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Comment: Re:Another casualty of the War on Drugs (Score 1) 450

by stephenpeters (#47030287) Attached to: Robbery Suspect Tracked By GPS and Killed

I'm entirely happy that drugs such as Flunitrazepam (AKA Rohypnol, roofies etc.) with limited use outside of hospital inpatients are restricted to prescription only. While it is reasonable to desire freedom to put what you want into your own body it is also reasonable for society to restrict some classes of drug that are often used to assist with date rape and other crimes. This is not statism and is quite different from the control of recreational drugs. Regardless of where the recreational drug debate ends up there will always be some restricted drugs.

Comment: Re:Funny (Score 1) 693

by stephenpeters (#46750891) Attached to: The GNOME Foundation Is Running Out of Money

So we have a number of issues that caused the problem. So we are working on improving them. Again, this is not some kind of disaster

I disagree this has all the makings of a PR disaster. As Gnome has of late not been winning any friends with it's treatment of end users and developers a cashflow issue caused by mismanagement is the last thing the foundation needs. Especially as this issue could easily be reported as wilful misuse of foundation funds by a misandrist board director regardless of the truth of the situation.

I can't give a complete explanation at the moment as what I tell the public should go through the board

I would advise explaining exactly what happend fully and frankly as soon as possible to prevent the public reaching the wrong conclusion

Comment: Re:Funny (Score 1) 693

by stephenpeters (#46750665) Attached to: The GNOME Foundation Is Running Out of Money

Yes, but we are only managing the program. We are not spending money on it.

Then why have you hit a cashflow crisis because of it?

The current situation is actually a borrowing situation because the OPW program was not getting payments consistency. Since GNOME foundation is running the program on behalf of OPW, they were on the hook to making sure the interns get paid.

Then I go back to my prior point "The GNOME Foundation will work to further the goal of the GNOME project: to create a computing platform for use by the general public that is completely free software" Funding gender outreach activities has nothing to do with creating, supporting or promoting free software. If your outreach activities cause a cashflow crisis for your main reason for existence then perhaps they are ill advised. Perhaps the Gnome organisation should simplifiy it's activities to concentrate on the software which is it's sole reason for existing.

But it's not normal tha GNOME is paying OPW interns

Yet it is doing just that which seems to have caused the funding issue

Being part of OPW is just as good as being part of GSOC

Which ignores that GSOC that is funded by a rich multinational company and not a software foundation that sought donations for the stated aim of developing software and not outreach programs.

Comment: Re:Funny (Score 1) 693

by stephenpeters (#46745369) Attached to: The GNOME Foundation Is Running Out of Money

There is nothing wrong with our priorities.

Yes there is. Quoting the Gnome foundation charter from the wiki "The GNOME Foundation will work to further the goal of the GNOME project: to create a computing platform for use by the general public that is completely free software" Funding gender outreach activities has nothing to do with creating, supporting or promoting free software. Despite having heavily used Gnome software in the past I would not now be willing to provide funds to an organisation which spends at least a quarter of its revenue on activites which are irrelevant to its stated aims.

Comment: Re:Blame GNOME 3 (Score 1) 693

by stephenpeters (#46744921) Attached to: The GNOME Foundation Is Running Out of Money

But not GNOME. Sorry guys. I guess this is what happens when you alienate your users and let "user experience"-crap-level developers infiltrate your project.

I think this is what happens when a project lets directors with an axe to grind onto the board. While I hated Gnome three throughout the couple of months I used it I would like to see the project continue. I currently use E17 and will probably compile a newer Enlightenment build sometime in my copious spare time. I abandoned Enlightenment a decade ago but it seems to be going through a resurgence at the moment. Gnome might be passing through a rough patch right now but it may be great again at some point in the future.

Like the parent poster I could easily donate these days but I won't if the project wastes money on an activist directors pet project. If I am going to donate money to a free software project I would much prefer to see the money spent on software development, software support, and software promotion.

Comment: Re:Disconnect the Updates (Score 3, Insightful) 194

by stephenpeters (#46003829) Attached to: Adware Vendors Buying Chrome Extensions, Injecting Ads

Otherwise, Chrome is dead in the water.

