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Comment: Re:Physical security? (Score 1) 374

by langelgjm (#46453443) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can I Prepare For the Theft of My Android Phone?
Theft/burglary is extremely common in South Africa. Also, the Metrorail is well-known to be a prime location for crime. I visited a few months ago, and the advice was that the train was fine with more than a few people, but sometimes the cars will be nearly empty, and that is bad news. At the flat where I was staying, a tourist had had her baggage rifled through when she accidentally left a window open (virtually all properties are fenced in, so the burglar had to climb the fence to get in through the window).

Comment: Not a model citizen at all (Score 1) 146

by langelgjm (#46426983) Attached to: Time sucked into Netflix or similar, weekly:

Sir, you are a model citizen. Keep up the good work. Love, The MPAA

Not at all. Remember, in addition to buying all that media, he explicitly said this:

We also have a smattering of S-VHS stuff that I recorded from broadcast that we occasionally watch.

Sony v. Universal pretty clearly indicated that building a library of tapes recorded off the air (as opposed to purely time-shifting) was not a fair use. So it's probably more like, "Sir, you are a model customer. Keep up the good work. Also, you will be hearing from our lawyers shortly. Love, the MPAA."

After all, there's hardly anyone the content industries love to sue more than their customers!

Comment: A supportive high school environment helps a lot (Score 4, Interesting) 124

by langelgjm (#46361549) Attached to: Why We Need To Teach Hacking In High School

I went to a private high school. It was small and didn't have many resources. Still, I was fortunate to have a very supportive environment for my exploration and learning related to computing.

The teacher who taught programming had actually managed IT/network stuff in Micronesia, so she was not in the habit of throwing old tech out. We received a lot of donated equipment from various businesses, and she saved most of it in a storage room. When she found out how interested I was in technology, she basically gave me the run of the place - allowed me to take home equipment to play with, just hang out in there during lunch and after school, put together new machines for the lab, etc. This was where I first learned about other architectures - got my hands on an old DEC Alpha.

When she saw that I had already self-taught some programming, she allowed me to skip directly to an advanced programming course, and teach myself as an independent study.

Later, she let me set up an NT server with roving profiles and network home directories for the lab, so that students in the general office suite classes could save their work on the network, keep it backed up, and their teacher would have centralized access to it. Prior to this, they were all using floppy disks.

Without that environment I'd still have been interested and involved with tech, but it sure made it easier and more interesting, and I learned a lot. I suspect that many teachers might not have been willing to allow a student so much freedom, or that policies might have forbidden it.

Comment: Not in my experience (Score 2) 164

by langelgjm (#46339245) Attached to: Electric Bikes Get More Elegant Every Year (Video)

The racing position is favoured by people who race bikes. Those people wouldn't want an electric bike. The upright position is preferred by most people going to work, school etc by bicycle -- there's a better view, and it's more comfortable.

That really depends on how far you have to go. In my experience, upright seating might be more comfortable for short distances, and it's probably easier to get on and off. But I bicycle to my office most days, about 4.5 miles one way (which is not long) on a road bike outfitted with a rack and panniers. It is not a "racing" position, but I do lean forward and have drop handlebars. The seat is level with the handlebars.

That position removes a lot of weight from your crotch area, and transfers it to your arms. I find sharing the weight between two areas to be more comfortable, although it requires proper positioning of the handlebars, wearing gloves, and switching grip positions to keep hands and wrists comfortable.

The view is fine, and is amplified by a rear view mirror. Also wearing a high-visibility vest will do much more for your visibility than the difference between the two positions.

Then, the nice thing is I can remove the panniers and easily ride 30 miles or more on a weekend in a reasonable amount of time without needing a second bicycle.

Comment: Side by side comparison (Score 1) 2219

by langelgjm (#46181401) Attached to: Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

Trashing some mod points to post this, but here's a side-by-side comparison.

Important differences: Classic shows me the text of 7 comments. Beta shows me the text of 2.

Classic uses about 85% of the horizontal width of the screen for comments. Beta uses about 50% or less.

Those are probably the most relevant differences for me. We all come here for the comments, since the stories are by definition published elsewhere first. If a redesign makes it harder to read comments, that's a problem.

Comment: Gitmo is not a bar (Score 2) 271

by langelgjm (#46175143) Attached to: Skinny Puppy Wants Compensation For Music Used in US Interrogations

It's different because Gitmo is not a bar.

Unless there is an explicit exemption in copyright law

Nope. Easiest way out of this is to claim that torturing detainees is not a public performance, so the use does not need to be licensed. And frankly, that argument is probably correct. Especially if they are blasting it with headphones, which is one of the things I've read. Maybe if they're piping it to a bunch of headphones simultaneously Skinny Puppy could have an argument...

But how do you think this lawsuit will go down? The government will simply say it can't describe interrogation techniques in detail because NATIONAL SECURITY. Also, suing the Feds for copyright infringement is harder than suing anyone else, and even if you win you can only collect minimum statutory damages.

+ - Fuck beta 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The beta is bad. It's so bad. The comments are reduced in screen width about 50%. Subject lines are deemphasized, scores are minimized, etc.

