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Comment: Re:Sucrose question (Score 1) 485

by ledow (#49563961) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame

"Aspartame has been found to be safe for human consumption by more than ninety countries worldwide, with FDA officials describing aspartame as "one of the most thoroughly tested and studied food additives the agency has ever approved" and its safety as "clear cut""

So.... no. Probably not. But judging by the comments on here, you're not alone.

Have sugar. If you don't want sugar, but you want your drink to taste sweet, you can have natural sugars. Otherwise, you're fucked and eating synthetic stuff no matter what?

Almost all of those substances - in moderation - are food-safe and no more dangerous than eating sugar, or any other natural food. Some people might collapse and die from a single exposure, others it will make ill, others it will upset them a bit, but the vast majority will just eat it and get on with life.

If it worries you, go back to eating sugar.

Comment: Re:KDBus - another systemd brick on the wall (Score 2, Insightful) 208

by ledow (#49559089) Attached to: Linux 4.1 Bringing Many Changes, But No KDBUS

Seasoned programmers that "know their stuff" that have been told to keep their un-maintained junk out of the kernel before now? And in no polite terms?

"Worked beautifully" resulting in many unbootable (or, worse, variably bootable) systems over the years. It's far from perfect (I'm not expecting perfect, but it's far from it).

Though I don't doubt that there are entire swathes of people happy with it, that there is so much opposition is not only indicative that it's far-from-perfect, but that many people may be avoiding using it altogether?

I'm by no means a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to new stuff but systemd still appears a backward step and even the DISCUSSION of systemd generating such heat is indicative of underlying problems that aren't being addressed (even if those problems are entirely political, which I doubt).

And I agree that there's little competition but things like upstart were in fact the middle-ground. Systemd has a huge headstart, but also keeps hitting political brick-walls in its race to be default and little is done to appease or even acknowledge the criticisms

"We know better" is not the basis of any argument for either side. But "We're never going to change either" is just head-banging nonsense. I don't think anyone is opposed to change on the SysVInit side (the very existence of upstart and a variety of other projects), they just don't think this is the right change. However, the systemd crowd are very much in the "We know best, so you need to get onboard" arena.

And when you're dealing with critical areas like even being able to boot a kernel, you need to dial back to the users and say "What do you need?", not "This is all you'll ever be given, deal with it"

Comment: Re:KDBus - another systemd brick on the wall (Score 4, Interesting) 208

by ledow (#49558671) Attached to: Linux 4.1 Bringing Many Changes, But No KDBUS

Systemd is one of those thing that people know will end in disaster. Sure, it works at the moment. But a personality will jump into it, or a bug will catch up with their design, or something else. And it will all come crashing down.

What bugs me about systemd is not the idea behind systemd. It's the implementation. Using cgroups and other kernel-provided features, it's able to provide functionality that we don't have elsewhere. But rather than break-down that functionality and make each part replaceable, and use "old" methods to do some things while they are replaced with "new" methods.

It's the all-or-nothing nature of systemd that I hate. There's no reason it can't be done in some other way. There's no reason that, even at a base level, you can't write scripts that do the same as it does - for all functions, but also for parts of the functions. As such, it's not modular, not changeable, it's just a lump of code that you accept having complete control of your machine or not. And I don't.

Honestly, I'm waiting for the crash-and-burn moment at which someone steps up, gives us the same features, using predictable, modular code or even scripts, and we can put in the bits we like and leave out the bits we don't like and replace any bit and NOBODY will know or care that we've done that.

Comment: Re:Okay (Score 1) 74

by ledow (#49558411) Attached to: Oculus Rift: 2015 Launch Unlikely, But Not Impossible

The biggest edits I ever did on Wikipedia, many years ago now, were to the articles about ZX Spectrum games.

I spent hours loading up games in emulators, capturing screenshots, writing out information, etc. Most of the articles for those games existed already, I just did things like link the developers, publishers, etc. categorised them, added screenshots where they were missing.

