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Comment: Re:Who eats doughnuts with the doughnut men? (Score 4, Interesting) 423

by stephanruby (#48909553) Attached to: Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

Pasco said. 'There's no control over who uses it. So, if you're a criminal and you want to rob a bank, hypothetically, you use your Waze.'"

What about the non-criminals who want to know where the police are so they can get some help from them? Or what about the non-criminals who want to know when police officers are blocking a side of the road, or dealing with a traffic situation? If they really don't want to be bothered, they should just drive unmarked cars, make their phone numbers unlisted, and institute some kind of paywall for their official web sites.

Instead of removing information from Waze, they should just be adding information to it with their own api. They could transmit the gps location of their marked cars in real-time (like bus systems now do with the nextbus api). When responding to a call, they should just send the person who called a real-time update of their estimated arrival. And when there is a bank robbery, they should just flood the Waze api with virtual police officers everywhere.

Not only that, but if the police could try to crowdsource the effort of looking for bank robbers, child abductors, or the obvious-looking drunk drivers, through Waze instead of overburdening the outdated the 911 system, that would help them prioritize and weed out most of the false positives in real-time.

Comment: Re:Quadcopter (Score 1) 143

by stephanruby (#48907417) Attached to: Secret Service Investigating Small Drone On White House Grounds

...if you were wanting to cause some commotion.

Or it could just have been an accident. I know I've lost the control of my drone before. In my case, it was because I had the toggle on for absolute control, so no matter how much I would twist and turn my tablet -- it would keep on going the wrong way.

And please don't tell me you wouldn't take a drone to Washington DC. Taking pictures or videos with a small drone is awesome (assuming you don't lose control of it while doing it). It lets you take shots from unusual perspectives and it differentiates your pictures and videos from the millions of boring pictures and boring videos already taken of the same monuments.

Comment: Re:Nice troll (Score 1) 539

Like everyone else reporting on this story, it completely misses the point...

Notice that this story is a repeat with always the same theme. It always includes a critic of Google going after Microsoft as well.

It's not just a troll posting this, it's most likely a paid troll doing it.

Comment: Re:Done without negative feedback (Score 2) 51

by stephanruby (#48901137) Attached to: A Call That Made History, 100 Years Ago Today

Does this mean that Alexander Graham Bell made the very long range call to his assistant in 1915, but that until 1927 it was just a bunch of garbled noises that no else but the assistant could understand?

Hopefully, AT&T will jump on that expired patent. It would be nice if AT&T allowed its cell phones to do the same thing by year 2027

Comment: Re:Other than the obligatory security theatre... (Score 1) 109

by stephanruby (#48896603) Attached to: Bomb Threats Via Twitter Partly Shut Down Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport

... just what would the fighter escort hope to accomplish?

Radio frequency jammers may be, in case the bomb is remotely detonated. I actually don't know.

I don't know if fighter jets are equipped with them, but I can tell you that some helicopters have them. That's what the secret services uses to block cell phone frequencies and other types of frequencies when the President is traveling around.

Comment: Re:Make Yourself Known (Score 1) 65

by stephanruby (#48896581) Attached to: Smartphones, Tablets and EBay Send SkyMall To Chapter 11

OK, I've always wondered who actually has ever bought anything from Skymall. I mean, we've all looked, but who has actually done the deed?

Does Skymall include the tax-free liquor? If so, yes, depending on the country I was going to.

Otherwise, no. At least not when I was flying into California. Even with the $3.30-$6.60 tax surcharge per wine gallon, I can still get my liquor much cheaper at Costco than I can get aboard the plane, or at the tax-free duty shop.

Comment: Re:Solves a different problem I'm not sure exists? (Score 1) 85

by stephanruby (#48894869) Attached to: 'Never Miss Another Delivery' - if You Have a TrackPIN (Video)

An acquaintance of mine took this concept of hospitality even further, since he usually ships packages every single day from his residential home (which is probably not even permitted because of zoning regulations).

He transformed his garage into his shipping station. He also put out a nice kitchen table and some chairs in the garage with fresh brewing coffee and visibly home-made muffins on the table itself, along with take out coffee cups in case the delivery person doesn't have time to sit down.

If you really want your delivery person to accept your cup of tea, he has to see that a fresh pot of tea has already been made, and he has to think he's not interrupting you, or putting you out (for actually saying "yes" to an offer, which sometimes are just made out of ingrained politeness instead of real intent).

Also, don't expect every delivery person to accept your cup of tea. Some people are just shy, or really too busy in that particular moment, to be able to accept anything.

Comment: Re:It's about time! (Score 1) 40

by stephanruby (#48894729) Attached to: Made-In-Nigeria Smart Cards To Extend Financial Services To the Poor

For the President's Goodluck sake (yes, Goodluck is actually his real name)...

And why is that noteworthy?

Must everyone have the same kind of names used where you live?

Yes, my previous post could have been written a little better.

That being said, semantic ambiguity happens all the time, even where I live.

As a French person living in the US who gets his news partly from American news broadcasts, I have actually been made fun of by other French people for referring to our former French prime minister as Edith Croissant (just like the crescent shaped pastry, instead of Edith Cresson, which was/is actually her real name).

Comment: Re:It's about time! (Score 1) 40

by stephanruby (#48891969) Attached to: Made-In-Nigeria Smart Cards To Extend Financial Services To the Poor

Hopefully this will make it a lot easier for those Nigerian princes and military widows to transfer those millions of dollars to me. I keep giving them my bank account info, but I'm still waiting.

I know you're joking, but the answer is a huge "No".

