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Comment: I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means (Score 3, Interesting) 317

...and the user will be made to read Facebook's suicide prevention materials.

Unless they track them down and go all clockwork-orange on them I don't really see how the user can be "made" to do anything. They can just you know, put down the phone and shoot themselves.

In fact a coworker lost a friend this way last week. Apparently he (the victim) had been talking to his friends about it for hours on FB and then killed himself. I assume this is all actually FB trying to stave off lawsuits, but I don't see that they could do more, nor that they could afford to ignore the issue.

Comment: My experience: go for it (Score 1) 734

by real gumby (#49196797) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

My case was similar to yours: my wife and I are from different countries and for work reasons we had to move to the U.S. while my wife was pregnant so our child was born there. Yes there's some paperwork but really it's mostly irrelevant since we only dig up that passport when entering the usa. And he has the right to live and work in lots of places when he grows up. Who knows what the world will look like in 50 years? It might be handy.

Comment: I don't get it (Score 1) 146

by real gumby (#49035581) Attached to: Building the Developer's Dream Keyboard

As an Emacs user since the late 70s I don't really see the appeal. It's nice that it doesn't have all that crud like a numeric keyboard or arrow keys and the like, but since I never take my hands away from the keybaord anyway those things are simply distractions. Meanwhile a smaller space bar isn't a winner.

But nice mechanical keys are good.


Comment: Re:Lest we forget (Score 0) 229

by real gumby (#48652891) Attached to: GCHQ Warns It Is Losing Track of Serious Criminals

...whereas it deported its religious nutcases to North America.

If only it were true. Australia is where the nutcases go when they consider the US intolerant. Case in point: New York-born Mel Gibson, whose nutjob dad brought his brood to Australia looking for the "freedom" to practice his (even more) loony brand of christianity...

Comment: Re:Why only to police? (Score 1) 191

It's probably worth pointing out that these are not "given" to police. They are "loaned".

Therefore police depts that accept this gear are required to pay for maintenance [...] and are forbidden from selling them [...]

And they are required by 1033 to use the equipment and (according to that wikipedia entry) are allowed to sell some of it.

Comment: Re: Really? (Score 1) 196

by real gumby (#48516875) Attached to: IoT Is the Third Big Technology 'Wave' In the Last 50 Years, Says Harvard

I'm sympathetic to the marketroids on this one. Most people think a "computer" is a thing with a keyboard and display (hence the strange confusion over whether a phone or tablet is a "computer"). And people do understand that a network is a way for computers to talk to each other.

But the idea that you might have a microprocessor in a light bulb is plain weird to most people, hence the new name. And at least it's better than "the washing machine network". Now if only they would turn their thinking caps to the part where you actually think up uses for networked frogs that normal people care about....

As for "cloud", yeah, that's a perfectly good technical term stretched and abused by marketards. At least it bears some resemblance to its original meaning (unlike, say, "broadband", much less "narrowband" -- you mean "baseband" you fuckwits).

Comment: Re:obviously they should track the sun (Score 1) 327

by real gumby (#48512151) Attached to: You're Doing It All Wrong: Solar Panels Should Face West, Not South

Actually, trackers are pretty expensive in $/W, and this is even after you take advantage of the increased yield (you're paying money to avoid the cosine effect so you better generate more power than the cost of your tracker). If you're going to do this you might as well use higher yield panels, which again increases capital cost, thus...

The economics of PV solar went this way:

  1. First the panels were expensive so the cost of installation was not a big deal. Thus plenty of 2 axis (typically azimuth/elivation) tracker companies sprung up to optimize the produced electrons/m2.
  2. Then the $/W fell below a dollar (panels were so lucrative a huge amount of factory capacity came on line in China and drove the cost down, just like the DRAM business). Now the cost of installation (still a couple of bucks back in 2012 IIRC) was the dominant cost.
  3. At this pont the panels are so cheap that cutting installation by 2/3 and just putting in more panels was cheaper than a tracker.
  4. Plus trackers had op ex (maintenance) much more than a fixed installation

For a while single axis tracking was worth it, but the price of PV has come down so far it no longer matters.

There are specialized applications (mainly where space is required, or concentration can benefit in other ways) where tracking is worth it and smoe people are still at it. Since the tracking motor itself is expensive, one strategy was to make a robot that went along moving each panel one by one. (QBotix). I don't know how well that has worked out.

Comment: Not really sure why this means they're not snobs (Score 1) 376

by real gumby (#48445587) Attached to: Blame America For Everything You Hate About "Internet Culture"

They simply foolishly don't fear our feline overlords. While Americans practice, training themselves to recognize the enemy.

Seriously, having lived in both France and the USA: most people in France will ignore the critics but yes, books and culture are seen as more important to people then they are in the USA. Being a public intellectual is considered a reasonable and high profile job.

Note I said "seen as more important" -- don't forget we're talking about the country that invented celebrity culture and "celeb journos", and in which the most popular restaurant is McDonalds. Nevertheless, the French are anti- a lot of things, but being intellectual isn't one of them.

Comment: Re:So, it is hard and flexible? (Score 4, Funny) 203

by real gumby (#48444305) Attached to: Corning Reveals Gorilla Glass 4, Promises No More Broken IPhones

Please tell us how they achieved this feat or materials engineering.

Oh you silly slashdotter. Sure, you may have studied materials science and engineering, but do you have the real world experience? In the modern corporation it's all about teamwork. Well-managed teams can do more than any one person possibly could. In this case, the engineers make the glass hard. Then marketing adds the flexibility. See? Teamwork. Oh yeah, and management makes it all happen and does extra janatorial tasks like mopping up the excess bucks.

(Actually, cynicism aside, it's simply that hardness and flexibility are orthogonal axes in materials science).

Administration: An ingenious abstraction in politics, designed to receive the kicks and cuffs due to the premier or president. -- Ambrose Bierce