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Comment: That was a big part for sure (Score 2) 384

by Sycraft-fu (#48949293) Attached to: How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft

My boss got us smartphones back in the Windows CE days, because he's a huge geek like the rest of us. The problem was that while work was willing to pay for the phone part the data was WAAAAY too expensive so we didn't have that. Combine that with lackluster wifi availability and the fact that you had to manually turn it on and off because it drained battery out of range, and we didn't end up using the "smart" portion much. Not because it was too hard to use or any of that BS, but because there just wan't the ability.

Now, data is cheap, and my phone auto roams on and off of wifi, and work has complete wifi coverage. So I use my smartphone often for its "smart" features. It is always on data of some kind and like you, I never get near my cap, particularly because it is usually using wifi.

That is the biggest thing that changed and made smart phones useful to me, and others I know. It because affordable and practical to use the smart features. Data is something that is an included feature in most phone plans these days. $40/month can get you a line with some data.

Another thing that changed is just the progress of technology mainly the processors. Before switching to Android I had a Blackberry, which I loved, except for its slow CPU. Due to the excessive amount of JavaScript and such shit on most websites, browsing with it was slow. Not so much waiting for data, but rendering. However I not can browse whatever I want, my phone has a very high power CPU in it that can deal with all that shit, so it isn't too much slower to load a page than on my desktop.

Touchscreens and such weren't the thing that changed it for me. I still liked Blackberry's real keyboard + scrolly ball interface. It was having an affordable data plan plus a processor capable of handling the BS of the modern web.

Comment: Which he needn't do (Score 1) 172

If you choose not to use the tools available, well don't expect anyone to have sympathy for you or marvel at how hard you had it. You've only yourself to blame. When I wish to mount something in my house I get out a laser level, cordless electric drill with titanium bits, and so on. As such things get put up easily, quickly, and dead level. You could do the same with a rock and sharpened metal pieces, but don't expect me to be impressed with how long it took you or the problems with the results. You could use modern tools, if you chose.

Comment: Is anyone surprised? (Score 5, Insightful) 172

I think some forget, or never knew, that his first book was published 1996. This guy is not a fast writer.

Personally doesn't bother me, since I stopped reading after the third book because the quality tanked so hard. The original Game of Thrones is my all time favourite fantasy novel and I will recommend it all the time. A Clash of Kings was good, but a major step down. I enjoyed it though. A Storm of Swords wasn't very good at all.When A Feast for Crows I asked some people and the answer I universally got was "don't bother" so I didn't. It was also a bit harder to maintain the "givashit" with 5 years intervening instead of 2.

It seems like he more or less ran out of ideas and has bogged things down in to a whole bunch of characters nobody cares about. Ok, he can do as he pleases, but I'll keep my money thanks.

Comment: Re:Now using TOR after WH threats to invade homes (Score 1) 282

by causality (#48937501) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

Name calling is not shunning or shaming. It is attaching the person and not the argument and therefore has no place on civil discourse.

By the way, now that I re-read this during a spare moment and once again think about it, I can again respond to you in what I hope to be a worthy way, yet this time focus on a different dimension of the thing at hand.

I would ask you to consider, simply, this other and possibly alien point of view: the "name-calling" types are simply enacting the lower (or if you like, "gutter") form of an idea that is nonetheless technically true. The name-callers are merely those who recognize this but also have a need to make you look worse in order that they know better, or otherwise focus on what they think is wrong with you, with little or no serious constructive suggestion concerning what precisely is wrong with your view and how better to regard the situation. Liike the thinking individuals, they see what the problem is; otherwise, they lack the clarity and objectivity to identify the problem and suggest a sensible solution. By contrast, they're simply bitching. But even those people are correctly identifying that somethng is amiss. They're just the least clever and easiest to ridicule among those who all arrive at the same conclusion.

Comment: Competition is good (Score 4, Interesting) 276

by jgotts (#48936511) Attached to: Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen

I'd like to see Cyanogen succeed because the more competition there is in the smartphone market, the more companies will be pressured to develop new, useful features.