The discussions are the reason to come to Slashdot, and the beta trivializes them entirely. It looks like the comment section on a generic news site.

The comments now look like an afterthought, whereas they used to be the primary focus of the site."

+ - Boycott Beta 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "On February 5, 2014, Slashdot announced through a javascript popup that they are starting to "move in to" the new Slashdot Beta design.

Slashdot Beta is a trend-following attempt to give Slashdot a fresh look, an approach that has led to less space for text and an abandonment of the traditional Slashdot look. Much worse than that, Slashdot Beta fundamentally breaks the classic Slashdot discussion and moderation system.

If you haven't seen Slashdot Beta already, open this in a new tab. After seeing that, click here to return to classic Slashdot.

We should boycott stories and only discuss the abomination that is Slashdot Beta until Dice abandons the project.
We should boycott slashdot entirely during the week of Feb 10 to Feb 17 as part of the wider slashcott

Moderators — only spend mod points on comments that discuss Beta
Commentors — only discuss Beta [] [] — Vote up the Fuck Beta stories

Keep this up for a few days and we may finally get the PHBs attention.

Captcha: fuckbeta"

+ - Ask Slashdot: Why Can't Slashdot Classic and Slashdot Beta Continue to Co-Exist? 9

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Slashdot has been a big part of my life since I had my my first stories accepted over ten years ago. Some people my age do crossword puzzles to keep their mental agility, some do sudoko, or play bridge. I enjoy searching for and putting together a story a day for slashdot because it helps keep me on my toes to have readers find errors and logical fallacies in my submissions and I enjoy learning from the different points of view expressed on a story I have submitted. That's why I have been so discouraged in the past several years to see readership in slashdot drop off. As a close observer of this web site, I know that ten years ago it was unheard of for any accepted story to get less than 100 comments and there was at least a story a day that got over 1,000 comments. Those days are long gone. Not it's not uncommon to see some stories garner only a few dozen comments. That's how web sites die. If you slip below a critical level of readership, readers will abandon the site completely. I know from my own experience running a web site devoted to the Peace Corps that I used to have hundreds of comments to some of my stories but once comments slipped below a certain threshold, then they disappeared altogether. I think that slashdot is nearing that threshold and I fear that imposing Slashdot Beta on the site's readership will push it over the edge and I don't want to see that happen. I'd like to propose that slashdot continue running slashdot classic and slashdot beta in parallel. I'll stick with classic most of the time. One of the best features of slashdot classic is that comments can be displayed in four formats (threaded, nested, no comment, and flat) and in two directions (oldest first and newest first) providing a lot of flexibility in watching conversations develop. I switch between the formats several times a day depending on what I want to see. But slashdot beta also has its advantages in certain situations. Slashdot needs a blockbuster story or two every day where people can pile on and slashdot beta facilitates this by putting the most commented story at the top of the page and I think that is a good thing. Still I'll use slashdot beta occasionally when I'm on a mobile device but slashdot classic will be the format I use on my desktop. So don't deprecate slashdot classic. That would be like Microsoft disabling Windows 7 and forcing everyone to use Windows 8. And not even Microsoft is that stupid."

+ - Ask Slashdot: Can some of us get together and rebuild this community? 21

Submitted by wbr1
wbr1 (2538558) writes "It seems abundantly clear now that Dice and the SlashBeta designers do not care one whit about the community here. They do not care about rolling in crapware into sourceforge installers. In short, the only thing that talks to them is money and stupid ideas.

Granted, it takes cash to run sites like these, but they were fine before. The question is, do some of you here want to band together, get whatever is available of slashcode and rebuild this community somewhere else? We can try to make it as it once was, a haven of geeky knowledge and frosty piss, delivered free of charge in a clean community moderated format."

Comment: Basically never believe what CSRs say (Score 4, Insightful) 298

by langelgjm (#46165279) Attached to: Is Verizon Already Slowing Netflix Down?

Why would anyone believe what a low-level CSR tells them in a chat session? This is like when an eBay CSR claimed that eBay did not allow the sale of Bitcoin mining rigs a few weeks ago. The person didn't know what they were talking about.

Not to mention this is Verizon, who can't tell $0.002 from 0.002 cents. Engaging them on a topic of any complexity is sure to lead to hilarity and/or frustration.

Comment: Re:Hits the nail on the head (Score 1) 360

by langelgjm (#46152733) Attached to: Why Games Should Be In the Public Domain

So the idea of having copyrights as a substitute for pensions is as bad as having lottery tickets mailed out periodically instead of social security checks. A few lucky people will strike it rich, but it's no good for the vast majority.

To be clear, this is not something I'm actually advocating. It just struck me that perhaps some copyright promoters are trying to accomplish for artists what pensions do for police. And as you point out, copyright is a terrible way of doing that.

I think copyright promoters need to figure out what they actually want. Do they want to "own" their "property", even if it has no value in the marketplace for most artists? Is that what is most important? Or is providing a reasonable income by some means more important than control?

And anyway, if you want financial support, surely a system that is applicable to everyone, rather than just highly successful and lucky artists would be more fair.

Totally agree. Spreading income out over a lifetime is something that is relevant to everyone, yet copyright provides only a (bad) solution for a small segment of the population.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison