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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:islamist radical? (Score 2) 297

by qubezz (#49451713) Attached to: Would-Be Bomber Arrested In Kansas; Planned Suicide Attack on Ft. Riley
I doubt there would have been any attack unless he was "radicalized" by the FBI. He could have not had his enlistment in the US military canceled because of a Facebook post, and could have been taken in and counseled and put through boot camp instead of being manipulated like a foreign asset for months until he committed the crime that was orchestrated for him.

Comment: Re: If i can't work on my car (Score 1) 292

by qubezz (#49403967) Attached to: EFF Fighting Automakers Over Whether You Own Your Car

I have a 1993 Taurus. It doesn't require a code reader as it is before the mandated OBD port in 1996, but still has sequential electronic fuel injection and an engine management computer that can be chipped and tweeked. How to get the codes? Put a paperclip between two pins of the underhood diagnostic connector, and count the flashes on the dash to get the codes. It has engine-running tests to diagnose sensors and report weak cylinders. The number of times it has seen a mechanic other than me in the twelve years I've owned it? Zero. It also doesn't spy on me with black box data available for insurance companies and law enforcement.

Regarding the original premise that people be able to modify their software, most flash MCUs made these days have a secure or protected mode: the firmware goes in to the chip, but doesn't come back out. There is no external flash EEPROM or data bus to access or hack, and the only way you would be able to update it is to understand the entire MCU and how every one of its data ports and D/A and A/D IO is used by the manufacturer and the specs for those sensor lines, and write a completely new firmware. We are talking minutia like knowing whether individual data lines are set high or low by the internal configurable pull-up circuits.

Comment: Re:Nothing new (Score 1) 178

by qubezz (#49318167) Attached to: Gaming On Linux With Newest AMD Catalyst Driver Remains Slow
Wrong, it's more like AMD has abandoned video cards and chipsets less than five years old, no cares given. AMD is complete crap for drivers, and although I'm typing on an ATI card, It will be my first and last in a very long time. For example, I wanted to make a media center from a 2010 Dell Desktop with DDR3, Quad core CPU, Hybrid Crossfire using AMD GPU + chipset, HDMI output. And no AMD Linux support. HD 2xxx-4xxx series were dropped from drivers very quickly; the current driver doesn't support xserver 1.13+, and therefore even Ubuntu 12.04.2 can't run the proprietary driver. We are talking: You buy a Radeon HD 4890 launched in Feb 2011, and find it will never be supported by AMD drivers on kernels or X that appeared in distros like Ubuntu 13.04, April 2013.

Comment: I don't see how this delivery model can scale... (Score 2) 110

by qubezz (#49299655) Attached to: Amazon Launches One-Hour Delivery Service In Baltimore and Miami

They currently are offering this service to 25 ZIP codes - likely those directly surrounding a distribution center. However, there are several logistical factors that just seem to make this unworkable to scale:

1. If I place seven orders a day, I alone have monopolized a driver and his vehicle for an entire work shift if the distribution center is 30 minutes away from me. That's the labor cost and vehicle cost for an entire day that my orders must pay for in "shipping".

2. 30 minutes one way trip is optimistic, I live in the 25th largest city, and it took me 80 minutes round trip just to go to a Radio Shack that had an item I needed in stock, 1/3 of the metro area away.

3. Even if there were distribution centers where every Walmart has a store in the US and they had a fleet the size of FedEx themselves (FedEx even just does a daily route), can they really keep the kind of items everywhere that I would order? Today, soldering iron tips, NiMH battery sub-c cells with solder tabs, replacement cherry mx keycaps, other days Loc-tite blue adhesive, 55" 4K TV, USB floppy drive, heat pump valve, that Spiderman comic from 1993...let alone that 80% of the items on Amazon are single-item-only things from marketplace sellers, very few of whom ship their entire inventory to Amazon for safe-keeping.

The challenges here are likely why they are thinking WAY out of the box, like delivery drones.

+ - Ask Slashdot: Why there is not a campaign against "Cloud Exclusive Hardware" ?

Submitted by martiniturbide
martiniturbide (1203660) writes "Today we can see a lot of hardware that is being sold that only works only against a cloud. There are many examples, like the Belkin NetCam HD+ (wifi webcam) that only works if you run it against their service (by seedonk) and if you don’t want to use their cloud, this hardware is useless. This is happening with a lot of new hardware and it does mean that you get the device cheap for being locked to their cloud, you are paying full price for this devices. On the internet there are just little groups trying to hack some of this hardware, but the consumer does not seems to care that if the manufacturer discontinue the service the hardware will be useless. Why there are no complains against this kind of hardware on the internet? Is it useless to fight “cloud exclusive hardware”? Should we care about it? Or we are so used to disposable hardware that we don’t care anymore?"

Comment: Re:Perception (Score 2) 420

by qubezz (#49153259) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?
I think that understanding photography and exposure is the key to recognizing the color in the picture - if you are familiar with photography, you can see that the background is light and almost blown out, and can use that as a reference for how the entire photo was lit when it was taken. However, if your brain doesn't process the context of the photo, and you evaluate it based on the blue background of a web site or a dark room around you, maybe you have the optical illusion that it is white. I can not unsee it as blue because I recognize the photo's lighting.

Comment: Re:Crusty Hardware (Score 1) 189

by qubezz (#48878663) Attached to: User Plea Means EISA Support Not Removed From Linux

I specified and owned an EISA system, a rare 486-50 (not double-clocked DX2), with 16MB memory, $4000 or so spent.

EISA is a very odd beast, if you recall the original ISA bus that had jumpers you had to set on each card to non-conflicting IRQ, Address IO, and DMA values, then you will see the "brilliance" of EISA, which had a floppy disk config program for every card you bought to set the bus values. Seeing anyone that still has the matching and required EISA setup disks for their hardware is going to be the rare thing to find.

