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Comment: Good driving is not grandma driving (Score 1) 137

by markdavis (#47832071) Attached to: New Usage-Based Insurance Software Can Track Drivers Using Smartphones

>"in order to offer good driver incentives"

You can't determine if someone is a "good driver" from a phone. PERIOD. Speed, G-forces, where you are driving, when you are driving, NONE OF THAT determines if you are

1) Leaving reasonable following distance
2) In control
3) Alert and paying attention
4) Using proper signaling
5) Courteous
6) Familiar with the limits of function of the vehicle
7) Defensive/predictive

etc. They seem to think that if you brake hard, accelerate faster than some "typical norm", or corner too hard, you are a bad driver... and that simply is neither true nor fair.

Comment: ridiculous comparison (Score 1) 217

by markdavis (#47794843) Attached to: States Allowing Medical Marijuana Have Fewer Painkiller Deaths

>"Many drugs with abuse potential such as nicotine and opiates, as well as marijuana, pump up the brain's dopamine levels, which can induce feelings of euphoria."

Exactly how does one "abuse" nicotine? What ridiculous grasping to put nicotine into the same sentence as opiates and marijuana when it comes to getting "high". It is also never used for pain killing. You might as well have included caffeine and sugar in the list. It blows the credibility of the article and makes it seem totally desperate.

Comment: Caffeine is not a solution, it is a problem (Score 1) 133

by markdavis (#47787747) Attached to: Coffee Naps Better For Alertness Than Coffee Or Naps Alone

If wanting to be alert and have good sleep patterns, then you would do well to not use caffeine at all. It is not some miracle, it is like any other drug- it builds dependence and nothing is "free"... the energy you might gain is made up for by energy lost later.

I know this sentiment might not be a popular view (apparently) in the tech crowd, what with coffee, tea, caffeine pills, caffeinated sodas, caffeinated soap and other such nonsense.

Comment: Re:Get facts straight (Score 1) 193

by markdavis (#47739003) Attached to: Facebook Experimenting With Blu-ray As a Storage Medium

My issue is that they were comparing on-line hard drive backup to off-line bluray but with an expensive and fancy robot system. Which is not quite a "fair" comparison. The Bluray drives also have to be connected and use power. The robot uses power. A spun down stand-by hard drive uses only about 0.75 watts! That means you could have half a PETABYTE of ONLINE storage for about the power of a single traditional lightbulb.

At the rate hard drive density keeps going up, it seems optical storage just can't keep up. We have seen this happen with CD, then DVD, and now bluray. Doesn't help that the prices on bluray discs were kept way too high for far too long.

Hard drives are now 4TB for $150! Bluray is still around $1/disc for quality, but each is just 25GB. That means you need 160 discs to equal one hard drive that costs slightly less, writes and reads a hell of a lot faster, and actually takes up considerably less space.

I am not saying hard drives for backups is ideal in all cases, but it certainly is a much more attractive option in many ways.

Comment: Get facts straight (Score 1) 193

by markdavis (#47738593) Attached to: Facebook Experimenting With Blu-ray As a Storage Medium

>"Their data can be restored more quickly"

Than a hard drive? I think not.

> "the Blu-ray system doesn't need to be powered when the discs aren't in use, it uses 80% less power than the hard-drive arrangement, cutting overall costs in half."

Say what? When my backup hard drives are not being used, they also use zero power because they are not plugged in. And when they ARE plugged in, they "power down" after a few min of no usage, which I think is like 1% of normal power.

The density of storage for bluray is also not better than hard drives, and the writing is much slower. I also don't see how transport is so much better than laptop hard drives. Bluray MIGHT be cheaper, depending on how you value your criteria... and the discs are more rugged (if that even matters).

Comment: Re:Stealing attention (Score 1) 611

by markdavis (#47725471) Attached to: Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

I couldn't agree with your post more.

My major problem with is with ANY content- ads or not, that has autonomous animation. I can't stand it. Doesn't matter how big or small, I can't "tune out" something moving in my peripheral vision.

