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Comment: Re:Accessibility is still a sad joke! (Score 1) 72

by MisterSquid (#48947615) Attached to: How Blind Programmers Write Code

Please correct me if I'm wrong but OSX has no high contrast - white on black themes. Also I couldn't find an easy/comfortable way of using the magnifier, I greatly prefer Win8's magnifier - it has a few limitations but I found OSX's one annoying.

From your descriptions of how you use of Windows accessibility features, it sounds like you've figured out highly efficient usage patterns and your facility with navigating the UI seems (to me) a bit higher than even many expert users. So, manipulating a different set of accessibility interface may not be comfortable or as useful for you, which totally makes sense. To answer your question about contrast:

OS X does have a separate slider and checkbox for contrast.

I don't use these regularly so can't comment on their usefulness. When I manipulate them, they do noticeably affect the display contrast, so much so that when the contrast slider is high enough, font edges of text and other UI elements start to wash out.

OS X does not implement themes and, like you, I would be ALL OVER a system-supported dark/professional theme. (With the latest version of OS X, Apple has introduced an extensions framework which opens a path to vendor-supported UI theming. But even if this is the direction OS X is headed, I would not expect custom themes for at least a couple more years.)

I have good corrected vision, so I don't use the magnifier regularly. I occasionally do fiddly UI work and it works OK enough for me in that instance. It has some customizability but not a whole lot.

On the customization front, I use a third-party piece of software that I sort of think of as my personal API for the UI (as well as much of the command line and UNIX layer). That software is Keyboard Maestro. It is definitely worth checking out if you regularly use a Mac-like machine ; ).

Comment: Re:Accessibility is still a sad joke! (Score 1) 72

by MisterSquid (#48947309) Attached to: How Blind Programmers Write Code

Not trying to troll (honest), but you but have you looked into Macintosh systems? The visual accessibility features are invoked at the level of the graphics layer (Quartz, I believe) so there's no futzing with colors as such.

For example, inverting colors (which is how I compute 99% of the time) cannot be overridden by third-party software. (The current trend for "professional" UIs, which avoids the black-text-on-white-background usability nightmare of most software and websites, makes me glad I can toggle this setting using a keyboard shortcut).

For your use case, there is an adjustable contrast setting that can be customized to the point of making your computer look like a Warhol painting if you want (thankfully, there is also the option to desaturate colors so the high-contrast display all black and white).

If you absolutely have to have particular Windows or Linux software, you could run those OS'es as VM guests, which is not ideal but at least you'll have access to the accessibility features in your host OS.

One of the things Apple gets better than many other software companies is accessibility. It's not perfect, but in my experience it's very good.


Comment: Re: Different markets... (Score 1) 383

by MisterSquid (#48947127) Attached to: How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft

Intuitively? When I hit the "home" or "end" keys in terminal, I expect them to go to the home or end of the current command line I'm on, not to the top or bottom of the terminal. Why would I want the top or bottom of the terminal?

"Home" or "end" keys? Please.

Pro user tips: Ctrl-A gets you to the beginning of the line and Crtl-E to the line's end. This also works in web-based text input fields like Slashdot's and Google's (which may be a product of using Mac-compatible web browsers).


The Quantum Experiment That Simulates a Time Machine 138

Posted by timothy
from the already-been-done dept.
KentuckyFC writes One of the extraordinary features of quantum mechanics is that one quantum system can simulate the behaviour of another that might otherwise be difficult to create. That's exactly what a group of physicists in Australia have done in creating a quantum system that simulates a quantum time machine. Back in the early 90s, physicists showed that a quantum particle could enter a region of spacetime that loops back on itself, known as a closed timelike curve, without creating grandfather-type paradoxes in which time travellers kill their grandfathers thereby ensuring they could never have existed to travel back in time in the first place. Nobody has ever built a quantum closed time-like curve but now they don't have to. The Australian team have simulated its behaviour by allowing two entangled photons to interfere with each other in a way that recreates the behaviour of a single photon interacting with an older version of itself. The results are in perfect agreement with predictions from the 1990s--there are no grandfather-type paradoxes. Interestingly, the results are entirely compatible with relativity, suggesting that this type of experiment might be an interesting way of reconciling it with quantum mechanics.