By a year later, every screenshot I'd done had been removed. Not because of copyright - but because when I'd first done them, I'd tagged them as per the required tags for copyright (e.g. fair usage, etc.). I'd spent forever putting all the tags on after being told for one article. The next month, my images were removed because a new tag had been introduced and I hadn't updated the images with it. So I updated the tags. Repeat ad infinitum for nearly a year. Every time, warnings about tags, copyright-tag bots spamming my talk page, new tags popping out of nowhere and serving no new purpose but those same bots stripping any images that did not have them.

In the end, I gave up. I stopped editing. I stopped categorising. I stopped screenshotting. All my screenshots (despite being perfectly fine for a year while I was tagging them) disappeared within a month. Most of those articles never got even a title screenshot back and are now either plain-text or the entire article is history.

And every "new" game article I added was removed for being "non-notable", when tiny little indie game articles stayed up for years, and the article were about huge, mainstream, industry-changing games.

Sorry, but my time and effort was wasted, not by fans of the games, readers of the articles, or even the article curators. Just by random paranoid spamming bots and people who - at first - I presumed were editors and moderators but actually were most likely just random people who wanted to criticize and break the articles for their own stats(?), I don't know.

All that happened is that the articles turned to dust and rotted over the years while the talk pages filled up with arguments.

Comment: Google+ (Score 4, Insightful) 317

by ledow (#49558385) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

You wanted to compete with Facebook. Which you took to mean that I should be shoved onto it forcibly even though I have a fully-functioning social network with all my details, photos and friends plugged in anyway. You thought I should be badgered into submission until I moved all that content over, and have to go via roundabout routes to opt out of this stuff - on a GMail account I'd have since the first days of invite-only accounts.

And you didn't listen or care at the time. If you're that forcible with getting the information out of me, imagine how forcible you'll be when I try to get that information on me back.

Wouldn't touch it with a bargepole (despite being quite Google-centric in my services otherwise) just because of the "YOU MUST SIGN UP NOW" attitude.

If you'd just done what you did with Google Mail, slowly adding in features (e.g. Google Talk, Google Drive, Google Calendar, etc.) quietly that I can choose to use as I see fit, and just stumble across them as I need, and can just use them without being required to fill out EVERY DAMN BOX every time, then it would have taken off much nicer. And if I don't want to use them... well, they're still there any time I do.

Fact is, my Google Account is still the same one and STILL does not have a Google+ profile. Not even an image. Because, sorry, it doesn't work that way. I choose to use the service, you don't choose who must use it. When you tried to force me to fill out and use that part of my Google profile, I did everything I could NOT to. And look who won.

Comment: Okay (Score 3, Interesting) 74

by ledow (#49551889) Attached to: Oculus Rift: 2015 Launch Unlikely, But Not Impossible

Okay, why does my "bullshit detector" go off. Not on the article, but I thought I'd pop onto Wikipedia and find out when Oculus Rift was first started as a project.

There's no mention. They mention the huge buyout in 2014, but no mention of the start of it, even under the "History" section.

And only one of the citations is from before that - an article in 2012. Now, it's not a deep secret, I can google and find stuff from that kind of era discussing it, but why OMIT this information in the History section of your own product's page?

Maybe it's because, 3 years on from the kickstarter, and millions and millions of dollars later, there's still no commercial product?

Comment: Re: Do not (Score 5, Insightful) 128

by ledow (#49551801) Attached to: Liquid Mercury Found Under Mexican Pyramid

Oh, fuck off.

They heated cinnabar ore. You get mercury when you do that. These people had metal, mined, and could build vast structures that weigh more than any skyscraper did for millennia after them.

You don't need a supernatural explanation that they found a liquid metal (a liquid mirror, in effect) fucking intriguing and so prized it as some kind of treasure to bury with their kings.