I wouldn't mind small and non-animated ads, without timebombs or flyouts or mouseovers, but it seems like those just don't exist anymore. So I feel I am FORCED to browse with Adblock.

Comment: I am tin foil, fine. (Score 2) 299

>"Here's where the problem lays: It's law enforcement that's pushing so hard for these kill switches. "

Yeah, like I have been warning people for years anytime the topic comes up. Government misuse. Security nightmare when it gets hacked. Etc. They just say I am paranoid or "tin foil" or whatnot.

I guess I can remind them about my warnings over the last decade about the fed and big business spying on USA citizens. I am amazed at how little most people care about privacy/freedom.

Now, let me get back to reading this letter I got from State Farm today explaining how wonderful it will be to save "up to 5%" on my State Farm car insurance if I am willing to plug in a device that constantly tracks my braking, acceleration, turns, speed, distance, and location.

Comment: Ubiquitous Common Denominator (Score 4, Insightful) 235

by markdavis (#47684839) Attached to: Email Is Not Going Anywhere

Email is the common denominator in electronic communication. Period. Nothing else can match it when it comes to being well known, compatible with everything, and even its flexibility. Spam sucks, and there are still some issues with the way people USE Email (or incorrectly use it), but it is *the* way business communicates now. I would be crippled at work without Email.

If you want to talk about a dying communications technology, that would be facsimile. Our fax volume is a small fraction of what it once was. Still important to have around, but people go out of their way to avoid it now. We have large scan-to-PDF-EMail copiers all over, making it so much more convenient, too.

Comment: LOVE 'em with Toastman (Score 1) 427

by markdavis (#47633363) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?

I really love my WRT54GL running Toastman Tomato. "It just works"- it is rock solid and does what I want. Sure it is not super fast, but for regular stuff it is fine. I liked it so much I installed dozens of them at work and directed my friends and family to use them also.

I need to knock on wood... not a SINGLE one has failed or had problems. They stay up "forever" without hanging or needed to be reset, even after seeing tons of various devices connected. Plus they were dirt cheap and have real antennas and with real connectors (so I can and do use different antennas for different applications). Just don't use the stock firmware- it is unreliable. It freaks me out that you can still actually buy the ancient things-- they are just that popular.

It is a tall order to find a suitable, more modern replacement. I have been on the lookout but haven't seen anything quite at the same level that could "carry on the torch". Some say Buffalo.

Comment: Re:Bill $10K up front and 50K a year (Score 1) 194

by markdavis (#47593987) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Bulletproof Video Conferencing For Alzheimers Home?

>"Have a full time tech on site with that and bill each patient health insurance a monthly or daily or per use fee. That is how most things healthcare marketplace work."

I work in healthcare, and no insurance company is going to cover such things unless it was legitimately part of a communications rehab program or something (supervised by a speech pathologist).

>"Well we just bulk bill it as some other thing or change the home and they deal with the billing."

That sounds remarkably like fraud which can lead to fines, closed businesses, and people thrown in jail.

Comment: part of the job (Score 1) 246

by markdavis (#47590323) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: IT Personnel As Ostriches?

First, I wouldn't say a "50ish" people company is "mid-sized" :) But that isn't really your question.

I can only speak for myself- I can and do see things that are confidential. It is pretty much impossible for me not to. I deal with it by focusing only on my work. Most of the time I don't even really "see" what it is I am looking at... intentionally glancing away or closing things that are not part of the scope of my assistance. Unfortunately that doesn't always work and am exposed to things that get "registered" in my mind. Sometimes I see things that are disappointing or disturbing... but it is my job to retain confidentiality; that is part of being a professional.

The hard parts come when/if I see something that is:

1) Against our IT policies (mostly security practices)
2) Against company policy
3) Against the law
4) Immoral

Thankfully, after doing this for 27+ years, I have yet to consciously run into anything illegal or immoral. I have run into things against policy and there have been times I had to report it or deal with it... just depends on how severe it was.

Think of it this way- it could be MUCH worse... you could be a defense lawyer.

Slowly and surely the unix crept up on the Nintendo user ...