Comment: Re:this is a mountain out of a mole hill. (Score 1) 374

by evilviper (#48929211) Attached to: Why Screen Lockers On X11 Cannot Be Secure

I use i3lock, which would mean attackers would have to find a way to get into /usr/bin to usurp my locker

Umm... No. Changing your PATH, setting LD_PRELOAD= or one of many other envs, changing Xsesson scripts or your WM's menu entries... Any of those would do just fine.

You also missed the entire point of the article, that an X11 screen-locker is just a normal user application like any other, a black image over top and only just TRIES to steal focus and input.

Comment: Re:So what will this accomplish? (Score 2, Insightful) 154

by danheskett (#48915433) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

Why is this rated 5? Yes, paying drivers more *might* slightly increase supply but my guess is that the number of drivers is somewhat

You guess? Well lets just throw out the Iron Clad Law of Supply & Demand, on which almost all of the worlds productive economy is based, because you guess.

fixed so without also charging passengers more you do nothing on the demand side. The point of demand pricing is to reduce demand
so that you don't overwhelm the relatively fixed supply. If your goal is to always have cars available, then increasing the price while
paying the drivers the same would actually be a better solution than increasing the pay while charging the same but that would also be

You cannot look at one side of the equation.

When demand is up, there are only two options. Option number one is shortages (of supply). Option number two is that supply must increase.
When supply is down, there are only two options. Option number one is shortages (of demand). Option number two is that supply must decrease.

In either case, the solution is price elasticity. When the price drops, because supply is too high or demand is too low, drivers will drop out of the market. When the price raises, because supply is too low or demand is too high, drivers will enter the market.

Uber has a flexible work force, and it is no way fixed. They also posses 100% more information about the market and their drivers than you do, or the AG does.

This is the case of government using consumer protection laws in a way that will hurt consumers. Economics and the market are not friendly, but they do produce desirable outcomes. If the desirable outcome is fairness, than what the government and AG are doing will produce a fair outcome - everyone regardless of ability to pay will have an equal chance of getting or not getting a car, based on random luck, your skin color, or whatever else motivates you.

If the outcome is to provide as many rides possible, this requires a market with supply and demand efficiency. By curbing supply efficiency by limiting price elasticity, you provide fewer rides than the market will optimally support. If you are frequent driver, you know that by going to where the demand is, to when the demand is, will produce more and more profitable rides. If you are a rider, you know that by relying on Uber during exceptionally busy times, you will only be able to get a ride by paying far more than you would otherwise.

This is really a great case of the nanny government stepping into a situation which is drastically over it's head, in the name of "fairness". Fairness is not an economic goal, it's a social goal, and it's stupid to try to enforce a social goal like this on the very tail end of the policy stack.

Comment: Re:Popcorn time! (Score 2) 376

by MisterSquid (#48892179) Attached to: Behind the MOOC Harassment Charges That Stunned MIT

Look at the actual crime reporting figures, locally rape convictions stand at around 8 per 100,000. Now let's get crazy and say only one in twenty rapes and or sexual assault charges result in a conviction. Let's get even crazier and say one in twenty people who are raped even report the matter. That leaves us with 3200 per 100,000, or about one in thirty. Still almost an order of magnitude smaller than feminist figures and almost certainly still a gigantic exaggeration.

You're missing the dimension of time which crime statistics do include (you didn't include a link, btw). If your hypothesized/extrapolated numbers for rape is multiplied for the same population over a period of, say, 10 years and presuming each year produces new victims, that would mean than a relatively stable population base of 100,000 would yield 32,000 rapes.

It's not like rape (or any crime) only happens in a given population for only one year. People have lifespans and the number of victims accumulate over time, increasing the percentage of people who fall victim.

Your mistake was so easy to catch that if I didn't know better I'd say someone such a miss by someone who's looking so carefully at the data probably has an axe to grind.

Then again, maybe I don't know better and I'll say it anyway.

Comment: Re:Not about code (Score 1) 307

by danheskett (#48878609) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

When Apple's prices change (actually, has that happened in the last few years? I think the price has been steady for a while) the market doesn't reconfigure around that price.

Apple has effectively raised prices. The Iphone 5 and 6 lines both have less stuff (namely, storage) for the same amount of money. This is a price increase in everything but optics. While prices should be declining, they are actually stagnant (while adding higher price points).

