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Comment: Re:Everyone loses (Score 1) 281

by Space cowboy (#47947433) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

I live in CA too, and pay similar taxes. I don't have a problem with the taxes.

When I came to the USA, I was taken aback by just how money-orientated the churches are. I'm irreligious, but I attended church as a kid, and it was actually about the message, about community, and definitely not about the money. Church officials (rectors and curates) are pretty poor in the UK, at least where I grew up - they have housing provided for them, and they live on a meagre salary. They are expected to work long hours for low pay. I don't get that sense when I drive past a church in San Jose that has acres (literally) of parking space, flashy electronic signs, and is located in prime real-estate area. It's very different, trust me.

I've lived here in CA for almost a decade, as I said, it's been great. There's been a couple of local school-shootings in the last year or so. Understand that from a Brit's point of view *anyone* getting shot *ever* is big news. National, prime-time TV news, possibly for days. For it to be sufficiently commonplace that it doesn't even make it past local headlines is ... disturbing.

Your point about talking to people is a good one: if I talk to people from outside the US, our views tend to resonate, but if I talk to people who are US-born, there's way less agreement. I'm not sure if it's because this is "normal" to those born here, that they just haven't experienced anything else, that they think somehow "it couldn't happen to me", or what (sometimes it's definitely a case of USA! USA! USA!). Definitely there is a difference in outlook between natives and foreigners.

One more thing: I'm not trying to paint the UK as some sort of panacea - it's not, by a long chalk. Neither am I US-bashing for the sake of it - the above is just my observations over time. The UK has it's own issues no doubt, but bottom line: even as a white male living in an affluent area in the USA, I feel safer in the UK. And I definitely feel my son would be safer at school there. This is the fact that's weighing on me more and more.

Simon

Comment: Re:Everyone loses (Score 1) 281

by Space cowboy (#47947089) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

Having lived in the US for a decade now, I'm missing the UK more and more.

  - A real non-half-assed health service, that provides long-term care without exception
  - A dearth of mass-murders, especially school-shootings
  - A police service which uses policing-by-consent rather than by-fear
  - A university system that doesn't do its best to keep you in debt for life
  - A foreign policy that doesn't make them hated around the world
  - An attitude that doesn't revolve around "why should my taxes pay for you, just because you desperately need help" ?
  - A church that isn't entirely based around making money for the "reverend" and isn't overwhelmingly politicised.
  - Sensible views on evolution, science in general, abortion, gay marriage, and womens rights.
  - And of course, the marked lack of guns in the general populace. An armed society is a polite society my arse. It's a *fearful* society.

As I said, I've been here for a decade now, and I work for a big company with great perks. It's been good for me, but now that I have a kid, the school-shootings thing is getting more and more worrisome. There's literally nothing I can do to prevent some moron raiding his mother's arsenal and killing my kid if that's how he wants to end his life.

The money is good, the people I meet are friendly, the weather is nice, and that used to be sufficient. But as time goes by, it's seeming more and more like a Faustian bargain.

Simon.

Comment: I do want digital albums (Score 2) 229

by steveha (#47946501) Attached to: U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music'

I really do want digital albums, complete with very high resolution art, full lyrics, liner notes, and extras.

I'd actually like to have the ability to buy the "full album" that would include video files of each music video from the album, "B" sides from old 45 releases of songs from the album, backstage videos, interviews with the artist, whatever.

The old album covers from the 70's, the ones that were supposed to be on large vinyl record jackets... I want to be able to put those up on a large flatscreen TV while the album is playing. Preferably not just a scan from a CD printing, but the original image scanned in high resolution. I'd like to be able to see all the details in Hipgnosis images like the jacket art to The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway or Wish You Were Here. (Hmm, someone made an animated GIF for that last one... heck, I'd like it both ways in the digital album, original and new animated version.)

Of course, I want this all using open file formats (FLAC, JPEG, HTML). But since nobody else got around to doing this, Apple is doing it first, and of course with Apple it will be proprietary, opaque, and likely patented somehow for maximum lockin.

I don't think this will revolutionize music, but it really is something I want.

