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Comment Blacklists (Score 1) 253

I use Ooma for my home phone service. It has a blacklist feature (both personal and a "community" shared list). You can choose whether to send them to voicemail, play them a message or what have you. It's worked perfectly for me for years, zero robocalls (other than legit ones like schools which I can always block if I need to).

I imagine it may not work forever (I remember the rise and fall of spam blacklists) but right now it's great.

Comment Re:Authoritarians will always rule. (Score 1) 459

Well, actually, two people chose to have sex. Yet the condemnation seems to fall squarely on one of them. Funny that.

And that's ignoring the whole host of other perfectly legitimate reasons why continuing with a pregnancy would be a bad idea even if both parents wanted to. Your black and white view of the world is sadly detached from reality.

Comment Re:I have one problem with this (Score 1) 77

I get what you're saying, but we have plenty of things called robots in the real world right now, and the vast majority of them don't have much (if any) autonomy. I'm thinking of things like production line robot arms. It's true that they're not being remotely operated by a person in most cases (although some are, e.g. the bomb disposal bots) - but it's only pretty recently we've seen real autonomy (e.g. self driving cars).

Comment Re:Junkyard Wars (Score 1) 77

I loved that show but it was getting absurd towards the end. I remember one episode where they had to build something like a steam powered boat? Anyway one of the teams "found" a perfect condition, shiny brass steam engine just sitting inside a rusty truck in the middle of the junkyard. Over time it became less "build a machine from scrap" and more "build a chassis from scrap and attach the magic thing we planted".

Comment Re:No supercapacitors? (Score 1) 117

I worked in financial tech for 16 years. You are correct in that the levels of data reliability required are much higher than in many other situations, and that traditional backups don't suffice for every use case (specifically in flight or recently written data).

However, you avoid that issue by duplication. The underlying device technology is utterly irrelevant because not only could your spinning disk fail on a power outage, it could fail because the server room got filled with super heated steam or the entire building had a plane fly into it (both of those things happened on my watch, BTW). If you really care about the data you need to simultaneously and synchronously write it to multiple locations in multiple DCs, ideally in multiple states (or even countries). Yes that comes with a whole host of problems, but ti's the only safe way. And when you're doing that - when you're really designing for failure - the type of disk you use really doesn't matter.

Comment Not that crazy (Score 1) 277

Back in the early 90's I worked in a repair shop that specialized in the Amstrad PCW, which was a CP/M machine that was very popular with authors in the UK. Most of the ones I saw used 3" disks (which are...weird...in many ways) and frequently blew up due to the unfortunate design feature of having the RAM & CPU on the same circuits as the printer port. Unplug the printer while powered on and you're pretty likely to see smoke and need a repair.

Anyway, I can't see how repairing the machine or just reading the disks on something else would really be that hard.

Comment Re:Lightning Charger? Bias Much? (Score 0) 401

About the fifth time you get the this accessory is not supported by this iPhone message on the included cable and charger, you'll start to realize why the whole Lightning system is a horrible idea.

I've never had this message with an official cable, or a licensed one. I've seen it plenty with cheap unlicensed clones. Given how cheap licensed lightning cables are (finally), there's really no reason anymore to buy the crappy ones.

That's the charger, not the cable. Poorly built chargers can catch fire, and they can do that just fine with an Apple approved Lightning cable

So you're telling me a cable can't possibly short? Or overheat? Or deliver current down the wrong pin? I'm not saying there's much chance of actual damage, particularly assuming the device is well built, but cables are not faultless.

Of course, you also need an Apple approved charger, because iOS won't draw anything past the absolute minimum USB charge if not connected to an official Apple charger.

Absolute bullshit. All the Apple devices I own (30 pin & lightning) charge perfectly well (and at full speed) from any USB port I've ever used - be it on a computer or dumb charger. Everything from Amazon Kindle chargers to random in-car 12v adapters to high-power Anker chargers to Playstations. That's way more than can be said for a lot of devices (Blackberry & Sony - I'm looking at you).

Comment Re:It's not about adblockers... (Score 1) 120

I think it's probably a bit of both. In our case, we're absolutely not trying to make the ads look like editorial content (we don't have any) - they "look like" user posts, they're just obviously branded as being paid. The real trick (I think) is that before we take any of these ads on we work with the brands in question to get them to understand our audience and what appeals to them, and can even provide them with creative services to help make stuff which resonates. When we get really good paid content, users don't just click on it, they actually share it with their friends. It's the online version of the "did you see that commercial for xyz" water cooler conversation. The downside is that it's a long and involved process to get advertisers on board, as they can't just reuse their existing inventory. Some brands are more receptive than others to that idea.

Comment It's not about adblockers... (Score 5, Interesting) 120

The site I work on uses native advertising (as well as more conventional ads). We prefer the native ads not because we're trying to fool blockers (or indeed users) - the ads are still clearly labelled as such. The reason we prefer them is they perform hugely better. When the ad content fits with the overall content of the site and is actually tailored to the audience it turns out people engage with it - and that makes the advertisers happy and makes us more money.

Comment Not sure I understand the question... (Score 2) 132

I can "maintain control of my own data" while still using external services. All my data sits locally, and is backed up to multiple locations, but I also put plenty of it out there in the world. But Flickr or Tumblr or Facebook or whatever could go away tomorrow without me losing anything material.

I'm not sure what the whole "corporate overlord" thing is all about...either use the services or don't. I don't see either as a significant victory for good or evil.

Comment What's the bug deal? (Score 1) 533

I have a UAV, it's a fun toy and gives me some different perspectives as a landscape photographer. I seriously don't see the issue in registering it - it costs $5 (or $0 if I'm quick) and I only have to provide my name and address, which any vaguely determined cop could already get from my credit card records if they really wanted.

Given that some people do seem to have trouble using them sensibly, mandating a record (despite the fact that no, it won't catch everyone) seems reasonable. I mean having cars be registered is pretty uncontroversial and does help with tracking down irresponsible drivers, even if it's not 100% effective. The potential for misuse seems pretty small to me.

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