Apple's control extends only to their own product

No, I don't think this is true. Cell phone sales slow and crawl for all carriers and brands before a new Apple product announcement or release. Additionally, what's unusual, is that typically if there is a constrained supply of a product, some of the unfilled demand bleeds off into other competing products. Like, around Xmas, you go to the store, Toy X is gone off the shelf. Do you give no present? Nope. You substitute a competing product. There is surprisingly little of this in cell phones. One good theory why is because of platform lock-in. In this way, Apple is able to constrain the ability to switch to a competing product effectively. It produces a magnifying effect to their market share. This is very similar to the tying claims that Microsoft go in trouble with in the 90's.

If Apple disappeared tomorrow, the world would still have smartphone manufacturers.

This is true, but not that relevant. There's always another dog.

The only way this monopoly argument could hold water is if we decide that Android and the handsets it runs on should be considered a completely different category of product.

I don't think this is true. Android is not a thing you buy, just like iOS is not something you buy. You buy the phone, with the OS. So for comparison purposes, you can't say it's "Android v. iOS". It has to be handsets for the iPhone. Until you can reasonably buy phone OS's, really, there is no such thing as a market for Android the platform. Since the platform is so fragmented, switching between Android platforms is non-trivial.

In this regard iPhone is a huge market leader and has a greater share than competing products. And that gulf is wide enough that in other industries, combined with the market power, there is a reasonable case to be made that Apple has monopoly control of the smartphone market in the US.

Comment: Re:Not about code (Score 1) 307

by danheskett (#48876779) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

As people are always delighted to point out, Apple's market share is by no means the majority. Apple isn't a utility.

I agree, but only for now. In the future, if they are running a communication service over a public utility (i.e. regulated internet access), it certainly seems iMessage is exactly like other communication services over regulated infrastructure, namely phone service. Carriers can't lock out each other from similiar over the air services, like SMS, for the same reason.

BlackBerry missed the boat about a dozen times at this point and that's their fault, not Apple's.
Yeah, BB is totally irrelevant to the meat of the discussion. They are screwed.

As far as Apple and monopoly power, it's an interest case. A company does not need to have X% of a market to have a monopoly. Companies have monopoly power with much smaller shares. In some industries, a company can have monopoly power with even 20% of the market. In terms of Smartphones, it's often seen as "Google v. Apple". But really, Google is just a small player. Just because Android runs on many smartphones, does not mean that Google is a direct actor in the market. Apple competes with partnerships of Google/Handset maker. If you were to look at share in this light, I think Apple is by far the largest player. (But I can't find any numbers. Last I found was in mid-2014, with Apple around 40% and Google around 45% and everyone else doing the rest).

The key elements of Apple's monopoly power are there though: they can effectively set prices in the market, they have the ability to raise or lower production to affect prices and availability of the good, they can suppress or increase the market by withholding or releasing products. This last one is important.

This is an interesting time to see what happens with Apple. The practices and behavior of Apple right now are not far off from where MS got itself into trouble in the 1990's. Especially with regards to bundling, tying, and price controls.

Comment: Re:Please develop for my dying platform! (Score 1) 307

by danheskett (#48876647) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

Yeah, it's close to those examples.

The phone analogy almost fits, in that after the phone monopoly was ended, they really did have to open up the service to any phone. The difference being a phone has no operating system (at the time), it was just an electro-mechnical device operating to common standard.

The wording is just really bizarre. Downloading a service.

Comment: Re:Please develop for my dying platform! (Score 1) 307

by danheskett (#48875645) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

"Net Neutrality means mandating that developers and services must create something that works on your dying platform? Does that mean that NetFlix will have to make sure it works with Symbian too? How about PocketPC 2003?"

I am not sure that's what he is saying.

Partly because he uses phrases like "downloading the service".

Comment: Not about code (Score 0, Troll) 307

by danheskett (#48875639) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

"Neutrality must be mandated at the application and content layer if we truly want a free, open and non-discriminatory internet. All wireless broadband customers must have the ability to access any lawful applications and content they choose, and applications/content providers must be prohibited from discriminating based on the customer’s mobile operating system."

The application layer doesn't necessarily mean code, it means making the application layer, as well as the content layer, available to outside developers, to facilitate a non-discriminatory policy of open content access.

I think there was a big leap made here from "open access" to "force app developers to write code for Blackberry".

Chen has a strong point Apple's iMessage service, which is proprietary and closed. It is odd to imagine iMessage running over regulated, public utility internet access while at the same time using patents and copyright and trademark law to prevent interoperability. If Apple is going to run a communications service over a public utility, and use monopoly tactics like lock-in and tying, why should that be permitted?

ASHes to ASHes, DOS to DOS.