I wonder how you come to this conclusion. We live in a world where users don't want to be interrupted with mindless things like updating software. Combined with Microsoft's militant approach to harassing users if their computers aren't configured to auto update, and the general consensus that many user facing apps now auto update and the trend is moving towards doing it silently I don't see this affecting Chrome's user base one bit.

If this isn't rapidly nipped in the bud Chrome will soon be known as a hotbed of Malware, credit card fraud, bank fraud and porn ads to general users. Once it has this reputation it will be very difficult to get users to continue using it.

Comment: Re:Freakin' Riders. (Score 1) 767

by stephenpeters (#45963337) Attached to: Incandescent Bulbs Get a Reprieve

And compared to CFLs, LEDs are superior - instant on (80% brightness instantly, 100% within a few seconds), no mercury, practically solid state (the only hard part is a switching power supply).

I am part way through renovating a property in the UK and have used LED fittings thoughout. The switching power supply does seem to be the difficult part for manufacurers of LED lighting in the UK, and is also the main difference between the expensive fittings and the cheap ones. Most of the lights available have broadly similar LED light units consiting of one or more high power LEDs attached to a large heat sink. Power supply quality varies wildly with some manufacturers using what looks like the smallest cheapest PSU they could find on AliExpress. With more and more companies introducing products into the market I would recommend going to actually look at a light in a shop making sure you take one out of the box to see if a decent PSU is attached before buying anything. PSU failure will probably be the largest cause of LED light mortality.

Comment: Re:Talk to your doctor about BRAIN WORMS (Score 1) 108

by stephenpeters (#44571719) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Printing Options For Low-Resource Environments?

Yeah, actually, just google for "battery powered printer". Amazon sells them. But I strongly suggest you fix your infrastructure problem (reliable power) before you increase your reliance on it as you are proposing...

I have had to support battery powered printers on building sites. They all suck in this environment as dusty environments damage the print engine mechanism and printheads. Most models of battery powered printer are inkjets designed to be lightweight and portable. The print engine is generally not designed for a high lifetime page count and is unlikely to last in OP's situation even without dust. Consumables will be expensive for this type of printer and availabilty is unlikely to be long term as manufacturers do not expect these devices to last. These printers are also extremely sensitive to paper condition and quality. In my experience paper cockled by humidity will not feed. Dusty environments cause feed rollers to fail sooner than usual. Feed roller spares for short lifespan printers are often difficult to obtain even from the specialist suppliers I have access to.

Comment: Re:Should be fining the contractor, not the client (Score 1) 186

Except they didn't work for free: they worked for the salvage value. I can't really see how the low value of the contract proves fault.

I can. I have quoted for this type of work in the UK before. I went to have a look at the kit first before quoting and did so knowing that the job was more complicated that it initially appeared. The people wanting to dispose of the equipment wanted to dispose of it through an auction house specialising in selling unwanted corporate assets in bulk. They wanted to get rid of it quickly and as they did not understand what needed to be done thought the job would be fast and cheap.

I found racks of working servers, disk arrays, standard PC's as well as lots of dead equipment, individual drives and older UNIX equipment. Most of the kit could be wiped with standard utilities, but the UNIX equipment and dismantled kit would take much more time so my quote allowed for this. The company chose to go with a very cheap data deletion specialist who used a minimum wage employee armed with a PC wiping CD. Of course this would not boot anything not running an Intel processor so they simply didn't bother with that kit. It didn't have drivers for disk arrays so these were missed too. As the amount paid didn't allow sufficient time to connect up to all of the drives not in a PC they didn't bother with these either. All of the kit went straight to auction from there.

I read the report from the company wiping the machines which stated that their deletion routines were successful in the summary then went on to explain in highly technical language what had not been done and why in the rest of the report. Managers would be highly unlikely to understand what had not been done from this, but would probably assume that the kit was sent out in a clean state. The contractor had actually stated what had been wiped and what had been missed, just not in an understandable format and so were probably not liable for a data breach. I pointed out that they had not wiped any of the UNIX kit and had sent a complete readable set of financial data to be sold at auction. I have yet to hear back from them.

Managers simply don't understand this area and are easy prey for the unscrupulous. They will usually choose the cheapest quote.

Comment: Re:I don't believe this is new (Score 1) 618

by stephenpeters (#31997022) Attached to: New Russian Weapon Hides In Shipping Container

Why bother defending the launch ship? If you buy a container ship near the end of it's life and fill it with ISO containers with a couple of missile containers on top you can easily get close enough to a target without looking suspicious. Once you have fired all the missiles at a target it doesn't matter if someone sinks the expendable container ship. If you can afford to buy a modern missile system the cost of an old expendable container ship should not pose any real problems. You even get plausible deniability as a bonus.

Comment: Re:Terrible Idea (Score 1) 409

by stephenpeters (#31996178) Attached to: Obama To Decide On New Weapons

Why? Who are you realistically going to strike with it.

This is an interesting question.

It seems unlikely that the US is going to face an opponent of equivalent size and military capability in the foreseeable future. States such as Iraq that fight the US in a conventional war will be rapidly beaten by the US military, however the US faces the possibility of war with non state enemies in the near to medium future. The failure to defeat Al Qaeda can be seen as an example of this. If future foes are not affiliated with any one obvious state just what is the US going to fire missiles at? If future enemies are operating from several countries at once is the US going to start wars with all of them?

Combatants from the last century were easy to spot because they mainly dressed in combat fatigues and used equipment and vehicles that were obviously military in nature. Now the US faces asymmetric warfare techniques such as IED's, car bombs, suicidal aircraft hijacks and crude biological attacks their military seems more and more impotent. The development of missile systems such as the new Club K container missile system is going to make it much harder for the US to find a target for these new fast missile systems as it will not be obvious who launched them.

Comment: Flying's no fun anymore (Score 1) 300

by stephenpeters (#31965584) Attached to: Man Put On "No-Fly List" While In Air To NYC

Yeah, when I was a kid, flying was an adventure and a lot of fun. Now it's a PITA. It's been several years since I seriously considered a vacation that involved flying. I'd rather drive. If I have to fly to do it, odds are I'm not going to do it.

I feel the same way and I live in Europe. Driving from London to the French Alps, crossing the English channel on a ferry takes about the same time as flying there does. This is despite the actual flying bit lasting only an hour or so. The airline industry and governments have taken a fast and efficient form of travel and comprehensively fucked it over the years with security theatre and air industry processes. The cost is roughly equivalent to driving there even with European road fuel tax!

Driving has the advantage that you can choose to go stop where you like and travel via places you simply would not go when travelling by air. From my perspective driving offers lots more benefits for European journeys than air travel.

How long will it before the airlines worldwide are lobbying for security restrictions to be removed as it affects business?

Comment: Re:Adblock Plus proposal (Score 1) 1051

by stephenpeters (#31393592) Attached to: Ars Technica Inveighs Against Ad Blocking

In the end, it is not just merely displaying the ads that makes money, but the complex dynamics of the market, its interaction with potential customers, and the ability to influence their behaviour.

Which makes the advertisers insistence on displaying blinking noisy crap on a technical site whose audience has a hair trigger on Adblock all the more bizarre. While the article is mainly Ars whining, most commentary on this issue misses the point that both the advertisers and Ars would make more money if the advertisers were a little more intelligent about what type of ad they display to specific audiences. I keep hearing about the death of online advertising, but as Google has shown the market can be very healthy indeed if one pays attention to the audience.

Perhaps the next few successful ad startups will be those that can place ads while resisting the natural proclivities of the ad agency and client to gravitate towards garish and overbearing. I can only hope so.

Comment: You should be a monopolist (Score 1) 307

by stephenpeters (#30706094) Attached to: Recession Turning Software Auditors Into Greedy Traffic Cops

I've been thinking a lot recently about whether predatory / monopolistic behaviour is *ever* a good idea.

Monopolistic behavior is a great idea if you are the CEO of a public company. All your average CEO has to do is really push short term results hard to keep quarterly earnings obsessed Wall Street happy. The CEO usually has an exit strategy of quit with a large golden handshake plus large pension, then rinse and repeat until retirement in the Bahamas. If the company goes tits up because of this strategy who cares. Wall street will have sold the shares at a high price to suckers long before the share price collapses and the CEO will be working elsewhere with a track record of large profits during his/her past employment. Employees and customers are just collateral damage.

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