I bought my first smartphone two years ago last month. It's a Samsung Galaxy S III. It still works great, despite some quirks. I felt like with the Galaxy S III, the smartphone was beginning to take a quantum leap forward in features. Especially for the last year, though, it seems like there isn't much to crow about except for some fingerprint functionality nobody uses. Phones are getting a bit more memory, somewhat faster CPUs, a bit better screens, and improved cameras but you would expect all of these things. In terms of new and interesting features, it seems like we're in a mature market where we've all decided upon what it means for a device to be a smartphone.

Perhaps Cyanogen will bring some excitement back. At worst, they'll come up with some new ideas that Samsung can license or copy. I'm using Samsung as an example, but I could be talking about HTC or one of the Chinese startups. I don't see a whole lot to distinguish current smartphones (except that Samsung does not permanently glue batteries inside of its products).

Comment: Re:Now using TOR after WH threats to invade homes (Score 1) 282

by causality (#48931289) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

Today, all one needs to do is say the government wants it and many will assume it is bad. It is the flip side of the same coin.

That's because there is a limit to how many times they can lie to people, blatantly and without remorse, before the people stop trusting them. My grandparents grew up during a time when this went on, like it does today, but not nearly as much and was not well known (consider Hoover's FBI, or the involuntary radiation exposure experiments carried out against black people, or the use of the CIA to overthrow democratically elected foreign leaders). They saw it as a matter of honor or duty to have trust and faith in the republic and the leaders its processes have put there. That's been shattered and won't be repaired any time soon.

In the personal realm, most people become suspicious of everything someone says after the very first confirmed deliberate deception. The amazing part is that government is given so many chances, that people are so impressed with official symbols and pomp and circumstance that they would ever believe known liars who have never faced any serious consequences for their deceptions.

Comment: Re:Now using TOR after WH threats to invade homes (Score 1) 282

by causality (#48929977) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

And how does one find those targets in the first place if they have no connection with known targets? How does one find the group to infiltrate? The point is that there are many new cells that are popping up that have no connection what so ever with known terrorists. How do you find those new cells?

The idea is that limiting police powers in order to safeguard freedoms (and with them, the balance of power between the individual and the government) is acknowledged as making the job of police harder. The polices' job being harder does, in fact, mean that some number of criminals will go free some of the time, criminals who otherwise would have been caught and prosecuted. This is why absolute security is the antithesis of absolute freedom, so the question then is how to balance the two. When you safeguard liberty as your first priority and assign a lower priority to the effectiveness of law enforcement, you understand that you are taking a higher risk that you yourself will be harmed by a criminal that law enforcement could have stopped.

That's why freedom is not for cowards. The problems you worry about are well known to people who understand and value freedom. They choose freedom anyway. They also realize that the danger with which you're so concerned has been overstated. You're much more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist, and any factual inquiry into that based on facts would lead you to the same conclusion. Incidentally, you're also more likely to be injured by lightning. In the last 100 years, many, many more people were killed by their own governments than by any foreign enemy, so the credibility of this danger has been well established. Limited, transparent government is a time-tested manner of managing this danger.

As an aside, if terrorism is truly such a great problem and we want to reduce it in a real and effective manner, we should also stop giving excuses to the people who hate us. It's much easier for an enemy to justify their position, raise their troops' morale, and recruit new members into their brand of exteremism when they can point to concrete acts of ruthless domination the USA has actually committed. Law enforcement would certainly be more effective if its list of potential suspects could be reduced, facilitating a more focused approach on those that remain.

Anyway, the real spirit of freedom, the more value-based, individual, and courageous part that you and so many others keep failing to even recognize, let alone try to understand, is that those who understand freedom realize that a few more guilty men may go free. They consider that a small price to pay, an exchange of a finite quantity that numbers can describe in order go gain something priceless and worthwhile. It's yet another instance of failing to comprehend a viewpoint because you do not personally share it, therefore you get sidetracked by related but irrelevant issues because you have no idea how to articulate a meaningful response to it.

Comment: Re:Now using TOR after WH threats to invade homes (Score 1) 282

by causality (#48929619) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

Berating me is doing nothing to change my mind. I do not respond well to bullies.

Actually, the social shunning/shaming of those who advocate positions that are detrimental to society does serve a useful and positive function. Consider the way most people would respond to someone who openly advocates racism, for example. The response such a person receives would not be a pleasant one and really would discourage them. This is a good thing and it's a service to everyone else.

