without the RFID on request. But here in Canada at least one company simply refuses to do this. My bank DID disable contactless payment on my new debit card in their records, but of course the RFID is still physically intact so there's no guarantee that it won't suddenly start working as a result of some administrative fuckup. I'm going to call about my new credit card, but I'm pretty sure they'll tell my politely to piss off. At that time I plan to get out my drill, put a hole in the appropriate place, and test. If it disables Tap and Pay, then all of my cards will get the same treatment.

Comment: Re:Tab Mix Plus (Score 2) 353

by jenningsthecat (#49084653) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Most Useful Browser Extensions?

Yes, Tab Mix Plus is essential for me. I use it extensively to do things like manage saving and restoring of sessions, change the font and text colour of tabs for instant identification of state, undoing a Close Tab command, closing a tab by double-clicking the tab, and opening a new tab by double clicking the tab bar. When I'm forced to use a browser that doesn't have it I go a little bit crazy and my efficiency drops enormously.

Aside from the usual security and privacy addons, another one I find indispensable is Flashblock. I tend to have many YouTube tabs open at once, and Flashblock calms my urge to strangle and dismember whatever fuckwit decided that videos should play automatically as soon as the page loads.

Comment: How about USB sticks? (Score 2) 251

by jenningsthecat (#48916271) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

The USB 3.0 sticks are pretty fast and 128GB sticks are getting cheaper all the time, with cheap 256GB units on the horizon. They are light, small, have good retention, and make it easy to divide your data types into separate physical units so if you only want to retrieve the family photos you don't need to pick up the tax returns and such as well.

Comment: Better to teach people to "program"? (Score 1) 200

Let's teach more Americans to code.

Everybody and his dog who happens to be an Excel whiz or a Word macro expert is arguably a coder. As are a lot of people who call themselves programmers. Do we want more of that skillset? Or do we want more people who can take a longer, more structured, project-oriented view and who write maintainable, extensible programs? I'm asking the question in all seriousness.

Comment: Books and curtains do not a terrorist make (Score 2) 174

FTA:

According to the prosecutor, the evidence against them includes finding numerous copies of a book called “Against Democracy”...

By the Spanish judge's logic, closing the curtains in your house and owning a copy of Mein Kampf would also cause him to view you as a potential Nazi.

Perhaps those who control the police are the only ones who are allowed to be "against democracy"...

Computer Science is the only discipline in which we view adding a new wing to a building as being maintenance -- Jim Horning

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