That people in these ancient eras had brains seemed to be frowned upon, as if we're the only humans who could be allowed to do that. Ancient Greek, ancient Egyptian, etc. civilisations all had astounding knowledge and abilities. Just because they were never able to fully capitalise on them and then we suffered a few thousand years of poxy ignorance doesn't mean they weren't geniuses. (Just so happens that several of those millennia were dominated by religious shit, Crusades, etc.).

Antikythera (extremes of "clockwork", gearing and mathematical technology), pyramids, battery technology, steam-powered engines, railways, they had a shit-ton of expertise, but the problem was that the insights were few and far between and hard to do, and secondary to surviving for the most part, so unfortunately they never were able to be joined together in the way we could do now.

Fuck your aliens. Pay your respects to thousands of years of education, science, inquisitiveness, some of the greatest minds who ever lived, single individuals who knew all of established science for their time, amazing insights, and artisans capable of creating their off-the-wall ideas using some of the most difficult craftsmanships in existence.

Comment: Re:Stop resting on your laurels (Score 1) 301

The problem is that they know all their own libraries still make them money. People are still making from the White Album.

As that anchor is dragged forward, those artists and albums at the back stop making money for them. And then they realise that as that anchor is inexorably drawn forward from that point on, they lose more money every year because it's likely the new artists aren't making as much as the old back catalogues (maybe individual examples, but not overall).

And then they realise that, in 50 years time, when all they have to monetise is the junk that they've been churning out recently, they are dead in the water and the industry will struggle to sustain itself. They're not saving themselves for today, but for their retirement, when they're basing their business on people buying Britney Spears' back catalogue etc.

That said, any law that has to be revised the number of times that the copyright ones have should really be scrapped or made indefinite. If NOBODY in a certain industry (music industry, Disney, etc.) has ever seen their copyright expire, how on earth can we say that we need to legislate to extend that protection continually - and multiple times - without making the case that it should be indefinite or not?

I'm not saying that's a GOOD solution, but someone needs to review the time and money spent messing about extending laws to cover timeframes - including overruling laws retroactively - and either fix a date in stone or make it indefinite. Pretending that it will eventually end up in the public domain while that never being legally possible is just outright scumbaggery.

Comment: Common sense (Score 3) 279

by ledow (#49526881) Attached to: German Court Rules Adblock Plus Is Legal

If the software is running on the user's computer, at their express request, to do something - at the user's express request, then I can't see how you could rule any other way.

If we were talking about an online-only service that "proxies" the web for you and removes ads, then you may have more of a case, however.

And spyware that does it against or without user's consent (replacing other's adverts with your own, eh, Lenovo?) then that's a huge other matter entirely.

But it's like ruling that if the user WANTS to look at a plain-text version of a particular webpage then that's up to them. So long as the viewer is the one choosing to change the content and knows that, why would you ever think differently.

The alternative just doesn't bear thinking about. Websites DEMANDING that nothing interferes in the process of displaying their page as they intended. Unskippable ads, etc. like on DVD's. DRM for the web, effectively. No thanks.

Comment: Re:It's not surprising (Score 1) 129

by ledow (#49526147) Attached to: YouTube Going Dark On Older Devices

Erm... is it just me that immediately thinks of DVB-T here? That's exactly what happened.

In the UK we were pushed to upgrade to "digital" (DVB-T). Within a few years, DVB-T2 - an incompatible standard that required hardware upgrades - was actually required to support HDTV channels, and even the "extra" channels that couldn't fit on standard DVB.

Just being a standard doesn't stop obsoletion. Wireless shows you that. Within days of actually being ratified as a standard, the next wireless standard is in the works and people start pushing our pre-N or pre-AC products.

If anything, being "standard"is something that happens after the event, not before, and when provides basis for obsoletion. "You mean you've only got a HTML-4 browser? Our website requires HTML-5. Why? Because."

This is the cost of change, evolution and rapid development. Things get left behind, even if they were good products/services. It's not even necessarily deliberate. Who the hell is going to want to risk bricking your old devices by pushing a firmware update to a device they no longer sell, running on a chip that's no longer produced, with firmware that no longer has active development, to give you features that the old hardware can't use anyway (e.g. pushing HD or new codecs into the YouTube apps?). Nobody.