Comment: Re:Are you even aware of SystemD works? (Score 1) 356

by Arker (#47940465) Attached to: Torvalds: No Opinion On Systemd
"With systemd, setup/startup/stop/teardown responsibilities are concentrated with PID1 and it's helpers.
Before, you'd have the same concept spread into a dozen of different systems, each only doing part of that functionnality."

Which is exactly how it should be.

PID1 only needs a small subset of those capabilities to do its job. And because it is PID1, because everything after has to rely on it, it's essential that it be well behaved and stable. Therefore it is essential that it have only the required set of capabilities and absolutely nothing else should be added or linked to it.

Other things can and should be done by other systems, not concatenated together and poured into PID1 where an error can bring the house down.

Comment: You Kids Get Off My Lawn (Score 5, Interesting) 271

by Greyfox (#47935719) Attached to: Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance
I remember the original Saccharin scare in the '70's, and several of the hippy chicks in my extended family warning me and my parents off artificially sweetened "poison." Yeah, they actually said "poison." Hippy chicks are like that. Fast forward to the late '90's and the food companies start pushing the idea that "No, they're fine! Really!" As annoying as the hippy chicks are, I'm more inclined to trust them over some corporation whose entire profit-driven reason for existing is to turn me into a fat fuck. The guys who own them probably also own the pharmaceutical companies that make the drugs that try to fix all the side effects of being a fat fuck, too. That's a win-win for them, right there.

Ultimately if you want to solve this problem, don't eat sugar OR artificial sweeteners. Don't put anything that could be found in a vending machine in your body. Good dietary tip right there. If everyone in the world just stopped drinking soft drinks, that'd be an enormous win for humanity's overall health. Sure, it would destroy a few of the most powerful companies on the planet in the process, but you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

Comment: Re:Wait... (Score 1) 305

by Greyfox (#47935587) Attached to: FCC Chairman: Americans Shouldn't Subsidize Internet Service Under 10Mbps
If I recall correctly, most of that is coming from the universal service fund. It's designed so that some farmer who's the only guy for 40-50 miles can get phone service at all. The last mile problem gets MUCH worse when that last mile is 50 miles.

It this country, we have an expectation that phone service will just work everywhere, that you can turn on your tap and get drinkable water, that you can turn on the lights and they'll always work and that you can get on the road and drive anywhere. Out west, none of those things has ever been guaranteed. I can see a future where "We the People" make it increasingly difficult to pay for the infrastructure that makes these things possible. There have been several instances in the news recently where some city or other can't (or won't) provide drinkable water to its people. In other "Advanced, industrialized" countries (like India,) daily blackouts are a thing in a lot of places. We only avoid that because we had the foresight to build our infrastructure. Once all that falls to shit (Which it's doing rapidly) it's going to be a LOT more expensive to get back to this state than it would have been if we'd just maintained it in the first place. I'm getting older and will probably die before the country REALLY starts to collapse, but you kids might want to start getting used to farm living now. It looks like that's all the previous couple of generations is going to leave you.

Comment: Crawl, *then* walk (Score 4, Insightful) 119

by Space cowboy (#47934209) Attached to: Scientists Twist Radio Beams To Send Data At 32 Gigabits Per Second

Yeah, I could do with one of those office-space meme's right now.

If all the nay-sayers faux-gasping at the extreme length of 2.5m could shut up, that'd be great.

I'm not sure what people expect these days - this is a major achievement - whether it *can* be extended, or whether it *will* be extended would be different achievements. You could almost apply Jackson's rules of optimisation to this (refresher below) - in that first you *do* it, and only then (if you're an expert) do you try to do it *well*.

Simon

Jackson's rules of optimisation: "The First Rule of Program Optimization: Don't do it. The Second Rule of Program Optimization (for experts only!): Don't do it yet."

Comment: Re:You want a ChromeBook (Score 4, Informative) 322

by steveha (#47933371) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Remote Support For Disconnected, Computer-Illiterate Relatives

Agreed on the ChromeBook.

I'm not sure about making a ChromeBook use dial-up, so the solution is to somehow get a WiFi router on dialup.

I think there used to be WiFi routers that could manage a modem directly, but there isn't much call for them these days so I doubt you can find one.