The only difference between racist views and pro-authoritarian views is the method by which they damage society for everyone else. Honestly the idea that your safety is in terrible danger from terrorism, and that giving up freedom and privacy is an acceptable solution, is a form of cowardice. It enables tyranny and those who advocate it are enablers. It's also inconsistent with reality: you're more likely to be injured by lightning than by terrorists, and you're very much more likely to be harmed by police or other members of your own government than any terrorist. If you were truly interested in your safety you would religiously monitor weather reports and you would advocate that the federal government be reduced in size and power.

Meanwhile, it's a fact of life that not all opinions are equally valid. Some, like yours, are rooted in ignorance and cowardice and have proven extremely dangerous each time they are put into practice, as an honest reading of history would reveal to you. Yes, the USA is not the first nation to use the idea of a foreign threat as an excuse to curtail civil liberties. The delusional among us seem to believe that it does happen to be the very first nation that will do this without causing a complete disaster (which has always taken the form of a totalitarian government under which human life is without value). Neither an understanding of history nor of human nature could possibly support this delusion.

I'd like to leave you with two quotations that this conversation reminds me of. You see, we (collectively) keep rehashing these same old debates not realizing that great effort has already been poured into thinking about what are not new issues. The first is from C. S. Lewis:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

The other is a dialog between Hermann Goring, a leading member of the Nazi Party, and a man named Gilbert, during an interview conduced in Goering's prison cell during the Nuremburg trials, on April 18, 1946:

-----

Goring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

----

Something I hope you will consider.

Comment: Most programming isn't new code (Score 3, Insightful) 218

by jgotts (#48927555) Attached to: Anonymous No More: Your Coding Style Can Give You Away

Most programming isn't writing new code. Most programming is working on someone else's crap you inherited. Invariably, you're going to be using that person's style or else the result will look like garbage.

There is also the problem that most non-trivial code is worked on by multiple people at the same time.

Writing some code from scratch as an assignment is a very artificial exercise nowadays, unless you're in a classroom setting. Therefore, you're going to get a signature from a programmer doing atypical work.

Comment: Re:physical access (Score 1) 374

by Sycraft-fu (#48925467) Attached to: Why Screen Lockers On X11 Cannot Be Secure

"Of course, this comparison is also patently unfair -- Windows 7 was written in the 2000s, X11 was written in the 1980s. Expecting them to be comparable in terms of security is pretty ridiculous."

Which could be a good argument for replacing X. It is rather old technology, perhaps it is time to update it to something newer, rather than clinging to it and claiming it is all one needs.

Comment: No. (Score 5, Insightful) 227

by eldavojohn (#48923389) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

To be fair to Zuckerberg and Facebook, the company must obey the law of any country in which it operates.

No. He came out in support of a universal maxim and then went back to his board who showed him X dollars of income they get by operating in Turkey. Just like the revenue lost when Google left mainland China. Instead of sacrificing that revenue to some other social network in Turkey run by cowards, he became a coward himself in the name of money. It is an affront to the deaths and memory of the Charlie Hebdo editors. His refusal could have worked as leverage for social change in Turkey but now it will not.

So no, your statement isn't fair to Zuckerberg and his company and the platinum backscratcher he gets to keep with "TURKEY" inscribed on it. Fuck that greedy bastard and his petty meaningless lip service.

Comment: Re:How are they rocky? (Score 2) 67

by reverseengineer (#48919285) Attached to: Kepler Discovers Solar System's Ancient 'Twin'

What's interesting about this star though, is that according to the paper, Kepler-444 is not some primordial supergiant, but a K dwarf (orange, of the same type as Alpha Centauri) with a smaller companion red dwarf (or possibly two companion red dwarf stars which are closely bound to each other).

+ - Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister->

Submitted by eldavojohn
eldavojohn (898314) writes "A turnover in the Greek government resulted from recent snap elections placing SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) in power — just shy of an outright majority by two seats. Atheist and youngest Prime Minister in Greek history since 1865 Alexis Tsipras has been appointed the new prime minister and begun taking immediate drastic steps against the recent austerity laws put in place by prior administrations. One such step has been to appoint Valve's economist Yanis Varoufakis to position of Finance Minister of Greece. For the past three years Varoufakis has been working at Steam to analyze and improve the Steam Market but now has the opportunity to improve one of the most troubled economies in the world."
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