Comment: Re:BUY MORE (Score 1) 129

by ledow (#49526099) Attached to: YouTube Going Dark On Older Devices

I don't know if you've noticed but today's generation just ignores ads. I work in schools - the pupils do not see anywhere near as many ads as I did when I was a child. TV ads are dead - they are background noise. We've trained children to ignore all ads in games and online. Streaming services mean that ads have to be forced and - inevitably - the kids find a way to download without ads anyway.

I bet you could hum the tune to several hundreds ads if you went through one of those websites that shows you old ads from your country. The kids today? Probably only the extreme ones.

The more you force ads, the more you force people to ignore them if they can't bypass them. It's counter-productive.

Honestly, I think it's more to do with legacy code. Who has the code to some 10 year old early "smart" TV that ran on a custom chip that's not non-standard and unavailable, and so who's going to do the development and testing to push newer formats, HD, etc. down to that TV's firmware.

In my house alone, I have YouTube apps on several phones, a tablet, a cable box, an older cable box, a DVD player, a Blu-Ray player, a cheap DVB-S box, the original Wii, etc. To update all of those to newer formats, HD quality, etc. may not even be technically possible (which just generates more exceptions and differences in the codebase), plus any licensing, plus the risk of breaking the device, plus liaising with all the manufacturer's (most of whom just won't care as they're not selling that model any more), etc. It's just an enormous upheaval for zero gain.

And it's not just YouTube. BBC iPlayer suffers the same fate - all the above devices have BBC iPlayer apps on them too and some of those no longer work because it would need some cheap Chinese manufacturer to bother to develop, test and push a new firmware for a device they no longer sell (or, even if they do, represents a tiny portion of their sales in only a particular country). Just the risk of bricking something isn't worth the hassle of trying to update it.

We are certainly breeding a throw-away culture of technology because of this, yes, but that's not "enforced" so much as inevitable. A £20 DVD player with network connectivity and an iPlayer/YouTube app on it - if the app on that stops working? Who cares?

Just the development time alone to push out even the tiniest of working updates for devices like that is enormous. You might even find that the original development team, or even company, doesn't exist any more. Will consumers notice? Not really. They have ten devices that can do the same and they won't be turning on the DVD player to watch YouTube when they can ChromeCast it from their phone or whatever nowadays.

It's obsolescence but not necessarily deliberate and malicious obsolescence. Just necessity.

Comment: Re:Rugged Smartphone dock (Score 1) 96

by ledow (#49525917) Attached to: Optical Tech Can Boost Wi-Fi Systems' Capacity With LEDs

The entire first generations of handheld devices had irda, which is basically this.

Palm pilots etc. used it all the time.

It died for a reason - bluetooth took over. Because there's nothing optical data can do that radio data can't, plus radio never requires line-of-sight (it may benefit from it, but that's another matter).

What makes you think that optical connectors in docking stations are in any way superior to Bluetooth (which has stupendous data rates, more than enough distance, is incredibly low-powered and you can pick up transmitter/receivers for it for literally pence that are small enough to put into ANYTHING).

By comparison an IR LED and a light-sensor are slow (rise and fall times tend to kill fast transmissions), large, and inconvenient.

Comment: Re:missing the words OPEN SOURCE in the title (Score 1) 73

by ledow (#49525869) Attached to: Networking Library Bug Breaks HTTPS In ~1,500 iOS Apps

I'm sorry... were you under the impression that people have ever claimed that open-source means you can't get any bugs in it?

Then you're an idiot.

But don't let us stop you spreading your misinformation based on a complete misinterpretation of other people's statements about open-source code.

(P.S. You can't stop bugs in any code. But if this was a closed-source library, probably the only people who would ever know about it, see the buglist, would be able to fix it etc, would be the people who wrote it.)

Nothing succeeds like excess. -- Oscar Wilde