You could set up a computer with Linux just to manage the dialup, and plug that into the router's WAN port. But maybe you can just customize a router to do what you need:

Buy a router that is well supported by open firmware and has USB ports. Install the open firmware, login as root, then customize the router to do the dialup with a USB modem.

In the past, I have used TomatoUSB with an Asus RT-N16 router (costs about $80 new). It was a pleasure to work with. The router gives you about 24 MB of usable storage using onboard flash memory, but you can trivially plug in a USB flash drive and have gigabytes of storage if you need it. But you can probably set up the needed scripts to manage the modem in the 24 MB space.

There are newer routers with bigger onboard flash if you prefer. I only mention the Asus RT-N16 because I have actually worked with one, and it's very inexpensive. And it has plenty of CPU speed and RAM for this application.

The above solution is cheaper than using a computer to manage the dialup, and should be bulletproof. Also your relatives are unlikely to mess with it.

P.S. Hmm, I did a quick Google search and there are still routers with dialup support. Here's one for about $150... I've never used one so I don't know how well it works.
http://www.greatarbor.com/products.html#GAC-252

Comment: Re:Simple set of pipelined utilties! (Score 0) 356

by Arker (#47932223) Attached to: Torvalds: No Opinion On Systemd
"My data are important to me. I shouldn't need to buy a server to prevent my data from being corrupted."

But you do nonetheless. My current machine was bought for one reason - price - and lacks it. When I've built my own systems in the past I have always used it. Scoping out parts to build a new one, I see the price of sane memory has only gotten further out of line than I remember. :(

This is one aspect of a market where the buyer does not understand the product well enough to make intelligent choices. If computer buyers understood the technology, at least 70% of them would insist on ECC, and as a result economy of scale would have eliminated the price premium long ago. Instead, manufacturers continue to skimp a few pennies on the RAM by default, creating an economy of scale advantage in the other direction, which only reënforces the bad allocation and ensures it continues.

Instead of ECC memory they should call it 'sanity-checking memory.' Maybe then people would understand what it is enough to realize they want it. But since no one in particular stands to make a windfall by doing it, no one promotes it.

Are Matt's Robot Hexapods Creepy or Cute? (Video) 35

Posted by Roblimo
from the you-put-your-right-foot-in-you-put-your-right-foot-out-you-pick-up-a-human-and-shake-it-all-about dept.
University of Arizona grad student Matt Bunting doesn't come across as a mad scientist. That's a very good thing, because his robot hexapod creations are easy to imagine crawling across the USA in large hordes, devouring everything in their path and using all the electricity they come across to feed their Queen Hexapod, a 3-D printer mounted on a hexapod chassis that turns everything fed to it into more robots. Luckily, the real life Matt is an affable (self-described) "Roboticist, Electrical Engineer, Musician, and Rock Crawler" who freely admits that at this time his robotic creations have no practical application whatsoever. This is probably true, except for the fact that they can liven up a music video like mad, as you can see on YouTube in Pedals Music Video (featuring REAL robots) . Our little video is a lot simpler, of course. In it, we interview Matt and he tells us what he's up to with his robots, and gives some 'how to get started with robotics' advice for budding young engineers. (Alternate Video Link)

Comment: Re:Simple set of pipelined utilties! (Score 0) 356

by Arker (#47930659) Attached to: Torvalds: No Opinion On Systemd
I am saying that its design sacrifices robustness in favor of performance and features at every turn. It might be more crashy, but the bigger problem is it ensures you have no usable logs when it crashes. And it doesnt have to be a crash for it to be troublesome, for a single example in the quest for shorter boot times it starts services without making sure that dependencies are actually working - that normally wont cause the entire system to crash but so what?

Still not what I want on my system. I dont really care how long it takes to boot, I just want to make sure that when it's finished it's really finished. Systemd in so many ways copies windows concepts instead - like how they make it supposedly boot faster - by rushing along to draw a GUI before things are actually ready to use.

Not saying systemd is as bad as windows - and the massive improvements in boot speed are not all illusory! but they do come at the cost of reliability and correctness, and that's simply not a good tradeoff for people using the OS in a traditional manner.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI

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