Take this sentence for instance which at first didn't make any sense to me:

Import tariffs heavily skewed to the advantage of imported finished cards would have made it difficult for local manufacturers to compete on cost

Apparently here, the President is patting himself on the back for having increased the import tariff to such a high level, that it has become impossible for foreign manufacturers to compete on cost. Wow! This President must be some kind of genius or something.

Not only, this new bolder protectionist strategy (which is even bolder than the previous protectionist strategy) is bound to propel Nigeria to new financial heights, but the President has zeroed in the banking industry's own dirty little secret. In banking, it's not the loans/investments, interests, or fees, that make the money. It's actually the manufacturing of the little plastic cards with a little bit of silicon in them that is the real cash cow of the banking industry.

For the President's Goodluck sake (yes, Goodluck is actually his real name), I sure hope that the WTO never catches onto his bold and unfair protectionist strategy over those little plastic cards with a little bit of silicon in them. President Goodluck may actually kill himself, if he ever found out that the WTO was against him when it came down to those little plastic cards.

Comment: Re:Well (Score 1) 206

by stephanruby (#48891321) Attached to: China Cuts Off Some VPNs

risks will be mitigated through things like usage of local services that aren't blocked in China, providing the necessary support to users in EU and so on.

You're probably right. That being said, all my developer friends in China use VPNs to access things like Github.

I know there are alternatives to Github, but really this is becoming an annoyance for them. It's not like they're artists or political activists, they're just using paid VPN access to get their job done and/or viewing the occasional Hollywood movies.

That's an entire class of people that were already pacified. There was nothing for China to gain by doing that. Blocking the free VPNs should have been more than sufficient.

Comment: Re:But is that what people are actually doing? (Score 2) 168

by stephanruby (#48891095) Attached to: Google Just Made It Easier To Run Linux On Your Chromebook

Actually, no. Most people use Crouton in developer mode. That means they run Chrome OS side-by-side with their preferred Linux variant.

It's less risky that way. Because if you replace Chrome OS completely with your own Linux distribution, you'll probably lose the small amount of free Verizon data that comes with it for three years, or the 10-fingers touch support, or the very high resolution support, that may come on some of those newer Chromebooks. Because don't believe what the Ubuntu guys say, they may claim to have designed Unity to be a touch interface, but Unity is actually just as awful for people with actual touch screens.

That being said, running in developer mode carries its own set of risks. If a Verizon repair person ever opens my Chromebook, or one of my nephews opens it, they'll probably just wipe everything by mistake (because in developer mode, the first instructions that pop up is that you should wipe the device to get out of developer mode by pressing the space bar. Yes, thanks a lot Google for having that feature, I'm glad I don't have kids thought. This means I only need to hide my Chromebook Pixel when my nephews are visiting).

And don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind wiping my Chromebook if I only had Chrome OS on there, but I've had to wipe my Chromebook so many times to get the linux environment on Crouton just right for Android development purposes, the next time I have to do it, I might have a complete melt down.

Comment: Re:Solves a different problem I'm not sure exists? (Score 2) 85

by stephanruby (#48890929) Attached to: 'Never Miss Another Delivery' - if You Have a TrackPIN (Video)

Exactly this. I can't get delivery companies to do more than sprint to the door, hang a card and sprint back to their trucks. You pretty much have to be standing on your front lawn and tackle the guy to actually get your package. If you wait for a knock or the bell to ring it's too late.

That's only because you don't have a fresh pot of coffee and a plate of freshly baked cookies waiting for your delivery person. If receiving/sending packages is even slightly important to you, you have to start treating your delivery person like Santa Claus once in a while.

After all, why do you think he doesn't take the extra twenty seconds it requires to actually deliver your package? It's probably because he has to make up for the lost twenty minutes he already spent drinking coffee and eating cookies at my place.

Comment: Re:Solves a different problem I'm not sure exists? (Score 1) 85

by stephanruby (#48890843) Attached to: 'Never Miss Another Delivery' - if You Have a TrackPIN (Video)

This is actually nothing new. Most electronics locks have had this capability for a very long time already. I've given service people their own pins, that would only work on certain days during certain hours. I've given my friends, my former roommates, and my family their own pins so they could get in whenever they wanted. The system keeps a pretty comprehensive audit trail of who comes in, so if someone gives their pin to someone else, it's usually pretty easy to figure out.

The only difference between that system and the lock I use is that this system is internet-enabled and accessible through a phone app, but then again, I haven't upgraded that lock in the last fifteen years, so such a change is to be expected. Also, there is the cost issue. These systems are not cheap. And this one being advertised slyly on Slashdot isn't cheap either.

As to the postal worker or the UPS guy, I've never given them a pin. Would they even take it if I gave it to them? I doubt it (unless I was really on very good terms with them). Even accepting the pin to a garage can lead to potential problems. What happens if I start to claim that valuable things have started missing from my garage on the day of deliveries? What happens if there is a dog in a garage that comes out when they open it? Do they run after it to put it back in there? What happens if there is a dog that comes out to bite the uniformed intruder? My UPS guy can handle dogs. He gives them little treats (with my permission of course). So my dogs start to salivate when they hear the UPS truck pull in, or see someone in a brown uniform. But my postal delivery man is still completely clueless, with his little pepper spray bottle. My dogs don't like him, or anyone else wearing a blue uniform.

When I lived in the inner city in a small apartment building, I recall the postal worker having a master key to my outer gate, so that he could access the mailboxes, but that's about it. Being able to open an outer gate is not the same thing as being able to open a garage (whether that large garage door is automated, or manual). And last I checked, city services are only decreasing these days, not increasing. Before the garbage man was willing to open my gate, open the enclosure to my garbage bins, and carry the garbage all the way to his garbage truck. These days, I have to take the garbage out to the curb myself, and the garbage man just leaves the empty garbage can near the middle of the road potentially blocking traffic.

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