Comment: Re:Crusty Hardware (Score 4, Interesting) 189

by qubezz (#48878575) Attached to: User Plea Means EISA Support Not Removed From Linux

This is also completely Microsoft's fault. In Vista they decided to kiss the ass of big media companies in order to play Blu-Ray content, which required encrypted end-to-end data transport, mandating the rewriting of the driver stack for everything from video and sound cards to imaging devices and audio mixing. They should have just given them the finger.

What Microsoft didn't have to do was just completely discard gameport support. Microsoft blatantly removed the code to support 15 pin gameports from the OS. In Vista 32 bit, it could be partially put back by driver hacks of old dlls, but that hack was made impossible in win7. You could literally buy joysticks at the same CompUSA that would not work on the Vista shitboxes they were selling.

Comment: Re:if it doesnt work (Score 4, Informative) 464

by qubezz (#48719495) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?

Reading glasses, those off-the-shelf from a rack with a positive prescription, are not for those that need prescription glasses. They are for older individuals who still can focus at distance, but who have lost the muscles and lens plasticity to focus their eyes on closer objects.

The eye becomes able to focus on a smaller range of distances in older age, and for a person with good vision who has not needed prescription glasses, this might mean they can focus from infinity to 100 cm instead of infinity to 10 cm of their youth, making reading a book difficult.

The majority of those needing prescription glasses are myopic, or short-sighted, meaning that they can focus well on close objects, but cannot bring far objects into focus with their eye's lens. They will never be able to see far objects such as the stars clearly without optical correction. Unfortunately, after correcting the vision with prescription glasses, the same problem also occurs in older age, individuals can no longer bring closer objects into focus while wearing prescription glasses.

Simply taking the glasses off allows for seeing close objects again, but is suboptimal. First, the prescription glasses likely also correct for astigmatism, another type of distortion in the eye's lens or shape. Secondly, uncorrected vision in people that are quite myopic, such as myself at over -4, means that I can read a book when held a bit closer than would seem normal, but cannot focus on 2x24" monitors when they are 0.5m away, computer monitors are too far away to see. I would travel the world in a bubble where only things 15" or closer can be seen without glasses.

When the eye's lens becomes less plastic in older age, this may mean that the 0.5m monitor can neither be seen cleary with traditional prescription glasses or without correction. A second pair of glasses could be tuned for things 0.5m-5m away

The problem with bifocals and progressive lenses is that they assume you are looking down to see close objects. For those that do close-up work, from SMD soldering repair to dentistry as well as individuals working in front of monitors, they are not a good solution, as the work is directly in front of the eyes.

One practical solution for computer work is 40" 1080p monitors at a farther distance. This takes research when subsituting a television, because many HDTVs that one might try to use at 1920x1080 do not have clear 1 to 1 pixels as advertised, even with digital input.

Comment: Re:What's in it for consumers? (Score 1) 127

by qubezz (#48715251) Attached to: Bitcoin Gets Its First TV Ads

Bitcoin is a currency. Like all currencies, its usefulness is determined by the number of people that you can do business with using that currency. Pounds Sterling also do me little good in the US; limited acceptance depending on venue affects all currencies, not just Bitcoin. Further acceptance like is promoted in the BitPay ads will allow more people to easily receive bitcoins, and then spend them again without any currency conversion.

Bitcoin's value fluctuates against other currencies - that also is a trait of other monies. However, it does have a guarantee that other currencies don't - it won't be printed by the billions to pay off government debt and devalue savings.

The bitcoin is international - it sees no borders and eliminates the extortive money exchanges required to buy goods in other countries. I can buy merchandise from Thailand or Peru on the Internet, and never have to worry about what their local money is. My Bitcoins will buy a coffee in a coffee shop in Kabul or Tokyo just as easily. Likewise, I can sell on the Internet without discrimination; I don't have to worry about fraudulent payments and can ship anywhere in the World.

The huge difference is that Bitcoin has a built-in money transfer mechanism that government-issued currencies do not. Government money requires third-party systems like credit cards and checks, which allow forgers and criminals to suck money directly out of your bank account, causing significant grief. The only way this system remains viable is that credit card companies pay for theft out of their profits or take the money back from the merchant that was victim of the poor security of credit cards.

Bitcoin does not allow Soviet block hackers or card-skimming waiters to take your money through simply stealing your credit card number. You must authorize and "push" every payment to the merchant. Making one payment reveals nothing about you and does not allow the receiver to take more unauthorized money from you. There is no bank to freeze your funds or government back door to empty your account. You are in complete control of your money.

The biggest impediments have been using Bitcoin software and obtaining bitcoins, followed by the capricious exchange rates. All of these categories have become better excepting the government war on exchanges, funded by bankers.

Comment: Re:practical-based certs hold their value (Score 1) 317

by qubezz (#48554291) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For?

If you are working in a place that fixes computers and is an A+ shop, like using in their marketing, then they need to have 50%+ A+ certified techs. If the person hiring you only has an A+, then they might consider you in their club.

It's still just one more letter code that can be in an HR resume keyword search, and it's dead simple. It uses adaptive testing; I scheduled the first 90 minute test, and by answering every IRQ question and other bits of impractical knowledge, was done in about 15 minutes. The test administrator asked if I wanted to take the second of the two - another 15 minutes once the machine figures it can throw the hardest questions at you and get them answered. Computer repairman are going the way of stagecoach repairmen though, although it's one thing that can't be off-shored...

That being said, any single Microsoft IT test is cheaper, and just having one lets you say "Microsoft Certified Professional". If there is a closet of Microsoft stuff in a server room that would make this cert appealing to a company, I would dread the daily grind working there.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe